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

09.28.10

USPTO Receives Overwhelming Opposition to Software Patents

Posted in FSF, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 7:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flipping pages

Summary: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) successfully encourages many people to voice their opinion on software patents and the USPTO comes under pressure from other directions while unregistered lobbyists heckle those who drive progress

THE FSF’S Brett Smith, along with other people who support the FSF’s cause, has been calling for requests to be sent to the USPTO (first mentioned here), asking politely for elimination of software patents until over 450 submissions were sent:

Last week, we put out an action item asking people to write to the USPTO, and explain to them why software should not be eligible for patents under their forthcoming post-Bilski guidance. To answer the call, you all sent in more than 450 letters, offering the USPTO all kinds of legal and practical reasons why they should stop issuing software patents. This is a tremendous response, and we’re very grateful to you all for participating. Thank you very much!

Of course, we also submitted our own letter written by the director of the End Software Patents campaign, Ciarán O’Riordan. You can read it on the ESP site. We used this opportunity to point out three specific points in the Bilski decision that we believe seriously undermine any legal case for software patents. If the USPTO incorporates even one of these points into its guidance, it will be a big win for opponents of software patents.

The FSF must be doing something right because the hypocrite lobbyist Microsoft Florian, who is spamming journalists in the sense that without consent he sends a huge number of them identical E-mails (personalised for deception), called the FSF “spammer” for recommending that readers independently submit suggestion to the USPTO, which is run with/by their own government. The FSF — unlike the company Florian lobbies in favour — does not send fake letters with slight variations and fake names of dead people. But anyway, let’s digress and not pay too much attention to aggressive lobbyists whose mask has fallen and goals exposed a long time ago.

Here is Red Hat announcing its contribution to this:

Yesterday Red Hat has submitted comments to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office regarding interpretation of the Supreme Court’s Bilski decision.

The submission was made in response to the PTO’s request for public comments to assist it in determining how to apply the Supreme Court’s decision in that case. Although the Bilski decision did not expressly address the standards for refusing to allow software patents, interpretation of the decision will determine whether certain patents are granted. Thus the PTO’s approach to examining patent applications will have a substantial effect on the patent landscape.

Needless to say, the tireless lobbyist is already bombarding Twitter with smears against Red Hat (for working towards removal of software patents).

Over at Groklaw, where the lobbyist is banned, there is publication of another detailed submission to the USPTO [via].

This is more than enough evidence that physical devices and computations have the ability to represent abstract ideas. Their use is essential for human beings to even be able to conceive, let alone use, these ideas. In particular the computations described by algorithms must be carried out physically in order to be used at all. If you patent the physical means to carry out the computation then you may end up patenting the computation itself if you are not careful. This is the mathematical basis for the non-patentability of algorithms as per Benson, Flook and Diehr.

Remarking on a story we covered last week, TechDirt publishes “Patent Office Says Another ‘Worst Patent’ Should Be Rejected As Obvious”

“Groklaw notes that Trend Micro is now at risk of losing the patent monopoly it has been using to attack competitors”While not wasting its time in Twitter arguing with lobbyists for software patents, the FFII drew attention to this good old article about “How two lines of code can infringe on a software patent”

One Twitter user wrote: “Any of your patent practitioners noticing a high level of COURTESY at the USPTO? The “business method” /software examiners impress me!”

Groklaw notes that Trend Micro is now at risk of losing the patent monopoly it has been using to attack competitors [1, 2, 3]. This happened at the USPTO’s order, which sounds like an encouraging improvement.

The USPTO on September 16 issued an order granting Fortinet’s petition to reexamine the validity of the Trend Micro patent on antivirus functionality, the 5,623,600 patent, on the grounds that a “substantial new question of patentability” exists based on prior art now being considered. Fortinet publicly acknowledges the help of the open source community, specifically mentioning the prior art searching you guys did here on Groklaw in June. The ultimate outcome is yet to be determined, of course, and that’s in the hands of the lawyers now, but you guys did your part. It’s a great partnership, techies and lawyers, and I thank you for working hard on this, and I hope it leads to a just resolution.

Lastly, just for laughs, see the new article “Larry King bagel company sued over ‘patented water’” (it’s not a satire).

A new lawsuit answers three great questions:

1. What is TV and radio personality Larry King up to now that he’s bowing to Piers Morgan as host of a nightly CNN talk show?
2. Why can’t we get a good bagel outside of Brooklyn?
3. Can you patent a process for making water?

Obviously, the answers are connected.

In July, King signed on with the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. as a franchisee and brand promoter. The company specializes in selling bagels prepared in water adapted to replicate the H2O of Brooklyn, N.Y. King would promote the brand and help develop the budding chain’s stores throughout the world, including, for those crying “dough” over the lack of tasty bagels in La-La Land, a store opening in Beverly Hills.

Unless the USPTO changes course, it is at risk of losing a lot of the legitimacy it has left. Reviewing the patentability of software patents would be a good start. “Success” is not to be measured in terms of the number of monopolies granted and only ever broadening their scope is a recipe for Water Bagel disaster.

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

3 Comments

  1. kozmcrae said,

    September 29, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Gravatar

    Software patents must be about ideas and not software code. If software patents were about software code then there would be no need to “impound” an entire application, just the offending code. I’ve never heard of that happening so I must presume that software patents are misnamed. They must be Idea Patents, or IP for short ;-).

  2. twitter said,

    September 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Gravatar

    Astroturfers can’t pretend to represent free software when so many free software advocates write in like they did. It is also good that the FSF got coppies, so they can verify that the public record is complete. I wrote on, short letter. I wonder how many fake opinions the Microsoft people shoveled into the pile.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    They usually have the likes of SAP/GE adding to the pile. Speaking of which, bad news:

    http://www.webosroundup.com/2010/09/hp-chooses-leo-apotheker-as-ceo-and-president/
    http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/SAP

What Else is New


  1. Links 20/1/2020: MNT Reform, Linux 5.5 RC7, KMyMoney 5.0.8

    Links for the day



  2. Mansion of Pedophilia – Addendum: Accessing and Assessing Court Documents

    How anyone out there can do the job the media failed to do (after an apparently unprecedented arrest at the home of Bill Gates)



  3. Mansion of Pedophilia – Addendum: Progress on Police Request

    9 updates from the police department of Seattle but still nothing material/concrete, only promises and major delays



  4. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 19, 2020



  5. Mansion of Pedophilia – Part VIII: More Than 4 Months of Waiting for Police Department to Send Over the Files They Claim to Have an Issue Opening

    The police department (PD) of Seattle is unable to open its own files about arrest for pedophilia at Bill Gates' home; it has been unable to open these files for several months, it claims...



  6. Starting a GNU Replacement for GitHub, Possibly Based on GitLab

    "It might be easier if we start from the GitLab software," Stallman said



  7. European Commission Pushes for Even Greater Patent Maximalism Instead of Rationality, Patent Zealots' Site Cherry-Picks China as Whipping Boy

    Fear of China is being leveraged to promote an agenda of patent maximalists; the general idea they promote is that granting millions of low-quality patents is the only way to compete, even if in reality that merely handicaps the whole market



  8. CRISPR Patents Disallowed, But Where Are the Journalists?

    The narrative surrounding last week's decision against CRISPR patents may have been virtually monopolised by the litigation think tanks and law firms; it certainly feels like no journalism is left to rebut them, fact-check, and introspect



  9. Links 19/1/2020: Wine 5.0 RC6, Alpine 3.11.3

    Links for the day



  10. Judges Reject EPO Patents on Life as Constitutional Complaints Against the EPO Pile Up in Germany

    EPO judges throw out patents on life (CRISPR at least); there's now growing hope that they'll have the courage to do the same to patents on software



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 18, 2020



  12. StartPage (System1) Found New Spin Allies. Some Have Been Offered StartPage Jobs. Some Might Already be Working for StartPage in Secret.

    Pro-StartPage voices appear to be paid (or have been promised pay) by StartPage; the key strategy of StartPage seems to be, attack and betray people's privacy while paying people in particular positions to pretend otherwise



  13. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, January 17, 2020



  14. Links 18/1/2020: Mir 1.7 and GNU Guile 3.0.0

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 16, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 16, 2020



  16. Links 16/1/2020: Mozilla Layoffs, PinePhone Braveheart Shipping, KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Reaches Beta

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft is a Market Leader in Lying and Corruption

    Microsoft is working hard to describe itself as the exact opposite of what it is and what it has been; ‘Internet rot’ helps a lot with this agenda, not to mention control of the media (the narrative)



  18. The European Patent Organisation Continues to 'Piss All Over' Separation of Powers

    The EPO continues to scatter invalid patents (IPs) that are European Patents (EPs) all over Europe and nobody can stop this, not even the judges of the EPO because they lack independence (by their very own admission)



  19. Zealots of Team UPC (Patent Litigation) Now Attacking the Courts and the Judges, Removing Their Mask on the Face of Things...

    The tactics of Team UPC aren't changing, only the shamelessness associated with these tactics is changing (because it looks like the end of days to them)



  20. Microsoft Now Uses or Leverages Software Freedom Against Free Software

    A reader's explanation of what Microsoft is trying to accomplish with its so-called 'embrace' and what steps will come next (how they manifest themselves)



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 15, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 15, 2020



  22. Links 15/1/2020: CentOS Linux 8.1, Oracle VirtualBox 6.1.2 and GNU Sed 4.8

    Links for the day



  23. OSI Board at Microsoft: This is How Institutions Die or Completely Lose Their Purpose/Direction

    The photo (or meeting) may mark the turning point of the Openwashing as-a-Standard Initiative (OSI), which less than a year earlier took a bucket of money from Microsoft



  24. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 14, 2020



  25. When Microsoft's Actions Speak for Themselves (About Back Door Access)

    Unwittingly, people are being reminded of the 'special relationship' between Microsoft and the US Army (or government); The back doors or bug doors are still there, even 7 years after Edward Snowden's NSA leaks



  26. Why You -- Yes, You Too -- Should Consider Migrating to GNU/Linux

    The window is closing (and Windows/Vista 7 closing down); the chance to use machines that the users actually control is still there



  27. Can We Please Stop Lying for Microsoft in the Mainstream Media?

    Dishonesty for short-term financial gain (e.g. advertising money) will be a big loss in the long run. There’s a reason why so many news sites perish and Datamation (where I wrote more than a decade ago) now throws away remnants of reputation by spreading a big lie from Microsoft.



  28. It's Only Factual and Truthful to Point Out That About Half of the EPO's Management Committee Are From the President's Nation (and Many Are Underqualified Friends of His)

    The patent-granting extravaganza of what a reader and contributor of ours likes to call "Club Med" will result in great pain (not just for the Office but for Europe as a whole); pointing out who's to blame (the culprits) is an exercise in practicality



  29. Stranger Than Fiction: Team UPC's Mental Condition

    Team UPC's delusions continue to unmask UPC proponents (in 2020) as totally and entirely detached from reality



  30. Links 14/1/2020: IBM Joins LOT Network; X.Org Server 1.20.7, Tails 4.2.2 and Zanshin 0.5.71 Released

    Links for the day


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

Recent Posts