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

09.24.11

With Failure to Reform USPTO, Grim Future for Patent Systems Worldwide

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gearing up to patents on mental processes everywhere

Gears

Summary: How the powers-that-be keep pushing for patent tyranny of global scope and almost limitless scope for patenting, including very fundamental ideas implemented in code and in mind

BEFORE globalisation brings us all a US-style patent system we must prepare for a NAFTA-like stage where Europe tries to consolidate its patent offices and set up a centralised courtroom or court system, then merging it with the trilateral systems which already accepts software patents (the US and Japan). Unless people stand up and resist this, the process often seems inevitable and irresistible. Once passed, it will be irreversible too. Earlier this month we showed many cables about the diplomatic endeavours to make the global patent system an imminent reality (see our Cablegate page). Based on this post from patent lawyers: “That Unified Patent Court which has so divided opinion in Europe has been very much in the IPKat’s mind in recent days. The problem is that, while most people are either enthusiastic or at least accepting of the idea of having a Unified Patent Court for the European Union’s 27 Member States, many experts are anxious about the actual details and a simple Kat could be forgiven that everyone seems to want a different one.

“Anyway, the Draft agreement on a Unified Patent Court and draft Statute of 14 June 2011 has now been examined, weighed, measured, pondered, praised, criticised, printed out and converted into fleets of paper darts — and there is no doubt that there are some serious problems which remain to be resolved.

“Here in the United Kingdom, the grandly-named EU Patent Reform Consultation Group (concerning which see CIPA, August 2011, pages 488-490) formed a sub-group to examine the Draft Agreement. The sub-group did not consist of a bunch of conscripts who had been dragged from the drinking houses of Holborn, sobered up and then instructed to moan about the Draft Agreement; rather, it was a select gathering of some of the finest patent experts on this part of the planet — academics, practitioners, patent owners and even a blogger — most of whom are, it may gratifyingly be said, friends of the IPKat even if, as indicated, none of them has [recently, says Merpel] been dragged from any of the drinking houses of Holborn.”

Benjamin Henrion summarises the above as:

Comments on the Unified Patent Court by the patent microcosm, Tim Frain of MS/Nokia, LJ Jacob and al http://t.co/HVWmGWUX

“Unified Patent Court” would be better off called the “No-Escape Patent Court”. It’s a mechanism for filing lawsuits internationally with no safe haven and sovereign independence to separately evaluate legal cases. As long as the USPTO is a sordid mess, it will be a problem to every citizen of the world (either a customer or a producer).

Good ol’ Stephan Kinsella is preparing to hold an event about Obama’s so-called patent ‘reform’. We always use scare quotes because it is ‘reform’ that serves Microsoft, which already abuses the patent system to behave anti-competitively and according to this Microsoft-oriented view by Kurt Mackie from the ‘Microsoft press’:

Microsoft is among several larger tech companies who pushed for the change to “first to file” — but what will the Act’s passage really mean for the tech industry (and patents in general)? Patent attorney Carlos A. Fisher walks through the potential impact.

Patent lawyers probably like this new ‘reform’, whereas patent trolls might like it a lot less in the long term. “Innovation’s down, but patent trolls are thriving” is how the Washington Post summarised the situation and quoting the article, Benjamin Henrion (FFII) rewrites this as “Paul Marks catches IBM moving to patent the “well-known” idea of partitioning software to protect against malware”. This is not innovation. Microsoft is patenting password/authentication ideas right now, proving yet again that making something more secure is now a patent violation. How is that a good thing?

Microsoft is permitted to keep its extortion deals against Linux (making money from other people’s work) which Mr. Masnick criticises as follow:

So just what are the benefits of paying Microsoft a licensing fee for free software, especially when said software was not developed by Microsoft? If these quiet settlements are any indication, the sole benefit would be to avoid being dragged through the courts by one of the largest software developers in the world. Seriously, what other benefit is there? Is there a collection of patent trolls jumping at the chance to sue companies using Linux that have yet to surface thanks to Microsoft’s cradling licensing deals? Not that I have read about. The only patent holder jumping at the chance to sue over Linux is Microsoft itself.

Microsoft is going after embedded Linux, which is massive. John Dvorak chooses to mischaracterise Linux by pretending it’s just a desktop platform, but he does slam Microsoft for this behaviour:

This strategy needs to be stopped. Microsoft should immediately sue IBM, Red Hat, and other major Linux distributors. It should establish its supposed rights and stop playing games.

Microsoft has accumulated so many patentable ideas regarding its OS designs that it might be impossible to abide by all of them. However, there are ways to code around a patent, if someone actually knows what patent to code around. Microsoft has not exactly rolled out the portfolio for people to debate because it knows that this would be a bad idea. So instead, it uses its ability to act the bully and threaten the schoolyard kids.

To me, these dubious business practices follow those that got the company in trouble with the U.S. government during the Gates era. It seems as if nothing has changed.

Microsoft and its patent trolls very much like the status quo and as Groklaw points out, this whole ‘reform’ led to “A Rush To The Courthouse By Trolls”. To quote Professor Webbink:

One consequence of the passage of the America Invents Act (HR1249) signed into law by President Obama last Friday (September 16) was a mad rush to the courthouse by some patent trolls. You see, one of the favorite tactics used by patent trolls is to bring a suit with dozens of defendants regardless of whether there are common issues of infringement other than the commonality of the asserted patents. This tactic allows the troll to benefit from a consolidated action, thus drastically reducing the troll’s cost of litigation. Of course, this tactic doesn’t always work as we learned in the Interval Licensing case.

51 cases against 680 defendants is how bad it is based on Masnick’s summary and the “[q]uality of patents ‘falling dramatically’, warns OECD,” which works well for patent lawyers and harms everyone else. To quote:

Quality of patents ‘falling dramatically’, warns OECD

A book dealer friend once told me of an affluent American who walked into his London shop and asked if he could buy “20 yards of books”. It didn’t matter what they were, he announced airily, as long as they were leather bound they’d look good on the mahogany shelving in his new abode. Well, it appears such attitudes now dominate the thoughts of what we once thought of as innovators, as they treat patents as a similar commodity to be bought in bulk.

In summary, the US patent system remains very messy and there is no solution to this in the pipeline. Sooner or later the powers-that-be will try to impose this system on the whole world (which to an extent they already do).

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

2 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    September 24, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Gravatar

    Being that we already have a global economy, it makes sense to have an approximation of global IP protections.

    This does not mean the current protections in the US are good ones though… nor that the US should be able to decide for others.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    September 24, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Gravatar

    The Pirate Party now has representation in several countries. It is most likely through them and the coalitions including the PP that improvements can be effected. The old parties are largely unaware of technology and are playing catchup now that they have to ask themselves how the PP got elected. Some of them will see the problem with software patents.

What Else is New


  1. Links 15/12/2019: Wine 5.0 RC1 Released, KDE Frameworks 5.65.0, Qubes OS 4.0.2 RC3

    Links for the day



  2. It Matters a Lot What You Call the System

    Why the best name for the best operating system would be "GNU", not "Linux" (media has twisted the words so as to marginalise GNU and its politics/philosophy)



  3. Only the EPO Goes as Far as Bribing Publishers (the Media) to Promote Software Patents and Publish Fictional Stories

    The world’s patent offices are growing tired of granting software patents which courts later toss out (because these patents are not valid); not only does the EPO advocate such patents — typically using a bundle of buzzwords — it’s also bribing the media to help



  4. EU Needs to Show That It Cares About SMEs and Not 'European Champions' That Are Actually Foreign Monopolies

    Judging by the EU’s nearly blind and unconditional support for the management of the EPO — no matter how abusive and corrupt it has gotten — one has to wonder if the ex-EU official in charge of the EPO reveals a profound democracy deficit as well as growing dangers to Europe’s businesses — the productive firms to which patent maximalism often represents far more risk than opportunity



  5. Guest Article: The Free Software Movement Should Come Out From the Box

    "From now onwards we have to think from a user’s rights perspective and mobilise users of Free software. They should know what rights they ought to get."



  6. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 13, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, December 13, 2019



  7. Links 13/12/2019: QEMU 4.2.0, GNU Guile 2.9.7

    Links for the day



  8. Links 13/12/2019: Zorin OS 15.1, Vim 8.2

    Links for the day



  9. Linux Foundation Has Outsourced All the Licence Compliance Stuff to Microsoft, a Serial GPL Violator

    OpenChain Specification/OpenChain Project and Automated Compliance Tooling (ACT) are yet more examples -- the latest of many -- of the Linux Foundation being outsourced to Microsoft, not only for code but also documentation and hosting



  10. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 12, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 12, 2019



  11. Copyleft: Keeping Code Free

    Now that news about "Linux" is dominated by promotion of proprietary software we ought to remember what perpetrators of such a strategy seek to eliminate



  12. Plans That Worked, Plans That Failed

    "I am still looking for good news, but the more good I try to find, the more nastiness I uncover. This is by far, Free software's worst year ever. 2019 Sucks!"



  13. Links 12/12/2019: KDE Applications 19.12, Qt Creator 4.11, New VirtualBox

    Links for the day



  14. Brand Dilution in Action

    Microsoft's proprietary software which spies on people and businesses is getting a "free ride" on the "Linux" brand; and nobody seems to care, nobody seems to notice how perverse that it



  15. At the EPO Money -- Not Quality -- is King

    Financiers are ruining quality



  16. The EPO's Strategic Failure 2023

    Potemkin social dialogue



  17. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 11, 2019



  18. EPO Promoting Software Patents in Countries Where These Are Illegal

    The EPO's vision of 'unitary' software patents (patents on algorithms in countries that disallow such patents, as per their national laws) won't materialise, but in the meantime a lot of Invalid Patents (IPs) are granted in the form of European Patents (EPs) and this is wrong



  19. We Support GNU and the FSF But Remain Sceptical and Occasionally Worry About an RMS-less FSF

    Richard Stallman (RMS) is not in charge of the FSF anymore (it's Stallman who created the FSF) and there's risk the decisions will be made by people who don't share Stallman's ethics or the FSF's spirit



  20. Links 11/12/2019: Huawei Lobbied by Microsoft (Because of GNU/Linux) and Microsoft Still Googlebombs Linux to Promote 'Teams'

    Links for the day



  21. Links 11/12/2019: Edge Native Working Group, CrossOver 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

    Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE efforts — celebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponentsclosing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)



  23. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 10, 2019



  24. Today's Example of Microsoft's Faked 'Love'

    “On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference,” according to Wikipedia



  25. Links 10/12/2019: Kubernetes 1.17, Debian Init Systems GR

    Links for the day



  26. 'Cancel Culture' as 'Thoughtpolice' Creep

    Richard Stallman spoke about an important aspect of censorship more than 2 decades ago (before “Open Source” even existed); it was published in Datamation (“Censoring My Software”) 23 years before a campaign of defamation on the Internet was used to remove him from MIT and FSF (censoring or ‘canceling’ Stallman himself)



  27. Microsoft Still Hates GNU/Linux and Mark Shuttleworth Knows It (But He is Desperate for Money)

    We're supposed to believe that a PR or image management (reputation laundering) campaign alone can turn Microsoft from GNU/Linux foe into friend/ally



  28. Actions Against EPO Corruption and Unitary Patent (UPC) Injustice/Lobbying

    The EPO is apparently going on strike again and an action against the UPC is scheduled for later this week (protest in Brussels)



  29. “The Fifth Freedom as a Meme”

    The issue with systemd (or SystemD) has provoked or at least stimulated discussions about the limits of the famous Four Freedoms



  30. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 09, 2019


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