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. Scanning Patent Troll Implodes; Is the Podcasting Patent Troll Next?

    MPHJ loses and Personal Audio LLC perhaps wins for the last time since software patents are quickly losing legitimacy in the United States



  2. If CAFC is Not Above the Law, Then it Should be Shut Down Now

    A long series of abuses in CAFC may as well suggest that this court has become broken beyond repair



  3. The Latest From Microsoft Patent Trolls and Patent Partners

    Microsoft-linked and Linux-hostile trolls continue their relentless attacks (albeit with little or no success) while patents as a weapon lose their teeth owing to a Supreme Court ruling



  4. Microsoft Proves That Its Massive Layoffs Are Not About Nokia

    Microsoft is laying off a lot of employees who have nothing at all to do with Nokia



  5. Links 19/9/2014: Another Red Hat Acquisition, Netflix Dumps Microsoft Silverlight and Brings DRM to WWW

    Links for the day



  6. Links 18/9/2014: Windows Copying GNU/Linux, Germany Moves to Security

    Links for the day



  7. Web Site 'Patent Progress' Now Officially 'Powered by CCIA' (FRAND Proponent, Microsoft Front)

    After talking a job at CCIA, "Patent Progress" and its chief author should be treated as dubious on real patent progress



  8. Articles About the Death of Software Patents in the United States

    Recent coverage of software patents and their demise in their country of origin, where even proponents of software patents are giving up



  9. The Death of Software Patents is Already Killing Some Major Patent Trolls

    VirnetX seems to be the latest victim of the demise of software patents in the United States



  10. More Microsoft Layoffs

    More Microsoft layoffs go ahead as the company is unable to compete



  11. ODF on the Rise

    Milestones for OpenDocument Format (ODF) and the launch of FixMyDocuments



  12. Links 17/9/2014: CoreOS, ChromeOS, and systemd

    Links for the day



  13. Italy is Cracking Down on Microsoft's Monopoly Abuse While Gradually Moving to GNU/Linux

    Italy is not only moving to Free/Open Source software but also to GNU/Linux while at the same time barring Microsoft from forcibly tying Windows to new PCs



  14. OpenSUSE's 'Assurances' Are Classic MBA School Hogwash

    OpenSUSE is not part of any commitment, except for SUSE's; the impact of the Novell/SUSE acquisition casts uncertainty on the project's future



  15. Links 16/9/2014: Firefox OS Smartphones in Bangladesh, “Treasure Map” of the Internet

    Links for the day



  16. The United Kingdom Should Dump Microsoft For the Sake of National Security

    The UK has issues of Microsoft dependency and Windows viruses; its migration to Free software and GNU/Linux is not fast enough to guard its autonomy in the age of digital imperialism



  17. CBS Hires Even More Microsoft Staff to Cover Microsoft Matters

    CBS continues to be infested with Microsoft staff past and present (this time Dave Johnson) and the bias in output is quite revealing



  18. Microsoft Has Just Killed Minecraft for GNU/Linux and the Possibility of Free/Open Source Releases

    Persson sells out to Microsoft and lets the abusive monopolist destroy the popular cross-platform game that a community has been built around



  19. Another Reason to Boycott Intel UEFI

    More anti-competitive aspects are revealed inside UEFI, which helps merginalise GNU/Linux



  20. Quick Mention: Novell and SUSE Passed to Microsoft's 'Partner of the Year', Microsoft Focus

    Novell is changing hands again, and falling into the hands of even more Microsoft-friendly actors



  21. Links 16/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC5, KDE Frameworks 5.2.0

    Links for the day



  22. Željko Topić, Benoît Battistelli, and the European Patent Office (EPO): Part II

    Part II of our look into the EPO appointment of Željko Topić and other matters showing the dubious integrity of the EPO



  23. Links 14/9/2014: Android-based Watches Earn Optimism

    Links for the day



  24. Links 14/9/2014: Eucalyptus Devoured

    Links for the day



  25. Links 11/9/2014: Linux Toilet Project, Linux-Based Wheelchair Project

    Links for the day



  26. Links 10/9/2014: Brian Stevens in Google, Ubuntu 14.10 Expectations

    Links for the day



  27. Links 9/9/2014: Hating/Loving Linux, Android Aplenty

    Links for the day



  28. Links 8/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC 4, Switzerland Welcoming Snowden

    Links for the day



  29. Suspicion of High-Level Corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO): Part I

    The European Patent Office (EPO) Vice-President has a background of corruption and his appointment to the EPO too is believed to be reliant on systemic corruption



  30. Links 6/9/2014: Core OS at DigitalOcean, Women in Xorg

    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