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


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. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  2. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  3. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  4. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  5. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin

  6. Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  7. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  8. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  9. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

  10. Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  11. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  12. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  13. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions

  14. Gross Violation of Workers' Rights in EPO: Denial of Christmas Vacation/Leave for Slower Workers

    A look at an E-mail from within the EPO which shows how Christmas is used to squeeze staff, urging them to work even faster (despite speed gains) or lose their Christmas leave

  15. The Bogus Narrative Floated by EPO Management: Our Judges and Examiners Are Armed and Violent

    A look at the union-busting and protest-crushing moves from high-level EPO managers, who are trying to convince politicians that they do so in an effort to stop terrorists and neo-Nazis

  16. Support SUEPO or End Up Like They and Some of the Boards Did

    SUEPO, the fast-growing staff union of the EPO, increasingly needs the support and protection offered by action and participation from staff

  17. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Evening Newspaper) Speaks About EPO's Refusal to Accept Court Orders From The Hague

    Article explains the depths of the issues inside the EPO and the unacceptable immunity that management at the EPO continues to exploit, shaming or discrediting the very notion of the rule of law in Europe

  18. HeBS Digital and Black Duck Press Releases Treated Like Articles, Used to Muddy the FOSS Waters

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is under attack again, and it's the proprietary software lobby that's responsible for that

  19. EPO President Battistelli Now Intimidates Even National Delegations

    Report about an embarrassing incident implicating Benoît Battistelli and some angry comments cast over the witch-hunting of a judge, using all sorts of questionable tactics

  20. A Look at the Latest Gross Deletionism at the EPO's 'Media Partner', French Newspaper Les Échos

    The EPO's bogus 'journal of record, which Team Battistelli likes to cite in order to bolster its warped version of events at the EPO while maintaining a close secret relationship with the publisher, keeps censoring its own reporters (spiked paragraphs, silently self-censored or censored after publications)

  21. Rumour About Efforts to Dismiss a Board Judge by Intimidating Boards of Appeal

    Comment found online accuses the Administrative Council of pressuring, by threats, Directorate-General 3 to dismiss a judge who is silently accused (with selective 'leaks' to the media, reportedly orchestrated by EPO managers) but not even proven guilty

  22. President Battistelli Now Pressures/Threatens Politicians Who 'Dare' to Complain About Abuses and Unacceptable Conditions at the EPO

    Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, a French politician, unleashes an angry letter from Benoît Battistelli and reveals just to what lengths the EPO's Team Battistelli is willing to go in order to crush political backlash

  23. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part IV

    Some more background information about Elodie Bergot and Gilles Requena, who are married whilst also sharing positions of power at the EPO (and also strong connections/ties with the EPO's President, Mr. Battistelli); Rumours afloat at the EPO -- some with ever-increasing circulation too -- are worth noting

  24. Translation of Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann's Article in the German Media, Urging European Politicians to Intervene in EPO Chaos and Lawlessness

    Frankfurt-based media presents an opinion piece written by a Munich-based economic correspondent, Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann

  25. German Press Says Broken EPO Lets President Severely Punish Staff Not Even Guilty of Any Wrongdoing

    Juve publishes an article which attempts to be 'balanced' (meaning it believes everything that EPO officials say) but at the same time reveals unacceptable practices that go in inside the EPO

  26. German Media Reveals That Out-of-Control EPO Management is Even Threatening and Abusing Lawyers Now

    The EPO's longstanding fight against justice escalates to an unprecedented war on lawyers themselves; “After this latest move,” says a German newspaper, “even lawyers are starting to feel threatened by the Office.”

  27. Washington Post Only Entertains Debate About Patent Trolls (But Not Patent Scope) Whilst US Lawyers Trick the System to Patent Software

    The Bezos-owned Washington Post continues to help those who wish to eliminate patent trolls (which bother Amazon amongst other large conglomerates) but remains void of any coverage about patent scope, including software patents that patent lawyers work so hard to defend

  28. It Pays (Off) to 'Bribe' the Media: Watch How Les Échos Covers EPO Matters and Self-Censors

    French newspaper Les Échos is self-censoring yet again and it is framing the EPO scandals as the fault of employees, not the fault of abusive managers who are working with Les Échos as a so-called 'media partner' (the EPO management is French-dominated)

  29. 'Leaked' PDF Shows How EPO Management Tried to Crush Judge Who 'Dared' to Criticise EPO Management

    The EPO's management continues to chill potential critics and is now making an example of a board's judge, despite having no such authority over him

  30. Links 21/11/2015: Community Appreciation Day, Jolla's Problems

    Links for the day


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