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 21/12/2014: China and Linux, GNOME Shell 3.15.3

    Links for the day



  2. The New Age of Games for UNIX/Linux But Not for Windows, Microsoft is Openwashing Windows-Only Games

    The world is moving to GNU- and Linux-powered platforms, so Microsoft withdraws GNU/Linux support from games it buys and starts openwashing its Windows-only games



  3. Microsoft Essentially Sends Malware to Windows and Bricks It

    Microsoft is once again bricking Vista 7, demonstrating lack of reliability or very low quality programming



  4. Microsoft Lays Off Staff, Cheapens Labour as More Companies Are Dumping Microsoft's Lock-in, NSA-Friendly Services, and Windows

    A look at some of Microsoft's latest woes, including an appeal for cheaper labour amid decrease in business



  5. Links 19/12/2014: Robolinux 7.7.1 LXDE, Red Hat Thriving

    Links for the day



  6. Another Microsoft Partner Markets Linux FUD Using Logo, Name, and Lies

    Microsoft's partner Alert Logic is trying to label a feature of Linux a security flaw and even makes marketing buzz for it



  7. Redmonk is Spreading Black Duck's Anti-GPL Talking Points After Payments From Black Duck, Microsoft

    CBS' ZDNet spreads the GNU-hostile narrative which comes from Redmonk, funded by Microsoft and Black Duck, citing Black Duck, which also comes from Microsoft and is a partner of Microsoft



  8. 'Good' Software Patents From EA Show Cases Where DRM is a Patent Infringement

    Where two evils collide the public benefits, or how some software patents discourage the use of DRM



  9. Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

    New article from Richard Stallman



  10. Links 18/12/2014: LinuxQuestions.org Polls, Fedora for POWER

    Links for the day



  11. Links 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  12. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  13. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  14. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  15. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  16. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  17. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  18. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  19. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  20. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  21. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  22. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  23. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  24. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  25. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  26. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring



  27. France Gets Involved in Battistelli's Abuses in the EPO - Part XII (Updated)

    The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions



  28. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

    The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface



  29. Links 11/12/2014: systemd 218, Empire Total War

    Links for the day



  30. Links 10/12/2014: Fedora 21, Ubuntu Core

    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