USPTO Still a Sham; Microsoft, Apple and IBM Still Part of the Problem and Google/Linux a Common Victim
Where innovation comes to get burned
Summary: How software conglomerates continue to hammer on Free software and GNU/Linux, adding even hypocritical attempts an antitrust action
The USPTO is still the same sham is has been over the past decade or two. It is designed to serve large corporations and it is even run by some of them. Like the espionage specialist NSA, it is about protectionism for few large companies (oligarchs) at the expense of people in the nation it purports to be serving. This isn’t only unjust; it’s corrupt.
There is no lack of shocking patent news. There’s depressing news out there, including Slashdot‘s coverage of Apple’s creepy patents. A former Microsoft booster from CNET said that a “freshly published Apple patent application envisions the delivery of targeted ads based on your mood, behavior, and other seemingly intangible characteristics.”
Apple then uses its patents to attack Linux with embargoes and Google is trying to catch up (Lenovo gets part of Motorola) by doing rational things, not extortion using software patents but instead reacting with Motorola and OIN-pooled patents (connections with IBM). The thing about IBM is, despite pretending to be pro-FOSS, it continues to promote software patents , making the USPTO even worse than before  and leaving civil rights groups to clean up the mess . OIN has Oracle as a member and despite that Oracle is suing Google/Android/Linux. Then there are Microsoft-armed proxies/trolls like Vringo and 'Beneficial' 'Innovations' (both suing Google over its core business), which FOSS Force mentioned the other day as follows: “When Beneficial Innovations began taking legal action against websites using Google’s Doubleclick ad technology, the search company took the troll to court for suing their customers. It seems that in 2010 Google had settled with Beneficial and that settlement specifically covered their customers. According to Ars Technica, Google made it easy for the court to find in their favor.”
Microsoft must be really worried about Google because Marissa Mayer threatens to dump Microsoft from search after Microsoft hijacked Yahoo. “Thus the noise about the CEO choices,” wrote iophk. “It buries the real news.” And then there’s this in the news: “A Microsoft-backed lobby group is urging Brussels’ competition chief Joaquin Almunia to open up Google’s latest revised offer of a conciliatory package of tweaks to its search biz to the ad giant’s rivals.
“Earlier this week, it was reported that the European Commission was closing in on a settlement deal with Google that would apparently allow the company to dodge admittance of any wrongdoing and a fine that could be as high as 10 per cent of its annual global turnover.
“Almunia’s office has declined to comment on the claim that it had received a fresh package of concessions from Google to try to end a three-year long antitrust investigation into the multinational’s search business practices in Europe.”
Acually, it was Google that originally complained about Vista diverting users away from Google. Funny how some Microsoft lobbyists and proxies from the most criminal company now attempt to make Google look like the antitrust violator, while adding some patent attacks to Google, both directly and indirectly (through trolls and partners). Microsoft and its proxies also started antitrust complaints against Android, alleging anti-competitive behaviour in operating systems (yes, Microsoft accuses others of that). █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Microsoft And IBM: If Patent Office Can Do A Quick Review Of Our Crappy Patents, You’ll All Die In A Car Crash
Last fall, we wrote about how the BSA, the Business Software Alliance, famous for being basically a Microsoft-front organization whose main job is to publish absolutely, hilariously misleading “piracy” numbers each year, had been taking on the issue of the so called “covered business method (CBM) patent” program that was being pushed in patent reform. The covered business method patent program is pretty straightforward. It allows certain types of patents — currently financial patents — to undergo a faster review, allowing the USPTO to dump bad patents faster. Senator Chuck Schumer, who had put the original CBM tool into the last round of patent reform, is now championing expanding it to cover software patents as well. While very heavy lobbying from Microsoft (and some from IBM) convinced the House to drop the plan from its patent reform bill, there’s still a battle in the Senate, and Schumer doesn’t show any interest in giving it up.
Ill-Conceived, Even If Competently Administered: Software Patents, Litigation, and Innovation—A Comment on Graham and Vishnubhakat
The number of patents has increased dramatically in the past three decades, as has the number of patent-related lawsuits, particularly in the field of software. Industry and academic experts have expressed concern that many of the patents being issued are of low quality. Writing in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Stuart Graham and Saurabh Vishnubhakat have defended the United States Patent and Trademark Office, arguing that the PTO has acted responsibly in issuing patents that are legally valid and that it is handling problems constructively. We accept some of Graham and Vishnubhakat’s defense of the PTO, but argue that the most important issue is not whether the law is being competently administered but whether patent law, particularly as applied to software, is creating patents that are overly broad and ambiguous. We maintain that it is, and that the results are less innovation and more costly and unproductive litigation.
Personal Audio LLC is a patent-holding company that became famous (or infamous, depending on one’s point of view) by claiming that it owns things like playlists and podcasts (or “episodic content,” in the words of one Personal Audio patent). Its wild claims led the Electronic Frontier Foundation to raise more than $76,000 from donors to fight the patent.