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

05.04.10

Patents Roundup: Red Hat on Patent Trolls; Apple Antitrust; Microsoft Attacks Theora, Which is Needed to Save Our Video Culture

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ogg versus MPEG

Summary: Ogg Theora is being smeared and demoted by Microsoft and its boosters while H.264 is pushed hard, even by Apple which now faces an antitrust inquiry for anti-competitiveness

A FEW days ago we summarised the Acacia hoopla by stating that it’s all over:

There is a somewhat belated announcement from Novell and Red Hat’s Rob Tiller wrote about it too. He is confident despite the fact that Red Hat does not always win against patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

We learned many things from this experience, but I’ll note just three here. We now know for certain that those in the business of bringing software patent lawsuits are not invincible, even in the supposedly patent-friendly jurisdiction of the Eastern District of Texas. We know that Texas juries are willing to reject bogus infringement claims and invalidate bad software patents. And we know that attacks on open source based on FUD will not stand up when subjected to the light of truth.

One blogger from Dr. Dobbs says that there is growth in “Theora FUD” at the moment (also to do with patent claims).

A blogger named Hugo Roy posted a piece called An Open Letter to Steve Jobs in which he picked on Steve a bit about the openness of H.264. A few valid points were made, but most interestingly, Hugo then posted an email response he says came from Steve himself, which included the following inflammatory quote:

A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other “open source” codecs now. Unfortunately, just because something is open source, it doesn’t mean or guarantee that it doesn’t infringe on others patents.

If this is true, it is bad news for Theora indeed. Can the Mozilla foundation afford to hang a giant “Kick Me” sign on the next version of Firefox? Can they afford to litigate against even a single patent lawsuit, much less this consortium Steve is quoted as knowing of?

Apple’s many abuses as of late (going after bloggers, blocking third-party developers [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], veiled threat against Ogg, etc.) do add up. The FTC has just launched an antitrust inquiry, which is not as bad as that may sound.

According to the New York Post, The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are negotiating which of them will launch an inquiry into a clause in the iPhone OS 4 SDK that bans the porting of software originally written for Adobe’s Flash, Sun’s Java or Microsoft’s Silverlight/Mono to the iPhone OS.

The FTC is usually quite toothless and the FCC nearly went after Apple once before (right after Microsoft connections were formed inside the FCC). Apple also has an edgy history with European antitrust, mostly over the music business. What the FTC really needs to crack down on is AstroTurfing, including some from Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. The FTC promised that it would address the problem — one that we covered in old posts such as:

The FTC or the DOJ may also want to investigate Microsoft for racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Microsoft has resorted to outright extortion against its #1 competition, which is GNU/Linux. As Penguin Pete put it:

Funny how it’s always Linux which Microsoft is alleging is infringing on Microsoft’s patent portfolio, isn’t it? Not FreeBSD, not OpenBSD, not NetBSD, not Solaris (open or closed), not Plan Nine From Bell Labs, not ReactOS, not Minix, not GNU-HURD, not any of the flavors of proprietary Unix.

This whole extortion may also end when the Bilski case is once again concluded, assuming that it also kills software patents. Patent trolls/lawyers and monopolies will fight tooth and nail for software patents. Justice Sonia Sotomayor is not helping, either.

Sonia Sotomayor, or Justice Sotomayor is the newest, and maybe the most worrying judge on the US Supreme Court.

Sotomayor was previously married to Kevin Noonan,[1] a patent lawyer who is very pro-patent.

SJVN wrote about the subject, starting with a sound bite that berates lawyers:

First, we kill all the patent lawyers

Actually, I don’t think we should kill all the patent lawyers. Some of my best friends are patent attorneys — no, really. But I’d happily stick a knife into the American patent system.

In the beginning, the U.S. patent system was meant to encourage inventors and innovation. Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said, “The Patent System added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.” That was then. This is now.

Today, unless the Supreme Court does the right thing and tosses out business practice and, by implication, software patents with the proper decision in the Bilski case, we’re stuck with a system designed to wreck anyone who actually tries to implement his own ideas.

You see, with many software patents there is no specific language, no hard code, but only descriptions of general processes that can be implemented in multiple ways. Now, you might think you could avoid patent trouble by looking up the appropriate patents and not using them. Good luck with that.

[...]

This is why Microsoft, despite being the loser in some whopping patent lawsuits, such as the $200 million-plus it owes i4i for violating its patents and the $1.5 billion it once owed Alcatel-Lucent, is happy to threaten other companies, especially those that use Linux or open-source software, such as Amazon and TomTom into licensing agreements.

That last example about Alcatel-Lucent includes reasons to embrace Theora, but Microsoft is strongly against Theora, as we recently explained and showed in:

Microsoft continues to justify ignoring Theora. They are using their familiar FUD to justify using something that they are covered for or paid for. As always, their friend Bott joins the attack on Theora (a pile of the usual Microsoft propaganda via ZDNet’s Bott/Foley). It’s extremely disingenuous and The Source explains why:

Oof. ZDNet’s Ed Bott attacks the FSF hard in “Ogg versus the world: don’t fall for open-source FUD“.

One issue

Mr. Bott calls out some of the points made on the PlayOgg FAQ as being “FUD”, “outright lies”, “technically absurd”, “factually dead wrong”, and maybe even downright anti-kittens-with-funny-captions-underneath.

Let’s look at one of his examples (we’ll only take the first one, but the entire article is chock-full of fallacious fun).

[...]

People like Mr. Bott who carry water for organizations like Microsoft are going to resort to hypocrisy, hair-splitting and strawman-bashing tactics.

For example, Mr. Bott seems quite content to quote the CEO of the MPEG-LA asserting that “no one in the market should be under the misimpression that other codecs such as Theora are patent free” in the very article where he is taking the FSF to task for FUD.

The MPEG-LA CEO is a patent troll. The Source concludes with: “So, be aware of that mindset when you write. There will always be someone out there ready to take a cheap shot or play integrity-free games with the point you are trying to make. You can’t stop them – because they aren’t after the truth – but you don’t have to give up free points on the goal either.”

“[P]atent trolls aren’t a pathology of [software patents], but a natural consequence of the system. Not a bug, a feature.”
      –Carlo Piana
Carlo Piana (Samba lawyer) explains that “Fighting trolls is [is not] getting rid of [software patents]. Getting rid of [software patents] is a way to defeat trolls, though.” He also shrewdly points out that “patent trolls aren’t a pathology of [software patents], but a natural consequence of the system. Not a bug, a feature.”

MPEG-LA is essentially a pool and an example of a troll/bully because of the way it coerces from the outside. As some other sources warn a lot these days, MPEG-LA is a huge risk to our culture because a lot of our videos got trapped in MPEG-LA’s so-called ‘property’ (MPEG-LA members are the ones to loot everyone and MPEG-LA is just their ‘front group’, a la MPAA/RIAA). We really need a codec like Theora and it should be defended from the self-serving members of MPEG-LA.

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. The EPO's Race to the Bottom in Recruitment and Early Retirements Explained by an Insider

    The European Patent Office under Battistelli is failing to attract -- and certainly failing to retain -- talented examiners



  2. Wouter Pors and Other UPC Boosters Believe That Repeating the Lies Will Potentially Make Them Truths

    The lobbying campaign for UPC, or hopeful lies (sometimes mere rumours) disguised as "news", continues to rely on false perceptions that the UPC is just a matter of time and may actually materialise this year



  3. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Utilised in Fixing the US Patent System and the Patent Microcosm Loses Its Mind

    A roundup of PTAB news, ranging from attacks on the legitimacy of PTAB to progress which is made by PTAB, undoing decades of overpatenting



  4. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Take on Patents Pertaining to Business Methods

    Patents on tasks that can be performed using pen and paper (so-called 'business methods', just like algorithms) and oughtn't be patent-eligible may be the next casualty of the America Invents Act (AIA)



  5. Google's Stewardship of GNU/Linux (Android, Chromebooks and More) in Doubt After Company Resorts to Patent 'First Strikes'

    Google has just turned a little more evil, by essentially using patents as a weapon against the competition (by no means a defensive move)



  6. Links 24/2/2017: Ubuntu 17.04 Beta, OpenBSD Foundation Nets $573,000 in Donations

    Links for the day



  7. IAM, Greased up by the EPO, Continues Lobbying by Shaming Tactics for the UPC, Under the Guise of 'News'

    The shrill and well-paid writers of IAM are still at it, promoting the Unitary Patent (UPC) at every opportunity and every turn



  8. Patent Scope Gone Awry: European Vegetable Patents Office?

    In its misguided race to raise so-called 'production', the EPO lost sight of its original goals and now facilitates patent royalty payments/taxation for naturally-recurring items of nature



  9. Yes, There is Definitely Brain Drain (Experience Deficit) at the European Patent Office and Stakeholders Feel It

    The direction that the European Patent Office has taken under Battistelli undoes many decades (almost half a century) of reputation-building and progress and naturally this repels existing staff, not to mention hampers recruitment efforts



  10. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IV: Cruel Management That Deliberately Attacks the Sick and the Weak

    The dysphoric reality at the European Patent Office, which is becoming like a large cell (with bolted-down windows) where people are controlled by fear and scapegoats are selected to perpetuate this atmosphere of terror and maintain demand (or workload) for the Investigative Stasi



  11. Links 23/2/2017: Qt 5.9 Alpha, First SHA1 Collision

    Links for the day



  12. UPC Roundup: War on the Appeal Boards, British Motion Against the UPC, Fröhlinger Recalled, and Fake News About Spain

    Taking stock of some of the latest attempts to shove the Unitary Patent (UPC) down Europe's throat, courtesy of Team Battistelli and Team UPC



  13. The Sickness of the EPO – Part III: Invalidity and Suicides

    An explanation of what drives a lot of EPO veterans to depression and sometimes even suicide



  14. The Appeal Board (PTAB) and Federal Circuit (CAFC) Maintain Good Pace of Patent Elimination Where Scope Was Exceeded

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to accept about 4 out of 5 decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) refuses to intervene



  15. Software Patents Are Ebbing Away, But the “Swamp” Fights Back and Hijacks the Word “Fix”

    The club of patent maximalists, or those who profit from excess prosecution and legal chaos, isn't liking what has happened in the United States and it wants everything reversed



  16. Report From Yesterday's Debate About the European Patent Office (EPO) at the Bavarian Landtag

    A report of the EPO debate which took place at the Bavarian Landtag yesterday (21/2/2017)



  17. Links 22/2/2017: Wine-Staging 2.2, Nautilus 3.24

    Links for the day



  18. French Politician Richard Yung Tells the Government About Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    The subject of EPO scandals has once again landed in French politics, just a couple of months since it last happened



  19. The Sickness of the EPO – Part II: Background Information and Insights

    With a privatised, in-house (sometimes outsourced and for-profit) force for surveillance, policing, justice, public relations and now medical assessment (mere vassals or marionettes of the management) the EPO serves to show that it has become indistinguishable from North Korea, where the Supreme Leader gets to control every single aspect (absolutely no separation of powers)



  20. EPO Cartoon/Caricature by KrewinkelKrijst

    A new rendition by Dutch cartoonist and illustrator KrewinkelKrijst



  21. Inverting Narratives: IAM 'Magazine' Paints Massive Patent Bully Microsoft (Preying on the Weak) as a Defender of the Powerless

    Selective coverage and deliberate misinterpretation of Microsoft's tactics (patent settlement under threat, disguised as "pre-installation of some of the US company’s software products") as seen in IAM almost every week these days



  22. The Sickness of the EPO – Part I: Motivation for New Series of Articles

    An introduction or prelude to a long series of upcoming posts, whose purpose is to show governance by coercion, pressure, retribution and tribalism rather than professional relationship between human beings at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  23. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VII: EPO Hypocrisy on Cancer and Lack of Feedback to and From ECPC

    The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), which calls itself "the largest European cancer patients' umbrella organisation," fails to fulfill its duties, says a source of ours, and the EPO makes things even worse



  24. Links 21/2/2017: KDE Plasma 5.9.2 in Chakra GNU/Linux, pfSense 2.3.3

    Links for the day



  25. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's Wall

    Battistelli's solution to everything at the EPO is exclusion and barriers



  26. The 'New' Microsoft is Still Acting Like a Dangerous Cult in an Effort to Hijack and/or Undermine All Free/Open Source Software

    In an effort to combat any large deployment of non-Microsoft software, the company goes personal and attempts to overthrow even management that is not receptive to Microsoft's agenda



  27. PTAB Petitioned to Help Against Patent Troll InfoGation Corp., Which Goes After Linux/Android OEMs in China

    A new example of software patents against Free software, or trolls against companies that are distributing freedom-respecting software from a country where these patents are not even potent (they don't exist there)



  28. Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

    Links for the day



  29. No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

    Old and familiar tricks -- a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines -- are being peddled by Watchtroll again



  30. Paid-for UPC Proponent, IAM 'Magazine', Debunked on UPC Again

    The impact of the corrupted (by EPO money) media goes further than one might expect and even 'borrows' out-of-date news in order to promote the UPC


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