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