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

10.12.09

Patents Roundup: Microsoft’s Software Patents Trick in the EU Revisited and Google Patents Spellchecker

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 5:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spell check

Summary: Microsoft’s deal with the EU Commission is not final yet, more hostile patents arrive from Microsoft and Google, BSA daemonises sharing

ON four occasions in the past week [1, 2, 3, 4] we have written about the agreement between the European Commission and Microsoft. Various parties agree that it is a poor agreement and fortunately it is not final. Groklaw shares some details on who to provide feedback with. It also explains the part about software patents, which ought to be illegitimate given the status of patents in Europe.

The official notice of the new draft deal between Microsoft and the EU Commission has now been posted to the EC website and published [PDF] in the Official Journal of the European Union, and it invites comments, giving all the addresses, email, fax and regular mail, where interested parties can submit their observations within a month of the date of the announcement. The date of the announcement was October 7. Comments must *reach* the EU Commission within a month, not be postmarked by then.

[...]

And the price to interoperate with Microsoft, according to that document and the proposed interoperability agreement [.doc] is $10,000, and that is the minimum, not the maximum:

3.Royalties

3.1. Prepaid Royalties. Licensee will pay Microsoft $10,000 in non-refundable prepaid royalties, to be credited against Royalties.

3.2. Royalties. Licensee will pay Royalties for each Product containing an Implementation consisting of the Net Revenues for that Product multiplied by the Royalty Rate set forth below, provided that the Royalty per User of that Product or Provided Copy of that Product will not be less than the Minimum Royalty set forth below for the applicable Product Type:

Then there is a chart, breaking it down further. Now, $10,000 is nothing to Microsoft. A large, supported project like SAMBA could probably swing it. How about some university student somewhere? You don’t think that matters? How about a university student named Linus Torvalds, for example? Think *that* matters? Do you want a deal that excludes the next Linus Torvalds? Where will he get $10,000? This single clause exiles any innovation from the next Linus, because he won’t be able to afford to pay the toll to interoperate, thus excluding him from the general market.

Same old Microsoft.

The other day we wrote about Microsoft's customer-hostile patent, which is one amongst older ones, including Apple’s [1, 2]. IT Pro has some more details.

In the past Microsoft has been held up for ridicule with some of the patent applications it has made. Perhaps most notable amongst these was the infamous Page Up Page Down patent. The latest Microsoft patent application to reach my radar will not, most likely, cause quite the same amount of sheer disbelief although it does point to something of a change in the way the Seattle giant sells us software and services.

Microsoft has filed for a patent for ‘Time-Based Licenses’ and the application abstract reveals this to be a method and system for “issuing a number of different types of time-based licenses associated with software products”.

We will probably write more about this patent, which Free software leaders are appalled by and a Red Hat employee describes as “Microsoft to patent subscriptions.” Red Hat too offers subscriptions, but not of the same kind.

Another large company called Google has just patented the “browser-based spell checker.” From the abstract:

A system and method is provided for a spell checker that includes sending a document to a spelling server which returns the document with associated spelling information, though the document could also be provided to a spelling assistant on the local machine. The spelling information includes identification of potentially misspelled words and one or more replacements words. The document is displayed to identify the potentially misspelled words in a visually distinctive manner. The replacement words are displayed near the potentially misspelled word in response to a user activity, such as clicking on the identified words. The misspelled word is replaced with the word selected by the user from the replacement words. The user may extend the area of text to be modified by clicking on extension buttons to the left and right of the potentially misspelled word.

Shame on Google. There is no reason why this should merit a software patent decades after spell checkers were invented and also used extensively. This seems to be one of those infamous “over the Internet” patents, which are worse than attempts to patent digital equivalents of prevalent actions (or objects) in the real world.

The intellectual monopolies cartel known as the BSA is known for its hostility towards Free software [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It has connections with Bill Gates' father and here it is spreading FUD against sharing (again) while totally ignoring Free/libre software.

“Software piracy is a threat on multiple fronts. Pirated software can be a breeding ground for malware and can also open users up to crimes such as identity theft. Those who decide to acquire illegal software harm the economy and companies of all sizes. Moreover, those who engage in piracy open themselves up to civil and criminal prosecution” said Blank of BSA.

It is nice of the BSA to remind people to escape the world of patents and other monopolies. Was it really their intention?

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. finalzone said,

    October 13, 2009 at 4:34 am

    Gravatar

    A good example how software patents are bad not only for developers but also for users especially in USA. Total abolition is a must. Are those guys at USPTO forgot about fundamentals. It becomes clear they have stopped to serve the public for a long time.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s not just the USPTO.

    “Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

    “One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

    Richard Stallman

    Patent systems tend to get hijacked by lawyers and bureaucrats.

What Else is New


  1. [ES] La Gerencia de la EPO Bajo Creciénte Estres por las Autoridades Legales Croatas, Políticas Alemanas, y los Medios Italianos

    Las cosas no son color rosa como la calma relativa sugiere, y esperamos en las próximas semanas mayores eventos otros que la protesta en todas las sedes de la EPO a través de Europa



  2. [ES] Los Medios de Comunicación Comienzan a Informar al Público Europeo Acercas de las Desventájas de la UPC Mientras que la EPO Acelera su Cabildeo por Ratificación

    La vergonzósa promoción de la UPC por parte de la EPO da otro paso adelánte mientras que venues de la prensa Europea (incluso canales de televisión) comienzan a explorar el arreglo secreto que es negociado por los abogados de patentes (con clientes corpórativos) y las oficinas de patentes, no el público o cualquier grupo que represente los intereses del público en general



  3. [ES] Algunos Detalles Acerca de ¿Cómo el Presidente de la EPO Es Rumoreado Estar Comprando Votos, y el Porqué es Suficientemente Base Para un Despido Inmediato?

    Algo de información tras las cortinas y una detallada explicación de la dependencia finánciera sistemática, creada por Battistelli a un costode €13 millónes o más, la cuál evita una efectiva supervisión de Battistelli



  4. Mishi Choudhary and Mike Masnick Explain Why India Should Reject Software Patents

    Both an Indian activist-lawyer and a widely-recognised author from the US explain to Indians why over-reliance on patents -- and acceptance of patents on software in particular -- is a very bad idea



  5. Microsoft Boosters Pretend Microsoft Fights for Privacy While the Company Uses Malware Tactics to Put Keyloggers on Everyone's Computers

    In spite of malware-inspired tactics that should land Microsoft in courts of law all around the world (as a defendant), Microsoft-friendly circles pretend that the company fights for people's rights like privacy -- all this when Microsoft installs keyloggers on people's PCs without their consent and obviously against their will



  6. Battistelli's Assault on EPO Staff's Right to Strike in Relation to French Politics and That 'Bicycle' Pretext for Crackdowns

    The latest bicycle 'gossip' and how it's being used, based on expectations from EPO staff, to introduce further crackdowns on human/labour rights



  7. Vice-President of the EPO Under Investigation: Treason, Abuse, Violations, Giving and Receiving Bribes

    An English translation of documents involving the Organised Crime Section of the Criminal Police Department in Zagreb, where the Vice-President of the EPO faces criminal charges



  8. EPO Management Warns People About Scams When the EPO's Management is Itself Falling for Scams

    Jesper Kongstad, the Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, helps demonstrate that not even the EPO is intelligent enough to spot an obvious scam



  9. Links 28/5/2016: Wine 1.9.11, New Gentoo

    Links for the day



  10. Links 27/5/2016: Android for Raspberry Pi, Google Beats Oracle in Court

    Links for the day



  11. Warning: EPO Surveillance May Have Just Gotten Even More Intrusive

    BlueCoat, which the EPO uses to enable oppression inside its European premises, has just gotten even nastier and staff may be at risk



  12. Victim Card Ends up in Another Blunder for Battistelli and His Six Bodyguards

    Battistelli is wrecking what's left of the EPO's reputation (after decades it took the Office to earn it) as the media continues to scrutinise his appalling regime



  13. Italian Report About EPO Now Available in English

    An English translation of a TV program which earlier this month documented some of the glaring problems at the EPO



  14. The EPO is Doing Great, Says EPO-Connected 'News' Site

    IAM 'magazine', a longtime ally of the EPO, gives people the impression that all is fine and dandy at the EPO even though that's clearly not the case



  15. Microsoft Has Killed Nokia (and Its Own Mobile Ambitions), But Watch What it Does With Patents

    Microsoft announces many more layoffs, having already caused tremendous damage to the Finnish economy, and patents are left astray for Microsoft's favourite patent trolls to pick



  16. EPO Management Under Growing Stress From Croatian Law Enforcement Authorities, German Politicians, Italian Media

    Things are not as rosy as the relative calm may suggest, and in the coming weeks we expect some major events other than the protest at all EPO sites across Europe



  17. Microsoft, a Dead Company Walking, Resorts to Malware Tactics, Now Truly Indistinguishable From Crackers

    Microsoft is essentially taking over people's PCs and installing on them a large piece of malware, complete with keyloggers, against the will of these PCs' owners



  18. Links 26/5/2016: CentOS Linux 6.8, Ansible 2.1

    Links for the day



  19. The Latest EPO Victim Card (Played by Željko Topić) Should be Treated as Seriously as Those Bogus Claims of Violence by a Judge (Updatedx3)

    In its desperate pursuit of a narrative wherein the staff of the EPO is violent and aggressive the management of the EPO, renowned for institutional aggression, finds (or claims to have found) a little tampering with a bicycle



  20. Links 25/5/2016: Nginx 1.11, F1 2015 Coming to GNU/Linux Tomorrow

    Links for the day



  21. The Media Starts Informing the European Public About the Downsides of UPC While EPO Accelerates Its Lobbying for Ratification

    The EPO's shameless UPC promotion takes another step forward as the European press outlets (even television channels) begin to explore the secret deal that's negotiated by patent lawyers (with corporate clients) and patent offices, not the public or any public interest groups



  22. Some Details About How the EPO's President is Rumoured to be 'Buying' Votes and Why It's Grounds/Basis for “Immediate Dismissal”

    Some background information and a detailed explanation of the systemic financial dependency, created by Battistelli at the cost of €13 million or more, which prevents effective oversight of Battistelli



  23. How the Patent Lawyers' Microcosm Continues to Boost Software Patents Filth by Misdirecting Readers, Relying on Highly Selective Coverage

    Under the guise of reporting/analysis/advice the community of patent lawyers is effectively lobbying to make software patents popular and widely-accepted again, based on one single case which they wish to make 'the' precedent



  24. Documents Show Zagreb Police Department in Investigation of Vice-President of the European Patent Office

    Željko Topić's troubles in Croatia, where he faces many criminal charges, may soon become an extraordinary burden for the EPO, which distances itself from it all mostly by attacking staff that 'dares' to bring up the subject



  25. [ES] Interrumpiendo la Propagánda Distractante de Battistelli: los Empleados de la EPO Protestará de Nuevo en una Quincena

    La exágerada extravagancia (desperdicio de dinero) en la Ceremonia de Premiación al Inventor Europeo de la EPO tendrá que competir por atención de los medios con miles de empleados de la EPO (en todaslas sedes de la EPO) marchándo en las calles para protestar por los abusos de la EPO



  26. Windows and Microsoft's Other 'Burning Platforms'

    It's not just Windows for phones that's reaching minuscule market share levels but also Windows, but Microsoft is skilled at hiding this (cannibalising Windows using something people do not even want, then counting that cannibal, Vista 10)



  27. Links 24/5/2016: CRYENGINE Source Code is Out on GitHub, Jono Bacon Leaves GitHub

    Links for the day



  28. Links 23/5/2016: GNOME 3.22, Calculate Linux 15.17

    Links for the day



  29. 'Celebrity' Patent Trolls and the Elusive Battle Against Patent Trolls (or Eastern District of Texas Courts) Rather Than Software Patents

    Some of last week's more important reports, which serve to demonstrate how the system is attempting to tackle a side-effect of software patents rather than the patents themselves (their irrational scope)



  30. The Circus of Patent 'Reporting' (by Omission) on the Subject of Software Patents in the US and USPTO Bias

    look at some of the latest oddities in the US patent system and much of the reporting about software patenting (more or less monopolised by those who profit from it, not harmed by it)


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