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 19/4/2014: Slow Easter News Day

    Links for the day



  2. Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

    Links for the day



  3. Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

    Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)



  4. Microsoft is Leaving Windows -- Including Vista 8.1 -- Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

    Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire



  5. Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

    Links for the day



  6. Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, 'Targeted' Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

    Links for the day



  7. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  8. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  9. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  10. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  11. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  12. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  13. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  14. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  15. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  16. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  17. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  18. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  19. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  20. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  21. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  22. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  23. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day



  24. KDE News: Kubuntu at the Centre Again KDE Applications Updated

    Links for the day



  25. Techrights Rising

    Effective immediately, Techrights will do what it takes to bring back old volume and pace of publishing



  26. Links: Surveillance, Intervention, Torture and Drones

    Links for the day



  27. Mobile Linux Not Just Android: Jolla, WebOS, and Firefox OS News

    Links for the day



  28. Google's Linux Revolution: New Gains for Android, Chrome OS (GNU/Linux)

    Links for the day



  29. Free/Libre Databases News: MongoDB, NoSQL, and MySQL Branches/Forks

    Links for the day



  30. Open Access on the Rise: Textbooks, Journals, Etc.

    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