04.02.16

VENUE Act Not the Solution and Amid EFF News About Intellectual Ventures and Garfum It’s Time to Tackle Software Patents

Posted in America, EFF, Law, Patents at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reform jokeSummary: Some news regarding patents with emphasis on the EFF’s situation and current strategy, which overlooks the core issue, software patentability in the United States

TODAY’s (or this afternoon’s) focus will be the USPTO. There is a lot to be said about the US patent system, both good news and bad news. As longtime readers of ours know, we’re not opponents of the patent system per se, we’re against software patents, which oughtn’t be granted at all because code is properly protected by copyright law. Virtually all software developers (based on old surveys and polls) agree with us on software patents. It’s hardly even a subject of debate inside the software community, only outside of it.

“Virtually all software developers (based on old surveys and polls) agree with us on software patents.”Days ago we remarked on the VENUE Act, the latest hyped-up bill which claims to tackle issues even if it’s a half-cooked solution. Last year we saw Innovation and PATENT Act (remember it? One of many incarnations and efforts [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). They’re all just buzzwords and they focus on patent trolls, not patent scope. The effort taken to come up with those silly acronyms (like PATRIOT) shows that it’s more about marketing than about substance. As TechDirt has just explained VENUE Act (Nathan Leamer and Zach Graves, the authors, aren’t TechDirt people), “it isn’t the kind of comprehensive corrective to America’s “patent troll” problem that we’d like to see, the newly introduced Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Act would address one small piece of the problem. The bill, S. 2733, would curtail rampant venue shopping that unfairly distorts legal outcomes by allowing plaintiffs to select friendly judges in advance.”

Given some judges’ or courts’ inclination to accept abstract software patents, this potentially has a positive effect on resistance to software patents. At around the same time as the above, TechDirt also reposted the EFF’s article (the EFF is a proponent of VENUE Act by the way) about Microsoft’s biggest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, calling it “Mega-Troll” and stating that it “Hits Florist With Do-It-On-A-Computer Scheduling Patent” (software patent).

“This Microsoft-connected troll also attacks Linux and Android, as we showed here before.”To quote the EFF: “When it comes to patent trolls, no one is bigger than Intellectual Ventures. The Washington State-based behemoth is at the center of both patent trolling and the debate around patent reform. Though it claims to promote innovation, Intellectual Ventures is behind some of the most outrageous troll campaigns in recent years. Famous for hiding behind thousands of shell companies, it spawned Lodsys, the troll that harassed small app developers, and the Oasis Research litigation featured in This American Life.

“This month, Intellectual Ventures filed some fresh lawsuits against targets including JCPenney, Sally Beauty, and flower delivery service Florists’ Transworld Delivery. We checked out the asserted patents to see if any deserved our Stupid Patent of the Month award. All were worthy candidates, but one in particular stood out.”

This Microsoft-connected troll also attacks Linux and Android, as we showed here before. It is acting as a sort of Microsoft proxy, one among many. Intellectual Ventures also has a network of thousands of satellite firms, making it like a phantom that’s too cumbersome to properly track.

“Intellectual Ventures also has a network of thousands of satellite firms, making it like a phantom that’s too cumbersome to properly track.”Separately, based on this post from the EFF, “Blue Spike is a repeat patent litigation player. Lex Machina (a service that collects patent litigation filings from across the country) indicates there are over 100 lawsuits involving Blue Spike and its patents. Unsurprisingly then, Blue Spike’s campaign has garnered press attention. We’ve written about Blue Spike and its patents in connection with our “Stupid Patent of the Month” series. Others have written about Blue Spike too.”

In more positive news from the EFF, on Twitter it said: “Court orders that patent bully must pay EFF client’s attorneys’ fees.” Here is the corresponding article which says:

In a decision that could help other victims of abusive patent litigation, a court today ordered that Garfum.com Corporation must pay an EFF client’s attorneys’ fees. The court found that Garfum’s patent suit lacked merit and was litigated unreasonably.

Back in late 2014, Garfum sued a small photography website called Bytephoto.com for patent infringement. Garfum claimed to own the idea of having a ‘vote for the best’ competition, but on the Internet. Even though its absurd patent was plainly invalid under the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank, Garfum demanded that the owners of Bytephoto, Ruth and Steve Taylor, pay it $50,000. Given the substantial cost of defending even a frivolous patent lawsuit, the Taylors faced a difficult situation.

This has already been covered by Joe Mullin, who tracked patent trolls for about a decade. “The Electronic Frontier Foundation,” he wrote, “has advocated against ridiculous software patents for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until last year that the organization took on a pro bono client accused of patent infringement. A little-used video website called Garfum.com sued Pennsylvania photographer Ruth Taylor, saying she was infringing US Patent No. 8,209,618. Garfum, owned by a New Jersey man named Michael Garofalo, says the patent was infringed by the photo contests Taylor runs on her website, Bytephoto.”

Worth noting here is that we’re dealing with a software patent, again. Why doesn’t the EFF just tackle software patents as opposed to “stupid patents” or “patent trolls”? Better join the good fight, better late than never.

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

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2016/04/02/venue-act-not-the-solution-and-amid-eff-news-about-intellectual-ventures-and-garfum-its-time-to-tackle-software-patents/

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 26/2/2021: Wine 6.3, Genode OS Framework 21.02

    Links for the day



  2. Links 26/2/2021: GNU Poke 1.0 is Out and Rocky Linux Leaves Microsoft GitHub

    Links for the day



  3. Microsoft's Status in Web Servers is So Bad That It Has Fallen Off Charts, is Now Partly Delisted

    In several categories or criteria Microsoft is no longer even listed by Netcraft; the share has become rather minuscule during the pandemic, which convinced more companies to explore expense-cutting moves



  4. We Take Away Your Freedom for Your Own Safety...

    People are herded like cattle and protest/dissent will be demonised as part of the new norm; what will be the cost of the pandemic and will resistance to the status quo ever be permitted to resume?



  5. EPO President Pushes Illegal Software Patents in South America (Over the Telephone With a Misleading New Puff Piece)

    The EPO's "news" section has become worse than a form of distraction (from the EPO's internal rot); it celebrates illegal and unlawful practices, spreading them to other continents



  6. The Free Software Foundation Warns Against Using Twitter

    Richard Stallman said Twitter was OK because it was possible to use it without proprietary software; that's no longer the case, so the Free Software Foundation (FSF) speaks out against it. It speaks about it more than 3 months after the problem became a known one and also an irreversible one (maybe Twitter would have reversed the decision if the media or the FSF actually spoke about it early enough).



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 25, 2021



  8. Stéphane Bortzmeyer Explains Gemini Protocol (February 2021)

    A recent talk from Stéphane Bortzmeyer about Gemini and what it is for (or why)



  9. Links 26/2/2021: Istio 1.7.8 Announced, Blender 2.92, Firebird 3.0 Language Reference, FSF Against Twitter

    Links for the day



  10. Special Thanks to Mogz

    Credit where it's due to Mogz



  11. Modifying WordPress to Include Gemini Links in All Articles (Assuming a Canonical URL Form)

    In order to promote the departure from the World Wide Web (where possible and suitable; sites with text don't typically need Web-like features) one can promote the analogous pages in one's Gemini capsule; we suggest a way of doing so in WordPress (the most widely used CMS)



  12. Links 25/2/2021: RHEL for Open-Source Infrastructure, GNOME 40 Beta, LXPanel 0.10.1

    Links for the day



  13. IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge

    IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge



  14. Techrights Gemini Capsule, Now With Over 35,000 Pages and Files

    Blog posts combined with static (plain text) files are now 36,000+ in number, just for Gemini protocol alone; that number keeps growing as our conversion proceeds and evolves (our software will be released under terms of the AGPLv3)



  15. Eventually, or Hopefully, Many People Will Come Back to What the Web Used to Be (Or Web Alternatives More Like the 'Old' Web)

    With RSS feeds making a comeback and a resurgence of personal blogs we can take back the Web from a cabal of tech/Internet giants and social control media, censored, curated and spied on by oligarchy



  16. If Wikipedia is Controlled by Corporations and Mobs, It Needs to Be 'Cancelled'

    Facts have never truly mattered in social control media sites; it certainly seems as though Wikipedia now suffers the very same issue/deficit, allowing oligarchs and their companies to define what goes on in the world and which people Wikipedia should regard as persona non grata



  17. GNU/Linux Reaffirms Its Status as the Universal and Inter-planetary Operating System

    The operating system made for and by scientists (not business sharks and marketing cults) is winning the battle, and not only in this planet



  18. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 24, 2021



  19. Links 25/2/2021: Kali Linux 2021.1, Wine Launcher 1.4.46, and Google's Security Posing

    Links for the day



  20. Links 24/2/2021: MariaDB 10.5.9, Krita 4.4.3 Beta, and Debuginfod Server for Debian

    Links for the day



  21. Self-Host Your Videos, Take Full Advantage of HTML5 and Video Attributes

    For self-hosting of videos over the World Wide Web (Gemini too can handle videos; its clients/browsers can, for example, link video files/URLs to external media players) it's worth reviewing the full set of features made available by the standards because a lot can be accomplished without JavaScript and without unnecessary bloat/complexity



  22. Trying Out NoiseTorch to Reduce Background Sound/Noise in GNU/Linux

    An introduction to noisetorch (or NoiseTorch), an application that helps create virtual microphones/devices with reduced background noise



  23. How the Big Banks and OIN Can Whitewash Software Patents and Do Nothing Concrete About Patent Trolls

    Response to the puff piece entitled "How the Big Banks and OIN Can Lock Out Patent Trolls with Enabled Publications"



  24. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 23, 2021



  25. How to Set Up a Gemini Server of Your Own, Even on a Simple Single-Board Computer

    Using Agate to start one's own Gemini capsule (self-hosted) is a lot simpler than one might be inclined to believe; this is a detailed HOWTO, hoping to encourage more people to join Gemini space, which is fast-growing and free of garbage



  26. Links 23/2/2021: Tails 4.16, Libinput 1.17, Fwupd 1.5.7, Firefox 86, NeoChat 1.1

    Links for the day



  27. The Word Master is Not Problematic in Most Contexts and Its Origin Hasn't a Connection to Slavery

    Slavery is to the word "master" mostly disconnected; it might, however, be closely connected in the minds of racists or the agenda of highly racist corporations (profiting from racism) that look for ways to distract from their racism



  28. On Misapplication, Misuse, Overuse and Abuse of Words (to Suit False Narratives)

    It is looking like the word "abuse" has been extended to basically mean all sorts of things including the act of actually exposing real abuse



  29. The Administrative Council Needs to Fix the EPO While It's Still Possible

    EPO staff and former staff (pensioners) aren't happy and the it's the responsibility of the Administrative Council to do something before it's too late (the reputation of the Office is already severely harmed and it's unable/unwilling to recruit suitable and qualified people, both as examiners and managers, respectively)



  30. 'These Questions Remain Unanswered': Campinos Became Battistelli Just Halfway Through His Term

    The Central Staff Committee of the EPO highlights the grim situation or the deadlock reached after totally dysfunctional Office management somehow managed to kill off channels of communication, in effect going back to where things were back in 2018 under Battistelli


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