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


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. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  2. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  3. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

  4. Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  5. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  6. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  7. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions

  8. Gross Violation of Workers' Rights in EPO: Denial of Christmas Vacation/Leave for Slower Workers

    A look at an E-mail from within the EPO which shows how Christmas is used to squeeze staff, urging them to work even faster (despite speed gains) or lose their Christmas leave

  9. The Bogus Narrative Floated by EPO Management: Our Judges and Examiners Are Armed and Violent

    A look at the union-busting and protest-crushing moves from high-level EPO managers, who are trying to convince politicians that they do so in an effort to stop terrorists and neo-Nazis

  10. Support SUEPO or End Up Like They and Some of the Boards Did

    SUEPO, the fast-growing staff union of the EPO, increasingly needs the support and protection offered by action and participation from staff

  11. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Evening Newspaper) Speaks About EPO's Refusal to Accept Court Orders From The Hague

    Article explains the depths of the issues inside the EPO and the unacceptable immunity that management at the EPO continues to exploit, shaming or discrediting the very notion of the rule of law in Europe

  12. HeBS Digital and Black Duck Press Releases Treated Like Articles, Used to Muddy the FOSS Waters

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is under attack again, and it's the proprietary software lobby that's responsible for that

  13. EPO President Battistelli Now Intimidates Even National Delegations

    Report about an embarrassing incident implicating Benoît Battistelli and some angry comments cast over the witch-hunting of a judge, using all sorts of questionable tactics

  14. A Look at the Latest Gross Deletionism at the EPO's 'Media Partner', French Newspaper Les Échos

    The EPO's bogus 'journal of record, which Team Battistelli likes to cite in order to bolster its warped version of events at the EPO while maintaining a close secret relationship with the publisher, keeps censoring its own reporters (spiked paragraphs, silently self-censored or censored after publications)

  15. Rumour About Efforts to Dismiss a Board Judge by Intimidating Boards of Appeal

    Comment found online accuses the Administrative Council of pressuring, by threats, Directorate-General 3 to dismiss a judge who is silently accused (with selective 'leaks' to the media, reportedly orchestrated by EPO managers) but not even proven guilty

  16. President Battistelli Now Pressures/Threatens Politicians Who 'Dare' to Complain About Abuses and Unacceptable Conditions at the EPO

    Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, a French politician, unleashes an angry letter from Benoît Battistelli and reveals just to what lengths the EPO's Team Battistelli is willing to go in order to crush political backlash

  17. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part IV

    Some more background information about Elodie Bergot and Gilles Requena, who are married whilst also sharing positions of power at the EPO (and also strong connections/ties with the EPO's President, Mr. Battistelli); Rumours afloat at the EPO -- some with ever-increasing circulation too -- are worth noting

  18. Translation of Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann's Article in the German Media, Urging European Politicians to Intervene in EPO Chaos and Lawlessness

    Frankfurt-based media presents an opinion piece written by a Munich-based economic correspondent, Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann

  19. German Press Says Broken EPO Lets President Severely Punish Staff Not Even Guilty of Any Wrongdoing

    Juve publishes an article which attempts to be 'balanced' (meaning it believes everything that EPO officials say) but at the same time reveals unacceptable practices that go in inside the EPO

  20. German Media Reveals That Out-of-Control EPO Management is Even Threatening and Abusing Lawyers Now

    The EPO's longstanding fight against justice escalates to an unprecedented war on lawyers themselves; “After this latest move,” says a German newspaper, “even lawyers are starting to feel threatened by the Office.”

  21. Washington Post Only Entertains Debate About Patent Trolls (But Not Patent Scope) Whilst US Lawyers Trick the System to Patent Software

    The Bezos-owned Washington Post continues to help those who wish to eliminate patent trolls (which bother Amazon amongst other large conglomerates) but remains void of any coverage about patent scope, including software patents that patent lawyers work so hard to defend

  22. It Pays (Off) to 'Bribe' the Media: Watch How Les Échos Covers EPO Matters and Self-Censors

    French newspaper Les Échos is self-censoring yet again and it is framing the EPO scandals as the fault of employees, not the fault of abusive managers who are working with Les Échos as a so-called 'media partner' (the EPO management is French-dominated)

  23. 'Leaked' PDF Shows How EPO Management Tried to Crush Judge Who 'Dared' to Criticise EPO Management

    The EPO's management continues to chill potential critics and is now making an example of a board's judge, despite having no such authority over him

  24. Links 21/11/2015: Community Appreciation Day, Jolla's Problems

    Links for the day

  25. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part III

    A look at how the EPO's management (Željko Topić in particular) defended the unprecedented promotion of Ms Bergot (wife of the president's close assistant), even in the face of outcry from EPO staffwarning

  26. In an Effort to Counter EPO Staff Narrative (After ~2,000 of Staff Protest) EPO Management Portrays Staff as Violent But Provides No Evidence

    The EPO's management has a poor record on accuracy and truth and the latest staff-shaming tactics serve to reinforce that track record

  27. Gross Aggression by EPO Management Shows the Urgent Need to Remove Immunity From EPO

    The increasingly militant approach of EPO management (with counterterrorism staff added to interrogate EPO staff) serves to show an organisation gone truly bonkers

  28. Patents Roundup: Alice Decision Still Upsets Patent Lawyers, Microsoft AstroTurf Group Lobbies on FRAND, Google and Red Hat Recalled

    The reaction of patent profiteers to scope/boundary restrictions, the FRAND lobby by Microsoft's longtime front group, FRAND matters in Korea (affecting Android), Google's response to patent threats, and Red Hat still keeping quiet about its patent agreement with Microsoft

  29. Links 20/11/2015: DockerCon EU, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2

    Links for the day

  30. Patent Lawyers Want to Bring Software Patents (Hence Patent Trolls Too) to Europe, Piggyback Battistelli's Habitual UPC Promotion

    Analysis of the views of academics (profiting from solid research), contrasted with patent lawyers (profiting from feuds and conflicts), and the latter group's exploitation of Benoît Battistelli's misguided policies


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