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

02.05.11

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

2 Comments

  1. NotZed said,

    February 5, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Gravatar

    “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. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  2. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  3. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  4. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  5. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  6. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  7. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  8. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  9. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  10. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  11. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  12. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  13. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  14. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  15. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  16. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  17. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  18. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  19. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  20. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  21. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  22. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  23. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  24. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  25. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  27. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  28. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  29. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  30. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    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