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. The New Age of Games for UNIX/Linux But Not for Windows, Microsoft is Openwashing Windows-Only Games

    The world is moving to GNU- and Linux-powered platforms, so Microsoft withdraws GNU/Linux support from games it buys and starts openwashing its Windows-only games



  2. Microsoft Essentially Sends Malware to Windows and Bricks It

    Microsoft is once again bricking Vista 7, demonstrating lack of reliability or very low quality programming



  3. Microsoft Lays Off Staff, Cheapens Labour as More Companies Are Dumping Microsoft's Lock-in, NSA-Friendly Services, and Windows

    A look at some of Microsoft's latest woes, including an appeal for cheaper labour amid decrease in business



  4. Links 19/12/2014: Robolinux 7.7.1 LXDE, Red Hat Thriving

    Links for the day



  5. Another Microsoft Partner Markets Linux FUD Using Logo, Name, and Lies

    Microsoft's partner Alert Logic is trying to label a feature of Linux a security flaw and even makes marketing buzz for it



  6. Redmonk is Spreading Black Duck's Anti-GPL Talking Points After Payments From Black Duck, Microsoft

    CBS' ZDNet spreads the GNU-hostile narrative which comes from Redmonk, funded by Microsoft and Black Duck, citing Black Duck, which also comes from Microsoft and is a partner of Microsoft



  7. 'Good' Software Patents From EA Show Cases Where DRM is a Patent Infringement

    Where two evils collide the public benefits, or how some software patents discourage the use of DRM



  8. Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

    New article from Richard Stallman



  9. Links 18/12/2014: LinuxQuestions.org Polls, Fedora for POWER

    Links for the day



  10. Links 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  11. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  12. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  13. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  14. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  15. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  16. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  17. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  18. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  19. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  20. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  21. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  22. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  23. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  24. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  25. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring



  26. France Gets Involved in Battistelli's Abuses in the EPO - Part XII (Updated)

    The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions



  27. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

    The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface



  28. Links 11/12/2014: systemd 218, Empire Total War

    Links for the day



  29. Links 10/12/2014: Fedora 21, Ubuntu Core

    Links for the day



  30. Links 9/12/2014: Fedora 21 and Torture Report Are Out

    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