Software patents. From the back door/stage.
Summary: A quick catchup with patent news, emphasis persisting on the situation in Europe
PATENT rants have become abundant and over the coming weeks we shall cover several that we missed over the past week or two (yours truly was absent).
Granting of software patents can be influenced by the proposed patent harmonisation in Europe and the “EPO can influence patent harmo[nisation] through translation, classification, PPH,” notes one person. This matter is especially sensitive because software patents in Europe are the bridge for US monopolists (including Apple and Microsoft) to take their abusive behaviour global, i.e. their embargo war becomes indisputable. In some cases even access to life-saving drugs is at stake.
Glyn Moody, a Brit, wrote about the danger earlier this month and pointed out that:
Aside from the general issue of transparency and accountability, there is also a more particular concern for readers of this blog. Despite the fact that in Europe patents may not be given for software “as such”, patents are being issued for software using a variety of legal tricks (mostly involving extremely dubious redefinition of key terms to avoid the ban on software patents.)
Just watch what happened in Germany where Apple tried to embargo Linux-powered tablets:
A German court has ruled in Motorola Mobility’s favour in a patents dispute with Apple.
The Android smartphone maker had complained that Apple failed to license one of its wireless intellectual properties.
As the FSFE’s Karsten Gerloff (in Germany) put it, there is a “Good summary of #Apple ban in Europe ur1.ca/6jiri (DE) Can we all agree now that #swpat are silly?”
In the United States, Apple cannot get its way all the time. Based on leaked documents, Apple is more vicious than its followers realise. To quote: “A person within Apple has leaked the company’s ‘Retail Blogging and Online Social Media Guidelines’ which explain that employees cannot use blogs, wikis, social networks, and similar online tools to communicate about their employer internally.” This means no complaining about Apple’s patent aggression presumably. What a lovely company, eh? In separate posts we are going to tackle what Microsoft is doing as well. Antitrust regulators get increasingly involved in what constitutes racketeering, proxy wars, and anti-competitive collusion. There are even those who say that “Patents violate the constitution in discouraging innovation”.
A more comprehensive coverage of the situation in Europe will be posted soon. Now is the time to fight back for elimination — not proliferation — of software patents all around the world. █