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

07.07.14

Despite SCOTUS Ruling, Microsoft Still Extorts Companies and Product Buyers Using FAT Software Patents, Latest Victim is Canon

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 4:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The FAT police is at it again

Steve Ballmer FAT

Summary: Canon and Microsoft sign a patent deal which relates to patents on FAT file systems and impacts some of Canon’s products, potentially Linux products as well (Canon makes drivers for Linux but does not develop products with Android or GNU/Linux just yet)

While we are unaware of any Android- or Linux-based products from Canon, the company does deliver drivers for FOSS platforms, especially since under a decade ago (we covered this quite often at the time of a turnaround). Therefore it is regretful to learn about FAT patents, which were disgraced by entities and people including Torvalds (there is prior art and TomTom never pushed the case to the end), are used to tax Canon products or legitimise FAT patents.

Linux-centric sites hardly paid attention to it last week, but someone in IRC told us about it. Looking it up very quickly we found Microsoft’s booster Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet saying: “Today’s patent agreement isn’t the first forged by the two companies. Canon previously licensed Microsoft exFAT file system technology for an undisclosed amount.”

Sometimes companies pay for it via Microsoft partners such as Tuxera, but sometimes there are deals like this one. The OIN’s CEO told us over the telephone that Microsoft has been using FAT patents while calling them “Linux-related” or something along those line in the case of LG and maybe Samsung also (Samsung’s deal seems to have been broader than that the second time around).

Nikon's deal with Microsoft was quite different and the booster correctly pointed out: “Today’s agreement also is not part of Microsoft’s ongoing campaign to convince companies using Linux, Android and ChromeOS to license its patents. Nikon announced an Android-related patent licensing deal with Microsoft in February 2013.”

This is not entirely true because the deal practically serves to legitimise exFAT, which is a common attack vector on embedded Linux. The post from the booster (hogwash of sorts) attracts comments from Microsoft sceptics, who know a lot better what Microsoft has been up to. There are comments such as: “Do we need a repeat of FAT? If I see a product’s filesystem using exFAT I will return it.”

Another person says: “The fact the the US Supreme Court recently re-addressed software patents is a move in the positive direction, even though it was not a large move. While much damage has already been done since these huge giants like Microsoft and IBM already have an enormous software patent portfolio, at least there is hope in future software patent releases. Eventually, technology will advance forward and the current software patent portfolios will probably start to become stale, at which point I can see the general public begin to feel the advantages if we make the right decisions today moving forward. But, we must end the monopolies that this huge companies get with their enormous patent portfolios. The trend in software patents granted within the past 30 years or so is staggering, just do some searches on this subject as it is well worth the reads. My hope is that we don’t continue to make the same mistakes moving forward.”

Canon has many patents on physical and mechanical or optical things like lenses. Microsoft has mostly software patents, which may be utterly worthless in the eyes of SCOTUS, as opposed to the USPTO that granted them without scrutiny. The USPTO has just become even more zealous about patents and it approves almost every patent application, even though SCOTUS deems many of those patents too abstract to be patentable (patent lawyers don't quite agree).

Carl Erickson, the “co-founder and president of Atomic Object, a software design and development company founded in 2001,” (based on his introduction) says that “Investors in software startups need to understand that such companies are unlikely to have strong IP protection through patents. Instead, investors should look for evidence of engaged, delighted users, significant market share or the potential for rapid growth, exclusive relationships or special market channels. For a software startup and their investors, these will beat patent pending, any day.”

His whole analysis, however, sometimes (in the text) claims that patents too are needed, with phrases such as:

As I wrote in my last post, protecting your intellectual property isn’t just about patents. It’s important for companies to ensure they own the copyright on their software.

Copyright protects a particular expression, patents protect an idea. The nature of software is such that an idea can be implemented in many different ways, in many different languages, and therefore patent protection on an idea is potentially legitimate and important. So when should you worry about a software patent?

If you’re confused by software patents, you’re not alone. While our legal and business structures will eventually adapt, technology, as usual, is moving faster, and the results aren’t always good or predictable. A recent Supreme Court decision didn’t radically alter the status quo, but reinforced a trend away from some of the sillier past decisions.

Software patents should be dragged to courts and defeated there. There is a valuable precedent now. All these FAT patent deals (Microsoft has been signing them for years) may be as valuable as estate on the Mars.

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 20/4/2018: Atom 1.26, MySQL 8.0

    Links for the day



  2. Links 19/4/2018: Mesa 17.3.9 and 18.0.1, Trisquel 8.0 LTS Flidas, Elections for openSUSE Board

    Links for the day



  3. The Patent Microcosm, Patent Trolls and Their Pressure Groups Incite a USPTO Director Against the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Section 101/Alice

    As one might expect, the patent extremists continue their witch-hunt and constant manipulation of USPTO officials, whom they hope to compel to become patent extremists themselves (otherwise those officials are defamed, typically until they're fired or decide to resign)



  4. Microsoft's Lobbying for FRAND Pays Off as Microsoft-Connected Patent Troll Conversant (Formerly MOSAID) Goes After Android OEMs in Europe

    The FRAND (or SEP) lobby seems to have caused a lot of monopolistic patent lawsuits; this mostly affects Linux-powered platforms such as Android, Tizen and webOS and there are new legal actions from Microsoft-connected patent trolls



  5. To Understand Why People Say That Lawyers are Liars Look No Further Than Misleading Promotion of Software Patents

    Some of the latest misleading claims from the patent microcosm, which is only interested in lots and lots of patents (its bread and butter is monopolies after all) irrespective of their merit, quality, and desirability



  6. When News About the EPO is Dominated by Sponsored 'Reports' and Press Releases Because Publishers Are Afraid of (or Bribed by) the EPO

    The lack of curiosity and genuine journalism in Europe may mean that serious abuses (if not corruption) will go unreported



  7. The Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Complain That They Are Understaffed, Not Just Lacking the Independence They Depend on

    The Boards of Appeal have released a report and once again they openly complain that they're unable to do their job properly, i.e. patent quality cannot be assured



  8. Links 18/4/2018: New Fedora 27 ISOs, Nextcloud Wins German Government Contract

    Links for the day



  9. Guest Post: Responding to Your Recent Posting “The European Patent Office Will Never Hold Its Destroyers Accountable”

    In France, where Battistelli does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, he can be held accountable like his "padrone" recently was



  10. The EPO in 2018: Partnering With Saudi Arabia and Cambodia (With Zero European Patents)

    The EPO's status in the world has declined to the point where former French colonies and countries with zero European Patents are hailed as "success stories" for Battistelli



  11. For Samsung and Apple the Biggest Threat Has Become Patent Trolls and Aggressors in China and the Eastern District of Texas, Not Each Other

    The latest stories about two of the world's largest phone OEMs, both of which find themselves subjected to a heavy barrage of patent lawsuits and even embargoes; Samsung has meanwhile obtained an antisuit injunction against Huawei



  12. The EPO Continues to Lie About Patent Quality Whilst Openly Promoting Software Patents, Even Outside Europe

    EPO patent quality continues to sink while EPO management lies about it and software patents are openly being promoted/advocatedEPO patent quality continues to sink while EPO management lies about it (the article above is new) and software patents are openly being promoted/advocated



  13. SCOTUS on WesternGeco v Ion Geophysical Almost Done; Will Oil States Decision Affirm the PTAB's Quality Assurance (IPRs) Soon?

    Ahead of WesternGeco and Oil States, following oral proceedings, it's expected that the highest court in the United States will deliver more blows to patent maximalism



  14. Links 17/4/2018: Linux 5.x Plans and Microsoft's 'Embrace'

    Links for the day



  15. The European Patent Office (EPO) Grants Patents in Error, Insiders Are Complaining That It's the Management's Fault

    The EPO has languished to the point where patents are granted in error, examiners aren't happy, and the resultant chaos benefits no-one but lawyers and patent trolls



  16. The European Patent Office Will Never Hold Its Destroyers Accountable

    With only one in seven EPO stakeholders believing that Battistelli's pick (António Campinos) will turn things around for the better, it certainly does not seem like people are happy and there's no real hope that Battistelli will ever be held accountable for his abuses after his immunity expires



  17. With Liars Like These...

    The European Patent Office continues to lie about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) amongst other things, still revealing its reluctance to say anything which is truthful or work to repair the damage caused by Benoît Battistelli



  18. Links 16/4/2018: Linux 4.17 RC 1, Mesa 18.0.1 RC, GNOME 3.28.1

    Links for the day



  19. IAM, Patently-O and Watchtroll (the Patent Trolls' Lobby) Try to Stop Patent Oppositions/Petitions (PTAB)

    In spite of fee hikes, introduced by Iancu's interim predecessor, petitions (IPRs) at the PTAB continue to grow in number and the patent maximalists are losing their minds over it



  20. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Ending Software Patents One Patent at a Time

    At an accelerating pace and with growing determination, PTAB (part of AIA) crushes patent trolls and software patents; the statistics and latest stories speak for themselves



  21. Academics and Think Tanks for Patent Maximalism

    Right-wing think tanks and impressionable academics continue to lobby for patent maximalism, rarely revealing the funding sources and motivations; in reality, however, such maximalism mainly helps large (already-wealthy) corporations, monopolists, and law firms



  22. Killing Patent Quality and Encouraging 'Covert' Software Patents Using the Buzzwords Du Jour

    The epidemic of buzzwords and/or hype waves that are being exploited to dodge or bypass patent scope/limitations, as seen in Europe and the US these days



  23. Crisis of Quality at the EPO Extends to Staff (Notably Examiners) and Management as Institutional Integrity is Severely Compromised

    A rather pessimistic but likely realistic outlook for the European Patent Office (EPO), which seems unable to attract the sort of staff it attracted for a number of decades



  24. The 'Blockchaining' of Software Patents (to Dodge the Rules/Guidelines) Now Coming to Europe

    A lot of software patents are being declared invalid (or not granted in the first place); having said that, using all sorts of hype waves (like calling databases “blockchains”) firms and individuals manage to still be granted software patents and sometimes patent trolls hoard these



  25. Links 14/4/2018: Wine 3.6, KDE Elisa 0.1

    Links for the day



  26. East Asia Should Have Adopted the Patent Strategy of South Asia, Notably India

    China seems to be so interested in patent maximalism that it has lost sight of the effect on foreign investment, e.g. US/European/Taiwanese/Japanese/Korean firms operating/manufacturing in mainland China



  27. Samsung is the 'New IBM', Sans the Trolling With Patents

    The 'relic' company, IBM, loses its patent leadership (as measured using some yardstick) to Samsung, a company which is relatively calm when it comes to patent activity (unless/only when sued, as happens a lot nowadays)



  28. David Barcelou May or May Not be a Patent Troll, But He is Certainly a SLAPPing Bully and Watchtroll is Fine With It

    Like a thin-skinned person/entity (which many in the patent microcosm are), David Barcelou and Automated Transactions (“ATL”) SLAPP their critics and surprisingly enough it's Watchtroll, who has been threatened by WIPO, coming to the bully's rescue (double standards)



  29. Links 12/4/2018: Stable New Kernels, Neptune 5.1

    Links for the day



  30. The USPTO Has a Nepotism and Lobbying Problem That Jeopardises the Rationality of US Patent Law

    The influence games of Washington are spilling over to the US patent office and poisoning/harming its ability to conduct professional operations without corporate influence (from either side, both corporations and law firms)


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