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


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


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


  1. saulgoode said,

    November 25, 2009 at 9:40 am


    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. Public Protests by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff Weaken the EPO's Attacks on the Media

    Where things stand when it comes to the EPO's standoff against publications and why it's advisable for EPO staff to stage standoffs against their high-level management, which is behind a covert crackdown on independent media (while greasing up corporate media)

  2. Why the European Patent Office Cannot Really Sue and Why It's All -- More Likely Than Not -- Just SLAPP

    Legal analysis by various people explains why the EPO's attack dogs are all bark but no bite when it comes to threats against publishers

  3. How the EPO Twisted Defamation Law in a Failed Bid to Silence Techrights

    Using external legal firms (not the EPO's own lawyers), the EPO has been trying -- and failing -- to silence prominent critics

  4. East Texas and Its Cautionary Tale: Software Patents Lead to Patent Trolls

    Lessons from US media, which focuses on the dire situation in Texas courts, and how these relate to the practice of granting patents on software (the patent trolls' favourite weapon)

  5. The Latest EPO Spin: Staff Protesters Compared to 'Anti-Patent Campaigners' or 'Against UPC'

    Attempts to characterise legitimate complaints about the EPO's management as just an effort to derail the patent office itself, or even the patent system (spin courtesy of EPO and its media friends at IAM)

  6. The Serious Implication of Controversial FTI Consulting Contract: Every Press Article About EPO Could Have Been Paid for by EPO

    With nearly one million dollars dedicated in just one single year to reputation laundering, one can imagine that a lot of media coverage won't be objective, or just be synthetic EPO promotion, seeded by the EPO or its peripheral PR agents

  7. EPO: We Have Always Been at War With Europe (or Europeans)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) with its dubious attacks on free speech inside Europe further unveiled for the European public to see (as well as the international community, which oughtn't show any respect to the EPO, a de facto tyranny at the heart of Europe)

  8. What Everyone Needs to Know About the EPO's New War on Journalism

    A detailed list of facts or observations regarding the EPO's newfound love for censorship, even imposed on outside entities, including bloggers (part one of several to come)

  9. EPO Did Not Want to Take Down One Techrights Article, It Wanted to Take Down Many Articles Using Intimidation, SLAPPing, and Psychological Manipulation Late on a Friday Night

    Recalling the dirty tactics by which the European Patent Office sought to remove criticism of its dirty secret deals with large corporations, for whom it made available and was increasingly offering preferential treatment

  10. The European Private Office: What Was Once a Public Service is Now Crony Capitalism With Private Contractors

    The increasing privatisation of the European Patent Office (EPO), resembling what happens in the UK to the NHS, shows that the real goal is to crush the quality of the service and instead serve a bunch of rich and powerful interests, in defiance of the original goals of this well-funded (by taxpayers) organisation

  11. Microsoft Once Again Disregards People's Settings and Abuses Them, Again Pretends It's Just an Accident

    A conceited corporation, Microsoft, shows not only that it exploits its botnet to forcibly download massive binaries without consent but also that it vainly overrides people's privacy settings to spy on these people, sometimes with help from malicious hardware vendors such as Dell or Lenovo

  12. When the EPO Liaised With Capone (Literally) to Silence Bloggers, Delete Articles

    A dissection of the EPO's current media strategy, which involves not only funneling money into the media but also actively silencing opposing views

  13. Blogger Who Wrote About the EPO's Abuses Retires

    Bloggers' independent rebuttal capability against a media apparatus that is deep in the EPO's pocket is greatly diminished as Jeremy Phillips suddenly retires

  14. Leaked: EPO Award of €880,000 “in Order to Address the Media Presence of the EPO” (Reputation Laundering)

    The European Patent Office, a public body, wastes extravagant amounts of money on public relations (for 'damage control', like FIFA's) in an effort to undermine critics, not only among staff (internally) but also among the media (externally)

  15. Links 27/11/2015: KDE Plasma 5.5 Plans, Oracle Linux 7.2

    Links for the day

  16. Documents Needed: Contract or Information About EPO PR/Media Campaign to Mislead the World

    Rumour that the EPO spends almost as much as a million US dollars “with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO”

  17. Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue

    Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public...”

  18. Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Some timely perspective on what's needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by 'virtue' of making tyrants its official figureheads

  19. A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

    An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media

  20. European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”

    Criticism of the EPO's thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws

  21. Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

    Links for the day

  22. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  23. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  24. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  25. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  26. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin

  27. Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  28. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  29. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  30. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)


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