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

05.14.13

Software Patents Reality Distortion Field

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 2:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Media coverup allegedly helps shelter the train wreck which is software patents

Train

Summary: How press coverage of software patents in the EU and New Zealand (NZ) varies depending on the source; allegations that the US press tries to dismiss end of software patents by twisting an outcome of a major trial

THE EU, NZ, and the US: are software patents actually really banned there? It’s all about perspective, or so we may be led to think by the corporate press.

Europe

First of all, software patents in Europe are not an impossibility due to the “as such” loophole. As software patents continue to creep into the continent the German government steps in to stop the potentially illegal practice. “Siemens tried to enforce a software patent against a German webshop owner in 2007 http://ur1.ca/du5ku #swpat threat in Europe is real,” writes the FSFE’s founder, Georg C. F. Greve. The FSFE has just published a “response to German Parliament on #swpat ur1.ca/dtypk (German) Today @kirschner in Parliament hearing #endswpat” (here it is from the current head of the FSFE).

New Zealand

In Europe, the loophole which facilitates software patenting is virtually the same as in New Zealand, where software patents are still possible albeit officially denounced (we wrote about it twice before).

The patent lawyers’ sites which are more inflammatory (yes, IAM again) deny that software patents are banned in NZ and the NZ press focuses on domestic reactions like this one (ignore US press to dodge talking points of US-based corporations). One NZ-based site (not US site with NZ localised version like IDG’s) says: “The Government has announced a change to planned new patent rules today which has put an end to fears that computer software might be covered by new patent protection.”

There are “no patents on computer program “as such”,” says one person who is familiar with these matters. It’s not perfect, “but better than nothing,” says Glyn Moody ‏ in Twitter. Here is some other coverage of interest. NZ is in the same position that Europe is in. Software patents are not “officially” legal, but in practice one can get them anyway, defying the law using loopholes (characterising software as an inseparable part of a general-purpose, programmable computing device).

United States

Over in the US, the corporate-dominated USPTO, SCOTUS and even CAFC (to a lesser degree) call the shots. These people don’t know how to use computers or program them. They know just the very basics. As one person puts it: “Out of touch Fed Circuit judges? Two are over age 75. None under 60. I’m guessing none ever wrote a line of code, or use Instagram.”

Another says: “Computers Compute i.e. do Maths. Maths isn’t patentable therefore Software shouldn’t be patentable – Simple”

And moreover from the same person: “Surely it can’t be difficult for the Patent Office to recognize that a Computer Computes Maths; says what it does in the name :(”

Lastly: “The problem with most lawyers IMO is that they don’t have a clue about Programming & think it’s all Innovative when it’s not”

So the US press has been trying to decipher or spin the CAFC’s latest decision on this subject. Will Hill writes: “No matter what happens, the Microsoft press will say the results are unclear or favor software patents. Bilski seemed to be a rejection of software patents.”

Here is Crouch’s response, which we cited before. He insinuates that many but not all software patents may be dead given this decision and some allege that all software patents are dead in the US now. Another legal site calls it a “nightmare”. The business press dismisses this as a game changer. We wrote about it twice before, initially calling this a missed opportunity to reform the system. The British press is more optimistic than that, insinuating that software patents died in the US. Compare that to US news sites with headlines like “Mixed Ruling In Software Patent Case Raises More Questions Than Answers” (prevalent headline) and Australian perspective which focuses on the Australian company. A fairly independent US-based site summarised it all as follows: “Ten judges, seven opinions, 135 pages, zero legal precedent.”

Not everyone agrees. Rupert Murdoch’s influential corporate press continues to entertain this discussion in comments and polls at WSJ. Its coverage of the trial came under the headline “Long-Awaited Patent Ruling Yields Few Answers” (prevalent talking point in US sites).

Meanwhile, report some Russian journalists: “The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of biotech giant Monsanto, closing the door on a patent case that has pitted a smalltime farmer from Indiana against a titan of the agriculture industry.”

The US report was quick to dismiss claims that this may be applicable to software (here is AOL). The SCOTUS almost always rules in favour of large corporations. Justices are appointed by politicians that those corporations are bribing.

In the post “Diagnosis From USA Federal Circuit – Software Patents Are Sick” Canadian blogger Robert Pogson alleges software parents were crushed. He adds: “Isn’t that a hoot? Can you hear the patent-FUD rushing out of M$’s collapsing balloon? Can you hear the “partners” who have signed up to pay M$ per Android/Linux smart thingy calling their lawyers and accountants? Can you see the small cheap computers becoming even less expensive? I can.”

Who can be trusted? Legal sites that say software patents are affected (completely dead or partially dead) or corporate press which almost uniformly argues that there is no change whatsoever? The confusion or the mixes signals sure serve the status quo.

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 Lobbying in India Shoots Down or At Least Weakens Free/Libre Software Policy

    Microsoft's covert efforts (lobbying with the help of public partners like NASSCOM) to eliminate an India-leaning software policy in India is finally paying off



  2. Propaganda Mode for UPC Agreement Whilst EPO Increasingly Grants Patents on Software

    In order to make the Unitary Patent a reality (towards a 'no place to hide' patent approach) misleading claims are being made



  3. Patents Are Not Source Code

    Ford is once again misleading regarding Open Source, mischievously associating a patent pledge with Open Source



  4. Links 29/5/2015: ALT Linux 7.0.5, Google I/O 2015

    Links for the day



  5. Links 28/5/2015: SourceForge Hijack, RIP Marco Pesenti Gritti

    Links for the day



  6. Censorship on Reddit Has Gotten (Condé) Nasty and Silent, Even Actively Silenced

    Condé Nast has turned Reddit into a platform of censorship after the acquisition



  7. The Supreme Court of the United States Helps Patent Trolls

    In an unforeseen kind of ruling, the same court which slapped down a lot of software patents last year is now legitimising the actions of a patent troll



  8. Patent Lawyers Fight Hard for the Future of Software Patents

    Media that is dominated by patent lawyers and targets an audience of patent lawyers refuses to accept the post-Alice reality



  9. Fortune Glorifies Patent Troll Jay Walker (Patent Utility)

    Jay Walker, a patent troll, creates a Web-based trolling/'licensing' service and the corporate media helps him



  10. Stealing Android's Thunder, Making It All About Apple and Microsoft During Google I/O

    Misleading articles and conjoined media/analyst attacks on Android coincide with Google's event where major Android announcements are being made



  11. British Government May be a Step Closer to GNU/Linux (on the Desktops, Not Just Servers)

    The British government stops paying the criminal company that blackmails its members, thereby increasing the possibility of complete escape from proprietary software



  12. Microsoft's Patent Allies LG and Sony Agree to Put Microsoft Inside Android

    LG and Sony (of Rockstar Consortium) follow Samsung and Dell in Microsoft's campaign to turn Android into 'Microsoft Android' using patents-induced pressure/leverage



  13. Yet Another Major Security Deficiency in UEFI

    UEFI is inherently insecure, more so than the alternatives which it strives to replace, including Free/libre ones



  14. Links 27/5/2015: Fedora 22 is Out, Mandriva Liquidated

    Links for the day



  15. Patent Scope at the EPO is Totally Out of Control, UPC Will Make Things Worse

    A look at the practical issues with the EPO, where patent scope and litigation scope have been vastly extended so as to benefit multinational corporations and possibly patent trolls



  16. Links 26/5/2015: Reviews of Kubuntu 15.04, Linux 4.1 RC5

    Links for the day



  17. Süddeutsche Zeitung Says Talking Helps While EPO Management Back-stabs Other Side of the Table

    German media gives the impression that there is peace and harmony now that Benoît Battistelli and his circle of power speaks to staff, but nothing is said about simultaneous (albeit covert) attacks against that staff



  18. Large Corporations Call the Shots in US Patent Reform

    A reminder of where we stand on the issue of patent 'reform' in the US and who is controlling or shaping it



  19. Microsoft Puts Proprietary Windows and Hyper-V Inside the Free Software-Centric OpenStack

    OpenStack, which celebrates rapid growth in this month's event in Canada, is facing a proprietarisation threat from Microsoft



  20. Microsoft's Secret Lobbying, Bullying, and the Long History of Blackmailing Politicians Around the World

    British media covers Microsoft's abuse in the UK, but there are many similar incidents, and not just in the UK



  21. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Benoît Battistelli and Four EPO Suicides

    German press article from April 2015 (with translations)



  22. Links 24/5/2015: CrossOver 14.1.3, NTFS-3G Vulnerability

    Links for the day



  23. Links 23/5/2015: Fedora 22 to May 26th, Netflix in SteamOS

    Links for the day



  24. The Patents Production 'Industry' (Patent Lawyers) Still Fights Hard to Salvage Software Patents

    A review of recent writings about software patents and patents on business methods in the United States, demonstrating that patent lawyers have gotten very vocal and sneaky (trying to evade the rules)



  25. Patents as a Marketing Strategy: USPTO Now Part of the Advertising Industry

    The existence of publicity patents, or patents whose sole purpose is to advertise some products, serves to discredit the US patent office, which was originally set up to promote science and technology



  26. Microsoft Blackmails and Extorts British Politicians Over Open Standards and Free Software-Leaning Policies

    Microsoft's digital imperialism in the UK getting defended using blackmail, reminding a lot of Brits that Microsoft is just as evil as ever before



  27. Microsoft Gives Another Bug a Name, This Time Logjam™

    The Microsoft crowd is good only at marketing, even when it comes to small bugs in software



  28. Links 22/5/2015: Fedora 22 Final Release is Near, Canonical IPO Considered

    Links for the day



  29. More Utter Shame Unveiled at Battistelli's EPO: Intimidation Tactics With Help From 'Control Risks'

    The unaccountable thugs who run the EPO have hired London-based spooks to help silence their opposition and their critics



  30. GNU/Linux Still Under Attack From Apple and Microsoft, Patents Remain the Weapon of Choice

    A timely reminder of the importance of patent matters, for they are being used to eliminate the zero-cost advantage of Free/libre software and make it more proprietary, privacy-infringing, and user-hostile (as a result of blackmail)


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