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

12.11.09

Patents Roundup: Microsoft’s FAT Ambush, RPX “Protection Racket”, and Life-threatening Patents

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents, TomTom at 5:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO backlash

Summary: The nastiness of patents puts itself up on display and herein we share the truth about this ill system, based on the latest news alone

THIS is a collection of news items that affect Free software by means of law.

Microsoft and Rambus Ambushed the Industry

Microsoft’s de facto PR machine is working to create another patent scare. Mary Jo Foley’s role was mentioned earlier and Ina Fried follows with promotion of exFAT patents.

The File Allocation Table (FAT) format is also licensed out by Microsoft, although its patents there have been the subject of contention, particularly since many distributions of Linux include the FAT formats.

This is also covered by the Microsoft bunch at Ars Technica (Emil) and other Microsoft reporters.

In February 2009, news broke that Microsoft had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against TomTom, alleging that the device maker’s products, including some that are Linux-based, infringe on patents related to Microsoft’s FAT32 filesystem. In March 2009, Microsoft and TomTom settled their controversial patent dispute, TomTom licensed the patents from Microsoft, and stated its intent to remove from its Linux kernel the code that is covered by the patents.

We have covered the TomTom case very extensively and also explained why Microsoft had ambushed the market with FAT. Microsoft is not alone though.

Rambus used submarine patents (or an ambush) in order to penalise all of its competitors [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Rambus was brought to court over this type of abuse and right now it is trying to escape punishment in Europe.

The American memory chip designer has been fighting allegations that it intentionally concealed that it had patents and patent applications connected to DRAM chips, which later became an industry standard. It’s accused of charging abusive licensing rates for the technology once its “patent ambush” was sprung.

In an hypothetical industry that prioritises progress, Rambus and Microsoft deserve to have the patents in question rubbished and all royalties previously paid to them refunded over time. If the patent system becomes a tool of deception, then The Christian Science Monitor is probably right and the patent system (including USPTO) deserves to be rubbished along with all those patents. To quote Richard Stallman (regarding EPO earlier this year [1, 2] ): “The European Patent Office is a corrupt, malicious organisation which should not exist.” Stallman argues that if it stands in our way, then we should “get rid of it too.”

RPX: Return of the Uber-Patent Harvester

We previously wrote about RPX in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. In short, it’s a useless behemoth that only accumulates patents and then offers “protection”. Georg Greve has just described RPX rather politely by writing “When your business plan is a euphemism for “protection racket”…”

Greve is the founder of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and he links to what he describes as a “Good article on the reality of software patents.”

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is well known for the venture capital it brought to great innovations involving computers, health and energy. One of its latest startups is based on an entrepreneurial idea that may or may not be great but is very interesting: helping companies hand over money for mostly bogus legal claims involving patents.

This particular startup, RPX, doesn’t describe itself that way. In fact, it makes a good case that its goal is to help companies, many of them in the tech industry, make the best of the bad situation that is the U.S. patent system. The fact that patent holders and lawyers will end up with money they don’t deserve reflects nothing about RPX but a lot about a system filled with rot.

If you think patents protect plucky innovators and their groundbreaking inventions, you haven’t been paying attention. Patents have evolved into an extortion scheme that hurts real inventors far more than it helps them.

Of course it does. Patents are about protecting monopolies, not protecting innovation. It’s a protectionist measure where the “protected” subject is revenue, not science. It is about investors, not inventors.

There is this new transcript of Richard Stallman on software patents:

The Danger of Software Patents

This is the transcript of a talk presented by Richard M. Stallman on 8 October 2009 at Victoria University of Wellington.

There are also videos of previous Stallman talks which cover the same subject.

Patents Versus Survival

On a couple of occasions earlier this week we wrote about the harms caused to the environment by patents. Check out this new report:

Preservation of IP: One of Many Goals in Copenhagen

[...]

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) has been front and center in this debate, and our position is clear: if governments are serious about addressing climate change, and all agree that new technologies are a vital part of the answer, then IP laws and rights need to be protected in any Copenhagen agreement. Indeed, in our view, a Copenhagen Summit with NO mention of IP at all is a successful conclusion. Current international laws and norms are working, and need to be preserved.

To which Glyn Moody responds with:

Got that? Stuff the environment, we’ve got to protect the *important* things in life, like intellectual monopolies…

Indeed. Here is a touching report on the subject.

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,

    December 11, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Gravatar

    Yea, on Rambus, anyone remember the i820 chipset from a decade ago? As I remember, it did not perform well due to the Pentium III bus. Intel came out with the MTH that translated SDRAM to RDRAM, but that was even slower and because of reliability issues later had to be recalled. It affected the Timna project too, which in the end had to be cancelled. In the meantime, the competitor VIA had it’s Apollo Pro 133(A) chipsets that supported PC133 SDRAM. Intel had to in the end release the i815 chipset that supported PC133 SDRAM too. Later with the P4 came the i850 chipset, where Rambus fits much better due to the P4 bus. But still Intel ended up releasing the i845 chipset later with PC133 SDRAM and later DDR SDRAM support.

What Else is New


  1. Vista 10 Inherently Criminal: Vandalising the Competition (Dual Boot, Rival Web Browsers, Online Services)

    Vista 10, the latest incarnation of Windows, takes its anticompetitive aspects to a whole new level, betraying even so-called 'partners' in the process



  2. As Microsoft AstroTurfing/PR Budget Runs Dry, Vista 10 Truths Come Out

    The media manipulation by Microsoft (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars spent on 'marketing') grows thin as a growing number of growingly angry early adopters of Vista 10 publicly rant



  3. Links 31/7/2015: Lennart Poettering as 'Linux Hero' and systemd Conference Coming

    Links for the day



  4. Links 30/7/2015: Apache Spark on Z System, Elive 2.6.8 Beta

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft's Mouthpiece Mary Branscombe Tries to Shoot Down Free Software, But Fails Miserably

    At the CBS-owned ZDNet, which is Free/Open Source software-hostile, new FUD surfaces, but the FUD is so flawed that a full rebuttal is easy and almost imperative



  6. People of New Zealand Must Rise Up to Defend Sovereignty and Stop Software Patents

    The TPPA serves to override (launder) the law of New Zealand, allegedly legalising patents on software in the process



  7. Microsoft Illegally Evades Billions of Dollars in Tax, Says IRS

    The criminal enterprise known as Microsoft finds itself embarrassingly exposed in the courtroom, for the IRS belatedly (decades too late) targets the company in an effort to tackle massive tax evasions



  8. Vista 10 Very Buggy Upon Release, Just as We Have Repeatedly Warned for Weeks

    Vista 10 is prematurely pushed out the door (to meet a deadline) way ahead of it being stable, even remotely polished, and supported by hardware companies (there is a serious drivers issue)



  9. Surveillance Machine With a Keylogger: Vista 10 Will Spy on the User (Over the Internet) Even While Playing Games

    Microsoft is making it clear that even playing a simple game like Solitaire on Vista 10 will make one subjected to spying (for targeted ads); other serious violations of privacy revealed upon release



  10. Links 29/7/2015: Akademy 2015 Ends, NetBSD 7.0 RC

    Links for the day



  11. MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

    A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH



  12. New Zealand's Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

    Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand



  13. Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too (Updated)

    Microsoft software is quickly becoming synonymous with crashes as any piece of software developed with Microsoft's tools, not just the underlying platform, crashes chronically



  14. The Government of Bulgaria Sells Out to Microsoft, Again

    Despite some promises and reassurances that Bulgaria will consider Free/libre software, the Bulgarian government hands out a lot more of taxpayers' money to the Mafia



  15. Corporate Media Finally Finds Out That Vista 10 Crashes a Lot

    Stability issues of Vista 10 are belatedly reported to be a major catastrophe, leaving it unusable for many early adopters



  16. Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug 'Branding' for FUD

    Links for the day



  17. Patents Roundup: Technicolor, Alice, Voip-Pal, Fitbit, Marijuana Patents, and JDate

    A look at some of last week's patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)



  18. Corporate Lobbyists Including Koch-Connected Front Groups Attack Real and Perceived Patent Reform in the United States

    Looking at some of the latest propaganda for and against a bill which is already too watered-down to actually fix the US patent system



  19. Patents in the Android World Further Complicate Freedom in This Linux-Powered Platform

    A survey of last week's news with special focus on Google and Android, which are trying to coexist and thrive in a world full of patent maximalists



  20. The 'Unitary' Patent Trojan Horse Rammed Down the Throat of Europe

    Under the guise of 'unification' or 'unity', existing patent systems are being abandoned and more power gets passed to corrupt EPO officials



  21. HEVC Cartel is Not News, Only the Names of Backers and the Costs Are New

    A few remarks on and a roundup of recent articles about HEVC, which we first wrote about in spring



  22. IRC Proceedings: July 12th, 2015 – July 25th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  23. Links 26/7/2015: Purism Librem and Freedom, Akademy Updates

    Links for the day



  24. Vista 10 (Windows 10) Has NSA Back Doors and Front Doors

    Vista 10 to bring new ways for spies (and other crackers) to remotely access people's computers and remotely modify the binary files on them (via Windows Update, which for most people cannot be disabled)



  25. Vista 10 Not Ready, But Released Anyway

    Despite severe technical issues in the rushed-out-the-door Vista 10, Microsoft decides to stick with the deadline, only days after reporting billions of dollars in losses



  26. Links 25/7/2015: Plasma Mobile, Linux Mint 17.2 OEM

    Links for the day



  27. Links 24/7/2015: openSUSE Leap 42.1, Intel With Rackspace for OpenStack

    Links for the day



  28. Links 24/7/2015: GNOME 3.17.4, Mozilla Developer Network Turns 10

    Links for the day



  29. Microsoft Has Run Out of Attempts and Vista 10 Will Definitely Fail

    As Microsoft admits billions of dollars in losses just days before Vista 10 is pushed as a 'free' upgrade, there is no concrete sign that financial recovery is imminent, for the bigger cash cow (Office) suffers a similar fate



  30. GNU/Linux Circles Ought to Stop Promoting Visual Studio, Which is Neither Cross-Platform Nor Free Software

    Media carries on openwashing Visual Studio and perpetuating the illusion that it is not tied to Microsoft Windows


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