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

01.16.13

FFII Challenges Software Patents in Europe, DOJ Does the Same in the United States But With a Twist

Posted in Europe, Patents, RAND at 4:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All eyes on Europe tonight

Europe

Summary: Action against Amazon’s one-click monopoly and unintentional action against FRAND, which helps legitimise software patents as part of ‘standards’

DESPITE HEAVY lobbying, software patents in the EU are in principle not legal, but Amazon managed to cheat the system. The FFII takes action and in a new press release the FFII says:

For Tuesday the European Patent Office (EPO) scheduled a hearing on the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure’s (FFII) opposition to the legendary “one-click gift order” patent from online retailer Amazon.com Inc.

In 2004 the FFII e.V. filed an opposition to Amazon.com’s “one-click gift order” patent grant.

FFII board member Stephan Uhlmann: “Software patents hinder innovation and our digital economy as whole. We took on a show case of a software patent while European officials told us software patents were not existent.”

Three years later the EPO revoked the patent because of non-inventiveness. After Amazon appealed the decision in 2008, the EPO restored its validity and remitted the case to the first instance. Tomorrow, more than four years later, the EPO’s opposition department will once again review the case.

Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, a leading opponent of the unitary patent, notes that UK courts rejected some software patents after they had approved Symbian’s some years ago [1, 2].

#swpats software patents still rejected by UK courts http://ur1.ca/ciswd will #UPC follows this interpretation or #EPO ‘s practices?

Here is the corresponding article which says:

This was an appeal to the High Court of a decision by a UK Intellectual Property Office Hearing Officer not to grant two patent applications (one directed at human subjects, the other to animals). The invention in this case relates to the field of genetics and was directed towards a screening method for differentiating between copy number variants (“CNV”s- repeated sections of DNA) which are associated with a particular condition or phenotype, and CNVs which are present in the population at large, and do not appear to cause disease.

Those patents got trashed again. So perhaps Europe is still somewhat under control and in a state of relative sanity.

Now, what about the US? And on what grounds did DOJ oppose some standard-essential software patents? We said it was for corporate reasons (against FRAND, selectively) and as Masnick’s site puts it, “USPTO And DOJ Shocked (Shocked!) That Companies Abuse Patents, But For The Wrong Reasons”. Here is more:

In a move that struck some by surprise, the US Patent Office and the Department of Justice put out an interesting statement arguing that companies need to stop abusing promises for fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licenses (pdf) for standards essential patents (SEPs). They argued, quite reasonably, that lawsuits over SEPs can stifle innovation and block competition. Well, duh. While many are interpreting this as having to do with the FTC/Google settlement, which touched on exactly this issue, the DOJ/USPTO letter seems much more focused on trying to knock some sense into the International Trade Commission (ITC) concerning how it deals with the patent cases it hears. As we’ve been discussing for years, patent holders get two (entirely) separate cracks at using the legal process to slap down those they accuse of patent infringement. First, there’s the federal court system, which is what most people think of when they think about patent disputes. The second is going to the ITC and seeking to ban the product from entering the country (i.e., getting an injunction).

Ironically, it was Microsoft lobbying against Google that weakened an anti-Linux weapon. Watch what Apple is doing with FRAND:

Apple has given notice [PDF] that it has appealed to the Federal Circuit Judge Lucy Koh’s order [PDF] denying Samsung’s motion to seal certain Apple documents. Apple had filed materials in support of Samsung’s motion, but Judge Koh refused to seal some of those materials in her November 29 Order.

[...]

This issue has been going on since July, and the judge stayed her orders so the parties could appeal, which Apple has now done. Interestingly, it’s Apple appealing, not Samsung, so that is who really cares.

So what is it Apple wants kept from the public? I’ll show you in detail, but the big items appear to be Apple’s internal customer research, specific financials, and certain license agreements.

After the order, Apple filed Exhibit 2 to the Robinson Declaration, its calculations that it is suffering $399,196 a day in supplemental damages, or $50 per infringing Samsung unit sold, from October of 2011 to the end of December 2012, with a total estimated supplemental damages figure of $101,167,892. Are they kidding? $50 for each phone sold. Can you imagine?

Apple is the one who has been telling courts that if it had to pay $6 per unit, or 2.4% royalties, per phone for FRAND patents, it would go out of business. But here it is asking for $50 per unit from Samsung for patents, at least three of which are under a cloud at the USPTO in reexaminations.

Yes, Apple alone wants fifty dollars for each phone that does not even use anything from Apple, it uses Open Source and Linux. Some ‘justice’ eh? Microsoft wants to do the same. It’s the act of patent stacking and it’s collusion. A Microsoft patent troll, Paul Allen, wants yet more money from Android devices and here is the latest from this case:

When we last looked at the case of Interval Licensing v. AOL, Apple, Google, Yahoo! and others, the case was headed for the Markman hearing on claims construction (see, Allen v. World – The Fight Over Claim Construction) The claims construction issues have now been decided, and a key interpretation has substantially cut in favor of the defendants.

Those defendants already lose in the sense that they must lose focus and spend money in court. Microsoft also sends some patent trolls to fight Android as their toll on the industry grows. From the British press today:

Patent trolling is a “cancer” that poses an “existential threat” to US business – especially startups – according to a panel of experts at last week’s CES 2013. But there are plans in the works to fight back.

“There’s a great quote from Scientific American,” congressman Peter DeFazio told his audience at a CES 2013 panel. “They say, ‘It is almost as though we have taken our collective creativity and placed it in a lockbox, where the main benefactors are lawyers and profiteers’.”

Don’t forget monopolists who hire those lawyers and bankroll or arm trolls to help distort the market. Either way, by eliminating software patents we can assure that a lot of the trolls will go away. A lot of (F)RAND too will be rendered obsolete.

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 31/8/2014: Linux 3.12.27, Akademy 2014

    Links for the day



  2. Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

    Links for the day



  3. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  4. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  5. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  6. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  7. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  8. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  9. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  10. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  11. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  12. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  13. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  14. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  15. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  16. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  17. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  18. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  19. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  20. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  21. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  22. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  23. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  24. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  25. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  26. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  27. BlackBerry -- Like Microsoft Nokia -- Could be the Next Patent Proxy Troll

    BlackBerry is restructuring for patent assertion (i.e. trolling) in the wake of some alliances with Microsoft



  28. After Microsoft's Soft Bribe Some Non-Technical Deputy Does Not Like Free Software, Microsoft-Linked Media Responds to This Non-News by Making Bogus Claims of Munich Leaving GNU/Linux (Updated)

    The subversive forces that have secretly been attacking Munich over its migration to GNU/Linux (Microsoft press, Gartner, and even HP) are back to doing it while China and Russia follow Munich's lead



  29. Gates Foundation CFO Quits and Debate About Revolving Doors Recalled Amid Systematic and Shrewd Bribery of Public Officials

    More officials step out of the Gates Foundation and their destination is not known yet; Gates continues to corrupt the public sector with his money so as to increase personal gain at taxpayers' expense



  30. Links 19/8/2014: GNU/Linux Raves and Alternative to Proprietary Voice Chat

    Links for the day


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