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08.15.18

Links 15/8/2018: Akademy 2018 Wrapups and More Intel Defects

Posted in News Roundup at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Former OSS Executive Eren Niazi Named Open Source Evolution CTO

    Open Source Evolution, visionaries and creators of enterprise custom software, announced today that former OSS founder, Eren Niazi has been named CTO. A 20-year technology veteran, Niazi has been focused on developing custom enterprise open source software for corporate transformations to open source.

    Eren is the original visionary/creator who pioneered the OSS movement and envisioned a world where the enterprises used open source software for large scale data center deployments. Consequently, the OSS technologies Niazi developed have become the model for global industry storage solutions.

  • How To Get An Open Source Developer Job In 2018
  • Tesla to make driverless software open source

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk has told a hacker conference in Las Vegas that he plans to “open source” the software his company uses to secure autonomous-driving features from hacks or takeovers, eventually allowing other carmakers to use it.

    Musk tweeted, “Great Q&A @defcon last night. Thanks for helping make Tesla & SpaceX more secure! Planning to open-source Tesla vehicle security software for free use by other car makers. Extremely important to a safe self-driving future for all.”

  • DarkHydrus Relies on Open-Source Tools for Phishing Attacks [Ed: If there was reliance on something proprietary, the headline would not even mention it; that's because its sole goal is to demonise Open Source, associating it with criminal activity. This actually impacts proprietary software from Microsoft, complete with NSA back doors.]
  • Progress Open Sources ABL Code with Release of Spark Toolkit

    Previously only available from Progress Services, the Spark Toolkit was created in collaboration with the Progress Common Component Specification (CCS) project, a group of Progress® OpenEdge® customers and partners defining a standard set of specifications for the common components for building modern business applications. By engaging the community, Progress has leveraged best practices in the development of these standards-based components and tools to enable new levels of interoperability, flexibility, efficiencies and effectiveness.

    [...]

    It is compatible with the latest version of OpenEdge, 11.7, and is available under Apache License 2.0. More components are expected to be added in the future.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rustfmt 1.0 release candidate

        The current version of Rustfmt, 0.99.2, is the first 1.0 release candidate. It is available on nightly and beta (technically 0.99.1 there) channels, and from the 13th September will be available with stable Rust.

        1.0 will be a huge milestone for Rustfmt. As part of it’s stability guarantees, it’s formatting will be frozen (at least until 2.0). That means any sub-optimal formatting still around will be around for a while. So please help test Rustfmt and report any bugs or sub-optimal formatting.

      • Welcome Amy Keating, our incoming General Counsel

        Amy joins Mozilla from Twitter, Inc. where she has been Vice President, Legal and Deputy General Counsel. When she joined Twitter in 2012, she was the first lawyer focused on litigation, building out the functions and supporting the company as both the platform and the employee base grew in the U.S. and internationally. Her role expanded over time to include oversight of Twitter’s product counseling, regulatory, privacy, employment legal, global litigation, and law enforcement legal response functions. Prior to Twitter, Amy was part of Google, Inc.’s legal team and began her legal career as an associate at Bingham McCutchen LLP.

      • Building Extension APIs with Friend of Add-ons Oriol Brufau

        Please meet Oriol Brufau, our newest Friend of Add-ons! Oriol is one of 23 volunteer community members who have landed code for the WebExtensions API in Firefox since the technology was first introduced in 2015. You may be familiar with his numerous contributions if you have set a specific badge text color for your browserAction, highlighted multiple tabs with the tabs.query API, or have seen your extension’s icon display correctly in about:addons.

        While our small engineering team doesn’t always have the resources to implement every approved request for new or enhanced WebExtensions APIs, the involvement of community members like Oriol adds considerable depth and breadth to technology that affects millions of users. However, the Firefox code base is large, complex, and full of dependencies. Contributing code to the browser can be difficult even for experienced developers.

        As part of celebrating Oriol’s achievements, we asked him to share his experience contributing to the WebExtensions API with the hope that it will be helpful for other developers interested in landing more APIs in Firefox.

      • L10N Report: August Edition

        After a quick pause in July, your primary source of localization information at Mozilla is back!

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • This powerful free office program can replace Microsoft Office

      Even better, as we said, LibreOffice can open and edit the documents you made in Office and can save new files in Office formats. LibreOffice is also compatible with the most popular document formats, not just Office documents. It’s also compatible with OpenDocument Format (ODF) and you can even sign PDF documents without having to involve your printer!

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Musical Space: Open Source Music

      The term “open source” was coined 20 years ago this month by some software engineers who had the radical idea of allowing their code to be freely shared, copied and modified by anyone else. They realized they could make more money by giving away their product instead of selling it, and selling the support services instead. The open source model is a growing part of the arts, and nowhere more than in music. Recordings make so little money that creators now offer them for free and make their money from live shows instead.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Hobbyist 3D prints open source CNC machine for under $200

        Hobbyist and Reddit 3D printing community contributor Marioarm has built an “almost fully” 3D printed CNC machine for milling electronic chipboards.

        Marioarm built the Cyclone PCB CNC machine with 3D printed parts downloaded from file sharing sites such as Thingiverse and the GitHub repository Cyclone PCB Factory. With minimal, prefabricated parts, the project in total cost Marioarm under $200 to build.

  • Programming/Development

    • [Older] Julia 1.0 release Opens the Doors for a Connected World

      Today Julia Computing announced the Julia 1.0 programming language release, “the most important Julia milestone since Julia was introduced in February 2012.” As the first complete, reliable, stable and forward-compatible Julia release, version 1.0 is the fastest, simplest and most productive open-source programming language for scientific, numeric and mathematical computing.

    • This Week in Rust 247
    • BARR-C Aims to Make Us Better Programmers

      Look up “panacea” and you’ll find a bunch of C programming tools. Everyone and his dog has ideas about how to create better, more reliable C code. Use an ISO-certified compiler. Follow MISRA C guidelines. Write the comments first. Agile Programming. Energy crystals. The late-night remedies never end.

      Or, you could learn from the master. Michael Barr does embedded programming. He’s got a Masters in electrical engineering; was an adjunct professor of EE/CS; was Editor-in-Chief of Embedded Systems Programming magazine; founded consulting company Netrino to teach people how to write better code; then founded Barr Group to do it again. The man knows a few things about writing embedded software, mostly by watching his clients and students doing it badly. There’s no substitute for experience, and this guy has collected decades worth of it.

      So it’s no surprise that he’s come up with his own little black book of programming pointers. These are the rules, guidelines, and suggestions gleaned from years of reviewing other peoples’ bad code and then fixing it. Best of all, a PDF download of the book is free. If you’re a traditionalist, you can buy the paperback version from Amazon.

Leftovers

  • In Defense Of Slow News

    Many years back, I remember seeing Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch, being interviewed about that site (which at the time was on its way to becoming the first “mainstream” tech news blog). I’m paraphrasing, and possibly misremembering, but what stuck with me was that he suggested that, as a blog, you basically had to focus on one of three things to succeed: being first, being funny, or being insightful. And he had chosen “being first” as the strategy for TechCrunch — trying to break news as quickly as possible. And while that makes sense as a business strategy if you can do it, it had absolutely no appeal to me for how we ran Techdirt. We always hoped to focus on adding more insight into various issues, than breaking news. That’s not to say we don’t break news every so often, but it’s certainly not the focus.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Flint, Michigan Still Has Polluted Water: Here’s How To Help

      Perhaps the biggest lesson to take away from Flint’s water crisis is this: Don’t for a second think this couldn’t have been your town. This didn’t happen on some faraway island or in a Third World country, but right in America’s own backyard. “From every objective measure that is out there, Flint’s water is like any other US city with old lead pipes,” adds Virginia Tech’s Siddhartha Roy, one of the researchers who brought the scandal to light. So take note and stay in the fight, because if you don’t and your elected officials one day decide that your water looking and smelling like orc blood isn’t their problem, you’ll spend a really long time picking chunks out of your teeth after every brushing. And if that sentence isn’t enough for you to take an interest in local politics, we don’t know what will.

    • Illinois Lawmakers Search for Solutions for Children Stuck in Psychiatric Hospitals

      Illinois lawmakers Tuesday heard testimony from nearly a dozen doctors and child welfare advocates describing circumstances facing children who languish in psychiatric hospitals even after they had been cleared for discharge — circumstances so harrowing that some children chose jail over another night at a psychiatric facility.

      State Sen. Julie Morrison, a Democrat from Deerfield, called for the Senate Human Services Committee hearing following a ProPublica Illinois investigation that revealed that hundreds of children in care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services spent weeks or months at a time locked in psychiatric hospitals after doctors had cleared them for release.

      The investigation, published in June, found that children in DCFS care were trapped inside psychiatric hospitals between 2015 and 2017 for a total of more than 27,000 days beyond what was medically necessary. During that time, the state spent nearly $7 million on unnecessary psychiatric care for children as young as 4.

      And the problem, ProPublica Illinois found, has only been getting worse. In 2014, only 88 psychiatric admissions were not medically needed compared with 301 last year.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • How Militaries Should Plan for AI

      Today we are publishing a new EFF white paper, The Cautious Path to Strategic Advantage: How Militaries Should Plan for AI. This paper analyzes the risks and implications of military AI projects in the wake of Google’s decision to discontinue AI assistance to the US military’s drone program and adopt AI ethics principles that preclude many forms of military work.

      The key audiences for this paper are military planners and defense contractors, who may find the objections to military uses of AI from Google’s employees and others in Silicon Valley hard to understand. Hoping to bridge the gap, we urge our key audiences to consider several guiding questions. What are the major technical and strategic risks of applying current machine learning methods in weapons systems or military command and control? What are the appropriate responses that states and militaries can adopt in response? What kinds of AI are safe for military use, and what kinds aren’t?

      Militaries must make sure they don’t buy into the machine learning hype while missing the warning label.

      We are at a critical juncture. Machine learning technologies have received incredible hype, and indeed they have made exciting progress on some fronts, but they remain brittle, subject to novel failure modes, and vulnerable to diverse forms of adversarial attack and manipulation. They also lack the basic forms of common sense and judgment on which humans usually rely.

    • ‘Do We Deserve to Kill?’ The Answer Is ‘No’ After Nebraska’s Latest Execution

      Nebraska’s fentanyl execution was only possible because the state delayed Moore’s execution for nearly four decades — depleting his will to fight.

      “The death penalty is not about whether people deserve to die for the crimes they commit,” as Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, frequently explains. “The real question of capital punishment in this country is, ‘Do we deserve to kill?’” For those of us who are most familiar with the legal deficiencies and human cruelties of capital punishment, the answer is a resounding no.

      Nebraska’s execution of Carey Dean Moore this morning proves the point.

      As a society, we have determined that a death sentence requires that our process for determining who is guilty, for determining whom should be executed, and for executing humanely are transparent and above reproach. By any standard, Nebraska should not have had the authority to kill Moore today with an experimental fentanyl drug protocol.

      Moore’s case is remarkable for several reasons. First, he has spent 38 years on death row, the longest known period between death sentence and execution in American history. Second, six years ago, he gave up all appeals and refused to fight for his life.

      On the surface, it may appear that Nebraska could execute Mr. Moore without judicial oversight or safeguards because Moore agreed to be executed. But looking more deeply, we know Moore’s decision to stop fighting for his life is the result of Nebraska holding him for decades on death row without executing him.

    • Defense Inspector General to Investigate Military’s Toxic Open Burning

      The Department of Defense’s internal watchdog is launching an investigation into the military’s heavily polluting practice of open burning and detonating hazardous explosive materials on its properties, as well as its frequent reliance on federal contractors to carry out that work.

      The inquiry, announced Aug. 10 on the website of the department’s Office of Inspector General, will examine whether the department’s practices are legal, and whether the contractors charged with handling dangerous materials — often close to the public — have proper oversight.

      “Robust oversight of these contractors is essential for protecting the health and well-being of all who work and live near these installations,” Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire wrote to ProPublica in an email. “But it is clear that this oversight did not take place.”

    • 10 Questions on Secret Israeli Report Over 2014 Killing of Four Children on Gaza Beach

      Findings raise questions about decision-making process that led to shooting at children when they didn’t pose a threat. This requires clarification on use of drones, IDF’s open-fire policy and responsibility of those involved

    • Police take former MEIO director- general’s statement over CIA letter

      Police have taken the statement of the former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) director-general Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid on a letter she wrote to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      Without revealing when Hasanah’s statement was taken, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said police had also called several other MEIO officers to assist investigations.

      He said police would also be taking the statements of several MEIO officers in Washington.

      “We will later send the investigation papers to the deputy public prosecutor for further action,” he told reporters after Bukit Aman Monthly Assembly here yesterday.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • DNC lawsuit against WikiLeaks served via Twitter

      The Democratic National Committee has used Twitter to serve a lawsuit against WikiLeaks that accuses the website of participating in a conspiracy to hack into DNC emails and denigrate Hillary Clinton.

      U.S. District Judge John Koeltl of Manhattan granted the motion to serve via Twitter and mail on Aug. 6. The DNC’s law firm, Cohen Milstein, served the suit on Aug. 10 through a Twitter account that was apparently created for that purpose, report CBS News, Gizmodo and TechCrunch.

      The DNC had told the court in a July 20 motion to allow the alternate service that WikiLeaks “has more of a virtual than a physical presence.” The motion cited a California case in which a federal court allowed service via Twitter of a suit against a Kuwaiti national accused of financing ISIS activities.

      The DNC had not been able to serve the lawsuit by other methods, the motion said. DNC lawyers tried sending emails to an address provided on the WikiLeaks website and contacting lawyers who had represented WikiLeaks in other matters. The emails were returned as undeliverable, and the lawyers who responded said they no longer represented WikiLeaks and were not authorized to accept service.

    • Mueller investigation seeks to implicate WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in “Russian interference”

      The investigation headed by Special Counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller into alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election has entered a new stage.

      Mueller is seeking to substantiate the case he advanced last month—as part of the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers—that Trump campaign insider Roger Stone and WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange were part of a conspiracy to hack and publish emails sent by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairperson John Podesta (see: “In run-up to Trump-Putin summit, Mueller charges 12 Russian officers with DNC email hack”).

  • Finance

    • ‘There is a Strong Reason for All Americans to Feel more Economically Insecure than they Did Before the Great Recession’

      Last September, elite media were heralding numbers suggesting that incomes were up among middle class Americans, but tiptoeing around the fact that the rising tide was not lifting all boats. Dedrick Asante-Muhammad is Senior Fellow, Racial Wealth Divide, at the group Prosperity Now. He told CounterSpin about a report he co-authored, called The Road to Zero Wealth: How the Racial Wealth Divide Is Hollowing Out America’s Middle Class, from Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies. I asked why they chose to focus on racial disparities in wealth.

    • Why Isn’t Blockchain Technology Adoption Soaring?
    • Almost 80% of US workers live from paycheck to paycheck. Here’s why

      But the official rate hides more troubling realities: legions of college grads overqualified for their jobs, a growing number of contract workers with no job security, and an army of part-time workers desperate for full-time jobs. Almost 80% of Americans say they live from paycheck to paycheck, many not knowing how big their next one will be.

      Blanketing all of this are stagnant wages and vanishing job benefits. The typical American worker now earns around $44,500 a year, not much more than what the typical worker earned in 40 years ago, adjusted for inflation. Although the US economy continues to grow, most of the gains have been going to a relatively few top executives of large companies, financiers, and inventors and owners of digital devices.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • If Collusion Is in the Eye of the Beholder…

      …then the person observing gets to decide what collusion is, right?

    • ‘People are terrified’: Trump staffers live in fear of Omarosa’s next tape

      A daily trickle of revealing internal conversations between staffers. Growing anxiety about what one might have once said. No sense of how long it will go on.

      Omarosa Manigault Newman’s slow release of secretly taped conversations from inside the Trump campaign and White House is having the same effect on staffers as the daily dumps from WikiLeaks had on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, when chairman John Podesta’s emails were trickled out during the final stretch of the race.

    • Trump-Omarosa feud rooted in her allegations of racism
    • The Latest: Omarosa tells AP: ‘I will not be silenced’

      Omarosa Manigault Newman declared “I will not be silenced” by the Trump campaign.

      Manigault Newman spoke to The Associated Press hours after the president’s campaign announced it was filing an arbitration action against the former aide alleging she broke a secrecy agreement.

      In an interview with AP, Manigault Newman said she believes the action was intended to keep her from telling her story. She says she “will not be intimidated.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • What You Should Know Before Buying a Wired Security Camera System

      One huge benefit of having a wired security camera system is that you don’t need to connect it to the internet to use it—unlike most Wi-Fi cams, which require an internet connection to do anything.

      The downside to an off-the-grid camera system, however, is that you won’t be able to access it remotely from your phone if you’re away from home. Instead, you can only view and manage your camera system from the DVR box and the connected monitor and peripherals.

    • Australian Gov’t Floats New Batch Of Compelled Access Legislation With An Eye On Encryption

      The Australian government is looking to revamp its compelled access laws to fight encryption and other assorted technological advances apparently only capable of being used for evil. It’s getting pretty damn dark Down Under, according to the Department of Home Affairs’ announcement of the pending legislation.

      [...]

      There’s the limitation of lawmaking. Lawbreakers break laws and they’re not going to stop just because you’ve told them not to with a government mandate. Legislation [PDF] like this does little more than make life more difficult for service providers and device makers while undermining the privacy and security of millions of law-abiding citizens.

      The explanation sheet [PDF] notes the government is not seeking to mandate encryption backdoors. That being said, it would like providers of encrypted services/devices to leave the door cracked open so the government can step inside whenever it feels the need to look around.

    • A quick reminder on HTTPS everywhere

      HTTPS Everywhere! So the plugin says, and now browsers are warning users that sites not implementing https:// are security risks. Using HTTPS everywhere is good advice. And this really means “everywhere”: the home page, everything. Not just the login page, or the page where you accept donations. Everything.

      Implementing HTTPS everywhere has some downsides, as Eric Meyer points out. It breaks caching, which makes the web much slower for people limited to satellite connections (and that’s much of the third world); it’s a problem for people who, for various reasons, have to use older browsers (there are more ancient browsers and operating systems in the world than you would like to think, trust me); domain names and IP address are handled by lower-level protocols that HTTPS doesn’t get to touch, so it’s not as private as one would like; and more. It’s not a great solution, but it’s a necessary one. (Meyer’s article, and the comments following it, are excellent.)

    • Turning off Location History Won’t Help You! Google Will Track You Anyway

      The “location history” option on Google accounts claims in its description to be responsible for collecting data on a user’s movements, but it turns out that switching it off still won’t help if someone wants to track you down via your account.

    • Google tracks your movements, like it or not
    • What you can do to prevent Google—and others—from tracking your phone
    • EBGAP: Error Between Google and Privacy
    • Google tracks users who turn off location history
    • Google can track your location in ways you may not expect. But you can turn it off.
    • Australian parliament will debate bill to weaken encryption by end of 2018

      Australia’s government will debate proposed legislation before the end of this year that could force Apple and other companies to introduce backdoors into their products and services, such as the iPhone or iMessage, under the guise of assisting with national security and law enforcement investigations.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Iowa Supreme Court Thinks Things Are Too Tough For Bad Cops, Adopts Qualified Immunity Defense

      The Iowa Supreme Court has decided to lower standards for law enforcement officers in its state. The ruling [PDF] issued earlier this summer gives state officers the opportunity to dismiss lawsuits against them by asserting qualified immunity. Prior to this decision, there was no qualified immunity defense state actors could raise in court. They were actually forced to actually defend themselves in court, making it easier for plaintiffs’ claims to survive an early motion to dismiss and bringing them closer to justice. (via Bleeding Heartland)

      The case — Baldwin v. City of Estherville — involves an arrest for a crime that didn’t exist. It involves driving an ATV through a city-owned ditch, something that’s illegal under state law but not under the City of Estherville’s laws. An arrest for something that wasn’t actually illegal was followed by this lawsuit. It’s a weird origin for a Fourth Amendment lawsuit, but the outcome makes holding officers accountable for their misdeeds much more difficult with the court’s addition of qualified immunity to local government’s litigation toolbox.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • On Thursday, Ajit Pai Has To Explain Why His FCC Made Up A DDOS Attack And Lied To Congress

      So FCC boss Ajit Pai will need to don some tap-dancing shoes this Thursday, when he’ll be forced to explain to a Senate oversight committee why his agency not only made up a DDOS attack, but lied repeatedly to the press and Congress about it.

      As we recently noted, e-mails obtained by FOIA request have proven that the FCC completely made up a DDOS attack in a bizarre bid to downplay the fact that John Oliver’s bit on net neutrality crashed the agency website last year. A subsequent investigation by the FCC Inspector General confirmed those findings, showing not only that no attack took place, but that numerous FCC staffers misled both Congress and the media when asked about it.

      Pai initially tried to get out ahead of the scandal and IG report by issuing a statement that threw his employees under the bus while playing dumb. According to Pai’s pre-emptive statement, the entire scandal was the fault of the FCC’s since-departed CIO and other employees who mysteriously failed to alert him that this entire shitshow was occurring (you can just smell the ethical leadership here)…

    • Ajit Pai grilled by lawmakers on why FCC spread “myth” of DDoS attack

      Today, four Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Pai “demanding to know when he and his staff learned that the Commission had provided inaccurate information about why its comment system went down during the net neutrality repeal public comment period,” the Democrats said in an announcement.

    • Court Rejects Ajit Pai’s Bid To Reduce Broadband Subsidies For Tribal Areas

      For a while now we’ve been noting that while Ajit Pai professes to be a huge proponent of “closing the digital divide,” most of his policies are doing the exact opposite. Pai’s attacks on net neutrality, for example, will likely only act to drive up broadband prices for everyone as ISPs enjoy their newfound ability to creatively abusive captive customers in uncompetitive markets. And Pai has repeatedly attempted to fiddle with FCC data collection methodology with an eye toward obfuscating the industry’s competitive failures (be that skyrocketing prices or poor coverage).

      That’s of course when he hasn’t been busy slowly-but-surely gutting programs designed to help bring broadband to the nation’s less affluent areas.

      One of Pai’s core policies has been a relentless attack on the FCC’s Lifeline program. Lifeline was created under the Reagan administration and expanded under the George W. Bush administration, and provides low-income households with a measly $9.25 per month subsidy that low-income homes can use to help pay a tiny fraction of their wireless, phone, or broadband bills (enrolled participants have to chose one). The FCC under former FCC boss Tom Wheeler had voted to expand the service to cover broadband connections, something Pai (ever a champion to the poor) voted down.

      Traditionally this program had broad, bipartisan support and was never deemed even remotely controversial. But ever since Trump and Pai stumbled into town, the current FCC has slowly waged war on the program. For example Pai’s FCC voted 3-2 last November to eliminate a $25 additional Lifeline subsidy for low-income native populations on tribal land. Pai’s FCC also banned smaller mobile carriers from participating in the Lifeline program, a move opposed by even the larger companies (Verizon, AT&T) Pai’s FCC normally nuzzles up to.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Joinder of Inventor/Principal of Patentee to Assertion of Fees for Exceptional Case Liability

      A while back, I suggested here that defendants start thinking, early on, about joining sole-shareholders (and the like) of asset-less patentees if 285 liability was an issue. In a recent case, the district court allowed joinder of such a person, finding he was a necessary party under Rule 19. (I seriously doubt that is correct (what is the claim against the person being joined?), but Genentech managed to convince a judge to join such a person in Phigenix, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., (N.D. Cal. Aug. 13, 2018) (here). (I’ve also written about counsel’s liability under 285, and the conflicts it can create, here.)

    • France: Upset in practice of the seizure: withdrawal of the seizure order due to lack of impartiality of the patent attorneys

      On March 27th, 2018, the Court of Appeal of Paris issued a decision on withdrawal of the seizure order on the grounds that the principle of impartiality had been violated since the patent attorneys (“CPIs”) assisting the bailiff wrote a report on the probability of the infringement annexed at the seizure request.

      It will thus be advisable to rely on a patent attorney which did not know the case at all in order to practice a seizure without taking the risk of a withdrawal of the order.

      [...]

      The decision of the Court was appealed. We will see if the French Supreme Court will follow the reasoning initiated by the Court of Appeal regarding the lack of impartiality of the patent attorneys who previously acted as experts in the context of the seizure.

      The scope of this decision could be moderated since, in this case, several factual arguments on the drafting conditions of the expert report with the assistance of the seizing party were raised as reported above. In this context, if the patent attorney who prepared a preliminary report for the seizing party had access to some information about the alleged infringing material may not be considered impartial, we may ask ourselves what the measure of impartiality should be. The decision of the Court of Appeal does not set a clear limit on this point; it does of course reiterate that patent attorneys are independent and from that point of view are allowed to assist during seizures.

      Therefore, in order to avoid withdrawal of a seizure order, the seizing party will not refer in its request to a patent attorney who intervened previously as an expert in the same case, e.g. as an expert having participated in a private expert report filed as supporting evidence for obtaining the seizure as in the present case. The risk would be the characterization of the impartiality of the designated patent attorney and, correspondingly, the possible withdrawal of the seizure order. Whether this position would extend to any type of private expertise is unknown; hopefully the Supreme Court will provide guidance.

      We would recommend to use a patent attorney who had no relationship with the seizing party beforehand for assisting during seizures.

    • New survey highlights emerging trends in IP operations management

      The day-to-day tasks of managing a global IP portfolio form the backbone of any IP strategy. The most high-level corporate IP policy can falter if a company lacks robust operations processes for securing and maintaining patents and other rights. In a recent survey, Clarivate Analytics set out to investigate how organisations approach these management tasks, and what challenges they face. This month’s guest piece from the firm breaks down some of the key findings and what they may mean.

    • China: Supreme People’s Court Provides Guidance on Amendment and Inventiveness Evaluation for Markush Claims

      A Markush claim is a type of claim commonly used in chemical and pharmaceutical fields. On December 20, 2017, in Beijing Winsunny Harmony Science & Technology Co., Ltd. v. Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd, (“Daiichi Sankyo Case”), the Supreme People’s Court (“SPC”) resolved a long standing-split among Chinese courts regarding the interpretation and amendment of Markush claims. In combination with examination practice in China, this article will discuss the guidance of the Daiichi Sankyo case and provide strategic suggestions for readers’ reference.

    • Apple’s Declaratory Judgment Backfires, Turns Into $145.1M Damages Verdict Wi-LAN

      Though this is not the only lawsuit fought out between Wi-LAN and Apple, this particular action began in June 2014 when Apple filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment of invalidity on the ‘145 and ‘757 patents along with three other Wi-LAN patents.

    • Tesla IP chief jumps to automotive rival

      Jeff Risher has left his post as Tesla’s head of IP to join rival electric car manufacturer Faraday Future as vice president, technology and IP. According to his LinkedIn profile he joined Faraday last month after a little more than two years at Tesla where he was chief IP and litigation counsel. Prior to that he spent almost a decade at Apple, most recently as director of patent licensing and strategy.

    • USA: BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc. v. Aquestive Therapeutics, Inc., United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, No. 2017-1265, 31 July 2018

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has granted BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc.’s motion to remand to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board a consolidated appeal of the Board’s final decisions upholding the patentability of three Aquestive Therapeutics patents for water-soluble drug-dosage films incorporating anti-tacking agents.

    • Jury Finding of Willful Infringement Does Not Satisfy Section 287 Notice Requirement

      Following remand, the court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment to preclude plaintiff from seeking pre-suit damages and rejected plaintiff’s argument that the jury’s willful infringement finding satisfied plaintiff’s obligation to establish actual notice.

    • Design Protection In Europe

      A design is defined in the Community Design regulation and in the Design directive as the outward appearance of a product or a part of a product which results from the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture, materials and/or its ornamentation. In order to qualify for protection, designs must be new and must have individual character. Furthermore, a design shall not subsist in features of appearance of a product which are solely dictated by its technical function. Designs make a product attractive and appealing; hence they may add significantly to the commercial value of a product and increase its marketability. Design protection is a significant element of IP law. Designs as unique creations with individual character require and deserve protection against imitators just as copyrighted works or trademarks.

    • California jury awards LED company $66m in trade secrets case

      Chinese competitor Elec-Tech found to have stolen trade secrets related to Lumileds technology for making high power LEDs used in flash phones and headlights

    • Copyrights

      • Bruce Lee’s Estate Gets Stiff Roundhouse Kick After Trying To Block Theater Company’s Trademark

        Those steeped in ownership culture often have the wrong idea when it comes to trademark laws. In the minds of some, trademark laws can be used like publicity rights laws, wherein a famous somebody — or that somebody’s heirs — can use that fame to control all uses of references to that somebody for ever and ever. That, of course, is not how trademark laws work. Instead, trademark law is designed to protect the public from confusion by allowing some monopolistic use of names and terms in some markets and only if actual commerce is taking place.

        This is a lesson the management company of the late renowned martial arts star Bruce Lee has now learned the hard way. Bruce Lee Enterprises attempted to both block the trademark registration for production company Barisons in the UK, which applied for a mark covering its forthcoming Jun Fan: the Bruce Lee Musical, and also to apply for a “Jun Fan” mark in the theatrical designation itself. Jun Fan, if you’re not aware, was the birth name of Bruce Lee.

      • Facebook Bans Kodi Boxes And Other Jailbroken Devices

        Kodi has gained quite a notorious reputation as the users continue to stream illegal content from it. Recently, Facebook expressed their criticism of illegal video streaming content by banning Kodi boxes and other jailbroken or loaded devices.

        Adding Kodi to the list of the prohibited content, Facebook has put up a post explicitly stating that posts promoting the sale of illegal video streaming devices, jailbroken devices, wiretapping devices would not be entertained on the platform.

      • SevenTorrents Shuts Down After 10 Years; Transfers Database To WatchSoMuch

        The disappearance of websites in the torrent world is very common. While many services shut down and pirates move on to their alternatives, sometimes sites also transfer their data to other sites.

        A similar retirement development (Via: TF) has recently taken place in the case of SevenTorrents. If you’re only familiar with biggies like The Pirate Bay, YTS, or KAT, let me tell you that SevenTorrents has been around for more than ten years; just last year only, it served more than 5 million visitors.

      • Disney (yes, Disney) declares war on “overzealous copyright holders”

        On the other hand, they’re right, and this is exactly what fair use is for: to allow for third parties to comment on copyrighted works and their creators, especially when the creators object. Sure, maybe Disney could buy licenses to the Michael Jackson videos they’re quoting in this doc, but if the Jackson estate objects because Disney is portraying Jackson in an unflattering light, do we really want to give them a veto? Shouldn’t the discussion of culturally significant figures be the subject of legitimate debate, without partisans (whose own income is dependent on maintaining the reputation of the dead entertainer) being able to decide who can criticize that figure and how?

Antiquated Patenting Trick: Adding Words Like ‘Apparatus’ to Make Abstract Ideas Look/Sound Like They Pertain to or Contain a ‘Device’

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apparatus

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) still maintains that abstract ideas are not patent-eligible; so applicants and law firms go out of their way to make their ideas seem as though they’re physical

THE examiners at the USPTO have been instructed (as per Section 101/Alice and examination guidelines) not to grant abstract patents, which include software patents. This means that applicants and the law firms whom they pay to ‘game’ the system will go out of their way to rephrase things, making life harder for examiners.

RichmondBizSense‘s patent listings, published only a few hours ago, include “Method and apparatus for context based data analytics” (analysis or analytics using algorithms).

“We certainly hope that examiners are clever enough to spot these tricks; the underlying algorithms do not depend on a device and aren’t strictly tied to any; they can run on any general-purpose computer.”Notice how they titled it; “apparatus” is just the same old trick (like “device”) for making abstract ideas seem physical. Lawyers’ tricks like these fool the examiners. “Device”, at least in the EPO, is the weasel word quite often used to make patents look less “as such” (or “per se” as they phrase it in India). We certainly hope that examiners are clever enough to spot these tricks; the underlying algorithms do not depend on a device and aren’t strictly tied to any; they can run on any general-purpose computer.

Watchtroll’s latest attack on 35 U.S.C. § 101 (this time Jeremy Doerre again, for the second time in a week) shows that patent quality is the real threat to these maximalists/extremists. They dislike justice, love litigation, and Section 101 is therefore a threat to them. Maybe they will just attack SCOTUS again later this week. Judge-bashing has become pretty common at Watchtroll.

Janal Kalis, another patent maximalist, wrote about “apparatus” this week:

The PTAB Affirmed an Examiner’s 101 Rejection of Claims for an Apparatus for Material Analysis: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017010532-07-31-2018-1 …

Maybe the applicant thought that a generic/broad word like “apparatus” would be enough; maximalists like that word, but in this particular case it fooled neither the examiner nor the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), even without an inter partes review (IPR). There are many more like this; it’s quite the norm these days, tackling software patents and other abstract patents at the examination level with help/affirmation from PTAB.

Yesterday Dennis Crouch wrote about PTAB and an examiner rejecting a lousy Facebook patent. He probably (cherry-)picked it because this time, for a change, the Federal Circuit did not fully agree; it reversed and remanded the decision.

“Maybe the applicant thought that a generic/broad word like “apparatus” would be enough; maximalists like that word, but in this particular case it fooled neither the examiner nor the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), even without an inter partes review (IPR).”To quote: “Facebook’s U.S. Patent Application No. 13/715,636 claims a method for displaying a set of images after reshuffling or resizing the images. The Examiner rejected Claim 1 (below) as anticipated; and that rejection was affirmed by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Now on appeal, the Federal Circuit has reversed and remanded — finding that the USPTO had too loosely interpreted the prior art.

“The claimed image rendering process begins with a sequence of images. Each image is assigned a “first position” within an “array of contiguous image elements” — in other words, the images are put in a particular order. When a user adjusts the position or size of an image — there may be a need for reshuffling of the images into “second positions.” The claimed method includes a requirement that the reshuffled sequence “be contiguous.” — i.e., no gaps in the array.”

How is that not abstract? Never mind prior art, which was the basis for the original rejection…

Open Invention Network (OIN) Member Companies Need to Become Unanimous in Opposition to Software Patents

Posted in Law, OIN, Patents at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OIN still going with the flow of millionaires and billionaires who fund it, not Free/libre software developers

Opposition

Summary: Opposition to abstract software patents, which even the SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit nowadays reject, would be strategically smart for OIN; but instead it issues a statement in support of a GPL compliance initiative

THE USPTO is still granting software patents, never mind if courts continue and persist in rejecting these. OIN still generally supports software patents, albeit shyly. It doesn’t talk about that ‘too’ much. Just look at the member companies of OIN, especially founding members; some of these companies actively pursue their own software patents and IBM is blackmailing companies with these.

“OIN still generally supports software patents, albeit shyly.”Yesterday OIN issued this press release [1, 2] under the title “Open Invention Network Member Companies Unanimous in Support of GPL Cooperation Commitment” and what’s odd about it is that they talk about software licences rather than patent licences. The GPL is dealing with copyright (mostly), albeit GPLv3 indirectly deals with patents too. So it’s interesting that OIN now talks about the GPL rather than patent policy. From the opening paragraph:

Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, announced today that its eight funding members – Google, IBM, Red Hat, SUSE, Sony, NEC, Philips, Toyota – have committed to rejecting abusive tactics in the enforcement of open source licenses by adopting the GPL Cooperation Commitment. The unanimous support of OIN’s funding members to this commitment reflects the strong belief that responsible compliance in open source licensing is important and that license enforcement in open source ecosystems comes with a cultural expectation that all parties will behave reasonably. OIN encourages each one of its over 2,500 licensees, as well as all participants in the open source community, to follow the example of the OIN funding members and adopt the GPL Cooperation Commitment.

Well, if you support GPL, dear OIN leadership, you will also push for abolishing software patents. As things stand at the moment, serial GPL infringer Microsoft uses software patents against OIN members. This malicious company is still pursuing such patents — abstract patents with which it is blackmailing companies. To give an example from yesterday’s news, Microsoft now uses/rides the “blockchain” hype [1, 2] to patent software. “To this end,” said one article, “Microsoft filed two patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office back in June last year. The report came to light Thursday via a report published by the Office. [...] A trusted execution environment could also be very crucial in the verification of blockchain transactions on a common network or platform. This is especially reliable in the environment where the various pre-authorized transactions must interact.”

“Maybe if OIN bothered putting its weight behind the movement to abolish such patents, there would be better legal certainty/security for “Open” things (OIN stands for “Open Invention Network” after all, so surely it should care).”This is so obviously software and our next post will deal with examiners failing to reject these sorts of patents. Maybe if OIN bothered putting its weight behind the movement to abolish such patents, there would be better legal certainty/security for “Open” things (OIN stands for “Open Invention Network” after all, so surely it should care).

President Battistelli ‘Killed’ the EPO; António Campinos Will ‘Finish the Job’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reducing jobs, only months after outsourcing jobs at EU-IPO (sending these overseas to low-salaried staff, even in defiance of EU rules)

Closed

Summary: The EPO is shrinking, but this is being shrewdly disguised using terms like “efficiency” and a low-profile President who keeps himself in the dark

THE number of granted patents continues to decrease (a steady decline) at the USPTO, representing improvements (restrictions) imposed there by the courts. We’ll say a little more about that later.

“These people don’t care about scientists, whom they merely view/perceive as “human” “resources” (not to mention who has been put in charge of “human resources”).”At the office in Munich, however, patent maximalism reigns supreme. The agenda has nothing to do with science and technology; the management lacks background in science and technology. The President is a former banker and his predecessor is a politician. These people don’t care about scientists, whom they merely view/perceive as “human” “resources” (not to mention who has been put in charge of “human resources”). It’s all about money. All. About. Money. Short-term gain. What doesn’t count to them is the long-term survival of their ‘company’ (it’s actually not a company but an institution with a monopoly, which should not strive for profits but instead serve public interests).

“The official announcement is that target per examiner still increases, but the EPO shall have less examiners. Recruitment is halted and retirement shall not compensated.”
      –Märpel
Anyway, Märpel says that the EPO is “closing shop.” (that’s her headline). It is not literally but metaphorically doing so; it was ‘killed’ by Battistelli and his friend António Campinos (French successor of choice) ‘finishes the job’.

Here are some details from last night (some of this is new to us):

As discussed in the last post, the EPO experiences difficulties in finding candidates. Recruitment is stopped.

The tipping point was last spring, when President Battistelli had a project to move all staff to 5-years contracts. That project shocked the staff, especially staff from Germany. They spread the news to their friends and relatives, far beyond the borders of the Office: in Munich, even the lay person on the street knows that there is a problem at the big building near the Isar. Märpel was actually surprised to hear that message from distant relatives, even her doctor!

The project was put on hold, but this will not be sufficient to undo the damage done to the reputation of the EPO as an employer. Nowadays, prospective employees know that work contracts with the Office can be changed any moment to their disadvantage.

[...]

Instead, one of the first announcements of President Campinos was that the target for 2019 shall be lower than the one for 2018 (that announcement is not public but was told in several meetings). Why that surprising announcement when each preceding year saw the target increase by stunning numbers? The official announcement is that target per examiner still increases, but the EPO shall have less examiners. Recruitment is halted and retirement shall not compensated.

This is, in general, how institutions get diminished. Maybe Campinos hopes to covertly reduce the size of the workforce without having to announce layoffs, instead relying on people to leave (because their salary gets halved), their now-limited contract ending and so on. The net effect is the same.

What if this office wound up being just a big pile of stakeholders’ money (tied to toxic mortgages), lots of low-quality patents (of questionable validity), no high-quality staff, and a construction site?

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