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

12.10.13

IBM and Microsoft Crushed Patent Reform in the United States, Last Resort is SCOTUS Again

Posted in IBM, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Though the people in black costumes have a poor record on software patents

Supreme Court US, 2009

Summary: Legislation in the US continues to be steered by large companies (or their lobbyists) with heaps of software patents; SCOTUS receives another opportunity to cross out software patents

HAVING destroyed Linux backers like Nokia (Jolla/Neo ⇆ Nokia ⇆ MeeGo/OpenMoko/Sailfish survive in other forms, thankfully enough), Microsoft is now destroying US law, as well.

Based on this new poll, Microsoft is still the most widely loathed company in the eyes of FOSS people. This is not because Microsoft is some scapegoat; Microsoft has done a lot to deserve this, including crimes.

Currently in the US there is some useless reform which mostly serves large corporations. it’s not about people’s interests and the only reason Congress passed it is that large corporations supported it (like they support Congress, financially). As one site put it: “As Congress gets ready to pass a greatly watered down patent reform act – watered down largely due to the lobbying of the two biggest patent trolls, IBM and Microsoft – and the Supreme Court begins to contemplate abolishing software patents, there are a few other news items.”

We already explained the role of IBM and Microsoft.

One FOSS site said: “This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted with a huge majority of 325 to 91, to pass the Innovation Act, which would put significant constraints on patent system abusers.”

No, only a particular subset of them. The U.S. House of Representatives would not have passed this (with considerable majority) if it did not satisfy the desire of large corporations which control Congress through lobbying and bribes.

We should really stop referring to this ‘reform’ as a real sign of progress. The real test is still ahead of us. The software patents-friendly Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) is still expected to decide whether APIs can be copyrighted (even worse than patents) and SCOTUS, which almost always rules in favour of large corporations, is now the last resort when it comes to software patents. Despite some optimism, all it shows are decisions going into the wrong courts with all the biased (towards lawyers) judges, no jury in sight. As one pundit put it, “the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal on the Alice vs. CLS Bank case which is yet another case that looks at the patentability of software. The ruling in the Federal Circuit appeals court (CAFC) was one of the biggest judicial messes you’ll ever see. The ruling was 135 pages of different judges all disagreeing with each other. In all of that there is only one single paragraph that the court agreed on — one which rejected the patent as not being patentable subject matter. But as for why they did that? No one could agree. Chief judge Randall Rader has called that decision “the greater failure of my judicial career.””

Rader has repeatedly shown his bias in favour of software patents, inside and outside CAFC. He even gives himself away to patent lawyers’ sites which lobby for software patents.

At the end of the day we are left sort of defending countries outside the US (including Europe) from the invasion of USPTO practices and SCOTUS rulings that permit software patenting. Nokia, which has become Microsoft's biggest troll, mostly uses hardware patents for now, but it shows the threat of big trolls, irrespective of the scope of patents. “EU warns Nokia not to become a “patent troll”,” says this article, but it is “too late” according to iophk, who is Finnish. When Nokia is left to become part of a US company (like Skype being passed to Microsoft) it will become an instrument of abuse inside Europe, embargoing and eavesdropping, respectively.

TechDirt, a US-based site which is highly critical of US policy on copyrights, patents, privacy and other matters, suggests this fix and yet another fix which tackles public funding. To quote: “For many years we’ve been incredibly critical of the famous Bayh-Dole Act, which was passed in 1980 with the idea that it would encourage greater innovation by pushing universities to patent the research they were doing. The theory — based on a rather ignorant view of innovation and research — was that patents would create a market, which, in turn, would enable easier knowledge transfer from academia to industry, leading to a research boom. The actual results have been a near total disaster. What’s actually happened are two very bad things. First, it’s seriously harmed university research, by guaranteeing much less information sharing between researchers. And, it turns out, that information sharing is a big part of how innovation and big scientific breakthroughs occur. Not surprisingly (if you understand basic economics), when you try to lock up each idea with a patent, researchers (and, more importantly, their administrator bosses), suddenly don’t want to share any more. The end result? Lots of important research stifled. What a shame.”

In other words, taxpayers’ money in the US (or growing national debt) goes towards feeding the problems which further increase national debt. How can politicians not see it and why is nothing substantial being done to stop this trend? It is almost a rhetorical question.

Change will come from people, not Congress, and as long as Congress is funded by corporations no change will be permitted, not when it comes to surveillance or even intellectual monopolies, as TTP shows. The latest TTP leak [1,2] shows people power [3] at work, almost stopping business takeover [4] and shameless attack on democracy [5].

To stop the patent maximalists we need some actions like leaks, perhaps even bold protests and lots of angry phonecalls to politicians. Anything else would be defeated by lobbyists and bribes. Politics is business and no level of logic will beat a large-figure cheque.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Wikileaks exposes secret, controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations
  2. Second release of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement documents

    On 13 November 2013 WikiLeaks released the draft text of the crucial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Intellectual Property chapter during the lead-up to a TPP chief negotiators’ meeting in Salt Lake City on 19-24 November 2013. Today, 9 December 2013, WikiLeaks has released two more secret TPP documents that show the state of negotiations as the twelve TPP countries began supposedly final negotiations at a trade ministers’ meeting in Singapore this week.

  3. Members of Congress: Fast Tracking the TPP is a Non-Starter
  4. Anti-poverty groups condemn WTO pact as big business boost
  5. The Secret Trade Agreement About to Complete the Corporate Takeover of Democracy

    The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) enshrine the rights of Corporations under International Law, restricting future governments from overturning the changes through fear of costly legal action. They are the largest trade agreements in history, and yet are not open for review, debate or amendment by national parliaments or the public.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

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 21/9/2020: PlasmaShell With Vulkan, Plasma Beta Review Day, OpenMediaVault 5.5.11

    Links for the day



  2. Guest Post: The Worrying State of Political Judgement in Free Software Communities

    A look at what Mozilla has become and what that teaches us about the Web and about software



  3. Links 21/9/2020: KTechLab 0.50.0, Linux 5.9 RC6

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, September 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, September 20, 2020



  5. Git is Free Software, GitHub is Proprietary Trap

    More and more people all around the world understand that putting their fruit of labour in Microsoft's proprietary (but 'free') prison is misguided; the only vault they have is for human beings, not code



  6. Daniel Pocock on Codes of Conduct and Their Potential Dangers in Practice

    In Debian we’ve already witnessed several examples where Codes of Conduct, if put in the wrong hands (in the Linux Foundation it’s corporate hands), can achieve the very opposite of their intended goal and its a true shame as well as a travesty for legitimate victims of real abuse



  7. Links 20/9/2020: Flameshot Screenshot Tool 0.8, Okular Improvements and More

    Links for the day



  8. Reminder: Vice Chair of the Linux Foundation's Board is an Oracle Executive Who Used to Work for Microsoft

    The Linux Foundation issued statements to the effect of opposing Donald Trump, but its current leadership (people from companies like Oracle, Microsoft and IBM) is a strong proponent of doing as much business as possible with Trump (even in violation of international law)



  9. [Meme] How to Hijack Linux and Free Software to Make Them Proprietary and Microsoft-Controlled

    Intel keeps outsourcing almost everything (that's not proprietary with back doors, e.g. ME) to Microsoft's proprietary software prison, known as GitHub; to make matters worse, Intel now uses the Microsoft-hosted Rust to develop in Microsoft servers, along with Microsoft, code that promotes Microsoft proprietary software (e.g. Hyper-V) and non-standard 'extensions'.



  10. DDOS Attacks Against Us Lately

    (Distributed) Denial-of-service attacks or DDOS attacks have slowed down the site, but we treat that as evidence of suppression and fear (of what's to come and what was recently published), or accuracy (in reporting) rather than inaccuracy



  11. [Meme] Windows as Dead Man Walking (Patches Accelerate the Death)

    Microsoft is squeezing whatever life is left in its “burning platform” (which is already exceeded in terms of market share by Android) that has a "burning" (bricked) WSL with barely any users and plenty of critical problems



  12. We Let Them Get Away With Murder, But They Make up for It by Banning Words

    The Microsoft propaganda machines (notably ZDNet this weekend) are busy portraying Microsoft as a “good company” for censoring words, never mind the actual, meaningful, substantial actions of Microsoft, which is boosting authoritarian people who imprison even babies (for the ‘crime’ of being on the ‘wrong’ side of the border)



  13. High-Profile and Invalid (Invalidated) European Patents Harm the Presumption of Validity of European Patents

    The EPO's 'printing machine' (over-producing patent monopolies) is harming the legal certainty associated with such patents, helping nobody but deep-pocketed monopolists and law firms



  14. Epitaph for (Death of) Patent-Centric Media: Litigation Giant Bird & Bird Nowadays Doing Ads as 'Podcasts' in Think Tank Site 'Managing IP'

    Publishers don't hesitate and openly revel in taking bribes as if it's a badge of honour or importance, allowing themselves to be profoundly corrupted in pursuit of quick cash; we discuss what's happening in sites that pretend to cover patent news (but actually drive agenda of litigation giants, to the detriment of actual innovators)



  15. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 19, 2020



  16. Links 20/9/2020: 4MLinux 34.0 Released, September Release and EndeavourOS for ARM

    Links for the day



  17. Video: Free Communication With Free Software - Daniel Pocock - FOSSASIA Summit 2016

    The 2016 FOSSASIA talk from Daniel Pocock (Debian) about Free software alternatives to Google, Microsoft Skype and so on (Microsoft started paying Debian in 2016)



  18. [Meme] Microsoft Downtime... Now in 'Linux' (Wait a Month for Microsoft to Restore Uptime)

    Microsoft’s utter failure that is "WSL2" is bringing the failures Windows is so notorious for (loss of work, lack of security, fatal patches) to so-called ‘Linux’; the timeframe for a fix says a lot about just how much Microsoft “loves” Linux…



  19. Coming Soon: Microsoft Leaks (Which Microsoft Pressured Medium to Suppress and Promptly Unpublish)

    Microsoft is no ordinary company; exposing it is like dealing with the Mafia or some drug cartel in Mexico, but we're able to publish truths about Microsoft nonetheless (their notorious intimidation and silencing attempts have always failed against us)



  20. Dishonest Corporations -- Like Smug Politicians -- Pretend to be Something They're Not

    Corporate lies dominate the media, having been crafted by unethical marketing departments with their photo ops and hashtags



  21. GNU is Also a Brand, But It Boils Down to Philosophy and Principles, Not Greed or Corporate Identity

    Why the goal of GNU should be freedom rather than so-called 'world domination' (the objective of large firms with shareholders)



  22. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, September 18, 2020



  23. Links 19/9/2020: Taiwins 0.2 and a Call for Ubuntu Community Council Nominations

    Links for the day



  24. One Year Later Richard Stallman Needs to be Un-cancelled and Attention Turned to the Real Perpetrator of MIT Scandals

    The sheer hypocrisy, treating Stallman as the real nuisance to MIT when it was in fact Bill Gates who trafficked money through convicted sex criminals (to MIT); justice needs to be belatedly restored



  25. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section Isn't About Linux But About Microsoft

    ZDNet's so-called 'Linux' section isn't really about GNU/Linux; it's just the site's usual Microsoft propaganda, bought and paid for by Microsoft



  26. Debian's Network of Gossip and Gossipmongering in Debian-Private

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  27. More EPO Disclosures: An Explanation of How an EPO Survey Plots to Dismantle the EPO's Staff

    Dismantling the Office for the benefit of a bunch of private companies (taking over various duties of EPO staff) seems like the management's goal; included in image form (and text) below is today's publication. There's a PDF with text (not OCR) but it contains metadata.



  28. Forced Confessions and Thought Control in Debian

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  29. [Meme] You Cannot Elect/Vote Corporations Out of Power (Eternal Vigilance is Required)

    Based on early polls, Biden will be president-elect in about a month and a half; but it’s important to remember that the election (if honoured by the current tenant of the White House) won’t be the end of corporate abuse of power in the same sense that driving Microsoft out of business won’t miraculously mean that Free software ‘won’ (we have a lot more to confront still)



  30. Debian Volunteers Disallowed and Forbidden From Talking About Politics (Unlike Debian's Aristocracy That Handles All the Money From Sponsors)

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News


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

Recent Posts