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

03.05.09

European Action Organised Against “Economic Parasite” (Microsoft) After TomTom Lawsuit

Posted in America, Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 10:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents protest in India

Summary: In the face of heavy Microsoft lobbying against Free software in Europe, in addition to a patent lawsuit against one Linux-based European company, backlash was inevitable

A NEW paper from IPRIA speaks about the strangulation of small players in the market which is saturated with patents. But Microsoft tells different stories using its lobbying guns and pseudo-grassroots campaigns [1, 2, 3]. It has been very busy hijacking papers and voices in Europe recently, but not everyone is willing to tolerate it.

EndSoftwarePatents.org, with backing from the FSF and FSFE, is going to stage protests that rain on Microsoft’s self-serving parade and “schmoozing” of diplomats (Microsoft bamboozled and schmoozed Commissioner Neelie Kroes).

Here are the preliminary details:

Raise awareness of ‘Economic Parasites’, Brussels, Thursday 5th 8am

EndSoftwarePatents.org will be launching the “Economic Parasites” campaign and our first action will be to inform the attendees of Microsoft’s “Growth and Innovation Day”.

Help is needed to hand out leaflets outside the entrance before this event.

Since this is very short notice, if you know someone else who might be happy to help us, please forward them this email.

Microsoft attacked free software and GNU/Linux users with software patent claims against the Tom Tom Navigator and its implementation of the FAT file system. With widespread support for GNU/Linux becoming a reality, are these patent claims an attempt to chill adoption by spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD)? Let’s remind businesses and politicians in Brussels that Microsoft is a parasite.

Microsoft’s patent aggression [1, 2] is already working quite badly against it. In fact, to illustrate the situation, here is a new TomTom cartoon. Think about the impact of Bilski [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] because software patents may not be really valid anymore, surely not in Europe. But there are barriers nonetheless, such as this disinformation-filled page from the EPO. It’s angering a number of people who spot the propaganda language.

Why are such programs not patentable in Europe?

The EPO does not grant patents for computer programs or computer-implemented business methods that make no technical contribution. Programs for computers as such are excluded from patentability by virtue of Art. 52(2)(c) and (3) EPC. According to this patent law, a program for a computer is not patentable if it does not have the potential to cause a “further technical effect” which must go beyond the inherent technical interactions between hardware and software.

On the other hand, a CII (even in the form of a computer program) that can provide this further technical effect can be patentable, subject to the other patentability requirements, such as novelty and inventive step. In this case, it would be recognised as providing a technical solution to a technical problem.

Richard Stallman has already stated that “staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.” Richard Stallman, on behalf of the Free Software Foundation, has also made a call to address IETF’s monopoly enablement and he explains why.

In an e-mail message sent to various mailing lists, Mr Richard Stallman argued:

“A patented standard for software is worse than no standard, because it functions to augment the patent holder’s stranglehold over society. What everyone ought to do is resist it.

As long as the IETF allows patented standards for software, anyone can argue about any proposed patented standard that it important enough to excuse the patent. Others can argue that it is not, but since that is a question of judgment, the conclusion is never inevitable. So the risk is always broader than it might appear.”

Obviously Mr Stallman and, with him FSF, are launching an attempt to use the particular Draft standard at stake as a vehicle for launching a broader political debate on CII patenting in the wider context of the IETF.

It is important to remember whose interests are served by changing patent law so as to protect monopolies with legal means. Microsoft’s OOXML corruptions, for example, were done for an important reason (patents and control). Charles explains how these things may also relate to Microsoft’s corporate behaviour, which devolved further:

Microsoft defends itself by being Microsoft. I am not naïve and I know there were other monopolies in the recent past: But if we remember well the eighties, Microsoft used to have some charm back then. These days, it’s all about legal actions, and lobbying of international institutions. The last one is particularly shocking given Microsoft’s poor record with standardisation. But it does not stop this company to send in one of its best people, Amy Marasco, to the ITU in order to frame an intellectual property policy designed, among other goals, to hinder the FOSS sector to use standards.

By all means, Microsoft is still a monopoly abuser whose “undocumentation” (Microsoft’s own term) is not satisfactory [1, 2, 3, 4], as matter of design. So it’s disappointing to see the European Commission dropping the ball despite the clear warnings.

The EU executive appointed computer science professor Neil Barrett in 2005 to assess data provided by Microsoft — documents that he later judged as “unusable” as a manual for software engineers.

What is the European Commission thinking here?

The European Commission has relaxed the requirements of the 2004 anti-trust order against Microsoft – the software giant no longer needs its behaviour watched by a full-time “monitoring trustee”.

Could the company's many EU cronies be partly responsible for this? Microsoft’s political muscle is nothing to sneeze at [1, 2].

As the company continues to attack GNU/Linux by proxy, suspicions remain about Red Hat's latest debacle, which Heise is now covering as well.

Red Hat hit by a patent suit

[...]

According to the court filing by Software Tree, the patent has previously been re-examined by the patent office and was granted a re-examination certificate in April 2008. The filing states that Software Tree wishes the court to award unspecified damages to them for infringement and lost profit and to permanently injunct Red Hat from distributing Hibernate, while it infringes the patent.

As David Gerard points out, “this is two competitors for the price of one: Red Hat and Java.”

To summarise with just one thought in the words of Anthony J. D’Angelo, “If you believe that discrimination exists, it will.” Microsoft is always trying to marginalise — if not altogether illegalise — Free software. Whereas Microsoft claims that it’s discriminated against by Free software advocates, it seems unable to acknowledge its own hypocrisy.

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

    Links for the day



  2. Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

    Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)



  3. Korean Press Slams Microsoft Over Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android as New Abuses Resurface

    Harsh words from the national press of South Korea as Nokia's role in Microsoft's anti-Linux tactics becomes more apparent



  4. More Good News About Patents and Their Demise in the United States

    A roundup of news about software patents and patent trolls in the land where these thrive



  5. Links 31/8/2014: Linux 3.12.27, Akademy 2014

    Links for the day



  6. Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

    Links for the day



  7. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  8. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  9. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  10. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  11. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  12. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  13. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  14. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  15. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  16. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  18. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  19. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  20. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  21. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  22. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  23. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  24. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  25. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  26. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  27. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  28. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  29. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  30. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    Links for the day


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