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

03.15.12

Mozilla and Others Still Lead Opposition to Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

John Lilly of Mozilla
Photo by Joi Ito

Summary: Software patents disdain as seen in this week’s news

THE backlash against software patents is very clear to see. With matrices as monopolies I am unable to do my work, at least not peacefully or without worries about taking it out there to market. Mike Masnick explains “Why It’s Mathematically Impossible To Avoid Infringing On Software Patents” and he makes some good points, as usual. Mozilla, meanwhile, struggles with codec monopolies, which are also all about maths — some of which controlled by MPEG-LA. Ryan from our IRC channels wrote about the subject in a better way than most did (including another Ryan, from Ars Technica):

Microsoft and Apple, which are also criminal cartels, are also members of the MPEG-LA, and are trying to wipe out the open and unencumbered VP8 and Ogg Vorbis combination known as WebM by refusing to support it in Safari and Internet Explorer.

Mozilla and Opera have so far not implemented MPEG codecs because they would be gouged by the MPEG-LA’s innovation tax.

The problem for the user, which is caught in the middle, is that sites that are out there today and insisting on MPEG-4, such as Vimeo, won’t work in Firefox or Opera in HTML 5 mode, and require the proprietary binary blob with gazillions of security problems known as “Adobe Flash” to play their content.
Mozilla is not proposing to ship the offending codecs themselves, but to just use the ones on the system, if any. On Windows, they can hook into DirectShow, on OS X they can hook into Quicktime, and on Linux they can hook into and use anything Gstreamer can play. Of course Android, iOS, and Windows Phone (with all three people who have one) all have their own media codecs.

Despite recent mistakes, Mozilla’s opposition to software patents and to MPEG-LA (there is adherence to free codecs) was covered here before. Mozilla is truly a proponent of Open Source, unlike Google with Chrome. Here is a new video campaign from Mozilla:

Taking the message to its users, Mozilla launched a user-generated video contest to help educate how its open-source browser, Firefox, differs from the pack.

“Browsers control what’s possible on the Web,” said Mozilla CMO Chris Beard, who joined the company just prior to the Firefox launch about seven years ago. “There is a lot of commercial interest vying for that control.”

Beard called Mozilla’s strategy “grassroots,” noting that the ad campaign should be seen as an extension of the company’s strategy. About 2 million people try Firefox daily around the world. The browser supports about 400 million users.

Tim Lee, another one from the “Open Source”/pro-sharing team, explains the idea of patent reform and addresses misconceptions in a skillful fashion:

But the more important point is that, in fact, the patent office does a really bad job at searching for prior art. In the famous patent episode of This American Life, they ask M-CAM to analyze a particular patent to see if similar concepts had been patented before. As I recall, they found the same concept had been patented dozens of times. Indeed, I’ve read that in the early years of the Internet, patent examiners were actually prohibited from using the Internet to search for prior art—even for patents related to Internet technologies.

[...]

The problem with tracking “the patents owned by your competitors and the trolls” is that you don’t know who the trolls are, or which patents they hold, until one of them sends you a cease and desist letter. There are at least two reasons for this. First, there’s no centralized registry of patent ownership, so while it’s easy to tell who was initially granted a patent, there’s no reliable way to tell if a particular patent has been sold to someone else. Second, legitimate companies regularly sell patents to trolls, or become trolls themselves. And even if you could somehow overcome these two obstacles, there are enough trolls out there now that even searching through troll-owned patents would be a serious burden.

In any event, software firms really do ignore patents when designing new products. You should read Mark Lemley’s excellent paper on the subject if you don’t believe me.

Software patents really need to go away. Nobody wants them except monopolies and patent lawyers.

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. António Campinos Has Run Out of Time and EPO Staff is Going on Strike (Skipping Mere Protests)

    European Patent Office strikes are to resume; as SUEPO recently put it, people have come to accept that EPO leadership has not really changed and none of the underlying issues is being tackled



  2. Links 23/5/2019: Elisa 0.4.0, OpenSUSE Leap 15.1 Released

    Links for the day



  3. Links 22/5/2019: Mesa 19.0.5, Huawei and GNU/Linux, Curl 7.65.0, End of Antergos, Tails 3.14, ownCloud Server 10.2, Firefox 67.0

    Links for the day



  4. Quality of Patents is Going Down the Drain and Courts Have Certainly Noticed

    Uncertainty or lack of confidence in the patent system has reached appalling levels because heads of patent offices are just striving to grant as many patents as possible, irrespective of the underlying law



  5. EUIPO and EPO Abuses Growingly Inseparable

    'Musical chairs' at CEIPI and the EPO/EUIPO (Battistelli, Archambeau, Campinos) as well as joint reports never fail to reveal the extent to which EPO abuses are spreading



  6. Links 21/5/2019: China's GAFAM Exit, DragonFlyBSD 5.4.3

    Links for the day



  7. Links 20/5/2019: Linux 5.2 RC1, LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha, DXVK 1.2.1, Bison 3.4 Released

    Links for the day



  8. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  9. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  10. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  11. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  12. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  13. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  14. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  15. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  16. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  17. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  18. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  19. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  20. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day



  21. False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

    Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions



  22. The Race to the Bottom of Patent Quality at the EPO

    The EPO has become more like a rubber-stamper than a patent office — a fact that worries senior staff who witnessed this gradual and troublesome transition (from quality to raw quantity)



  23. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 2: Meet the Kötters

    An introduction to the Kötter Group, the private security conglomerate which is lined up for the award of a juicy EUR 30 million contract for the provision of security services at the EPO



  24. Links 14/5/2019: Red Hat Satellite 6.5, NVIDIA 430.14 Linux Driver and New Security Bug (MDS)

    Links for the day



  25. Links 14/5/2019: GNU/Linux in Kerala, DXVK 1.2, KDE Frameworks 5.58.0 Released

    Links for the day



  26. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 1: Urgent Shitstorm Alert

    Experts at the European Patent Office's (EPO) weather observation station have just issued an urgent alert warning about a major shitstorm looming on the horizon



  27. Patents That Were Gleefully Granted by the EPO Continue to Perish in Courts

    The decreasing quality of granted European Patents already becomes a growing problem if not a crisis of uncertainty



  28. Links 13/5/2019: ExTiX 19.5 and GNU Radio Conference 2019

    Links for the day



  29. The Microsoft Guide to the Open Source Galaxy

    Thou shalt not...



  30. Microsoft Would Kill the Goose for Money

    Microsoft is just 'monetising' Open Source by using it as 'bait' for Microsoft's proprietary software; those who we might expect to antagonise this have effectively been bribed by Microsoft


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

Recent Posts