09.04.10

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Death Patents Now Challenged and Software Patents Continue to be Used by Apple and Microsoft Against Linux

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents, Samsung at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bone texture
With patents like these, who needs disease?

Summary: Another quick overview of patent news most of which affecting Linux and Android

IN RECENT days we wrote several posts about something which had been dubbed “death patents” [1, 2, 3]. These are patents that act a barrier between as a person and his/her life. IP Watch has some repetition of the good news about challenge to patents on HIV/AIDS treatment. [via]

Eight patents on HIV/AIDS medicines are being challenged by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), a US-based nonprofit legal service group working to “protect the public from the harms caused by errors within the patent system, particularly the harms caused by undeserved patents and unsound patent policy,” the group has announced.

We need similar such challenges to software patents.

MPEG-LA’s latest trick [1, 2, 3] is now named by the news in the South African press, noting quite rightly that Apple and Microsoft (and Microsoft Florian) are proponents of this plot:

The H.264 video format is a heavily patented technology and the MPEG-LA group’s membership includes the likes of Apple and Microsoft, both of which are including support for the format in their respective Safari and Internet Explorer browsers.

Apple’s co-founder recently defended [1, 2] patent trolling from Microsoft’s co-founder. What a pair of like-minded groups. They also agree on MPEG-LA, which is headed by a patent troll. Some argued that the Jobs-Ellison relationship contributed to the lawsuit against Android as well [1, 2, 3]. Here is another new article about it:

Much like Ellison’s friend Steve Jobs at Apple, a longtime Microsoft foe who has now turned against Google, Oracle’s latest salvo shows it’s all right to root against both of them.

For those who think that the trolling from Interval/Paul Allen is a one-time hit, well… not everyone believes that’s the case.

Allen is suing on just four of the 300-plus patents at Interval’s disposal. Other patents, as Techflash suggests, put a target on the backs of Twitter and Foursquare.

Legal experts argue that Allen’s 10-year wait to file may make his patents unenforceable. It should.

How about Microsoft’s “new” patent on operating system shutdown (covered in [1, 2])? Should that be enforceable? “A good trivia question” offers this one blogger who asks: “What technology has Microsoft been the first to market?”

The blogger says:

So I ask the reader: What technology has Microsoft invented to be the first to market?

“Ridiculous Findings” is another new blog post which says:

More than ever, the world needs Linux. More than ever, the world needs open source. We are at a critical time for IT. There have been tons of innovations recently. New processing technologies, new software technologies, new fabrication techniques, new communications protocols and even new ways of thinking about communications, and heck memristors are really friggin’ exciting. Do we really want all of that controlled by companies like Apple and Microsoft? Apple and Microsoft are showing their propensities for a complete lack of care for their customer base. They are also showing their true colors. There are companies that genuinely care about their products, customers, and environments. SEGA, Mazda, HP, AMD, VIA, and a few others come to mind when I think of such companies. Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, Intel, and the like are not companies of such ilk. It’s time for open collaboration to trump top down empiricism.

These companies do not offer much innovation, either. A compelling example of stagnation would be the x86 and Windows monopoly. For companies that claim to be championing patents they don’t produce much innovation, do they? They only stampede competition out of the market.

To all those who are jiggy about Galaxy Tab (which runs Linux) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], do not rush to buy one. Galaxy Tab is taxed by Microsoft. Samsung pays Microsoft for Linux, for supposed patent violations that they never bothered to show. It’s a form of collusion.

For GNU/Linux to succeed software patents must vanish. Companies that meanwhile endorse Microsoft’s claims against Linux deserve a polite boycott.

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