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 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  2. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  3. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  4. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  5. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  6. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  7. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  8. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  9. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  10. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  11. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  12. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  13. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  14. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  15. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  16. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  17. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day



  18. Links 8/10/2014: A Lot of Linux+AMD News, New ROSA Desktop Is Out

    Links for the day



  19. Lawyers' Propaganda About Software Patents and a New AstroTurf Entity Called Innovation Alliance

    Patent propaganda and deception from patent lawyers (among other parasites such as patent trolls) continues to flood the Web, intersecting with reports that prove them totally wrong



  20. How Microsoft Handles Disasters: Grace Hopper Conference Has Been Infiltrated by "Microsoft Disaster Response"

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) must be a disaster to Microsoft's bottom line because Microsoft is sending "Microsoft Disaster Response" to infiltrate and disrupt a conference about women in FOSS



  21. Links 8/10/2014: Gummersbach Moves to GNU/Linux, Docker Acquires Koality, KDE Frameworks 5.3

    Links for the day



  22. Links 7/10/2014: CAINE 6.0, PC-BSD 10.0.3

    Links for the day



  23. Benoît Battistelli's Balkan Standards in EPO: Part V

    How the European Patent Office facilitated the inclusion of previously-connected elements that are best known for misconduct and dirty politics



  24. Symptoms of Post-x86 Era: Even Intel Apologists Turn Against Bribes-Dependent Intel While Microsoft Continues to Deceive Journalists on Patents in Order to Create a Scare

    The Wintel press, which is bribed by companies that it covers, is challenged by prominent developers and Microsoft continues to plant its patent propaganda in the Wintel-centric (and paid) press



  25. Microsoft Reinforces Its Criminal Organisation Status by Bribing and Corrupting More Officials, Even in Europe

    More criminal activity from Microsoft in Romania and a new TV programme that sheds light on Microsoft's dirty assault on Free software in France



  26. Links 6/10/2014: Linux 3.17, OpenELEC 4.2.1, FreeBSD 10.1 RC1, Debian 8.0 Beta 2 Released

    Links for the day



  27. Links 4/10/2014: WebOS is Back

    Links for the day



  28. Corporate Media Repeats Microsoft Propaganda About Patents by Claiming Microsoft Makes Billions From Android

    Microsoft is spreading the myth that Android is not free (and is in fact very expensive) while its staff and boosters continue to deceive the public in other ways



  29. Software Patents' Demise Includes Exceptional Defeat for Microsoft-Connected Trolls, But Bar Still Lowered for Patents

    The USPTO continues to lower the bar for patents' acceptance, but on the other hand, many software patents are increasingly being rejected at the courts



  30. The Capture Continues: Yet Another Microsoft Marketer Gets Hired by CBS for ZDNet 'Reporting'

    Unembarrassed about its sheer bias, the CBS network continues to offer propaganda and placements for a fee (even after Gamergate) and it hires people from the corrupt company (Microsoft) they will soon cover


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