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

06.22.10

Framework for Legalising Software Patents in Europe Falls Over, So Why Does Canonical Join the OIN?

Posted in Europe, IBM, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Ubuntu at 3:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Berlin wall

Summary: Canonical, the EU-based company which produces the “Ubuntu” GNU/Linux distribution, joins the Open Invention Network just as the “EU patent” seemingly collapses

A few weeks ago we showed that the unified patent litigation system (UPLS) was failing to materialise. It’s one of those back doors to software patents admission all across Europe. A new report from IAM hammers another nail into this coffin, but vigilance remains necessary because they keep renaming and/or dressing up this same plan which would help lawyers, not science.

A single EU patent looks dead in the water as member states seek alternatives

Attempts to create a single EU patent could be heading to yet another failure, according to Margot Fröhlinger, Director of Knowledge Economy inside the Internal Markets DG of the European Commission. Speaking today at the IP Business Congress in Munich, Fröhlinger, who is closely involved in the negotiations surrounding the patent, as well as a single litigation system in the EU, told delegates that the project “is not in the best shape”. Proposals about languages and translations are due to be presented to the Council of Ministers next week. There is, however, “little chance that they will fly,” she said.

Oddly enough, the UK-based Canonical has just joined the US-based Maginot Line as a member, supposedly for protection against racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] from Microsoft, MPEG-LA [1, 2], and other aggressors/trolls who will potentially use software patents. The official announcement (appended below in full) says:

Open Invention Network (OIN) today announced that Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has become its first Associate Member. Open Invention Network developed the Associate Member program to further strengthen the Linux community and empower open source leaders to ensure ongoing freedom of action for Linux as it relates to intellectual property (IP) rights..

It is not entirely clear how the OIN will help Canonical. It didn’t exactly save the EU-based TomTom, which paid Microsoft after it got sued. Florian Müller got in touch with us to say that the “Open Invention Network, a patent holding firm owned by six companies (IBM, Sony, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, Novell) has announced a new “Associate Member” program and the fact that Canonical (the Ubuntu company) becomes the first Associate Member (previously, Canonical was a mere “licensee”).” For those who do not know yet, Müller is an OIN sceptic. The same goes for the FFII and for Techrights, unlike Groklaw for example.

“The Canonical announcement once again shows the absolutely unacceptable degree of intransparency with which the Open Invention Network operates,” Müller explains. “Both the press release and the OIN’s website fail to specify what exactly the rights and obligations of OIN Associate Members — as compared to mere licensees — are. Also, there’s no information concerning the criteria according to which a company is eligible to become an OIN Associate Member. Canonical is known for being a strategic partner of IBM, and since IBM is the most influential force behind the OIN, that’s probably the reason why its membership status was upgraded.

“Canonical is known for being a strategic partner of IBM, and since IBM is the most influential force behind the OIN, that’s probably the reason why its membership status was upgraded.”
      –Florian Müller
“The OIN can’t claim to pursue the protection of the Linux ecosystem as long as its non-assertion commitment relates only to an arbitrary definition of what the OIN calls ‘the Linux System’, which includes some but not all of the major applications that are usually shipped with major Linux distributions. The OIN reserves the right to redefine ‘the Linux System’ and therefore the scope of its license agreement anytime at its sole discretion, which is intransparent and arbitrary and raises serious questions. It seems to me that the OIN is basically a strategic patent troll, a non-practicing entity owned by a small group of companies that can use it for its purposes against their competitors whenever they elect to do so, and the protection of Linux is just a pretext.

“Some of the OIN’s backers have a terrible background concerning software patents, such as IBM, and I have had to lobby against most of those companies in the past because they tried to convince lawmakers in Europe to strengthen the legal position of software patents over here.

“I’m not aware of even one case in which the OIN’s patent pool served the purpose of protecting Linux. Organizations close to the OIN try to suggest that it was the case, but there’s absolutely no evidence because otherwise there would have had to be an announcement that a company trying to assert patents against Linux or other open source software backed off and instead obtained a license to the OIN’s patents. Not even one such case is known. Instead, patent infringements by companies building products based on Linux happen all the time, and even very strong and competent organizations such as Amazon and HTC feel forced to pay patent royalties for their use of Linux. If the OIN were as useful as its backers claim, those companies, too, could have chosen to be protected by the OIN.”

We omit the remainder of Müller’s mail because it contains promotion of other schemes that we wish not to endorse. As Carlo Piana put it last month, “the *only* solution is abolition NOW.”

We patiently wait for the Bilski decision to come. Here is what Patently-O has to say about it:

UPDATE: No decision today. The court will release opinions on Thursday (June 24) and again next Monday.

It will definitely be out by the end of the month [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], so either this week or next week we will know what milestone was achieved.


Open Invention Network Announces Associate Member Program and Recruits Canonical As Its First Associate Member

New Associate Member Program Strengthens Linux Community and Deepens OIN Impact in Support of Linux’s Growth and Migration into Key Emerging Markets

Durham, NC (June 22, 2010) – Open Invention Network (OIN) today announced that Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has become its first Associate Member. Open Invention Network developed the Associate Member program to further strengthen the Linux community and empower open source leaders to ensure ongoing freedom of action for Linux as it relates to intellectual property (IP) rights.

“We view Open Invention Network as one of the key methods through which open source leaders and innovators can deter patent aggression,”
      –Canonical CEO Jane Silber
OIN Associate Members, such as Canonical, demonstrate support and commitment to limiting the effects of patent disputes in Linux. Canonical’s activities and those of all companies seeking to adopt and use Linux will be facilitated as OIN works closely with Canonical and other companies that are supporting Linux’s growth and expansion. Through the support of its founding members including IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony, OIN has amassed a broad portfolio of patents, including patents held by nominees on its behalf.

“Canonical has shown great leadership with Ubuntu and it is an important participant in the overall open source and Linux ecosystem. By transitioning its relationship with OIN from Licensee and becoming OIN’s first Associate Member, Canonical is once again demonstrating its leadership and commitment to Linux,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. “We are extremely pleased to launch our Associate Member program and have Canonical join as our first member.”

“We view Open Invention Network as one of the key methods through which open source leaders and innovators can deter patent aggression,” said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. “We are committed to freedom of action in open source, and have noted OIN’s efforts to actively defend and enable the Linux ecosystem. By becoming an OIN Associate Member, we are supporting the broad OIN mission and its commitment to enable and protect Linux’s advancement.”

About OIN Membership & Licensee Opportunities
Open Invention Network has three levels of participation, each of which helps to promote open source as a modality for invention and ensure ongoing freedom of action for Linux community members:

• Founding Members – Open Invention Network comprises six forward-looking organizations that originally created OIN with a mission of enabling and protecting Linux as it relates to IP rights. OIN’s Founding Members include IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony.

• Associate Members – Associate Members are recruited from Linux-related companies, including those that are leaders in advancing Linux’s migration into emerging growth markets. Associate Members make a commitment to the Linux Community by virtue of their commitments to and membership in OIN and help to ensure that patent issues do not impair Linux’s growth.

• Licensees – Any company or organization that agrees to refrain from using its intellectual property against the Linux System may become an OIN licensee. Licensees benefit from royalty-free access to a valuable and growing portfolio of strategic patents, as well as from ongoing communication with OIN concerning Linux-related patent issues. In so doing, licensees facilitate their access to OIN resources such as Linux Defenders, which is designed to address patent issues with the potential to impact Linux. OIN licensees, be they founding members, associate members or licensees, contribute to an ever expanding community of companies that share a common goal of ensuring freedom of action in and across the Linux ecosystem. Through their unified commitment to Linux, they limit the negative effect of patent-based challenges mounted by companies antagonistic to Linux and open source innovation.

###

About Canonical

Canonical provides engineering, online and professional services to Ubuntu partners and customers worldwide. As the company behind the Ubuntu project, Canonical is committed to the production and support of Ubuntu – an ever-popular and fast-growing open-source operating system. It aims to ensure that Ubuntu is available to every organisation and individual on servers, desktops, laptops and netbooks.

Canonical partners with computer hardware manufacturers to certify Ubuntu, provides migration, deployment, support and training services to businesses, and offers online services direct to end users. Canonical also builds and maintains collaborative, open-source development tools to ensure that organisations and individuals can participate fully in innovations within the open-source community. For more information, visit www.canonical.com.

About Open Invention Network®

Open Invention Network is a collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux. It does this by acquiring and licensing patents, influencing behaviors and policy and protecting the integrity of the ecosystem through strategic programs such as Linux Defenders. OIN enables the growth and continuation of open source software by fostering a healthy Linux ecosystem of investors, vendors, developers and users.

Open Invention Network has considerable industry backing. It was launched in 2005 by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony. OIN has received supplemental financial support from Canonical. For more information, visit www.openinventionnetwork.com.

###

Open Invention Network, the Open Invention Network logo, Linux Defenders, Linux Defenders 911 and the Linux Defenders 911 logo are registered trademarks or the property of Open Invention Network, LLC. All other names and brand marks are the property of their respective holders.

Media-Only Contact:

For Open Invention Network:
Ed Schauweker
Ketchum for Open Invention Network
ed.schauweker@ketchum.com
703-963-5238

For Canonical:
Joe Eckert
Baker Communications Group
jeckert@bakercg.com
203-270-3711

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. The EPO is Lying to Its Own Staff About ILO and Endless (Over 2 Years) EPO Mistrials

    The creative writing skills of some spinners who work for Battistelli would have staff believe that all is fine and dandy at the EPO and ILO is dealing effectively with staff complaints about the EPO (even if several years too late)



  2. EPO’s Georg Weber Continues Horrifying Trend of EPO Promoting Software Patents in Defiance of Directive, EPC, and Common Sense

    The EPO's promotion of software patents, even out in the open, is an insult to the notion that the EPO is adhering to or is bound by the rules upon which it maintains its conditional monopoly



  3. Protectionism v Sharing: How the US Supreme Court Decides Patent Cases

    As the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) starts delivering some decisions we take stock of what's to come regarding patents



  4. Links 22/3/2017: GNOME 3.24, Wine-Staging 2.4 Released

    Links for the day



  5. The Battistelli Regime, With Its Endless Scandals, Threatens to Crash the Unitary Patent (UPC), Stakeholders Concerned

    The disdain and the growing impatience have become a huge liability not just to Battistelli but to the European Patent Office (EPO) as a whole



  6. The Photos the EPO Absolutely Doesn't Want the Public to See: Battistelli is Building a Palace Using Stakeholders' Money

    The Office is scrambling to hide evidence of its out-of-control spendings, which will leave the EPO out of money when the backlog is eliminated by many erroneous grants (or rejections)



  7. In the US Patent System, Evolved Tricks for Bypassing Invalidations of Software Patents and Getting Them Granted by the USPTO

    A roundup of news about patents in the US and how the patent microcosm attempts to patent software in spite of Alice (high-impact SCOTUS decision from 2014)



  8. “Then They Came For Me—And There Was No One Left To Speak For Me.”

    The decreasing number of people who cover EPO scandals (partly due to fear, or Battistelli's notorious "reign of terror") and a cause for hope, as well as a call for help



  9. As Expected, the Patent Microcosm is Already Interfering, Lobbying and Influencing Supreme Court Justices

    The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is preparing to deliver some important decisions on cases with broad ramifications, e.g. for patent scope, and those who make money from patent feuds are attempting to alter the outcome (which would likely restrict patent scope even further, based on these Justices' track record)



  10. Intellectual Ventures -- Like Microsoft (Which It Came From) -- Spreads Patents to Manifest a Lot of Lawsuits

    That worrisome strategy which is passage of patents to active (legally-aggressive) trolls seems to be a commonality, seen across both Microsoft and its biggest ally among trolls, which Microsoft and Bill Gates helped create and still fund



  11. What the Patent Microcosm is Saying About the EPO and the UPC

    Response to 3 law firms and today's output from them, which serves to inform or misinform the European public at times of Big Lies and fog of (patent) war, revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric patent warfare and lobbying



  12. Tough Day for the EPO's Media/Press/PR Team, Trying 'Damage Control' After Important Techrights Publications

    In an effort to save face and regain a sense of legitimacy the EPO publishes various things belatedly, and only after Techrights made these things publicly known and widely discussed



  13. Links 21/3/2017: PyPy Releases, Radeon RX Vega, Eileen Evans at Linux Foundation

    Links for the day



  14. In IAM, Asian Courts That Deliver Justice Are “Unfriendly” and Asian Patent Trolls Are Desirable

    Rebuttal or response to the latest pieces from IAM, which keeps promoting a culture of litigation rather than sharing, collaboration, negotiation, and open innovation



  15. At EPO “I Have the Feeling That Lowering Quality is Part of a Concerted Plan.”

    Growing concern about patent quality at the EPO -- a subject which causes managers to get rather nervous -- is now an issue at the forefront



  16. EPO Reduces the World to Just Seven Nations to Bolster an Illusion of Growing 'Demand' for European Patents

    The unscientific -- if not antiscientific -- attitude of the European Patent Office (EPO) continues to show with the arrival of yet more misleading 'infographics' (disinfographics would be a more suitable term)



  17. Letter to Angela Merkel Expresses Concerns About Impact of EPO Scandals on Germany and Its Image

    Dr. Angela Merkel, arguably the most powerful woman in the world, is being warned about the consequences of Germany ignoring (and hence facilitating) the abuses of Benoît Battistelli



  18. EPO Caricature: Low Patent Quality Not an Achievement

    A new cartoon about the legacy of Battistelli, which ruins both inventors and staff (examination) while handing money to abusers



  19. Are Lithuania and Latvia the Latest Additions to the List of Benoît Battistelli's Vassal States?

    Benoît Battistelli's 'back room' deals came at an interesting, strategic time and the Office uncharacteristically kept quiet about these



  20. Links 20/3/2017: Linux 4.11 RC3, OpenSSH 7.5 Released

    Links for the day



  21. Supposedly 'Pampered' Prisoners Are Still Prisoners of the EPO

    Response to those gross and familiar attempts to portray patent examiners, not politicians who trample all over them, as the cause of all the problems at the EPO



  22. Insulting Reversal of Narratives at the EPO: Team Battistelli as the Victim

    At times of great oppression against staff, in clear defiance of the law in fact, journalists are being asked (or expected) to view the oppressor as the victim, even when this oppressor drives people to suicide



  23. Battistelli's EPO Copies China -- Not the US -- When it Comes to Patenting Software and Expanding Patent Scope

    A detailed explanation of some of the latest reports from China and the US, serving to show that one opens up to software patents whereas the other shuts the door on them (and guess whose lead the EPO is taking)



  24. What IAM Says About AST, RPX, Ericsson, and IBM

    IAM, the trolls' mouthpiece (also the EPO's mouthpiece, but that's another story), provides updates on trolls and troll-like entities, but further commentary is needed to clarify and counterbalance the promotional language



  25. Apple and Microsoft, Two Patent Aggressors That Habitually Attack GNU/Linux Distributors, Get Sued by a Patent Troll, Soverain IP

    Putting in perspective the latest high-profile (in the press at least) lawsuits filed by a notorious troll, which this time around chose as its targets two patent aggressors that deserve no sympathy because of their own actions



  26. What's OIN Doing While Microsoft is Siccing Patent Trolls on Azure Competitors' Customers?

    Microsoft's patent litigation strategy has become clearer, and patents-centric efforts such as OIN offer no defence against such a strategy, which attempts to pressure everyone to flock to Microsoft for 'protection' (from Microsoft itself)



  27. “EPO Continues to Grant Software Patents”

    The longstanding concern about the granting of software patents at the EPO (typically disguised as a "device") as reinforced by T 0625/11



  28. Links 19/3/2017: Linux Sightings, What's Wrong With Microsoft, and Death of Docker

    Links for the day



  29. Governance Crisis at EPO Deepens After Latest Meeting of the Administrative Council, Necessitating Urgent Outside Intervention

    he EPO's Administrative Council continues to be subservient to -- and without any authority over -- Team Battistelli with its endless mischief and endless power grab, including unbridled money grab



  30. EPO Management Deeply Concerned That the Public Has Found Out Quality of European Patents (EPs) Nosedived Under Battistelli's Regime

    Growing pressure on the EPO's management to acknowledge that quality control has gone totally out of control as stakeholders already grasp the obvious and act accordingly, turning to other patent offices, such as their national ones (NPOs)


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