EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.03.10

Patents Roundup: Benjamin Franklin Would Have Disliked Patents, Tim Bray Leaves, Patents Kill, Ridiculous Software Patents Named

Posted in Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Oracle, Patents, SUN at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Siffred Duplessis

Summary: This post presents a roundup of patent news (mostly software); it is intended to show the lesser-known truths about patents — the ones which lawyers do not want people to know

Ghabuntu has just done some exploration around Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.

It turns out that, just like Thomas Jefferson, Franklin would have rejected patents and advocated Free software. It is often being argued that software patents are unconstitutional, but that’s another matter that won’t be discussed today.

Here is what Ghabuntu found:

This pamphlet had a good effect. Gov’r. Thomas was so pleas’d with the construction of this stove, as described in it, that he offered to give me a patent for the sole vending of them for a term of years; but I declin’d it from a principle which has ever weighed with me on such occasions, viz., That, as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.

An ironmonger in London however, assuming a good deal of my pamphlet, and working it up into his own, and making some small changes in the machine, which rather hurt its operation, got a patent for it there, and made, as I was told, a little fortune by it.

Here is an older link on the subject (from one year ago). It’s titled “Ben Franklin, the first Open Source advocate” and it says:

Benjamin Franklin is known in American history as a founding father and a inventor. One interesting fact is that he did not approve of patents. Martin Streicher of IBM points out in his article of 10 tips for sensible systems administration that Benjamin Franklin would more than likely approve of Open Source software.

One of our favourite entrepreneurs is Tim Bray, who had the guts to complain about Microsoft’s corruption [1, 2, 3]. After his recent rants about patents, Bray decides to leave Sun/Oracle.

“Just resigned from Sun/Oracle,” he wrote a few days ago. “Not currently looking for another job.”

Patents are not only harming software by the way. Glyn Moody, who wrote a book about the dangers of genome patents, shows this new report about removal of generics using patent provisions.

Aside from pharmaceutical patents, the other key IP provision in the free trade agreement relates to geographical indications (GIs). These allow certain regions to claim an effective monopoly right on delicacies such as Champagne or Parma ham that are synonymous with them. According to Brussels sources, over 200 GIs will be covered by the agreement with Peru and Colombia.

In previous posts we explained why this is the death knell to a lot of people [1, 2]. This is genocide by patents. Speaking of which, the effect of the Gates-funded Monsanto is similar. It causes deaths rather than save lives and we wrote about the subject in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Monsanto is a company whose business model depends on patents relating to life (biology as a private property of a person). GM Watch asks, “Have we seen Peak Monsanto?”

Is it possible that we’ve reached Peak Monsanto?:

Low commodity soybean prices, attractive premiums, and rising prices for genetically modified soybean seed are leading American farmers to plant more acres of non-GMO soybeans this year.

Representatives with soybean associations, universities, and grain buyers all say that demand for non-GMO soybeans is growing, leading to more non-GMO acres.

Genetically modified Roundup Ready soybeans have taken an increasingly larger percentage of U.S. soybean acreage each year since their introduction in 1996, reaching 92 percent in 2008.

Bill Gates supports this colonisation of land and food. It’s about creating a crops monopoly, using intellectual monopolies (patents).

TechDirt has this new item which says that “It’s The Execution That Matters, Not The Idea” and the item happens to cite a former (but famous) Microsoft employee who seemingly argues against patents.

There have been lots of players who have come and gone, and there are at least a dozen players in the space today. And it’s not because they all “took” the idea from this guy, but because lots of people recognized that it’s an idea that makes sense. Kickstarter is certainly getting a ton of press these days, but that’s mostly because of some top notch execution on its part.

This leads us to the next area, which is software patents. No less than twice in recent days we wrote about Facebook’s controversial software patent [1, 2], as well as the company’s relationship with Microsoft and apparently the company’s patent troll too (Nathan Myhrvold). Here is another good analysis of why Facebook’s behaviour should be seen as hostile.

I wonder what is Facebook’s strategy here. They could simply be looking to stifle competitors. The obvious result of this is that they will probably attempt to get licences from some prominent social networks and the aforementioned open source projects. In the longer run, this could be used to become the only name in social networking. Not good news at all.

Google is also a foe when it comes to software patents. Mashable covers Google’s new software patent on location-based advertising. This is ridiculous, but it is not truly a farce like today’s USPTO.

That patent itself focuses on making sure businesses can better target their ads based on location information so that they can do things such as price arbitration (e.g. figuring out prices for items near you and getting the best deal). It also deals with the user interface and defining geographic areas.

Will Google obey or least consider the suggestions from many people who want Google to set its new codec free? Or use Ogg Theora in YouTube? As this new post emphasises, this is a top issue when it comes to Free software and patents. GNU/Linux depends on it.

Patented multimedia codecs, however, are a little different from proprietary drivers and firmware, for reasons discussed in my first post on the topic. There are people–for example, a commenter on a previous post named markit–who remain passionately opposed to the use of restrictively licensed codecs and can make well reasoned arguments to support their stance, particularly since fully functional GPL-friendly equivalents are available for multimedia codecs.

The arguments against the use of patented codecs are not without merit. By using formats like MP3 and MPEG-2 rather than GPL’d alternatives, users perpetuate dependence on proprietary software, which is antithetical to the Ubuntu philosophy.

The obvious response to such arguments, of course, is that while it would be nice to use only patent-free codecs, that’s not a realistic goal for most people. You can’t send .ogg files to Windows users and expect them to know how to open them, and you won’t have many friends if you refuse to accept data in non-free formats.

Google’s harmful policy on patents withstanding, can the company prove to be helpful to Free software by weakening or gradually eliminating H.264? Let’s hope so.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft Windows Unsafe at Any Speed, by Design

    More timely reminders that Windows is simply not designed to be secure, irrespective of version, status of patching, etc.



  2. After Moonlight Dies and Even Microsoft Abandons Silverlight, the Abusive Monopolist Keeps Pushing for Other Microsoft Lock-in, Injecting OOXML Traps Into Free Software (Moodle)

    Despite a long history of Microsoft formats being proven guarantee of digital obsolescence, Moodle allows itself to become Microsoft prey and a Trojan horse for OOXML in classrooms (for children)



  3. Links 4/7/2015: Mostly (Geo)Political Catchup

    Links for the day



  4. Links 3/7/2015: KDE Applications 15.04.3, Ubuntu-Flavored Compute Stick

    Links for the day



  5. Patent Lawyers and Their Firms, Still Desperate to Protect the Status Quo, Manipulate the Media

    Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers



  6. Amid Controversy, Political Scrutiny and Increased Media Pressure Željko Topić and Benoît Battistelli Allegedly Cancel Today's Trip to Zagreb (Croatia) Where Topić Faces Many Criminal Charges

    The Croatian press comments on the recent declaration from the Council of Europe and Topić's not-so-sterling status in his home country, where he is wanted for alleged crimes



  7. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

    By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group



  8. Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

    Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely 'dare' to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.



  9. Patent Lawyers and Corporate Media Nervous About New Patents Barrier/Reality (Less Patents on Software and Business Methods)

    The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid



  10. Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

    More political fire targeting the EPO's management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now



  11. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  12. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  13. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  14. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  15. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  16. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  17. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  18. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  19. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  20. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  21. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  22. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  23. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  24. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  25. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  26. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  27. Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

    Links for the day



  28. Williamson v. Citrix Online (at CAFC) Reinforces Alice v. CLS Bank (at SCOTUS) in Crushing Software Patents

    More patent news from the United States, again serving to indicate that software patents over there are getting weak (harder to defend in court or acquire from the patent office)



  29. Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

    Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected



  30. IAM Biased: How IAM 'Magazine' Glorifies Patent Stockpiling

    A look at the bias of one of the most overzealous sites for and by patent lawyers


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts