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

11.27.11

Patents Roundup: Broken System as the News Attests to the Failure

Posted in Apple, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 3:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brick wall

Summary: Some bits of news that seem relevant to the patent wars which affect Linux and Free software in general

THE US patent system is as broken as it has been since the start of this year (and probably more broken than ever before).

Lodsys the patent troll extorts a company, proving just how ridiculous things have become and The Economist says: “The number of patent applications in the world rose from around 800,000 in the early 1980s to 1.8m in 2009, according to the World Intellectual Property Report 2011, newly published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).”

This is not a good thing and it also shows that patents are not indicative of innovation. Innovation did not just double in a couple of decades. What we see here is a world that gets increasingly troubled and disturbed by patent monopolies.

When patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures are the ones rising while other companies — real companies that make products — declare bankruptcy, then innovation is truly doomed.

The corporate press continues playing along with this whole “IP” extravaganza and The Register shows Apple trying to get monopolies in the field of Computer Vision, which is a field I work in. According to this article:

Apple secured a patent yesterday on software to create and identify 3D models of faces, animals, aircraft, military vehicles and tumours in one of the more unusual tech patents to be awarded in recent months. This came to light after the US Patent and Trademark Office published a series of newly awarded patents.

Shame on Apple for claiming monopolies on mathematical methods. That’s what Computer Vision is about, mostly manipulation of matrices. There is no excuse for granting exclusive rights on use of geometry. Whose laws of nature are these anyway?

Over in New Zealand the Pirate Party does good work that tackles the patent question (like the Pirate Party in Australia) and in its latest move we find more evidence of that:

Party president Tommy Fergusson said the key issues for the party were the “three strikes” copyright regime that came into force in September, under which people can be fined up to $15,000 for downloading copyright material, software patents and a filtering system set up by Internal Affairs to block access to child pornography sites.

The part relevant to us is about software patents. Other parties do not talk about it. Over in Europe, regulators get involved and one source says that “The European Commission ‘s vice president for competition, Joaquin Almunia, has for the first time publicly voiced his concern about how certain high-tech companies may be using intellectual property rights unfairly to thwart rivals and distort competition, reports Reuters.

“Almunia’s decision to speak publicly could signal that an official investigation is in the works.

“In particular, the European Commission is looking into the spate of smartphone patent battles between Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Samsung Corp. , but it has not yet launched an official probe. The EC requested information from Apple and Samsung, but Almunia said he has not received answers. (See Euronews: Vodafone Guns for UK Govt Deals.)”

How does any of this patent confrontation which Apple started benefit the European buyers? Here is what Murdoch’s press quotes in relation to this:

“The patent system is very seriously screwed up,” says Ed Black

Ed Black was paid by Microsoft and even he is able that the patent system lost its way.

Some of the better examples of the patent system being broken come from the smartphones sector. Here is a new article about this which says:

Smartphone sector in a patent arms race

[...]

Specifically, an eruption of patent lawsuits has occurred between almost every major developer of smartphone hardware and software in the industry. In many respects, companies are buying insurance against future legal action, injunctions, etc.

Microsoft is currently using Nokia as a patents weapon, probably against Android (through MOSAID). The president of the FFII writes: “Nokia patent lawyer gives no solution for SMEs attacked by trolls, left them in the cold by dark software patent system”

The Pirate Party in New Zealand has also just stepped in (yes, again) and gotten involved in the news again. No other party seems to be doing anything substantial about it. Those who do simply struggle to get funding and those who do (like the German Pirate Party) sell out by taking money from supporters of software patents. Here is what happens in New Zealand:

Internet users in Hamilton East and Wellington who are concerned about the “Skynet” copyright regime will have a chance to make a protest vote at the election tomorrow.

The Pirate Party failed to garner the 500 members it needed to contest the party vote in the election, but is fielding candidates in the two constituencies.

What we desperately need in all nation is a political presence that realises what patents are really about. Not some online petitions which give a shallow impression of the public being listened to; we need real action. The Against Monopoly Web site cites a new article that tackles an issue related to software patents and remarks as follows:

The New York Times ran a surprisingly long and tough piece from Reuters titled Making Sense of Patent Law link here. It opens, saying “The United States Supreme Court has a chance to reverse the mission creep in patent law. The system is supposed to reward inventors but not stifle innovation. Fuzzy and overly broad concepts like thought processes generally are not protected. Yet one company, Prometheus Laboratories, reckons it owns a method for interpreting how patients react to a drug.”

It then traces the history of patent law covering ideas which consistently forbade such patents but by 1994, was patenting “any software with a practical purpose.”

What example can be cited of a software patent bringing real progress and lowering costs? Innovation is supposed to be about benefits, not the hoarding of paperwork and legal fees that accompany this.

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. After Infecting Unity -- Successfully -- Microsoft's Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

    Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices



  2. Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

    Microsoft's insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages ([cref 27802 possibly trillions] of [cref 13992 dollars in damages to date]) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software



  3. City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It's Only Tax Authorities

    A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation



  4. Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

    The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of 'pirates'



  5. Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on 'Trolls' and Quotes Lawyers

    How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that



  6. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  7. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  8. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  9. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  10. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  11. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  12. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  13. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  14. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  15. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  16. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  17. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  18. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  19. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  20. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  21. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  22. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  23. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  24. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  25. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  26. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  27. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  28. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  29. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  30. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day


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