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 16/2/2020: MX Linux 19.1 and MyPaint 2.0

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 15, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 15, 2020



  3. Guest Article: Au Revoir, GNU/Linux

    "Funny how OSI just ended up being another vehicle for their takeover of the computing world..."



  4. Former Microsoft Employee: ZDNet is Owned by Microsoft (and Others) in Some Senses

    A noteworthy message we've received from someone who knows Microsoft from the inside



  5. Links 15/2/2020: Blender 2.82, Qt 5.15 Alpha and NetBSD 9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft Views 'Open Source' as a Zero-Cost Heist Opportunity (Making Proprietary Software/Spyware Using Other People's Free Labour)

    Making GPL-licensed (copyleft) software and hosting it outside Microsoft’s jaws is the best way to counter the abusive monopolist, which still says it “loves” what it is actually attacking



  7. Did Microsoft 'Buy' ZDNet?

    A look at what ZDNet tells its readers (screenshot from this morning) and a rare look at how its writers are censored/suppressed



  8. Anatomy of a Crime and Protection From Prosecution

    It’s hard to forget what António Campinos hides for his friend



  9. Today's EPO is a Fraud Managed by Frauds

    Beneath the scandals associated with systematic abuse against staff, union-busting (silencing whistleblowers) and en masse granting of invalid patents — the hallmark of grotesque maladministration — lie a bunch of even greater crimes



  10. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 14, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, February 14, 2020



  11. One Need Only Look at ZDNet's 'Linux' Section to Understand It's a Microsoft Propaganda Operation

    A timely new snapshot (or screenshot) that demonstrates what ZDNet became after hiring Microsoft employees as ‘journalists’ and censoring on behalf of Microsoft, defaming Free software figures and so on



  12. Links 14/2/2020: New Release of KStars, OpenSSH 8.2, Rhythmbox 3.4.4, Flatpak 1.6.2

    Links for the day



  13. The Uselessness of Social Control Media and Why We Need RSS Feeds' Resurgence More Than Ever

    Social control media became pure noise or misinformation, usually in pursuit of financial expansion alone, and it is also a censorship machine which discourages not falsehoods but unconventional thinking



  14. Another New 'Clown' for the UPC 'Circus'

    A former writer of IPPro Magazine (which seems to be defunct now) reports another shuffle -- perhaps the fifth in a few years -- of "IP" [sic] Minister for the UK; it doesn't bode well for the Unified Patent Court (UPC)



  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 13, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 13, 2020



  16. Links 13/2/2020: Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS, Septor 2020, Endless OS 3.7.7, Wayland 1.18.0, KDE Plasma 5.18 and GTK 3.98 Released

    Links for the day



  17. The Microsoft Propaganda Model

    Classic new examples (real screenshots) of how Microsoft-funded media entraps people looking for information about "Linux" to actually push Microsoft talking points and marketing, cover-up, face-saving lies etc.



  18. What's Evil is Forcing People to Use Something They Don't Want and Typically Dislike

    The difference between Google Search and Microsoft is that many people actually want to use Google (and don't have to)



  19. 2020: The Year Microsoft Became Honest... About Being Corrupt and Criminal

    Microsoft is destroying any past attempts to portray itself as a reformed company or 'recovering criminal'; nothing is really changing and everyone has noticed



  20. Free Software is Being Abandoned by Opponents of Software Patents and It's Being Attacked by Patent Trolls

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is rotting away as an advocate against software patents; Patents on algorithms are still being granted (even when courts repeatedly reject these) and Red Hat's Chief Patent Counsel remains Manny Schecter, one of the loudest proponents of such patents (citing the likes of Adam Mossoff this week, in effect Koch operatives); this is a very big problem because Free software projects come under a barrage of lawsuits, using patents like those IBM lobbies ferociously to legitimise



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 12, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 12, 2020



  22. Links 12/2/2020: KDE Neon 5.18, Tails 4.3 and WordPress 5.4 Beta

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 11, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 11, 2020



  24. Links 11/2/2020: New Firefox and KDE Plasma

    Links for the day



  25. Sometimes ILO-AT is Good for Nothing But Law Firms in or Around Switzerland

    ILO-AT’s latest judgements are out. But ILO — and by extension the UN — are still morally deficient and they give the impression that don’t care about people (or that ILO is in bed with the same businesses WIPO (UN) serves, i.e. no better than WB/IMF).



  26. The European Patent Office Continues to Violate the European Patent Convention (EPC) With Impunity While the European Commission Lets That Happen

    The European Commission (and Union) can be seen as increasingly complicit in the EPO's abuses; this means that the EPO has become a liability or source of accountability for the integrity of Europe as a bloc



  27. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 10, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, February 10, 2020



  28. EPO Staff Representatives to Challenge Ridiculous and Unnecessary Austerity Measures

    The EPO's President of Nepotism "is currently finalizing his “package” of financial measures in order to reduce an alleged coverage gap of 5.8 B€ following a heavily biased and flawed Financial Study," according to EPO staff representatives who have already demonstrated it's a fake crisis that distracts from the real crisis and profound corruption



  29. You're Almost Guaranteed to Lose the Argument When You Call People Who Plant Seeds 'Pirates'

    The EPO's patent maximalists are damaging the reputation of the institution and harm its perceived legitimacy (people are getting fed up instead of fed)



  30. Unified Patent Corruption

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is more dead than ever before; but UPC hopefuls — people who lied their way into this fraudulent pact (designed to enrich only themselves by violating many constitutions) — try telling us otherwise and they’re weaponising corrupt media


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

Recent Posts