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03.20.17

Are Lithuania and Latvia the Latest Additions to the List of Benoît Battistelli’s Vassal States?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO did not mention the trip to Croatia, either (Croatian media coverage ignored the bigger story). Well, until much later

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s ‘back room’ deals came at an interesting, strategic time and the Office uncharacteristically kept quiet about these

It’s not unusual for Battistelli to give some money to nations (the smaller the economy, the cheaper) in order to garner support; some allege that he is simply buying votes in order to get his proposals approved and keep his job no matter how severe his abuses become. We previously mentioned this in relation to Lithuania, e.g. [1, 2]. We have seen that before in other countries as well; they seem to become ‘zombie’ states once the money lands on their lap, perhaps at the instructions/behest of the government officials who are recipients of monetary grants (‘gifts’).

Well, a reader sent us some information regarding something which we had completely missed (it was nowhere in the news, even though we watch these things very closely).

“Might be of interest,” our reader explained is the following:

A casual inspection of the official websites of the Lithuanian and Latvian Patent Offices revealed some recent reports of new bilateral “cooperation agreements” with the EPO. It seems that these agreements were signed last week on the margins of the Administrative Council’s quarterly meeting in Munich.

According to the report on the website of the Latvian Patent Office (translation): “On 15 March 2017 in Munich Latvian Patent Office Director Sandris Laganovskis and the European Patent Office (EPO) President Benoît Batistelli signed a new cooperation plan for patents for the next three years.”

The report on the website of the Lithuanian Patent Office reads as follows (translation): “State Patent Bureau (SPB) Director Arunas Želvys and the European Patent Office (EPO) President Benoît Battistelli this week signed a bilateral cooperation plan for the years 2017-2019, according to which international cooperation will be carried out with Lithuania in the field of industrial property protection projects.”

These reports do not appear on the English language pages of the websites. Also there is also no mention on the EPO’s website which is rather strange given Battistelli’s well-known predilection for loudly trumpeting about each and every bilateral agreement concluded in the most obscure corners of the globe.

It’s almost as if there is a concerted effort to bury this “news” because it might reveal too much about how the EPO operates and expose the unhealthy conflicts of interests that seem to compromise the activities of the Administrative Council.

In the meantime observers of the EPO are advised to keep a close eye on the voting records of Lithuania and Latvia which appear to be the latest additions to the list of Battistelli’s “vassal states”.

Latvia

Benoît Battistelli in Latvia

Benoît Battistelli in Latvia

Benoît Battistelli in Latvia

Lithuania

In the photo below, the Vice-President of DG5 Raimund Lutz can be seen (third from the left). Lutz is in charge of the EPO’s Legal and Internal Affairs department. Through his influence as the director of the EPO’s legal services and his role as the main legal advisor of the Administrative Council he is rumoured to be one of the chief architects and facilitators of Battistelli’s regime.

Benoît Battistelli in Lithuania

Benoît Battistelli in Lithuania

As we noted here several times recently, Battistelli is not meeting prominent politicians from large states anymore, as certainly they are aware of the scandals he’s presently embroiled in (like Blatter or Savile, where photo ops are a liability rather than bragging rights).

Links 20/3/2017: Linux 4.11 RC3, OpenSSH 7.5 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux, not Microsoft, the real winner of Windows Server on ARM

    Cutting to the heart of it, it doesn’t actually matter if Microsoft releases Windows Server for ARM. Windows isn’t the future and even Microsoft knows it. The upcoming availability of SQL server on Linux is all the proof we need that the game is over and, in the data centre at least, Microsoft didn’t win.

    Quite frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that. Legacy x86 Windows applications have been a millstone around the neck of the entire industry for ages now and its long past time they were relegated to a niche and left to quietly slip away into the night. What’s interesting here isn’t that Microsoft managed to take its existing code base, strip out some of the cruft and compile it on ARM. What’s interesting is what Microsoft’s experiment unlocks outside the Windows ecosystem.

  • Desktop

    • Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 ad annoys Chrome users with taskbar pop-ups

      Microsoft’s aggressive advertising push inside Windows 10 is going beyond pop-ups for Microsoft Edge.

      Myce recently spotted yet another pop-up ad on the taskbar in Windows 10. This time around Microsoft was advertising its extension for Chrome dubbed the Personal Shopping Assistant (Beta). The extension is a Microsoft Garage project that lets you compare prices across shopping sites.

      Prior to the Chrome extension pop-up, Microsoft was advertising its rewards program for Microsoft Edge, which we spotted in early November. The earlier ad appeared to be targeted at people who didn’t use Edge that frequently.

  • Server

    • Docker to Donate its Container Runtime, containerd, to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

      Docker plans to donate its containerd container runtime to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to organizing a set of open source container-based cloud-native technologies.

      In December, Docker released as open source the code for containerd, which provides a runtime environment for Docker containers. By open sourcing this component of the Docker stack, the company wanted to assure users, partners, and other actors in the container ecosystem that the core container component would remain stable, and that the community would have a say in its advancement.

    • Docker at 4: The Container Revolution Continues

      The open-source Docker container project held events around the globe last week as it celebrated its fourth birthday. Docker is more popular than ever as the standard bearer for the container microservices DevOps movement, though Docker Inc. as a company now faces more challenges than ever before as well.

      Three years ago, I wrote about the first anniversary of Docker, predicting significant growth in 2014. As it turned out, I was right about the growth, though I was wrong about Docker Inc. Back in 2014, I had predicted that Docker Inc. would likely be acquired, but to date that hasn’t happened—though there has been no shortage of speculation over the last three years.

      Docker Inc. and the open-source container ecosystem that Docker helped create have evolved significantly since 2014, and over the course of the project’s four-year existence. This past year has arguably been the most significant yet for Docker Inc., both as a business and an open-source project.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.10.4

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.10.4 kernel.

      All users of the 4.10 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.10.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.10.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st…

    • Linux 4.9.16
    • Linux 4.4.55
    • Linux Kernel 4.4.55 LTS Arrives with Various MIPS Changes, Updated USB Drivers
    • Linux Kernel 4.10.4 Released with MIPS Improvements, Updated USB Drivers

      The fourth maintenance update to the Linux 4.10 kernel series arrived this weekend with various improvements to some of the supported filesystems and architectures, as well as updated drivers.

    • Linux Kernel 4.9.16 LTS Has Various MIPS and PowerPC Changes, Updated Drivers

      Immediately after announcing the release of the Linux 4.10.4 kernel, Greg Kroah-Hartman informed the community about the availability of the sixteenth maintenance update to the long-term supported Linux 4.9 kernel series.

    • Standards for ARM computers and Linaro

      It looks like someone else figured it out, ergo Linaro. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be eager to create a real platform, but rather slap a veneer of something OpenFirmware-like on top of exising systems. Also, they are buddying with Ubuntu. So, a half-hearted effort and a top-down deal. But it’s a step in the right direction.

    • Linux 4.11-rc3

      Another week, another rc.

      As is our usual pattern after the merge window, rc3 is larger than
      rc2, but this is hopefully the point where things start to shrink and
      calm down. We had a late typo in rc2 that affected arm and powerpc
      (the prep code for the 5-level page tables), and hopefully there are
      no similar brown-paper-bugs now in rc3.

      On the whole rc3 looks pretty normal, with two thirds being driver
      updates (late qla2xxx scsi driver updates stand out, but ethernet
      drivers for broadcom and cavium aren’t that far behind, and there are
      updates for gpu, md, cpufreq, x86 platform drivers etc).

      Outside of drivers, the rest is a mix of arch updates (parisc,
      powerpc, x86), filesystems (afs, nfs, xfs) and “misc” (mainly core
      kernel and general networking updates).

      Shortlog appended for those who want to see some overview of the
      details, but what we really want is testing. Please.

      Linus

    • Linus Torvalds Announces the Third Release Candidate of the Linux 4.11 Kernel

      It’s still Sunday in the US, and that means Linus Torvalds has prepared yet another Release Candidate (RC) milestone for the upcoming Linux 4.11 kernel for GNU/Linux distros.

      That’s right, Linux kernel 4.11 Release Candidate 3 is now ready for public testing, and, according to Linus Torvalds, it appears to be a fairly normal patch that’s just a bit larger than last week’s Release Candidate because of a typo that affected the PowerPC (PPC) and ARM architectures.

    • Linux 4.11-rc3 Released
    • Raspberry Pi VC4 HDMI Audio Support Coming To Linux 4.12

      The ongoing work for HDMI audio support with the VC4 DRM driver is being wrapped up and will be working in the Linux 4.12 kernel.

      HDMI audio will work in conjunction with the open-source VC4 driver when the Linux 4.12 kernel rolls out. This was among the changes queued today in drm-misc-next and in turn called for landing into DRM-Next, which will be merged next month into the Linux 4.12 mainline code-base.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarks Of Many ARM Boards From The Raspberry Pi To NVIDIA Jetson TX2

        For some weekend benchmarking fun, I compared the Jetson TX2 that NVIDIA released this weekend with their ARM 64-bit “Denver 2″ CPU cores paired with four Cortex-A57 cores to various other ARM single board computers I have access to. This is looking at the CPU performance in different benchmarks ranging from cheap ~$10 ARM SBCs to the Raspberry Pi to the Jetson TX1 and Jetson TX2.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma Team Discusses Web-browser integration, Bundled Apps and new Features

        In February, KDE’s Plasma team came together in for their yearly in-person meeting. The meeting was kindly hosted by von Affenfels GmbH, a webdesign agency in Stuttgart, Germany. The team discussed a wide variety of topics, such as design, features new and old, bugs and sore points in the current implementation, app distribution, also project management, internal and outward-facing communication and Wayland.

      • KDE Plasma Planning Browser Integration, Possible Touchpad Gestures

        Key developers of KDE’s Plasma team met last month in Stuttgart. More details on this Plasma developer meeting have now come to light.

        KDE Plasma developers continue eyeing Flatpak, Snap, and AppImage for possible next-generation packaging solutions. The developers also discussed better browser integration within Plasma to have native notifications and download progress, better multimedia handling, and more. Another new feature discussed was touchpad gestures support to control the window manager.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • WebKitGTK+ 2.16

        The Igalia WebKit team is happy to announce WebKitGTK+ 2.16. This new release drastically improves the memory consumption, adds new API as required by applications, includes new debugging tools, and of course fixes a lot of bugs.

      • 6 Features You’ll Love in GNOME 3.24

        We look at 6 of the best new GNOME 3.24 features, including the ‘night light’ blue light filter, a pair of ace new apps, and integrated weather forecasts.

      • Builder 3.24

        I’m excited to announce that Builder 3.24 is here and ready for you to play with!

        It should look familiar because most of the work this cycle was underneath the hood. I’m pretty happy with all the stabilization efforts from the past couple of weeks. I’d like to give a special thanks to everyone who took the time to file bugs, some of whom also filed patches.

      • Gnome Encfs Manager – An Ease way to Create a Encrypted Directory in Linux

        Gnome Encfs Manager (short name is GEncfsM) is a tool to manage EncFS filesystems in Linux whihc is best alternative for Cryptkeeper and has lots of unique features. It’s very useful when you use EncFS with cloud sync / storage services such as Dropbox, etc.,

      • Blender Constraints

        So what are they and how are they useful in the context of a GNOME designer? We make quite a few prototypes and one of the things to decide whether a behavior is clear and comprehensible is motion design, particularly transitions. And while we do not use tools directly linked to out stack, it helps to build simple rigs to lower the manual labout required to make sometimes similar motion designs and limit the number of mistakes that can be done. Even simple animations usually consist of many keyframes (defined, non-computed states in time). Defining relationships between objects and createing setups, “rigs”, is a way to create of a sort of working model of the object we are trying to mock up.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi Surges To 3rd Best Selling Computer Of All Time Surpassing The Commodore 64

      In many regards, the Raspberry Pi family of computers is quite modest, which is of course by design. For a relatively small price, you can pick up a fully-functional RPi single board computer that can be used for many purposes, whether it is for learning, creating homemade bots, or cobbling together your own purpose-built media player or server solution. Given RPi’s flexibility, it should come as no surprise that the open source Linux-power min PC has proven to be such a popular computing platform for scores of consumers, businesses and educational institutions.

    • How to secure your Raspberry Pi

      The Raspberry Pi and many other inexpensive computer boards like it have become part of the “Internet of Things” or IoT revolution. Internet-connected computing devices have emerged beyond traditional servers, desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. Now your TV, DVR (digital video recorder), thermostat, refrigerator, Internet radio, Raspberry Pi, and other devices are on the network too.

      IoT has been huge for experimentation and innovation. But as projects get rushed to completion, there have been severe consequences for ignoring security. And this applies both to commercial products and hobby projects. I’ll talk about the Raspberry Pi specifically in this article, so this post is oriented more toward do-it-yourself projects.

    • Pico-ITX board gives you Rockchip RK3288 and optional wireless

      Aaeon’s RICO-3288 Pico-ITX SBC runs Android 6.0 on a quad Cortex-A17 RK3288, and offers up to 4Kx2K resolution and optional wireless, CAN, and -20 to 70°C.

      The RICO-3288 is the first Aaeon product we can recall featuring a Rockchip SoC, and one of the relatively few Rockchip RK3288 based SBCs we’ve seen outside of Firefly’s open-spec Firefly boards, such as the sandwich-style Firefly-RK3288 Reload. The other main exception is the recent, maker oriented Tinker Board from Aaeon’s owner, Asus.

    • Jetson TX2 module gains third party carrier boards

      Connect Tech released three carriers for the Jetson TX2 and TX1: Cogswell with GigE Vision, Spacely for cam-intensive Pixhawk drones, and a $99 Sprocket.

      Last April, Connect Tech announced an Astro carrier board for Nvidia’s Tegra X1-driven Jetson TX1 COM, and then followed up with the Orbitty and Elroy boards in May. Now, following Nvidia’s release of the Jetson TX2 earlier this month, Connect Tech has launched three new carriers that support both the TX2 and TX1 modules.

    • The Intel Edison: Linux Maker Machine in a Matchbox

      The console is a great place to start to see if the Edison is up and running. Connect the micro USB labeled console on the Base Block breakout to your desktop Linux machine and check dmesg to see something like the below to discover where the console is. The Base Block has power, TX, and RX LEDs on board so you can get some feedback from the hardware if things are working. If things go as they should, you will be presented with a root console to the Edison. There is no default password, you should just get right onto the console.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 BEST OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE IN 2017

    When we talk about open source software, we are talking about software program which has been created with the idea of being shared. Open source software is developed, tested, and improved through public collaboration. The main objective is that in future the collaboration is maintained i.e. the user is able to make changes to the program and tailor it to suit their own needs.

    In the past years, the world of open source software has changed tremendously. No longer are the old programs used and each year, you will find a new innovation in the field. On year, you will find a particular program leading the market, while the other year, you will find the same program in the pits of obsolescence. That’s how innovations move through this field.

  • Open source seen as door to digital innovation by decision-makers in Malaysia, survey finds

    According to a new Forrester Consulting survey in the Asia Pacific region, 76 percent of survey respondents in Malaysia view open source as computing as a door to business innovation, cost-saving and the forming of deeper customer experience.

    Damien Wong (pic below), vice president and general manager, ASEAN, Red Hat, said, “It is encouraging to see IT decision makers in Malaysia thinking beyond the traditional approaches and taking a cue from the companies championing digital innovation through open source.”

  • Software And Choice

    Some projects, whether intentionally (e.g., LLVM) or by accident (e.g., Linux) will grow beyond this scope (in those cases, vastly so). The question then becomes murkier. The two projects I’ve chosen for example here are both, I would say, “fork-proof” – LLVM has a very lenient code acceptance policy (see: all of the ghc-specific portions of the backend), while Linux has an extremely powerful module interface against which things can be built that do not merit inclusion into mainline. A user could fork LLVM, or Linux, but their version is extremely unlikely to become authoritative. Even if one does become authoritative, or close to it, that decision may also revert if the new fork does not live up to the quality standards of the old (I’m thinking about ffmpeg/libav here).

  • Giessen Public Works using open source for energy supply

    The German City of Giessen is using open source software for IT Service Management (ITSM) functions in its municipal energy supply. The most visible part of the setup is openITCOCKPIT, a web-based front-end for the Nagios and Naemon packages for IT infrastructure monitoring.

  • OpenSSH 7.5 released

    OpenSSH 7.5 has just been released. It will be available from the
    mirrors listed at http://www.openssh.com/ shortly.

    OpenSSH is a 100% complete SSH protocol 2.0 implementation and
    includes sftp client and server support. OpenSSH also includes
    transitional support for the legacy SSH 1.3 and 1.5 protocols
    that may be enabled at compile-time.

  • OpenSSH 7.5 Released, Legacy Crypto Functions Still Heading For Retirement
  • IBM unveils Blockchain as a Service based on open source Hyperledger Fabric technology

    IBM unveiled its “Blockchain as a Service” today, which is based on the open source Hyperledger Fabric, version 1.0 from The Linux Foundation.

    IBM Blockchain is a public cloud service that customers can use to build secure blockchain networks. The company introduced the idea last year, but this is the first ready-for-primetime implementation built using that technology.

  • IBM launches blockchain tool on Linux Hyperledger Fabric

    IBM unveiled a cloud-based Blockchain offering on Monday along with governance and developer tools.

    Calling it the first enterprise-ready blockchain service, the company said that the technology makes it possible for developers to build and host production of blockchain networks on the IBM Cloud in a secure environment.

  • IBM launches enterprise-ready blockchain service

    The U.S. technology company said on Monday its new product called IBM Blockchain was the first service for developers to build enterprise-grade technology using Hyperledger Fabric, the first code set to be released by the open source group.

  • IBM Launches Enterprise-Ready Blockchain Services for Hyperledger Fabric v 1.0 on IBM Cloud

    IBM today announced the new release of IBM Blockchain, the first enterprise-ready blockchain service based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric version 1.0. The service enables developers to quickly build and host security-rich production blockchain networks on the IBM Cloud, and is underpinned by IBM LinuxONE, the industry’s most secure Linux server.

  • How One Service Provider Developed On Demand Network Services with SDN and NFV

    IT virtualization has radically changed the face of compute, storage, and network services in data centers and beyond. In response, Colt — a network and communications service provider — back in 2015 began developing a program that has transformed the way the company offers network services to customers, says Javier Benitez, Senior Network Architect, Colt Technology Services, who will be speaking at Open Networking Summit.

    According to Benitez, the aim was to move away from a traditional consumption model to one where network services are consumed through an on-demand model based on software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) technologies. Here, Benitez explains more about Colt’s SDN and NFV solutions, focusing on current development efforts and future plans.

  • Open Source at the Heart of IoT Revolution

    Internet of Things (IoT) can be transformative for businesses, by opening up novel ways to connect with customers, creating new avenues and converting data into insights. Several organizations have already moved beyond the experimental phase to actual deployments of IoT. Government, healthcare, retail, transportation and many more industries have come up with innovative applications for improved customer experience and competitive differentiation.

    However, considering its vast scope, IoT has currently not achieved its full potential. Enterprises are grappling with multiple issues. Nevertheless, IoT enthusiasts believe that open source plays a key role in ensuring that the technology moves past the hype cycle to become a disruptive trend for enterprises.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • There’s Now an Arc Theme for Thunderbird

        If you use both the Arc GTK theme and Mozilla Thunderbird as your e-mail app, we’ve found a theme you’ll want to use.

      • WebVR and AFrame Bringing VR to Web at the Virtuleap Hackathon

        Imagine an online application that lets city planners walk through three-dimensional virtual versions of proposed projects, or a math program that helps students understand complex concepts by visualizing them in three dimensions. Both CityViewR & MathworldVR are amazing applications experiences that bring to life the possibilities of virtual reality (VR).

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Community leadership charts course for OpenStack

      Last week, about 40 people from the OpenStack Technical Committee, User Committee, Board of Directors and Foundation Staff convened in Boston to talk about the future of OpenStack. We candidly discussed the challenges we face as a community, but also why our mission to deliver open infrastructure is more important than ever.

      To kick things off, Mark Collier opened with a state of the union address, talking about the strength of our community, the number of users running OpenStack at scale across various industries and the progress we’ve made working across adjacent open source projects. OpenStack is one of the largest, global open source communities. In 2016 alone, we had 3,479 unique developers from dozens of countries and hundreds of organizations contribute to OpenStack, and the number of merged changes increased 26 percent year-over-year. The size and diversity of the OpenStack community is a huge strength, but like any large organization, scale presents its own set of challenges.

    • OpenStack® Board Elects Huawei as Platinum Member and H3C as Gold Member of the Foundation
    • Community leadership planning, new board members, and more OpenStack news
  • Education

    • Open project collaboration from elementary to university classrooms

      In this article, we share our experiences: two examples of fostering creative collaboration among students from elementary school to higher education. Aria F. Chernik, an open educator and director of OSPRI (Open Source Pedagogy, Research + Innovation) at Duke University, introduces an open-by-design, learning innovation project at Duke. Anna Engelke, a tinkering and technology educator, speaks about using open pedagogy to design a Scratch-based maker club at a local elementary school.

  • BSD

    • MIT-Stanford project uses LLVM to break big data bottlenecks

      The more cores you can use, the better — especially with big data. But the easier a big data framework is to work with, the harder it is for the resulting pipelines, such as TensorFlow plus Apache Spark, to run in parallel as a single unit.

      Researchers from MIT CSAIL, the home of envelope-pushing big data acceleration projects like Milk and Tapir, have paired with the Stanford InfoLab to create a possible solution. Written in the Rust language, Weld generates code for an entire data analysis workflow that runs efficiently in parallel using the LLVM compiler framework.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EC study recommends that policies emphasise open source

      Europe’s public administrations should support the use of open source in all sectors of the economy and in public administration, a study for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology recommends. The report by German and French ICT researchers, concludes that “open source is important for the future of the European software industry.”

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Why viral licensing is a ghost

      A brief analysing of the distinction between weak and strong copyleft (sometimes called viral licensing – a pejorative name for copyleft licences) based on the European Directive on the legal protection of computer programs.

  • Programming/Development

    • Rcpp 0.12.10: Some small fixes

      The tenth update in the 0.12.* series of Rcpp just made it to the main CRAN repository providing GNU R with by now over 10,000 packages. Windows binaries for Rcpp, as well as updated Debian packages will follow in due course. This 0.12.10 release follows the 0.12.0 release from late July, the 0.12.1 release in September, the 0.12.2 release in November, the 0.12.3 release in January, the 0.12.4 release in March, the 0.12.5 release in May, the 0.12.6 release in July, the 0.12.7 release in September, the 0.12.8 release in November, and the 0.12.9 release in January — making it the fourteenth release at the steady and predictable bi-montly release frequency.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Ancient Giant Penguin Unearthed in New Zealand

      The fossil was found by amateur fossil collector Leigh Love in the Waipara Greensand at Waipara River, Canterbury Province, New Zealand.

      It was analyzed by a team of paleontologists from Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany.

      According to the researchers, the new find is one of the oldest penguin fossils in the world.

      “Together with the fossils of the recently discovered penguin-like bird Waimanu manneringi, the new specimens are the earliest published penguin remains,” they said.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Record numbers of EU nurses quit NHS

      The number of EU nationals registering as nurses in England has dropped by 92% since the Brexit referendum in June, and a record number are quitting the NHS, it can be revealed.

  • Security

    • Hire a DDoS service to take down your enemies

      According to Neustar, almost three quarters of all global brands, organizations and companies have been victims of a DDoS attack. And more than 3,700 DDoS attacks occur each day.

    • Apollo Lake 3.5-incher doubles down on security

      Kontron’s Linux-friendly, Intel Apollo Lake based “3.5″-SBC-APL” SBC features triple display support, a TPM 2.0 chip, and optional security services.

    • Leading Linux distros dawdle as kernel flaw persists

      A local privilege esclation flaw has been fixed in the Linux kernel, but several upstream distributions have yet to release updates. Administrators should plan on mitigating the vulnerability on Linux servers and workstations themselves and monitor the distributions for their update plans.

    • More than 300 Cisco switch models vulnerable to CIA hack

      A cache of CIA documents was dropped on the internet two weeks ago via WikiLeaks. It was a huge volume of data, some of which detailed CIA tools for breaking into smartphones and even smart TVs. Now, Cisco has said its examination of the documents points to a gaping security hole in more than 300 models of its switches. There’s no patch for this critical vulnerability, but it’s possible to mitigate the risk with some settings changes.

      Cisco’s security arm sent out an advisory on Friday alerting customers that the IOS and IOS XE Software Cluster were vulnerable to hacks based on the leaked documents. The 318 affected switch models are mostly in the Catalyst series, but there are also some embedded systems and IE-series switches on the list. These are enterprise devices that cost a few thousand dollars at least. So, nothing in your house is affected by this particular attack.

    • Assange chastises companies who haven’t responded to CIA vulnerability offers

      Wikileaks head Julian Assange slammed companies not taking the site up on the sites offer to share security flaws the CIA had exploited in their products.

      In a screen-shot statement tweeted on Saturday, Wikileaks noted that “Organizations such as Mozilla” had responded to the site’s emails offering unreleased security vulnerabilities from leaked CIA files. “Google and other companies” had not.

      “Most of these lagging companies have conflicts of interest due to their classified work with US government agencies. In practice such associations limit industry staff with US security clearances from fixing holes based on leaked information from the CIA. Should such companies choose to not secure their users against CIA or NSA attacks users may prefer organizations such as Mozilla or European companies that prioritize their users over government contracts,” the statement read.

      Wikileaks recently published a trove of files leaked from the CIA, including descriptions of hacking techniques. The site made an effort to redact source code showing how to actually accomplish the techniques, although enough code slipped through the cracks for researchers to reverse engineer at least one of the security flaws.

    • Gentoo: 201703-02 Adobe Flash Player: Multiple vulnerabilities
  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • As CIA Director, George Bush waffled on promise to not destroy records of Agency’s illegal activities

      Declassified records recently unearthed in CREST show the CIA waffled on a promise to obey the law in destroying records of Agency’s illegal activities and wrongdoing

      In 1976, Congresswoman Bella Abzug wrote to CIA Director George H.W. Bush about the existing moratorium on the destruction of CIA files. As the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Government Information and Individual Rights, which had jurisdiction over government information policy including FOIA and the Privacy Act, she wanted the moratorium extended – specifically, she wanted to ensure that Congress had time to enact legislation in response to the Church, Pike, and Rockefeller hearings and the resulting reports.

    • The Assange case – coming to a close, or not?

      In the Assange case, Swedish prosecutors seem to be running out of excuses for dragging their feet.

      [..]

      And this goes all the way back to the Prosecutors Special Unit for »Advancement« of Sex Crimes re-opening this case after it had been closed by the regular branch of the Prosecutors’ Office.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • As Trump Slashes EPA, Worry Over the Fate of an Agency Doing Similar Work

      It has little name recognition, a budget less than 10 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s, and is part of a government institute embraced by both of the nation’s major political parties.

      Still, those concerned about the future of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences are wary of what’s to come.

      “In light of what President Trump wants to do to the EPA, I don’t think any agency that deals with issues unpopular with the current government is going to escape,” said Tracey Woodruff, a professor at University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.

    • Bald eagles: scientists decry overturn of ban that would save American symbol

      “The short answer is that no level of lead is acceptable for living things – eagles, condors and people,” said raptor biologist Glenn Stewart.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Said to Have Been Investigating HHS Secretary Tom Price

      Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office.

      Tom Price, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, came under scrutiny during his confirmation hearings for investments he made while serving in Congress. The Georgia lawmaker traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in health-related companies, even as he voted on and sponsored legislation affecting the industry.

      Price testified at the time that his trades were lawful and transparent. Democrats accused him of potentially using his office to enrich himself. One lawmaker called for an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, citing concerns Price could have violated the STOCK Act, a 2012 law signed by President Obama that clarified that members of Congress cannot use nonpublic information for profit and requires them to promptly disclose their trades.

    • Angela Merkel is now the leader of the free world, not Donald Trump

      The US President isn’t motivated by protecting liberal democracy or freedom, his sole ideology is Trumpism: corporate autocracy with a populist facade. And he surrounds himself with white nationalists even more hostile to liberal democracy than he is

    • No evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion
    • Donna Brazile Finally Admits Giving Hillary Clinton Debate Questions. Democrats Still Demand Unity

      Democrats and progressives too frightened of Trump to demand major DNC reforms must review the following timeline.

      First, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other DNC officials were forced to resign for cheating Bernie Sanders.

      In a twist of fate, POLITICO stated “With just three months until Election Day and the Democrats’ official party apparatus struggling to right itself from months of dysfunction and the scandal caused by the WikiLeaks email hack, interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile cleaned house Tuesday with the ouster of three top officials.”

      Yes, Donna Brazile forced others to resign for cheating Bernie.

      Welcome to Democratic politics.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Former CIA Director Blame Millennials Lack Of Loyalty For All The Government Leaks

      That’s Hayden’s response to the CIA leak, which exposed the agency’s exploits and device-targeting tactics. Hayden’s saying people used to trust the government more. That’s what this breaks down to, even if couched in Hayden’s implicit demand youngsters remove themselves from his lawn, but leave any and all government documents behind.

      “Transparency” should mean what it’s always meant. But “transparency” is defined by government agencies and officials harboring zero desire to engage in it. We spent years listening to Obama pat himself on the back for increased government obfuscation and secrecy, something he referred to as the “most transparent administration.” The word “transparency” is meaningless in the government’s hands. That’s why almost anything of significance is revealed by leakers/whistleblowers routing around the “official channels.”

      “Secrecy” means the same thing it always has as well. The government likes it. Citizens are not quite as enthralled with government secrecy, especially considering more and more of their lives are open books. An example: anyone shot by a police officer will have their criminal record immediately delivered to the press while EMTs are still checking for a pulse. Weeks or months will pass before law enforcement agencies release the name of the officer whose gun “discharged,” much less their disciplinary record.

      People of all ages are likely tiring of the government’s insistence on keeping secrets, even as it engages in mass surveillance, reinterprets privacy-shielding laws on the fly, builds massive biometric databases, and declares the Constitution invalid within 100 miles of the border. It’s not just millennials. It’s everyone.

    • US Court Decides Name Search Makes You a Suspect

      This case also highlights the usefulness of privacy-focused search engines such as StartPage. The editor of Tech Rights, Dr. Roy S. Schestowitz, told me that he believes Google is far too invasive, but he also implies that people who use Google may be opening up their data to this sort of invasion:

      “The core of the problem is that Google maintains logs about people who search, what they search for, and even compiles this information (for purposes of advertising or customized results) in a fashion that facilitates such warrants. No search engine ought to collect this much information. People who choose to use search engines that do, put themselves at risk of wrongful accusations, i.e. a potential legal Hell even if they are entirely innocent.”

      It is also yet another fantastic example of why everyone should use a virtual private network (VPN) for even the most mundane tasks. VPN subscribers don’t have to worry that their data might get hoovered up in cases like these. Using a VPN and a private search engine is something everyone should consider for protecting their digital footprint.

    • Leading NSA officials deny claims of “blanket” surveillance at 2002 Winter Olympics

      Senior officials of the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) have denied claims that the intelligence organisation conducted a “blanket” surveillance programme of Salt Lake City-area residents during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

      The Salt Lake Tribune reports that current NSA director of operations Wayne Murphy and former NSA director Michael Hayden have rejected allegations made in a lawsuit against the Agency.

    • How Facebook, fake news and friends are warping your memory

      Memory is notoriously fallible, but some experts worry that a new phenomenon is emerging. “Memories are shared among groups in novel ways through sites such as Facebook and Instagram, blurring the line between individual and collective memories,” says psychologist Daniel Schacter, who studies memory at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “The development of Internet-based misinformation, such as recently well-publicized fake news sites, has the potential to distort individual and collective memories in disturbing ways.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Hardening of Society and the Rise of Cultures of Cruelty in Neo-Fascist America

      What does the culture of cruelty look like under a neo-fascist regime?

      First, language is emptied of any sense of ethics and compassion.

      Second, a survival of the fittest discourse provides a breeding ground for racial and social sorting.

      Third, references to justice are viewed as treasonous or, as at the present moment, labelled dismissively as “fake news.”

    • Useless Eaters and Ethnic Purity: the Trump/Bannon War for Biological Nationhood

      The Trump regime has defended its plan to cut the “Meals on Wheels” program by saying it “doesn’t show any results.” What kind of “results” are they talking about? The program delivers meals to shut-ins; the shut-ins eat the meal; they don’t starve to death. That is the result, and it happens all day every day. It is one of the most “resultful” programs in existence. But notice that the Trumpists aren’t saying we can’t afford the program; they are clearly saying it’s not delivering the results they want to see. And what are the only “results” produced by not delivering meals to the sick and shut-in who can’t provide for themselves? THEY WILL DIE.

      Therefore, we can only conclude that the “result” Donald Trump and his ideological Svengali, Stephen Banon, are looking for is a higher death count for the sick and elderly. We know that throughout his public life, Trump has often expressed his belief in genetic superiority, that the right genes, the right blood are responsible for success in life. (Particularly his succes!) The flipside, of course, is that those who haven’t “succeeded” according to his lights, the people who are “weak” and “losers” (to quote two of his favorite epithets), are therefore genetically inferior. We know this is his belief from his own statements.

    • Tamil Nadu man hacked to death over atheistic FB posts
    • Muslims will be majority in India by 2050 and they will be majority in the world by 2070.
    • Appeals Court Says Prior Restraint Is Perfectly Fine, Refuses To Rehear 3D-Printed Guns Case

      It looks as though the Supreme Court may have to step in and settle a particularly thorny question involving the First Amendment, Second Amendment, national security interests, and 3D-printed weapons. Cody Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed, sued the State Department over its demands he cease distributing instructions for the creation of weapons and weapons parts.

      The State Department came along too late to make much of a difference. It claimed Wilson’s instructions violated international arms distribution laws, but by the time it noticed what Defense Distributed was doing, the instructions were all over the web. They still are, and no amount of litigation or government orders is going to change that.

    • CIA’s first ‘Black Site’ prisoner to take stand in Guantánamo court

      The judge in the Sept. 11 war crimes case has agreed to hear testimony next week from forever prisoner Abu Zubaydah, the guinea pig in the CIA’s post- 9/11 interrogation program who has never been charged with a crime and never been allowed to speak in public.

      At issue is a claim by accused 9/11 plot deputy Ramzi bin al Shibh that someone is intentionally disrupting his sleep at the clandestine Camp 7 prison. Bin al Shibh, 44, blames the CIA or troops doing its bidding for noises and vibrations that interfere with his ability to prepare for his death-penalty trial, which has no start date.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Encrypted Media Extensions

      The DRM proposal is now in final consideration to become an official Web standard. We have until April 13th to stop it. Act now and spread the word!

      [...]

      Decision-making about the standard lies with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The standards body is under heavy pressure from Microsoft, Netflix, Apple, Google, and others to enshrine DRM in Web standards. But through in-person protests and online activism, we push back. Along with allied organizations, we have already significantly slowed the progress of Encrypted Media Extensions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Things Looking Even Worse For Prenda’s Paul Hansmeier: Bankruptcy Fraud On Deck

        So, let’s just say that things probably haven’t been looking very good for Prenda’s Paul Hansmeier lately. Obviously, there was a long series of legal losses in the Prenda and Prenda-related cases, but those are in the distant past now. Back in September, he lost his law license for some of the Prenda copyright trolling activities (if you haven’t been playing along, Prenda set up their own honeypots with their own films –which they pretended were some other company’s, filed bogus CFAA charges to try to get IP addresses, demanded cash from people to drop lawsuits, lied in court multiple times and more…). Then, in December, the two main players: John Steele and Hansmeier were finally indicted and arrested. Then, just a couple weeks ago, Steele took a guilty plea, making it clear he’s thrown Hansmeier under the bus and will testify against him (given the history of Steele throwing many others under rapidly approaching buses, this is no surprise).

        [...]

        Ouch. The document below, in which Hansmeier reveals the bankruptcy fraud investigation, is actually part of his effort to have the bankruptcy court to hold off on these proceedings while all this other stuff gets taken care of. But, even if he weren’t facing criminal charges where his partner in crime has already admitted everything and agreed to testify against him, and even if he weren’t also facing separate investigations over bankruptcy fraud and ADA trolling, it appears that Hansmeier’s bankruptcy case is getting even worse than it was before. This is beyond big leagues. This is beyond the All-Star game. This is truly Hall of Fame material.

      • Google Gets More WordPress.com Takedown Requests Than WordPress Itself

        WordPress has published new data on the number of piracy takedown notices the company receives. Of all the DMCA requests copyright holders sent, roughly 40% were rejected due to inaccuracies or abuse. Most interesting, perhaps, is that Google processes more WordPress.com takedowns than WordPress itself.

      • EU High Court Ruling’s Implications For Content Streaming In Europe And Worldwide

        A recent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling relating to TV internet broadcasts from the UK underscores tight restrictions in place for content streaming in the European Union (EU), legal scholars say.

Supposedly ‘Pampered’ Prisoners Are Still Prisoners of the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Funny how the ones who cry victim are the ones who are actually doing the wrong”Anonymous EPO staff

Attempts at firing Battistelli

Summary: Response to those gross and familiar attempts to portray patent examiners, not politicians who trample all over them, as the cause of all the problems at the EPO

NOT to our surprise, as the above report indicates, Battistelli gets to keep his job because his pet chinchilla protects him rather than supervises him. As we noted in our previous post, dirty old tactics appear to be back, with EPO staff being painted as aggressors, as spoiled brats, etc. It’s not just inaccurate; it’s incredibly insulting. It’s like these outrageous, infuriating stories where rape victims are being accused of “faking”, and the rapist is thus portrayed as their victim. It’s a truly traumatic experience for the person who was raped, and occasionally it leads to suicides.

“The EPO has mishandled so many cases and abused so many people that we are fairly convinced there’s no certain route leading to this source.”We deem it a suitable time to share an old story — a story which we learned about not too long ago. It’s sometimes said that journalists aren’t sympathetic towards the pleas of EPO staff because journalists typically get paid very little, whereas EPO workers receive massive salaries (in comparison). This overlooks all sorts of important facts, such as limits on work (post-EPO employment), declining salaries, various contributions, and even sanctions. The EPO relies on “alternative facts” when it tries to paint itself as generous, even when it clearly isn’t (and it only gets worse over time). It also neglects to take into account the types of salaries these employees would receive elsewhere, considering their experience and given their qualifications (which used to be high but are not anymore).

“I just sent a mail to my lawyer,” one reader once told us, “informing him that as of today I haven’t received any monthly wage, which makes 3 months no pay and without any “official” reason for it (the letter delivered by [redacted] in [redacted] is still of unknown content to me, but that changes nothing). This, in order to solicit some thought from his side concerning a strategic disclosure of facts to third parties. I know he agreed the strategy in general but I have got no precise opinion on which detail and how should be passed over.”

Well, much time has passed and nothing has improved.

“As the above article states clearly in the summary, the “EPO continues to be an appalling place to work” and it only continues to get worse.”“In essence,” our reader continued, “my idea is to deliver details that even if they can be seen as unequivocally leading to me, they still need to be proven as linked to me in a reasoned procedure (i.e. by disciplinary procedure or better: by suing me before a court, which as you know, they dread doing).”

The EPO has mishandled so many cases and abused so many people that we are fairly convinced there’s no certain route leading to this source. Team Battistelli can only make wild guesses and possibly falsely accuse the wrong people, i.e. more of the same.

“Paradoxically,” our reader explained, “not paying me can only lead me to undertaking earlier an activity (if not even applying for a job) for a living, which per se can be a breach of rule of the statute, but once before ILO, I’d bet they can can see their behaviour and way of communication as a perfectly understandable motivation. Therefore it can cause an earlier landing of the case on ILO’s desks and an earlier deliverance for public disclosure.”

“The EPO is more or less a rogue state and the only way to justify this rogue state is to shift the burden of blame and accusations to the victims.”For those who aren’t following the above (between the lines), the EPO basically denied particular staff any salary, without even providing a reason, thus leaving staff in a limbo, unable to pursue another job. This means that, if the Office was to let the person go, there would be a long gap of time (unemployment) which would need explaining to prospective employers (questions like, “why did they not pay you a salary for this long?” or “why did you not look for a job for so long?”). In addition, there are strict sanctions on the sort of employment an EPO worker can pursue once dismissed (or early retirement). Does that sound like much of a dream job? It’s not.

As the above article states clearly in the summary, the “EPO continues to be an appalling place to work” and it only continues to get worse. Here are some highlights from the article, which adds little that we haven’t covered here before:

EPO chair Jesper Kongstad made several efforts to derail that process by arguing for high voting thresholds. Under the EPO’s rules, only a majority vote of the council is needed for something to be approved – something that was highly likely to be achieved in the case of publishing a vacancy notice for the job. But Kongstad apparently argued first that it would require a two-thirds vote (under the EPO’s written notice process rather than a vote) and then that a three-quarters vote was needed, which is the threshold required to approve a new president.

Neither of those procedural tactics appeared to gain much weight, however, and so we understand that in closed-door meetings between government representatives, the challenge to Battistelli’s position was beaten back by using the classic board tactic of making an unpalatable proposal from the other side and then agreeing to drop it in return for the other proposal being dropped.

[...]

To acclaim at the council, EPO management asserted that patent reviews were up 40 per cent in 2017 while at the same time there were across-the-board improvements in quality metrics. They also claimed that overall well-being at the EPO had improved, and used a reduction in the number of sick days taken per employee as evidence of that.

Those doing the work see things very differently, however. The huge increase in work has come as a result of constant pressure by management and new, required production levels, which EPO staff complain have led to them having far too little time to do proper reviews.

The apparent increase in quality has come, staff say, thanks to the introduction of an entirely new system of measurement that the EPO management effectively controls and is artificially inflated to give a false sense of success.

[...]

In short, the EPO continues to be an appalling place to work and it is likely to only get worse for the next year as the person at the center of the problems, president Benoit Battistelli, continues to be protected by a minority of supporters that use government representatives’ unwillingness to create a stir to stop action being taken against him.

The message seems clear. The EPO is more or less a rogue state and the only way to justify this rogue state is to shift the burden of blame and accusations to the victims. Such a thing happened in IP Kat comments the other day. As we stated before, we don’t wish to become a platform for trolls (entertaining inaccuracies), so we’ll drop the false accusations and leap straight ahead to the responses received (so far).

Here is one person recalling one of the suicides (during working hours):

about atrocities

I am an examiner working in Le Croisé and on a working day of July 2013 I have seen a colleague of mine jumping out of the window to land dead on the parking.

Is this something that matches your definition of atrocity ?

This suicide was NEVER investigated independantly by the local authorities since – despite the courageous request of my staff reps – the EPO invoqued ¨… immunity.

So please shut up before telling more non sense.

Another person noted that people aren’t pursuing EPO careers anymore, knowing perhaps that layoffs are on their way and new staff receives short-term contracts with little or no benefits:

One question only: why don’t you apply to work at this paradise ?
It is not a secret: EPO is desperately looking for patent examiners to replace those who left (sorry – who retired).
However, mysteriously enough, nobody having the required competences is accepting this job anymore.

The following response mentioned North Korea and Turkey. We’ve decided to remove from these snippets which repeat the false allegations, or unnecessary provocation:

I am so tired. Of the trolls, of the President’s men here in this forum. Nobody claims that epo staff doesn’t earn enough money. But money is not everything and no reason to give up fundamental rights. Epo staff has elected staff representatives, and they were elected according to rules the President made. 3 elected staff representatives were fired by the President, one downgraded, for no reason that could be upheld in the outside world. The President abolishes our rights anchored in the statute by changing them from legal texts into circulars. There is an almost endless list of new provisions, all restricting our rights and all not feasible in any national law (maybe in NOrth Corea or Turkey), just have a look at those investigation guidelines. For the last years the Office has been reigned according to the principle of “Gleichschaltung”, everything is turning worse and worse. And now Ipkat is leaving us too. So desperate.

As one person correctly notes, the EPO “is free to leak any information it wants to sympathetic newspapers” (or paid papers, which it bribes for puff pieces), as was the case with one judge whom the EPO defamed in Dutch and German media (even giving away his nationality, so as to ensure everyone knows who that is).

Here is the comment responding to provocation in a well-mannered fashion:

The conditions are good, no-one is denying that, even though you’re wrong about the “partial diplomatic status”; that is not something that most of us enjoy. Many of the other things that you quote are in fact provided by the Office in lieu of a government; most people get educational allowances for their children from their government or local authority; as we don’t have access to such bodies, the EPO, as is common with many International Organisations, has to take on these responsibilities. Or perhaps you think us having health coverage is some kind of luxury?

All this notwithstanding, the ridiculous production increases (and they are ridiculous, regardless of what people outside the EPO might think) combined with agressive and repressive management policy is not good for morale. Combine that with the targeted investigation of union officials and staff reps, the tapping of telephones and computers, the fact that anyone sacked by the Supreme Leader is not allowed to publicly discuss his/her case, while the Office is free to leak any information it wants to sympathetic newspapers, the fact that the long-term sick are placed under de facto house-arrest, the fact that we have NO legal recourse against decisions taken by the Office/President, because of the way the Office is structured and the fact that any case submitted to the ILO takes many years to be heard.

Employees of the EPO live and work in a legal vacuum when it comes to labour law; as has been proved repeatedly, host countries are reluctant to get involved, meaning that EPO employees have effectively zero protection from the excesses of higher management. The question is, would YOU expect to be governed by such repressive policies in your home country? I suspect not.

One person put it succinctly as follows:

Thank you for your learned comment – they pop up regularly in this forum, and we usually file them under “People above a certain salary level are no entitled to human and labor rights”.

We generally encourage people not to “feed the trolls”, so to speak, as it only encourages more of the same. Thankfully, we never received any such comments, possibly because we require as little as a working E-mail address. Trolls are usually too lazy to provide even that.

“Under various national laws this [what Battistelli is doing] is considered a crime worth time in jail,” another response noted, tackling the financial motivation as well (I personally earn nothing from reporting on the EPO, I do this out of principles).

Again a person with exclusively financial interest in life.

First, to my best knowledge, the statements are not correct. The average examiner earns less than 100,000/year, the salary is taxed, the standard holidays are 30 per year, international schools are paid only exceptionally, same for university, and health coverage is on the level of 1970 (the ceilings for reimbursements have never been raised). True, the canteen is subsidized. Employees pay for healthcare, pension, etc from their salary.

Second, you obviously missed some other points, e.g. that the EPO enjoys immunity, as does the President. You should browse up the last decision from the Enlarged Board (Art 23 1/16) where they stated that the President infringed on their judicial independence. Under various national laws this is considered a crime worth time in jail. In the EPO, what happens is precisely nothing. Merpel has it here: http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2016/06/enlarged-board-publishes-decision-epo.html.

It would appear that you have no issues with rule of law, respect for others, freedom and some other aspects, enshrined e.g. in the Human Rights. These cannot be bought and must not be bought.

Nobody asked for sympathy for the individual examiner. What these examiners want is precisely what we all enjoy: protection against transgressions and access to justice. They do not have that. They may not be in a position to leave. After some years in patents, you are limited to patents. There are not that many job offerings.

Thank you Merpel for having covered the topic. I appreciated your style, coverage and courage.

Well, Battistelli is not in jail. He probably never will be. People in such positions, as history serves to show, are at worst sent to exile somewhere like Corsica (nice and sunny).

As one more comment put it:

Since the Watergate a US president can not order the surveillance of an American citizen.

At the EPO he can!

Well, the EPO is one heck of a monster. Whether or not Battistelli leaves, we’ll continue to monitor and cover the situation there. The longer this goes on for, the more Europe will suffer. UPC proponents are trying to bring patent trolls over here, in order for them to profit from more litigation activity. This whole saga will not end any time soon. Just like that saga about Turkey and the EU.

Insulting Reversal of Narratives at the EPO: Team Battistelli as the Victim

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Girl on a tricycle

Summary: At times of great oppression against staff, in clear defiance of the law in fact, journalists are being asked (or expected) to view the oppressor as the victim, even when this oppressor drives people to suicide

THE most sickening things about the EPO, at least from my personal point of view as one who covers the scandals at a relatively high pace, are the insults being flung at EPO workers who are the victims. These endless lies are simply unacceptable. The latest insulting gesture from Battistelli was this video of his (similar to last year's). We are gratified to learn that other people felt similarly about it. “The show must go on,” one reader told us, adding that “I have spent 5 mins today watching the (I mean “ze”) not so famous TV show starring Don Battistellini himself on YouTube. Well, who says that this guy lacks sense of humour? The only trouble is that he might be infringing the copyright of the “allo allo” TV series of the years 1985. What a great comedy!! I couldn’t stop laughing!! I might produce in the coming days a dubbed version with a German accent.”

“These endless lies are simply unacceptable.”Battistelli’s utter lack of a sense of humour was noted here before, e.g. in relation to jokes that he probably chose not to understand. The man is as dry as fascio, basically a bundle of rods (referencing the etymology of fascism). It has gotten so bad that there’s absolutely no room for entertainment at the Office. It’s just like North Korea. Jokes can be taken out of context to allege that people intend to become snipers/sharpshooter and physically “take down” people. As for Battistelli, this chronic paranoid (since before he even came to the EPO) would have people believe that there are assassination attempts against him. Some people are easily fooled by this (it’s widely considered a “pretext” or “false flag” for Battistelli's reign of terror). To quote this new comment in The Register: “You would think that having someone try to kill this man (bike brakes) would send a clear signal to everyone involved that something is seriously wrong. Leaving him in there when everyone is trying to get him out is a recipe for disaster.”

That’s a loaded statement actually. We wrote a great deal (at the time of the fear-mongering hype) about the so-called bike incident. We don’t intend to repeat what we wrote as it’s hardly even worth entertaining anymore.

“A reason to look closely” does exist. As one person put it: “As far as I know the story of the Presidential bike brakes being tampered with is generally regarded as “fake news” inside the EPO (even before the term as “fake news” became so popular).

“This item of “news” was put into circulation by a Vice-President apparently in order to justify a budgetary request for the President’s personal security (bodyguards etc.).

“Battistelli’s utter lack of a sense of humour was noted here before, e.g. in relation to jokes that he probably chose not to understand.”“I don’t believe that anybody inside the EPO takes it seriously. It is considered to be PR trick to gain sympathy from the Administrative Council by portraying the President as a “victim”.

Yes, this happened at the time when Battistelli, the Liar in Chief, had to justify spending over a million Euros (in a few years) on stupid personal bodyguards which are neither useful nor required. He’s having a ‘party’ with EPO budget and rewards cronies around him. It’s rather despicable to watch.

Outsiders should not be fooled by Battistelli. The man is likely responsible for the death of quite a few people (suicides), yet he wants to be seen as a poor old man having to defend himself from “armed Nazis”, “Mafia”, and “snipers”.

“Yes, this happened at the time when Battistelli, the Liar in Chief, had to justify spending over a million Euros (in a few years) on stupid personal bodyguards which are neither useful nor required.”Battistelli and his cronies, moreover, can’t stop bullying staff. Not too long ago someone told us about the EPO’s head of the law department (as if they care about law at the EPO), who should still be Ms Theano Evangelou, “a Greek lady on her forties,” according to her victim. “She was the lawyer playing the “public accuser” against me on my disciplinary sessions. She was zealous and defiant. [...] after that the ombudsman established the wrongdoings of the Office against me…

“She was (and probably still is) assisted by a younger pal, some Kostantinos Kortsaris, typical arrogant and vain and law-illiterate human byproduct office’s money can buy…”

What we have witnessed at the EPO is systematic legal bullying against people. We have literally a hundred or more stories that can come out at any time, shall the relevance or need arise. In a sense, the Office is now run like some kind of Mafia, yet some are led to believe that the Mafia Don, Battistelli, is the victim. Recall the following recent articles of ours:

  1. The Battistelli Mafia and Corsica
  2. The European Patent Office Looks More and More Like the Sicilian Mafia Every Day

In the next post we shall look into more of the diversionary tactics used by the Office to habitually portray sysmetically-abused staff as spoiled, over-demanding and aggressive. It seems to have become somewhat of a trend recently (damage control) tactics, so we have decided to respond proportionally.

Battistelli’s EPO Copies China — Not the US — When it Comes to Patenting Software and Expanding Patent Scope

Posted in America, Asia, Europe at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli mimics China not just when it comes to the human rights angle (as if the EPO became a Chinese bureau immune from prosecution and located in several European sites)

SIPO and Battistelli
Reference: Loose Patent Scope Becoming a Publicity Nightmare for the EPO and Battistelli Does a China Outreach (Worst/Most Notorious on Patent Quality)

Summary: A detailed explanation of some of the latest reports from China and the US, serving to show that one opens up to software patents whereas the other shuts the door on them (and guess whose lead the EPO is taking)

SOFTWARE patents started with the US patent office several decades ago, but these patents are going away, albeit China is eager to repeat the mistakes of the US. We worry that the same is true for the EPO, even in clear defiance of the EPC.

“We worry that the same is true for the EPO, even in clear defiance of the EPC.”A SUEPO-hostile and UPC-friendly new site (extension of the patent microcosm by all means, based on its short track record) calls a Qualcomm executive/lawyer who never wrote any code an “expert” (the headline is “Experts staunchly defend software patents”)

To quote: [via]

The quality of a software invention, rather than its mode of implementation, should be the litmus test for patent protection, according to two intellectual property consultants.

IP and innovation consultant Ania Jedrusik and former Qualcomm chief patent counsel Phil Wadsworth argued that patents are the strongest form of protection for the huge research and development expenditure associated with developing software-related inventions, in an article published in February’s edition of WIPO Magazine.

How convenient for WIPO.

WIPO, as we mentioned here the other day, misleads with Chinese figures, obviously in order to make it seem like there’s a huge surge in patents. IP Watch put this story in perspective (“China Soon To Overtake US In Patent Filings”), as SIPO basically lost a grip on patent quality (the EPO is going along the same trajectory). WIPO is just a patent maximalist — one that shares many of the problems we encounter in Battistelli’s EPO (in addition to human rights aspects).

“WIPO is just a patent maximalist — one that shares many of the problems we encounter in Battistelli’s EPO (in addition to human rights aspects).”As we noted here the other day, if not over the past few months, SIPO now grants software patents while litigation in China soars, as one might expect (companies destroying each others, lawyers get rich). Here is another new article on the subject. To quote the relevant section:

Software-related Inventions

In the past, patent protection for software related inventions was rather limited; their claims were commonly drafted a process claim, or an apparatus claim based on the computer program flow wherein each component is regarded as a function module required to realize each step in the said computer program flow or each step in the said method. Such apparatus claims are regarded as the function module architecture of the computer program described in the description, rather than entity devices needed to realize the said solution mainly through hardware.

Under the revised Guidelines, software claims may now include a computer program product, a machine-readable medium, or a Beauregard type of claim, which focuses on “an apparatus comprising a processor configured to execute instructions on a computer-readable medium to perform steps of ….”

An applicant should pursue all new possibilities and include as many claim types as needed in the patent application; among other things, it will to make it easier to enforce software patents once they are granted.

It’s sad to see that while the US recognises that it made an error with software patents — an error realised only decades too late because patent trolls accounted for the lion’s share of litigation — Europe and China imitate these same mistakes. There was a short exchange last week between IBM and Henrion (FFII) [1, 2, 3], who less than a decade ago took note of IBM’s lobbying for software patents in Europe. IBM’s patent chief wrote: “How many years does the #patent community have to wait to learn precisely what abstract means?”

“It’s sad to see that while the US recognises that it made an error with software patents — an error realised only decades too late because patent trolls accounted for the lion’s share of litigation — Europe and China imitate these same mistakes.”He’s just complaining about Alice, as usual, and he was soon joined by Europe’s loudest pro-software patents attorney, who wrote: “I’m afraid there is no clear definition of “abstract idea”. The USPTO should just copy the EPO” (on providing loopholes).

Henrion said, “just read art52: mental acts, programs for computers, math algos, presentations of information, rules for games.”

Software patents should not be allowed in Europe. Period. Each software patent granted by the EPO is a travesty and an insult to the EPC. As Henrion later added, “it should be copy the EPC, not the EPO practice, which goes around it, especially in fields where there is money” (all that matters under Battistelli is short-term profit, even if that ultimately kills the cash cow).

“Software patents should not be allowed in Europe. Period.”“Given the rate of Alice destruction in the courts,” “wrote a patent maximalist, the USPTO “should be absolutely embarrassed for ripping off patent owners. Fraudulent?”

See how angry they are? Another firm of patent maximalists, i.e. attorneys who were filling their pockets thanks to software patents (Fenwick & West staff), adds to that sort of shaming of the US patent office. What this law firm means by “best news” and “sunshine in the land of the dark” is software patents. To quote the conclusion below their detailed statistics: “Here we see that recently, the PTAB reversed 16 Section 101 rejections in a row beginning in October, 2016—and 14 of these were from the Business Method art units. This is perhaps the best news I’ve seen in months, a bit of sunshine in the land of the dark.”

They look at a level of granularity that suits them. In the same period of time the number of IPRs handled by PTAB grew. PTAB still eliminates a lot of software patents, maybe more than even before.

“PTAB still eliminates a lot of software patents, maybe more than even before.”This (the above) is good news for software developers. Suffice to say, those who have been taxing software developers aren’t too happy about it. See this new article titled “Patents [on software] harder to obtain now, attorney say”. A more suitable headline would be, “patent quality is improving in the US.”

To quote the key part: “Challenges have resulted in a pushback from the U.S. Patent Office that makes it harder to get patents, particularly on software, Woodral said. Many objectors claim the sought-after patent is not prior art, that someone has done it or it is a variation on something done earlier.”

How is that a bad thing, unless one is patent law firm?

This was responded to by Henrion with “value should not be created out of thin air, like with patents.”

He also argued, “if you run the code with your brain, do you allow or reject the application?”

Patent boosters and proponents of software patents (such as “Patent Buddy”) like to mostly ignore the bad news and instead promote cases such as this § 101 case:

Following a jury trial, the court denied defendant’s motion for partial judgment that plaintiff’s malware monitoring patent encompassed unpatentable subject matter because the asserted claims did not lack an inventive concept.

The higher up this goes (in the US court system), the less likely this patent is to survive, based on the latest figures from Fenwick & West (see the underlying invalidation rates). No matter what patent lawyers are trying to tell us, they know that they have lost the battle (or still losing the battle), which means that software developers regain their freedom to write code without fear of being sued or threatened by trolls.

Patently-O is with the maximalists, not with the rationalists, hence its popularity among the patent microcosm.”Writing about software patents (ish) at CAFC the other day, Patently-O says that the “appeal here is somewhat complicated – as reflected by the Federal Circuit’s 42-page opinion. The complications begin with the founding of EVE, and emulation software company founded by folks who invented emulation software at Mentor.”

Being a CAFC-level case, one should expect the patent to be thrown away. Patently-O hardly makes it a secret whose side it is on. Patently-O is with the maximalists, not with the rationalists, hence its popularity among the patent microcosm.

Last night Patently-O published this “Guest Post By Prof. Jonathan Barnett, University of Southern California School of Law & Prof. Ted Sichelman, University of San Diego School of Law” (because it suited Crouch’s convictions).

“People who haven’t money in this game don’t think with their wallet but rather with their brains.”Some patent maximalist professors support the evil side in this SCOTUS case regarding Lexmark, so Crouch just ignores the lion’s share of professors and places the outlier. As the authors themselves confess: “Drawing from this paper and other economically oriented analysis, we recently co-authored an amicus brief in Impression Products, which argues in favor of a presumptive understanding of the exhaustion doctrine. (Interestingly, although academics are usually pegged as strongly in favor of mandatory exhaustion, our brief garnered 44 signatures—significantly more than the brief filed by professors arguing in favor of mandatory exhaustion.)”

Whose signatures though? Well, maybe if not probably signed by the maximalists, not the professors. People who haven’t money in this game don’t think with their wallet but rather with their brains.

What IAM Says About AST, RPX, Ericsson, and IBM

Posted in Patents at 4:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Relying on the voice of patent trolls to keep abreast of patent trolling

IAM on Intellectual Ventures

Summary: IAM, the trolls’ mouthpiece (also the EPO's mouthpiece, but that’s another story), provides updates on trolls and troll-like entities, but further commentary is needed to clarify and counterbalance the promotional language

EMBOLDENED by its massive heap of patents that should never have been granted by the USPTO, notably but not necessarily just software patents (pre-Alice), IAM's sweetheart Intellectual Ventures started attacking all sorts of legitimate (as in practicing) companies. The company now attempts to derogatorily paint its critics. See this new “insight” (their word), which they promoted as follows: “Hear from IV founder Peter Detkin on why #PatentsMatter and how patent holders can dispute “alternative facts”…”

They are using a term popularised by the spokesperson/campaign person of Trump, “alternative facts”, and refer to themselves (or grantees) as “patent holders”, even though Intellectual Ventures mostly buys patents in a wholesale fashion. It neither invents nor produces anything. It’s just threatening and suing companies — those which venture to challenge patents rather than cough up ‘protection’ money.

RPX used to market itself as protection from such trolls, but it certainly lost its way and has (in some sense at least) become a patent troll itself. We wrote about its gradual collapse earlier this year, after we had spotted earlier signs of rot. RPX is supported by media such as IAM, where trolls are viewed not only as acceptable but also desirable. Here is IAM’s latest update on AST. Richard Lloyd quotes IBM’s Manny Schecter* (maybe they should rename to “IBM magazine”?), among other patent maximalists; for an opposing viewpoint, recall our past writings about AST, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s perceived ‘protection’ which only the billionaires can afford. Here are the bits that highlight AST’s role in relation to RPX:

When it formed in 2007 AST was something of a defensive patent market pioneer. It was a year before RPX’s birth and several years before Unified Patents came into existence. The secondary market for patents was still in its infancy; or, at least, far less was known about the assets that were changing hands and often being picked up by NPEs. Large parts of the deals market remains clouded in secrecy, but today patent owners have access to far more information about the possible threats that they face thanks to the efforts of AST and others to inject more transparency into the market.

[...]

On the more recent acquisition of the former Nortel patents from the Rockstar consortium, it was noticeable that it stayed on the sidelines while its profit-making competitor RPX orchestrated a deal.

The Rockstar consortium, like RPX and AST, is a club for the super-rich. They prey on small companies and elbow them to the sidelines, perpetuating their own dominance using patent thickets. Such is the case with Rockstar companies like Microsoft, Sony, Ericsson, and BlackBerry. Ericsson is a special case because unlike BlackBerry, but to some degree just like Microsoft, Ericsson preys on Linux companies. It’s taxing them. Ericsson also uses satellite patent trolls that work in the dark (their identity may vary depends on the region in the world and it includes Europe).

The following IAM article, posted some days ago, misses the point that beyond the SEP modus operandi there is also trolling. Here is what Ericsson is charging (taxing) now that it’s unable to sell phones of its own:

Ericsson has revealed its standard essential patent (SEP) royalty fee price range for 5G mobile phone networks. In an interview published on Bloomberg yesterday, chief IP officer Gustav Brismark stated that charges would begin at $2.50 for lower-end handsets, rising to $5 for those at the top of the range. “We believe by setting a price that’s reasonable, it would serve as a reference to other patent holders and to other companies that need to take a license,” Brismark is quoted as saying.

All in all, patent parasites continue to operate and they have supportive press in IAM, as usual.
______
* IAM not only quotes IBM’s patent executives but also grooms IBM’s patent strategy, which includes bullying of companies that use GNU/Linux. To quote something IAM wrote some days ago:

Last week, the IAM blog ran a story which examined the role that IBM – or, at least, its patent portfolio – has played in some of the most high-profile tech IPOs of recent times. As my colleague Richard Lloyd reported, six out of the 10 largest US IPOs by valuation – including Snap’s $3.4 billion floatation earlier this month – involved companies that had purchased patents from Big Blue.

Apple and Microsoft, Two Patent Aggressors That Habitually Attack GNU/Linux Distributors, Get Sued by a Patent Troll, Soverain IP

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 4:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Background reading: “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” –Steve Jobs

“The term “just war” contains an internal contradiction. War is inherently unjust, and the great challenge of our time is how to deal with evil, tyranny, and oppression without killing huge numbers of people.”

Howard Zinn, Terrorism and War (2002)

Summary: Putting in perspective the latest high-profile (in the press at least) lawsuits filed by a notorious troll, which this time around chose as its targets two patent aggressors that deserve no sympathy because of their own actions

WE occasionally hear about Apple patents at the EPO but cannot say much due to source protection needs. At the USPTO, by contrast, Apple patents have already attracted much criticism, and courts are invalidating some of these (sometimes it happens in Europe as well). The point of the matter is, Apple likes to collect a lot of patents and later it uses these to go after Android OEMs (actual lawsuits), having started with sabre-rattling against Palm prior to that.

Writing in his blog last week, Florian Müller said that the US Supreme Court may soon proceed to challenging yet another Apple case against the largest Android OEM (at least at the time the case was initiated). To quote:

Timing is often an interesting indication of a party’s priorities. Over these past seven years of Apple v. Android lawsuits (it all started with HTC in March 2010), Android companies–HTC more than anyone else–have often shown the behavior of stallers, at least when they were (as Samsung is here) on the defending end of a litigation (obviously not when they were asserting standard-essential patents themselves). Even parties that don’t intend to stall in the slightest (such as Oracle when enforcing its copyrights against Google) typically wait until the end of a filing deadline. It provides them with an opportunity to wait for further relevant developments (case law, public statements by key persons and entities, etc.). So I really am surprised here. Further remedies-related proceedings in that case are ongoing in district court, and a case management conference has just been postponed to next month. With a view to that conference, the Supreme Court is unlikely to make any decision either way in the meantime.

We certainly hope that Apple will decide to compete based on technical merits rather than patents and lawyers. We are not too optimistic about it, as this is essentially a sworn sort of legacy of Steve Jobs and it’s the only thing Apple has left because its market share is diminishing every year (ignore Apple’s “alternative facts” to that effect, focusing only in particular demographies).

“We certainly hope that Apple will decide to compete based on technical merits rather than patents and lawyers.”Apple-aligned Web sites, in the mean time, have the audacity to complain about patent aggression because the patent troll known as "Soverain" (we wrote about it quite frequently in the distant past) is back with vengeance and it is suing Apple. This patent troll isn’t as dead as some Apple fans thoughts/hoped, which is why they’re all complaining [1, 2, 3] in their ‘news’ sites (more like Apple advocacy sites). One of them said that “Soverain Software, a non-practicing entity that gained media attention for suing Newegg and other online retailers over “shopping cart” patents, on Thursday filed a complaint against Apple for alleged infringement of IP relating to internet-based services.”

Curious is the fact that Microsoft too is being sued by this patent troll, and moreover it uses a Microsoft case (Enfish v Microsoft) to justify its case, based on this coverage from IAM. To quote the relevant bits:

With the Supreme Court’s decision not to grant cert to Soverain’s appeal in early 2014, that appeared to be that for the company and its assertion campaign. Except this week Soverain’s patents were back in court as a new, Texas-based entity called Soverain IP filed suit against Microsoft and Apple, alleging that the Windows giant infringes on six patents while the iPhone creator infringes on four.

[...]

One of the patents — no. 5,708,780 — which was granted in 1998, has been litigated before and appears to be one of the online shopping-related grants that led to Soverain securing a $40 million settlement from Amazon in 2005. Notably, in its court filings this week, Soverain cites Enfish v Microsoft, one of several 2016 Federal Circuit decisions which are seen as providing key guidelines over the patentability of software, to back up its claim that the patent does not cover an abstract idea and is therefore valid.

We’re now faced with a hard choice; who to support, so to speak? The ugly patent troll or the two patent aggressors which have been attacking GNU/Linux using patents? Well, as the informal proverb/saying goes, in some wars both sides are evil. The only sure thing is, lawyers will profit from this. They always do, irrespective of who ‘wins’; to them, every lawsuit is a ‘win’ and they lobby their government accordingly.

“The only sure thing is, lawyers will profit from this.”Speaking of patent trolls such as the above, there is an ongoing EFF campaign against universities hoarding and then selling patents, i.e. taxpayers wasting money on patents that are handed to trolls who then attack these same taxpayers. Here is the EFF’s latest update on this:

Last year, EFF, along with our partner organizations, launched Reclaim Invention, a campaign to encourage universities across the country to commit to adopting patent policies that advance the public good. Reclaim Invention asks universities to focus on by bringing their inventions to the public, rather than selling or licensing them to patent assertion entities whose sole business model is threatening other innovators with patent lawsuits.

Now, thanks to Maryland State Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher, the project is taking a step forward. In February, Delegate Waldstreicher introduced H.B. 1357, a bill modeled on Reclaim Invention’s draft legislation, the Reclaim Invention Act.

The above has already attracted some high-profile support that we have come across in sites like Twitter.

This is (almost) the first time we hear about the “Reclaim Invention Act”, except when the EFF mentioned it at the end of last year. Other such “Acts” have not been heard from in a while (in effect they got abandoned); The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act did a lot of good; the above would too (if it ever materialises).

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