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


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


  1. twitter said,

    June 19, 2010 at 10:20 pm


    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


    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. Željko Topić Tries to Do to EPO Staff What He Did in Croatia, Now Crushes Staff Assembly in The Hague

    Reminder to European Patent Office (EPO) staff that the EPO's management has a history of union-busting and serious violations of the rules; a call to join protests later today and later this week

  2. The Spanish EPO Scandal - Part I

    How García-Escudero Marquez, the sister of a Spanish Senate speaker, got controversially appointed to succeed the (now) EPO's Vice-President Alberto Casado Cerviño

  3. Media Alert: IAM 'Magazine' Does Not Protect Sources

    An important discussion regarding the role of IAM (Intellectual Asset Management) in the debate about EPO abuses

  4. Richard Stallman and Eben Moglen on the Microsoft-Red Hat Deal

    Founder of Free software and author of the GPL (respectively) comment on what Microsoft and Red Hat have done regarding patents

  5. Links 30/11/2015: Linux 4.4 RC3, Zaragoza Moving to FOSS

    Links for the day

  6. Public Protests by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff Weaken the EPO's Attacks on the Media

    Where things stand when it comes to the EPO's standoff against publications and why it's advisable for EPO staff to stage standoffs against their high-level management, which is behind a covert crackdown on independent media (while greasing up corporate media)

  7. Why the European Patent Office Cannot Really Sue and Why It's All -- More Likely Than Not -- Just SLAPP

    Legal analysis by various people explains why the EPO's attack dogs are all bark but no bite when it comes to threats against publishers

  8. How the EPO Twisted Defamation Law in a Failed Bid to Silence Techrights

    Using external legal firms (not the EPO's own lawyers), the EPO has been trying -- and failing -- to silence prominent critics

  9. East Texas and Its Cautionary Tale: Software Patents Lead to Patent Trolls

    Lessons from US media, which focuses on the dire situation in Texas courts, and how these relate to the practice of granting patents on software (the patent trolls' favourite weapon)

  10. The Latest EPO Spin: Staff Protesters Compared to 'Anti-Patent Campaigners' or 'Against UPC'

    Attempts to characterise legitimate complaints about the EPO's management as just an effort to derail the patent office itself, or even the patent system (spin courtesy of EPO and its media friends at IAM)

  11. The Serious Implication of Controversial FTI Consulting Contract: Every Press Article About EPO Could Have Been Paid for by EPO

    With nearly one million dollars dedicated in just one single year to reputation laundering, one can imagine that a lot of media coverage won't be objective, or just be synthetic EPO promotion, seeded by the EPO or its peripheral PR agents

  12. EPO: We Have Always Been at War With Europe (or Europeans)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) with its dubious attacks on free speech inside Europe further unveiled for the European public to see (as well as the international community, which oughtn't show any respect to the EPO, a de facto tyranny at the heart of Europe)

  13. What Everyone Needs to Know About the EPO's New War on Journalism

    A detailed list of facts or observations regarding the EPO's newfound love for censorship, even imposed on outside entities, including bloggers (part one of several to come)

  14. EPO Did Not Want to Take Down One Techrights Article, It Wanted to Take Down Many Articles Using Intimidation, SLAPPing, and Psychological Manipulation Late on a Friday Night

    Recalling the dirty tactics by which the European Patent Office sought to remove criticism of its dirty secret deals with large corporations, for whom it made available and was increasingly offering preferential treatment

  15. The European Private Office: What Was Once a Public Service is Now Crony Capitalism With Private Contractors

    The increasing privatisation of the European Patent Office (EPO), resembling what happens in the UK to the NHS, shows that the real goal is to crush the quality of the service and instead serve a bunch of rich and powerful interests, in defiance of the original goals of this well-funded (by taxpayers) organisation

  16. Microsoft Once Again Disregards People's Settings and Abuses Them, Again Pretends It's Just an Accident

    A conceited corporation, Microsoft, shows not only that it exploits its botnet to forcibly download massive binaries without consent but also that it vainly overrides people's privacy settings to spy on these people, sometimes with help from malicious hardware vendors such as Dell or Lenovo

  17. When the EPO Liaised With Capone (Literally) to Silence Bloggers, Delete Articles

    A dissection of the EPO's current media strategy, which involves not only funneling money into the media but also actively silencing opposing views

  18. Blogger Who Wrote About the EPO's Abuses Retires

    Bloggers' independent rebuttal capability against a media apparatus that is deep in the EPO's pocket is greatly diminished as Jeremy Phillips suddenly retires

  19. Leaked: EPO Award of €880,000 “in Order to Address the Media Presence of the EPO” (Reputation Laundering)

    The European Patent Office, a public body, wastes extravagant amounts of money on public relations (for 'damage control', like FIFA's) in an effort to undermine critics, not only among staff (internally) but also among the media (externally)

  20. Links 27/11/2015: KDE Plasma 5.5 Plans, Oracle Linux 7.2

    Links for the day

  21. Documents Needed: Contract or Information About EPO PR/Media Campaign to Mislead the World

    Rumour that the EPO spends almost as much as a million US dollars “with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO”

  22. Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue

    Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public...”

  23. Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Some timely perspective on what's needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by 'virtue' of making tyrants its official figureheads

  24. A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

    An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media

  25. European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”

    Criticism of the EPO's thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws

  26. Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

    Links for the day

  27. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  28. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  29. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  30. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention


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