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

09.22.10

The Free Software Foundation Fights Software Patents in the Southern Hemisphere

Posted in Australia, Europe, FSF, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 9:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time to stand up against software patents and WIPO

Puzzle time

Summary: The southern part of the world, where wealth is scarce and software patents are largely illegitimate, is being visited by Richard Stallman who helps educate about the harms of software patents (even to Europe); it is also acknowledged that patent value in Europe is an odd duck and that the Europe-based WIPO is hostile towards the vast majority of people

Australian lawyers are hoping to help ruin EPO just like USPTO (the European and American patent offices, respectively). Richard Stallman, an activist far gentler than the mainstream media may have the population believe, has been giving some talks in Australia and now he turns his attention to a European Patent session in the same country. The Australian press is being unfair by claiming that Dr. Stallman “crashes” the session (that’s what the headline says) when in fact all he did was hand out printed copies of his article and held up a sign with a polite message. Judge him based on the following new article whose headline is unfair and worth correcting:

Software freedom activist Richard Stallman made an unexpected appearance at a European Patent Office presentation in Brisbane today.

Stallman, pictured, who was also due to address the World Computer Congress later in the day, carried a placard that said: “Don’t get caught in software patent thickets”.

He briefly interrupted a presentation by European Patent Officer Ralf Abbing, who spoke about the “big issues in IP in relation to computing technology”.

In his presentation, Abbing outlined the requirements for software patent applications under the European Patent Convention (EPC).

“We have a very narrow interpretation,” Abbing said of patentable software.

According to Article 52 of the EPC, patented inventions had to be “susceptible of industrial application”, new, and involve an inventive step.

The Article excluded aesthetic creations, discoveries, mathematical models, business methods and presentations of information from being patented.

Abbing explained that patentable software also had to be “technical” – that is, software that processed physical data parameters, controlled values of an industrial process, or affected “the way a computer operates”.

[...]

Stallman said he supported the movement, and told iTnews that the European Patent Office was lobbying for software patents in Australia.

“We’re here at the World Computer Congress and what I’ve discovered is that the European Patent Office is here to campaign in favour of software patents in Australia,” he said.

“You can be sure that if Australia allows software patents, almost all the patents will belong to foreigners and will give them the opportunity to sue Australians.

Another new article, this one from The Australian, has an exceptionally deceiving headline, “Richard Stallman calls for internet tax to combat piracy” (he neither talked about “piracy” nor called for an “internet tax”). The latter part of the article speaks about the appearance at the European Patent session:

He and an unknown colleague held up placards reading: “Don’t get caught in the software patent thickets”.

While considering him eccentric, some experts at the conference were sympathetic to Mr Stallman’s ideas.

During a presentation on software piracy among students, Linda Spark, a researcher from Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand said: “Although I thought some of Richard Stallman’s ideas were a bit radical, there’s a lot of areas I don’t disagree with him. If we look at the history of software you have to ask why software is owned. It’s because someone got greedy along the way. It wasn’t originally proprietary software.”

“The ethics on both sides are really bit questionable.”

Notice how preconceptions of Stallman (created by daemonisations in the press) affect people’s reception of his teachings. No wonder Stallman has disdain for the PR industry. They try to maginalise him and create a radical image of him. In reality, his message makes a lot of sense, just like the messages of Mr. Moore and Mr. Assange for example.

Truth be told, Stallman’s views have made him many enemies in quarters such as the proprietary software industry, the meta-industry of patent lawyers, and so on. Here we have IAM (lawyers’ magazine) shooting itself in the foot by admitting that the industry it shelters is quite worthless (or a “Seductive Mirage” as Richard Stallman called it in the famous essay he handed out in paper form in Australia).

“Under 1% of patents account for close to 50% of overall patent value in Europe,” says this headline: [via Glyn Moody]

Under 1% of patents account for close to 50% of overall patent value in Europe – UPDATED

[...]

Obviously, there is no scientific valuation process involved here, but the answers can be considered indicative of how much value the owners felt they got from their patents. And what is so interesting is how this survey backs up so many others in finding that the vast majority of patents turn out to be worth very little or nothing at all; but those that are worth something can be worth a hell of a lot. The trick, of course, is in knowing which patents will fall into which category. Unfortunately from a patent procurement perspective, it can’t be done ahead of time – though there are plenty of people that are looking to find ways of getting an edge in this area.

Going further to the east and crossing over to Australia’s neighbour New Zealand, there exists a battle in there over the issue of software patents. Microsoft front groups have been lobbying in favour over there and in this new interview with Microsoft’s NTO in New Zealand he gets asked the following question:

What’s Microsoft stance on changes to software patents in New Zealand?

Fundamentally the final decision needs to be in the economic interest of New Zealand. IRP should be designed and serve New Zealand’s interest. The concerns we still have is that there’s been no real detailed economic analysis of what impact any changes are going to have.

The fundamental idea that someone who invents something, spends the time, money and effort to create something new should be able to benefit from it, is something that we believe in deeply. It’s our core businesses. That’s why we spend US$9 billion a year on research and development. It’s important that we benefit from that and show our shareholders that we benefit from that.

In a time where there’s so much talk about the importance of IT and export growth in New Zealand, it seems odd that we’d throw away a profit prediction for a thing that we’d want to sell.

Microsoft is avoiding the subject. This is not surprising. In order to avoid backlash from the public, Microsoft always prefers to push for software patents using front groups (e.g. 'NZ'ICT in New Zealand). It hides behind proxies which pretend to serve the opposite side, in this case “NZ” (‘NZ’ICT is a multinational, not a New Zealand representor).

To finish off this overly-elongated post, mind the latest news which exposes the evils of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation). We last wrote about it 10 days ago. A famous blind man, Stevie Wonder, is taking on WIPO and shockingly enough WIPO snubs him. This made it into a lot of publications, even Reuters.

U.S. pop and soul music legend Stevie Wonder told diplomats from nearly 200 nations on Monday to stop squabbling over copyright and agree on a pact bringing “hope and light” to blind people around the globe.

And the singer-musician, himself sightless since just after birth, warned negotiators at the United Nations intellectual property and copyright agency WIPO that he would write a sad song about them if they didn’t act on his appeal.

They did not “act on his appeal” based on some articles we found, so we look forward to Wonder’s eulogy for the WIPO, which grows increasingly controversial, especially among poor nations (the world’s majority) and minority groups like blind people.

Andrew Katz, a new writer for IDG in the UK, writes about the term WIPO uses to justify its existence. It’s misleadingly called “intellectual property” and as Katz correctly argues, it’s just an analogy not to be taken seriously:

[Y]ou’ll find organisations like the RIAA, BSA, FAST and BPI talk a lot about “property”. And you’ll find organisations like the Free Software Foundation railing against that characterisation.

It’s also fairly telling that the organ of the United Nations which deals with these issues is called the “World Intellectual Property Organisation”, and that the relevant government agency in the UK is Intellectual Property Office.

It’s nice to see the FSF getting some credit there. The FSF, unlike the IBM-backed Linux Foundation/OIN, is strongly against patents. That’s why Techrights is sympathetic towards the FSF.

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 EFF Back to Tackling Software Patents, Not Just Patent Trolls

    Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers start targeting large companies that exploit patents for intimidation and extortion, not just patent trolling



  2. Microsoft Wants to Devour the Competition (Linux), Devour People's Data

    Refuting the "new Microsoft" propaganda and some ludicrous concept that Microsoft is now "playing nice"



  3. Benoît Battistelli Thinks 'President' is Above the Law, Decides to Ignore the Court's Ruling

    Staff of the EPO is given yet more reasons to protest tomorrow at the British Consulate, for the so-called 'President' of the EPO reminds everyone of the very raison d'être for the protest -- a vain disregard for the rule of law



  4. Links 24/2/2015: Xfce 4.12 a Week Away, GNOME 3.16 Previewed

    Links for the day



  5. Links 23/2/2015: Ubuntu Kylin 14.04.2 LTS, Cinnamon 2.6 Previews

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: February 8th - February 21st, 2015





  7. The EPO's Sham 'Internal Investigation' of EPO Vice-President Željko Topić's Affairs

    The EPO never investigated the Željko Topić affair, it only pretends to have investigated (one small aspect, i.e. cherry-picking) using a Benoît Battistelli-controlled group



  8. Links 21/2/2015: GNOME 3.15.90, Google Wins Android Lawsuit

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft AstroTurfing War on GNU/Linux is Still Going On, But Hidden Better, Uses API as Instrument of Lock-in

    The corruptible press continues to describe blatant attacks (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) against GNU/Linux and Free software as Microsoft 'embracing' Open Source



  10. Lenovo's Superfish Scandal is Spyware on Top of Spyware (Microsoft Windows), the Problem is Inherently Proprietary Software

    Shifting focus to the root problem, which is neither Lenovo nor its laptops but the non-free programs installed on hardware



  11. Benoît Battistelli Once Again Threatens EPO Staff That 'Dares' to Protest, Battistelli Exploits Terror Attacks to Pretend to Respect Free Speech

    The European Patent Office (EPO) President, Benoît Battistelli, reportedly started threatening -- as before -- staff that decides to exercise the right to assemble and protest against abuses, including the abuses of President Battistelli himself



  12. Links 20/2/2015: Android Studio v1.1, GDB 7.9

    Links for the day



  13. Links 20/2/2015: Bloomberg Joins Linux Foundation, ClearOS Community 6.6.0

    Links for the day



  14. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys Slams the European Patent Office for Structural Failings

    An important letter which we overlooked while writing yesterday's 4 articles about the European Patent Office (EPO); yet another key stakeholder complains



  15. Links 19/2/2015: Hewlett-Packard on Cumulus Linux, Previews of GNOME 3.16 Beta

    Links for the day



  16. Techrights Under Attack Again, Shortly After Important EPO Articles

    Techrights highlights a pattern that is months old; Site faces availability issues shortly after reports about the European Patent Office and its abuses



  17. EPO Staff Protests Against Benoît Battistelli’s Lowering of Patents Quality (Scope Expansion and Software Patents for Profit)

    A protest in Munich in less than 6 days will target Mr. Sean Dennehey, who has helped Battistelli cover up his abuses and crush legitimate critics, whom he deemed illegal opposition as if the EPO is an authoritarian regime as opposed to a public service which taxpayers are reluctantly (but forcibly) funding



  18. Breaking: European Patent Office Sued by Its Own Staff in The Hague, Must Unblock Staff's Voices

    The crooked management of the European Patent Office (EPO) gets in legal trouble after repeated attempts to cover up abuses and suppress criticism



  19. Željko Topić's History in SIPO Leaves a Legacy of Alleged DZIV Vehicles (Bribes), Authorship Abuses, and Intimidation Against Reporters

    Another deep look at Željko Topić's background in Croatia, preceding his very notorious appointment to the EPO where he now serves as Benoît Battistelli's most controversial attack dog



  20. The Old Obsession With Patent Trolls Continues to Distract From Debate About Software Patenting

    A roundup of recent coverage about monopolies on algorithms in the United States



  21. Links 19/2/2015: 64-bit ARM Linux, Chinese New Year

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/2/2015: Linux Report, FlightGear 3.4

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Scandals: The Story So Far

    An overview of articles about mischief, misconduct and breach of laws at the EPO



  24. Links 17/2/2015: TripleO, Pivotal

    Links for the day



  25. Links 17/2/2015: SystemD 219, Frugalware 2.0 (Rigel) Released

    Links for the day



  26. Željko Peratović Slammed for Whitewashing Željko Topić After Publishing Important Piece on Behalf of Key Sources

    Response from Ivan Kabalin to Zeljko Peratovic's so-called "apology" which is both mysterious and seemingly inadequate as it does nothing to actually explain what was wrong (if anything)



  27. Benoît Battistelli Has Made Oversight of European Patent Office Absolutely Impossible





  28. Microsoft Already Killed Nokia, Don't Let It Kill Android Players Too

    Microsoft's strategy against Android mirrors the company's evil strategy that derailed MeeGo and Nokia



  29. Intel Continues to Attack Software Freedom Through UEFI

    The Trojan horse that Microsoft uses to cement its monopoly on desktops and laptops (making it hard or impossible to install and run GNU/Linux) is also being misused to block Coreboot



  30. Links 16/2/2015: Netrunner 15, Bridge Linux

    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