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. Links 25/6/2019: Mesa Releases, Less Microsoft in Apache

    Links for the day



  2. The European Patent Office Remains a Crooked Patent Office That Harms Staff and Abolishes the Rule of Law

    The EPO remains a sordid mess, but those who follow mainstream media might not know anything about it because it's not covered anywhere in 2019



  3. USPTO and EPO Faking Growth by Granting Patents on Everything in Nature, But Campaigners Strike Back

    The patent microcosm is eating the world; everything under the Sun must be patented, they insist, even life itself (so they can 'pirate' the Commons and then charge us a tax for 'access' or 'license' to it)



  4. IBM Happy That Patent Quality at EPO Collapsed and It's Easy to Get Software Patents

    The EPO keeps granting illegal European Patents and the media almost never mentions this illegality because it's in too amicable a relationship (typically financial) with the EPO



  5. The Linux Foundation's Staff Uses Windows and Microsoft. Now the Foundation Outsources the Coding and Hosting, Too (to Microsoft of Course).

    The disturbing turns of the self-described "Linux" Foundation, which seems to be promoting proprietary software and even Microsoft rather than Linux and Free/Open Source software while the role or capacity of Torvalds is being gradually diminished



  6. Links 25/6/2019: Raspberry Pi 4, Ubuntu's Change of Mind, Wayland’s Weston 6.0.1

    Links for the day



  7. Patent Extremism: Stacking the Panels, the Surveys, the Hearings, the Debates

    Projection tactics would have the public believe that those who oppose corruption are simply radicals; patent polarity has come to the point where if one isn't a "true believer" in blackmail (patent trolls) or opposes bribery, then one is simply a "fringe" and akin to terrorists



  8. Links 24/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC6, Skrooge 2.20.0, ZFS vs. OpenZFS

    Links for the day



  9. The EPO Needs a President Who Obeys the Law, Not One Who Obeys Battistelli

    Succession based on nepotism at Europe's second-largest institution served to shown how inherently broken things had become and why cover-up of injustices is nowadays paramount (not fixing the flaws/ills but merely perpetuating them)



  10. With Water (Treatment) Already Patented It Won't Take Long for Patents (and Patent Royalties) on Air

    A 'paper economy' is what Europe turns into if the current trajectory is followed (led by lawyers, not producers)



  11. Bill Gates Said He Was on a “Jihad” Against GNU/Linux, But GNU/Linux Users/Developers Engaged in Self-Defense Are Foul-Mouthed 'Microsoft Haters'?

    Microsoft, which routinely commits very serious crimes, tries to come across as some sort of philanthropy whereas those who share their work with the public (for greater good) are described as erratic, rude and unworthy of respect from corporations (outcasts basically, deprived of income source)



  12. What Patents the EPO Has Just Awarded (With a Special Reward), Not Just Granted

    The EPO's practice of elevating some patents over the other patents (European Patents) is perhaps more of a societal liability than the EPO cares to realise



  13. Required Reading: Mental State of Team Battistelli/Campinos

    On the heels of yesterday's article about Team Battistelli/Campinos, here are some recommended/required papers on the problem which likely plagues the Office



  14. Links 23/6/2019: Wine 4.11, FreeBSD 11.3 RC2

    Links for the day



  15. Microsoft Apparently Did a Patrick Durusau on Wim Coekaerts to Broaden Its Control Over GNU/Linux

    Microsoft tactics for defection and takeover of the competition (without coming across as hostile) aren't new tactics; internal documents from Microsoft explain how to achieve this



  16. EPO Directors Would be Wise to Rebel Against Team Campinos While They Still Have the Job

    As the EPO continues its bold journey towards dictatorship (where presidencies are passed between friends and ‘circles’ are former colleagues or close confidants) Techrights urges those who have power to speak out — e.g. EPO judges and Directors — to do something before it’s too late



  17. American Front Group Open Invention Network (Riding the Linux Brand) is a Proponent of Software Patents in Europe

    The impact of American multinationals in Europe is difficult to deny; in fact, we're observing the same old lobbying/lobbies still working hard albeit more covertly (typically using front groups)



  18. Say 'Hey Hi' to Software Patents

    Using the “AI” (“HEY HI”) hype the ‘community’ of patent maximalists hopes that every little (and possibly very old) algorithm will suddenly sound amazing and innovative — to the point where it becomes unthinkable to deny a patent monopoly on it



  19. A Personal Note From Ted MacReilly (How Microsoft Works Against GNU/Linux)

    A tongue-in-cheek write-up highlighting the ways Microsoft insiders think and how they strategise against GNU/Linux and Free/libre software



  20. The Linux Foundation's New Vice Chair, Wim Coekaerts, Worked for Microsoft

    The Linux Foundation is boosting the Microsoft boosters and calls that "community"



  21. Links 21/6/2019: GNOME 3.33.3, 32-Bit Support Further Neglected, DragonFlyBSD 5.6.1 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Leaked: Harassment of EPO Directors by Team Campinos

    “New BIT organisation and staff changes,” a novel kind of newspeak, means that Directors are being severely punished without due process at all (“hidden disciplinary measure without disciplinary proceedings”)



  23. Patent Professionals in Europe Have Devolved Into a Marketing Industry

    Lies, buzzwords and hype waves is all that the patent bubble in Europe boils down to these days; loads of bogus patents get granted only for European judges to smack these down (if one can afford the court battle)



  24. Almost Six Months After Iancu Said He Would Make Software Patents Great Again Nothing Has Actually Changed

    We're just a fortnight away from the ludicrous plan of Iancu celebrating 6 months (without accomplishing anything)



  25. Links 20/6/2019: Kubernetes 1.15, Alpine 3.10.0 and Librem 5 June Software Update

    Links for the day



  26. Ignore the EPO's Dumb Festival and Focus on the Abuses Against the Workforce and Its Quality of Work

    Don’t lose sight of the appalling behaviour of the management of the EPO; the last thing it wants is press coverage about its gross abuses and corruption — an aspect it spent literally millions of euros to bury (gaming the news cycle)



  27. Microsoft Attempting to Destroy the Careers of Its Critics, Including Free Software Proponents

    Microsoft isn't changing and has not changed; the tactics described above are still being used, even by its "Open Source" (or "Open at Microsoft") people, who did this to me



  28. Links 19/6/2019: Linux Mint Vs Vista 10, Qt 5.13 Released

    Links for the day



  29. The Linux Foundation's Business Model

    The Linux Foundation's plan, illustrated



  30. Links 18/6/2019: i386 Abandoned by Canonical and a New osquery 'Community'

    Links for the day


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