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

06.14.13

As the Battle to Legitimise Software Patents in New Zealand and Europe Carries on, New Systemic Corruption Found

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

French politics
Image by Alain Fontaine

Summary: A roundup of stories from battlegrounds for software patents “as such”

Over the years we wrote quite a lot (relative to the size of the nation) about software patents in New Zealand, where patent lawyers have been fighting/waging their PR war against software developers; local lawyers fought alongside companies like IBM and Microsoft with their lobbyists (other lawyers). Some firm called “Shelston IP” continues this PR war (warping public perception) in Lexology by advancing the pro-software patents stance. To quote:

In? Out? Either way, talk of software patents has dominated discussion of the New Zealand Patents Bill for several years, causing unfortunate delay for a much needed update to New Zealand patent law. However, resolution may be on the horizon. Following fierce lobbying by many in the New Zealand IT sector, the Government has announced a new proposed amendment to the Bill, hailed by some as an effective end to software patents in New Zealand. The reality? Unsurprisingly perhaps, much less clear cut.

[...]

n the latest development, the Government has proposed a new replacement provision, which keeps a prohibition on patents for computer programs “as such”, but includes two further clarifying principles. Firstly, a claim in a patent (or application) relates to a computer program as such, if the actual contribution made by the alleged invention lies solely in it being a computer program. Secondly, a series of factors are set out, which must be taken into account in identifying the actual contribution made by the alleged invention. Therefore it is the nature of the “actual contribution” which the invention makes to the existing art which will be the touchstone for determining patentability. If such contribution arises solely from a computer program, it will not be patentable. If the contribution is judged to arise from another aspect of the invention, it will be patentable.

[...]

At a commercial level, the decision to take a significantly narrower path in New Zealand than in Australia, may have real implications for New Zealand software developers who find that software which does not infringe any New Zealand patents, may infringe Australian patents when marketed there. We may also find that over time, the much debated question of whether software patents stifle or encourage innovation, is answered by a geographical shift in the Australasian industry, one way or the other.

Factually (barring omissions) there is something to it, but it is biased for being too selective. The reality is, software patents were explicitly demoted in this island this year [1, 2, 3].

Microsoft-friendly companies like Centrify can carry on boasting their Microsoft-taxed products (Active Directory patents) and try to sell them in places where software patents are not legitimate, hoping the public will not recognise the injustice. This a FRAND-type loophole. See the TomTom case involving FAT patents in Europe, where the “as such” loophole still exists (albeit under fire). European patents may use FAT patent legitimisation in Germany (where some silly politicians still do their thing this week) although it is now a dubious patent.

Over in Germany right now, Jimmy Schulz is doing fine work to extinguish software patents and the FSFE has this update in English:

Tens of thousands of software patents in Germany and Europe present enormous cost and liability risks, especially for SMEs. Several German SME associations welcomed the Parliament’s decision. However they warn against giving all the responsibility to Brussels, as the EU has been consistently incapable of providing software developers with legal certainty. “Germany now has to implement this decision in law, to send a strong signal towards Brussels,” says Johannes Sommer of BIKT, one of the associations.

At an expert meeting in the Parliament on 13th May, in which FSFE also participated, industry associations BIKT and BITMi proposed changes to German copyright and patent law. These proposals would also affect software patents which have already been granted. The first proposal is to add a “protective shield” clause to German copyright law , introducing a blanket ban on the enforcement of patent claims with regard to software. The second proposal to be implemented in German patent law makes sure that the effect of patent claims shall not extend to works protected independently by copyright. Both proposals would prevent that patents on software can be enforced against software developers. The FSFE supports both proposals.

“Matthias Kirschner, of the free software federation said the move is an important step to fix the software patent insanity,”says one news site. Thom Holwerda covered that as well.

Recently, one route to legitimising software patents has been the unitary patent. Spain was blackmailed for the unitary patent and there was a lot of apparent corruption in the attempt to ruin policy against software patents in Europe

According to this curious update, the swindle goes round:

Action brought by Spain against the Regulation on the unitary patent calls the judiciary character of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO into question.

My letter to them hardly made a difference.

Based on this link from Gérald Sédrati-Dinet (April, source), the “#CJEU interpreting UPC shows that #EU has exclusive competence over #UPC (unitary patent court) which is then illegal”

There are other conflicts [FR, EN] revealing entryism of sorts. To quote, “don’t forget: presented by a senator @SenateurRYung who was a former director at EPO” (the EPO is corruptible).

Richard Yung is one of the politicians who come from the patent system, then doing the lobbying (we covered other examples. As put here, “to be sure, Senator Young is a former director of EPO”

“I predict that the Bundestag request against software patents will be ignored, and that they will vote for Unipat [unitary patent] instead”
      –Benjamin Henrion
Dan Gillmor incorrectly says here in The Guardian that software patents are in a state that they’re not in. He is corrected with the statement: “Europe is unfortunately far away from excluding Software Patents” (just not endorsing them). The FFII’s president, Benjamin Henrion, says: “I predict that the Bundestag request against software patents will be ignored, and that they will vote for Unipat [unitary patent] instead #backdoor”

When even companies that pretend to like FOSS are collecting software patents we remain stuck between large American corporations that spy on us and gain monopolies on algorithms. It is a sad state of affairs, but that’s just where we are.

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. Links 4/7/2015: Mostly (Geo)Political Catchup

    Links for the day



  2. Links 3/7/2015: KDE Applications 15.04.3, Ubuntu-Flavored Compute Stick

    Links for the day



  3. Patent Lawyers and Their Firms, Still Desperate to Protect the Status Quo, Manipulate the Media

    Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers



  4. Amid Controversy, Political Scrutiny and Increased Media Pressure Željko Topić and Benoît Battistelli Allegedly Cancel Today's Trip to Zagreb (Croatia) Where Topić Faces Many Criminal Charges

    The Croatian press comments on the recent declaration from the Council of Europe and Topić's not-so-sterling status in his home country, where he is wanted for alleged crimes



  5. 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



  6. 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.



  7. 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



  8. 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



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  11. 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



  12. 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



  13. 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



  14. 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



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

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



  16. 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



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

    Links for the day



  18. 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



  19. 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



  20. 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



  21. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

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



  22. 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



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





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

    Many IRC logs



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

    Links for the day



  26. 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)



  27. 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



  28. 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



  29. 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



  30. 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)


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