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

04.06.13

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 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. 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<



  2. 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



  3. 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



  4. Another Reason to Boycott Intel UEFI

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



  5. 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



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

    Links for the day



  7. 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



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

    Links for the day



  9. Links 14/9/2014: Eucalyptus Devoured

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  14. 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



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

    Links for the day



  16. Software Patents 'Quality' Debated in Courts, Microsoft's Biggest Patent Troll Still a Chronic Liar

    Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft's and Bill Gates' largest patent proxy, continues to spread lies about its motivations, claiming that patent assessment is among the goals when in fact only the courts and patent offices do this



  17. New Article Explains How Bill Gates Prevents Schools From Moving to GNU/Linux and Free Software

    A new article from Al Jazeera provides details about the role of so-called 'charities' of billionaires inside school systems



  18. Microsoft Sued for Large-scale Copyright Abuses

    Microsoft reveals its disregard for copyright law which it loves so much to wield as a weapon against its competition and clients



  19. Links 5/9/2014: New WordPress, Systemd Debate Continues

    Links for the day



  20. 'Embrace and Extend' at Microsoft: The New Generation

    Some of the latest examples of Microsoft's predatory acts against Free software and against competition in general, disguised as acts of friendliness



  21. Bill Gates' God Complex: Common Core a One-Man Campaign of Greed and Control

    The push for Common Core is overwhelmingly dominated by Bill Gates, who intimidates and even resorts to retribution against critics while bribing those who help him accomplish the goal of privatised (for his private profit) indoctrination in US schools



  22. Bill Gates Investments Harm the World, Not Improve the World, Based on New Exclusive Piece of Investigative Journalism at The Nation

    The Gates Foundation's profiteering efforts and lack of ethics outlined in a new report that many sites around the Web find fascinating and mostly irrefutable



  23. Links 3/9/2014: Android Gadgets, New Tails OS

    Links for the day



  24. Linus Torvalds DebConf Talk

    Torvalds' latest talk which got media attention earlier this month



  25. Microsoft Should Not be Considered Too Big to Jail

    Microsoft continues to use dumping as a strategy which revolves around starving the competition, not beating the competition



  26. Pro-Software Patents Voices Finally Acknowledge the Demise of Software Patents in the United States

    A milestone is reached as even the most zealous supporters of patents on algorithms (or computer-implemented inventions, or software patents) are admitting that the era of software patents may be over



  27. New Lies About Microsoft 'Privacy' and New FUD Against the GPL Comes From 'Former' Microsoft Staff at Black Duck

    More AstroTurfing by sites that are run by Microsoft MVPs and firms which were created by people from Microsoft



  28. Links 2/9/2014: GNU/Linux in BBC, Calls Against systemd

    Links for the day



  29. Links 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

    Links for the day



  30. Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

    Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)


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