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. Links 3/8/2015: Linux 4.2 RC5, Korora 22

    Links for the day



  2. The World is Changing and Patent Law Can Change Either for Better or for Worse

    Recent secret dealings (which are being exposed to the public owing to whistle-blowers) show the degree of coordination and collusion against public interests; it's up to us, the majority, to fight back and tackle this injustice



  3. The Latest on Patent 'Reform' in the US: GOP Media Deception, Healthwashing Patents, and SIIA Lobbying

    Techrights looks at the more prominent actors driving patent policy in the US, with budget to absorb and agenda to lobby for



  4. Newegg Uses Its Fight Against Patent Trolls for Marketing

    Comments on Newegg's fight against patent trolls in court, setting an example for other companies



  5. Microsoft Lies, Propaganda, Embedded 'Journalism' and Other Dirty Tricks to Promote Vista 10

    The Vista 10 entrapment is being sold to the public using bogus/unverified figures, Microsoft propagandists pretending to be journalists, and some gullible people who actually believe them



  6. Microsoft -- Like Bill Gates -- Bribes PBS for Propaganda to be Presented as 'TV Programme'

    Microsoft pays the supposedly 'public' network to act as courier of Microsoft marketing, shrewdly disguised as 'information'



  7. Links 2/8/2015: KDE Applications 15.08 Beta, Zorin OS 10

    Links for the day



  8. Links 1/8/2015: Steam Sale, blackPanther OS 14.1

    Links for the day



  9. Vista 10 Inherently Criminal: Vandalising the Competition (Dual Boot, Rival Web Browsers, Online Services)

    Vista 10, the latest incarnation of Windows, takes its anticompetitive aspects to a whole new level, betraying even so-called 'partners' in the process



  10. As Microsoft AstroTurfing/PR Budget Runs Dry, Vista 10 Truths Come Out

    The media manipulation by Microsoft (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars spent on 'marketing') grows thin as a growing number of growingly angry early adopters of Vista 10 publicly rant



  11. Links 31/7/2015: Lennart Poettering as 'Linux Hero' and systemd Conference Coming

    Links for the day



  12. Links 30/7/2015: Apache Spark on Z System, Elive 2.6.8 Beta

    Links for the day



  13. Microsoft's Mouthpiece Mary Branscombe Tries to Shoot Down Free Software, But Fails Miserably

    At the CBS-owned ZDNet, which is Free/Open Source software-hostile, new FUD surfaces, but the FUD is so flawed that a full rebuttal is easy and almost imperative



  14. People of New Zealand Must Rise Up to Defend Sovereignty and Stop Software Patents

    The TPPA serves to override (launder) the law of New Zealand, allegedly legalising patents on software in the process



  15. Microsoft Illegally Evades Billions of Dollars in Tax, Says IRS

    The criminal enterprise known as Microsoft finds itself embarrassingly exposed in the courtroom, for the IRS belatedly (decades too late) targets the company in an effort to tackle massive tax evasions



  16. Vista 10 Very Buggy Upon Release, Just as We Have Repeatedly Warned for Weeks

    Vista 10 is prematurely pushed out the door (to meet a deadline) way ahead of it being stable, even remotely polished, and supported by hardware companies (there is a serious drivers issue)



  17. Surveillance Machine With a Keylogger: Vista 10 Will Spy on the User (Over the Internet) Even While Playing Games

    Microsoft is making it clear that even playing a simple game like Solitaire on Vista 10 will make one subjected to spying (for targeted ads); other serious violations of privacy revealed upon release



  18. Links 29/7/2015: Akademy 2015 Ends, NetBSD 7.0 RC

    Links for the day



  19. MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

    A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH



  20. New Zealand's Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

    Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand



  21. Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too (Updated)

    Microsoft software is quickly becoming synonymous with crashes as any piece of software developed with Microsoft's tools, not just the underlying platform, crashes chronically



  22. The Government of Bulgaria Sells Out to Microsoft, Again

    Despite some promises and reassurances that Bulgaria will consider Free/libre software, the Bulgarian government hands out a lot more of taxpayers' money to the Mafia



  23. Corporate Media Finally Finds Out That Vista 10 Crashes a Lot

    Stability issues of Vista 10 are belatedly reported to be a major catastrophe, leaving it unusable for many early adopters



  24. Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug 'Branding' for FUD

    Links for the day



  25. Patents Roundup: Technicolor, Alice, Voip-Pal, Fitbit, Marijuana Patents, and JDate

    A look at some of last week's patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)



  26. Corporate Lobbyists Including Koch-Connected Front Groups Attack Real and Perceived Patent Reform in the United States

    Looking at some of the latest propaganda for and against a bill which is already too watered-down to actually fix the US patent system



  27. Patents in the Android World Further Complicate Freedom in This Linux-Powered Platform

    A survey of last week's news with special focus on Google and Android, which are trying to coexist and thrive in a world full of patent maximalists



  28. The 'Unitary' Patent Trojan Horse Rammed Down the Throat of Europe

    Under the guise of 'unification' or 'unity', existing patent systems are being abandoned and more power gets passed to corrupt EPO officials



  29. HEVC Cartel is Not News, Only the Names of Backers and the Costs Are New

    A few remarks on and a roundup of recent articles about HEVC, which we first wrote about in spring



  30. IRC Proceedings: July 12th, 2015 – July 25th, 2015

    Many IRC logs


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