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


Patents Roundup: Patent Lawyers, USPTO ‘Thieves’, Apple, and Microsoft

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 10:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A bootleg video recording

Summary: A variety of this week’s news about patents, including some from Apple and Microsoft

MORE people are becoming aware of the problems with software patents, which nonetheless percolate into new statements, press releases, and other items that we find in the news. The reputation of patents seems to have declined and facilitators of the patent system are becoming somewhat of a laughing stock.

We particularly liked this new example from Blackboard, which for PR purposes claims to be embracing Open Content that is easy to do when one’s code is proprietary and patents encumbered. To quote:

Blackboard.com, which offers “learning management systems,” became a big deal at a time when many schools were still learning how to put teaching in the cloud. Critics called for a boycott of Blackboard in 2006 after it used a flimsy software patent to sue a rival, and raised fears that it would sue universities that were using their own teaching software tools rather than Blackboard’s products. The controversy abated in 2009, however, when a court found that the patent claims were invalid.

Many software patents are invalid in principle (prior art and triviality), but it costs a lot of money for a defendant to challenge them because the process and the system are broken, favouring the claimant (in court) and the applicant (in the patent monopolies office). Look no further than this article from a Mac site. It ridicules Apple’s own patents, which given the site’s bias is saying a lot. To quote the diversion (blaming the system rather than Apple):

Slide to Unlock? Patented


It’s a bit silly, really, but blame it on the patent system. Be that as it may, nobody now gets to use the popular ‘Slide to Unlock’ without infringing on Apple’s patent unless a court rules it is invalid or prior art. Here’s a video of the 2004-5 Neonode N1m, showing a similar Slide to Unlock that existed before the iPhone (4 minutes in):

We’ve all seen it before. There are more complicated examples which are actually physical and go centuries/millenia back. How could Apple have been granted a monopoly on this? It is an insult to Apple and to the USPTO. Any little kid could independently come up with the same “idea”. A lot of Apple’s patents are artsy and outright ridiculous.

Richard Hillesley has a good new article with a dramatic headline and it goes like this:

All patents are theft

If necessity is the mother of invention, patents are its delinquent offspring, providing stumbling blocks to innovation and progress, inhibiting the free exchange of ideas, and restricting our knowledge of how things work…

Patents are of course a restriction and a monopoly. They do not in any way help professionals move science and technology forward.

Over at Muktware there is this new piece about Microsoft’s self-defeating fight against Linux/Android:

Microsoft is fast earning the reputation of being a troll instead of an innovator in the mobile space. The company dominated the desktop segment purely on the basis of anti-competitive business practices where they forced all competitors out of the market thus creating a monopoly. That monopoly is collapsing as OS is becoming more and more redundant in the era of Web and mobile computing.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone is a massive failure. Instead of pulling up socks and creating better products the company has resorted to the same old anti-competitive business practices which it used for selling its ‘stolen’, as Steve Jobs said, Windows OS.

“Stolen” and “theft” are propaganda terms in this context. But they can be embraced like the word “piracy” (as in Pirate Party and The Pirate Bay) to challenge and ridicule those who initiated or perpetuated the propaganda, including Steve Jobs.

“We are not on a path to win against Linux”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft's Platform Group Vice President

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


  1. Michael said,

    October 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm


    You whine about Apple’s slide to unlock patent. I can see complaining it is “too simple” or something, but to say there is prior art and then show two examples which do not demonstrate that is silly. Neither fit the description of the patent.

    Given your obsession with attacking Apple, if there was prior art you likely would have found it. You did not. Hence it is likely there is none.

  2. walterbyrd said,

    October 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm


    According to PCMag, Apple may be targeting HTC again.


    According to a commenter there:

    > “The Neonode had a slide gesture to unlock. Also, the Neonode (and others) had user slide gestures WITH visual feedback (such as moving a window, highlighting selections, etc.) for years before. ”

    Apple is mostly just a scam litigation company.

  3. walterbyrd said,

    October 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm


    August 2011:

    Dutch judge considers Apple’s slide-to-unlock patent trivial and likely invalid

    > “The Dutch judge who wrote today’s decision declared the European counterpart of that patent (EP20080903) obvious (as compared to prior art presented by Samsung) and, therefore, invalid.”


  4. Michael said,

    October 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm


    If there is prior art then fine. And calling it trivial – I can see a case for that.

    My question is why Roy feels the need to lie about it?

What Else is New

  1. The Spanish EPO Scandal - Part I

    How García-Escudero Marquez, the sister of a Spanish Senate speaker, got controversially appointed to succeed the (now) EPO's Vice-President Alberto Casado Cerviño

  2. Media Alert: IAM 'Magazine' Does Not Protect Sources

    An important discussion regarding the role of IAM (Intellectual Asset Management) in the debate about EPO abuses

  3. Richard Stallman and Eben Moglen on the Microsoft-Red Hat Deal

    Founder of Free software and author of the GPL (respectively) comment on what Microsoft and Red Hat have done regarding patents

  4. Links 30/11/2015: Linux 4.4 RC3, Zaragoza Moving to FOSS

    Links for the day

  5. Public Protests by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff Weaken the EPO's Attacks on the Media

    Where things stand when it comes to the EPO's standoff against publications and why it's advisable for EPO staff to stage standoffs against their high-level management, which is behind a covert crackdown on independent media (while greasing up corporate media)

  6. Why the European Patent Office Cannot Really Sue and Why It's All -- More Likely Than Not -- Just SLAPP

    Legal analysis by various people explains why the EPO's attack dogs are all bark but no bite when it comes to threats against publishers

  7. How the EPO Twisted Defamation Law in a Failed Bid to Silence Techrights

    Using external legal firms (not the EPO's own lawyers), the EPO has been trying -- and failing -- to silence prominent critics

  8. East Texas and Its Cautionary Tale: Software Patents Lead to Patent Trolls

    Lessons from US media, which focuses on the dire situation in Texas courts, and how these relate to the practice of granting patents on software (the patent trolls' favourite weapon)

  9. The Latest EPO Spin: Staff Protesters Compared to 'Anti-Patent Campaigners' or 'Against UPC'

    Attempts to characterise legitimate complaints about the EPO's management as just an effort to derail the patent office itself, or even the patent system (spin courtesy of EPO and its media friends at IAM)

  10. The Serious Implication of Controversial FTI Consulting Contract: Every Press Article About EPO Could Have Been Paid for by EPO

    With nearly one million dollars dedicated in just one single year to reputation laundering, one can imagine that a lot of media coverage won't be objective, or just be synthetic EPO promotion, seeded by the EPO or its peripheral PR agents

  11. EPO: We Have Always Been at War With Europe (or Europeans)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) with its dubious attacks on free speech inside Europe further unveiled for the European public to see (as well as the international community, which oughtn't show any respect to the EPO, a de facto tyranny at the heart of Europe)

  12. What Everyone Needs to Know About the EPO's New War on Journalism

    A detailed list of facts or observations regarding the EPO's newfound love for censorship, even imposed on outside entities, including bloggers (part one of several to come)

  13. EPO Did Not Want to Take Down One Techrights Article, It Wanted to Take Down Many Articles Using Intimidation, SLAPPing, and Psychological Manipulation Late on a Friday Night

    Recalling the dirty tactics by which the European Patent Office sought to remove criticism of its dirty secret deals with large corporations, for whom it made available and was increasingly offering preferential treatment

  14. The European Private Office: What Was Once a Public Service is Now Crony Capitalism With Private Contractors

    The increasing privatisation of the European Patent Office (EPO), resembling what happens in the UK to the NHS, shows that the real goal is to crush the quality of the service and instead serve a bunch of rich and powerful interests, in defiance of the original goals of this well-funded (by taxpayers) organisation

  15. Microsoft Once Again Disregards People's Settings and Abuses Them, Again Pretends It's Just an Accident

    A conceited corporation, Microsoft, shows not only that it exploits its botnet to forcibly download massive binaries without consent but also that it vainly overrides people's privacy settings to spy on these people, sometimes with help from malicious hardware vendors such as Dell or Lenovo

  16. When the EPO Liaised With Capone (Literally) to Silence Bloggers, Delete Articles

    A dissection of the EPO's current media strategy, which involves not only funneling money into the media but also actively silencing opposing views

  17. Blogger Who Wrote About the EPO's Abuses Retires

    Bloggers' independent rebuttal capability against a media apparatus that is deep in the EPO's pocket is greatly diminished as Jeremy Phillips suddenly retires

  18. Leaked: EPO Award of €880,000 “in Order to Address the Media Presence of the EPO” (Reputation Laundering)

    The European Patent Office, a public body, wastes extravagant amounts of money on public relations (for 'damage control', like FIFA's) in an effort to undermine critics, not only among staff (internally) but also among the media (externally)

  19. Links 27/11/2015: KDE Plasma 5.5 Plans, Oracle Linux 7.2

    Links for the day

  20. Documents Needed: Contract or Information About EPO PR/Media Campaign to Mislead the World

    Rumour that the EPO spends almost as much as a million US dollars “with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO”

  21. Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue

    Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public...”

  22. Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Some timely perspective on what's needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by 'virtue' of making tyrants its official figureheads

  23. A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

    An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media

  24. European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”

    Criticism of the EPO's thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws

  25. Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

    Links for the day

  26. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  27. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  28. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  29. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  30. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin


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