EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.28.09

Patents Roundup: Microsoft Trolls, Lobbyists, and End[ing] Software Patents (ESP)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 7:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Intellectual Ventures revisited; Microsoft keeps busy promoting software patents in Europe; software patents under scrutiny with successful campaigning against them.

A very long post about the TomTom case [1, 2] is coming, but for the time being, let us look at other existing issues and developments that are part of the same important theme.

A new legislation for patent reform in the United States is set to be proposed next week, according to our sources. Until then, Microsoft is keeping busy lobbying and hoarding patents.

Microsoft-Funded Patent-Trolling

Nathan Myhrvold

Several days before the TomTom lawsuit came to light, CNET had pointed out that a risk to Free software is also the Microsoft-conceived and Microsoft-funded patent troll which goes by the name of Intellectual Ventures.

I ask because it’s almost certain that someone is going to purchase the IP, and it’s likely to be a Microsoft or Oracle (or, possibly worse, Intellectual Ventures), to the extent the IP is worth anything. Instead, now would be a good time for open-source patent-pooling collectives like Open Invention Network to buy up these assets and use them to protect open source.

In a later post from CNET it was also argued that “the real patent threat” is Microsoft’s patent troll but not Microsoft itself. Intellectual Ventures, unlike Microsoft, cannot be countered by OIN.

Hence, while the open-source world is up in arms about Microsoft’s TomTom patent suit, it should be far more worried about news that Intellectual Ventures has grabbed another 500 patents through a deal with Telcordia Technologies, as TechFlash reports. Intellectual Ventures, arguably the world’s largest patent troll, is set up to do nothing more than license its intellectual property, which it has done to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here is the report cited by the above.

Intellectual Ventures is adding to its huge pile of patents. The Bellevue-based firm, founded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, is today announcing a partnership with broadband company Telcordia Technologies, giving it access to more than 500 Telcordia patents. Intellectual Ventures has also pledged to fund Telcordia research and development.

There are other large patent trolls, including Gates' own, and the endless possibilities in Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Mike Masnick ponders this outlandish idea of investing just in patents and running companies that are dedicated just to them.

European Law Under Microsoft-Funded Attack

We learn that in the 5th of March Zuck will be in in Brussels, as expected. He is already mucking about with an "open source" report on Microsoft's behalf and we are seeing constant reminders of the threat of the Community patent. Microsoft really wants software patents to be formally legalised in Europe. It essentially buys anti-Free software laws.

Absurdity of Software Patents Revisited

Several new posts question the legitimacy of patents as a whole. Examples:

i. Science Needs Permission?

Because GM crops are considered “intellectual property” of the companies that sell them, reearchers need permission from the company to plant them, even for research purposes.

ii. There Are No Good Arguments for Intellectual Property (and ‘Interaction Rights’!)

There are some decent arguments out there that argue in favor of a state, welfare rights, war, democracy, drug laws, and so on. They are all flawed, since libertarianism is right, but there are coherent, honest arguments that we libertarians have to grapple with.

But it is striking that there are no decent arguments for IP–as Manuel Lora remarked to me, “You know, I haven’t seen a good pro IP article ever.” This is true. One sees the same incoherent or insincere claims made over and over, such as:

1. It’s in the constitution (argument from authority; legal positivism)
2. Intellectual property is called property! (argument by definition?)

iii. More Examples Of Patents Harming Research

A group of scientists are now complaining about this to the EPA, but perhaps they should be complaining to the USPTO and Congress, as well, as it’s time that this sort of abuse of intellectual property was stopped entirely.

Here is an indicator of the very poor state with regards to software patenting.

I call them the ‘on the Internet’ patents. You can patent anything by adding the suffix – ‘on the internet’.

Visa feels the wrath of this bad system.

Visa has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly infringing a patent covering the notification and authorisation of transactions via text messages sent to cardholders’ mobile phones.

What about standards, which are being stifled by patents? How is that productive?

Both patents and standardisation are areas of regulation based on public benefit considerations. Succinctly put, a patent is a monopoly granted for a limited time by the government on behalf of its citizens to promote disclosure of breakthroughs that will in turn enable future innovation.

Greed and Hypocrites

SUN claims to be in a transition to an open source identity, but its policy on software patents gives room for doubt. And in fact, based on this new article from India, SUN is accepting (almost reinforcing) rather than challenging a broken system.

Added Dr Jaijit Bhattacharya, director, government strategy, Sun Microsystems India, said, “The Open Innovation Portal will be complimentary to the existing IPR framework and will cater to those innovations that come below the bar for a patent application and will cater to those innovators who cannot afford the patenting process. This is especially true in the emerging economies scenario where standalone innovators may or may not have the financial wherewithal to file the patent.”

Kaspersky too has resorted to playing the game of software patents and Palm is no foe of stuff that’s antithetical to Free software despite its use of Linux, maybe for ‘defensive’ purposes (against Apple for example).

The Pre’s Combined Messaging: Patent Pending

[...]

Something missing from Palm’s CES presentation of the Palm Pre: jaunty claims that they’ve patented their innovations up the wazoo. Maybe it’s because they have a massive cache of smartphone patents in their portfolio already and didn’t want to toot their horn. Maybe they were just being coy. Maybe, though, they were just waiting for their various patent applications to get approved before they brought it up.

Campaigning

In order to end software patents once and for all, the End Software Patents (ESP) campaign pushes harder and harder. It has also earned media attention in:

i. Let’s keep the software patent debate on the straight and narrow

I very much hope that what the End Software Patents project comes up with in terms of studies, statistics and the rest of it does stand up to independent scrutiny. There could be a case for removing all patent protection from software – though I have yet to see one convincingly made – but it will not be advanced by manipulation and distortion. One thing that you can be sure of is that this blog will be watching very carefully for any signs of people being economical with the truth.

ii. Again A Desperate Attempt To Re-Vitalise Campaign Against CII-Patents

Now, according to a recent report, the Free Software Foundation has announced funding for the End Software Patents project to document the case for ending patents on computer-implemented inventions worldwide. A catalogue of studies, economic arguments, and legal analyses will build on the “in re Bilski” court ruling, in which End Software Patents (ESP) claims to have helped play a key role in narrowing the scope for patenting software ideas in the USA.

iii. FSF in Round Two Against Software Patents

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is persisting in its worldwide battle against software patents with comprehensive background information and has hired lobbyist Ciaran O’Riordan to fight the next round.

With Bilski at everyone’s disposal, a big final push to end software patents is practical and thus encouraged.

Linux users can help with the patent problem. “Talk about this problem. Educate ourselves and educate others. Instead of fostering innovation it’s hindering innovation,” he said. “We have a large amount of work to do to educate people about this.” Red Hat is also seeking prior art to help defend a lawsuit from a patent troll firm that is suing both it and Novell.

Inform peers, family, MEPs, etc. so as to end software patents for good. Without such patents, Free software sure will triumph much faster (as it should).

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. pcolon said,

    February 28, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Gravatar

    There are no “potentially corrupted politicians”. The seeds of corruption were sowed many years ago. Microsoft, Intellectual Vultures, Acacia, etc. are just “reaping” from the now fully corrupted elected and appointed officials entrusted to lead the nation. Now they want to take their stain outside the US and propagate their excrement unto other nations.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 28, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Gravatar

    Well, of course. You have to ‘harmonise’ and simplify universal legislation, just like DMCA.

What Else is New


  1. Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Willing to Work With Campinos But Foresees Difficulties

    New message from SUEPO regarding Battistelli's successor of choice (Campinos)



  2. Links 18/10/2017: GTK+ 3.92, Microsoft Bug Doors Leaked

    Links for the day



  3. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part I: Introduction

    Some new details about Mr. Campinos, who is Battistelli’s successor at the EPO



  4. Confessions of EPO Insiders Reveal That European Patents (EPs) Have Lost Their Legitimacy/Value Due to Battistelli's Policies

    A much-discussed topic at the EPO is now the ever-declining quality of granted patents, which make or break patent offices because quality justifies high costs (searches, applications, renewals and so on)



  5. Patent Firms From the United States Try Hard to Push the Unitary Patent (UPC), Which Would Foment Litigation Wars in Europe

    The UPC push seems to be coming from firms which not only fail to represent public interests but are not even European



  6. In the Age of Alice and PTAB There is No Reason to Pursue Software Patents in the United States (Not Anymore)

    The appeal board in the US (PTAB) combined with a key decision of the Supreme Court may mean that even at a very low cost software patents can be invalidated upon demand (petition) and, failing that, the courts will invalidate these



  7. IAM is Wrong, the Narrative Isn't Changing, Except in the Battistelli-Funded (at EPO's Expense) Financial Times

    The desperate attempts to change the narrative in the press culminate in nothing more than yet another misleading article from Rana Foroohar and some rants from Watchtroll



  8. The Federal Circuit Continues Squashing Software Patents

    Under the leadership of Sharon Prost the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues its war on software patents, making it very hard to remember the last time it tolerated any



  9. SUEPO Representatives Like Elizabeth Hardon Vindicated as Battistelli's Detrimental Effect on Patent Quality is Widely Confirmed

    Feedback regarding the awful refusal to acknowledge patent quality crisis at the EPO as well as the appointment of a President so close to Battistelli (who most likely assures continuation of his policies)



  10. Links 17/10/2017: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Safe Browsing in Epiphany

    Links for the day



  11. Judge Bryson Rules Against Allergan After It Used Native American Tribes to Dodge Scrutiny of Patents (IPRs); Senator Hatch Does Not Understand IPRs

    Having attempted to dodge inter partes reviews (IPRs) by latching onto sovereign immunity, Allergan loses a key case and Senator Hatch is meanwhile attempting to water down IPRs albeit at the same time bemoaning patent trolls (which IPRs help neutralise)



  12. Rumours That António Campinos Initially Had No Competition at All (for Battistelli's Succession) Are Confirmed

    Succession at the EPO (mostly French) shows that there's little room for optimism and Battistelli's people are too deeply entrenched in the upper echelons of the EPO



  13. EPO Stakeholders Complain That the New Chairman Does Not Grasp the Issues at the EPO (or Denies These)

    Some information from inside the EPO’s Administrative Council, whose Chairman is denying (at least to himself) some of the core issues that render the EPO less competitive in the international market



  14. Another Misleading Article Regarding Patents From Rana Foroohar at the Financial Times

    In an effort to promote the agenda of patent maximalists, many of whom are connected to the Financial Times, another deceiving report comes out



  15. Monika Ermert's Reports About the Crisis at the EPO and IP Kat's Uncharacteristically Shallow Coverage

    News from inside the Council shows conflict regarding the quality of European Patents (granted by the EPO under pressure from top-level management)



  16. Patent Troll VirnetX a Reminder to Apple That Software Patents Are a Threat to Apple Too

    VirnetX, a notorious patent troll, is poised to receive a huge sum of money from Apple and Qualcomm is trying to ban Apple products, serving to remind Apple of the detrimental impact of patents on Apple itself



  17. Links 16/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC5, Debian 9.2.1, End of LibreOffice Conference 2017

    Links for the day



  18. The Systematic Erosion of Workers' Rights and Holidays at the EPO Goes Years Back

    The legitimacy of the staff's concerns at the EPO, having seen basic labour safeguards being shredded to pieces by Battistelli for a number of years (predating even the escalation of the conflict)



  19. Articles in English and German Speak About the Decline in Quality of European Patents (Granted by the EPO)

    Heise and The Register, two sites that have closely watched EPO affairs for a number of years, speak about the real problem which is declining patent quality (or rushed examination) -- a recipe for frivolous litigation in Europe



  20. Software Patents and Patent Trolls Not a Solved Issue, But the US is Getting There

    A media survey regarding software patents, which are being rejected in the US in spite of all the spin from law firms and bullies such as IBM



  21. US Patent Trolls Are Leaving and the Eastern District of Texas Sees Patent Cases Falling by More Than Half

    The decline of patent aggression in the US and the patent microcosm's response to Justices, having ruled in TC Heartland, curtailing patent trolls



  22. Qualcomm's Nightmares Are Getting Worse as Antitrust Questions Are Raised and Assessed

    Qualcomm is getting itself deeper in trouble as fines pile up and its multi-billion dollar dispute with Apple isn't getting it anywhere



  23. Forget About Apple; Two of the Leading Phone Makers (Samsung and Huawei) Are Bickering Over Patents

    Massive Android OEMs, Huawei and Samsung, are in a big patent dispute and this time, for a change, China is a legal battleground



  24. Tim Heberden From the Glasshouse Advisory is Throwing Stones in a Glasshouse to Create Patent Litigation

    IAM's latest lobbying, aided by the patent microcosm, for a climate of feuds and disputes (to line the pockets of the litigation 'industry')



  25. Access to Medicine is More Important Than Patents

    Some of the latest news about patents that impede/deny access to crucial medication; strategic litigation from the generics sector, seeking to invalidate patents and then offer low-cost alternatives



  26. Links 14/10/2017: Windows Breaks Dutch Law, Wine 2.19 Released

    Links for the day



  27. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Supported by Congress, a Federal Judge, Soon to be Supported by the Supreme Court Too?

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board is still widely defended, except by the patent microcosm which likes (and profits from) patent trolls and litigation Armageddon



  28. Patents Are Turning BlackBerry and Nokia, Which Used Android, Into Anti-Android Fronts That Tax Android OEMs

    The Canadian BlackBerry has sued BLU in the US only to compel it to pay 'protection' money; Nokia's patents are being scattered to trolls, which are doing something similar (without risking litigation themselves)



  29. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Rotting Like the European Patent Office

    The Unitary Patent litigation pipe dreams (or prosecution/trolling fast lane), which Battistelli's EPO long relied on, turn out to be the road to nowhere



  30. Lying and Faking Now a Standard Procedure at the European Patent Office

    The European Patent Organisation (EPO) under the leadership (or chairmanship) of Christoph Ernst continues to relay lies from Battistelli's Office, SUEPO rejects these, the Office lies about SMEs, prioritises Microsoft (again), and probably buys fake Twitter "followers"


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts