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. Site Focus for The Remainder of the Year

    What we plan for the rest of 2014 and why



  2. Links 20/4/2014: EFF FOSS, Easter Drone Strikes, Copyright Industry Fear of Google

    Links for the day



  3. Links 19/4/2014: Slow Easter News Day

    Links for the day



  4. Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

    Links for the day



  5. Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

    Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)



  6. Microsoft is Leaving Windows -- Including Vista 8.1 -- Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

    Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire



  7. Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

    Links for the day



  8. Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, 'Targeted' Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

    Links for the day



  9. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  10. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  11. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  12. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  13. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  14. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  15. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  16. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  18. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  19. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  20. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  21. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  22. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  23. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  24. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  25. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day



  26. KDE News: Kubuntu at the Centre Again KDE Applications Updated

    Links for the day



  27. Techrights Rising

    Effective immediately, Techrights will do what it takes to bring back old volume and pace of publishing



  28. Links: Surveillance, Intervention, Torture and Drones

    Links for the day



  29. Mobile Linux Not Just Android: Jolla, WebOS, and Firefox OS News

    Links for the day



  30. Google's Linux Revolution: New Gains for Android, Chrome OS (GNU/Linux)

    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