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

03.05.12

Patents Roundup: Hype, Critics, and Threat to Linux/Android

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Laptop

Summary: A FOSS-centric look at patent news from the past week or so

THE patent frenzy we find in the media (associating R&D with “patents”) shows no signs of abatement but many signs of resentment from the public. With patent-pending ‘inventions’ like search marketing stuff and stuff for “faster web” or network access we rapidly approach the age of mega-lawsuits over patents. This is not an industry of technology but an industry of deterrence and litigation.

“This is not an industry of technology but an industry of deterrence and litigation.”In the case of Motorola, Microsoft the patent extortionist is trying to play the victim card, as we explained before (Apple does the same). At the same time, Apple is attacking Motorola with a lawsuit which Microsoft booster and Linux basher Tony Bradley uses to create fear of Android. He is quoting/citing Microsoft lobbyist Florian Müller, who is leading to damaging headlines in the British press such as “Apple could force Moto to destroy phones” (among others).

This Microsoft lobby is promoting FRAND and so does Apple (Nokia has joined as well), which is being a total hypocrite because Apple does a lot worse than FRAND. And to quote this new criticism with nice pictures:

This system promises an ugly future in which mobile communications are slow (as it would be uneconomical to participate in FRAND communications standard development), there interfaces will be clunky (a company will be limited to a handful of UI elements for fear of infringement), and product quality will be decreased to offset an inevitable slew of licensing fees.

In an article titled “Patently Absurd – The Latest in the War to Stifle Innovation”, the author correctly states that “[i]t’s become the go-to strategy for languishing tech companies: When out-innovated, claim patent infringement.”

The author continues: “One patented “technology,” for example, is for “generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device.” Does easily getting people together at a specified date and time from a smartphone seem ingenious to you? Of course not, it’s what we obviously want our phones to be capable of – without enforced limitation by the patent system.”

“It’s all about monopolists expanding their field of influence.”In Germany, Apple faces another setback as its legal aggression backfires. Other cases where smartphones get retarded by patents include this new one: “In the cases of both Comerica and Southwest, the infringement supposedly occurs in the use of the smartphone software to communicate with other technology systems that the companies operate, the lawsuits allege.”

Here’s more. It should be rather clear by now that there is no benefit here to customers. It’s all about monopolists expanding their field of influence. The system is also good for litigation startups, pointless for the rest of the startups, contrary to the claims presented here. It is well established that startups do not have the resources to deal with patents, so a sort of rebuttal comes from Timothy Lee, who writes in Slate. He says more in Forbes:

When talking about the smartphone patent wars, it’s important to recognize that, as Stanford’s Mark Lemley pointed out a few years ago, almost all software companies ignore their competitors’ patents. There are two basic reasons for this. First, there are so many software patents, and they have such unclear boundaries, that finding and negotiating the rights to necessary patents is essentially impossible. And second, patent law awards triple damages in cases of willful infringement. So if a company finds a patent, tries to work around it, and is later ruled to have infringed the patent, it’s on the hook for three times the damages it would have faced it if had never found the patent in the first place.

A troll called BackWeb, which we wrote about before, is back at the scene and it makes money for doing nothing, having just settled with IBM. BackWeb is not a startup, it is a symptom of the farce that the patent system has become.

Who really benefits in this case? It is time to reform the system for reasons that Everything is a Remix recently explained very succinctly. Or as this one article put it:

Filmmaker Kirby Ferguson recently finished Everything is a Remix, a four-part video series illustrating the interconnectedness of our creations and how current laws and norms miss this essential truth. Some viewers protested that the series ended without offering much in the way of prescriptive ideas. Here, he takes up that challenge, offering his thoughts on intellectual property reforms and best practices with the interests of remixers and creators in mind.

Android is still under attack from Oracle [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] even though the patents prove to be worthless:

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a ruling rejecting Oracle’s patent of the Java language. The “final office action” by USPTO was one of several related rulings the agency issued relating to the popular programming language. The rulings came in response to a joint filing by Oracle and Google, which have been battling over the use of a modified form used in the Android mobile operating system.

As put by the British press:

Oracle must decide whether to wait for USPTO before trial in Android lawsuit

[...]

Oracle’s handling of its Android patent infringement claims has been little more than a farce and on the face of it, the firm has managed to engineer a situation that is worse than when it started. Not only have its repeated attempts to estimate damages suggested that the firm
doesn’t have a clue about what its Java patents might be worth, or why, but also it is looking increasingly likely that several of its patents are going to be invalidated by the USPTO.

More here:

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a ruling rejecting Oracle’s patent of the Java language. The “final office action” by USPTO was one of several related rulings the agency issued relating to the popular programming language. The rulings came in response to a joint filing by Oracle and Google, which have been battling over the use of a modified form used in the Android mobile operating system.

We recently wrote about Facebook and Yahoo, just after Facebook had been getting its own taste of the patent system. It was only some days ago that Yahoo! attacked and demanded payments for patents (patents boosters wrote about it too) so “Yahoo [is] now using its patents to extort money from Facebook and others,” put it some folks, perhaps realising that Yahoo! could one day be used like Microsoft uses Nokia — to attack competition. TechDirt has an interesting take on this subject, among others that involve Facebook.

Nintendo, to its credit, refuses as a matter of principle to succumb to patent trolls:

Rick Flamm, Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of Legal & General Counsel, has spoken out against “patent trolls” after winning a third litigation case this year.

Here’s more on that.

TechDirt explains the obvious observation that the patent system has been rigged to favour patent maximalism:

When the numbers came out showing that 2011 represented yet another record year for patents granted, it was such a non-surprise that I didn’t even bother mentioning it. The number of patents granted just keeps going up. And yes, there were two small dips during the past decade, but they corresponded with the rare situations in which the Supreme Court finally took an interest in some element of patent law and pushed back on the Federal Circuit (the appeals court that handles all patent issues) and the USPTO. We’ve discussed at length in the past, the problems of having a single appeals court that solely focuses on patent issues, because you lose the diversity of opinions (made worse at times when some of the judges on the panel have been former patent attorneys — or, most famously, when a judge at the court was the same former patent attorney who wrote the last major update to patent law…).

When people like Dennis Crouch are prominent among those who write on patents, no wonder there is so much promotion of yet more patents. This whole system needs a rethink, an overhaul, or abandonment. We’re merely trying to summarise and show the trends here, not so much from a sceptical or critical point of view; the articles increasingly speak for themselves because disdain for the patent system is mainstream. Now we need action.

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. Interesting Supreme Court Cases About Patents in the United States

    A quick review of some of the latest developments regarding SCOTUS (the US Supreme Court) as far as patents go



  2. Governments in Europe Still Active Against EPO Management

    There is still political work being done -- albeit rather discreetly -- against Battistelli and his goons at the European Patent Office's top-level management



  3. The European Spam Office (EPO)

    EPO budget at 'work', days after doing copy-paste jobs and also working overtime in the weekend for an extravagant and needless/purposeless event (except for Battistelli's own pride)



  4. Not Just Benoît Battistelli and Willy Minnoye (EPO): Željko Topić Too Thinks He is Above the Law, Avoids the Judges and Courts

    The latest developments regarding some of the criminal complaints and civil lawsuits against Topić, who is now a Vice-President at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  5. Nefarious Forces for Patent Abuse and Software Patents in the United States, Australia, India, Korea, and Europe

    A roundup of news from the weekend and today, with emphasis on the elements inside the system (or the media) which push for regressive policies that benefit them financially at the expense of everybody else



  6. [ES] El Sistema de Patentes de los EE.UU: Donde Uno Desperdicia Años en Corte y Gasta $8,000,000 en Honorarios de Abogados Peleándo una Patente Falsa

    un sumario de noticias acerca de las patentes de software en los EE.UU. Y ha lo que han llevado, debido en gran manera al decline en calidad de las patentes por parte de la USPTO (dejando que otros se las arreglen limpiando el desórden)



  7. [ES] La Oficina Europea de Patentes Todavía Sigilósamente Abusiva, Pagará $15,000 en Compensasió a Trabajadora Tras un Tardío Fallo de la ILO

    La Organización Internacional del Trabajo (ILO) emite un fallo en un caso de abuso de la EPO y nota “la excesiva duración de los procedimienteos internos de apelación.”



  8. Links 2/5/2016: Linux 4.6 RC6, DragonBox Pyra

    Links for the day



  9. Links 1/5/2016: Wine 1.9.9, Devuan Jessie 1.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  10. The US Patent System: Where One Wastes Years in Court and Spends $8,000,000 in Lawyers' Fees Fighting a Bogus Patent

    A roundup of news about software patents in the US and what they have led to, owing in part to the USPTO's declining patent quality (leaving others to clean up its mess)



  11. The European Patent Office Still Silently Abusive, Will Pay $15,000 in Compensation to Female Worker After Belated ILO Judgment

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) issues a judgment on a case of abuse by the EPO and notes "excessive length of the internal appeal proceedings."



  12. [ES] Alice Continúa Quebrando Patentes de Software Asi Que los Abogados de Patentes, Cabilderos de los Monopolistas, Etc. Ahora Atacan a la Corte Suprema por Hacer Esto

    los cabilderos Corpórativos y abogados de patentes están tratándo de poner a Alicia en la tumba, por su impacto en las patentes de software que es muy profundo y así hasta ahora casi indetenible



  13. [ES] ¿Cómo Salvar la Reputación de la EPO?: Crear Más Jurados de Apelaciónes en Europa y Abolir la Malgíada/Malintencionada Fantasía de la UPC

    Una crítica evaluación de lo que ocurre en la Oficina Europea de Patentes (EPO), la que rápidamente se está yendo para abajo (y degradando sobre todo) a el nivel de los sistemas Chinos, en conjuntamente con corrupción, los abusos, y la bajísima calidad de las patentes



  14. [ES] La Corte de Apelaciónes del Circuito Federal (CAFC) Acaba de Ponerse a Favor de los Trolles de Patentes

    la tristémente célebre CAFC, que manifestó las patentes de software en los EE.UU, acaba de dar un regalo a los trolles de patentes quienes típicamente usan las patentes de software para extorsión enc complicidad con los jueces del Este de Texas



  15. [ES] Análisis de los Últimos Datos de Lex Machina Acerca de la Litigación de Patentes Muestra Como está Declinándo

    el Professor Mark Lemley de Lex Machina resalta las tendencias en litigation al colectar y analizar datos relacionados con patente y concerniéntes a monopolios intelectuales en general; actualmente muestra una sequía de litigaciones (muestran que ha disminuído)



  16. [ES] La India Está Teniendo Otra Prueba de los Peligros de las Patentes Occidentales, Debe Aprender a Rechazar Completamente las Patentes de Software en Medio de Gran Presión

    El gigante de software que es la India continua enfrentándos ea la cruel y agresivo cabildeo de Occidente, haciéndo que este controle a la India por patentes que no deberían de existir en primer lugar



  17. [ES] Microsoft Dice que Continuará Extorsiónando a Compañías Que Distribuyan Linux, Usando Patentes de Software Usuallmente

    La guerra de Microsoft contra Linux, una guerra que es peleada usando patentes de software patents (por ganancias y/o por chantáje con arreglos empaquetados), todavía continúa a pesar de todas las tácticas de relaciónes públicas de Microsoft y sus sócios



  18. Alice Continues to Smash Software Patents So Patent Lawyers, Monopolists' Lobbyists Etc. Now Attack the Supreme Court for Doing This

    Corporate lobbyists and patent lawyers are trying to put Alice in the grave, for its impact on software patents is very profound and thus far almost unstoppable



  19. How to Salvage the EPO's Reputation: Create More Boards of Appeal in Europe and Abolish the Misguided UPC Fantasy

    A critical evaluation of what goes on at the European Patent Office (EPO), which is quickly descending down (and overall degrading) to the level of Chinese systems, along with the corruption, the abuses, and the low quality of patents



  20. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Has Just Sided With Patent Trolls

    The notorious CAFC, which manifested software patents in the United States, has just given a gift to patent trolls that typically use software patents for extortion down in Texas



  21. Analyses of the Latest Data From Lex Machina About Patent Litigation Show Some Litigation Declines

    Professor Mark Lemley's Lex Machina highlights litigation trends by collecting and analysing data related to patents and pertaining to intellectual monopolies in general; now it shows litigation droughts



  22. India is Having Another Taste of the Dangers of Western Patents, Must Learn to Reject Software Patents in the Face of Great Pressure

    The growing software giant which is India continues to face cruel and aggressive lobbying from the West, enabling the West to control India by patents that should not exist in the first place



  23. Links 29/4/2016: GNOME 3.21.1, Fairphone

    Links for the day



  24. Microsoft Says It Will Continue to Extort Companies That Distribute Linux, Using Software Patents As Usual

    Microsoft's war on Linux, a war which is waged using software patents (for revenue and/or for coercion in bundling deals), is still going on in spite of all the PR tactics from Microsoft and its paid partners



  25. Australia Might be Next to Block Software Patents If Commission's Advice is Followed

    Australian advice against software patents, which can hopefully influence Australian politicians and put an end, once and for all, to all software patents in Australia



  26. [ES] ''Si la Forma de Pensar de la EPO fuese Seguida, Guantánamo Sería Posible en Suelo Alemán.”

    La EPO está todavía bajo fuego, pero mucho de ello pasa detrás de las cortinas y envuelve abogados y/o burócratas



  27. The European Copy-Paste Office (EPO)

    This morning's example (not the first) of how the EPO uses 'social' media



  28. Links 28/4/2016: Fedora 24, EE Goes Open Source

    Links for the day



  29. Amid Referendum “the New European Unitary Patent System is Likely to Collapse Before It Started”

    The Unitary Patent Court (UPC) vision seems like it may be just one month away from its gradual death, depending on British voices amongst other key factors



  30. USTR is Trying to Shame and Bully India Into Introducing Software Patents in India

    Lobbying body of the US (corporations-led) is trying its usual dirty tactics against India's sound policy which excludes software/algorithms from patent scope


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