07.07.11

Gemini version available ♊︎

Federal Agents Unhappy About Microsoft’s and Apple’s Patent Strategy, Reversals Possible

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 1:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Christian ParadisSummary: News about software patents that affect Free software and Android developers in addition to the increased backlash from the public and some people inside government

TECHRIGHTS is pleased to see the opposition to software patents growing. More people are made aware of the problems and they also speak out about these problems, sometimes passionately. Sooner or later we might all win this fight for sanity. It’s definitely achievable if the population is on the right side and those in power (the monopolists, oligarchs, or whatever we may wish to call them) will perform an analysis and realise that the backlash from the public outweighs the benefits (protectionism) they get from software patents. It would not be a simple matter of altruism as that alone is never enough to make power-greedy people become more civilised and considerate.

Anyway, an Apple booster notes that the socipaths from Apple got Nortel’s patents and we soon learn that the Canadian “Industry Minister [Christian Paradis, based on this report] tells Bloomberg he plans to look into Nortel patent sale under foreign investment law.” Muktware even calls for a boycott following the outrageous sale:

Enemies of Google, the world’s largest open source company, are acquiring software patents after patents through direct or proxy acquisitions. Earlier it was Novell’s patents and now its about Nortel’s patents. The companies which are acquiring these patents are not only known monopolists or abusers but have also been seen lately to discourage innovation and kill competition by using patents as threats.

One common player in these two acquisitions is Microsoft, a company which earlier tried to hide behind a consortium to acquire Novell’s patents.

Microsoft has signed 5(+-) deals in a week with small Linux players over Android/Google Chrome. The details of the deals were not disclosed so we don’t even know which patents Microsoft is using to threaten small companies with lawsuits forcing them to sigh such deals.

What is the guarantee that Microsoft or Apple will not use the patents that they acquired through these acquisitions to block innovation and kill competition in the market? Patents were meant to protect the inventor, but softrware patents are nothing more than a way to kill competition.

Regarding the government’s action:

According to a report today by The Canadian Press, the auction may come under government scrutiny. Industry Minister Christian Paradis has reportedly asked his department to examine how the Investment Canada Act could apply to the auction. If the auction us found to be reviewable under the act, Paradis could potentially block the sale if it’s found to not be a “net benefit” to Canada.

Groklaw‘s Webbink wonders why the US DOJ and FTC are missing in action:

Last year the big news was that Attachmate was buying Novell, but that Novell’s patent portfolio was being sold separately to a little known buyer named CPTN Holdings LLC. It was known that Microsoft was one of the companies behind CPTN, but then it came out that CPTN was not just a single company, it was a consortium, and more importantly, it was a consortium of competitors. Included in the CPTN fold were Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle. Their common enemy? Google.

But Google was not the only entity concerned about this alliance of the largest companies in the information technology sector, almost all of which compete with each other on some level. The Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative filed complaints with competition authorities in the U.S. and Germany. In the end German and U.S. competition authorities extracted changes in the transfer, ownership, and licensing of the Novell patents to assure a level playing field that allowed room for free and open source software.

So where are they now that Nortel’s patents cast doubt on fair competition? This is a lot worse than CTPN, but as we demonstrated before, the federal system is inherently corruptible and tilted in favour of the USPTO (which is a sibling of sorts)

As the Australian press puts it this week, it is a lot worse, and to quote verbatim:

New legislation shows how much sway banks have over Congress, writes Andrew Ross Sorkin.

WALL Street often tries to play down its influence in Washington. As the US Congress pushed through financial regulations that seemed to get watered down last year, Wall Street’s chief executives tried to suggest, somewhat surprisingly, that their highly paid lobbyists did not have much sway.

If there is still any question about how much power Wall Street actually has in Washington, here is some fresh evidence worth examining.

In a piece of legislation recently passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate to revamp patent law, a tiny provision was inserted at the last minute called section 18. The provision has only one purpose: to allow the banking industry to skirt paying for certain important patents involving ”business methods”.

Here is a report of interest about the position Google is in. Google should really spend that famous “Pi Billion Dollars” on abolishing sofwtare patents, not acquiring some. But this is how Bloomberg puts it:

Google Inc. (GOOG)’s loss in bidding for the $4.5 billion portfolio of Nortel Networks Corp. patents last week means the Internet-search company will be looking to buy other inventions to build a bulwark against lawsuits targeting its Android system, patent brokers said.

“There are a lot of phenomenal portfolios for sale,” said Dean Becker, chief executive officer of ICAP Patent Brokerage in Palm Beach, Florida, the world’s largest patent seller. “Every operating company is in the market because of the expense, distraction and the potential financial risk of patent litigation.”

Google ought to just quit this conformism and do what is right for the population as a whole — that is — ending software patents. We urged Google to do this many times before and we shall continue to do so.

Meanwhile, Microsoft goes to companies that are partners (like Samsung and HTC) for a tax on Android and the Linux sites are finally starting to wake up [1, 2] and cover such shocking news that changes the whole way software is made and sold. Tim and I talked about this in last night’s TechBytes episode. See the show notes from Tim.

HTC pays Microsoft for Android and Apple sued HTC using software patents. HTC picks up some patents now, maybe for defensive purposes (e.g. against Apple).

It is mostly Apple that is going to lose from Android’s growth, but Microsoft is ahead of Apple when it comes to extortion although they increasingly collaborate in their patent attacks on Linux. The Linux-hostile and pro-Microsoft lobbyist is doing what he can to spin the news. Yes, he is a lobbyist, not an analyst (he also told me that he has had 4 clients this year but refused to name them). “Thumps [sic] up, Apple,” writes the lobbyist, “for buying the Nortel patents. Thumbs down, Google, for not doing so.”

Wait, what?!

Well, coming from the same lobbyist who reposts many other Google-hostile articles and tweets, even some from Rob Enderle and other Microsoft boosters (also celebrating patent extortion against Android) this week, this oughtn’t be too shocking. He also found friends like Miguel de Icaza and one can call him a liar for painting Google as the “bad” party for being the victim of Apple’s patents acquisitions (if anyone is bad here, it’s Apple). This is part of a pattern we explained here before — even when Google is victimised, it is still the “bad” party in the eyes of Microsoft Florian.

One has to be very dishonest to carry on with this spin. I spent a lot of time yesterday and the day before that challenging him in Twitter. The more he speaks, the uglier his activity seems. He probably enjoys the attention, but nevertheless, lobbyists like him need to be exposed, just like Zuck; otherwise, their posturing (e.g. as an ‘analyst’ or ‘activist’, even though he has no qualifications in this area) might fool some reporters who are being mass-mailed.

Last month we showed Florian pushing Lodsys’ agenda by urging developers to pay the patent troll. He turned out to be wrong when Apple stepped in. Well, he tells them to give up — the same defeatism on which he was wrong before. How can anyone takes him seriously? Just because he is mass-mailing people with publications and blogs does not mean they should just publish it and that others should take him seriously.

Groklaw has this update on the case:

Another day and three new declaratory judgment actions against Lodsys with respect to the four patents it has been asserting. While one of the three new actions is in the Northern District of Illinois, where several of the other declaratory judgment actions have been filed, two of them are in new venues – one in Arizona and one in the Southern District of California. This changing of venues is important. While Lodsys may seek to consolidate the cases in the Northern District of Illinois for the sake of efficiency (and saving Lodsys attorney’s fees), Lodsys will likely have to defend in each of the other jurisdictions where a declaratory judgment action is filed, thus increasing the cost of defense as local counsel is retained in each case.

One of the latest to be attacked is the New York Times and over at Forbes, Martin Zwilling writes that software patents have become a “tax on innovation”, citing the Lodsys saga:

I always advise software startups to file patents to protect their “secret sauce” from competitors, and to increase their valuation. The good news is that a patent can scare off or at least delay competitors, and as a “rule of thumb” every patent can add up to $1M to your startup valuation for investors, or for M&A exits (merger and acquisition).

The bad news is that patent trolls can squeeze the lifeblood out of innocent and unsuspecting entrepreneurs, as exemplified by the current mess around Lodsys patent No. 7222078. This patent holding company is charging infringement and demanding royalties from every app developer for the iPhone and Android, for a feature most agree has been in apps for many years.

Yes, the software patent process is a mess. I say this with conviction even after I survived the process, and have a software patent pending. Consider this list of commonly recognized software patent flaws, as summarized from my research, Paul Graham’s “Are Software Patents Evil?” essay, and the most recent “Enough is Enough” article by VC Fred Wilson, sparked by the Lodsys case

AP speaks of a story we have mentioned for a while about automobiles becoming victims of software patent litigation too, raising the cost of vehicles. Here is another take on it (less formal):

According to AP, the lawsuit centres on patents involving software and electronic components that are used in features to make phone calls, play music and access navigation tools with vocal commands.

As we noted a while ago, the developer behind Winamp made his stance clear on this quite recently (his take became popular this week for whatever reason). The opposition to software patents grows, thanks in part to Lodsys and the patent it got from Microsoft’s former CTO. We need to keep fighting the enabler of monopoly abusers, not just the monopoly abusers themselves.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    July 8, 2011 at 2:57 am

    Gravatar

    That’s an interesting proposal. If companies like Google spend the money on abolishing software patents, the overall bill for them is likely to be lower than having to constantly out bid competitors or consortia of competitors.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    However, Google is being advised by lawyers it has hired and they, in turn, try to justify their occupation that depends on all these layers of bureaucracy. Years ago, Techrights posted some videos where PHBs from Google speak about patents. It was rather appalling.

    Google needs to decide what type of company it is.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  2. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.



  3. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification



  4. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below



  5. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix 16.0.3.7, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 25, 2021



  8. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 24, 2021



  9. Links 25/11/2021: PHP 8.1.0 Released and Linux 5.15.5

    Links for the day



  10. IBM as Master of Hypocrisy

    Free software projects and Free software developers have long been humiliated by corporations of Western misogynists, falsely claiming that the Free software community isn’t inclusive enough (these are shameless projection tactics; as a matter of public record, the exact opposite is true) and even the eradication of supposedly offensive language isn’t something IBM takes seriously



  11. Links 25/11/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.3 and Mesa 21.2.6 Released

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] So Desperate That Edge Cannot Even Exceed 4% That They Block Rival Web Browsers

    Linux/Android/Free Software/GNU (they go by very many names/brands) may continue to grow to the point where Windows is as irrelevant as Blackberry; this means that Microsoft’s grip on the Web too has slipped — to the point where Microsoft frantically uses 'bailout' money to hijack LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. (it also rebrands almost everything as "Azure" or clown to fake a perception of growth)



  13. Windows Vista Service Pack 11 (Vista 11) Has Failed to Curb the Growth of GNU/Linux

    Windows market share continues to decrease in spite of billions of dollars spent bribing the media for fake hype, especially in light of a new Windows Service Pack (SP), Vista SP 11



  14. Links 25/11/2021: Proton 6.3-8 and Linux Mint Compared to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  15. 3.5 Years Later the 'Master' of Fedora is Still Microsoft and IBM Cannot Be Bothered to Alter Git Branch Names (Refuting or Ignoring Its Very Own Directive About Supposedly Racially-Insensitive Terms)

    Today we demonstrate the hypocrisy of IBM; years after telling us that we should shun the term "master" and repeatedly insisting it had a racist connotation at least 65 Fedora repositories, still controlled by Microsoft, still use "master"



  16. Changing the Arrangement While News is a Bit Slow(er)

    I've made it easier for myself to keep abreast of things like IRC channels and networks (incidentally, a day ago Freenode reopened to anonymous logins) and I've improved monitoring of the Web sites, Gemini capsule etc. (this video is unplanned and improvised)



  17. Links 24/11/2021: Alpine Linux 3.15 and Endless OS 4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  18. [Meme] Jimmy Zemlin Loves Microsoft

    It’s funny, isn’t it? Lying for a living and sucking up to the liars pays off; you get to plunder actual Linux users while leaving Linux morally and financially bankrupt



  19. Links 24/11/2021: PHP Foundation and Flatpak Criticisms

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 23, 2021



  21. Links 24/11/2021: Rust Crisis and Team UPC Still Faking 'Progress'

    Links for the day



  22. Links 23/11/2021: New GNU Parallel and Memories of David H. Adler (Perl, Raku)

    Links for the day



  23. In Light of Fast-Accelerating Deterioration -- Sometimes Weaponisation -- Getting Off the World Wide Web (to the Extent Feasible) Makes You Saner and Less Susceptible to Manipulation, Lies

    Almost no sites are speaking about it (probably because they have no presence on the Internet except on the Web), but it's time to motivate more people to get off the Web, for their own good and for society's sake...



  24. Black Friday SPAM on the World Wide Web: A Reminder That the Web is a Dying Platform, Languishing Due to Marketing and Misinformation

    The junk that overruns the Web this 'Black Friday' week (consumerism 'on steroids') is a good reminder that the Web isn't healthy for the mind anymore; it's mostly spying on people, trying to compel them to buy particular things or vote a certain way



  25. Microsoft-Led Misinformation Campaign About Germany and Munich Reminds Us That Microsoft Hates and Actively Undermines GNU/Linux Adoption

    Regarding the latest moves to GNU/Linux in Germany we have 3 points to make



  26. Links 23/11/2021: Libreboot 20211122, Deepin Linux 20.3, Amazon Linux 2022, and Mabox Linux 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 22, 2021



  28. Links 22/11/2021: EasyOS Dunfell 3.1.11, Microsoft 'Extends' Mesa for Windows

    Links for the day



  29. Microsoft's GitHub is Hugely Toxic and It Censors Critics of Corporations or People Sceptical of Those in Power

    Sociopaths have taken over GitHub and control over GitHub (by Microsoft) is being shamelessly misused, just as we’ve warned all along; GitHub is social control media/network for code, asserting control over projects and developers by means of censorship and other sanctions



  30. EPO Staff Engagement Survey Predates the Pandemic and Provides False Assumptions for EPO Policies or Policy-Setting

    The EPO ticks a box for "surveying the staff", but is it actually listening? Is that done often enough? It was last done almost 3 years ago...


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

Recent Posts