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. Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM 'Open'

    What Microsoft et al. call 'Next-Generation Open Media Formats' are basically neither open nor acceptable (it's DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub 'Open Source Tools' are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse



  2. Recycled Old News About Vista 10, Stressing That Not Only '10' is Spyware But All of Windows is

    How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft's gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to 'upgrade' to Vista 10



  3. Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

    Links for the day



  4. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  5. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  6. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  8. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  9. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  10. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  11. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  12. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  13. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  15. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  16. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  17. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  18. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  19. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  21. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  22. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received



  23. Market Share Estimates Confirm That Vista 10 Failed in a Major Way

    Confirmatory evidence that Vista 10 is failing in the market about a month after its much-hyped (paid coverage) release



  24. When Microsoft, the Master of Patent Trolls, Complains About Trolls

    Possibly the world's biggest patent abuser and monopolist, which also creates many patent trolls (including by far the biggest one), takes on a far smaller abuser in Court



  25. Letter Signed by Two German Officials Becomes a Microsoft Weapon of Propaganda

    Microsoft and its minions refuse to leave Munich alone, even though the vast majority in Munich are perfectly happy with Free/libre software



  26. Links 25/8/2015: Linux Kernel 4.2 Final RC, KDE Ships Plasma 5.4.0

    Links for the day



  27. Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl Should Take Note as Russia -- Like China -- is in the Process of Banning Microsoft Windows for Security Reasons

    A look at a strange suggestion, signed by Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl, who suggest going back to Microsoft which is basically a spyware company now



  28. Microsoft Windows Leads to Espionage and Blackmail: Latest Examples

    Another news overview, detailing high-profile examples of high-cost Windows deployments (including the cost of litigation and settlement)



  29. Links 23/8/2015: BcacheFS Benchmarks, Blackphone 2

    Links for the day



  30. Links 22/8/2015: Chromebook Gains, GNOME 3.18 Clues

    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