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10.31.17

More Information Emerges About Provenance Asset Group LLC, Where Thousands of Nokia Patents Are Being Passed Through

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 2:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Legacy of Microsoft’s Stephen Elop

Stephen Elop
Photo by Luca Sartoni

Summary: A press release about Provenance Asset Group LLC finally surfaces and we worry it might fuel a litigation campaign against Android OEMs, much to Microsoft’s pleasure

THINGS have been pretty grim at Nokia since Microsoft showed up. Not only have there been loads of layoffs but work on products — including Linux projects — got axed. There’s nothing like that anymore. Nothing left.

Rocky Nokia has ended up as little more than a pile of patents — a fact which we predicted back in 2011 (and it did, in fact, become a reality very quickly after all). It didn’t take long for Microsoft to actually instruct Nokia to offload patents onto patent trolls — those which Microsoft could control anyway. In a sense, as we foretold, Microsoft has truly turned Nokia into patent trolls’ arsenal.

The latest passage of Nokia patents was to Provenance Asset Group LLC, a dodgy and mysterious new group that IAM elaborates on. Here are potential distribution destinations and the type of patents at hand:

While the portfolio has approximately 4,000 US assets, the overall stockpile of IP changing hands is more than 12,000 individual patents in 4,500 families – with significant coverage in key European and Asian markets – making this one of the largest deals of the last five years.

The rights, which include assets from both Alcatel-Lucent (which Nokia acquired in 2016) and Nokia-Siemens (a joint venture which the Finnish company bought out in 2013), cover a broad range of technologies including telecoms, gaming, semiconductors, software, Wi-Fi and Internet of Things (IoT).

Provenance Asset Group LLC, a group that was virtually non-existent a few days ago, has just issued this press release (probably its first). To quote: “Initially the assets are drawn from more than 4,500 patent families comprised of 12,000+ individual patents and patent applications acquired by Provenance from Nokia, a global leader in creating technology to connect the world. Provenance will build on this foundation by acquiring litigation-grade patents from other leading global companies.”

That sounds just like IAM, but then again IAM is a stenographer for patent trolls. Who is behind this shell? “McCurdy will serve as CEO of the new company, while Lynch assumes the role of President. Quatela will serve as a special advisor and member of the board. Provenance is based in Essex, Connecticut with offices in Rochester, New York.”

We expect some lawsuits and/or blackmail to come out of it. They didn’t get these patents just to sit on them. Will Microsoft direct/orchestrate these attacks? We don’t know yet, but we’ll watch closely.

Meanwhile, based on this new report, MasterMine is back in action (we wrote about it a few months back) and Microsoft may be in trouble again:

The Federal Circuit reversed the invalidation of data-mining patents that Microsoft Corp. sued to nix amid infringement allegations, finding Monday that functional language alone was not enough to show the patents impermissibly indefinite for claiming both an apparatus and a method.

While denying patent-holder MasterMine Software Inc.’s appeal of a Minnesota federal court’s claim construction, the panel determined the patents still did not run afoul of Federal Circuit precedent.

However this ends up, we certainly hope that Microsoft will stop attacking — directly and indirectly — GNU/Linux. People are not foolish and they can see what Microsoft is up to, including its lobbying for software patents.

Tightening Patent Scope and Limiting ‘Damages’, Starting With the Obviously Ridiculous Cases

Posted in America, Apple, Asia, Patents, Samsung at 12:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rounded corners are not a novel concept

UK power socket

Summary: Patent battles over designs carry on in the US (hopefully to be abolished by the US Supreme Court some time soon) and the Singaporean High Court says it cannot revoke patents

EARLIER this month we wrote a couple of articles about design patents [1, 2]. Any design can already be covered using trademarks and copyrights, so patents are a misfit. The US Supreme Court might actually put an end to these.

“Any design can already be covered using trademarks and copyrights, so patents are a misfit. The US Supreme Court might actually put an end to these.”Right now the high-profile case/s involving design patents would be Apple/Samsung. It’s everywhere in the media. CCIA wrote about that yesterday, challenging the extraordinary ‘damages’ claimed by nonsensical things such as ’rounded corners’. From the conclusion:

The test proposed by the Solicitor General, as adapted by Judge Koh, just isn’t workable in practice. While it’s better than Apple’s test, which would have included the intent of the defendant as a factor (potentially resulting in different articles of manufacture for the same exact product depending on the defendant’s state of mind, an even worse problem than the defendant’s business practices), the Solicitor General’s test doesn’t provide sufficient ability to ascertain the correct article of manufacture from the face of the patent, relying instead on the defendant’s product and business practices.

The best solution would be to simply eliminate § 289, the statute that provides a special “total profits” remedy for infringement of design patents. The special rule § 289 represents was created when the most common remedy for infringement was a share of the infringer’s profits. These days, when the typical damages remedy for patent infringement is a reasonable royalty, there’s simply no need for § 289.

Judge Koh has been dealing with these cases for a long time. She has a lot of power in her hands. Will she or will she not tell Apple to go where the sun won’t shine and apples don’t grow?

“Judge Koh has been dealing with these cases for a long time. She has a lot of power in her hands.”Curiously enough, yesterday an article was published regarding the Singaporean High Court dealing with questionable patents. Like the US Supreme Court, it probably ought to get rid of design patents (or guide future judgment of existing ones towards that), but in reality it seems to have put patents before human rights and whatever lawyers demand. Not reasonable.

Here is the summary:

A recent ruling made clear that Singapore’s High Court does not have original jurisdiction to hear patent revocation proceedings even if they are brought by a counterclaim in infringement proceedings. If the ruling stands, it would mean all revocation cases will have to be started at IPOS

IPOS is the Singaporean equivalent of the USPTO. Why would the High Court need to defer and consult the lowest level in the chain again?

“The US has, belatedly and contrariwise, gone in the opposite direction, recognising that it needs to work for scientists and technologies, not lawyers and prosecutors.”As we argued on several occasions earlier this year, IPOS and Singapore in general (their effectively one-party state) have been trying to embolden patent aggressors rather than foster innovation. It’s the same in China. The US has, belatedly and contrariwise, gone in the opposite direction, recognising that it needs to work for scientists and technologies, not lawyers and prosecutors.

“EPI Makes No Protest When the AC Connives With Battistelli to Trash the Rule of Law”

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 11:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The public image of the EPO is severely damaged due to miscarriage of law and low patent quality

Blatterstelli and FBI

Summary: The man whom EPO insiders have dubbed “Blatterstelli” (Blatter-Battistelli) carries on acting as though he’s virtually if not practically above the law, but complaints are piling up and the future of the EPO is now as uncertain as the UPC’s future

THE EPO may be Europe’s most lawless place. One can be charged at any time, with made up allegations, then dismissed and prevented from seeking future employment (without risking loss of one’s pension).

“One can be charged at any time, with made up allegations, then dismissed and prevented from seeking future employment (without risking loss of one’s pension).”It gets even worse than this. For nearly two months we have been writing about how the EPO ‘deletes’ holidays. It effectively forces staff to show up at work on public/national holidays. SUEPO wrote about it last week, but then deleted it (we had made a copy, thankfully fast enough). It now says something about it to the Munich-based staff (under SUEPO Munich). Here is the introduction:

On 31 October 1517 a German monk, Martin Luther, nailed his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg thereby initiating what is called the Reformation. For the 500th anniversary of the Reformationsday, 31 October will be a lawful holiday in all of Germany, but not at the EPO. It is now time for SUEPO Munich to publish its own Theses.

The full PDF is in German and there’s probably no English translation on its way. Not that it matters all that much; the nature of it would probably mean a lot more to native Germans anyway (more so than Europeans who moved to Munich for this job). It’s an insult if not worse than an insult. Battistelli is flexing his muscles and reminds staff that he is essentially above the law and there’s nothing staff can do about it.

Speaking of “above the law,” someone wrote to tell us early this morning that when it comes to the UPC, “Germany hits the brakes” (for good perhaps).

“Very entertaining law firm audio podcast,” we got told, discusses “the contents of the German constitutional complaint. The interesting part starts at around minute 13:35, well worth listening to!”

The tweet says: “Learn how 1 individual singlehandedly added years to #UnifiedPatentCourt ratification” (the term “added years” is an understatement because it might not be stalling but slaying).

This show is astonishing because what we have here is McDermott speaking to its own staff, Henrik Holzapfel, “an IP partner in McDermott’s Düsseldorf office,” based on the outline. We’ve listened to this show and were surprised to hear them saying that Europe had been calling for UPC for 50 years. That’s nonsense. They keep trying to blame “one person” (there’s repetition of this, belittling the complainant) and they reveal that there are 170 pages in this complaint. At least we now know the scale of it. The Unitary Patent is dead if what they say is true; the issues range from language (discriminatory against SMEs, e.g. several overlapping motions in different languages), there are severe issues pertaining to appointment of judges (sitting with attorneys, creating a conflict of interest), then the 6-year term and renewal thereof by a committee which also has a conflict of interest. The whole thing sounds so… Battistelli-ite. In the complaint, “a lot of it are [sic] not without merit,” the show host admits. They are speaking about the possibility that this will undermine the entire UPC; both agree that there’s merit but focus on the complainant instead.

How did the UPC even get as far as it has? We’ve been openly asking that question for at least half a decade. It’s obviously unconstitutional in many nations, but when it comes to EPO it doesn’t seem like anything matters (international laws, the EPC, national law, human rights, courts at The Hague, ILO rulings).

As someone put it in a comment yesterday (with our emphasis added):

You ask why the EPI makes no protest when the AC connives with BB to trash the Rule of Law. It seems obvious to me: The Officers and Members of the EPI are frightened of losing their corporate clients.

The corporations have an interest in driving down the level of human rights that protect their employees. What could suit their purposes better, than 38 Sovereign States acquiescing in demolition of those human rights. After that, those governments cannot criticise a corporate employer for doing no worse than the government itself, as employer.

So, the corporations will not look kindly on any firm of patent attorneys that leaps to the defence of employees at the EPO. To the contrary; such firms will find that they start to get less work from their corporate clients.

Remember, a multi-national corporation is an entity without any morals. It is itinerant (a citizen of nowhere) driven only to reward its owners, the shareholders. To them must be delivered their quarterly return, their dividend, regardless what it costs. Human rights don’t show up on the balance sheet.

The next (and latest) comment is good also:

I think that the reasons for inaction of the professional associations (including the epi) are many, varied and complex. However, I would be very surprised if, for many of them, a key reason is an inclination to maintain influence by not rocking the boat too vigorously. This is likely to be a key factor for the “rebel” AC delegations too.

It is therefore beyond tragic that the current President appears to have discovered how to ruthlessly exploit this inclination of the AC and the professional representatives. Whilst it is impossible at this stage to be certain precisely how he does this, certain strategies stand out as obvious candidates.

The first theoretical possibility is bending / breaking the rules and then only later asking for the AC to sanction the actions taken.

The second theoretical possibility is securing (by fair means or foul) the undying loyalty of a sufficient number of AC delegates, and then ensuring that the stance taken by those delegates makes it “too difficult” for the “rebel” AC delegates to ever win the day on any meaningful issue.

The third theoretical possibility is deliberately presenting an outrageously bad proposal that contains some “straw men” upon which the “rebel” AC delegates can expend their energy and influence fighting. The second part of this strategy is to then, with great theatrics intended to give the impression of extreme reluctance, agree to changing points that do not matter to you… but only on the condition that other points (which were the ones you really wanted in the first place) remain without amendment.

I think that we can all agree that the first of these three strategies has been deployed on at least one occasion. I leave it for those intimately familiar with the workings of the AC to comment upon whether the other two have also been deployed.

With so many ways for the President of the EPO to exploit a key weakness of the AC, it is perhaps no coincidence that there is so much evidence of the tail appearing to wag the dog. The question is, which line does the President have to cross before the AC decides to tackle the problem head-on?

Events that have so far not provoked the AC into action include: a Board of Appeal ruling that the President had attempted to undermine their independence; a national court ruling that the EPO has not respected certain human rights; refusal of the President to obey a direct order from the AC in connection with disciplinary proceedings relating to staff representatives; and trashing of the EPO’s reputation (in particular with regard to quality, as well as failure to uphold the rule of law).

I would have expected any one of those developments to provoke a furious response from the AC. The fact that there has been no response after so many developments suggests that we can be fairly confident that the seeds of the EPO’s destruction will have been sown and nurtured, and will be starting to bear fruit before the AC realises how serious the situation has already become.

To be fair to the EPI, it did in fact criticise Battistelli, but soon thereafter it deleted its own criticism (we can only speculate/wonder as to why).

10.30.17

Links 30/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC7, Acumos, Free/Open Source Software as Philanthropy

Posted in News Roundup at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Fresh bit o’ Linux to spruce up that ancient Windows Vista box? Why not, we say…

      The Linux OS is flexible. If one Linux distro is an unfriendly fit, you can replace it with another one that has a more appealing options list on the desktop environment or user interface front.

      Debian-based Q4OS, developed by a team of software designers in Germany, has a lightweight design that allows it to run on nearly any hardware config. I have run it on ageing computers from the early days of Windows Vista.

  • Server

    • IBM Wheels And Deals For Power Linux, But Where Is IBM i?

      The whole point of the convergence of the RS/6000 and the AS/400 families of systems – including pSeries and iSeries and System p and System i – was not only to get a common, converged hardware platform that made IBM’s life easier, but to also – or so we have always believed – give a consistent deal to customers using AIX or OS/400-i5/OS-IBM i.

      “A foolish consistency is,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “the hobgoblin of little minds.” While that may be true, a smart consistency is the Spider-Man of great minds. Or at least those that think alike. Like we all do out here in IBM i Land.

      IBM i customers need a deal, something to get them excited about modernizing their platforms and moving ahead.

    • These two vendors are most likely to bring Kubernetes containers to the enterprise

      Kubernetes won the container war, but the question of who will win Kubernetes is very much in play. As the two highest contributors to the project, Google and Red Hat could be serious contenders.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.14-rc7

      Back home, and back to the normal Sunday afternoon release schedule.

      And rc7 is also normal in size – in fact looking at statistics for the
      4.x rc7 releases, this is pretty much right smack the median size. It
      even looked smaller than usual right up until the network fixes merge
      today.

      Still, considering the issues we’ve had, I likely will do an rc8
      unless this upcoming week ends up being _so_ quiet that there’s no
      point. Which while unlikely would be lovely – if I end up doing an
      rc8, that will also push the latter half of the next merge window into
      the Thanksgiving week, which is going to be inconvenient since I’ll be
      traveling again. So I’d really be very happy if things now suddenly
      calm down to the point where an rc8 wouldn’t make sense.

    • Linux 4.14-rc7 Released: Final Likely In Two Weeks
    • Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator and Engineer: Lars Kronfält

      My first encounter with Linux was back in the late 1990s. I had an Amiga growing up, exchanging floppy disks to share things. Running services on Linux and connecting computers in a network made a deep impression. Realizing that it was free to use and community-driven got me even more interested. The openness and accessibility of information backed by great minds collaborating really had me hooked.

    • New project from The Linux Foundation hopes to make AI tools more accessible

      The Linux Foundation introduced a new project Monday called the Acumos Project, an effort backed by AT&T and India’s Tech Mahindra that will set up a common platform for artificial intelligence and machine learning development.

      “With the Acumos platform, we’re working to create an industry standard for making AI applications and models reusable and easily accessible to any developer,” The Linux Foundation wrote in a blog post announcing the effort. AT&T and Tech Mahindra, a large IT consulting company based in Mumbai, will provide code for the initial phase of the project. It’s expected to launch early next year.

    • AT&T Joins the Open-Source Artificial-Intelligence Arms Race

      These projects simplify the task, but it’s still a challenge to turn these frameworks into something useful. AT&T is hoping to change that with a new AI platform called Acumos, which it plans to reveal at a Dallas event Monday.

    • Linux Foundation to Host Acumos Project, Making it Easier to Build, Share and Deploy AI Apps
    • News of Note—Linux Foundation, Toyota, Ericsson
    • Linux Foundation introduces new artificial intelligence project, Acumos
    • AT&T and Tech Mahindra launch open source AI project
    • AT&T launching new open source AI platform
    • Collaborative Intelligence: AT&T and Others Building Open Source AI Marketplace for Businesses
    • AT&T introduces AI platform, makes it open source
    • Ledger systems today are siloed and disconnected. Hyperledger Quilt wants to solve that

      Hyperledger Quilt offers interoperability between ledger systems by implementing the Interledger Protocol (ILP), which is primarily a payments protocol and is designed to transfer value across systems – both distributed ledgers and non-distributed ledgers. It is a simple protocol that establishes a global namespace for accounts, as well as, a protocol for synchronized atomic swaps between different systems.

      Hyperledger Quilt aims to solve the tough problem of ledger systems today being siloed and disconnected. Sending value to someone on a different network or ledger is complex and often impractical. Where connections between ledgers do exist, they are manual, slow or expensive.

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS Just Around the Corner as Linus Torvalds Outs Seventh RC

      The development of the Linux 4.14 kernel, the next LTS (Long Term Support) kernel series, is almost over now that the seventh, and probably the last Release Candidate (RC) milestone hit the streets.

      Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux kernel 4.14 RC7 last evening as part of his normal Sunday announcements, giving us a heads up to what’s coming next to the development cycle of the next LTS Linux kernel branch. Long story short, he didn’t yet decide if to push the final Linux 4.14 build next week or an extra RC, which could delay the development of Linux kernel 4.15.

    • Don’t be a turkey: Help Linus Torvalds finish Linux 4.14 before it ruins Thanksgiving

      Linux kernel overlord Linus Torvalds wants to avoid an eighth release candidate for the new version of Linux, to avoid delays to the next version.

      The kernel community is currently hard at work on version 4.14, which got its seventh release candidate on Sunday. That release was only around for six days, after Torvalds struggled to get a decent internet connection the previous Sunday and rather than fighting it issued the release candidate six last Monday.

      Torvalds has now announced rc 7, saying that it is “pretty much right smack the median size”.

    • Linux 4.14-rc7 No Longer Clashes With AppArmor To Break Networking

      Earlier this month I warned about using Linux 4.14 with AppArmor can cause headaches, namely with the stock rules on distributions like Ubuntu and Debian you can find your networking support broken. That work has now been reverted after Linus Torvalds realized this issue as well.

      With this weekend’s Linux 4.14-rc7 kernel release, Linus Torvalds has reverted the AppArmor change that caused all these issues in the first place.

    • OpenRISC SMP Support Is Getting Into Shape

      While the OpenRISC architecture has been supported by the mainline Linux kernel, it hasn’t supported symmetric multi-processing (SMP) for multi-core designs, but that is in the process of being changed.

    • Appeals court keeps alive the never-ending Linux case, SCO v. IBM

      A federal appeals court has now partially ruled in favor of the SCO Group, breathing new life into a lawsuit and a company (now bankrupt and nearly dead) that has been suing IBM for nearly 15 years.

      Last year, US District Judge David Nuffer had ruled against SCO (whose original name was Santa Cruz Operation) in two summary judgment orders, and the court refused to allow SCO to amend its initial complaint against IBM.

      SCO soon appealed. On Monday, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that SCO’s claims of misappropriation could go forward while also upholding Judge Nuffer’s other two orders.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDGPU vs. Radeon DRM With Linux 4.14 On GCN 1.0/SI GPUs

        It’s been a while since last testing the older GCN 1.0 “Southern Islands” graphics cards with the AMDGPU DRM driver rather than the default Radeon DRM driver. Here are some fresh comparison tests using some original GCN graphics cards with the two DRM drivers while pairing it with Mesa 17.4-dev, including Vulkan tests that are made possible by switching over to the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver.

        GCN 1.0 Sothern Islands and GCN 1.1 Sea Islands graphics cards continue to default to using the mature Radeon DRM driver rather than AMDGPU DRM, which is treated as experimental for GCN 1.0/1.1 while being the requirement for GCN 1.2 graphics processors and newer. Through Linux 4.15 at least, GCN 1.0/1.1 GPUs will still be using the Radeon DRM by default, but the AMDGPU support for these older generations of Radeon GPUs is becoming more mature with less regressions, no display headaches this time around, some UVD porting for GCN 1.0 on AMDGPU being a work-in-progress, and PowerPlay fixes having recently landed in the kernel.

      • AMD’s Open-Source Strategy Is Now Ten Years Old
      • mesa 17.2.4

        In Mesa Core we have included a change to prevent KOTOR from breaking when in combination with the ATI fragment shader extension. Additionally, NIR has also received a correction.

      • Mesa 17.2.4 Released While Mesa 17.3 Continues To Bake

        Mesa 17.2.4 is now available as the newest stable release of Mesa 3D while Mesa 17.3 is up to its second release candidate.

        Mesa 17.2.4 was released today with several Intel OpenGL/Vulkan fixes, memory leak fixes for the Mesa state tracker, a Vulkan windowing system integration memory leak fix for X11, and some other small fixes.

      • Etnaviv Gallium3D Reaches OpenGL 2.1

        It was just days ago that the Etnaviv Gallium3D driver made it to OpenGL 2.0 while now it’s reached the OpenGL 2.1 threshold.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Interview with Erica Wagner

        I’m Erica Wagner, a STEAM Nerd, Teenpreneur, Author, Instructor, YouTuber and self-taught 2D and 3D artist. I’ve been doing graphic design for two years, 3D sculpting, voxel art, and 3d modeling for one year, and digital drawing for a little over six months. I’m a homeschool student. My mom uses the majority of my projects as a part of school.

      • You Can Now Install KDE Plasma 5.11.2 Desktop and Latte Dock on Kubuntu 17.10

        We’ve just been informed by Kubuntu developer Rik Mills on the availability of the latest KDE Plasma 5.11.2 desktop environment in the Kubuntu Backports PPA for Kubuntu 17.10 users.

        Launched on October 19, 2017, the Kubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system arrived with the KDE Plasma 5.10.5 as default desktop environment, which was accompanied by the older KDE Applications 17.04.3 and KDE Frameworks 5.38.0 software stacks, but not users can update their systems to KDE Plasma 5.11.2 and KDE Frameworks 5.39.0.

      • Plasma 5.11.2 and other goodies now in Artful backports PPA

        The 2nd bugfix update (5.11.2) of the Plasma 5.11 series is now available for users of Kubuntu Artful Aardvark 17.10 to install via our backports PPA.

        Please note that 3 more bugfix releases are scheduled by KDE for Plasma 5.11, so while we feel these backports will be beneficial to enthusiastic adopters, users wanting to use a Plasma release with more stabilisation/bugfixes ‘baked in’ may find it advisable to stay with Plasma 5.10.5 as included in the original 17.10 Artful release.

        See the Plasma 5.11 release announcement and the release video below for more about the new features available.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Lite 3.6 Desktop Installation Guide with Screenshots

      We’ve already reviewed the Linux Lite 3.6 distro some time back and even concluded that it is an excellent distro for any beginner to start with linux and then stay on forever. With a lot of wow factors in that distro, Linux Lite has come up with a more enhanced version in Linux Lite 3.6. And with the 3.6 release, Linux Lite has introduced some major changes since the release of 3.4. Let’s look at all the changes and also a step by step installation guide to install Linux Lite 3.6 in your system.

    • Reviews

      • Review: The best Linux distros for Docker and containers

        Over the past six months I have reviewed five minimal Linux distributions that are optimized for running containers: Alpine Linux, CoreOS Container Linux, RancherOS, Red Hat Atomic Host, and VMware Photon OS. Generically known as “container operating systems,” these stripped down, purpose built Linux distributions are not the only way to run containers in production, but they provide a base that does not waste resources on anything besides container support.

        The state of the industry with container deployment systems is very much like the early days of Linux distributions. You have one key element, in this case the Docker container, that is surrounded by a number of competing ecosystem components. Just as the traditional Linux distros bundled different package managers, desktop environments, system utilities, services, and apps, most container distributions mix and match various components to create what they consider an optimum solution. Take for example distributed configuration and service discovery. There are several solutions for this such as Etcd, Consul, and ZooKeeper.

    • Slackware Family

      • [Slackware] Chromium is now compiled using clang

        In my previous blog post about Chromium 62, I described the issues I had while attempting to compile it on Slackware14.2. The gcc compiler suite on Slackware 14.2 is “too old” for Chromium because it lacks the required C++11 support. More to the point, the Google developers use clang instead of gcc for their own compilations and therefore gcc support is becoming stale. Response by Google developers when they encounter a gcc-related bug report is to ‘please switch to clang’.

    • Red Hat Family

      • HCL announces enterprise platform services powered by Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform

        HCL Technologies announced a collaboration with Red Hat to offer HCL Application Platform-as-a-Service to enterprise customers globally.

        At 12:35 hrs HCL Technologies was quoting at Rs 846.05, down Rs 11.65, or 1.36 percent.
        The share touched its 52-week high Rs 941.00 and 52-week low Rs 786.05 on 23 October, 2017 and 15 November, 2016, respectively.

      • Why I love technical debt
      • CentOS-Based NethServer 7.4 Linux Server Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        Based on CentOS 7.4 (1708), the latest release of the open-source Linux server system based on Red Hat’s commercial RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) platform, NethServer 7.4 incorporates all the stream packages and technologies, but also introduces several new features and enhancements of its own.

        Designed to make the life of system administrators a lot easier, NethServer 7.4 improves the local Active Directory (AD) account provider to automatically apply updates to the Samba DC instance, which was bumped to version 4.6.8, and to add support for remote AD and LDAP (local too) locations.

      • Interviews: Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst Answers Your Questions

        For Slashdot’s 20th anniversary — and the 23rd anniversary of the first release of Red Hat Linux — here’s a special treat.

        Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has responded to questions submitted by Slashdot readers.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Flatpak – St. Distro’s Package

          Flatpak works well. I am pleased with my short test, and I am convinced with the benefits and flexibility that this framework offers. It seems to be quite intuitive, and it did not spew errors. That said, the road to being a first-class product is still a long one. People don’t need the dirty detail. They want beautiful application stores and sod the nuts and bolts.

          I hope the distro-agnostic software takes off. It should help bring together the fragmented world of Linux, and make both maintenance and development easier, and give users the transparency that their peers on Windows enjoy. Technically, even if there’s fragmentation in the background, a clever GUI will disguise that, so we might stay with the old system, but the problem with that is, the distros suffers, and as a result, users suffer, too. The way forward is clear. The only question is, will it be one way or many? History has a way of repeating itself. To be continued. Flak away.

        • Fedora Classroom Session: Fedora QA 101
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 17.10 – on the GNOME again

            Ubuntu is one of the world’s most popular Linux distributions. The distribution is available in several flavours, the two most widely recognized being the Desktop and Server editions. The release of Ubuntu 17.10 introduces a number of important changes, the most visible ones mostly affecting the Desktop edition which I will focus on in this review. As 17.10 is an interim release rather than a long term support release, it will received security updates for just nine months.

            One technical change in version 17.10 is the phasing out of 32-bit builds of the Desktop edition, though the Server edition is still available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. Another significant change is the Ubuntu distribution has swapped out its in-house Unity desktop and replaced it with a customized version of the GNOME Shell desktop. Unity is still available in Ubuntu’s software repositories if we wish to install it later.

            I opted to download the Desktop edition of Ubuntu 17.10. The ISO for this edition is 1.4GB in size and booting from this media brings up a graphical window where we are asked if we would like to try Ubuntu’s live desktop mode or launch the system installer. This screen also lets us select the system’s language with the default being English.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS 0.4.7-RC1 Is The Latest As “Open-Source Windows”

    Less than two months after the ReactOS 0.4.6 release, ReactOS 0.4.7-RC1 is available for testing.

    This first release candidate for ReactOS 0.4.7 comes with many bug fixes but also some new features.

    ReactOS 0.4.7 is introducing quick launch support, hotplug / power / sound icons, made progress on their filter dirver, started work on a “storport” driver to enable plug-and-play for many drivers and AHCI driver support, re-enabled support for deleting to Recycle Bin, enabled the application compatibility framework, support for enabling a theme by command, an fsutil command was added, and many other updates — including syncing the user-mode DLLs against Wine Staging 2.16.

  • GMO Blockchain Open Source Software project enters next phase, focusing on payments

    GMO Internet Inc. (TYO:9449) continues to push further with the GMO Blockchain Open Source Software Project (GMO Blockchain OSS). Earlier today, the company announced that the project has entered its sixth phase, with the focus now being on payments.

  • Fon joins prpl Foundation to Accelerate Open-source Innovation for Digital Home and Carrier WiFi

    The prpl Foundation, an open-source, community-driven, not-for-profit consortium with a focus enabling the security and interoperability of embedded devices for the smart society of the future, announced that Fon has joined the Foundation.

    As the world’s leading WiFi software company, Fon joins prpl to accelerate the development of a common, open-source-based software framework which will enable deployment of new carrier services for the digital home and carrier WiFi hotspots.

    “With the formation of our Carrier Interest Group last year, we set out to strengthen the ties between telecommunications carriers, major chipset vendors and the open source community,” said Art Swift, president of the prpl Foundation.

  • Open Source Software Is Philanthropy

    It is increasingly important that any serious enterprise—whether startup, media brand, government agency, foundation, or nonprofit organization—have access to cutting edge, reliable, and useful digital tools that extend their reach and accelerate their success. While commercial software continues to play a role for many organizations, more and more institutions are tapping into the less constrained and often less expensive world of open source software for solutions. Open source is vital for the digital community, providing an accessible, predominantly free forum for building everything from websites to analytic data platforms. Open source also spurs creativity and resource sharing among groups that otherwise would rarely connect. It’s a form of collaboration that is becoming mission-critical for many nonprofits that lack the budgets to build robust digital products on their own. When properly supported, open source software can spark innovation, accelerate social good, and ultimately help change the world.

  • Feeding chickens and cows with free software

    Kazi Farms Group is the largest poultry company in Bangladesh. One of the basic problems that has to be solved by any poultry company is formulating nutritious poultry feed at the lowest possible cost.

    Until now, the global feed milling industry was dependent on expensive feed formulation software sold by multi-national vendors.

    However, thanks to creative use and development of free/open-source software, Kazi Farms Group has been able to make our feed operation independent of foreign software.

  • A Free Guide to Participating in Open Source Communities

    As companies in and out of the technology industry move to advance their open source programs, they are rapidly learning about the value of participating in open source communities. Organizations are using open source code to build their own commercial products and services, which drives home the strategic value of contributing back to projects.

    However, diving in and participating without an understanding of projects and their communities can lead to frustration and other unfortunate outcomes. Approaching open source contributions without a strategy can tarnish a company’s reputation in the open source community and incur legal risks.

    The Linux Foundation’s free online guide Participating in Open Source Communities can help organizations successfully navigate these open source waters. The detailed guide covers what it means to contribute to open source as an organization and what it means to be a good corporate citizen. It explains how open source projects are structured, how to contribute, why it’s important to devote internal developer resources to participation, as well as why it’s important to create a strategy for open source participation and management.

    One of the most important first steps is to rally leadership behind your community participation strategy. “Support from leadership and acknowledgement that open source is a business critical part of your strategy is so important,” said Nithya Ruff, Senior Director, Open Source Practice at Comcast. “You should really understand the company’s objectives and how to enable them in your open source strategy.”

  • TIBCO Project Mashling, ultralight event-driven microgateway

    Software integration, analytics and management company TIBCO is loving, embraces and heart-ing open source this month with its newly available Project Mashling.

  • What are the open source remote display protocol options?

    In fact, there are several open source remote display protocol options out there, including Spice and Chrome Remote Desktop. Each open source remote display protocol works a little differently and is compatible with particular OSes and endpoints. So, it’s important to understand the differences.

  • Events

    • Open Source India 2017 Breaks Past Records
    • Hacktoberfest and JavaScript

      But Lays, how JavaScript connects to Hacktoberfest? Last week, a friend of mine, Andre Garzia, made a HackDay meetup at Amora Labs office, where the event had the goal to develop add-ons for Mozilla Firefox. For me, is on this kind of meetups that I can get my hands dirty on JavaScript. And talking with my friends I discovered about Hacktoberfest.

    • OpenStack Charms in Sydney

      If you’re new to OpenStack deployment using Juju and the OpenStack Charms then the general project update on Tuesday at 3.20 pm would be a good introduction. The session is only 20 minutes long so won’t take up to much of your day – Ryan and I will be doing a short 101 and providing some detail on new features for Pike and plans for Queens!

    • DebConf18 Debian Conference to Take Place July 29 – August 5, 2018, in Taiwan

      The Debian community is already planning for the next year’s DebConf conference for Debian developers, contributors, and users, which will take place in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

      As expected, DebConf17, this year’s annual Debian Developers and Contributors Conference, was another success, so it’s normal for the Debian team responsible for organizing the DebConf event to start preparing for the next one.

      DebConf18 is months away, but you can start preparing today because the official dates have been published in the Debian Wiki, suggesting that the conference will take place from July 29 to August 5, 2018, and it will be preceded by DebCamp between July 21-27.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Pushes Chrome 63 Into Beta with Dynamic Module Imports, Device Memory API

        Google recently pushed the Chrome 63 web browser for beta testing for all supported platforms, giving us a heads up to what we should expect from this release when it hits stable next month.

        Google Chrome 63 now lives in the Beta channel pocket, and it can be installed on Chrome OS, Linux, Android, Mac, and Windows operating systems. It promises big changes for developers, including dynamic module imports, a new Device Memory API, permissions UI changes, as well as async generators and iterators.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • Citizens wrestle source code from public agencies

      This week a US federal judge unsealed the source code for a software application used by New York City’s crime lab to help analyse DNA evidence from crime scenes. The Forensic Statistical Tool (FST) was developed by the office of the city’s Chief Medical Examiner. It is used to substantiate the statistical likelihood that someone’s DNA profile matches DNA from a sample that may be tiny or degraded, or represent more than one person.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Source University Project to Launch Global Social Innovation Platform & ICO Round

        Last week, academia collaborated project Open Source University announced launched its global social innovation platform, which enables decentralized academic a professional development globally.

        [...]

        Once the ICO campaign is completed, the immediate next steps are for the team to proceed with on-boarding around 60+ million learners, enrolled in massive open online courses (MOOCs) through the integration of the distributed ledger with platforms such as “Coursera” and “EdX.” The presale starts on November 20th.

Leftovers

  • Why Finland wants the EU to abolish daylight saving time
  • Hardware

    • Meet John Draper, the hacker who inspired Apple’s founders

      Wozniak revisits the question: “Would Apple exist without John Draper?” he asks.

      “It’s hard to guess. Steve Jobs said—and I agree—that without the blue box there might never have been an Apple,” Wozniak says. “A lot of people have success and make money, but fewer achieve notoriety and fame like John has.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Rolling Back the Tide of Pesticide Poison, Corruption and Looming Mass Extinction

      An anthropogenic mass extinction is underway that will affect all life on the planet and humans will struggle to survive the phenomenon. So claims Dr Rosemary Mason in a paper (2015) in the Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry. Loss of biodiversity is the most urgent of the environmental problems because this type of diversity is critical to ecosystem services and human health. Mason argues that the modern chemical-intensive industrialised system of food and agriculture is the main culprit.

  • Security

    • Replace Your Exploit-Ridden Firmware with Linux

      With the WikiLeaks release of the vault7 material, the security of the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) firmware used in most PCs and laptops is once again a concern. UEFI is a proprietary and closed-source operating system, with a codebase almost as large as the Linux kernel, that runs when the system is powered on and continues to run after it boots the OS (hence its designation as a “Ring -2 hypervisor”). It is a great place to hide exploits since it never stops running, and these exploits are undetectable by kernels and programs.

    • Your Windows Login Details Can Be Stolen By Hackers Without User Interaction

      From time to time, the security researchers continue to make us realize that Windows operating system is full of loopholes that can be exploited by hackers to steal our data. One such vulnerability was patched by Redmond in recent patch Tuesday.

    • NSA hacking tool EternalRomance found in BadRabbit

      Several research firms have named EternalRomance as the tool BadRabbit used to spread through an organisation once the ransomware was installed in a host computer. When the cyber-attack first sprang up on 24 October there were many reports claiming that EternalBlue, the tool made famous with the Petya/NotPetya attacks that took place earlier this year, was the culprit, but this was quickly disproven by researchers. However, EternalRomance does share at least one similarity with the other attack, each exploits the same Microsoft vulnerability.

    • Security updates for Monday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Erdoğan vigorously defends Turkish al-Qaeda group that has cells in Germany

      The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has saved an al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkish jihadist group that has been infiltrating diaspora groups in Germany and France while punishing prosecutors and police investigators who had dealt a heavy blow to degrade this radical organization’s capabilities in the past.

      The group, called Tahşiyeciler in Turkish, is led by 66-year-old radical cleric Mehmet Doğan (aka Mullah Muhammed) who had been on the Turkish government payroll until his retirement from the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) in 1998. This al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkish group has been active in Turkey and among Turkish expat communities in Europe as part of a jihadist campaign to recruit militants, raise funds and plan suicide attacks. The cache of intercepted communications and the physical evidence uncovered during the search and seizure in suspects’ homes and offices clearly paint a picture of a dangerous, albeit small, group that follows slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s lead.

      Mustafa Kaplan, the 77-year-old chief aide to Mullah Muhammed, has been identified as a man who is responsible for the group’s operations in Europe and made trips to cities in France and Germany to organize cells. His speeches that were recorded in the German cities of Bonn, Ahlen, Dortmund and Anderten contain chilling accounts of what they plan to do. In one recording he claims that Turks are hostages and prisoners in Germany and says Germany would soon face the wrath of Muslims. He promises to Turks in Germany that the Germans would soon regret sending troops to Afghanistan since fighters would come to Germany to punish them for Berlin’s contribution to NATO’s campaign in Afghanistan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Puerto Rico’s governor seeks to end deal with small Montana grid repair company

      Whitefish Energy’s $300 million deal to repair Puerto Rico’s grid was made public in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The deal quickly drew scrutiny after the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) did not seek mutual aid—that is, offers from other US utilities to come help out—shortly after the hurricane struck. The choice also caused concern as Whitefish had only been in operation since 2015 and it employed just two full-time employees at the time the hurricane struck (the company hires contractors to complete projects). Furthermore, Whitefish is based in the same town that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is from, and one of its financial backers, HBC Investments, has contributed thousands of dollars to Republican candidates, including Trump, according to the Associated Press.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A Chance to Control Domestic Spying
    • Why Rely on the Fourth Amendment To Do the Work of the First?
    • European Parliament Agrees Text For Key ePrivacy Regulation; Online Advertising Industry Hates It

      Techdirt has mentioned a couple of times the EU’s important ePrivacy Regulation that is currently working its way through the legislative process. It’s designed to complement the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force next year, and which is likely to have far-reaching effects. Where the GDPR is concerned with personal data “at rest” — how it is stored and processed — the ePrivacy Regulation can be thought of as dealing with personal data in motion. That is, how it is gathered and flows across networks. Since that goes to the heart of how the Internet works, it will arguably have an even bigger impact than the GDPR on the online world — not just in the EU, but globally too.

    • The Wire

      In the US, there has been recent concern over ISPs turning over logs to the government. During the past few years, the idea of people snooping on our private data (by governments and others) really has made encryption more popular than ever before. One of the problems with encryption, however, is that it’s generally not user-friendly to add its protection to your conversations. Thankfully, messaging services are starting to take notice of the demand. For me, I need a messaging service that works across multiple platforms, encrypts automatically, supports group messaging and ideally can handle audio/video as well. Thankfully, I found an incredible open-source package that ticks all my boxes: Wire.

    • NSA hacking code lifted from a personal computer in U.S.: Kaspersky

      Moscow-based multinational cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab on October 25 said that it obtained suspected National Security Agency (NSA) hacking code from a personal computer in the U.S. During the review of file’s contents, a Kaspersky analyst discovered it contained the source code for a hacking tool later attributed to what it calls the Equation Group.

      Kaspersky said it assumed the 2014 source code episode was connected to the NSA’s loss of files. The antivirus software-maker spokeswoman Sarah Kitsos was quoted saying as “we deleted the archive because we don’t need the source code to improve our protection technologies and because of concerns regarding the handling of classified materials”.

    • Kaspersky Says Its Hand Was in the Cookie Jar, But …

      Kaspersky Lab has been bombarded with an unending stream of claims that its Russian roots equate to being part of the Russian national team when it comes to national security interests. We previously discussed the rationale behind the ban of Kaspersky Lab security products in any U.S. government device, and how the company is believed to be a part of the Russian effort to put a bullseye on the National Security Agency (NSA). The publicly available information asks us to trust the U.S. government’s claim that under all that smoke about Kaspersky, there is actually a fire. It turns out that it’s true—well, at least partially true.

    • The Battle Over The Government’s Massive Surveillance Powers Has Arrived

      A significant provision in a contentious surveillance law is set to expire at the end of the year, and a number of lawmakers are scrambling to either re-enact the legislation permanently or find its statutory replacement.

    • Congress is blowing its shot at real NSA reform

      At the end of 2017, one of the NSA’s most important legal powers is set to expire. Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act gives the director of national intelligence and attorney general the authority to target anyone outside the US for surveillance, but that authority has to be reauthorized by Congress every few years. With old congressional allies like Dianne Feinstein newly skeptical of the NSA — and President Trump openly feuding with the intelligence community — surveillance reformers are seeing their best chance in years to make real changes to the US surveillance apparatus.

    • BlackBerry CEO Promises To Try To Break Customers’ Encryption If The US Gov’t Asks Him To

      The DOJ’s reps — along with the new FBI boss — keep making noises about device encryption. They don’t like it. What they want is some hybrid unicorn called “responsible encryption,” which would keep bad guys out but let law enforcement in. The government has no idea how this is supposed to be accomplished, but it has decided to leave that up to the smart guys at tech companies. After all, tech companies are only in it for the money. The government, however, answers to a higher calling: public safety — a form of safety that apparently has room for an increase in criminal activity and nefarious hacking.

      There’s one cellphone company that’s been conspicuously absent from these discussions. A lot of that conspicuous absence has to do with its conspicuous absence from the cellphone marketplace. Pretty much relegated to governments and enterprise users, Blackberry has been offering encrypted messaging for years. But it’s been offering a different sort of encryption — one it can remove if needed.

    • Heathrow probe after ‘security files found on USB stick’
    • FBI Increases Its Anti-Encryption Rhetoric
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Anarchist Cookbook case: Student Joshua Walker cleared

      A student has been cleared of having a copy of terrorism [sic] manual The Anarchist Cookbook in a drawer under his bed.

    • Researcher Still Being Pursued By Russian Bank Over Last Year’s Mistaken Trump Connection Story

      The war on security researchers continues. But then, it’s never really shown any sign of abating, has it? Report after report comes in of security researchers being threatened with lawsuits or arrest simply for finding and reporting security breaches.

      The war on Jean Camp continues to this day, with the researcher on the receiving end of multiple legal threats from the American law firm representing Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank. Camp came under fire from the bank last year, after a story came and went mistakenly insinuating a Trump server was in engaged in lively conversation with Alfa Bank’s servers during the run-up to the presidential election.

      That was back in March. Law firm Kirkland & Ellis sent legal threats and communication retention demands to Camp. In addition to demanding she retain all communications possibly relevant to Alfa Bank’s vendetta, the firm also threatened to file CFAA charges.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC chair wants to impose a cap on broadband funding for poor families

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants to impose a budget cap on the Lifeline program that helps poor people buy broadband and phone service.

      Under previous Chairman Tom Wheeler, the 32-year-old Lifeline program was expanded to let poor people use a $9.25 monthly household subsidy to buy Internet service. Previously, the subsidy could only be used for phone service.

      But when Pai took over the chairmanship, he quickly got to work rolling back some of Wheeler’s Lifeline changes. Pai, a Republican, ramped up his attempts to place limits on Lifeline last week with a proposal that will likely be approved by the commission at its meeting on November 16.

    • Retail Giant Amazon Faces Pushback Over .Amazon Geographic Domain At ICANN Annual Meeting

      But the outgoing Chair of the GAC, Thomas Schneider, pointed out that assuming that trademark rights to a name automatically resulted in an exclusive right to a TLD was a fallacy. Amazon Associate Counsel for IP Dana Brown Northcott said after the clash with the governments that the company would continue to seek a compromise solution, but certainly had to consider all options.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Gag order silencing Comic-Con producers declared unconstitutional

        A federal appeals court is declaring a gag order that was imposed on the backers of a Comic-Con convention to be an unconstitutional infringement of speech. A San Diego federal judge had prohibited the organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con from taking to social media like Twitter, Facebook, and even the event’s website to discuss being sued for allegedly infringing the “Comic-Con” trademark.

        “Petitioners assert that the court-ordered prior restraints on their speech violate the First Amendment. We agree,” the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube MP3 Converters Block UK Traffic to Avoid Trouble

        Two of the most used YouTube to MP3 conversion sites have closed their doors to UK traffic. The surprise move follows shortly after another popular stream ripper, YouTube-MP3, closed its site as part of a settlement with major music industry groups. Is this the start of a ripple effect?

The Diminishing Value of European Patents (EPs)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPC cartoon

Summary: The lack of interest in the EPO’s services has just caused Battistelli to offer discounts — as pathetic as that may seem — and Grant Philpott continues promoting software patents

IT HAS BECOME common knowledge that the EPO is overgranting patents and in order to maintain an illusion of quality control it rejects applications based on minor technicalities rather than lack of merit/novelty. Prior art search is too ‘costly’ (in terms of time, talent and so on). People inside and outside the Office are noticing this and they are not happy. They’re quite rightly upset and some are courageous enough to speak out about it. What good is a piece of paper which courts are likely to disprove or disregard?

The number of patent applications is declining, the most talented/experienced staff is walking away, and the EPO cannot attract “demand” due to diminishing reputation. This was foreseeable and staff representatives warned about this. Earlier today Battistelli wrote in his ‘blog’ (warning: epo.org link) about his reactionary move. This was promoted about 4 hours later by the EPO and we interpret this is a desperate effort to spur “sales” using a discount. Battistelli, like a used cars salesman, tries to frame it all as “savings” for the “clients” and says it “equates to a 5% reduction which will save our users around 7 million Euro next year.”

“What good is a piece of paper which courts are likely to disprove or disregard?”Basically, European Patents (EPs of the past, present and future) have lost their value due to Battistelli and his abusive behaviour. He probably shaved off BILLIONS worth of “value” (losses for those who invested in EPs), but why should he care? All he cared about was the inflow of money, even if that led to the collapse of the Office in the long run.

Earlier today the EPO wrote: “With Patent Translate you can translate patent documents at the click of a button…

But not accurately. Many people have already pointed out the weakness of such translations. They’re of no use in a legal context; these are, at best, approximations.

The EPO is also planning this conference next week and today (Monday) we discovered that Grant Philpott (epic name for a grant-by-default policy) still promotes software patents in Europe. He is using buzzwords that are meaningless. There are photos there and the text says: “Grant Philpott @EPOorg about #patents created by #ArtificialIntelligence & #Computer-implemented #inventions #CII in #Industry40 @Telefonica”

“People who came up with the EPC would turn in their grave if they could see what Battistelli had done.”Where are the boards when one needs them? The EPO is not supposed to grant software patents, but Battistelli has already taken care of that by defanging judges. The EPO has sent the appeal board to ‘exile’ to prevent them having a sense of independence, or the courage to do their work without fear. Earlier today the EPO wrote: “How can you get to the new location of the Boards of Appeal?”

Maybe if there were exiled to Poland, nobody would bother appealing at all and patent quality would seem superb. What we have here is a crisis of governance and a collapse in patent quality. People who came up with the EPC would turn in their grave if they could see what Battistelli had done.

Irregularities at the EPO and UPC (Unitary Patent) Dodgy Dealings Should Draw Ire

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UPC boat

Summary: The seriousness of the situation at the EPO ought to attract hard-hitting media coverage but does not; to make matters worse, voices of insiders and critics are being silenced

NOTHING is normal at the EPO. In just a few years it managed to turn from one of Europe’s most reputable institutions into a source of shame and a liability. There’s complicity enabling this also outside the EPO and we are currently investigating the alleged role of Belgium [1, 2]. Expect to hear more about it because it’s a subject of growing controversy even inside the EPO. Remember that Battistelli controls access to billions of euros, even without proper checks and balances. It’s enticing to suck up to him and he is alleged to have ‘bought’ votes of small countries (using money which wasn’t even his).

Comments about EPO scandals are locatable, but they have become harder to find due to censorship. The “line between expressing concern about the EPO’s governance and making ad hominen [sic] attacks,” says this new comment, has become the basis for censorship. But by “attacks” they typically mean the naming of people. As if one cannot even name individuals anymore. Here is this comment which IP Kat was ‘kind’ enough to approve:

Obviously there is a dividing line between expressing concern about the EPO’s governance and making ad hominen [sic] attacks. I can certainly understand that Merpel is concerned to prevent one spilling over into the other, and I think you do too.

The separate issue you raise is that the IPKat is no longer posting about the governance issues, which means there is less opportunity for others to express their concern. That might be regrettable, since the IPKat would be a much better forum for legitimate debate than a certain other website, precisely because Merpel filters out unreasonable comments and ad hominen [sic] attacks.

However, before complaining that the IPKat is no longer concerned, have you considered that the blog’s panel of contributors changes over time, and that each contributor tends to post on topics that happen to interest them? The lack of posts about EPO governance may simply be due to changes in personnel, rather than a deliberate policy of discouraging debate.

As the next comment put it, “should the purpose not be to post on topics to interest the readers?”

The next one said: “If it were a commercial concern such as a newspaper or magazine, and the contributors were being paid to write stuff to attract readers, then yes maybe. But it’s not.”

Too much speculation about IP Kat has given them the benefit of the doubt, first by attributing the censorship (they prefer the euphemism “moderation”) to a technical glitch and now the change of authorship. It’s nice and rather convenient to think that the silence is purely interests-related, but the real explanation for the silence is different, however, as it followed an embargo against the blog.

Thankfully, there are still some places where criticism of the EPO is tolerated and EPO insiders are quoting this new comment [1, 2, 3] which says:

Have a look at the structure proposed for reorganisation of DG1 and DG2:

https://www.epo.org/modules/epoweb/acdocument/epoweb2/261/en/CA-65-17_en.pdf

I understand that this new structure is being implemented. The trouble is that it tramples all over the EPC, which clearly requires the individual “in control of” DG1 to be independent (at least from a hiring, firing and disciplinary perspective) from the President of the EPO. Under the new structure, the “independent” VP1 will be left with only symbolic powers, with new COOs reporting directly to the President (and being hired / fired / disciplined by him) and taking over almost all of the substantive powers previously afforded to VP1.

So, in short, this is yet another example of the EPO’s executive (presumably with the full knowledge / complicity of the AC) effectively ignoring the provisions of the EPC. Regardless of what one thinks about the constitutional complaints, these kind of developments could take those complaints to a completely new level. That is, if the AC has proven itself to be incapable of ensuring that the EPO operates in accordance with the EPC, then it becomes an established fact that there is a “democratic deficit” that requires urgent action.

No names mentioned here, but it’s clear who it’s all about. Days ago a French politician, Claudine Lepage, named the main culprit (who brought many French cronies with him). SUEPO has just published this English translation (there is another one for German readers) and we have highlighted in yellow some of the important bits, not the talking points ‘shipped in’ by Battistelli (basically a bundle of lies):

Written question on the social policy at the European Patent Office

Posted on 27 October 2017 by admin

I submitted a written question to the Minister of the Economy and Finances with regard to the social policy adopted at the European Patent Office.

The reply which I have just received from Bruno Lemaire, given what is at stake and the social context which prevails at the EPO, is more than deceptive.

In order, in company with other members of Parliament, to be able to keep track accurately the situation at the EPO, I feel obliged to respond to certain arguments put forward by the Minister.

The EPO has never been in deficit, and has always been self-financing, and the plan for the transformation of the organization adopted in 2013 was therefore never an obligation.

With regard to the social dialogue which the Minister refers to, every observer is well aware that this is reduced to the minimum, and that, on the contrary, the social malaise is a permanent feature within this international organization.

I am therefore calling upon the French Government to take note in full of the situation at the EPO, and to take all steps necessary to put an end to this social conflict, which, apart from the fact that it is seriously detrimental to the image of France, is also posing a risk to the health of the staff.

Read below the reply from the Minister, as well as my question:

Reply by the Minister of the Economy and Finances:

The European Patent Office (EPO), created by the European Patent Convention (EPC) of 5 October 1973, is an intergovernmental organization which has been in operation since 1977, which employs a staff of close on 7000 people coming from 30 different countries. In order to ensure the financial viability of the EPO in the long term, a plan for the transformation of the organization has been adopted, and in 2013 the Administrative Council introduced changes into the statutes relating to the staff of the EPO, imposed on the whole of the social structure (pensions, remunerations, social services, right to strike), in consultation with the staff representatives. These reforms allowed for the financial situation of the Office to be redressed within a few years, despite some specific organizational constraints which are inherent in respect of the international organization status of the EPO, and an establishment culture which is essentially fragmented, given that it has five establishments in four different countries. The reforms have nevertheless engendered social conflicts, accentuated by the legal status specific to international organizations. Following proceedings initiated before local courts, on 20 January 2017 the Supreme Court of the Netherlands overturned the ruling by the Court of Appeal of The Hague, and confirmed the legal immunity of the EPO. Being aware of these difficulties, France has consistently supported, within the Administrative Council of the EPO, the initiatives aimed at improving the situation and the social dialogue within theorganization, such as the launching of the social audit undertaken in 2016, or the resolution adopted in March 2016, inviting the President of the EPO to present to the Administrative Council a project for reviewing the staff statutes, making provision for disciplinary procedures to be reviewed and amended, as well as the directives relating to enquiries. On 28 and 29 June 2017 the Administrative Council accordingly adopted into the staff statutes new guarantees aimed at ensuring the independence and impartiality of procedures (enquiries, disciplinary measures, internal appeal), as well as the rights of defence (the right to remain silence or to be assisted by an advocate in particular).

Question by Claudine Lepage:

Ms. Claudine Lepage draws the attention of the Minister of the Economy and Finances to the situation at the European Patent Office (EPO). This intergovernmental organization and its 7 000 staff members, highly qualified persons recruited form 38 Member States, unquestionably makes a major contribution to innovation, competitiveness, and economic growth in Europe. For a number of years, however, the authoritarian and arbitrary social policy of this Office has been incurring major difficulties, in particular with regard to the respecting of the fundamental rights of the individual and the violation of social law. It must also be emphasised that four suicides in 32 months are a deplorable occurrence among the staff. Moreover, the
Court of Appeal of The Hague, to which recourse was made by staff representatives, in February 2015 condemned the social policy pursued by the EPO, ruling it contrary to fundamental rights. The French President of the Office nevertheless refuses to act on this decision, on the pretext that the Office enjoys a status of immunity. This management approach, which is highly open to criticism, is having a direct impact on the reputation of France among international institutions, and she therefore wishes to know whether provisions are going to be adopted in order to remedy this situation, which has gone on too long and which threatens the very future of the institution, at the moment at which, after thirty years of negotiation, agreement has been reached with regard to a Unitary European Patent, the issue of which will be entrusted to the EPO.

An open debate about what goes on at the EPO — without fear of retribution — is necessary if not imperative for things to improve. As we shall show in our next post, things are still getting worse.

Belgium’s Jérôme Debrulle, the EPO and the UPC Connection

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jérôme Debrulle

Summary: A deeper look into disturbing affairs at the EPO and likely facilitation of antidemocratic behaviour, potentially implicating the man above

WHAT goes on at the EPO is far from normal and it’s assisted by various people outside the EPO. They too have something to gain.

Earlier today Max Walters spoke to Dr. Ingve Stjerna (or at least published about it). It’s Stjerna who remarked on the UPC lobbying in the UK. Here is some of the relevant stuff:

The German lawyer whose court action has put the new European patent regime on hold has described as ‘astonishing’ the UK’s apparent position that it can be a member of the system after Brexit.

Düsseldorf intellectual property attorney Dr Ingve Stjerna says the government’s stated plan to ratify the Unified Patent Court agreement appears ‘hardly reconcilable’ with its commitment to leave the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

‘At the very least, an explanation is needed why in case of the UPC the creation of new obligations from union law and respective powers for the CJEU as well as a respective liability of the UK for union law violations are deemed acceptable, despite the envisaged objectives for leaving the EU,’ Stjerna said on his website.

[...]

Stjerna’s challenge questions the constitutionality of the German legislation enabling ratification. It also alleges a violation of a requirement under German law which stipulates that a majority of two-thirds of the members of the German parliament and Federal Council must rule on any transfer of sovereign powers to European institutions.

It is worth remembering that a lot of the UPC pressure in the UK comes from CIPA, which incidentally now exercises control over IP Kat (even if partial control).

Days ago we also wrote about Belgium and the suspected role its delegation had played in bolstering Battistelli (the language, for one thing, is a commonality). An EPO insider told me this morning that there is also a connection to the UPC. To quote: “Let’s give it a face, since November 2009, Mr. Debrulle is the Head of the Belgian Intellectual Property Office which depends on the Ministry of Economy. He represents Belgium within the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation. [] Mr. Debrulle is since March 2013 the Chairman of the EPO Select Committee which is in charge of the implementation of the Unitary Patent Protection. Any more questions? [] -1 Link to the UPC 2017 Speaker’s list (Jérôme Debrulle) http://www.unitarypatentsystem.eu/speakers/
-2 Link (EPO!!!) to Belgium AC Representatives (scroll down for BE) https://www.epo.org/about-us/governance/administrative-council/representatives.html#be [] The 2nd Belgium Representative in the Administrative Council is M. Geoffrey BAILLEUX, Conseiller.”

Any further remark would likely be spurious, but someone then wrote: “Shall we give a face to all other members of that happy congregation?”

The same person later said/quoted: “New UPC – #epo Administrative Council BE delegation Cartoon. “Belgium’s representatives, Jérôme Debrulle and Geoffrey Bailleux might need further scrutiny, say inside sources, for they have been enabling some rather dubious activity which merits inconvenient questions”…”

There’s even a picture there.

We are going to investigate this more closely in the coming days and invite further feedback on this matter from readers. As noted over the weekend, Belgium gave Battistelli some fiscal defense, whereas large European nations like Germany and the UK blasted the Office for it.

Worth noting (between the lines): the same Mercer that promoted Trump and Brexit (and became ever more notorious for it, due to his surveillance firm) now works for Battistelli’s EPO, serving in a financial kind of role. It figures. Things aren’t just normal. As someone put it yesterday, “IPKat no longer seems to be concerned about this serious governance deficit at the EPO.”

Here is the full comment:

I have no desire to offend Merpel’s delicate sensibilities or to libel anybody.
I would just like to make a few observations and hope that they will pass the scrutiny of the blog moderator(s).

It would appear that moves are underfoot at the EPO to lift the current 5% limit on the number of staff employed on fixed term contracts. Irrespective of the merits or otherwise of such a proposal it is likely to generate controversy. That is in the nature of these things.

However, an item of EPO “gossip” has just appeared on TechRights according to which the delegation of an EPO member state recently made a statement to the effect that the current EPO President had been asked by the President-elect to make sure that this measure was passed before he (the President-elect) took up office in July next year.

Whether or not this snippet of gossip has any substance it seems to throw up some interesting questions because it suggests that either:
(a) The President-elect is already intervening in EPO matters despite not having yet taken up office
or
(b) A national delegation is lying about the President-elect before he has even taken up office.

Whatever one is inclined to make of all this one thing is certain.
The governance of the EPO is characterised by a worrying lack of transparency.

What is also quite surprising is that IPKat no longer seems to be concerned about this serious governance deficit at the EPO.

Since IPKat is (one supposes) widely read by “users” of the EPO system, it is rather odd that it has now adopted a policy which seems to be aimed at discouraging debate about these matters.

As I said at the beginning, I am not trying to offend or libel anybody. Nor am I interested in spewing hate. I just wanted to air a few points and raise a few questions which in my mind seem perfectly legitimate and in the public interest.

Thorsten Bausch has also posted a long comment on the matter. His important article has been taken over mostly by a troll and troll feeders (in the comments). It’s better not to give them any attention whatsoever. There are, however, only two comments there (the latest 2) and here is what Dr. Bausch wrote:

Dear friends and commenters, can I perhaps bring the discussion back to what this article is about, i.e. the – well substantiated, whether you agree with it or not – opinion of Prof. Broß that the member states of the EPC have allowed extra-territorial and extra-constitutional structures to be established that are no longer under democratic and rule of law control. I think that this opinion raises at least two questions: (1) Is this so? (2) And if yes, should we accept it?

Prof. Broß’ accusations are dead-serious and may lead to either a dramatic change of the European Patent Organisation’s structure or to Germany having to leave the EPO. Remember that the very same arguments have been made and will likely continue to be made in the four constitutional complaints against the EPO currently pending before the Federal Constitutional Court.

It is true that Prof. Broß is not completely impartial here, as he has written a legal opinion in support of (and I assume at the request of) one of the plaintiffs in the four pending constitutional complaints. But this does not disqualify his views at all, in my view. I have no reason to believe that the opinions that he holds are anything but genuinely his own and, what is more, I am afraid that they hit the nail on the head.

I think that even the most benevolent observer of the developments at the EPO over the last 4 or 5 years cannot but come to the view that very, very strange and discomforting things have happened at the European Patent Office. Or are you aware of any other jurisdiction where the President is able to issue a house ban with immediate effect against a judge or, more precisely, a person who is supposed to have a judicial function (such as a Board of Appeal member)? And in which jurisdiction is it possible that the President then ignores the procedure literally prescribed in the law (Art. 23 EPC), according to which a Board of Appeal member may not be removed from office during this term, except if there are serious grounds for such removal and if the Administrative Council, on a proposal from the Enlarged Board of Appeal, takes a decision to this effect. There has never been such a proposal from the Enlarged Board of Appeal, to the best of my knowledge. And absent such a proposal, why did the Administrative Council back the President in this – in my opinion – simply illegal activity, thus again refusing the accused Board member the right of due process?

Obviously, I am no EPO insider and have no first hand knowledge of what happened, but the public facts suggest to me that there has been an unprecedented executive overreach here, which violates the essential principles of the Rule of Law and the accused member’s constitutional right to due process. I would very much like this to be publicly investigated and discussed. If the investigation results in that there was indeed a violation of principles of the Rule of Law and due process, then, at least in my humble opinion, a President who is responsible for such activities, should be immediately dismissed from the Office and does not deserve a pension. Which raises again the question about whether the President is adequately supervised by the Administrative Council. Prof. Broß has very strong views on this also.

In my personal opinion, the EPO structure should indeed be substantially changed in order to bring us back on the ground of elemental principles of democracy and rule of law. What the EPO needs is a true separation of powers:

Firstly, it needs an Administrative Council who takes its supervisory role seriously and engages in a critical and constructive dialogue with all EPO stakeholders, i.e. applicants, EPO representatives, EPO staff (including trade unions) and national judges – not just with the EPO management. The AC should independently inform itself of what is going on. It should also have an own website not controlled by the EPO President and should express its unfiltered opinions to the public there. Members of the Administrative Council should be fully paid for their activities by the member states and should not be allowed to accept any disbursement or other favors from the EPO management in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

Secondly, the EPO needs a President who understands his role within a democratic system of checks and balances and behaves accordingly.

Thirdly, the EPO needs an independent and effective judiciary to review EPO decisions with regard to European patents and patent applications and, importantly, on points of employment law. The ILO does not seem to be fit for this purpose. Decisions of this court must be binding on the President.

I am fully aware that this requires a diplomatic conference agreeing on changes for the betterment of the European Patent Convention, but I think this is unavoidable and should rather be seen as a chance. I would very much like to see a public debate on such proposals. The public has a duty to help the Administrative Council and the national politicians by coming forth with sensible proposals how the EPO’s future can be secured in the long run. But we should not put our heads in the sand and carry on as usual.

It certainly looks like in spite of censorship at IP Kat (which disturbed Bausch) the message is getting out. The reply to Bausch said:

Fully agree. Two points about your points…
The EPC explicitly states (Art. 4a) there should be a ministerial conference at least every 5 years. Since EPC 2000 there hasn’t been one and I haven’t even seen a discussion about it by the AC, although something about that there was a “it isn’t needed” response from someone at AC or Presidential level when someone enquired seems possible.
While the board member may or may not have done what was alleged (libel?} and I thought a German court case was running in parallel(?), I agree that there is a clear case of overreach by the executive which appears to be beyond reproach. They may have grounds for frustration (I don’t know or judge the validity of any accusations) but, as you say, that does not excuse any abuse of procedure from those who should and need to have legal and managerial competence. In many ways, the actions of the executive may be as wrong as the allegations made.

In anybody has any inside information which can help us shed light on internal affairs, please get in touch.

10.29.17

Large US Companies Continue to Stockpile Patents, But US Courts Have Learned to Repel Patent Maximalism

Posted in America, Apple, IBM, Patents at 7:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patents on software are just about as inane and worthless as patents on musical notes

Papers with musical notes

Summary: In spite of misguided campaigns to accumulate/hoard tens of thousands of patents and then cross-license these, courts do not see the legitimacy of most of these patents

SEVERAL days ago someone pointed out this case of a lawyer who had been fired for being ethical. It’s not too shocking; lawyers aren’t expected to be honest, only to maximise profit. To quote:

The Third Circuit reversed the grant of the dismissal of a lawsuit by in-house counsel who sued because, he alleged, he was forced to choose between complying with an application filing quota or complying with his ethical obligations to the USPTO. The case, Trzaska v. L’Oreal USA, INc., (3rd Cir. July 25, 2017), is here.

“The complaint alleged that complying with the quota meant filing “frivolous” patent applications,” Generare Oy Ltd. told me about this. The situation may seem familiar to some.

What’s with all the stockpiling? Why has this become so normal? Yesterday we saw blind acceptance of patents and endless admiration of Apple/Steve Jobs, leading to this kind of terrible Web site which equates/conflates patents with innovation and celebrates accumulation of patents based on quantity alone (because large companies just cross-license a massive number of patents without even assessing these individually).

“What’s with all the stockpiling? Why has this become so normal?”The above is about Apple, but IBM too plays that game and IBM is far too proud of software patents that are likely invalid (it still uses these to bully rivals). See this press release [1, 2, 3] which said “IBM leadership in storage systems and software is based upon more than 380 system patents, including IBM FlashCore technology and more than 700 patents for IBM Spectrum Storage software.”

Around the same time (as this press release) we saw IBM’s patents chief gloating that “Snap-On gets hammered” by patents, having just been judged by a jury that probably does not understand what patents are. The report in question says this:

The Journal Sentinel reports Snap-on’s Rick Secor says the company strongly disagrees with the jury’s verdict and will “vigorously appeal.”

In the lawsuit, the Brookfield-based Milwaukee Tool says the lithium-ion battery packs it invented revolutionized the industry after the technology was introduced in 2005. It replaced packs that used nickel-cadmium batteries.

This particular case is not about software patents, but it’s interesting that IBM is keen to promote it. The patents chief has also just linked to a patent troll’s site (Dominion Harbor) in support of software patents. “The sad, confused state of US #patent eligible subject matter described here,” he said in relation to a patent troll known as Secured Mail Solutions (SMS) — a troll we just mentioned here the other day. To quote:

Because I believe that everyone, as a means of self-improvement, should occasionally test their patience and evaluate their ability to manage pain, I was reading the Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Secured Mail Solutions, LLC v. Universal Wilde Inc., upholding the district court’s ruling on the pleadings that Secured Mail’s seven asserted patents were all ineligible under 35 USC § 101. These patents all address tracking mail through an encoded marking, e.g., a barcode, QR code or URL, on the outside of a mailer which is intended to provide information to the recipient about the contents and the sender. Setting aside that when you see a panel of Prost, Clevenger and Reyna you know the patent’s dead, it’s just a matter of how they will craft the language to that desired effect, let’s just look at how the famed Alice test was handled in this case in general.

It’s safe to say that almost every such case now yields invalidity. Courts understand, in light of Alice, that it’s a matter of great certainty. Software patents are out.

“Software patents are out.”If the rumours are true, the USPTO‘s patent examiners too will soon follow suit. Maybe the EPO‘s also?

The EPO mentioned PCT applications a few days ago and so did Patently-O (compare China to Korea in this graph). PCT is the Patent Cooperation Treaty and if one nation abandons software patents, we can expect others to follow the lead.

Moreover, as Patently-O pointed out a few days ago, better examiners will result in fewer incorrect patent grants. The research explores the “[r]elationship between examiner specialization and examination outcomes.”

“So it shows empirically that “specialization is associated with a more stringent examination process,” as one might expect. Lack of knowledge (or ignorance) in the problem domain leads to more patents.”The summary says, “we find a significant degree of technological specialization among patent examiners working in the same art-unit. This specialization is less pronounced in some of the computer-related technology centers. We found no evidence that examiners specialize in handling important or controversial applications. And it seems that specialization is associated with a more stringent examination process, perhaps because it allows examiners to more easily identify relevant prior art.”

So it shows empirically that “specialization is associated with a more stringent examination process,” as one might expect. Lack of knowledge (or ignorance) in the problem domain leads to more patents. Here we see the importance of the recruitment process, or the ability to attract top talent. It’s hard to mislead examiners who assess patents in their own field of expertise. Consider for instance this new example that says: “The court found the defendant’s argument “not unreasonable,” but nonetheless rejected it. The “great weight of the case law” made clear that the duty to “disclose all material information to the patent examiner” did not extend to ensuring that “the patent examiner understands that information.””

Sadly, if the examiners don’t understand, they often just grant patents. It should be the exact opposite. If the applicant cannot properly explain to the examiners what is being claimed, then the examiner should assume it’s likely intentional. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough,” Albert Einstein famously said. He too was a patent clerk (before becoming famous).

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