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05.07.18

Rumour: The European Patent Office Has Just ‘Done a Patrick Corcoran’ Again (Forced Removal)

Posted in Europe, Patents, Rumour at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Corcoran affair is the subject of investigative journalism in Germany these days [PDF]

An eviction

Summary: Amid the systematic destruction of the Office and by extension the Organisation as well (e.g. judges from the ‘outside’) we learn that there may have been another troublesome ‘eviction’ in Eponia (hours ago)

Can anyone confirm that an EPO employee based Munich was forcefully removed earlier today? We were told so by a reliable source. We don’t know for sure if this is true (our source does not know either), but might other sources suggest that this actually happened today (Monday)? It was 3.5 years ago that Judge Patrick Corcoran was removed from his office in Munich. He had to wait 3 years for ILO to rule in his favour several times, forcing the EPO’s management to reinstate him (although he was soon thereafter sent to ‘exile’ in another country with a demotion).

“It was 3.5 years ago that Judge Patrick Corcoran was removed from his office in Munich. He had to wait 3 years for ILO to rule in his favour several times, forcing the EPO’s management to reinstate him (although he was soon thereafter sent to ‘exile’ in another country with a demotion).”Speaking of Munich, earlier today the EPO said: “Join us in Munich for this year’s EPO User Day on 18 and 19 June” (linking to a page which speaks of “Update on unitary patent protection”).

Well, forget about the Unitary Patent. It’s dead, more or less, it’s just live enough for Team Battistelli and Team UPC to keep pretending that this zombie can come back to life. Earlier on we saw Alexander Esslinger citing the Bristows lies from IAM. We’re not surprised IAM published lies about the UPC as the EPO’s PR agency paid it to promote UPC agenda. Esslinger wrote:

If #UPC starts post-Brexit a situation is not unlikely that the UK will permanantly participate in the UPC court system but not be covered by a UP (unified patent) https://twitter.com/iam_magazine/status/992750891521503233 …

Another UPC booster followed up with:

Optimism is good, however not entirely convinced the narrative UK post-Brexit UPC (+) and UP (-) will fly (though IMHO the latter is a given).

“Optimism is never good when it sets false expectations and prolongs the disappointment that it inevitably entails,” I told him, “causing financial ruin and bad judgment in the interim…”

Battistelli and Campinos probably hope to replace patent examinations and appeals with the UPC, but they aren’r succeeding. Sure, the EPO is dying (not just its reputation), but so does the UPC/UPCA. They may end up creating a serious vacuum in Europe.

Links 7/5/2018: Linux 4.17 RC4 and Mesa 18.0.3

Posted in News Roundup at 5:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Google’s Kelsey Hightower: Kubernetes needs startups to thrive

      Can the rising tide in open-source computing lift all the boats in the business? Kelsey Hightower (pictured), co-chair of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and advocate for the Google Cloud Platform, thinks so.

      Hightower’s tolerant view on collaboration may have surprised even the most open-minded attendees of this week’s KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU conference last week, when Hightower’s keynote demonstrated Kubernetes, the open-source system for deploying containerized applications, on rival cloud platforms.

      “When I was using Amazon S3 in my presentation, I was showing people the dream of serverless — here’s how this stuff actually works together right now,” Hightower said. “We don’t really need anything else from the cloud providers. I’m not here just to represent Google and sell for Google. I’m here to say, ‘Here’s what’s possible.’”

    • Kubernetes and microservices: A developers’ movement to make the web faster, stable, and more open

      The four years that William Morgan spent as an engineer at Twitter battling the Fail Whale gave him a painful view into what happens when a company’s rickety web infrastructure gets spread too thin. But while Twitter’s instability was highly publicized, Morgan realized that the phenomenon existed to some degree across the web as companies were building applications in ways that were never intended to handle such scale.

      The result: Applications and software were becoming too expensive, too hard to manage, required too many developers, were too slow to deploy, and caused too much downtime.

    • KubeCon 2018: Action call issued to all of world’s open source developers

      Who runs the world? You might say governments (or the people), Beyoncé might say girls, but in technology, developers are taking the front sit.

      From enterprise applications to consumer apps, these are the people who build the software that allows IoT to run, AI to happen and edge computing to spread.

      Their role has become so important that companies have entered nearly into a ‘race to arms’ when it comes to employing developers. Take Volkswagen for example, the car manufacturer had 24 months ago nearly to none developers and today employs more than 100.

    • 3 emerging Kubernetes trends
    • As Kubernetes grows, a startup ecosystem develops in its wake

      Kubernetes, the open source container orchestration tool, came out of Google several years ago and has gained traction amazingly fast. With each step in its growth, it has created opportunities for companies to develop businesses on top of the open source project.

      The beauty of open source is that when it works, you build a base platform and an economic ecosystem follows in its wake. That’s because a project like Kubernetes (or any successful open source offering) generates new requirements as a natural extension of the growth and development of a project.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.17-rc4

      Hmm. Things look fairly normal.

      Two thirds of the 4.17-rc4 patch is drivers, which sounds about right.
      Media, networking, rdma, input, nvme, usb. A little bit of everything, in
      other words.

      There’s the usual architecture suspects, and some othe rcore updates too
      (mainly networking, but some filesystem fixes too).

      Go out and test. The shortlog below gives you an overview of the exact
      details if you care.

    • Linux 4.17-rc4 Released As The “Merciless Moray”
    • Graphics Stack

      • mesa 18.0.3

        Mesa 18.0.3 is now available.

        The is a fairly small release consisting of patches to fix leaks in RADV and Winsys,
        fix deadlock in internal queue, fix issues with ANV allocator, fix blit setup for
        YUV LoadImage, and some other patches.

      • Mesa 18.0.3 Released With A Handful Of Fixes

        While Mesa 18.1 is coming soon, the current stable release series for now is Mesa 18.0 with the 18.0.3 being released today as the newest point release.

      • Allwinner Open-Source Video Decode Continues Improving With Sunxi-Cedrus Driver

        Developers at Bootlin (nee Free Electrons) continue working on open-source Allwinner VPU video decode support.

        Version three of the “Sunxi-Cedrus” driver for supporting the Allwinner video decode hardware is now available. This latest version still only supports MPEG-2 with other codecs still to be tackled, but this updated driver now supports the latest media requests APIs, DMA-BUF support is improved, there are now per-platform bindings, the Allwinner A13 SoC is now supported, and a variety of other code reworks. The Sunxi-Cedrus driver overall should work on the Allwinner SoCs like the A13, A20, and A33 for open-source video decoding.

      • A fresh DXVK release is out with fixes for NVIDIA, RADV and multiple game improvements

        DXVK, the awesome project to implement a Vulkan-based compatibility layer for Direct3D 11 for use with Wine has advanced further with a fresh release.

        Version 0.50 was released last night which includes support for non-native screen resolutions including display mode changes and support for D3D11 vertex fetch rates if VK_EXT_vertex_attribute_divisor is supported.

      • NVIDIA’s Work On Adding Ray-Tracing To Vulkan

        2018 appears to be the year of ray-tracing with the major hardware vendors, game engines, and others all working on modern ray-tracing efforts with the GPUs becoming powerful enough to handle this alternative to rasterized rendering, etc. While Microsoft has out the DirectX Raytracing API for D3D12, NVIDIA has been working on extending Vulkan to also suit ray-tracing use-cases.

      • DXVK 0.50 Released With Better RADV Support, Other D3D11 Capabilities

        DXVK 0.50 has been released this weekend as the latest version of the open-source project implementing Direct3D 11 over the cross-platform Vulkan graphics API primarily for the benefit of Wine/Linux gamers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Google Summer of Code 2018: Introduction

        Hi! My name is Ruxandra, but friends call me Ruxe [/ruːksɛ/], and throughout this post I would like to better introduce myself and give you a hint of what my summer journey with GSoC is going to look like.

        I have quite a few interests, from photography and digital drawing, crafts and music, cooking and experimenting with not-so-good tasting cocktails (but they’ve been getting better, I promise), to traveling and attempting to take better care of the environment. I try to allocate more or less time for each of them depending on a number of factors, but there’s one thing that has always been a part of my weekly activities: games.

      • Philip Chimento: Indonesian recipes

        There were also some goings on besides the hackfest. On the day before the hackfest started we did an outreach event for the students of AMIKOM University Yogyakarta, where the hackfest was held. We gave some talks on our work, and GNOME contributor and Endless Ambassador Siska closed the morning out with a very successful talk on how to get involved in GNOME.

  • Distributions

    • Bring Your Old Computer Back to Life With 4MLinux

      4MLinux is a lightweight Linux distribution that can turn your old computer into a functional one with multimedia support, maintenance tools and classic games.

    • Reviews

      • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Bionic Beaver – Medium-well

        Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Bionic Beaver is a reasonable distro. But it’s nowhere near LTS good. On the bright side, MATE has undergone a phenomenal face lift, Boutique is dog’s bollocks, and the media-phone stack is really awesome. Lots of nice things all around.

        On the other hand, we have application crashes, less-than-average battery usage, tons of visual niggles, Samba problems, and quality that works fine for an amateur project, not for a serious distro that people might need to rely on for the next five years of their life and work. I know I can’t. The underlying issues need all be fixed out before this can be a candidate for my production setup. Shame, because there’s so much cool and funky stuff, marred by almost nonexistent QA and life-sapping bugs.

        Overall, the MATE edition of the 18.04 LTS family is better than Kubuntu. Something like 7.5/10. But when we remember what’s out there, and how Trusty fared, and how Zesty fared, well, this is hardly an achievement. I will do the whole long-term follow up, and of course, the whole bucket of useless bugs that were arbitrarily released sometime in late April will surely be fixed in the coming months. I might even end up using this a year from now. But it won’t be love or enthusiasm, more of a lesser evil if it comes to that. And that’s not how I roll. Aiming for mediocrity is the worst kind of ambition. Let’s hope Linux – and Ubuntu MATE – can do better.

      • TrueOS 18.03

        TrueOS is a rolling release operating system based on FreeBSD’s development (-CURRENT) branch. The TrueOS operating system is available in two editions: a Desktop flavour and a Server flavour. The Desktop edition ships with the Lumina desktop environment, a graphical package manager and other graphical tools for managing the operating system. The Desktop edition is an approximately 2.4GB download and the Server edition is 884MB in size. I downloaded the Desktop edition for my TrueOS trial.

        Installing

        Booting from the Desktop edition’s media brings up a graphical system installer. At the bottom of the installer there is a collection of buttons for launching tools to help us set up the system. One button opens a hardware compatibility checker so we can confirm devices such as our video card and network connection are recognized by TrueOS. Another button opens a window where we can configure our keyboard, a third button opens the system’s network settings and another launches a terminal emulator, giving us access to the command line. I quite like having these options, especially the hardware compatibility tool as it largely makes up for TrueOS not having a live desktop environment for us to test drive.

        The installer only has a few screens. We are asked to select our preferred language from a list and then choose whether to set up the Desktop or Server edition of TrueOS. We can also restore old copies of TrueOS that have been archived using the project’s Life Preserver backup tool. Finally, we are given the opportunity to customize the storage options. TrueOS uses ZFS for handling storage and we can optionally name the ZFS storage pool, select which disk or partition to use and tweak options for sub-volumes. People who are not familiar with ZFS can probably take the default options offered.

        The installer then sets up the operating system and, the first time we boot into the new copy of TrueOS, we are asked to complete a few more customisations. A graphical first-run wizard asks us to confirm which video driver it should use, select our time zone and create a password for the administrator account. We are also asked to provide a username and password for our regular account. The last screen gives us a chance to enable/disable some services, such as IPv6 support and the OpenSSH secure shell.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Calling all open source advocates: join the GPL Cooperation Commitment

        In connection with the kickoff of the Red Hat Summit tomorrow in San Francisco, Red Hat is encouraging open source developers to show their support for greater fairness and predictability in open source license enforcement by joining the GPL Cooperation Commitment.

        At Red Hat, we believe that license enforcement should ordinarily be judged by whether they ultimately foster greater adoption of open source software and participation in open source development. License enforcement can help to ensure that all companies play by the same rules, but enforcement tactics that are overly aggressive, unfair or unpredictable can discourage users from joining the community.

        It is our experience that engineers generally want to “do the right thing” when it comes to license compliance but compliance may not always be straightforward.. The General Public License (GPL) requires “things to be done right” to ensure the well-being of the ecosystem and, in many cases, that means strict compliance (such as providing a copy of the license with your distribution). At times, however, licensees may misinterpret the requirements of the GPL or fail to comply fully. It is not that they are trying to avoid compliance but rather may have a simple misunderstanding about what is required or may make an honest (but ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to comply.

      • Watch Red Hat Summit from anywhere: Red Hat Summit 2018 livestreaming schedule

        We’re almost ready to kick-off Red Hat Summit 2018 in San Francisco, and we are looking forward to a packed and exciting few days at the industry’s premier enterprise open source technology event. If you aren’t able to join us in person, we have good news – you can still get in on the action, inspiration, and innovation virtually.

      • Red Hat is the Linux operating system leader

        Twenty-five years ago, Red Hat was incorporated out of a sewing room in Connecticut and a bachelor pad in Raleigh, North Carolina. Our mission was to offer a stable, easy-to-use distribution of a constantly evolving, community-developed operating system called Linux.

      • MicroProfile Status in Version 1.3

        Launched nearly two years ago, the Eclipse MicroProfile project is moving fast with four releases and eight subspecs having at least two implementations each. Because it’s a fast moving target, this post tries to give an overview of MicroProfile 1.3, which was released on September 30th, and helps you to get started with the specification.

      • Istio Service Mesh Blog Series Recap
      • Announcing the winners of the 12th annual Red Hat Innovation Awards
      • Fedora

        • MySQL 8.0 Coming To Fedora 29

          The Fedora 29 release due out this fall will be offering up MySQL 8.0 database support.

          MySQL 8.0 was released by Oracle at the middle of April, which was too late for getting into the newly-minted Fedora 28. But MySQL 8.0 is now in Fedora Rawhide and will be making its debut in Fedora 29.

        • Flisol 2018

          This year we made the Flisol 2018 at the headquarters of the Engineers Association of Venezuela at San Cristóbal, we had very interesting talks about Docker, the Mozilla project, packaging of RPM, free software design, Radio with free tools, WordPress , Rails and much more.

          I want to thank each and every one of the speakers, thank you for sharing your knowledge, also many thanks to the College of Engineers of Venezuela for lending us their headquarters for the event, I also thank Fedora for the refreshments and the Swag and Opensuse for the swag, WordPress for the wag that We could distribute among the attendees, without all of you we would not have been able to do the event as it was done.

        • Modularity in Fedora 28 Server Edition
    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Liberapay: How creators of open content get funded

    Crowdfunding is a big discussion topic in the world of people who create things. In particular, subscription-based patronage models have been growing in popularity over the last few years. And it’s not just for artists and other creatives. Open source development has started adopting this model with growing success. Between things like the Blender Cloud, Krita’s periodic Kickstarter development campaigns, or the Godot engine’s Patreon subscription, crowdfunding has proven to be clearly beneficial for people who make useful and interesting things.

  • Building a freedom-based photography community

    Several years ago, Pat David, an engineer, a photographer, and a member of the GIMP team, realized there was no central place for people interested in photography to learn about free and open source creative software and methods. He was also unhappy to see that most of the open source photography tutorials didn’t measure up to his quality standards.

    Thus was born Pixls.us, a site “to provide tutorials, workflows, and a showcase for high-quality photography using nothing but free software.” Pat and Pixls.us also advocate for releasing creative content under open licenses for others to use and reuse.

  • Events

    • Vint Cerf on Open Networking and Design of the Internet

      When he and Bob Kahn (co-creator for the TCP/IP protocol) were doing the original design, Cerf said, they hoped that this approach would lead to a kind of organic growth of the Internet, which is exactly what has been seen.

      They also envisioned another kind of openness, that of open access to the resources of the network, where people were free both to access information or services and to inject their own information into the system. Cerf said they hoped that, by lowering the barriers to access this technology, they would open the floodgates for the sharing of content, and, again, that is exactly what happened.

      There is, however, a side effect of reducing these barriers, which, Cerf said, we are living through today, which includes the proliferation of fake news, malware, and other malicious content. It has also created a set of interesting socioeconomic problems, one of which is dealing with content in a way that allows you decide which content to accept and which to reject, Cerf said. “This practice is called critical thinking, and we don’t do enough of it. It’s hard work, and it’s the price we pay for the open environment that we have collectively created.”

    • New Keynotes & Executive Leadership Track Announced for LinuxCon + ContainerCon + CloudOpen China [Ed: Microsoft is in another 'Linux' panel]
    • Highlights from Elastic{ON} 2018: X-Pack goes open source, logging, and beyond

      Elastic also announced some new updates at Elastic{ON} to their Beats tool for monitoring Docker and Kubernetes. The key components of the Beats are Metricbeat and Filebeat, which handle monitoring metrics and logging, respectively. They are placed on the nodes that are running the Docker containers or Kubernetes pods and report on metrics and logs in real-time. They can send the data to Elasticsearch directly, or to Logstash for pre-processing before being sent to Elasticsearch for analysis.

  • Web Browsers

    • Google

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s 48-Hour Hackathon for a Better Internet

        Mozilla’s fifth-annual Global Sprint is May 10 and 11. Open-source engineers and activists around the globe will swap code and ideas to make the internet a healthier place

        A decentralized alternative to today’s social media platforms. A community-built air quality monitor to thwart pollution in Buenos Aires. An open-source investigative tool for journalists in Hungary.

        These are just three of nearly 150 projects from 24 countries participating in the 2018 Global Sprint, Mozilla’s fifth-annual distributed hackathon. Each year, coders, scientists, artists and activists gather online and in person for 48 hours to collaborate on open-source projects. This year’s Global Sprint is happening Thursday, May 10 and Friday, May 11.

      • Welcome Chris Lin, our new Vice President of IT

        I’m excited to announce that Chris Lin is joining us today as our new Vice President of IT.

        Chris will work closely with me to scale our impact and optimize operational efficiency. He will be responsible for the strategy, execution and operations of Mozilla’s business technology, information security, data management, network and infrastructure services.

        “I am honored to join Mozilla at such an exciting juncture and work with the IT team to support the organization as we develop and grow our business and technical expertise,” said Chris Lin, Mozilla VP of IT. “Mozilla is a truly mission-driven organization with great products and technologies while also promoting internet health including privacy, security, openness, decentralization, digital inclusion, and web literacy. It’s wonderful to be part of Mozilla and contribute to our mission.”

      • 4 Firefox extensions to install now

        As I mentioned in my original article on Firefox extensions, the web browser has become a critical component of the computing experience for many users. Modern browsers have evolved into powerful and extensible platforms, and extensions can add or modify their functionality. Extensions for Firefox are built using the WebExtensions API, a cross-browser development system.

        In the first article, I asked readers: “Which extensions should you install?” To reiterate, that decision largely comes down to how you use your browser, your views on privacy, how much you trust extension developers, and other personal preferences. Since that article was published, one extension I recommended (Xmarks) has been discontinued. Additionally, that article received a ton of feedback that has been taken into account for this update.

        Once again, I’d like to point out that browser extensions often require the ability to read and/or change everything on the web pages you visit. You should consider the ramifications of this very carefully. If an extension has modify access to all the web pages you visit, it could act as a keylogger, intercept credit card information, track you online, insert advertisements, and perform a variety of other nefarious activities. That doesn’t mean every extension will surreptitiously do these things, but you should carefully consider the installation source, the permissions involved, your risk profile, and other factors before you install any extension. Keep in mind you can use profiles to manage how an extension impacts your attack surface—for example, using a dedicated profile with no extensions to perform tasks such as online banking.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Microsemi and SiFive Launch HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board, Enabling Linux Software and Firmware Developers to Build RISC-V PCs for the First Time

        Microsemi Corporation (Nasdaq: MSCC), a leading provider of semiconductor solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance, today announced the launch of the HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board, its latest collaboration with SiFive, the first fabless provider of customized, open-source-enabled semiconductors. Leveraging the two companies’ strategic relationship as part of Microsemi’s Mi-V™ RISC-V ecosystem, the new expansion board broadens the capabilities of SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed RISC-V development board, further enabling software and firmware engineers to write Linux-based applications targeting a 1GhZ+ RISC-V 64 bit central processing unit (CPU).

      • RISC-V workshop

        I’m giving a talk tomorrow afternoon about Fedora on RISC-V.

  • Programming/Development

    • HHVM 3.26 – Introducing HackC

      HHVM 3.26 is released! Highlights include a new frontend, relicensing of the typechecker and related tools and libraries to MIT, and support for Ubuntu 18.04. Packages have been published in the usual places.

    • HHVM 3.26 Released With New HackC Compiler Front-End

      The Facebook developers working on the HHVM interpreter for PHP/Hack have announced the major v3.26 update.

      HHVM 3.26 is a major release in that it now uses the HackC compiler front-end by default. HackC offers a full-fidelity parser and bytecode emitter for both Hack and PHP languages. HHVM developers are planning to drop their legacy front-end to HHVM in their next release (v3.27).

    • Compressed Textures in Qt 5.11

      As modern user interfaces become ever more graphics intensive, the demands on graphics memory to hold the textures increase. This is particularly relevant for embedded systems, where resources come at a higher premium, and can be a challenge for system performance. One of the key remedies for this is to reduce the memory requirements of the graphics assets.

    • Qt 5.11 Adding Khronos KTX Texture Support To Qt Quick

      Of the many features coming in the soon-to-be-released Qt 5.11 is better support for compressed textures with Qt Quick.

Leftovers

  • Powering a ham radio transmitter

    Last week I announced the crowdfunding campaign to help run a ham radio station at OSCAL. Thanks to all those people who already donated or expressed interest in volunteering.

    Modern electronics are very compact and most of what I need to run the station can be transported in my hand luggage. The two big challenges are power supplies and antenna masts. In this blog post there are more details about the former.

  • Science

    • Computers and honesty

      Modern computers are incredibly complex systems, and the first thing you learn in any complex analysis is that they are never going to run smoothly enough that complete honesty will happen. The system may think it is being honest, but at some point, somewhere 1+1 =1 happened (or 1+1=0 or 1+1=3) . In fact a large amount of electrical engineering in chip design, BIOS writing, and other low level sorcery is cleaning that up. Maybe the chip redoes the calculation a couple of times, maybe there are just low bits you never use to clean up that electrical signal loss, or some other trick of the trade. However at some point, those incantations will fail and the little bit of Maxwell’s demon leaks out somewhere.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Merck Hepatitis C Virus Treatment Patents Unenforceable due to Unclean Hands

      On Wednesday, April 25th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Gilead Sciences v. Merck & Co. et. al., which affirmed a lower court’s ruling that Merck could not assert claims from two patents against Gilead because Merck had unclean hands regarding the patents. The case, coming out of the Northern District of California, involves patents covering methods for effectively treating the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The appellate case was decided by a panel consisting of Circuit Judges Richard Taranto, Raymond Clevenger and Raymond Chen.

    • Evergreened Patents Cause Unwarranted High Drug Prices, Hinder Growth Of Local Producers – NGOs, Thai Producers Claim

      Transnational drug manufacturers’ tactics of obtaining unmerited patent applications have unnecessarily raised healthcare costs and impeded the growth of domestic generic drug industry, costing the Thai government hundreds of millions of dollars, drug access campaigners and local producers have said.

      [...]

      “Evergreening in medicine patents has been a problem in Thailand for a long time,” Chalermsak Kittitrakul, coordinator for access to medicines campaign at AIDS Access Foundation in Thailand, told Intellectual Property Watch.

      “It is the cause of substandard patents and unwarranted monopoly in many vital drugs,” Chalermsak said.

      “It also prevents generic drug producers to come in to compete to lower drug prices,” he continued. “Therefore, the government and people have to unnecessarily pay high prices.”

    • Supreme Court to hear Monsanto plea over GM cotton patents

      Section 3(j) states that “plants and parts thereof as well as essentially biological process for production or propagation of plants” are not inventions that can be patented. The court had also directed Monsanto to seek intellectual property protection under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right (PPVFR) Act 2001. It had given Monsanto three months to appeal to the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority for relief under the PPVFR Act.

    • Supreme Court rejects Monsanto plea on seed patent order

      The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay a 2 May Delhi high court order which held that plant varieties and seeds cannot be patented under Indian law by companies like Monsanto Inc., and that royalties on genetically modified (GM) technology would be decided by a specialized agency of the agriculture ministry.

      As a result, the patent held by Monsanto, through its Indian arm Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech Ltd (MMBL) over its Bollgard-II Bt cotton seed technology, a GM variant which resists the bollworm pest, was decreed to be unenforceable in India.

      Monsanto’s appeal challenging the Delhi high court order was brought before a bench headed by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman who sought the response of seed companies over the issue.

    • Delhi High Court’s Judgment in Monsanto v. Nuziveedu Delivers a Deadly Blow to the Agro-biotech Industry

      A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court recently pronounced its judgment in the long running litigation between Monsanto and Nuziveedu. The present judgment was delivered in cross appeals filed by both parties against the order of a single judge of the Delhi High Court that was delivered last year.

      To describe the judgment briefly, the court has delivered a knock-out punch to Monsanto, by declaring invalid its patent for Bt. Technology because Section 3(j) of the Patents Act prohibited the grant of patents for plants, plant varieties or seeds or any part thereof. The court however does give three months to Monsanto to seek protection for its invention under the Plant Variety Protection & Farmer’s Rights Act, 2002. (I’ll deal with this issue in a later post)

    • India’s Supreme Court will hear Monsanto’s challenge to a recent ruling imperiling agri-tech patentability

      The case has generated a strong reaction over the past three weeks. Over at Spicy IP, Prashant Reddy described it as a “deadly blow to the agro-biotech industry”. The former CEO of Indian seed company Advanta warned: “A number of patents of agriculture biotech inventions in various crops from wheat to rice that have been granted by various patent authorities across the globe stand the risk of being invalidated because of the judgment.”

      Meanwhile, representatives of India’s agricultural industry have downplayed the decision’s importance – they point out that innovations in the sector will still be eligible for plant variety protection.

    • CRISPR dust-up; compulsory licensing in China; Novartis CEO wants US reform, and more – April’s Life Sciences IP Round-up

      In this month’s round-up of life sciences-related patent news, we report on the year’s first pharma mega-merger, the latest developments in a must-watch CRISPR-Cas9 patent dispute, calls from Novartis’ CEO for reform to the US biosimilar patent litigation system and news of imminent IP changes affecting life sciences companies in China.

    • Unitaid Calls For Proposals On TB, Hails New Insecticide

      Unitaid has issued a call for proposals to fund innovative projects that would combat the drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, and has announced progress in development of a new anti-malaria insecticide against mosquitoes.

  • Security

    • Report: China’s Intelligence Apparatus Linked to Previously Unconnected Threat Groups

      Multiple groups operating under the China state-sponsored Winnti umbrella have been targeting organizations in the US, Japan, and elsewhere, says ProtectWise.

      Multiple previously unconnected Chinese threat actors behind numerous cyber campaigns aimed at organizations in the United States, Japan, and other countries over the past several years are actually operating under the control of the country’s state intelligence apparatus.

      An investigation by security vendor ProtectWise has shown that the groups operating under the so-called Winnti umbrella since at least 2009 share a common goal, common infrastructure, and often the same tactics, techniques, and procedures.

    • Episode 95 – Twitter passwords and npm backdoors

      Josh and Kurt talk about Twitter doing the right thing when they logged a lot of passwords, the npm malicious getcookies package, and how backdoors work in code.

    • Security updates for Monday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Revealed: Trump team hired spy firm for ‘dirty ops’ on Iran arms deal

      People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to “get dirt” on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal.

    • Nicaraguan Contradictions

      Last Friday my friend Michael Meeropol asked me what I thought was going on in Nicaragua. He had read an article on Portside titled “Nicaragua: Next in Line for Regime Change?” that alluded to similar events in Libya, Syria and Venezuela, “where extreme right-wing political minorities conspired with foreign elites to overthrow the national status quo.” This led Michael to dismiss his defense of the Ortega government as bullshit, especially since Bashar al-Assad has become such a known quantity on the left as a murdering, torturing kleptocrat—at least the part of the left that is not on the Kremlin’s payroll. Michael added rather modestly “but of course I really don’t know …” I told him that I had to find the time to catch up on Nicaragua before getting back to him. That time is now.

      I am not sure that Michael knew about my connections with Nicaragua, which run much deeper than Syria. In the 1980s and early 90s, I was president of the board of TecNica, an attempt to develop a leftist version of the Peace Corps. We sent hundreds of people from the USA and Western Europe to work for Sandinista government agencies and later on for the ANC, including those who finished the rural electrification project in northern Nicaragua that had cost Ben Linder his life. In 1987, the FBI conducted a sweep against returned TecNica volunteers on the presumption that we were running an espionage network out of Nicaragua through Cuba to the USSR to deliver high-technology. Since Nicaragua was as about as capable of producing high-technology as I was of swimming the English Channel, the major media blasted the FBI. Ted Koppel provided coverage on Nightline, with a lengthy interview of a TecNica electrical engineer whose job it was to repair power stations blown up by the contras.

    • Get an Inside Look at the Department of Defense’s Struggle to Fix Pollution at More Than 39,000 Sites

      For much of the past two years I’ve been digging into a vast, $70 billion environmental cleanup program run by the U.S. Department of Defense that tracks tens of thousands of polluted sites across the United States. In some places, old missiles and munitions were left buried beneath school grounds. In others, former test sites for chemical weapons have been repurposed for day care centers and housing developments. The oldest, dating to World War I, have faded into history, making it difficult to keep track of the pollution that was left behind.

    • How Facebook’s “Suggested Friends” Feature Helps ISIS Expand Its Terror Network

      The social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have been repeatedly blamed for acting as a platform that can be exploited for spreading extremist propaganda. In a related development, the researchers have found that Facebook’s “suggested friends” feature has been used to introduce thousands of ISIS members to each other.

    • Facebook accused of introducing extremists to one another through ‘suggested friends’ feature

      Facebook has helped introduce thousands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) extremists to one another, via its ‘suggested friends’ feature, it can be revealed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Gmail’s ‘Self Destruct’ Feature Will Probably Be Used to Illegally Destroy Government Records

      “As more local and state governments and their various agencies seek to use Gmail, there is the potential that state public records laws will be circumvented by emails that ‘disappear’ after a period of time,” the National Freedom of Information Coalition wrote in a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “The public’s fundamental right to transparency and openness by their governments will be compromised.”

    • Welcome to the machine

      Even before the Espionage Bill was introduced to Parliament, Australia was already well down the path of legislating prison terms for journalists reporting in the public interest…

      [...]

      If you use a telephone or the internet, nowhere on the planet is safe from the prying ears and eyes of the NSA and its sister agencies. Every mobile phone tower, every email, every payment at the supermarket, every digital transaction adds to the profile the NSA is capable of building on every person on Earth. Huge databases scattered across the world log the digital footsteps and fingerprints of us all.
      Throughout the Western liberal democracies new laws have given governments greater powers to eavesdrop on the population and the journalists whose job it is to keep them informed. Those laws, which gave governments such sweeping surveillance powers, were introduced ostensibly to track terrorists and reduce the number of attacks. But detailed analysis suggests the so-called anti-terror surveillance laws have not achieved what governments promised.
      Instead they have often been more effectively used to track down whistleblowers and criminalise the work of journalists. The notion that the central role of journalism was to disclose secrets which powerful interests wanted kept from the public was being upended, particularly in the important area of national security.
      New laws being shaped, both in the US and elsewhere, made illegal that which had been normal journalistic practice and made legal the activities of intelligence agencies which had previously been outlawed. Against sometimes hysterical claims from US politicians, other nations fell in line.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Travel and Tourism Week

      As bountiful as the ocean is, so are the ways people enjoy it. Nature-based tourism is at an all-time high. Hundreds of millions of people travel to see coral reefs every year, and some of the most spectacular are in those that are protected in national marine sanctuaries.

      Equally popular are the fish and mammals that call our ocean and coasts home. People will travel far and wide to get eye-to-eye with a sea turtle, dolphin, or whale. For many Americans, a trip to Alaska’s Kachemak Bay Reserve, spotting curious harbor seals from the beach and watching Orcas chase prey is a dream come true. For others, a week of rest and relaxation at a secluded Puerto Rico resort is as good as it gets.

    • The politics of carbon pricing

      A whopping 90 million tonnes of carbon pollution: that’s how much the federal government says carbon pricing policies will cut emissions across Canada by 2022. That’s 20 million cars. It’s 12% of Canada’s 2016 emissions.

      On the other side of the House of Commons, the federal Conservatives continue to oppose carbon pricing, but something changed this past week, when party leader Andrew Scheer said the Conservatives will release a “comprehensive” climate plan ahead of next year’s federal election—and that it will meet our 2030 Paris target.

      Some are skeptical. Why reject a cost-effective policy so loved by economists? On the other hand, as CBC’s Aaron Wherry put it, “After nearly a decade of free-form fretting about a price on carbon—going back to Stephane Dion’s ill-fated Green Shift—an actual comparison of rival plans might make for a nice change of pace.”

  • Finance

    • End of the gig economy? Don’t read too much into a California court ruling

      A recent California Supreme Court ruling is being hailed as a “game changer” for the gig economy.

      That’s because the court adopted a more streamlined test for deciding whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. Gig economy companies, like Uber and Lyft, overwhelmingly classify their workers as independent contractors. As a result, they don’t comply with basic employment laws, like minimum wage and workers’ compensation insurance.

      If courts decide these workers are misclassified and actually meet the legal test for employee status, gig companies can be on the hook for back pay or unpaid insurance premiums, as well as penalties for past noncompliance.

    • Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.9 Percent, but Wage Growth Remains Weak

      The drop in the unemployment rate was also due to the reported drop in labor force participation, the second consecutive drop, not an increase in employment in the household survey. There was also a drop in the percentage of unemployment attributable to voluntary quits. The 12.7 percent share is still near the high for this recovery, but well below the rates of 14 percent or more seen in 2000. This suggests that, in spite of the low unemployment rate, workers are still not confident about their labor market prospects.

    • Revealed: Legatum’s “extraordinary” secretive monthly meetings with Brexit minister

      Department for International Trade minister Greg Hands MP arranged monthly meetings with Shanker Singham, then head of the Legatum Institute’s trade commission. The meetings were scheduled for months in advance, an investigation by openDemocracy has found.

      The Brexit department refused to confirm if any notes were taken of these meetings but our investigation found that no minutes were taken at previous “coffee catch-ups” and other meetings between Legatum and cabinet ministers and officials.

      A former Labour minister told openDemocracy that these “extraordinary” revelations suggest the existence of “a secret kitchen cabinet charting the course of a hard Brexit”.

      Legatum emerged as one of the most influential voices in Westminster in the wake of the Brexit vote with senior Leave figures including Matthew Elliott joining the think tank. Legatum, which is a registered charity, raised eyebrows with its “unparalleled access” to Brexit minister David Davis and other senior government figures.

      In just six weeks from the end of October, Legatum had more than half a dozen meetings with Brexit ministers and officials. Around the same time, Shanker Singham, Legatum’s chief trade advisor, was implicated in a letter sent by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson urging Theresa May to take a harder stance on Brexit. Singham has since left Legatum.

    • Vodafone cuts 100 call centre jobs in Hobart

      Vodafone Australia is slashing 100 jobs from its call centre in Hobart, the same centre for which it received a federal grant in 2013 on the promise that it would be expanded.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jeremy Corbyn and Mhairi Black

      There are very few people who support Irish re-unification but oppose Scottish Independence. I do not know of any. I have always, from my knowledge of Jeremy Corbyn and his general political philosophy and way of thinking, and that of many of his close associates, believed him to be sympathetic to Scottish Independence.

      I do not claim to know Jeremy well. I have shared a Stop the War platform with him a few times and exchanged a few emails. He assisted this blog by asking some parliamentary questions I suggested on Fox/Werritty, and he successfully intervened with then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith at my request to stop the imminent deportation of an Uzbek asylum seeker.

      His behaviour in all of those contacts was absolutely admirable. I like and admire Jeremy, something which is not popular with my fellow Scottish nationalists. One thing Jeremy Corbyn could never be described as is a unionist – he comes from a totally different political place. I also sympathise with his extremely difficult position in wrenching the Labour Party away from the Blairites and the fact that he cannot fight every battle simultaneously.

      I therefore have no doubt Mhairi Black is telling the truth today, that Corbyn revealed to her that he privately supports Scottish Independence. I am sure that, like me, Corbyn sees it as part of the decolonisation process of burying the British Empire.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The UN celebrates press freedom with censorship

      Every May 3 since 1993, the world body has hosted events to support an unfettered Fourth Estate. But this year the UN Alliance of Civilizations “postponed” a panel discussion because one participant, the News Literacy Project, refused to alter a video presentation that singled out specific countries’ abuses — flagging “severe restrictions” on press freedom in Turkey, Egypt and Mexico.

    • Charges of Censorship since U.N. Press Independence Day Occasion Is Called Off

      In his World Press Freedom Day concept on Wednesday, the United Nations secretary general known as a free news networking “crucial to assembling transparent and democratic societies. ” At the end of afternoon, although, that a United Nations group has been itself confronting accusations of censorship.

      The group, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, “postponed” a panel conversation marking World Press Freedom Day and acknowledged asking a player to alter a movie demonstration that had singled out countries with heavy restrictions around the news media.

    • How China censors its internet and controls information, from Great Firewall to 50 Cent Army: two new books explain

      The internet was supposed to have delivered China into freedom by now. But that optimistic consensus has been proven wrong so far. In their books, academics Rongbin Han and Margaret Roberts attempt to explain why.

      Han, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia, was a student at Peking University when the impact of the internet was first felt in broader society. But the vibrant discussions the internet initially spurred would prove too much for the ruling Communist Party which, over time, has become more sophisticated in reasserting control over information.

      [...]

      Where Han’s approach is ethnographic, Roberts’ is sociological and data-driven. Roberts, an assistant professor at UC San Diego, argues in Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China’s Great Firewall that the government recognises it cannot possibly control all of the internet. Instead, it engages in a “porous censorship” that targets the most sensitive content and seeks to keep all but the most motivated from accessing it. (Her research suggests these tend to be the more educated and wealthy, with a strong interest in politics.)

    • EFF and Coalition Partners Push Tech Companies To Be More Transparent and Accountable About Censoring User Content

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called on Facebook, Google, and other social media companies today to publicly report how many user posts they take down, provide users with detailed explanations about takedowns, and implement appeals policies to boost accountability.

      EFF, ACLU of Northern California, Center for Democracy & Technology, New America’s Open Technology Institute, and a group of academic experts and free expression advocates today released the Santa Clara Principles, a set of minimum standards for tech companies to augment and strengthen their content moderation policies. The plain language, detailed guidelines call for disclosing not just how and why platforms are removing content, but how much speech is being censored. The principles are being released in conjunction with the second edition of the Content Moderation and Removal at Scale conference. Work on the principles began during the first conference, held in Santa Clara, California, in February.

      “Our goal is to ensure that enforcement of content guidelines is fair, transparent, proportional, and respectful of users’ rights,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo.

      In the aftermath of violent protests in Charlottesville and elsewhere, social media platforms have faced increased calls to police content, shut down more accounts and delete more posts. But in their quest to remove perceived hate speech, they have all too often wrongly removed perfectly legal and valuable speech. Paradoxically, marginalized groups have been especially hard hit by this increased policing, hurting their ability to use social media to publicize violence and oppression in their communities. And the processes used by tech companies are tremendously opaque. When speech is being censored by secret algorithms, without meaningful explanation, due process, or disclosure, no one wins.

    • New Guidelines For Tech Companies To Be Transparent, Accountable On Censoring User Content

      Facebook, Google and other social media companies today were urged by groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation to “publicly report how many user posts they take down, provide users with detailed explanations about takedowns, and implement appeals policies to boost accountability.” The groups released a set of guidelines to address censorship.

      “Users deserve more transparency and greater accountability from platforms that play an outsized role—in Myanmar, Australia, Europe, and China, as well as in marginalized communities in the U.S. and elsewhere—in deciding what can be said on the Internet,” said Jillian C. York, EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression. “Users need to know why some language is allowed and the same language in a different post isn’t. They also deserve to know how their posts were flagged—did a government flag it, was it flagged by the company itself? And we all deserve a chance to appeal decisions to block speech.”

    • Free-speech warriors mistake student protest for censorship

      Free speech on campus has once again become a point of contention. The universities minister, Sam Gyimah, has called for tough new guidelines to protect freedom of expression. His remarks come amid claims that books are being removed from libraries, and speakers banned from campuses – all because “generation snowflake” is too timid to hear discordant opinions.

      [...]

      Gyimah is only the latest universities minister to address this issue. Any simplification of the rules will be welcomed by students’ unions, which sometimes feel hamstrung by the Charity Commission’s guidance. This must not, however, lead to an anything-goes approach. We wouldn’t allow speakers who incite racial hatred or terrorism. Universities and unions need to assess whether events can go ahead safely and within the law. This latter point is often lost: while rules can be simplified and bent, laws cannot.

      There are three legal duties that come into play here: free speech, public order and the Prevent duty to counter radicalisation. It is these duties – and not so-called snowflake students – that drive intervention. Astonishingly, this obedience to the law not only seems to land students in hot water: it can also send universities tumbling down rankings. The online magazine Spiked has over the years given Sussex its lowest free-speech rating, when our so-called crimes have been not allowing transphobic material in our teaching and having (legally required) policies against bullying and harassment.

    • Rejected Denver Post editorial decries ‘outright censorship’ at Digital First papers
    • Protest: 55 Denver Post journalists say they’re ‘outraged at the unconscionable censorship’ at their paper

      Following the sudden Thursday resignation of Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett after an editorial he authored about the paper’s hedge-fund owners was spiked by higher-ups, more than 50 journalists at the paper signed onto a letter supporting him.

      “Newspapers tell the truth. They must. Always,” the letter begins. “That is why we, the newsroom of The Denver Post, are outraged at the unconscionable censorship imposed on our now-former editorial page editor, Chuck Plunkett. Chuck told the truth, eloquently and pointedly. And in that our newspaper’s corporate ownership — Digital First Media and the hedge fund Alden Global Capital — saw something to fear, not to champion.”

      Following Plunkett’s resignation, two senior editors of The Denver Post also resigned. And so did the paper’s chairman, Dean Singleton, who gave a lengthy interview to Westword about why. Among the reasons, he said, “I have total disagreement with how they’re managing the place, but I’m not going to stand up and be overly critical of them. They’ve got the keys to the car and they can drive it any way they want to. But they’re not driving it in a way that I want to be a passenger of the car.”

    • Denver Post staffers protest ‘censorship’ of editor who criticized owner

      A rebellion that began about a month ago with a remarkable editorial continued on Monday when staffers condemned what they called the “censorship” of editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett.

      An open letter to readers on Monday was signed by 55 of the newsroom’s roughly 70 staffers. Now the ball is back in the owner’s court.

      Both the Post’s editorial page and the newsroom, two different parts of the newspaper, are at odds with parent company Digital First Media, which is controlled by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • International Shipping Is Now Available For CIA: Collect It All On Kickstarter!

      As most of you know, we recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for CIA: Collect It All — our fleshed out and polished version of the CIA’s training card game that was recently obtained under a FOIA request. Two days later, we hit our funding goal, and now we’ve more than doubled it!

      Before we knew just how much interest there would be, our plan was to limit shipping to the US — but the requests from other countries came pouring in alongside the pledges, and so now we’re happy to announce that CIA: Collect it All is now available in 170 countries!

    • Irish Judge Slaps Down Facebook’s Attempt To Halt EU’s Top Court Examining The Legality Of Sending Personal Data To US

      A few weeks ago, we wrote about the Irish High Court referring to the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), eleven questions concerning the legality of personal data transfer across the Atlantic. The questions were prompted by a case brought by the privacy expert Max Schrems challenging Facebook’s data transfers. When the Irish High Court judge indicated that she intended to make an order for a so-called “preliminary ruling” by the CJEU — that is, one which addresses the fundamental legal questions raised by the case — Facebook applied for a stay in order to appeal against the judge’s decision at other, higher Irish courts. That’s hardly surprising: Facebook’s business model depends on being able to move sensitive user data around as it wishes. If both Privacy Shield and the “Standard Contractual Clauses” (SCCs) are ruled illegal, then Facebook — and many other companies — will have big problems. Given the danger, it’s no wonder that Facebook is trying everything it can to prevent the CJEU from answering those questions.

    • Getting the Band back together: Microsoft wearable patents [Ed: Microsoft envisions people wearing surveillance bracelets, like those which Bill Gates wanted pupils to wear at schools (causing a stir)]
    • Do You Take Your VPN Security Seriously?

      Millions of people use a VPN service to prevent outsiders from monitoring their browsing habits or other Internet traffic. Choosing a good and reliable VPN provider is a good start, but there is more to it than that. People have a responsibility of their own and should hold their VPNs accountable.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Off-duty officer holds man at gunpoint over $1 package of mints

      An off-duty Buena Park, California Police officer decided that a $1 pack of candy was worth risking human life. Mistakenly believing Jose Arreola was shoplifting a package of Mentos he had just purchased, the cop went into thug mode. After repeatedly being told Arreola had paid for the candies, by both the victim and the store’s cashier, the officer offers an apology.

    • #BlockHaspel: As Clock Ticks, Groups Ratchet Up Pressure to Stop Torturer Gina Haspel From Heading CIA

      “Gina Haspel was complicit in torture and must not be promoted to CIA director,” says the Center for Victims of Torture

    • Gina Haspel, nominee to head CIA, sought to withdraw over questions about her role in agency interrogation program

      Haspel is expected to face intense scrutiny from senators over her role in the agency’s treatment of terrorism suspects at secret prisons overseas.

    • Trump Disregards Caravan Asylum Seekers’ Legal Rights

      The 300 asylum seekers who arrived at the U.S. border on April 29 after a month-long, 2,000-mile journey have another grueling struggle ahead of them, according to the immigration attorneys who are donating their time to represent them.

      More than three-quarters of asylum claims from Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans between 2012 and 2017 were denied, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, and this year’s caravan of asylum seekers are facing a climate made even more hostile by the xenophobic Trump administration.

      Once the asylum applicants—who traveled in a caravan to the Tijuana-San Ysidro border from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala—establish that they face a credible fear of persecution in their home countries, their ordeals are just beginning.

    • Louisiana Law Enforcement Has Been Abusing An Unconstitutional Law To Arrest People For Trying To File Complaints

      Police officers aren’t legal experts. No court expects them to know the intricacies of the laws they’re paid to enforce. Close enough is good enough when it comes to pretextual stops, street-level friskings, and other assorted Constitutional skirtings.

      But no one but a cop would know the ins and outs of stupid laws left on the books by careless legislators or how to wield them like weapons against those who dare to start hassling The Man. Got a criminal defamation law still laying around? Why not use it to arrest and charge critics gathering a few too many eyeballs to their personal blogs. Any number of charges, from disorderly conduct to “assaulting an officer” can be made to cover “contempt of cop” arrests. And every stupid “Blue Lives Matter” law has been abused at least once, with the oversensitive cops of New Orleans leading the way.

      Given that two-thirds of the links above direct you to Louisiana law enforcement officers and officials, it should come as no surprise Louisiana officers are using another bad law to bring criminal charges against people who aren’t absolutely enthralled with their law enforcement experience.

      [...]

      Despite the law’s clear lack of constitutionality, the state District Attorney continues to fight for the law’s continued existence. So do law enforcement officials. Sheriff Ard — a defendant in the Aubin lawsuit — claimed the law was necessary to prevent “threats” from “influencing the behavior of police officers.” Seems like better training and better officers would take care of this problem — especially when the “threat” consists of curse words, extended fingers, and filing complaints.

      Despite the legal challenges, the law lingers. It will continue to be abused until it’s rewritten or stricken. State prosecutors have already shown their willingness to treat these as criminal violations, rather than law enforcement abusing the law and their position to shut down criticism of police officers.

    • “The Making of a Massacre” Brings the Drug War Close

      This week, ProPublica and Audible are launching an audio documentary called “The Making of a Massacre.” It’s the story of a vicious attack on a small Mexican ranching town called Allende, less than an hour’s drive away from the United States border. And it’s based on a ProPublica project, which showed for the first time how the violence was triggered by a tragically compromised Drug Enforcement Administration operation in Dallas.

      The operation was aimed at bringing down the leaders of the Zetas cartel, considered one of the most violent drug trafficking organizations in the world. Agents had managed to convince one of the cartel’s leading traffickers in Dallas to get them intelligence that could allow them to track the movements of the Zetas kingpins. But the agents mishandled the information. When the Zetas realized they’d been betrayed, they launched a campaign of violence that went on for months. Dozens, possibly hundreds, of men, women and children were kidnapped and killed.

      We decided to write and produce this audio project as an oral history because we wanted listeners to hear from the people whose voices are not often included in stories about the drug war. Among them are: the courageous women caught in the crossfire, angry with grief over the senseless loss of loved ones. The DEA agent at the center of it all, with the weight of the events heavy in his voice. The former mayor describing the insidious way traffickers took over his town. Even former cartel members, who casually detail the grip their murderous bosses had on the region.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cord Cutting Is The Obvious Result Of A 70% Spike In Cable TV Prices Since 2000

      We’ve discussed time and time again how, when faced with an evolving video market, the broadcast and cable industry repeatedly decided to double down on bad ideas. While consumers increasingly lamented having to pay $130 per month for a massive channel bundles filled with sub-par content, the industry refused to offer serious a la carte options and then jacked up prices even further. When consumers began to complain about high costs and annoying ads, cable and broadcast executives responded by trying to stuff more ads into every viewing hour by speeding up or editing down programs.

    • Govt to inquire into Telstra triple-zero outage

      The federal government will conduct an inquiry into the outage suffered by Telstra last week that led to problems with triple zero calls.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Lack of awareness about IP laws a worry for startup ecosystem [Ed: There are no "IP laws". "IP" is a propaganda term. Lawyers try to market themselves.]
    • Rapid changes in the Chinese legal system, an increasingly attractive venue for IP litigation

      For many years, foreign companies were reluctant to seek and enforce intellectual property protection in China. A combination of challenging litigation with low damages, the lack of ability to effectively enforce judgments, allegations of protectionism by the courts; a lack of ability to patent certain subject matter, a lack of transparency on legal matters and other factors made China a less desirable jurisdiction. The Chinese intellectual property legal system has matured rapidly, however. From improvements in the scope of allowable patent subject matter to enhancements of litigation options, and a strong desire by China to be seen as having a level playing field for all parties, China deserves a second look.

    • Foreign Companies Pursuing Business in China: Proceed with Caution

      The trade relationship between the United States and China is top of mind for many business owners, especially within the technology sector. Recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping denied the U.S. Government’s request to end subsidies for key industries identified by the “Made in China 2025 Initiative,” including new advanced information technology, aviation, rail, new energy vehicles, agricultural machinery, new materials and biopharma. The request was made due to the central role that the Chinese government has played in allegations of forced technology transfer to China and trade secret theft in these key industries. In rebuffing the U.S. insistence to stop this practice, the Chinese government has officially extended the program that supports forced technology transfer for another seven years.

    • Apple’s Eddy Cue to be deposed in Qualcomm patent battle

      Apple Inc executive Eddy Cue will be questioned by Qualcomm Inc’s lawyers as part of a legal battle between the companies over billions of dollars in patents and licensing fees.

      On Friday, San Diego Federal Judge Mitchell D. Dembin ordered Cue to be deposed in the case, granting a Qualcomm request and turning down Apple’s arguments against the move.

      At the heart of the standoff is a dispute over how much Qualcomm can charge phone makers to use its patents, whether or not they use its chips. The San Diego, California-based company gets the majority of profit from licensing technology that covers the fundamentals of modern mobile phone systems. Apple has cut off license payments to Qualcomm and filed an antitrust lawsuit that accused the chipmaker of trying to monopolize the industry.

    • Copyrights

      • Top 13 Free Movie Download Websites | Completely Legal Places For 2018

        Are you looking for some websites where you can download movies for free, legally? To answer this query, we are here with a list of top 13 free movie download websites where you can get some quality entertainment without paying any money. This list includes the likes of The Internet Archive, Pluto TV, Public Domain Torrents, Retrovision etc.

      • Video Deters People From Pirate Sites…Or Encourages Them to Start One?

        Videos published by Sweden’s Patent and Registration Office are attempting to deter people away from pirate sites because it’s making their operators rich. However, the videos – which depict pirates wearing strange animal masks surrounded by luxury items and piles of cash – might inadvertently encourage some to get into the game. Who wouldn’t want an indoor pool and a Dodge Viper?

News From the Frontline: EPO Continues Unabated on Its Destructive Path

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guest-authored

Old train

Summary: An EPO outline of recent events, courtesy of readers

PD 43 Bergot’s latest “cunning plan”

You may not believe it, but this is true stuff: visibly totally disconnected from reality (or perhaps under medication which alters her perception of our world), Mrs Bergot recently organised two sessions in Munich and The Hague to gather staff recently recruited (many of whom are still in probation period), for a rather challenging task: convince new comers to abandon their permanent employment conditions and instead accept a time limited contract!

And to motivate them (hahahaha) the only “benefit” that PD 43 was capable to propose to them was (and this is no joke): should these staff members decease prematurely, with a time-limited contract their survivors will receive a lump sum higher by 2% compared with the one paid for permanent staff.

A truly killing deal, is it not?

Obviously this is pure non-sense but at this stage of her Amoklauf, Mrs Bergot fears nothing, no one and can safely make herself a fool in public without fear (the rumour has it trusted circles that Mr Campinos is considering keeping her as PD HR since the fear factor makes EPO staff produce like hell and if he were to remove her, production figures may fall).

Of course as can reasonably expected, the members of staff gathered (euphemism for summoned) by the Grande Dame des HR did not believe what they were given to hear and no one accepted the “offer”.

More pressure by DG1 management on examiners in probation

Currently DG1 Directors have been instructed by their PDs (and as can be expected from servants, they act zealously to satisfy their masters) to refuse (yes you read well REFUSE) examiners in probation to take their accrued holidays.

Why this? Because if examiners are off they cannot produce and targets cannot be met. Logical. As a result many new comers now sincerely consider leaving the EPO.

Well done Bergot et al.! Not only do they fail to attract top profiles any more (due to both EPO’s terrible reputation on the work market coupled to far less attractive working conditions due Bergot et al. new policies) but now they even manage to motivate the few who got in to leave the EPO!

Sincerely we can only advise newcomers to run away before they become unemployable somewhere else, and they the longer they stay at EPO, the more unemployable they are.

Also from reliable sources, DG1 team leaders currently receive training from DG4 staff about how to “interpret” the Codex (read refuse), to avoid complying with legitimate requests by examiners who ask for special leave enshrined in the EPO Codex as rights (eg for sickness of a child, a spouse etc. Obviously the first ones who are affected (and cannot protest without compromising their future) are probationers and staff under contract.

Who said that EPO HR is anti-personnel?

Negative feedback upon Campinos: more of the same in sight?

Over the past 6 years, the EPO has been severely affected by the current top management team but it might continue to be destroyed big time under Campinos, due to the level of “competency” of those in charge.

Indeed from reliable sources, Campinos seems to fear that if he changes the current team (responsible for the mess we know), production figures will plummet and he will look like the one responsible for the drop.

As a result, Campinos is thus said to consider keeping them (e.g. Bergot, Chabod, Bauer etc) at their current positions or swap posts between them (!) so that with the “fear factor” going-on as-is, production targets remain at their current unhealthy levels.

Only a “detail” – which no one may have had the guts to bring to Mr Campinos’ attention: the level of exhaustion of EPO staff and with it, the genuine risk for new suicides (hundreds of EPO staff office-wide are currently in psy-related therapies to hold the pressure they face at their EPO desks).

If this feedback materializes, then Campinos – who was first selected with on its agenda as highest priority: restore social peace – will just be another bureaucratic puppet, incapable of taking real managerial decisions to preserve the interests of both the Organisation and Public, and EPO staff will remain parts of a mechanic which are to be thrown away when defect.

Legitimate reward of a true talent

Another “Good News”: Sebastian Bauer who first worked in Investigation Unit (rebranded – don’t die laughing – “Ethics and Compliance”) as an investigator.

Always prone to serve his master Elodie Bergot whilst satisfying her most unhealthy wishes (e.g. Mr Bauer was heavily involved in the fake files generated by IU which served as basis to sanction several staff representatives and union officials (leading to several dismissals, downgrading etc), Bauer was recently promoted to Director level for his “good” performance.

But this was not the end of his success story yet: Now Mr Bauer has just been promoted Principal Director ad interim of Dpt. Ethics and Compliance (internally branded by EPO Staff as STASI) following the retirement of the previous PD.

Who said that true talents are not rewarded at EPO?

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