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

08.23.11

Europe Under Threat From Software Patents Through the Back Door, Warns FSF Founder

Posted in Apple, Europe, Patents, Samsung at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stallman lectures

Summary: Richard Stallman further validates the FFII’s warning that Europe is besieged by the same forces who sought to legalise software patents in the whole EU just over half a decade ago

LAST year we warned that Amazon was trying to flush its software patents down the EPO's throat. Benjamin Henrion warns that “Amazon one-click patentable in Europe, EPO says add a computer and it will become patentable,” based on this blog post:

Amazon’s so called “One-Click Patent” is one of the most controversially discussed software inventions ever. The term, which nowadays is used as a cipher for a prototypical business method patent, was originally coined for US 5,960,411 titled “method and system for placing a purchase order via a communications network” (filed 12 Sep 2007, granted 28 Sep 1999; pdf), which has been enforced against competitor Barnes & Noble and licensed to Apple.

The respective teaching enables easy Internet shopping in that a customer visits a website, enters address and payment information and is associated with an identifier stored in a “cookie” in his client computer. A server is then able to recognize the client by the cookie and to retrieve purchasing information related to the customer, who thus can buy an item with a “single click”.

Europe is in a limbo and even hours ago people complained about it:

Read this patent GRANTED in Europe t.co/aaGAtfa then read this t.co/BxK8stq for more crappy #swpats

Richard Stallman has emerged from his more political commentary and contributed this article which warns about the “unitary patent” — the latest among many euphemisms used to silently push a pro-software patents agenda. To quote Stallman:

Just as the US software industry is experiencing the long-anticipated all-out software patent wars, the European Union has a plan to follow the same course. When the Hargreaves report urged the UK to avoid software patents, the UK government had already approved a plan that is likely to impose them.

Software patents are dangerous to software developers because they impose monopolies on software ideas. It is not feasible or safe to develop non-trivial software if you must thread a maze of patents. (See Patent absurdity, Guardian, 20 June 2005.)

Every program combines many ideas; a large program implements thousands of them. Google recently estimated there might be 250,000 patented ideas in a smartphone. I find that figure plausible, because in 2004 I estimated that the GNU/Linux operating system implemented around 100,000 actually patented ideas. (Linux, the kernel, had been found by Dan Ravicher to contain 283 such ideas, and was estimated to be 25% of the whole system at the time.)

[...]

The volunteer activists drifted away, thinking the battle won, but the corporate lobbyists for software patents were paid to stay on the job. Now they have contrived another sneaky method: the “unitary patent” system proposed for the EU. Under this system, if the European Patent Office issues a patent, it will automatically be valid in every participating country, which in this case means all of the EU except for Spain and Italy.

European patent lawyers are obviously unhappy about Stallman’s article. As Stallman warns about lobbying those aim is to get software patents approved in Europe, European patent lawyers label his allegation a “conspiracy theory” — a term whose usage we explained before.

This cheapening of Stallman’s views (which reached a lot of people through The Guardian, plus the “Slashdot effect”) actually comes from the group which is typically polite, German patent people like Falk Metzler (here is his latest agenda-pushing) and Axel H. Horns, who gets into an argument (after calling Stallman’s argument “conspiracy theory) with the FFII. He, along with pro-Microsoft lobbyist (Florian Müller), writes pro-software patents rhetoric and adds in relation to the “unitary patent” that:

On July 10, 2010, I had reported on the planned Organisation of work on the patent reform under the Polish Presidency. Now, as we still are within the summer recess period where nothing appears to move forward there might be a little stretch of time to contemplate as to how things might move on during next fall.

There is a recent precedent of successful adoption of enhanced co-operation in the EU: As we can learn from Wikipedia, with the rise in cross border divorce in the EU, common rules were put forward to settle the issue of where trans-national couples can divorce in the EU. However Sweden was blocking the new rules, fearing the loss of its liberal divorce law (divorce law differs strongly, with Nordic liberalism being in contrast to more conservative countries such as Malta which – until recently – did not even allow it). In order to allow those willing states to proceed without Sweden, in July 2008 nine countries put forward a proposal to use enhanced co-operation. At a meeting of the justice ministers on July 25, 2008, the nine states decided to formally seek the measure of enhanced cooperation; eight states formally requested it from the European Commission on 28 July 2008.

This is an interesting analysis (the author is typically informative), but why potray a so-called ‘unity’ patent as a good thing like peace-making? It’s not. All it does is, it increases damages in European industries and raises the frequency/impact of litigation, which helps the likes of the author, not real producers.

To give a very recent example of the toxic effects of US monopolies inside Europe, consider the Apple embargogate [1, 2, 3] , which fortunately turned out to be just an Apple scam that ended badly for Apple. To quote:

Apple faces a turnover of the Samsung injunction and iPad 3 may be delayed with screen supply problems

It was a black Wednesday for Apple. Samsung managed to overturn the European Union ban on sales of its flagship tablet, an action prosecuted by Apple, and the iPad 3 launch was “put back” because of technical problems.

Added to the news that if Google’s bid for Motorola Mobile goes through, Apple will lose some of its patents litigation power because of its reliance on Motorola technologies, it is probably not a good time to be in the Cupertino company’s boardroom.

Here is more about Apple lying to the court using fake 'evidence' to impose an EU-wise embargo of Linux-based products from Samsung. It is theorised that Samsung might buy WebOS from HP, but based on hirings, Samsung will stay with Android/Bada and distribute that without qualm all around Europe, although quite likely with a Microsoft tax. Samsung is one of the top patentors in Europe.

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 29/7/2015: Akademy 2015 Ends, NetBSD 7.0 RC

    Links for the day



  2. MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

    A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH



  3. New Zealand's Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

    Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand



  4. Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too

    Microsoft software is quickly becoming synonymous with crashes as any piece of software developed with Microsoft's tools, not just the underlying platform, crashes chronically



  5. The Government of Bulgaria Sells Out to Microsoft, Again

    Despite some promises and reassurances that Bulgaria will consider Free/libre software, the Bulgarian government hands out a lot more of taxpayers' money to the Mafia



  6. Corporate Media Finally Finds Out That Vista 10 Crashes a Lot

    Stability issues of Vista 10 are belatedly reported to be a major catastrophe, leaving it unusable for many early adopters



  7. Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug 'Branding' for FUD

    Links for the day



  8. Patents Roundup: Technicolor, Alice, Voip-Pal, Fitbit, Marijuana Patents, and JDate

    A look at some of last week's patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)



  9. Corporate Lobbyists Including Koch-Connected Front Groups Attack Real and Perceived Patent Reform in the United States

    Looking at some of the latest propaganda for and against a bill which is already too watered-down to actually fix the US patent system



  10. Patents in the Android World Further Complicate Freedom in This Linux-Powered Platform

    A survey of last week's news with special focus on Google and Android, which are trying to coexist and thrive in a world full of patent maximalists



  11. The 'Unitary' Patent Trojan Horse Rammed Down the Throat of Europe

    Under the guise of 'unification' or 'unity', existing patent systems are being abandoned and more power gets passed to corrupt EPO officials



  12. HEVC Cartel is Not News, Only the Names of Backers and the Costs Are New

    A few remarks on and a roundup of recent articles about HEVC, which we first wrote about in spring



  13. IRC Proceedings: July 12th, 2015 – July 25th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  14. Links 26/7/2015: Purism Librem and Freedom, Akademy Updates

    Links for the day



  15. Vista 10 (Windows 10) Has NSA Back Doors and Front Doors

    Vista 10 to bring new ways for spies (and other crackers) to remotely access people's computers and remotely modify the binary files on them (via Windows Update, which for most people cannot be disabled)



  16. Vista 10 Not Ready, But Released Anyway

    Despite severe technical issues in the rushed-out-the-door Vista 10, Microsoft decides to stick with the deadline, only days after reporting billions of dollars in losses



  17. Links 25/7/2015: Plasma Mobile, Linux Mint 17.2 OEM

    Links for the day



  18. Links 24/7/2015: openSUSE Leap 42.1, Intel With Rackspace for OpenStack

    Links for the day



  19. Links 24/7/2015: GNOME 3.17.4, Mozilla Developer Network Turns 10

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft Has Run Out of Attempts and Vista 10 Will Definitely Fail

    As Microsoft admits billions of dollars in losses just days before Vista 10 is pushed as a 'free' upgrade, there is no concrete sign that financial recovery is imminent, for the bigger cash cow (Office) suffers a similar fate



  21. GNU/Linux Circles Ought to Stop Promoting Visual Studio, Which is Neither Cross-Platform Nor Free Software

    Media carries on openwashing Visual Studio and perpetuating the illusion that it is not tied to Microsoft Windows



  22. Spinning Proprietary Software Dangers as Dangers of Free/Libre Software

    News sites mislead their readers, teaching them that the biggest dangers associated with proprietary software are in fact problems exclusive to Free/libre Open Source software



  23. Links 23/7/2015: New RHEL Release, Capital One Releases Code

    Links for the day



  24. Terminology of Patent Lawyers and Pro-Patents Media Serves to Mislead the Public

    An outline of stories where the language used to describe patents is grossly distorted so as to bias the reality and mislead the audience/readers



  25. Amid Billions in Losses, Microsoft Tries to Conquer the Competition (Which Already Wins)

    The 'Embrace, Extend, Extinguish' strategy goes a few steps further as Microsoft looks to dominate developers, devices and servers that are running Free/libre software



  26. Microsoft Losing Billions of Dollars is Not News

    Few remarks on Microsoft's latest admission that it is losing a lot of money



  27. Links 22/7/2015: Kodi 15.0, MKVToolnix 8.2.0

    Links for the day



  28. The Technology Sector in the US Has Gotten Fed Up With Apple's Patent Aggression Against Android/Linux

    Apple is desperately trying to stop Android from increasing its levels of dominance (in phones, tablets, watches, and so on), so Silicon Valley is lining up against Apple, antagonising its misuse/abuse of patents for anticompetitive purposes



  29. Patents Regime in Europe: Mixture of Greed, Competition Abuses, and Propaganda

    A roundup of the latest patent news from Europe, focusing on Italy, the UK, Germany, and Hungary



  30. Patent 'Reform' in US Congress Still Under Attack by Patent Lawyers and Corporate Lobbyists

    The latest instances of assault on changes to the US patent system, demonstrated through an elaborative survey of the media (two days' worth)


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