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. Bristows is Being Hammered With Negative Comments For Its Unitary Patent (UPC) Lies

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is practically dead in the UK and Ireland; Bristows, nevertheless, continues with its desperate spin



  2. Links 11/12/2017: Linux 4.15 RC3, Debian 8.10 and Debian 9.3

    Links for the day



  3. Judge Corcoran Turns to His Government for Help and EPO 'House Ban' is Finally Lifted

    Sources that are very reliable say that Patrick Corcoran is coming back to work, however it's now clear when and how long for



  4. Raw: Battistelli's Control/Domination Over the Boards of Appeal

    An old EPO document internally voicing concerns about the lack of independence at the Boards of Appeal



  5. Raw: Conflicts of Interest of EPO Vice-President

    An old EPO concern regarding structural collisions and mixed loyalties



  6. Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Are Increasingly Active and Microsoft is Selling 'Protection' (Azure Subscriptions)

    There are several indications that Microsoft-connected shells, which produce no products and are threatening a large number of companies, are inadvertently if not intentionally helping Microsoft sell "indemnification" ("Azure IP Advantage," which echoes the Microsoft/Novell strategy for collecting what they called "patent royalties" one decade ago)



  7. Yes, RPost is Definitely a Patent Troll and Its Software Patents Are at Risk Thanks to Alice

    The latest whitewashing (or reputation-laundering) pieces from Watchtroll, which tries to justify patent-trolling activities with software patents, typically in the Eastern District of Texas



  8. The Latest Scams in the Patent World

    Examples of 'dirty laundry' of the patent microcosm, which it understandably does not like covering (as it harms confidence in their services/advice)



  9. Patents Are Becoming a Welfare System for the Rich and Powerful

    A culture of litigation and more recently the patenting of broad industry standards may mean that multi-billion dollar corporations are cashing in without lifting a finger



  10. Unlike the Mobile Domain, When it Comes to Cars Patent Lawsuits Remain Rare

    An optimistic note regarding the relatively low-temperature legal landscape surrounding advanced automobiles, even though patents are being amassed on software in that domain



  11. The Federal Circuit Rules (Again) in Favour of Section 101/Alice, Koch-Funded CPIP Tries to Overturn Alice at the Supreme Court

    The US Supreme Court's decision on Alice continues to have a profoundly positive impact (except for trolls) and Koch-funded academics try hard to compel the US Supreme Court to reverse/override Alice (so far to no avail)



  12. Next Director of the USPTO Parrots Talking Points of Patent Extremists and Their Lobbyists

    The next USPTO boss (still subject to official confirmation) may be little more than a power grab by the litigation and patenting 'industry', which prioritises not science and technology but its own bottom line



  13. Raw: Three Years for 'Justice' (to be Disregarded by Benoît Battistelli) at ILO and Over a Decade at the EPO

    The delays associated with ‘justice’ at the EPO (usually neither justice nor compliance with rulings) have become so extraordinary that immunity should long ago have been stripped off and Battistelli et al been held accountable



  14. Raw: Scuttling of the General Advisory Committee and Battistelli Stacking the Deck to Have 'Yes Men' as Representatives

    How the EPO broke down resistance to Battistelli’s oppressive policies not only at the Council, disciplinary committees and auditory divisions but also staff representation (symptomatic of Battistelli’s notion of justice)



  15. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board Will Endure Supreme Court Test and Overcome the Tribal Immunity “Scam”

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), based on the latest news, is still winning the argument and justifying its existence/importance



  16. Phones/Mobility (Trillion-Dollar Market) May Have Become Infested and Encumbered by Aggressive, Dying Companies

    The tough reality that new entrants/entrepreneurs are facing now that a few dying giants look to "monetise" their patents rather than create anything



  17. Links 9/12/2017: Mesa 17.3, Wine 3.0 RC1, New Debian Builds

    Links for the day



  18. Like the EPO, Taiwan/China (SIPO) Harm SMEs With a Policy of Patent Maximalism Which Fosters Litigation, Not Innovation

    A culture of patent maximalism breeds plenty of lawsuits in China (good for the legal ‘industry’), but small companies that are innovative lose focus and resources, just like in Europe where SMEs are discriminated against



  19. Bristows Continues to Lie About Unitary Patent (UPC) in Britain Only to Get Rebutted in Comments, As Usual (Criticism Not Deleted Yet)

    The latest wave of posts (typically from Bristows) which herald an arrival of UPC in Britain are not just delusional but also constitute terrible legal advice



  20. The European Union Now Repeats Paid Propaganda From the EPO (Regarding the Unitary Patent)

    The EPO's push for UPC, which has already involved payments to media and academia, is spreading to the EU, which unfortunately fails to uphold the Rule of Law and the spirit of the EPC



  21. European Media Covers the Latest EPO Scandal and the EPO's Refusal to Obey Orders of a Court

    European media is starting to catch up with the latest from ILO and the great importance not only of the rulings but also the EPO's response to these



  22. Antonius Tangena From the European Patent Institute (EPI) 'Aids' Željko Topić's Appointment at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    An E-mail from Antonius (Tony) Tangena reveals a degree of coordination between the EPI and the EPO -- a potentially inappropriate action that can be seen as a cover-up attempt



  23. SUEPO Announces Protest, EPO Distracts From the Scandal, and Readers Spill the Beans

    Readers have sent some additional details regarding the EPO "backstory" that we wrote about this morning



  24. EPO Scandal Spills Over to Irish Media, So It's Time for the Backstory

    A lot more is being revealed by the media this week (regarding the EPO's "war on judges") and now that it's a more 'mainstream' subject we can shed light on the background to it



  25. Battistelli's EPO is Once Again Caught in Very Gross Violation of the European Patent Convention (EPC)

    The tyranny of the EPO is made abundantly clear for all to see -- ILO included -- but will there be consequences for repeated violations by Team Battistelli?



  26. Links 7/12/2017: Qt 5.10, ReactOS 0.4.7, Guix and GuixSD 0.14.0

    Links for the day



  27. Less Than 24 Hours Later the EPO Already Refuses to Obey Court Orders From ILO (Updated)

    As expected by realists (or pessimists), the EPO continues to act as though it's above the law and even judges suffer miscarriage of justice against them



  28. ILO Said Give the Judge His Job Back, But Christoph Ernst's Administrative Council Will Likely Let Him Go (Unemployed)

    Another potential EPO scandal in the making, as after waiting for 3 years the illegally-suspended judge might get his job back for only 3 weeks



  29. Watchtroll, AIPPI, Bristows and Others Keep Pushing Software Patents Agenda (in Spite of the Ban)

    Pressure groups and front groups of the patent microcosm (e.g. AIPPI) -- sometimes even the patent microcosm acting directly -- are still trying to make software patents legitimate, usually behind closed doors, e.g. in private events where only the patent microcosm can debate the subject (no software developers allowed)



  30. Meanwhile in Eponia, Tyrant Battistelli Must be Seeking Advice on How to Refuse to Obey Court's Orders (Again)

    People already speculate about how Battistelli will attempt to come up with excuses for noncompliance (and ongoing violation of the EPC as well as ILO code)


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