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

09.21.11

Patent Reform and Android

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 12:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hand pencil

Summary: Why Google blew it as the company continues to pursue its own security rather than become more of a team player in the FOSS world

ALTHOUGH Android is not as free/libre as one might hope, it is the most likely Linux-based mobile platform to rise to greatness.

Google disappointed us on numerous occasions because rather than antagonise software patents (even with an amicus brief) it just played along with the plot and bought many patents, including software patents. It also filed applications for software patents of its own. Google is in a position where it can afford to play those messy games, but how does that help the rest of us? Android patent defence does not magically indemnify Linux.

So anyway, Google became part of the Big Boys Club and the hoax of a patent reform got passed, not actually resolving the key issues that IDG explains as follows:

“3. No Real Change on Software

“Of critical importance to those of us in the information technology industry are software patents, which I’ve long opposed. While this reform could have been a great time to deal with this problematic issue, that didn’t happen. Only two narrow niches–financial products and tax strategies–are addressed in a limited way, but nothing broader is included to fix the problem overall.

“Android patent defence does not magically indemnify Linux.”“Pro: Patents are limited or clarified somewhat in two narrowly defined business niches.

“Con: Overall, the ongoing software patent debacle continues unchanged, and that can only hurt small developers.”

What a waste of a ‘reform’.

Google has done one thing right when it spoke out about the cartel against Android, but what else is it doing about it? Based on reports like this one or this one, “Android [is] hurt by patent wars, could lose features” (amid call for CEOs to attend the courtroom).

The many articles about the subject (even new timelines) say something along the lines of “Google, Oracle CEOs Said to Make Little Headway in Patent Talks,” but the idea of abolishing software patents altogether is totally off the table. We must remember that Oracle’s older official statement was against software patents and all those “Java” patents are in fact software patents. Has Google explored the possibility of cutting the umbilical cord of this whole attack among others (on other developers too)? Or is Google just interested in defending Google while considering no push to end software patents for good? Here is one particular article on the subject:

oogle and Oracle CEOs will square off in court today to resolve a dispute that may pose the biggest threat to Google’s Android mobile software, now running on more than 150 million devices.

Google’s Larry Page and Oracle’s Larry Ellison were ordered to appear before a federal court magistrate in San Jose after tussling over patents for more than a year. Oracle accused Google of infringing on patents related to its Java software, and a settlement means the companies avoid the risk of having a jury trial decide whether Google owes royalties.

What about explaining to the court or at least to politicians the ridiculousness of those patents in general? These are the politicians who pass a fake patent ‘reform’ to wash their hands. In the sick industry of lobbying surely Google could come up with something. Its foes constantly lobby for more patents (and a global patent system), not to mention embargo. To quote this new report: “A settlement will likely require HTC to pay Apple hefty royalty fees for using its patents. The Taiwan-based company already gives Microsoft $5 for every handset sold, which brings the Redmond, Wash.-based company more revenue than from its Windows Phone sales.”

Android is getting damaged here and in order to resolve the problem for good (before Microsoft sends more and more patent trolls to raise the price of Android) Google will need to strike at the root. Samsung has a huge patents portfolio, so it can afford to seek embargo against Apple as means of deterrence. Quoting the news:

There are now 19 patent lawsuits between Samsung and Apple, in 12 courts in nine countries. In addition to the United States, Germany, and Australia, patent suits are pending in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan and South Korea. Apple also has filed patent suits against HTC, Motorola Mobility and others.

Samsung is meanwhile considering more of Bada and it can afford to sue back against aggressors like Apple. But how many developers out there are able to do so? Google too has just grown up patents-wise, but it does not provide much comfort to the FOSS world at large. We must not lose sight of the real problem and the real solution to it. Google was only a potential ally in that regard.

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 17/8/2019: Unigine 2.9 and Git 2.23

    Links for the day



  2. Computer-Generated Patent Applications Show That Patents and Innovations Are Very Different Things

    The 'cheapening' of the concept of 'inventor' (or 'invention') undermines the whole foundation/basis of the patent system and deep inside patent law firms know it



  3. Concerns About IBM's Commitment to OpenSource.com After the Fall of Linux.com and Linux Journal

    The Web site OpenSource.com is over two decades old; in its current form it's about a decade old and it contains plenty of good articles, but will IBM think so too and, if so, will investment in the site carry on?



  4. Electronic Frontier Foundation Makes a Mistake by Giving Award to Microsoft Surveillance Person

    At age 30 (almost) the Electronic Frontier Foundation still campaigns for privacy; so why does it grant awards to enemies of privacy?



  5. Caturdays and Sundays at Techrights Will Get Busier

    Our plan to spend the weekends writing more articles about Software Freedom; it seems like a high-priority issue



  6. Why Techrights Doesn't Do Social Control Media

    Being managed and censored by platform owners (sometimes their shareholders) isn’t an alluring proposition when a site challenges conformist norms and the status quo; Techrights belongs in a platform of its own



  7. Patent Prosecution Highways and Examination Highways Are Dooming the EPO

    Speed is not a measure of quality; but today's EPO is just trying to get as much money as possible, as fast as possible (before the whole thing implodes)



  8. Software Patents Won't Come Back Just Because They're (Re)Framed/Branded as "HEY HI" (AI)

    The pattern we've been observing in recent years is, patent applicants and law firms simply rewrite applications to make these seem patent-eligible on the surface (owing to deliberate deception) and patent offices facilitate these loopholes in order to fake 'growth'



  9. IP Kat Pays the Price for Being a Megaphone of Team UPC

    The typical or the usual suspects speak out about the so-called 'prospects' (with delusions of inevitability) of the Unified Patent Court Agreement, neglecting to account for their own longterm credibility



  10. Links 17/8/2019: Wine 4.14 is Out, Debian Celebrates 26 years

    Links for the day



  11. Nothing Says 'New' Microsoft Like Microsoft Component Firmware Update (More Hardware Lock-in)

    Vicious old Microsoft is still trying to make life very hard for GNU/Linux, especially in the OEM channel/s, but we're somehow supposed to think that "Microsoft loves Linux"



  12. Bill Gates and His Special Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein Still Stirring Speculations

    Love of the "children" has long been a controversial subject for Microsoft; can Bill Gates and his connections to Jeffrey Epstein unearth some unsavoury secrets?



  13. Links 16/8/2019: Kdevops and QEMU 4.1

    Links for the day



  14. The EPO's War on the Convention on the Grant of European Patents 2000 (EPC 2000), Not Just Brexit, Kills the Unitary Patent (UP/UPC) and Dooms Justice

    Team UPC continues to ignore the utter failures that have led to lawlessness at the EPO, attributing the demise of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) to Brexit alone and pretending that it's not even a problem



  15. Links 15/8/2019: GNOME's Birthday, LLVM 9.0 RC2

    Links for the day



  16. 'Foundation' Hype Spreads in China

    Nonprofits seem to have become more of a business loophole than a charitable endeavour; the problem is, this erodes confidence in legitimate Free software and good causes



  17. Links Are Not Endorsements

    If the only alternative is to say nothing and link to nothing, then we have a problem; a lot of people still assume that because someone links to something it therefore implies agreement and consent



  18. The Myth of 'Professionalism'

    Perception of professionalism, a vehicle or a motivation for making Linux more 'corporate-friendly' (i.e. owned by corporations), is a growing threat to Software Freedom inside Linux, as well as freedom of speech and many other things



  19. Links 14/8/2019: Best Chromebooks, EPEL 8.0, LibreOffice 6.2.6

    Links for the day



  20. Being in Favour of Free/Libre Open Source Software Means Rejecting Software Patents

    Those who believe in Software Freedom cannot at the same time believe that software patents are desirable; we've sadly come to a point where many companies that dominate so-called 'Open Source' groups actively lobby for such patents, in effect betraying the community they claim to be a part of



  21. Links 14/8/2019: Apache Evaluated, HardenedBSD Has New Release

    Links for the day



  22. Planet Python is Being Overrun by Microsoft, Just Like PyCon and Python in General

    Microsoft is perturbing the Free/Open Source software (FOSS) world from the inside, promoting Microsoft's most malicious proprietary software from within that world while taking positions of power in powerful FOSS projects



  23. Coming Soon: The Innards of the Eric Lundgren Case That Microsoft is Desperate to Hide or Spin (by Defaming Lundgren)

    Microsoft is rather stressed about Eric Lundgren coming out of prison and telling how Microsoft put him there; right now Microsoft is mostly name-calling while seeking to control public dialogues



  24. Wrong Person in Charge of the Linux Foundation (and in Charge of Linus Torvalds)

    There are several glaring issues when it comes to the leadership of Linux's steward; for one thing, it lacks actual background in... Linux



  25. 2019 Tech Glossary

    This clavis refers to what the de facto definition may be, based on how (and when) media uses the words nowadays



  26. The Silence of the Media Lamb

    There are reasons that are perfectly legitimate to criticise media which is unable and more so unwilling to cover particular scandals for fear that coverage can be detrimental to the media's owners and sponsors



  27. LINUX.COM Managed by Apple’s MacOS Users, Open Source Managed and Covered by People Who Reject Open Source

    The narratives are being hijacked; people who we're supposed to assume speak for Linux and for Open Source support neither of these things; they're only in it for the money



  28. The Linux Foundation's Open Source Summit is a Proprietary Software Marketing Venue

    The distortion of the term Open Source and promotion of proprietary software such as GitHub shows that the foundation called after “Linux” is actually more of a front group of hostile corporations — large brands and rich people to whom Open Source represents a threat that needs to be controlled



  29. Links 13/8/2019: Mir 1.4 Released, Qt PDF Discussed

    Links for the day



  30. Links 13/8/2019: KDevelop 5.4.1 and DragonFly 5.6.2 Released

    Links for the day


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