09.10.10

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01 Communique Uses Software Patents Against Dell, LogMeIn; IBM Still a Mockery of the USPTO Its Employee Runs

Posted in Dell, FSF, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 5:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

01 Communique headline

Summary: The headache which is software patents continues to ruin US-based businesses; the FSF has another opportunity to ask IBM to end software patents rather than promote them

ANOTHER day, another attack on innovation. Rather than hear about a new (“innovative”) product we learn about legal action against Dell and LogMeIn, which achieves the very opposite of innovation. The press release from Toronto may remind outside observers of the i4i case because, just like i4i, 01 Communique uses a US patent to attack American commerce from Canada. This helps show how software patents put the United States in a position of disadvantage, just as Richard Stallman warned more than half a decade ago.

Here is some more coverage about this new case [1, 2, 3].

Already a headache for Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS), 01 Communique Laboratory Inc. (OCQLF, ONE.T) could soon be a full-blown migraine for numerous other companies that provide remote access to personal computers.

[...]

While no royalty has been set, average royalty rates for software patents are among the highest in the technology industry at about 11.5%, according to data compiled by AUS Consulting Inc., a financial consulting firm based in Mount Laurel, N.J.

That latter part helps explains the harms of software patents in particular.

The USPTO, now run by a former IBM employee (IBM is in favour of software patents), continues to look like more of a joke thanks to IBM’s patent/monopoly obsession. “IBM Patents Guessing How Many Kids Are On A School Bus,” says this headlines from TechDirt which explains the details in simple term:

theodp writes “Self-described patent reformer IBM was awarded a patent Tuesday for Utilizing Gross Vehicle Weight to Determine Passenger Numbers. And yes, the ‘invention’ of five IBMers is what you think it is – from the Abstract: ‘A total weight of passengers on the vehicle is divided by an estimated weight of each of the passengers to estimate how many passengers are on the vehicle.’ First-graders everywhere will no doubt rejoice to learn that the elusive how-many-kids-are-on-the-school-bus problem has finally been solved!”

What is IBM thinking? It previously withdrew an outrageous patent, but only after it had received a lot of public backlash in Slashdot and elsewhere. Right now it’s Oracle that gets a lot of backlash, fueled by a new statement from the FSF. Many other sources are backing that official statement of the FSF or parsing it a little further [1, 2, 3, 4]. Oracle and IBM are the two major funding sources of the FSF and maybe it’s time for the FSF to also denounce IBM for its lobbying for software patents. Oracle actually has a history of opposing software patents. Neither IBM not Oracle is exactly helpful to the FSF when it comes to patent policy.

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