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

07.29.09

Patents Roundup: Another Attack on Free Software, Blackboard Loses Again, Yellow Beans Patented

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 5:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Assorted patent news of interest to the Free software community

McKool Smith, which looks like a classic patent troll, has just sued a one-man free/open source project — a decision which is backfiring.

Except, it appears that the lawyers for the patent holder (McKool Smith — a favorite among the patent hoarders) didn’t do much research on at least one of those “companies,” named CitiWare. Slashdot alerts us to the fact that CitiWare was basically just a small open source project from one guy, who hoped to turn it into a business, but couldn’t find any customers and shut it down. That guy has now turned the CitiWare.com website into an angry open letter to the patent holder and to its lawyers, demanding that they drop the case against him.

Some months ago we saw something similar happening to a GIMP plug-in.

Moodle, which has been under similar threats from the Microsoft-backed patent aggressor known as Blackboard [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] (never mind Microsoft's new attempt to exploit Moodle) can finally breathe out and sigh in relief. Blackboard’s junk patent is still declared invalid based on the following report.

A federal appeals court has found all 38 of Blackboard Inc.’s contested patent claims to be invalid in ongoing litigation between the D.C.-based education software company and its Canadian competitor, Desire2Learn Inc.

This is the second time in the course of the three-year lawsuit that courts have poked major holes in Blackboard’s patent.

There are echoes of this in Patently-O and also in TechDirt.

Even as the Patent Office realized it needed to rethink the patent, the lawsuit moved forward, with Blackboard scoring a win. Of course, just weeks later, the USPTO gave an initial rejection of the patent. The original court ruling was (of course) appealed (separate from the USPTO ruling), and the good news is that the appeals court has dumped the entire patent.

TechDirt also writes about a most ludicrous patent attempt:

This one’s a bit old, but Boing Boing just pointed us to the incredible story of a guy named Larry Proctor who was able to get the USPTO to patent some yellow beans he picked up in Mexico.

Here it is from BoingBoing and here is the key page about this sham. See the subheadline:

Controversial Court patent case for simple yellow legume has become rallying point for “biopiracy” concerns

This is amazing. “Biopiracy”. The growing of crops is now compared to raping and murdering innocent people. The Wired Magazine Web site has meanwhile published this report about real piracy that still exists and thrives near Somali shores.

All these propaganda terms need to be dropped. They daemonise people who do perfectly ethical things. “Intellectual monopoly” is still being described as “intellectual property” and there are even many Web sites that use this term in their name. The UK-IPO is an example of an entire establishment that bases itself on a name that’s a propaganda term. From “Intellectual Property Watch” now comes this report about hypocrisy in Europe and also TRIPS, which is related to ACTA provisions that we mentioned before [1, 2, 3].

The European Commission on Monday released a report finding fault with a number of United States practices related to intellectual property rights policy, on copyright, geographical indications, trademarks and patents. The report is an answer, one might say, to the annual US Special 301 report that criticises US trading partners it deems unilaterally to be insufficiently protecting its companies’ IP rights.

[...]

And on patents, the US government frequently fails to comply with Article 31 of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which requires governments that use patents to promptly inform the patent right holders, the EU said. This means the right holders are likely to miss the opportunity to initiate an administrative claim process.

These disputes revolve around limitation and inconveniencing of scientists, who are usually far less interested in all this mess than lawyers and managers. As Barracuda’s CEO put it last year, “I would much rather spend my time and money and energy finding ways to make the Internet safer and better than bickering over patents.”

ACTA

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

2 Comments

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    July 30, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Gravatar

    “All these propaganda terms need to be dropped.”
    Many of these are listed in FSF’s list of words to avoid:
    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html
    ““Intellectual monopoly” is still being described as “intellectual property” and there are even many Web sites that use this term in their name.”
    Yep, that term and the ideas associated with it is loaded with problems:
    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080306/003240458.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080219/014250290.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090719/0108125588.shtml
    There was even a video added to beginning of DVDs comparing piracy to shoplifting and other things. The developer of the Windows-only VirtualDub complained about it:
    http://www.virtualdub.org/blog/pivot/entry.php?id=204

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    July 30, 2009 at 1:48 am

    Gravatar

    And I forgot to add a link to a slashdot comment about the propaganda words:
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1299791&cid=28666659

What Else is New


  1. Donald Trump Gives New Hope to Patent Aggressors and Patent Trolls

    Pessimism about the prospects of patent progress or patent reform in an age of staunchly pro-business Conservatives and glorification of protectionism



  2. More Fake News About the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Based on Lobbying Tactics From Bristows UPC and the Preparatory Committee

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying has gotten so bad that it now infiltrates general media outlets, where people are asked to just blindly assume that the UPC is coming and is inevitable, even though it's clearly in a limbo and is unlikely to see the light of day



  3. EPO Totally Silent for a Month, But Deep Inside There Are Serious Cracks

    The situation at the EPO seems to be pretty grim, even at the top-level management, and the EPO has gone into permanent silence mode



  4. Links 16/1/2017: Linux 4.10 RC4, Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' KDE Edition Beta

    Links for the day



  5. 'Financial Director' Publishes Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Response to some of the latest UPC propaganda, which strives to misinform Financial Directors so as to enrich the author and his firm



  6. Independent and Untainted Web Sites About Patents Are Still Few and Rare

    Commentary about news sources that we rely on, as well as the known pitfalls or the vested interests deeply ingrained in them



  7. The 20% Rule: Patent Trolling Suffers Double-Digit Declines and Patent Troll Technicolor is Collapsing

    Significant demise or total catastrophe for the modus operandi (method) of going after companies with a pile of patents and threats of litigation



  8. US Supreme Court Did Not End Apple's Patent Disputes Over Android (Linux), More Cases Imminent

    An overview of some very recent news regarding the highest court in the United States, which has been dealing with cases that can determine the fate of Free/Open Source software in an age of patent uncertainty and patent thickets surrounding mobility



  9. Links 15/1/2017: Switching From OS X to GNU/Linux, Debian 8.7 Released

    Links for the day



  10. Number of New Patent Cases in the US Fell 25% Last Year, Thanks in Part to the Demise of Software Patent Trolls

    Litigation and prosecutions that rely on patents (failure to resolve disputes, e.g. by sharing ideas, out of court) is down very sharply, in part because firms that make nothing at all (just threaten and/or litigate) have been sinking after much-needed reform



  11. America Invents Act Improved Patent Quality, But Right Wingers Threaten to Make It Worse Again

    The past half a decade saw gradual improvement in assessment of patents in the United States, but there is a growing threat and pressure from the patent microcosm to restore patent maximalism and chaos



  12. PTAB -- Not Deterred by Courts -- Continues to Invalidate a Lot of Software Patents

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to make progress reforming the patent system by eliminating a lot of patents and setting an example (or new standards) for what is patent-eligible after Alice



  13. EPO Abuses Come Under Fire From Politicians in Luxembourg

    Luxembourg is the latest nation in which concerns about the EPO's serious abuses are brought up not only by the media but also by politicians



  14. Constitutionality as a Barrier and Brexit Barriers to UPC Keep the Whole Pipe Dream Deadlocked

    The UPC is still going nowhere fast, but the demise (or death) of the UPC as we know it must not be taken for granted



  15. Links 14/1/2017: Wine 2.0 RC5 and AryaLinux 2017 Released

    Links for the day



  16. Links 13/1/2017: Linux 4.9.3 and Linux 4.4.42

    Links for the day



  17. Brexit Means No UPC (Unified Patent Court)

    Now that Jo Johnson, Boris Johnson's brother, is officially declared the new minister for intellectual property in the UK everything that Lucy Neville-Rolfe wrote is as solid as paper bag on a rainy London day



  18. Patent Trolls and Software Patents: CloudTrade, Patent Practitioners Density, and Via Licensing

    Software patents armament from a British company, charted concentration of the patent microcosm in the United States, and US-leaning patent trolls that prey on China



  19. Patent Maximalism -- Like Copyright Maximalism -- Relies on Misconceptions and Mass Deception

    The latest examples of discussions about patent scope, courtesy of those looking to benefit financially by pushing such monopolies to the max



  20. Software Patents Still Promoted by IBM and Its Lobbyist (and Former Employee) David Kappos, in Defiance of Much-Needed US Patent Reform

    While the corporate media celebrates IBM as though it's some kind of 'champion' for hoarding patents that it then uses to attack companies which actually grow



  21. Brexit/Trump Effect: Patent Systems With Institutional Corruption and Nepotism

    Rumours about Britain's head of patents (and copyrights etc.) being the brother of the Brexit campaigner and Foreign Minister; meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, rumours suggest that the corrupt judge Rader might be the next head of patents in the United States



  22. Links 11/1/2017: X.Org Server 1.19.1, GitHub's Atom 1.13

    Links for the day



  23. The Patent Microcosm is Already Sucking up to Donald Trump in an Effort to Enrich Itself at Everyone's Expense

    Four new examples of patent maximalists embracing/adopting the pseudo-populist slogan to advance their goals of increasing litigation (which they profit from) and undermining PTAB (which made patents great in the quality sense)



  24. Patent Quality in the United States Can Only be Assessed at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Courts

    The travesty of patent offices in the US and China, where the goal or the accomplishment is measured in terms of the number of patents rather than their quality



  25. Gradual Collapse of Microsoft's Extensive (and External) Patent Trolling Operations

    The President of Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC (patent troll) leaves and the founder of Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft's largest peripheral patent troll, joins Sherpa Technology



  26. No End to Battistelli's Witch-hunts Against the Media, Against Staff, and Against Politicians

    Rumours about the fate of people who are (or have been) criticising Battistelli's reign of terror at the EPO



  27. Links 10/1/2017: Synfig 1.2, Kodachi Linux 3.7

    Links for the day



  28. With Help From the US Supreme Court (Key Cases), Patent Trolls Are Going Away

    The demise of patent trolls in the United States, a trend partly attributable to Alice and other Supreme Court decisions, will likely accelerate soon (later this year) as the future of the Eastern District of Texas courts is at stake



  29. Patent Maximalism on Display: Patent Aggressor IBM Celebrated in the Media

    The patent lust at IBM, which is suing if not just shaking down companies using software patents, earns plenty of puff pieces from the corporate media



  30. FFPE-EPO, the EPO Management's Pet/Yellow Union, Helps Union-Busting (Against SUEPO) in Letter to Notorious Vice-President

    In a letter to Elodie Bergot (as CC) and Željko Topić, who faces many criminal investigations, FFPE-EPO ringleaders reveal their allegiance not to EPO staff but to those who perpetually attack the staff


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