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

04.22.09

Patents Roundup: Oracle, Backlash Against Software Patents, and In Re Bilski (Again)

Posted in Europe, OIN, Oracle, Patents, SUN, TomTom at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stallman at protest

Summary: The latest collection of news about software patents, including Oracle’s role

Oracle

Oracle is buying Sun Microsystems and the press discusses this a lot, but to repeat an issue raised by one of our readers, the question that’s scarcely answered is, “what about Oracle’s patent policy?”

“Will Oracle give money to FFII, like MySQL was doing in the past?”

MySQL’s strong policy against software patents already vanished when Sun acquired it, but Oracle — unlike Sun — is inside the OIN.

“OIN does not work,” told us the president of the FFII. OIN said it would retaliate against Microsoft to defend the use of FAT; its CEO said counter-action would come within weeks* and it has already been 3 weeks and we are still waiting.

Speaking of the OIN, yesterday they unleashed this press release.

Open Invention Network (OIN), a collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux, today announced that it has been named one of Gartner’s “Cool Vendors in Intellectual Property 2009.”

It’s worth repeating that Oracle is inside the OIN, but it’s rather disturbing to find the corrupt Gartner Group treated as though it’s an authority. Gartner sells itself to Microsoft on a regular basis and of course it likes software patents, which are OIN’s spiel. Speaking of Oracle (and IBM, which was going to buy Sun but got cold feet), the company have just been sued over database patents.

Oracle, IBM sued over database patents

Redwood Shores (CA) – Giant computer corporations IBM and Oracle have been dragged into a Texas district court over an allegation that their database software breaches existing patents.

What sort of patent protection will MySQL users receive under Oracle’s wing? Here we have yet another lawsuit taking place in a haven to many patent trolls, namely Texas districts. Oracle is based in the US and it possesses tremendous wealth. That matters to patent sharks.

Broken Patent System

The EE Times has this article which urges engineers to revolt against the patent system because it mostly favours patent lawyers (parasites) at this stage. As Richard Stallman put it in last week’s protests [1, 2, 3], if this “corrupt, malicious” organisation stands in our way, we should “get rid of it too.”

Opinion: Engineers should stage a patent strike

[...]

Corporate legal departments tell engineers which patents they can and can’t read. Sometimes engineers are told not to read patents at all, lest they be accused of deliberately infringing someone’s IP.

Meanwhile, businesspeople of all stripes pressure engineers to file patent applications for every idea. That has spawned a business of litigation and licensing that charges for portfolios by the pound. Companies now wield patents strategically to charge others for the freedom to innovate. In this sick world, patents don’t spark innovation, they inhibit it.

Patents are not there for engineers; they are there for patent lawyers, monopolists (patent aggressors), and patent trolls. They are, however, being marketed to engineers as though they defend small inventors and make people rich at no-one’s expense. This is a way to appease critics and enable this massive closed circulation of money to carry on.

There is a large thread in LWN.net, whose headline is “This isn’t validation – but it may be corruption.” It’s about the EPO, which many people — including Stallman and the FFII — protested against last week.

This surprises me somewhat, since the unaccountability of the EPO has been exploited quite effectively by advocates of extended patentability, but maybe most patent attorneys don’t really care about increasing the scope of what can be patented, or maybe they care more about only settling such matters once in a single place. If so, they need to employ more credible spokespeople who actually represent the interests of the majority of their profession’s members.

Look at this article in Hungarian. Apple claims to have just ‘innovated’ videophone (filed initially in 2007). This is absurd. No wonder emerging global powers like China turn their backs on this system and compromise interoperability by creating their own codecs and codec standards/patents. They are evading western patents and the consumer benefits in no way from this.

Over in Techdirt, a discussion continues about how to battle this failed system (citing a decent proposal from Freedom to Tinker).

…Wallach, over at Freedom To Tinker, takes this idea a step further to ask why no one talks about requiring juries in patent trials to be made up of PHOSITAs.

In Re Bilski and Beyond

Matt Asay claims to have composed an outline of the patent problem (particularly for software).

Of course, post-Bilski, we may be entering a period of court-ordered disarmament, which would be fantastic. The Bilski decision puts software patents on the defensive, and it hopefully will help to clear the minefield that currently helps only incumbents–and arguably hurts even them more than it helps them.

Here is an interesting new report [via Digital Majority] about how lawyers avoid complying with rules and manage to patent software anyway (and business methods also).

You may have heard some types of technology are not ‘patentable’. In fact, this is in a fairly limited set of circumstances. For example, you may think software is not ‘patentable’ but it is possible to obtain software patents. We’ll be looking at this in more detail in future. However, to obtain meaningful protection for any invention, it can be crucial that the patent specification is well-written by a skilled patent draftsman and this is especially true for software/computer-related inventions.

You may also think it’s not possible to obtain patents for business methods, another area we’ll look at in future. It may be possible to obtain a patent for a business method depending on the technology implemented and the country you’re trying to obtain the patent in. For instance, patents for ‘business methods’ are alive and well in Singapore today.

Et tu, Singapore? Guess who wrote this? “Michael McLaughlin is a patent attorney with at McLaughlin IP in Singapore.”
_____
* Keith told this to ZDNet’s Paula Rooney, for future reference.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

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. The Internet Archive Doesn't Forget, Whereas the Internet and the Web Forget Very Fast

    World Wide Web history is grossly undervalued and preservation of such history (e.g. by the Wayback Machine) is taken for granted by far too many people; the robber barons of today benefit the most from erosion of collective memory as they get to rewrite the past to suit their present and future interests



  2. Environmentalism and Free Software Can be Viewed as Closely Connected and Help One Another

    Modest lifestyles are an overlapping pattern in the Free software community and green activists; there's room for alliances and collaboration, bettering society by reducing consumption and discouraging voyeurism



  3. Free (as in Freedom) Software + Social Control Media ≠ Free Speech

    Speaking through middlemen and private platforms is bad enough (that gives others unjust power over speech); to claim that because the underlying platform is free/libre software it therefore becomes a non-issue is also dishonest



  4. António Campinos: President or Quasi-Autocratic Corporate Puppet?

    The culture of oppression — and censorship of evidence of oppression — is what today’s EPO is all about; the EPO learned how to better avoid (or block) negative publicity without actually changing its ways; and due to unprecedented speech restrictions you won’t hear that from SUEPO



  5. The Media Continues to Ignore Corruption of António Campinos

    António Campinos has Croatian scandals on his lap; the obedient media, however, refuses to even talk about it (or uses COVID as an excuse to write nothing on the subject, as some journalists have told us)



  6. A Call for Patent Sanity

    The public's call for reform is motivated by improved understanding of today's debased patent system and how out-of-order (detached from its original mission statement) it has gotten; patent maximalism, if it does not completely unravel this whole system, severely discredits it



  7. Declassified US Army Field Manuals Explain Microsoft's Public Relations Strategy (Similar to Selling Imperialism to the Occupied)

    The misuse of public broadcast to brainwash the public is well understood and thoroughly exploited by both Microsoft and the Gates Foundation (which sells this ridiculous lie that the world’s richest people speak for and fight for the poorest, i.e. those impoverished by endless greed)



  8. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 10, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, July 10, 2020



  9. Links 11/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Openbox, Kiwi TCMS 8.5, Librem 5 Dogwood Update 3

    Links for the day



  10. Education Without Free Software is Training or Indoctrination

    Kids need to decide for themselves what they want to do and what they wish to use when they grow up; schools need to provide general tools and the mental capacity to make good decisions (rather than make these decisions for the kids, sometimes at the behest of foreign monopolists)



  11. Links 10/7/2020: Wayland-Info, diffoscope 151 and Tor 0.4.4.2-alpha

    Links for the day



  12. European FRAND (Related to SEP) Proponent and Famed Programmer Comes to Realise That It's Actually a “Scam”

    Even people who have long promoted the practice of mandatory "licensing" (in effect patent tax one is unable to work around) are apparently changing their minds and their tune



  13. Not Even a Single Corporate Journalist Has Written Anything About These Very Important Bits of News

    Constant propaganda from patent maximalists has long infested the media, which is sometimes controlled and even bribed to set the tone and the agenda; important developments are being tucked away and require very deep digging for ordinary citizens to find



  14. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 09, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 09, 2020



  15. Racism in Technology (and Who Typically Lectures Us About the Subject)

    Racism is a real problem; some approaches to tackling racism, however, can also be problematic and those who take the lead 'on behalf' of victims tend to be opportunistic and privileged few (piggybacking others' grievances to further advance their financial agenda)



  16. Links 10/7/2020: Debian 8 Long Term Support EOL, Mobian Project, Mesa 20.1.3

    Links for the day



  17. [Humour] COVID-19 is Very, Very Afraid of Human Beings Making More Monopolies Instead of Fighting Together

    The European Patent Office (EPO) to the rescue! Fighting a dangerous pandemic one profitable monopoly at a time!



  18. The News is Never 'Slow', It's Just Journalism That's Slowing Down (and Investigative Journalism Coming Under Attack)

    A mix of censorship and subtle mind control contribute to misinformed societies that shape their perception or misunderstanding of the world based on false measures of authority (where money can determine what is true and what is untrue); many topics remain completely untouched, leading to apathy in a vacuum; it's very much applicable to international organisations, which are presumed benign by virtue of being multi-national or supranational



  19. Social Control Media is About Social Control and If It Doesn't Ban You It'll Shut Down Everyone's Account (One Day)

    It’s time to leave the ‘Internet rot’ which is social control media well behind us; blogging and RSS/XML may seem like a thing of the past, but they may as well become the future (again; if we make the correct and informed choices)



  20. Microsoft's Fingers in Every Pie: The Cult Mentality That Society Needs to Become Wary of

    Microsoft and its co-founder (pretending to do his for-profit 'charity' via the Gates Foundation) are trying to control the world; in the process they've moved to control even their most potent competitor, according to Gates himself, which is GNU/Linux



  21. Links 9/7/2020: Google’s Open Usage Commons, GNOME 3.36.4, Neptune 6.5

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 08, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, July 08, 2020



  23. Links 8/7/2020: SUSE to Acquire Rancher Labs, Btrfs as Default in Fedora, Qt Creator 4.12.4

    Links for the day



  24. Yes, Master

    When the Linux Foundation tells us to tone down our language we ought to remember what kind of hypocritical stance these people have (note: the above have nothing to do with slavery, either)



  25. Fraunhofer is Again Evergreening Software Patents to Maintain Its Codecs Cartel, Forcing Everyone to Pay to View/Stream Multimedia Files

    The roller-coaster of software patents on multimedia isn't stopping; we know the culprits who can be named for perpetuating this injustice



  26. [Humour/Meme] Focusing on the Bombings and Who's Included in the Bombings

    Supremacist agenda disguised as "tolerant and inclusive" is still objectionable supremacist agenda



  27. Manners Are a Good Thing. The Yardstick or the Standard of Manners Changes Over Time.

    Entirely legitimate grievances of African-Americans are being exploited by people who aren’t even African-American (and usually don’t speak for African-Americans) to warp the debate from one about software ethics and technical issues, not to mention war crimes of companies that employ many programmers, to something which is unlikely to really help African-Americans (also, they don't employ any African-Americans)



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, July 07, 2020



  29. Links 8/7/2020: Huawei’s GNU/Linux PC, Sparky 5.12, and Endless OS 3.8.4 Released

    Links for the day



  30. [Humour] Television Channels That Don't Speak of Real Looting But Participate in Looting

    People may need to look beyond (or outside) the television screen to grasp what's going on


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