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. Inverting Narratives: IAM 'Magazine' Paints Massive Patent Bully Microsoft (Preying on the Weak) as a Defender of the Powerless

    Selective coverage and deliberate misinterpretation of Microsoft's tactics (patent settlement under threat, disguised as "pre-installation of some of the US company’s software products") as seen in IAM almost every week these days



  2. The Sickness of the EPO – Part I: Motivation for New Series of Articles

    An introduction or prelude to a long series of upcoming posts, whose purpose is to show governance by coercion, pressure, retribution and tribalism rather than professional relationship between human beings at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  3. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VII: EPO Hypocrisy on Cancer and Lack of Feedback to and From ECPC

    The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), which calls itself "the largest European cancer patients' umbrella organisation," fails to fulfill its duties, says a source of ours, and the EPO makes things even worse



  4. Links 21/2/2017: KDE Plasma 5.9.2 in Chakra GNU/Linux, pfSense 2.3.3

    Links for the day



  5. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's Wall

    Battistelli's solution to everything at the EPO is exclusion and barriers



  6. The 'New' Microsoft is Still Acting Like a Dangerous Cult in an Effort to Hijack and/or Undermine All Free/Open Source Software

    In an effort to combat any large deployment of non-Microsoft software, the company goes personal and attempts to overthrow even management that is not receptive to Microsoft's agenda



  7. PTAB Petitioned to Help Against Patent Troll InfoGation Corp., Which Goes After Linux/Android OEMs in China

    A new example of software patents against Free software, or trolls against companies that are distributing freedom-respecting software from a country where these patents are not even potent (they don't exist there)



  8. Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

    Links for the day



  9. No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

    Old and familiar tricks -- a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines -- are being peddled by Watchtroll again



  10. Paid-for UPC Proponent, IAM 'Magazine', Debunked on UPC Again

    The impact of the corrupted (by EPO money) media goes further than one might expect and even 'borrows' out-of-date news in order to promote the UPC



  11. Lack of Justice in and Around the EPO Drawing Scrutiny

    The status of the EPO as an entity above the law (in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and so on) is becoming the subject of press reports and staff is leaving in large numbers



  12. Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

    Links for the day



  13. The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

    The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one



  14. Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

    Cherry-picking one's way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation



  15. As the United States Shuts Its Door on Low-Quality Patents the Patent Trolls Move to Asia

    Disintegration of Intellectual Ventures (further shrinkage after losing software patents at CAFC), China's massive patent bubble, and Singapore's implicit invitation/facilitation of patent trolls (bubble economy)



  16. Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

    Links for the day



  17. Bad Advice From Mintz Levin and Bejin Bieneman PLC Would Have People Believe That Software Patents Are Still Worth Pursuing

    The latest examples of misleading articles which, in spite of the avalanche of software patents in the United States, continue to promote these



  18. Patents Are Not Property, They Are a Monopoly, and They Are Not Owned But Temporarily Granted

    Patent maximalism and distortion of concepts associated with patents tackled again, for terminology is being hijacked by those who turned patents into their "milking cows"



  19. SoftBank Group, New Owner of ARM, Could Potentially Become (in Part) a Patent Troll or an Aggressor Like Qualcomm

    SoftBank grabbed headlines (in the West at least) when it bought ARM, but will it soon grab headlines for going after practicing companies using a bunch of patents that it got from Inventergy, ARM, and beyond?



  20. Technicolor, Having Turned Into a Patent Troll, Attacks Android/Tizen/Linux With Patents in Europe

    Technicolor, which a lot of the media portrayed as a patent troll in previous years (especially after it had sued Apple, HTC and Samsung), is now taking action against Samsung in Europe (Paris, Dusseldorf and Mannheim)



  21. Michelle Lee is Still “in Charge” of the US Patent System

    Contrary to a malicious whispering campaign against Lee (a coup attempt, courtesy of patent maximalists who make a living from mass litigation), she is still in charge of the USPTO



  22. Our Assessment: EPO Wants a Lot of Low-Quality Patents and Low-Paid Staff With UPC (Prosecution Galore)

    The European Patent Office seems to be less interested in examination and more interested in facilitating overzealous prosecution all across Europe and beyond; The Administrative Council has shown no signs that it is interested in profound changes, except those proposed by Battistelli in the face of growing resistance from staff and from ordinary stakeholders



  23. Links 16/2/2017: HITMAN for GNU/Linux, Go 1.8

    Links for the day



  24. Yet More Complaints About the European Patent Office in the Bavarian Regional Government

    Some German politicians do care about the welfare of EPO staff, a lot more so than the EPO's management that is actively crushing this staff



  25. EPO Staff Representatives to Escalate Complaint About Severe Injustices to the EPO's Secretive Board 28

    In a new letter to President Benoît Battistelli it is made abundantly apparent -- however politely -- that Battistelli's gross abuses could further complicate things for Battistelli, who is already embroiled in a fight with his predecessor, Roland Grossenbacher



  26. New Survey Reveals That High Patent Quality, or Elimination of Bad Patents, is Desirable to Patent Holders

    A new survey from Bloomberg BNA and AIPLA reveals that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which still grows in prominence, is supported by people who have themselves gotten patents (not those who are in the bureaucracy of patents and self-serving politics)



  27. Open Patent Office is Not the Solution; Ending Software Patents is the Solution

    Our remarks about the goals and methods of the newly-established Open Patent Office and what is instead needed in order to combat the menace that threatens software development



  28. New Scholarly Paper Says “UK’s Withdrawal From the EU Could Mean That the Entire (Unitary Patent) System Will Not Go Into Effect”

    A paper from academics -- not from the patent microcosm (for a change) -- provides a more sobering interpretation, suggesting quite rightly that the UPC can't happen in the UK (or in Europe), or simply not endure if some front groups such as CIPA somehow managed to bamboozle politicians into it (ratification in haste, before the facts are known)



  29. Patent Trolls Update: Rodney Gilstrap Maintains His Support for Trolls, MPEG-LA Goes Hunting in China, and Blackberry Hits Nokia

    A roundup of the latest news about patent trolls and what they are up to in the United States, Europe, and Asia



  30. Guest Post: EPO, an Idyllic Place to Work

    The true face of the EPO as explained by an insider, recalling the history that led to the negative image and toxic work atmosphere


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