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

07.05.10

Patent Aggression Against Linux: Microsoft, Apple, and Nobody Else

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Protocol, Samba, Servers at 12:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Team of two

Summary: A look at some of the latest patent news and an explanation of why Microsoft and Apple (and Microsoft’s patent trolls) are by far the biggest problem

Well, we don’t write so much about the Bilski case anymore. It’s because we have done enough of that and the analyses are quite repetitive in the sense that few raise new points. To give just a small number of noteworthy posts that we missed, Brian Proffitt writes about the impact on software patentability in the US, Brad Feld is upset after spending time and money to abolish software patents in the US, IDG claims that SCOTUS leaves software patentability intact in the US, Datamation has a new cartoon about it, and Mike Masnick says that the IEEE misleads with its damned press release in the US. The headline from The Register reads: “Yes, software can be patented, US Supremes say” (false).

But they didn’t say that. They merely avoided addressing the subject.

A few days ago we wrote about the impact of biotech patents and the impact of SCOTUS on them. They are said to have received a “boost”. [via Slashdot]

Myriad Genetics Inc., Genomic Health Inc. and the rest of the burgeoning industry for personalized medicine stand to gain from yesterday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on patenting business methods.

[...]

The decision from the Supreme Court is unlikely to end the debate over diagnostic patents.

A couple of days ago Slashdot showed that Microsoft had patented things that should not be patented.

theodp writes “This week’s USPTO patent application disclosures included a trifecta of scary health-related ‘inventions’ from Microsoft. For starters, Microsoft envisions seeing Kids’ Personal Health Records Fed Into Video Games, where they can be used to ‘regulate and/or prescribe an individual’s behavior while playing electronic games.’ Next up is Centralized Healthcare Data Management, which describes how employees’ health habits can be ‘monitored, tracked or otherwise discovered’ so employers can ‘incentivize a user for an act or penalize for an omission to act.’ Finally, there’s Wearing Health on Your Sleeve, which describes a sort of high-tech Scarlet Letter designed to tip off ‘doctors, potential dates, etc.’ about your unhealthy behavior by converting information — ‘number of visits to the gym, workout activities, frequency of workouts, heart rate readings, blood pressure statistics, food consumption, vitamin intake, etc.’ — into a visual form so that others can see the data ‘on mechanisms such as a mood ring, watch, badge, on a website etc.’”

A few days ago we explained why Likewise is a form of patent taxman for Microsoft. Their new release got some more coverage and a Linux proponent pointed out: “This reminds me of all the alternatives to Exchange currently available on Linux, buy any of those for 10-50 users and you’ll discover quickly that buying the MS’ original is cheaper.”

Basically, clones of Microsoft protocols-reliant products that are sold by former Microsoft employees (e.g. Likewise [1, 2, 3, 4], Centrify [1, 2, 3]) are better off avoided and replaced by protocols that Microsoft does not control or by Samba, which the European Commission gave a special status after antitrust violations by Microsoft. The following new article states:

The Likewise Open core is licensed under Gnu Public License (GPL) version 2 and Lesser GPL version 2.

It’s “open core”, which is proprietary+marketing spin. It’s not GPLv3 and one should not be misled because they mix that with Microsoft’s software patents. One should just go with Samba.

When it comes to patents and GNU/Linux, Microsoft is still by far the worst aggressor. Microsoft boosters seem to be taking pride in these patents which Microsoft is stockpiling and using to attack Linux, sometimes via patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Latest raves from Microsoft bloggers:

Here is some more coverage (not from Microsoft boosters):

This patent won’t expire for quite some time.

Microsoft received the patent this week and TechFlash reports that this kind of patent is good for 14 years, so Microsoft has until 2024 to do something with this design.

Some dual-display tablets run Android or GNU/Linux.

Given that .NET is allegedly a patent violation, Microsoft would not be smart to go around suing people/companies, but that’s just what is does, most recently against Salesforce. Here again is the mentioning of .NET patent violation:

The world’s biggest maker of Web-based software, Salesforce.com, has not specified what damages it is seeking, but claims that Microsoft is infringing five Salesforce patents in programs, including in the Windows Server operating system and the widely used .Net platform.

Based on other reports as well as previous posts of ours [1, 2], Salesforce is equipped with David Boies, the “Microsoft Nemesis”.

Is Microsoft playing with fire? It sure alienates many people, except Monty and Müller on the face of it. The former is paid by Microsoft and the latter is just keeping his head deep in the sand (insisting that IBM is the bigger threat). Earlier today he also mentioned Apple, which is a patent violator (risking bans) that had the nerve to sue Android (including Linux). Here is a new summary of this case:

In this great hullabaloo of rivals accusing each other of infringement of patents, one is only left confused seeing the who’s who in the arena of smartphones making a claim of the same victimization. A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by the government to the inventor in exchange for a public disclosure of the invention. The big question is, will this war really see the light of a consensus and settlement?

Earlier this year in March, Apple filed a lawsuit against HTC for infringing 20 of its patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. The lawsuit was filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission(ITC) and concurrently in the US District Court in Delaware. Very truly it’s said that “competition is healthy, but the rivals should try and yearn to develop their own technology and not steal the existing”. This lawsuit; it’s said, is the next high profile litigation in the mobile phone business after Nokia and Apple attacking each other in past few months.

Apple’s hypePhone is having some trouble right now. Apple cannot quite compete without suing competitors, apparently. As one new essay puts it:

Ideas Are a Commodity, It’s Execution Intelligence That Matters

First of all, ideas are commodities. Look at any industry, any product or service offering, and what you really see is improvement on the existing standard versus uniqueness in the offering. These improvements can be continuous or disruptive, but in either category, to the customer they are nothing more than incremental improvement around the financial return, usability, quality, or experience of your competitor. This explains why management teams are so important; if new offerings are commodities it’s execution by the management team – what I like to call execution intelligence – that makes the difference in the market.

Apple also contributes towards MPEG-LA’s war on free/libre video. For background, see:

Here is a new article on the subject:

Video Prison: Why Patents Might Threaten Free Online Video

[...]

On June 20, 2009, nearly 150,000 people witnessed the death of 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan, but unlike the Iranians who passed her by in the street, they weren’t bystanders to the post-election turmoil in Tehran that claimed her life. They were merely the first of over 600,000 who have since viewed a now-symbolic YouTube video that helped propel the opposition political movement forward in the following days of protest. The democratizing power of the Web lies in video like this one–not just because of its content, but because anyone with an Internet connection can contribute to a global dialogue.

But imagine if the person who shot this video had been unable to post it anonymously or if YouTube viewers had to pay to watch it. If online videos were subject to patent licensing fees, users could be charged per-view to capture those fees. Beyond the ethical dilemma profiteering from a tragic death, video licensing could reduce the democratic nature of free and open Internet content to monetizable media. The funny cat videos would be gone forever (perhaps not the greatest loss), but so too would the movement-inspiring Nedas of the future remain unknown.

TechDirt says that Britannica has also gone sour:

It Appears That The Encyclopaedia Britannica Entry On Shaking Down GPS Providers With A Bogus Patent Needs Updating

The Encyclopaedia Britannica has not exactly been having a good decade. In the minds of much of the public (though, certainly not all), the usefulness of Britannica has long been surpassed by Wikipedia. A couple years ago, we gave Britannica’s president a chance to explain his views on where Britannica is going, but it still seems like an uphill battle. Among the more ridiculous things that Britannica has tried to do is to also turn itself into a bit of a patent troll. Back in 2007, it sued a bunch of GPS companies for patent infringement. Scratching your head over why Britannica holds patents on GPS technology? The answer is even more convoluted than you can imagine.

Here is another potential aggressor to watch out for. “Patent Calls Inc. buys Dallas competitor for $16M,” says this report. There is still a difference between a patent holder and a patent aggressor. Microsoft and Apple are both and they are specifically targeting Linux with their lawsuits. Not many companies do that. In fact, no real companies do that, except Microsoft and Apple (patent trolls like Acacia aside, although Acacia too has Microsoft connections).

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

A Single Comment

  1. saulgoode said,

    July 5, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Gravatar

    For starters, Microsoft envisions seeing Kids’ Personal Health Records Fed Into Video Games, where they can be used to ‘regulate and/or prescribe an individual’s behavior while playing electronic games.’

    Setting aside the fact that computer programs are data and never “do” anything, I find this type of patent particularly annoying because it amounts to nothing more than having a computer do something that has already trivially been done without computers (“Warning! You must be THIS tall to ride”).

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 13, 2019



  2. Links 13/11/2019: Docker Enterprise Bought, WordPress 5.3, Qt 5.12.6 Released

    Links for the day



  3. Rebranding Malware and Spyware as 'Linux' to Dilute the Brand (and the News)

    Signal-to-noise ratio continues to be reduced, as a lot of "Linux" news has nothing to do with GNU/Linux or even with Free software



  4. Understanding Thierry Breton: In the Beginning...

    Career roundup of Thierry Breton, possibly the next EU Commissioner



  5. Startpage Has Been Delisted, But it Ought to be Blacklisted

    Startpage has just warned its fans (I am a former fan) of what Startpage itself covertly became months back



  6. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 12, 2019



  7. Links 12/11/2019: Plasma 5.17.3, More Intel Defects, Bytecode Alliance

    Links for the day



  8. You've Gotta Go When You've Gotta Go

    How most staff of the European Patent Office (EPO) feels these days



  9. Teaser: Thierry Breton and His Disquieting Past

    "The company attracted notoriety and loathing in the UK for its role in assessing disability benefit eligibility."



  10. EPO and EU: People Behind the Faces

    It’s no secret that the EPO breaks the law and European officials have taken no concrete steps to intervene; to make matters worse, potentially new EPO allies may soon be put in charge of the EU Commission



  11. Maintaining the 'Delete Github' page

    "This list really is a starting point, which can hopefully increase awareness about the issue of concern."



  12. Linux Foundation Picking Money

    The dating standards of the Linux Foundation



  13. Microsoft 'Borrows' the Linux Brand

    With help from the likes of the Linux Foundation Microsoft continues to misuse and ‘dilute’ the Linux brand (and registered trademark)



  14. EPO Corruption Compared to Cocaine Scandals in Antwerp

    Days after the Dutch protest discussion is sort of 'uncorked' regarding EPO corruption (published, as usual, in the form of anonymous comments)



  15. SUEPO Showed That the Media Won't Cover EPO Corruption Until Half the Workers March in the Streets

    What ought to have been a central (if not 'the' central) issue of debate in Europe is still being treated as borderline irrelevant or marginal



  16. Meanwhile in California

    News from California is being spun by Microsoft this week, owing to weak journalism that's more like PR than journalism



  17. Privacy-Centric Services and Even Drupal/Acquia Defect to the Camp of Mass Surveillance

    In search of money [pun intended] companies and services that are supposed to respect their customers and users turn out to be doing the opposite; this merits research and public discussions



  18. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 11, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, November 11, 2019



  19. Links 12/11/2019: Sparky 2019.11 Special Editions and Twisted 19.10.0 Released

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft's Abduction of the Voice of Its Opposition Highlights the Urgency of the Movement/Campaign to Delete GitHub

    Microsoft understands that by entrapping FOSS and GNU/Linux inside proprietary software platforms like GitHub and Azure it can utilise the false perception that it somehow speaks on behalf of both (whilst attacking both)



  21. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 10, 2019



  22. SUEPO Protests Against Management of the European Patent Office Brought Back Discussions About Corruption

    The atmosphere at the second-largest institution in Europe has long been toxic; now it is becoming a lot more visible again and comments highlight the reasons for the cover-up (gross misuse of billions of euros)



  23. Links 11/11/2019: Linux 5.4 RC7, HandBrake 1.3.0 and Analysis of XFCE

    Links for the day



  24. Links 10/11/2019: digiKam 6.4.0, OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Alpha and OpenZFS Plans

    Links for the day



  25. Video: Dutch Media on EPO Protest

    The new video added by SUEPO on Saturday in order to show Dutch media coverage of last week's protest in The Hague



  26. Politics in the Workplace Are Not Paradoxical and Outside the Workplace They Are Free Speech

    The safest space is one in which no other human (or creature) exists, but in reality we must make compromises and accept that not everyone will agree with us 100% of the time (so we must learn to live with that)



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 09, 2019



  28. Thick Skin Makes Strong Communities

    Learning to coexist with people who don't agree on everything is a strength and successful societies encourage that (the alternative is blind conformity on all matters)



  29. Training (Proprietary Software) Versus Teaching (Free Software)

    Education necessitates software freedom — a fact that companies like Adobe, Apple and Microsoft try hard to distract from



  30. The Linux Foundation Brought as Keynote Speakers People Vastly Worse Than Those Whom It Now 'Cancels' for Purely Political Reasons

    A lot of people are very upset about the Linux Foundation's alleged 'witch-hunt' and even press coverage has caught up with the outrage; but our position is that it distracts from vastly bigger Linux Foundation scandals


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