11.05.18

Blockchain Hype Exploited by the EPO and by Patent Law Firms to Wrongly Assert Free/Libre Software Can Coexist With Software Patents

Posted in Deception, Europe, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 12:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Managing IP and ‘Software IP’ (IAM) among other think tanks of patent trolls and litigators continue to advance a toxic agenda while the EPO openly and endlessly promotes software patents under the guise of blockchain “innovation”

THE management of the USPTO has been receiving backlash recently. Blockchain, AI and other media buzz get used to grant software patents. A lot of people aren’t happy about it. Soon, to make matters potentially worse, IBM will take over Red Hat. IBM is a strong proponent of software patents.

Last week Red Hat’s McBride was quoted as saying: “we have been very single minded about patents – we don’t see any value in them other than the deterrent impact they have…”

But that does not deter patent trolls. In fact, it doesn’t really accomplish anything.

Will things improve/change for the better any time soon? That depends. In a sense, things improved a little when Microsoft left only its patent trolls to do the battles. Microsoft will not refrain from lobbying for software patents and it still pursues some of its own (there’s a new article right now about “virtual keyboard methods for Xbox and touch” — another patent from Microsoft).

The way we see it, there’s a battle between the litigation ‘industry’ (or ‘in-house’ legal teams at large corporations) and geeks who actually write code and make things. The former group is trying to justify its existence and for that there’s a constant need for litigation (like weapons makers rely on perpetual war/conflict).

“In-house counsel from confectionery, biopharmaceutical, telecommunications, technology, plastics and medical research companies explain how they’re measuring patent worth to find cost-saving wins,” this article from a site of the litigation ‘industry’ (Managing IP) wrote some days ago. Extortion “on a budget”? This is a truly sick ‘industry’ of litigation and threats and what “cost-saving wins” means is neither cost-saving nor a win.

“AMERICAS Thirteen practitioners from McKool Smith have established a litigation boutique called Reichman Jorgensen with offices in Silicon Valley, Atlanta and New York,” Managing IP wrote around the same time. These vultures and parasites call their extortion rackets “boutiques”; McKool Smith represents a lot of patent trolls.

It has meanwhile emerged that there’s another AIPLA echo chamber lobbying event. It calls for software patents because greedy lawyers want lots of frivolous lawsuits to profit from at geeks’ expense. Ellie Mertens (Managing IP) wrote:

The software patent eligibility situation in the US is “a really high fence” that requires some sparkle to pass while the European test is drier

The software patent eligibility situation in the US is “a really high fence,” said Sarah Knight of Talem IP in a panel at the AIPLA Annual Meeting last week, “when it should be just a threshold.”

Managing IP is on the same bandwagon; just look at who sponsors Managing IP. The same goes for IAM, which ran a pro-software patents event last week. In their own words: “First session of day at our #softwareIP event focusing on patentability of software globally with great panel comprising USPTO, Amadeus, Facebook, Alibaba, Lung Tin IP and Haseltine Lake [] Jean-Francois Cases of Amadeus – 10/15 years ago it was impossible to get a software patent granted in Japan, now it’s one of easiest jurisdictions. For us right now India is hardest place to get a software patent…”

More so than Europe.

The corrupt EPO has made software patents far too easy to get. Blockchain patents (software patents) are outside the scope of European patent law, but today’s EPO routinely ignores and violates the law anyway. Here is what the EPO wrote before the weekend: “#Blockchain technology is not without controversy. You can discuss patenting it with patent specialists and blockchain professionals at this #conference: http://bit.ly/EPOblockchain18 ”

The EPO is nowadays plagued with nepotism and rapidly-declining patent quality; its founding document (EPC), European authorities and the rule of law are routinely spat at. Even insiders notice. They write about it. They sign petitions.

Even outsides complain: “Dear @EPOorg – blockchains are not device, they’re not software. “𝘉𝘭𝘰𝘤𝘬𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘪𝘯” 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘧𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘳 𝘴𝘶𝘣𝘴𝘦𝘵 (merkle trees) 𝘰𝘧 𝒑𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒉! There’s no software involved, it doesn’t require computers. Pen & paper works too…”

Yes, blockchains aren’t exactly new; few people understand the underlying concepts and the EPO exploits that. Here again the EPO is promoting software patents ever so shamelessly. That’s just merkle trees: “What are the main challenges in patenting #blockchain & its applications? Experts will discuss that and their solutions at this event we’re co-hosting with @GoI_MeitY: http://bit.ly/indoeur pic.twitter.com/hZjqGCr4Sn”

The mentions of blockchains are endless at the EPO. Here again the EPO does it: “Are you involved in #patents and #blockchain developments? Then this is the event to attend!”

The management of the EPO does not understand blockchains (the people at the top are not scientists and they were selected for nepotism); it got a lot worse under António Campinos, who is merely a quieter version of Battistelli.

IAM wrote: “Amadeus’s Cases – in Europe our experience is that once an examiner has made up their mind on an application it’s very hard to change it…”

Examiners at the EPO simply lack the time to properly assess applications. We know it because they say so, usually anonymously.

Notice what the EPO wrote some days ago: “Elke von Brevern, PCT Expert at the EPO, and Richard Garvey, Key Account Manager at the EPO, will tell you how you yourself can make the PCT system more efficient. Join them in Washington…”

And Houston, Texas. Yes, also in Texas, where many law firms work with patent trolls. Notice what the EPO has turned into and who it’s attempting to appeal to. Where next? Dallas? This latest roundup from “Dallas Invents” contains a lot of software patents (also creepy ones like “Apparatus and method for deploying an implantable device within the body”).

Today’s EPO is very much on board with patent trolls’ agenda and IAM’s too. Citing Alibaba’s Roger Shang, IAM wrote about software patents again; “we don’t see a contradiction between open source and patents,” Shang is quoted as saying. That’s a lie.

Alibaba was also mentioned a few days ago in relation to patents on blockchains, not in China (where software patents are permitted) but in the US. “Alibaba Files Patent For Blockchain System,” says the headline. So these ridiculous software patents from China have spread to the West with Campinos and Iancu eager to allow software patents. From the article: “Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a blockchain based system that allows a third party administrator to intervene in a smart contract in case of illegal activities. The USPTO published the patent application on October. 4, 2018.”

Alibaba Group is a big “client” to the USPTO, so we won’t be surprised to see such patent applications accepted. Doubling down on the lie above, days ago we saw a new article titled “10 Things to Know About The Intersection of Blockchain Technology, Open Source Software, and Patents”. Complete nonsense right from the get-go or the headline, courtesy of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. Blockchain patents are fake patents that would be rejected by courts and these patents are clearly not compatible with the distribution model of Free/Open Source software. The article says: “This set of issues is important now because blockchain technology is on the verge of mainstream commercialization and much of it relies on open source software. As with any technology where there is rapid innovation, the number of patents being filed and obtained is increasing. The interplay between patents and open source is often confused. The recent changes to the scope of patentable subject matter under U. S. patent laws have created uncertainty over what is patentable. This is particularly true with respect to blockchain-based inventions and how innovations in this space are disrupting business processes.”

This is misleading because those things (what they call “blockchain-based inventions”) have always been around to some degree. Terminology may have changed, but like “cloud” there’s a hype explosion and it’s mostly associated with a word, not substance. These patent law firms are trying to destroy software development and they’re misleading people by saying software patents are OK if you say “blockchain”. Mind this days-old spammy press release, published under the headline “Can You Patent the Blockchain if it is Open Source?”

The actual text starts under “Why Businesses using Blockchain Technology are Filing for patents and Other Useful Info about Software Patents” (after that they merely promote their services). We’re assuming that they hope people may search the Web, perhaps searching for “Blockchain” and “Open Source”, then give them a call.

Here’s another new one: “10 Lessons On Blockchain And Open-Source Licenses”

So says Law 360‘s James Gatto and the patent ‘industry’ when they try to impose software patents on Free/Open source developers, mainly by using hype waves. “On their own,” Gatto says, “blockchain technology, open-source software and patents each present legal issues that are often complex and frequently misunderstood. When combined, the complexity and misunderstandings of these three topics are…”

The only real connection between these three is that a lot of code associated with blockchains is Free/libre software and companies try to take control by claiming monopolies on the algorithms — something which they should not do.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Moving to Phones Won't Liberate Users

    A so-called 'phone' (or 'smart' phone) with Linux under the bonnet isn't freedom; it's a branding war being won, but principles are being abandoned



  2. Links 29/10/2020: LibreOffice 7.0.3, Linux 5.9.2, NVIDIA 455.38 Linux Driver

    Links for the day



  3. Links 29/10/2020: Istio 1.6.13, Krita 4.4.1 and PyPI Key-Signing Ceremony

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 28, 2020



  5. Links 28/10/2020: Linux Dropping WiMAX Support, Istio 1.7.4, Ubuntu is “Hirsute Hippo”

    Links for the day



  6. Linux Foundation (Men for Monopolies) Once Again Hijacking Women's (and Minorities') Voices for Public Relations

    Diversity and tolerance are absolutely essential, but those who preach or lecture us about it most loudly (their financial means or privilege enable media reach) set a bad example and are mostly opportunistic hypocrites who perpetuate the status quo



  7. In a State of Flux Due to Maintenance and Improvements

    For the first time since summer of 2019 we're investing time and effort improving the site in a number of ways



  8. Links 28/10/2020: Torvalds on Succession, PyTorch 1.7.0

    Links for the day



  9. [Meme] Stealing the Competition

    After the fall (and fail) of CodePlex Microsoft decided to grab the Linux Foundation and most Git-based projects (through GitHub) — a strategy even Microsoft can learn to love



  10. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 27, 2020



  11. Links 28/10/2020: FreeBSD 12.2, NixOS 20.09 and WordPress 5.6 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  12. Taking Our Efforts to the Next Level in an Increasingly Proprietary and Hostile Web

    Web users are being repressed by mechanisms of mass manipulation, control and restrictions; the Web may not be going away any time soon, but architectural and topological issues need to be overcome (the sooner, the better)



  13. Read Techrights Without a Web Browser

    Any text editor can now be used to read Techrights, owing to a daily bulletin we've set up and will maintain every day



  14. [Meme] Torvalds Assimilated

    People belatedly realise that Microsoft’s plan for Git (and for Linux) isn't for the betterment of those projects but for Microsoft monopoly



  15. Links 27/10/2020: FuguIta 6.8, Fedora 33, Red Hat Satellite 6.8, KDE Plasma 5.20.2 and GStreamer 1.18.1

    Links for the day



  16. Site Changes Ahead of Anniversary

    We’re making some changes to the presentation and function of the site — changes that will become more prominent over the coming days



  17. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, October 26, 2020



  18. Links 26/10/2020: rpminspect 1.2, Open Source Hardware Certification and LibreOffice Conference

    Links for the day



  19. Links 26/10/2020: Debian "Bullseye" Artwork, Fwupd 1.5 Released

    Links for the day



  20. [Meme] Satya Na-DL

    Microsoft has shown its real priorities (just before the weekend when many people might not notice)



  21. Jonathan Wiltshire and Debian, Falsified Harassment Claims, Tiger Computing and GCHQ

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  22. Links 26/10/2020: Linux 5.10 RC1 and Loongsoon Laptops

    Links for the day



  23. The Downfall of Free Software Leaders (and Their Projects or Missions)

    "Cancel George Orwell, and happy hacking."



  24. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 25, 2020



  25. Links 25/10/2020: Kodi 18.9, ScummVM Android Love, Cutelyst 2.13

    Links for the day



  26. [Meme] Captain Zemlin and Neil McGovern's Ugly Legacy in GNOME (His Predecessors Work for Microsoft Directly Now)

    The Linux Foundation is already ‘sold’ and Microsoft Tim‘s interview with Neil McGovern, published a few days ago, was rather revealing (comments on the article/interview were also harsh)



  27. How Microsoft is Still Worse Than Google

    "I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage."



  28. 'President Bill Gates' Wants to Punish Not Only Google After Using “Extensions” to the Web to Reinforce Microsoft's Monopoly (Antitrust Violations Are a Microsoft Thing)

    In gross distortion of facts and of history and in a rather incredible fashion (very shameless and insulting) the corporate media tries to paint Bill Gates as an antitrust hero that will save the world from monopolies



  29. Donald Trump Helped Bill Gates Increase His Wealth by More Than 50%, Especially During the Pandemic

    Contrary to ridiculous narratives disseminated by nutty accounts all around the Web, Gates and Trump are no foes but 'partners in crime'



  30. Our 14th Birthday is Coming

    We're turning 14 shortly and we need ideas from readers (things that can be done to mark the event and celebrate 'on-line')


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts