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

02.22.12

Patents Roundup: Oracle Lessens Android Demands, Red Hat Suggests Cure to Trolls, Debian Adopts New Patent Policy

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents, Red Hat at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Proprietary giants and their trolls cut the Linux cake

Cake-cutting

Summary: Patent news which applies to Linux or other vital parts of the Free software world

THE hype of patents is everywhere in the news [1, 2] (more so than in prior years), but more and more cases are “[r]equesting a government evaluation of whether a patent was properly issued,” as part of a process “known as reexamination [which] is cheaper than a lawsuit and has an easier standard for discrediting a patent than what is allowed before a judge or jury. With a success rate of about 90 percent, companies have almost doubled requests in the past five years, turning the patent office into a reliable forum to shoo away competitors’ claims of patent infringement.”

What this tells us is that many patents get granted which should never have been granted in the first place. There is clearly a bubble. This system is not working, except for lawyers.

“This system is not working, except for lawyers.”According to this important bit of news, Oracle changed its tune because its patent assault is failing. This is covered here, citing Pamela Jones, who writes: “Oracle has told the court it wishes to withdraw its last claim of the ’476 patent, claim 14, no doubt having read Google’s letter to the judge asking for permission to file a motion for summary judgment of invalidity of claim 14. This is the last claim of that patent still in the case. The USPTO in December issued a final rejection of 17 of the 21 claims of this ’476 patent, anyway, including all seven of the patent’s independent claims, and while Oracle has until February 20 to appeal, the handwriting is on the wall. Whatever it decides about an appeal, claim 14, and hence patent ’476, is no longer in this litigation.”

This comes amid more updates on the copyright case of Oracle, which might even be easier to toss out because, just like in the SCO case, unless there are lines of code to be shown, this whole case is weak and hinged on the question of APIs.

Here is the report on damages:

Last Friday Google filed a motion to substantially strike both the third damages report submitted by Dr. Cockburn on behalf of Oracle and the conjoint analysis report submitted by Dr. Shugan on behalf of Oracle. (718 [PDF; Text]) If successful, this motion will virtually preclude the Oracle damages experts from testifying at trial. PJ did a fine job covering the flaws in these reports identified by Google. Now we consider the likelihood of success of the motion.

Oracle’s case against Android is not the only case, but many of the others involve Apple, Microsoft, and their patent trolls. They strive to elevate the cost of Android. Here is the unofficial Red Hat message regarding fix for the common troll (not for software patents in general)

First, create a compulsory licensing mechanism for patents whose owners are not making competitive use of the technology in those patents. Patent owners should be required to declare the areas or products that incorporate the patented technology. All other non-practiced areas should be subject to a compulsory license fee. (A non-practiced “area” would be a market or technology sector or activity in which the patent owner is not using or licensing the invention rights, though the owner may be using the patent in other “areas.”) Licensing rates for patents could be set by patent classification or sub-classification based on industry average licensing rates for each such technology. Again, this would only apply to applications where the patent is not being practiced or voluntarily licensed by the patent owner.

Given the vast number of patents issued, an accused party should have a reasonable, set time after receiving notice of a patent within which to pay for the license going forward. Compulsory licenses are authorized by the treaties we have entered into, and we have significant experience with compulsory licensing of copyrighted works from which to develop an analogous patent mechanism. Uniform rates could be set.

Second, cap past damages for trolls at $1 million per patent and eliminate the possibility of obtaining injunctive relief for infringement of patents that are not in use, or are not used commercially, by the patent owner.

Third, a mandatory fee shifting provision should be put in place where the plaintiff is required to pay the defendant’s reasonable defense fees if the plaintiff does not obtain a better recovery than what was offered by the defendant. (Presently, there is such a cost shifting mechanism in place; however, the relevant costs typically are a tiny fraction of the legal fees in a case.)

Fourth, for U.S. domestic defendants, require that suits be brought in the venue where the defendant’s primary place of business is located.

Fifth, if a party wants more than limited discovery from the opposing side, particularly for electronically stored information (ESI), the requesting party should pay the cost of production. For large technology companies, ESI production alone can cost into the seven figures.

Red Hat aside (it has legal mechanisms that others do not), Debian sets a new software patents policy:

A new software policy from the Debian Project seeks to minimize its exposure to patent litigation. But could the new policies create friction with other projects within the community?

At first, you might think a statement from the Debian Project denouncing software patents was as obvious as “the sky is blue,” or “Richard Stallman will make you write GNU/Linux 500 times if you call free software ‘open source,’” but nonetheless, I thought the policy itself was rather interesting.

The policy is rather brief, which makes it very clear and concise. Consisting of only five clauses, the policy outlines how the Debian Project wants to handle patents associated with software: namely, it wants nothing to do with them. The meat of the policy is in the first three clauses:

For users of Debian there is no indemnification, so it they don’t choose Red Hat, then they are left in a different legal position. SJVN has this new article advising CIOs in case of patent lawsuits:

The recent Bilski Supreme Court decision has made it far, far too likely that your company may face a patent lawsuit at some point.

You may think that the last thing on earth that could happen to your company would be that your business might be sued because it used a particular software program. You’d be wrong.

In the aftermath of the Bilski Supreme Court decision, the Supreme Court did nothing to stop software or business method patents. As a result, not only software development companies but all businesses are now in more danger from patent lawsuits than ever before.

The Bilski case affects the US and for the time being it is a different story for companies located (and operating) outside the US. We need to work hard to prevent software patents from spreading.

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. Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

    Links for the day



  2. Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

    Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)



  3. Microsoft is Leaving Windows -- Including Vista 8.1 -- Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

    Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire



  4. Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

    Links for the day



  5. Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, 'Targeted' Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

    Links for the day



  6. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  7. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  8. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  9. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  10. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  11. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  12. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  13. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  15. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  16. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  17. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  18. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  19. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  20. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  21. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  22. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day



  23. KDE News: Kubuntu at the Centre Again KDE Applications Updated

    Links for the day



  24. Techrights Rising

    Effective immediately, Techrights will do what it takes to bring back old volume and pace of publishing



  25. Links: Surveillance, Intervention, Torture and Drones

    Links for the day



  26. Mobile Linux Not Just Android: Jolla, WebOS, and Firefox OS News

    Links for the day



  27. Google's Linux Revolution: New Gains for Android, Chrome OS (GNU/Linux)

    Links for the day



  28. Free/Libre Databases News: MongoDB, NoSQL, and MySQL Branches/Forks

    Links for the day



  29. Open Access on the Rise: Textbooks, Journals, Etc.

    Links for the day



  30. Finance Watch (Watching What's Not Being Watched): Economic Warfare/Class Injustice

    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