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

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. In 2020 Onwards 'Open Source' is Just a Marketing Ploy of Monopolies, Unlike Free Software

    More people are nowadays seeing or witnessing 'Open Source' for what it truly is; the term has become a misleading marketing term of proprietary software firms looking to rebrand as "ethical" (e.g. by sharing some code with other proprietary software firms, over proprietary platforms such as GitHub)



  2. Microsoft: The Year After We Bought GitHub There Was a Significant Decline in Number of New Projects on GitHub

    Microsoft has just admitted that in 2019 GitHub saw a very significant decline in number of new projects (and users, which it is conveniently miscounting by adding 'phantom' ones) on the site. Just what we had heard before they confirmed it (and they foresaw this effect of the takeover, hence the lies about "loving" Linux).



  3. Social Control Media is a Passing Fad, We Should All Go Back to Blogging and Subscribing to RSS Feeds

    The whole "social control media" phenomenon has been oversold or promoted using lies; in reality, as a mountain of evidence serves to show, it's a way to manage society at a macro scale



  4. As Andrei Iancu Removes Himself From the Patent and Trademark Office All Eyes Are on Biden's Next Nomination

    Patent zealots and their front groups already lobby Joe Biden to put one of them in charge of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; we'll soon see if Joe Biden "means business" or simply means monopoly/large corporations (and their law firms/departments)



  5. Data Point: GNU/Linux Share in Desktops/Laptops Nearly Tripled in the Past Decade, Peaking This Past Month (All-Time High)

    Contrary to what some publishers try to tell us, GNU/Linux is still growing and mostly at the expense of Windows



  6. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 23, 2021



  7. Links 24/1/2021: Nouveau X.Org Driver Release and GhostBSD 21.01.20

    Links for the day



  8. InteLeaks – Part XXX: Harbor Research's Pseudo-scientific 'Research' for Intel, Bizarrely Suggesting a Microsoft Partnership for a Domain Largely Controlled or Dominated by Linux

    The full document that Intel paid for and in turn used to justify cracking down on Free software (obliterating Free software-based workflows inside Intel), instead outsourcing all sorts of things to proprietary software traps of Microsoft



  9. Chromium and Chrome Are Not Free Software But an Example of Microsoft-Fashioned Openwashing Tactics

    It's time to reject Google's Web monopoly (shared with other companies but still an oligopoly); removing its Web browser would be a good start



  10. Links 23/1/2021: Chromium Pains and New Debian Maintainers

    Links for the day



  11. InteLeaks – Part XXIX: Harbor Research Did Not Produce a Study But an Elaborate Hoax for Intel, Suggesting Microsoft Partnership and Outsourcing Based on Zero Evidence and No Solid Rationale

    The pseudo-scientific ‘report’ from Harbor Research is more of the same nonsense we’ve grown accustomed to; unethical if not rogue firms are being paid to lie — or to perpetuate falsehoods which someone stands to gain from



  12. Video: The State of Communities Surrounding GNU/Linux Distributions

    A discussion about the state of volunteer efforts going into the development, maintenance (in the 'maintainership' sense) and support/advocacy of GNU/Linux distros



  13. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, January 22, 2021



  14. InteLeaks – Part XXVIII: Intel Served Report From Microsoft Boosters, Who Provide No Actual Evidence and No Science to Back Their Supposed 'Findings'

    Findings and recommendations from Harbor 'Research' aren't based on any scientific methods, just perceived loyalty, branding, and a bunch of unsourced quotes (from unnamed people with ridiculous job titles like a soup of buzzwords)



  15. Erosion of Communities, Ascent of Corporate-Industrial Fake Communities

    Despite the attempts to manipulate/trick developers (and sometimes users) into becoming unpaid workforce of for-profit companies, there's an exodus back to real communities, which aren't subjected to the fury of wealthy shareholders who utterly dislike or simply don't care for software freedom



  16. The Corporate 'Left' and the Open Source Pseudo 'Movement'

    President Biden may not be as bad as his predecessor, but that hardly means very much; software freedom is still threatened, along with many other things



  17. Links 22/1/2021: pfSense Plus, Endless OS Foundation, and Many Laptops With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  18. The Linux Foundation is Trying to Obscure Racism Using Microsoft-Inspired Tactics (Vouchers Disguised as Actual Money)

    The Linux Foundation and its PR stunts don’t help combat racism; one might argue that the Foundation is leveraging racism, which prevails in the US, to paint itself as benevolent and caring (offering immaterial things and self-serving press releases)



  19. InteLeaks – Part XXVII: 'Pulling a Nokia' on Intel (Outsourcing to Microsoft)

    The recommendation of an Intel marriage with Microsoft (even in units that deal mostly with Linux) is an insulting slap across the face of developers employed there; we take a look at recommendations made to IoTG (Intel) by a firm with Microsoft orientation



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 21, 2021



  21. InteLeaks – Part XXVI: Harbor Research is Horrible 'Research', Lacking Actual Technical Background

    Having looked at the members of staff of Harbor Research (individually), it seems clearer now why they have an affinity for Microsoft and why they're directing Intel to liaise with Microsoft and become a prisoner of Microsoft (even in areas where Microsoft is increasingly irrelevant)



  22. Links 21/1/2021: Raspberry Pi Pico, Ubuntu 21.04 Picks GNOME 3.38, KDE Plasma 5.21 Beta

    Links for the day



  23. How a Newly Inaugurated President Biden Can Advance Software Freedom (If He Actually Wishes to Do So)

    Techrights has 'Four Suggestions' to President Biden, the 46th 'front end' of American plutocracy



  24. InteLeaks – Part XXV: Intel's Brain Drain Leads to Unusual Measures

    As the company once known as 'chipzilla' loses its relevance and dominance in the market it's reaching out to retired people, trying to get them back onboard



  25. Hey Hi (AI) is Just a Trojan Horse for Illegal Software Patents, According to EPO Management and Litigation Firms It's in Bed With

    The longtime pushers or the lobby of patent profiteers just carry on pushing for software patents, nowadays latching onto the inane and unwarranted media hype around Hey Hi (AI) — a hype wave that was co-opted by EPO management to grant unlawful patents



  26. The Central Staff Representatives (CSC) of the EPO Are Petitioning to End the Assault on EPO Staff

    The EPO, just one month after the staff went on strike, is about to receive a compelling petition to stop the assault on EPO staff



  27. InteLeaks – Part XXIV: Love for Microsoft, Not for Free Software or Whatever Replaces Microsoft

    Intel is basing its big decisions on buzzwords and firms that master buzzwords; it's sad that instead of listening to Intel's own (in-house) engineers it's relying on a bunch of clowns who push 'Clown Computing' and 'apps' and 'UX'...



  28. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 20, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 20, 2021



  29. Links 21/1/2021: Google Tightens the Screws on Chromium, VideoLAN VLC 3.0.12

    Links for the day



  30. IBM Panics and Resorts to 'Customer Retention' Tactics With Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

    IBM 'frees' RHEL but with limitations that can restrict growth of small companies (or subject them to financial barriers, originally unforeseen)


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