05.12.10

Patents Roundup: Cracks in the USPTO, Patent Trolls, and More About Theora

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Holiday luminarias

Summary: The patent system celebrates monopoly; software patents with “defensive” pools hardly a solution; the H.264 vs Theora debate rages on

THE EPO is losing its way. But the USPTO too had gone insane and as we noted the other day, there is a sharp rise in the number of monopolies it grants these days. TechDirt explains why the USPTO should not be proud to have only increased risk of litigation and perhaps lowing the bar to acceptance of applications (which leads to devaluation).

USPTO Ramping Up Patent Approvals

[...]

However, is all that being reversed? Patently-O recently pointed out that the USPTO appears to be approving patents at a much higher rate again, and there’s lots of speculation as to why. Many assume that, as was noted in the original link above, Kappos and his boss, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, are focused on reducing backlog. And so the incentives and pressure within the USPTO is to just approve patents to get them out of the way. If true, this is incredibly short-sighted and will backfire. The end result is that more bad patents get approved, and when bad patents get approved it increases bad lawsuits, followed by bad rulings for huge sums of money… leading more people to file for more bad patents hoping to win the same kind of jackpot.

Right at this moment, Nokia and Apple are suing each other. Is that a good thing? is that innovation?

“A definition which excludes hardware as part of a computer program ought to make In Re Bilski expandable to software patents.”Swpat.org has found an old case which demonstrates that it is not sufficient for software to be run on a computer to make that computer qualify as a new physical machine. To quote the summary: “Alappat applied for a patent, at the USPTO, on a particular method used in a particular kind of electronic instrument. The patent examiner rejected the application, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) of the USPTO then found in favour of the application and the case then went to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, where it is known as In re Alappat. The Federal Court reversed the decision of the BPAI, denying the patent.”

A definition which excludes hardware as part of a computer program ought to make In Re Bilski expandable to software patents.

TechDirt writes about Bort’s piece on the "The Defensive Patent License" for Free/open source software and notes that it’s not a true solution. The FFII has already explained why collective shields won’t work. What happens when a patent troll strikes? How about the Acacia case for example? We recently covered its conclusion in:

Red Hat adds some more information about the case in Law.com:

Acacia’s first quarter filing also indicates the company is wielding its patents against more targets than ever before: It reached 40 new licensing agreements in the first quarter of 2010, compared with 29 the previous year.

In the case of Red Hat and Novell, the two companies opted against signing such agreements and chose to go to trial instead. In doing so, they faced a hurdle common to defendants in patent trials: winning over jurors with little or no prior knowledge about the technology at issue in the case–open-source software, in this instance.

Here is the take of someone from the 451 Group:

There’s been a stepping up of competition among the Linux vendors, particularly Novell and Red Hat, which both continue to advance their Linux distributions in the latest versions Suse Linux Enterprise Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Much of the increased competition centers on pushing Linux even further into cloud computing, where it is already winning use with ideal licensing, scalability and clustering capabilities. With the focus on cloud computing, the ‘other’ Linux vendor, Ubuntu distributor Canonical, also becomes more significant.

Speaking of Ubuntu, a hot new subject at the moment is Theora because Canonical pays the MPEG cartel for software patents in H.264 [1, 2]. There is still an ongoing discussion about the topic, with Slashdot recalling this old article about patent M.A.D. situations. For context and some perspective about Microsoft’s and Apple’s position, see the posts below.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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 25/2/2021: Kali Linux 2021.1, Wine Launcher 1.4.46, and Google's Security Posing

    Links for the day



  2. Links 24/2/2021: MariaDB 10.5.9, Krita 4.4.3 Beta, and Debuginfod Server for Debian

    Links for the day



  3. Self-Host Your Videos, Take Full Advantage of HTML5 and Video Attributes

    For self-hosting of videos over the World Wide Web (Gemini too can handle videos; its clients/browsers can, for example, link video files/URLs to external media players) it's worth reviewing the full set of features made available by the standards because a lot can be accomplished without JavaScript and without unnecessary bloat/complexity



  4. Trying Out NoiseTorch to Reduce Background Sound/Noise in GNU/Linux

    An introduction to noisetorch (or NoiseTorch), an application that helps create virtual microphones/devices with reduced background noise



  5. How the Big Banks and OIN Can Whitewash Software Patents and Do Nothing Concrete About Patent Trolls

    Response to the puff piece entitled "How the Big Banks and OIN Can Lock Out Patent Trolls with Enabled Publications"



  6. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 23, 2021



  7. How to Set Up a Gemini Server of Your Own, Even on a Simple Single-Board Computer

    Using Agate to start one's own Gemini capsule (self-hosted) is a lot simpler than one might be inclined to believe; this is a detailed HOWTO, hoping to encourage more people to join Gemini space, which is fast-growing and free of garbage



  8. Links 23/2/2021: Tails 4.16, Libinput 1.17, Fwupd 1.5.7, Firefox 86, NeoChat 1.1

    Links for the day



  9. The Word Master is Not Problematic in Most Contexts and Its Origin Hasn't a Connection to Slavery

    Slavery is to the word "master" mostly disconnected; it might, however, be closely connected in the minds of racists or the agenda of highly racist corporations (profiting from racism) that look for ways to distract from their racism



  10. On Misapplication, Misuse, Overuse and Abuse of Words (to Suit False Narratives)

    It is looking like the word "abuse" has been extended to basically mean all sorts of things including the act of actually exposing real abuse



  11. The Administrative Council Needs to Fix the EPO While It's Still Possible

    EPO staff and former staff (pensioners) aren't happy and the it's the responsibility of the Administrative Council to do something before it's too late (the reputation of the Office is already severely harmed and it's unable/unwilling to recruit suitable and qualified people, both as examiners and managers, respectively)



  12. 'These Questions Remain Unanswered': Campinos Became Battistelli Just Halfway Through His Term

    The Central Staff Committee of the EPO highlights the grim situation or the deadlock reached after totally dysfunctional Office management somehow managed to kill off channels of communication, in effect going back to where things were back in 2018 under Battistelli



  13. 'The One Percent': Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) Supported Only by 1% of EPO Staff

    Out of 2,237 EPO workers who expressed their position on the SAP, which in essence lowers their salary, only 31 expressed support for it (that's 1.385%)



  14. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, February 22, 2021



  15. DDOS Attacks and Decentralisation

    Our server, which is shared among sites, has been under persistent distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks almost every day in recent weeks, culminating in much worse attacks last night, but we're not too worried anymore



  16. Links 23/2/2021: Gemini (and Gopher) on the Rise Again, Systemd 248 Reaches RC1

    Links for the day



  17. On the Terms Master, Main and Abuse

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  18. Microsoft Inside — Part IV: Microsoft Everywhere, Looking to Poach Developers, Not Disclosing What It Really Wants

    As it turns out, just about everyone looking to recruit for a Microsoft-connected project/company (working on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu etc.) near Microsoft is 'former' Microsoft, but people who are being approached aren't being told so, at least not upfront; those are very familiar and old tactics, which merit a word of caution to all



  19. Microsoft: We Ain't Done Until Raspberry Pi Won't Run (Anything But Our Proprietary Software With 'Telemetry' Surveillance)

    The ongoing series which we started yesterday and still publish today (about Microsoft recruiters) shows that Microsoft has rather toxic ambitions and the general idea is to infect everything with Microsoft, even the things that compete against Microsoft



  20. Controlling the Conduct of Large Corporations (and Monopolies) Would Help Tackle Disproportionate and Asymmetric Power Structures

    A "CoC" (Code of Conduct) is often crafted or drafted with good intentions; but with enforcement put in the wrong hands it is a tool of corporate oppression instead of protection of people's dignity



  21. Another Reason to Boycott Microsoft/GitHub: The War on Reverse-Engineering

    The high-profile fan-made reverse-engineering efforts are being proactively censored by Microsoft on behalf of another company (without as much as due process), reaffirming the problematic nature of GitHub, a monopoly that represses Free software developers



  22. Links 22/2/2021: Lots More About Linux on Mars, Release of 4MLinux 35.2

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft Inside — Part III: Microsoft Finds Out That Free Software Developers Don't Want to Work for Microsoft on Microsoft Platforms

    The attempts to poach high-profile Free software and GNU/Linux developers aren't succeeding, especially once it turns out who's really behind those attempts (they don't give it away upfront)



  24. Techrights is Now in Gemini (Having Completed a Two Week-Long Migration) With Over 32,000 Pages in Total

    The site is now mirrored across an alternative to the World Wide Web



  25. Links 22/2/2021: Cherry Pi PC and Release of Xfce Panel Profiles 1.0.13

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 21, 2021



  27. The Focus on Delivery Style Rather Than the Substance is an Extension of Cancel/Censorship Culture

    Don't look away because some bits of information are new and unfamiliar; there is always suppressed information and companies tend to pay publishers to publish material contrary to what is true (to seed confusion and urge for a false sense of "balance")



  28. Microsoft Inside -- Part II: Microsoft Has Plans for the Raspberry Pi or Linux SBCs in General (and It Hides Its Role in That)

    Some 'former' Microsoft employees are looking to hire GNU/Linux developers/employees without revealing who they are and who they still work with (Microsoft)



  29. Links 22/2/2021: Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU30 and Lubuntu in Focus

    Links for the day



  30. Technology Will Become More Inclusive When We Identify and Tackle the Root Causes, and Choice of Words Ain't That

    The troublesome misdirection from real issues (such as imperialism and racism that beget social apartheid) means that mainstream media hails corporations as the solution to the very problem they contribute to (for profit)


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

Recent Posts