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

09.24.09

Patents Roundup: Microsoft Patents Customer-hostile DRM, Refuses to Obey Patent Law; Apple and eBay Sued; Patent Troll Tracker Set Free

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, DRM, Microsoft, Patents at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: As the title suggests, this is yet another roundup of patent news of interest

THERE IS a lot of news to go through today, so here is just a gist of developments in the patent world — in particular issues that affect Free software. The Inquirer was one among several sources that noticed Microsoft’s latest patent that harms people’s rights and freedom. It’s about DRM, which Microsoft almost pioneered and certainty welcomed.

SOFTWARE IMPERIALIST Microsoft has been awarded a patent for a distributed DRM system that works over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.

Patent number 7,594,275 is entitled, “Digital rights management system” and uses encrypted public and private keys as the licensing mechanism.

Encryption is for security, not for prevention of access to one’s own files. But this is what Microsoft not only does here but also strives to have a monopoly on. To their defence comes the familiar anti-GNU/Linux brigadier whom we wrote about here. One person at Linux Today responded to him as follows: “No sorry its not “stealing” please cut the crap.”

Sharing cannot be “stealing” where only copying (duplication) is concerned. DRM can never really prevent “stealing”, unless it acts as a deactivation mechanism that reduces desire for theft, e.g. of a cellular phone. But encryption too has been patented, so Apple and eBay get sued. From Heise:

For some time, Vendor TQP (Telequip Corporation) has been filing lawsuits against various US banks over its patent for changing keys during encrypted data transmissions. Now the list of defendants also includes Apple and eBay. The claim is about the alleged violation of a patent which was applied for in 1992 and granted in 1995. It describes a method in which symmetric keys for a sender and a recipient are created using synchronised pseudo-random number generators and may be changed during transmission.

This is a very fundamental idea in cryptology. How can that be a patent? Patenting this only reduces security and acts as a barrier to those who are trying to make the world a safer place.

Microsoft has perhaps realised that deliberate infringement is acceptable [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] because patent laws do not apply to Microsoft. To Microsoft, annulling the ban on Word was not an interim verdict that’s sufficient; the company goes further and attempts to shoot down the entire monetary penalty.

Microsoft protests $290m Word judgment

[...]

A federal judge fundamentally misinterpreted a patent asserted against Microsoft Word, an error that should require a $290m infringement penalty to be overturned, attorneys for the software giant argued Wednesday.

[...]

i4i has claimed that Microsoft deliberately set out to destroy its business while publicly proclaiming the two were allies. Microsoft’s inclusion of custom-XML editing in Word from 2003 usurped its own invention and relegated its patented technology from a mainstay in the mass market to a niche player in the pharmaceutical industry, it has said.

In other news, the USPTO is overflowing with patent applications which cannot be processed in a timely fashion and patent lawyers — rather than acknowledge that there is a fundamental issue with scope of patenting — believe that throwing more people at the problem is the way to go, apparently.

The IPKat thinks that making the system more efficient is all very good, but wonders how far this will go in reducing the backlog.

Over at TechDirt, a warning gets sounded regarding these attempts to popularise the changing of hands on patents, which only elevates patent trolls like Microsoft's Nathan Myhrvold.

The auction will be run by Pluritas, a patent broker based in San Francisco. Robert Aronoff, its managing director, says Zoltar has strong, court-tested patents that apply to a huge industry, at a time when there is an increasingly brisk market for intellectual property. “They are entering into this vastly changed marketplace with a hot property,” he said.

If such auctions become the norm, then patents become ownership of opportunistic lawyers rather than actual inventors with morals. Who is this system really for then?

Some days ago we wrote about Patent Troll Tracker, who has been fighting this rotten system and put at stake his career in the process [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. The good news is that the case is now settled.

None of the lawyers involved in the case would comment on the settlement Monday. Cisco issued a statement Tuesday morning in which it said the dispute between the parties “has been resolved to their mutual satisfaction, and Rick Frenkel and Cisco apologize for the statements of Rick Frenkel on the Troll Tracker blog regarding Eric M. Albritton.” Frenkel is now of counsel at the Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Sadly, as TechDirt puts it, even with Rick Frenkel set free, Patent Troll Tracker is unlikely to ever come back.

The real question is whether or not this means Frenkel will start blogging again. Some of his statements in the past (and having to go through this entire ridiculous process) suggest that he may not blog again. However, I’m hopeful that he’ll get back to it, though obviously not anonymously any more. His work in highlighting some of the more nefarious actions of patent system abusers is still sorely missed.

Will someone succeed Frenkel’s work? Let’s hope so.

Patent Troll Tracker - Rick

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. Links 28/7/2016: CORD as Linux Foundation Project, Wine 1.9.15 Released

    Links for the day



  2. EPO Loses More Than 80% of Cases at the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

    The International Labour Organisation (or Organization) helps show just to what degree the European Patent Office (EPO) violates the rights of workers



  3. To Understand What Battistelli Has Turned the EPO Into Look at Turkey and China

    Battistelli and his notorious Vice-President from SIPO (Croatia) turn the European Patent Office, once the pride of Europe, into a human rights cesspool with SIPO (China) connections



  4. Patent Lawyers Move Closer to Battistelli's Rubber-stamping Office While the Appeal Boards Pushed Away as Collective Punishment Which Masks Decline in Patent Quality

    Urgently sending appeal boards away and urgently granting applicants patents without proper examination will be Battistelli's sorrow legacy at the European Patent Office



  5. Software Patents a Dying Breed, But Patent Lawyers in Denial Over it and Notorious Judge Rodney Gilstrap Ignores Alice (Supreme Court)

    A look at what law and practice are saying about software patents, contrasted or contradicted by the patent industry and trolls-friendly courts (which make business out of or together with patent aggressors)



  6. CAFC Meddling in PTAB Affairs; Unified Patents Fights a Good Fight by Invalidating Software Patents

    A look at how the AIA's Patent Trial and Appeal Board is invalidating software patents post-Alice, with or without involvement of patent courts



  7. Early Certainty That Benoît Battistelli is Dangerously Clueless and a Major Risk to the EPO

    The chaos which Team Battistelli is assured to deliver if it doesn't treat scientists like scientists, instead viewing them as a production line with rubber-stamping duties



  8. OIN Makes Claims About “Open Source Innovation”, But It Produces Nothing and Protects Virtually Nobody

    The Open Invention Network (OIN) reports growth, but in practical terms it does little or nothing to help developers of Free/Open Source software



  9. Links 27/7/2016: New CrossOver, Blackmagic for GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  10. The Death of Software Patents and Microsoft's Coup Against Yahoo! Made the Company Worthless

    A look at what happens to companies whose value is a house of software patents rather than code and a broad base of users/customers



  11. Munich Attack Mentioned by EPO But Not Ansbach

    The EPO does the usual right-wing thing (exploiting disaster/emergency for domestic crackdowns), but some bemoan the omission of the explosion at Ansbach (also in Germany)



  12. Kluwer Thinks People Are Clueless About the Unitary Patent System and Pretends It's Business as Usual

    Flogging the dead UPC horse at times of great uncertainty (enough to bring the UPC to a standstill)



  13. Almost Everything That the Government Accountability Office Says is Applicable to the EPO

    The Government Accountability Office in the United States produces reports which can serve as a timely warning sign to the European Patent Office, where patent quality is rapidly declining in order to meet 'production' goals



  14. Microsoft Says It Loves Linux, But Its Anti-Linux Patent Trolls Are Still Around and Active

    Highlighting just two of the many entities that Microsoft (and partners) use in order to induce additional costs on Free (as in freedom) software



  15. Links 26/7/2016: Microsoft Growing Desperate, Linux 4.8 Visions

    Links for the day



  16. Links 25/7/2016: Linux 4.7 Final, PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3

    Links for the day



  17. Leaked: Boards of Appeal Face 'Exile' or 'Extradition' in Haar After Standing up to Battistelli

    A look at some of the latest moves at the European Patent Office (EPO), following Battistelli's successful coup d’état which brought the EPO into a perpetual state of emergency that perpetuates Battistelli's totalitarian powers



  18. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comes Across as Against Software Patents, Relates to the EPO as Well

    Some analysis of the input from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with focus on the EPO and software patents



  19. In the US, Patent Trolls Engage in Patent Wars and Shakedowns, Whereas in China/Korea Large Android OEMs Sue One Another

    Highlighting some of the differences between the US patent system and other patent systems



  20. Links 24/7/2016: Elive 2.7.1 Beta, New Flatpaks and Snaps

    Links for the day



  21. Links 23/7/2016: Leo Laporte on GNU/Linux, Dolphin Emulator’s Vulkan Completion

    Links for the day



  22. Links 22/7/2016: Wine 1.9.15, KaOS 2016.07 ISO

    Links for the day



  23. Haar Mentioned as Likely Site of Appeal Boards as Their Eradication or Marginalisation Envisioned by UPC Proponent Benoît Battistelli

    Not only the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) is under severe attack and possibly in mortal danger; the increasingly understaffed Boards of Appeal too are coming under attack and may (according to rumours) be sent to Haar, a good distance away from Munich and the airport (half an hour drive), not to mention lack of facilities for visitors from overseas



  24. EPO Attaché Albert Keyack Viewed as Somewhat of a Mole, Reporting From the US Embassy in Brazil Until Shortly Before the Temer Coup

    Public responses to the role played by Albert Keyack on behalf of the United States inside the European [sic] Patent Office



  25. EPO Insiders Explain Why the EPO's Examination Quality Rapidly Declines and Will Get Even Worse Because of Willy Minnoye

    Public comments from anonymous insiders serve to highlight a growing crisis inside the European Patent Office (EPO), where experienced/senior examiners are walking away and leaving an irreplaceable bunch of seats (due to high experience demands)



  26. Patents Roundup: BlackBerry, Huawei, PTAB, GAO, Aggressive Universities With Patents, and Software Patents in Europe

    Various bits and pieces of news regarding patents and their fast-changing nature in the United States nowadays



  27. Glimpse at Patent Systems Across the World: Better Quality Control at the USPTO Post-America Invents Act (2011), Unlike the EPO Post-Battistelli (2010)

    While the EPO reportedly strives to eliminate pendency and appeal windows altogether (rubberstamping being optimal performance as per the yardstick du jour), the USPTO introduces changes that would strengthen the system and shield innovation, not protect the business model of serial litigants



  28. Blockstream Has No Patents, But Pledges Not to Sue Using Patents

    Blockstream says that it comes in peace when it comes to software patents, which triggers speculations about coming Blockchain patent wars



  29. Links 21/7/2016: Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce Beta

    Links for the day



  30. Links 21/7/2016: An Honorary Degree for Alan Cox, Looks Back at DebConf16

    Links for the day


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