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East Asia — Mainland China in Particular — Already Becoming a Victim of Its Patent Policy as Software Patent Trolls Prey on Producing Companies

Posted in Asia, Patents at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Neither bad decisions nor term limits can stop ‘Pooh the Bear’

Pooh the Bear

Summary: The highly misguided patent policy (disregarding quality control) has so far led to a saturation of patent trolls and a lot of predation which already drives LG out of China and might soon cause other companies (maybe Samsung) to do the same; the ‘MPEG cartel’, whose Western patents are expiring, is going on a fishing expedition in China

As many concerned observers have warned for number of years (us included), China is becoming a haven for patent trolls. It has become friendly towards software patents and mass litigation (the EPO imitates this, whereas the USPTO goes in the opposite direction, which helps explain the surge of patent trolls in Europe — even before a UPC-like regime — and their demise in the US).

Some hours ago IAM said that large companies are becoming prime targets of Chinese patent trolls (IAM did not use the term “patent trolls” because it’s a denialist, paid by the ‘industry’ that stands to benefit from such denials). To quote:

Last November, IAM reported that Samsung Electronics, already locked in a high-stakes litigation battle with Huawei, was also facing multiple NPE suits in Chinese courts. One of the NPE plaintiffs was Shenzhen Dunjun Technology, and it was asserting a patent originally assigned to none other than Huawei. A search of Chinese court rulings reveals that this suit was not necessarily a one-off connected to the Samsung-Huawei dispute. Dunjun’s assertions go back several years, and include very large companies, both foreign and domestic.

According to an article published in the Chinese media, Dunjun is a licensing company set up in 2014, whose executive team includes former employees of Huawei, Foxconn and other technology companies with a major presence in the Shenzhen area. The assignments record shows that the company acquired several patents from Huawei during the summer of 2015. Beyond that transaction it is unclear whether Dunjun has any kind of ongoing relationship with Huawei.

This is the kind of thing which China possibly hopes will drive away foreign competitors. Perhaps that was all along the strategy of Pooh the Bear.

IAM is of course delighted; remember who IAM fronts for!

“A very positive step in China for Fraunhofer,” IAM wrote earlier about the MPEG-LA cabal getting revenue from China (we wrote about it this morning). Huawei has already come under attack from Microsoft-connected trolls and now this? “Via Licensing and Sisvel announced remarkably similar multi-generation SEP licensing programmes yesterday,” IAM added. “Press releases just 33 minutes apart… coincidence?”

Sisvel is a bully, not just an enforcer for trolls. Here’s the press release in question:

Via Licensing, the leading provider of intellectual property solutions, announced today that it is launching a new multi-generational licensing program for wireless technologies. The program offers one of the largest combined cellular standard-essential patent portfolios for licensing connected devices, including smartphones, tablet computers, connected motor vehicles and other IoT devices.

Via is Taiwanese and Via Licensing licences MPEG-2 AAC, MPEG-4 etc.

What’s interesting about all this is that acceptance of software patents in Asia seems to be having a ripple effect even at a time when many MPEG patents expire. Those were, without exception, software patents.

CAFC and PTAB Are Both Being Insulted by the Patent Maximalists, Who Resort to Offensive Cartoons and Lies

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 1:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Judge Reyna

Summary: The plaintiff-hostile patent courts, which have become strict on patent scope, are receiving scorn and abuse from the patent ‘industry’; the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), for example, sees a judge of Mexican heritage caricaturised as shown above

SOFTWARE patents continue their rapid demise in the United States.

Earlier on the Docket Navigator highlighted this new decision wherein a USPTO-granted patent got invalidated (under 35 U.S.C. § 101). “The court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment that the asserted claims of plaintiff’s gaming machine patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter and found that the claims lacked an inventive concept,” said the summary.

“Unified Patents has also just noted that its PTAB petition was likely successful and the “Walker Innovation” [sic] patent likely invalidated.”One can imagine that the court/trial fees (attorneys etc.) were a lot higher than the cost of PTAB petitions (IPRs).

Unified Patent has also just noted that its PTAB petition was likely successful and the “Walker Innovation” [sic] patent likely invalidated. To quote:

On February 23, 2018, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 8,549,310 owned and asserted by Certified Measurement, a subsidiary of Walker Innovation and well-known NPE. The ’310 patent, directed to a “method and apparatus for secure measurement certification,” has been asserted in multiple cases against such companies as Yokogawa America, ABB, and Alstom.

This has become the norm rather than a rarity. The patent micrososm is just trying to cause a controversy and allege that PTAB does not assess evidence/facts. It’s an old and easy-to-debunk lie (typically promoted in sites of patent trolls) which Patently-O contributed to with a silly (potentially racist) meme he had made about Federal Circuit Judge Rayne (see above, we had made a copy before he removed it and apologised). There’s this new example of efforts to push this lie all the way up to the Supreme Court. We’re not worried because the Supreme Court repeatedly rejected petitions to review Alice-type cases.

“The patent micrososm is just trying to cause a controversy and allege that PTAB does not assess evidence/facts.”We don’t expect the patent micrososm to quit trying all sorts of tricks. Patently-O has already attempted to slow down PTAB and CAFC. Patently-O‘s Dennis Crouch was even asking his students to write essays which suit his agenda some years back (which raises ethical questions about his employer) and days ago he returned to student essays, this time from Lauren Kimmel about “Science Fiction Law”. It wasn’t long ago when we saw high school students exploited by Watchtroll for anti-PTAB propaganda, shrewdly constructed in a “think about the children!” fashion.

Another site of the patent micrososm wrote a PTAB rant last week. Andrew Williams said:

Last year, the Federal Circuit decided the Aqua Products, Inc. v. Matal case en banc in what could be considered the epitome of a fractured decision. After 148 pages and five separate opinions, the only agreed-to result could be summed up in two conclusions: (1) that the PTO had not adopted a rule regarding the burden of persuasion, and that (2) because there was nothing that was entitled to deference, “the PTO may not place that burden on the patentee.” Nevertheless, Judge Rayne’s concurrence-in-part, at Part III, articulated a rule regarding the burden of production, even if there was disagreement whether it was a judgement of the Court or mere “cogitations.” This conclusion was that, in the absence of a properly promulgated rule, “the Patent Office must by default abide by the existing language of inter partes review statute and regulations, § 316(d) and 37 C.F.R. § 42.121, which only allocate a burden of production to the patent owner.” At the time, we did not know whether the Board would follow Judge Rayne’s pronouncement. But in the interim, the picture has become clear.

That’s the same Judge Rayne which Crouch did an offensive cartoon about. Considering what we showed in the previous post, they now have an ally in the Koch Brothers, who are deep-pocketed and notoriously reckless when they intervene in policy. They cannot get the Supreme Court to revisit patent scope, so right now they meddle in Oil States, hoping to undermine the principal or most prolific enforcer of patent scope (PTAB).

Richard Epstein From a Koch-Funded Think Tank Attacks PTAB Because PTAB Squashes Weak Patents That Only Exist for Protectionism and Offense

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 12:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Under the guise of ‘small government’ or ‘limited government’ (the slant used by billionaires to thwart regulations)

Richard Epstein
Richard Epstein’s bio above. Basically a serial lobbyist for keeping the government from intervening in the business affairs of plutocrats like the Koch Brothers (serial polluters).

Summary: A think tank of the Koch Brothers, typically known as “Fed Soc” (a misnomer), is the latest example of corruption/perturbation of the law by billionaires; they are not happy to see patent quality being improved or the threshold/bar raised

EARLIER THIS year we wrote about how and why the Koch Brothers are attacking the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Earlier today we wrote about one of their ‘scholars’, who are basically just drinking off billionaires’ duds in exchange for corrupt (paid-for) ‘research’. Right now, for example, their eyes are set on Congress, the Supreme Court, and the USPTO. This isn’t “normal” and it is definitely not “acceptable”. What we have here is a bunch of billionaires just trying to virtually if not literally ‘buy’ the law. We also know what they want: more for themselves and less for everyone else. They want protectionism, tax cuts, relaxation of regulations and so on.

Watch how villainous staff of theirs (bio above, showing direct affiliation) fires away another very long rant about PTAB. We know who’s paying for this and it’s not Richard Epstein’s pro bono endeavour. “MUST READ by Richard Epstein,” a patent maximalist called it, latching onto a think tank (or AstroTurfing for billionaires) because that suits his personal agenda. To quote the concluding words:

Oil States gives the Supreme Court the chance to stop a process that has already run off the rails. And if it does not, Congress should take steps to restore the proper constitutional balance.

Epstein also writes for SCOTUS Blog, which actually raises all sorts of questions about Koch influence over the Supreme Court. Is everything up for sale? Even the law or court rulings? It’s no secret that SCOTUS Blog has a special relationship with SCOTUS itself, as noted several times in the past (ethical questions brought up).

We already know why these people want PTAB squashed (for example by influencing the outcome of Oil States). Charles Bieneman, for example, has just covered this new district court decision (mentioned here a few days ago) that very obviously involves software patents (clearly a bunk/bogus patent). To quote: “Claims reciting a “method of playing back a recorded signal” are “directed to the [patent-ineligible] abstract idea of choosing to playback media with or without playback preferences,” held the court in D&M Holdings, Inc. v. Sonos, Inc., No. 16-141-RGA (D. Del. Feb 16, 2018). The court thus granted summary judgment of invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 101 of U.S. Patent No. 7,995,899.”

This is more of what we’ve become accustomed to. Here’s a new PTAB example (not even court):

In constructing a term in the independent claim in the inter parte review of Kranos Corporation v. Riddell, Inc., (Case IPR2016-01649, Final Written Decision on Feb. 7, 2018), the Patent Trial & Appeals Board rejected the application of the doctrine of claim differentiation based on a clear definition of the term that was provided in the specification.


This is another example of how clear definitions and consistent use of those definitions can be beneficial for claim construction. This case can be compared to another recent post in which a district court did apply the doctrine of claim differentiation to determine the broadest reasonable interpretation of a claim term.

Another site, this one dedicated to PTAB matters, is now cherry-picking to find those very rare cases where appealing a PTAB ruling results in anything but more lawyer fees. Remember that they profit from appeals too, which they oversell as it’s another “transaction” for them.

Here’s this exception:

Obtaining a remand on an appeal from the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) is of course a win for the Patent Owner, but may result in an ultimate loss when the case is revisited at the PTAB. The Feb. 12, 2018 Federal Circuit opinion, In Re Hodges, No. 2017-1434, (Fed. Cir. Feb. 12, 2018), highlights the importance of anticipating appellate review when developing the IPR record and choosing response strategies during patent prosecution to put the Patent Owner in the best position possible for a full reversal of the PTAB’s decision rather than a remand.

What’s currently at stake at Oil States is AIA/PTAB/IPRs but more precisely the authority of PTAB to invalidate patents that were granted (potentially years beforehand). If the lobbying of the Koch Brothers (they’re not alone in this) succeeds, there’s danger to PTAB’s very existence. It’s therefore important to point out where the money comes from and why. These people (Kochs) couldn’t care any less about the quality of patents; it’s not even an ideological question to them as it’s mostly about the government’s ability to take back what they deem ‘private’ ‘property’ ‘rights’ (it's none of these things). They disguise themselves as Libertarian, but what they really stand for is limitless greed and absence of regulations.

The EPO’s Appeal Boards Remain Utterly Dependent and Far From Impartial After Battistelli’s Assault on Their Independence

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Team Chinchilla’ is very pleased about the exile/exodus of judges

Boards of Appeal President Carl Josefsson, EPO Vice President Raimund Lutz, Haar Mayor Gabriele Müller, Administrative Council Chairman Christoph Ernst

Summary: In spite of their mass ‘relocation’ (exile) to Haar, judges of the Boards of Appeal do not feel independent and the recent forced exile (to another country) of their colleague Patrick Corcoran reaffirms this perception, not to mention the Appeal Boards’ Vice President, who is also oddly chosen (like Carl Josefsson above, on the left)

THE MANAGEMENT of the EPO is having another go at changing perceptions because of the UPC. It wants the public, the stakeholders, German judges etc. to actually believe that all problems at the BoA (Boards of Appeal) have been resolved. The EPO, moreover, tries to interject the perception of public input on BoA. We wrote about this several times before and earlier today too the EPO wrote: “Help us improve the efficiency and predictability of proceedings before the EPO Boards of Appeal.”

“The EPO, moreover, tries to interject the perception of public input on BoA.”“A good start would be to reinstate Patrick Corcoran in his old role,” I told them. That’ll never happen though. They cannot accept the idea of a ‘dissenting’ judge, i.e. a person who does not speak Battistelli’s gospel (e.g. about the integrity of Battistelli’s appointees and patent quality).

As a matter of fact, things are getting worse at BoA, which months ago was sent to Haar as punishment (with the spin that relocation was really an attempt at enhancing independence). A few days ago someone in IP Kat (comments of course, as the posts are worthless propaganda and self-promotion these days) alluded to the Appeal Boards’ Vice President, i.e. deputy to Battistelli’s ‘approved’ pick of President.

“Tenures/terms are long enough to outlive Battistelli’s reign of terror.”“In Distribution of Business,” a source told us cryptically, “Vice President of the Appeal Boards is part of some Appeal Board. Can other members of Appeal Boards be independent if he will be deciding appointments of them?”

Of course not. Then again, the President too is selected in a sham process and Battistelli put his loyal 'chinchillas' in key managerial positions at BoA. Tenures/terms are long enough to outlive Battistelli’s reign of terror. He got his ‘dynasty’ all worked out, more so with former colleagues from INPI in many top roles. The next EPO President, who is also French, was Battistelli’s choice.

Links 27/2/2018: Linux 4.16 RC3, Wayland 1.15 Alpha, Mesa 17.3.6

Posted in News Roundup at 10:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Top 10 open source legal stories that shook 2017

    Like every year, legal issues were a hot topic in the open source world in 2017. While we’re deep into the first quarter of the year, it’s still worthwhile to look back at the top legal news in open source last year.

  • Has OSS finally come into its own?

    Many moons ago – more than 15 years, in fact – South Africa’s government decided it would go open source.

    Back in 2002, the Government Information Officers’ Council (Gito) – a body of government CIOs – released a policy framework document recommending government `explicitly’ support the adoption of open source software (OSS) as part of its e-government strategy.

    Some eight years after the policy document was released, open source as a solution got the nod, with some government departments actually making the move. Back then, open source was seen as a way to stimulate skills development.

  • Improving teamwork by engineering trust

    Even in highly mature open organizations, where we’re doing our best to be collaborative, inclusive, and transparent, we can fail to reach alignment or common understanding. Disagreements and miscommunication between leaders and their teams, between members of the same team, between different teams in a department, or between colleagues in different departments remain common even in the most high-performing organizations. Responses to their intensity and impact run the gamut, from “Why did someone take our whiteboard?” to “Why are we doing this big project?”

  • Community metrics: The challenge behind the numbers

    We are all obsessed with the numbers and statistics we can measure in our lives. We are concerned about our health, so we monitor our weight, blood pressure, and calorie intake. We also observe ourselves and our work environments to evaluate our efficiency and team dynamics. This mindset of focusing on the numbers carries over to how we evaluate open source communities.

  • Events

    • 6 Days Left to Submit a Proposal to Speak at LinuxCon + ContainerCon + CloudOpen China

      Submit a proposal to speak at LinuxCon + ContainerCon + CloudOpen China (LC3), taking place in Beijing this June 25 – 27, and share your expertise with 3,000+ open source technologists, executives and community members.

    • Yet Another Perl Conference :: Europe :: 2018

      The Perl Conference – which in the Perl community is usually referred to as Yet Another Perl Conference Europe (YAPC::EU) – is the annual meeting of Perl Mongers, developers, administrators, technical managers and interested parties in Europe. In 2018 the European Perl Conference will be held at The Studio in Glasgow between 13th-17th August.

    • SiFive to Host RISC-V Hackathon at Embedded Linux Conference

      SiFive will hold its first hackathon at the Embedded Linux Conference, providing an opportunity for developers to test SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed board featuring the Freedom U540 SoC, the industry’s first RISC-V based, 64-bit quadcore processor running Linux.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • It’s Resilient CSS Week

        Writing code that works in all web browsers at the same time is one of the most important things we do. New technology is coming out all the time. Yet many of the people visiting the websites we build are using old browsers. How can we use new CSS if it’s not supported in every browser — especially when users keep using old, crufty browsers? Do we have to wait until 100% of people have a browsers with the new feature? Don’t we have to wait until Internet Explorer is dead before we can use the new stuff?

      • Speed Without Wizardry

        Most of the improvements that mraleph implemented are desirable regardless of the programming language that is our medium. Excessive allocation rates make any garbage collector (or malloc and free implementation) a bottleneck. Monomorphization and inlining are crucial to eking out performance in both Rust and JavaScript. Algorithms transcend programming languages.

      • This Week In Servo 105

        Welcome back to This Week in Servo, and apologies for the long delay since the last update! Servo has continued making progress throughout that time, including shipping the Stylo CSS engine in Firefox among many other things. We’re resuming weekly updates now that the pressure has let up a bit!

        In the last week, we landed 87 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

      • Mozilla removes individual cookie management in Firefox 60

        The most recent version of Firefox Nightly, currently at version 60, comes with changes to Firefox’s cookie management. Mozilla merged cookie settings with site data in the web browser which impacts how you configure and manage cookie options.

        If you run Firefox 59 or earlier, you can load about:preferences#privacy to manage privacy related settings in Firefox. If you set the history to “use custom settings for history” or “remember history”, you get an option manage cookie settings and to remove individual cookies from Firefox.

      • Using Permissions to Establish Trust

        I used to work in an industry where being ISO 9001 certified was necessary in order to remain competitive. If you are unfamiliar with ISO 9001, it is a set of standards that requires a business to document each process, and then follow those documented processes. And every autumn, sure as the leaves falling from the trees, an independent auditor would show up to verify we were indeed documenting and following our processes. It’s like a tax audit you impose on yourself (and about as unpleasant).

        The idea behind ISO 9001, though, is that a certified business can be trusted, both in its business dealings and its delivered products. It is meant to convey a sense of quality and security to customers.

      • Firefox 59 Beta 14 DevEdition Testday, March 2nd

        We are happy to let you know that Friday, 2nd of March, we are organizing Firefox 59 .0b14 DevEdition Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on the following features: Toolbars & window controls and Default & custom theme support.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Weighing Open Source’s Worth for the Future of Big Data

      The open source software movement began in earnest 20 years ago, when a group of technology leaders in Silicon Valley coined the term as an alternative to the repugnant “free software.” Fast forward to 2018, and the concept has been cemented in our psyches. But does open source have the staying power to drive the next 20 years’ worth of innovation?

      There was, of course, open source software before 1998. Linus Torvalds created the first Linux kernel in the open back in 1991, and even IBM engaged in sharing of operating system internals going back into the 1950s.

  • Databases

    • MariaDB launches innovation labs

      he open source database company MariaDB is launching a research division aimed at tackling the most pressing issues in the database field.

      Speaking at the M18 user conference in New York yesterday, MariaDB CEO Michael Howard identified that the labs will focus on three key areas: “Machine learning, distributed computing and the use and exploitation of new chips, persistent storage and in-memory processing.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6 Review

      LibreOffice is an office productivity suite that is similar to Microsoft Office Suite. It has word processor program called Writer, spreadsheet known as Calc, and presentation as Impress. Other than these programs it also has a Draw, Base, and a Math program. LibreOffice can be installed on almost all platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux and certain UNIX OS.

  • CMS

    • SuiteCRM brings open source CRM to new level

      SalesAgility has announced the release of the latest version of SuiteCRM and a new online documentation platform.

      SuiteCRM is the worlds largest open source CRM, it was created after SugarCRM stopped its open source development of the product. It was first released in October 2013 as version 7.00. The latest release is 7.10 and comes with a series of enhancements.

      The second announcement around the documentation platform sees SugarCRM bring online documentation to the wider community. One of the changes is that it enables non developers from customers to add value to the community.

    • SalesAgility, the driving force behind SuiteCRM, joins Open Source Initiative as Corporate Sponsor
    • SalesAgility joins open Source initiative

      SalesAgility has joined the Open Source Initiative (OSI) as a Premium Corporate Sponsor. In some ways it is surprising that it has taken this long for SalesAgility to have joined OSI. SalesAgility are the developers of SuiteCRM, the leading open source CRM software. It was created in 2013 when it forked from SugarCRM. Prior to 2013 SugarCRM had an at times fractious relationship with OSI.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • An Open Letter to BSD-powered Companies and Projects

      For three years, the Tor BSD Diversity Project (TDP) has worked to bring the BSDs into the mainstream of the privacy-enhancing technology ecosystem (PETs).

      We aim to expand the use of the BSDs as a platform for Tor relays, public nodes in the Tor anonymity network. Tor is a critical tool for maintaining privacy online, frequently employed by journalists, human rights workers and those residing in repressive and censored environments.


      iIf your entity isn’t ready to run a Tor node, but you’re interested in donating resources such as bandwidth, hardware or some type of monetary support, contact us. TDP looks forward to assisting your staff in configuring and maintaining BSD relays.

    • [llvm-dev] [6.0.0 Release] Release Candidate 3 source, docs and binaries available
    • LLVM 6.0 Release Candidate 3 Arrives As The Official Release Nears

      The third release candidate is available today of LLVM 6.0 and its associated components like Clang, Compiler-RT, libc++, LLDB, etc.

      Hans Wennborg just announced the 6.0.0 RC3 milestone that is now available for download.


    • GNU Automake 1.16 Preps For More Changes Ahead Of Automake 2.0

      While Meson+Ninja remains all the hype these days when it comes to open-source build systems, the GNU build system isn’t going away any time soon and a key component of that was just updated, Automake 1.16.

      GNU Automake 1.16 has fixes around its automatic dependency tracking, improvements around dealing with the reproducible builds effort, a custom test suite driver for the Guile Scheme SRFI-64 API, and various other minor changes.

    • GNU Automake 1.16 released

      We are pleased to announce the GNU Automake 1.16 minor release.

      This release follows 1.15.1 which was made 8 months ago.

      See below for the detailed list of changes since the previous version, as summarized by the NEWS file.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • GREEN WAVES : GreenWaves Technologies Unveils GAP8, the Industry’s Lowest Power IoT Application Processor, Enabling Groundbreaking Embedded Artificial Intelligence at the Very Edge
      • GreenWaves Technologies unveils Gap8 processor for AI at the edge

        Grenoble, France-based GreenWaves is announcing its Gap8 internet of things (IoT) application processor today to handle low-power AI processing in sensor devices. The chip is based on the RISC-V open source processor architecture, and it is meant to solve problems that a lot of other processors were not designed to handle.

      • CEVA Extends its IP Platforms for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi with RISC-V

        Mobile World Congress – CEVA, Inc. (NASDAQ: CEVA), the leading licensor of signal processing platforms and artificial intelligence processors for smarter, connected devices, today announced that its market-leading RivieraWaves Bluetooth and Wi-Fi intellectual property (IP) platforms are now offered with an optional integrated open-source RISC-V MCU.

      • RISC-V Gains Its Footing

        The RISC-V instruction-set architecture, which started as a UC Berkeley project to improve energy efficiency, is gaining steam across the industry.

        The RISC-V Foundation’s member roster gives an indication who is behind this effort. Members include Google, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Rambus, Samsung, NXP, Micron, IBM, GlobalFoundries, and Siemens, among many others.

      • IoT apps processor boasts eight RISC-V cores

        Fabless startup Greenwaves Technologies has announced the availability of its GAP8 IoT application processor.

        Martin Croome, vp of business development, said: “GAP8 is aimed at battery powered devices performing content understanding and control applications. Examples include keyword spotting, beam forming and speech analysis. It could also be used for vibration analysis and face detection.”

      • 5 keys to building open hardware

        The science community is increasingly embracing free and open source hardware (FOSH). Researchers have been busy hacking their own equipment and creating hundreds of devices based on the distributed digital manufacturing model to advance their scientific experiments.

        A major reason for all this interest in distributed digital manufacturing of scientific FOSH is money: Research indicates that FOSH slashes costs by 90% to 99% compared to proprietary tools. Commercializing scientific FOSH with open hardware business models has supported the rapid growth of an engineering subfield to develop FOSH for science, which comes together annually at the Gathering for Open Science Hardware.

  • Programming/Development

    • Introducing Qt Automotive Suite 2.0

      We are excited to announce the Qt Automotive Suite 2.0, a great leap forward towards a unified HMI toolchain and framework for digital cockpit, available end of February 2018.

    • Qt Automotive Suite 2.0 Released

      Two years after unveiling Qt Automotive Suite 1.0 for designing digital cockpits for the ever increasing number of screens within cars, The Qt Company has today announced Qt Automotive Suite 2.0.

    • Conan package manager brings C and C++ to devops

      Conan, a distributed, open source package and dependency manager, promises to bring C and C++ into devops.

      The multiplatform package manager builds and shares native binaries. Conan’s ability to quickly create builds, port packages, and run them on different operating systems (Windows, Linux, MacOS, and FreeBSD) helps make C and C++ suitable for devops, said Harry Manley, a senior solutions engineer at JFrog, which sponsors the Conan project.

    • An ethical oath for programmers

      Nick Johnstone’s “Programmer’s Oath” is billed as “An oath for programmers, comparable to the Hippocratic Oath.” Naturally, it’s on Github and you can create a pull request if you think that Johnstone got something wrong.

    • Compiler bug? Linker bug? Windows Kernel bug.

      Flaky failures are the worst. In this particular investigation, which spanned twenty months, we suspected hardware failure, compiler bugs, linker bugs, and other possibilities. Jumping too quickly to blaming hardware or build tools is a classic mistake, but in this case the mistake was that we weren’t thinking big enough. Yes, there was a linker bug, but we were also lucky enough to have hit a Windows kernel bug which is triggered by linkers!

      In September of 2016 we started noticing random failures when building Chrome – 3 out of 200 builds of Chrome failed when protoc.exe, one of the executables that is part of the build, crashed with an access violation. That is, we would build protoc.exe, and then run it to generate header files for the next build stage, but it would crash instead.


  • Apple confirms it now uses Google Cloud for iCloud services

    Apple has confirmed that it uses Google’s public cloud to store data for its iCloud services in its latest version of the iOS Security Guide last month, as spotted by CNBC. Reports that Apple relied on Google’s cloud services surfaced in 2016 but were previously never confirmed.

    Apple had previously used remote data storage systems provided by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Apple’s edition of the iOS Security Guide in March 2017 still listed Microsoft Azure instead of Google Cloud Platform.

    The new edition describes its iCloud service: “The encrypted chunks of the file are stored, without any user-identifying information, using third-party storage services, such as [Amazon] S3 and Google Cloud Platform.”

  • Science

    • ‘Two-way signaling’ possible with a single quantum particle

      Classically, information travels in one direction only, from sender to receiver. In a new paper, however, physicists Flavio Del Santo at the University of Vienna and Borivoje Dakić at the Austrian Academy of Sciences have shown that, in the quantum world, information can travel in both directions simultaneously—a feature that is forbidden by the laws of classical physics.

    • Largest molecular spin found close to a quantum phase transition

      An international research team headed by Professor Dr. Annie Powell, a chemist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and Professor Dr. Jürgen Schnack, a physicist at Bielefeld University, has synthesized a new magnetic molecule. The team has reported the largest ground state spin ever attained. It is publishing its new findings today (26.02.2018) in the new Nature partner journal npj Quantum Materials.

    • Going with the DNA flow: Molecule of life finds new uses in microelectronics

      For sheer versatility, there’s no molecule quite like DNA. The iconic double-helix carries the genetic blueprint for living forms ranging from single-celled organisms to human beings.

      Recently, researchers have found that DNA’s remarkable properties of self-assembly and its ability to conduct electrical charge over considerable distance make it ideally suited for myriad applications, including tiny electronic circuits and computing devices, nanorobots and new advances in photonics.

    • MIT boffins reckon private browsing still leaks data, but they have the answer

      At MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the smart folk found that so-called private browsing modes aren’t nearly private enough. The researchers noted that such modes still leak data like DNS cache, file system info and “on-disk reflections of RAM such as the swap file”.

    • Stanford, MIT, Johns Hopkins University and Waterloo University eye Hong Kong as regional base for stem cell research

      Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University and Waterloo University want to form a consortium in the city to engage in biotechnology R&D, source says – but hurdles remain

    • China spirals past US in genome research

      The US government’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is studying if every American baby should undergo extensive DNA sequencing and analysis at birth, while China and other countries are already more advanced toward that goal despite rights concerns.

      DNA, the double helix of deoxyribonucleic acid, can reveal a person’s physical and psychiatric health, identity, relatives and other details. But databases of people’s DNA could also enable governments, police, hackers, corporations, forgers and others to abuse the information.

    • Forecasts of genetic fate just got a lot more accurate

      When Amit Khera explains how he predicts disease, the young cardiologist’s hands touch the air, arranging imaginary columns of people: 30,000 who have suffered heart attacks here, 100,000 healthy controls there.

      There’s never been data available on as many people’s genes as there is today. And that wealth of information is allowing researchers to guess at any person’s chance of getting common diseases like diabetes, arthritis, clogged arteries, and depression.

  • Hardware

    • Secretive U.S. security panel discussing Broadcom’s Qualcomm bid – sources

      A national security panel that can stop mergers that could harm U.S. security has begun looking at Singapore-based chipmaker Broadcom Ltd’s plan to take over rival Qualcomm Inc, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

      CFIUS, an opaque inter-agency panel, has been in touch with at least one of the companies in the proposed merger, one source said, and met last month to discuss the potential merger of the two big semiconductor companies, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The high-tech medicine of the future may be biased in favor of well-off white men

      The promise of precision medicine is that all sorts of information about you—your genetics, ethnicity, diet, even neighborhood—could be used to create highly personalized treatments for whatever ails you, replacing the one-size-fits-all medicine of the past.

      Doctors hope this will make everyone healthier. But a new report by the Data & Society Research Institute in New York says certain groups in the US are in jeopardy of being worse off when medicine is tailor-made. The one group notably not at risk: white men who can afford health insurance and a decent lifestyle.

    • Federal Watchdog Identifies New Workplace Safety Problems at Los Alamos Lab

      Los Alamos National Laboratory has failed to keep track of a toxic metal used in nuclear weapons production, potentially exposing workers to serious health consequences, a federal watchdog has found.

      The New Mexico lab’s failure to adequately track beryllium — small amounts of which can cause lung disease and cancer — violates federal regulations put in place to prevent worker overexposure, according to a report last week from the Department of Energy’s inspector general.

    • Trump Era Threatens the Rights of People with Disabilities

      In the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, Republicans in Congress have repeatedly threatened the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to Rewire, repealing the ADA would force significant cuts to Medicaid, compromising health care for people with disabilities. Medicaid pays for personal care assistants to help with employment, education and integrating in society for those with disabilities. Michelle Diament of Disability Scoop says that as of early January, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was also rescinding guidance documents related to ADA.

      The possible repeal of the ADA and the rescinding of documents by Sessions are alarming to the disabled community. Guidance documents define expectations on everything from “service animals to accessible building practices as well as a 2016 letter on employment of people with disabilities.” Documents such as these are important because they offer civil rights and protections to people with disabilities. One of the documents, established in 2016, enforces opportunities for people with disabilities to be gainfully employed. The main concern is that without such guidance people with disabilities will be employed in sheltered workshops, away from other employees.

    • Trump White House Releases Biopharmaceutical Pricing Reform White Paper

      The White House Council of Economic Advisers recently released a report titled, “Reforming Biopharmaceutical Pricing at Home and Abroad.” [Report] The Report points to basically two problems: 1) overpricing in the United States; and 2) underpaying outside the United States.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Developer gets prison after admitting backdoor was made for malice

      An Arkansas man has been sentenced to serve almost three years in federal prison for developing advanced malware that he knew would be used to steal passwords, surreptitiously turn on webcams, and conduct other unlawful actions on infected computers.

    • New bypass and protection techniques for ASLR on Linux

      Many important application functions are implemented in user space. Therefore, when analyzing the ASLR implementation mechanism, we also analyzed part of the GNU Libc (glibc) library, during which we found serious problems with stack canary implementation. We were able to bypass stack canary protection and execute arbitrary code by using ldd.

      This whitepaper describes several methods for bypassing ASLR in the context of application exploitation.

    • Who Wasn’t Responsible for Olympic Destroyer?

      Evidence linking the Olympic Destroyer malware to a specific threat actor group is contradictory, and does not allow for unambiguous attribution. The threat actor responsible for the attack has purposefully included evidence to frustrate analysts and lead researchers to false attribution flags. This false attribution could embolden an adversary to deny an accusation, publicly citing evidence based upon false claims by unwitting third parties. Attribution, while headline grabbing, is difficult and not an exact science. This must force one to question purely software-based attribution going forward.

    • A Technical Deep Dive: Securing the Automation of ACME DNS Challenge Validation

      Earlier this month, Let’s Encrypt (the free, automated, open Certificate Authority EFF helped launch two years ago) passed a huge milestone: issuing over 50 million active certificates. And that number is just going to keep growing, because in a few weeks Let’s Encrypt will also start issuing “wildcard” certificates—a feature many system administrators have been asking for.

    • Linux 4.16 Receives More Spectre & Meltdown Fixes/Optimizations

      The in-development Linux 4.16 kernel has already received a few rounds of updates for the mitigation work on the Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities while more is on the way.

      Thomas Gleixner today sent in another batch of “x86/pti” updates for Linux 4.16 in further addressing these CPU security vulnerabilities that were made public in early January.

    • SecOps Spends Its Days Monitoring

      Developers, Security and Operations: DevSecOps. The operations part of the term usually refers to IT operations. However, today narrows in on SecOps, that work in security operations centers (SOCs) and cyber incident response teams (CIRTs). The Cyentia Institute’s survey of 160 of these security analysts shows they face some of the same challenges developers and IT operations teams do. They spend more time on monitoring than any other activity, but they much rather solve problems and “hunt” new threats. SecOps does not like reporting or something called Shift Ops — the actual details of change control and making sure the team doesn’t burn out. Given the shortage of information security professionals, it is concerning that only 45 percent of respondents said their job experience was meeting their expectations.

    • Covert ‘Replay Sessions’ Have Been Harvesting Passwords by Mistake

      Bulk data collection is always a privacy red flag. But the Princeton research group that first published findings about session replay scripts has uncovered a troubling series of situations where seemingly well-intentioned safeguards fail, leading to an unacceptable level of exposure.

    • How to Check if Your Password Has Been Stolen
    • More than half of IT pros believe their organization was breached at least once in 2017
  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Slovakian journalist investigating claims of tax fraud linked to ruling party shot dead

      Ján Kuciak, 27, and his fiancee, Martina Kušnírová, were discovered shot dead in the home they shared after worried relatives alerted police, saying it had been a week since they had heard from the couple.

      Slovakia’s most senior police officer, Tibor Gašpar, told reporters the murders “likely have something to do with [Kuciak’s] investigative activities”.

    • The mediation proposal on the Assange case “has not enhanced”

      Ecuador’s proposal to the United Kingdom for a mediation on the case of Julian Assange “has not enhanced,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, Maria Fernanda Espinosa. “To mediate you need two parties, Ecuador is willing, but not necessarily the other party”, she explained.

    • Julian Assange: Ecuador says UK ‘at fault’ as talks on future break down

      Julian Assange looks set to continue his “refugee” status indefinitely after Ecuador admitted talks with the UK over his exit from its London embassy have failed.

      Maria Fernanda Espinosa, the South American country’s foreign minister, suggested British officials had been unwilling to negotiate over the Wikileaks founder’s potential release.

      Earlier this month, Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot upheld the warrant for the arrest of Mr Assange for skipping bail – saying he should have the courage to face court and not feel he is “above the law”.

      His legal team again argued that the outstanding warrant – which dates back to 2012 – should be dismissed because it had “lost its purpose and function” after a Swedish investigation over sex-related allegations was dropped last year.

    • Ahead of Trial, Government Vilifies NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner

      As whistleblower Reality Winner nears trial, prosecutors for the United States government have focused on framing Winner as “anti-American,” denying her bail and due process, and depriving her defense attorneys of adequate access to resources.

      Winner, an Air Force veteran working for an intelligence contractor in Augusta, Georgia, printed out and mailed a classified NSA document to The Intercept in May 2017. The document reported that Russian hackers conducted cyberattacks against a United States voting software supplier and sent phishing emails to more than 100 election officials leading up to the November 2016 election, though the data used to develop this analysis was not included in the report.

    • Julian Assange hung out to dry — yet again

      Italian investigator Maurizi, using freedom of information requests, and with the support of her newspaper Repubblica, has unearthed some of the real motives underlying the British attitude. It has nothing to do with “justice” and everything to do with kowtowing to the Americans — the latter making no secret of their desire to see Assange prosecuted for treason and locked up for a very long time.

      Maurizi showed that the Swedish authorities wanted to drop the sexual assault charges back in 2013, but were persuaded by the British to keep the case going.

      The British efforts included dissuading the Swedish authorities from coming to London to interview Assange, despite repeated offers from him, and a history of such interviews in 44 other extradition cases involving Sweden and the United Kingdom.

      The Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, wrote to the Crown Prosecution Service on 18 October 2013, advising her British contacts that Swedish law would not allow the extradition case to continue. This followed an earlier email from the British to the Swedish authorities, saying ‘don’t you dare get cold feet’.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Are Driving Bans Coming for German Cities?

      A court ruling could ban millions of diesel cars from German city centers, rendering the vehicles worthless. The federal government has considered responding with free public transportation and by forcing car manufacturers to submit to new requirements. By DER SPIEGEL Staff

    • Major EPA reorganization will end science research program

      A federal environmental program that distributes grants to test the effects of chemical exposure on adults and children is being shuttered amidst a major organization consolidation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

      The National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) will no longer exist following plans to combine three EPA offices, the agency confirmed to The Hill Monday.

      The program provides millions of dollars in grants each year.

      Perhaps best known for its handling of fellowships that study the effects of chemicals on children’s health, NCER will be dissolved and science staff serving there will be reassigned elsewhere within the department, EPA said.

    • Relying on renewables alone significantly inflates the cost of overhauling energy

      A growing number of US cities and states have proposed or even passed legislation that would require producing all electricity from renewable energy sources like solar and wind within a few decades.

      That might sound like a great idea. But a growing body of evidence shows it’s not.

    • North Pole surges above freezing in the dead of winter, stunning scientists
  • Finance

    • Coinbase: We will send data on 13,000 users to IRS

      Coinbase reminded its users that it is “unable to provide legal or tax advice.” The company also noted, “If you have concerns about this, we encourage you to seek legal advice from an attorney promptly. Coinbase expects to produce the information covered by the court’s order within 21 days.”

    • Capio to acquire the Swedish primary care group Novakliniken

      Capio has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of Novakliniken with operations in the southeastern parts of [Scania], Sweden. Novakliniken operates eight primary care centers and two branches, and provides some occupational health and dental services. 2017 net sales were MSEK 245. The acquisition of Novakliniken complements and strengthens Capio’s presence and healthcare offering in [Scania].

    • The American midwest is quickly becoming a blue-collar version of Silicon Valley

      Alongside the traditional high-flying software jobs that are plentiful in Silicon Valley, mid-tech jobs, loosely defined as tech jobs requiring less than a college degree, are growing fast in the Midwest. While not an official designation, mid-tech jobs can be defined as skilled tech work that doesn’t require a college degree: just intense, focused training on the job or in vocational programs like those of blue-collar trades of the industrial past.

    • Uber, Lyft drivers are making city traffic worse, studies find

      One promise of ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft was fewer cars clogging city streets. But studies suggest the opposite: that ride-hailing companies are pulling riders off buses, subways, bicycles and their own feet and putting them in cars instead.

      And in what could be a new wrinkle, a service by Uber called Express Pool now is seen as directly competing with mass transit.

    • American Manufacturing Doesn’t Have to Die

      Twelve-and-a-half million Americans worked in manufacturing in 2017, down from 14.1 million 11 years earlier.

    • Why blockchain challenges conventional thinking about intellectual property

      Cryptocurrencies are getting a lot of attention, but finance is only one of many applications of the blockchain technology behind it.

      Blockchain technology is poised to revolutionise almost everything from supply chains (including illegal fishing and human rights abuses), insurance and health.


      History is littered with examples of patents harming rather than aiding innovation. James Watt’s steam engine was an advance over existing steam engines, yet the technology could not be built upon because of Watt’s patents.

    • Chinese Tycoon Makes $9 Billion Bet on Mercedes E-Car Know-How

      A dozen years ago, Chinese carmaker Geely announced its arrival on the global stage with a giant “I Am Geely” sign over its stand at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Last week, Geely founder Li Shufu effectively added an “I am Mercedes-Benz” banner to his collection.

      Li on Friday disclosed that he has become the top shareholder in Daimler AG, the storied company that is one of the crown jewels of German industry. Li, chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said the 7.3 billion-euro ($9 billion) stake — 9.7 percent of Daimler’s shares — will help his company better compete as the likes of Google and Apple Inc. vie for a role in the shift to electric and self-driving vehicles.

    • The Dropbox IPO is a transformative moment for Y Combinator

      Dropbox on Feb. 23 announced plans to raise $500 million through an initial public offering (pdf), making the 11-year-old file-storage startup the first company in Y Combinator’s portfolio to make a market debut.

      It’s a big moment, and a potential inflection point, for the influential incubator. Y Combinator has a roster of big companies, including Stripe and Airbnb, that plan to go public eventually.

    • Cooke Aquaculture Pacific urges lawmakers to consider jobs, science-based policy, fair and equitable treatment

      Cooke Aquaculture Pacific urges lawmakers to consider jobs, science-based policy, fair and equitable treatment; Will seek NAFTA arbitration if ban on Atlantic salmon farming is approved

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump campaign gamed Facebook ads even better than we thought

      So how much did the Clinton campaign pay? Here it gets a bit tricky. Last fall, a member of the Clinton campaign team told me that their CPMs averaged $10 to $30, which they described as typical for a targeted Facebook campaign. But that figure represented the cost only of paid impressions. As described above, ads that perform well can reach larger audiences as they receive likes, comments, and shares — so-called “organic reach.” That lowers the overall cost of the ad.

      When Parscale says “we had CPMs that were pennies in some cases,” he almost certainly took organic reach into account. (It’s very hard to place an ad for anything on Facebook for literal pennies.) Unfortunately, the person I spoke with at the Clinton campaign no longer had access to organic reach data. Still, they said, it was unlikely that organic reach would have lowered a $10 paid CPM to a $1 organic one, as my Facebook source had suggested.

    • FCC Republican faces ethics complaint after calling for Trump’s re-election

      Also on Friday, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly called for the re-election of President Donald Trump during his appearance at CPAC. Advocacy group American Oversight called for an investigation of O’Rielly, saying that he violated a rule against “engaging in partisan political activity while on duty.”

    • Bots, Assange, an alliance: Has Russian propaganda infiltrated the Philippines?

      Top Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that all 3 Twitter accounts shared news articles in support of Catalan independence. All 3 tweeted 24 hours a day. All 3 tweeted the exact same articles at the exact same times.

      The 3 accounts were “part of an online army of robot profiles, who, armed with gasoline canisters brimming with fake news, stalk social media and fan the flames of debate as ordered by their generals,” said Spain’s widest read newspaper and second most read online news site.

      “At the beginning of October, this army went to work on the issue of Catalan independence. Evidence shows a total of 87% of the 65 accounts who most shared RT and Sputnik content were automated,” El Pais said.

      “Those accounts helped ensure that Russian news outlets were the fourth most influential in the digital conversation about Catalonia.”

    • China Proposes Lifting Presidential Term Limit

      China’s ruling Communist Party has proposed scrapping constitutional term limits for the country’s president, which would give President Xi Jinping the option to stay on after the end of his second term in 2022. Critics see the move as reversing decades of efforts to create rules in China for the orderly exercise and transfer of political power.

      The official New China News Agency reported Sunday that the party’s 205-member Central Committee proposed that the term limits be removed from the constitution. The changes must be ratified by China’s parliament at its annual session next month, but that parliament, known as the National People’s Congress, has never rejected a law that the party or government has put before it.

    • China moves to silence outcry over abolition of Xi’s term limit
    • China censorship after Xi Jinping presidency extension proposal

      China’s governing Communist Party has proposed removing a clause in the constitution which limits presidencies to two five-year terms – which means President Xi Jinping could remain as leader after the end of his second term in 2023.

      The controversial move has ignited discussion on Chinese social media and pushed online government censors into overdrive.

    • Xi Jinping’s power grab ‘does hark back to darker times in China,’ says expert

      Critics shared Winnie the Pooh images, including one that showed the cartoon bear hugging a pot of honey and featured the caption, “Find the thing you love and never let go.” Pooh Bear is often used to represent Xi, though censors cracked down on that last year.

    • California Democratic Party declines to endorse Dianne Feinstein for re-election

      In a surprising show of discontent with one of California’s most enduring political leaders, the state Democratic Party declined to make an endorsement in this year’s U.S. Senate race on Sunday, snubbing Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her bid for a fifth full term.

      Her main challenger, State Senate leader Kevin de León, won the support of 54 percent of delegates at the state party convention here this weekend, short of the 60 percent needed to secure the party’s endorsement. Feinstein received only 37 percent of the votes.

      The rebuke of Feinstein by the party delegates comes even though the 25-year incumbent has led polls by wide margins and received the backing of political luminaries like Sen. Kamala Harris and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

    • Surveillance-happy authoritarian “Democratic” California senator Dianne Feinstein loses California Democratic Party endorsement

      Dianne Feinstein has represented California in the US senate for 28 years, garnering the California Democratic Party endorsement every year despite her far-right positions on mass surveillance, military adventurism, and authoritarian rule (she’s trumpeted these policies as evidence of her “independence”).

      After a quarter-century of legislative malpractice, California Democrats have had enough. Yesterday, the California Democratic Party denied her their endorsement. The candidate favored by the state party is State Senator Kevin De León, a moderate left-wing Democrat who backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election but says he admires Bernie Sanders’ campaign and platform.

    • The Democratic party is now publicly attacking progressive candidates

      In their desperation to win back the House in the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats have turned to eating their own. How else to make sense of the unhappy drama unfolding in Texas’ 7th congressional district?

      The district, which includes much of affluent west Houston, has a Republican incumbent named John Culberson, but was carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Culberson, a gun-loving, climate change-denying champion of Donald Trump, is a dreary exemplar of the kind of reactionary outlier who now passes as a mainstream Republican politician. And so the effort to unseat him has attracted a crowded field of seven Democrats, all vying to win the 6 March primary.

    • Who Benefits from Russia’s ‘Peculiar’ Doping Violations?

      Viewers of the 2018 Winter Olympics were offered a constant reminder of Russia’s supposed deviousness with the “OAR” – or Olympic Athlete from Russia – designation that Russian athletes competed under as a punishment for doping. The image of Russia being penalized for cheating fit in neatly with ongoing geopolitical narratives of Russia being blamed for election meddling in the United States and military aggression in Ukraine.

    • How the Anti-Democracy Movement Used Media to Command the Narrative

      As far back as 1835, perhaps our nation’s earliest and most astute observer, Alexis de Tocqueville, understood the power of the media. He described the press as “the chief democratic instrument of freedom.” But today our “instrument of freedom” seems to mean the freedom to enrich oneself privately, whatever it takes. How did we get to this sad state?

      In 1969, the US Supreme Court unanimously upheld the public-good understanding of the press, stating, “The First Amendment is relevant to public broadcasting, but it is the right of the viewing and listening public, and not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount.” In the 1960s, for example, media broadcasting gas-guzzling car advertisements had to pay for rebuttal airtime by public interest groups. But soon dramatic changes undermined this frame, as market ideology tightened its grip during the 1980s. “Television is just another appliance—it’s a toaster with pictures,” quipped Mark Fowler, the chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, as he mocked the very notion of media as a public good.

    • Chinese censors move to block ridicule of ‘Emperor’ Xi Jinping’s power grab

      Beijing’s vast army of online censors have been mobilised to stamp out the ridicule and criticism to the announcement that President Xi Jinping could rule for life.

      China proposed to remove a two-term limit from its president on Sunday, in a move which would see the current Chinese leader rule beyond 2023 and perhaps indefinitely.

    • End to term limits at the top may be start of global backlash for China, analysts say

      The proposed elimination of presidential term limits in China risks an international backlash over China’s strongman politics, but would help ensure the continuity of the country’s policies, diplomatic observers said.

      The bold move would send a message that Xi and his initiatives were here to stay and cement China’s ambition to fill the global leadership vacuum left by US President Donald Trump, they said.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • YouTube conspiracy video problem ‘bigger than thought’

      The problem of conspiracy videos on YouTube appears to be growing, with a data journalist unearthing nearly 9000 such clips after a search using the video platform’s API.

    • CJ Gopal Parajuli orders media censorship

      Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli on Sunday issued an interim order directing the Press Council to probe news reports published by Kantipur daily that highlighted discrepancies in his birth date mentioned by him in official documents.

    • China Proposes Lifting Presidential Term Limit
    • China’s move to abolish presidential term limits is more unpopular than the government thought — so it’s turning to censorship

      Criticism of the Chinese government’s desire to abolish presidential term limits has seen censorship soar since Sunday.

      China’s constitution restricts the president and vice-president to serving a maximum of two terms – 10 years – with President Xi Jinping’s leadership due to end in 2023.

      While censoring social media is a regular occurrence in China, the latest incident may mean the Communist Party’s proposal to scrap presidential term limits, and essentially allow President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely, was more unpopular than anticipated.

    • Curbing hate speech isn’t censorship – it’s the law

      IT IS hard to hear the phrase “political correctness” these days without reflexively appending the words “gone mad”. Thanks to self-appointed guardians of liberty, the inoffensive idea that people should try to avoid insulting language has been turned into a battleground over free speech.

      This might sound like a silly spat straight out of the pages of the tabloid press, but people who care about science ought to be paying attention. Free speech is a vital ingredient of enlightened scholarship and education.

    • Mistakes And Strategic Failures: The Killing Of The Open Internet

      Sometime tomorrow, it’s widely expected that the House will approve a terrible Frankenstein bill that merges two separate bills we’ve spoken about, FOSTA and SESTA. The bills are bad. They will not actually do what the passionate and vocal supporters of those bills claim they will do — which is take on the problem of sex trafficking. Neither bill actually targets sex traffickers (which, you know, one would think would be a prime consideration in pushing a bill that you claim will take on sex trafficking). Instead, they seek to hold third parties (websites) responsible if people involved in sex trafficking use them. This has all sorts of problems that we’ve been discussing for months, so I won’t reiterate all of them here, but suffice it to say if these bills were really about stopping sex trafficking, they sure do a horrible job of it. If you want to try to stop these bills, check out EFF’s action page and please call your Congressional Rep., and let them know they’re about to do a really bad thing. If you want more in-depth information, CDT has you covered as well. Finally, Professor Eric Goldman details piece by piece what this Frankenstein bill does and how bolting SESTA and FOSTA together make two bad bills… even worse, and even less clear as to what it actually does.

    • Letter: Board opening Pandora’s box for censorship

      Censorship of books is never good. Particularly when that book has been carefully chosen and is highly recommended by respected library sources.

    • Section 230 Isn’t About Facebook, It’s About You

      Longtime Techdirt readers know how important Section 230 is for the Internet to work, as well as many of the reasons why the proposed SESTA bill threatens the operation of the law, and with it the operation of the Internet. But especially for people less familiar with the ins and outs of Section 230, as the law hangs in the balance, we want to take moment to explain why it’s something that everyone should want to preserve.

      These days a lot of people are upset with Facebook, along with many other of its fellow big Internet companies. Being upset with these companies can make it tempting to try to punish them with regulation that might hurt them. But it does no good to punish them with regulation that will end up hurting everyone – including you.

    • Judge Tells Coal Boss Bob Murray The Judicial Equivalent Of ‘Eat Shit, Bob’

      Remember Bob Murray? He’s the Ohio-based coal mining CEO who threatened and then sued John Oliver and HBO over this fun episode of Oliver’s show, Last Week Tonight, which discussed the ridiculousness of our President’s focus on “coal jobs.” However, it also spent a fair bit of time talking about Bob Murray, Murray Energy, and how his actions did not appear to support actual coal miners. A prominent part of the story features the phrase (originally written by a coal miner at Murray Energy as part of the process to void a bonus check) “Eat Shit, Bob.”

    • Why muzzling social media is no answer

      The Russian government clearly sought to influence the 2016 election. This should not incite a rush to censor dissonant opinions on websites and social media, but that could easily happen in the good intentions to safeguard democracy from truly false and subversive content.

      Like the printing press, broadcast radio and television and cable television, the internet and social media revolutionized communications by making mass distribution of news and analysis more broadly accessible. That has widened public dialogue on everything from parking regulations to who should be president — it’s too good to lose even if it’s sometimes as annoying and discomforting as persistent demonstrations on the Washington Mall.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Case against alleged hoarder of NSA documents gets tougher for federal prosecutors
    • UK Metro Police Sued Over Phone Malware Purchase

      Last spring, a hacker who had illicitly obtained data from malware/spyware company FlexiSpy shared some of it with Motherboard. In the trove of customer data, it was discovered that one purchase was linked to an officer in the UK Metro Police.

      FlexiSpy is powerful malware, capable of gathering communications from multiple messaging services, as well as providing GPS location, emails, and phone call records. The purchase of this malware is questionable, considering it’s regulated under the UK’s Computer Misuse Act. The most obvious limitation of the malware is the fact that it requires physical access to targeted devices. But phones, tablets, and computers are seized all the time by law enforcement officers, and they’re sometimes returned to their owners after being searched. Malware like this would allow officers to hitch a virtual ride on someone’s phone or laptop, seeing everything they see.

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (18/21): Our analog parents had private conversations, both in public and at home

      Our parents, at least in the Western world, had a right to hold private conversations face-to-face, whether out in public or in the sanctity of their home. This is all but gone for our digital children.

    • The Problems With FISA, Secrecy, and Automatically Classified Information

      We need to talk about national security secrecy. Right now, there are two memos on everyone’s mind, each with its own version of reality. But the memos are just one piece. How the memos came to be—and why they continue to roil the waters in Congress—is more important.

      On January 19, staff for Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) wrote a classified memo alleging that the FBI and DOJ committed surveillance abuses in its applications for and renewal of a surveillance order against former Trump administration advisor Carter Page. Allegedly, the FBI and DOJ’s surveillance application included biased, politically-funded information.

    • Rancher Sues CBP After Officers Install A Camera On His Private Property

      The CBP’s habit of moving further and further inland in their search for deportees, drugs, and water to dump on the ground isn’t making it any new friends. Residents of small towns near the border are getting very sick of having to assert their citizenship multiple times a day thanks to Checkpoint Charlie camping out on every road out of town.

      The federal government doesn’t care. No sacrifice is too great to demand from citizens to keep this country safe from job seekers, victims of violence, and the occasional MS-13 gang member. Rights are optional within 100 miles of US borders and they’re completely nonexistent within 25 miles of crossing points. It’s this 25-mile cutoff that’s key to federal lawsuit arising from trespassing CBP officers and the spy cam they placed on the property of a local who’s spent years complaining about the CBP’s incursions.

      Cyrus Farivar covers the story of Texas rancher Ricardo Palacios at Ars Technica. And it’s a good one. Palacios discovered a camera on his property and took it down. Shortly thereafter, the CBP and the Texas Rangers rang him up, demanding the return of their surveillance camera. Palacios refused and was threatened with criminal charges.

    • Cakewalk for French tech-wiz, Aadhaar and Telangana portal easy hack

      A French security researcher on Monday breached the Telangana government benefit disbursement portal ‘TSPost’ and lay bare its vulnerabilities. The portal has account details including Aadhaar numbers of 56 lakh beneficiaries of NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme) and 40 lakh beneficiaries of social security pensions (SSP).

    • In re Silver – Texas Supreme Court Follows CAFC Lead and Recognizes Limited Patent-Agent Privilege

      I’ve written about Queen’s University, the CAFC case that recognized a privilege over patent agent communications, and the dissent by Judge Reyna who (properly) recognized that if its scope is limited to what agents are authorized to do, patent agents may need lawyers to advise them about the scope of the privilege.

    • Surveillance watchdog investigates security risks of GCHQ IT contractors

      The investigatory powers commissioner is reviewing the security arrangements for IT contractors that have access to live computer systems at GCHQ holding highly sensitive records on the UK population

    • MIT’s ‘Veil’ Fixes Holes In Private Browsing Modes To Boost Anonymity

      Web browsers’ private browsing mode is the first resolution taken by most users to protect their privacy online. But subconsciously they’re aware that the private mode or incognito mode is doing nothing but deleting the browsing activity from their computer. According to past studies, it’s possible to track people’s browsing habits even when privacy mode is enabled.

    • The Dropbox IPO filing is here

      The company is not yet profitable, having lost nearly $112 million last year. This shows significantly improved margins when compared to losses of $210 million for 2016 and $326 million for 2015.

    • Dropbox files to go public with over $1.1 billion in annual revenue

      Here’s what the filing said:

      • Revenue: $1.11 billion in 2017, up 31 percent from the prior year
      • Net loss: $111.7 million in 2017, narrower than 2016′s loss of $210.2 million
      • Average revenue per paid user: $111.91, up from 2016 but down from 2015
      • 500 million registered users, 100 million signed up since the beginning of 2017
      • More than 11 million paying users
      • Gross margin: 67 percent

      Dropbox will list on the Nasdaq under the ticker “DBX.” Dropbox’s plans to go public were unsealed by the SEC on Friday, after previously filing the documents confidentially.

    • Dropbox saved almost $75 million over two years by building its own tech infrastructure

      After making the decision to roll its own infrastructure and reduce its dependence on Amazon Web Services, Dropbox reduced its operating costs by $74.6 million over the next two years, the company said in its S-1 statement Friday.

    • Dropbox Gears Up for IPO

      Dropbox has filed an S-1 form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding its initial public offering (IPO). The company did not mention any pricing details in the filing, but it values the entire offering up to $500 million. The company intends to list its shares on the Nasdaq under the symbol DBX.

      The underwriters for the offering are Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Allen, Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets, Jefferies, Macquarie Capital, Canaccord Genuity, JMP Securities, KeyBanc and Piper Jaffray.

    • Military, FBI, and ICE Are Customers of Controversial ‘Stalkerware’

      Dozens of employees from US federal law enforcement agencies and the armed forces have bought smartphone malware that can, in some cases, intercept Facebook messages, track GPS locations, and remotely activate a device’s microphone, according to a large cache of data stolen by a hacker [sic] and obtained by Motherboard.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘Would you burn the Mona Lisa if it was sent?’: Our horror bureaucratic bungle

      It’s a bungle that has floored botanists around the globe and embarrassed the Australian government. How did 105 priceless and irreplaceable historical plant specimens, sent here by the French, end up being destroyed by biosecurity officers?

    • Texas police shoot man who disarmed possible church shooter

      Police in Amarillo shot an innocent man who helped foil a possible church shooting.

      The shooting happened shortly after 9 a.m. Feb. 14 at the Faith City Mission, a faith-based outreach organization. Police said Joshua Len Jones, 35, of Amarillo, barged into a church building at Faith City Mission, pulled out a gun and was holding about 100 congregants and church staff hostage.

      In the time between when police were dispatched and when officers arrived, a handful of churchgoers wrestled Jones to the ground. One of the congregants was able to grab Jones’ gun.

    • A Mother and Child Fled the Congo, Only to Be Forcibly Separated by the US Government

      The mother hasn’t seen her 7-year-old daughter in nearly four months, and the government won’t explain why.

      On Nov. 1, 2017, Ms. L. and her 7-year-old daughter, S.S., arrived at a United States port of entry near San Diego and presented themselves to border agents. Ms. L. had fled with her child from their home in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Ms. L. left in fear for her life. Now, the pair was finally in the United States, seeking asylum in a country where they thought they would be safe.

      Approximately four days later, Ms. L.’s young daughter was taken from her without any explanation or justification. When the officers separated them, Ms. L. could hear her daughter in the next room screaming that she did not want to be taken away from her mother. No one explained why her daughter was being taken away, where she was being taken, or when she would see her child again. More than 3 1/2 months later, Ms. L. remains at a detention center in the San Diego area, while her daughter is detained in Chicago, halfway across the country, without her mother or anyone else she knows.

    • 20,000 Protest Israeli Plan to Push Out African Migrants

      In other news from Israel, up to 20,000 people rallied in Tel Aviv Saturday to protest Israel’s plans to push out as many as 40,000 African migrants in the coming months. Israel is threatening to jail the migrants if they do not leave Israel. Protesters on Saturday condemned the Israeli government for shutting the door on refugees.

    • How Grassroots Activists in Georgia Are Leading the Opposition Against a Dangerous “Computer Crime” Bill

      A misguided bill in Georgia (S.B. 315) threatens to criminalize independent computer security research and punish ordinary technology users who violate fine-print terms of service clauses. S.B. 315 is currently making its way through the state’s legislature amid uproar and resistance that its sponsors might not have fully anticipated. At the center of this opposition is a group of concerned citizen-advocates who, through their volunteer advocacy, have drawn national attention to the industry-wide implications of this bill.

      Scott M. Jones and David Merrill from Electronic Frontiers Georgia—a group that participates in the Electronic Frontier Alliance network —spoke to us about their efforts to inform legislators and the public of the harms this bill would cause.

    • A Supreme Court Rebuke to the Trump Administration on DACA

      In a sharp rebuke to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court today refused to hear the government’s challenge to a lower court’s decision ordering the government to keep in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). Since the administration announced last fall that it was ending the program on March 5, many DACA recipients have already lost their residence and work permits.

      While the court’s decision is good news, it doesn’t end the uncertainty, confusion, and fear of deportation for the hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children.

    • Childhood Is Now A Punishable Offense

      Who here hasn’t inhaled helium from a balloon and talked in a cartoon voice?

    • Kansas Legislature Introduces Two Bills Mandating Speedy Release Of Police Body Cam Footage

      Two new bills have been introduced in the Kansas state legislature with the intent of forcing law enforcement agencies to turn over body camera footage in a timely manner. They appear to have been prompted by the family of a man shot and killed by police officers late last year. It took police 11 weeks to turn over footage of the incident. Even then, it wasn’t as though the footage was given to the executor of Dominique White’s estate. Instead, White’s father was “granted access” to the the body cam footage, which means he was able to watch the video on police equipment at a police station by himself with no other surviving family members.

      This is the state of Kansas’ current laws regarding body camera footage. Very few people are given access to footage and, with rare exceptions, the footage remains completely in the hands of law enforcement. The only people granted access to footage at this point in time are subjects of recordings, parents of minors who are subjects of recordings, attorneys for a recording subject, or a person’s heir.

    • Bias already exists in search engine results, and it’s only going to get worse

      The internet might seem like a level playing field, but it isn’t. Safiya Umoja Noble came face to face with that fact one day when she used Google’s search engine to look for subjects her nieces might find interesting. She entered the term “black girls” and came back with pages dominated by pornography.

      Noble was horrified but not surprised. The UCLA communications professor has been arguing for years that the values of the web reflect its builders—mostly white, Western men—and do not represent minorities and women. Her latest book, Algorithms of Oppression, details research she started after that fateful Google search, and it explores the hidden structures that shape how we get information through the internet.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Twitch community, YouTube creators join protest to save net neutrality

      Dozens of websites and internet agencies are banding together to protest the FCC’s decision to kill net neutrality.

      Internet advocacy group Fight for the Future has organized Operation: #OneMoreVote, which will take place on Feb. 27. The campaign will enlist the help of communities like Twitch’s and companies like Reddit alongside organizations like YouTuber Hank Green’s Internet Creators Guild, to raise awareness about the appeal process. Only one more vote in the Senate is needed to take the case to the House of Representatives, where cosponsors can vote to block the repeal of net neutrality. If unsuccessful, net neutrality will be repealed in April.

    • Charter Spectrum Fails To Wiggle Out From Under State Lawsuit For Crappy Service

      But the lawsuit also exposed how Charter was gaming an FCC program that uses routers with custom firmware to track real-world ISP performance. The lawsuit also hints at the fact that Charter executives toyed with intentionally creating congestion at peering points in order to extract additional money out of content and transit companies, something you’ll recall was at the heart of an industry battle with Netflix a few years ago. Those problems miraculously disappeared with the passage of net neutrality rules that governed interconnection (read: expect this problem to resurface with the elimination of the rules).

    • AMP: the missing controversy

      One of the main implications of publishing an AMP page is that the page will be served from the Google domain. Or whoever is serving the AMP cache, yet mostly that will be Google.

      This means less direct traffic on your origin, and more time spent at Google. Less traffic on your origin could mean less monetization opportunities. In general, it means less control of anything. You’re subject to whatever the AMP standard allows or disallows.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Exclusive interview with Johanne Bélisle, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office

      With respect to “brand Canada” from CIPO’s perspective, we strive to be known as a modern, internationally-leading IP office, one that provides high-quality and timely rights and that serves its clients well. We are a trusted source of IP information and knowledge for Canadian businesses and innovators. And we work in partnership with others, including our international partners in the IP ecosystem, to help make Canada a global centre of innovation. Canada is already an attractive place for business, trade and innovation to flourish, and we continue to make it more attractive all the time.

    • Trademarks

      • GUCCI as a well-known mark, with special attention to evidence, surveys, and unfair advantage

        Disputes involving luxury brands and the issue of well-known marks seem ubiquitous. Most often, two questions are asked: Is the mark at issue “well-known” and, if so, has there been dilution or an unfair advantage taken of the distinctive character of the well-known mark? A particularly interesting instance occurred recently before the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore involving the “GUCCI” mark, with particular attention to whether survey evidence was necessary and the need to prove that dilution or unfair advantage had occurred.

    • Copyrights

      • When a Pro-Copyright Rant Goes Wrong….

        It is no secret that copyright issues can trigger heated debates. On the one hand there are those who caution against stricter regulation, fearing that Internet freedom is at stake, while others argue that artists need more protection. Ironically, one of the most vocal pro-copyright activists lost sight of his core mission recently.

      • Most Users of Exclusive Torrent Site Also Pay For Services Like Netflix or Prime

        A survey carried out on HDBits, one of the world’s most exclusive private torrent sites, has revealed that even the most hardcore of pirates are happy to pay for content. The poll, carried out among more than 5,300 respondents, found that not only do 57% pay for streaming accounts on services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, but 26% use those platforms more than they use torrent sites.

      • BMG Wants Appeals Court to Rehear Cox Piracy Liability Case

        Music publisher BMG has petitioned the Court of Appeals for a rehearing of the piracy liability case against Internet provider Cox. The panel of judges reached the wrong conclusion when it overturned the $25 million verdict and issued a new trial, the company says. The RIAA and the National Music Publishers Association back the request.

      • Pirate Site Operators’ Jail Sentences Overturned By Court of Appeal

        Four men sentenced last year for their part in running several pirate sites have been told they will no longer have to spend time behind bars. After being ordered to spend up to ten months in prison, the court of appeal has now decided that for their activities on Dreamfilm, TFplay, Tankafetast and PirateHub, the men should walk free but pay increased damages to the entertainment industries.

      • ESA Comes Out Against Allowing Museums To Curate Online Video Games For Posterity

        A week or so back, we discussed the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) calling on the Copyright Office to extend exemptions to anti-circumvention in the DMCA to organizations looking to curate and preserve online games. Any reading of stories covering this idea needs to be grounded in the understanding that the Librarian of Congress has already extended these same exemptions to video games that are not online multiplayer games. Games of this sort are art, after all, and exemptions to the anti-circumvention laws allow museums, libraries, and others to preserve and display older games that may not natively run on current technology, or those that have been largely lost in terms of physical product. MADE’s argument is that online multiplayer games are every bit the art that these single-player games are and deserve preservation as well.

      • Does embedding copyrighted content constitute infringement? NY judge says yes

        In a summary judgement delivered on February 15, Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York ruled that embedding a tweet containing a copyrighted image on a website amounts to direct infringement.

IBM Has Become More of a Patent Broker Rather Than a Genuine Technology Company

Posted in IBM, Patents at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: IBM is becoming a lot more like Intellectual Ventures, namely a patent hoarder (tens of thousands of patents) looking to ‘monetise’ these patents using lawsuits, threats of lawsuits, feeding (arming) of patent trolls and so on

IBM likes to think of itself as ‘king of patents’ because for decades it was pursuing a lot of patents, including software patents, which the USPTO granted by the thousands (per year). What isn’t so well known, however, is how IBM uses these patents behind the scenes. It’s pretty brutal and it got a lot worse in recent years.

“The funny thing is that to people like these the trolls are heroes.”Finjan is a very malicious patent troll which was funded by Microsoft and as recently as last year was armed by IBM (IBM gave it patents to help the trolling).

Britton Davis and Max Colice wrote about Finjan yesterday. This troll is still being exploited by Watchtroll, which uses it to make a case for software patents and damages. The funny thing is that to people like these the trolls are heroes. To quote:

Patent damages law is one of the most complex areas in patent law and it is constantly evolving. Attorneys and courts often confuse the principles and get the law wrong. Further, even without the backdrop of constantly evolving and complex damages law, proving damages at trial is one of the hardest aspects of patent litigation. And properly apportioning damages can be one of the most difficult aspects of damages law to get right.


In Finjan, the Federal Circuit reached the opposite conclusion and remanded the case for failure to properly apportion the royalty base. Finjan, slip op. at 18-19. Finjan’s patent relates to virus detection software and creating a security profile for web addresses. Id. at 18. Finjan accused Blue Coat’s DRTR or “dynamic real-time rating engine” of infringing its patent. Id. The DRTR was itself part of a larger software product called WebPulse that helps companies set internet policies for their employees by categorizing different websites as containing different kinds of content. Id.

Finjan recently announced it financial results, after its stock/shares had collapsed over the years. Very many moons and even years ago Finjan actually had a product; it decided to become a proper patent troll about a decade ago and for IBM to send patents its way is worse than irresponsible; it makes IBM complicit in trolling.

“As Dropbox begins IPO process it has followed a familiar path in buying patents from IBM,” IAM wrote yesterday, having published this blog post that also mentions Facebook, Google and Alibaba (they left out HTC). To quote:

Dropbox filed the necessary paperwork for an upcoming IPO late last week, putting it on track to become the latest tech unicorn to go public. It is also on the long list of high-profile, multi-billion dollar start-ups that have acquired patent assets from IBM in the years leading up to a listing.

The file sharing business acquired 63 US patents and applications from IBM in 2016 in a transaction that was recorded on the USPTO assignment database last September. It has also bought assets from Intellectual Ventures, file-sharing rival SugaSync and, in a 2014 deal, picked up a portfolio of 105 US assets from Sony.

It’s quite likely that at least some of these patents would be worthless though; a lot of these are being invalided nowadays by PTAB.

We weren’t quite aware that Dropbox patents were also being bought from Microsoft’s patent ‘broker’ (troll) Intellectual Ventures. Now we know one thing that Intellectual Ventures and IBM have in common,

Patent Trolls Like Xperi and Fraunhofer Get Patents and Payments From East Asia

Posted in Asia, Patents at 4:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz



Panasonic logo

Summary: Xperi receives some patents from Panasonic whereas Fraunhofer, not quite a patent troll but still a major parasite, receives patent payments from the giant Huawei, a Chinese government-connected firm which uses a lot of Linux

THE demise of software patents in the US is great news (courts typically reject software patents that the USPTO granted), but at the same time software patents are gaining a foothold in China.

Benjamin Henrion correctly said that “no one in the software industry checks the patent database before writing code. If you know at least one human who does it, let’s schedule an interview, it will be fun!”

“Not just in software,” I replied. “Reading patents only makes the reader more liable (for higher damages)…”

The matter of fact is, in the domain of software which many people use, developers typically browse repositories and code, not patents. That just makes sense. It’s common sense. It’s better use of time. It’s therefore unfortunate that China decided to allow patents on software. Whose clever idea was it?

Based on this new press release, the Chinese government-connected giant Huawei now succumbs to demands from a de facto patent troll like MPEG-LA. They’re painting that as “Fraunhofer”, but it’s that same old patent pool of software patents. That cartel has managed to devour Huawei too. From the announcement:

Global communications equipment provider Huawei has entered into a worldwide patent license agreement with the renowned developer of audio and media technologies, Fraunhofer IIS, for Fraunhofer’s MPEG-4 Audio patent portfolio. The license agreement addresses past and future use of Fraunhofer’s MPEG-4 Audio patent portfolio in Huawei’s products.

Those are purely software; it’s all about software patents. Then again, can China pretend to be against them?

“Another Panasonic deal with an NPE,” IAM noted, “this time Xperi” (NPE just means patent troll). Panasonic is Japanese, unlike Huawei, and Japan’s JPO seems to have gotten a little tougher on patents lately. Is that what motivated Panasonic to offload patents onto a troll? As Managing IP noted this morning :

An increase in IoT players needing standard-essential patents has spurred the JPO to set guidelines. But IP practitioners are concerned the guidelines may not provide enough flexibility in SEP negotiations and will lack clarity

Those so-called ‘IP practitioners’ just want lots of legal disputes — the very thing Japan/JPO is trying to prevent here.

Going back to IAM, there’s also an article/blog post about it. Offloading patents to a patent troll like Xperi (which IAM was grooming earlier this month) may simply suggest that Panasonic sees no value or purpose for these patents. IAM said:

Xperi picked up a portfolio of chip patents from Panasonic last December, according to USPTO assignment records. It was the second small-scale transaction between the two in the space of about one year. For the publicly traded licensing company formerly known as Tessera, it is the latest in a series of portfolios sourced from Japan, Inc.

Assignment documents show that Tessera Advanced Technologies Inc acquired nine granted patents as part of the December, 2017 deal: five from the US, four from Japan and one from China. The patents appear to be related to various semiconductor technologies, and are packaged along with a number of abandoned or expired rights. The transaction came one year after a slightly larger deal in December 2016 saw the Xperi vehicle acquire around 20 US and foreign patents from the Osaka-based company.


It doesn’t look like Panasonic and Xperi have been involved in any courtroom tangles. But the relationship comes as no surprise. Panasonic has formed partnerships and completed deals with many of the biggest names among major NPEs and PIPCOs over the last several years.

As we noted in past years, Panasonic even claimed to have open-sourced its patents. We mostly take all that (or interpret it) to mean that Panasonic sees not much value in patents anymore and it gives them away. It previously paid Microsoft for some patents.

EPO Refuses to Admit that Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Dead, But It’s Boosting Others Who Are Lying About It for a Living

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Can you tell a lie by staying silent? Or by indirection?


Summary: Silence is gold to the EPO, which has not yet said a single word about the UPC constitutional complaint going forward; in fact, the EPO chooses to not say anything about the UPC in general, except indirectly

THE EPO has grown louder again about the UPC, albeit only indirectly, namely by retweeting some other account a few times yesterday. It’s quite revealing.

Months ago we published a post titled “Belgium’s Jérôme Debrulle, the EPO and the UPC Connection,” noting that Debrulle is Battistelli’s special friend and ally for UPC lobbying. There’s also a connection to Campinos. Here is what the EPO retweeted yesterday:

Jérôme Debrulle, Chairman of the @EPOorg Select Committee, will speak at the upcoming UP&UPC Conference on 3rd July in Munich. For more information: http://www.unitarypatentsystem.eu/ #patent #unitarypatent #IP pic.twitter.com/udqF7gyRPt

The FFII’s President, who is Belgian like Debrulle, said: “Items from the Belgian constitutional complaint are still valid, they will just have to be answered after the UPC is running.”

Another retweet reveals the role of Margot Fröhlinger. Are her days at the EPO numbered? The UPC is dead. She knows it (it’s her full-time job to lie about it though). What would her purpose at the EPO even be when all hope is gone? Might as well call off these UPC events/charades. Waste of money and effort at times of imminent cuts. The tweet in question said: “UP&UPC 2018 Conference on July 3rd: register now to benefit from the early bird rate: only €299 until end of February!”

Battistelli’s friend Yann Ménière will be there also. Battistelli is leaving, so he won’t speak there, unlike last year (Debrulle was there last year as well).

It’s just hard to understand why they keep pushing this dead thing, like beating a dead horse.

As it turns out, based on this new page, patent maximalists from the US are also meddling in EPO affairs; they too are UPC pushers (primarily for their troll clients; it does not put them at risk). To quote:

The Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (IPLAC) Patents-International Committee will be offering a presentation by Alfred Keyack, EPO Attaché to the United States, entitled “Inside the European Patent Office: Questions & Answers” on March 7, 2018 from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm (CT) at DePaul College of Law in Chicago, IL.

Remember who appointed Alfred Keyack. He’s another one of those Battistelli flunkies.

Meanwhile, IP Watch‘s Dugie Standeford, who is familiar with UPC and EPO scandals, writes about the constitutional complaint going forward. To quote:

The German Federal Constitutional Court has agreed to take up a challenge that could potentially derail the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The special – and opaque – procedure under the national constitution allows a single individual to claim constitutional breaches, said Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf) patent litigator Clemens Plassmann. The lawsuit leaves the UPC is disarray at least until next year, he said.

Meanwhile, in the never-ending feud between European Patent Office (EPO) management and staff, President Benoȋt Battistelli was forced to back off from a planned rule change that would allow him to fire staff members “if the exigencies of the service require abolition of their post or a reduction in staff.”

The UPC is dead. Many have already explained the timeline and why it means that only France (country of Battistelli) has ratified among countries that must ratify for UPC to come into effect. It’s very unlikely that the UK and Germany will ratify, but the patent ‘industry’ carries on lying about that.

Kluwer Patent Blog, for example, has just been pushing illusions and lies again, alluding to a “yet-to-arrive European patent with unitary effect” even though there’s no such thing and it is not arriving. Here’s yesterday’s paragraph in question:

The quality and speed of the examination process will hopefully make Spanish patents the natural alternative to the yet-to-arrive European patent with unitary effect, particularly for small and medium-sized companies seeking protection in less than four or five EPC contracting parties.

Spain will never ratify; it’s not interested in anything like the UPC and it already explained that the UPC would be detrimental to SMEs (which is true by the way).

Here’s another new comment about barriers to the UPC that are associated with EPO scandals. It’s about lack of independence:

If I have understood CA/D 18/15 correctly then suspension with full salary does not trigger the 24 month time limit. This first comes into play when there is a reduction of salary.

That means that the person can be suspended on full salary with no time limit for a final decision. Only if the salary is reduced will the 24 month time limit apply.

This can be extended in “exceptional circumstances”.
But what means here “exceptional circumstances” ?

Also it is unclear whether this provision applies to members of the Enlarged Appeals Board appointed under Article 11(5) of the EPC.

Is there now a two-tier judiciary in the Enlarged Appeals Board with one category of judge appointed under Article 11(5) and a second category appointed under Article 11 (3) ?

While the UPC languishes we expect the EPO to say almost nothing about it (except indirectly). Why? Because the only thing the EPO can tell about the UPC is something negative or an intentional lie. We suppose they decided to just keep silent about the whole matter. Maybe it’s their current policy.

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