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

04.21.13

Patent Trolls and ‘Royalties’: Distracting From the Real Issue Which is Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A lawyers’ (or politicians’) mindset

Parliament

Summary: A lawyers-led debate neglects to target the core issue, which is patenting of software, instead resorting to attack on the symptom, which most often exploits software patents

Software patents have always been the #1 subject in this Web site. These patents — and by extension the patent system — are the #1 barrier to GNU/Linux domination in the post-Vista, post-Nokia/Symbian, post-x86 era.

Rather than discuss what’s “Fair” and “Reasonable” (to charge innovators) we should start tackling the source of the problem we all face because lawyers and their clients took over. Weak reformists do not advocate the end of software patents, they advance coexistence with them. FRAND is a common line for software patents apologists. As one site put it, “standard-essential patent owner is obligated to enter into binding baseball-style (or “final offer”) arbitration with any willing licensee to determine the royalty rate.”

“Rather than discuss what’s “Fair” and “Reasonable” (to charge innovators) we should start tackling the source of the problem we all face because lawyers and their clients took over.”Why discuss rates for something that might not be valid in the first place, such as the case in Europe? In the USPTO, where Apple is allowed just about any crazy monopoly it asks for (the institutional bias for large corporations), software patents might be acceptable and even enforceable internationally through the ITC (in the latest from the Apple versus Samsung case it likes to block Korean, i.e. non-US, companies). Watch this amazing bit of news, which is part of a bigger picture of Apple versus Android FRAND battles [1, 2]. Here is more on that from patent lawyers’ (hence biased) blogs.

Mark Lemley, an academic lawyer himself, proposes adjustments for FRAND rather than rejection. From his new paper:

Standard Setting Organizations (SSOs) typically require their members to license any standard-essential patent on Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms. Unfortunately, numerous high-stakes disputes have recently broken out over just what these “FRAND commitments” mean and how and where to enforce them.

One lawyers’ site says that FRAND disputes start to expand outside the US, meaning that patents on software become enforceable in bulk where those patents, individually, are neither valid nor legal.

Aiming at trolls is another pattern of distraction, for instance with Obama nominating/appointing the problematic people while claiming to address the issue of trolls. Where is the protest? Where it the uproar? SOPA need not have a monopoly on outrage.

Here is some food for thought for Obama. As Pamela Jones notes: “Don’t miss this incredible article, everyone. It’s eye-opening. Mr. Ewing advises WIPO and is the attorney who first coined the phrase “patent privateering”, and this letter is his comment filed, along with many others which he makes available here — scroll down — in connection with a workshop that the FTC held on PAEs, or trolls, in December. The link doesn’t work any more, by the way, the one he includes in his letter regarding the workshop, but the cache is still available if you go to that page and then search for atr/public/workshops/pae in the search box.”

The EFF, not to its credit, left aside its old pitch of “against software patents” and now it is back too focusing on trolls and going after particular patents or players one by one (like the ineffective Patent Busting project). Here is a new example.

“Targeting trolls is not enough. All these reformists are going after the symptom rather than the disease.”Pamela Jones notes that the US government is studying trolls with special powers on its side, but it is not enough. Jones points out the article titled “Patent trolls launched majority of U.S. patent cases in 2012″ and then correctly points out: “That means that if you solve the patent troll problem, you still have nearly half of the problem unsolved.”

Nazer from the EFF is among those who focus not on the real solution to the mess and with phrases like “Crappy Software Patents” in the headline he helps imply that some software patents are “good”.

“Considering that algorithms are mathematics,” writes Jones, “and mathematics is non-patentable subject matter, I can’t see how this proposal will solve the fundamental problem.”

Rackspace, on the other hand, has gotten Jones’ support. With posts like these, the company shows that it wants the system itself fixed. In its blog it says: “When it comes to fighting this particular troll, we believe an IPR is our best option to have this patent abolished at its source – eliminate the root, destroy the weed.”

Watch the response from the troll’s site (it says “monetized to date” at the top). They call patent infringement theft. Here is a Patent Progress guest post from Rackspace, titled “STOP ABUSIVE PATENT LITIGATION, FOR THE SAKE OF OUR ECONOMY”

The site Patent Progress makes some suggestions for the ITC study and cheers for the FTC to shase down trolls as if it’s the only problem these days:

USING THE FULL POWERS OF THE FTC TO COMBAT PATENT TROLLS

A century ago there was a lively debate in Congress over the enforcement of the antitrust laws. Much of the 1912 presidential campaign had focused on the lack of effective antitrust enforcement by the Justice Department and the failure of the Sherman Act to stop growing anticompetitive conduct in the marketplace. In 1913, Congress focused on the urgent need for reform of the antitrust laws and stronger enforcement.

Targeting trolls is not enough. All these reformists are going after the symptom rather than the disease. That’s not to say that patent trolls are not an issue; they are. But if a huge number of people petition President Obama on the subject of software patents and receive a response about trolls, then someone is trolling and distracting them; the trolls will go away when large corporations, which are behind the government, decide that they must go away. Pursuing the end of trolls is leaving all the power in the hands of corporate cartels that use patents to harm everyone, including Android (a notable victim).

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. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

    By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group



  2. Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

    Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely 'dare' to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.



  3. Patent Lawyers and Corporate Media Nervous About New Patents Barrier/Reality (Less Patents on Software and Business Methods)

    The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid



  4. Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

    More political fire targeting the EPO's management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now



  5. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  6. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  7. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  8. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  9. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  10. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  11. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  12. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  13. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  14. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  15. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  16. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  17. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  18. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  19. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  20. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  21. Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

    Links for the day



  22. Williamson v. Citrix Online (at CAFC) Reinforces Alice v. CLS Bank (at SCOTUS) in Crushing Software Patents

    More patent news from the United States, again serving to indicate that software patents over there are getting weak (harder to defend in court or acquire from the patent office)



  23. Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

    Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected



  24. IAM Biased: How IAM 'Magazine' Glorifies Patent Stockpiling

    A look at the bias of one of the most overzealous sites for and by patent lawyers



  25. PATENT Act No Longer in the News... and That's Just Fine

    Putting the PATENT Act aside for the time being, for it has little or no impact on the really problematic patents



  26. The Latest Lies From Microsoft's PR Apparatus/Public Face, Mr. Nadella

    Having spread the outrageous lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” (whilst obviously attacking it in many ways), Microsoft's CEO (essentially Bill Gates' right-hand man) says Microsoft is “one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel” (because of proprietary software it tries to contaminate it with while violating the terms of the GPL)



  27. Microsoft Jack (Schofield) Promotes Microsoft's Proprietary Lock-in and Calls People Who Recommend Free/Libre Software 'Trolls'

    Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him



  28. The Council of Europe Slams the EPO as Political Pressure Grows for EPO Management to Obey the Law

    Battistelli et al. come under yet more fire as politicians -- many of whom from Battistelli's home country -- become better informed of the EPO's management fiasco, abuses, and scandals



  29. Operating Systems Usage Based on Technical Site Statistics

    ome numbers to show what goes on in sites that do not share information about their visitors (unlike Windows-centric sites which target non-technical audiences)



  30. Links 27/6/2015: Wine 1.7.46, SparkyLinux 4.0

    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