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

07.09.10

Patents Roundup: Bosch Security Systems Patents Signals, NetApp Bullies ZFS Providers, New Zealand Infiltrated by Foreign Lobby ‘NZ’ICT

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Computer room

Summary: Software patents continue to cause trouble and New Zealand’s law is under attack by a lobby of multinationals

Bosch Security Systems

IN THE previous post we showed how software patents are being used to suppress innocent developers. Based on this new report, Bosch is also patenting software (not the Bosch which is based in Germany).

The software’s patent-pending digital signal processing technology enhances the performance of receivers when interpreting these signals by more than 75 percent.

This looks like yet another patent on mathematics/multimedia, just like the example we gave half an hour ago. This has got to be stopped. Video is at stake too [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and based on some new benchmarks/comparison [1, 2], it can probably be resolved by moving over to WebM. From the summary:

Moscow State University’s Graphics and Media lab have released their sixth MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video codecs comparison. Also of note is a recently added appendix to the report which compares VP8, x264, and Xvid. The reference VP8 encoder holds its own against x264 despite the source material offering x264 a slight advantage. The VP8 developers comment in the report: ‘We’ve been following the MSU tests since they began and respect the group’s work. One issue we noticed in the test is that most input sequences were previously compressed using other codecs. These sequences have an inherent bias against VP8 in recompression tests. As pointed out by other developers, H.264 and MPEG-like encoders have slight advantages in reproducing some of their own typical artifacts, which helps their objective measurement numbers but not necessarily visual quality. This is reflected by relatively better results for VP8 on the only uncompressed input sequence, “mobile calendar.”‘

MPEG-LA patents are US patents, so the problem can also be resolved by ending software patents in the US — a task which SCOTUS neglects to achieve for the time being.

United States

An American VC, Brad Feld, recognises that software patents are a travesty and he actively works against them. A friend of his has just explained “Why Bilski Really Means That Software Companies Should Leave the US”:

My friend Sawyer was as disappointed in the outcome of Bilski as he was in the ending to LOST. In fact, he asked if I’d change his pseudonym to Joseph Adama of Caprica but I vetoed this over extreme nerdiness. Nonetheless Sawyer let loose on Bilski and helps clarify both his perspective on why the Supreme Court took such a milquetoast approach as well as what one of the unintended consequences of their action – or lack thereof – will be. And for those of you who have forgotten Sawyer’s background, he’s a patent attorney that is channeling his opinion through me. And we’ve been discussing setting up a very large data center on an island somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Paul Kedrosky has just co-authored (with Brad Feld) the following article titled “Software Patents Need to Be Abolished” (also here):

The U.S. Supreme Court just blinked. In the landmark Bilski v. Kappos decision announced yesterday, the Court had a chance to right a patent wrong. It didn’t. Instead, in a cautious and internally contradictory decision, it further fuzzified the mess that is the U.S. patent system — and it will have sad consequences for innovation in this country. It was terrible timing for a loss of legal nerve.

[...]

Far from encouraging innovation and advancement in the “useful arts,” as the Constitution originally envisioned and Congress wanted, software and business method patents have become a quasi-legal poison pill. Sometime it’s from patents obtained years after application via circuitous paths and bankrupt companies, and sometimes it’s straight-up planned extortion. Either way, these “patent trolls” lurk in the shadows, waiting for someone to unknowingly infringe. Then they sue in patent-plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions (of which there are ranked lists – we kid you not), forcing defendants, often small, unsophisticated companies, to settle rather than face the cost and uncertainty that defines litigating a patent case against a well-capitalized troll.

The costs associated with this are immense, as is the innovation penalty. Software companies now must file defensive patents just to make sure that they are not later submarined by useless patents originating with patent attorneys themselves or at failed software companies. We have officially exited economics and entered Kafka’s courts.

“Patent Office Says No to Supreme Court and Software Patents,” suggests this curious new report:

Under the machine-or-transformation test, a business method (read as software) must be tied to a particular machine, rather than run on a general machine like a computer, or transform something from one state into another. The subject of the transformation can be data, but, as you might expect, transformation can largely be in the eye of the beholder.

The PTO has faced a major management problem for years: the flow of patents in vastly exceeds its capacity to process them. Additional money and headcount haven’t really helped, so over the last few years, the PTO seemed to try raising hurdles to discourage applications. Given the volume of software patent applications, reducing them would clearly help slow the incoming volume, which is something the patent office would love to do.

Yesterday we mentioned the attack of NetApp against the California-based Coraid. What was Coraid’s offence? Distributing free/open source software (ZFS), apparently. Here is a new article that’s dedicated to the subject.

Storage startup Coraid may face legal action from NetApp if the company does not cease plans to sell the Coraid EtherDrive Z-Series NAS appliance based on the open-source Zettabyte File System (ZFS).

Coraid issued a letter to its customers this morning in which CEO Kevin Brown announced the company has temporarily suspended the general availability of the EtherDrive Z-Series.

Software patents have become suppressors of software freedom. They need to be stopped, or at least their expansion ought to be stopped. A predominantly US-based lobby is trying to spread these patents to other countries.

New Zealand

Down in New Zealand it becomes a political debate (we last wrote about this yesterday). “NZCIT [sic] is a proxy for software multinationals, not Kiwi businesses,” emphasises the president of the FFII who also points out that “they will fall into the EPO trap of “as such”…”

Here is the latest report which shows the process being politicised.

The software patent debate is opening old sores associated with the change of government and government’s interface with the ICT industry.

A question that runs through or subtly underlies comments on the controversy in several online forums, is to what extent the NZICT Group represents New Zealand’s ICT industry and customers.

The Labour-led government set up the Digital Development Council (DDC) and Digital Development Forum (DDF) as an umbrella for ICT developer and user communities – TUANZ, InternetNZ, the NZ Computer Society and so on.

Again — NZICT is not representing New Zealand’s ICT industry and customers [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Just because it has the letters “NZ” in the beginning doesn’t mean it’s pro-New Zealand. NZICT is more like an invader. It should be pushed out or at least excluded from debates about New Zealand’s laws.

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. Links 31/7/2014: Zorin OS Educational 9, Android Nearing 90% Share

    Links for the day



  2. Microsoft-Linked Codenomicon and Bluebox in the Business of Smearing FOSS/Linux/Android

    odenomicon and Bluebox, two companies with strong Microsoft links, fill the media with negative articles about Android



  3. Is Microsoft Being Raided Not Just for Anti-Competitive Reasons but for Bribes and Back Doors?

    News about raids in Microsoft China mostly lacking when it comes to background, context, and information about Microsoft's crimes in China



  4. Former Microsoft Engineer Working on Windows BitLocker Confirms Government Asks Microsoft for Back Doors

    Recalling the times when even Microsoft staff spoke about secret government collaborations and back doors



  5. Ruling Against 'Abstract' Software Patents is Already Derailing Patent Attacks on Linux and Free Software

    Patent litigation against Android/Linux impeded by the introduction of arguments that cite the Supreme Court



  6. Links 30/7/2014: Chris Beard as CEO of Mozilla

    Links for the day



  7. New Optimism in the Age of Doubt Over Software Patents

    As the tide turns against software patents, even in their country of origin, their opponents come out of the woodwork to celebrate



  8. Links 28/7/2014: New Linux RC, Plasma 5 Live in Kubuntu

    Links for the day



  9. Links 27/7/2014: KDE 4.14 Beta 3, KDE 4.14 Beta 3 Released

    Links for the day



  10. Apple and Microsoft Are Proprietary Software Companies and the Media Should Stop Openwashing Them

    New examples where proprietary software giants are characterised as FOSS-embracing and FOSS-friendly by gullible or dishonest 'journalists'



  11. Bloomberg's Microsoft Propaganda

    Bloomberg delivers 'damage control' and PR ahead of the layoffs announcement; Microsoft uses Nokia to hide it and Bloomberg helps Microsoft by radically modifying headlines



  12. Frequency of Browser Back Doors in Microsoft Windows is Doubling

    The vulnerabilities which Microsoft tells the NSA about (before these are patched) are significantly growing in terms of their numbers



  13. FUD Entities Entering the FOSS World

    Symantec enters the AllSeen Alliance and Sonatype is once again trying to claim great insecurity in FOSS due to software licensing



  14. Groklaw Back in the Wake of ODF in the UK?

    Renewed activity in FOSS-leaning legal site Groklaw amid numerous victories for FOSS



  15. Links 26/7/2014: New Wine, Chromebooks Strong Sales

    Links for the day



  16. Links 25/7/2014: GOG With GNU/Linux, Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS

    Links for the day



  17. Links 24/7/2014: Oracle Linux 7; Fedora Delays

    Links for the day



  18. Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation's Lobbying for 'Common Core' (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

    Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation's lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption



  19. USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

    Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom



  20. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

    Only "Microsoft as the standard" is the 'standard' Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office's judgment reveals



  21. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  22. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  23. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  24. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  25. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  26. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  27. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  28. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  29. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  30. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert


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