The ‘new’ Microsoft is more like a new Mafia, albeit with much better marketing/veneer for secret patent deals
How Microsoft announces patent deals now (covering Android and Linux), sparingly using newspeak and euphemisms (“Agreements” actually means patent settlements)
Summary: Acer is the latest large OEM to have become a victim of Microsoft’s witch-hunt against Android/Linux preloaders, whom Microsoft is coercing into becoming Microsoft’s carriers (or face litigation over software patents, with high legal fees if not injunctions or high damages upon secret settlements)
THIS article covers a subject I have been writing about for at least a decade, often in a dedicated manner (especially when it involved Novell’s patent deal with Microsoft, which put the whole of GNU/Linux in jeopardy).
“The frequently-repeated (usually by Microsoft advocacy sites) claims that “Microsoft loves Linux” are of course baloney. Everyone who has followed the news for more than a year or two surely knows this.”This article will no doubt upset some people at Microsoft, which has already been trying to silence this site in various ways (they even contacted my employer). In this article I intend not to be alarmist but merely to explain the latest embrace, extend, extinguish (E.E.E.) strategy of Microsoft, especially against the market leader (exceeding Windows in terms of market share), Android. It’s everything to do with patents, or to be even more specific, software patents. The EPO‘s dubious practices which Microsoft caused (by pressuring officials) to become the 'norm' also relate to this, but we shall leave that angle aside for another day (we already write a lot about the EPO, not only regarding software patents in Europe).
More Microsoft patent extortion has just been revealed. Microsoft is still fighting against Linux (which nowadays is mostly embodied in relatively closed systems such as Android) using patents as a weapon by which to impose spyware on everyone. Once again, software patents or monopolies on software algorithms are being used for extraordinary leverage and Microsoft puts a misleading label on patent deals, much like corporations bribe politicians but disguise the under-the-table payments as speech engagements or campaign contributions, among other semantic loopholes. The frequently-repeated (usually by Microsoft advocacy sites) claims that “Microsoft loves Linux” are of course baloney. Everyone who has followed the news for more than a year or two surely knows this. We wrote some articles about this last year, for example:
“He is basically a successor to the likes of Joachim Kempin, who not only illegally shot animals (and got arrested for it) but also famously said “I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. [...] they should do a delicate dance”.”The above discuss and link to articles about 5 large companies which Microsoft extorted (even quite explicitly) using patents in very much the same way that Microsoft now does Acer, a relatively fine supporter of GNU/Linux, even on some desktops. Is Microsoft really threatening to sue? Yes, see what it did to Samsung. It reached a settlement almost exactly one year ago, whereupon Samsung agreed to become Microsoft's vassal (this was confirmed later). It’s not hard to see what’s happening here; even a Microsoft booster like Mary Jo Foley acknowledges the role of patent blackmail, using unnamed software patents which Microsoft has been using to hunt down OEMs all around the world, even where software patents are not at all valid. The Microsoft booster wrote this just a few hours ago, citing Nick Parker (Corporate Vice President, Original Equipment Manufacturer Division, Microsoft). He is basically a successor to the likes of Joachim Kempin, who not only illegally shot animals (and got arrested for it) but also famously said “I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. [...] they should do a delicate dance”. Based on Microsoft’s current OEM Chief, in the words of Mary Jo Foley:
As of last May, there were 31 OEMs agreeing to preload Microsoft apps and services on their Android tablets and phones. Some of the other bigger names on the list include Samsung, Dell and Pegatron. As of today, there are now 74 hardware partners in 25 countries on the list. (I’ve asked Microsoft for an updated roster of those Android device makers who are part of the group.)
Though Microsoft officials don’t explicitly say that these preinstallation deals are tied to the company’s ongoing patent campaign via which Microsoft has stepped up its collection of patent royalties from Android device makers, today’s blog post does mention that “IP alignment is an important feature” of these agreements.
Last October, Microsoft’s deal with ASUS combined Office app licensing with an Android patent deal.
This isn’t even Microsoft software being put on these devices. Microsoft does not really make software anymore, it just makes malware/spyware like Vista 10 (the NSA’s dream come true, an always-on keylogger) or Skype (always-on wiretapping), with inability to opt of secret ‘updates’  or even disable the mass surveillance on the desktop , based on new articles (see below).
“Microsoft’s latest strategy against Linux — as I foresaw it way back in the Novell days — is “do as we tell you or we shall sue you with patents.””Remember that Android distributors don’t include Microsoft malware by default/out of the box because they want to. Microsoft threatens to sue. Microsoft’s latest strategy against Linux — as I foresaw it way back in the Novell days — is “do as we tell you or we shall sue you with patents.”
Where’s the RICO Act when it needs to actually be enforced?
Microsoft’s love of Linux is the love of a python for a sheep. It just loves sheep. It’s delicious. It’s about devouring. When I said this in Twitter one person responded by saying “this industry has short memories; we’re at the “embrace” stage of embrace, extend, extinguish” (E.E.E.). █
Related/contextual items from the news:
After effectively giving everyone the silent treatment on changes to its operating system, Microsoft has created a webpage that briefly lists stuff inside the software updates as they are released. It’s not so much bowing to pressure from users as tossing a ball over a pier and hoping you’ll all chase after it and then the whole fuss will just go away.
“After listening to feedback regarding the level of disclosure for Windows 10 updates, we decided to implement a new system for communicating updates to the operating system,” a spokeswoman for Redmond told us earlier.
Analyst reveals that Windows 10 is amassing huge amount user data despite of user disabling the three tracking options
We all know that Windows 10 spies on users. We had reported spying issues associated with Windows 10 even as Microsoft had released the Windows 10 Technical Preview Version in August, 2014. After almost a year after when Windows 10 Final Build was released, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 10 spied on users in November 2015. It had added at that time that even it cant stop Windows 10’s telemetry program used for spying on users.
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Summary: Words heard through the grapevine of the European Patent Office (EPO), where staff is overwhelmingly against the managers and some people, including high-profile staff, add to the exodus
TECHRIGHTS has repeatedly advised readers to contact their national delegates regarding EPO abuses. We also suggest speaking to European politicians, “but the question is whether the Ministers are going to do anything about it,” one reader of ours said. Well, some of them are increasingly vocal on these matters (we gave an example earlier today) and there are also interventions behind the scenes (which we are aware of).
“Minnoye, who´s regarded as a totally incompetent VP, is hated by the directors, too…”
–AnonymousThis site’s involvement in these matters began a long time ago, but mostly focused on software patents in Europe. Half a decade ago I wrote to EBoA on the subject. Software patents are part of a broader issue which we often call patent maximalism. This includes GMO/seed monopolies (e.g. patents on plants), artificially high pricing on life-saving medicine (where research is often funded by taxpayers anyway) and other such issues that brought a lot of EPO critics to this kind of campaigning in the first place.
Abuses by the EPO against applicants and against EPO staff is something we only became better aware of in recent years. Staff unions too have been critical of patent maximalism; maybe that’s why (amongst other reasons) the patent maximalists cannot tolerate them and Battistelli is trying to crush them. “I cannot believe he´s going to finish his term,” one reader told us about him. This reader works for Battistelli. We learned that “the rumour about his leaving was spread even by one of the directors [...] if Battistelli falls, the whole bunch will fall [...] Minnoye, who´s regarded as a totally incompetent VP, is hated by the directors, too [...] If you could read the Gazette you would see how many people are voting with their feet [...] a lot of staff retire before time and it´s not only examiners but also directors and a PD (principal director) [...] even the Brussels man has retired although he was relatively young” (we've mentioned the opening here).
“I can´t believe they employed somebody like Topic, with his skeletons in the cupboard…”
–AnonymousThis reader added that “we started employing people with Afghanistan experience now [...] there was also a UK guy with Afghanistan experience [...] in his CV he wrote he spoke: Serbien, Croatian and Bosnian [...] which is rubbish [as] there is no Bosnian language [...] I can´t believe they employed somebody like Topic, with his skeletons in the cupboard [...] they´ll go down all together [as Battistelli] cannot survive years of negative publicity [...] there are too many rumours about him [...] that he will prolong here, that he will move to Paris as president of the UPC [...] the first thing the press should write is about the secret contract [as] it appears that the AC is signing the budget without knowing his bonus and only Kongstad [Chairman] knows about it [...] he should be forced to publish his bonus (allegedly over 1 million – 1.4, 1.5) [...] it´s enough for the newspapers to continue writing each time that his contract is secret.”
So much for ‘public’ body… neither public nor European. █
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While large corporations get prioritised and enjoy a fast lane
Summary: Gross incompetence and potentially an infringement of the European Convention on Human Rights at the European Patent Office (EPO), this time impacting an applicant (one of many in a similar position)
ONE source of ours, a European SME, seriously thought about suing the EPO for mishandling or misconduct, having waited for 6 years without being granted a patent which had already been, in principle, secured, based on a hearing.
Yesterday we found this new article titled “EPO prosecution delays and the European Convention on Human Rights” and it said:
A recent case decided by the EPO’s Board of Appeal has tackled the issue of delays in prosecution and noted that, for the application in issue, the duration of the first instance proceedings (12 years) amounted to an excessive delay. Reference was made in the reasons of the decision to other cases in which the Applicant’s rights under Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights have been infringed.
The decision in case T 0823/11 appeared shortly before Christmas last year and relates to European patent application number 96915827.8 which was filed as a PCT application way back in May 1995. The application entered the regional phase in December 1997 and the supplementary European search report issued in February 1999. A delay of nearly 5 and a half years then occurred before the first examination report issued (following a chaser letter from the Applicant).
The EPO and the Applicant exchanged chaser letters, exam reports and replies over the next 3 years but a summons to oral proceedings was not issued until March 2010.
The patent application was refused by the Examining division and the Applicant duly appealed. The Appeal Board decision is dated 21 December 2015.
i) the first instance proceedings following regional phase entry had taken over 12 years and this was regarded as excessive by the Appeal Board. Reference was made to two other cases (T315/03 and Kristiansen and Tyvik AS v. Norway before the European Court of Human Rights) in which delays were regarded as an infringement of Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The conclusions of these cases were regarded as relevant to the present case, in particular because the delays were not affected by any unusual behaviour of the Applicant;
Given growing political pressure on the EPO to stop violating human rights (we gave a new example just one hour ago), it will be interesting to see just how many abuses the EPO can get away with before the management is sacked or pressured to resign (to make it look friendlier/amicable). We seem to be not so far from it. █
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Summary: The Unitary Patent Court (UPC), a rigged system that is being rammed down Europe’s throat by the EPO, its big clients (even foreign), and their patent lawyers laid bear for people to see
There’s a lot of very serious abuse (at least institutional) surrounding the UPC, much like in those ‘trade’ agreements with all the confirmed bribes. The UPC should be at least as scandalous as ACTA or the TPP, but the public is hardly aware of the UPC, there’s no public input on it, and the driving forces behind it typically work behind closed doors (or in private events with high fees to attend and no input from critics).
The UPC is driven not by public demand but by the desire of some parties to essentially loot the public. It’s like legalised theft, or systematic passage of wealth.The EPO has its own lobbyists Brussels and so do EPO allies like Microsoft, which employs Microsoft-connected lobbying groups in Brussels (for software patents in Europe — a goal evidently shared by the Battistelli-led EPO). Does anyone know who funds the front/lobbying group “Fair Standards Alliance”? They don’t say, but we can make guesses.
Curiously enough, yesterday we found out that the legal firm that the EPO hired (i.e. paid) to bully me with legal letters is boosting the UPC right now. Well, another coincidence or alignment/intersection of interests? MIP wrote that in its partially-visible article (behind paywall). “Fieldfisher expand ahead of UPC launch,” it says, and all I know Fieldfisher for is threatening legal letters that it sent me. Articles which highlighted the connection between Microsoft and the EPO is what they threatened me over, repeatedly.
As it turns out, based on yesterday’s tweet from the FFII’s President, the “German Ministry of Justice seems to prepare for UPC ratification, software patents like a letter to the post #swpat #nodebate” (indeed, no public debate at all, same as in the UK).
Patent firms love the UPC because more (and broader) lawsuits mean more income for them. As it turns out, based on input that we received yesterday, there is a lot of nepotism and lobbying in the mix. The German Ministry of Justice is implicated, too. To quote this source of ours:
as regards your postings on who will benefit most from a unitary patent and Unified Patent Court, you might want to have a closer look to the article here:
Its sections I. and II. describe a remarkable connection between the German Ministry of Justice and one of the leading German pro-UPC proponents, Prof. Tilmann (http://www.hoganlovells.com/winfried-tilmann/), a preeminent German attorney at Hogan Lovells, one of the leading patent litigation firms in Europe. Tilmann admitted that he had been given confidential court documents by the Ministry of Justice to publicly comment on these in favour of the UPC.
The article also cites a letter sent by his firm to a Committee of the House of Commons in 2012, trying to clarify that Mr Tilmann was not acting on behalf of Hogan Lovells, but was merely providing “his own personal views” – after he had apparently pushed his lobbying for the unitary patent and UPC a little too far. The letter was mentioned on the IPKat (http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2012/05/when-unity-creates-division-kat-patent.html), it can be downloaded here (https://sites.google.com/site/ipkatreaders/unifiedpatentproposal/hoglove.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1). It is still a good laugh.
It seems possible that the only reason the European public has not yet scandalised the UPC is the secrecy around it, the lack of understanding (the EPO spends money on pro-UPC propaganda events), and lack of public participation.
We urge all readers, both inside and outside Europe (and inside the EPO or outside the EPO) to antagonise this injustice. The EPO spends a lot of money misleading the public so whistleblowers are needed. One reader told us yesterday: “thank you for tenaciously holding the EPO management to account. I don’t necessarily see eye to eye with you on software patents, but I definitely agree with you on the state of the EPO.”
No two people can agree on everything, but there are overlaps. It is also possible to work for the EPO (e.g. as an examiner) whilst also recognising the problems with the UPC. We strongly encourage readers to send us documents, pointers or any other material we should know about regarding the UPC. EPO management is understandably paranoid about UPC critics (it sees UPC critics even where there are none), as we stressed several times in the past. █
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By Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle, CC BY-SA 3.0
Summary: Question to the European Commission from Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes, as published in the site of the European Parliament
A FEW months ago, as a reader told us, Ana Maria Gomes brought up the subject of EPO abuses. These were mentioned in front of the European Commission. Here is what she said/wrote (available in English and in French):
17 November 2015
Question for written answer to the Commission
Ana Gomes (S&D)
Subject: Re-establishing fundamental rights at the European Patent Office
Has the Commission asked the Member States of the European Patent Office (EPO), and, in particular the two EU Member States in which the seats of the organisation are located, namely the Netherlands (The Hague) and Germany (Munich), for an explanation of the ongoing violations of the fundamental and employment rights of the staff of EPO?
It would seem that the Netherlands are putting their economic interests, i.e. the fact that the seat of the EPO is located on their territory, ahead of the rights of the organisation’s staff. The decision by the Netherlands Government to support the EPO in the appeal it has brought before the Netherlands Supreme Court merely confirms this. What view does the Commission take of this matter?
Irrespective of the ruling handed down by the Netherlands Court of Appeal, the EPO is violating not only the fundamental rights of its staff, but also basic principles of the rule of law.
The argument concerning the EPO’s immunity was considered and explicitly rejected by the Netherlands Court of Appeal. By continuing to invoke its immunity, the EPO is deliberately disregarding a ruling handed down by a court of law.
What action does the Commission plan to take against an international organisation which deliberately places itself above international and national law and violates the rule of law?
There are other ongoing political actions that we are aware of but are not publishing yet (as it might interfere with their progress). The EPO is in very deep trouble. Battistelli seems to be afraid, and quite rightly so. █
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Publicado in Europe, Patents at 8:02 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
La presente estrategia de los medios es pretender que ¨aqui no pasa nada¨ y trabajar en presencia en los medios al enviar varias nuevas (cuidadosamente preparadas en casa). Que tales caraduras!
Sumario: La estrategia de relaciones públicas de la OEP cuya destructiva estrategia de patentes continua sin disminución (por ahora), se engancha en Colombia y se esfuerza en manufacturar el mito donde el público, examinadores de patentes, y aplicantes de patentes todos estan muy felices con la OEP.
LA situación en Europa es gris cuando se trata de patentes. La OEP todavía no ha tenido algun ejecutivo sometido a procedimientos legales, a pesar de que violaciones en suelo europeo fueron bien reportadas (documentadas en los medios tambien). Mas aún la OEP todavía esta promoviendo patentes de software esta semana. Por ello virtualmente todos los trolles de patentes estan dependiendo de ella.
Basado en este nuevo articulo: ¨Alguos Productores Europeos de propiedad intelectual se estan uniendo para batallar las reglas que los ayudarán a ganar dinero en ´innovación´. Red de Comunicaciones Ericsson AB, constructor de aviones Airbus Group SE, la compañía francesa de teléfonos Orange SA y fabricante de trenes Alstom SA estan dentro de las compañías detras de IP Europe, consorcio que será revelado hoy en Bruselas.
Ericsson esta actualmente detras de algunos trolles de patentes. Ya dimos ejemplos de Europa atrayendolos como abejas a la miel y Ericsson tiene un montón que ver con ello, Nokia también. ¨Ericsson promoverá trolling de patentes a nivel Europeo, hardcore pro-swpat¨ (patentes de software) escribió ayer el presidente de la FFII (citando el artículo arriba).
En IP Kat, donde muchos trabajadores de la OEP comentan anónimamente, una persona escribió:
Estoy luchando por entender algo, así que acudo a los buenos lectores de IPKat por ayuda.
Cuando ¨Monsieur¨ Presidente citó figuras de producción por 2014, fue citado diciendo ¨Nuestra producción, nuestra productividad y nuestros controles de costods todos han mejorado¨, También entiendo que las cuentes de la OEP han mostrado un surplus saludable por los últimos años.
Así que basado en sus propias publicaciones, podemos concluir que la OEP ha alcanzado ambos un saludable ¨margen de ganancias¨ y una reducción de los costos (de producción). ¿Correcto?
Así que ¿Porqué (como siempre) las matrículas son más caras este año? Eso es, como los usuarios del sistema (quienes despues de todo, solventan el juego) no se benefician de la aparente mejorada productividad?
Respuestas en postal, por favor.
La OEP esta operando como un negocio, no un servicio, maximizando ganancias y haciendo difícil para las PYMEs europeas conseguir patentes (los precios se disparan). La República Bananera de OEPonia ahora visita SudAmerica y publica pura bazofia al respecto. Battistelli quien es tan beneficial a la region como lo fue en su tiempo Pinochet (vean este reciénte articulo en Ingles y Español), dijo ayer: ¨Además fuimos capaces de firmar el acuerdo de Prosecución de Patentes (PPH) en Bogotá entre la OEP y el SuperIntendente de Industria y Comercio de Colombia (quien vendió el futuro de millares de colombianos). Una medida hecha posible ya que afirmaron lazos a traves de un marco de cooperación escrito en el 2014. La conclusión del programa piloto de la PPH probará esencial para promover una acelerada prosecución y enforzamiento de patentes (a beneficio de las grandes corporaciones de los Estados Unidos no de las PYMEs colombianas). Es anticipado que esto incrementará ´crecimiento´ económico entre las dos regiones y estimulará cooperación entre nuestras oficians, trayendo ´beneficios´ adicionales a los poseedores de patentes ´europeos´ fuera de Europa (así ¿qué están fumando estos?). Esta envisionado que estos acuerdos apoyaran la adquisición de derechos de patentes con nuestros usuarios, como investigadores de universidades, innovadores industriales y negocios con los que me reuní antes de firmar el acuerdo. Fue claro por el interes de los medios que fueron medidas de interés por parte de actores en ´innovación´, negocios e industria.¨
¿Alguién ha notado qué Monsieur Presidente pasa más tiempo en países como China y Colombia en vez de paises Occidentales? Hace unos meses nos dijeron que había cancelado su viaje a Zagreb, donde su bulldog Topić enfrenta cargos criminales (más de ello mañana).
Manteniendo la pretensión de cualidad y conformidad, la OEP también ha publicado detalles acerca de este esfuerzo de crear una ilusión de apoyo de las partes interesadas, llevando a cuestas a la ISO [1, 2] a pesar de su aparejo (credenciales y venta de acreditación). Como escribimos aquí hoy temprano, hay otros esfuerzos propagandísticos por lo bajo (en Rijswijk). Preparénse para el asalto de la prensa european con mentiras blatantes y devaneos. █
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Publicado en America, Patentes at 7:13 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
El Engañoso Nombre Comisión de Comercio la hace de nuevo
Sumario: La Comisión Internacional (sic) de Comercio se esta entrometiendo en competición de nuevo permitiendo a un gigante de los Estados Unidos Ciso en este caso, a potencialmente bloquear rivales (no importaciones del extranjero) usando patentes de software.
EMBARGOS no apoyan o motivan innovación. SON HERRAMIENTAS DE CHANTAJE. Limitan elección en el mercado (esperen alza de precios) y crean una atmósfera de temor que desánima a compañías (e ingenieros) a implementar toda suerte de útiles características.
La ITC dice que Arista Networks violó tres patentes de software pertenecientes a Cisco. Pero patentes de software no son válidas en Europa, muchas de ellas no son válidas en general (incluso en los Estados Unidos), y tendencias sugieren que muchas patentes de software son INVÁLIDAS (una vez presentadas y evaluadas ante una corte). ¿ES LA LEY DE PATENTES DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS LA LEY UNIVERSAL AHORA? Parece que si. Veamos el cubrimiento de ayer de este botín de patentes [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20]. No tenemos tiempo de tratar con cada articulo individualmente, pero señalaremos que en su historia completa la ITC raramente (si alguna vez) ayudó a una compañía que no sea de los Estados Unidos a bloquear imports de una corporación de los Estados Unidos. La palabra ¨internacional¨ en Comisión Internacional de Comercio es ENGAÑOSA. Es como llamar a la OEP ¨europea¨ cuando la MAYORÍA DE SUS CLIENTES FAVORITOS NO SON EUROPEOS. La ITC es IMPERIALISTA por diseño e intento; es un aparato de poder enmascarándose como internacional (o serán sus deseos de dominación mundial). Microsoft tiene una historia de prohibir/aniquilar pequeños rivales usando patentes de software. Fue así como empezo todo para Microsoft quien ha empeorado (más agresivo usando patentes de sofware). Desde que Apple también esta tratando de ganar ventaja de ganar ventaja sobre rivales Asiáticos (los productos de Apple también son asiáticos e importados de Asia) a traves de sanciones de la ITC. Todo en todo el record comprobado de la ITC muestra que SIEMPRE ha ayudado a las MEGA CORPORACIONES DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS embargando/prohibiendo rivales del extranjero. Vean el articulo ¨La Comisión Internacional De Comercio Escribe una Carta de Amor a Cisco¨ así como ¨Cisco ruling llevará a un embargo de productos de Arista Networks (prohibición de importaciones imminente). Para recordar Cisco es un facilítador de puertas traseras para el IMPERIO. Cisco abiertamente promueve esas puertas traseras, pero ahora timidamente se esconde de publicidad negativa (por las publicaciones de Snowden).
¿Quién realmente se beneficia de esto? █
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