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. Links 29/10/2014: Ubuntu Touch Tablet, Puppy Linux 6.0

    Links for the day



  2. Links 28/10/2014: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, Canonical OpenStack Distro

    Links for the day



  3. Links 28/10/2014: PiFxOS, The Document Foundation in OSBA

    Links for the day



  4. Microsoft is Bricking Devices With Linux (Yet Again!), So a Microsoft Booster Spins/Paints Linux Devices as 'Fakes'

    Microsoft delivers rogue drivers through Windows Update and they brick Arduino microcontrollers



  5. How Bill Gates Continues to Pass Wealth From the Public to His Own Bank Account

    Having put a universal tax on many things (not just computers) and evaded tax using the classic 'charity' trick, Gates is now buying the media, the schools, politicians etc. and earns as much as 10 billion dollars per year while the public is taught that Gates is a giver, not a hoarder of the worst kind



  6. Links 27/10/2014: Lenovo Unbundling, Linux 3.18 RC2

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: September 14th, 2014 – October 25th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  8. Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

    Links for the day



  9. After Infecting Unity -- Successfully -- Microsoft's Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

    Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices



  10. Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

    Microsoft's insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages ([cref 27802 possibly trillions] of [cref 13992 dollars in damages to date]) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software



  11. City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It's Only Tax Authorities

    A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation



  12. Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

    The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of 'pirates'



  13. Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on 'Trolls' and Quotes Lawyers

    How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that



  14. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  15. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  16. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  17. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  18. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  19. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  20. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  21. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  22. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  23. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  24. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  25. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  26. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  27. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  28. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  29. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  30. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court


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