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Patents Let Giants Attack the Rest, Apple Attack FOSS

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: A roundup of patent news with focus on Apple’s attack on FOSS projects, notably in the courtroom

PATENTS are still being used to push small players out of the market, as shown recently courtesy of Honeywell.

As we also showed some days ago, there is impact [1, 2, 3] on dentists. This was mentioned here some days ago when we stressed the human toll of patents. There are too many reports of software patents out there and they have a negative effect on the inclination to develop (this factor is rarely being taken into account in cost analyses). GCC and other examples of widely used Free software are always at the mercy of patent holders. This works well for those who can wield an axe while exploiting Free software – companies such as Apple, which hoarded KHTML and many other FOSS projects (before starting to attack FOSS with patent lawsuits).

It was only a matter of time really, especially given Apple’s arrogance. Watch what Apple is doing to CUPS right now. It’s not just technical sabotage but also legal sabotage. It helps nobody except Apple, the selfish company that promotes selfishness. “Software patents do create jobs for litigation lawyers and patent attorneys in Europe,” writes the FFII, which keeps emphasising that patents are not about innovation but about profit for very few people. Given Apple’s legal attacks on FOSS, lawyers’ blogs are providing tips for fellow patent lawyers. Paul Cole is not interested in innovation but only in ways of exploiting the EPO to extract money. To quote:

According to BBC News last Friday, Apple has succeeded in the German courts in enforcing a patent for a user interface feature for its mobile devices. The ruling demonstrates the value of European patents for “software” inventions where a “technical” effect can be demonstrated. The claims in the granted patents and the problems that they solve provide insight about what features of a user interface might be regarded as “technical” by the EPO. The advantages to a software developer of being able to patent innovative interface features that are important to the “look and feel” of the device and the software running on it are self-evident.


One take-away message for US applicants is the need to draft applications bearing in mind the exclusions under the EPC: stating as one of the main objects of the inventions “to provide more aesthetically pleasing operations” plays straight into the hands of an Examining Division or Appeal Board within the EPO and even if such objects can and should be stated, functional objects are best set out first. Another message is not to overlook the role of the human user in the invention: in the refused application the needs of the computer and the attractiveness of the micro-movie as a matter of shape were explained but what was necessary for the user to see the “micro-movie” and how long it should last were left unstated.

Meanwhile, over in China, Apple is shown for the hypocrite it is:

INTERNATIONAL LITIGATOR Apple could be faced with the prospect of a ban on its Ipads in China, after a lower court ruled in favour of Shenzhen Proview Technology.
Proview claims that it owns the rights to the Ipad name in China and wants a ban on sales of its rival’s device in the country. So far it has had some success in China, and now, according to a report at the Associated Press, it can claim another victory.

This is far from the first time Apple is accused of taking other companies’ names. But Apple and its followers just ignore the reality of inspiration and simultaneous discoveries/advancements. Apple created this illusion that it is a great innovator and that everything resembling an Apple product is just a ripoff, never mind prior art and Steve Jobs’ admission of copying others massively.

One thing that Android backers definitely did not copy from Apple is defective antennas, which even Apple with its hype machine can no longer cover up.

A few days ago we wrote about Apple's use of a "slide to lock" patent to try to ban Android devices. Apple has no shame and some of the press mocks Apple for it [1, 2, 3] although not sufficiently. One analysis shows why Apple’s patent should be considered invalid:

When I initially searched the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database and Google Patents, I missed something very interesting in the war [1][2] between Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Android’s “Big Three” — Google Inc.’s (GOOG) new acquisition Motorola, HTC Corp. (TPE:2498), and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) — regarding swipe-to-unlock intellectual property.

Neonode Inc. (NEON) appears to be the first to patent this technology, holding a claim I missed.

Currently, Apple is trying to embargo certain Android devices:

Apple raised the stakes in an intensifying global patent battle with Samsung Electronics by targeting the latest model using Google’s fast growing Android software, a move which may affect other Android phone makers.

Please boycott Apple and also explain to other people why Apple is an enemy of fair competition. There is nothing “magical” there. This sort of behaviour oughtn’t be tolerated, and not only because Android is based on Linux. This harms everyone in the market and outside of it (customers).

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A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    February 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm


    Apple has no attack against FOSS. You made that up. In face, Apple has gotten OSS into the hands of more desktop users than all desktop Linux distros *combined*. The idea that they are somehow an enemy to OSS is complete fantasy.

    It was only a matter of time really, especially given Apple’s arrogance. Watch what Apple is doing to CUPS right now. It’s not just technical sabotage but also legal sabotage.

    Complete fabrication on your part – but worse than that, it shows a complete lack of understanding of the entire concept of what it means for OSS to be *free*. When you work on open source software you are welcome to change it to suite your needs. Add to it. Take from it. Alter it. Do *anything* you want but prevent others from doing the same. This is the core value of OSS. This is what being open is all about. This is what Apple is doing.
    And you do not get it. You whine and complain that Apple, who owes you nothing, is not working to serve your needs. Boo hoo, Roy. What a sad state your mind-set is in to think the world owes you everything.

    It helps nobody except Apple, the selfish company that promotes selfishness.

    Selfish! You simple do not get it. Let’s look at someone who might just understand Linux (and OSS) a wee bit better than you (which is really anyone, but let’s pick a specific expert):
    Linus Torvalds: http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7439/

    I agree that it’s driven by selfish reasons, but that’s how all open source code gets written! We all “scratch our own itches”. It’s why I started Linux, it’s why I started git, and it’s why I am still involved. It’s the reason for everybody to end up in open source, to some degree. So complaining about the fact that Microsoft picked a selfish area to work on is just silly. Of course they picked an area that helps them. That’s the point of open source – the ability to make the code better for your particular needs, whoever the ‘your’ in question happens to be. Does anybody complain when hardware companies write drivers for the hardware they produce? No. That would be crazy. Does anybody complain when IBM funds all the POWER development, and works on enterprise features because they sell into the enterprise? No. That would be insane.

    You are doing what Linus Torvalds considers to be insane. Yes: insane. You are not being even slightly rational in your reaction to Apple. You rarely are. You are driven by emotion and, as you have said yourself, "envy".
    And then you on about your BS attacks against Apple’s work against plagiarism.
    Here: challenge for you – make a statement about your view on plagiarism. Is it fine in your book? Is it something that those who are plagiarized should work to correct? Just what is your view?
    You will not, of course, answer this – because then you would have to be completely open about your pro-plagiarism stance.
    Oh, as far as your call to boycott Apple. LOL! You do realize the only ones who will listen are your cult-buddies who are willing to blindly accept your BS without thinking. As shown above, you know nothing of OSS and are simply not willing to talk about your views on plagiarism.

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