04.20.09

Patents Roundup: Microsoft, CSIRO, Patent Hawk, and “Corrupt, Malicious” EPO

Posted in Australia, Courtroom, Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The European Patent Office is a corrupt, malicious organisation which should not exist.”

Richard Stallman

Summary: The latest news about patents (software in particular) that affect Free software

TT HAS BEEN a very busy week for patents, whose relevance is being questioned quite a lot these days. Mike Masnick took a look back at some of the recent developments when he wrote about the GPL FUD (lies even) from Microsoft's buddy, White & Case (White & Case subsequently intimidated an open source reporter). Masnick also commented on the Patently-O report which shows patent filings on the decline. We wrote about it earlier.

Considering the large number of bad patents that got through over the years, and the resulting flood of applications from others hoping to strike it rich by gaining monopolies on obvious ideas, it should be seen as a good thing that applications are finally dropping. If anything, we should be wondering why they’re not dropping more. Patents were supposed to be given out in the rarest of circumstances, when other incentives weren’t enough. Somewhere along the way, those who controlled the patent system seemed to forget this and lose their way.

Intellectual Monopolies Versus Microsoft

Microsoft realises that somehow it must elevate the price of its #1 competition (GNU/Linux) because it's going out of control. But by promoting software patents around the world Microsoft is also injuring itself. Consider this report from Bloomberg (same report here):

Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, settled a lawsuit with Australia’s science agency over a patent used for wireless local area networks.

Microsoft and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO, didn’t disclose terms of the settlement in a filing April 10 in federal court in Tyler, Texas. CSIRO claimed Microsoft had been wrongfully using the patent, while the software maker sought a ruling of noninfringement for its networking wireless technology, which includes an adaptor for the Xbox video-game system.

There is also this slightly older one from Australia: US jury orders Microsoft to pay $500m to Australian inventor

Groklaw drew attention to this essay from Patent Hawk, adding that “it’s a case that could test his theory, but considering Microsoft’s lawyers will presumably argue for Bilski exclusion, it should be interesting.”

Odom invented active tool groups, which Microsoft popularized with its Office 2007 Ribbon. In an ongoing licensing campaign, having previously filed suit against Microsoft and Autodesk, today Odom filed against 28 other infringers.

[...]

As an aside, punters who have commented that Odom’s claims are Bilskied out don’t know what they are talking about. The CAFC has been concerned about overreaching business method patents. Bilski required, for software patents, that claims transform the subject matter, and have tangibility (according to one interpretation), i.e., representational of non-computer existence. Odom’s tool groups are like containers in a toolbox, and his claims alter the condition of those groups….As Patent Prospector readers already know, this entry is first person, written in the third person, as Gary Odom is aka Patent Hawk, patent technical consultant.

For some background about Patent Hawk, see this post from December. Additionally, Law.com has just published the article “Microsoft’s IP Losses Don’t Always Stick.” It’s about Microsoft’s other confrontations.

The software company set the record when a San Diego jury ordered it to pay $1.53 billion for infringing on Alcatel-Lucent’s patents for MP3 digital audio technology. It was hit for $512 million in another case with Alcatel-Lucent. And Eolas Technologies Inc. won a $521 million verdict against it.

But appeals courts have been kinder than juries to the software company. The $1.53 billion award was tossed last year . Microsoft appealed the $521 million verdict and ultimately settled with Eolas for $30.4 million in 2007. The $512 million award is currently on appeal. Fish & Richardson has represented Microsoft against Alcatel-Lucent in both cases, at trial and on appeal.

“Microsoft has certainly seen some large verdicts against it in the last few years,” observed Stephen Akerley, a patent litigator with O’Melveny & Myers who wasn’t involved with this week’s case. “However, there are always appealable issues in these cases. And if you look back, Eolas ultimately settled, Alcatel-Lucent is still going on — it’s impossible to tell where this case will end up.”

Intellectual Monopolies Versus the Internet

IPJur has just dropped some bits of wisdom about how dying monopolies daemonise the Web with “piracy”.

One important cornerstone for the proponents of that ‘ancien regime’ in this context is to promote the notion of piracy in conjunction with the Internet.

It’s worth bearing it in mind after the Pirate Bay ruling. Will Google and Yahoo be sued next (for linking to potentially ‘illegal’ content)?

Richard Stallman: “The European Patent Office is a Corrupt, Malicious Organisation Which Should Not Exist”

The animals too will be suffering from Intellectual Monopolies, so the pigs — literally — took it to the streets along with their human representatives.

Stallman’s participation in last week’s protests has finally received some more coverage. We found two more articles:

i. Farmers, Politicians, Free Software Fans Demonstrate Against Patents

Stallman warned against the threat patents pose to free farming and free software engineering, and heavily criticised the EPO for its grant practice. He called it an “evil and malicious organisation” Europeans should try to get rid off and should in the first place try “to stop treating every EU institution as if it was sacred and inscrutable.”

ii. Richard Stallman, Farmers and the German CSU Party Unite Against Patents

Members of the Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), the Piratenpartei (Pirate Party), Greenpeace, the Misereor Catholic organization, and farmers’ unions against the European Patent Office (EPO) recently assembled at a rally in Munich, Germany. Demonstrators included Richard Stallman, who added his own testimonial to those united against the EPO.

These protests in Germany, which were last mentioned here and whose photos can be found here, will be remembered for quite some time. They were a smashing success.

“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.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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 26/1/2021: Mozilla Firefox 85.0, Tails 4.15, Zentyal Server 7.0, GNOME 40 Alpha

    Links for the day



  2. Instead of Making Access to COVID-19 Solutions Easier Bill Gates Has Made It Harder (Patent Profits)

    Counterproductively — and at a great cost to human civilisation — Bill Gates has once again put profits and monopoly ahead of global goals such as collective health



  3. We Need More Documents Leaked to Know Intel (From the) Inside

    We invite more leaks from the belly of the beast "chipzilla", seeing that it is becoming a drone of Microsoft again, yearning for the "Wintel" days instead of moving on to a world dominated by GNU/Linux and Free/libre software



  4. Why GNU/Linux Users (and the Public at Large) Should Support Leaking/Whistleblowing Sites (Including Wikileaks)

    To demonstrate the value of "scientific journalism" (a term apparently coined by Wikileaks) we take a look at Red Hat's response to embarrassing leaks (demonstrating what a scam their certification and examination programmes really are)



  5. EPO President António Campinos is Still Not Listening, According to Internal EPO Documents

    Increasingly arrogant and unaccountable management of Europe's second-largest institution (EPO) has left staff disillusioned but still defiant; there's clearly unsuitable or unfit-for-purpose management at the EPO, self-selecting based on nepotism/loyalty so as to cover up abuses



  6. Why You Should Give Falkon (the Web Browser) a Chance on GNU/Linux, BSD, or Windows

    In this crazy new world where advertisers are the real customers and Web users ("audiences") have been reduced to mere products we need a browser that isn't controlled by a company; try Falkon



  7. Kluwer Patent Spin and Distortion of Facts (Regarding UPC and More)

    Kluwer Patent Blog disgraces the firm that puts its name on it; instead of sticking to facts they're distorting the facts and the sole/principal goal is to manipulate/mislead the public and public servants



  8. Links 26/1/2021: 4MLinux 35.1, GParted 1.2, Gnuastro 0.14

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, January 25, 2021



  10. It's Wrong to Assume Red Hat Competes With Microsoft

    The community ought to stop pretending that one monopoly seeks to replace another despite close partnerships (some would say "collusion") between the two



  11. EPO Staff Representation Complains That EPO Management Exploits Pandemic and 'House Arrests' to Overwork Staff, Lower Quality

    The EPO keeps breaking its promises to workers; not only are key employees seeing their net salary cut (inflation factored in) but pensioners too are being robbed and in the meantime the total time spent on work is increasing



  12. Fake News is Not a 'Wing' Thing

    The two-party corporate-led system (and media) would have us obsess/bicker about accuracy of news based on some binary/dual system of blind loyalty rather than underlying facts and priorities



  13. Links 25/1/2021: Huawei on GNU/Linux, NuTyX 20.12.1, Whisker Menu 2.5.3, Lutris 0.5.8.3, Linux 5.11 RC5

    Links for the day



  14. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in ZDNet is the Norm

    ZDNet continues to emit lots of garbage 'journalism', in effect Microsoft PR and what's known as "black PR" for Linux; just like Bleeping Computer, which ZDNet hired this writer from, there's no adherence to facts, just smears and innuendo



  15. Truth Tellers Aren't an Enemy of Free Software

    There's a perpetual attack on people who speak out against actors and corporations in positions of great power, however subtle and indirect those attacks may seem on the surface (they don't wish to be held accountable for defaming activists)



  16. The Linux Foundation, With Over 124 Million Dollars in Annual Revenue, is in Trouble Because of the Pandemic, So It's Trying to Reinvent Itself as Training and Certifications Outfit

    With mountains of cash and a Public Relations (PR) or marketing business model the so-called 'Linux' Foundation became reliant on travel, lodging, booths and speeches on sale; COVID-19 is a great risk to that business model



  17. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 24, 2021



  18. Our Move Further Away From the World Wide Web, the Browser Monopolies, HTTP, and HTML

    The World Wide Web (WWW) is going down a bad path and a clearly regressive direction; the solution isn't going 'retro' but exploring more sophisticated systems which are robust to censorship (localised or globalised) and downtime (related to censorship) while reducing surveillance by leveraging encryption at the endpoints



  19. Important Issues Not Entertained in the Community, Especially Critics of the Status Quo

    here's corporate infiltration inside communities (for oligarchy hunts volunteer, unpaid labour) and those who speak about that as a threat to our cause and objectives are painted as misguided outcasts who must be ignored



  20. Internet Origins of the Mob

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  21. When Proprietary Software Users Dictate the Freedom-Leaning Communities

    Fedora doesn't care about software freedom and its steward (or parent company) is sometimes imposing proprietary software on staff; they've quit caring



  22. In 2020 Onwards 'Open Source' is Just a Marketing Ploy of Monopolies, Unlike Free Software

    More people are nowadays seeing or witnessing 'Open Source' for what it truly is; the term has become a misleading marketing term of proprietary software firms looking to rebrand as "ethical" (e.g. by sharing some code with other proprietary software firms, over proprietary platforms such as GitHub)



  23. Microsoft: The Year After We Bought GitHub There Was a Significant Decline in Number of New Projects on GitHub

    Microsoft has just admitted that in 2019 GitHub saw a very significant decline in number of new projects (and users, which it is conveniently miscounting by adding 'phantom' ones) on the site. Just what we had heard before they confirmed it (and they foresaw this effect of the takeover, hence the lies about "loving" Linux).



  24. Social Control Media is a Passing Fad, We Should All Go Back to Blogging and Subscribing to RSS Feeds

    The whole "social control media" phenomenon has been oversold or promoted using lies; in reality, as a mountain of evidence serves to show, it's a way to manage society at a macro scale



  25. As Andrei Iancu Removes Himself From the Patent and Trademark Office All Eyes Are on Biden's Next Nomination

    Patent zealots and their front groups already lobby Joe Biden to put one of them in charge of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; we'll soon see if Joe Biden "means business" or simply means monopoly/large corporations (and their law firms/departments)



  26. Data Point: GNU/Linux Share in Desktops/Laptops Nearly Tripled in the Past Decade, Peaking This Past Month (All-Time High)

    Contrary to what some publishers try to tell us, GNU/Linux is still growing and mostly at the expense of Windows



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 23, 2021



  28. Links 24/1/2021: Nouveau X.Org Driver Release and GhostBSD 21.01.20

    Links for the day



  29. InteLeaks – Part XXX: Harbor Research's Pseudo-scientific 'Research' for Intel, Bizarrely Suggesting a Microsoft Partnership for a Domain Largely Controlled or Dominated by Linux

    The full document that Intel paid for and in turn used to justify cracking down on Free software (obliterating Free software-based workflows inside Intel), instead outsourcing all sorts of things to proprietary software traps of Microsoft



  30. Chromium and Chrome Are Not Free Software But an Example of Microsoft-Fashioned Openwashing Tactics

    It's time to reject Google's Web monopoly (shared with other companies but still an oligopoly); removing its Web browser would be a good start


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