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. Links 25/1/2015: Android Wear 5.0, Tizen in Bangladesh

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: January 11th, 2015 – January 24th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  3. Links 24/1/2015: Zenwalk Linux Reviewed, Netrunner 14.1 Released

    Links for the day



  4. The Latest 'Microsoft is Open Source' Propaganda a Parade of Lies

    Microsoft myth makers continue their assault on what is objectively true and try to tell the public that Microsoft is a friend of "Open Source"



  5. Apple -- Like Microsoft -- Not Interested in the Security of Its Operating Systems

    Apple neglected to patch known security flaws in Mac OS X for no less than three months and only did something about that vector of intrusion when the public found out about it



  6. As Battistelli Breaks the Rules and Topić Silences Staff, New European Parliament Petition for Tackling the EPO's Abuses is Needed

    The neglected (by EPO) Article 4a of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Parliament petition/complaint against the EPO's crooked management



  7. Links 23/1/2015: Red Hat on IBM Power, Meizu Leaks With Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  8. Links 23/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Manjaro 0.9-pre1

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft is Dying Due to Free Software, Tries to Infect GNU/Linux With .NET and to Infect Moodle in Schools With Microsoft Office and OOXML Lock-in

    'Free' drugs (a proprietary software analogy) the new strategy of Microsoft in its latest battle against Free software, especially in schools where choice is a rarity (if not an impossibility), with the premeditated intention of forming dependency/addiction among young people



  10. Microsoft Symptoms of a Dying Company: More Boosters Depart, Back Doors Revealed, Microsoft's Outlook Cracked

    Bad news for Microsoft shortly before the marketing extravaganza served to cover much of it up



  11. The Collapse of European Patent Office Management Culminates With Resignations

    No blood is spilled, but even the management of the EPO is falling apart as the Director of Internal Communication is said to have just resigned



  12. New LCA Talk: Open Invention Network's Deb Nicholson on Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Deb Nicholson's LCA talk is now publicly accessible



  13. Links 22/1/2015: GNU/Linux Sysadmin Opportunities, TraceFS Introduced

    Links for the day



  14. Links 21/1/2015: Andrew Tridgell, Torvalds Being Baited

    Links for the day



  15. Vesna Stilin Renews Her Fight for Justice in Željko Topić Case (EPO VP)

    Željko Topić's abuses continue to cloud the legitimacy of the European Patent Office, in which he is a Vice-President



  16. Failure of the EPO Can Derail the Trojan Horse of Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Dazzled by his endless pursuit of infinite money and power, Battistelli pushes for expansion of patent scope (geographically too), but he won't have it without a challenge



  17. Links 20/1/2015: Linux 3.19 RC5, 30 Years of FSF

    Links for the day



  18. Translations of Member of the European Parliament Complaining About European Patent Office (EPO)

    French, German, Dutch, and English translations of the article from Dennis De Jong



  19. Microsoft, the Back Doors Company, is Gradually Dying and Trying to Embrace the Competition

    The world is leaving Microsoft's common carrier (Windows) behind, so Microsoft, which is shrinking, tries to conquer Free software and GNU/Linux



  20. Battistelli's Latest Propaganda War Tries to Convince EPO Staff That Željko Topić's Many Criminal Charges Don't Exist

    Battistelli's right-hand man, Željko Topić, is now facing real danger of prosecution and possibly arrest in his home country, so Battistelli rushes to defend this thug's reputation



  21. Links 18/1/2015: Sailfish OS RoadMap, ownCloud Turns 5

    Links for the day



  22. Strategy of Litigation With Patents Has Collapsed Since SCOTUS Ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank

    The latest figures from Lex Machina show a massive decrease (-18%) in patent litigation last month; lawyers look for ways to spin the data in their favour



  23. Patent Lawyers Can't Help Rewriting Alice v. CLS Bank History

    The league of patent lawyers -- people who profit at the expense of software producers -- keeps brainwashing the public about the patentability of software (both the rationale and the potential)



  24. Myths and Hype About Patents

    Distortion of history and fabricated reports about patents in the corporate media leave many people confused and ultimately unable to make rational judgment



  25. Large Corporations, Including Microsoft Allies, Call for Abolition of Software Patents

    The calls for ending all patents on software are getting louder and patents as a whole are de-emphasised as a business strategy



  26. Links 17/1/2015: Lennart Poettering in Headlines, Mageia 5 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  27. Links 16/1/2015: Chapeau 21, Tails 1.2.3

    Links for the day



  28. Links 15/1/2015: KDE Releases, Ubuntu Phone Delays

    Links for the day



  29. Links 15/1/2015: KDE Plasma 5.2 Beta, Elive 2.5.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  30. Google Has Eliminated Microsoft's Dominance in Operating Systems, Microsoft Resorts to Propaganda, Child Exploitation, and EEE

    As Linux becomes the dominant kernel at Windows' expense Microsoft pulls old tricks including media manipulation, AstroTurfing, co-opting schools (making Windows obligatory for future generations), and EEE (embrace, extend, and extinguish)


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