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

04.06.11

FFII President Denounces Google’s Bid for Patents

Posted in Google, Patents at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benjamin Henrion and Andre of FFII

Summary: Elements of the FFII, notably Benjamin Henrion (left), encourage Google to use its financial power to abolish — not acquire — software patents

THOSE who want to get rid of software patents need not compromise at the level of accepting them as an interim solution just as activists against nuclear weapons must not encourage more nations to acquire or develop nuclear weapons as a “deterrent”. The whole argument around deterrence is a weak one, it’s propaganda. The opinions of the president of the FFII are quite similar to ours, unlike others in the FFII who adopt a more “diplomatic” (arguably cowardly) approach. This division within the FFII is a subject we alluded to before and it is not of much relevance to this post (see Andre’s opening remarks in the video below for a better idea).

“There is not so much consent around the attitude of the OSI, the Linux Foundation, and OIN.”In any event and at any rate, there seems to be growing popularity and intensity for the argument that we must get rid of all software patents. There is not so much consent around the attitude of the OSI, the Linux Foundation, and OIN. The president of the FFII points to this older post and notes that EPO Judges argued “[c]omputer-implemented inventions and their protection in the US and under the EPC was the next agenda point” (why do they discuss it in the first place?). He also links to this post and notes this patent: “Downloader: A computer that retrieves web pages and embedded objects from the internet. 6,864,904 ”

Suffice to say, the cited item is a lawyers’ blog, so it has nothing to do with technology. These people who are not engineers. They are in fact patent lawyers who sue for a living and extort using pieces of paper (patent watchtroll in this case), so they worship patents as a whole and also defend patent number 6,411,947. They insult those who actually write code and understand the subject matter (pun not intended). My critics too should know that I wrote about 3,000 lines of code last month.

The president of the FFII then addresses the Google situation, notably the Nortel bid, by saying:

it’d be better if Google were pouring that $900 million into lobbying to get rid of software patents altogether http://ur1.ca/3s2px

Wishful thinking? No patents would be Utopian to Google, but this would not be beneficial to just Google (it’s like promoting the brand “Linux”), so how can this be justified to shareholders? Moreover, Google’s lawyers wish to justify their existence within the company. “Google not really against software patents,” concludes the president of the FFII who links to other critics of intellectual monopolies. This strategy which Google adopts does not help against trolls, but some would play along with Google and call it “patent armoury”. It’s not. Patents are like nuclear weapons; they are used for litigation, not so much for negotiation. We are better off without any of them. Just watch Sun’s “defensive” patents and what Oracle did to Android with them. ZFS, which is now owned by Oracle, is a famous victim of patents and we wrote about this for years. Patents change hands and with this change of “ownership” comes change in patent strategy, too.

IDG says that “Google gets serious about software patents” and here are some more details in niche sites:

Nortel will pay Google $25 million in break up fees, and a further $4 million to cover expenses if another party wins the auction, Bloomberg reports. Bids will go up in increments of at least $5 million, and bidding has been pegged to hit a minimum of $1 billion.

The numbers/sum most-widely quotes is $900 million for 6,000 patents.

From Mercury News:

Today: Texas Instruments intends to buy NatSemi for $6.5 billion. Plus: Watch out for email “phishing” schemes. And: Google (GOOG), Pandora, Silicon Valley tech stocks.

$6.5 billion NatSemi deal

Texas Instruments intends to buy Santa Clara chip giant National Semiconductor in a cash deal worth $25 a share, or $6.5 billion, the two companies announced this afternoon.

[...]

Google would be the “stalking horse” bid, but other companies also could make offers for the patents. Google is trying to buy the patents even as it argues for changes to the system, arguing that some software patents are stifling innovation rather than encouraging it.

Well, software patents are indeed stifling innovation rather than encouraging it. So what example is Google setting by its actions?

Here is a new article which suggests that universities should forget about patents:

Open source software licenses already offer university software creators an alternative to the university’s patent+license commercialization model. Open source hardware licenses are next. University intellectual property strategies will need to learn to peaceably learn to co-exist with open sourced hardware licenses. A centralized, enforcement-flavored intellectual property strategy is not going to work. Nor will university policies that blindly favor hardware patents at the expense of alternative methods of sharing design information.

Here is a new press release from some company which thinks it’s acceptable to get a thought monopoly on a product:

Tentatively called The Trade Marketplace, this patent-pending software was recently revealed in beta form to a group of Cleveland-area job shop owners, who said they would welcome a convenient, time-efficient means to quote new business, especially one that spotlights their core competencies, reduces the expense of processing an RFQ or an RFP and increases the opportunity to win new business.

It is not about winning new business but about obstructing rivals, as this new story about Mosaid Technologies helps remind us. Companies which do not abolish software patents and part of the problem; conformism is not an excuse. Aim high, achieve much. Aim low, achieve nothing.

24C3: NO OOXML – A 12 euros campaign

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

14 Comments

  1. markolopa said,

    April 6, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Gravatar

    Hello,

    I am from the FFII and your comments about a division within it sounds strange and puzzling to me. If there is an issue you want to discuss I suggest you to formulate it more clearly and openly. The way you did, it gives room to bad interpretations.

    Thanks for the very informative blog!
    Marko

    twitter Reply:

    FFII’s position on software patents is an unambiguous condemnation. I don’t see what Andre says to contradict this in the first nine minutes, other than say that he had an initial hesitation to oppose Microsoft and ooxml before he researched the subject. Perhaps I’m looking at the wrong video?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    On the issue of patents, the FFII is single file. And that’s what matters the most.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Hi markolopa,

    The example I gave in the video is one which I merely see for the second time; back in 2008 and now again I find that Andre and Ben disagree/d about the No<OOXML campaign. In addition, there are constrictions found in the @xoobab account (president) and @ffii account (e.g. one agrees with me and retweets, the other says it’s incorrect). That again is misalignment between Ben and Andre. Then there are older examples like http://techrights.org/2009/08/31/hijacked-by-large-corps/

    No organisation — unless it is tyrannical — has one uniform view. IOW, this is fine.

  2. a.rebentisch said,

    April 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Gravatar

    Beating the bush to catch the snake – as the Chinese say. You’re guessing.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Can you provide some examples? The reason I brought this up is, the other week I quoted Ben, published a post, he then liked it too (it would seem so because he linked), but you replied by saying that it was not correct. So I just don’t know anymore who speaks for FFII. I didn’t mean to misrepresent anyone. I could use some clarifications to avoid upsetting individual members.

    verofakto Reply:

    I could use some clarifications to avoid upsetting individual members.

    The same old story, except that this time you aimed the gun at yourself. Here’s a hint: If you want to avoid upsetting people, don’t insult them. That usually works.

    a.rebentisch Reply:

    By explaining which statements are wrong I would reveal internal information, e.g. about the twitter process.

    In terms of who speaks for what the generally accepted approach is to attribute things as they are. When I write in my private blog (or file a document access request) I do that on my own behalf. When an association where I am a board member adds spin and references to it via twitter is fine for me but it is just a referrer. If I want to make it a request of the org there would be a press release of the respective org.

    Concerning Google I see no reason to smear the company. In fact Benjamin does not do that:
    http://twitter.com/zoobab/statuses/55273151675908096
    He highlights that regulatory action is usually much cheaper than suffering the consequences. Tactically Google may take the appropriate decision:
    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/patents-and-innovation.html

    Example for Dr. Schestowitz: Immediately an obese man has to be sent to hospital, his doctor finds. His complete blood count shows. A colleague of the doctor regrets “Malnutrition is a challenge of our society. Sports and carrots would be cheaper than hopitalization of obese persons”.

    twitter Reply:

    People have to guess where information is scarce. Thank you for clarifying your position or lack of one and how that relates to FFII.

    I hope that after some reflection, you will realize that Benjamin is correct and that no smear was intended. From your OOXML talk, you and Roy have a lot in common but you admit giving too much credit to big companies. It is disappointing, though not surprising, to see that you consider it a smear disagree with Google’s decision to spend $900,000,000 on patents. This would only be a good tactical move if they are bidding to drive troll costs up rather than to purchase something that should be worthless. Even this is a long term defeat because it legitimizes software patents. As Microsoft partners who pay patent royalties for Android and GNU/Linux have already learned, there is no patent portfolio or royalty payment provides protection against the insane US patent system and abusers like Microsoft, MPEGLA and other proxies for big publishers and telcos. No matter who they pay or what they do, they find themselves embargoed, threatened and sued. I agree that Google deserves the benefit of the doubt but software patent purchases are a clear loser for Google and everyone else.

    Thank you for your continued and courageous advocacy of software freedom.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    @a.rebentisch: I did not refer to your personal site as a FFII position, just the @ffii account (whose stance I mostly agree with, about 95% of the time).

  3. a.rebentisch said,

    April 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Gravatar

    @twitter I disagree. You read too much from Florian Müller. He also communicates along these lines.

    Example: I do not find it wrong to make a fortune out of speculation against currencies and support regulatory reforms against abuses of the monetary system. It is impossible for me to find “hypocrisy” in that conduct.

    That makes it an intellectual challenge for me to take such arguments seriously.

    Fear mongering makes the spook. No one gets scared to use Android because of desperate attacks from market competitors: http://bit.ly/gIA5hP
    If Google buys out Nortel, its not their misconduct but shows the burden/costs of the current regulatory environment for them.

    @Schestowitz:
    http://techrights.org/2011/04/02/transparency-triumph/

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    @twitter I disagree. You read too much from Florian Müller. He also communicates along these lines.

    There is the spin which gets accentuated, but the claim is hinged on real hypocrisy.

    twitter Reply:

    I don’t think Google’s purchase of Nortel’s patents is misconduct so much as it is a waste of money. Microsoft proxies will attack no matter how large Google grows their patent portfolio beyond the 500 or so they have. The money is better spent eliminating the problem at the roots. No one should be burdened with business method and software patents.

  4. a.rebentisch said,

    April 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Gravatar

    @twitter I disagree. You read too much from Florian Müller. He also communicates along these lines.

    Example: I do not find it wrong to make a fortune with speculation against currencies and support regulatory reforms against abuses of the monetary system. It is impossible for me to find “hypocrisy” in that conduct.

    That makes it an intellectual challenge for me to take such arguments seriously.

    Fear mongering makes the spook. No one gets scared to use Android because of desperate attacks from market competitors. If Google buys out Nortel, its not Google’s misconduct but shows the burdens/costs of the current regulatory environment for them.

    @Schestowitz:here

What Else is New


  1. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  2. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  3. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  4. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  5. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  6. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  7. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  8. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  9. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  10. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  11. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  12. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  13. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  14. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  15. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  16. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  17. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  18. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  19. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  20. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  21. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  22. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  23. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  24. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  25. BlackBerry -- Like Microsoft Nokia -- Could be the Next Patent Proxy Troll

    BlackBerry is restructuring for patent assertion (i.e. trolling) in the wake of some alliances with Microsoft



  26. After Microsoft's Soft Bribe Some Non-Technical Deputy Does Not Like Free Software, Microsoft-Linked Media Responds to This Non-News by Making Bogus Claims of Munich Leaving GNU/Linux (Updated)

    The subversive forces that have secretly been attacking Munich over its migration to GNU/Linux (Microsoft press, Gartner, and even HP) are back to doing it while China and Russia follow Munich's lead



  27. Gates Foundation CFO Quits and Debate About Revolving Doors Recalled Amid Systematic and Shrewd Bribery of Public Officials

    More officials step out of the Gates Foundation and their destination is not known yet; Gates continues to corrupt the public sector with his money so as to increase personal gain at taxpayers' expense



  28. Links 19/8/2014: GNU/Linux Raves and Alternative to Proprietary Voice Chat

    Links for the day



  29. Links 18/8/2014: Linux 3.17 RC1, Escalation in Ferguson

    Links for the day



  30. Gartner Group Advocates Using Defective Software With Back Doors

    Despite strong evidence that Microsoft has been complicit in illegal surveillance, Gartner continues to recommend the use of Windows and other espionage-ready Microsoft software


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