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. Who Kills Yahoo? It's Microsoft, Not Yahoo!

    The media should blame Microsoft, not Marissa Mayer, for what's going on (and has been going on for 7 years) at Yahoo!



  2. EPO Management is Trying Hard to Appease Its Critics While Pushing Forth Unitary Patent Agenda

    The European Patent Office and European Commission promote the agenda of large multinational corporations (at the expense or European citizens) and critics are being kept at bay



  3. Real Patent Reform Will Not Come From Biggest Backers of GNU/Linux, Not Even Google

    A look at the 'new' Google, the company which is hoarding patents (2,566 last year alone) instead of fighting for reform



  4. Microsoft's Troll Intellectual Ventures Loses Software Patents

    Intellectual Ventures is bluffing with software patents, but this time around it doesn't get its way



  5. Links 24/4/2015: Ubuntu and Variants in the News, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1

    Links for the day



  6. Links 23/4/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 is Out, Debian 8.0 Out Very Soon

    Links for the day



  7. Links 22/4/2015: Fedora 22 Beta, Atlassian Acquires BlueJimp

    Links for the day



  8. The Dying Debate Over Patent Scope (Including Software Patents) Replaced by 'Trolls' (But Not the Biggest Ones)

    The corporate media and Web sites or people who are funded by large corporations have essentially suppressed any debate about issues in the patent granting process, thereby guarding software patents and preventing criticism of large corporations' power grab



  9. The Patents Gold Rush Continues

    The morbid obsession with monopolising mere ideas still dominates the media, even increasingly in China



  10. 9 Millionth US Patent Tells a Story of Failure and USPTO Misconduct

    The USPTO, much like FISA (notorious court for surveillance/espionage authorisation), has become a rubber-stamping operation rather than a patents examination centre, as new evidence and old evidence serve to show



  11. HBO Helps Shift Debate Over Patents to 'Trolls' (Scale), Not Scope

    More of that awkward shifting of the patent debate towards small actors who are misusing patents, not large conglomerates like Apple and Microsoft which use patents to destroy competitors, crush startups, drive up prices, and so on



  12. Software Patents Are Still Menacing to Free Software: OIN Expands Scope, HEVC Adds to MPEG-LA Burden/Tax, Google and Facebook Give in on Patents

    A look at recent news about software patents and especially Free/libre software, which is inherently incompatible with them



  13. The Latest Developments Around Microsoft's Clever Attack on Android/Linux

    Microsoft's campaign of destruction, extortion, etc. against the most widely used Linux-powered operating system is revisited in light of new reports



  14. The Microsoft 'Community' is Maligning the Free Software Community

    Dishonest generalisations and baseless deductions portray the Free/Open Source software communities as a nasty place that leads to poverty and despair



  15. Googlebombing 'Microsoft Open Source' Even When Microsoft Shuts Down Its 'Open Source' Proxy

    A massive failure by the press to cover the most basic news, which is Microsoft putting an end to a supposedly 'Open Source' effort



  16. Links 22/4/2015: Calculate Linux 14.16, SparkyLinux 4.0 RC KDE

    Links for the day



  17. Links 21/4/2015: Project Photon, Ubuntu Touch Buzz

    Links for the day



  18. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish: How Microsoft Plans to Get Rid of Linux/Android

    Microsoft's sheer abuse against Android is laying bare for everyone to see now that Microsoft has paralysed Google's legal department with potential antitrust action in Europe



  19. Yahoo's Current CEO (Mayer, Formerly of Google) is Trying to End Yahoo! Status as Microsoft Proxy

    There are signs of relinquishing Microsoft's control over Yahoo! after Marissa Mayer worked to end the company's suicidal/abusive relationship with Steve Ballmer's Microsoft



  20. Repeating Microsoft's Lies Without Any Journalistic Assessment

    Poor fact-checking by relatively large media/news sites results in Microsoft's patently false claims being repeated uncritically



  21. Links 19/4/2015: New KaOS (2015.04), Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 Pre1

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/4/2015: ExTiX 15.2, RaspArch

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft Tired of Pretending to be Nice to Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), Microsoft 'Open' Technologies Dumped

    Microsoft dumps its proxy (misleadingly named 'Open Tech') and other attacks on Free software persist from the inside, often through so-called 'experts' whose agenda is to sell proprietary software



  24. More Translations of French Article About the EPO

    German and Dutch translations of the Le Monde article are now available



  25. Links 17/4/2015: Wipro and the Netherlands Want FOSS

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft's Multi-Dimensional Assault on Android/Linux: Extortion, Lobbying of Regulators, and Bribes

    Microsoft's vicious war on Linux (and Android in its current incarnation) takes more sophisticated -- albeit illegal (as per the RICO Act) -- forms



  27. Microsoft's Plot to Associate Windows with 'Open Source' is Proving Effective, Despite Being Just a Big Lie

    A look at the latest headlines which can lead to a false perception that Microsoft is now in bed with 'Open Source'



  28. Microsoft Windows Remotely Crashed, Remotely Hijacked, But Still No Logo and No Branding for the Bugs

    Windows maintains its reputation as a back doors haven, but the media is still not highlighting the severity of this issue, instead focusing on accidental bugs in Free software, even very old (and already fixed) bugs



  29. Black Duck's Latest Self-Promotional Propaganda (for Proprietary Software) Still Fools Journalists

    Under the traditionally misleading title "Future of Open Source" Black Duck expresses its desire for proprietary software sales, salivating over fearful managers who may get bamboozled into buying the patents-'protected' Black Duck 'product'



  30. Links 16/4/2015: Opera for 32-bit GNU/Linux, New Chromebook Site

    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