06.03.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

General Electric Healthcare Calls Patent Trolling “Extortion” (Plus Other Patent News)

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cash grab

Summary: Roundup of news about software patents, trolls, and ambush

SOFTWARE PATENTS are a hot topic at the moment because they may either vanish or invade more countries. They are probably the last obstacle for Free software to clear and they seem also like Microsoft’s last resort. Here is a particularly good comment on the subject: [via Digital Majority]

Such a set of instructions is an algorithm, so such a patent could fit some people’s definition of a “software patent”. Of course, you could try to respond to this by defining software as a set of instructions to be performed by a programmable computer. But this overlooks the problem that most technical processes nowadays are computer-controlled. Again, you could try (as some FFII-backed MEPs did during the CII patents directive debate) to restrict patentability to only those technical processes which make use of “forces of nature”. The first trouble here is that even “pure software” makes use of “forces of nature” within the microprocessor. Even marketing processes make use of forces of nature governing our brains. So this could become quite a meaningless restriction, and even if it was applied restrictively it would leave, for instance, sound or image processing methods in a grey area. The current approach of the EPO’s Boards of Appeal, which is confirmed by the judges of most EPO states, is that for a computer program to be patentable there must be a “technical effect” going “beyond the normal physical interactions between the program and the computer”. It is an interpretation which of course leaves a lot of room for debate, but do you have a better alternative? Of course, considering how difficult it is to pin down what a “software patent” actually is, it is difficult to avoid that other debate: why bother? why shouldn’t pure software be patentable? what’s so special about it in comparison to other areas of technology?

Andre from the FFII has just taken a look at Google’s approach to patenting:

And for my field of special interest, patents and standards, yet another patent license text:

Patent License
Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, Google and its affiliates hereby grant to you a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this License) patent license for patents necessarily infringed by implementation of this specification. If you institute patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the implementation of the specification constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, then any patent licenses for the specification granted to you under this License shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.

There are reasons to believe that the patent system is deficient for more than just software patents as a reason. There are also business method patents at stake, not to mention the fact that there are patent trolls. Here is a new roundup of some of their activity in Texas:

Klausner alleges that six defendant companies are infringing the ’576 Patent. The defendants are Qwest, Yahoo, Panasonic, Ribbit Corp., SpinVox and ooma.

The plaintiff also alleges that all the defendants, with the exception of SpinVox, have infringed the ’818 Patent.

Klausner is a patent troll that we wrote about many times before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Even a lobbyist for software patents calls what the likes of Klausner are doing “extortion”.

“This is a huge problem for companies like ours,” said David Bates, intellectual property counsel for GE Healthcare. “It’s extortion, and we do face (these problems) on a regular basis, and because of the way the system is set up we can’t possibly keep up

Top up this contemporary patent mess with some malicious patent ambush such as Rambus'. Here is a new report on the subject.

Nvidia said Tuesday the US Patent and Trademark Office has initially rejected 41 claims by Rambus that accuse the graphics chip maker of aping its memory controller tech without paying.

The 41 jilted claims relate to seven of the nine patents Rambus alleges have been infringed by Nvidia. The IP-only memory company filed a formal complaint with the US International Trade Commission in November 2008 requesting an investigation it hopes will lead to barring of certain Nvidia kit if royalties or settlement money isn’t slipped its way.

Even businesses with real products can be patent aggressors (and offenders), so this is not a problem that elimination of trolls alone would resolve. Scope of patenting and purpose must be revisited to ultimately make economical and ethical sense. Sanity can be restored. Some patents kill people [1, 2].

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Centralised Git Hosting Has a Business Model Which is Hostile Towards Developers' Interests (in Microsoft's Case, It's an Attack on Reciprocal Licensing and Persistent Manipulation)

    Spying, censoring, and abusing projects/developers/users are among the perks Microsoft found in GitHub; the E.E.E.-styled takeover is being misused for perception manipulation and even racism, so projects really need to take control of their hosting (outsourcing is risky and very expensive in the long run)



  2. Links 29/11/2021: FWUPD's 'Best Known Configuration' and Glimpse at OpenZFS 3.0

    Links for the day



  3. President Biden Wants to Put Microsofter in Charge of the Patent Office, Soon to Penalise Patent Applicants Who Don't Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats

    The tradition of GAFAM or GIAFAM inside the USPTO carries on (e.g. Kappos and Lee; Kappos lobbies for Microsoft and IBM, whereas Lee now works for Amazon/Bezos after a career at Google); it's hard to believe anymore that the USPTO exists to serve innovators rather than aggressive monopolists, shielding their territory by patent threats (lawsuits or worse aggression) and cross-licensing that's akin to a cartel



  4. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VIII — Mr. Graveley's Long Career Serving Microsoft's Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub's GPL Violations Machine)

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley was promoting .NET (or Mono) since his young days; his current job at Microsoft is consistent with past harms to GNU/Linux, basically pushing undesirable (except to Microsoft) things to GNU/Linux users; Tomboy used to be the main reason for distro ISOs to include Mono



  5. Dr. Andy Farnell on Teaching Cybersecurity in an Age of 'Fake Security'

    By Dr. Andy Farnell



  6. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 28, 2021



  7. Links 29/11/2021: Linux 5.16 RC3 and Lots of Patent Catch-up

    Links for the day



  8. By 2022 0% of 'News' Coverage About Patents Will Be Actual Journalism (Patent Litigation Sector Has Hijacked the World Wide Web to Disseminate Self-Promotional Misinformation)

    Finding news about the EPO is almost impossible because today’s so-called ‘news’ sites are in the pockets of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their cohorts who turned the EPO into a hub of litigation, not science; this is part of an international (worldwide) problem because financial resources for journalism have run out, and so the vacuum is filled/replaced almost entirely by Public Relations (PR) and marketing



  9. Trying to Appease Those Who Never Liked Free Software or Those Who Blindly Loved All Patent Monopolies to Begin With

    It’s crystal clear that trying to appease everyone, all the time, is impossible; in the case of the EPO, for example, we hope that exposing Team Battistelli/Campinos helps raise awareness of the harms of patent maximalism, and when speaking about Free software — whilst occasionally bashing the alternatives (proprietary) — we hope to convince more people to join the “Good Fight”



  10. Links 28/11/2021: Laravel 8.73 Released, GitHub Offline for Hours

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 27, 2021



  12. Links 27/11/2021: Nvidia’s DLSS Hype and Why GNU/Linux Matters

    Links for the day



  13. [Meme] Linus Gabriel Sebastian Takes GNU/Linux for a (Tail)'Spin'

    If you’re trying to prove that GNU/Linux is NOT Windows, then “haha! Well done…”



  14. GNU/Linux is for Freedom and It'll Gain Many Users When (or Where) People Understand What Software (or Computing) Freedom Means

    Software that respects people's freedom (and by extension privacy as well) is an alluring proposition; those who choose to try GNU/Linux for the wrong reasons are likely the wrong target audience for advocates



  15. Amid Reports of Microsoft's Competition Crimes in Europe...

    European companies are complaining, but they seem to overlook the principal aspect of an imperialistic system with bottomless pockets (almost 30 trillion dollars in debt already; US national debt soared again last month); Microsoft is shielded by a political system with military (“defence”) as bailout budget to help cushion international expansion for data grab and technical leverage, as we've seen in the case of EPO (this is all political, not technical, and should thus be treated as a political/corruption issue)



  16. Is Linus Trolling the GNU/Linux Community?

    This new video responds to what many sites have been provoked into amplifying



  17. Links 27/11/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and SeaMonkey 1.1.19 in EasyOS

    Links for the day



  18. [Meme] Keeping Our Distance From Microsoft

    The OSI is the dagger, the Linux Foundation is the knife, and many others are the sword by which Microsoft tries to get into the very heart of GNU/Linux and extinguish the Free software movement



  19. Microsoft Edge Encourages Indebted Americans to Guilt-spend Just in Time for Christmas

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  20. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  21. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.



  22. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification



  23. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below



  24. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day



  25. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix 16.0.3.7, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 25, 2021



  27. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 24, 2021



  28. Links 25/11/2021: PHP 8.1.0 Released and Linux 5.15.5

    Links for the day



  29. IBM as Master of Hypocrisy

    Free software projects and Free software developers have long been humiliated by corporations of Western misogynists, falsely claiming that the Free software community isn’t inclusive enough (these are shameless projection tactics; as a matter of public record, the exact opposite is true) and even the eradication of supposedly offensive language isn’t something IBM takes seriously



  30. Links 25/11/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.3 and Mesa 21.2.6 Released

    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