Summary: The Business Software Alliance (BSA) actually started fighting against open standards quite a while back; we look at more software patents news
THOSE who have followed Techrights for a while may already know, based on this Wiki page at least, that the BSA’s attacks on open standards in Europe are nothing new. We are surprised to see so many people around the Web referring to this new sort of leak (mentioned already in [1, 2, 3, 4]) as a real revelation given what we documented a couple of years ago. Robert Pogson chimes in:
The BSA is at it again. Now they are trying to make sure they can patent standards and still call them “open”. What part of “open” don’t they understand? They want standards containing patents to be recommended by the EU Commission in the Interoperability Framework.
Here is a letter they wrote advocating watering-down a proposal for the EIF. Here is the analysis by the FSFE. How is a standard “open” if someone has a monopoly on it? Isn’t the definition of patent a monopoly?
Patents on software or even modern technology (programmable/electronic) just makes no sense.
The BSA is a front group of those who pay its wages (think of RIAA/MPAA). It’s not surprising that it is pushing Microsoft’s agenda. But the BSA is a front group not just to Microsoft. Its members are Adobe, Altium, Apple, Autodesk, AVEVA, AVG, Bentley, CA, Cadence, Cisco, CNC Software – Mastercam, Corel, SolidWorks, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Kaspersky, McAfee, Microsoft, Mindjet, Minitab, Progress Software, PTC, Quark, Quest Software, Rockwell Automation, Rosetta Stone, Siemens, Stone Bond Technologies, Sybase, Symantec, Synopsys, and The MathWorks. Oracle and SAP are probably quite conspicuously missing because of the way they spread their software, but anyway, as this older article indicates, Oracle now contributes to patent FUD with or without the BSA. Lawyers are having a field day because of Oracle’s actions [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]:
Making use of codes or software that are ratified by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) such as the GNU General Public License (GPL) will ensure peace of mind for developers and help prevent lawsuits from patent holders, industry watchers say.
Charles Lemaire, a veteran software patent attorney at Lemaire Patent Law Firm, said big IT vendors, particularly those that have obtained open source patent portfolios through acquisitions, are unlikely to initiate legal action against developers that have either made use of free software in the past or continue to develop software based on past open source codes.
Patent lawyers are like a horde of termites around good software. Here is another good new article which can serve as a reminder:
Palmer Patent Consultants perhaps needed a trademark consultant in connection with its attempt to register the mark INVENT! INVENT! INVENT! PATENT IT! for “intellectual property consultation” [PATENT disclaimed]. The Board affirmed a Section 2(d) refusal, finding the mark likely to cause confusion with the registered mark PATENT IT! for “legal services.” In re Palmer Patent Consultants, LLC, Serial No. 76673151 (October 7, 2010).
Any entity which is a patent maximalist is a threat to software freedom and to civil liberties. Techrights has always made patents the #1 issue, so the BSA is a subject we’ll explore a lot. █