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01.22.10

How Patent Trolls Harm Free Software and How the European Parliament Plans to Make the Trolls Even Stronger

Posted in Australia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law, Patents, Videos at 4:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Europe not only accommodates patent trolls (even in Belgium) but it also intends to make them more potent thanks to legislation that the Parliament in Brussels in discussing

LCA 2010 has already had people complain about ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] for its bad effects when it comes to patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. We wrote about this last night.

In another new article from LCA 2010, the patent trolls problem is named as an ever-increasing risk to Free software, for obvious reasons:

Free software is likely to come under increasing attack from patent holders in the years ahead and therefore developers themselves need to understand the basics of patents, free software luminary Andrew Tridgell said today.

Delivering a talk titled “Patent defense for FOSS developers” at the 11th Australian national Linux conference in Wellington, Tridgell, who is best known for creating Samba and rsync, provided a walkthrough of some basics which needed to be learnt by all developers.

The president of the FFII, Benjamin Henrion, has just brought attention to “Ballad of the Patent Troll”:

General Patent Corporation may be a dull-sounding name, but from the company’s Wealth of Ideas newsletter comes something worth watching and highly thought-provoking — “The Ballad of the Patent Troll” (for which, click here).

Benjamin has finally put a lot of ACTA videos online (extracted from the European parliament’s STOA event). Here is one part of interest (more here).

Benjamin also shares some information about a Belgian patent troll called AllIsBlue. To quote:

AllIsBlue attacks Belgacom and Rossel

The Belgian company AllIsBlue is threatening to file complaint against the managing directors of Belgacom (Didier Bellens), Proximus (Michel Georgis) and Rossel (Bernard Marchant). AllIsBlue claims these companies are using mobile services on which AllIsBlue has a patent.

From two years ago there’s this gem:

What is the business model of AllIsBlue?

Now, looking at AllIsBlue, what is their business model? On which basis are they trying to generate revenues and income for their shareholders?

Looking at this from the side (we are not an insider*), it seems very much that the mission and purpose of AllIsBlue is to attack and threaten companies (potential clients, competitors, …) on the basis of a patent written back in 2000. And to make a lot of noise about this.

So, Europe too has patent trolls. In the video above (around 4:00), one person openly complains about them and explains that the proposed changes (what Community patent can bring about) would only help patent trolls. At around 5:30, the lady almost denies the existence of European patent trolls, even though ones are nearby. A lot of the rest contains propaganda and fabricated numbers, which may have arrived through corporations and their lobbyists.

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