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

09.01.10

Apple’s Co-founder Steve Wozniak a Patent Trolls’ Apologist, Apple is Patenting DRM Ideas

Posted in Apple, DRM, Microsoft, Patents at 3:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monopolists championing proprietary software (proprietary giants) go hand in hand with patent monopolies and patent trolling

Steve Wozniak

Summary: Wozniak helps prove that also departing co-establishers of proprietary predators defend patent trolling

APPLE and Microsoft are both patent aggressors and both have sued Linux (vendors) using software patents. Paul Allen is the latest patent troll to join the club and as Microsoft’s co-founder he helps demonstrate Microsoft’s continued legacy as a agitator that fights against software development. It turns out that Apple’s co-founder too complements his Free software-hostile rhetoric and now defends patent trolling:

Say It Ain’t So, Woz: Steve Wozniak Says Patent Trolls Are Okay

Via Joe Mullin, we learn the rather unfortunate news that, when asked about Paul Allen’s decision to sue lots of big tech companies over questionable patents, Wozniak comes out in favor of “patent trolls” and patent holders suing companies who actually innovate. For someone so beloved by the tech community, these statements seem really unfortunate. He starts out by repeating the myth that patents somehow help out the small guy (ignoring that we’re talking about Paul Allen, one of the richest guys on the planet):

I think this lawsuit represents the idea that hey, patents, individual inventors, they don’t have the funds to go up against big companies. So he’s sorta representing some original investors. And I’m not at all against the idea of patent trolls.

The interviewer, from Bloomberg TV, pushes back pretty quickly, pointing out that Paul Allen is not the inventor and there’s no indication that the inventors on these patents would actually get any of the money should Allen succeed.

The FSF has just launched a campaign against “Apple’s latest DRM patent”. It’s doubly malicious because it combines an attack on the user with a patent monopoly. From the FSF’s page:

Apple has a long history of imposing innovative restrictions on its users. The Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) used in the iPhone to prevent users from installing what they want or tinkering with their devices are well-known examples.

Yet not so many people expected their latest move in that direction — Apple’s recent patent application on a new spying technology revealed their plan to dedicate users’ devices to their unlimited control.

They say that they want to protect the devices from “unauthorized usage” (i.e. theft). For that reason, your device will take a photo of the person who uses it and the surrounding place, it will record his or her voice and it will record his or her heartbeats. Once it suspects something, it will send the information to Apple which will talk to the “responsible party.”

Going back to Allen’s frivolous lawsuit, some label is “an enigma”.

Paul Allen: When a Patent Troll is an Enigma

[...]

But given the notoriety of the case and the scope of its claims (the Journal, or at least its headline writer, has declared an all-out “patent war”), it seems like a good opportunity to dispel some common myths about the patent system and its discontents.

And then I want to offer one completely unfounded theory about what is really going on that no one yet has suggested. Which is: Paul Allen is out to become the greatest champion that patent reform will ever know.

Brad Feld then asks: “Have We Reached The Software Patent Tipping Point?”

As I was reading through some of the Paul Allen commentary this morning, it occurred to me that this might finally be a tipping point. Last week, Microsoft asked the supreme court to hear their appeal of the I4i patent suit. I hope Google steps up and really takes a stand here given that they are on the receiving end of both the Oracle and Allen suits.

There is increased consensus in the technology press that software patents need to go away

Software patent wars are killing innovation

The software industry is rapidly tying itself up in red tape as claim meets counterclaim in patent suits blossoming all over the US.

The latest example is Microsoft’s co-founder, Paul Allen, who has launched into litigation against Apple, Google, eBay, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube and five other companies. Apple has already had more than its fair share of court actions especially with Nokia and HTC. Oracle is gunning for Google. Every day brings some new accusation.

In almost every case, it is software nuances at the root of the problem. In some of the Apple cases, it seems that hand gestures are involved.

Oracle’s lawsuit is not forgotten either and Glyn Moody compares Ellison and Allen (yacht enthusiasts).

Amazon is actually the best counterexample to all of Interval’s claims. It was provably doing all the things that Interval claims it “invented”, and long before patents were even applied for. Against that background, suing Amazon would, of course, have been suicidal from a legal point of view.

But that still raises the larger question of why on earth Allen is doing this to anyone? As is well known, he is not short of a bob or two, so it can’t simply be for the money. Similarly, why did he wait for over a decade before blasting away at most of the top Internet players?

This is where I think the Ellison connection comes in. Allen’s action is part of the collective insanity which has gripped senior management at most computer companies. As more and more of these crazy software patent actions are announced and wind their way through the courts (or are quietly settled after much public tub-thumping), so the pressure on managers to join the feeding frenzy grows. It’s that old feeling that many of us get when some new fad takes off – that we might be missing out on something big, and that whether we think it’s really a good idea or not, we had better pile in now before it’s too late.

it’s considered “puzzling” too:

The 15-page document, filed Friday in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, lists the four patents and their titles, and accuses each of the 11 defendants of infringing on one or more of them. But it doesn’t point to specific programs, products, or websites that violate Interval’s intellectual property.

Groklaw has that whole thing as text and it adds that “Microsoft is asking the US Supreme Court to overturn the huge loss it sustained in i4i v. Microsoft. It’s the largest patent infringement verdict ever to be sustained on appeal.”

we wrote about this case earlier this week, noting that involvement from SCOTUS may give it another go at eliminating software patents. Here is some more coverage:

Can i4i contribute to backlash against sofwtare patents?

The courts are ignoring what everyone knows about software patents harming the Commons. Here is another new example of dangerous patents:

Thursday TWX, a member of our forums, brought to our attention a patent that was filed back on June 19th, 2008 and owned by XM Satellite Radio. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the basis of this patent is as follows:

“The present invention relates to a system and method for providing a broadcast radio service listener with the ability to generate a personalized radio channel play-list on a radio receiver from broadcast content as it is received. More specifically, the present invention relates to a system and method for buffering content from a set of channels selected from among the broadcast channels of a source stream(s) as they are received, and for generating a playback stream using the buffered content that provides a multichannel listening experience to the user with preview, reverse, fast forward and other navigation functions for the buffered content.”

– United States Patent Application #20090320075

Here is some background information from a lawyers’ source. It helps show how software patents came about and how they relate to business methods.

Even ten years ago, software patents were highly controversial. They were hotly debated in such forums as the U.S. Patent Office’s software patent public hearings of 1994. A number of courts, including the United States Supreme Court, struggled with whether software innovations could be protected and whether the proper mechanism should be patent or copyright law. Ultimately, the courts defined enough guidelines to judge what types of software innovations could be the subject of a patent.

The jurisprudence that developed through the software patent controversy paved the way for the ultimate acceptance of patenting innovations in business methods. As a result of the software patent controversy, courts assessed whether an invention could be the subject of a patent in a more abstract and general way. With courts growing more comfortable with software patents and their inherently abstract nature, the stage was set to apply that higher level of thinking in the context of a business method patent.

Both business methods and software patents are a area of dispute.

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. 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)



  2. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 10, 2019



  3. 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)



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  6. 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



  7. 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)



  8. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 09, 2019



  9. 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)



  10. 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



  11. 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



  12. An Open Letter to Richard Stallman

    "It's past the time for the official cornerstones of the Free software movement to return to their full operational capacity, and to take the gear out of neutral."



  13. Links 9/11/2019: Linux Journal Goes Dark (Offline), KStars 3.3.7, OpenSUSE Name Change Aborted

    Links for the day



  14. Think Tanks, Bristows, 'Simmons' and 'Birds' Can Only Ever Lie to Us About the Dead Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    The UPC is a dead bird, but lobbyists of the litigation giants would have us believe otherwise, in “In-depth Analysis” which is anything but (it's just propaganda with the veneer of officialism)



  15. The EPO's Management is Trying Really Hard to Distract the Media From EPO Unrest (and It Has Been Partly Successful)

    We take a look at the profoundly bad situation at the EPO (examiners unable to do their job properly because of rogue leadership); we also reexamine how media covered — or rather refused to cover — this urgent issue



  16. Microsoft's 'Safe Spaces'

    The 'new' and 'ethical' Microsoft that offers us all a 'safe space'



  17. 'Artificial Intelligence' (AI) Will Only Doom Patent Offices If It's Used to Stamp Millions of Invalid Patents (IPs)

    The Artificial Intelligence (AI) craze is being used as an excuse or as a pretext for granting loads of patents on mathematics and statistics (maths and stats aren't permissible or eligible for patent coverage); by calling just about everything "Artificial Intelligence" (or AI, or "hey hi!") they hope to mislead examiners, who are also being presented with new guidelines full of these buzzwords



  18. Need More Questions

    Pedophilia-centric scandals associated with Bill Gates or people working for Bill Gates don't interest the media anymore; people shy away from the possibility of 'embarrassing' the so-called 'philanthropist', celebrated by the media he is sponsoring



  19. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 07, 2019



  20. Helps to Have Connections and Operate at a Loss Just to Drive the Competition Out of the Market

    Microsoft still uses the same anticompetitive tactics and outright illegal tactics such as bribery, but we're supposed to think Microsoft is run like a charity



  21. Startpage Shows Sheer Hypocrisy After Selling Out and Betraying Privacy (Corrected)

    After more than half a decade of using and advocating Startpage I've come to realise it's a spying operation and Startpage hopes nobody will notice



  22. Former Mayor of Munich Explains How Microsoft Hates Linux

    Christian Ude speaks in a new interview about what Microsoft did in Munich and elsewhere in Europe in order to undermine GNU/Linux and impose Microsoft Windows on everybody, together with all the spyware Microsoft provides for it (likely violation of privacy laws)



  23. Linux Journal is Offline, But the Articles Will Come Back

    Linux Journal may be offline (since just before the weekend), but the articles will come back one way or another



  24. Links 8/11/2019: Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Reviewed, FreeBSD Migrating to OpenZFS

    Links for the day



  25. Nobody Should Believe Bill Gates and the Media He 'Sponsors' (Bribes) Anymore

    No matter how hard Bill Gates and his legion of lawyers/PR people try to divert the media's attention away from his Epstein scandal, it keeps coming back



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 07, 2019



  27. System1 (Company Behind Startpage, Dogpile, WebCrawler, MetaCrawler and More) Calls Surveillance “Privacy”

    Surveillance seems to have become so fashionable that its purveyors and intermediaries (sending one's data to Microsoft, Google and so on) have a sense of humour strong enough or sufficient to call that "privacy"



  28. Links 8/11/2019: Rust 1.39.0 and KDE Applications 19.08.3

    Links for the day



  29. MIT Suggestions

    Sometimes things are too ugly to talk oneself out of; so a distraction is urgently needed



  30. Quick Mention: Some Dutch Media Covers Dutch EPO Protest

    Signs that the EPO's attempts to distract the media (or from the media) aren't 100% effective; workers get their voice heard by some Dutch people


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