10.15.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

With Patent Quality This Low, Who Needs Any?

Posted in Apple, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 6:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bar signTime to raise the bar of patents, not lower it

Summary: Another new batch of embarrassingly-trivial patents (the bar is set too low), Twitter’s reluctance to have anything to do with patents, and news from Europe and Apple

“Breaking: Amazon 1-click invention is patentable subject matter, says Justice Phelan of the Cdn. Fed. Ct. Reasons,” claims Yuri Chumak who points to this new decision [PDF]

They can’t be serious, can they? One-click shopping is a patentable “innovation” now? Someone, somewhere, please revisit the charter of the USPTO. This is becoming somewhat of a farce of international proportions. And it gets worse. Rollover image is now a patent too, according to this report.

“Dear website owner, congratulations on your excellent site, which includes features covered by our registered patent, #5,251,294. As the description indicates, many of the components on your pages, particularly your menus, rollover images, and shortcuts, are detailed in our claim. We would be delighted to lease these to you at a reasonable royalty rate of $80,000. Please call our offices at your convenience to arrange a payment schedule.”

Nuts, right? We wish. Meet the Webvention Company, which appears to exist largely for the purpose of collecting money from companies whose online sites include commonly used features that can be construed as part of patent 5,251,294.

It’s not a joke. It’s an actual patent granted by the USPTO and Microsoft’s Traul Allen has similar patents which he sues everyone with. Then there’s the infamous JPEG on a page patent covered in [1, 2]. It’s tied to Niro, the father of patent trolling [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. The exact nickname of the patent is “The JPEG-on-a-website patent”.

Just how far is the USPTO willing to go? There are more software patents being announced with great pride this week. What does that really contribute to technology? Have we learned nothing about the harms of monopoly? Just consider the harms of Microsoft bundling and its effects on progress in computing. As one blogger has just put it:

This is a nice phrase to startle computer sellers in most stores. Why is it that most computers come with Windows preloaded? To satisfy the users?? I guess that the price reductions on Windows licenses for OEMs –and price increases if they dare to sell equipment without Windows preloaded–have nothing to do with it. Nor does Microsoft’s interest in fair competition and fair play.

So…if Windows comes with the computer, does that mean that Windows is part of the computer?

Clearly not. Microsoft licenses mean that the software is neither part of the computer nor yours. For the vendors, the licenses mean they have the permission to install it. What is yours is the permission to use it in your system. Do you own a copy of Windows? No, you don’t. All of them belong to Microsoft, but they give you the privilege of using it–for a *small* price, of course! This resembles communism so much if you ask me. The differences are the entity that owns the goods and how people are granted the permission to use them. And still some say that Open Source equals communism??!!

Going back to the subject of patenting, BNET says that Twitter — despite its near-monopoly in its area — is not interested in patents:

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams predicted yesterday that the social media company will hit a billion users in time. It seems like wishful thinking if you look at the company’s traffic trend lines, but there’s no question that Twitter is big in social media. That’s why I find its patent strategy curious. Check US Patent Office records week after week and you begin to notice that Twitter doesn’t appear to ever file an application, let alone receive a granted patent.

Contrast that with Facebook, whose Microsoft-loving management has begun hoarding software patents [1, 2, 3, 4].

Over in Europe it’s an entirely different story. Patent trolling is very scarce there, it hardly exists in fact (patent trolls utilise software patents, which are broad and impact a wide range of companies). The Geneva-based WIPO has been kind enough to give Free software proponents a room in the discussion over patent law and the nearby reporters from IP Watch covered the proceedings: [via]

Patents aren’t what they used to be at the World Intellectual Property Organization. Discussions to come up with a work plan at the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) this week and in recent meetings point to the possibility of a sea change in thinking over what matters about intellectual property policy and law.

This article also speaks about royalty-free standards:

“Seeing as royalty-free standards can be implemented by anyone, where exactly do you see a barrier to trade in that?” added Karsten Gerloff, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe. The FSFE position on patents and standards is here.

The FSFE and the FFII have both been effective at exposing attempts to push software patents into Europe. Microsoft and its front groups try to do this via pseudo-standards and protocols/APIs (F/RAND), aided by corruptible or innocently misguided politicians. Apple does not appear to have real presence among the lobbying groups, but its actions too are a deterrent to innovation in the EU. Yesterday we wrote about the so-called 'anti-sexting' patent from Apple. A more professional name for it is “text message filtering” and it still brings memories from last month’s censorship of SMS transmission by a large US carrier (done without user consent). Apple apologists may say:

Apple’s invention, which may or may not ever find its way into an actual product, aims to stem the scourge of offensive texting.

Last month we saw such software being used not by actual customers but by the babysitting carrier. One day it may be just “offensive texting” (or “terrorism” and “child porn”) and as time goes by, political dissent, just as an hypothetical example, can be automatically intercepted too. See this video which we posted earlier today.

Hugo Roy, the FSFE member who famously got in touch with Steve Jobs, shares news about another new patent from Apple. This article says: “A batch of approved patent applications from Apple issued by the U.S. Patent Office this week include descriptions of significant multi-touch innovations, such as pinch-to-zoom and knob controls.”

Keep it classy, Apple. If Apple gets sued more often, maybe then it will stop amassing software monopolies.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 8/12/2021: Linux 5.15.7 Out, Linux Mint 20.3 is Near

    Links for the day



  2. Links 8/12/2021: Zorin OS 16 Milestone and Calculate Linux 22 Released; Kubernetes 1.23

    Links for the day



  3. A Call for Sources and Whistleblowers From Microsoft's GitHub

    Remarks on our publications from this morning and a call for more leakers and whistleblowers, who know GitHub better than anybody else (including lots of fools who still outsource all of their hard labour to Microsoft through GitHub)



  4. [Teaser] Rape is Not a Joke

    Having just uploaded a police report, we’re starting to move the ongoing series to the next phase, which will still be — for the most part — weekly installments on Mondays (for months to come)



  5. [Teaser] Meet Microsoft’s Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot, Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley

    Alex Graveley, a serial abuser, has been protected by Microsoft; what does that say about Microsoft and about Nat Friedman, GitHub’s CEO whom Alex considers his "best friend"? Stay tuned as we have plenty more to show



  6. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 07, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 07, 2021



  7. Links 8/12/2021: FreeBSD 12.3, EasyOS 3.1.13, and WordPress 5.9 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  8. [Meme] EU Assurances

    The EPO‘s staff cannot be blamed for losing patience as elected public representatives completely fail to do their job (with few exceptions)



  9. Clare Daly (GUE/NGL) Does What Every Public Official in Europe Should Have Done About EPO Shenanigans

    There’s another (new) push to hold the EPO accountable, seeing that the overseers clearly do not do their job and instead cover up the abuses



  10. Links 7/12/2021: Firefox 96 Beta and Fedora 37 Abandons ARMv7

    Links for the day



  11. Links 7/12/2021: Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 and Tails 4.25

    Links for the day



  12. All IRC Logs Now Available as GemText Over Gemini Protocol

    Today we've completed the transition from plain text over gemini:// to GemText over gemini:// for IRC logs



  13. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, December 06, 2021



  14. [Meme] Rowing to the Bottom of the Ocean

    The EPO‘s Steve Rowan (VP1) is failing EPO staff and sort of “firing” workers during times of crisis (not at all a crisis to the EPO’s coffers)



  15. EPO Gradually Reduced to 'Fee Collection Agency' Which Eliminates Its Very Own Staff

    Mr. Redundancies and Mr. Cloud are outsourcing EPO jobs to Microsoft and Serco as if the EPO is an American corporation, providing no comfort to long-serving EPO staff



  16. Linux Foundation 2021 Annual Report Made on an Apple Mac Using Proprietary Software

    Yes, you’re reading this correctly. They still reject both “Linux” and “Open Source” (no dogfooding). This annual report is badly compressed; each page of the PDF is, on average, almost a megabyte in size (58.8 MB for a report of this scale is unreasonable and discriminates against people in countries with slow Internet connections); notice how they’re milking the brand in the first page (straight after the cover page, the 1991 ‘creation myth’, ignoring GNU); remember that this foundation is named after a trademark which is not even its own!



  17. Links 7/12/2021: OpenIndiana Hipster 2021.10 and AppStream 0.15

    Links for the day



  18. Microsoft “Defender” Pretender Attacks Random Software That Uses NSIS for installation; “Super Duper Secure Mode” for Edge is a Laugh

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  19. Links 6/12/2021: LibreOffice Maintenance Releases, Firefox 95 Finalised

    Links for the day



  20. “Wintel” “Secure” uEFI Firmware Used to Store Persistent Malware, and Security Theater Boot is Worthless

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  21. No Linux Foundation IRS Disclosures Since 2018

    The publicly-available records or IRS information about the Linux Foundation is suspiciously behind; compared to other organisations with a "tax-exempt" status the Linux Foundation is one year behind already



  22. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?



  23. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him



  24. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)



  25. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021



  27. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://



  28. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day



  29. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  30. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large


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