04.06.13

Gemini version available ♊︎

Missing the Real Problem With Patents in the United States

Posted in Patents, Red Hat at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Protectionism facilitated by lawyers

Lock

Summary: Response to some articles about the US patent system and those who strive to fix it, or conversely, keep it broken

The tiresome debate over the subject of patents is really massive these days. Many articles are written about it everywhere. A lawyers’ site continues to advance the view that software should be patentable by giving the platform to a notable lobbyist/booster for this ’cause’; Martin Goetz is said to be at the genesis of software patents in the US [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and he continues to be used by law-practicing software patents proponents such as Dennis Crouch. This is a problem because unless software developers make their views heard, the lawyers will simply get their way.

Other sites pay a lot of attention to patent trolls rather than software patents. Groomed by a Microsoft-friendly, Bill Gates-funded press like “GOOD” [1, 2], patent troll Spangenberg, for instance, is targeted by Rackspace, which calls him the most notorious patent troll in America after winning an important case against another troll, thanks to help from Red Hat. The British press says that “Rackspace sues ‘the most notorious patent troll in America’”:

Texan hosting firm Rackspace is going on the offensive with a legal challenge to non-producing entity (or patent troll, as they are more commonly known) Parallel Iron – a firm Rackspace describes as “the most notorious patent troll in America.”

Rackspace is still feeling cocky after its victory last week in the Eastern District of Texas, when a judge ruled that fellow NPE Uniloc couldn’t try to enforce a patent on a mathematical formula – a rare case of logic from the notoriously patent plaintiff-friendly court. Flushed with success, Rackspace is now taking the fight to a new target.

Intellectual Ventures is actually much bigger and more dangerous. One of our readers said he “thought Intellectual Ventures was the most notorious patent troll in America.” He was right. The USPTO continues to facilitate these trolls and Red Hat’s unofficial blog calls for an open, collaborative effort to improve US patents rather than call for change in the system itself:

Late last year, I wrote about the EFF’s project to leverage the Patent Office’s new Preissuance Submissions procedure to promote open 3D printing technology. Here we are, several months later, and the fight for open 3D printing continues. Now, the EFF has partnered with Ask Patents to facilitate crowdsourcing of prior art searches for various 3D printing-related patent applications.

At first, I didn’t see anything remarkable about this partnership. However, as I delved a little deeper, things got a little more interesting. First off, Ask Patents is part of a group of open-content websites called Stack Exchange which includes over 100 “question and answer sites on diverse topics from software programming to cooking to photography and gaming.” But, the more interesting tidbit—at least to me—came from the Stack Exchange blog, where they claim that former Patent Office Director, David Kappos, came to their office to encourage them to open a Stack Exchange site dedicated to generating prior art to help patent examiners do their jobs.

David Kappos is in favour of software patents. He and others like him want more people gardening the existing system rather than abolishing or reforming it.

Red Hat sends out mixed messages, with the notion of “bad” patents rather than software patents being advanced and also a focus on trolls rather than their tools of litigation. Red Hat itself has some software patents, some of which offend fellow FOSS-centric companies [1, 2]. The patent lawyers’ spin sites say that “Red Hat opposes software patents, but still recognises the value of IP” (as in trademarks? Copyrights?). Here is the opening of this spin piece:

Last week a court in the Eastern District of Texas dismissed patent litigation brought by NPE Uniloc against internet hosting provider Rackspace. Uniloc sued the Texan company in June 2012, alleging that its use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux infringed one of the NPE’s software patents relating to “the processing of floating-point numbers”.

In response, Rackspace and Red Hat (which was providing assistance to its customer in accordance with its Open Source Assurance programme) jointly filed for an early motion to dismiss the case. The motion was granted, with the court finding the claim asserted by Uniloc invalid as it covered a mathematical algorithm.

According to a press release from Red Hat, this decision represents the first time that a court in ‘NPE’s paradise’ the Eastern District of Texas has granted an early motion to dismiss after finding that an asserted patent claimed unpatentable subject matter.

This is true so far. But watch the spin at the end:

Even for organisations that have a fundamental opposition to software patents, IP can be a major part of their business model. Red Hat and other companies have shown that patenting and open source development can coexist and can complement each other; while other intangibles such as brands – and the trademarks and other rights that protect them – can be vital to competitiveness in the highly commoditised software market. For those in the open source community that are sceptical about the IP system, that is surely something worth considering.

With phrases like “patenting and open source development can coexist” (similar to IBM's line) they are trying to paint Red Hat as pro-patenting, simply by calling patents “IP” and then saying that Red Hat care for trademarks and such stuff. This helps prove that Richard Stallman has been right for his persistent opposition to the term “IP”.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains



  2. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day



  3. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 30, 2021



  5. Links 1/12/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and WordPress 5.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  6. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves



  7. The EPO's Mythical “Gap” Has Been Found and It's Bonuses for People Who Use Pure Fiction to Steal From Patent Examiners

    The phony president who has the audacity to claim there's a budget gap is issuing millions of euros for his enablers to enjoy; weeks ahead of the next meeting of national delegates the Central Staff Committee (CSC) tells them: "Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation."



  8. Video: Making the Internet a Better Place for People, Not Megacorporations

    Following that earlier list of suggested improvements for a freedom-respecting Internet, here's a video and outline



  9. Links 30/11/2021: KDE Plasma 5.23.4, 4MLinux 38.0, Long GitHub Downtime, and Microsoft's CEO Selling Away Shares

    Links for the day



  10. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

    An informal list of considerations to make when reshaping the Internet to better serve people, not a few corporations that are mostly military contractors subsidised by the American taxpayers



  11. Freenode.net Becomes a 'Reddit Clone' and Freenode IRC is Back to Old Configurations After Flushing Down Decades' Worth of User/Channel Data and Locking/Shutting Out Longtime Users

    Freenode is having another go; after “chits” and “jobs” (among many other ideas) have clearly failed, and following the change of daemon (resulting in massive loss of data and even security issues associated with impersonation) as well as pointless rebrand as “Joseon”, the domain Freenode.net becomes something completely different and the IRC network reopens to all



  12. Jack Dorsey's Decision is a Wake-up Call: Social Control Media is Just a Toxic Bubble

    The state of the World Wide Web (reliability, preservation, accessibility, compatibility etc.) was worsened a lot more than a decade ago; with social control media that’s nowadays just a pile of JavaScript programs we’re basically seeing the Web gradually turning into another Adobe Flash (but this time they tell us it’s a “standard”), exacerbating an already-oversized ‘bubble economy’ where companies operate at a loss while claiming to be worth hundreds of billions (USD) and generally serve imperialistic objectives by means of manipulation like surveillance, selective curation, and censorship



  13. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 29, 2021



  14. Links 29/11/2021: NuTyX 21.10.5 and CrossOver 21.1.0

    Links for the day



  15. This Apt Has Super Dumbass Powers. Linus Sebastian and Pop_OS!

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  16. [Meme] Trying to Appease Provocateurs and Borderline Trolls

    GNU/Linux isn’t just a clone of Microsoft Windows and it oughtn’t be a clone of Microsoft Windows, either; some people set themselves up for failure, maybe by intention



  17. Centralised Git Hosting Has a Business Model Which is Hostile Towards Developers' Interests (in Microsoft's Case, It's an Attack on Reciprocal Licensing and Persistent Manipulation)

    Spying, censoring, and abusing projects/developers/users are among the perks Microsoft found in GitHub; the E.E.E.-styled takeover is being misused for perception manipulation and even racism, so projects really need to take control of their hosting (outsourcing is risky and very expensive in the long run)



  18. Links 29/11/2021: FWUPD's 'Best Known Configuration' and Glimpse at OpenZFS 3.0

    Links for the day



  19. President Biden Wants to Put Microsofter in Charge of the Patent Office, Soon to Penalise Patent Applicants Who Don't Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats

    The tradition of GAFAM or GIAFAM inside the USPTO carries on (e.g. Kappos and Lee; Kappos lobbies for Microsoft and IBM, whereas Lee now works for Amazon/Bezos after a career at Google); it's hard to believe anymore that the USPTO exists to serve innovators rather than aggressive monopolists, shielding their territory by patent threats (lawsuits or worse aggression) and cross-licensing that's akin to a cartel



  20. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VIII — Mr. Graveley's Long Career Serving Microsoft's Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub's GPL Violations Machine)

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley was promoting .NET (or Mono) since his young days; his current job at Microsoft is consistent with past harms to GNU/Linux, basically pushing undesirable (except to Microsoft) things to GNU/Linux users; Tomboy used to be the main reason for distro ISOs to include Mono



  21. Dr. Andy Farnell on Teaching Cybersecurity in an Age of 'Fake Security'

    By Dr. Andy Farnell



  22. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 28, 2021



  23. Links 29/11/2021: Linux 5.16 RC3 and Lots of Patent Catch-up

    Links for the day



  24. By 2022 0% of 'News' Coverage About Patents Will Be Actual Journalism (Patent Litigation Sector Has Hijacked the World Wide Web to Disseminate Self-Promotional Misinformation)

    Finding news about the EPO is almost impossible because today’s so-called ‘news’ sites are in the pockets of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their cohorts who turned the EPO into a hub of litigation, not science; this is part of an international (worldwide) problem because financial resources for journalism have run out, and so the vacuum is filled/replaced almost entirely by Public Relations (PR) and marketing



  25. Trying to Appease Those Who Never Liked Free Software or Those Who Blindly Loved All Patent Monopolies to Begin With

    It’s crystal clear that trying to appease everyone, all the time, is impossible; in the case of the EPO, for example, we hope that exposing Team Battistelli/Campinos helps raise awareness of the harms of patent maximalism, and when speaking about Free software — whilst occasionally bashing the alternatives (proprietary) — we hope to convince more people to join the “Good Fight”



  26. Links 28/11/2021: Laravel 8.73 Released, GitHub Offline for Hours

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 27, 2021



  28. Links 27/11/2021: Nvidia’s DLSS Hype and Why GNU/Linux Matters

    Links for the day



  29. [Meme] Linus Gabriel Sebastian Takes GNU/Linux for a (Tail)'Spin'

    If you’re trying to prove that GNU/Linux is NOT Windows, then “haha! Well done…”



  30. GNU/Linux is for Freedom and It'll Gain Many Users When (or Where) People Understand What Software (or Computing) Freedom Means

    Software that respects people's freedom (and by extension privacy as well) is an alluring proposition; those who choose to try GNU/Linux for the wrong reasons are likely the wrong target audience for advocates


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

Recent Posts