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04.23.18

Mythology About Patents in the East

Posted in Asia, Patents at 11:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related and recent: In Just a Few Years China Became the Eastern District of Texas

Watchers

Summary: Misconceptions (or deliberate propaganda) about patent policy in the east poison the debate and derail a serious, facts-based discussion about it

TECHRIGHTS is generally focused on the EPO and USPTO, not only because they account for the lion’s share of capital but also because English is their official language and it’s close to us (we’re based in the UK, the servers are in the US, and many volunteers/community members are in the US).

“India generally recognises — as many patent examiners do as well — that patent quality is what matters and economic justification is needed for any patent.”We sometimes look at smaller patent offices and also look eastwards. Over the weekend we wrote about IP Australia in relation to Grant Shoebridge's article; he and the firm he works for must be paying to repost it in more sites, basically lobbying for expansion of patent scope because IP Australia sought to improve productivity by narrowing the scope of patents.

Further north there are three major patent offices, all part of IP5: Japan’s JPO, Korea’s KIPO and China’s SIPO (the “Five IP Offices” (IP5) are JPO/EPO/KIPO/SIPO/USPTO).

Benjamin Henrion has just (late on Monday) pointed out this paper titled “The Japanese Software Industry: What Went Wrong and What Can We Learn from It?”.

“Software patents as metric fails to take in account the majority of software companies that do not have patents,” Henrion correctly noted. I responded with:

Simplest way to rebut this BS ‘paper’…
Hypothesis: software patents good for software industry
Falsified by:
1) India banned software patents
2) China allows them (one of the few countries)
Which one is a software powerhouse?

We actually brought up this point less than one week ago. It needs to be repeated as much as possible because we continue to see lies repeated about China’s patent policy against India’s. They get it all backwards. Maybe it’s intentional and therefore disingenuous. Less than a day ago (Watchtroll’s Steve Brachmann on Monday and then IP Kat as well) patent maximalists carried on with their glorification of China [1, 2] in the context of so-called ‘IP’. They try to make China some kind of ‘role model’, never mind if it’s India that’s thriving in the software sector, owing in part to the ban on software patents in India. An Indian patent maximalism blog has just published this “Weekly Patent News” post. Under “Indian Patent Statistics” it says:

A total of 1003 patent applications have been published in the 16th issue of the patent journal marking a modest increase of about 13.07% in the total number of patent applications published. Out of the 1003 applications, 55 applications account for early publications while 948 applications account for ordinary publications or publications occurring after the 18 month period. A total of 231 applications have been granted this week as opposed 176 grants in the previous.

Notice the absolute numbers. Also remember that India is not in IP5. India generally recognises — as many patent examiners do as well — that patent quality is what matters and economic justification is needed for any patent. Just throwing millions of low-quality patents into a repository (like China does with SIPO) isn’t indicative of “success”; it’s just a self-fulfilling prophecy that’s hinged on lies like “patents are innovation” and “innovation depends on patents” (coming around full circle).

Patent Trolls Watch: Red River Innovations, Bradium Technologies/General Patent, and Wordlogic

Posted in America, IBM, Patents at 11:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Eye watching

Summary: A quick look at some patent trolls that made the news this Monday; we are still seeing a powerful response to such trolls, whose momentum is slipping owing to the good work of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)

IT is no secret that the USPTO bred a generation of patent trolls and the causes are no mystery. Decades of shoddy patents on algorithms lead to that.

“Between 1990 and 2000,” the patent trolls’ lobby* (IAM) wrote on Monday, “a sophisticated IP strategy boosted annual patent licensing royalties at IBM by 3,300%. Learn the importance of IP strategy at our webinar with @PatSnap this Monday, April 25.”

I responded with: “IBM — the company that lays off all the ‘expensive’ staff and is lobbying for software patents like no other company — becoming like a patent troll over time…”

“Unified Patents is already fighting back against this troll by targeting its patents. That’s all one can do about trolls, which cannot really be sued (no products to sue over).”Remember that IBM is nowadays feeding its patents to patent trolls like Finjan. IBM literally makes money by arming patent trolls (Microsoft does the same thing and it financially supports Finjan), whereas several groups like OIN or Unified Patents try hard to disarm trolls.

Remember the patent troll called “Red River Innovations” [sic]? Unified Patents put a bounty on its patent/s last month and Joe Mullin, who covered patent trolls for at least a decade (first in his blog, then in news sites like Ars Technica before joining the EFF), has just labeled its patent the “Stupid Patent of the Month”. Hours ago he wrote:

Online businesses—like businesses everywhere—are full of suggestions. If you order a burger, you might want fries with that. If you read Popular Science, you might like reading Popular Mechanics. Those kinds of suggestions are a very old part of commerce, and no one would seriously think it’s a patentable technology.

Except, apparently, for Red River Innovations LLC, a patent troll that believes its patents cover the idea of suggesting what people should read next. Red River filed a half-dozen lawsuits in East Texas throughout 2015 and 2016. Some of those lawsuits were against retailers like home improvement chain Menards, clothier Zumiez, and cookie retailer Ms. Fields. Those stores all got sued because they have search bars on their websites.

In some lawsuits, Red River claimed the use of a search bar infringed US Patent No. 7,958,138. For example, in a lawsuit against Zumiez, Red River claimed [PDF] that “after a request for electronic text through the search box located at www.zumiez.com, the Zumiez system automatically identifies and graphically presents additional reading material that is related to a concept within the requested electronic text, as described and claimed in the ’138 Patent.” In that case, the “reading material” is text like product listings for jackets or skateboard decks.

Unified Patents is already fighting back against this troll by targeting its patents. That’s all one can do about trolls, which cannot really be sued (no products to sue over).

Unified Patents uses PTAB to disarm another patent troll, one called “Bradium Technologies” [sic] — an obscure proxy or tentacle of General Patent. Patent Troll Tracker wrote about it a decade ago [1, 2] and so did we, e.g. in [1, 2, 3]. Robert Jain wrote about what they did yesterday:

On April 23, 2018, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 9,253,239 owned and asserted by Bradium Technologies, LLC, a General Patent subsidiary and well-known NPE. The ’239 patent claims the concept of dividing large data sets of images (such as geographic imagery) into “image parcels” at varying levels of detail, allowing users to browse quickly online, and has been asserted in district court against Microsoft (Case No. 1:15-cv-00031).

Jain then added that “[o]n April 23, 2018, Wordlogic Corporation and Unified Patents Inc. filed a joint request to terminate the recently instituted IPR2017-01856 pursuant to settlement.”

We’ve mentioned Wordlogic several times before, e.g. earlier this year, eight years ago, and even a decade ago.
____
* On Monday it also propped up another patent parasite, this one from Taiwan (excerpt from the paywalled article below).

  • Taiwanese start-up widens assertion drive in the wake of 2017 Apple settlement

    At last week’s IPBC Taiwan conference, managing IP costs emerged as a key theme of conversation – with some suggesting that financial pressure could lead to more monetisation activity. One firm that has recently opted to go down the monetisation path is a small company called CyWee, which began life within the government-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). CyWee is evidently an operating company with business across wireless streaming, motion processing and facial tracking. According to a District of Delaware patent infringement lawsuit it filed against Google last Monday, CyWee was formed by two ITRI researchers in 2007…

Holding Benoît Battistelli Accountable After the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli is also working as a politician

Battistelli boredSummary: The many abuses and offenses committed by Mr. Battistelli whilst he enjoyed diplomatic immunity can and should be brought up as that immunity expires in two months; a good start would be contacting his colleagues, who might not be aware of the full spectrum of his abuses

THE insiders at the EPO all know that their President is involved in French politics. This is not allowed, but then again, Battistelli enjoys diplomatic immunity. He feels and acts like he’s untouchable. He may soon bring millions of euros (EPO budget) to his home down in clear violation of many rules — a serious issue which we encourage French-speaking readers to report to the following people (Battistelli’s colleagues at Saint-Germain-en-Laye):

arnaud.pericard@saintgermainenlaye.fr
ecretariat.elus@saintgermainenlaye.fr
anne.gommier@saintgermainenlaye.fr
monique.dumont@saintgermainenlaye.fr
patrick.lazard@saintgermainenlaye.fr
pierre.degeorge@saintgermainenlaye.fr
angeline.silly@saintgermainenlaye.fr
pierre.camasses@saintgermainenlaye.fr
pascal.leveque@saintgermainenlaye.fr
didier.rouxel@saintgermainenlaye.fr
agnes.cerighelli@saintgermainenlaye.fr
armelle.rouly@saintgermainenlaye.fr

Battistelli will be gone in 2 months, but he should definitely be held accountable for his many abuses. They are well documented and once he loses diplomatic immunity he can perhaps be held accountable. Many people can probably sue him, too. Maybe even victims like staff representatives and Judge Corcoran from the EPO’s Boards of Appeal.

“Battistelli will be gone in 2 months, but he should definitely be held accountable for his many abuses.”Speaking of the EPO’s Boards of Appeal, they have repeatedly complained about Battistelli, who keeps breaking the EPO’s rules. With two months left to sack him — something which is unlikely to happen — action is now imperative. Don’t let such a destructive person get away with sending millions of euros to his existing and next employer. His colleagues at Saint-Germain-en-Laye need to at least become aware of what he’s doing. If his “padrone” Nicolas Sarkozy can be punished almost a decade late, why not him as well?

Sylvie Habert-Dupuis élue première adjointe à Saint-Germain-en-Laye

The EPO spent the day yesterday writing some more fluff about Battistelli’s victims, whom he sent to Haar as (collective) punishment. It said: “Read about the five-year objective of the EPO’s Boards of Appeal as well as their performance in the past year. [] Here’s how you can share your opinion on proposed changes to the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal.”

“The EPO spent the day yesterday writing some more fluff about Battistelli’s victims, whom he sent to Haar as (collective) punishment.”They just try to give the false impression that things are rosy and the public is in control. This is nonsense.

Less than a day ago a patent maximalists’ site wrote about “Guidance on the Therapeutic Methods Exclusion,” courtesy of the Technical Board of Appeal (TBA) of the European Patent Office (EPO), which Battistelli — and by extension the EPO — had been attacking mercilessly. To quote:

The therapeutic methods exclusion is often problematic to navigate. In T 0699/12, the Technical Board of Appeal (TBA) of the European Patent Office (EPO) has provided some useful guidance on its application. In an opposition before the Opposition Division, the division held that the patent in suit (which was for a method for performing in vivo dosimetry) was invalid pursuant to Art 53(c) of the European Patent Convention (EPC).

Hours ago the EPO also promoted a Seattle (US) event of the EPO, promoting software patents abroad (in another continent!), not to mention patents on life. As the EPO put it some hours ago: “We have prepared a series of plenary sessions, panel discussions and break-out workshops on the patentability of life sciences inventions at the EPO.”

“It’s never too late for justice to be served.”The EPO has become a threat not only to Europeans but also to people living outside Europe. Battistelli’s regime is like a think tank of patent maximalism — the UPC notwithstanding — and the Boards of Appeal are unable to stop that because Battistelli keeps intimidating and punishing them. Judge Corcoran is alleged to have communicated with people in Saint-Germain-en-Laye; this is perhaps why Battistelli attacked him so viciously. We strongly encourage readers who can write in French to E-mail the above people with information about the European Inventor Award, informing them not only about improper venue selection but also many of Battistelli’s other abuses (we’ve lost count of them). It’s never too late for justice to be served.

Links 23/4/2018: Second RC of Linux 4.17 and First RC of Mesa 18.1

Posted in News Roundup at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • ​What’s the most popular Linux of them all?

      Let’s cut to the chase. Android is the most popular of all Linux distributions. Period. End of statement. But that’s not the entire story.

      Still it must be said, according to StatCounter, Android is the most popular of all operating systems. By a score of 39.49 percent to 36.63 percent, Android beats out Windows for global personal device supremacy. Sorry Windows, you had a nice run, but between your smartphone failures and the PC decline, your day is done.

      But, setting Android aside, what’s the most popular Linux? It’s impossible to work that out. The website-based analysis tools, such as those used by StatCounter, NetMarketShare, and the Federal government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP), can’t tell the difference between Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu.

      DAP does give one insightful measurement the others sites don’t give us. While not nearly as popular as Android, Chrome OS is more popular than all the other Linux-based desktops combined by a score, in April 2018, of 1.3 percent to 0.6 percent of end users.

    • Terminal app appears in Chrome OS Dev, hints at future Linux application support

      Back in February, some commits to the Chromium codebase revealed that Chrome OS would soon run Linux applications using a container. While it has been possible for years to run Linux applications on top of Chrome OS using crouton, it’s a hacky solution that only works in Developer Mode. Google’s solution would presumably work better, and perhaps not require Dev Mode to be enabled.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.17-rc2

      So rc2 is out, and things look fairly normal.

      The diff looks a bit unusual, with the tools subdirectory dominating,
      with 30%+ of the whole diff. Mostly perf and test scripts.

      But if you ignore that, the rest looks fairly usual. Arch updates
      (s390 and x86 dominate) and drivers (networking, gpu, HID, mmc, misc)
      are the bulk of it, with misc other changes all over (filesystems,
      core kernel, networking, docs).

      We’ve still got some known fallout from the merge window, but it
      shouldn’t affect most normal configurations, so go out and test.

      Linus

    • Upstream Linux support for new NXP i.MX8

      The i.MX6 platform has for the past few years enjoyed a large effort to add upstream support to Linux and surrounding projects. Now it is at the point where nothing is really missing any more. Improvements are still being made, to the graphics driver for i.MX 6, but functionally it is complete.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Stack Gets Updated With More Extensions, Optimizations & Fixes

        AMD developers maintaining their official Vulkan cross-platform driver code have pushed their end-of-week updates to their external source repositories for those wanting to build the AMDVLK driver on Linux from source.

        This latest AMDVLK push updates not only their PAL (Platform Abstraction Layer) and XGL (Vulkan API Layer) components but it also updates their fork of the LLVM code-base used for their shader compilation.

      • EGLStreams XWayland Code Revised Ahead Of X.Org Server 1.20

        It’s still not clear if the EGLStreams XWayland support will be merged for xorg-server 1.20 but at least the patches were revised this week, making it possible to merge them into this next X.Org Server release for allowing the NVIDIA proprietary driver to work with XWayland.

      • Vulkan 1.1.74 Released With Minor Fixes & Clarifications

        Vulkan continues sticking to the “release early, release often” mantra with the availability today of Vulkan 1.1.74.

      • Intel 2018Q1 Graphics Stack Recipe

        Last week Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center released their latest quarterly “graphics stack recipe” for the Linux desktop.

        The Intel Graphics Stack Recipe is the company’s recommended configuration for an optimal and supported open-source graphics driver experience for their Intel HD/UHD/Iris Graphics found on Intel processors.

      • Mesa 18.1-RC1 Released With The Latest Open-Source 3D Driver Features

        Seemingly flying under our radar is that Mesa 18.1 has already been branched and the first release candidate issued.

        While the Mesa website hasn’t yet been updated for the 18.1 details, Dylan Baker appears to be the release manager for the 18.1 series — the second quarter of 2018 release stream.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ryzen 7 2700X CPUFreq Scaling Governor Benchmarks On Ubuntu Linux

        With this week’s Ryzen 5 2600X + Ryzen 7 2700X benchmarks some thought the CPUFreq scaling driver or rather its governors may have been limiting the performance of these Zen+ CPUs, so I ran some additional benchmarks this weekend.

        Those launch-day Ryzen 5 2600X / Ryzen 7 2700X Ubuntu Linux benchmarks were using the “performance” governor, but some have alleged that the performance governor may now actually hurt AMD systems… Ondemand, of course, is the default CPUFreq governor on Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions. Some also have said the “schedutil” governor that makes use of the kernel’s scheduler utilization data may do better on AMD. So I ran some extra benchmarks while changing between CPUFreq’s ondemand (default), performance (normally the best for performance, and what was used in our CPU tests), schedutil (the newest option), and powersave (if you really just care about conserving power).

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfce Settings 4.12.3 / 4.13.2 Released

      Fixes galore! Xfce Settings 4.12.3 and 4.13.2 were released on March 18th with several improvements, feature parity, and translations.

    • Xfce PulseAudio Plugin 0.4.0 (and 0.4.1) Released

      Stable as a rock. Xfce PulseAudio Plugin hit a new stable milestone with the 0.4.0 release. This release wraps up the awesome development cycle we’ve had on this over the last few months and is recommended for all users.

    • Xfce Settings Update Brings Better Multi-Monitor Support

      While still waiting on the long-awaited Xfce 4.14, out this weekend is an Xfce Settings 4.14.2 preview release as well as an Xfce Settings 4.12.3 stable series update.

      Both of these Xfce Settings updates bring better multi-monitor support, including visualization of all display configuration states, visually noting if two displays are mirrored, always drawing the active display last so it’s on top, and a number of fixes pertaining to the multi-monitor display handling from this Xfce desktop settings agent.

    • Mugshot 0.4.0 Released

      Mugshot, the simple user configuration utility, has hit a new stable milestone! Release 0.4.0 wraps up the 0.3 development cycle with full camera support for the past several years of GTK+ releases (and a number of other fixes).

    • MenuLibre 2.2.0 Released

      After 2.5 years of on-again/off-again development, a new stable release of MenuLibre is now available! This release includes a vast array of changes since 2.0.7 and is recommended for all users.

    • Xfce Picks Up Better PulseAudio Integration

      In addition to the Xfce Settings update this weekend there is also a new release of the Xfce PluseAudio Plugin providing better support for this sound server on the Xfce desktop.

    • MenuLibre 2.2 Linux Desktop Menu Editor Released With Many Improvements

      MenuLibre is the advanced menu editor that supports most Linux desktop environments including GNOME, KDE Plasma, Budgie, Cinnamon, EDE, LXQt, MATE, and Pantheon. MenuLibre 2.2 is the first major release for the project in over two years.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • [Slackware] Plasma5 – April 18 edition for Slackware

        The KDE-5_18.04 release of ‘ktown‘ for Slackware-current offers the latest KDE Frameworks (5.45.0), Plasma (5.12.4) and Applications (18.04.0). The Qt5 was upgraded to 5.9.5. Read the README file for more details and for installation/upgrade instructions. Enjoy the latest Plasma 5 desktop environment.

      • Perfect Debugging Experience with QtCreator on Android

        While I was working on a yet-to-be-announced super secret and cool Qt on Android project, I had to do a lot of debugging. This way I found that debugging Qt apps on Android using QtCreator was ok, but it had some issues, which was kinda frustrating.

      • Discover – Easily Install Software on KDE Neon Desktop

        KDE Discover is an Open Source GUI app installer that comes packaged with KDE Neon. It was particularly built from the ground up to be compatible with other modern Linux distros with emphasis on beauty and convenience.

        KDE Discover was also designed to allow for an intuitive User Experience as it features a clean and clear layout with a high readability value which makes it easy to browse, search for, install, and uninstall applications.

      • Almost 10 years of Plasma-Desktop

        Last week I was at work and start to listen my boss said: “We need to show this to our director”. So I went to my coworker table to see what was happening. So they were using Gource to make a video about the git history of the project. Gource is a software version control visualization tool. So that triggered in my mind some memories about a friend talking about Python and showing how the project as grow in this past years, but I never discovered about the tool that made that amazing video.

        So well, I started to make some Gource videos, and because my love about KDE Community, why not make one about it?

      • Progress on Plasma Wayland for 5.13

        In February after Plasma 5.12 was released we held a meeting on how we want to improve Wayland support in Plasma 5.13. Since its beta is now less than one month away it is time for a status report on what has been achieved and what we still plan to work on.

        Also today started a week-long Plasma Sprint in Berlin, what will hopefully accelerate the Wayland work for 5.13. So in order to kick-start the sprint this is a good opportunity to sum up where we stand now.

      • 0.1.1 Release of Elisa

        The Elisa team is happy to announce the first bug fix release for the 0.1 version.

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Is Making Great Improvements On Its Wayland Support

        KDE Plasma 5.13 that is due for release in June will have a great number of improvements to its Wayland support for allowing the KDE Plasma desktop to work much better on this alternative to the X.Org Server.

        KDE developer Roman Gilg has provided a nice summary of some of the Wayland improvements in the queue for the Plasma 5.13.0 release due out towards the middle of June.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 15

        I’ve initiated a big project: overhauling KDE Open & Save dialogs for greater usability and productivity.

      • Latte bug fix release v0.7.5

        Latte Dock v0.7.5 has been released containing important fixes and improvements! Hopefullly this is going to be the last stable version for v0.7.x family. During the next months the next stable branch (v0.8.x) is going to appear.

      • Exploring Contributors Centrality Over Time

        At the end of my previous post we concluded with yet another question. Indeed, on the 2017 KDEPIM contributor network we found out that Christian Mollekopf while being a very consistent committer didn’t appear as centrality as we would expect. Yet from the topology he seemed to act as a bridge between the core contributors and contributors with a very low centrality. This time we’ll try to look into this and figure out what might be going on.

        My first attempt at this was to try to look into the contributor network on a different time period and see how it goes. If we take two snapshots of the network for the two semesters of 2017, how would it look? Well, easy to do with my current scripts so let’s see!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Getting Real GNOME Back in Ubuntu 18.04 [Quick Tip]

        Ubuntu 18.04 uses a customized version of GNOME and GNOME users might not like those changes. This tutorial shows you how to install vanilla GNOME on Ubuntu 18.04.

        One of the main new features of Ubuntu 18.04 is the customized GNOME desktop. Ubuntu has done some tweaking on GNOME desktop to make it look similar to its Unity desktop.

        So you get minimize options in the windows control, a Unity like launcher on the left of the screen, app indicator support among some other changes.

      • The Infamous GNOME Shell Memory Leak

        at this point, I think it’s safe to assume that many of you already heard of a memory leak that was plaguing GNOME Shell. Well, as of yesterday, the two GitLab’s MRs that help fixing that issue were merged, and will be available in the next GNOME version. The fixes are being considered for backporting to GNOME 3.28 – after making sure they work as expected and don’t break your computer.

      • The Big GNOME Shell Memory Leak Has Been Plugged, Might Be Backported To 3.28

        The widely talked about “GNOME Shell memory leak” causing excessive memory usage after a while with recent versions of GNOME has now been fully corrected. The changes are currently staged in Git for what will become GNOME 3.30 but might also be backported to 3.28.

        Well known GNOME developer Georges Stavracas has provided an update on the matter and confirmed that the issue stems from GJS – the GNOME JavaScript component – with the garbage collection process not being fired off as it should.

      • 10 Great Linux GTK Themes For 2018

        Customization is a big part of the Linux experience, and your desktop theme is no exception. The world of Linux desktop themes is an ever-evolving one, with new ones replacing old favorites all the time. Of course, the desktop environments and GTK itself are always changing, so that adds another dynamic element to consider. That said, some of the best desktop customization happens on the simplest desktop environments, like XFCE.

        As of now, in early 2018, there are some really excellent GTK themes available. These themes aren’t ranked in any particular order. That comes down to a matter or preference. Any one of them can add a whole new look to your GTK-based desktop.

      • Devhelp news

        For more context, I started to contribute to Devhelp in 2015 to fix some annoying bugs (it’s an application that I use almost every day). Then I got hooked, I contributed more, became a co-maintainer last year, etc. Devhelp is a nice little project, I would like it to be better known and used more outside of GNOME development, for example for the Linux kernel now that they have a good API documentation infrastructure (it’s just a matter of generating *.devhelp2 index files alongside the HTML pages).

  • Distributions

    • Beginner Friendly Gentoo Based Sabayon Linux Has a New Release

      The team behind Sabayon Linux had issued a new release. Let’s take a quick look at what’s involved in this new release.

    • Reviews

      • Review: Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.10

        Chakra is an unusual distribution for a few reasons. It is a rare semi-rolling project, which tries to maintain a fairly stable base system while providing up to date applications. This is an interesting compromise between full rolling and static operating systems. The semi-rolling concept is an idea I like and I was curious to see how well the approach would work dealing with around six months of updates. I was pleased to find Chakra handled the massive upgrade well.

        Chakra was once also considered unusual for being very KDE-focused. There are more KDE distribution these days (KaOS, Kubuntu and KDE neon come readily to mind) and I think Chakra may have lost some of its appeal as more competition has established itself in the KDE-centric arena.

        I found the distribution to be easy to set up and pretty straight forward to use, but there were a few characteristics which bothered me during my trial with Chakra. One was that while updates installed cleanly, once Plasma 5.12 was installed, I experienced slow login times and reduced performance on the desktop. It could be argued that this is a Plasma problem, not a Chakra problem, but the distribution’s rolling release nature means any regressions in new versions of software end up in the user’s lap.

        Something that tends to bother me about distributions which focus on one desktop toolkit or another is that this approach to selecting software means we are sometimes using less capable tools in the name of toolkit purity. This is not a trade-off I like as I’d rather be using more polished applications over ones which a particular affiliation.

        Finally, Chakra includes a number of command line aliases which got in my way. This seems to be a problem I have been running into more often recently. Developers are trying to be helpful by aliasing common commands, but it means that for some tasks I need to change my habits or undefine the provided aliases and the feature ends up being a nuisance instead of a convenience.

        Chakra seems to be a capable and useful distribution and I am sure there are people who will appreciate the rolling release nature. Many people will likely also like having lots of KDE applications, and I can see the appeal of this combination. However, one thing which makes me hesitate to recommend Chakra is that the distribution does not appear to bring any special features to the ecosystem. It’s a useful operating system and, to be completely fair, users can install non-KDE alternatives if they want to use LibreOffice instead of Calligra or GIMP instead of KolourPaint. But I’m not sure Chakra brings anything unique which makes it stand apart from openSUSE’s Tumbleweed or KaOS’s polished Plasma offering. Chakra used to be special in its semi-rolling, KDE-focused niche, but these days the distribution has a more competition and I’m not sure the project has any special sauce to set it apart from the crowd.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Slackware Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • moving Qt 4 from Debian testing (aka Buster): some statistics, update II

        We started filing bugs around September 9. That means roughly 32 weeks which gives us around 5.65 packages fixed per week, aka 0.85 packages per day. Obviously not as good as we started (remaining bugs tend to be more complicated), but still quite good.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu To Discontinue Opt-In Development Milestones In Favor Of Test Weeks

            The proposal for replacing early Ubuntu derivatives’ early alpha/beta releases with “testing weeks” in its place is moving forward with no objections having been raised but flavors like Kubuntu and Xubuntu being in favor of the change.

          • Ubuntu Linux Replaces Alpha/Beta Release Model With “Testing Weeks”
          • Re-evaluating Ubuntu’s Milestones

            Happy Release Week!

            I do not believe there have been any -1s to this proposal from any
            flavor, nor from the Release Team, so I think it’s time to move forward
            with it.

            In summary, what will now happen from here on out is that opt-in
            milestones will be discontinued in favor of testing “weeks” (Tuesday
            through Thursday). I can organize the testing weeks for the 18.10 cycle
            (so we can get a process going), but from the 19.04 cycle and on,
            representatives (probably Release Managers) from any active flavor can
            (and should!) organize these testing weeks.

            Additionally, I will look into the automated testing Steve brought up
            shortly after the 18.04 release, with the goal being to adopt that
            sooner rather than later. I’ll write a follow-up email to ubuntu-release
            once I have something to show for that.

            Thanks everyone!

          • First set of Bionic (sort-of) RC images for 18.04.

            Adam Conrad of the Ubuntu Release Team is pleased to announce the first
            set of Bionic RC images for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            Over the next couple of hours, builds for Bionic Final should be added
            to the tracker[1] for all flavours. The builds have some intentional
            omissions, but please do test them anyway.

            Known issues that will be addressed Sunday/Monday:
            – Volume label still set to Beta
            – base-files still not the final version
            – kernel will have (at least) one more revision

            Despite the above, please, please, please test your images. Do not
            wait for a “final” build to test, as that guarantees your final build
            will be broken. We need you testing now, iterating uploads to get
            your bugs fixed, filing bugs and escalating where you need help.

            Again: DO NOT DELAY, TEST NOW, FIX BUGS, FILE BUGS, ESCALATE FOR HELP.

            Happy testing everyone, and here’s hoping we push out another smooth
            and stress-free release on Thursday.

            … Adam Conrad

          • Bionic (18.04) Release Candidate images ready for testing!

            Initial RC (Release Candidate) images for the Kubuntu Bionic Beaver (18.04) are now available for testing.

            The Kubuntu team will be releasing 18.04 on 26 April. The final Release Candidate milestone is available today, 21 April.

            This is the first spin of a release candiate in preparation for the RC milestone. If major bugs are encountered and fixed, the RC images may be respun.

          • Ubuntu Studio 18.04 Release Candidate

            The Release Candidate for Ubuntu Studio 18.04 is ready for testing.

          • gksu Removed From Ubuntu, Here’s What You Can Use Instead

            gksu is deprecated. It is removed from Debian, Ubuntu 18.04 and other newer Linux distribution version. You can achieve the gksu functionality with gvfs admin backend. Here’s how to do that.

            I am exploring Ubuntu 18.04 these days. And when I was trying to suppress the Ubuntu crash report, I tried to use a command with gksu.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Libjpeg-Turbo 2.0 Beta Brings More AVX2 SIMD, Improved CMake Build System

    A Phoronix reader recently pointed out that LibJPEG 2.0 Beta quietly shipped last month as working towards the next big update for this speed-focused JPEG library.

    Libjpeg-Turbo 2.0 beta is available for testing and it brings AVX2 SIMD support for colorspace conversion, chroma downsampling/upsampling, integer quantization and sample conversion, and integer DCT/IDCT algorithms. These AVX2 SIMD accelerated paths are generally bringing gains anywhere from 9% to 36% faster depending upon the operation. This version is also bringing SIMD acceleration for Huffman encoding on SSE2 CPUs and Loongson MMI SIMD implementations for more functions.

  • University students create award-winning open source projects

    In my short time working for Clarkson University, I’ve realized what a huge impact this small university is making on the open source world. Our 4,300 student-strong science and technology-focused institution, located just south of the Canadian border in Potsdam, New York, hosts the Clarkson Open Source Institute (COSI), dedicated to promoting open source software and providing equipment and support for student projects.

    While many universities offer opportunities for students to get involved in open source projects, it’s rare to have an entire institute dedicated to promoting open source development. COSI is part of Clarkson’s Applied Computer Science Labs within the computer science department. It, along with the Internet Teaching Lab and the Virtual Reality Lab, is run by students (supported by faculty advisers), allowing them to gain experience in managing both facilities and projects while still undergraduates.

  • When should you open source your software?

    It’s 20 years this this since the term ‘Open Source’ was coined. In that time the movement for free and open software has gone from a niche to a common method of distribution and a normal way of operating for businesses.

    Major technology shifts are now driven by open source technologies: Big Data (Hadoop, Spark), AI (TensorFlow, Caffe), and Containers (Docker, Kubernetes) are all open projects. Massive companies including Google, Facebook, and even Lyft regularly release Open Source tools for the world to use. Microsoft – whose former CEO once described Linux as a cancer – now embraces the concept.

  • Events

    • Pakistan Open Source Summit 2018 concludes [Ed: Not about software]

      A large number of attendees from industry, academia, government, and students participated in the summit. Portuguese Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Joao Sabido Costa was the chief guest at the opening ceremony while former Naval Chief Admiral (r) Asif Sandila graced the occasion as the chief guest at the closing ceremony.

    • ‘Open Summit key to create industry-academy linkages’

      Ambassador of Portugal to Pakistan Dr Joao Sabido Costa has said that events such as the Open Source Summit are excellent for spreading awareness and for creating industry-academia linkages and enhancement of the information technology.

      He stated this while addressing a concluding ceremony of the two-day informative ‘Pakistan Open Source Summit 2018’ attended by large number of people from industry, academia, government and students. Former naval chief Admiral (R) Asif Sandila co-chaired the concluding session.

      Dr Joao Sabido Costa said that the organisations should utilise open source platforms to build their IT infrastructures in future. To build open source culture in Pakistan, he recommended roadmap with future activities and timelines for spreading open source.

    • Madrid GNOME+Rust Hackfest, part 2

      Yesterday we went to the Madrid Rust Meetup, a regular meeting of rustaceans here. Martin talked about WebRender; I talked about refactoring C to port it to Rust, and then Alex talked about Rust’s plans for 2018. Fun times.

    • DataworksSummit Berlin – Wednesday morning

      Data strategy – cloud strategy – business strategy: Aligning the three was one of the main themes (initially put forward in his opening keynote by CTO of Hortonworks Scott Gnau) thoughout this weeks Dataworks Summit Berlin kindly organised and hosted by Hortonworks. The event was attended by over 1000 attendees joining from 51 countries.

      The inspiration hat was put forward in the first keynote by Scott was to take a closer look at the data lifecycle – including the fact that a lot of data is being created (and made available) outside the control of those using it: Smart farming users are using a combination of weather data, information on soil conditions gathered through sensors out in the field in order to inform daily decisions. Manufacturing is moving towards closer monitoring of production lines to spot inefficiencies. Cities are starting to deploy systems that allow for better integration of public services. UX is being optimized through extensive automation.

    • A look at Rancher 2.0

      Last December, we announced a Kubernetes Cloud Native Platform in partnership with Rancher Labs. Built on Canonical’s Distribution of Kubernetes and Rancher 2.0, the Cloud Native Platform will simplify enterprise usage of Kubernetes with seamless user management, access control, and cluster administration. Join our webinar to get a tour of the platform!

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD 5.2, TrueOS 18.03, FreeBSD 11.1, Ubuntu 16.04/18.04 & Clear Linux Tests

      This week I posted some benchmarks looking at the Meltdown mitigation impact on BSD vs. Linux as well as some tests of DragonFly’s stabilized HAMMER2 while for your viewing pleasure this weekend are a variety of general BSD vs. Linux benchmarks while using the newly-released DragonFlyBSD 5.2, TrueOS 18.03, FreeBSD 11.1, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Ubuntu 18.04, and Intel’s Clear Linux.

      All of these BSD/Linux operating system benchmarks were done using a system with an Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5 Skylake CPU, MSI MS-7998 motherboard, 2 x 8GB DDR4-2133 memory, and a 256GB Toshiba RD-400 NVMe SSD. All of the hardware components were maintained the same throughout the entire testing process.

      For making the systems comparable and testing the operating systems in the manner set by the vendor, each platform was tested “out of the box” using the default settings.

    • DragonFlyBSD Kernel Gets Some SMP Improvements

      It looks like the DragonFlyBSD 5.4 release will be delivering at least a few kernel-level performance improvements.

      It turns out just hours after wrapping up the latest BSD vs. Linux benchmarks, Matthew Dillon pushed a few performance tweaks to the Git tree for DragonFly.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Best Open Source 3D Printers

        In simplest terms, an open source 3D printer refers to a 3D printer whose hardware and software information are available to the public, typically under a license. The information can be used by anyone to build, modify, or improve the 3D printer.

        If you’re looking for real open source 3D printers, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we introduce you to completely open source 3D printers. The hardware and software information of all the products listed here can be easily found on the internet.

  • Programming/Development

    • What is Open Source Programming? How to Get Involved?

      Open Source Programming simply means writing codes that other people can freely use as well as modify. It is essential for authors to license their code, it enables them to have a copyright for those codes. Therefore, for a code to be declared safe and free for all to use, whether it’s available in the Github or in a public-repo; the author is required to license their own code. This is to avoid cases of individuals being sued by the author for using, modifying or even embedding the code without being granted a license to do that.

Leftovers

  • This week in tech, 20 years ago
  • How I accidentally wrote a Wikipedia page on a layover in Dublin

    A most unusual but wonderful experience happened to me recently on a return trip from Europe to the United States.

    A series of heavy Nor’easters hit the U.S. East Coast over the last couple weeks, one of which coincided with my trip back to Rochester, NY. While we didn’t have flooding, we had a lot of snow. A lot of snow means canceled flights.

    As I made my way through border control in Dublin, Ireland on March 7, I discovered my connection to New York City would likely be canceled. A meander from baggage claim to the check-in desk confirmed this. Fortunately, Aer Lingus had no issue putting me up in a hotel overnight, with dinner and breakfast, so that I could catch the next flight to New York the following day.

  • 17 Ways Your Friends Are Lying To You On Social Media

    Be cynical. Be very, very cynical.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Teen who hacked [sic] top US officials gets two years in prison

      CWA’s MO is called “social engineering” — they’d impersonate their victims and call [I]nternet and phone providers’ customer support hotlines in order to get confidential info and to reset their targets’ passwords.

    • Wanted: The ‘Butcher of Damascus’ to Return Normalcy to Syria

      Butcher of Damascus. Gasser of children. Baby Killer of Syria. Tool of Moscow. Cruel despot. Monster.

      These are all names the western media and politicians routinely heap on Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. He has now become the top Mideast villain, the man we love to hate.

      As a veteran Mideast watcher, I find all this hard to swallow. Compared to other brutal Mideast leaders, Assad is pretty weak tea. The U.S./British propaganda effort to paint Assad in blackest colors is having a difficult time.

      Mideast leaders who toe the U.S. line and make nice to Israel are invariably called ‘statesmen’ or ‘president’ by the American government and its increasingly tame media. Their repression is conveniently downplayed.

      Saudi rulers are reverently treated by despite leading the world in executions. Last year, 44 people were publicly beheaded. In some years, around 150 people have lost their heads in Saudi Arabia, often a quarter of them Pakistani guest workers. Having been arrested by the Saudi religious police, I can tell you that the kingdom is a police state with sand dunes and camels. Saudi vassal states Bahrain and the Emirates are better, but not much.

    • Another Dodgy British Dossier: the Skripal Case

      The British government shared what was supposedly a dossier containing sensitive intelligence to convince allies and EU member states to support its accusation of Russian culpability in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England on March 4.

      But like the infamous 2003 “dodgy dossier” prepared at the direction of Prime Minister Tony Blair to justify British involvement in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the intelligence dossier on the Salisbury poisoning turns out to have been based on politically-motivated speculation rather than actual intelligence

      British officials used the hastily assembled “intelligence” briefing to brief the North Atlantic Council on March 15, the European Foreign Affairs Council on March 19 and the European summit meeting in Brussels on March 23.

    • Beware of White Helmets Bearing News

      At the center of the controversy over an alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Duma on April 7 are the White Helmets, a self-described rescue operation about whom an Oscar-winning documentary was made.

      Reporter and author Max Blumenthal has tracked the role of the White Helmets in the Syrian conflict. He reported that the White Helmets were created in Turkey by James Le Mesurier, a former British MI5 agent. The group has received at least $55 million from the British Foreign Office and $23 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development as well as millions from the Kingdom of Qatar, which has backed a variety of extremist groups in Syria including Al Qaeda.

      Blumenthal writes, “When Defense Secretary James Mattis cited ‘social media’ in place of scientific evidence of a chemical attack in Duma, he was referring to video shot by members of the White Helmets. Similarly, when State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert sought to explain why the US bombed Syria before inspectors from the OPCW could produce a report from the ground, she claimed, ‘We have our own intelligence.’ With little else to offer, she was likely referring to social media material published by members of the White Helmets.”

      The reference to social media as evidence in the most serious decision a leader can make—to engage in an act of war—is part of a disturbing trend. Then Secretary of State John Kerry pointed to “social media” as evidence of the Syrian government’s guilt in a 2013 chemical attack in the same Damascus suburb. But as Robert Parry, the late founder and editor of this site, pointed out in numerous reports, Syrian government guilt was far from a sure thing.

    • Legendary scientist at lab that developed atomic bomb dies at 97

      Scientist Nerses Krik Krikorian, who was born a refugee and later became a legend in the once-secret New Mexico city where the atomic bomb was developed, has died. He was 97.

    • Nude gunman kills four at Tennessee waffle house

      A man who was naked but for a green jacket shot and killed at least four people and wounded at least three others at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee early Sunday, authorities said.

      The gunman, armed with what was described as an AR-15 style assault rifle, walked into the restaurant in Antioch, in suburban Nashville, shortly before 3:30 a.m. (0830 GMT).

    • America’s #1 Weapons Salesman: Trump Promotes U.S. Arms Manufacturers & Weakens Export Rules

      A new exposé by Reuters reveals how the Trump administration plans to make the U.S. an even larger weapons exporter by loosening restrictions on the sale of equipment ranging from fighter jets and drones to warships and artillery. Reuters reveals that the new initiative will provide guidelines that could allow more countries to be granted faster deal approvals, and will call on Cabinet officials to help close deals between foreign governments and U.S. defense contractors. In one example, Reuters reveals President Trump himself urged the emir of Kuwait, in a telephone call, to finalize a $10 billion fighter jet deal with Boeing, the country’s second-largest defense contractor. The exposé details the role U.S. Cabinet officials may be asked to play in pushing arms exports abroad as part of the new initiative, which will call for a “whole of government” approach—from the president and his Cabinet to military attachés and diplomats—to help draw in billions of dollars more in arms business overseas. The Trump administration is expected to announce the new rules as early as Thursday. We speak to Mike Stone of Reuters and William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.

    • Playing War in Syria

      Donald Trump got “presidential” again and fired about $150 million worth of cruise missiles at Syria, accomplishing God knows what.

    • Trump’s Blank Check for War

      On Monday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to review a bill that would virtually give President Donald J. Trump a blank check to wage –war anywhere in the world any time he pleases.

      The Constitution places the power to declare war exclusively in the hands of the Congress. However, for the past 75 years, Congress has allowed that power to drift toward the executive branch.

      The new bill, should it pass, would effectively make the transfer of the war power from Congress to the president complete. It is hard to imagine a worse time in American history for this to happen.

    • Missiles Over Damascus

      On 13 April 2018 President Donald Trump ordered the bombing of selective targets in the Syrian capital, Damascus. He did so because he was emotionally upset by Syrian President Bashar al- Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in the town of Douma – the last rebel (ISIS-style) stronghold adjacent to the capital.

      Just prior to Trump’s actualizing his emotions by throwing missiles into Damascus, he had expressed his opinion (and keep in mind that there is no difference between fact and opinion for Mr.Trump) that President Assad is a “monster” as well as an “animal.” At least in part because the Syrian President stooped to “killing his own people.” The problem with all this is (1) Trump has no hard evidence that Assad was behind the alleged gas attack and (2) killing your own people is, unfortunately, what civil wars are all about.

      Alas, the world has always been, and still is, full of “monsters” and “animals.” And, since we are throwing around such epithets, we might as well give a couple of close-to-home examples of those qualifying behaviors.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Australian workers and youth denounce persecution of Julian Assange

      Over the weekend, Socialist Equality Party (SEP) campaigners spoke to a broad range of workers, students and young people about upcoming SEP meetings opposing the stepped-up persecution of Julian Assange, and the censorship of the Internet by governments around the world in league with the “tech” monopolies.

      Workers and youth denounced the decision of the Ecuadorian government last month to cut off Assange’s Internet access and right to receive visitors at its London embassy, where he sought asylum more than five years ago. The move, taken under pressure from the US, Britain and the other major powers, was aimed at silencing WikiLeaks’ exposures of the drive to war, and intimidating other opponents of escalating militarism.

      The sentiments of ordinary people stand in stark contrast to the actions of the Australian political establishment. All of the parliamentary parties, along with the corporate press, liberal pundits, and the pseudo-left, have maintained a deafening silence over the latest attacks on Assange. This is in line with the support extended in 2010 by the Greens-backed Labor government of Julia Gillard, and every government since, for the US-led persecution of Assange.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Earth Day, April 22
    • On Earth Day: Environmental Activism is Spreading

      Tree-sits are growing in West Virginia where people are putting their bodies on the line to stop the destruction of the natural habitat that would result from building the Mountain Valley pipeline for fracked gas. In Virginia, Red Terry started a tree-sit on Easter weekend to protect her land from destruction. She remains, despite the company with law enforcement support denying her food and water — something illegal against prisoners or during war. As trees are felled she remains, as do protesters in Pennsylvania.

      In Louisiana, a water protector locked herself into a cement-filled barrel placed in the trench of a horizontal directional drill to block construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Eleanor Goldfield reports this is part of the Battle of the Bayou, a coalition of groups and individuals standing against the destruction of a fragile environment, facing arrest and creating a future together.

      Last November, Washington State activists defeated the largest oil-train terminal in the nation.

  • Finance

    • 5 Things You Learn Pretending To Be A Businessman In China

      Chinese companies will hire random white people to attend meetings, banquets, etc. to create the (false) impression that they have connections in the U.S.

    • No appetite for a deregulatory post-Brexit Britain: new findings on public attitudes

      Five years later, Prime Minister Theresa May gave a rather different speech in London as the UK prepared for EU withdrawal. Rather than expounding the single market’s advantages, she argued that the UK would have to leave it, because to do otherwise would mean continued free movement. Rather than calling for deeper links in services, she acknowledged that trade post-Brexit would be less free. And rather than embracing deregulation, she said that UK and EU regulatory standards would remain “substantially similar” in future.

      This lays bare the bizarre reversal of the political economy of Brexit. A movement that began in essence as a means of casting off EU regulations while retaining economic links has morphed into a government agenda resolved to cutting trade ties while keeping – even strengthening – those very regulations that Eurosceptics once so derided.

      The reasons for this about-turn are complex. On one level, the Eurosceptics’ original plan for delivering Brexit was never a plausible one: it is not possible to retain the advantages of the “common market” while at the same time jettisoning the rules and regulations that bind it together.

      For the other member states, the EU’s employment, environmental and consumer legislation are not superfluous appendages to the single market but core pillars that allow member states to compete on a level playing field. This perspective could therefore never have survived collision with the reality of the Brexit negotiations.

    • Brexit’s offshore secrets

      In 2015, Arron Banks’s insurance business was bailed out. Where the rescue money came from is unclear—but as the Electoral Commission probes the sources of the Leave donor’s campaign contributions, a group of accountants who specialise in offshore “wealth preservation” may hold the key.

    • Theresa May ‘could quit’ next month if government loses key Brexit vote

      Theresa May is reportedly set to quit if she loses a key Brexit vote next month, it was reported this morning.

      Number 10 is considering a vote on the customs union a ‘matter of confidence’ in Mrs May’s government, the BBC report.

      While it wouldn’t be legally binding, it would be a signal to her own MPs that she’s ready to stake her job on Britain leaving any kind of customs union.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Remembering Barbara Bush

      Barbara Bush, mother of war criminal George W. Bush, died on April 17, 2018. Geraldine Comley, my mother, died April 17, 2011.

      [...]

      Yesterday, April 17, I was preoccupied with Gigi images. My younger son H and his wife V had been here on Sunday, working on a project for me. They were exhausted. He wanted to go home and return the next evening to finish the task. She wanted to stay the extra two hours required to complete it. I began a question I knew would make them laugh but got only partially through it before bursting into laughter. Just like my mother. Exactly what Gigi did. This was an exquisite little reverie to have amid thoughts of those days in April of 2011 when the Sisterhood, Laura, Erma, and I, were at her bedside during the days of her dying.

      George W. Bush visited his mother in the hospital during her last days. According to this Peter Baker tribute, Mrs. Bush said to her doctor: “You want to know why George W. is the way he is? Because I drank and smoked when I was pregnant with him.” When I read this, I recalled my mother’s statement that George W. Bush was stupid. Yet Barbara Bush’s drinking and smoking don’t support that “way he is”, that way he really is—an imperialist/capitalist former president. More sinister influences than alcohol and tobacco shaped the mass murderer.

    • Trump Times Two

      Mr. Trump, likes to brag about the high numbers of admirers that he appears to see during various events he puts on. He almost certainly attributed the large number of viewers Ms. Daniels attracted to her 60 Minutes interview, to the fact that he was the subject she was addressing. His unseen presence, he almost certainly believes, is what made it interesting. He would have been doubly pleased with the fact that her interview about HIM attracted more viewers than any other program put on by CBS’s 60 Minutes since an interview in 2008 where the subjects were the much disliked, by him, Barrack Obama, who had just been elected president, and his wife, Michelle.

    • Coinbase Rejects WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks Calls for Boycott of Coinbase
    • Wikileaks Claims Coinbase Has Shut Down Its Online Store’s Bitcoin Account
    • The Wikileaks Shop says that Coinbase has suspended its account
    • Largest Bitcoin Brokerage Coinbase Blocks WikiLeaks Purchases
    • Coinbase Suspends WikiLeaks Shop for Terms of Service Violation
    • Coinbase Reportedly Shuts Down Wikileaks Store, Assange Calls for Boycott in Response
    • Coinbase blocks WikiLeaks shop without notice – starts a riot on social media
    • Wikileaks Shop Banned from Coinbase, Non-Profit Says
    • Coinbase Shutters the Account of WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks Bites Back
    • WikiLeaks loses access to a key cryptocurrency account
    • Wikileaks Calls for Global Blockade of Coinbase After Its Shop Was Blocked
    • DNC’s Lawsuit Against Russia, Trump And WikiLeaks
    • The DNC’s lawsuit against the Russian government, Trump campaign and WikiLeaks
    • The DNC’s lawsuit against Trump, Russia and Wikileaks is making the parallels with Watergate hard to ignore

      The Democratic Party’s abrupt dropping of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit into the simmering cauldron that is the Trump-Russia affair took some folk by surprise.

      Why risk complicating the life of special counsel Robert Mueller just when he may be getting to the endgame of his own investigation into all these allegations? Where did such a crazy idea come from anyway?

    • The ‘deep state’ is real. But are its leaks against Trump justified?

      America doesn’t have coups or tanks in the street. But a deep state of sorts exists here and it includes national security bureaucrats who use secretly collected information to shape or curb the actions of elected officials.

      Some see these American bureaucrats as a vital check on the law-breaking or authoritarian or otherwise illegitimate tendencies of democratically elected officials.

      Others decry them as a self-serving authoritarian cabal that illegally and illegitimately undermines democratically elected officials and the policies they were elected to implement.

    • The vetting files: How the BBC kept out ‘subversives’

      For decades the BBC denied that job applicants were subject to political vetting by MI5. But in fact vetting began in the early days of the BBC and continued until the 1990s. Paul Reynolds, the first journalist to see all the BBC’s vetting files, tells the story of the long relationship between the corporation and the Security Service.

      “Policy: keep head down and stonewall all questions.” So wrote a senior BBC official in early 1985, not long before the Observer exposed so many details of the work done in Room 105 Broadcasting House that there was no point continuing to hide it.

      By that stage, a policy of flatly denying the existence of political vetting – not just stonewalling, but if necessary lying – had been in place for five decades.

    • DNC chairman defends lawsuit against Russia, Trump campaign, WikiLeaks

      The chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Sunday defended a new multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, with talk show hosts asking whether it was distracting from efforts to rebuild the Democratic Party.

    • Tom Perez defends DNC lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia, Assange

      Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez on Sunday defended a new lawsuit alleging a wide-reaching conspiracy by the Trump campaign, Russia, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and others to interfere in the 2016 election to the detriment of the Democratic Party.
      Asked why the Democrats didn’t wait for special counsel Robert Mueller’s Justice Department probe into election interference to end, Perez said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the DNC needed to file “in a timely manner under the statute of limitations.”

      [...]

      The suit has garnered criticism from Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, and former Obama White House adviser and CNN commentator David Axelrod.

      The lawsuit and other “sideshows,” such as the publication of former FBI Director James Comey’s explosive new book that portrays President Donald Trump in a negative light, “seem spectacularly ill-timed and abet@POTUS strategy of portraying a sober and essential probe as a partisan vendetta. Everyone should chill out and let Mueller do his job,” Axelrod tweeted Friday.

      On Friday and Saturday, Trump mocked Democrats for their lawsuit, suggesting Republicans could use it to their advantage and dredging up allegations against the committee’s former chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A season of self-censorship — confessions of an Editor-at-large

      Once again, Pakistan’s media is under fire. Unlike the past, there are no formal advisories or strictures but a combination of subliminal messages and self-censorship. That this happens on the verge of a third transition of power is deeply worrying and ominous.

      Hundreds of journalists and editors have issued a collective statement protesting the ongoing curbs on freedom of expression in the country. The missive reads: “Beginning with a crackdown against select media groups and banning the broadcast of various channels, there now is enhanced pressure on all media houses to refrain from covering certain rights based movements. Media house managements under pressure are dropping regular op-ed columns and removing online editions of published articles. One media house even asked its anchors to stop live shows.”

    • Lecturer talks on the end of censorship

      Assistant professor of computer science Max Schuchard gave a lecture about defeating internet censorship Friday afternoon during the UT Science Forum.

      Schuchard opened his lecture discussing the trivial uses for the internet such as watching humorous videos yet also the critical role it plays in sharing important information about other countries and providing people with the access to knowledge.

      Schuchard compared the internet to a tool that sparks changes and revolutions in different ways to more violent measures such as a weapon that incites change

      Schuchard focused on the censorship of the internet in other countries, territories and regions to control the influx of information to populations. To emphasize his point, Schuchard presented a map of the world displaying regions that have limited access to the internet because of either control by a governing people or destruction of resources to access internet such as the natural disaster in Puerto Rico.

    • Natalie Portman addresses snub of ‘Jewish Nobel,’ backlash

      Israel faces some international criticism over its use of lethal force in response to mass protests along the Gaza border led by the Islamic militant group that rules the territory.

      One Israeli lawmaker warned that Portman’s decision is a sign of eroding support for Israel among young American Jews.

      The Jerusalem-born Portman is a dual Israeli-American citizen. The Oscar-winning actress moved to the United States as a young girl, evolving from a child actress into a widely acclaimed A-list star. Portman received the 2011 best actress Academy Award for “Black Swan,” and, in 2015, she directed and starred in “Tale of Love and Darkness,” a Hebrew-language film set in Israel based on an Amos Oz novel. Her success is a great source of pride for many Israelis.

      The Genesis Prize Foundation said Thursday that it had been informed by Portman’s representative that “recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing” to Portman, though it did not refer to specific events.

      [...]

      Oren Hazan, a legislator in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party, called on the government to revoke Portman’s Israeli citizenship.

    • Russia raises the stakes with wide-reaching and blunt internet clampdown

      Russia has long sought to emulate the way its neighbour China regulates its citizens’ online activities. The Kremlin isn’t ready to do it just yet – but that doesn’t mean they won’t break the internet trying

    • Pakistani journalists denounce blatant censorship

      Yesterday, after this exceptionally bad week for free speech in Pakistan, more than 50 journalists launched a petition condemning the latest cases of censorship. In particular, they criticized several media outlets for refusing to cover subjects that the military does not want addressed.

      The latest subject to be placed off limits is the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), which has been organizing protests in defence of Pakistan’s Pashtun minority and denouncing human rights violations by the military targeting Pashtuns.

      For the first time in ten years, the management of The News, Pakistan’s biggest English-language daily, has censored three of its contributors for editorial pages. It refused to publish an editorial by Mosharraf Zaidi, who wanted to start a debate about the PTM. Then it refused to published an article on the same subject by the columnist Babar Sattar.

    • Aurora library display prompts both hate and censorship claims

      A poem that was part of a display at the Aurora Public Library prompted such a flurry of comments throughout town Saturday that it was removed before the library opened on Sunday.

      Residents, patrons, organizations and Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin weighed in through discussion with library staff and social media, calling the poem an example of hate speech against Muslims and particularly Muslim women, and demanding that it be taken down.

      Other comments called the move censorship of what was promoted by library officials as a satirical statement on racial hatred.

    • Thumbs down: Facebook’s hate speech and censorship policies no easy fix

      Under more scrutiny than ever, Facebook finds itself caught in a no-man’s land between activists who say it needs to adopt much stricter definitions governing hate speech and critics on the right who feel the social media giant is censoring conservative voices.

      The company’s policy now largely depends on humans reviewing content flagged by others as offensive — a system Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress he hopes to change within 10 years by integrating artificial intelligence that can identify questionable content immediately.

      [...]

      Issues arise, of course, because what some consider to be offensive, racially tinged attacks are seen by others as political statements. Rhetoric surrounding illegal immigration, for example, often falls into that category.

    • Fearing political censorship, groups urge Hong Kong gov’t to clarify textbook review mechanism

      The phrases found to be problematic included: “Hong Kong is located south of China,” “the Chinese Communist Party’s one-party rule” and “China insisted on taking back Hong Kong’s sovereignty.”

      Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said in response last week that China has always had sovereignty over Hong Kong, thus school textbooks should not describe the handover as a taking back of sovereignty. He also said that the phrase “Hong Kong is located south of China” does not clarify whether the city is within or outside of China’s borders.

      Demosisto said on Saturday that a Hong Kong general studies textbook was found to have been changed so that the 2017 edition no longer states that the media monitors the government or exposes problems in society, as it did in the 2013 textbook.

      The pro-democracy party said the incident shows that political censorship was not limited to one instance, and that it could involve more than one publisher as well as other textbooks across primary and secondary levels.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A more privacy-friendy blog

      When I started this blog, I embraced some free services, like Disqus or Google Analytics. These services are quite invasive for users’ privacy. Over the years, I have tried to correct this to reach a point where I do not rely on any “privacy-hostile” services.

    • Aleksandr Kogan: The link between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

      Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg are in a whale of trouble and not just because the company has lost tens of billions of dollars in market value in recent weeks.

      We now know that during years of essentially policing itself, Facebook allowed Russian trolls to buy U.S. election ads, advertisers to discriminate by race, hate groups to spread fake news and, because facebook shirked privacy concerns, a company called Cambridge Analytica was able to surreptitiously gain access to personal data mined from as many as 87 million Facebook users.

    • Cambridge Analytica Researcher Denies Stealing Data; Says Facebook’s Policies Were Flawed

      Aleksandr Kogan, who is responsible for creating data harvesting apps, has finally broken his silence over the Facebook CA scandal saying that he did not steal the data, rather Facebook opened its doors for developers to access that data.

      In an interview with CBS News, Kogan said, “The idea that we stole the data, I think, is technically incorrect.” But he admitted of being aware that the data was going to be for elections and as a political consulting firm, he allowed Cambridge Analytica to create campaigns by analyzing voters and targeted them with ads.

    • Fighting for migrants’ data protection rights in the UK

      Since 2014, the United Kingdom (UK) government has steadily rolled out policies to make the country a “hostile environment” for migrants, in the words of Prime Minister Theresa May.

    • The world is no longer willing to tolerate the plague of bullshit “agreements”

      The self-replicating plague of bullshit “agreements” is finally getting a reckoning, as users wake up to the fact that companies were actually serious when they said that they expected hold us to these absurd legal documents. What’s more, the looming spectre of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, with its mandate for plain language agreements that users have to understand, is calling into question whether it’s possible to even have a business that can only exist if users agree to terms that put the US tax-code to shame.

    • Facebook Set Lobbying Record Amid Cambridge Analytica Furor

      The company spent $3.3 million, according to disclosures filed with the government Friday, up from the $3.21 million it spent in the same period a year earlier, which represented the company’s prior high.

    • Facebook privacy audit by auditors finds everything is awesome!

      The US Federal Trade Commission has released an audit of Facebook’s privacy practices and it turns out there’s nothing to worry about, at least as far as accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is concerned.

      Clearly, there’s nothing to worry about. Go back to your homes, people.

      PwC, retained to check on how Facebook has been complying with its 2011 FTC consent decree for deceiving consumers, believes the social ad network – the same one recently pilloried by US lawmakers for allowing profile data to be spirited away to data firm Cambridge Analytica – has been doing a bang-up job.

    • NOTHING Wrong With Facebook’s Privacy Practices — Facebook Audit Concluded

      The “Big Four” accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) had been assigned the job of auditing Facebook’s privacy practices every two years by the US Federal Trade Commission. This was done to make sure that Facebook didn’t break the 2011 FTC consent decree and deceive customers.

      According to a heavily redacted copy of the latest audit published on FTC’s website, there seemed to be nothing wrong with Facebook’s privacy measures when the audit was conducted.

    • Palantir Knows Everything

      Civil rights advocates say the compilation of a digital dossier of someone’s life, absent a court warrant, is an unlawful intrusion under the U.S. Constitution. Law enforcement officials say that’s not the case. For now, the question is unsettled, and that may be no accident. Civil liberties lawyers are seeking a case to challenge the constitutionality of Palantir’s use, but prosecutors and immigration agents have been careful not to cite the software in evidentiary documents, says Paromita Shah, associate director of the National Lawyers Guild’s National Immigration Project. “Palantir lives on that secrecy,” she says.

    • Palantir has figured out how to make money by using algorithms to ascribe guilt to people, now they’re looking for new customers
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Florida detectives attempted to use a dead suspect’s fingerprint to unlock his phone

      Victoria Armstrong, Phillip’s fiancé told the Times that she “felt so disrespected and violated,” but Largo police spokesman Lt. Randall Chaney says that the detectives didn’t need a search warrant, an assessment backed up by several legal experts, who said that it was “ghoulish,” but that constitutional protections against searches don’t apply to the deceased.

    • How the C.I.A. Is Waging an Influence Campaign to Get Its Next Director Confirmed
    • Brexit and the Windrush Britons

      The inhuman treatment of the “Windrush” immigrants contrasts starkly with the position of EU nationals under the Brexit transition agreement – and shines a light on how so-called “free movement” has operated to discriminate against British people (whether of Commonwealth origin or not).

      Ever since Britain accepted the EU concept of free movement, EU nationals have been able to bring in children, spouses, and the children of spouses, from anywhere in the world without having to jump through the hoops required of UK citizens.

      Now, with the transition agreement, EU nationals have further rights. In particular (Article 10), EU nationals resident in Britain before the end of the transition period will retain the right of permanent residence even if they have been absent from Britain for a period of more than five years.

      Yet the Windrush Britons have been told that any absence from the UK since 1988 lasting more than two years will disqualify them from residence. One, Junior Green, was told in 2009 by the Home Office that to update his passport he had to prove he had lived here for each of the previous 10 years.

      EU nationals seeking permanent residence in Britain are guaranteed a form that is “short, simple, user friendly”. The NTL (No Time Limit) form required of Windrush Britons is 21 pages long, with an additional 7 pages of guidance.

      For EU nationals, the transition agreement says that the UK “shall ensure that administrative procedures for applications are smooth, transparent and simple and that any unnecessary administrative burdens are avoided”. Contrast that with the obstacle course placed in the path of the Windrush Britons.

      And then there’s the cost. The NTL application costs £229 for a single person and £229 for each dependent. Plus a Biometric Resident Permit fee of £19.20 per person. An EU national applying for settled status will pay “no more than the cost charged to British citizens for a UK passport” – £85.

      What’s wrong about all this? Just about everything. The casual disregard for basic humanity shown by successive governments – Labour, Coalition and Conservative – is a disgrace.

    • World Bank recommends fewer regulations protecting workers

      The World Bank is proposing lower minimum wages and greater hiring and firing powers for employers as part of a wide-ranging deregulation of labour markets deemed necessary to prepare countries for the changing nature of work.

    • CIA Operative Gina Haspel Who Tortured, Ordered CIA Torture Tapes Destroyed, and Now Wants To Lead CIA Did Nothing Wrong, Says CIA
    • Southern Poverty Law Center Quietly Deleted List of ‘Anti-Muslim’ Extremists After Legal Threat

      The Southern Poverty Law Center has removed the “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists” from their website after attorneys for Maajid Nawaz, a practicing Muslim and prominent Islamic reformer, threatened legal action over his inclusion on the list.

      The report, which had been active on the SPLC’s website since it was published in December 2016, was intended to serve as a resource for journalists to identify promoters of hateful propaganda; but it included a number of liberal reformers such as Nawaz, a former Islamic extremist who has since dedicated his life to combating the hateful ideology.

    • Texas Charter School Asked Students to List ‘Positive Aspects’ of Slavery

      An enraged father was in disbelief when he saw his eighth grader’s homework assignment. The student was given a paper with two columns to fill out by listing the “positive aspects” and the “negative aspects” of life as a slave.

      The worksheet was titled: “The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View.”

    • Index on Disgrace

      The second half of my life has been a continual process of disillusionment with the institutions I used to respect. I suppose it started with the FCO, where I went from being Britain’s youngest ambassador to being sacked for opposing the use of intelligence from torture, at the same time having an insider view of the knowing lies about Iraqi WMD being used as a pretext for invasion and resource grab.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality repeal prompts Calif., other states to pursue their own laws

      The long-time hot-button issue — essentially about whether your Internet service provider should be able to block or slow legal traffic, or charge for faster delivery of some content — won’t likely recede any time soon, even though a milestone nears in the national tussle about the topic.

    • Mapping the whole [I]nternet with Hilbert curves [iophk: "ipv4"]

      The problem with displaying IP addresses, is that they are a single dimensional, they only move up and down, however humans are not good at looking at a large amount of single dimensional points. So there has to be a way to fill a 2 dimensional space that can also help the structure of the graph stay in shape.

    • AT&T, Verizon Face U.S. Probe Over Mobile Technology

      Apple Inc., a pioneer in the eSIM technology that makes switching easier, was joined by other equipment makers in complaining to the government about the carriers’ practices, two other people with knowledge of the matter said. The department issued demands to the companies and the GSMA, a mobile industry standards group, for information on possible collusion, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter isn’t public.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Fearless Girl to be moved due to … viability concerns

        A little over a year ago The IPKat reported that Italian-born sculptor Arturo Di Modica, ie the author of the well-known Charging Bull in Manhattan’s Financial District, intended to file a formal complaint with the Office of the New York City Mayor over the decision of the latter to allow the positioning (and stay for a few months) of Kristen Visbal’s Fearless Girl right just opposite the famous bull.

        Initially an advertisement for an index fund which comprises gender diverse companies that have a higher percentage of women among their senior leadership, Fearless Girl has become a popular sight in Manhattan.

        The reason why Di Modica was unhappy about the positioning of Fearless Girl is explained in his complaint to the Mayor.

        His sculpture was meant to symbolize, initially, the ‘strength and power of the American people and, then (after it was moved to its current location), the ‘hope of the American people for the future’.

        The meaning has arguably changed since the arrival of Fearless Girl. According to Di Modica, contrasted with the soft, altruistic characteristics of the bronze girl, Charging Bull now appears menacing and aggressive.

      • Steam Censors MEGA.nz Links in Chats and Forum Posts

        Steam is actively preventing users from sharing links to the cloud-hosting service MEGA. The URLs are automatically stripped from forum posts and even private chats are censored. According to Valve, Mega links are potentially malicious, something the New Zealand company actively disputes.

      • Russia Blacklists 250 Pirate Sites For Displaying Gambling Ads

        Russia has found a creative way of taking down pirates by using old legislation. Online gambling is forbidden in the country so sites carrying such advertising are breaking the law. Around 250 pirate sites were spotted carrying gambling ads by tax authorities who ordered telecoms watchdog Rozcomnadzor to have them all blocked at the ISP level.

The Good Work of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Latest Attempts to Undermine It

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 2:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Justice does not really serve those who profit from injustice and extrajudicial actions such as patent extortion

Old Red Courthouse

Summary: A week’s roundup of news about PTAB, which is eliminating many bad (wrongly-granted) patents and is therefore becoming “enemy number one” to those who got accustomed to blackmailing real (productive) firms with their questionable patents

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board is great. We love it. Not only does it help the USPTO‘s patent examiners improve their examination; it also deals with erroneous grants (post-grant, i.e. after mistakes were made). It’s not hard to imagine who would hate such judges with a great passion. Who possibly benefits from wrongly-granted patents? Patent law firms, patent trolls and their messengers. Any mistaken grant may mean more legal action — spurious/frivolous litigation basically.

“Who possibly benefits from wrongly-granted patents? Patent law firms, patent trolls and their messengers.”Daniel Nazer (EFF) wrote about a patent of GEMSA, which had engaged in SLAPP against the EFF in addition to its bullying of companies. It had attempted to silence critics of its patent (or of itself) and now we see the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) smashing that “stupid” patent to pieces. In Nazer’s own words:

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has issued a ruling [PDF] invalidating claims from US Patent No. 6,690,400, which had been the subject of the June 2016 entry in our Stupid Patent of the Month blog series. The patent owner, Global Equity Management (SA) Pty Ltd. (GEMSA), responded to that post by suing EFF in Australia. Eventually, a U.S. court ruled that EFF’s speech was protected by the First Amendment. Now the Patent Office has found key claims from the ’400 patent invalid.

The ’400 patent described its “invention” as “a Graphic User Interface (GUI) that enables a user to virtualize the system and to define secondary storage physical devices through the graphical depiction of cabinets.” In other words, virtual storage cabinets on a computer. E-Bay, Alibaba, and Booking.com, filed a petition for inter partes review arguing that claims from the ’400 patent were obvious in light of the Partition Magic 3.0 User Guide (1997) from PowerQuest Corporation. Three administrative patent judges from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) agreed.

The PTAB opinion notes that Partition Magic’s user guide teaches each part of the patent’s Claim 1, including the portrayal of a “cabinet selection button bar,” a “secondary storage partitions window,” and a “cabinet visible partition window.” This may be better understood through diagrams from the opinion. The first diagram below reproduces a figure from the patent labeled with claim elements. The second is a figure from Partition Magic, labeled with the same claim elements.

Good riddance to stupid patents. It’s worth noting that this is clearly a software patent, too.

There are other new “success stories” from PTAB. To name some of the new ones, MONKEYmedia’s patent has been determined to be likely invalid. It’s a patent troll which is based in the Eastern District of Texas and Unified Patents wrote this:

On April 16, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all independent claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 9,247,226 owned and asserted by MONKEYMedia, Inc., a known NPE. The ’226 patent, generally directed towards computer readable media and methods for playing stored content, has been asserted against Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas (Case No. 2:17-cv-00460).

Unified Patents is also disarming the patent troll Sound View Innovations [sic]. To quote Unified Patents’ writeup from 4 days ago:

On April 18, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 6,125,371 owned and asserted by Sound View Innovations, LLC, a well known NPE. The ’371 patent, which generally describes systems and
methods for managing versions of data records in a database to increase data capacity, has been asserted in multiple litigations against such companies as Fidelity Investments, Facebook, and Hulu.

Another new example from Unified Patents deals with a very notorious patent troll called Uniloc:

On April 17, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 6,564,229 owned by NPE Fortress Credit Co. LLC and asserted by Uniloc Luxembourg, S.A., another notorious NPE and exclusive licensee of the ’229 patent. The ’229 patent, generally directed to pausing move or copy operations within a data processing system, has been asserted in 10 separate district court proceedings in 2017 against such companies as Square Enix, Nexon America, Big Fish Games, Ubisoft, Kaspersky Lab, and Akamai Technologies.

Last but not least (for now), the patent troll Vilox is likely being disarmed:

On April 19, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims and grounds in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 7,302,423 owned and asserted by Vilox Technologies, LLC, a well known NPE. The ’423 patent, which generally relates to a method for formatting search results returned by a database query, has been asserted in multiple litigations against a number of retail companies such as Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, Neiman Marcus, Buy.com, Costco and Walmart, among others.

This is the kind of thing we appreciate PTAB for; it’s all about justice (even for relatively cash-strapped entities) and trolls are impacted the most. It makes predation a lot harder. Access to justice achieves that.

“This is the kind of thing we appreciate PTAB for; it’s all about justice (even for relatively cash-strapped entities) and trolls are impacted the most.”Going back to the aforementioned/above-mentioned riddle, why would anyone who actually respects justice attack PTAB? Who would compare judges to ‘death squads’? Well, follow the money trails…

Alluding to Chris Walker and Melissa Wasserman with their academic research into PTAB (quite a few recent papers/work, e.g. [1, 2]), a few hours ago Lisa Ouellette (Assistant Professor at Stanford Law School) wrote:

Christopher Walker is a leading administrative law scholar, and Melissa Wasserman’s excellent work on the PTO has often been featured on this blog, so when the two of them teamed up to study how the PTAB fits within broader principles of administrative law, the result—The New World of Agency Adjudication (forthcoming Calif. L. Rev.)—is self-recommending. With a few notable exceptions (such as a 2007 article by Stuart Benjamin and Arti Rai), patent law scholars have paid relatively little attention to administrative law. But the creation of the PTAB has sparked a surge of interest, including multiple Supreme Court cases and a superb symposium at Berkeley earlier this month (including Wasserman, Rai, and many others). Walker and Wasserman’s new article is essential reading for anyone following these recent debates, whether you are interested in specific policy issues like PTAB panel stacking or more general trends in administrative review.

Related to this, we expect the US Supreme Court to deliver a ruling on Oil States any day (or week) now. The ruling may deal with some of the above questions. It’s about Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs) that PTAB undertakes upon being petitioned.

“Related to this, we expect the US Supreme Court to deliver a ruling on Oil States any day (or week) now.”Judging by what we’ve seen from Christopher Walker and from Melissa Wasserman in recent years, we have no reason to question their motivation. Even Ouellette is quite alright. She’s a friend and colleague of Professor Lemley, so we know whose side she’s on.

But we cannot say the same about Dennis Crouch, whose blog generally panders to patent maximalists (just look at the comments any day). Less than a day ago he returned to his usual modus operandi, showing that he is still trying to slow down PTAB (he has attempted that for at least a year). The latest involves an IPR and appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC):

In Security People, the underlying Inter Partes Review involves a challenge to Claim 4 of Petitioner’s U.S. Patent No. 6,655,180 covering a “locker lock with adjustable bolt.” The Board found the claim invalid as obvious based upon the combination of two prior art references.

We already wrote many rebuttals to these assertions from Crouch, who either fails to understand that CAFC cannot deal with thousands of cases/appeals at the same level of granularity/pertinence or simply pretends not to understand that (we guess it’s the latter because he’s not so thick). If a patent can be granted by a single examiner working for at most a few dozens of hours, why should an applicant/assignee be expected to take up time of the high court without even legal action being filed? It seems disproportionate. The court’s priority shouldn’t be so asymmetric, but PTAB bashers see that differently because they just want to disrupt PTAB’s good work.

“The court’s priority shouldn’t be so asymmetric, but PTAB bashers see that differently because they just want to disrupt PTAB’s good work.”Looking at blogs of other patent maximalists and PTAB bashers (typically the same or at least overlapping groups), some hours ago Rob Sterne published another anti-PTAB piece at Watchtroll, which is generally unable to keep up with its old pace of anti-PTAB pieces (they now try to hire another ‘volunteer’ writer, probably for purposes such as these).

Patent Docs, which habitually promotes a “scam” to bypass PTAB, published exactly a day ago promotion of an event that includes “Hon. David Ruschke, Chief Administrative Patent Judge, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office” (Ruschke is OK, he’s coping well with the attacks on him).

Patent Docs also mentioned this upcoming ‘webinar’ on “scams” by which to bypass PTAB. From the outline:

• Recent decisions handed down by the Patent Trial Appeal Board, including decisions that:
— held a university entity waived its sovereign immunity by filing a patent infringement case in district court
— denied trial sovereign immunity for lack of establishment that trial sovereign immunity should be applied in PTAB proceedings

How about using tribes? That infamous new “scam” which nobody seems to talk about anymore…. the “scam” whose firm (the one that came up with it) sends me threatening legal letters.

Going back to Crouch and CAFC, a few days ago he wrote about Droplets, Inc. v E*Trade Bank — a new case in which the PTAB and then CAFC got rid of a bogus patent.

To quote:

Droplets Patent No. 8,402,115 (interactive link delivery) is invalid as obvious unless it properly claimed priority back to its 1999 provisional application. The Board found that priority had not been properly claimed — a judgment affirmed on appeal by the Federal Circuit.

This is what typically happens. CAFC agrees with PTAB’s decisions almost all the time. Patent maximalists like to pretend there’s discord/rift, but there’s none. They try to brew scandals where none exist. Watchtroll does this by far the most.

“They try to brew scandals where none exist. Watchtroll does this by far the most.”Facebook, which publicly supports PTAB (e.g. though HTIA), was mentioned by Watchtroll’s protégé Steve Brachmann last week. The site focuses on creepy Facebook patents; maybe it’s part of that familiar pattern at Watchtroll, which likes to demonise large technology companies, especially Google, not for unethical spying but for their patent policy. Watchtroll habitually calls such companies “efficient infringers”; failing to hide the bias? Last but not least, see what James Yang wrote for Watchtroll on April 15th. The site is a megaphone for patent extremists and people who profit from ‘patentism’ (like it’s a religion).

“The patent extremists are failing to see how aloof/disconnected they are from the “real world” — a world where patents are rare and strong, not pertaining to a mere thought.”How about Mr. Gross, who is writing anti-EFF pieces for literal patent trolls and is attacking academics who merely highlight a study about patent trolls? Mr. Gross is so upset at PTAB that he bemoans another § 101-based invalidation and then mumbles about “lazy/crazy [Section] 101 rejections,” saying that he is “going to file reconsideration for no other reason than to force them to admit shoddy process…”

Maybe he should file reconsideration calling them “death squads” in the filing. Sure, that ought to sway them. Maybe he’ll mock their court, calling it a “kangaroo court” or something even worse. The patent extremists are failing to see how aloof/disconnected they are from the “real world” — a world where patents are rare and strong, not pertaining to a mere thoughts. § 101 in its current form is well overdue.

District Courts’ Patent Cases, Including the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX/TXED), in a Nutshell

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 12:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It pays off to be a lawyer — not a practicing (technical) professional — in Texas

A ranch sign

Summary: A roundup of patent cases in ‘low courts’ of the United States, where patents are being reasoned about or objected to while patent law firms make a lot of money

THE Eastern District of Texas (EDTX/TXED) has made the US patent system almost synonymous with patent trolls. It’s the fault of the courts there, not the USPTO, which merely granted poor- or low-quality patents that judges in Texas are happy to affirm/uphold. “Ribbon (as Sonus Networks) filed two more lawsuits against Metaswitch on March 8, 2018, in the Eastern District of Texas,” according to this article from a few days ago. To quote:

Ribbon’s patent campaign against Metaswitch has a somewhat complicated history, starting with an infringement lawsuit filed in January 2014 under the case name Genband US v. Metaswitch Networks. Genband (Ribbon’s predecessor) asserted its patents against Metaswitch’s Perimeta Session Border Controller, a cloud native carrier-class virtualized SBC, as well as several other Metaswitch products. By today’s patent litigation success standards, Genband fared extremely well in that lawsuit. However, not satisfied with an $8.8 million royalty award after trial in January 2016, which was upheld on appeal and remand, Ribbon (as Sonus Networks) filed two more lawsuits against Metaswitch on March 8, 2018, in the Eastern District of Texas. Collectively Ribbon has asserted infringement of ten more patents against Metaswitch, on top of the seven patents that Metaswitch was found to infringe in 2016.

Notice how far back it goes: 2014. How much has it cost so far? Will there be justice? Not if patent lawyers make millions in the process, in which case the remaining question will be “who pay their bills?” rather than “should they be paid?”

“We generally believe that most if not all design patents are bunk; designs are already well covered by copyright law and to a certain degree by registered trademarks, e.g. on shapes.”Looking at another Eastern District, this time in Michigan up north, the courts too are getting involved. Ellie Mertens wrote that they “recently applied the brakes to the Automotive Body Parts Association’s efforts to invalidate Ford’s design patents…”

We wrote about this before. We generally believe that most if not all design patents are bunk [1, 2]; designs are already well covered by copyright law and to a certain degree by registered trademarks, e.g. on shapes.

Anyway, on we proceed to another case. The H2O, Inc v Meras Engineering, Inc. patent case’s “verdict was excessive,” according to this report about ‘damages’ being cut by almost three quarters (down from $12.5 million to $3.5 million). To quote the Docket Navigator:

Following a $12.5 million jury verdict for infringement of plaintiff’s water system disinfectant patent, the court granted defendants’ alternative motion for remittitur, subject to plaintiff’s acceptance of a $3.5 million award, because the verdict was excessive.

There are some other cases of interest being covered by Docket Navigator this month. In Columbia Sportswear North America, Inc. v Seirus Innovative Accessories, for example, a design patent is being scrutinised:

The court granted plaintiff’s motion for pre-judgment interest and rejected defendant’s argument that plaintiff was not entitled to any interest because the jury awarded design patent profits under 35 U.S.C. § 289.

Here’s a new motion to dismiss a case. citing the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC):

The court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff’s signal processing patent encompassed unpatentable subject matter under In re Nuijten, 500 F.3d 1346 (Fed. Cir. 2007).

In another new case (Nox Medical ehf v Natus Neurology Inc.) it seems clear that the patent aggressors are so very afraid of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). They would do anything to avoid their patents being properly checked/scrutinised. To quote this Docket Report:

The court denied in part plaintiff’s motion in limine to exclude certain obviousness theories due to IPR estoppel.

One last Docket Report (regarding Integra LifeSciences Corporation et al v HyperBranch Medical Technology, Inc.) deals with a motion to exclude a testimony:

The court denied defendant’s motion to exclude the testimony of plaintiffs’ damages expert regarding a reasonable royalty for failing to apportion damages on a claim-by-claim basis.

When they talk about “damages expert” they usually speak about grossly overrated people who make up a bunch of numbers. So basically, any effort to discard their testimony would be fine with us. Sometimes these people attempt to justify billions in so-called ‘damages’ using pseudoscience and urban myths.

Who always wins these cases at the end? Lawyers. They have nothing to lose, only to gain (more so by perpetuating such feuds).

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