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. New EPO Protests Amid Nervous Breakdowns of Spanish EPO Employee (After Institutional Bullying by Battistelli's Goons), Spain Rejects the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    In the face of enormous pressure from non-technical Eurocrats like Battistelli, Spain remains strong and resists the Unitary Patent Court (UPC), which puts more power in the hands of an abusive body that grossly discriminates against Spaniards



  2. Only Half a Dozen Cuban Patents Filed at EPO, But Hugely Unpopular Battistelli Goes to Cuba to Garner Cheap Support

    Now that Spain is antagonising the EPO (and especially the UPC) the President of the EPO helps create some puff pieces in Spanish as he visits Cuba and neighbouring Spanish-speaking nations which are historically renowned for defunct governance and lawlessness (like the EPO itself)



  3. Nepotismo de la UPC, Abusos Políticos, y el Envolvimiento en la UPC de la Firma ¨Legal¨ que la OEP Contrato para Matonear a Techrights

    La Corte Unitaria de Patentes UPC, un sistema arregaldo esta siendo embestida por la gargant de Europa por la OEP. (Nos están metiendo la yuca). Sus grandes clientes (incluso extranjeros), con sus abogados de patentes para que todo el mundo los vea.



  4. Miembro del Parlamente Europe Resalta ¨Las Continuas Violaciones de los Fundamentales Derechos de los Empleados de la OEP¨

    Pregunta a la Comisión Europea de parte de la MEP Portuguesa Ana Gomes, publicado en el sitio del Parlamente Europeo.



  5. Links 11/2/2016: LibreOffice 5.1, HMRC and FOSS

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft Continues to Use Software Patents to Extort/Blackmail Even More Companies That Use Linux, Forcing/Coercing Them Into Preinstalling Microsoft

    Acer is the latest large OEM to have become a victim of Microsoft's witch-hunt against Android/Linux preloaders, whom Microsoft is coercing into becoming Microsoft's carriers (or face litigation over software patents, with high legal fees if not injunctions or high damages upon secret settlements)



  7. EPO Brain Drain (Even Directors Fed Up With Team Battistelli) and Rumours About Battistelli Becoming President of the UPC

    Words heard through the grapevine of the European Patent Office (EPO), where staff is overwhelmingly against the managers and some people, including high-profile staff, add to the exodus



  8. More Than 20 Years in the Line: European Patent Office and Claims of European Convention on Human Rights Infringement Against Applicants/Stakeholders

    Gross incompetence and potentially an infringement of the European Convention on Human Rights at the European Patent Office (EPO), this time impacting an applicant (one of many in a similar position)



  9. UPC Nepotism, Political Abuses, and UPC Involvement From the Legal Firm That EPO Hired to Bully Techrights

    The Unitary Patent Court (UPC), a rigged system that is being rammed down Europe's throat by the EPO, its big clients (even foreign), and their patent lawyers laid bear for people to see



  10. Member of European Parliament Brings Up “Ongoing Violations of the Fundamental and Employment Rights of the Staff of EPO”

    Question to the European Commission from Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes, as published in the site of the European Parliament



  11. La Oficina Europea de Patentes Pretende que No Pasa Nada y Prepara una Feria de Vanidad

    La estrategia de relaciones públicas de la OEP cuya destructiva estrategia de patentes continua sin disminución (por ahora), se engancha en Colombia y se esfuerza en manufacturar el mito donde el público, examinadores de patentes, y aplicantes de patentes todos estan muy felices con la OEP.



  12. La ‘Internacional’ Commisión de Comercio Impone/Reenfuerza Patentes de Software para Establecer Otro Embargo

    La Comisión Internacional (sic) de Comercio se esta entrometiendo en competición de nuevo permitiendo a un gigante de los Estados Unidos Ciso en este caso, a potencialmente bloquear rivales (no importaciones del extranjero) usando patentes de software.



  13. Links 9/2/2016: Linux in Robotics, Hyperledger Project

    Links for the day



  14. Besieged Benoît Battistelli Mimics 'Damage Control' Tactics of FIFA or Blatter as More Judges Start Getting Involved in EPO Scandals

    Rumours and a new rant from Battistelli reinforce suspicions that actions are being organised behind the scenes, possibly as part of an upcoming, high-level campaign to unseat/dethrone Battistelli, who has become a reputational disaster to the European Patent Office (EPO), much like Sepp Blatter at FIFA



  15. Several Political Parties Directly Challenge the European Patent Office for Ignoring the Law, Not Obeying Court Orders

    Politicians make it crystal clear that the EPO, despite its unique status, cannot just raise its nose at the rulings of courts of law, definitely not in Dutch territory where the EPO operates



  16. Even the Legal Community is Upset at Benoît Battistelli for the Damage He Did to the EPO

    A recent article from lawyers' media (in German) speaks of the great damage (or mess) left by its current president, who has become somewhat of a laughing stock and growingly synonymous with farcical trials even in the circles of stakeholders, not just his own staff



  17. EPO Union (SUEPO) Getting Busted: “More and More People are Joining the Union, but Fewer and Fewer People Dare to Take on Leading Positions There.”

    The union-busting actions taken by EPO management in collaboration with Control Risks (for weak accusations against staff representatives) and FTI Consulting (for 'damage control') as described in a recent article, in the words of SUEPO lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld



  18. Microsoft's Copyrights- and Patents-Based Attacks on GNU/Linux Carry on

    The SCO case is still going on and Microsoft has just signed a patent deal with GoPro over its FOSS-based software, relating to “certain file storage and other system technologies”



  19. The EPO's Benoît Battistelli is the Dictator Who Can No Longer Dictate Like He Used to

    The European Patent Office's mechanism of oversight is starting to work just a little because, based on a new report from Juve, Battistelli is now reluctant to make proposals that would prove unpopular among delegates



  20. La Más Detallada Explicación (hasta ahora) de ¿Qué esta mal con la OEP?

    La insistencia de la OEP que permanece arriba de la ley no sólo est bajo fuego en los medios pero también esta siendo desafiada basado en personas familiares con la aplicabilidad de la ley a organizaciones internacionales.



  21. Links 8/2/2016: Vista 10 Nags Help GNU/Linux, Nautilus Updated

    Links for the day



  22. The European Patent Office “is Acting as Though the Law Does Not Apply to It.”

    An article from Nieuwsuur which provides the words of Liesbeth Zegveld (for SUEPO) and Guillaume Minnoye (for the European Patent Office), reaffirming the EPO's bizarre notion that it is above the law, even in the face of human rights violations and a court ruling against the EPO



  23. Microsoft-Connected FRAND Lobbying (Software Patents Against Free/Open Source Software) in Brussels

    Anti-Free/Open Source software (FOSS) talking points and FRAND (anti-FOSS) lobbying groups in Brussels as seen by proponents of FRAND, who also worked for Microsoft



  24. Latest Propaganda From the EPO's Management an Effort to Make the EPO the Tool of Megacorporations

    A quick roundup of some of the latest spin and paid-for (bought) coverage that helps introduce a distorted patent system whose beneficiaries are not European (or even people)



  25. 'Aversion to Change' Propaganda From the EPO Echoes or Parrots Lenin and Stalin

    The out-of-control EPO management is trying to fool the media by blaming staff representatives for getting fired, simply because they stood up to a highly abusive and megalomaniacal dictator



  26. The Gates Foundation Subjected to Criticism, But Over a Decade Too Late

    Reckoning and accepting the fact that even some in the media now openly speak about Bill Gates' corrupting influence in everything, including politics



  27. Links 8/2/2016: Zenwalk 8.0 Beta 2, Q4OS 1.4.7

    Links for the day



  28. SIPO (China's Patent Office) Taken Over by Patent Maximalists

    A look at China's race to the bottom (decline in quality) when it comes to patents, assuming quite wrongly that quantity is more important than quality and severe penalties for perceived infringement will spur innovation



  29. The Alice Case Continues to Smash Software Patents (This Time OpenTV's); Will the EPO Ever Pay Attention?

    The potency or the grip of software patents in the United States is quickly eroding, but the EPO continues to act as though software patents are legitimate



  30. EPO Staff Responds to Team Battistelli's Expansion to Include French Economic Propagandist on the Payroll

    With strings attached (like string puppets of Battistelli in various units including the Investigative Unit), can the new Chief Economist, who is French and paid by Battistelli, ever be trusted?


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