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

05.21.12

Articles Against Software Patents and Patent Trolls

Posted in Patents at 7:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Glasses on a paper

Summary: An accumulation of recent articles on matters such as patent trolls, which mostly use software patents based on a recent survey

BOSSON from the FFII pays attention to some cost analyses regarding software patents. Quoting part of what he wrote:

Cost of software patents shown

Nice to see media addressing the cost of software patents. At CNET, Last Jim Kersteller writes “What is that patent lawsuit going to cost you”. Basically you’d have to pay lawsuits costs that are very high and pushes you to settle for anything under a million dollars. It certainly puts the small firm at huge risk. And to top that one off, Techdirt describes a study on why It’s Mathematically Impossible To Avoid Infringing On Software Patents. Even for the larger players patents are as Brad Feld at Business Insider says “Games Where The Only Winning Move Is Not To Play”. In fact this study, at techdirt, says that you earn more if you share for free. Oh wait, thats open standards and Internet.

Over at The Inquirer, a story is told about the “folly of software patents”:

Fax delays reveal the folly of software patents

SOMETIMES even the simplest ideas must wait. Markus Kuhn, a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge has been waiting patiently since 1995 to be free to exploit a simple bit of coding innovation.

Sadly for him, the intervening years have seen the technology this innovation was aimed at become obsolete. And he’s in little doubt what’s to blame – software patents.

Back in 1995, Kuhn had written roughly 4,000 lines of code as an open source implementation of the image compression algorithms used by fax machines. The trouble was, a single line of that code was covered by a patent awarded to Mitsubishi for an image encoding standard known as JBIG1.

In Slate, which has some Microsoft connections, patent trolls are being criticised:

How “patent assertion entities” stifle innovation. (It’s even worse than you think.)

[...]

Measuring the effects of patent litigation is a tricky exercise—you need to figure out what innovation would have happened in the absence of a lawsuit. In the case of Acacia’s PACS suit, there was a convenient point of comparison: The lawsuit covered only medical-image-storage software, not text-storage systems, which are just as technologically complex. Since most companies named in the suit sold both image- and text-storage systems, the latter could be used as a benchmark to assess the impact of the Acacia suit on the PACS market.

Recently, CSIRO (a Microsoft client) took money from practising entities, raising the costs that customers will probably need to pay network providers (thus elevating the cost of everything for the benefit of parasites):

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has been awarded more than AU$220m (£142m) in an out-of-court settlement in the US concerning its patented Wi-Fi technology.

Acacia too (with Microsoft connections) found another victim while patent lawsuits generally expand and some defendants just pay to settle, thereby feeding/rewarding legal aggression. The world’s largest patent troll (with origins at Microsoft) extorts a very large number of companies this way, raising the costs of everything. A lawyers’ magazine asks whether this hinders innovation, but gives a somewhat inconclusive analysis (the readership includes trolls, so it tries to be “balanced”):

Do Non-Practicing Entities (aka, ‘Patent Trolls’) Hinder Innovation?

[...]

In addition to paying for protection, many of the bigger companies in the software business have also found themselves spending millions of dollars in order to acquire “defensive patents,” with the explicit purpose of defending themselves against being sued. Of course, the great expense of court cases means that many companies have been forced to change their spending patterns.

NPEs are destroying real jobs, distracting from innovation, and altogether banning some paths of exploration, so the headline is a rhetorical question. The legal press may be unfit to answer such questions because it never produced anything innovative in the first place and success is often measured in terms of litigation (conflict), not progress. Here is a new example of a small company litigating its way into profit (Uniloc was covered here many times before) and another very recent example of litigation as a business model:

A company that makes specialist talking tablet computers for speech-disabled children has mounted a patent lawsuit which seems set to kill off an iPad app that does the same thing for a tenth of the price. The firm is making no commitment to provide replacement affordable software for consumer devices.

How does legal action with patents help innovation at all? How does that drive society forward? Who does this whole mess really help? These are rhetorical questions, but politicians appeal to campaign funding, not to common sense, so patent law continues to be a sham. The same goes for copyright law. Real change won’t come on its own; it won’t come through the ballot box, either.

“I’m always happy when I’m protesting.”

Richard Stallman

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. 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



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

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



  3. Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too

    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



  4. 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



  5. 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



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

    Links for the day



  7. 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)



  8. 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



  9. 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



  10. 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



  11. 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



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

    Many IRC logs



  13. Links 26/7/2015: Purism Librem and Freedom, Akademy Updates

    Links for the day



  14. Vista 10 (Windows 10) Has NSA Back Doors and Front Doors

    Vista 10 to bring new ways for spies (and other crackers) to remotely access people's computers and remotely modify the binary files on them (via Windows Update, which for most people cannot be disabled)



  15. Vista 10 Not Ready, But Released Anyway

    Despite severe technical issues in the rushed-out-the-door Vista 10, Microsoft decides to stick with the deadline, only days after reporting billions of dollars in losses



  16. Links 25/7/2015: Plasma Mobile, Linux Mint 17.2 OEM

    Links for the day



  17. Links 24/7/2015: openSUSE Leap 42.1, Intel With Rackspace for OpenStack

    Links for the day



  18. Links 24/7/2015: GNOME 3.17.4, Mozilla Developer Network Turns 10

    Links for the day



  19. Microsoft Has Run Out of Attempts and Vista 10 Will Definitely Fail

    As Microsoft admits billions of dollars in losses just days before Vista 10 is pushed as a 'free' upgrade, there is no concrete sign that financial recovery is imminent, for the bigger cash cow (Office) suffers a similar fate



  20. GNU/Linux Circles Ought to Stop Promoting Visual Studio, Which is Neither Cross-Platform Nor Free Software

    Media carries on openwashing Visual Studio and perpetuating the illusion that it is not tied to Microsoft Windows



  21. Spinning Proprietary Software Dangers as Dangers of Free/Libre Software

    News sites mislead their readers, teaching them that the biggest dangers associated with proprietary software are in fact problems exclusive to Free/libre Open Source software



  22. Links 23/7/2015: New RHEL Release, Capital One Releases Code

    Links for the day



  23. Terminology of Patent Lawyers and Pro-Patents Media Serves to Mislead the Public

    An outline of stories where the language used to describe patents is grossly distorted so as to bias the reality and mislead the audience/readers



  24. Amid Billions in Losses, Microsoft Tries to Conquer the Competition (Which Already Wins)

    The 'Embrace, Extend, Extinguish' strategy goes a few steps further as Microsoft looks to dominate developers, devices and servers that are running Free/libre software



  25. Microsoft Losing Billions of Dollars is Not News

    Few remarks on Microsoft's latest admission that it is losing a lot of money



  26. Links 22/7/2015: Kodi 15.0, MKVToolnix 8.2.0

    Links for the day



  27. The Technology Sector in the US Has Gotten Fed Up With Apple's Patent Aggression Against Android/Linux

    Apple is desperately trying to stop Android from increasing its levels of dominance (in phones, tablets, watches, and so on), so Silicon Valley is lining up against Apple, antagonising its misuse/abuse of patents for anticompetitive purposes



  28. Patents Regime in Europe: Mixture of Greed, Competition Abuses, and Propaganda

    A roundup of the latest patent news from Europe, focusing on Italy, the UK, Germany, and Hungary



  29. Patent 'Reform' in US Congress Still Under Attack by Patent Lawyers and Corporate Lobbyists

    The latest instances of assault on changes to the US patent system, demonstrated through an elaborative survey of the media (two days' worth)



  30. Don't Ever Rely on Microsoft for Hardware, Hosting, Especially When it Comes to GNU/Linux

    Warning signs over Microsoft hosting, as well as reliance on Microsoft for maintenance of hardware


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