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

03.12.10

Patents Roundup: Both Apple and Microsoft Use Software Patents Against GNU/Linux, Get Sued for Violation Along With Google and Facebook; Amazon-USPTO Comedy Resumes

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Patents at 3:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rainbow troll

Summary: This week’s latest patent news which has impact on the Free software world

Apple and Microsoft Patent Extortion Against Free Software Goes Almost a Decade Back

PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE companies think alike. Apple’s attack on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] turns out to be many years old [1, 2]. At Microsoft too, Bill Gates had spoken about a “Jihad” (his word) against Linux at Intel almost a decade ago. They managed to keep it secret for many years. These CEOs are control freaks who let nothing in their way stop them. Schwartz, the former CEO of Sun, says that “for a technology company, going on offense with software patents seems like an act of desperation, relying on the courts instead of the marketplace….[S]uing a competitor typically makes them more relevant, not less. Developers I know aren’t getting less interested in Google’s Android platform, they’re getting more interested.”

Here is an interesting pick from the news:

The concern is that Microsoft’s Windows 7 mobile operating system has the iPhone’s market in its sights and that Microsoft has a deep background in software patents to back it up.

One worry for Google is that Apple’s legal battle with HTC may weaken the momentum of Android-powered phones.

Apple and Microsoft both share an affinity for software patents and they also cross-license. This means that Apple’s bullying of GNU/Linux with software patents is very beneficial to Microsoft, which pools the same patents as Apple’s. In the news we now have (references not listed before):

Former Sun CEO claims Jobs threatened lawsuit in 2003

Apple Tried to Bully Sun With Lawsuit Threats in 2003

Apple and Microsoft “threatened to sue Sun”

Ex-Sun CEO dishes dirt: Steve Jobs as Apple “patent troll”

Former Sun CEO Says Apple’s Jobs Threatened To Sue Co In 2003

Former Sun CEO Schwartz dishes on patent fights with Jobs, Gates

Daily Dose – Schwartz: Apple and Microsoft Tried to Sue Me Too!

Steve Jobs threatened to sue, says former Sun CEO Schwartz

Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz describes Steve Jobs showdown

Sun fended off Apple, Microsoft IP lawsuit threats

Former Sun CEO: Steve Jobs threatened to sue us over patents too

Former Sun Microsystems CEO: HTC Isn’t the First Company to Face Legal Threats From Steve Jobs

Ex-Sun boss spills the beans on Apple patent threats

Schwartz on Steve Jobs’ “bullying tactics

Former Sun CEO Takes Tech Titans to Task Over Patent Trolling

Former Sun CEO: Tech Companies Suing Over Patents Is An Act Of Desperation

Schwartz tells the story of Steve Jobs calling him and threatening Sun with a patent infringement lawsuit, to which Schwartz quickly warned Jobs that going down that path would lead to a patent nuclear war, as he pointed out how recent Apple products likely infringed on Sun patents. He then tells another story about a visit from Bill Gates, with a similar threat over patents — and a similar response, pointing out that Microsoft clearly copied certain Sun technology. In both cases, the counterweight made the threats go away. This is the whole “nuclear stockpiling” scenario — and, as such, it creates a ton of waste. You have to keep building up those stockpiles just to make sure the other side is too scared to sue you.

Gates Asked for IP Royalties for OpenOffice from Sun Microsystems

Sometime between 2003 and 2006, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer and Co-founder and chairman Bill Gates visited Sun Microsystems. It wasn’t a courtesy visit, according to Jonathan Ian Schwartz, Former CEO of Sun Microsystems. The Microsoft duo were on a mission to convince Scott McNealy, Sun’s then CEO, to enter into a patent licensing agreement with the Redmond company. Moreover, Gates wanted compensation for the patents that Sun Microsystems was allegedly violating with OpenOffice, a rival product of Microsoft’s own Office productivity suite. Sun resisted.

This ought to make GNU/Linux users who defend Microsoft or Apple think twice.

More Apple and Microsoft

The i4i case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] is not quite over yet. Microsoft’s defense of software patents is costing it dearly; its cash cow is at stake and it’s still trying to exhaust the plaintiff, as usual [1, 2]. The legal system is built in such a way that it favours those who can endure (afford) more motions, which is why Microsoft manages to get away with many real offences and have charges dismissed. It’s a brute force game.

Two days ago we found out that Apple is getting sued for patent infringement again:

Apple, Research in Motion, and a gaggle of other deep-pocket firms have been slapped with a wide-ranging patent infringment suit by an obscure Texas firm.

The suit alleges that Apple and RIM – plus AT&T, Insight Enterprises, LG Electronics, Motorola, Pantech Wireless, Samsung and Sanyo – are in violation of one or more of seven mobile phone–related patents. The allegedly infringed-upon patents include ones for Bluetooth connectivity, syncing, background processing and other mobile matters.

Here is more about Apple, relating to something that we covered 2 days ago.

More than 100,000 app developers have reportedly signed the iPhone Development Program License Agreement allowing them write software for the iPhone, however few people outside the inner circle of developers have ever seen the documents thanks to a non-disclosure clause included in the agreement.When NASA released the NASA App for iPhone, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) seized the opportunity to get a copy from the federal government under the Freedom of Information Act.

Google and Facebook Get What They Deserve

Google is not an opponent of software patents and neither is Facebook [1, 2]. This is why the following new lawsuit is probably good news:

Google, Facebook sued on mobile notworking

Google and Facebook have been sued in New York by a company claiming to own software patents that put social networks on mobile phones.

Google, Facebook Sued Over Social-Networking Patent

Wireless Ink Corp., which runs the Winksite service, claims that Facebook Mobile and Google Buzz are infringing a patent issued in October. In a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Manhattan, the company is seeking cash compensation and a court order to prevent further use of its invention.

Let them get sued. Maybe they will eventually learn that software patents are not worth the trouble. They makes this patent system a wasteful farce that does not promote science like it was originally supposed to.

Amazon a Mockery to the USPTO

Amazon’s patent deal with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4] showed us that Amazon is not an opponent of software patents, but we already knew that. One of the most infamous examples of Amazon’s shameful patent policy is the 1-click patent, which the USPTO is still unable to bin. Here is the latest development. From Slashdot’s summary/description:

Zordak writes “Amazon’s infamous ’1-click’ patent has been in reexamination at the USPTO for almost four years. Patently-O now reports that ‘the USPTO confirmed the patentability of original claims 6-10 and amended claims 1-5 and 11-26. The approved-of amendment adds the seeming trivial limitation that the one-click system operates as part of a ‘shopping cart model.’ Thus, to infringe the new version of the patent, an eCommerce retailer must use a shopping cart model (presumably non-1-click) alongside of the 1-click version. Because most retail eCommerce sites still use the shopping cart model, the added limitation appears to have no practical impact on the patent scope.’”

This is also covered in:

Amazon One-Click Patent Slides Through Reexamination

Amazon.com’s 1-Click patent confirmed following re-exam

US Patent Office Decides That One Click Really Is Patentable

One Click Patent Reexamination over – with claims amended and other Amazon applications rejected in light of my prior art

The failure here is the USPTO’s and the greed is Amazon’s.

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. Links 24/7/2014: Oracle Linux 7; Fedora Delays

    Links for the day



  2. Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation's Lobbying for 'Common Core' (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

    Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation's lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption



  3. USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

    Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom



  4. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

    Only "Microsoft as the standard" is the 'standard' Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office's judgment reveals



  5. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  6. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  7. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  8. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  9. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  10. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  11. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  12. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  13. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  14. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert



  15. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  16. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  17. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  18. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft



  19. Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

    Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests



  20. Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

    Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers' words



  21. Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

    Links for the day



  22. Interest in Free Software Coverage and 9 Months With Tux Machines

    Thoughts about the level of interest in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and growth of at least some sites that focus on GNU/Linux



  23. White House Backs Away From Appointing Patents Zealot to Top USPTO Position

    Philip Johnson is no longer poised to become the Director of the USPTO, which is basically an establishment that provides protectionism to primarily US-based corporations



  24. Professor James Bessen Presents the Case Against Software Patents After Important SCOTUS Ruling

    The debate about software patents in the Unites States continues, with academia on one side and greedy patent lawyers on the other



  25. Software Patents Demising in the US as Microsoft Patent Attacks on Android/Linux Suffer a Huge Setback

    M-Cam's assessment of Microsoft's bundle of extortion (using software patents) shows toothlessness, irrespective of the SCOTUS decision to effectively annul "abstract" software patents



  26. Links 13/7/2014: KDE Activity Surge

    Links for the day



  27. Pro-Microsoft Spin in Microsoft-Funded News Networks

    The rogue media (misinformation) campaign of Microsoft benefits from networks which have been paid by Microsoft over the years



  28. Cronyism at Play: European Hostility Towards Free/Libre Software Despite Espionage and Moles

    Europe continues to be held hostage with back doors, lock-in, and massive payments to foreign powers, despite evidence that these powers are destructive and hostile



  29. Wirelessly-Controlled Contraceptives and Other Villainous Bill Gates Initiatives

    Remote controls for people's reproductive systems are now in the making and Bill Gates is a prominent investor in the technology



  30. Links 12/7/2014: CrossOver, New Wine

    Links for the day


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