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.
  • 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. White House Intervention Harms Android and Every Software Developer on the Planet

    US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli urges the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to let APIs be covered by copyrights, rendering almost every program a potential copyright violation



  2. Microsoft Lobbying in India Shoots Down or At Least Weakens Free/Libre Software Policy

    Microsoft's covert efforts (lobbying with the help of public partners like NASSCOM) to eliminate an India-leaning software policy in India is finally paying off



  3. Propaganda Mode for UPC Agreement Whilst EPO Increasingly Grants Patents on Software

    In order to make the Unitary Patent a reality (towards a 'no place to hide' patent approach) misleading claims are being made



  4. Patents Are Not Source Code

    Ford is once again misleading regarding Open Source, mischievously associating a patent pledge with Open Source



  5. Links 29/5/2015: ALT Linux 7.0.5, Google I/O 2015

    Links for the day



  6. Links 28/5/2015: SourceForge Hijack, RIP Marco Pesenti Gritti

    Links for the day



  7. Censorship on Reddit Has Gotten (Condé) Nasty and Silent, Even Actively Silenced

    Condé Nast has turned Reddit into a platform of censorship after the acquisition



  8. The Supreme Court of the United States Helps Patent Trolls

    In an unforeseen kind of ruling, the same court which slapped down a lot of software patents last year is now legitimising the actions of a patent troll



  9. Patent Lawyers Fight Hard for the Future of Software Patents

    Media that is dominated by patent lawyers and targets an audience of patent lawyers refuses to accept the post-Alice reality



  10. Fortune Glorifies Patent Troll Jay Walker (Patent Utility)

    Jay Walker, a patent troll, creates a Web-based trolling/'licensing' service and the corporate media helps him



  11. Stealing Android's Thunder, Making It All About Apple and Microsoft During Google I/O

    Misleading articles and conjoined media/analyst attacks on Android coincide with Google's event where major Android announcements are being made



  12. British Government May be a Step Closer to GNU/Linux (on the Desktops, Not Just Servers)

    The British government stops paying the criminal company that blackmails its members, thereby increasing the possibility of complete escape from proprietary software



  13. Microsoft's Patent Allies LG and Sony Agree to Put Microsoft Inside Android

    LG and Sony (of Rockstar Consortium) follow Samsung and Dell in Microsoft's campaign to turn Android into 'Microsoft Android' using patents-induced pressure/leverage



  14. Yet Another Major Security Deficiency in UEFI

    UEFI is inherently insecure, more so than the alternatives which it strives to replace, including Free/libre ones



  15. Links 27/5/2015: Fedora 22 is Out, Mandriva Liquidated

    Links for the day



  16. Patent Scope at the EPO is Totally Out of Control, UPC Will Make Things Worse

    A look at the practical issues with the EPO, where patent scope and litigation scope have been vastly extended so as to benefit multinational corporations and possibly patent trolls



  17. Links 26/5/2015: Reviews of Kubuntu 15.04, Linux 4.1 RC5

    Links for the day



  18. Süddeutsche Zeitung Says Talking Helps While EPO Management Back-stabs Other Side of the Table

    German media gives the impression that there is peace and harmony now that Benoît Battistelli and his circle of power speaks to staff, but nothing is said about simultaneous (albeit covert) attacks against that staff



  19. Large Corporations Call the Shots in US Patent Reform

    A reminder of where we stand on the issue of patent 'reform' in the US and who is controlling or shaping it



  20. Microsoft Puts Proprietary Windows and Hyper-V Inside the Free Software-Centric OpenStack

    OpenStack, which celebrates rapid growth in this month's event in Canada, is facing a proprietarisation threat from Microsoft



  21. Microsoft's Secret Lobbying, Bullying, and the Long History of Blackmailing Politicians Around the World

    British media covers Microsoft's abuse in the UK, but there are many similar incidents, and not just in the UK



  22. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Benoît Battistelli and Four EPO Suicides

    German press article from April 2015 (with translations)



  23. Links 24/5/2015: CrossOver 14.1.3, NTFS-3G Vulnerability

    Links for the day



  24. Links 23/5/2015: Fedora 22 to May 26th, Netflix in SteamOS

    Links for the day



  25. The Patents Production 'Industry' (Patent Lawyers) Still Fights Hard to Salvage Software Patents

    A review of recent writings about software patents and patents on business methods in the United States, demonstrating that patent lawyers have gotten very vocal and sneaky (trying to evade the rules)



  26. Patents as a Marketing Strategy: USPTO Now Part of the Advertising Industry

    The existence of publicity patents, or patents whose sole purpose is to advertise some products, serves to discredit the US patent office, which was originally set up to promote science and technology



  27. Microsoft Blackmails and Extorts British Politicians Over Open Standards and Free Software-Leaning Policies

    Microsoft's digital imperialism in the UK getting defended using blackmail, reminding a lot of Brits that Microsoft is just as evil as ever before



  28. Microsoft Gives Another Bug a Name, This Time Logjam™

    The Microsoft crowd is good only at marketing, even when it comes to small bugs in software



  29. Links 22/5/2015: Fedora 22 Final Release is Near, Canonical IPO Considered

    Links for the day



  30. More Utter Shame Unveiled at Battistelli's EPO: Intimidation Tactics With Help From 'Control Risks'

    The unaccountable thugs who run the EPO have hired London-based spooks to help silence their opposition and their critics


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