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


Halliburton and the UN (World Intellectual Property Organisation): Patent Globalisation, Monopoly Maximalism, and Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 10:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Francis Gurry from WIPO
Photo by dkpto @ Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Summary: Bad companies and selfish people are making the patent system worse for everyone; the White House is urged to bring about change, but petition signers are not of the 1% (or less) that influence and sponsor the party

BACK we go to the subject of software patents, which we have not covered quite so thoroughly as of late.

This subject is not about any one particular company. It affects everyone, including proprietary and Free software developers. It also affects non-developing members of the public because hefty tax is being silently passed to them.

It is hard to get over the news about Halliburton expanding the boundaries of software patents, bringing some more of them to Europe (or to the UK, to be more specific). At Computer Weekly, one who was previously accused of helping Microsoft’s agenda (we were not persuaded by the evidence presented to us though) writes that “The High Court has overturned a decision of the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), explicitly confirming that technical design methods are patentable.”

As one can see in our IRC logs, the president of the FFII was rather disturbed by this. It was also brought up there that Gurry's patent boosting at WIPO (which the FFII previously pointed out) carries on with more outrageous statements:

Last June, the Swiss Press Club held a launch for the Global Innovation Index at which various speakers were invited to talk about innovation. After the head of CERN and the CEO of the Internet Society spoke about how important it was that the Web’s underlying technology hadn’t been patented, Francis Gurry, the Director General of the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), took the mic to object.

In Gurry’s view, the Web would have been better off if it had been locked away in patents, and if every user of the Web had needed to pay a license fee to use it (and though Gurry doesn’t say so, this would also have meant that the patent holder would have been able to choose which new Web sites and technologies were allowed, and would have been able to block anything he didn’t like, or that he feared would cost him money).

We also mentioned Gurry in [1, 2, 3], including leaked material from Cablegate.

These disturbing ideas from WIPO are not surprising. We have been pointing out this dangerous attitude from WIPO for quite a few years. Then there are patent lawyers and their blogs that spread more propaganda about patents and their supposed ‘benefit’ to society. Consider the post “EU confident over unitary patent plans” (too many contradictions as shown by Axel).

Other patent lawyers’ blog still tilt the balance in favour of software patents. For example:

Ultramercial v. Hulu: Computer Programs and Patentable Subject Matter


Software is patentable
Layered on top of this finding is the court’s rejection of the argument that software programming amounts to abstract subject matter. “The digital computer may be considered by some the greatest invention of the twentieth century, and both this court and the Patent Office have long acknowledged that “improvements thereof” through interchangeble software or hardware enhancements deserve patent protection. Far from abstract, advances in computer technology—both hardware and software—drive innovation in every area of scientific and technical endeavor.” Slip Op. at 12.

This holding is in tension with the Federal Circuit’s recent opinion in Cyber Source Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc., No. 2009-1358 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 16, 2011), in which a panel consisting of Judges Bryson, Dyk and Prost concluded that a method of verifying a credit card transaction over the Internet constituted an unpatentable process. While the panel in Ultramercial recognized this tension, it distinguished Cyber Source as an instance of “purely mental steps.” Ultramercial Slip Op. at 13 (emphasis in original). The line, at least from the point of view of this panel, thus lies somewhere between logical steps that humans can perform without the aid of a computer versus those that require a computer to carry out.

The whole “embedded” trick is completely dishonest. To paint software as “machine” is like painting mathematics as “abacus” or comparing a musical piece to “gramophone” to justify patents on drum beats, vocals, or a short sequence of words. It is truly absurd, but patent lawyers would go as far as they can to justify more and more patents on everything which people think about and do. It is a tax on society and the lawyers take a cut from all these fees.

“To paint software as “machine” is like painting mathematics as “abacus” or comparing a musical piece to “gramophone” to justify patents on drum beats, vocals, or a short sequence of words.”How much should we be willing to remove from our thoughts and actions just to feed a redundant industry that prevents small businesses from threatening the status quo? These are mere gate keepers. Just watch Microsoft as it gets a trademark for retail store plans (no, it is not a joke). The Register says that “Microsoft has been awarded a trademark on its design for a store selling all things high tech.” (trademark registration #4036534).

How many shops are infringing? Should they all be shut down or be forced to pay Microsoft? It is a little reminiscent of the Lindows case.

The Economist, a reputable paper which is neither run by lawyers nor written by engineers, ought to view this whole pyramid/MLM scheme of a system as a bad idea. Not so long ago it posted some rants against the patent system and now it’s airing a piece titled “programmed nonsense”. To quote the relevant parts:

The message is finally getting through. When the White House opened a website earlier this month for people to create and sign petitions they feel passionate about, one immediate favourite asked the president to “direct the [USPTO] to cease issuing software patents”. The petition garnered more than 12,000 signatures in the first few days. The White House has promised to respond to any petition that collects 5,000 signatures during the first month.

Software patents and business-method patents (invariably based on some software algorithm) are unlike any other type. As a rule, mechanical, chemical, material and even biological inventions and discoveries are concerned with some novel feature that can be measured and uniquely defined. But software programs deal almost exclusively with mathematical relationships that are well known and widely used. In writing software, programmers do not have to make novel, serendipitous discoveries, as inventors in other fields do. In many ways, that makes programming a good deal easier, and certainly more predictable, than inventing.

The corporate press can say the truth, unlike all those “IP” people who run blogs for patent lawyers or even “UN”-painted bodies like WIPO, which is also run by the “IP” crowd. Why are those foxes allowed to have so much influence over the hen house, aka White House? The republic needs to be run for the benefit of the people, not parasites.

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 22/10/2016: Deus Ex for GNU/Linux, Global DDoS (DNS)

    Links for the day

  2. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Survey Comparison Shows Serious Deterioration and Efforts by PwC to Disguise the Truth

    The latest output from PwC turns out to be even worse than initially thought, indicating that not only did it find a degradation in the EPO but also attempted to hide/obscure it

  3. EPO Teaser - The "Iberian Connection" - Some Photos of García-Escudero and His Royal/Government Connections

    A look at the undeniably close connections between Mr. García-Escudero and the most powerful people in Spain

  4. Disruption to Site's Service

    A technical note about why Techrights has not been publishing many articles recently

  5. Links 21/10/2016: MPV 0.21, Mad Max for GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  6. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's High Five

    Another cartoon about the sad state of the EPO

  7. Battistelli Ruins Not Only the EPO But Also the Whole of Europe By Ushering in Software Patents That Patent Trolls Love So Much

    Battistelli's bad leadership at the EPO threatens to bring to Europe all the ills and menaces of the patent system in the United States

  8. EPO Spokesman Lies to IP Watch in Order to Save Face and Save the King (Battistelli)

    Rewriting history (revisionism) regarding Battistelli and what was demanded amidst abusive behaviour from him

  9. Unitary Patent (UPC) is Dead, But 'Managing IP' and Selfish Patent Law Firms Still Try to Resurrect It

    The latest attempts to shore up the Unitary (or Unified) Patent Court and who's behind it other than the usual suspects

  10. Links 20/10/2016: Linux 4.10 Preview, ONF and ON.Labs to Merge

    Links for the day

  11. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC 'Study': The Raw Outcome Shows Distortion of the Facts at the EPO's Notorious 'Social Conference'

    Results of the Staff Survey carried out by PwC, in order to provide some propaganda for Battistelli's expensive Social Conference

  12. Addendum: EPO's Alberto Casado Cerviño, WIPO's Francis Gurry, and EUIPO's Archambeau

    Photos taken as part of an IP event which took place in Riga (Latvia) in March 2015

  13. Worrisome Connections Between EPO VP2 Alberto Casado Cerviño and Patricia García-Escudero Márquez

    Exploring the potential conflicts of interests implicating the EPO's Boards of Appeal Committee

  14. Site's Infrastructure Under Attack and Upgrades Ahead of Major New Publications

    Protections for the Web site have been improved and capacity increased in order to avoid or at least prepare for another week of abusive/spam traffic

  15. Team Battistelli's Conspiracy Theory: SUEPO is Behind Everything, EPO Management is Trying to Tell the Media

    Attempts to blame SUEPO, the staff union of the EPO, even though SUEPO has nothing to do with articles that are critical of the EPO while many thousands of EPO employees are disgruntled

  16. Links 19/10/2016: Canonical Livepatch Service, Plasma Plans

    Links for the day

  17. The 'Sarah Sharps' of Microsoft: Not the Kind of Scandal the Media Cares Enough to Write About

    Another example of the large (industrial) scale of sexual discrimination at Microsoft -- a company that tries to advertise itself as diverse or tolerant and stigmatise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) as intolerant and/or not diverse

  18. EPO Caricature: EQE Questions

    The latest EPO cartoon, this time about European qualifying examination (EQE)

  19. The Long History or Seeds of Control by Fear and Punishment at the EPO

    The latest hogwash from Team Battistelli (Pinocchio), the latest instance of software patents promotion by EPO Principal Director, and an old (decade-old) nugget of information from the Forum for Principal Directors

  20. Subject of the European Patent Office's Abuses Raised in European Parliament by Ulrike Müller (ALDE)

    A local copy of a bunch of questions asked less than a month ago by Ulrike Müller at the European Parliament, regarding the unacceptable state of affairs at the European Patent Office (EPO)

  21. French Article About the EPO "Crisis"

    Le Monde, which covered EPO suicides and nervous breakdowns a year and a half ago, revisits the subject

  22. Battistelli Wants Us to Believe a Patent Office in a Freefall (EPO) is “Stronger and More Sustainable”

    Still in denial (or self-deluding for self indulgence), Battistelli writes about the EPO as though everything is rosy and people are happy

  23. Leaked Documents Shed More Light on What Happened to Alison Brimelow and How Battistelli Rose to Power

    How Battistelli's (almost) all-male (and all-white, mostly French) management came into being, not too long after Ms Alison Brimelow got elbowed out the Office

  24. Leaked: Outcomes of 149th Administrative Council's Meeting at the European Patent Organisation

    The raw details or a summary thereof, based on the above which serves to confirm what we wrote about several days ago, right after the quarterly meeting had ended

  25. Danish Press Coverage of the European Patent Office and the Problems Explored by Techrights

    Jesper Kongstad does virtually nothing to deny the arguments (or "accusations") and instead alludes to the style of the writings about him

  26. Links 18/10/2016: Release Candidate of Leap 42.2, Looking Ahead at GTK4

    Links for the day

  27. Links 17/10/2016: JS Foundation, Ubuntu 17.04 Named ‘Zesty Zapus’

    Links for the day

  28. EPO Updates: Battistelli in Trouble, Grossenbacher and Battistelli Having a Fight, EPO Doubles Down on Željko Topić

    Interesting updates from the European Patent Office (EPO), where things have taken a turn for the worse for Battistelli while Željko Topić secures an extension of his notorious contract

  29. EPO Social Conference Another Example of Astronomical Waste of Money by Benoît Battistelli

    Having paid the media and attempted to scare/intimidate staff into silence (even among one another), Battistelli now pays some firms to lie for him and present the lies while staff representatives are blocked from entering the presentation

  30. As Expected, Benoît Battistelli Puts Longtime Ally Roland Grossenbacher on Top of Boards of Appeal

    Benoît Battistelli's predecessor Roland Grossenbacher, who has a track record of protection and support for Battistelli (no matter the magnitude of abuses), reportedly takes a key position with Battistelli's approval, debunking the notion that the appeal boards will enjoy greater (perceived) independence from the Office


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