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. Patent Scope at the EPO is Totally Out of Control, UPC Will Make Things Worse

    A look at the practical issues with the EPO, where patent scope and litigation scope have been vastly extended so as to benefit multinational corporations and possibly patent trolls



  2. Links 26/5/2015: Reviews of Kubuntu 15.04, Linux 4.1 RC5

    Links for the day



  3. Süddeutsche Zeitung Says Talking Helps While EPO Management Back-stabs Other Side of the Table

    German media gives the impression that there is peace and harmony now that Benoît Battistelli and his circle of power speaks to staff, but nothing is said about simultaneous (albeit covert) attacks against that staff



  4. Large Corporations Call the Shots in US Patent Reform

    A reminder of where we stand on the issue of patent 'reform' in the US and who is controlling or shaping it



  5. Microsoft Puts Proprietary Windows and Hyper-V Inside the Free Software-Centric OpenStack

    OpenStack, which celebrates rapid growth in this month's event in Canada, is facing a proprietarisation threat from Microsoft



  6. Microsoft's Secret Lobbying, Bullying, and the Long History of Blackmailing Politicians Around the World

    British media covers Microsoft's abuse in the UK, but there are many similar incidents, and not just in the UK



  7. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Benoît Battistelli and Four EPO Suicides

    German press article from April 2015 (with translations)



  8. Links 24/5/2015: CrossOver 14.1.3, NTFS-3G Vulnerability

    Links for the day



  9. Links 23/5/2015: Fedora 22 to May 26th, Netflix in SteamOS

    Links for the day



  10. The Patents Production 'Industry' (Patent Lawyers) Still Fights Hard to Salvage Software Patents

    A review of recent writings about software patents and patents on business methods in the United States, demonstrating that patent lawyers have gotten very vocal and sneaky (trying to evade the rules)



  11. Patents as a Marketing Strategy: USPTO Now Part of the Advertising Industry

    The existence of publicity patents, or patents whose sole purpose is to advertise some products, serves to discredit the US patent office, which was originally set up to promote science and technology



  12. Microsoft Blackmails and Extorts British Politicians Over Open Standards and Free Software-Leaning Policies

    Microsoft's digital imperialism in the UK getting defended using blackmail, reminding a lot of Brits that Microsoft is just as evil as ever before



  13. Microsoft Gives Another Bug a Name, This Time Logjam™

    The Microsoft crowd is good only at marketing, even when it comes to small bugs in software



  14. Links 22/5/2015: Fedora 22 Final Release is Near, Canonical IPO Considered

    Links for the day



  15. More Utter Shame Unveiled at Battistelli's EPO: Intimidation Tactics With Help From 'Control Risks'

    The unaccountable thugs who run the EPO have hired London-based spooks to help silence their opposition and their critics



  16. GNU/Linux Still Under Attack From Apple and Microsoft, Patents Remain the Weapon of Choice

    A timely reminder of the importance of patent matters, for they are being used to eliminate the zero-cost advantage of Free/libre software and make it more proprietary, privacy-infringing, and user-hostile (as a result of blackmail)



  17. Gartner Group and NASSCOM: Will Lie for FUD, on Behalf of Microsoft and Proprietary Software

    Some of the latest arguments against Free/libre software turn out to be arriving from couriers of Microsoft and its agenda



  18. Windows is a Franchise in Demise, Don't Believe the Hype

    Ongoing propaganda about Vista 10, 'cloud', and other buzzwords or brands are put in perspective



  19. Links 21/5/2015: Fedora 22 RC2, CERN Chooses OpenStack

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft is Again Showing Its Hatred of Free/Open Source Software by Lobbying the Indian Government to Drop a Rational National Policy

    Microsoft decides to attack Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in India, where the corporate media is very much complicit in misleading the public



  21. Links 20/5/2015: Containers, OpenStack, and EXT4 Corruption

    Links for the day



  22. The PATENT Act, Distraction of Trolls, and Lobbying for Software Patents by Protectionists

    Only large corporations and their lawyers are able to formally change the US patent system through public officials and politicians, despite recent rulings from very high courts



  23. Corporate Media and Friends of Microsoft Are Still Lying About the Cost of Vista 10

    In a desperate effort to beat operating systems that are Free (libre) and free (gratis), such as GNU/Linux or Android, Microsoft shores up the illusion of 'free' (gratis) Windows



  24. Links 19/5/2015: Linux 4.1 RC4, Thunderbird 31.7.0, OpenStack Event

    Links for the day



  25. Links 18/5/2015: Russia Chooses Jolla, Many New Distro Releases, Meizu Devices

    Links for the day



  26. Even Converting an Image to Greyscale is Now a Patent

    Simple mathematics becoming patented as Fujifilm claims 'ownership' of photographic conversion to greyscale



  27. Grooming of the World's Biggest Patent Troll, Nathan Myhrvold of Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures

    UCLA and Microsoft-linked media are framing big thugs as heroes, doing a great disservice to both academia and journalism



  28. The EPO's Fight to Bring Software Patents Into Europe is One Step Closer to a 'Victory' (for Multinationals)

    Opposition to the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is being crushed and Italy is one of the latest actors to have fallen in the battle



  29. Microsoft's 'Former' Staff Continues With His Anti-Google Rhetoric at CBS

    A Microsoft intern, who has moved on to journalism, is still showing his affinity for Microsoft with apologetics and spin



  30. More of Microsoft's False Claims About Cost of Vista 10 and More Layoffs

    Vista 10 is still being marketed using lies and Microsoft may be going down the same route as Nokia


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