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

09.21.10

Novell and Affiliates Turn to Software Patents While US Senators Make Things Worse, Not Better

Posted in Novell, Patents at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USPTO seal shot

Summary: A roundup of news about software patents in the United States, hopefully demonstrating that matters are unlikely to improve because people who are in charge fell into the pockets of monopolies and truth matters hardly at all

MATT ASAY, a former manager at Novell, says that software patents complicate Novell’s sale. This is a good lesson on the harms of software patents. Novell previously bragged about its software patents.

A few days ago we found this article about software patents that are awarded in Maine (where Novell’s headquarters are based).

Move Networks, which was founded by Novell’s co-founder, is reportedly shutting down but not before getting some more software patents:

According to Move, the patent covers adaptive streaming, and is similar to what Akamai, Apple, Adobe, Limelight, Microsoft, Netflix, Widevine and others have deployed. Move said those firms deployed adaptive bit rate architecture “inspired by” the firm’s invention.

Might Move Networks be in preparation for a lawsuit? Just like Interval it’s a dead company with a skeleton of patents. It’s worth keeping an eye on.

The other day we wrote about something called a "Patent Reform Bill" being pushed by senators. As the editor points out in Tech Daily Dose, it is not a reform. “Just because they call it “reform” doesn’t mean it is,” said the editor. TechDirt says that “Senators Make One Last Push For Bad Patent Reform That Will Make Problems Even Worse” and Law.com’s headline says that “Senators Urge Reid to Quickly Bring Amended Patent Reform Bill to Vote”:

A bipartisan group of 25 U.S. senators wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday, asking him to bring an amended patent reform bill to the Senate floor as soon as possible.

Fourteen Democrats, 10 Republicans and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) signed the Sept. 15 letter. Intellectual property insiders say there hasn’t been this much support for a patent bill since the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999.

[...]

The amended bill, which enjoys widespread support from industry and intellectual property groups, would give the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) the authority to adjust patent and trademark fees, and it includes a procedure allowing for challenges to issued patents. Another key provision would change the U.S. patent system to award patents to the first to file instead of the first to invent. Other sections would require courts to consider only “methodologies and factors that are relevant to the determination of damages” and to multiply awards only for damages amassed after the infringement became willful.

What an insane idea. Who is this bill for? They are about to destroy the economy even more. There is this new article right now (“Germans win through sharing”) where economic historian Eckhard Höffner explains how patents and copyrights can harm progress. Previously, Höffner was slamming software patents more specifically.

Called by some a sellout to corporate interests and a surrender to Washington, Bill C-32 — the federal government’s third attempt at bringing the Copyright Act into the Internet age — has its share of opponents. So, new peer-reviewed research by German economic historian Eckhard Höffner may find some eager Canadian students. A lawyer and author of several books, Höffner’s new two-volume work, Geschichte und Wesen des Urheberrechts (his preferred English translation is The History and Nature of Copyright) contends that the German states’ 19th-century transformation from an agricultural backwater to an industrial power the equal of Britain was due in part to their relaxed attitude toward copyright and intellectual property (IP).

[...]

Höffner’s research grew out of an interest in the usefulness of software patents, which he suspects are too restrictive over the long term. Relaxed copyright’s role in the rise of Germany as economic superpower suggests proof that “longer and stronger protection has negative impacts.” More recently, the likes of China have profited from a considerably looser approach to IP than that of the developed West.

Here is an “intellectual property” cartoon (new Dilbert) which also makes fun of the idea. [via Groklaw]

The latest column from Goetz (holder of the first software patent) was debunked here and elsewhere before [1, 2] and now it’s Groklaw’s turn. Pamela Jones wrote a quick rebuttal in News Picks and it went like this:

I see pro software patent folks are quite worried about the “software is mathematics” argument, and I think they should be, because it’s true. Speaking as one die hard, as he puts it rather dismissively, I do continue to believe that software is mathematics, and hence not patentable subject matter, being “part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men”, as the Bilski opinion stated about the exceptions to Section 101, quoting from Funk Brothers. And I recall this section from the Bilski opinion that I consider germane:

“The Information Age empowers people with new capacities to perform statistical analyses and mathematical calculations with a speed and sophistication that enable the design of protocols for more efficient performance of a vast number of business tasks. If a high enough bar is not set when considering patent applications of this sort, patent examiners and courts could be flooded with claims that would put a chill on creative endeavor and dynamic change.”

And in real life we see exactly that is what happened. Can we not learn from that experiment that something is very clearly off-base? Mr. Goetz says he’d like to see frivolous patents done away with:

“In conclusion, while I am a strong proponent of software patents I am very aware, and agree with, many of the arguments against patents because of patent trolls, frivolous patents, e.g. Amazon’s one-click patent, and frivolous patent litigation that can put companies out of business. And I support changes in the Patent Law to reduce those problems.”

But I’d like to ask him this: where exactly would you draw the line to accomplish that goal if software patents are allowed at all? Can we not see that opening that door is precisely what led to the Amazon one-click patent? He argues for three things: “Innovation 2. A proper disclosure and 3. Usefulness.” So, new, useful and disclosed so that others in the field can reproduce the invention. That second is laughable. Please show me a software patent that fits that description of “proper disclosure”. As for the other two, I’m sure Amazon would argue it got over both bars. And the USPTO did issue that patent, so we can agree that the present system is broken. What precisely does Mr. Goetz suggest to fix it?

It is clear that the case for software patents looks increasingly weak over time. The problem is that lawmakers in the United States are not paying attention and the USPTO is too arrogant to understand and acknowledge its shortcomings [1, 2].

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 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  2. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  3. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  4. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  5. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  6. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  7. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  8. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  9. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  10. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  11. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  12. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  13. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  14. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  15. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  16. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  17. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  18. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  19. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  20. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  21. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  22. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  24. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  25. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  26. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  27. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  28. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day



  29. Links 8/10/2014: A Lot of Linux+AMD News, New ROSA Desktop Is Out

    Links for the day



  30. Lawyers' Propaganda About Software Patents and a New AstroTurf Entity Called Innovation Alliance

    Patent propaganda and deception from patent lawyers (among other parasites such as patent trolls) continues to flood the Web, intersecting with reports that prove them totally wrong


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