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

07.08.10

Patent Bullies Roundup: Intellectual Ventures, NetApp, and HP’s ‘Donation’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, HP, Oracle, Patents at 4:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Patent aggression vectors are named; HP is criticised for taking away what’s public and then ‘donating’ it back

THE Bilski decision’s interpretations regarding software patents continue to arrive [1, 2], but we won’t delve into them because it’s becoming too repetitive. It also applies to just one country, which happens to be home of the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures.

Despite all its abuses (racketeering), Intellectual Ventures is said to have just received a “superplug”:

I enjoyed Levitt & Dubner’s “Freakonomics”, and picked up the followup “Superfreakonomis” recently at an airport. The last chapter, however, was astonishing. The entire chapter was devoted to a glowing advertisement for Intellectual Ventures, pointing out that they own 20,000 patents “more than all but a few dozen companies in the world”, but of course “there is little hard evidence” that they are patent trolls.

But this bunch of wacky genius billionaires have solved global warming (much of which they dispute anyway) and can control malaria and prevent hurricanes from forming. Unlike the rest of the book which covers analysis of well-known facts and disputes them with insightful economic research, this chapter is so breathless and gushy that it makes me question the rest of the author’s work.

I first came across Intellectual Ventures when The Economist reversed their 100-year opposition to patents, and the only reason I could find was a similarly cheerleading piece about this company. (I had naively expected new research revealing some net positive of patents, or some such revelation).

The PR from Intellectual Ventures appears to be working whenever anyone describes this parasitic bully as something worth keeping around.

Speaking of trolls, NetApp happens to be one among the few companies that sue Free/open source projects using software patents [1, 2] and it is doing it again:

NetApp has threatened Ethernet and ZFS storage supplier Coraid with implied legal action unless it stops selling its EtherDrive Z-series NAS. Coraid has buckled under the threat and temporarily withdrawn the product.

The back story here is that NetApp sued Sun in 2007 for infringing its patents with the ZFS file system product which it used in its 7000 storage system and which it made available to the open source community. Sun counter-sued NetApp to destroy the validity of the patents in question by showing that there was prior art – existing IP – rendering the patents null and void.

The two legal actions were combined, with the case ongoing in a northern California court. Oracle has inherited the case with its acquisition of Sun. A letter from Coraid’s CEO, Kevin Brown, to Coraid users and partners says NetApp and Oracle are trying to resolve the dispute out of court.

Now we see a significant hardening of NetApp’s stance as it directly attacks the open source community using ZFS with this offensive against Coraid. This could be part of a negotiating tactic against Oracle.

One last news item which is worth addressing is this PR move from HP, which takes away from the Commons and then sells it back. It’s like ‘donating’ what you took away in the form of a monopoly, just like IBM and like Google:

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) announced late last week that HP will join the likes of IBM, Nokia and Sony in making some of its patented technology freely available under the Eco-Patent Commons scheme. The scheme, launched in January 2008, is a joint effort between the WBCSD and IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony.

Why are they allowed to acquire monopolies on these ideas in the first place? Those who are already cynical about the patent system will only be inclined to strengthen those beliefs of theirs. The better solution is to just reject all patents of this type at the USPTO level. Certain things are beneficial neither to the economy nor society when they become a government-protected monopoly.

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. Patents Roundup: Apple Versus Android/Linux, Leigh Rothschild Versus Everyone, Patent Lawyers Versus Patent Reform and Progressivism

    News collated which pertains to software patents, especially those which affect Free/libre software



  2. Links 4/9/2015: Acer Predator 8, GNOME 3.17.91 Released

    Links for the day



  3. Microsoft's Vista 10 Still a Failure, So Focus Shifts to Attacks on GNU/Linux, Android

    Vista 10 adoption is already plateauing (at very low levels considering the zero-cost 'upgrade') and Microsoft is trying to assert or exploit (patent) monopolies where adoption and market growth are extremely high (Free software)



  4. Links 3/9/2015: Xiaomi's Linux Push, Calligra/Krita 2.9.7

    Links for the day



  5. TechBytes Episode 89: Chromebooks, Privacy, and Vista 10

    An episode which focuses on the rise of Chromebooks, serious issues pertaining to privacy, media bias, and the demise of Windows



  6. Links 2/9/2015: Chromebooks and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  7. Software Patent From Troll Called 'Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations' a Symptom of a Rotten Patent System

    Another example of patent trolls and software patents as gatekeepers and parasites, denying access to very trivial ideas or implementations



  8. When Even Patent Lawyers' Blogs Acknowledge the Rapid Demise of Software Patents

    Voices for patents are accepting the new order wherein software patents are hardly potent at all (and increasingly difficult to acquire)



  9. Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM 'Open'

    What Microsoft et al. call 'Next-Generation Open Media Formats' are basically neither open nor acceptable (it's DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub 'Open Source Tools' are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse



  10. Recycled Old News About Vista 10, Stressing That Not Only '10' is Spyware But All of Windows is

    How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft's gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to 'upgrade' to Vista 10



  11. Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

    Links for the day



  12. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  13. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  14. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  16. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  17. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  18. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  19. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  20. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  21. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  22. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  23. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  24. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  25. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  26. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  27. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  29. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  30. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received


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