01.23.10

Microsoft Takes a Hit at Linux with More FAT Patents; John Ward, John Olivo, and McKool Assist Some More Patent Trolling

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Protocol, Samba, Ubuntu at 4:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Urgent need to put an end to Microsoft and the trolls

Summary: Microsoft’s software patent war on Linux carries on, albeit very quietly; a patent troll represented by McKool Smith and Ward & Olivo strikes (quite massively too)

UBUNTU has been mostly apathetic when it comes to Mono and Moonlight problems, so it is good to see that Canonical’s technical chief gets a lecturing from Dr. Tridgell, whose warnings about software patents we have already mentioned (right after his talk at LCA 2010).

Matt Zimmerman writes

Andrew Tridgell: Patent defence for free software

I missed the start of this talk, but when I arrived, Andrew was explaining how to read and interpret patent claims. This is even less obvious than one might suppose. He offered advice on which parts to read first, and which could be disregarded or referred to only as needed.

Invalidating a patent entirely is difficult, but because patents are interpreted very narrowly, inventions can often be shown to be “different enough” from the patented one.

Where “workarounds” are found, which enable free software to interoperate or solve a problem in a different way than described in a patent, Andrew says it is important to publish them far and wide. This helps to discourage patent holders from attacking free software, because the discovery and publication of a workaround could lead to them losing all of their revenue from the patent (as their licensees could adopt that instead and stop paying for licenses).

Tridgell’s colleague, Jeremy Allison, has just warned about this as well (also at LCA 2010). He previously advised Ubuntu to move Mono and Mono-based applications to the ‘restricted’ repositories [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. His take on OOXML was seen as noteworthy and some would say prophetic.

Dana Blankenhorn wrote about Allison’s talk as follows:

Open source evangelist Jeremy Allison was in New Zealand yesterday, where he issued dire warnings of Microsoft launching a patent attack against open source to win back mobile market share. (Picture from Wikipedia.)

Allison, who famously quit Novell after it announced its patent pact with Microsoft, told a Linux conference in Wellington that Microsoft has to go to court or Windows Mobile is dead. He called a patent fight its “nuclear option.”

Allison is in the business of having no choice but to mimic or comply with a Microsoft protocol. The European Commission is on his side thanks to an exclusive resolution which came after a decade of fighting against Microsoft (which must now comply with the law or heavy pay fines, so it’s not a case of playing nice with Samba).

Let’s remind ourselves that Microsoft sued TomTom over filesystems in Linux. Andrew Tridgell personally suffered from this (he eventually posted a patch enabling Linux to work around the VFAT patents) and the FAT crusade continues as Microsoft signed a patent deal with Funai (for exFAT) a few days ago. Novell’s deal with Microsoft is mentioned in this new article about Funai:

Microsoft inks patent deal with LCD builder

[...]

Microsoft has a long history of signing high-profile patent sharing deals. The company’s landmark 2006 deal with Novell sent shockwaves through the open source industry, and the firm has signed similar deals with Brother, Kyocera and Nikon.

See our posts about Tuxera in order to understand Microsoft’s plan to tax GNU/Linux through filesystems (to begin with). It all started with Novell, which came to Microsoft looking for a deal.

A few days ago Microsoft sued TiVo. Asay (formerly of Novell) writes:

As Red Hat evangelist Jan Wildeboer suggests,

The 6,008,803 patent…looks very broad. Might affect all kinds of media center [software]. So also Linux apps. The real question is, “Which Linux media center app infringes on Tivo patents?

In other words, we’re not out of the woods yet, though it does appear that Microsoft’s interest is in supporting the largest customer of its Mediaroom software, not in undermining Linux. Not this time, anyway.

Microsoft appears to have lied about its interests though. Moreover, as we explained the other day, any attack on TiVo — whether it targets Linux or not — can lessen the usage of Linux by weakening TiVo.

From the comments on this: “More reason to detest Microsoft, just wonderful…. Microsoft needs to be dismantled.”

In other patent news, watch what McKool and Ward are up to:

McKool’s promotional material doesn’t emphasize its work for FotoMedia, a patent-holding company whose only apparent business is filing infringement lawsuits. As part of its litigation campaign, FotoMedia has been demanding royalty payments from more than 60 companies with photo-sharing websites. The McKool lawyer in charge of the FotoMedia cases was not available for interviews on Friday, and FotoMedia has not responded to TPA interview requests in the past. FotoMedia is also represented by John Ward & Olivo, a firm out of New York that frequently represents patent-holding companies.

[...]

FotoMedia is a patent-holding company that claims just about every photo-sharing website you can imagine infringes its three patents. Its lawsuits, covered by TPA last May and June, are notable not just for the audacity of the claims they make, but also because they target dozens of small- and medium-sized software companies that provide various types of photo-sharing services over the Internet.

Disgusting. Patent trolls and parasites, including FotoMedia which we mentioned here before. Their site lists not a single product and their job openings are just “for an experienced candidate to join the licensing team of FotoMedia’s parent company, Scenera Research, as a Patent Analyst/Engineer.”

Got that? It says “licensing team… Patent Analyst/Engineer.”

A “licensing team” is basically a bunch of racketeers like Sisvel [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] and Microsoft. What the hell is a Patent Engineer? A fancy terminology for a lawyer?

We wrote about McKool Smith in [1, 2, 3]. As for Ward, he is working for patent trolls and suing critics (and their employers [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]). According to this, he’s also pumping money into politics (assuming it’s him). These people should not be allowed in this business if innovation is the real goal. They are leeches and Ray Niro is probably the nastiest of all of them [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

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

2 Comments

  1. fi cal said,

    January 24, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Gravatar

    Forgot to comment this earlier on, but here comes:

    I asked in a comment from Mikko Välimäki / Tuxera about exFAT issue after he announced he’s stopping taking in new clients as a lawyer and said he will start as CEO in Tuxera during spring.

    Google seems to translate it quite understandably, so please see this -

    http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.turre.com%2F2009%2F12%2Fkonsultista-tuotefirman-vetajaksi%2F&sl=fi&tl=en

    Original url: http://www.turre.com/2009/12/konsultista-tuotefirman-vetajaksi/

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks, I’ve just read it. Can you please explain what we can infer from it?

What Else is New


  1. 'Social Dialogue' at the EPO Broke Down, Team Campinos is Totally Delusional

    Team Campinos is speaking to itself, reaffirming its own decisions, but it's trying to give the impression of consultation with staff; unfortunately for them, staff isn't gullible enough and there's good understanding of the false pretenses



  2. The EPO's 2020 Impaired Vision/ViCo: Imposing Illegal Practices on EPO Stakeholders, Not Only on EPO Staff

    Corruption is contagious; we now see a growing number of EPO stakeholders speaking out against the outrageous attempts by Office management to impose illegal practices on them; they don't wish to participate in any of this



  3. Censored EPO Publication: Evidence That the Censorship of EPO Staff Representation (Central Staff Committee) Started Months After António Campinos Started His Term

    Central Staff Committee representatives explained in very clear terms how Team Campinos (soon 2.5 years in the role) was — and still is — censoring representatives in an attempt to keep staff ignorant, misinformed, and afraid



  4. Guest Post: Helping Roy Delete Debian at Work and Home

    "What we probably don't want to do is continue to support Debian or systemd, if we can help it."



  5. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 02, 2020



  6. Links 2/12/2020: Multi-Touch Gestures in elementaryOS, DXVK 1.7.3

    Links for the day



  7. Links 2/12/2020: ZaReason RIP, Rancher Now SUSE-Owned, OSI Board Director Works for/on Azure

    Links for the day



  8. [Meme] Espionage With Spyware: Slack's Data Sold to Company That Helps ICE Kidnap Children and Forcibly Sterilise Women

    There's now an additional good reason to boycott Slack's malware, which is basically surveillance of workers disguised as 'collaboration'



  9. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 01, 2020



  10. The World is Ill

    Not only Europe's second-largest institution (the EPO) is morbidly if not critically ill; the OSI is now a zombie controlled by Microsoft and friends, much like the so-called 'Linux' Foundation



  11. Censored EPO Publication: Staff Representatives Cannot Comment on the Survey Conducted by the Office's Management

    EPO management tried to muzzle EPO staff after the Office-wide staff survey turned out to be “nothing short of a disaster.”



  12. Censorship at the EPO is Counterproductive, Rendering the Censored Publications More Seductive and Censored People More Disgruntled

    The efforts to gag Techrights or to intimidate us have all been unfruitful; in a sense, they encouraged us to focus on EPO scandals even more and arguably invoked the 'Streisand Effect' at the EPO (most workers read this site, no matter what their bosses say)



  13. EPO Management Has No Plans Other Than Granting Loads of Invalid Patents (e.g. Software Patents) to Pocket Fees and Then Grift/Gamble With the Money

    The EPO does not know what the hell it’s doing; it’s more of that magical festival-like thinking, as if running a patent office is Eurovision



  14. Links 1/12/2020: KDE Plasma 5.20.4, GNU Octave 6.1, OpenZFS 2.0, and PinePhone KDE Community Edition

    Links for the day



  15. [Meme] Public Servants Who Only Serve Themselves and Their Predecessors (Who Gave Them the Job)

    The Benoît Battistelli-appointed António Campinos (an old friend of his) isn’t just covering up the EPO‘s financial scams but contributes to these; when will this house of cards (arse-covering) fall and will that take a special (independent) investigator?



  16. Censored EPO Publication: Battistelli Can Have His Multi-Billion Euro EPO Scam, So Why Can't Campinos Too?

    Mr. Campinos, seeing what Mr. Battistelli has managed to get away with (the Commission approves, having been infiltrated by friends of the ringleaders), piggybacks or follows the steps of his appointer by blasting almost a billion euros on a worthless project with no real purpose and the Central Staff Committee (CSC) warns it has "very high risk of mismanagement and fraud"



  17. Staff Representation of the EPO Explains to EPO Management That It's Breaking the Law, Robbing the Staff, and Lying to Staff

    Human rights, basic dignity and labour protections of EPO staff are routinely violated and the staff is also being robbed based on false pretenses; the staff representatives write to refute "[t]he Office’s report [which] has been made available on the Intranet"



  18. European Commission's Thierry Breton Covers Up EPO Corruption For His Friend Benoît Battistelli

    Thierry Breton is the sort of official who causes people to vote for Brexit (or similar exits from the EU); he’s enthusiastically defending EPO corruption and he also calls for constitutional violations in many member states — all in the name of patent maximalism (Team UPC’s coup attempt)



  19. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 30, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, November 30, 2020



  20. Links 30/11/2020: GhostBSD 20.11.28, Nitrux 1.3.5, Linux 5.10 RC6, GNOME Circle, Microsoft Collapses Again in Web Server Share

    Links for the day



  21. Alternatives to the World Wide Web, to HTML, to HTTP/S, and to the Internet

    Looking around the Web (yes, the Web) for alternatives to the Web (and the stack underneath the Web), we're finding that IPFS is mature and robust enough for our needs



  22. Management of the EPO Dragged to the International Labour Organisation Over Its Assault on the Right to Strike

    Opinion on strikes challenged by the Central Staff Committee of Europe's second-largest organisation; if strike rights are almost abolished there, what hope is there for the rest of Europe?



  23. [Meme] Management of the EPO Cannot Let the Staff Breathe or Smell Freedom

    Working for the EPO means giving up on one’s human rights; that’s the sort of conclusion many workers have reached



  24. “ViCo” is Nothing New (Not Even the Acronym), Done on 9/11 Last Year, Been Possible as Long as the EPO Has Existed

    Contrary to what many people are led to believe, the EPO isn't embracing innovation, it's just embracing COVID-19 and leveraging lock-downs (de facto house arrest to some) to impose an illegal practice on EPO staff and EPO stakeholders



  25. Release: Early Letters and Documents About Financial Hoax Disguised as EPO 'Study'

    It was over a year ago that staff representation at the EPO expressed concerns about what would later enrage workers — seeing that based on unscientific fabrications the EPO would take away what had been promised to them



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 29, 2020



  27. Managing IP: Puff Pieces Galore for the EPO's Dictatorship (Complete With Buzzwords and PR Stunts)

    By giving a platform to notorious patent trolls and ‘engaging’ with the EPO‘s dictator (whom only 3% of EPO staff trusts) Managing IP is sort of giving away its real agenda, which isn’t journalism but conducting or assisting misinformation campaigns



  28. Links 29/11/2020: Genode OS Framework 20.11, Linux 5.11 Kernel Changes, and Latest in KDE Itinerary

    Links for the day



  29. Sincere Thoughts About Outreachy

    Outreachy's role in the Free software community and inclusion in the FSF's High Priority Projects, as seen from the eyes of a female coder from a minority group; she used to work for the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and she expresses concerns about what Outreachy has become



  30. Free Software Under Tyranny of Codes of Conduct as the Western Equivalent of Blasphemy Law (Corporations as the New Religion/Sponsors as Deities)

    The free speech crisis in Free software communities has enabled expulsion of opinionated people whose opinions truly matter; in their place we now have companies that bomb people, sometimes even kidnapping children and sterilising women because nothing says “Ethics” like naked fascism and corporate domination everywhere


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