02.25.13

Europe, Australia and New Zealand: Patent Updates

Posted in Australia, Europe, Law, Patents at 9:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Globe

Summary: Australia and New Zealand are having software patents phased in by multinational corporations in the same way as in Europe

THE PRESIDENT of the FFII has resumed keeping track of the Unified Patent Court, which would affect us here in the UK, amongst other countries. This disturbing new post says that “Vince Cable signs Unified Patent Court agreement in Brussels: patent attorneys call for a proper economic impact survey before the agreement is ratified”.

Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, a longtime opponent of the Unified Patent Court, wrote that “Only Gandalf can protect Europe from the Unitary Patent”. He says that “with #UnitaryPatent EU has waived even more prowers to #EPO,” which is something that Glyn Moody finds “really depressing” and “fortunately,” he says, “I’m still convinced that #UnitaryPatent will never ever enter into force…”

Sédrati-Dinet ‏worried when “@montebourg ha[d] signed agreement on a #patent court exposing French firms to the threats of #patentTrolls” and Mark Summerfield said that “Sir Robin calls claims that European #patent would save money ‘lies’, based on assumption that you would patent across all Europe.”

André Rebentisch, also from the FFII, ‏wrote: “Berlin Airport everywhere: Business Europe says let’s adopt #Unipat Court in neglect of technical difficulties http://www.europolitics.info/business-competitiveness/patent-if-the-system-is-not-operational-it-won-t-be-used-art348322-45.html …”

Separately he wrote: “Yesterday speech of Commissioner Michel Barnier on unitary patent http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-13-132_en.htm?locale=en …” (Barnier is one of the principal architects and boosters of this whole mess).

Here is part of Sédrati-Dinet’s detailed analysis of this subject:

Now that, despite all legal, political and economic issues, the European Parliament has approved the regulation on the unitary patent, just as anticipated, it is time to move away from the legislative battle. The unitary patent has still a long way to go before becoming applicable. It is likely that it will be nothing more than a stillborn child. Meanwhile, the threat is hovering over European innovation and growth. It is time now to see whether and how Gandalf’s magical powers can overcome dark forces of Mordor.

New Zealand has been following the same trajectory as the EU because the “forces of Mordor,” as Sédrati-Dinet calls them (referring perhaps to multinationals), sought to make the 'as such" trick a matter of law and then, through trade agreements (so-called uniformity and unification) they try to export/import primarily US-based software patents. It is the same in Australia, which has gone along a similar route (being somewhat of a US client state, as the Julian Assange story helped show).

Here is a noteworthy new article about what happens in New Zealand:

Recently I wrote about looming changes to New Zealand’s patent laws that could have a dramatic and lasting impact on the future shape of New Zealand’s tech sector.

The hope held out by many was that software would be excluded from being covered by patents, however it now appears that the government is likely to change patent legislation so that software can be patented.

Even though the Commerce Select Committee and numerous industry experts have all recommended that software be excluded from patentability, amendments made to the bill after pressure was placed on the government could be sufficiently vague that software could end up being patented.

Yes, just like here in Europe. Be prepared for NZ and Australia to sign some more ‘free’ ‘trade’ agreements to help pave the way to a global patent system where software is patentable (as covered here many times before). That is, unless we rise up and stop this global, as in worldwide, madness…

Microsoft Uses the FBI to Intimidate Innocent Citizens Abroad, Raid Them

Posted in Australia, Microsoft at 9:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Abuse of powers

Apaches

Summary: Xbox-related overseas raid (over a hoax) involved the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was collaborating with Washington Police at the behest of Microsoft

NO THEORY here but a real conspiracy that reminds us of Microsoft’s backdoors in Windows, which US secret agencies love to exploit. Amid hype in the corporate press over China ‘hacking’ one must remember that it’s the US which attacks other countries with cyber weapons like Stuxnet and President Obama recently made that legal (legalising it after the illegal act), as we covered in our daily links some weeks ago. Techrights is not a political site, so we won’t delve into the politics behind it, but let us point out that Microsoft collusion with the police, as pointed out the other day, had involved the FBI as it turns out:

A Perth teenager — who has gained popularity in cyberspace under the name SuperDaE — has had his home raided and possessions seized by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and WA Police as part of an international corporate espionage probe.

The incestuous relationship between Microsoft and the secret services ought to make every user of Microsoft software — especially governments — seriously worried. Right now in Iceland there are serious debates over the FBI’s abduction of a Wikileaks employee, which the FBI tried to use to frame Julian Assange. Iceland kicked those FBI agents (who had come in a private plane) out of the country for not respecting national sovereignty, but this is far from a resolved case. What we have here is a blurring gap between legal and illegal as we descend into moral corruption and rule of power, not law.

Last week we shared some links about the revelation that Aaron Swartz was flagged by the FBI. So much for fighting terrorism, eh? More like defence of corporations. In Occupy, as a leak reveals, protesters were labeled “low-level terrorists” and every other week we read about another so-called “terror plot” which actually involved undercover FBI agents providing tools to a stung perpetrator in a group/circle FBI had infiltrated (they call it “Sting Operation” and it’s actually throughcrime, i.e. criminalisation of political views).

Torvalds Curses Over UEFI Stupidity, Gets Upset at Red Hat (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Red Hat at 9:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat

Summary: Red Hat an accomplice in Microsoft’s restricted boot plans and Linus Torvalds is not happy

Torvalds’ complaints about UEFI restricted boot are nothing new. That anticompetitive scheme from Microsoft is polluting the kernel with binaries which merely serve to help discriminate against Linux and Torvalds has just opened his mouth again, sending out a “NSFW Red Hat rant”:

Linux overlord Linus Torvalds has again vented his spleen online, taking on Red Hat employee David Howells with a series of expletive-laden posts on the topic of X.509 public key management standard.

The action takes place on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, with Howell posting a request that Torvalds “pull this patchset please”.

Howells wants the patchset pulled so Red Hat can “”embed an X.509 certificate containing the key in a section called ‘.keylist’ in an EFI PE binary and then get the binary signed by Microsoft.” This arrangement, he suggests, is more elegant than the way the Linux kernel signs certificates today. Torvalds’ initial response is “Not without a lot more discussion first”, because “Quite frankly, this is f*cking moronic. The whole thing seems to be designed around stupid interfaces, for completely moronic reasons. Why should we do this?”

For future reference, here is the original context dated Thursday, 21 Feb 2013 15:47:58 (GMT). Thanks, Torvalds, for doing the Right Thing® in this case.

Update: Linus Torvalds To Secure Boot Supporters: This Is Not A Dick-Sucking Contest

Microsoft and the BSA Align With Oracle in Patent Fight Against Android/Linux

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Leveled against the #1 rival

Level

Summary: Microsoft and a Microsoft front are trying to help Oracle tax Android

IT DID not take long for Microsoft to show its true face and intentions. Google and Oracle are back to the court’s procedures, exchanging all sorts of legal papers and the BSA shows its ugly face along with Microsoft. Here is how Groklaw put it:

Microsoft, BSA, Scott McNealy, others file amicus briefs in support of Oracle’s appeal against Google ~pj

Yesterday there were numerous amicus briefs filed all on the same day and all in support of Oracle against Google in Oracle’s appeal at the Federal Circuit. None of the briefs are posted publicly yet, but they should be available soon.

Microsoft has filed one, together with EMC Corporation, and NetApp, Inc. Scott McNealy has filed one with Brian Sutphin. Can McNealy be a witness for Oracle at trial, which he was [PDF], and also file an amicus brief? Well, he has. The Picture Archive Council of America, Inc. has filed one with the Graphic Artists Guild. Also there’s one from the BSA. And finally Eugene Spafford, Zhi Ding, and Lee A. Hollaar have filed an amicus in support of Oracle. Hollaar seems to file a lot of amicus briefs.

Susan Decker wrote the article “Microsoft Joins Oracle to Defend Software Patents Against Google”:

The top lawyers for Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Oracle Corp. (ORCL), saying software patents are important drivers of U.S. innovation and economic growth, pressed Congress today to reject calls to limit that legal protection.

Companies including Google Inc. (GOOG) and Facebook Inc. (FB) have said too many software patents are being used primarily to generate lawsuits instead of contributing to new products and services. Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, and Oracle say discussions of ways to curtail litigation shouldn’t become an excuse to limit the ability to patent software.

The partly Gates-owned Monsanto also got support from the BSA, as noted in the previous post and Microsoft is well aware of the BSA’s involvement in this latest move. Microsoft IPG ‏wrote in Twitter:

Microsoft to join @BSANews, @ShopFloorNAM in DC on Thurs to discuss #softwarepatents & innovation. http://bit.ly/WnDCyl

Here is a Reuters report:

Microsoft Corp is backing Oracle Corp’s bid to revive a billion-dollar copyright lawsuit over Google’s use of the Java programming language, according to court filings on Tuesday.

Oracle’s intellectual property battle against Google has attracted intense interest from software developers, many of whom believe the structure of a programming language should not be subject to copyright protection.

Last year a San Francisco federal judge found that Oracle could not claim copyright protection on much of the Java language that Google used on its Android mobile platform. Oracle has appealed.

For background on this case we have ECT’s article:

There appears to be little to encourage Oracle to believe it can win a reversal of the verdict Google won in last year’s bitter Java trial. Nevertheless, it has mounted an appeal, arguing that Google stole its intellectual property just as surely as fictional author Ann Droid plagiarized a Harry Potter book. Oracle might need to cast a spell on the appellate court to pull this one off, though.

In other Android patent news we have this update on Apple:

On February 14, Apple and Samsung met with the Hon. Lucy Koh, who is presiding over their current patent dispute in Apple v. Samsung II, in the very same courtroom where she presided over their first patent litigation in San Jose, CA back in August. The purpose was to go over the parties’ claims in the patents they say are infringed, explaining to her how the technology works. This is in preparation for the upcoming Markman hearing next month, where they will argue officially over what the terms in the claims mean. We had a volunteer in the courtroom, and we have that report for you.

Meanwhile, in Apple v. Samsung I, which is still going on, the parties will be arguing before the Federal Circuit on March 26, as both parties believe the magistrate judge is threatening to unseal too many documents in that case, and things are on hold until the appeals court decides who is right. So far, that is about the only thing the parties *do* agree on, that the magistrate has gone too far. Here’s Apple’s supplemental appeal brief [PDF] on that issue of sealing from Apple v Samsung I. William Lee of Wilmer Cutler will argue [PDF] for Apple on March 26, and Victoria F. Maroulis of Quinn Emanuel will argue [PDF] for Samsung. That’s at 10 AM on March 26 at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC.

One ought to remember the undeniable personal tie between Apple and Oracle (whose CEO considers Steve Jobs to be his “best friend”). There is surely a conspiracy of companies liaising against Android.

Microsoft Lobbyists Go Batting for Monsanto Monopolies on Life, Food

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spoon

Summary: The Business Software Alliance — not just the Gates Foundation — is trying to help a private company (which Gates invests in) own all self-replicating seeds

Microsoft’s co-founder, a strong proponent of patent monopolies on life and a prominent Monsanto investor/lobbyist, must be keeping his eyes on particular news this month. The USPTO may soon stop patenting life, depending on what the SCOTUS decides. As one article put it, this is “A Farmer’s Crusade Against Monsanto Could Determine The Future Of Patents”. Here is another article, “Who Can Own Life? Farmer vs. Monsanto Before US High Court”.

The SCOTUS still corrupted by corporate interests, so on the face of it Monsanto will get its way. From AP:

The Supreme Court appeared likely Tuesday to side with Monsanto Co. in its claim that an Indiana farmer violated the company’s patents on soybean seeds that are resistant to its weed-killer.
None of the justices in arguments at the high court seemed ready to endorse farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman’s argument that cheap soybeans he bought from a grain elevator are not covered by the Monsanto patents, even though most of them also were genetically modified to resist the company’s Roundup herbicide.

Here is what the New York Times published:

The question in the case, Bowman v. Monsanto Company, No. 11-796, was whether patent rights to seeds and other things that can replicate themselves extend beyond the first generation. The justices appeared alert to the consequences of their eventual ruling not only for Monsanto’s very lucrative soybean patents but also for modern agriculture generally and for areas as varied as vaccines, cell lines and software.

“Can patents on crops and seeds live on through the generations? Seems likely,” writes Joe Mullin, an excellent writer on the subject of patents (trolls in particular).

Groklaw calls it a matter of “Self-Replicating Patented Seeds” in Pamela Jones’ analysis and Slashdot‘s analysis says: ‘Reader 9gezegen adds that Monsanto is getting support, oddly, from parts of the software industry. From the NY Times: “BSA/The Software Alliance, which represents companies like Apple and Microsoft, said in a brief that a decision against Monsanto might ‘facilitate software piracy on a broad scale’ because software can be easily replicated. But it also said that a decision that goes too far the other way could make nuisance software patent infringement lawsuits too easy to file.”‘

The BSA is right now involved in other cases where Microsoft has a stake, but we’ll leave that to the next post. As we showed before, many former workers of William Gates Sr. are now workers of the BSA, so it’s all rather incestuous. What they have in common is that they seek a tax on the Commmons, one in software and another in agriculture.

President Obama Responds to Petition on Software Patents Two Years Late

Posted in America, Patents at 4:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Obama

Summary: Signers of a petition against software patents finally receive a promising response from the White House (amidst other interesting developments such as government-funded research becoming Open Access)

So-called ‘IP’ sites do not like Obama’s promise to reform the patent system after public pressure. Here is a transcript of what he said. “Apparently I am on a mailing list from one of the petitions,” wrote one of our readers. “Below is the message they sent out.”

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: A Bit About Software Patents
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2013 13:27:19 -0600
From: The White House [info@messages.whitehouse.gov]
Reply-To: info@messages.whitehouse.gov
To: xxxxx

The White House


A Bit About Software Patents

Last week President Obama answered questions during an online video
chat, and he spoke a little about an issue you've expressed interest
in [

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/promoting-innovation-and-competitive-markets-through-quality-patents?utm_source=wethepeople&utm_medium=response&utm_campaign=patents

] through We the People.

*Here's what he had to say about software patents: [
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ4Zo0XyNsw ]*

Watch President Obama speak about software patents [
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ4Zo0XyNsw ]

Thank you for your involvement in We the People.

Stay Connected

Stay connected to the White House by signing up for periodic email
updates from President Obama and other senior administration officials
[

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].

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The notable thing here is that over a year later President Obama did respond — at the very least with lip service — to petition signers (of 2011). Credit is deserved for that, but we shall see if real action gets taken.

OIN Going After Unpaid Staff to Help Legitimise Software Patenting

Posted in OIN, Patents at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Graduation

Summary: Students are being used to help write so-called “defensive patent publications”

IBM, a key component of the USPTO (with David Kappos, a former IBM employee, running it), helped form OIN, which was the creation run by another former IBM employee. OIN recently made it into the news again. There is a coordinated PR effort to get volunteers to help an agenda that legitimises some software patents (which IBM loves). To quote one output of this PR (in Red Hat’s site): “In Fall 2012, the Linux Defenders, from the Open Invention Network (OIN), teamed with the students of the Open Source Software Practices class at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (in Troy, NY) to write a set of defensive patent publications.

“OIN should join the efforts to end software patents, not tame them for the benefit of IBM et al.”“The students in the class first went through four lectures on the history and nature of patents, one of them given directly by Andrea Casillas, director of the Linux Defenders program at OIN. After this training, each one of the students wrote a defensive patent publication on a topic close to a class project that they were already working on.

“Members of OIN guided the students at every step of the process, providing instructions on how to write the publications and leading them to the finished product that was ready to be submitted to the US Patent Office.”

This is bad because they exploit a volunteer (as in unpaid) workforce to help legitimise software patents as a concept, just like Peer2Patent did. This is a lawyer’s non-solution to a real problem and another lawyer is proposing this rather misguided ‘solution’. Let’s stress that the solution is to abolish software patents, not help garden them. OIN should join the efforts to end software patents, not tame them for the benefit of IBM et al.

02.24.13

Links 24/2/2013: Chromebook Pixel, Liberated Pixel Cup

Posted in News Roundup at 8:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 25 arrives with speech recognition

        Google has released Chrome 25 to its Stable Channel. Chrome 25.0.1364.97 for Windows and Linux and Chrome 25.0.1364.99 for Mac OS X bring improvements to extension security, support for the JavaScript Web Speech API and fix 22 security vulnerabilities, five of which were fixed as part of Google’s bug bounty program for the browser; the rest were found by employees of the company.

    • Mozilla

      • Director Of Product Blake Ross Is Leaving Facebook

        Facebook Director of Product Blake Ross is leaving the company, he announced in a Facebook post yesterday afternoon.

        For those of you who weren’t reading TechCrunch in 2007, Firefox co-founder Ross and Joe Hewitt came to Facebook through its acquisition of Parakey, a web OS that was still in stealth at the time. Parakey was Facebook’s first acquisition. Hewitt, who spearheaded many Facebook Mobile projects including iOS, left the company in 2011.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenClipart.org in LibreOffice – part 3
    • LibreOffice 4 review – Getting better but …

      Just a few days ago, LibreOffice 4 was released. As you know, this is an important milestone, both technically and historically. Since the split from OpenOffice, managed by Oracle, LibreOffice has quickly grown to become the dominant open-source office suite, and has completely pushed away OpenOffice from the spotlight. Moreover, this latest version brings a whole bunch of good things.

  • Business

    • Hortonworks unveils Stinger Initiative

      Hortonworks’ Alan Gates has announced the Stinger Initiative, a four point plan for making Apache Hive 100 times faster. With other Hadoop distributors already having taken steps to speed up processing of large data volumes (e.g. MapR’s Drill), Hortonworks prefers to rely on existing tools and input from Hadoop’s large community.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Obama White House expands access to federally funded research

        Campaigners herald boost for accessibility of scientific information and say Aaron Swartz case gave momentum

      • Aaron Swartz Prosecutors Weighed ‘Guerilla’ Manifesto, Justice Official Tells Congressional Committee

        A Justice Department representative told congressional staffers during a recent briefing on the computer fraud prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz that Swartz’s “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” played a role in the prosecution, sources told The Huffington Post.

        Swartz’s 2008 manifesto said sharing information was a “moral imperative” and advocated for “civil disobedience” against copyright laws pushed by corporations “blinded by greed” that led to the “privatization of knowledge.”

        “We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive,” Swartz wrote in the manifesto. “We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.”

        The “Manifesto,” Justice Department representatives told congressional staffers, demonstrated Swartz’s malicious intent in downloading documents on a massive scale.

      • U.S. attorney: Criticism of Aaron Swartz prosecution is ‘unfair’
      • White House Open Access Memo Strong, Could Be Stronger

        Today, the White House released a memorandum (PDF) in support of a more robust policy for public access to research, making the results of billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded research freely available online. The memorandum gives government agencies six months to detail plans to ensure the public can read and analyze both research and data, without charge. Both open access and open data are key to promoting innovation, government transparency, and scientific progress.

      • White House says government-funded research should be more public, but critics want more
  • Programming

    • Eclipse 2014 release name chosen
    • Eclipse Foundation starts Long Term Support initiative

      The Foundation has announced the Eclipse Long Term Support (LTS) initiative. With industrial uses of software which expect support and maintenance of the software stack from ten to fifty years, there has long been a desire to address this need. With the new LTS initiative, led by CA Technologies, IBM, EclipseSource and SAP AG, the Foundation will provide the facilities and processes needed to create signed deployable updates for older versions of Eclipse. This should, in turn, enable a new ecosystem of companies and enterprises to share fixes and releases. The initiative will be open to all organisations with an interest in extending the productive life of Eclipse technologies.

    • jQuery Mobile gets responsive with version 1.3

      Responsive web design (RWD) has been the focus for the jQuery Mobile developers as they put together the new version, jQuery Mobile 1.3.0, of the touch-optimised mobile web framework. The developers say that they had been faced with designers asking whether they should use RWD or jQuery Mobile – the answer is “both” say the jQuery Mobile developers, and with 1.3, they have set out to educate users by adding responsive documentation and demos to explain key concepts. They have also added responsive tables, panels and grids to make it easier to build responsive sites and applications.

    • Google App Engine update eases cloudy mobile app development

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