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

05.31.11

Why Europe Must Prepare to Abolish and Block All Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Baroness Wilcox
Credit: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

Summary: In the interest of Business, Innovation and Skills, the EPO (and UK-IPO or other patent offices) should avoid the travesty of allowing patent monopolies on mathematical processes

THERE IS some big news coming out tonight in Europe. Techrights received an embargoed press release (clue at the top) and will therefore post some details today in a preparatory fashion. As many of our readers may know by now, Europe in highly critical in the fight against software patents. If Europe surrendered to the United States (pressure from lobbyists), then it would instantaneously make software patents legal in the majority of the Western nations, which in turn would lead to pressure and coercion, flipping into line all the rest of the world like domino bricks.

Microsoft is by no means a scapegoat when it gets blamed for software patents. Microsoft’s co-founder, just like the other co-founder and his good friend the former CTO (a very bad man), has become a patent troll and thankfully Groklaw continues to keep track of his lawsuits, which also target Android/Linux. From Professor Webbink:

You may recall from our last communication on this case that the judge declined to issue a stay of the case pending the anticipated reexamination of the asserted patents because the USPTO had yet to accept the reexamination request. Well, that worm has now turned.

According to a status report filed with the court by Yahoo! (see full text below), the reexamination requests with respect to three of the four patents have been granted, and we should expect to hear about the fourth any day now.

Allen can help show why the USPTO is broken. When a company that produces nothing sues the whole world, who can possibly benefit?

In other important news found by the Groklaw research Web site (although this time by Pamela Jones, who is still coaching Webbink), the USPTO will “Host Public Discussion on Newly Proposed Process to Streamline Patent Reexamination” (putting lipstick on a pig much?) which leads nicely into this new piece. The problem here is that they polish the wrong bits, failing of course to address the fundamental fallacies of the USPTO.

“Patents are examined and granted by the patent office but their true value is ultimately decided by the courts,” explains the page, “At this conference, officials from the United States Patent & Trademark Office, District Court Judges, academic experts and experienced practitioners will examine the existing contours of the interface between the USPTO and the Courts to discuss proposed improvements that could make patent prosecution and litigation more efficient and effective.” (read: make it easier to sue)

“If that is the case,” remarks Jones, “that the courts are where a patent owner finds out if the patent is valid or not, why aren’t jurors told that, and why then are issued patents presumed valid?” When even a site accommodated by lawyers is unhappy with the US patent system, then something surely is awry.

Over in Europe, the president of the FFII warns that:

Patent lobby wants substantive patent law (software patents) outside of the European Union

He links to this report about globalisation of the patent system (so that nobody can get away from bad laws and corporocracies):

In first discussions with the interested circles and experts the EU Commission announced that it will continue its work for a patent jurisdiction system and is planning amendments of the Draft Agreement of 23 March 2009 (St07928) which shall comply with the Opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in order to achieve compatibility with the EU Treaties.

Truly shameful and dangerous. This is the type of loopholes they need for introducing software patents in Europe, as matter of law. “The World Patent and the World Patent Litigation System” is another new piece remarking on “the US judge, who wished to allow patents on business methods and computer programs”:

Imagine: Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have one single patent which you could apply for at the WPO, the World Patent Office? A World Patent, which would be valid worldwide and which could be enforced in each single country of the world with worldwide effect? Decisions of the national local chambers of the World Patent Court (WPC) could be appealed at the WPSGC, the World Patent Global Supreme Court. Wouldn’t this be a major breakthrough in improving IP protection and decreasing patent costs for the industry?

Well as always, the problem comes with the details: Shall the system allow distinguishing between first, second and third World Patents? Will there be an exemption for extraterrestrial use? And what about the language regime?

While Europe is still struggling to establish a unitary patent and a European litigation system, the IP judges of the world already seem to have a much broader perspective.

There is more information from the legal community about the EU patent. It says that:

Under the date of May 26, 2011, the EU Council has published Document 10629/11 titled Proposal for a Regulation of the Council and the European Parliament implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection including a Proposal for a Council Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of unitary patent protection with regard to the applicable translation arrangements. The text is said to facilitate discussions on political orientation as well as an exchange of views.

Axel H. Horns, who wrote this summary, is actually a good and almost balanced source of information. The above helps verify that the EU Patent is still underway; it must meet scrutiny because it is easier to block bad laws than to withdraw them. The EU Patent would have devastating effects for all software developers, not just Free software developers. Here is a new warning from Europe about software patents. “EDRi said that software patents hamper competition and said that the EU’s push towards a unitary patent protection system would encourage more patent lawsuits,” says this report. It is the only quoted opinion on this matter.

“HP, Quest Sued Over Medical Records Software Patent” says this new headline, so people’s lives are further compromised yet again due to software patents. To quote the report: “Patent holder Medsquire LLC sued Hewlett-Packard Co., Quest Diagnostics Inc., Athenahealth Inc. and others Wednesday in California, alleging they infringe a patent covering software that organizes patient information records.”

“Patent holder” is a kind name for a patent troll. Does anybody wants these patent trolls to enter Europe as well? At present, patent trolls are uncommon in Europe. Also, statistics shown last year showed that the trolls thrive in software patents. There is a strong correlation there.

Suffice to say, Microsoft is a major lobbyist for software patents in Europe although it often operates through other entities which hide this. Jones notes that earlier this month in France we saw yet another case of Microsoft nepotism and string-pulling in France (recall the Ballmer 'Kissinger moment'). “Uh oh,” she wrote.”Here’s one you might like to watch, with EFF’s John Philip Barlow included, so you’ll know what they mean by “a flourishing Internet”. Stay for the questions at the end. Remember when Steve Ballmer and Sarkozy were high-fiving each other and saying, “Win, win”? Is this what they meant? I can’t help but wonder. Yes. Microsoft was a sponsor and Craig Mundie was there, talking about the future of the Internet, which is odd, considering that the company didn’t see it coming, had to play catch up and now is no longer viewed as representing the cutting edge of products people use on the Internet. Where was Apple at this conference, by the way, speaking of the future? Where was Red Hat? The Internet was built with Open Source software, by people who did not patent it, so where were the people who came up with the Internet at this conference? Robert Murdoch was there though, giving a talk, speaking of Internet visionaries. Not. In short a lot of people who have no clue would like to regulate the Internet so they can keep their 20th Century “content” business models alive a little bit longer by strip mining the world’s Internet. Here’s a page on YouTube where you can find many more videos and check to see if I have overstated matters. Or the opposite.”

Regarding the news that ” HTC Pays Microsoft $5 Per Android Phone” Jones wrote: “That was SCO’s dream too, if you recall, a tax on Linux. They collected millions from SCOsource by bullying companies falsely alleging copyright infringement, and analysts predicted a rosy future for SCO and doom for Linux, and yet look at them now.”

One Identi.ca/Twitter user whom we follow says:

#MSFT earns more from #Android than from Windows Phone 7. Awesome. http://ur1.ca/4azkc So, when do we kill #swpats ? /via @tante

Also quite importantly, when will software patents be rejected as a matter of strong principle in Europe? We are not quite there yet. Citing Glyn Moody, Mike Masnick too explains to his large audience why patents are damaging the EU economy and there is also a mention of the EU Patent:

Much of the report is about harmonizing both patent and copyright laws across Europe or creating pan-European infrastructure for patent and copyright laws. I’m of a mixed opinion on those proposals. While I can definitely see the problems of having so many different local patent and copyright laws, historically, attempts to “harmonize” such laws only lead to much more draconian laws with little flexibility. Having different laws in different places allows for countries to experiment with, perhaps, less protectionist efforts, and to show that you don’t necessarily need greater protectionism for the economy to function. On top of that, in my discussions with people throughout Europe, one of the concerns with harmonization was that each market is so different, that a single set of laws would lead to very bad policies in certain countries.

Unification sounds like a positive and constructive idea assuming that the side which expands brings improvement to the remainder. In Europe, however, such treaties would be constructed so as to help the large corporations from overseas. We will have major news about this subject tonight. More people must get involved in the fight against software patents (all of them, not just “bad” ones), which is why Jones stepped out and let someone like Webbink (or Peer to Patent) take the podium. GNU/Linux will win hands down if software patents are removed as all sorts of barriers — including multimedia codecs — will be history.

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

4 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 31, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Gravatar

    M$ has been footdragging since 2004 over patents for its products. Maybe the court will wake up and check the European Patent Convention from 1973 and realize there is no place for software patents in their courtroom or any where else in Europe.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I lost faith in the European regulators when I watched this video of Neelie Kroes.

  2. twitter said,

    May 31, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Gravatar

    Unification sounds like a positive and constructive idea assuming that the side which expands brings improvement to the remainder. In Europe, however, such treaties would be constructed so as to help the large corporations from overseas.

    The proper word for that kind of unification is “subjugation”

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, but they would rather say “unify” or “harmonise”.

What Else is New


  1. Links 26/8/2016: Maru OS Resurfaces, Android More Reliable Than 'i' Things, PC-BSD Becomes TrueOS

    Links for the day



  2. Good Job, David Kappos, Says the 'Boss' (IBM)

    Responses to the latest call against Alice (eliminator of many software patents), courtesy of the man from IBM (still paid by IBM) who was responsible for the policy that blindly approved a lot of software patents in the US



  3. Being for Patent Quality or Against Patenting Excess Does Not Make You Anti-Patents

    Like IAM, which tries to portray sceptics and critics of software patents as "anti-patents", IP Watchdog (or Watchtroll as we call it) is 'trolling' the Electronic Frontier Foundation, simply because it expressed an opinion that patent maximalists cannot tolerate



  4. Erosion of Patent Quality Enables Patent Extortion With Large Portfolios of Low Validity Rate

    Revisiting the EPO's vision of poor patent examination and the effect of discriminatory granting practices, favouring patent bullies such as Microsoft (which actively attacks Linux using low-quality and usually pure software patents)



  5. The EPO's Francesco Zaccà Presenting in Turin Alongside Patent Trolls (Like the Patent Mafia Sisvel) and Lobbyists/Front Groups for Software Patents, UPC

    Benjamin Henrion (FFII) on seeing the EPO alongside patent trolls and other nefarious actors, doing what they do best, which is undermining public interests and harming patent quality



  6. The EPO, USPTO, and Patent Microcosm Peddle Myths About Patents in Public Universities and Research

    Tackling some of the commonly-spread myths about patents as "saving lives" and "promoting research" (in practice leading to the death of poor people and promoting trolls)



  7. Large Corporations' Lobbyist David Kappos Disgraces Former Employer USPTO by Meddling in Their Affairs on Software Patents, Downplaying the Supreme Court

    The latest lobbying from David Kappos, who blatantly exploits his connections in patent circles to promote software patents and work towards their resurgence after Alice v CLS Bank



  8. Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

    The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office



  9. PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

    With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- not just patent courts -- software patents drop like flies by the thousands



  10. Creative Technology, Now Operating in 'Patent Troll' Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

    Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative's new war on Android (using old patents)



  11. Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

    A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface



  12. Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  13. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  14. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  15. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  16. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  17. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  18. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  19. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  20. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  21. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  22. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day



  23. Patents Roundup: Trolls Dominate Litigation, PTAB Crushes Patents, Patent Box Regime Persists, and OIN Explains Itself

    Another roundup of patent news from around the Web with special focus on software patenting



  24. The Cost/Toll of the 'New' EPO and Where All That Money Goes or Comes From

    The European Patent Office has become a servant of the rich and powerful (including large foreign corporations) and even its own employees now pay the price associated with misguided new policies (or 'reforms' as Battistelli habitually refers to these)



  25. Links 19/8/2016: Linux Mint With KDE, Linux Foundation's PNDA

    Links for the day



  26. The End of an Era at the USPTO as Battistelli-Like (EPO) Granting Policies Are Over

    The United States is seeing the potency of patents -- especially software patents (which make up much of the country's troll cases) -- challenged by courts and by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  27. Battistelli's European Patent Office Goes to the United States to Speak About the UPC and Software Patents

    The European Patent Office is showing its utter contempt -- not just disregard -- for the very fundamental rules that put it in its place and brought it into existence



  28. Turkey Subjected to the European Patent Convention (EPC) But Benoît Battistelli is Not?

    The ‘constitutional crisis’ at the European Patent Office in the context of Turkey, which has signed "the EPC and as such recognises the competence and the decisions of the institutions which have been introduced in the convention."



  29. Links 18/8/2016: EFF Slams Vista 10, Linux Foundation Makes PNDA

    Links for the day



  30. Links 17/8/2016: GNOME and Debian Anniversaries

    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