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The Right-Wing Alternative für Deutschland Opposes Unitary Patent (UPC), Just Like UKIP in Britain

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Deutschland stamps

Summary: Additional barriers to the UPC in Germany; it seems as though things just get worse — not better — for the UPCA (Unified Patent Court Agreement) over time

TECHRIGHTS does not condone/endorse political parties and certainly does not support AfD (Alternative für Deutschland). It has, however, been mentioned by Mathieu Klos‏ that this nationalist party is becoming aware of the UPC and is opposing it. There was a similar situation involving MP Carswell (when he was in UKIP, after he had left the Conservatives and before he left UKIP to become independent). The link between UKIP and AfD is well documented.

Being parties that mostly/entirely oppose the EU, this should not be entirely surprising. UPC, unlike the EPO/EPC, is quite strongly connected to the EU.

“Being parties that mostly/entirely oppose the EU, this should not be entirely surprising.”Even Bristows’ Richard Pinckney wrote about it yesterday: “The Bundestag (German parliament) has announced here that on 15 March 2018 it will discuss a motion by the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, Alternative for Germany) political party calling for the repeal of two acts enabling Germany to participate in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and unitary patent system.”

See? So the UPC is only going backwards in Germany; many people now understand the sham vote by very few politicians who had personal stakes in the outcome. Pinckney went even further yesterday. He wrote about Stjerna’s constitutional complaint:

Dr Stjerna, who filed in the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) the complaint against the legislation enabling Germany to ratify the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC), has published here an update, reporting which parties the BVerfG invited or allowed to comment, and which of those did so.

Here is his update dated one week ago:

In August 2017, the FCC had served the constitutional complaint on both chambers of Parliament (Bundestag and Bundesrat), the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and all State governments, giving them the opportunity to comment until 31/12/2017 – until 31/01/2018 in case of the Bundestag – (sec.s 23(2), 94(4), 77 of the Federal Constitutional Court Act [BVerfGG]).

Within the same time limit, the Presidents of the Federal Bar Association (BRAK) and of the German Association of Lawyers (DAV) and – in reply to their prior written request – the Presidents of the European Patent Lawyers Association (EPLAW), of the European Patent Office (EPO), of the German Association for Industrial Property and Copyright (GRUR), of the European Patent Litigators Association (EPLIT) and of the Confederation of German Industry (BDI) were allowed to comment pursuant to sec. 27a BVerfGG.

A statement was filed by the Bundestag and the Federal government as well as by BRAK, DAV, EPLAW, EPA, GRUR and EPLIT.

It is worth noting that the EPO/Team Battistelli says absolutely nothing about the UPC nowadays. In fact, over the past month it has mentioned UPC only by retweets but never directly. It retweeted this promotional tweet earlier this week. It’s about an event stuffed with Battistelli’s friends. I joked with the EPO about it: “Does he [Yann Ménière] come with strings (so that Mr. Battistelli can hold him while he speaks)?”

“It is worth noting that the EPO/Team Battistelli says absolutely nothing about the UPC nowadays.”We already wrote about those attending this event, notably Jérôme Debrulle. By the time this event starts the UPC will have already died due to a combination of Brexit, not to mention the FCC and purely technical/legal grounds like a sham vote, judges lacking independence etc. Battistelli too will have left the Office.

Guest Post: EPO Defrauds Small Patent Applicant Company, Asha Nutrition Sciences, in Collusion with Applicant’s Own Lawyer…

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…depriving Europeans of solutions to lipid problem due to which public health suffers immensely—millions of Europeans are affected costing ~0.8% of GDP annually

EPO complaint
Formal Complaint (63 pages)

Summary: The manner in which EPO insists that applicants work through lawyers, combined with the manner in which EPO controls the lawyers practicing at EPO, essentially boils down to EPO exploiting small inventors in collusion with lawyers.

THE foundation to health is nutrition. The most important and difficult to manage nutrients consumed are lipids, which include omega-6, omega-3, and several antioxidants and phytochemicals. Most of the chronic diseases are associated with mismanaged lipid consumption, further immunity and daily well being is affected by lipid consumption, furthermore lipid requirements are different for different members of the family (by body size, hormones…). According to WHO statistics, 33% of Europeans above the age of 15 have a chronic disease (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, cancer, asthma, ADHD), a large part of which is associated with mismanaged lipid consumption including omega-6 and omega-3. Premature deaths of 550,000 working‑age people across European Union countries from chronic diseases cost EU economies EUR 115 billion or 0.8% of GDP annually.

“Board of Appeal disregarded the arguments and mounting evidence and issued a communication raising several far-fetched objections to Asha in April 2017.”Natural lipid sources, oils, nuts and seeds etc, are variable and unreliable in lipid content and composition, and they contain many components that materially affect lipid metabolism. Adding to the complexity is mass confusion in the field with many spins on what is desirable and what is not. For example, many bodies and publications have disparaged omega-6 or taught low amounts of omega-6 and low omega-6 to omega-3 ratios, even though omega-6 is the most critical fatty acid for health. It is extremely complex for public to solve this problem. For example, less than 1% of public can correctly name types of fats/lipids. Unless corrected, the problem will continue to cost millions of lives and billions of Euros every year.

Deeply understanding the problem, a small company, Asha Nutrition Sciences, Inc. (Asha) set out to solve the problem by pre-formulating lipids for public health. As small companies depend on patents to finance efforts, Asha filed for European patents at EPO in 2010.

“There was a sinister collusion at the oral proceedings between the Board and Asha’s lawyer to undermine the applicant.”EPO Examining Division issued many rejections under false pretenses, such as far-fetched clarity objections over terms such as “age of the subject”, and alleging blood lipid profile in a reference document anticipated applicant’s claims directed to lipid formulations for administration to subject. Asha patiently and diligently responded to all rejections, eventually, the case was appealed to EPO Boards of Appeal in July 2015, with long arguments and evidence. Board of Appeal disregarded the arguments and mounting evidence and issued a communication raising several far-fetched objections to Asha in April 2017. Asha responded to Board’s communication and appeared for oral proceedings with the Board on July 27, 2017, where the Board alleged “added matter” on the very claims that the skilled persons of Examining Division did not find added matter. Board inadvertently admitted that it relied upon “added matter” as an excuse to deny the patent.

There was a sinister collusion at the oral proceedings between the Board and Asha’s lawyer to undermine the applicant. There were five people in the room at the oral proceedings held on July 27, 2017. The Board (three men) with an agenda to deny patent because it would have solved many problems (unfavorable to EPO revenue), Asha’s lawyer (one man) concerned about maintaining his relationship with EPO/Board and uninterested in solving the problem because that might adversely affect his other revenue streams (from other clients). The inventor/applicant was alone, ganged upon, and violated by the Board in collusion with applicant’s own lawyer.

“EPO is unethical, tyrannical, and exploitative.”The manner in which EPO insists that applicants work through lawyers, combined with the manner in which EPO controls the lawyers practicing at EPO, essentially boils down to EPO exploiting small inventors in collusion with lawyers.

Lawyers are worried about their relationship with EPO, EPO is just concerned about fees that it collects (EPO is one of the few jurisdictions that requires annuity payments before patent grant, and the highest annuity fees), and EPO is the most unreasonable in that EPO denies restatements as “added matter”. Then EPO is just an unethical bottomline focused business that induces disclosure and denies rights, heedless to innovation. EPO is far from “strict”, strict implies following principles. No principles were followed at the oral proceedings of July 27, 2017. See Formal Complaint.

EPO is unethical, tyrannical, and exploitative. It functions as an oppressive 1920s governmental body, unbefitting of an organization whose charter is to spur innovation.

Links 7/3/2018: KaOS 2018.03, Chrome 65, Microsoft ‘Jails’ Debian

Posted in News Roundup at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Exploring free and open web fonts

    There is no question that the face of the web has been transformed in recent years by open source fonts. Prior to 2010, the only typefaces you were likely to see in a web browser were the generic “web safe” core fonts from Microsoft. But that year saw the start of several revolutions: the introduction of the Web Open Font Format (WOFF), which offered an open standard for efficiently delivering font files over HTTP, and the launch of web-font services like Google Fonts and the Open Font Library—both of which offered web publishers access to a large collection of fonts, for free, available under open licenses.

    It is hard to overstate the positive impact of these events on web typography. But it can be all too easy to equate the successes of open web fonts with open source typography as a whole and conclude that the challenges are behind us, the puzzles solved. That is not the case, so if you care about type, the good news is there are a lot of opportunities to get involved in improvement.

  • Divisive Politics are destroying Open Source

    Divisive Politics are destroying Open Source. Many Open and Free Software projects have been ripped apart, just in the last year, by politics that seem to serve no purpose other than to divide us as people. I take a look at three recent, and noteworthy, examples: FreeBSD, Node.js (part of the Linux Foundation), and Mozilla. Three organizations that have a massive impact on our lives (even if we don’t know it) — that have had divisive politics cause significant turmoil and damage to not only themselves… but the entire Open Source and technology world.

  • 3 open source tools for scientific publishing

    One industry that lags behind others in the adoption of digital or open source tools is the competitive and lucrative world of scientific publishing. Worth over £19B ($26B) annually, according to figures published by Stephen Buranyi in The Guardian last year, the system for selecting, publishing, and sharing even the most important scientific research today still bears many of the constraints of print media. New digital-era technologies present a huge opportunity to accelerate discovery, make science collaborative instead of competitive, and redirect investments from infrastructure development into research that benefits society.

  • OrbTV: Telefónica’s Lopez on Open Source for Network Automation & Virtualization

    Patrick Lopez, VP of Networks Innovation at Telefónica, talks about how vendors and operators can utilize open source to take more control over the design and programming of networks. In addition, Lopez examines Telefónica’s approach to edge computing, and use cases for the technology such as in IoT and robotics.

  • Check out the now open-source code powering UI layout in Heaven’s Vault

    The dev shared the code powering SLayout on GitHub for fellow developers to download and play with. All in all, Inkle Studios says that SLayout can be used in Unity to provide an easier way to handle layout properties and animation for text and UI elements.

  • Crowdsourcing FOSS Project Success: Clearly defined project data, a smooth path to widespread adoption.

    Today the Open Source Initiative® (OSI) announced its Incubator Project, ClearlyDefined, a crowdsourced project aimed at boosting the success of FOSS projects by clearly defining their status. Absences or ambiguities around licensing or known security vulnerabilities can erode confidence and limit project success. Project teams often are not aware of these concerns or do not know how to address them. ClearlyDefined identifies the gaps and works with project teams to fill them.

    “This is an important project to amplify the success of FOSS projects through wider adoption and confidence. It aligns closely with OSI’s mission to educate and advocate for open source,” said Simon Phipps, President of the board of directors of the OSI, curator of the world’s open source licenses.

  • Web Browsers

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Conference Recap: APRICOT 2018

      APRICOT is the largest annual internet community conference in the Asia-Pacific region. Nearly one thousand attendees show up for two weeks of workshops, tutorials and presentations. While the primary focus of the conference is on networking, the conference also attracts a sizable number of systems people. I also attended some of the APTLD conference which overlapped for a couple of days during the APRICOT workshop week. This was the first time I attended APRICOT.

    • BSDCan 2018 – selected talks
  • Licensing/Legal

    • GitHub makes open-source project licensing easier with an open-source program

      Open-source licensing can get … complicated. These days, many programs are 20 percent original code on top of 80 percent previously open-sourced code. To help address the resulting licensing complications, GitHub has open sourced Licensed, an internal tool they’ve used to automate some of GitHub’s open-source projects licensing process.

      That’s pretty impressive considering only a few years ago, GitHub’s laissez-faire attitude to licensing had led to 77 percent of all GitHub programs having no licenses at all. If that doesn’t sound important to you, then you’re a developer who’s never tried to commercialize their program.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Making climate models open source makes them even more useful

      Designing climate experiments is all but impossible in the real world. We can’t, for instance, study the effects of clouds by taking away all the clouds for a set period of time and seeing what happens.

      Instead, we have to design our experiments virtually, by developing computer models. Now, a new open-source set of climate models has allowed this research to become more collaborative, efficient and reliable.

  • Programming/Development

    • The top 10 programming languages and skills you need to work in open source

      On Tuesday, job search site Indeed announced that it has joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), an open source software foundation dedicated to making cloud-native computing universal and sustainable.

      The CNCF is part of the The Linux Foundation, and is a vendor-neutral home for fast-growing projects. Indeed relies on open source technologies such as Python, Apache, Mesos, and OpenTracing to build and deliver its products, according to a blog post making the announcement.

    • Software for a service like archive.org

      Can anyone recommend software for running a web service similar to archive.org?

      We are looking for something similar to manage digital assets within the Computing History Special Interest Group.

    • Only code at work? That doesn’t make you a worse programmer

      At the end of the day you’re done with work, you go home—and you don’t spend any of your free time coding. And that’s fine, you have other things going on in your life. But your coworker does spend another 20 hours a week coding, and all that practice means they’ll end up better programmers than you, and so they’ll get promoted faster, and they’ll get paid more. And that’s not fine.

      It’s also not true.

    • A few things I’ve learned about computer networking

      But I thought it could maybe be useful to list a bunch of concrete skills and concepts I’ve learned along the way. Like anything else, “computer networking” involves a large number of different concepts and skills and tools and I’ve learned them all one at a time. I picked most of these things up over the last 4 years.


  • The Great AMP Debate: The Ethics of Google’s Mobile Traffic Boost

    A lot of websites are seeing mobile traffic growth from using Google’s open-source AMP protocol, but critics are raising some big ethical questions. Are those concerns enough to dissuade organizations from using AMP?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Pharma, Nonprofits Collaborate On Affordable Hepatitis C Treatment In Latin America

      The Drugs for Neglected Disease initiative (DNDi), a nonprofit research and development organisation, today announced a collaboration with pharmaceutical companies and other nonprofits to manufacture and supply a “new, more affordable” hepatitis C treatment in Latin America. Hepatitis C medicines have been renowned for their high prices worldwide.

      From the press release: “A new collaboration between pharmaceutical companies and non-profit organizations will manufacture and supply a new, more affordable, hepatitis C treatment regimen in Latin America. An estimated 3.5 million people live with this viral disease in Latin America including around 325,000 in Argentina, with high treatment prices one of the many barriers to access for life-saving care.”

    • HP releases new germicide-resistant computers for hospitals

      The laptop lets you disable the keyboard and touchscreen while cleaning, so that nothing is accidentally inputted. All three products are built to withstand deterioration from being cleaned with germicidal wipes, which may help reduce the spread of health care-related infections.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Researchers detail new 4G LTE vulnerabilities allowing spoofing, tracking, and spamming

      4G LTE isn’t nearly as secure or private as you think it is. Mobile privacy and security are both at risk. Researchers from Purdue University and the University of Iowa have released a new research paper detailing ten attacks on 4G LTE networks. Some attacks allow fake emergency alerts to be sent to a phone, others allow for the spoofing or tracking of the target’s location. The attacks could be carried out with less than $4,000 of equipment and open source 4G LTE software.

    • Oracle Brings KPTI Meltdown Mitigation To Linux 4.1

      If for some reason you are still riding the Linux 4.1 kernel series, you really should think about upgrading to at least a newer LTS series in the near future. But if you still plan on riding it for a while longer, at least it’s getting page table isolation support for Meltdown mitigation.

      An Oracle kernel developer has posted patches bringing kernel page table isolation (KPTI, formerly known as KAISER) to the Linux 4.1 stable kernel series.

    • OpenIndiana Now Has KPTI Support Up For Testing To Mitigate Meltdown

      The Solaris-derived OpenIndiana operating system now has KPTI (Kernel Page Table Isolation) support for testing to mitigate the Intel Meltdown CPU vulnerability.

      Thanks in large part to the work done by Joyent on KPTI support for SmartOS/OmniOSce, the Illumos kernel used by OpenIndiana now has a KPTI implementation for testing. They have spun up some live install images for testing as well as an IPS repository containing a KPTI-enabled kernel build. With this KPTI work is also PCID (Process Context Identifier) support too.

    • A long two months

      I had a quiet New Year’s Eve and Day for the beginning of 2018. We had originally planned a trip away with my parents and some friends from southern California, but they all fell through — my father was diagnosed with cancer late in 2017 and their trip to visit us in the U.S. was cancelled, and our friends work in medicine and wound up being on call. One of Lou’s other friends came to visit us, instead: she was on a mission to experience midnight twice on January 1st by flying from Hong Kong to San Francisco. That might sound like an excuse to party hard, but instead we sat around an Ikea table playing board games, drinking wine and eating gingerbread. It was very pleasant.


      To mitigate Meltdown (and partially one of the Spectre variants), you have to make sure that speculative execution cannot reach any sensitive data from a user context.

    • Hackers Set New DDoS World Record: 1.7 Tbps

      Not even a week has passed since the code sharing platform GitHub suffered the world’s biggest DDoS attack recorded at 1.35Tbps. Just four days later, the world record of the biggest DDoS has been broken in an attempt to take down the systems of an unknown entity identified as a “US-based service provider”.

    • DDoS Record Broken Again as Memcached Attack Hits 1.7 Tbps

      The size of massive distributed denial-of-service attacks continues to grow, hitting yet another new high on March 5, with a report of a 1.7-Tbps attack.

      The attack was reported by Netscout Arbor and came just four short days after the March 1 report of the then largest DDoS attack at 1.35 Tbps against GitHub. Both of the record breaking DDoS attacks were enabled via improperly configured memcached servers that reflected attack traffic, amplifying the total volume.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #149
    • Hacking operation uses malicious Word documents to target aid organisations

      A newly uncovered ‘nation-state level’ cyber espionage operation has targeted humanitarian aid organisations around the globe via the use of backdoors hidden within malicious Word documents.

      Dubbed Operation Honeybee based on the name of lure documents used during the attacks, the campaign has been discovered by security researchers at security company McAfee Labs after a new variant of the Syscon backdoor malware was spotted being distributed via phishing emails.

    • Making security sustainable

      Perhaps the biggest challenge will be durability. At present we have a hard time patching a phone that’s three years old. Yet the average age of a UK car at scrappage is about 14 years, and rising all the time; cars used to last 100,000 miles in the 1980s but now keep going for nearer 200,000. As the embedded carbon cost of a car is about equal to that of the fuel it will burn over its lifetime, we just can’t afford to scrap cars after five years, as do we laptops.

    • US senator grills CEO over the myth of the hacker-proof voting machine

      Zetter unearthed a 2006 contract with the state of Michigan and a report from Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County that same year that both showed ES&S employees using a remote-access application called pcAnywhere to remotely administer equipment it sold.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Finance

    • EU plans to tax big tech multinationals on local revenue

      French economy minister Bruno Le Maire says the EU has plans to tax big multinational technology companies — like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon — between 2% and 6% of their revenue, with the figure being closer to the lower end.

    • Congress wants to gut Dodd-Frank banking regulations, a decade after a global meltdown

      A procedural vote to scale back banking regulations is set for this Tuesday in the Senate, only 10 years after the Great Recession — caused by some of the regulations that Dodd-Frank hoped to address. The Senate plan is staunchly supported by the Trump administration — and all signs point towards it becoming law.

      The issue exposes both the rifts within the Democratic Party and the extent to which the Trump administration is unashamed, as President Donald Trump’s entire campaign was built on the premise that he was an outsider who would drain the swamp.

    • Oregon Winds Up Giving Comcast A Huge Tax Break For Doing Nothing Differently

      A well-intentioned effort in Oregon to drive more competition to the broadband market has instead netted Comcast a $15 million annual tax break for effectively doing nothing differently.

      Back in 2014 the Oregon State Supreme Court issued a hugely-controversial ruling that allowed companies to be taxed based on “intangible” assets such as the value of their brands. Lobbied by Google, the state in 2015 signed a new law rolling back those assessments to try and incentivize competitors looking to deploy faster broadband networks.

    • When Prosecutors and Debt Collection Companies Become Business Partners

      Prosecutors are letting debt collectors hijack the justice system at the expense of people who cannot afford to pay bills.

      When Roz, a mother raising three children with special needs on a razor-thin budget in Washington, wrote a check for $41.19 to Goodwill to buy secondhand clothing for her children, she had no idea it would lead to threats of criminal prosecution and jail. But that’s exactly what happened when the check bounced, and her inability to pay a bill led to her being sucked into the criminal justice system.

      That the check bounced because of a banking mix-up didn’t matter. Roz received a letter in the mail that looked like it had been sent by her local prosecutor. The letter stated she had been accused of the crime of issuing a worthless check and she had to pay the amount of the check plus $185 in fees within 10 days “to avoid the possibility of criminal charges being filed.”

      The threats for failure of nonpayment did not end there.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • America’s Democracy Hypocrisy

      In late February, Venezuela’s government began accepting presidential candidate registrations and announced a snap legislative election for April.

    • No one will date right-wingers in DC and I am so here for it
    • Social Media and the Rise of the ‘Consistent Liberal’

      The Pew Research Center (3/1/18) recently released a survey on political attitudes by generation. “America is politically sorted by generations in a way it never has before,” was the takeaway of New York‘s Jonathan Chait (3/1/18).

      Well, sort of. The generational divide is a striking feature of US politics, but it’s not exactly breaking news. While as recently as the 2000 election, young people were the least likely age group to vote for the Democrat, and old folks the most, since 2008 the generations have voted the stereotype of left-leaning youth and conservative elders. That’s still happening, Pew finds.

    • Porn star Stormy Daniels files lawsuit against Trump, alleging ‘hush’ agreement invalid

      Stormy Daniels says the “hush” agreement she signed is invalid since President Trump didn’t sign it, according to a lawsuit.

    • Yet again, Kellyanne Conway violates Federal ethics rules
    • We’ve Updated ‘The Money Game,’ Our Illinois Governor’s Race Fundraising Widget

      We’ve updated “The Money Game,” our Illinois governor’s race fundraising widget, with improvements to the design and data, as well as the addition of automated cards to share on social media.

      The data changes are the most significant update. We’re now tracking campaign contributions across a four-year window, compared to two years in the previous version. That’s because many candidates stockpile and transfer money among multiple campaign funds over several campaign seasons.

    • Trump’s Company Removes Presidential Seal From Golf Course

      The Trump Organization says it has removed golf markers bearing the presidential seal from one of its golf courses.

      As ProPublica and WNYC reported yesterday, President Trump’s company recently ordered dozens of presidential seals to be used as golf tee markers. It is illegal to use the presidential seal for commercial purposes.

      In a statement Tuesday morning, a spokesman for the company said, “The plaques were presented to the club by a small group of members, who are incredible fans of the President, in honor of Presidents day [sic] weekend. They were temporary and have since been removed.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • PornHub owner shows off AgeID gatekeeping system for the UK

      PornHub’s owner Mindgeek this weekend revealed its UK plans for AgeID, an encrypted tool for users to unsurprisingly verify their age when accessing one of the largest porn sites in the world.


      AgeID has already been in operation since 2015 on porn sites in Germany. And while things seem to be hammering away nicely, there’re a few raised eyebrows over handing verification control over to Mindgeek and its family porn sites, which include YouPorn, Brazzers and RedTube.

    • Erdogan’s Next Target as He Restricts Turkey’s Democracy: The Internet

      Having already brought Turkey’s mainstream media to heel, and made considerable headway in rolling back Turkish democracy, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has set its sights on a seemingly innocuous target: a satellite television preacher named Adnan Oktar.


      “It is just about control,” said Kerem Altiparmak, a human rights and media lawyer. “Considering what has been happening in Turkey, I have no doubt this is a hegemonic power, controlling newspapers, TV and the judiciary, that is now out to control the [I]nternet sector.”

    • Chinese Censorship Makes a Move Into Tech Realm

      Hi folks, it’s Shelly Banjo. Banned books and blocked websites are the norm in China. Now, as the tech industry and political leadership forge closer ties, there’s a growing sense here that we’re about to see a whole different level of censorship.

      This isn’t about the looming VPN ban, or President Xi Jinping’s bid to abolish term limits and cement his power. It’s about a deeper level of control and restrictions, encroaching into pop culture, entertainment and other seemingly apolitical content.

    • Lawsuit claims censorship as ASU caught up in Israel boycott controversy

      Claiming censorship, attorneys are claiming that Arizona State University is illegally blocking a Muslim academician from speaking on campus because of his political beliefs.

      The lawsuit filed in federal court here says the university won’t allow Hatem Bazian to speak on campus about the “boycott, divest, sanction” movement aimed at pressuring Israel to change its policies, particularly in regard to Jewish settlements on the West Bank. That’s because Bazian won’t sign an agreement certifying that he will not engage on a boycott of Israel.

    • Offline/Online Project Highlights How the Oppression Marginalized Communities Face in the Real World Follows Them Online

      People in marginalized communities who are targets of persecution and violence—from the Rohingya in Burma to Native Americans in South Dakota—are using social media to tell their stories, but finding that their voices are being silenced online.

      This is the tragic and unjust consequence of content moderation policies of companies like Facebook, which is deciding on a daily basis what can be and can’t be said and shown online. Platform censorship has ratcheted up in these times of political strife, ostensibly to combat hate speech and online harassment. Takedowns and closures of neo-Nazi and white supremacist sites have been a matter of intense debate. Less visible is the effect content moderation is having on vulnerable communities.

    • TEDxBrussels organizer drags presenter off stage during anti-censorship talk

      Get ready for your head to explode.

      In the middle of TEDxBrussels talk on March 5 that focused on censorship, a male event organizer walked onto the stage and physically dragged the female presenter off. And the kicker? The theme of the entire TEDx event was Brave New World — as in, yes, the Aldous Huxley book about a dystopian future wherein an all-powerful state controls the lives of its citizens.

      And it only gets worse from there.

    • Angry Pick-Up Artist Says He Won’t Issue Bogus YouTube Claim On Critic’s Video; Issues Bogus Claim On Critic’s Video

      Another case of YouTube’s copyright notification system being abused has filtered down through social media. A YouTuber whose channel specializes in game reviews was targeted by the developer of the game after some back-and-forth on the internet over his negative review.

      Chris Hodgkinson reviewed a game called Super Seducer, which supposedly teaches dudes how to pick up women through the magical art of full-motion video. Call it “edutainment.” (If you must…) The developer, Richard La Ruina, didn’t care for his game being featured on a video series entitled “This is the Worst Game Ever.” Nor did he care for Hodgkinson’s suggestion the game offered nothing to men in the way of usable pick-up artistry.

    • “Fake news” : bringing the European debate to the source of the problem

      The European Commission recently launched a consultation on “fake news and online disinformation” to which La Quadrature has responded. The current debate about these phenomena seems to be dominated by a prevailing confusion and risks to lead to measures restricting freedom of expression and the right to information. Nonetheless, the big platforms’ system of commercial surveillance needs to be addressed seriously, as it disrupts public debate by treating our attention as a commodity.

      A spectre is haunting American and European political leaders, the spectre of “fake news”. Early in January, Emmanuel Macron announced future legilsation in order to prevent the spread of ” false information “, especially during election period. The draft bill is supposed to be discussed in French National Assembly1 end of March.

      The European Commission’s consultation was closed on 23 February, and the results should lead up to a decision whether European legislation on this topic is needed or not. In parallel, the Commission appointed an expert group charged with submitting a report in March. Both measures exclusively target online content which is “lawful but false’, without defining “false”.

    • We are probably going back to Emergency era: Shyam Benegal

      Mumbai, Mar 6 Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal today said the kind of censorship and mood the country has with regards to cinema is reminiscent of the Emergency era.

      The veteran director was speaking at a panel discussion here at FICCI Frames, which was moderated by senior journalist Bhupendra Chaubey.

    • Shyam Benegal on censorship: We are probably going back to Emergency era
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Mike Godwin’s First Essay On Encryption And The Constitution

      Mike Godwin (you know who he is) was recently going through some of his earlier writings, and came across an essay (really an outline) he had written to the Cypherpunks email list 25 years ago, in April of 1993 concerning the Clipper Chip and early battles on encryption and civil liberties. If you don’t recall, the Clipper Chip was an early attempt by the Clinton administration to establish a form of backdoored encryption, using a key escrow system. What became quite clear in reading through this 25-year-old email is just how little has changed in the past 25 years. As we are in the midst of a new crypto war, Godwin has suggested republishing this essay from so long ago to take a look back at what was said back then and compare it to today.

    • Geek Squad’s Relationship with FBI Is Cozier Than We Thought

      After the prosecution of a California doctor revealed the FBI’s ties to a Best Buy Geek Squad computer repair facility in Kentucky, new documents released to EFF show that the relationship goes back years. The records also confirm that the FBI has paid Geek Squad employees as informants.

      EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit last year to learn more about how the FBI uses Geek Squad employees to flag illegal material when people pay Best Buy to repair their computers. The relationship potentially circumvents computer owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.

      The documents released to EFF show that Best Buy officials have enjoyed a particularly close relationship with the agency for at least 10 years. For example, an FBI memo from September 2008 details how Best Buy hosted a meeting of the agency’s “Cyber Working Group” at the company’s Kentucky repair facility.

      The memo and a related email show that Geek Squad employees also gave FBI officials a tour of the facility before their meeting and makes clear that the law enforcement agency’s Louisville Division “has maintained close liaison with the Geek Squad’s management in an effort to glean case initiations and to support the division’s Computer Intrusion and Cyber Crime programs.”

    • Ex-GCHQ chief calls for brokers to help map cyber risk

      Insurance brokers must play a more direct role in helping financial institutions and energy companies map and quantify cyber risk, a former director of the UK security agency GCHQ has said.

      Speaking at a Marsh Energy Insurance Conference in Dubai, Iain Lobban said insurance brokers should attend cyber breach planning exercises held by insureds, along with representatives from intelligence agencies.

    • How GCHQ and British ISPs have been sharing your data for years and only a VPN can help

      It might like a contradiction in terms, but this week has seen a fascinating session of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). That’s because, after one witness from GCHQ had repeatedly given misleading evidence to the tribunal, Privacy International, who are challenging GCHQ’s bulk collection powers, were given permission to cross-examine him for the very first time.

    • Senate panel approves Trump’s NSA nominee

      The Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved President Trump’s choice to lead the National Security Agency on Tuesday morning.

      The committee held a brief voice vote on the nomination of Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, before holding a hearing on worldwide threats to the United States featuring testimony from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and from Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

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  • Civil Rights/Policing

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    • Free sex offer on social media lands 19-year-old bikini-clad blogger in jail for two weeks

      Eventually having had enough of people wandering the halls and calling the front desk, the Hilton called the police to complain. They arrived at around 10pm to find the 6316 room empty. It was later discovered that Yeye had left the hotel and checked into another at the Sanya Phoenix International Airport.

      She was arrested on Friday (2 March) and charged with prostitution and disruption (of the Hilton Hotel). All her social media accounts have been suspended.

    • Skripal is no Litvinenko

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    • Atomwaffen, Extremist Group Whose Members Have Been Charged in Five Murders, Loses Some of Its Platforms

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      The action comes after ProPublica reports detailing the organization’s terrorist ambitions and revealing that the California man charged with murdering Blaze Bernstein, a 19-year-old college student found buried in an Orange County park earlier this year, was an Atomwaffen member.

      Activists and journalists with other media outlets have criticized the tech firms — among them chat services, web merchants, social media channels and gaming platforms — for enabling the outfit, which has members in 23 states and Canada, records show.

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      In two consecutive SWAT-style raids, ICE and the U.S. Marshals’ agents raid a family’s home without a warrant.

      Around noon, on April 10, 2017, Alicia Amaya Carmona glanced through her partially closed blinds at the Wing Pointe apartment complex in Heber City, Utah. What the 48-year-old grandmother saw terrified her.

      A group of men in blue and green vests, carrying assault weapons and pistols, were running through the parking lot towards the apartment she shared with her son and her daughter-in-law. She grabbed her grandchildren who were awake and ran to the master bedroom where her other grandchildren were napping. Loud knocking ripped through the apartment. Suddenly the men burst into the apartment. “Come out with your hands up!” one shouted.

      Frightened, Carmona came out of the master bedroom into the living room with her hands up. Her four grandchildren, all U.S. citizens, stood behind her, screaming and crying out of fear. The men pointed their assault weapons and pistols at Carmona and the children. First, Carmona was ordered out of the apartment and told she could not touch nor speak to her grandchildren. The children, all barefoot, were then ordered out of the apartment, too. The temperature was in the 40s.

      The heavily armed men, members of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Marshals, finally let Carmona know why they were there. They were after Carmona’s husband, Abel Ramirez Sr., who had been indicted for illegal reentry six years before. Illegal reentry is not a violent crime, yet the family saw this group of federal officers armed for war burst into the apartment without a warrant.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Namecheap Relaunches Move Your Domain Day to Support Internet Freedom

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    • Six tech companies filing net neutrality lawsuit

      Six technology companies, including Kickstarter, Foursquare and Etsy, have launched a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an effort to preserve net neutrality rules.

      The companies, which also include Shutterstock, Expa and Automattic, on Monday filed their petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

    • Washington State Enacts Net Neutrality Law, in Clash with FCC

      Washington state Governor Jay Inslee Monday signed the nation’s first state law intended to protect net neutrality, setting up a potential legal battle with the Federal Communications Commission.

      The law bans broadband providers offering service in the state from blocking or throttling legal content, or from offering fast-lane access to companies willing to pay extra. The law doesn’t stop providers from imposing data limits, and doesn’t address the practice of allowing certain content to bypass data limits, known as “zero rating.”

    • Washington Becomes the First State to Approve Its Own Net Neutrality Rules

      Washington became the first state Monday to set up its own net-neutrality requirements after U.S. regulators repealed Obama-era rules that banned internet providers from blocking content or interfering with online traffic.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

EPO Annual Results/Report: Revenue From Patent Applications is Apparently Down Yet Again and Work is Running Out

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

The inevitable effect of bad management, bad (low-quality) patents, and bad reputation

The clockwork

Summary: The latest EPO ‘results’ (cherry-picked numbers intended to make the management look good) reinforce expectation of Office-wide layoffs, devaluation of European Patents, decrease in patent quality, and failure to entice applicants in spite of discounts

THE EPO‘s annual report for 2017 is out (warning: epo.org link) and it’s pretty much what we expected it to be when we wrote about it yesterday.

We are seeing many of the same themes/patterns we saw in previous EPO ‘results’. Readers are encouraged to read/revisit:

The EPO habitually lies and misleads. Its claims need to be double-checked; not that it’ll interest the EPO’s paid “media partners”. They just relay whatever claims the EPO asks them to, along with external PR agents. Expect a lot of nonsense in the media this week and next week.

One thing we have repeatedly said is that Team Battistelli gave sudden ‘discounts’ in order to help create an illusion, then not mention the effect of these ‘discounts’ on revenue at all (they even made a chart dedicated purely to distracting from that). A nearby store is having a closing down sale at the moment (starting this Monday); so obviously sales have surged (just not at the full price).

As for the supposed ‘growth’ in patents, remember that wrongly-granted patents would help patent trolls (SUEPO published a link to a new report about it yesterday). There are significant declines in quality (an article was published about it in Kluwer Patent Blog earlier this week) and, as expected, there’s thus an increase in the number of grants (not productivity but shoddy management leading to low-quality examination).

What we can note, based on the EPO’s shrewdly-constructed spin, is that in spite of big discounts the number of applications has barely grown. Revenue may be done again. If you offer a discount of 10%, for example, and ‘sales’ go up by only 5%, then overall it’s a losing strategy. “In response to the increased workload,” the EPO wrote, “the EPO further boosted its productivity and production benefiting also from internal reforms put in place in recent years to improve quality and efficiency.”

What “reforms”? Like the layoffs to follow? And what “quality”? They mean timeliness, not quality.

There’s a bunch of comments agreeing with Thorsten Bausch's latest complaint about quality declines. The following comment says that “timeliness has become the only quality measure at the EPO.” Here’s the full comment:

In my daily practice, I can only confirm the views of this blog post. For me it appears that timeliness has become the only quality measure at the EPO. And the EPO is becoming really good in providing timely examination reports. It also becomes increasingly “good” in issuing premature summons to attend O.P.. In my day-to-day work I also experience that the quality, in terms of “how accurate is the analysis and how well founded are the objections” is declining (sometimes to a ridiculous extent). I do not dare speaking of 71(3) problems and IMHO this is a minor issue (it “only” requires more caution on the attorney’s end and much of the problems really seem to have a rather technical background, which I believe can be solved).

The loss in quality occurs on a deeper level and is much more detrimental.

I can assure that this is no fuzzy belly feeling of mine, because I have observed that the same Examiners that used to provide me with a sound analysis and reasonable objections more and more tend to raise superficial objections, or object to claim sets as a whole where they previously assessed claims in groups or individually. I see more faulty objections, more alleged clarity problems, no willingness to apply a problem-and-solution approach, more ex post facto argumentation and more clearly premature invitations to O.P. that put pressure on the applicant before a reasonable exchange of arguments has been finished. My own metrics is the length of the reporting letters that I have to write to the applicants and the number of times that I am forced to complement for an insufficient analysis to provide a proper advice to the applicant. It is, to me, very apparent that Examiners do no longer get the time needed to judge each case on its true merits.

As regards the term “production” as used and implemented in the EPO’s metrics, I feel that this term is entirely unsuitable in the context of patent applications. Some applications are complex, some are not, some yield many prior art hits, some may not, but all these different applications have the product count of one (1). And the time scale to handle all these different products is all the same at the EPO.

Imposing ever increasing production targets on the Examiners will only further erode the quality of examination, will result in patents that are either unjustifiably broad or unjustifiably narrow and in the end represents a disservice for the public and applicants alike. We will experience the degradation of “deep quality” in a couple of years from now.

This is further reaffirmed by an article from 2 days ago. Hugh Dunlop and Andrew Van Den Bent-Kelly (Maucher Jenkins) said that “European Patent Office Attacks Its Examination Backlog”, but at what cost? In reality, the EPO attacks its staff by draining up all the work, by rushing examiners to not do their job properly.

Last night the CCIA’s Josh Landau published something to that effect too, noting that patents are “Granted In 19 Hours”. A patent grant a day keeps patent quality away. How did things become this bad so quickly? The damage caused by erroneous/wrong grants can last years. It can cost millions in legal fees.

As Landau put it, “if we go all the way back to our 40 hour work week, we can figure out how many hours an examiner spends on examining each application.”

It’s a lot worse at the EPO, based on leaks. Here’s what Landau said:

Patent examiners have an extremely hard job. They’re given a patent application—which could be anywhere from a page long up to hundreds of pages, with patent claims ranging from a couple sentences to pages of description—and expected to understand the technology behind the application, look for any possible examples of prior art, describe how the prior art anticipates or renders obvious each and every limitation of the claim, and communicate with the patent applicant about their application.


Junior Examiner Gordon spends 40 hours a week to produce 2.54 office actions. That’s 15.74 hours per office action. But Senior Examiner Allison spends 40 hours a week to produce 3.33 office actions. That’s 12.12 hours per office action. Twelve hours, to review, research, and decide if an immunotherapy patent should be granted. The average American spends 19 hours each week watching television—50% more time than a senior immunotherapy examiner is provided to determine the patentability of an application.

Experienced examiners are almost certainly better at examining patent applications than junior examiners. But can they do the same job in half the amount of time? And do they get enough time even at the start?

There’s evidence the answers are no.

So what is the EPO becoming? Just another INPI? Worse than USPTO? Thorsten Bausch previously explained that in many cases pacing down the process is desirable. He’s not alone. Intellectual Property Watch published this guest post yesterday (by Michael Kahnert, legal counsel, BIO Deutschland). The EPO is failing its stakeholders and they speak out. They want applications to be dealt with properly and not in a rush:

Reducing the application process to 12 months implies that much faster work is expected from patent examiners to maintain the same quality of patent examination. In complex sectors such as biotechnology, the shortening of the patent application process would also lead to higher costs at an early stage, because of the extensive examination procedure. Especially small and medium sized enterprises (SME) in the research and development sector usually have a high need for capital to assure cashflow. Therefore, these companies will be additionally affected by a cost burden early on. To attract investors and partners, SME as well as academic institutions often cooperate to advance their research and development and share sensitive information in the process. In order to maintain the possibility of pursuing specific aspects of the patent application at a later time, more divisional applications would be necessary and cause significantly higher costs. Therefore, the proposed shortening of the patent application process leads to a disadvantage for research-driven SME.

Just remember that once patents are granted in error it muddied the well and there’s no easy fix for it. This is why the legacy left by Battistelli will be a sordid mess from which the EPO will never recover. It’s already running out of pending applications. This necessarily means workforce redundancies. Many senior, experienced examiners will be lost for good. What asset/s will the EPO be left with? A logo and renewal fees?

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