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

06.19.10

Microsoft’s Attack on Software Freedom With Software Patents (and the Significance of the Bilski Case)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 7:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pieter Hintjens

Summary: New analysis of patents relating to software, assorted items from the news, and interpretation of those items

A new volume of the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review has just been released [PDF]. Towards the end, this latest issue contains an article from Pieter Hintjens, who speaks about Microsoft’s OOXML corruption and “For monopolists like Microsoft,” quotes the president of the FFII, “the answer is to prevent the software from being free, this requires software patents.”

Companies like Tuxera help Microsoft achieve this goal even in Europe (Tuxera is based on Finland) and the 451 Group mentioned this company a few days ago:

While it has drawn some controversy for its IP deal with Microsoft, Tuxera says this allows it to benefit from the ability to offer support, integration and licensing for both NTFS and exFAT filesystems.

Tuxera receives money as long as it also allows Microsoft to make money from Android and from Linux. What’s not to like? Both Tuxera and Microsoft enjoy this, at the expense of software freedom. Microsoft uses Tuxera as a bridge with which to impose software patents on Linux (including branches/derivatives).

Here is a new press release which remarks on the difficulty of obtaining “business method software patents” (they are lumped together as though they are one).

The fundamental business methods and processes unique to N-Play(R) led the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to recently issue U.S. Patent #7,664,682. Business method software patents are considered a rarity and are the most difficult patents to obtain through the USPTO with less than 17% being approved.

Well, it’s obviously not hard enough because none at all should be accepted, especially after the Bilski case (assuming the decision stands when it’s released [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). If business method patents and software patents are seen as equatable, then both can probably be abolished post-Bilski. Neither refers to an actual product which is physical. Besides, as this new article puts it:

The US Patent Office has been flooded with software patents ever since.

85% of Microsoft’s patent filings are said to be for software patents (monopolies on algorithms).

It has become utterly trivial to patent just about anything and one person has just put it like this:

Since anything (however stupid it might be) can be patented, I am gonna patent the following:

Title: SYSTEM and METHOD for TROLL CONTROL in open-source projects mailing lists, via Contribution-Points based eMail Limits

Speaking of trolls, Thomas Edison has some voice recordings of his salvaged. It’s more of an historical thing, not much of professional value. Edison was part of the problem we now know as the USPTO; his characterisation as an inventor is often challenged as it neglects to mention how he took people’s existing ideas, modified these mildly and then claimed/earned a monopoly on them. Edison is said to have been a businessman and a patent (monopoly) opportunist, just like Bill Gates in a sense.

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

5 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    June 19, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Gravatar

    We should never confuse Edison’s patents with software patents which monopolize general concepts. Edison’s patents document specific, useful inventions which are the results of endless careful experiments with physical objects. Software patents attempt to “own an idea” such as a method of organizing files by alphabetical order. Software patents are always methods or math, which are a part of nature that can be discovered but are never an invention which is the combination of specific natural phenomena to produce something useful.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The question is, was he a documentor?

    Jose_X Reply:

    Though I am much in favor of significant patent reform across the board (eg, towards shorter durations, enforcement in limited sized regions, and against only significantly larger competitors), allow me to help give an example of how software patents make so little sense period.

    I can simply turn on some inspirational music, hum to myself, and then write an idea about a great software feature or application.

    That was the easy part, much like coming up with the ideas for a novel. Today, this is patentable (in the case of software, but not yet for fiction despite a push in that direction by monopoly lovers).

    The significantly harder (in most cases) and much less fun part is in writing up that great novel or application that audiences will really like and find useful.

    Further, I can think of almost any feature, and eventually it can get implemented, if crudely (as might be the case if I had been given a monopoly lock on the feature). Same applies to a novel. I can think of almost any storyline, and it can get written (eg, poorly, if *I* were the one to get the monopoly).

    In contrast, I can’t come up with just any idea and have it become a workable physical solution because, unlike when we create virtual realities with software or with novels, physical products require adherence to many physical restraints. You can’t will your imagination into reality as you can with software and with fiction.

    All software, like math and fiction, is a creation of idealized rules in the mind. In each of these three cases, there is skill and art involved and rules of logic that must be met, but the hurdles of the physical world do not come into play except tangentially.

    Patents on the broad ideas (not impacted by costly physical experimentation, manufacture, distribution, etc) is not just a little stifling, but potentially very very stifling.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Allegories and novels are an interesting example because there too some people want patents. Can you imagine how a prior art search would work and what it would do to the process of writing?

  2. Jose_X said,

    June 20, 2010 at 1:43 am

    Gravatar

    A reference link: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071227/010830.shtml “Once Again: The Great Inventors Often Were Neither Great, Nor Inventors”

What Else is New


  1. Links 22/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1, Ubuntu MATE

    Links for the day



  2. Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

    Links for the day



  3. Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

    Links for the day



  4. Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

    The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe



  5. Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

    With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades



  7. Reaffirming Microsoft's Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

    Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper's business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there



  8. Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

    After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma



  9. The GOP's Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

    The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes



  10. How the EPO's Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X

    A look at highly dubious moves by EPO President Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić, whose abuses are becoming hard to oversee or even report



  11. Links 15/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1 Release Candidate, Popcorn Time 0.3.5

    Links for the day



  12. IRC Proceedings: October 26th, 2014 – November 8th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  13. The Terrible Joke Which is Microsoft 'Loving' Linux: Nightmares With UEFI 'Secure' Boot (i.e. Windows Monopoly Imposed) Continue to Affect GNU/Linux Users

    A reminder of Microsoft's sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations



  14. Patent Lawyers Worry About Section 101 in 'Alice' (and Other Patent News)

    A quick roundup of news of interest regarding software patents



  15. Will Write for FUD (Against FOSS)

    Black Duck rears its ugly head again, serving to show that it is in the business of changing perceptions and not in the information or analysis business



  16. Debunking Several Days of Never-Ending Lies About Microsoft and .NET

    .NET is not "Open Source", it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers



  17. Links 14/11/2014: LibreOffice 4.3.4, Ads Now in Firefox

    Links for the day



  18. Links 14/11/2014: GNOME 3.14.2, PulseAudio 6.0

    Links for the day



  19. Microsoft Windows is Still Designed as a Paradise of Back Doors, Intrusion, Wiretaps, and Interception

    At many levels -- from communication to storage and encryption -- Windows is designed for the very opposite of security



  20. Forget the FUD About Bash and OpenSSL, Microsoft Windows Blamed for Massive Credit Cards Heist

    Home Depot learns its lesson from a Microsoft Windows disaster, but it stays with proprietary software rather than move to software that is actively audited by many people and is inherently better maintained (Free/libre software)



  21. Windows 'Update' and NSA Back Doors, Including a 19-Year Bug Door in Microsoft Windows

    The back doors-enabled Microsoft Windows is being revealed and portrayed as the Swiss cheese that it really is after massive holes are discovered (mostly to be buried by a .NET propaganda blitz)



  22. Revealed: Microsoft is Trying to Corrupt the UK in Order to Eliminate Its OpenDocument Format-Oriented Standards Policy

    Microsoft interference with Britain's preference for ODF is now confirmed, thanks to a valuable news report from Computer Weekly; OOXML lock-in is being unleashed by Microsoft on Android users



  23. Links 13/11/2014: Ubuntu MATE 14.04.1 LTS, New KDE Plasma

    Links for the day



  24. .NET is NOT "Open Source", But Microsoft's Minions Shamelessly Openwash It Right Now

    The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers



  25. Links 11/11/2014: GNOME Trademark Dispute Settled, Mozilla Embraces Tor

    Links for the day



  26. Patent Reform Subversion After Republican (GOP) 'Win' in US Senate

    The Grand Corporations Party, or the political party which serves large businesses that are funding it, continues to just focus on a mirage of a 'reform' rather than tackle the real issues where culprits include very large businesses such as Microsoft and Apple



  27. Microsoft-Armed Patent Troll MOSAID (Now Conversant) Wants to Sweep up More Patents for Litigation

    Reports about patent trolls and scope of patents serve to show what the foes of Free software are up to right now



  28. When Courts in the US Attack the Right to Reuse APIs

    Challenging the clueless ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the United States (very pro-software patents and anti-computer science), notable programmers write to the highest court



  29. Links 10/11/2014: 2015 GNU/Linux Forecasts, Debian Shakeup

    Links for the day



  30. Links 7/11/2014: War Thunder on GNU/Linux, KaOS ISO 2014.11

    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