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

12.03.15

Impact of Software Patents and Excessive/Unregulated Profit Motives at USPTO: Now Even Common Encryption (i.e. Computer Security) Under Patent Attacks

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 7:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Legacy of the likes of IBM’s David Kappos and his predecessors

David Kappos
For mega-corporations, yes.

Summary: A roundup of patent news from the US and some relations between that and Europe, which risks repeating the mistakes of the patently-occupied (by large corporations’ interests) USPTO

NOT ONLY the EPO is resorting to dubious privatisation of public services. Its apparent role model, the USPTO, is doing so too. This week’s report from WIPR reminded us that: “Professionals from Serco will review patent applications and sort them into the appropriate classification. Serco has been contracted by the USPTO since 2006 to provide this service.”

“Software patents now do what even the British Prime Minister could not successfully do. They combat encryption itself, effectively banning it if not discouraging its use (for transactional security purposes).”This isn’t particularly surprising given that the USPTO is little more than a rubber-stamping warehouse, run by and for large corporations (see where its directors come from and who takes the lion's share of patents). It used to be IBM’s turf and now it’s Google’s. As Andrew Orlowski put it last week: “The nomination of former Google lawyer Michelle Lee to run the US Patent and Trademark Office has been hailed as a victory for Silicon Valley. In 2007 Lee said the patent system was “out-of-balance” and needed “to be remedied”. But does she still think that?”

Well, nothing has been done so far by Michelle Lee. Like Obama or Kappos before her, it was all Hope and Change, but nothing really happened. Kappos himself is now a patent maximalist (he profits from it), calling for software patents, which are not permitted in Europe (for good reasons).

As noted here a few days ago, patent trolls love software patents and this is starting to happen in Europe too. Software patents now do what even the British Prime Minister could not successfully do. They combat encryption itself, effectively banning it if not discouraging its use (for transactional security purposes). Who benefits here?

“If the US patent system did not permit patenting of software, none of this would have happened.”See Tim Cushing’s “Patent Troll Sues Everyone For Infringing On Encryption-Related Patent By Encrypting Their Websites” (the FSFE’s Matthias Kirschner took note of these events). An article by David Kravets says that, unsurprisingly, this happens in Texas again. “A Texas company,” he wrote, “is suing some of the biggest names in tech and retail, claiming their HTTPS websites infringe an encryption patent titled “Auto-Escrowable and Auto-Certifiable Cryptosystems.” CryptoPeak Solutions has filed about six dozen cases in all, and they began hitting the patent-troll friendly venue of the Eastern District of Texas in July.”

Here is a lawyers-centric report about it and a hackers-centric report that says: “Texas-based company CryptoPeak Solutions LLC has filed 66 lawsuits against many big businesses in the US, claiming they have illegally used its patented encryption method – Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) – on their HTTPS websites.

“Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) is a key exchange algorithm that is most widely used on websites secured with Transport Layer Security (TLS) to determine what symmetric keys are used during a session.”

If the US patent system did not permit patenting of software, none of this would have happened.

This one lawsuit (or large set of lawsuits) grabbed a lot of the media’s attention, but as Joe Mullin put it: “New patent lawsuits hit an all-time high in November, with many plaintiffs likely hoping to avoid new pleading rules that came into effect yesterday. A whopping 790 lawsuits were filed last month, with at least 212 filed on a single day: Monday, November 30.” Also see “Patent Lawsuits Set One-Day Record with 257 New Cases, Most Filed in Texas”, an article by rich people’s press. The article starts as follows: “Remember patent reform? Congress proposed laws earlier this year aimed at curbing haywire patent litigation, but it appears not everyone got the memo. On Monday, dozens of patent plaintiffs targeted firms ranging from Apple to Airbnb, and set a one-day record with 257 new cases filed, ensuring 2015 will go down as another bumper year for patent lawyers.”

A lot of these lawsuits boil down to software patents, which are under attack in the US, thanks to the Alice case. PatentBuddy, citing IAM’s article, says that “David Kappos Discusses the 101/Alice Rejection of the Lip Sync Patent, McRO v Sony” and Professor Mark Lemley says, linking to this PDF: “Patentable subject matter is here to stay — en banc Fed Cir denies review in Sequenom with only Newman dissenting.”

This shows that software patents themselves are still a subject of debate even in the US, where software patents originally came from.

“The management and the high-level staff at the EPO already permit patents on life, serving the likes of Monsanto.”We regret to learn that even some British software companies are basically ignoring the evidence and still deciding to pursue software patents (not just in the US). Sage Group, according to this new report, is becoming more like Trading Technologies. Instead of focusing on development of better software it is focused on acquiring patents on software. To quote the British media: “A number of its products, such as Sage Impact and Sage Live, have recently won innovation awards and an increased number of new patents will be coming from the firm.”

Why are these large proprietary software firms and their lobbying front groups in Europe so insistent on being granted software patents? Because they are software monopolists in their area and they want to limit or block competition using patent lawsuits. How does that ever improve innovation? It’s all about protectionism and in the field of software, owing to its inherent nature, workarounds are often not even possible.

The patent scope at the EPO is slipping out of control under the current management. “The European Patent Office (EPO) has quietly adopted,” according to this new article patents “relating to human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).”

What will they patent next? The management and the high-level staff at the EPO already permit patents on life, serving the likes of Monsanto. This has got to stop. patents like these aren’t for innovation; they’re all about protections from rivals, supporting and broadening existing near-monopolies.

“An unexciting truth may be eclipsed by a thrilling lie.”

Aldous Huxley

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. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, January 27, 2020



  2. Links 27/1/2020: Linux 5.5 is Out, Work on Linux 5.6 Commences, New Solus and Award for Andrew Tridgell

    Links for the day



  3. EPO: Goodbye to the Rule of Law and Hey Hi, AI!

    The EPO’s embrace of buzzwords — no longer a unique EPO strategy (it has already spread elsewhere) — puts examiners in a very bad position and they’re grappling with nerve- and mind-racking dilemmas (risk of unemployment for truly upholding the EPC)



  4. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 26, 2020



  5. Links 26/1/2020: MuseScore 3.4 Released, New Kate Icon and Solus 4.1 Fortitude Available

    Links for the day



  6. MIT and Microsoft Have Done Nothing to Actually Tackle Pedophilia and Ephebophilia

    MIT never actually resolved the issue that caused Joi Ito, Richard Stallman and others to be ejected; Microsoft meanwhile continues to profit from life-changing abuse (while seeding puff pieces in friendly media, just to pretend otherwise)



  7. Opinion: If You Advocate Population Control and You Are Yourself Doubling in One Single Generation, Then You Might be Hypocritical

    People with 3-5 children (each) tell us that the world has an overpopulation problem; while the growth of the population certainly poses a risk, these people lack the moral authority to lecture us about that (unless they adopt a eugenicist worldview, wherein only particular people are permitted to reproduce)



  8. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 25, 2020



  9. Nothing Has Truly Changed Since Netscape and Antitrust

    The same old crimes persist, as well as the blatantly anticompetitive behaviour



  10. When the Monopolists and the Patent Litigation Industry Hijack the News They Control the Narrative

    Money buys perception and litigation firms have certainly 'bought' the media coverage, which fails to convey the issue at stake and instead paints a rational court decision as tragedy for "innovation" (by "innovation" they mean monopolies on nature and on life)



  11. Links 25/1/2020: OPNsense 20.1 RC1 and DXVK 1.5.2

    Links for the day



  12. The Linux Kernel is No Longer Free Software?

    Gardiner Bryant, the creator of The Linux Gamer as well as The Off Topical Podcast, reacts to our articles about DRM in Linux (he even pronounced my name correctly)



  13. Sometimes Proprietary Software is Proprietary (Secret) Simply Because It is Not Good and Obfuscation Helps Hide Just How Ugly It Is

    Why nonfree (or proprietary) software generally fails to catch up with Free/libre software — at least on technical grounds — and then makes up for it with marketing and FUD offensives (discrediting perfectly-functioning things, based on their perceived cost)



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, January 24, 2020



  15. Links 24/1/2020: GNU/Linux in Russia and More New Openings

    Links for the day



  16. When EPO Press Coverage Boils Down to Lobbying, Press Releases, EPO Lies, and Bribery

    Any attempts to properly assess and explain what happens in Europe's patent landscape are being drowned out by EPO-bribed and law firms-connected media; to make matters worse, the EPO's bribes have expanded to academia, so even scholarly work in this domain is corrupted by money of special interest groups



  17. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 23, 2020



  18. Links 23/1/2020: Qubes OS 4.0.3, EasyOS 2.2.5, GhostBSD 20.01

    Links for the day



  19. Passion of the Microsoft

    A rough timeline of Microsoft’s interactions with Linux and the Linux Foundation since 2015



  20. The Patent Microcosm is Really Panicking as European Patents on Life and Other Spurious Junk (Invalid Patents) Are Successfully Rejected

    European Patents (EPs) may be revoked en masse if what we're seeing is the gradual emergence of 'European Mayo' (and maybe soon 'European Alice')



  21. Distractions From Microsoft's Gigantic Tax Evasion and Contribution to Denial of Climate Science

    Microsoft (connected to oil companies) wants us to think of it as a "green" company; not only does it contribute to climate denial but it also evades tax, which is a serious crime that costs tens of billions of dollars (the public pays this money instead)



  22. Confirmation: System1/Startpage Offered Pay to People Who Pushed for (Re)Listing in Privacy Directories

    The debate is now settled; those arguing in favour of listing Startpage as privacy-respecting are in fact secretly 'compensated' by Startpage (in other words, they're Startpage 'shills')



  23. Vandana Shiva: “Bill Gates is Continuing the Work of Monsanto”

    A recent interview on what Bill Gates is really up to in that sham ‘charity’ of his



  24. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 22, 2020



  25. Extending Linux With DRM, Azure and exFAT

    An insufficiently 'conservative' Linux ceases to be freedom-respecting



  26. Linux Foundation (LF) Now Dominated by Lots of Microsoft People and LF Chiefs Join Microsoft in Smearing GPL/Copyleft

    We continue to see additional evidence which serves towards reinforcing our view that the so-called 'Linux' Foundation is actually hostile towards many things that are associated with Linux (unlike those looking to exploit/hijack Linux for proprietary ends)



  27. Links 22/1/2020: Wayland 1.18 Alpha, ODF 1.3 Approved

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 21, 2020



  29. Poor Excuses for Granting Poor (and Often Illegal/Invalid) Patents

    A quick look at some of the latest examples of software patents advocacy (not by actual software professionals, obviously) and why it's deeply misguided (or guided solely by greedy law firms)



  30. A Simple Plan For a Universal Free Software Community

    "For software to be free as in freedom, we need more people to care personally about software freedom."


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