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

04.19.09

Software Patents Roundup: Protests in the EU, OLPC Suffers, Microsoft Seeds More Patent FUD

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, OLPC at 4:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source. Making it easier for companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with the threat.”

Linus Torvalds

The protests in Germany may over, but the photos remain and so does some press coverage.

What should be duly noticed is that high-profile representatives of centre-right political parties are openly lobbying against patentability of biotechnological inventions, for example Mr Söder (CSU), Minister for Healthcare & Ecological Affairs of Bavaria. One prominent reason for this surely is of populist nature: There are general elections for the European Parliament and for the German Parliament (“Bundestag”) later this year. As utilisation of genetically modified organisms in food chains is hopeless unpopular in Germany and angrily attacked in particular by conservative farmers in Bavaria, there is a big incentive for politicians to go exactly that way as demonstrated yesterday.

[...]

While most of the media coverage was directed to the EP 1651777 B1 patent, FFII had attempted to jump on the bandwagon by joining the rally, pointing towards patents on CIIs or, vulgo software patents. To this end they had invited a well-known heavyweight, namely Mr Richard M. Stallman himself.

Spiegel concentrated only on the Greenpeace side of these protests, but Georg Greve, who comes from Germany, keeps pressing hard on WIPO in his latest good essay.

The disconnect between what Member States preach at WIPO and what they practice at home can to some extent be traced back to tactical considerations, but not be explained by tactics alone. There is an obvious disconnect within governmental departments, and a lack of engagement from industry, in particular, which has not briefed its government sufficiently on the benefits that local industry of developed countries can reap from a WIPO that can offer the full range of Free Software, Open Standards and Open Innovation Model competency alongside its traditional arsenal of exclusive rights.

Digital Majority has just found this new page from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. Watch how software patents are hurting even charities (not-for-profits).

rproxy codebase is now a bit dated, and its reliance on the rsync protocol is problematic, as the rsync protocol is encumbered by software patents. To resolve this Rusty Russell has been working on a new implementation based on a rolling CRC algorythm, called crcsync, and there are efforts underway to integrate into the appropriate modules of Apache 2.2.x, as Apache is an excellent and modular http proxy.

This would not be the first time that OLPC gets stung by patents. How does that help the children, literally? It’s only taking away from the world’s least privileged children. Let’s not forget how Microsoft got into this.

Speaking of which, Microsoft’s patent propaganda textbooks has reached the hands of a writer from Linux Journal. It must be one among the several complimentary copies sent to FOSS people in advance. Here is how this book review ends:

At times it reads like a combination of Microsoft marketing, and occasionally the evil Microsoft raises its head in the tone, especially in the last chapter. As we have seen with TomTom and the Linux Foundation’s suggestions that File Access Table (FAT) be abandoned, Microsoft, despite some of the protestations in this book, is not shy about asserting its patents and other IP. If nothing else, having read this book gives you a slim glimpse into what might be on the near horizon for software development and a nice history of where it has been.

Moving on a bit, the secret ACTA, which includes bits with considerable impact on patent law, gets analysed further over at TechDirt.

This is a key point that plenty of folks have made clear over the years: assuming that every shared file would have been a lost sale is absolutely false. Putting that into the law and suggesting judges use that false concept as a basis for calculating damages is quite troubling. In the meantime, we’re still trying to figure out why ACTA is even necessary? And… on top of that, no one has yet explained why industry lobbyists have been integral to the negotiations, but the public and public interest groups are being blocked from any information based on bogus national security claims.

TechDirt had another good post that caught Amazon obtaining a patent on ‘reliable ratings’. The description from theodp was short and sweet:

theodp writes “Do bad patents bring bad karma? Less than 24 hours after a hacker identified as ‘Weev’ claimed he exploited a feature for reporting inappropriate content to wreak havoc on Amazon’s product ratings (Amazon blamed a “glitch”), the USPTO issued Amazon.com a patent for the Automatic Identification of Unreliable User Ratings, an ‘invention’ which – you guessed it – purportedly prevents Amazon’s product ratings from being gamed by providing a feature for reporting inappropriate content (‘Section 244 also contains a link 254 to a display (not shown) where customer CCC can report that item review 222 contains scandalous or inappropriate material’).”

A third relevant post from TechDirt shames the proposition of some automated way for assessing patent applications. It sure sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo because of the complexity of the task.

[I]t sounds like gibberish trying to sound intelligent. But, back on point, it’s hard to see how any “automated” system would actually help in the process of approving patents. Considering how many mistakes are made and bad patents allowed through, I’d worry that automating the process is only likely to create significantly more problems.

Patently-O has just published this essay which challenges the existing attitude towards patent applications, which lowers the barrier to acceptance and makes a mockery of the whole system.

One of the next major legal challenges to patent rights will be against the strong presumption of validity associated with the patent grant. Section 282 of the patent act says only that a patent and its claims “shall be presumed valid.” Under longstanding doctrine, this presumption can only be overcome with clear and convincing evidence of invalidity. The challenge to this presumption is most likely on two fronts: (1) expanded post-grant review and (2) court challenges to the weight of the presumption.

Witness the burden incurred due to the presence of patents out there (with or without a lawsuit).

Time Warner Inc’s AOL has asked a federal court to rule that it is not infringing patents held by Yahoo Inc.

The request, in the form of a complaint seeking declaratory relief, cites an ongoing intellectual property dispute between Yahoo and Quigo, an online advertising company that AOL acquired for $340 million in 2007.

Sit back and enjoy the patent comedy. Bad things like this can’t (and won’t) last forever.

Guy Claims His Patent Covers Everyone Making Computers, Cell Phones, Hard Drives, DVD Players, HDTV & MRIs

Joe Mullin has been digging into the saga of Gregory Bender — a guy no one seems to know anything about, but who just a few weeks ago started suing some big name companies, such as Broadcom, Freescale, AMD and National Semiconductor for patent infringement. A week later, he had also sued IBM, Agilent, Cirrus Logic, Siemens, Nokia, Sony, Motorola, and ST Microelectronics. Apparently that wasn’t enough, as a week later, he filed new lawsuits against AT&T, AT&T Mobility, Sony-Ericsson, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, Hitachi, Seagate and Western Digital. At latest count, in the last month or so, he’s filed 22 lawsuits against 28 different companies.

Wonderful. Smell the innovation. That’s a very large pig at the bottom, in case it’s not clear enough.

EPO sign

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 20/7/2019: Weston 7.0 Alpha, Nageru 1.9.0

    Links for the day



  2. Companies That Collapse Because the European Patent Office (EPO) Gave Them Fake Patents in a Hurry

    False hopes and false promises won’t do any favours to European Patents, whose legal certainty suffers because Campinos and Battistelli measure nothing but ‘production’ (quantity) rather than quality of patents



  3. Slack Committed a Very Major Crime That Can Cost Many Billions If Not Trillions in Damages for Years to Come

    The inevitable has happened to Slack, which no longer deserves to exist as a company; moreover, the people who ran the company must be held criminally accountable



  4. Demand for European Patents Will Continue to Decrease If a Lot of European Patents Turn Out to be Invalid, Worthless

    The EPO's abandonment of patent justice and quality (in pursuit of so-called 'production' targets) is likely to doom the Office as the whole or render it vastly less relevant to the rest of the world



  5. 35 U.S.C. § 101 Still in Tact in the United States and Software Patents Rot Away

    The United States, where the number of granted patents decreased last year, becomes more productive; there are more signs that patent maximalism (patent litigation, patent scope etc.) has receded



  6. Links 19/7/2019: Deepin 15.11 and GNU/Linux Back on GPD MicroPC

    Links for the day



  7. Violence is Not Free Speech and Laws Exist Against Violence

    Free speech is certainly under attack and the debate is being framed within the context of Nazism; but this overlooks the fact that there are actual death threats and calls for genocide in the mix



  8. Links 19/7/2019: Oracle Linux 8.0, Latte Dock 0.9 Beta and PCLinuxOS KDE Darkstar 2019.07

    Links for the day



  9. Why Does Jim Zemlin Publicly Congratulate Microsoft?

    The signs aren't particularly encouraging when one considers that the leadership of the Linux Foundation is a fan of Microsoft and sometimes connected to Microsoft



  10. 2 Days Later (Case in Progress) and Still Media Silence About G 2/19

    The very legitimacy of years' worth of rulings and the EPO's abusive attacks on judges are under the microscope; but the media isn't paying any attention, perhaps deliberately



  11. The 'Linux' Foundation is Acting Like a Microsoft ISV Now, Commitment to Linux and FOSS Deteriorates Even Further

    The Linux Foundation has just announced a new Microsoft-funded initiative that's pushing GitHub and CLAs (passing copyrights on code to corporations)



  12. Links 18/7/2019: OPNsense 19.7, Krita 4.2.3 and KDevelop 5.3.3 Released

    Links for the day



  13. Index: G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)

    G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)



  14. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 4: G 2/19 - Faites Vos Jeux…

    "Josefsson needs to bring in the “desired result” for his political masters in the Administrative Council if he wants to be in with a chance of reappointment."



  15. Media Not Interested in G 2/19, Which Demonstrates Patent Justice is Nowadays Impossible at the EPO

    The EPO spreads patent injustices to other countries and courts; the media is miraculously enough not interested, almost as though there's a coordinated blackout



  16. Librethreat Database Updated

    Database which keeps track of variants of attack vectors on Free/libre software now includes two more forms of threat



  17. A Look Back (and Forward) at Friendly Programming

    Historical perspective on computer languages and how to do better



  18. Red Hat's Freedom Reduced to Just Online Partner Enablement Network (OPEN) and Microsoft as a Close Partner; Canonical's Ubuntu Just an 'App' for Windows?

    Free software is being snapped up by proprietary software giants and patent bullies that treat it as little more than an 'add-on' for their proprietary offerings



  19. Linux Foundation Apparently Celebrates Sysadmin Day With a Microsoft Windows Site!

    The Linux Foundation shows ‘love’ to actual GNU/Linux (the real thing) by apparently rejecting it and badmouthing it



  20. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 3: The Legal Line-up for G 2/19

    The deck appears to have already been stacked for G 2/19, a decision on EPO judges' exile to Haar (veiled disciplinary action/collective punishment by those whom the judges are supposed to 'oversee')



  21. Links 17/7/2019: VirtualBox 6.0.10 and Mageia 7.1 Releases, Mint Betas

    Links for the day



  22. Links 16/7/2019: Btrfs Gets 'Cleaned Up', Clonezilla Live 2.6.2-15

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Looney Tunes - Part 2: The “Difficult Legacy” and Its Dark Historical Shadow

    Assuming that he was informed, then it seems fair to say that Battistell’s little “joke” at the expense of the Boards was in very bad taste



  24. EPO Noise Machine Turned On as Haar Hearing Kicks Off, Patrick Corcoran Defamed Again

    The EPO does not want people to hear about Haar; it just wants people to hear about how wonderful the EPO is and there are some who have just decided to slander Patrick Corcoran again



  25. Microsoft is 'Doing Kamikaze' (神風) on Linux

    An analogy for what the Linux (only in name!) Foundation and Microsoft mean to Linux — or by extension to GNU/Linux and Free software whose largest repository Microsoft took control of



  26. The 'New' Linux.com Sometimes Feels Like a Microsoft Promotion Site

    Anything that the ‘Linux’ Foundation touches seems to turn into its proprietors’ agenda; one of those proprietors is Microsoft, which has a "Jihad" against Linux



  27. IBM is a Threat to the Internet, Not Just to Software Development (Due to Software Patents Aggression)

    IBM continues its aggression against technology — a fact that’s even more distressing now that IBM calls the shots at Red Hat



  28. EPO Looney Tunes - Part 1: Is D-Day Approaching for Battistelli’s “Difficult Legacy”?

    European patent justice isn’t working within the premises of EPOnia; a bunch of ‘show trials’ may in fact turn out to be just that — a show



  29. Links 16/7/2019: LXD 3.15, Q4OS 3.8 and D9VK 0.13f

    Links for the day



  30. Links 15/7/2019: Vulkan 1.1.115 and Facebook Openwashing

    Links for the day


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

Recent Posts