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

05.14.10

Patents Roundup: EmDebian Considers OIN Membership, EBoA Makes the Legal ‘Industry’ Happy, Phones Industry Harmed by Patents

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Debian, Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, OIN, Patents at 3:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hercules

Summary: Teams of embedded Debian users/developers may want a shield from software patents; Europe does nothing to stop software patenting; patent lawyers and the patents they crave prove harmful to development of “best” mobile phones

Benjamin Henrion (FFII) says that “EmDebian [is] considering joining the Open Invention Network,” based on this new message:

OIN is the open innovation network, a patent defence group set up in 2005 by IBM, phillips, Red Hat, Novell, NEC and Sony to create a patent pool for defending Linux.

They are now keen to have proper free-software people and projects join up, especially in the Embedded space which is shaping up for a big fight over the next few years as the incumbents realise Linux has eaten their businesses. This could easily get dirty (i.e. have incumbent vendors resort to their patent portfolios to hang on past their natural time – (in the way that SCO did, although they tried to use copyright rather than patents).

Henrion is trying to tell them that “collective patent pools and shields do not work against trolls” (with special exceptions [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]).

Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) Decision Loved by Patent Lawyers

Wednesday’s disappointment from the EBoA is already being covered all around Europe, especially by the legal 'industry'.

Patent attorneys seem pleased with the outcome, which lets them carry on doing what they did before, including the patenting of software using known loopholes.

To be honest, the decision was pretty much expected: the European Patent Office (EPO) has been taking a fairly consistent approach to computer-implemented inventions and has a growing body of learning materials on the subject.

Another ‘IP’ attorney says that “Enlarged Board of Appeal confirms approach to controversial software patents.” More from patent lawyers:

As many in the ‘FOSS’/anti-patent world would undoubtedly say, perhaps it is now time for the legislator to take over. However, I would have very serious doubts about whether it will be possible to come to any sort of agreement among the member states of either the EU or the EPC that would stand any chance of resolving the issue once and for all.

[...]

6. T 424/03, Microsoft does deviate from a view expressed in T 1173/97, IBM, concerning whether a claim to a program on a computer-readable medium necessarily avoids exclusion from patentability under Article 52(2) EPC. However this is a legitimate development of the case law and there is no divergence which would make the referral of this point to the Enlarged Board of Appeal by the President admissible.

Henrion has just uploaded this English version of the video depicting the European Parliament as it rejects the Software Patent Directive (also available in French/original). Here is an Ogg Theora version of this historical video.


It would be nice to have another such high-profile decision annulling all patents on software. In the United States, In Re Bilski will resume very shortly.

Phones a Patent Mess

“Complex Smartphones Are the Latest Patent Battleground,” exclaims Business Week. It seems like nothing but lawsuits is what patents brought to this lucrative section of the industry (where Linux grows fastest and Microsoft diminishes).

The patent wars are raging in the mobile device market, and they could result in rising costs for handset makers and higher gadget prices for wireless carriers and consumers. So far this year, Apple and HTC—two of the most innovative smartphone makers—have become embroiled in more patent-related litigation than in all of 2007, and they are on track to beat their own 2008 and 2009 records, according to Bloomberg data.

Wired Magazine has the following new article:

Investigation: Apple vs Nokia vs Google vs HTC vs RIM

[...]

The struggle that’s broken out between the tech giants has a certain irony; after all, the prizes they’re disputing — patents — were invented to accelerate and encourage invention, not hinder it. The concept is fairly straightforward: a patent is granted if an invention meets a number of requirements, the most essential being “novelty” and “usefulness”. Once granted, a patent typically gives the inventor a limited monopoly of a minimum of 20 years in which he alone can market the invention or license others to take up his protected work.

[...]

In their 2008 book Patent Failure, Bessen and fellow Boston University law professor Michael Meurer show that, since the late-90s, litigation costs for publicly traded companies (except in the case of pharmaceuticals) have consistently outweighed the profits that companies derived from patents. They show that in 1999 alone, $9.3 billion (£6bn) were made in profits from patents globally. Litigation costs alone, however, reached $16 billion (£10.5bn) for the US. In the last decade, this situation has deteriorated considerably: in 1999, there were 2,318 patent litigation lawsuits filed in the US. By 2008, that number had risen to 2,896.

Yesterday we mentioned the HTC vs Apple case. The New York Times has attempted to get a response from Apple but failed.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Why didn’t HTC join the OIN and retaliate against Microsoft and Apple this way? Instead, it sold out to Microsoft and harmed the whole of Android in the process.

HTC is using just 5 patents. Had it joined the OIN, it would possibly have hundreds of infringing examples for a more effective artillery in this M.A.D. situation (TechDirt says that a “Patent Nuclear Response [Was] Launched” because it’s the best analogy).

According to the press release, HTC believes Apple infringes upon five of their patents. As to what they are, we don’t quite know. More on this as it develops.

“HTC files patent complaint against Apple, asks for ban on iPhone, iPad, and iPod,” says Engadget. That’s the ITC loophole which often gets abused.

Apple has other problems because of Adobe and invocation of “antitrust”.

Adobe has launched its latest salvo in an ongoing dispute with Apple.

The co-founders of Adobe have published an open letter in which they say that Apple threatens to “undermine the next chapter of the web”.

Actually, it is Adobe which undermines the next chapter of the Web. The Web is about web standards, not proprietary plugins. More companies also need to support Theora, which both Apple and Adobe are a threat to (see the posts below).

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. Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM 'Open'

    What Microsoft et al. call 'Next-Generation Open Media Formats' are basically neither open nor acceptable (it's DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub 'Open Source Tools' are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse



  2. Recycled Old News About Vista 10, Stressing That Not Only '10' is Spyware But All of Windows is

    How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft's gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to 'upgrade' to Vista 10



  3. Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

    Links for the day



  4. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  5. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  6. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  8. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  9. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  10. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  11. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  12. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  13. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  15. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  16. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  17. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  18. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  19. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  21. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  22. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received



  23. Market Share Estimates Confirm That Vista 10 Failed in a Major Way

    Confirmatory evidence that Vista 10 is failing in the market about a month after its much-hyped (paid coverage) release



  24. When Microsoft, the Master of Patent Trolls, Complains About Trolls

    Possibly the world's biggest patent abuser and monopolist, which also creates many patent trolls (including by far the biggest one), takes on a far smaller abuser in Court



  25. Letter Signed by Two German Officials Becomes a Microsoft Weapon of Propaganda

    Microsoft and its minions refuse to leave Munich alone, even though the vast majority in Munich are perfectly happy with Free/libre software



  26. Links 25/8/2015: Linux Kernel 4.2 Final RC, KDE Ships Plasma 5.4.0

    Links for the day



  27. Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl Should Take Note as Russia -- Like China -- is in the Process of Banning Microsoft Windows for Security Reasons

    A look at a strange suggestion, signed by Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl, who suggest going back to Microsoft which is basically a spyware company now



  28. Microsoft Windows Leads to Espionage and Blackmail: Latest Examples

    Another news overview, detailing high-profile examples of high-cost Windows deployments (including the cost of litigation and settlement)



  29. Links 23/8/2015: BcacheFS Benchmarks, Blackphone 2

    Links for the day



  30. Links 22/8/2015: Chromebook Gains, GNOME 3.18 Clues

    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