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When Universities Attack Businesses Using Patents

Posted in Patents at 2:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Old university

Summary: Patent aggression no longer monopolised by trolls and corporations; UC Regent joins the club

A month ago a university decided to use patents aggressively, earning itself a lot of negative publicity, such as:

The UC Board of Regents and a University of California patent licensee have filed a lawsuit against Facebook, Disney and Wal-Mart claiming patent infringement.

There are other cases of patent harassment, but when public institutions participate in it the public should be outraged. Here is an example of crushing competition: “San Francisco real estate information site Trulia has been sued by larger competitor Zillow for patent infringement over a software program that helps make home valuations more accurate.”

Here is where public institutions provide a platform to patent lobbying:

Liveblogging the America Invents Act: One Year Later conference at the Indiana University Mauer School of Law. Warning and disclaimer: Quality may vary and these don’t necessary reflect my opinions.

It is troubling when universities become quite so political and also sue companies. US citizens ought to shun such universities.

Microsoft Patent Trolls Get Staff From Microsoft While ‘Mother Ship’ Sues Google Over Android

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 2:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A mosquito

Summary: More evidence of a malicious trend at patent trolls like Acacia (hiring Microsoft veterans), not to mention patent trolls that are entirely created by Microsoft veterans

The abusive monopolist from Redmond patents yet more nonsense as the fight against Linux and Android intensifies. Microsoft sues the Google-owned part of Motorola, as we noted the other day.

It is a Google lawsuit and some news sites point this out as they ought to:

Microsoft Corp said on Friday it plans to add Google Inc as a defendant in Germany in one of its patent actions against Google’s phone maker, Motorola Mobility, marking the first time the two tech giants have come into direct legal conflict over Google’s Android mobile software.
Microsoft contends that Google’s Android infringes its software patents but so far has pursued handset makers rather than Google itself for payment of royalties.

This is not the first such lawsuit against Google if one counts patent proxies. Let us also remember Nokia and MOSAID, not to mention Acacia which takes yet more Microsoft staff now: “Acacia Research Corporation, one of the most litigious and notorious patent trolls wasting valuable space on this planet, today announced that it has rounded out its management team with the appointment of Paul Bawel as Vice President.

“The move is notable, because Bawel has over 13 years of patent licensing experience, having previously worked as Sector IP Law Director at Motorola. Most recently, he was a Senior Attorney for Microsoft, where he was responsible for managing patent and IP issues for the Windows Phone division.”

Perfect position from which to sue Google?

Recall other notorious patent trolls and some of the latest from the world’s biggest patent troll, created with heavy Microsoft involvement. Here are some new details: “In an initial assessment of the patent, which was applied for in 2008, Michael Weinberg from the Public Knowledge digital rights organisation told Technology Review that Intellectual Ventures, led by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, is attempting to secure the ownership of a Digital Rights Management (DRM) system for 3D printing. The patent is “very broad” and also includes printing on “skin, textiles, edible substances, paper and silicon”, said Weinberg.”

This troll, along with Paul Allen’s, has already targeted Android. It is not just Microsoft suing Android; it uses proxies too.

Judge Posner [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] has just publishes an article titled “Patent Trolls Be Gone”. In it, Posner suggests a fix for this type of scenario and this new interview helps show others from the legal system who got fed up with it all:

Having formerly practiced as a patent attorney and advocated before the US Patent and Trademark Office with Darby and Darby, Cheryl Milone has become quite an expert on all things “patent”. She now sits affront of her 5 year old startup company: Article One Partners. Article One Partners is the world’s largest patent validation community. What makes Article One Partners so unique is that the company adds a crucial level of review to the US patent system – strengthening legitimate patents and reducing unjust patent monopolies (surely she doesn’t mean us Patent Trolls right?). Upon further discovery of Article One’s success, we we’re fortunate to have an opportunity to discuss Article One Partners, Patents, Patent Trolls, the Patent System with none other than the patent expert herself – Cheryl Milone.

We ought to note that this new site, patenttrolls.org, is worth subscribing to. The site has been supporting/endorsing our work. The goals overlap to a degree.

Apple Aggression Against Linux Continues to Motivate Patents Abolition

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 1:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple takes away your phone

Phone case

Summary: Apple’s Microsoft-esque behaviour adds thunder to the lightning of patent monopolies

THROWING away the whole patent system is not so queer a proposition anymore. We find more and more bloggers, authors and even academics who entertain the idea. This has led to discussion which leads to fruitful suggestions:

Jordan Weissmann, a bright guy over at The Atlantic, recently proposed The Case for Abolishing Patents (Yes, All of Them). He couldn’t be more right, I’d say, but I also know that the world I love in is not ready for that – just about every first-world country has quagmires of a similar depth.

The Apple vs. Samsung patent fight prompted another blogger to ponder “What if they patented the alphabet?” Yeah, Richard Stallman wakes up screaming over that kind of nightmare.

When even scholars call for radical change it is actually the patent-holding Linux founder who adopts a soft stance. “In case you missed it,” writes the leader of OStatic, “Slashdot recently hosted a question-and-answer online event with none other than Linux Torvalds. Readers were invited to send in questions, and Torvalds addressed a baker’s dozen of them. Among his more interesting and unexpected responses, it seems that he is not so against patents as some people might think.”

This actually is not entirely new or surprising. His stance does matter a lot because “Earlier this year, Torvalds recieved one of the technology commmunity’s highest honors: He was named a Millenium Technology Prize laureate by the Technology Academy of Finland.”

This is like a Nobel equivalent and now we learn about yet another Nobel laureate who opposes software patents. There are several more [1, 2, 3].

The New York Time has just covered it, very briefly after it too slammed the patent system. Apple has been the catalyst of much anger against patents and Steve Jobs' best friend has done his share of the damage, too.

Jobs was indeed of the opinion that Apple needs to lock competitors out with software patents, says the Microsoft booster at CNET. The Times helped show this:

Apple’s exploits in the world of software patents are under close scrutiny, and with good reason. Every few weeks new applications are unearthed providing possible clues to future products, or insights into what’s already been released.

In recent years though, the focus has been less about products and more about how Apple can use these patents in court — or to avoid it entirely. Case in point, just a handful of patents (seven to be precise) were enough to set the stage for a dramatic U.S. court battle between Apple and Samsung, a fight that already has is sequel lined up.


According to the former Apple executive, the Times says then Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs completely changed the way the company handled patenting its products, going so far as to set up monthly “invention disclosure sessions” where engineers would meet with patent lawyers to make sure every change to any products was covered in a patent.

Apple has done nothing but hold back innovation in smartphones (by deterrence and/or lawsuits). In fact, real innovators walked away from Apple in disgust. To quote: “An eye-opening piece on the high tech patents maelstrom , published by the New York Times, reveals how a genius involved with Siri is walking away from voice recognition.”

The psychopaths and megalomaniacs pretend they invented everything, but they hardly invented, they marketed. Samsung is the company which actually invents and also manufactures.

Avoiding lawsuits [1, 2] from Apple is not simple because those lawsuits became a matter of strategy (worth Jobs’ “last breath,” to use his own words), just like at Vringo , which sues more and mocks the system [1, 2]. Google and Android are affected: “On September 6, 2012, the Modernist published an article in which he intimated that the “the only recent Supreme Court decision relating to software patent law” supports Google’s (GOOG) defense in its upcoming trial with Vringo (VRNG). This is an utterly tortured interpretation of the law. I write to debunk the Modernist’s legal interpretations and conclusions and present a more accurate and fulsome interpretation of potentially relevant Supreme Court precedent.”

Apple has a similar strategy, but Apple has its own products. The same goes for Microsoft, but Microsoft, unlike Apple, sends patent trolls to attack Android. More on that in a separate post…

Apple in a nutshell

Links 16/10/2012: Linux 3.7 RC1, Plasma Active Improvements

Posted in News Roundup at 6:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

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  • 5 key forces driving open source today

    From the rise of foundations to emerging revenue models, the open source movement is primed for even greater impact on tomorrow’s technologies

  • Events

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  • Funding


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      The Free Software Foundation has launched a fund raising campaign on behalf of GNU MediaGoblin, a free software media publishing system for images, video, and audio.

      Coding on the MediaGoblin project, which aims to provide decentralized and extensible tools for media sharing that adhere to free software principles, has been ongoing since 2011 and currently is at version 0.3.1.

    • Lulzbot 3D printer receives FSF hardware certification

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    • The Free Software Foundation opens nominations for the 15th Annual Free Software Awards

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project today announced the opening of nominations for the 15th annual Free Software Awards. The Free Software Awards include the Award for the Advancement of Free Software and the Award for Projects of Social Benefit.

    • The Free Software Column – Inside the code

      It is in the nature of things that ideas which upset the status quo or challenge the prevailing orthodoxies are watered down to make them more acceptable, which is why the free software movement is an essential part of the landscape

  • Project Releases

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    • Open source in U.S. government in five minutes

      Gunnar Hellekson, Technology Strategist for Red Hat’s U.S. Public Sector Group, presents a timeline created by tying together data about software the government has released as open source.

    • Polish Lower Silesia Region corrects procurement following complaint

      The Council of the Polish Region of Lower Silesia corrected its procurement specification following complaints from a civil IT procurement watchdog. In the updated request, published in September, the council no longer asks for a specific proprietary brand of operating system and ditto office suite. The watchdog hopes this opens the way for providers of open source alternatives to participate in the bid.

  • Openness/Sharing

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      Linux has changed the way we compute using software tools available through the open source. It opened up a new world of software development for those opposing the proprietary technology solutions.

      How about a Linux for seeds? This is what a small set of scientists, including in ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), independent scientists and non-governmental organisations, are thinking loudly.

  • Standards/Consortia

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      In case you haven’t thought about it lately, it’s a fair bet that everything in your life today depends to some greater or lesser extent (usually the former) on the Internet and the Web. And in case you’ve never thought about it at all, what makes those vital services possible has less to do with servers and fiber optics than it does with protocols and other standards. Take that reality a step further, and it becomes obvious that that the processes by which these essential enablers of our interconnected world are created is pretty important.

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