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

11.16.09

Patents Roundup: More Resources In Re Bilski

Posted in Law, Patents, Videos at 12:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News, blogs, and video about the Bilski case

THE following are noteworthy articles and snippets about the latest phase in the Bilski saga.

Accountants, consumer groups push for passage of legislation to eliminate tax strategy patents

While the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case that will determine if a way of thinking about a problem can be protected by a business methods patent, a group of accountants and consumer groups is hoping to eliminate tax strategy patents, a subset of the business methods class, using the legislative route.

Bilski CLE Options

On Monday, November 9, 2009, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in In re Bilski, and two CLE providers plan to offer same day or next day coverage of the proceedings.

‘Bilski’: Software firms eye key patent case at Supreme Court

Patentable Subject Matter After ‘Bilski’

The juxtaposition of Bilski and Prometheus demonstrates the far reaching implications of the question of what is patentable subject matter for a diverse set of industries.

Two perspectives from Reuters:

i. U.S. top court to hear business method patent case

ii. Supreme Court skeptical of patents for hedging

But if the court tosses out the rule that business method innovations that involve a machine or transformation can be patented, what new rule should take its place? “How do we limit it (patentability) to something reasonable?” asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor. A decision is expected by the end of June.

John Whealan, of George Washington University Law School, said, “Eight justices talked. They all seemed not to agree with the plaintiff’s argument.”

Justices Hear Patent Case on Protecting the Abstract

The justices pressed J. Michael Jakes, a lawyer for Mr. Bilski and Mr. Warsaw, with hypothetical patents that they clearly found ludicrous. Justice Antonin Scalia suggested that under Mr. Jakes’s argument, a patent for “somebody who writes a book on how to win friends and influence people” might be allowed, while Justice Sotomayor suggested “the method of speed dating.”

Supreme Court Hears Bilski v. Kappos

Patent Hawk: ‘Computer whiz Justice Stephen G. Breyer chimed in. “All you do is just have a set of instructions for saying how to set a computer to do it. Anyone can do that. Now, it’s a machine.”‘

Lawyers Have Skewed Intuitions about Software Patents

Stewart claimed that loading software on a computer transforms it into a new machine by giving a computer “functionality it didn’t have before.” This argument doesn’t withstand close scrutiny. Obviously, it’s true that loading software on a computer gives it functionality it didn’t have before. But this is little different than saying that setting my alarm clock causes it to perform a function—waking me up at a particular time—that it wouldn’t have done otherwise. We don’t say a set alarm clock is a different machine than an unset alarm clock. It’s the same machine with different settings. Programming a computer is exactly like setting an alarm clock except that the computer can handle dramatically more complex instructions. If setting your alarm clock doesn’t create a new machine, then neither does installing Microsoft Word on your computer.

Court Is Cool to Patents on Methods

Justice Antonin Scalia said patents are given to inventions that are manufactured or produced by workmen, “not someone who writes a book about how to win friends and influence people.”

Can You Patent a Cat and a Laser Pointer?

In 2007 alone, the Patent Office received over 10,000 applications for business-method patents. The current backlog is over 600,000 applications.

The following spoof about Bilski is circulating through some Web sites at the moment.

Related posts:

Microsoft Sued Again for Patent Violation, Settles with Former Softie, as Before

Posted in Law, Microsoft, Patents at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Courtroom

Summary: Another Microsoft lawsuit starts; another case of Microsoft settling after being sued by former employees for patent violations

Microsoft is used to being sued and many ongoing patent ligation cases against Microsoft have not been concluded yet. That’s over 50 in number.

Microsoft has just been sued again and so did its engaged-to-become-spouse, Bartz.

A case started in Texas against a number of defendants alleging that they had infringed a patent owned by a company called Webmap Technologies LLC.

Another new press release indicates that Microsoft has just settled with a former employee, who sued Microsoft for patent violation on behalf of the company he created, Ancora Technologies.

Ancora Technologies today announced that a settlement has been reached in the litigation between Ancora, Miki Mullor, and Microsoft, both in respect of the patent infringement claim and Microsoft’s claims against Mullor, Ancora’s founder and a former Microsoft employee.

As the Bilski case heats up, Microsoft takes centre stage. The headline from Bloomberg, for example, goes like this: “Microsoft Battles Novartis in High Court Patent Limits Dispute”

The U.S. Supreme Court today considers a patent dispute that will determine how much legal protection is afforded abstract business innovations and has drawn in companies including Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Novartis Corp.

We wrote about Novartis in [1, 2, 3]. Their patents cause unnecessary deaths.

Revisionism from Microsoft’s Partner, Likewise

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, NetWare, Oracle, Protocol, Samba, Servers, Standard, Windows at 11:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coffee book session

Summary: An example of disinformation about history being spread by those to whom open, royalty-free standards are a foe

ONE of our readers has alerted us about what seems like revisionism — a topic that we covered many times before, e.g. in:

Getting down to the latest claim of revisionism, our reader points to this article which says: ‘“In the dot-com bust it was Unix to Linux migration because Linux was cheaper than Solaris on SPARC,” says Barry Crist, CEO of Likewise, a maker of integration and identity management software for mixed environments. “Phase 2 [of corporate open source adoption] has been accelerated by the current economic conditions. IT is looking to do things in a cost-effective manner and there are a lot of viable open source solutions out there.”

Our reader says: “It looks like another Microsoft partner trying to establish revisionist history of the history of the WWW.

“You can spot the Microsoft partners by how they stick to Microsoft talking points and how they exist to rope businesses into Microsoft infrastructure and elimination of open standards.”
      –Anonymous
“During the dot-com, Linux was being added in addition to SunOS on Sparc and Digital Unix on Alpha. Microsoft had not yet even begun to infect the server room at the time, despite the beginnings of FUD and even a smattering of false advertising.

“Linux was often used to get a web service up and running with the least amount of delay on old PCs while the real hardware request was making its way through administrative channels.

“Unluckily, Linux ended up giving managers the idea that Windows servers worked. Most of the claims of growth for Windows in the server room can be blamed on Microsoft eating Novell Netware’s market through false advertising (see court cases) and BSA strongarming. Once those were in place, users bitched up a storm at the loss of reliability. The fast response by the IT dept was to slap Samba on a machine and not tell anyone. The increased reliability of files services for Windows users was attributed then to Windows Server, rather than Samba on Linux. Often the Windows server that a zealot manager forced on the IT department sat in the corner humming away, consuming electricity, WITHOUT a network cable. Then came the day, that under the belief that the server room was using Windows, the managers replaced a departing tech with a Windows monkey who promptly zapped the Samba…”

We gave several examples of migrations without permission back in August. This issue is real.

As for Likewise, it is the "Microsoft version" of Samba (adding software patents to the original software). Our reader shares this older article which starts with: “What’s it like to be an open source company that’s also a Microsoft partner dependent on the Windows world? Not bad, says Barry Crist, CEO of Likewise Software…

Our reader then adds: “You can spot the Microsoft partners by how they stick to Microsoft talking points and how they exist to rope businesses into Microsoft infrastructure and elimination of open standards. That company is peddling Microsoft alternative to Kerberos+LDAP+(puppet/radmind)

“Another apologist company is Cloudera, which seems to be one of Microsoft proxies to damage the Apache foundation and Hadoop in particular.”

Our reader points to a press release, but this latter assessment/speculation is highly questionable. Cloudera was formed by a man from Oracle, whose company had been bought before he left (one can see its genesis in the official Web sites), so any suggestion that its GNU/Linux-based Hadoop distribution is a negative thing would require considerable proof. Regardless, the part about Likewise was worth a quick discussion. There are reasons for distrust, many of which we covered before.

“What we are trying to do is use our server control to do new protocols and lock out Sun and Oracle specifically”

Bill Gates

“Thanks to Mr. Gates, we now know that an open Internet with protocols anyone can implement is communism; it was set up by that famous communist agent, the US Department of Defense.”

Richard Stallman

Xbox 360 (Live) Users Banned, Buyers Flee

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Power button

Summary: Almost one million customers of Microsoft are permanently banned and sales of Xbox 360 drop considerably

MICROSOFT is being rather tactless with its more ‘naughty’ customers, up to a million of whom it is reportedly banning, even permanently. From Microsoft’s own ‘news’ site (joint venture with NBC, maybe to be inherited by Comcast):

“All consumers should know that piracy is illegal and that modifying their Xbox 360 console violates the Xbox Live terms of use, will void their warranty and result in a ban from Xbox Live,” Microsoft said in a statement Wednesday.

At Groklaw, in relation to the above Pamela Jones wrote: “So. If all those who insisted Microsoft would never use terms of use like this would please line up and apologize to me, I’d love that.

Other reports confirm the numbers, but they are filled with propaganda, comparing these people who hack their own hardware which they paid for to people who attack ships, murdering and raping in the process. This is merely echoing the same ugly terminology that Microsoft is using despite the ironic truth. CNN is among those who use propaganda terms and even Charles Arthur uses improper words like “pirated”.

Microsoft Nick continues to show that Microsoft endorses this misuse of language by even creating an “Anti-piracy” Twitter feed. We wrote about Microsoft’s role at Twitter under the following posts:

  1. More Microsoft AstroTurfing (aka ‘Technical Evangelism’) in Twitter
  2. User “Microsoft Incentives” Wants to be Your Friend, Too
  3. Microsoft’s Twitter AstroTurf Continues
  4. Who is Pumping MSFT and Pimping Microsoft in Twitter?
  5. Microsoft Hires Federated Media for Twitter AstroTurfing
  6. Does Microsoft Still Create Twitter Accounts for Guerilla Marketing?
  7. Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, Twitter, Waggener Edstrom, and Jonathan Zuck
  8. Microsoft Twitter Bots, FTC Blowback, and Paid-for Vista 7 Glorification
  9. Microsoft Feeds Hundreds of Korean Bloggers to Promote Vista 7
  10. Are Microsoft Employees (Technical Evangelists) Using Spammers in Twitter?

Regarding the Xbox 360 bans, it is a subject we alluded to last week, after we had explained that Xbox 360 is merely rented, not sold. A lot of Microsoft products are like that.

With such policies in place, Microsoft will only be putting off and driving away customers. According to US-only statistics, Microsoft has dropped to 4th place in its very own home ground (losing to the Japanese).

507k – Wii
458k – Nintendo DS
321k – PlayStation 3
250k – Xbox 360
175k – PSP
118k – PlayStation 2

Xbox 360 is going nowhere, fast.

Adding insult to injury, Microsoft blocks young people from entering Facebook on the Xbox 360.

Pre-pubescent and teenage Xbox 360 users looking forward to blending their online gaming and social networking habits are likely feeling a little disgruntled today after Microsoft revealed that the Xbox Live integration of Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm will initially be limited to over 18s only.

In Microsoft’s eyes, Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm must be the new “porn”. At one stage, Microsoft also blocked Google from youngsters [1, 2].

But anyway, why would Microsoft deal with Facebook like that?

Microsoft has already decided to lock/shut GNU/Linux users out of the Winter Olympics, including the many who just use an ARM-based appliance to access something as simple as this popular Web site. Microsoft is now doing to Facebook what it has done to the Winter Olympics, according to reports.

Microsoft on Monday unveiled Microsoft SDK for Facebook Platform, enabling use of Microsoft technologies such as Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) in conjunction with the Facebook social platform.

There is more information about this in:

We previously showed that the management of Facebook is close to Microsoft and even its patent troll. On the other hand, in the news we now find that Facebook supports the rival of Xbox 360:

Will Sony also have an adult-only policy for Facebook? Will it ban its users? Perhaps it’s Microsoft’s attitude that made Xbox 360 such a commercial failure, raking in billions of dollars in losses.

Windows, Cisco Do Not Support Vista 7

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IP phone from Cisco

Summary: Not just Cisco but Microsoft Windows Mobile too is proving to be problematic for Vista 7 users

THE previous post was about the rapid demise of Windows Mobile. According to the following new report, Windows phones do not work properly with Vista 7. Actually, many things turn out to be incompatible with Vista 7. This month alone we showed several examples [1, 2, 3, 4].

The latest example is this:

Here’s where things started to get a little frustrating. Even though Microsoft just introduced a new operating system (Windows 7), Samsung says 7 is no-go for the upgrade — the software will only run on a Vista or XP computer.

Wonderful.

What else is not compatible? The unified communications products from Cisco:

Cisco warns UC users of limited support for Windows 7

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is warning customers of its unified communications products that support for Windows 7 won’t be forthcoming until the product’s 8.0 release scheduled for the first quarter of 2010. About a dozen more UC products will not support Windows 7 until version 8.5, in the third quarter of 2010 and at that time, only the 32-bit version of Windows 7 will be supported.

No wonder Apple moves in for the kill; GNU/Linux advocates too should warn peers, colleagues, family and friends that Vista 7 is incompatible with hardware and software. It’s the same objective truism that killed Windows Vista.

Microsoft DRM Cracked Within Hours

Posted in DRM, Microsoft, Windows at 10:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mobile phone

Summary: Windows Marketplace has its copy protection mechanism broken almost immediately; future of Windows Mobile seems grim

ONE of the arguments against DRM is that it’s always ineffective anyway. It’s not the main argument, but it is an argument that proves to be correct time after time in real-world scenarios. Microsoft is no exception and in fact it took just 2 hours to crack Windows Marketplace, according to this new report.

Earlier too Chainfire had found a hack for the CAB file based copy protection in less than five minutes. Now, Chainfire again cracked the code of protection layer.

Obviously, Chainfire won’t be releasing the hack to public as his intention is to make Microsoft aware about the weak copy-protection measures implemented. This might shake up the developers who’d be looking forward to make some money off the Windows Marketplace.

Users of the already-struggling Windows Mobile may find themselves under fewer restrictions. Meanwhile we find that Windows Mobile sales are down very sharply (“Windows Mobile loses nearly a third of market share” says the latter report) and Mini-Microsoft, an anonymous Microsoft employee, leads to more dysphoria. DRM is not the way to save Windows Mobile and speculations have just returned that Microsoft might buy RIM in the future. Sales of smartphones are generally up because they offer a richer experience, whereas fewer people buy full-sized computers where Microsoft has leverage. Linux is very triumphant in this former, ever-emerging area.

“DRM is the future.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Confirmed: Vista 7 Fails to Sell PCs, Mostly Replaces Vista

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Morning search

Summary: Vista 7 turns out to be the most expensive service pack ever; Sales do not proceed as hoped and planned, reveal reports from the mainstream press

THE reality behind Vista 7 continues to unfold. Earlier this month we showed that sales of computers were mostly flat despite Vista 7. Microsoft lies about it, but not the press in Asia, which claims “No Boost in PC Sales After Windows 7″

Here is an interpretation from the New York Times:

The story also notes that a PC sales upswing is unlikely for 2009, “due to most Windows Vista users not needing to replace their PCs in order to upgrade to Windows 7.”

Here is the original report.

Demand for PCs and hardware did not turn strong after the launch of Windows 7 in late October and is unlikely to do so in 2009 due to most Windows Vista users not needing to replace their PCs in order to upgrade to Windows 7, while some users are waiting for Microsoft to release Windows 7′s first service pack, according to sources at PC vendors.

Many people are waiting for Service Pack 1 before even considering this newer version of Windows. In the mean time, Microsoft has gossip going on about Vista 8 vapourware, which some Web sites are naively parroting.

Another important observation was sent to us by a reader who wrote:

Vista is in the News Again

A strange wave of contortion and optimism about Windows 7 is spreading around. Inflated Windows 7 numbers are reported by both the WSJ and Information Week along with nearly identical talking points about how it’s “a Windows World.” The WSJ (aka Fox News) quotes Net Applications uncritically and belittles all other competitors. Randal Kennedy quotes the same talking points but gets his numbers from Information Week’s own skewed measuring system. Even a Mac magazine catches some of this buzz. Kennedy makes an interesting observation that most others missed and turns all of the happy talk on it’s head.

Kennedy noticed that Windows 7 is mostly being bought by unhappy Vista users. He tries to spin this as positive, “pent up demand for something better than Vista,” but he needs to listen to himself and consider all of the options. This is the man who rightly told us all that Windows 7 was just Vista with a new coat of paint.

Windows 7, in effect, has a cap on its growth which is Vista’s minority market share. The 30% of 22,000 Information Week readers gullible enough to install “Windows Pulse” probably represents the 12% of the real world that said they wanted Vista in consistent market surveys. There’s little chance at 100% conversion to Windows 7. What we will see is a more fragmented and difficult to support Windows market, maybe 5% on Vista, 5% on Windows 7 and 100% of windows users looking for something that works. Microsoft will run out of money long before they can make Vista users happy or turn XP users into Windows 7 users.

Despite clueless optimism and amazing contortions from people profiting from the Windows upgrade treadmill, Microsoft’s time has come and gone. The average computer user today is using a smart phone or a netbook, places where Windows 7 has no chance.

References

[1] Windows 7 is quickly displacing Vista — but not XP (cross posted in pcworld)
[2] Windows 7 Adoption Nudging Out Vista, Not XP
[3] Windows 7 smashes Vista, while XP users stay away
[4] Windows 7 Usage Outpaces Vista, Closes In on Mac

This seems to suggest that Vista 7 is treated as a service pack of Vista. As for the market share of GNU/Linux, the numbers above are too US-oriented to actually mean anything to Free software [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Net Applications is also funded by Microsoft.

Microsoft Won’t Secure Firefox/Chrome Users, Shows More Negligence

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 9:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Web browser icons

Summary: ActiveX required by Microsoft’s OneCare; investigation into Vista 7 vulnerabilities a case of “too little, too late”

MICROSOFT pretends to have changed for the better. It pretends that it allows users of Windows to use Web browsers other than Internet Explorer, but the following post — artistically titled “Microsoft being a Onecare [Wanker]“ — suggests otherwise:

For starters, it uses an ActiveX control – Internet Explorer required in other words – that’s annoyingly hard to install. You get warnings galore from Windows 7′s UAC and IE about popups and do you really really really want to install something that has the potential to roger your system well and truly?

ActiveX was designed to restrict competition by supplanting Web standards. It ended up becoming one of the biggest security nightmares out there and Novell supports this.

Here is the new story of a man who has just been fired because of these practices from Microsoft:

Linux Contractor Fired for Using Firefox/Linux

[...]

The irony? The “compentency test” was a Security & Privacy test from the four letter credit card company that HAD to be taken on MS Windows with IE?

I’ll let you be the ones to point out the obvious…the fact that this large computer/server company with three letters in their name is reportedly a “friend to Linux”. I’ll let you talk about how a Linux Professional who uses Linux as their desktop environment was denied access to employment. Employment that was based on his knowledge of Linux. Yeah, the server side…but still…

Now let’s brag about how much ground Linux has made…

And a Linux Project Manager for said company asking the question:

“What’s this Foxfire thing?”

As a secondary item of news, some days ago we argued for Microsoft liability when it comes to the latest Vista 7 vulnerability. Microsoft deserves to be accused of negligence and the following article implies deception too.

Is Microsoft Overhyping Security In Windows 7?

[...]

Microsoft has been aggressively marketing the security improvements in Windows 7, but some security experts believe this strategy could leave the software giant open to some unpleasant repercussions.

Vista 7 has been breached before and to give some examples of insecurity, we have:

Now there is the SMB flaw that Microsoft finally acknowledges.

Microsoft on Friday said it is working on a fix for a vulnerability in the Server Message Block file-sharing protocol in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 Release 2 that could be used to remotely crash a computer.

It really took them too long, having waited for attack code to appear before properly investigating. That’s negligence and it is irresponsible. Gregg Keizer writes:

The zero-day vulnerability was first reported by Canadian researcher Laurent Gaffie last Wednesday, when he revealed the bug and posted proof-of-concept attack code to the Full Disclosure security mailing list and his blog. According to Gaffie, exploiting the flaw crashes Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 systems so thoroughly that the only recourse is to manually power off the computers.

Why has Microsoft waited so long before looking into the problem? Could it be that lack of security and increased fear help Microsoft sell more ‘solutions’ to those very same problems? As we showed some days ago, is clearly profiting from Conficker, for example.

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

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 Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts