04.27.11

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Federal Agents Should Prosecute Microsoft for Market Abuses With Patents Following Extortiongate

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Barnes & Noble shows how Microsoft is ‘pulling a SCO’

Barnes and Noble in San Antonio

Summary: Microsoft’s patent attacks on Linux are revealed by Barnes & Noble for everyone to see (good publishing job!) while the FTC considers changing the patent system

MICROSOFT is becoming less of a company and more like a mafia, as our previous post might as well show. Even those employees who “move on” merely serve the same power structures, which are dependent upon patent monopolies. The two Microsoft co-founders, former CEO, and CTO are all in the patents business now. They work from outside Microsoft but still serve Microsoft.

Fortunately, Groklaw has obtained some nuclear evidence that will cause Microsoft a lot of trouble. Maybe it will even help end software patents, which only promote monopoly abuse. As important and timely background, the FTC weighs in on patent reform based on this document [PDF] which Rob Tiller from Red Hat writes about in a Red Hat site. To quote a key part from the FTC, software patents “often cover ‘very abstract conceptual innovations’ that can’t be simply described given our current understanding of the area [...] the symbolic rules and procedures adopted by the field of software engineers.” Here is how Tiller put it:

Last month the Federal Trade Commission issued a report that acknowledged important problems in the U.S. Patent system as it affects software. The government doesn’t do that every day, so that’s good news. The FTC report also suggested some reforms that could mitigate some of those problems.

The report, entitled The Evolving IP Marketplace: Aligning Patent Notice and Remedies with Competition (PDF), is long, but not unapproachable, and parts are almost enjoyable. Some of my favorite parts related to the notice problem that is especially problematic in the area of software patents. If a patent does not give clear notice of what is patented, it creates uncertainty and undermines innovation and competition. The FTC report cited testimony that in the IT sector, patents are often vague, ambiguous, and difficult to interpret.

The report acknowledged that software patents “often cover ‘very abstract conceptual innovations’ that can’t be simply described given our current understanding of the area,” and suggested that English-language claims may not map well to “the symbolic rules and procedures adopted by the field of software engineers.” FTC at 83. The report criticized “functional claiming” in the software context, which involves a patent that claims a function without describing how to achieve the function. The report also recognizes that patent applicants have incentives to be as vague as possible, so that they can later claim the patent covers the broadest area possible. The report doesn’t quite spell this out, but this means that many times it’s difficult or impossible to be certain of what a software patent covers.

Needless to say, unlike Tiller, many patent lawyers keep defending trolls, who are pretty much the same (the trolls own the patents, whereas the lawyers get selected to wage wars for someone else’s patents, much like neo-mercenaries). The patent lawyers would hate to see software patents go away, but sometimes they do, even in the USPTO. From last month:

One Click Patent Reexamination over – with claims amended and other Amazon applications rejected in light of my prior art

The USPTO has recently issued a “”notice of intent to issue a reexamination certificate” for the Amazon.com one-click patent, which was subject to a reexamination request that I filed in light of some prior art that I found. The Amazon.com claims were amended to remove their broad monopoly on “One click shopping”, confining it to situations in which there is a shopping cart involved.

There we have some reason for the FTC to stop such patents. Moreover, regarding the Barnes & Noble lawsuit [1, 2], Groklaw got Barnes & Noble’s answer, affirmative defenses, and counterclaims [PDF], which Pamela Jones et al. converted into HTML. It helps show Microsoft’s Horacio Gutierrez as the main racketeer in a scare-and-extort (shock and awe-like) campaign to make money out of Linux. To quote Jones’ summary:

Microsoft has a scheme, Barnes & Noble asserts, to dominate Android and make it undesirable to device manufacturers and customers by demanding “exorbitant license fees and absurd licensing restrictions” — a license fee that it says is more than Microsoft charges for its entire operating system for mobile devices, Windows 7. Others have, it believes, signed it. Barnes & Noble says the deal with Nokia is in furtherance of this scheme.

The patents asserted are “trivial, not infringed and invalid”, Barnes & Noble says, and merely a vehicle in furtherance of the scheme, as they “are not even close to covering the entire functionality of Barnes & Noble’s NookTM and Nook ColorTM devices, or of the AndroidTM Operating System.”

If ever you wondered what a meeting with Microsoft would be like to discuss such a matter, Barnes & Noble tells you. It’s not a pretty sight. Finally, someone tells us what’s been going on behind closed doors. After reading this, my blood is boiling. I’m going right out to buy a Nook, and I don’t even need an eReader.

There has already been a discussion about this in IRC, so due to lack of time, we just append it below in its raw form. The final point is that there are grounds for the US DOJ or FTC to intervene. Microsoft is abusing patents to extort or eliminate the competition. As “twitter” put it in his recent comment, “Barnes and Noble’s defense against Microsoft is explosive stuff. There’s nothing that reasonable people have not been saying since 2004 but now we have the details of the scam being presented in court. I try to put this in context here and in my Microsoft patent extortion timeline. The EU should stop listening to mobbiest like Florian Mueller who claim that Microsoft’s licensing of software patents is somehow “cooperative” or FRAND. Anti-trust regulators now have clear and convincing evidence of how Microsoft abuses the power they lobby for. Hopefully Congress will act to abolish software patents and the US Department of Justice will prosecute Microsoft for their decade long scam.”

twitter wow, Barnes and Noble has responded to Microsoft in court.  http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20110427052238659 Apr 27 14:43
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Groklaw – Barnes & Noble Charges Microsoft with Misusing Patents to Further an Anticompetive Scheme Against Android .::. Size~: 154.58 KB Apr 27 14:43
twitter Perhaps Microsoft’s nasty little scheme will collapse in court faster than I expected.   Apr 27 14:44
twitter Will the charges finally wake up the US DOJ? Apr 27 14:45
gnufreex US DOJ ok with MSFT destroying foreign companies Apr 27 14:45
gnufreex One Nokia less is good for USA Apr 27 14:46
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[toros/@toros] Tech Drive-in: How to Upgrade to !Ubuntu 11.04 #Natty Narwhal Easily http://goo.gl/8FNT8 Apr 27 14:46
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] Love their Stargate and football stadium: http://minecraft.schneenet.com/ #Minecraft Apr 27 14:46
TechrightsBot-tr Title: How to Upgrade to Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal” Easily | Tech Drive-in .::. Size~: 47.55 KB Apr 27 14:46
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Minecraft | SCHNEENET Internet Solutions .::. Size~: 2.28 KB Apr 27 14:46
gnufreex But I hope EU protects itself. Apr 27 14:46
MinceR it never does Apr 27 14:46
gnufreex And bans Microsoft everything. Apr 27 14:46
MinceR the EU is nothing more than a conduit that makes it easier for megacorps to buy laws in european countries Apr 27 14:47
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[toros/@toros] !OMG !Kubuntu: !Linux Video editor #KdenLive updates with rotoscoping, stop motion, light graffiti effects and more http://goo.gl/iZ0yS Apr 27 14:47
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Linux Video editor KdenLive updates with rotoscoping, stop motion, light graffiti effects and more .::. Size~: 36.69 KB Apr 27 14:48
*sebsebseb (~3seb@unaffiliated/sebsebseb) has joined #techrights Apr 27 14:48
sebsebseb hi Apr 27 14:49
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[joabj/@joabj] AOL’s Patch Adding 8,000 Bloggers (Forbes): http://bit.ly/hz7vLC Apr 27 14:49
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[toros/@toros] #Androinica: Google: 39% of smartphones used in bathroom, 79% for shopping; ads are everywhere http://goo.gl/oqm5R !android Apr 27 14:49
TechrightsBot-tr Title: AOL’s Patch Adding 8,000 Bloggers in ‘Full-On Course Correction’ – Jeff Bercovici – Mixed Media – Forbes .::. Size~: 109.71 KB Apr 27 14:49
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Androinica  » Google: 39% of smartphones used in bathroom, 79% for shopping; ads are everywhere .::. Size~: 47.87 KB Apr 27 14:49
gnufreex MinceR: Politicians here says it will be vote by people if Serbia is going into EU or not. I will probably vote no. Apr 27 14:51
MinceR good luck Apr 27 14:51
MinceR in any case, hungary is a good example of how the EU sticks to its supposed “values” Apr 27 14:51
gnufreex But we can’t get into EU anyways. Apr 27 14:52
gnufreex If Croatia goes first, they will veto Apr 27 14:52
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[toros/@toros] Dustin Kirkland: Introducing ecryptfs-recover-private — Recover your Encrypted Private Directory! http://goo.gl/NSF0c !u Apr 27 14:54
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] Doctor Who, Doctor Shmoo. Let’s talk about something interesting…. Apr 27 14:54
TechrightsBot-tr Title: From the Canyon Edge – :-Dustin Kirkland: Introducing ecryptfs-recover-private — Recover your Encrypted Private Directory! .::. Size~: 55.14 KB Apr 27 14:54
sebsebseb gnufreex: MinceR  ok I just joined here, so missed stuff I guess, but I guess most European counteries want to be in the EU Apr 27 14:56
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] Always amazed that git is around 500x faster than bzr on the same code…. Apr 27 14:56
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[toros/@toros] #Launchpad News: #Gufw in Launchpad (interview with Marcos Costales) http://goo.gl/7Btno Apr 27 14:56
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Launchpad Blog .::. Size~: 9.35 KB Apr 27 14:56
gnufreex sebsebseb: That is they official policy of most european goverments. Apr 27 14:56
MinceR sebsebseb: probably for the money Apr 27 14:56
sebsebseb MinceR: sure, and how people can move around country forf work, when in the EU, and stuff like that Apr 27 14:57
gnufreex sebsebseb: And govt’s are politicians. More seats for them if they get into EU. Apr 27 14:57
gnufreex EU parlament has 450 seats or so. Apr 27 14:57
sebsebseb probably more advantages really gained from being in the EU, for a European country, than therea re for not being in Apr 27 14:57
gnufreex So every politicaian wants to argue there all day. Apr 27 14:57
sebsebseb as for the Euro it seems, it has turned out to be a good thing that UK isn’t in it Apr 27 14:57
sebsebseb Euro zone is having problems, going by main streame BBC news Apr 27 14:58
MinceR plus they get to be outside the country they’re fucking up Apr 27 14:59
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[toros/@toros] Valorie Zimmerman: #GSoC and Season of !KDE – Let’s GO! http://goo.gl/2rKzT Apr 27 14:59
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[richslxh/@richslxh] @fabsh The one the Americans call “soccer” ^^ Apr 27 14:59
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Linux Grandma: GSoC and Season of KDE – Let’s GO! .::. Size~: 69.91 KB Apr 27 14:59
twitter Yeah, but Google and other Android customers are not foreign -> (06:51:39 AM) gnufreex: US DOJ ok with MSFT destroying foreign companies Apr 27 14:59
MinceR so they get to waste taxpayers’ money on luxuries in a place that has actual infrastructure Apr 27 14:59
MinceR actual roads, etc. Apr 27 14:59
twitter My ISP is a DPI shithole http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/04/27/137210/Mediacom-Using-DPI-To-Hijack-Searches-404-Errors?utm_source=rss1.0&utm_medium=feed Apr 27 15:00
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Mediacom Using DPI To Hijack Searches, 404 Errors – Slashdot .::. Size~: 91.26 KB Apr 27 15:00
twitter “Verteiron writes “Cable company Mediacom recently began using deep packet inspection to redirect 404 errors, Google and Bing searches to their own, ad-laden “search engine”. Despite repeated complaints from customers, Mediacom continues this connection hijacking even after the user has opted out of the process. Months after the problem was first reported, the company seems unwilling or unable to fix it and has even experimented with inje Apr 27 15:00
twitter http://mediacomcable.com/CustomerSupport/forum/index.php?topic=1824.0 Apr 27 15:01
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[jwildeboer/@jwildeboer] Apple: “crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot” – rather a crowd of slaves as there is no opt-out … http://ur1.ca/412rj #Applegate Apr 27 15:01
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] ♺ @andyc: @sandersch No. My nasal passages and sinuses do not support Dutch. Sorry. Apr 27 15:01
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] Doctor Who is possible the *only* scifi series *ever* that I stopped watching because I found it lame. Apr 27 15:01
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[toros/@toros] #WebUpd8: ThemeSelector: !GNOME Shell Extension To Change Themes (With Previews) http://goo.gl/tu4yq Apr 27 15:01
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[richslxh/@richslxh] @fabsh Haven’t you ever seen “Arzt Wer”? :) Apr 27 15:01
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[jwildeboer/@jwildeboer] Nokia – #Zombian AKA Symbian dumped at Accenture, new phones wont come b4 2012 – anyone *still* thinks it was a good deal? Apr 27 15:01
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Why Mediacom’s DPI policy is both wrong and dangerous .::. Size~: 56.45 KB Apr 27 15:01
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Apple – Press Info – Apple Q&A on Location Data .::. Size~: 10.89 KB Apr 27 15:01
TechrightsBot-tr Title: ThemeSelector: GNOME Shell Extension To Change Themes (With Previews) ~ Web Upd8: Ubuntu / Linux blog .::. Size~: 73.88 KB Apr 27 15:01
twitter http://search.mediacomcable.com/ Apr 27 15:01
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Mediacom Search Guide .::. Size~: 8.09 KB Apr 27 15:01
twitter http://mediacomcable.com/CustomerSupport/forum/index.php?topic=911.0 Apr 27 15:01
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Mediacom is Hijacking HTTP Requests to Google and 404 Responses from Other Sites .::. Size~: 75.83 KB Apr 27 15:01
twitter http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110228/11332813302/mediacom-puts-its-own-ads-other-websites-including-google-apple.shtml Apr 27 15:01
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Mediacom Puts Its Own Ads On Other Websites, Including Google & Apple | Techdirt .::. Size~: 114.51 KB Apr 27 15:01
gnufreex twitter: It seems that USA wants MSFT to have total monopoly. Maybe beacuse they can’t have backdoors in FOSS. Apr 27 15:02
twitter Some idiots want that. Apr 27 15:02
twitter They might not prevail once the true cost is known. Apr 27 15:02
twitter Microsoft’s direct lawsuits are starting to reveal that true cost. Apr 27 15:03
twitter Barns and Noble’s fight back is great.  As PJ noted, the company never signed a NDA and can spill all the beans. Apr 27 15:04
gnufreex I am rooting for them Apr 27 15:04
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[richslxh/@richslxh] @fabsh There is a Facebook German Dalek fan club called “‘Exterminieren!’” rofl! Apr 27 15:04
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] @richslxh In their infinite hubris, yes. Apr 27 15:04
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] ♺ @jwildeboer: Nokia – #Zombian AKA Symbian dumped at Accenture, new phones wont come b4 2012 – anyone *still* thinks it was a good deal? Apr 27 15:04
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[richslxh/@richslxh] @fabsh Apparently a German TV station got Dr. Who as a package deal together with Desperate Housewives. :) Apr 27 15:04
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[toros/@toros] Victor Palau’s Blog: An !Ubuntu Adventure: The Unboxing of the DELL 2120 http://goo.gl/xhCKG Apr 27 15:04
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] @richslxh Facebook? Is that the network you can get on and be FUCKING ANNOYED by Charlie Sheen? Apr 27 15:04
TechrightsBot-tr Title: An Ubuntu Adventure: The Unboxing of the DELL 2120 «  Victor Palau’s Blog .::. Size~: 34.6 KB Apr 27 15:04
gnufreex Hope they get some things on daylight Apr 27 15:04
twitter Their defense echos everything reasonable people have noticed and said.  http://slashdot.org/~twitter/journal/219107 Apr 27 15:04
gnufreex like MSFT vs Comes Apr 27 15:04
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Journal of twitter (104583) .::. Size~: 49.16 KB Apr 27 15:04
twitter Oh yeah, the sun is shining on Microsoft’s nasty extortion. Apr 27 15:05
*hemimaniac has quit (Quit: Leaving) Apr 27 15:05
gnufreex I want to see more MSFT internal docs Apr 27 15:05
gnufreex More smoking guns Apr 27 15:05
gnufreex And MSFT slaves will still argue against that. Apr 27 15:06
sebsebseb gnufreex: MinceR  WOW they got Carla Schroder doing a session for Ubuntu Open Week Apr 27 15:06
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] @richslxh Nice. That’s about the same level of interest in both shows for me…. #yawn Apr 27 15:06
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[richslxh/@richslxh] @fabsh No Dr Who, no Meat Pie? What kind of a savage are you?! :P Apr 27 15:06
twitter It will be hard for M$ PR to square the message of “protection” and “innovation” with the reality of licensing extortion and absurd feature restrictions. Apr 27 15:06
gnufreex sebsebseb: Who’s that? Apr 27 15:06
sebsebseb gnufreex: MinceR Introduction to Audacity Apr 27 15:06
sebsebseb she has wrote some sort of book Apr 27 15:06
sebsebseb for Linux and Apr 27 15:06
sebsebseb was the Linux Today editor and stuff lke that Apr 27 15:06
gnufreex ! Carla Schroder Apr 27 15:07
gnufreex !google  Carla Schroder Apr 27 15:07
TechrightsBot-tr [1] – Bratgrrl.com, Linux Stuff | http://www.bratgrrl.com/ Apr 27 15:07
TechrightsBot-tr [2] – Carla Schroder – O’Reilly Media | http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/au/1909 Apr 27 15:07
TechrightsBot-tr [3] – Linux.com :: Portrait: LinuxToday managing editor Carla Schroder | http://www.linux.com/archive/feed/147981 Apr 27 15:07
TechrightsBot-tr [4] – Tux Computing | http://tuxcomputing.com/ Apr 27 15:07
twitter got fired by a “Linux” magazine too and told people their most cynical imagination about Microsoft’s involvement would be correct Apr 27 15:07
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