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

12.13.12

Stop Fighting Software Patents the Way Lawyers Say We Should

Posted in Patents at 9:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

With few exceptions…

Carlo Piana

Summary: So-called ‘moderates’ or ‘realists’ (usually lawyers and law professors) obscure the permanent solution to software patents

Eric Goldman, a lawyer talking about a conference stacked with law professors, says this about software patents, offering no end to software patents as though a compromise can somehow resolve a problem that most countries in the world already recognise. Here is another go at it. He says:

Software patents play a huge–and controversial–role in our economy. In a recent post, I explained some of the unique problems that software innovations pose to the patent system. This post extends that discussion by exploring two structural hurdles to addressing those problems: (1) the challenge of defining “software,” and (2) which regulatory institution(s) can implement any fixes. In the near future, I will conclude this three-part series of posts by exploring specific ideas to fix software patents.

[...]

In theory, we can distinguish software from physical devices (e.g., “hardware”). Even if we do, innovators can often replicate software functionality by designing hardware to incorporate the functionality directly. In this sense, hardware and software are partial substitutes for each other. In fact, before patent law clearly allowed software patents, innovators (especially IBM ($IBM)) routinely obtained “software” patents by patenting hardware designed to perform the software-like function. So any special rules for software patents will just push innovators and their patent lawyers to seek patent protection for hardware that achieves the same outcome, obtaining the synthetic equivalent of a software patent. In that case, we aren’t making much progress.

[...]

So, fixing software patents is tricky. It may not be possible to define software patents precisely, it may be easy for patent applicants to game any software-specific rules, and we have to find a way to remain in compliance with our treaty obligations. On the other hand, if we avoid software patent-specific fixes and instead try to make changes across all patents, that would dramatically increase the number…

Hold on there. The problem with where this argument goes (again!) is that it is leading to the “bad” patents or “bad” lawsuits line of reasoning. It is taking us nowhere, just like the effort to squash one patent at a time — a strategy famously used by the EFF some years ago, under the “patent busting” banner. The EFF now calls for the end of all software patents. It is the real solution.

Consider this news about a one-patent-at-a-time approach:

‘Steve Jobs’ iPhone patent used against Samsung/Motorola invalidated by US patent office, could affect lawsuits

In October, as pointed out in Samsung filings with U.S. District Lucy Koh, we told you that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a non-final decision that declared 20 claims related to Apple’s rubber-banding patent invalid. While Samsung and Apple were back in court yesterday regarding post-trial motions, today FossPatents reported (via MacRumors) the USPTO has issued another non-final ruling declaring yet another Apple multitouch patent invalid.

This time it’s a touchscreen patent, commonly called “the Steve Jobs patent,” that courts previously deemed valid in cases against Samsung and Motorola in the past…

It will not derail entire cases, only weaken them. The lawsuit against the market leader, Samsung, carries on and Pamela Jones says: “Judge Koh has also ruled on the various requests for sealing. For Samsung, it’s two granted, including the HTC one, and another which asks for something Apple asked for too and four denied, with one partly granted; for Apple it’s 2 granted and 1 partially granted. It’s been like that every time I check who gets the most motions denied.”

Here is a link shared by Jones:

In response to some questions posed by the United States International Trade Commission (USITC), wireless baseband supplier Qualcomm has torn into Apple in a court filing, saying that apple “should be embarassed” at the length and depth of the iPad makers’ patent infringement. The move is curious, as Apple has been Qualcomm’s largest customer for three years.

“That’s not vitriol,” remarks Jones. “It’s just true. Apple revealed it is NOT a willing licensee in the Wisconsin case that got dismissed because it refused to commit to obey a judge’s royalty rate unless it liked and agreed with it. Qualcomm is just pointing that out.”

Apple is now guided by lawyers because its engineers are unable to catch up with Android, technically.

Stop listening to lawyers if you want the problem to end; there are exceptions like Carlo Piana (Samba lawyer) or Eben Moglen (law professor), but in general, the vast majority of lawyers, including Red Hat’s, have a view and agenda different from everyone else’s. To them, litigation is like war for a weapons contractor. Lawyers, like bankers, also like to complicate things with complex legalese (terminology) which makes them seemingly necessary, totally barring the debate so as to shut out everyone not of their occupation. This develops cult-like, self-preserving corrupt institutions which seek to justify their own parasitic existence. We must recognise this institutional issue and openly talk about it. Politicians too are mostly 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. Links 1/8/2015: Steam Sale, blackPanther OS 14.1

    Links for the day



  2. 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



  3. 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



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  6. 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



  7. 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



  8. 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



  9. 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)



  10. 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



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

    Links for the day



  12. 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



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

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



  14. 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



  15. 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



  16. 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



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

    Links for the day



  18. 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)



  19. 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



  20. 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



  21. 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



  22. 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



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

    Many IRC logs



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

    Links for the day



  25. 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)



  26. 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



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  30. 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


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