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. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Gradually Champions Patent Quality, in a Spectacular Reversal on Its Past Ways

    Some of the latest actions and decisions from the Federal Circuit, which originally brought software patents to the United States and is now taking them away, gradually



  2. The Mohawk-PTAB Fiasco Threatens the Tribe's Reputation More Than It Threatens PTAB

    In an effort to dodge scrutiny from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Allergan Plc offloaded a lot of negative publicity onto the Mohawk people, owing primarily to the Mowhawk Tribe's general counsel, Dale White



  3. Latest EPO Rumours Allege That Benoît Battistelli Rigged the Process of EPO President's Selection

    António Campinos is quite likely the next EPO President, as insiders suspect that many applications for the job got rejected politically



  4. Links 23/9/2017: Mesa 17.1.10 RC, Samba 4.7.0, KStars 2.8.4

    Links for the day



  5. Courts Are Losing Patience for Gilstrap's Unbridled Support of Patent Trolls

    The man whose court has become a trolling ‘factory’ is being refuted (but not reprimanded) by the CAFC, which certainly can see that something is amiss and serves to discredit the system as a whole



  6. Intellectual Ventures, GNU/Linux/Android/FOSS Patents, and the Ascent of European Patent Trolls

    The existing status of GNU/Linux in a world full of patent trolls, which not only target OEMs from Asia -- typically in the US -- but are also dragging them into Europe, aided by the EPO's 'patent bubble'



  7. Shelston IP Blames “Well-Organised and Appropriately-Connected Open Source Lobby” for Ban on Software Patents

    The activism is working and foes of programmers are feeling the pressure, for software patents are being more explicitly banned in some countries



  8. The EPO's Latest Lies About the UPC and SMEs Unraveled, Long-Term Plan Described as Daunting

    The vision of Battistelli and the latest lies (about SMEs) are being criticised anonymously -- for fear of retaliation -- as Europe braces for impact with patent trolls from all around the world



  9. In an Effort to Push the Unitary Patent (UPC), EPO and the Liar in Chief Spread the Famous Lie About SMEs

    The EPO wants people to hear just a bunch of lies rather than the simple truth, courtesy of the people whom the EPO proclaims it represents



  10. Links 21/9/2017: Red Hat's Open Source Patent Promise; Qt 5.6.3, Kali Linux 2017.2 Release

    Links for the day



  11. East Asia's Patent Peril and the Curse of Patent Trolls

    The high cost of China's new obsession with patents and the never-ending saga of Samsung (Korea), which gets dragged into courts not only in the US but also in China



  12. USPTO Starts Discriminating Against Poor People, and Does So Even When They Rightly Point Out Errors

    Even though the burden of proof ought to be on one who grants a monopoly, the legal costs are being offloaded onto those who challenge an erroneously-granted monopoly (even if the court sides with the challenger)



  13. Ambrose Chan Enters Document Security Systems (DSS), a Partly Patent Troll Entity

    The Board of Directors of DSS enlists a man from Singapore, whose lack of technical background suggests that the company is still more of a bully than an innovator



  14. UPC Threatens to Weaponise Software Patents in Countries That Forbade These

    The reality of software patents in Europe and what a Unified Patent Court (UPC) would mean for these if it ever became a reality



  15. The Latest Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and CIPO's Participation in Those

    Team UPC continues to overplay its chances, conveniently ignoring simple facts as well as the Rule of Law



  16. The Patents Policy of Facebook is Causing an Exodus

    Yet another major player walks away from Facebook's code because of software patents



  17. Links 20/9/2017: Wine Staging 2.17, Randa 2017, Redox OS 0.3.3

    Links for the day



  18. When Google Used Alex Converse to Raid the Public Domain With Software Patents

    In its overzealous pursuit of software patents, Google is now turning public domain methods into private 'property' (in defiance of critics)



  19. Mark Kokes, the Man Behind BlackBerry's Patent Aggression, Leaves the Company

    The man behind the patent troll-like behaviour of BlackBerry is leaving



  20. WordPress Demonstrates That Facebook's Patent Strategy is Deterring/Alienating Developers

    React is being dumped following Facebook's attempt to restrict distribution/derivatives using software patents



  21. Links 19/9/2017: Pipewire, Mir Support for Wayland, DRM in W3C

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC1, Mesa 17.2.1, and GNOME 3.26 on Ubuntu Artful

    Links for the day



  23. Patent Trolls Update: Eolas, Conversant (MOSAID), Leigh Rothschild, and Electronic Communication Technologies

    Patent trolls are still being watched -- as they ought to be -- even though some of them shy away, hide from the media, engage in dirty tricks, and file more lawsuits



  24. Microsoft is Promoting Software Patents in India in Another Effort to Undermine Free/Open Source Software, Microsoft-Connected Trolls Are Still Suing

    The ongoing patent threat to Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) and the role played by Microsoft in at least much of this threat



  25. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Under Attack by IBM and Other Patent Parasites Who Undermine Patent Quality

    The PTAB, which has thus far invalidated thousands of abstract/software patents, is under a coordinated attack not by those who produce things but those who produce a lot of lawsuit



  26. Why the Mohawk Tribe Should Fire Its Lawyers and Dump the Patents Which Now Tarnish Its Name

    In order to dodge the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) with its Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs), the Mohawk tribe is being exploited -- very much in direct detriment to its reputation and status



  27. Amazon and Google Have Both Become Part of the Software Patents Problem

    The transition from so-called 'defensive' patents to offensive patents (ones that are used to suppress competition) as seen in Amazon and in Google, which is already suing rivals and is pursuing additional patents by acquisition



  28. Unless Physical, Inventions Are No Longer Patent-Eligible in US Courts, But USPTO Ignores Precedence

    Even though the ability to enforce software patents against a rival (or many targets, especially in the case of patent trolls) is vastly diminished, the US patent office continues to grant these



  29. Citing the European Patent Convention, Spanish Court Tosses Lawsuit With EPO-Granted European Patent

    The quality of European Patents (EPs) -- a subject of growing levels of scrutiny -- as demonstrated in Barcelona this summer



  30. Links 16/9/2017: More of “Public Money, Public Code”, Equifax Failed to Patch for Months

    Links for the day


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