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

08.16.13

Using Blackberry Patents Against Android/Linux Not a Far-Fetched Strategy in the Nation of Software Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 1:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The demise of Blackberry is a growing patent-stacking threat to Linux and Free software

Blackberry

Summary: Identification of a looming threat to Android/Linux, especially from a company with history of Microsoft deals and a growing patent portfolio that’s being considered for sale

The United States, whose patent system is run by large corporations like IBM and Microsoft (the USPTO has long been operating outside the public interest), is a very threatening environment to Free/libre software. To distribute computer programs for free might not be legal there, but it only becomes a problem when distribution is of high volume and by a large company like Google. Microsoft even got large companies paying it for Linux, a widely used operating system kernel. This is unjust and the core cause is software patents.

“The first step to fighting patent trolls is to limit software patents to five years,” says this new article, which puts forth a sort of compromise which at least targets the real problem. To quote:

There’s a lot wrong with America’s patent system — it often serves to undercut innovation, limits competition, and rewards trolls. But there’s a relatively easy short-term fix: Cap software patents at five years from issuance, a position adapted from the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Defend Innovation Project. While comprehensive legislation is needed to fix patent law, this first step is critical to reviving and protecting entrepreneurship, R&D, and technological progress in the United States.

20 years if far too long a lifetime for patents that should have never been granted in the first place. Watch how software patents are preventing the spread of voice recognition, motivating this lawsuit over reasonably out-of-date ideas:

As Nuance Communications Inc. and ABBYY Software House — two competitors in optical character recognition — brought their long-running case to a jury in U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White’s courtroom on Monday, their lawyers traded classic barbs of patent warfare.

Representing plaintiff Nuance, partner James Bennett of Morrison & Foerster described ABBYY in his opening statement as “a follower, not a leader.”

Coming to the Russian company’s defense, partner Gerald Ivey of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner suggested that Nuance felt threatened by a more nimble competitor.

This is just protectionism. That’s what patents are about. When some companies cannot rely on technical advantage alone they then resort to patent monopolies.

Android, which is growing rapidly and taking over the world as a de facto platform (on which most Techrights posts are composed by the way), is actually the target of protectionism from the ‘old guard’ — companies it is making less relevant over time.

It is being alleged right now that patents from RIM might get sold. One reader wrote to say: “If BlackBerry sell company… Microsoft will… get QNX which is UNIX like operating system and… patents and QNX technology and Linux?”

“Remember SCO,” he added.

Well, Microsoft could pay BlackBerry to later see RIM/BlackBerry suing Android companies. The Nokia and SCO strategy more or less…

Blackberry is of virtually no practical use to Android backers; when Google bought part of Motorola and grossly overpaid it was intended to prevent Microsoft and Apple from getting the patents (which they had reportedly bid for, just like with Nortel).

What if another CPTN member like Oracle bought this company? A new interview with Oracle’s CEO was rather revealing. He spoke of Microsoft as an enemy of an enemy (Google) and one author thinks that “Oracle (ORCL) [is] The Perfect BlackBerry (BBRY) Buyer” (for patents at least). To quote:

So BlackBerry (BBRY) has put itself up for sale while also considering a private equity move. Some pundits wonder if the Z10 smartphone maker will break itself up into a mobile service provider and mobile device company. But The VAR Guy wonders: Does a more surprising fate await BlackBerry — at the hands of Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison? Before you dismiss Oracle potentially buying BlackBerry, consider this history lesson.

Microsoft has been publicly aiding Oracle’s litigation against Android, announcing collaborations other than CPTN (technical ones too) and filing together antitrust complaints. Here is more of what Oracle thinks of Google.

Speaking of Oracle, what about other CPTN members like Apple and Microsoft (to which Oracle is now very close)?

Apple has been fighting Samsung using patent-induced sanctions at the ITC, with support from Obama's government officials. The Against Monopoly Web site says:

ITC Allows Apple Imports That Violate Samsung Patents

The blog, Public Knowledge, argues that the International Trade Commission should consider the public interest in reaching regulatory decisions on patents. The Obama has so decreed when it overruled an ITC case and permitted imports of Apple phones that it had found to violate duly recognized patents of other companies, in this case foreign firms link here.

When I look at the mess in the whole patent system, I see a world of oligopolies and monopolies built on patents, supposedly designed to encourage innovation, but instead creating a self-perpetuating means to paralyze innovation.

Groklaw has been upset about this and the other day it covered Microsoft’s fight against Motorola, which now involves an injunction as well. To quote:

Judge James L. Robart has now ruled [PDF, 38 pages] on Microsoft and Motorola’s summary judgment motions, granting in part and denying in part.

The attacks on Android takes many different forms (also antitrust), but the main players behind this attack remain the same. Next week we will revisit the antitrust angle.

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. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  2. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  3. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  4. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  5. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  6. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  7. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  8. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  10. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  11. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  12. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  13. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  14. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  15. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  16. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  17. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day



  18. KDE News: Kubuntu at the Centre Again KDE Applications Updated

    Links for the day



  19. Techrights Rising

    Effective immediately, Techrights will do what it takes to bring back old volume and pace of publishing



  20. Links: Surveillance, Intervention, Torture and Drones

    Links for the day



  21. Mobile Linux Not Just Android: Jolla, WebOS, and Firefox OS News

    Links for the day



  22. Google's Linux Revolution: New Gains for Android, Chrome OS (GNU/Linux)

    Links for the day



  23. Free/Libre Databases News: MongoDB, NoSQL, and MySQL Branches/Forks

    Links for the day



  24. Open Access on the Rise: Textbooks, Journals, Etc.

    Links for the day



  25. Finance Watch (Watching What's Not Being Watched): Economic Warfare/Class Injustice

    Links for the day



  26. Climate and Ecology Watch: News About a World Being Destroyed

    Links for the day



  27. Copyright News: DRM, Censorship, Megaupload, Hypocrisy, and Impact on the Internet

    Links for the day



  28. Sharing Works: Latest News Stories About Crowd-sourcing, Sharing, Transparency

    Links for the day



  29. Links 12/4/2014: Games

    Links for the day



  30. Links 12/4/2014: Applications

    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