01.07.10

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Novell is Still Fishing for Software Patents, Microsoft and Apple Do Patent Evils

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, OpenOffice, SUN at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The proprietary bunch is still pursuing software patents, even some of those types which are considered highly controversial

IT IS NOT exactly news that Novell fancies software patents. It keeps applying for more of them and here is the latest addition based on the news:

System and method for determining a nearest-network resource using GPS coordinates , patent No. 7,643,835, invented by Kurt Nosack of Payson, Christopher Jean Seiler of Provo, and Ty Ellis of Elk Ridge, assigned to Novell, Inc. of Provo.

A long time ago we showed that Novell’s Meeks even obtains software patents from the UK, probably covering an area of OpenOffice.org and giving Novell a monopoly on it. This may be relevant now that several people — including Dana Blankenhorn — speak about Meeks’ assertions regarding copyright.

Yesterday’s piece on open source buy-outs drew many strong reactions, but the best may have been a link to a piece Michael Meeks has posted to GNOME on copyright assignment.

[...]

If you are writing as an employee of a corporate sponsor, whether that’s Novell or ZDNet, this assignment is not an issue. The rights to your work will follow the Golden Rule — he who has the gold makes the rules.

Doesn’t Meeks get paid by Novell for it? Should Sun allow Microsoft’s partner own part of its code that competes against Microsoft’s #1 cash cow? Here is Microsoft patenting yet another antifeature. From The Register we learn:

Microsoft has applied for a US patent that the company hopes will close a loophole when it comes to licensing software to third parties.

Redmond put forward its request to patent what it has dubbed the “extensible agent-based license structure” on 25 June 2008. The USPTO published the firm’s application, which is credited to inventors Sanjay Garg, Scott Kurtzeborn, Qi Zhong and Gordon Hardy – working on behalf of MS – on 31 December 2009.

The software giant noted in its application that its current licensing systems, including the controversial product activation technology it uses, come with a restrictive set of licensing schemes when the firm’s software is released.

Watch what Apple is doing:

Apple Blocks Google App From iPhone While Trying To Patent The Same Invention?

[...]

What makes this story more interesting is the fact that Apple barred Google Lattitude from the iPhone app store. Of course, Apple has a history of barring competitive apps, but that’s also brought about regulatory scrutiny from the federal government over whether or not Apple is abusing its market position.

Regarding intellectual monopolies in general, here is what Against Monopoly had to say yesterday:

Granting property rights in scarce resources, but not in ideas, is precisely what is needed to permit successful action as well as societal progress and prosperity.

Especially when it comes to patents, the limitations are made significant enough to interfere with free thinking. How can anyone defend software patents unless it’s done to preserve a monopoly or exploit a wasteful system (applicable to patent lawyers/trolls in particular)? Who is this system actually for?

“Small enterprises generally adopt a rather negative position towards the current increasing granting of patents for software and algorithms because they fear that these will hamper or eventually even impede their work (more than 85%).” —German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Study of the Innovation Performance of German Software Companies, 2006, p. 86 [PDF]

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