12.20.10

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Red Hat and Oracle Respond to EIFv2, Microsoft Seemingly Plans More Patent Aggression

Posted in Courtroom, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents, RAND, Red Hat at 2:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

French lake

Summary: The European Interoperability Framework does not go far enough to serve as a bridge between free/libre applications and this helps Microsoft

THE question about software patents can determine winners and losers. It’s a battle which takes place in the courts rather than the markets and it’s not over yet. The most recent Red Hat USPTO/SCOTUS news helped show the company’s great interest in the outcome and here is further news coverage of that:

A group of US companies including Red Hat, Yahoo, eBay, Electronic Arts, General Motors and HP, have joined together to challenge a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which threatens to seriously exacerbate problems in the already highly controversial software patent system within the United States.

The group has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking correction of the standard for inducing patent infringement, relating to the case of Global-Tech Appliances, Inc v. SEB S.A. Under the existing ruling, the Court of Appeals held that organisations and individuals can be held liable and prosecuted for infringing patents of which they have no knowledge. It used a standard of “deliberate indifference,” which it then equated to negligence.

[...]

The Supreme Court challenge is likely to be scheduled for sometime this spring.

Red Hat employees have commented on EIFv2 (we’ve asked them for feedback and received some) and Red Hat’s Mark Bohannon also put his output in Red Hat’s official Web site. Yesterday we showed that he put it in another site (Spanish translation), unless Red Hat put it there for him.

Richard Adhikari writes about the subject for ECT and gathers comments from various stakeholders:

The European Union has announced public procurement rules for technology that appear to favor open source.

The European Interoperability Framework sets out interoperability standards to create a trusted information exchange between public administrations of member countries.

The EIF encourages open specifications for the framework.

Members of the Business Software Alliance, which offer proprietary software, are apparently contesting this provision.

The announcement of the EIF is the another step in a years-long process.

“The EU’s work in this area has been going on since at least 2000, when OpenOffice.org was named as the preferred word processor for Denmark’s government,” Bill Roth, executive vice president at LogLogic, told LinuxInsider.

The European Parliament’s press office did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

In “Trond’s Opening Standard” (Oracle blog, not Oracle’s statement though) it is asked whether EIFv2 is “a new beginning” and the opening goes like this:

The most controversial document in the history of the European Commission’s IT policy is out. EIF is here, wrapped in the Communication “Towards interoperability for European public services”, and including the new feature European Interoperability Strategy (EIS), arguably a higher strategic take on the same topic.

Leaving EIS aside for a moment, the EIF controversy has been around IPR, defining open standards and about the proper terminology around standardization deliverables. Today, as the document finally emerges, what is the verdict?

Let us remember that Oracle uses patents offensively, notably in the Oracle vs. Google case that Groklaw continues to cover.

Groklaw quotes a page which is no longer accessible at the old address but can still be found here. Citing this letter [PDF] it says that “[p]atents do not give protection to inventive small businesses because they are impossible to enforce” (not news).

“A false assumption is made that an SME holding a patent will have ‘protection’ for their related investment in R&D and any resultant innovation,” the letter says.

This whole debate matters because the law is increasingly discriminatory in the sense that it discourages the small person with the small business. As Microsoft fails to make new products stick, it is turning further into the realms of patent trolling as white-collar racketeering company [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. A new blog post titled “Microsoft patent chief: 2010 was a significant year of invention” led Groklaw to saying: “Uh oh. Writers call that foreshadowing. From the blog: “Patents will continue to play a key role in fostering technologies that enable interaction with people in new, unexpected ways. Our commitment to world-class creativity and invention in computer science and our R&D investment will enable Microsoft to continue setting the standard for patent quality in the technology industry.” That means they want you to pay them.”

To quote directly from the blog post:

…Microsoft Chief Patent Officer Bart Eppenauer notes in a blog post that 2010 will “go down in history as a significant year for creativity and invention at Microsoft.”

When they say “invention” they means patents, which EIFv2 allows them to embed inside formats and protocols (e.g. OOXML and FAT, respectively), in order to marginalise software freedom and competition from the likes of Red Hat.

Related posts:

  1. European Open Source Software Workgroup a Total Scam: Hijacked and Subverted by Microsoft et al
  2. Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, Twitter, Waggener Edstrom, and Jonathan Zuck
  3. Does the European Commission Harbour a Destruction of Free/Open Source Software Workgroup?
  4. The Illusion of Transparency at the European Parliament/Commission (on Microsoft)
  5. 2 Months and No Disclosure from the European Parliament
  6. After 3 Months, Europe Lets Microsoft-Influenced EU Panel be Seen
  7. Formal Complaint Against European Commission for Harbouring Microsoft Lobbyists
  8. ‘European’ Software Strategy Published, Written by Lobbyists and Multinationals
  9. Microsoft Uses Inside Influence to Grab Control, Redefine “Open Source”
  10. With Friends Like These, Who Needs Microsoft?
  11. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  12. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  13. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft
  14. Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF
  15. IBM and Open Forum Europe Address European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Fiasco
  16. EIF Scrutinised, ODF Evolves, and Microsoft’s OOXML “Lies” Lead to Backlash from Danish Standards Committee
  17. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up
  18. More Complaints About EIFv2 Abuse and Free Software FUD from General Electric (GE)
  19. Patents Roundup: Copyrighted SQL Queries, Microsoft Alliance with Company That Attacks F/OSS with Software Patents, Peer-to-Patent in Australia
  20. Microsoft Under Fire: Open Source Software Thematic Group Complains About EIFv2 Subversion, NHS Software Supplier Under Criminal Investigation
  21. British MEP Responds to Microsoft Lobby Against EIFv2; Microsoft’s Visible Technologies Infiltrates/Derails Forums Too
  22. Patents Roundup: Escalations in Europe, SAP Pretense, CCIA Goes Wrong, and IETF Opens Up
  23. Patents Roundup: Several Defeats for Bad Types of Patents, Apple Risks Embargo, and Microsoft Lobbies Europe Intensely
  24. Europeans Asked to Stop Microsoft’s Subversion of EIFv2 (European Interoperability Framework Version 2)
  25. Former Member of European Parliament Describes Microsoft “Coup in Process” in the European Commission
  26. Microsoft’s Battle to Consume — Not Obliterate — Open Source
  27. Patents Roundup: David Hammerstein on Microsoft Lobbying in Europe; Harrison Targets Lobbying on Software Patents in New Zealand, Justice Stevens Leaves SCOTUS
  28. Oracle Doesn’t “Go Bananas Over EIF 2.0” Being Subverted by Microsoft and Friends
  29. Inaction From Ombudsman/EU Commission Regarding Microsoft Lobbyists Derailing Public Policy
  30. The Difference Between Florian Müller and Hugo Lueders (Pro-Microsoft Lobbyists)
  31. BSA, ACT, and Other Microsoft Front Groups Still Try to Shoot Down EIF in Europe While Promoting Software Patents
  32. Free Software Proponents Expose the Microsoft-Funded (F)RAND Lobbyists and Their Lies, Microsoft to Lobby Directly in SOSOCON 2010
  33. Battling the BSA Hydra – Interpretation and Spanish Translation
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