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01.15.10

Patents Roundup: Commission Sells Out to Microsoft; Apple and RIM Sued by Gates-backed Kodak

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 2:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Simons and Kroes
Photo of Wim Simons and Neelie Kroes
not from the public domain but
under the GNU Free Documentation License
(captions added separately)

Summary: Interesting developments in Europe and elsewhere, some of which are clearly detrimental to the spreading of Free software

NEELIE KROES SIGNED a deal with Microsoft and we wrote about it last night. This hardly received any coverage when it happened and the provisional deal was broadly denounced [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. The FFII is going through this video which it captured yesterday and its president says that “the European Parliament’s services [are] not able to deliver transcripts of the hearing of the new Commissioners.” This is bad for transparency. He added that “Nellie [sic] Kroes says she made a deal with Microsoft last week, probably against Samba and for software patents.” The video of this hearing can be found here, with relevant parts at 54 mins, 56 secs from the start. Bad news for software patents in Europe, no doubt. It’s done beyond a jurisdiction and though precedence with a multiple-times convicted monopoly abuser.

In other patent news, Microsoft’s friends at Apple are being sued for patent infringement again. This time it’s Kodak, not Nokia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Kodak has had some recent connections with Microsoft and Bill Gates [1, 2], but it’s nothing terribly alarming.

Eastman Kodak said Thursday that it has filed lawsuits against both Apple and Research in Motion over digital imaging patents.

Kodak launched its lawsuits on two fronts. Kodak filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission arguing that Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry infringe Kodak technology for previewing images.

This is also covered in:

In other week, a discussion about “Abolishing Software Patents” is to take place and software patents proponent Gene Quinn carries on with his self-serving propaganda. What does he know? He’s a lawyer, not a programmer. These people ought to stay out of developers’ business.

On Friday I’ll be in LA at Mahalo headquarters at 1pm making a guest appearance on Jason Calacanis’s This Week In Startups show. I told Jason I’d be happy to discuss whatever he wanted to which I hope includes the Open Angel Forum, Startup Visa, Abolishing Software Patents, and all kinds of fun things around entrepreneurship and venture capital. Conversations with Jason are never dull so I expect this one to be spicy hot on top of the typical chocolately goodness.

Here is the Business Week article (about patents) which is inspiring Microsoft boosters to promote the company’s software patents at the moment. We gave an example yesterday.

He says IBM’s portfolio includes a large number of service-related patents, which do not command as high a price as the video-game and software patents that heavily weigh in Microsoft’s portfolio.

This is another thing that separates Microsoft and IBM; Microsoft is very focused on controversial ideas that are not implemented in any physical form. Based on the Bilski principles as already agreed by high courts, this should not be allowed. How sad it is that the European Commission — and this one of all agencies — decided to cave in after heavy lobbying from Microsoft and front groups like ACT.

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