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

03.13.09

Patents Roundup: TomTom, The ‘Bilski Test’, Junk Patents, and Ambush

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, TomTom at 9:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Truthfulness with me is hardly a virtue. I cannot discriminate between truths that and those that don’t need to be told.”

Margot Asquith

TomTom Revisited

IT IS hard treating the TomTom case as though it’s old news because ramifications may be serious and Microsoft is already spinning. Jay Lyman, a self-professed proponent of GNU/Linux, is optimistically suggesting that the lawsuit has not negatively affected the adoption of Linux in the embedded space and based on our collection of news stories over the past fortnight, Lyman is probably correct. He wrote:

I don’t necessarily see the same effect from the TomTom suit since, at least publicly, Microsoft is not making the case that it is Linux on the line. I can report that there does not seem to be any slowdown or hesitation in the embrace of Linux for embedded devices. Perhaps that is the reason that Microsoft has chosen to play down any implications for Linux and open source, rather than puff them up as it has done in the past. If Microsoft or anyone else challenges the IP integrity of the Linux OS, it is likely to reinforce the idea that the open source software is legitimate, licensed, covered by copyright, and absolutely appropriate for enterprise, embedded and other commercial uses, at least that’s what history tells us.

SD Times has already gathered some more details about mysterious anomalies that harm Microsoft’s case.

Under the original FAT licensing program, pricing was US$0.25 per unit with a cap on total royalties of $250,000 per manufacturer, according to what had been posted on Microsoft’s website from 2003 to July 2006. A Microsoft spokesperson could not explain why they were removed or whether those terms were applicable to the 18 agreements outlined in the lawsuit.

As we showed 2 weeks ago, Microsoft had explicitly promised not to sue over FAT. It therefore fails to keep up with its own licences, let alone just those promises. This is why we believe that Microsoft is fighting a losing battle and it relies heavily on the financial situation of TomTom which is rather frail right now.

“As we showed 2 weeks ago, Microsoft had explicitly promised not to sue over FAT.”Microsoft, like SCO, frequently relies on exhaustion of its opponents (or lingering the uncertainty), so it’s a test that merely determines whose pockets are deeper and who can afford more motions. It is very much the same with the European Commission, which Microsoft drives into exhaustion for many years, so by the time compliance is reached — if that ever happens at all — the documentation delivered is already irrelevant and outdated.

One reader recently told us that this is “unfortunately the nature of the law. As a lawyer, I can tell you that lawyers don’t sit around talking about justice, they talk about whether you can win a motion for summary judgment (a quick way to end cases). Law is very narrow. It is not about justice. It is about whether the law can be used to bludgeon your opponent. [...] It is increasingly becoming true that the party with the greater resources wins. That is why it is so important for TomTom to win this case.

Business law

Software Patents Can Die

Illegitimacy of Microsoft’s claims aside, the question about patentability of software post-Bilski [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] just keeps arising. According to this article about TomTom, In Re Bilski keeps slaughtering software patents.

Due to the Bilski ruling, new software patent evaluation rules have come into existence and just recently IBM lost claim to one of its database query patents. It was rejected because the innovation isn’t “tied to a particular machine”.

The BPAI goes on to justify the rejection by pointing out that the “system” on which the innovation operates is “not recited in terms of hardware or tangible structural elements”, which is to say that the patent is rejected because the elements of the claim are “implemented solely in software or algorithms”.

Moreover, according to Law.com, the opposition to Bernard Bilski’s patent is proving invaluable.

Federal Circuit Bars Patent for Business ‘Paradigm’

[...]

“A paradigm is basically a way of doing something,” Harris said. “I was trying to define a whole new set of claims — a new style of claims.”

At the end of the day, do software patents matter anymore? Are they sufficiently valid to actually endure the ‘court test’?

Junk Patents

One of our readers has accumulated examples of new patents that are worth putting here for their hilarity value. As he puts it, Cryptomathic patents user authentication using a central server, Innovid patents in-video brand experience, Worlds.com patents virtual reality, CounterPath patents mobile to IP roaming, laundry viewing over the Internet is patented, reading barcode with camera phone is patented, F-Secure patents updating virus signatures over SMS, Prolexic patents anti-DDOS service, and automatic menu generation too is now a patent.

What on Earth is going on here?

Patent Ambush (or Patents in Standards)

Rambus’ patent trap inside a standard [1, 2, 3, 4] is highly relevant to us because Microsoft patent traps like OOXML and C#, which are wrapped with something called “standard” (never mind if sheer crime was devised to achieve the status), are a danger to Free software.

According to this early report, Rambus is getting its way with a patent ambush and this can cost Hynix as much as $0.4 billion. Yes, all of this money just for patents, which were sneakily concealed inside a standard while it was innocently being adopted by many.

Hynix has agreed to pay royalties of up to 4.25 per cent for the use of Rambus patents in devices sold between the 31st of January 2009 and the 18th of April 2010.

Ars Technica has some more details about this story.

MPEG-2 may not be a case of an ambush, but as we showed last week, Lenovo is being hurt quite badly by it. MPEG-2 is a real issue for Free software because it has spread widely and it requires patents to be used. According to CNET, Apple potentially poisons Web standards with patents, we well.

On March 5 Apple dropped a small bombshell on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards body, excluding one of its patents from the W3C Royalty-Free License commitment of the W3C Patent Policy for Widgets 1.0. The patent in question covers automatic updates to a client computer in a networked operating environment.

The author is an advocate of Apple, so he tries to convince the readers that Apple is a friend of open source when in reality it is a a big foe of open source and freedom in general. Well, fortunately, Apple suffers just like Microsoft and it shows.

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. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  2. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  3. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  4. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  5. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  6. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  7. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  8. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  10. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert



  11. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  12. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  13. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft



  15. Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

    Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests



  16. Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

    Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers' words



  17. Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

    Links for the day



  18. Interest in Free Software Coverage and 9 Months With Tux Machines

    Thoughts about the level of interest in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and growth of at least some sites that focus on GNU/Linux



  19. White House Backs Away From Appointing Patents Zealot to Top USPTO Position

    Philip Johnson is no longer poised to become the Director of the USPTO, which is basically an establishment that provides protectionism to primarily US-based corporations



  20. Professor James Bessen Presents the Case Against Software Patents After Important SCOTUS Ruling

    The debate about software patents in the Unites States continues, with academia on one side and greedy patent lawyers on the other



  21. Software Patents Demising in the US as Microsoft Patent Attacks on Android/Linux Suffer a Huge Setback

    M-Cam's assessment of Microsoft's bundle of extortion (using software patents) shows toothlessness, irrespective of the SCOTUS decision to effectively annul "abstract" software patents



  22. Links 13/7/2014: KDE Activity Surge

    Links for the day



  23. Pro-Microsoft Spin in Microsoft-Funded News Networks

    The rogue media (misinformation) campaign of Microsoft benefits from networks which have been paid by Microsoft over the years



  24. Cronyism at Play: European Hostility Towards Free/Libre Software Despite Espionage and Moles

    Europe continues to be held hostage with back doors, lock-in, and massive payments to foreign powers, despite evidence that these powers are destructive and hostile



  25. Wirelessly-Controlled Contraceptives and Other Villainous Bill Gates Initiatives

    Remote controls for people's reproductive systems are now in the making and Bill Gates is a prominent investor in the technology



  26. Links 12/7/2014: CrossOver, New Wine

    Links for the day



  27. Links 10/7/2014: LXLE 14.04 in Headlines, Plasma 5

    Links for the day



  28. OpenDocument Format (ODF) Still Alive and Kicking

    Caligra, WebODF and various influential nations' departure from Microsoft Office will help famous projects such as OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice make ODF the only international standard for editable documents exchange



  29. The Effect of Corporate Media Bias: FOSS Demonisation and Microsoft Openwashing

    A set of very recent examples where the corporate press produces FOSS-hostile articles (or pro-Microsoft articles) by citing biased sources of convenience



  30. The NSA's Top (and First) PRISM Partner, Microsoft, Lies to Governments and Businesses as Office Gets Banned in China

    Developments in China reveal that security and privacy threats posed by reliance on Microsoft are so great that a ban becomes inevitable and continues to expand (Microsoft put on more and more block lists and blacklists)


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