02.26.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Patents Roundup: Google Versus Patent Trolls, Patents Unrest, Microsoft’s Friend Fraunhofer to Report on Software Patents in Europe

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Google, Law, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 6:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fraunhofer

Summary: Lawyers masquerading as innovators lose their case against Google; many new reports from the US show a patent case against search engines; Europe still faces risks of UPLS and India’s CIS protests against software patents

THERE is a lot of patent news we haven’t found the time to cover, so here it is very quickly.

United States

Google’s important patent trial involves “a pair of entrepreneurs with one failed business idea [and] almost no computer programming experience,” to use the words of the president of the FFII, Benjamin Henrion (or as TechDirt put it, “Google Fights Back And Wins Against Bogus Patent Lawsuit From Guy Who Couldn’t Even Code His ‘Invention’”). Here are some of the details:

This week: the software giant’s hard-nosed strategy for dealing with patent-holding plaintiffs gets put to the test—and proves successful.

Late last month, Google won its first patent infringement lawsuit to go to a jury trial, in the Eastern District of Texas. The plaintiff was Function Media LLC, a patent holding company owned by husband-and-wife inventors Michael Dean and Lucinda Stone. Unlike like many of those who file patent suits in the plaintiff-friendly venue, Dean and Stone actually live in the Eastern District, residing in Tyler.

“A “disturbing” number of the lawsuits come from companies controlled by patent lawyers, sometimes asserting the lawyers’ own “inventions”,” says Henrion. But Google has also just been sued by a real company whose implementations Apple and Microsoft famously copied:

Last Friday, Xerox filed a lawsuit seeking compensation over patent-infringement claims. The copy giant claims that Google and Yahoo have been using its own technology for search queries and data integration. A spokesman for Xerox said that, following failed jaw-jaw, it was time for war-war.

Google is no innocent victim though. Hadoop’s patent issue is one that we wrote about last week when we called Google to stop patenting of software. Google perhaps insists that Hadoop is “safe”, but this is not a legal guarantee and there is no reason for one company to be put at the mercy of another because of the burden of patents.

In mid-January, Google won a patent for MapReduce, the distributed data crunching platform that underpins its globe-spanning online infrastructure. And that means there’s at least a question mark hanging over Hadoop, the much-hyped open source platform that helps drive Yahoo!, Facebook, Microsoft’s Bing, and an ever-expanding array of other web services and back-end business applications.

Hadoop is based in part on a MapReduce research paper Google published in 2004, about six months after it applied for the patent.

Here is an opinion piece just published by IDG. It calls for elimination of software patents.

Software patents make no sense. Like music, art, and other creative pursuits, software is almost always derivative work. There is not a chance in hell that Facebook invented this idea. I am certain there have been social news feeds around for at least a decade or more. I am not going to spend the time finding all the prior art, but I am sure there are patent lawyers doing that already for various social networks who are now potential subjects of patent litigation from Facebook.

The Washington Post has another new opinion piece that speaks of “dangers of over-zealous intellectual property cops” and says:

The industrial inventors of the nineteenth century, too – heirs to the heroic ideal of James Watt – would have understood today’s enforcers. They complained loudly that patents needed to be easier to police and longer-lasting, denouncing rival industrialists as piratical. Their campaign to secure patentees’ prerogatives had many implications, one of which was the passage of Britain’s first modern patent law.

But it also sparked a counter-campaign to abolish patenting altogether. Led by Victorian Britain’s principal arms manufacturer, it denounced the very idea of a patent as monopolistic, retrogressive, and philosophically absurd – and it identified the practice of enforcement as a serious impediment to the nation’s progress. Although it came very close to triumphing (and a parallel bid in the Netherlands did triumph), the campaign against patenting eventually failed.

[...]

In principle, there is no reason why not. Conflicts over intellectual property in its various domains — gene patenting, GMOs, pharmaceuticals, and digital media, to mention only a few — are an everyday presence. Criticisms and piratical practices in any of these realms have the potential to ramify into major challenges to the conceptual structure of modern intellectual property itself. What has been missing so far has been a sufficiently general trigger. The practice of policing could supply it. It would be ironic if the greatest revision of intellectual property’s nature in 150 years were to be set in train by the very measures adopted to preserve it sacrosanct.

“A counter-campaign to abolish patenting altogether, it denounced the idea of a patent as monopolistic retrogressive absurd,” adds Henrion to the above.

This patent system has been hijacked by lawyers who do not invent anything but instead just feed on the system. "Patent Watchtroll" (lawyer/lobbyist for software patents, Gene Quinn) says: “Patent attorneys have always been at least one step ahead, and even if the Supreme Court tries to kill software patents we will figure out a way to characterize it so that it will be patentable.”

“This patent system has been hijacked by lawyers who do not invent anything but instead just feed on the system.”Here is Black Duck’s CEO Tim Yeaton (former marketing person at Red Hat) explaining or at least justifying [1, 2] the application for a software patent that his company received rather than acquired. It’s the usual excuses. Red Hat is not innocent, either. In fact, it participates in Peer-to-Patent and Henrion says that “those who invest in projects like Peer-to-Patent are part of the conspiracy.”

Here is Activision getting slapped for game patent violations [via]:

The immense popularity of musical video games such as Guitar Hero, Band Hero and DJ Hero appears to have generated some unwanted attention for Activision Publishing, Inc. (“Activision”). In particular, on February 12, 2010, Patent Compliance Group, Inc. (“PCG”) filed a qui tam action against Activision, alleging that Activision has falsely marked many of its video games including Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero, DJ Hero and Guitar Hero Smash Hits (collectively “Activision video game products”) as patented or patent pending.

BerryReview wonders if the BlackBerry flashlight application can be patented too.

Now I am curious what you all think. Even if it were possible should developers be able to patent a way of performing a function programmatically on your BlackBerry? I personally think that would be ridiculous and I know for a fact that it is VERY difficult to get a software patent. From what I understand at most developers can get copyright for the written code but that is only relevant if another person copies the actual code which is hard to prove…

There seems to be this silent consensus that the patent system does not serve the interests of the right people. “The USPTO grants patents for business methods, so that you can exclude your competitors from doing business the same way,” adds Henrion with some timely proof.

Europe

Software patents may become a problem in Europe unless they are fought against. Henrion has collected a lot of new evidence that includes his observation that the “European Commission awards study on software patents and standards to Fraunhofer, OOXML proponent and Microsoft proxy”; to quote the relevant part:

V.3) NAME AND ADDRESS OF ECONOMIC OPERATOR IN FAVOUR OF WHOM A CONTRACT AWARD DECISION HAS BEEN TAKEN:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V. as legal entity acting for Fraunhofer Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung, Hansastraße 27 c, 80686 Munich, GERMANY.

Fraunhofer consistently serves Microsoft's interests. Henrion has also noticed that “BusinessEurope [is] pushing for patent harmonisation with Free Trade Agreements” and a “conference in Starsbourg [PDF] [will cover] the UPLS central patent court and software patents via the backdoor”; then there is what he considers “the European Commission’s report [PDF] [which is] hostile to Free Software, promoting software patents in standards and the undefined RAND term”

We at Boycott Novell are very grateful to Henrion, who caries on along the footsteps of Hartmut Pilch. As Pilch put it at one point, Microsoft is part of the problem; it has been a major part of it for a long time.

India

Over in India, Microsoft and other companies are trying to legalise software patents (Microsoft is unique among the lobbyists). CIS has just issued this lengthy statement opposing software patents.

CIS believes that software patents are harmful for the software industry and for consumers. In this post, Pranesh Prakash looks at the philosophical, legal and practical reasons for holding such a position in India. This is a slightly modified version of a presentation made by Pranesh Prakash at the iTechLaw conference in Bangalore on February 5, 2010, as part of a panel discussing software patents in India, the United States, and the European Union.

As we showed in an earlier post, ACTA strives for an overhaul on an international level. It’s important to keep an eye open.

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 24/10/2021: Ceph Boss Sage Weil Resigns and Many GPL Enforcement Stories

    Links for the day



  2. GAFAM-Funded NPR Reports That Facebook Let Millions of People Like Trump Flout the So-called Rules. Not Just “a Few”.

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  3. Some Memes About What Croatia Means to the European Patent Office

    Before we proceed to other countries in the region, let’s not forget or let’s immortalise the role played by Croatia in the EPO (memes are memorable)



  4. Gangster Culture in the EPO

    The EPO‘s Administrative Council was gamed by a gangster from Croatia; today we start the segment of the series which deals with the Balkan region



  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”

    The EPO‘s circle of corruption in the Balkan region will be the focus of today’s (and upcoming) coverage, showing some of the controversial enablers of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, two deeply corrupt French officials who rapidly drive the Office into the ground for personal gain (at Europe’s expense!)



  6. Links 23/10/2021: FreeBSD 12.3 Beta, Wine 6.20, and NuTyX 21.10.0

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 22, 2021



  8. [Meme] [Teaser] Crime Express

    The series about Battistelli's "Strike Regulations" (20 parts thus far) culminates as the next station is the Balkan region



  9. Links 23/10/2021: Star Labs/StarLite, Ventoy 1.0.56

    Links for the day



  10. Gemini on Sourcehut and Further Expansion of Gemini Space

    Gemini protocol is becoming a widely adopted de facto standard for many who want to de-clutter the Internet by moving away from the World Wide Web and HTML (nowadays plagued by JavaScript, CSS, and many bloated frameworks that spy)



  11. Unlawful Regimes Even Hungary and Poland Would Envy

    There’s plenty of news reports about Polish and Hungarian heads of states violating human rights, but never can one find criticism of the EPO’s management doing the same (the mainstream avoids this subject altogether); today we examine how that area of Europe voted on the illegal "Strike Regulations" of Benoît Battistelli



  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group

    The EPO‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations” (which helped Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos illegally crush or repress EPO staff) were supported by only one among 4 Visegrád delegates



  13. [Meme] IBM Has Paid ZDNet to Troll the Community

    Over the past few weeks ZDNet has constantly published courses with the word "master" in their headlines (we caught several examples; a few are shown above); years ago this was common, also in relation to IBM itself; clearly IBM thinks that the word is racially sensitive and offensive only when it's not IBM using the word and nowadays IBM pays ZDNet — sometimes proxying through the Linux Foundation — to relay this self-contradictory message whose objective is to shame programmers, Free software communities etc. (through guilt they can leverage more power and resort to projection tactics, sometimes outright slander which distracts)



  14. [Meme] ILO Designed to Fail: EPO Presidents Cannot be Held Accountable If ILOAT Takes Almost a Decade to Issue a Simple Ruling

    The recent ILOAT ruling (a trivial no-brainer) inadvertently reminds one of the severe weaknesses of ILOAT; what good is a system of accountability that issues rulings on decisions that are barely relevant anymore (or too late to correct)?



  15. Links 22/10/2021: Trump's AGPL Violations and Chrome 95 Released

    Links for the day



  16. [Meme] How Corporate Monopolies Demonise Critics of Their Technically and Legally Problematic 'Products'

    When the technical substance of some criticism stands (defensible based upon evidence), and is increasingly difficult to refute based on facts, make up some fictional issue — a straw man argument — and then respond to that phony issue based on no facts at all



  17. Links 22/10/2021: Global Encryption Day

    Links for the day



  18. [Meme] Speaking the Same Language

    Language inside the EPO is misleading. Francophones Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos casually misuse the word “social”.



  19. António Campinos Thinks Salary Reductions Months Before He Leaves is “Exceptional Social Gesture”

    Just as Benoît Battistelli had a profound misunderstanding of the concept of “social democracy” his mate seems to completely misunderstand what a “social gesture” is (should have asked his father)



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 21, 2021



  21. Links 21/10/2021: MX Linux 21 and Git Contributors’ Summit in a Nutshell

    Links for the day



  22. [Meme] [Teaser] Miguel de Icaza on CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Our ongoing series, which is very long, will shed much-needed light on GitHub and its goals (the dark side is a lot darker than people care to realise)



  23. Gemini Protocol and Gemini Space Are Not a Niche; for Techrights, Gemini Means Half a Million Page Requests a Month

    Techrights on gemini:// has become very big and we’ll soon regenerate all the pages (about 37,500 of them) to improve clarity, consistency, and general integrity



  24. 'Satellite States' of EPO Autocrats

    Today we look more closely at how Baltic states were rendered 'voting fodder' by large European states, looking to rubber-stamp new and oppressive measures which disempower the masses



  25. [Meme] Don't Mention 'Brexit' to Team UPC

    It seems perfectly clear that UPC cannot start, contrary to what the EPO‘s António Campinos told the Council last week (lying, as usual) and what the EPO insinuates in Twitter; in fact, a legal challenge to this should be almost trivial



  26. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States

    How unlawful EPO rules were unsurprisingly supported by Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in Baltic states; António Campinos maintained those same unlawful rules and Baltic connections, in effect liaising with offices known for their corruption (convicted officials, too; they did not have diplomatic immunity, unlike Battistelli and Campinos)



  27. Links 21/10/2021: GIMP 2.99.8 Released, Hardware Shortages, Mozilla Crisis

    Links for the day



  28. How Oppressive Governments and Web Monopolists Might Try to Discourage Adoption of Internet Protocols Like Gemini

    Popular movements and even some courageous publications have long been subverted by demonisation tactics, splits along unrelated grounds (such as controversial politics) and — failing that — technical sabotage and censorship; one must familiarise oneself with commonly-recurring themes of social control by altercation



  29. [Meme] Strike Triangulations, Reception Issues

    Financial strangulations for Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations”? The EPO will come to regret 2013…



  30. [Meme] Is Saying “No!” to Unlawful Proposals Considered “Impolite”?

    A ‘toxic mix’ of enablers and cowards (who won’t vote negatively on EPO proposals which they know to be unlawful) can serve to show that the EPO isn’t a “social democracy” as Benoît Battistelli liked to call it; it’s just a dictatorship, currently run by the son of a person who actually fought dictatorship


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