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

05.26.10

Patents Roundup: USPTO Workshop, Bilski Action, and Patents-Imposed Death

Posted in America, Boycott Novell, Europe, LG, Patents, Samsung at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fire escape
It gets harder to escape patents on DNA

Summary: Proposed solutions, impending cases, and another new case where patents go so terribly wrong that even people needlessly die

TODAY we look at 3 types of news from the past 3 days or so. Software patents are being covered too, but everyone is still waiting for In Re Bilski to be concluded.

USPTO and Patent Conundrums

Today (May 26th), the USPTO has this workshop which is intended to “explore the intersection of patent policy and competition policy”. How about tackling the problem of patent pools, which make up thickets and abusive cartels?

Three separate companies are steadily recruiting intellectual property holders into patent pools for LTE (Long-Term Evolution) technology, initiatives intended to get more manufacturers building gear for the fast network.

Patent pools are only suitable for large companies — those that exclude new entrants. The only small entities to benefit from this system are the NPEs (trolls). Samsung and LG, the two Korean giants which pay Microsoft for Linux, are complaining about patent trolls right now.

Representatives say South Korean electronics makers are becoming targets from “patent trolls” as increased competition between manufacturers makes room to seek more money in legal suits.

Did Microsoft, which Salesforce’s CEO Benioff compares to a patent troll, sign those Linux patent deals with Samsung and LG only after threats of litigation? We might never know.

In Re Bilski

Brad Feld writes about “innovating against software patents” and receives support from Groklaw.

Last week, Microsoft sued Salesforce.com claiming infringement of 9 software patents. This comes shortly after Nokia sued Apple who sued Nokia over software patents, and after Apple sued HTC who sued Apple over software patents.

As an example of the ridiculous nature of software patents, Microsoft’s claims cover user interface features, including a “system and method for providing and displaying a Web page having an embedded menu” and a “method and system for stacking toolbars in a computer display.”

This explosion of litigation based on the patenting of software cannot be brushed-off as large corporations doing what they do, as almost every start-up software company is at some point being shaken down by software patent holders. It’s a massive tax on and retardant of innovation.

From Pamela Jones:

I have a request from End Software Patents’ Ciarán O’Riordan. He’d like your help.

He says VC good guy Brad Feld is interested in in mailing out copies of the film Patent Absurdity (Full title: Patent Absurdity: How software patents broke the system) to 200 people — politicians, influential people in companies, policy setters at standards groups, and whoever will be influential in the debate the breaks out post-Bilski — and he’d like to have some help from you coming up with a list of who best to send to.

This system in the United States (USPTO) needs a change and it needs it urgently. Glyn Moody writes about the German ruling on software patents [1, 2, 3, 4] and points out that “some argue there were similar ones in early 90s” (so maybe it’s not as bad as some people imagined). It is mostly the USPTO which ‘exports’ those bad laws to the rest of the world. The problem ought to be squashed in the US and in Japan.

Patents on Life

Red Hat’s new Web site writes about how the GPL can inspire a solution to the increasingly-serious injustice which is patenting of living things [1, 2].

The Economist is right on top of the story of the first fully synthetic life-form. For those of you who may have missed the announcement last week, Craig Venter and Hamilton Smith, the two American biologists who unravelled the first DNA sequence of a living organism (a bacterium) in 1995, have pushed the envelope again, demonstrating the first successful boot-up of a synthetic bacterium. Editors at the Economist argue that the only sensible way to protect ourselves from such creations is to require that the DNA sequences be open source. It is a profound insight.

[...]

But now he’s back, and he’s built the one thing that sits as an exception to the Gene Patent exclusions: a wholly synthetic lifeform. Does Ventner really want to advance science (which he has done), or is he searching, like Charles Muntz, villain of the PIXAR movie UP, for his ultimate, exclusive patent on life?

What happens when patent law kills patients? [via]

When a child dies of brain disease at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Philip H. Schwartz meets with the parents, explains his research and asks them to donate their child’s brain to his quest for a cure.

“These are not easy conversations to have,” he said. “There are expectations by parents that if they allow us to do that to their child, it will serve a useful purpose.”

But for three years, the cells derived from many of those children’s brains have been suspended in limbo, frozen in Thermos bottles. The nonprofit Southern California hospital has shut down the research, intimidated by a patent claim from the Palo Alto biotech company StemCells. The company’s co-founder is esteemed Stanford stem cell scientist Dr. Irving Weissman, one of the world’s most passionate advocates for giving scientists access to a field entangled by politics, ethics — and now money.

Against Monopoly asks, “Who Owns You?”

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

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. Forced Confessions and Thought Control in Debian

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  2. [Meme] You Cannot Elect/Vote Corporations Out of Power (Eternal Vigilance is Required)

    Based on early polls, Biden will be president-elect in about a month and a half; but it’s important to remember that the election (if honoured by the current tenant of the White House) won’t be the end of corporate abuse of power in the same sense that driving Microsoft out of business won’t miraculously mean that Free software ‘won’ (we have a lot more to confront still)



  3. Debian Volunteers Disallowed and Forbidden From Talking About Politics (Unlike Debian's Aristocracy That Handles All the Money From Sponsors)

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  4. Political Compass for Free Software (and Those Who Attack Software Freedom)

    With RMS (the father of the movement) betrayed from multiple angles (OSI, Linux Foundation etc.) it’s probably important to depict what’s going on, quasi-politically speaking



  5. Richard Stallman Has Not Changed His Tune at All

    Richard Stallman's (RMS) principled views regarding software go back to the days of zeroes and ones; his position 35 years ago was almost indistinguishable from today's position



  6. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, September 17, 2020



  7. Keith Packard: Richard Stallman Was Right (About the GPL)

    A 2020 video (before lock-downs) from the brain behind X11 and various lesser-known projects



  8. The Quandary of 'Ethical' Sponsors and One's Ability to Criticise Them (Otherwise It's a Potential Bribe in Exchange for Censorship of Critics)

    When Free software advocacy groups are indebted to companies that greatly harm people's freedom (including privacy) we have to ask ourselves questions regarding morality and ethics because money isn't inherently evil, it depends who or where it comes from (on what implicit conditions)



  9. When Attempting to Run for Debian Project Leader (DPL), Only to Realise the Process is Rigged (and Censored) to Protect Past Leaders

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  10. [Meme] Linux Foundation Does Not Represent Linux Users

    With only one truly technical person inside the Linux Foundation Board (it got a lot worse in 2020) it seems safe to call it 95%+ corporate gerrymandering with no signs of improving any time soon; it’s all about letting hostile corporations change Linux rather than allowing Linux to change the world



  11. Somebody Needs to Talk About Free Software Politics

    The world of Free software is full of politics; it's impossible to be completely apolitical in it and just like "office politics" or "corporate politics" a lot boils down to deception, manipulation, exchange of favours (sometimes bribes) and we must talk about those things if we're ever going to seriously tackle abuse



  12. 2020 Elections: No, It's Not About Russia

    The Biden/Trump false dichotomy (perpetuating the two-party system monopoly/duopoly) borrows from Russophobic tactics and fact-free shaming



  13. Nepotism and Conflicts of Interest in Free Software

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  14. Links 17/9/2020: Qt Creator 4.13.1, Linux 5.8.10 and Mesa 20.1.8 Released

    Links for the day



  15. Codes of Contradiction

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  16. [Meme] Two Dictators: When Jimmy Met Satya

    Jim Zemlin’s Linux Foundation has sold Linux to a bunch of Linux-hostile dictators



  17. Germany Would Violate 3 International Agreements With the Unitary Patent, Says FFII

    Open Letter to the Bundesrat: “Germany will violate 3 international agreements with the Unitary Patent”



  18. Expulsions by Vendettas

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  19. [Meme] António Campinos Fools Nobody at the EPO Anymore

    António Campinos, President of the EPO, is failing to hide who or what he really is; he’s not even trying anymore



  20. EPO Gradually Becomes a Set of Private Corporations (Some Aren't Even European and Work Against Europeans)

    The sale of the EPO, piece-wise so to speak, is accelerating under the leadership of the new President, who also helps cover up serious financial misconduct by Benoît Battistelli, who arranged this job for him



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, September 16, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, September 16, 2020



  22. Links 17/9/2020: GNOME 3.38 and LabPlot 2.8

    Links for the day



  23. Cliques That Form and Nepotistically Control Debian (Whilst Ousting Challengers and Intimidating Influential Contributors)

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  24. How Unix Works (Explanation by Its Founding Fathers)

    An early look at the system which decades later took over the entire world (as a prototype or as a concept and de facto standard at least); it's partly relevant to the systemd debate



  25. António Campinos is Believed to be “Dismantling” the EPO

    It looks like the EPO is gradually abolishing much of itself; staff is understandably stressed about the matter



  26. Programmers' Day Should be Reason to Abolish Software Patents, Not Celebrate These

    Even in the 35 U.S.C. § 101 era, which was well overdue, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) romanticists have decided to offend programmers; “this one is really insulting,” Henrion (FFII) responded. “Not sure programmers can celebrate. Software patents are an insult to our profession…”



  27. [Meme] Leaks Aren't Our Enemy; They Help Expose an Inherently Corrupt and Unethical System

    Understanding of society and human affairs requires compelled/imposed disclosures; tribalism or identity politics can only move us away from truth itself



  28. Links 16/9/2020: Gentoo Distribution Kernel and Tor 0.4.4.5

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, September 15, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, September 15, 2020



  30. RMS Really IS The Father of “Open Source”

    Keith Bostic explains that Richard Stallman (RMS) played a role in BSD becoming free


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