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

03.10.12

A Chance to End Software Patents in the United States

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 12:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The end

Summary: The SCOTUS gets another push toward the ending of software patents

ACCORDING to news reports like this most early one, the US Supreme Court might get another chance to pour sand on software patenting, having missed the opportunity a couple of years ago:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) civil rights organisation, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), and open source company Red Hat have urged the US Supreme Court to provide further guidelines on the patentability of software and computer-based inventions. They have asked the Supreme Court to clarify the point at which an idea becomes too abstract to be patented, saying that current legislation in this area is inconsistent, confusing and impedes progress in the internet and computer fields.

Thanks to Mr. Pogson for the pointer and to Mr. Lee for his persistent attack on software patenting. From his latest good article on the subject:

Nathan Myhrvold, the Microsoft veteran who founded the patent-trolling giant Intellectual Ventures, loves to complain about the “culture of intentionally infringing patents” in the software industry. “You have a set of people who are used to getting something for free,” he told Business Week in 2006.

Myhrvold is right that patent infringement is rampant among software firms. But in demanding that this infringement stop, Myhrvold isn’t just declaring war on what he regards as Silicon Valley’s patent-hostile culture. He’s declaring war on the laws of mathematics. The legal research required for all software-producing firms to stop infringing patents would cost more than the entire revenue of the software industry. Even if firms were willing to pay the bill, there simply aren’t enough patent lawyers to do the work. Firms infringe software patents because they don’t have any other choice.

If a real estate developer wants to build on a particular piece of land, she first must figure out who owns the land before she can negotiate a contract and start construction. Most of the time, this is easy. The landowner can be readily identified in a public records office.

In principle, a software developer starting a new project faces a similar problem. He needs to know if the software he is planning to create will accidentally infringe on anyone’s patents. But whereas looking up who holds claims to a particular piece of land is easy, finding out who, if anyone, holds patents related to a particular piece of software is difficult and expensive. It’s so difficult, in fact, that the vast majority of software developers don’t even try.

See our Wiki page about Intellectual Ventures and mind this new article from Mr. Lee’s colleague. It’s about patent trolls and it says:

Over the last few years, wide swathes of the game industry, and the downloadable app industry in general, have been revolutionized by a single idea: letting people play for free while charging some of those players for in-game items. Now, it seems, a shell company is claiming that it has sole ownership of that idea, and is going to court to stop a wide range of game companies from using it.

Gametek LLC has filed a lawsuit against 21 of the biggest companies in social gaming, including Facebook, Zynga (Farmville et al), Electronic Arts (The Sims Social), Wooga (Diamond Dash) and 6Waves (Ravenwood Fair), as well as separate suits against iOS game developers such as Backflip (Ragdoll Blaster) and Gameview (Tap Fish).

Patent trolls usually use software patents. By getting rid of the latter a lot of the former can be eliminated too. Think how many jobs would be destroyed: parasites like patent lawyers and patent trolls will need to give room (and income) to real, producing developers.

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

A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    March 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Gravatar

    Wouldn’t it be great if OSS could stand on its own without fear of having to pay for the property of others’ they use. Yeah, in such a world they could take what they want and hand it out for free and pretend this was a good thing.

What Else is New


  1. 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



  2. 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



  3. [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



  4. The European Copy-Paste Office (EPO)

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



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

    Links for the day



  6. 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



  7. 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



  8. No, Visual Studio is NOT Open Source and Xamarin Openwashing is NOT News

    The latest example of Microsoft openwashing, courtesy of confidants of Microsoft and those who got bamboozled by them



  9. Latest Black Duck Puff Pieces a Good Example of Bad Journalism and How Not to Report

    Why the latest "Future of Open Source Survey" -- much like its predecessors -- isn't really a survey but just another churnalism opportunity for the Microsoft-connected Black Duck, which is a proprietary parasite inside the FOSS community



  10. If EPO “Form of Thinking Were to be Followed, Guantanamo on German Soil Would be Possible.”

    The EPO is still under fire, but a lot of it happens behind the scenes and involves lawyers and/or bureaucrats



  11. Links 28/4/2016: Tomb Raider for GNU/Linux, Proxmox VE 4.2

    Links for the day



  12. [ES] La Departura de la Readidad de la EPO Y Su Entrada en la Esféra Industrial China de Propaganda

    La deceptiva trampa del maximálism de patentes, donde se asume que artficialmente aumentando el número de patentes otorgadas traerá el resultado esperado



  13. [ES] Una Fársa de Sistema: ¿Cómo la SIPO, USPTO, y cada vez más la EPO se Convierten en Llenado de Patentes (No Se Requiere Propia Examinación)

    Una crítica al decline en la calidad de patentes en algunas de las más grandes oficinas de patentes del mundo, donde aspiración parece ser neo-liberal en el sentido económico



  14. [ES] Microsoft ‘Asalto con Todo’ Contra Android, Java, y GNU/Linux, Usando la Clásica E.E.E. Táctica de Nuevo

    Otro recordatorio de la realidad que Microsoft está muy activo en el frente E.E.E., not no sólo contra GNU/Linux pero también Android y Java



  15. [ES] Más Rumores y Llamadas Acerca de Prospectos de Microsoft Vaya a Comprar Canonical (Ubuntu con todo y Zapatos)

    Teniendo en cuenta los últimos movimientos de Canonical, algunos expertos piensan que es posible que Shuttleworth elija el dinero a Microsoft sobre principios sino también inste para que esto ocurra



  16. Links 27/4/2016: A Lot About OpenStack, Vivaldi 1.1 Released

    Links for the day



  17. A Farce of a System: How SIPO, USPTO, and Increasingly the EPO Too Turn Into Filing Systems (No Proper Examination/Filtering Required)

    A critique of the declining quality of patents in some of the world's biggest patent offices, where the aspiration seems to be neo-liberal in the economic sense



  18. Microsoft's 'Full Assault' on Android, Java, and GNU/Linux, Using Classic E.E.E. Tactics Again

    Another reminder of the fact that Microsoft is very active on the E.E.E. front, not just against GNU/Linux but also Android and Java



  19. More Rumours and Calls Surrounding Prospects of Microsoft Buying Canonical (Ubuntu and More)

    Taking some of Canonical's recent moves into account, some pundits not only think it's possible for Shuttleworth to choose Microsoft money over principles but also urge for this to happen



  20. [ES] El Nuevo Impulso Finánciado por Microsoft Para Reforzar las Patentes de Software en los EE.UU., Apoyado por los Sospechosos Usuales (La Sagrada Familia) Mientras que Microsoft Cada Vez Más Lucha Como Compañíá Productiva

    Una mirada al esfuérzo de trae una resurgencia de las patentes de software en los Estados Unidos (con un clarísimo rol de Microsoft en él) y la fundación/conf ianza de Microsoften las patentes de software como arma contr Linux/Android porque las ganancias de Windows se están secando y el Windows Phone está al borde del colápso



  21. Links 26/4/2016: Firefox 46.0, Thunderbird's Stewardship

    Links for the day



  22. Links 25/4/2016: Kodi 16.1, OpenStack Summit

    Links for the day



  23. New Microsoft-Funded Push to Make Software Patents Stronger in the US, Backed by the Usual Suspects as Microsoft Increasingly Struggles as a Producing Company

    A look at the effort to bring about a software patents resurgence to the US (with clear Microsoft role in it) and Microsoft's reliance on software patents as a weapon against Linux/Android because Windows profits dry up and Windows Phone is on the verge of collapse



  24. Patents Roundup: Marijuana Patents, Patent Satellites, Patent Trolls, Wars, and Merchants (Notably Lawyers)

    Various strands of news about patents, focused on issues raised in the latter half of last week



  25. The EPO's Departure From Truth and Entrance Into the Realms of Chinese Industrial-Grade Propaganda

    The entrapping delusion of patent maximalism, wherein artificially or superficially increasing the number of granted patents is assumed to be a desirable outcome



  26. [ES] La Fundación de Frontera Electrónica (EFF) Continua su Batalla por la Sanidad de Patentes en los Estados Unidos

    Una mirada a las últimas actividades de la EFF en el área de patentes, donde probablemente habrá mayor énfasis en los daños de las patentes de software y la necesidad de eliminarlas completamente



  27. [ES] La Sociedad Regional de Economía Comprehensiva (RCEP) Amenaza Traer las Patentes de Software a la India

    La amenaza que arrastra otro acuerdo denominado de "comercio" cuyo impacto a favor de los MONOPOLIOS contra los intereses del pueblo de la India y por lo tanto debe ser rechazadas por ellos



  28. [ES] Toma Menos de 10 Votos para 'Ganar' una Elección en la Mini Unión (Minion) de Battistelli

    Una mirada al minúsculo tamaño de la Unión apadrinada por Battistelli, la que parece tener una docena de miembros activos



  29. [ES] Di la Verdad Acerca del Sistema de Patentes de los EE.UU., Conseguiras Ser Atacado por la Máquina Propagandistica de Patentes (Disfrazada de Prensa)

    El Sr. Darrell Issa (fotografiado arriba) cae bajo ataque de los proponentes de patentes de software patents, los apologistas de los trolles de patentes (quiénes los financian frecuéntemente), y los máximalistas de patentes porque correctamente insinuó que la (mayoría) de demandantes son como/casi trolles de patentes en los Estados Unidos



  30. Links 24/4/2016: Google Summer of Code 2016, Year of the OpenBSD Desktop

    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