03.25.10

Software Development Times Magazine (SD Times) Sometimes Composed by Patent Lawyers

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 4:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Honoré Daumier

Summary: Literature that’s supposed to be for developers is actually working against their interests

SD Times is supposed to be about enabling developers and every now and then we find it advocating tools that allow an abusive company to control developers. But this time we find it hosting a brand new “Guest View” from lawyers, who are simply the leeches that create a system for wave-riding the work of programmers, taxing their work with litigation and paperwork (filing and gardening of patents). This new article is composed by “E. Robert Yoches, partner, Erika H. Arner, partner, Huzefa Kapadia, associate, and Uttam Dubal, associate, are attorneys at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP.”

Just to quote the opening:

The software-related and business-method patent markets are depressed, and there is little hope for a bailout. A federal appeals court decision, In re Bilski, rendered a multitude of business-method patents illegitimate, and the Supreme Court’s decision in the case, which could come as soon as next week, could cause even greater damage. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), at least, seems to be anticipating a more restrictive decision.

The Bilski case “could cause even greater damage”? How so? It’s an attempt to make a first step in the right direction. Many surveys show that software developers, for example, are against software patents because they already have copyrights and they realise the impact software patents, which would prevent them from writing any program without unknowingly stepping on someone else’s algorithmic monopoly. It cuts both ways.

“To them — the lawyers — patents are just this imaginary market of invisible assets.”The lawyers who write at SD Times also say that “The software-related and business-method patent markets are depressed, and there is little hope for a bailout.” Shame on them, bringing terms like “bailout” into it. Like other failing businesses (newspapers and the copyright cartel for example) they think that it’s a responsibility of someone else to keep their antiquated practices alive. They should tell their sob story to patent maximalists like IAM and SD Times ought to have rejected this piece.

Notice the use of the word “markets”. To them — the lawyers — patents are just this imaginary market of invisible assets. It enables racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Why is SD Times giving this coverage?

If someone requires proof that software patents depress innovation, look no further than Apple’s lawsuit against GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] (Microsoft supports this action [1, 2, 3]). Here it is again in Reuters:

Earlier this month, Apple sued Taiwan-based HTC and accused it of infringing 20 hardware and software patents related to the iPhone.

And here is another formal announcement about a software patent.

USPTO Awards Arc Flash Software Patent to EDSA

EDSA, the leading developer of power analytics solutions for the design, testing, and management of complex electrical power systems, today announced that is has been awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its Paladin® Real-time Arc Flash Advisor™ software. It marks another significant patent award for EDSA, as the Company increases its technological lead in the emerging field of Power Analytics™.

It’s bad enough that the USPTO grants monopolies on algorithms; now we have the multinationals attempt to do the same thing in Europe and ACTA would make that easier. The last thing that the software community ought to do is give room for the lawyers community to sing praises about software patents. But that’s exactly what SD Times is doing, having just censored an article about the harms of software patents (as applied to Mono). Earlier this month it was an SD Times writer who apparently broke the news about Novell helping the companies that sue GNU/Linux (both Apple and Microsoft). It came from the same author [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] who censored the said article, it was about Moonlight, and the news about it continues to arrive even through unrelated articles.

Apple might see more of the share of US revenue if things keep up as it does have a high number of pre-orders already set and companies such as Novell working on developing games for the iPhone OS.

At least we still know where Novell stands.

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    March 25, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Gravatar

    It is unfortunate that the software patents gets spun as a developer issue. Yes they will be at the forefront because they are planning software and, if responsible, do thorough risk assessments. No, they are not the main target. Patents are about who has the right to do something, that puts the end user dead center in the cross hairs.

    Tip: stay away from H.264

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