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

10.15.09

Patents Roundup: Microsoft Patents at Risk Due to Free Software’s Prior Art; Opposition to Patents Grows

Posted in America, Australia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 9:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bicycle

Summary: Free software beats Microsoft to it, as usual (just without patenting); Nobel Prize winners do not like patents and other such artificial monopolies

SOFTWARE PATENTS are an instrument of control, which is exploited both by the large and the small. The large is the monopolist (oligarch) and the small is the patent troll; other than those two classes, few ever benefit from their patent systems, which grant exclusivity rights (trade secret may often be an effective enough mechanism). Failed companies may pass over their patents to large companies, or in the case of Linus Torvalds’ old employer — to Microsoft's own patent troll.

There are some signs of optimism in Europe (EPO) now that Free software defeats Microsoft at its own malicious game:

You and your readers may be interested in six oppositions currently pending at the EPO. The opposed patents are those subject to the appeal decision T424/03 cited by the president in the referral. The patents in question are EP0717354, EP1028372, EP1028373, EP1028374, EP1028376 and EP1028377 (“Expanded Clipboard Formats”) granted to Microsoft Corporation.

The principal ground for opposition is novelty and, interestingly, the prior art is open source software. These oppositions may also be of interest to the open source community who may make observations to the EPO under Article 115 EPC”.

The FFII hopefully pays attention to it.

Nobel Laureates Versus Intellectual Monopolies

A couple of days ago we wrote about Elinor Ostrom, an advocate of the Commons who has just received a Nobel prize. Ostrom turns out to be just one in a series of Nobel laureates in her field (namely economics) who feel similarly. We gave Maskin and Stiglitz as examples, but TechDirt has more:

Three Economic Nobel Laureates In A Row Recognizing Power Of Infinite Goods

With the Nobel Prize in Economics being awarded to Elinor Ostrom (as well as Oliver Williamson) this year, plenty of people are noting that Ostrom’s seminal work has to do with how the concept of “the tragedy of the commons” isn’t really true in many cases, and how that “commons” can often self-regulate itself. And, Ostrom definitely recognizes how this applies to the “commons” that is the public domain. I didn’t want to comment right away on this. While I’ve read Ostrom’s work in the past, I wanted to revisit some of it, to refresh myself on it.

Under the title “Elinor Ostrom and the Future of Economics,” a blog from Harvard speaks of her views that tend agree with Free software philosophy.

But Ostrom is a radical — and awesome — choice. Not just because of the “what” of her work, but, more deeply, because of the “how” of it. Ostrom’s work is concerned, fundamentally, with challenging Garret Hardin’s famous Tragedy of the Commons, itself a living expression of neoclassical thinking. Ostrom suggests that far from a tragedy, the commons can be managed from the bottom-up for a shared prosperity — given the right institutions. That conclusion challenges orthodox economics from both left and right leaning perspectives; it suggests that, yes, markets can organize production and consumption efficiently — but only when supported and nurtured by networks and communities.

The Against Monopoly Web site has just posted another bit of opposition to software patents.

In closing I would like to point out that if you affirm software/technical processes as patentable a firestorm of litigation will ensue, resulting in a massive and unjust transfer of resources. The resulting effect on innovation in the US would lead to the inevitable question: Why would we expose our company to the risk of crushing litigation in the United States when our markets are just as accessible through the Internet?

Development Versus Litigation or Litigation Versus Development?

3Com is a company that like TiVo and Akamai has been using GNU/Linux extensively (see [1-13] below), but all these companies are also aggressors with patents. We gave examples of this before [1, 2, 3]. Here is 3Com working its ‘charm’. [via TechDirt, which chose the headline: "Can't Innovate? Litigate! 3Com Goes Patent Lawsuit Ballistic"]

Some big names in the computer industry were sued this week by a company claiming that they have infringed on Ethernet-related patents developed by 3Com.

The company is called U.S. Ethernet Innovations, which owns the patents spun off from 3Com for the sole purpose of launching these sorts of lawsuits. Named in the suit are Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Sony, and Toshiba.

A reader of ours from Australia has also told us about the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) shaming itself with more lawsuits.

A patent battle between Australia’s CSIRO and 14 of the world’s largest technology companies has today been revealed to have already gained the research organisation $200 million from out of court settlements.

For some background, CSIRO is suing a lot these days [1, 2, 3] following the patent-in-a-standard scam [1, 2, 3]. CSIRO’s ‘business’ antics are something to be ashamed of, not proud of.
_________
[1] Bain, Huawei to Resubmit $2.2B Bid For 3Com: Report

Within the next several weeks, Bain Capital and China’s Huawei plan to  reapply for U.S. approval for a planned buyout of 3Com, The Wall Street  Journal reported on Friday.  
 
The $2.2 billion transaction would still leave Huawei with 16.5 percent of the company and Bain holding the rest, said the Journal citing people familiar with the matter.   

[2] 3Com Acquisition Under Investigation

The U.S. Department of Defense uses 3Com intrusion detection products, and Chinese hackers have targeted the agency, McCotter said. “Given this and other instances of communist China’s persistent cyber warfare against us, approving this sale would be an abject abdication of CIFUS’ duty to protect America’s vital defense technologies from enemy acquisition,” he said.    

[3] 3Com’s CEO sees company as a US-Asia trendsetter

Q: Has your Linux strategy helped against competitors?
 
ER [Edgar Masri]: We have an open strategy, which is open source based on Linux. Many networking companies are starting to do that, but I believe we have an 18-month head start. We recognize customers want open architecture and source, mainly in small and medium businesses. We also have the Open Services Networking architecture. One very large customer wanted better network monitoring and had made a clear choice about the application it wanted to use, and said we were doing it better than other providers.      

[4] 3Com Brings Enterprise-Caliber IP Telephony to SMBs

As part of 3Com’s commitment to providing the platform and support for clients to implement best-of-breed Open Source solutions, the company also is launching the 3Com Asterisk Appliance, an Open Source voice-over-IP (VoIP) system based on Digium’s Asterisk Appliance.   

[5] 3Com ‘reenters’ RP, bets on open source

Orcun Tezel, technical director of 3Com South Asia, explained that although 3Com routers and switches now come with pre-integrated open-source applications, its Open Services Networking (OSN) further allows “best-ofbreed” applications to run on the Linux-based platform.   

[6] 3Com chooses an open strategy

The OSN infrastructure runs on Linux.

[7] 3Com, IBM extend VOIP/messaging interoperability

The VCX/Sametime interoperability also extends to 3Com and IBM software running on stand-alone servers. (3Com ships VCX systems on a Linux-based appliance, and IBM’s Sametime runs on a variety of operating systems and server hardware).

[8] 3Com: Turnaround Depends on IBM Deal

And that open source voice over IP system, called Asterisk, has reached its tipping point. But instead of ignoring such threats, 3Com appears ready to embrace them. In fact, I hear that 3Com plans to address the Asterisk market within the next few months.

[9] 3Com Evaluating Askerisk Strategy

The manager politely danced around the question, then indicated that 3Com planned to address Asterisk without necessarily competing with the open source system. Sounds like 3Com is piecing together a strategy to embrace Asterisk. Could there be a partnership or acquisition around the corner?
 
[...]

Supporting Asterisk would propel 3Com?s open platform strategy forward.

[10] 3Com touts open source

3Com’s OSN module is a Linux-based server blade that fits into the company’s 6000 series routers. It is designed to run applications that benefit from being close to the network layer, the company says.

[11] 3Com introduces first ‘open services’ product

Launched at the end of last year, OSN is basically an effort to bring some server capabilities into network appliances by using a Linux-based server blade, as well as to allow users to plug open-source modules into the appliance.
 
[...]

Interestingly, there is a twist in 3Com’s adoption of open source: Its founder, Metcalfe, was once known to be anti-open source. Fortunately, Metcalfe has since become a convert in line with the OSN.

[12] Networks finally learning to work together

A more technically interesting solution that 3Com has just rolled out is a Linux blade running in its high end switches.

“Imagine a switch or router with a little bit of extra hardware  running Linux. We are inviting our partners to put their stuff on there, essentially a Linux PC on a blade. It’s not about replacing servers, it’s about putting an app into the network, like WAN optimization, packet analysis, netflow, security, things like this,” he said.

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

A Single Comment

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    October 16, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Gravatar

    “or in the case of Linus Torvalds’ old employer”
    Not just Linus Torvalds, BTW. H Peter Anvin worked at Transmeta longer than Linus, he now works at Intel. I see them a lot on LKML.

What Else is New


  1. Links 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

    Links for the day



  2. Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

    Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)



  3. Korean Press Slams Microsoft Over Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android as New Abuses Resurface

    Harsh words from the national press of South Korea as Nokia's role in Microsoft's anti-Linux tactics becomes more apparent



  4. More Good News About Patents and Their Demise in the United States

    A roundup of news about software patents and patent trolls in the land where these thrive



  5. Links 31/8/2014: Linux 3.12.27, Akademy 2014

    Links for the day



  6. Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

    Links for the day



  7. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  8. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  9. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  10. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  11. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  12. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  13. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  14. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  15. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  16. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  18. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  19. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  20. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  21. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  22. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  23. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  24. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  25. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  26. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  27. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  28. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  29. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  30. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    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