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

03.08.12

Patents Roundup: Android, FRAND, and Patent Hype

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 5:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

World in hand

Summary: Patent news of interest

LINUX/Android is affected in a very real way by patents, with notable cases like this assault by Oracle [1, 2, 3] or even Apple's extortion, in addition to Microsoft’s. If 3 giants want $15 from each Android device sold (plus patent trolls toll/fines), then the tax on Linux becomes significant. This is exactly what they are hoping to achieve because some of the latest numbers from the United States suggest that Android extends its lead, having long ago conquered the #1 spot with almost 1 million device activations per day.

Android was never about patents, but foes of Linux decided to use patents as a last resort that Windows 95 never really had to cope with. The EFF has a new infographic which shows how patents hinder innovation. And to quote:

Patents may have been created to help encourage innovation, but instead they regularly hinder it. The US Patent Office, overwhelmed and underfunded, issues questionable patents every day. “Patent trolls” buy too many of these patents and then misuse the patent system to shake down companies big and small. Others still use patents to limit competition and impede access to new knowledge, tools, or other innovations.

Over at patent lawyers’ sites there is yet more RAND advancement/promotion, neglecting the fact that RAND (or FRAND) is not compatible with Free software. They neglect ZRAND and other options that actually are being marginalised. To quote part of this post:

On its face, it is easy to see why a FRAND commitment might reassure implementers of a standard. If a patent is essential to the standard, the patent holder must license the patent on terms that are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory. Unfortunately, the devil has proven to be in the details of FRAND, and no two companies seem to have the same view of what constitutes fair, reasonable or non-discriminatory licensing terms. This lack of agreement has troubled regulators for some time and has led to an increasing number of litigation claims alleging that one party or another to a standards effort has failed to comply with its FRAND obligations.

The February FRAND statements by Apple, Microsoft and Google are thus informative and potentially of great importance. To understand the statements, and why the DOJ viewed them differently, it is helpful to compare them side-by-side. The following table summarizes what Apple, Microsoft and Google said FRAND means to them.

Apple and Microsoft pretend to be victims. Google never really wanted anything to do with patents, but it was attacked fiercely by the duopoly. The OIN meanwhile looks for solutions to this duopolistic aggression (not patent trolls) and articles about it reach as far as CNN, which says:

An alliance of technology corporations, including IBM, is expanding the scope of patent protection it provides to developers, vendors, and users of open source software such as Linux. The move cuts against the grain of major companies going after each other, filing suit over patent infringement.

Notice how they single out IBM. It’s not exactly inaccurate though. Other quarters of the business press spread patent propaganda in this week’s press and PR circles.

Adobe, which previously stood up against software patents, is now pursuing them:

Adobe’s patent-pending software technology is used in a variety of plug-ins for popular desktop apps such as Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Adobe says it is also working on support for Microsoft Outlook, PowerPoint, and Chrome in the future.

Something called “Patent Research Platform” has just gotten funding:

You won’t have to go far in Silicon Valley to find someone who will tell you that the patent situation in the tech industry is a mess. While trouble has been brewing for a decade, the last year has been marked by a continuous stream of litigation, and some might say it’s beginning to take its toll on innovation. Take Yahoo’s recent threats to Facebook, for example. Back in September, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt warned that “overbroad patents will slow” the progress of the software industry, saying that the current state of patents in the U.S. was “terrible.”

At the time, Schmidt suggested that dealing with patents in a way that is more systematic might be beneficial to the industry, even broadly making reference to the idea of crowdsourcing. The Google Chairman isn’t alone in thinking this approach could help make a difference in the ongoing patent wars, evidenced by the growing community that is Article One Partners’ global patent research platform.

This was already attempted by others, including Peer-to-Patent. The issue with this approach is, it inadvertently helps validate patents. How about companies that base themselves on patents? Here is a funny opening paragraph:

Good news for gamers –start up Numecent has announced further details of its patented cloudpaging technology which could vastly lower the time needed to stream software applications.

Why does it seem necessary to patent it? This a bubble.

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

4 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    March 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Gravatar

    I think Android could do well even if those who sell it were made to actually pay for the technologies they use. I do not think they *must* resort to plagiarism in order to be successful… just guess I have more faith in Android than you do, Roy.

  2. mcinsand said,

    March 9, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Gravatar

    Apple is truly the most disgusting of all; they copy from FOSS, market and patent as if they had invented it, and then try to extort from FOSS licensing fees that Apple copied.

    The problem is that the FOSS culture behavies ethically, where Apple and MS can only compete through extortion and racketeering through patents that are only granted by the US government not paying attention to its own definitions. Abstract ideas (software) are not supposed to be patentable, and for many good reasons.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Consider who is funding election campaigns. It’s not FOSS.

    Michael Reply:

    It always amazes me how ignorant the "FOSS" folks are in terms of open source. Of course Apple and MS use open source for their own reasons – that is the primary way open source is used and written. That is why Linus Torvalds is involved in open source:

    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.

    So the argument that MS and Apple are doing something wrong to use open source to their benefit is just absurd – and unless you are going to complain about Linus Torvalds doing the same thing, it is completely hypocritical.
    As far as people patenting open source… what? The whole idea of open source is that it is not patented and is open to all. Again, you show no understanding of what open source is about.
    Open source is available to all – and Apple and MS use it. That does not mean they are obligated to give their own property away, nor does it give others the right to plagiarize from them. Really, these are not complex concepts.

What Else is New


  1. Links 24/5/2017: New RHEL Beta, SteamOS Updated

    Links for the day



  2. Great News: While IBM et al Try to Undermine Patent Reform the Supreme Court Deepens the Reform in TC Heartland Case

    In a unanimous decision, with the court ruling 8-0 against TC Heartland, the monkey business in East Texas (beneficial to patent trolls and large businesses that leverage software patents) may have just come to an end



  3. Speculations About Battistelli's End of Term, Campinos at EUIPO, and Failed UPC Ambitions

    Rumours and speculations surrounding the fate of the EPO's leadership now that the UPC gravy train is stuck again and Battistelli's protector, Jesper Kongstad, is about to leave



  4. Martijn van Dam is Wrong to Believe That Battistelli's Abuses Are Somehow Acceptable or Tolerable Because His Term is Possibly Ending

    Coverage of Martijn van Dam’s stance (he is the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs) reveals that economic gain trumps ethics and justice, irrespective of what the law says



  5. Media and Staff Association Elections at EPO and WIPO Are Compromised

    A campaign of abuse (legal bullying) and gifting to the media, combined with a wide-ranging assault on critics who represent the interests of staff, have led WIPO and EPO down the route to totality



  6. New Documents Help Demonstrate That ILO Delivers Institutional Injustice to EPO Employees and Cushions Team Battistelli

    The International Labour Organisation Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) delivers not justice but merely the illusion of justice, probably in defiance of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)



  7. Leaked: 2017 European Inventor Award Finalists, or Stooges Whom the Tyrant Battistelli Exploits for PR Purposes and Media Manipulation

    The stupidest ceremony in Europe (turning serious science into something sketchy such as Eurovision) is disliked among EPO staff and is exploited by the person who destroys the EPO (Benoît Battistelli) to pretend all is fine and dandy, at huge expense to the Office (as extraordinary as about 5 million Euros for a ~2-hour show)



  8. EPO: Can the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) Still Save It?

    Genuine concerns about the slow process at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the lack of progress at ILO, which coincide with weakening of the unions and threat to jobs of patent examiners (leaving ordinary Europeans more vulnerable to meritless patent lawsuits)



  9. Links 21/5/2017: Linux 3.18.53, Tizen 4.0

    Links for the day



  10. Cloudflare's Enemy is Software Patents, Not Just One Software Patent or One Patent Troll

    With a bounty of $50,000, which is likely less than the cost of legal defense, Cloudflare looks for help with its own case rather than the underlying issues that need tackling worldwide



  11. Patent Laws -- and Especially Eligibility of Software Patents -- Are Being Hijacked by Large Corporations and Their Front Groups

    Intervention by large multinational corporations and their lawyers, front groups, etc. (like the classic lobbying model) gives room for concern in multiple continents where most software development is done



  12. Links 18/5/2017: Catching Up With the Past Three Days

    Links for the day



  13. The US Supreme Court Consults USPTO Director Michelle Lee Regarding the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Which is Invalidating Software Patents With CAFC's Approval

    Software patents continue to get knocked out by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) whose introduction of PTAB gave a helping hand to companies that are susceptible to abusive litigation (with bogus patents)



  14. IBM and Its Revolving Doors Lobby Are Plotting to Undermine Supreme Court Rulings to Restore Patentability of Software

    IBM has become so evil that it is now trying to steal democracy, label programmers "thieves", and basically attack the rule of law by extra-judicially overturning a Supreme Court decision



  15. 3 Years After the Alice Case at the Supreme Court the Plague of Software Patents is Easier to Cope With

    Litigation figures are down, rejection rates of software patents remain high, and only spin (e.g. cherry-picking) or constant lobbying can save those who used to profit from software patents



  16. The Attacks of Patent Trolls as Outlined in the Media This Past Week

    An outline of some of the latest troll cases to be aware of and their consequences too (e.g. software patents being used to literally shut down entire programs)



  17. Links 14/5/2017: Linux 4.12 RC1 and KDE Frameworks 5.34.0

    Links for the day



  18. Industry Giants Challenge Qualcomm's Patent Practices While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Closely Examines Such Behavior

    Scrutiny of Qualcomm's patent aggression and coercion -- scrutiny that can profoundly change the way software patents, SEPs and FRAND are viewed -- as seen in various amicus briefs (amici) from industry giants that are affected



  19. Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette Questions Whether Patents Work When Patent Scope is Too Broad

    Citing MIT economist (and MacArthur “genius”) Heidi Williams, Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette from Stanford challenges old myths and quotes: “we still have essentially no credible empirical evidence on the seemingly simple question of whether stronger patent rights—either longer patent terms or broader patent rights—encourage research investments.”



  20. OIN is Still a Distraction Unless We Want GNU/Linux to Coexist With Software Patents (Rather Than Eliminate Those)

    Another wave of media coverage by/for the Open Invention Network (OIN) necessitates a reminder of what OIN stands for and why it is not tackling the biggest problems which Free/Open Source software (FOSS) faces



  21. Links 13/5/2017: Neptune Plasma 5 ISO, a Shift to Free (FOSS) Databases

    Links for the day



  22. Countries With a Dozen European Patents Are an Easy Photo-Op 'Sell' for Battistelli While the EPO's Demise is Largely Ignored by the Patent Microcosm

    Behind the façade of legitimacy, the EPO suffers from an incompetent, insecure and delusional boss, whose actions will almost certainly lead to the collapse of both the Office and the entire Organisation (whose founding document he routinely shreds to pieces)



  23. Our Assessment: Unitary Patent (UPC) Will Crumble Along With Battistelli's Regime at the EPO

    A reflection and an opinion on where the EPO stands and what it means for the UPC, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere (it's all talk and lobbying)



  24. The European Patent Office Has a Long History/Track Record of 'Screwing' Contractors

    The European Patent Office (EPO) appears to have quite an extensive track record/reputation for ‘screwing’ contractors and then misusing immunity to get away with it



  25. Links 12/5/2017: Wine 2.8, Kdenlive 17.04.1, NHS Windows Syndrome

    Links for the day



  26. Links 11/5/2017: New OpenShot, GIMP, and GNOME (3.24.2)

    Links for the day



  27. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IX: Using Confidential Medical Records as a Weapon Against Staff

    In defiance/violation of labour laws and medical oaths etc. the EPO is passing around medical information, either for dismissal pretexts or a sort of blackmail -- a serious abuse in its own right



  28. The EPO is in Disarray and Additional Complaints to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) May Be Imminent

    Team Battistelli reaps what it has sown, as complaints are being made to a court with “47 member states [that] are contracting parties to the Convention,” (European Convention on Human Rights) according to Wikipedia



  29. By Promoting the UPC, in Defiance of Public Will, the EPO Has Become Patent Trolls' Best Friend

    The patent–industrial complex, aided by the EPO under Battistelli's iron-fisted reign, is trying to convince us that the UPC is coming soon and that it is desirable (it's neither of those things)



  30. Links 10/5/2017: Mesa 17.1, Git 2.13, Qt Creator 4.3 RC1, MINIX 3.4 RC6

    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