12.29.09

Microsoft’s Racketeering with Patents and Abolition of Software Patents Reexamined

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Kernel, Law, Microsoft, OIN, Patents, TomTom at 4:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

Mark Shuttleworth

Ballmer on patents

Summary: Why Microsoft’s “extortion” is a serious offence that mustn’t be overlooked; How Free software deals with software patents at present

CHIN Wong from the Philippines is an excellent journalist, but in his latest column he seems to have gotten soft on Microsoft. In writing about Steve Ballmer's potential departure he asserts the following about software patents:

Would you fire Steve Ballmer?

[...]

A US federal appeals court upheld a $290-million judgment against Microsoft Corp. and ordered it to stop selling MS Word unless it removed code that violated the software patent of an obscure Canadian company, i4i, that sued it in Texas and won.

The ruling is ironic, given Microsoft’s use of software patents earlier this year to bludgeon TomTom, a Dutch maker of car navigation systems, into settling over its use of the Linux kernel. Ballmer has bellicosely proclaimed that the kernel violates several Microsoft’s patents and has threatened to sue developers and users alike over its use. The company’s suit against TomTom in February was the first time it tried to enforce these patents against the Linux platform.

The author focuses on the TomTom case but misses the more important point about Microsoft using racketeering tactics, which ought to send people like Steve Ballmer to prison (and bring Bill Gates back to court for crimes that he too had helped commit and initiate).

Over in India, a new article from Shree Lahiri makes the decent proposition that “Freedom of software [should be treated as] our birthright” and he also acknowledges Richard Stallman, crediting him in part for the protests against software patents. Lahiri writes:

Freedom of software is our birthright

[...]

Tracing the history of free software, Abhijit said, “In 1984, Richard Stallman started the Free Software Foundation and spent most of his time advocating for free software, as well as campaigning against both software patents and what he sees as excessive extension of copyright laws.”

Speaking of Stallman’s contribution to saner law, where are OIN, Linux Foundation and other IBM fronts when it comes to just abolishing software patents? They have other strategies in mind. The FSF and FFII seem to be among very few who are actively committed to the cause. The EFF’s squashing strategy and Peer2Patent’s gardening or voluntary peer review process are still considered somewhat controversial. Here is a new article from The Register that in some way legitimises software patents for the same reason; by labeling them “good” and “bad” (mostly bad) it tacitly claims that some of these patents are acceptable. OIN very explicitly takes this point of view, whereas for Peer2Patent it is still just implicit.

The best (of the worst) patent claims of 2009

[...]

El Reg is always eager to lap up the sad, eerie, and unusual of the bunch as they fall into our sights. We’ve gathered up a few of our 2009 favorites published in honor of the year’s end.

A patent is a monopoly, based on the words of the head of the USPTO. Schools rhetorically teach that monopolies are harmful to capitalism, so what gives? More importantly, why is there no police involvement when these monopolies are (mis)used for racketeering [1, 2]? To ignore this is to accept that Microsoft is above the law.

“IP is often compared to physical property rights but knowledge is fundamentally different.”

IP Watch on Professor Joseph Stiglitz

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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

What Else is New


  1. When Proprietary Software Users Dictate the Freedom-Leaning Communities

    Fedora doesn't care about software freedom and its steward (or parent company) is sometimes imposing proprietary software on staff; they've quit caring



  2. In 2020 Onwards 'Open Source' is Just a Marketing Ploy of Monopolies, Unlike Free Software

    More people are nowadays seeing or witnessing 'Open Source' for what it truly is; the term has become a misleading marketing term of proprietary software firms looking to rebrand as "ethical" (e.g. by sharing some code with other proprietary software firms, over proprietary platforms such as GitHub)



  3. Microsoft: The Year After We Bought GitHub There Was a Significant Decline in Number of New Projects on GitHub

    Microsoft has just admitted that in 2019 GitHub saw a very significant decline in number of new projects (and users, which it is conveniently miscounting by adding 'phantom' ones) on the site. Just what we had heard before they confirmed it (and they foresaw this effect of the takeover, hence the lies about "loving" Linux).



  4. Social Control Media is a Passing Fad, We Should All Go Back to Blogging and Subscribing to RSS Feeds

    The whole "social control media" phenomenon has been oversold or promoted using lies; in reality, as a mountain of evidence serves to show, it's a way to manage society at a macro scale



  5. As Andrei Iancu Removes Himself From the Patent and Trademark Office All Eyes Are on Biden's Next Nomination

    Patent zealots and their front groups already lobby Joe Biden to put one of them in charge of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; we'll soon see if Joe Biden "means business" or simply means monopoly/large corporations (and their law firms/departments)



  6. Data Point: GNU/Linux Share in Desktops/Laptops Nearly Tripled in the Past Decade, Peaking This Past Month (All-Time High)

    Contrary to what some publishers try to tell us, GNU/Linux is still growing and mostly at the expense of Windows



  7. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 23, 2021



  8. Links 24/1/2021: Nouveau X.Org Driver Release and GhostBSD 21.01.20

    Links for the day



  9. InteLeaks – Part XXX: Harbor Research's Pseudo-scientific 'Research' for Intel, Bizarrely Suggesting a Microsoft Partnership for a Domain Largely Controlled or Dominated by Linux

    The full document that Intel paid for and in turn used to justify cracking down on Free software (obliterating Free software-based workflows inside Intel), instead outsourcing all sorts of things to proprietary software traps of Microsoft



  10. Chromium and Chrome Are Not Free Software But an Example of Microsoft-Fashioned Openwashing Tactics

    It's time to reject Google's Web monopoly (shared with other companies but still an oligopoly); removing its Web browser would be a good start



  11. Links 23/1/2021: Chromium Pains and New Debian Maintainers

    Links for the day



  12. InteLeaks – Part XXIX: Harbor Research Did Not Produce a Study But an Elaborate Hoax for Intel, Suggesting Microsoft Partnership and Outsourcing Based on Zero Evidence and No Solid Rationale

    The pseudo-scientific ‘report’ from Harbor Research is more of the same nonsense we’ve grown accustomed to; unethical if not rogue firms are being paid to lie — or to perpetuate falsehoods which someone stands to gain from



  13. Video: The State of Communities Surrounding GNU/Linux Distributions

    A discussion about the state of volunteer efforts going into the development, maintenance (in the 'maintainership' sense) and support/advocacy of GNU/Linux distros



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, January 22, 2021



  15. InteLeaks – Part XXVIII: Intel Served Report From Microsoft Boosters, Who Provide No Actual Evidence and No Science to Back Their Supposed 'Findings'

    Findings and recommendations from Harbor 'Research' aren't based on any scientific methods, just perceived loyalty, branding, and a bunch of unsourced quotes (from unnamed people with ridiculous job titles like a soup of buzzwords)



  16. Erosion of Communities, Ascent of Corporate-Industrial Fake Communities

    Despite the attempts to manipulate/trick developers (and sometimes users) into becoming unpaid workforce of for-profit companies, there's an exodus back to real communities, which aren't subjected to the fury of wealthy shareholders who utterly dislike or simply don't care for software freedom



  17. The Corporate 'Left' and the Open Source Pseudo 'Movement'

    President Biden may not be as bad as his predecessor, but that hardly means very much; software freedom is still threatened, along with many other things



  18. Links 22/1/2021: pfSense Plus, Endless OS Foundation, and Many Laptops With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  19. The Linux Foundation is Trying to Obscure Racism Using Microsoft-Inspired Tactics (Vouchers Disguised as Actual Money)

    The Linux Foundation and its PR stunts don’t help combat racism; one might argue that the Foundation is leveraging racism, which prevails in the US, to paint itself as benevolent and caring (offering immaterial things and self-serving press releases)



  20. InteLeaks – Part XXVII: 'Pulling a Nokia' on Intel (Outsourcing to Microsoft)

    The recommendation of an Intel marriage with Microsoft (even in units that deal mostly with Linux) is an insulting slap across the face of developers employed there; we take a look at recommendations made to IoTG (Intel) by a firm with Microsoft orientation



  21. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 21, 2021



  22. InteLeaks – Part XXVI: Harbor Research is Horrible 'Research', Lacking Actual Technical Background

    Having looked at the members of staff of Harbor Research (individually), it seems clearer now why they have an affinity for Microsoft and why they're directing Intel to liaise with Microsoft and become a prisoner of Microsoft (even in areas where Microsoft is increasingly irrelevant)



  23. Links 21/1/2021: Raspberry Pi Pico, Ubuntu 21.04 Picks GNOME 3.38, KDE Plasma 5.21 Beta

    Links for the day



  24. How a Newly Inaugurated President Biden Can Advance Software Freedom (If He Actually Wishes to Do So)

    Techrights has 'Four Suggestions' to President Biden, the 46th 'front end' of American plutocracy



  25. InteLeaks – Part XXV: Intel's Brain Drain Leads to Unusual Measures

    As the company once known as 'chipzilla' loses its relevance and dominance in the market it's reaching out to retired people, trying to get them back onboard



  26. Hey Hi (AI) is Just a Trojan Horse for Illegal Software Patents, According to EPO Management and Litigation Firms It's in Bed With

    The longtime pushers or the lobby of patent profiteers just carry on pushing for software patents, nowadays latching onto the inane and unwarranted media hype around Hey Hi (AI) — a hype wave that was co-opted by EPO management to grant unlawful patents



  27. The Central Staff Representatives (CSC) of the EPO Are Petitioning to End the Assault on EPO Staff

    The EPO, just one month after the staff went on strike, is about to receive a compelling petition to stop the assault on EPO staff



  28. InteLeaks – Part XXIV: Love for Microsoft, Not for Free Software or Whatever Replaces Microsoft

    Intel is basing its big decisions on buzzwords and firms that master buzzwords; it's sad that instead of listening to Intel's own (in-house) engineers it's relying on a bunch of clowns who push 'Clown Computing' and 'apps' and 'UX'...



  29. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 20, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 20, 2021



  30. Links 21/1/2021: Google Tightens the Screws on Chromium, VideoLAN VLC 3.0.12

    Links for the day


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