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


Google is Starting to Fight Against Software Patents

Posted in Google, Patents, Red Hat at 12:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sergey Brin

Photo by Joi Ito

Summary: With engineers back at the helm’s top positions, Google steps further away from software patents and joins Red Hat’s opposition to them

BACK when Google started defending Android from SCOracle, it did throw some hints that it would oppose software patents. Groklaw covered it thoroughly at the time. Google has been suffering from patent lawsuits more than Microsoft has and Android has been the subject of litigation from Microsoft and its allies (like Traul Allen or Nathan Myhrvold).

Microsoft is now using the i4i case to address a particular problem with the patent system. Dr. Glyn Moody explains that it is “significant how much support Microsoft has here” and Rob Tiller from Red Hat describes the case as a “possible game changer for invalidating bad software patents”:

A case now before the Supreme Court could lower the threat level created by bad patents in a meaningful way. The issue before the Court is whether to change the burden of proof on patent invalidity from clear-and-convincing evidence to the preponderance standard. This change would be good for free and open source software.

Today Red Hat joined in an amicus brief in support of this change in Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Limited Partnership. [PDF] On the amicus brief, Red Hat is part of a diverse group that includes Google, Verizon, Consumber Electronics Association, Comcast, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, HTC, Intuit, L-3 Communications, LinkedIn, Lockheed Martin, Mastercard, The New York Times, Rackspace, Shutterfly, Software & Information Industry Association, Time Warner, Wal-Mart, and Zynga.

“[T]ho’ no good SWpat [software patents] exist,” Carlo Piana wrote to emphasise that Tiller’s notion of “bad software patents” is too much like the OIN’s (all software patents should be seen as bad), later adding: “I get Rob’s argument, hope RH succedes. However, the cure is not removing “bad” swpats [software patents], it’s removing swpats altogether”

Piana is right and here is Red Hat’s press release on this matter. Google has produced no such statement, but its position does serve to show a strategic change. It’s very important.

What we found a lot more interesting, however, is the involvement of Google, which this one writer lumped in (along with Red Hat’s, expectedly);

Red Hat, Google, Dell, and several other companies have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging “poor quality” software patents, Red Hat said on Thursday.

The brief, filed in the case of Microsoft v. i4i Limited Partnership, contends the burden of proof applied to invalidate patents impedes innovation and should be changed. The case concerns whether a party attempting to show that a patent should never have been granted must establish invalidity by clear-and-convincing evidence. Amicus parties argue this standard favors holders of bad patents and should be replaced by the standard of preponderance of evidence.

This can also be found here. Might the Google that's run by Page finally decide to adopt a Red Hat-like attitude towards software patents? Let’s hope so. Red Hat is not merely joining this battle as this one article headline claims, so the news is about Google, which seemed not to have a problem with software patents until some time last year. Matthew Lasar has more to say on the subject (regarding the involvement of advocacy groups) and the EFF’s contribution is noted here:

Current Standards to Invalidate Patents Impede Software Innovators

San Francisco, CA – infoZine – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), joined by Public Knowledge and the Apache Software Foundation, urged the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday to make it easier to invalidate bad patents — a decision that would benefit software innovators both large and small.

Microsoft blogger Julie Bort creates a headline which makes Microsoft seem loved by its opponents which it extorts and threatens (and who also disagree on software patents). It is somewhat of a theme in IDG and Rui Seabra responds to the Bort piece by writing:

Microsoft has been selling Word without permission since Jan 11 2010 in i4i swpats [software patents] dispute

Indeed. That’s how bad software patents tend to be. In this case, the target being Microsoft makes it easier to endorse, but another day the target can be a product like Android or RHEL. Speaking of which, Red Hat’s Fontana says: “It’d be kind of funny if the Apache Foundation moved to a Native American reservation to avoid patent risk”. The reference is a news item of considerable interest. Yes, based on this item, TechDirt claims that “Native American Nation [Is] Shielded From Patent Infringement Claims”. To quote:

Joe Mullin points us to the news of how the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma succeeded in having a patent infringement case against the tribe dismissed, due to the sovereign immunity of the Native American nation. The ruling (embedded below) is pretty straightforward. Basically, it notes that sovereign immunity is well established for Native American nations and that there’s nothing that appears to remove that immunity in this case.

The whole world and especially the United States would be better off without patents. Greed does not breed innovation, freedom does.

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


  1. NotZed said,

    February 5, 2011 at 1:45 am


    “Greed does not breed innovation, freedom does.”

    I think as with ‘open’, ‘innovation’ is a word which has been abused to mean something quite the opposite of what it should be. When lobbyists or politicians say ‘innovation’ they really mean ‘more for me’.

    More innovation means more competition and less fat profits, which is precisely what `they’ do not want.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Shouldn’t innovation just be judged by more efficiency or greater value to society (e.g. MR scanners, Google search, sewing machines)?

What Else is New

  1. Budget and Finance Committee of the Administrative Council (EPO) Confirms Exile of the Boards of Appeal

    Crushing of highly-skilled staff, propaganda in the form of new press releases, and recruitment attempts that won't succeed because the world now knows what goes on inside the European Patent Office

  2. Links 26/10/2016: “softWaves” in Debian 9, Rust in GNOME

    Links for the day

  3. Leaked: EPO's Vice-President Willie Minnoye Saying the Unsayable, Then Threatening Anyone Who Keeps Record (Evidence) of It

    E-mail that would leave Vice-President Willie Minnoye bashful, as it helps show not only bad policy but also attempts at suppression of discussion about it

  4. Puff Pieces of the EPO-IPO (EPO+EUIPO) Have Begun to Appear Amid New Evidence of Brain Drain, Lowered Standards

    The grim vision of the EPO which is losing all its talent (over time), becomes more like a production line (quality does not matter), and produces propaganda for "media positioning" (or "placements") -- all under the guise of 'studies'

  5. Leaked: Minutes From the Administrative Council of the EPO Regarding the 'Reform' (Exile) of the Boards of Appeal

    Details of the relatively secret proceedings back in June (belatedly released only a short while ago), carefully abbreviated to demonstrate which delegations helped Battistelli crush the Boards of Appeal and which ones insisted on maintaining the status quo, as per the EPC

  6. No Promising Future For the EPO Under Battistelli (If Any Future At All)

    Pessimism becomes realism at the European Patent Office as units are being torn apart, patent quality discarded, "unified" patent courts dreamed of (more patent lawsuits, higher damages), and EUIPO (EU-associated, unlike Eponia) gets closer to the EPO

  7. Leaked Minutes From the EPO Reveal That Battistelli is Detached From Reality and Blames Everything on “Union Officials”

    Minutes of the Administrative Council's meeting reveal some truly bizarre rants from Battistelli, who simply refuses to accept that the European Patent Office is burning (without a future direction, only burnout and brain drain) under his poor and abusive leadership

  8. Tata/TCS is Still Pushing for Software Patents in India

    The obnoxious company that is promoting Microsoft and software patents in a country that needs neither makes the headlines again (Financial Express)

  9. Links 25/10/2016: Rackspace's Praise of FOSS, Chain Chooses the GPL(v3)

    Links for the day

  10. Links 24/10/2016: Linux 4.9 RC2

    Links for the day

  11. Battistelli Plans to Expand the Social [sic] 'Study' (Then 'Conference') Propaganda Until Next Month, Under the 'Workshop' Umbrella

    Milking his shameless propaganda (paid-for 'studies'), Battistelli wants to rewrite the record by all means possible, then pretend that EPO staff participates in it

  12. EPO and EUIPO Join Hands to Release Propaganda (for European Media to Parrot) Some Time Tomorrow

    EPO and EUIPO in collaboration for the promotion of the notion that they are both necessary (and reinforced speculations about growing overlap between them)

  13. UPC Preparatory Committee Puts the Brakes on UPC Amid Brexit and Growing Uncertainty

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) preparatory committee recognises that the UPC isn't going anywhere (any time soon) and false job advertisements -- or advertisements for jobs that will never exist -- are withdrawn

  14. Updates Regarding EPO and BoAC: Unrest and Injustice Carry on

    Some of the latest information which is publicly and privately available to us, in particular regarding the case of a suspended judge which represents unprecedented erosion of the appeal boards' independence (and hence lack of justice in the Organisation)

  15. EPO and the “Iberian Connection”: Patricia García-Escudero Márquez - Battistelli's Pet Chinchilla on the Boards of Appeal Committee?

    Why the Boards of Appeal Committee has begun showing prominent signs that it is anything but independent and capable of standing up to Battistelli (or his circle at the Office, which includes the “Iberian Connection")

  16. Links 23/10/2016: Alcatel's New Android Smartphones, Another Honorary Doctorate for Stallman

    Links for the day

  17. Open Letter Exposing the Farce Which Was Battistelli's 'Social Conference' Coinciding With Further (New) Attacks on EPO Staff Representatives

    A detailed letter reveals legitimate concerns expressed by staff representatives at the EPO ahead of the so-called Social Conference, in which we have highlighted severe factual flaws

  18. Translation of Latest Rant From French MP Philip Cordery About Benoît Battistelli's Abuses at the EPO

    Philip Cordery crosses horns with Benoît Battistelli, who has become a source of embarrassment for France with his autocratic tendencies and misguided policies that rapidly ruin the European Patent Office (EPO)

  19. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Leaked Document Shows PwC's Dishonesty and Misrepresentation of EPO Staff

    An in-depth analysis (but not comprehensive, just preliminary) of the so-called 'study' from PwC, which basically did what it was paid for (pay to say)

  20. Links 22/10/2016: Deus Ex for GNU/Linux, Global DDoS (DNS)

    Links for the day

  21. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Survey Comparison Shows Serious Deterioration and Efforts by PwC to Disguise the Truth

    The latest output from PwC turns out to be even worse than initially thought, indicating that not only did it find a degradation in the EPO but also attempted to hide/obscure it

  22. EPO Teaser - The "Iberian Connection" - Some Photos of García-Escudero and His Royal/Government Connections

    A look at the undeniably close connections between Mr. García-Escudero and the most powerful people in Spain

  23. Disruption to Site's Service

    A technical note about why Techrights has not been publishing many articles recently

  24. Links 21/10/2016: MPV 0.21, Mad Max for GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  25. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's High Five

    Another cartoon about the sad state of the EPO

  26. Battistelli Ruins Not Only the EPO But Also the Whole of Europe By Ushering in Software Patents That Patent Trolls Love So Much

    Battistelli's bad leadership at the EPO threatens to bring to Europe all the ills and menaces of the patent system in the United States

  27. EPO Spokesman Lies to IP Watch in Order to Save Face and Save the King (Battistelli)

    Rewriting history (revisionism) regarding Battistelli and what was demanded amidst abusive behaviour from him

  28. Unitary Patent (UPC) is Dead, But 'Managing IP' and Selfish Patent Law Firms Still Try to Resurrect It

    The latest attempts to shore up the Unitary (or Unified) Patent Court and who's behind it other than the usual suspects

  29. Links 20/10/2016: Linux 4.10 Preview, ONF and ON.Labs to Merge

    Links for the day

  30. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC 'Study': The Raw Outcome Shows Distortion of the Facts at the EPO's Notorious 'Social Conference'

    Results of the Staff Survey carried out by PwC, in order to provide some propaganda for Battistelli's expensive Social Conference


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


Recent Posts