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

11.25.09

Patents Roundup: More Ridiculous Patents, Qualcomm Permitted to Abuse, Human Rights Step in as Overhaul Debated

Posted in Apple, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[Y]ou’re creating a new 20-year monopoly for no good reason.”

David Kappos (currently head of the USPTO) speaking about patents

Tired USPTO eagle

USPTOSummary: News from the US patent office seems to suggest that no substantial improvements have been made to this system

T

HE US patent system is a mess. There, it’s said and done. The way to fix it is to change the application/review process and also to remove many old patents that should have never been granted in the first place. It is almost infeasible given the existing backlog which has already turned the USPTO into a laughing stock in some people’s minds.

Dissatisfaction with this patent system is not just a pet peeve of Free software supporters. President of the FFII, for instance, has just shared what he calls “The sad patent story of Lexra processors.” An Apple patent which we mentioned here before is another good example of this. Even a vocal software patents fan (Gene Quinn) hates this patent and Slashdot reveals that Google has just patented displaying patents.

“Google has actually managed to patent displaying patents. The USPTO issued US Patent No. D603,866 to six Google inventors for their ‘graphical user interface for display screen of a communications terminal.’ Among the six inventors is the guy who introduced Google Patents. Ironically, Google Patents can’t seem to find the new Google patent for Google Patents.”

Amazing, eh? Two days ago we wrote about Amazon and its patent on online gift delivery. As Mike Masnick puts it, “USPTO [Is] Convinced By Amazon That Online Gift Giving Patent Is Legit”

Amazon continues to aggressively pursue variations on its “one-click” patent, even as it is repeatedly held up as an example of how screwed up the patent system has become. In the latest story, found on Slashdot, a patent application for method of buying gifts online was originally rejected under the CAFC’s recent Bilski rules because the invention “may be performed largely within the human mind.”

Where does this insanity end? According to reports from the European technology press (Britain), the EU Commission has just dropped its investigation into Qualcomm’s abuse with patents. How come?

THE EU HAS DROPPED its four year investigation into Qualcomm after companies that had been moaning about the chipmaker charged excessive royalties on its technology patents withdrew their complaints.

The Commission said that since all complainants have now withdrawn their complaints, it was not worth wasting more time and money on the investigation.

Was Qualcomm punished at all? This should also be probed by a US-based (and maybe Asia-based) agency. Qualcomm is based in San Diego, California. This happens to resemble the patent ambush from Rambus [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

IP Watch has this new article about a culture of sharing that once existed.

Dining on fresh fish beneath a golden sunset overlooking the Mediterranean beneath which lie the remains of the ancient Library of Alexandria, the conversation turns to the invention of written language. A light-hearted debate breaks out between an Egyptian and a Syrian over the origins of the first alphabet several thousand years ago, but is left for the time being when the Syrian asserts, “We invented the alphabet, you invented writing.”

Records show Egypt’s primary role in the development of written language as a way to disseminate ideas, and it is still advancing knowledge access, as evidenced by its world-class Library of Alexandria and several recent activities and publications. In some cases, library officials are out front on international policy issues related to access to knowledge.

Also from IP Watch we have this good article bearing the headline “Time For Human Rights To Enter Into IP Policy Dialogue, Panel Says” (“but they’re still only *talking* about it,” argues Glyn Moody).

Ensuring the right to development should become more integral to debates over intellectual property policy, said members of a panel last week. The World Intellectual Property Organization Development Agenda will play a crucial role in ensuring this integration if it happens, they added.

Moody also wrote about a new comparison between software copyright and software patents.

What’s interesting here is that this position – preferring copyright rather than patent protection – comes from small to medium-sized software companies, but aligns with that of the free software world, which depends on copyright for the efficacy of its licences, but cannot accommodate patents, because they act as a brake on sharing.

There are alternative routes to offering developers “protection” that some of them crave. A “20-year monopoly” on some mere ideas (to borrow the words of the man in charge of the USPTO) is not the way forward, it’s a farce. It’s an impediment to science and economics, according to many studies.

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

3 Comments

  1. saulgoode said,

    November 25, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Gravatar

    The US patent system is a mess. There, it’s said and done. The way to fix it is to change the application/review process and also to remove many old patents that should have never been granted in the first place.

    The way to fix the patent system, with regards to software patents at least, is for the courts (or the legislature, if necessary) to assert that it is not illegal to write computer programs which simulate patented devices and processes. You want to write a simulator for that new ceramic internal combustion engine with microwave ignition? Go right ahead. How about a program that simulates a new manufacturing process for liquid microprocessors? Again, there should be no problem with that — after all, the purported reason for providing patents is so that the general public can learn from the invention and share their understanding of it with others.

    Now consider how this would apply to a spuriously granted software patent on, say, converting inputted numeric data representing an audio wave into the frequency domain, removing some of those frequencies, and outputting the result (i.e., MP3 audio compression). If the courts pronounced that “simulating” this algorithm within a computer program was to be consider fair and legal use, no one could be penalized for actually “implementing” the software patent (software is always either simulation or pure mathematics). Existing software patents could be left to languish until they expire, and no new software patents would be sought because the “inventor” would never be able to profit from his patent.

    Problem solved!

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, but:

    1. In Re Bilski may already have the necessary effect
    2. Unless challenged or invalidated, patents can still be used for extortion or intimidation (without a test in court), especially when bundled in large numbers
    3. Smart lawyers know how to blur the gap between hardware and software

    “[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway”, —Marshall Phelps, IAM: Microsoft to have 50,000 patents within two years, Phelps reveals

  2. uberVU - social comments said,

    November 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Identica by schestowitz: More Ridiculous #Patents , Qualcomm Permitted to Abuse, Human Rights Step in as Overhaul Debated *http://ur1.ca/gid5…

What Else is New


  1. Links 22/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1, Ubuntu MATE

    Links for the day



  2. Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

    Links for the day



  3. Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

    Links for the day



  4. Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

    The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe



  5. Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

    With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades



  7. Reaffirming Microsoft's Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

    Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper's business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there



  8. Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

    After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma



  9. The GOP's Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

    The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes



  10. How the EPO's Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X

    A look at highly dubious moves by EPO President Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić, whose abuses are becoming hard to oversee or even report



  11. Links 15/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1 Release Candidate, Popcorn Time 0.3.5

    Links for the day



  12. IRC Proceedings: October 26th, 2014 – November 8th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  13. The Terrible Joke Which is Microsoft 'Loving' Linux: Nightmares With UEFI 'Secure' Boot (i.e. Windows Monopoly Imposed) Continue to Affect GNU/Linux Users

    A reminder of Microsoft's sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations



  14. Patent Lawyers Worry About Section 101 in 'Alice' (and Other Patent News)

    A quick roundup of news of interest regarding software patents



  15. Will Write for FUD (Against FOSS)

    Black Duck rears its ugly head again, serving to show that it is in the business of changing perceptions and not in the information or analysis business



  16. Debunking Several Days of Never-Ending Lies About Microsoft and .NET

    .NET is not "Open Source", it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers



  17. Links 14/11/2014: LibreOffice 4.3.4, Ads Now in Firefox

    Links for the day



  18. Links 14/11/2014: GNOME 3.14.2, PulseAudio 6.0

    Links for the day



  19. Microsoft Windows is Still Designed as a Paradise of Back Doors, Intrusion, Wiretaps, and Interception

    At many levels -- from communication to storage and encryption -- Windows is designed for the very opposite of security



  20. Forget the FUD About Bash and OpenSSL, Microsoft Windows Blamed for Massive Credit Cards Heist

    Home Depot learns its lesson from a Microsoft Windows disaster, but it stays with proprietary software rather than move to software that is actively audited by many people and is inherently better maintained (Free/libre software)



  21. Windows 'Update' and NSA Back Doors, Including a 19-Year Bug Door in Microsoft Windows

    The back doors-enabled Microsoft Windows is being revealed and portrayed as the Swiss cheese that it really is after massive holes are discovered (mostly to be buried by a .NET propaganda blitz)



  22. Revealed: Microsoft is Trying to Corrupt the UK in Order to Eliminate Its OpenDocument Format-Oriented Standards Policy

    Microsoft interference with Britain's preference for ODF is now confirmed, thanks to a valuable news report from Computer Weekly; OOXML lock-in is being unleashed by Microsoft on Android users



  23. Links 13/11/2014: Ubuntu MATE 14.04.1 LTS, New KDE Plasma

    Links for the day



  24. .NET is NOT "Open Source", But Microsoft's Minions Shamelessly Openwash It Right Now

    The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers



  25. Links 11/11/2014: GNOME Trademark Dispute Settled, Mozilla Embraces Tor

    Links for the day



  26. Patent Reform Subversion After Republican (GOP) 'Win' in US Senate

    The Grand Corporations Party, or the political party which serves large businesses that are funding it, continues to just focus on a mirage of a 'reform' rather than tackle the real issues where culprits include very large businesses such as Microsoft and Apple



  27. Microsoft-Armed Patent Troll MOSAID (Now Conversant) Wants to Sweep up More Patents for Litigation

    Reports about patent trolls and scope of patents serve to show what the foes of Free software are up to right now



  28. When Courts in the US Attack the Right to Reuse APIs

    Challenging the clueless ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the United States (very pro-software patents and anti-computer science), notable programmers write to the highest court



  29. Links 10/11/2014: 2015 GNU/Linux Forecasts, Debian Shakeup

    Links for the day



  30. Links 7/11/2014: War Thunder on GNU/Linux, KaOS ISO 2014.11

    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