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

04.19.13

Electronic Frontier Foundation, Google, Red Hat et al. Should Work to Eliminate Software Patents, Not Just Patent Trolls

Posted in EFF, Google, Patents, Red Hat at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Daniel Nazer

Summary: A look at the strategy of prominent GNU/Linux backers (plus the EFF) and criticism for the shortcomings

Oscure blogger Dietrich Schmitz, who is only starting to learn what Linux advocacy is, realises that patents are a major issue for Linux and GNU. Red Hat et al. recently filed a complaint over it and Pamela Jones has some coverage of this. She writes:

Joe Mullin at ars technica has the welcome news that the FTC is thinking about using subpoena powers to investigate patent trolls, such as Intellectual Venture. He mentions that Google, Red Hat, Blackberry and Earthlink just sent some comments [PDF] to the FTC and the Department of Justice asking for an investigation into what they politely call patent assertion entities, or PAEs. So have the Computer and Communications Industry Association [Comments, PDF] and the National Restaurant Association [Comments, PDF] also asked for such scrutiny.

But the most important part of the Google et al. request, to me, hasn’t yet been highlighted in the media reports I’ve seen. What they are asking for is not just an investigation into trolls, but into active companies outsourcing their patent enforcement *to* PAEs. And what they are asking for is whether such activities in some instances can rise to the level of antitrust violations.

That is something I’ve wondered about for a while — why didn’t regulatory bodies see what is happening to Android, for example, with all the old guard working apparently together to try to crush it? One thing that Microsoft and Nokia have done, for example, is outsource patent enforcement to MOSAID and other patent enforcement-style non-practicing entities. (If you recall, Google filed a compliant specifically about that with the EU Commission last summer.) The new comments call the new outsourcing to trolls patent privateering, which they say is designed for assymetric patent warfare — meaning the defendant’s business is at stake, but the outsourcing company’s business isn’t, and the troll has nothing to lose, because it has no business.

Daniel Nazer, writing about “patents for open innovation” (he is a Staff Attorney on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s intellectual property team, focusing on patent reform) adds his support to Google, which in turn does not go far enough. To quote a new article:

Finally, Google has some other suggestions for improving patent quality. It thinks that prior art needs to be more easily searchable, which it thinks could make things easier for examiners and reduce the number of invalid patent claims from being issued. It also recommends better standardization of terminology, which it thinks will both make it easier to search for prior art and help reduce the amount of litigation by clarifying an invention’s scope. But while it stopped short of supporting the EFF’s position that software patents ought to include working code, it thinks it’s worth discussing a requirement to include pseudo-code, although it warns that the idea could be unwieldy without a standardized format.

Last month, Google made a pledge to refrain from suing developers, distributors, and users of open source software that infringe on its software patents unless it’s attacked first, decrying the roughly $25 billion that patent trolls are gleaning annually with software patent litigation. It’s clear that the Patent and Trademark Office really does want to be seen as a promoter of innovation — now that the deadline has passed for public comment submission, we’ll have to see which, if any, of the many suggestions it will implement.

Google should work to abolish software patents, not large trolls. We said this years ago. What Google is doing about patents could be vastly improved. We said the same about Red Hat, many times in fact. They all do what’s right for their shareholders, but not for society; they don’t deem it their responsibility.

Over the years I have urged Google (also via E-mail to its manager) to start fighting against software patents rather than reform them. Posts on the subject include the following dozen:

Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, the leading opponent of the Unitary Patent (threat of software patents in Europe), said this morning: “I’m very critical with EFF strategy wrt #swpats [software patents]: they should require their abolition, not bad half-solutions” [anything but abolition].

He is right. The EFF — like Google — has been pursuing the wrong solutions. We gave some examples and constructive criticism of their approach.

Never count on corporations to fix broken law for public interests. Remember CISPA? The law that has just been passed to allow the government to easily acquire private citizens’ data? Well, guess which side Google was on…

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. Claiming That Microsoft 'Loves' Linux While Windows Update Bricks Devices With Linux

    The sheer absurdity of claims that Microsoft -- which not only attacks those who distribute Linux and GNU but also blackmails them, takes them to court, or bricks their products without any liability -- 'loves' Linux



  2. Protectionist Reign: Corporations in Complete Control of Everything With Domination Over Patent Law

    How multinational corporations, joined by the corporate press that they are funding, promote a corporations- but not people-friendly patent policy in north America



  3. Links 30/10/2014: GNOME 3.15.1, Red Hat Software Collections 1.2

    Links for the day



  4. Links 29/10/2014: Ubuntu Touch Tablet, Puppy Linux 6.0

    Links for the day



  5. Links 28/10/2014: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, Canonical OpenStack Distro

    Links for the day



  6. Links 28/10/2014: PiFxOS, The Document Foundation in OSBA

    Links for the day



  7. Microsoft is Bricking Devices With Linux (Yet Again!), So a Microsoft Booster Spins/Paints Linux Devices as 'Fakes'

    Microsoft delivers rogue drivers through Windows Update and they brick Arduino microcontrollers



  8. How Bill Gates Continues to Pass Wealth From the Public to His Own Bank Account

    Having put a universal tax on many things (not just computers) and evaded tax using the classic 'charity' trick, Gates is now buying the media, the schools, politicians etc. and earns as much as 10 billion dollars per year while the public is taught that Gates is a giver, not a hoarder of the worst kind



  9. Links 27/10/2014: Lenovo Unbundling, Linux 3.18 RC2

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: September 14th, 2014 – October 25th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  11. Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

    Links for the day



  12. After Infecting Unity -- Successfully -- Microsoft's Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

    Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices



  13. Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

    Microsoft's insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages ([cref 27802 possibly trillions] of [cref 13992 dollars in damages to date]) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software



  14. City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It's Only Tax Authorities

    A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation



  15. Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

    The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of 'pirates'



  16. Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on 'Trolls' and Quotes Lawyers

    How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that



  17. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  18. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  19. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  20. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  21. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  22. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  23. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  24. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  25. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  26. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  27. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  28. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  29. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  30. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time


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