06.21.11

US Chamber of Commerce Patent Lobbying, Redmond Patent Troll, and the Fight Against RAND

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, RAND at 2:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fallout shelter

Summary: The SCOTUS on Mayo Collaborative Services vs. Prometheus Laboratories; The Chamber of Commerce on fake patent ‘reform’; a look at a patent troll, Scott Redmond; continued fight against patents inside standards, courtesy of Xiph.org and the FFII

According to this short update from the SCOTUS Blog (generally a reliable source of information), there is an important ruling in the pipeline, on which Dan Ballard (pro-patents person) comments as follows:

Supreme Court decided to hear another #patent case today. Issue is patentability after Bilski

We have summarised our posts about the Bilski case in our wiki. The case did not provide the basis for eliminating all software patents as we had hoped, but it did help on occasions, e.g. by eliminating some software patents, upon court rulings.

The Chamber of Commerce, a scrupulous lobby for big businesses (and for patents), is meanwhile promoting a fake patent reform that can make things worse. As one political site put it:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce came out in support of the bipartisan patent reform bill on Tuesday as opposition to one of the bill’s key provisions grows in the House.

The Chamber expressed public support for the America Invents Act for the first time in a letter to the House, arguing the bill would help drive economic growth and create jobs.

That’s a lie. Patents may help create jobs like patent lawyers, which are of no substantial value to economic growth. If anything, they depress it.This whole ‘reform’ is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” to quote an analysis we cited the other day when we also mentioned Microsoft's lobby regarding Nortel's patents (Apple reportedly wants these too). On the same day which is yesterday we also mentioned the lawsuit against Torrent software (algorithm or design as allegedly patented technology) and we happen to have found something out about the source of the lawsuit, Redmond. “Interesting Gizmodo piece on the guy apparently behind the BitTorrent patent troll, ” writes Len Sassaman who shares details about Scott Redmond and his scams. To quote: “The Greatest Scam in Tech? Scott Redmond would like us to clarify.Last week we posted an exposé of Peep Wireless. Despite repeated attempts, we initially couldn’t reach the company for comment, but founder Scott Redmond has since contacted us. He’s nonplussed. For transparency’s sake, we’d like to show you his objections.

“What follows is the Peep Wireless post, in its entirety — and then some. Mr. Redmond demanded that we remove the original story by 5pm today but instead, we are reposting it with his comments included — the @’s and bold red text were his idea. Read his grievances and judge for yourself whether we were too harsh.”

Patent trolls are ruthless sociopaths. Here we just see that again. The world’s biggest patent troll is located near Redmond, too (the place, not the person). Finally, on that same day we wrote about the Xiph.org complaint (I wrote all of these posts in Media City), on which Dr. Glyn Moody remarks in an excellent post:

This episode emphasises Xiph.org’s other important role, alongside writing great codecs: standing up to attempts to cow the free software world with vague threats of software patent Armageddon. Long may it continue to do so.

Free software is under a constant attack from software patents proponents and RAND proponents (there is major overlap between those two groups). In Europe, for example, the Commission has been working recently towards RAND as permissible for standards (meaning software patents through the back door). We have shown some documents confirming this, thanks to research from the FFII, which is now warning about today’s discussion. The head of the FFII wrote yesterday: “Software patents to be legalised in Europe with the Unitary patent, discussion tomorrow in EU parliament” (so let us keep watching). He also shows this page about ludicrous patents that demonstrate the corruption of the patent system as a whole. To those who write the policies it no longer matters what will benefit the customers (over 95% of the population, putting top managers, developers, and lawyers aside), it just matter what gets them re-elected, usually with funds from big business that adore patent monopolies, i.e. protectionism. More on that in our next post…

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4 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    June 22, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Gravatar

    Even the word RAND is deceptive and should not be used. What “RAND” proponents really want is to collect a fee on every copy of software that complies to some technical specification because they own a patent on an idea. When seen this way it is obvious that Uniform Fee promotion is an attack on software freedom and the public at large. It is outrageous that people would have to pay fees to private companies in order to do business with government. I suggest news about rand always be identified as Uniform Fee promotion with RAND in brackets linking to the FSF. We should not allow the terms “reasonable” and “non discriminatory” be claimed by people who would tax everyone with software patents in public standards.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I didn’t expand the acronym with its euphemisms and since I promised Gordon not to distort names of products for humourous purposes, I’d rather just call it “RAND”.

    twitter Reply:

    You can keep your promise in this case. RAND is not a product it’s a propaganda term which exist solely to cause confusion and block critical thinking. The term “Uniform Fee” is more accurate but only captures part of a lie the proposal encompasses. Uniform Fee Only (UFO) is humorous and easy to remember but also a little whacky sounding, so “Uniform Fee” probably works better. My suggestion is serious, more accurate and does not refer to a product. I’m not sure how Gordon could object to that. Why not ask him, if you want another opinion?

    RAND is not a term where self censorship will do any good and repeating it is harmful. To keep patents out of public standards we need to convince people that the practice is outrageous. A person using the term “RAND” is like someone using the term “Intellectual Property”, they are either confused or trying to confuse others. You might have a better way to describe Uniform Fee proposals but no one should use the term RAND without pointing out why it is wrong.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Point taken.

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