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

10.18.10

Microsoft’s and Apple’s #1 Weapon Against Software Freedom (Including Linux) is Software Patent Monopolies

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Freedom

Summary: A concise look at what Apple and Microsoft have been doing with software patents recently

RATHER than name companies we could name behaviours or policies that impede GNU/Linux adoption. But companies which attack Linux using software patents are almost exclusively Microsoft, Apple, and Microsoft-tied entities such as Acacia.

SCO too is funded by Microsoft, but its empty allegations were copyright based and they go a long way back. It’s all nonsense and obviously anti-competitive. “Rethinking Intellectual Property” is a recommended upcoming course from Stephan Kinsella. He does make the distinction between patents and copyrights. He also explains why both laws require change. They are tools of abuse.

Here is a new piece titled “Microsoft Keen On Protecting Its Intellectual Property” and some European propaganda about Microsoft “innovation” (often a prelude to patent lobbying). It ought to be clear by now that “Microsoft Is Playing Hardball with Motorola” over Linux as part of its attack on Android. From the beginning of the month we have:

Microsoft Marshals Dealmakers, Lawyers to Take On Android

[...]

On Monday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said he looks forward to collecting revenue from Android handset makers, including HTC, which has a licensing agreement with Microsoft.

It’s not just Microsoft that’s doing this. Apple too is using these disgusting tactics (patent lawsuits against Linux) and Motorola is now pushing to invalidate Apple patents. From Engadget:

The smartphone intellectual property wars are seriously heating up, as Motorola sided with HTC this week in an effort to cover its own rear. Remember those twenty patents Apple aimed at the Taiwanese OEM? Motorola says they’re no good, and is trying to get them thrown out of court — an important tactic, because if the patents do hold water and are successfully used against HTC, Apple might turn around and sue Motorola with them too. That’s because there’s more at stake here than OEM phones, but Android as a whole, and as such other manufacturers that implement Android might potentially be targets as well.

Remember some of Apple’s outrageous software patents, including the very recent so-called ‘anti-sexting’ patent (text filtering) [1, 2]. “Do you really want to teach kids not to be creative with language,” asked Pamela Jones in Groklaw. “Now they can’t type LOL, unless someone in authority puts it in a dictionary? Think there might be a creative lag? I understand the purpose, but have they thought through all the implications and perhaps unintended consequences?”

“Now they [Apple customers] can’t type LOL, unless someone in authority puts it in a dictionary?”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Apple and Microsoft are both patenting limitations, i.e. they want a monopoly on attacking people’s freedoms and basic rights. “Game console ‘rejects’ under-age players” says this new article about Microsoft and there are some other weird ideas thrown around at Microsoft, often to be patented sooner or later.

The good news is that Apple and Microsoft may gradually learn their lesson (Apple in Texas and Microsoft in Canada because of i4i for example). TechDirt asks, “Will The Supreme Court Review Patent Invalidation Standard In Microsoft vs. i4i Case?”

“Patent suit targets Apple, Microsoft, others over digital distribution” says this article from Apple Insider, so there is still some smacking going on. There is hope that patent trolling will increase so much that Apple and Microsoft too will decide to just abolish software patents [1, 2, 3, 4]. Check out the article “One Cheer for Patent Trolls”:

As the Stanford paper suggests, in the vast majority of cases the authors studied the asserted patents were in fact junk, at least as determined at trial (judge and jury may have their own biases, of course). The inventors shouldn’t have gotten anything for them, either from the defendants or from the patent troll, because the patent never should have been granted in the first place. Again, the trolls may know better than the study suggests the real value of their holdings, and may be betting that the transaction costs of litigation will encourage defendants to settle anyway.

That bet is a game of chicken, for if the defendant chooses to litigate then both sides must absorb heavy litigation costs no matter who wins—the troll bets that the defendant will simply pay them to go away.

Patent trolls may make most of their money, in other words, from arbitraging the inefficiencies and failings of the current patent system.

“But stupid patents in the first place is the issue, is it not,” Pamela Jones asked rhetorically in Groklaw. “He’s writing about a study that found that only 10% of such patents are found valid at trial. So since only 10% of these patents that trolls use end up valid, and 90% of them are not, what’s the real loss in this picture if no one will buy up these predominantly invalid patents?”

Dave Methvin writes about “Microsoft’s Two Minds on Patents” and in an alleged “Exclusive” article/report, Tom’s Hardware says that “Microsoft Patents The Search Engine”:

Microsoft has received a patent that covers a search engine platform that is based on a “bag-of-words” and “essential pages” ranking system to make searches more efficient.

Well, it does not guarantee that this will stand in court. “Microsoft seeks a patent for its Helios distributed operating system” according to another report and “Microsoft Attempts To Patent The Optimus Keyboard” claims this new report among several which led to a lot of debate because there is prior art and it’s trivial [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Are patents all that’s left in Microsoft’s vision?

Fortunately, software patents become increasingly controversial and Patently-O indicates that in the United States too these patents are on rocky grounds:

In Ex parte Venkata, App. No. 2009–007302 (BPAI, October 5, 2010), the Board held that “the claim’s body recites nothing more than software [and therefore] lacks statutory subject matter.”

Software patents are probably the #1 enemy of software freedom. Let’s end them once and for all. Companies that use Free software (IBM, Google, Red Hat, etc.) will take care of the rest because unlike Apple and Microsoft, they do not use software patents offensively. Of course it would be helpful if IBM and Google joined Red Hat’s motions against software patents, too.

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 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

    Links for the day



  2. Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

    Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)



  3. Korean Press Slams Microsoft Over Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android as New Abuses Resurface

    Harsh words from the national press of South Korea as Nokia's role in Microsoft's anti-Linux tactics becomes more apparent



  4. More Good News About Patents and Their Demise in the United States

    A roundup of news about software patents and patent trolls in the land where these thrive



  5. Links 31/8/2014: Linux 3.12.27, Akademy 2014

    Links for the day



  6. Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

    Links for the day



  7. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  8. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  9. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  10. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  11. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  12. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  13. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  14. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  15. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  16. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  18. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  19. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  20. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  21. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  22. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  23. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  24. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  25. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  26. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  27. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  28. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  29. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  30. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/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