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11.11.18

Automation of Searches Will Not Solve the Legitimacy Problem Caused by Patents Lust

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 6:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Michael Frakes and Melissa Wasserman Complain About Low Patent Quality While Watchtroll Lobbies to Lower It Further

Trump and Iancu

Summary: The false belief that better searches and so-called ‘AI’ can miraculously assess patents will simply drive/motivate bad decisions and already steers bad management towards patent maximalism (presumption of examination/validation where none actually exists)

THE emergence of SCOTUS‘s decision on Alice and today’s 35 U.S.C. § 101 was quite revolutionary. We have no issue with USPTO-granted patents on physical things (an example from several hours ago can be seen here) but on algorithms — something which the European Patent Office (EPO) too has been guilty of lately.

“Examiners need to better understand and respect patent scope, irrespective of what was done in the past (prior art).”Recently there were those who framed prior art [1, 2] — not patent scope — as a core issue. Not even Watchtroll was happy about it (labeling it “An Overstated Solution to Patent Examination”). Examiners need to better understand and respect patent scope, irrespective of what was done in the past (prior art). Compare this to prior Watchtroll rants/coverage about prior art (like this from 2 days earlier).

We don’t mean to say that prior art never matters; alluding to this failing company (GoPro), for instance, Patently-O recently highlighted this case where prior art eliminated wrongly- and already-granted US patents, thanks to PTAB’s availability/existence. To quote:

On appeal, the Federal Circuit disagreed with the PTAB’s conclusions — holding that the Board too narrowly “focused on only one of several factors that are relevant to determining public accessibility in the context of materials distributed at conferences or meetings. . . . [O]ur case law directs us to also consider the nature of the conference or meeting; whether there are restrictions on public disclosure of the information; expectations of confidentiality; and expectations of sharing the information.”

After reviewing the matter Federal Circuit rejected the PTAB analysis and found that the catalog’s use at the show counted as prior art.

“My win in the GoPro v. Contour IP case is the subject of Dennis Crouch’s Patently-O post,” Professor Lemley wrote in Twitter (about the above). It is worth noting that Watchtroll is proudly promoting Iancu’s war on PTAB. Like Battistelli, Iancu hopes that the patent legitimacy problem will go away by marginalising the auditor.

“Search has always involved a degree of so-called ‘AI’ without it being exploited as a buzzword; this is becoming ridiculous.”Speaking of prior art, there’s no way to automate search for it as well as assessment. Domain experts are needed, hence the role of examiners. Days ago we saw the report “North Side company secures $250K to help develop AI-powered patent search tool”; They said “AI”, so someone gave them money for something that would work poorly (if at all). IPPro Patents coverage of Dennemeyer buying Octimine also used the term “AI” in the headline. Search has always involved a degree of so-called ‘AI’ without it being exploited as a buzzword; this is becoming ridiculous. To quote:

The Dennemeyer Group has acquired patent search service provider Octimine Technologies, a start-up based in Munich, Germany.

Octimine, which was founded in 2015 founded by former LMU Munich and Max Planck Institute scientists Michael Natterer, Matthias Pötzl and Dietmar Harhoff, provides patent-searching and analysis tools utilising artificial intelligence (AI).

Judging by the everyday nonsense we see as early as this morning, there’s “AI” nonsense everywhere. The latest fashion/trend? Marketing? António Campinos uses it all the time to promote software patents in Europe.

The Federal Circuit and PTAB Are Not Slowing Down; Patent Maximalists Claim It’s ‘Harassment’ to Question a Patent’s Validity

Posted in Courtroom, Law, Patents at 5:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The duo that strikes out a lot of questionable patents is still besieged or at least berated by the litigation ‘industry’

Watchtroll

Summary: There’s no sign of stopping when it comes to harassment of judges and courts; those who make a living from patent threats and litigation do anything conceivable to stop the ‘bloodbath’ of US patents which were never supposed to have been granted in the first place

AS we noted in the previous post, there’s a coordinated effort to squash reviews of patents wrongly granted by the USPTO. Battistelli did something similar at the European Patent Office (EPO) when he relentlessly attacked judges and their collective independence.

The USPTO, unlike the EPO, cannot quite influence the courts (it’s definitely trying to, as we warned earlier this month), so if patents are granted in error they will be invalidated/rejected by the courts; Iancu and his new sidekick (patent trolls' apologists) can just stare and glare. They can’t quite touch the judges. They make a bit of a turmoil at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) though, mirroring Battistelli’s assault on the appeal boards.

Recent Law360 coverage spoke about fake patents (that are, as usual, software patents) being thrown out by the excellent Federal Circuit, which has changed a lot under its current chief judge. There is virtually nothing Iancu can do to the Federal Circuit and ignoring its outcomes/caselaw he can only ever do at his own peril. Suzanne Monyak’s report says that “[t]he Federal Circuit on Wednesday refused to revive technology company PurePredictive Inc.’s claims that an open-source software company ripped off its predictive analytics patent, leaving in place a lower court’s ruling…”

Notice how they attempted to use patents against Free/Open Source software.

Having failed to slow down the Federal Circuit and PTAB, Dennis Crouch changes strategies again (published on 29/10/18, based on someone else’s publication); these patent maximalists are looking/assessing a basis for rejecting/suppressing IPRs. Authored by Dennis Crouch last month: “The article provides its expectation that the PTO will likely become even more aggressive at limiting this approach of repeat filings. “Therefore it may be prudent to concentrate the best arguments into a single petition, that is, to only count on a single bite at the apple.””

The use of the apple parable is interesting because Apple, the company, is relevant to this.

They just to to make patents above challenge and pass the burden of proof to others. Watchtroll soon joined Crouch, as usual (the sites are connected in some ways and occasionally flatter one another). To quote: “Recently another Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed with the United States Supreme Court asking the Court to do something about the problem of multiple post issuance challenges against the same patent – even the same patent claims. If the Court takes the case it will clarify the proper role of AIA proceedings within the wider scheme of the patent system and determine whether title to a patent ever quiets, or whether it can be endlessly challenged in a never-ending series of duplicative challenges until the patent owner finally loses all rights. See Supreme Court asked to apply Multiple Proceedings rule to end harassing validity challenges.”

Really? They use the word harassing? As if questioning patent bullies is “harassment”? Who does the harassing here? And here goes Watchtroll again: “The USIJ report states that a basic premise behind Congressional enactment of the PTAB through passage of the AIA was to give those parties being sued or threatened with a suit for patent infringement “one bite at the apple” to challenge patents through inter partes review (IPR) or other AIA trial proceedings.”

It doesn’t matter if we like Apple or not (we don’t), the underlying principles of law are important; sites like Watchtroll prefer to pretend that they do their lobbying for ‘altruistic’ reasons like squashing “Big Tech”. All they want is more litigation, even at innovation’s expense.

Apple, we might add, has just been bitten again by fake patents that are obviously software patents. From last week’s blog post/article:

Apple has been hit by a new patent lawsuit from Dynamic Data Technologies, with the suit alleging Apple’s products and services have infringed on 11 patents relating to video streaming, processing and optimization.

These can only be software patents, at least in part.

We could go on and on giving examples of these attempts to deplete/eliminate patent challenges. Last week Watchtroll was bashing courts again, implying that courts or judges don’t do their work properly. And this is the person Trump's pick (Iancu) associates with? The President who attacks judges and puts rightwing activists in SCOTUS?

Going back to Crouch, on IPRs he noted a “consolidated appeal [which] involves 12 different inter partes review proceedings collectively challenging three Acceleration Bay patents.”

The more IPRs, the merrier. Crouch hardly makes it a secret that he dislikes PTAB and recent articles of his [1, 2, 3] deal with claim interpretation and a situation wherein SCOTUS is asked to look at patent aspects associated with outsourcing/production abroad. Taking note of an AIA gap in legislation/law, there’s also this:

In Alexander Milburn Co. v. Davis-Bournonville Co., 270 U.S. 390 (1926), the U.S. Supreme Court provided a portion of the answer — holding that an unclaimed invention found in a later issued patent is “made public property” as of its filing date. That statement though came as an interpretation of no-longer-active provision that the patentee must be “the original and first inventor.” Rev. Sts. § 4920. In addition to interpreting a different statute, the court in Milburn also did not consider the priority question.

The relevant statute for this case is pre-AIA 102(e) — which also does not spell out what should happen in this situation — but nothing in the statute suggests to me that we should limit the prior art impact of priority filings to disclosures that are claimed in later patents or patent applications. However, the Federal Circuit ruled in this case that that a published application can count as prior art as of its provisional filing date — but only as to features actually claimed in the application. According to the court, features disclosed in the provisional but not claimed in the published application will only be prior art as of their date of public disclosure.

Waste of courts’ time and human productivity? Here’s another take on the case (same as above):

The Supreme Court’s request for views from the Solicitor General in Ariosa Diagnostics v. Illumina has renewed interest in this nerdy issue of patent prior art. I appear to be in a very small minority that believes that Federal Circuit’s rule on this may be right (or at least is not obviously wrong), so I thought I would discuss the issue.

[...]

Then why do I say this is an uneasy case? Well, did I mention that I like Alexander Milburn? The policy it states, that delay in the patent office shouldn’t affect prior art can easily be applied here. So long as the description is in the provisional patent, and so long as that provisional patent is eventually publicly accessible, then the goal, even if not the strict language, of the statute is met.

Also, my reading leads to a potentially unhappy result. A party could file a provisional that supports invention A, and then a year later file a patent that claims invention A but describes invention B. The patent could then be asserted against B while relying on the earlier filing date of A, even though B was never described in the provisional as of the earlier date. Similarly, a provisional patent could describe B, and B could then be removed from the final patent application, and the patent would not be prior art because B was not described in the patent, even though B had been described in the earlier, now publicly accessible provisional application.

I don’t know where I land on this – as readers of this blog know, I tend to be a textualist. Sometimes the Court has agreed with that, but sometimes (see patentable subject matter and patent venue) it does not.

The author, Michael Risch, says he feels “in a very small minority,” but who did he ask? Lawyers? In the world of technology there’s overwhelming support for PTAB and CAFC’s affirmation of PTAB’s decisions (not quite the same as above). Either way, as always, one can be sure and abundantly certain that patent maximalists will attempt to exploit SCOTUS to swing the patent system in favour of litigation, not innovation. This needs to be talked about openly as it makes them shy away.

Patent Maximalists Will Latch Onto Return Mail v US Postal Service in an Effort to Weaken or Limit Post-Grant Reviews of US Patents

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 4:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An upcoming case, dealing with what governments can and cannot do with/to patents (specifically the US government and US patents), interests the litigation ‘industry’ because it loathes reviews of low-quality and/or controversial patents (these reviews discourage litigation or stop lawsuits early on in the cycle)

THE DEPARTURE of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from science and technology was noted here earlier today; it not only abandons actual innovation but also justice itself. It’s rather troubling. It all happened quite fast under Donald Trump and corrupt Wilbur Ross (new Director and deputy appointed); at the same time two right-wing ‘activists’ were also appointed as Justices.

Looking back at the past fortnight’s news we take note of Watchtroll’s article from two weeks ago about Bayh-Dole, wherein Joseph Allen defends public work (government/universities) being handed over for trolls to attack the public with. Remember that USPTO chiefs are rather sympathetic towards trolls. This cannot be ignored.

One other topic covered here two weekends ago was that chasm separating individuals and non-human entities, i.e. “person” versus “government”/”corporation” (similar to “corporations” as “people” or corporate bribery as “free speech”). Watchtroll explained it as follows on the last day of last month: “Return Mail also cites to the Supreme Court’s 1991 decision in International Primate Protection League v. Administrators, Tulane Educational Fund to note that the Court has previously said that courts should be reluctant to read “person” as meaning the sovereign where such a reading is “decidedly awkward.””

IPPro Patents’ coverage said this:

The US Supreme Court has granted Return Mail v US Postal Service and will consider whether the government is a “person” who may petition to institute review proceedings under the America Invents Act (AIA).

Return Mail had petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari following a US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision last year.

Return Mail had originally tried to licence its patent for the processing of mails items that are undeliverable to the US Postal Service but was unsuccessful.

Return Mail then filed a lawsuit in the US Claims Court, alleging patent infringement.

The US Postal Service countered this by filing a petition with the USPTO for a covered business method review.

Dissatisfied with the Federal Circuit‘s decision and what it means for Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) petitions, namely inter partes reviews (IPRs) — filed by or against the government — they take it up to SCOTUS. As Patent Docs explained:

On Friday, October 26, 2018, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Return Mail, Inc. v. U.S. Postal Service, in order to answer the question whether the government can bring post-grant review proceedings under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, or AIA. Specifically, the Supreme Court agreed to review whether the government is a “person” under the AIA, as is required to file a petition seeking the institution of AIA review proceedings.

The case began with Return Mail seeking to license its patent to the Postal Service as early as 2006. Return Mail is the assignee of U.S. Patent No. 6,826,548, which claims methods, computer programs, and systems for processing undeliverable or returned mail. Claim 1 covers using encoded data (essentially, a bar code) that is added to the item before mailing to identify the intended recipient and notify the sender with new recipient information to allow the sender to update its records. Instead of licensing the ’548 patent, the Postal Service filed a petition for ex parte reexamination with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO instituted the reexamination proceeding, but eventually confirmed the validity of the patent. Return Mail then filed a complaint against the Postal Service in the Court of Federal Claims.

SCOTUS has generally declined to revisit patent scope case (those that truly matter to us) and repeatedly defended PTAB IPRs. The above case, to us at least, does not matter all that much, but surely it will be looked at quite closely for months to come. Patent maximalists hope to exploit it to limit AIA review proceedings.

Guest Post: EPO Spins Censorship of Staff Representation

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another concrete example of Campinos’ cynical story-telling

THE FOLLOWING is composed/presented as two parts. The first is a reader’s response to the second, which is spin from António Campinos, published after censoring SUEPO's E-mails.


The situation prior to Battistelli

Under all EPO presidents, CSC/LSC as well as SUEPO could send the messages they wanted with no limitation (obviously they never spammed EPO staff with silly contents, much less aggressive messages since it is not EPO’s culture and it would have fired back).

There was no problem.

The situation under Battistelli

Battistelli rapidly feared that staff reps/SUEPO could issue to staff reasoned and substantiated critiques exposing his wrongdoing. He then decided to ban mass emails of both CSC/LSC and SUEPO, based on fake motives: Elodie Bergot (HR) falsely accused staff reps/SUEPO of sending defamatory contents or aggressive emails, but surprisingly no one was ever disciplined for an aggressive/defamatory message sent to staff via mass emails (and you best believe that if staff reps/SUEPO officials had sent something truly defamatory or insulting, Bergot would have disciplined them ASAP as sanctioning staff is her hobby).

The situation under Campinos

Campinos now wants EPO staff and the public to believe he re-establishes communication channels only without doing it.

Interesting aspects of his communiqué:

1 – it is limited to CSC/LSC = it thus excludes SUEPO (the union representing half of EPO staff) which emails remains banned within the EPO.

2 – it is limited to TWO (2) messages/year (don’t laugh) and only to call for general assemblies (something which occurs about twice a year).

The communication ban remains intact and impedes not only the communication but de facto the daily work of staff reps/SUEPO as they cannot properly inform staff on the very issues which concern them e.g. top managerial decisions, planned reforms etc.

3 – this “change” is on trial for one year (again don’t laugh). So the ban is not only not lifted but the tiny “improvement” can even be reversed.

4 – Campinos suggests that receiving mass email from CSC/LSC (who are elected by staff) would be an intrusion amounting to spam: how nice of him!

Conclusion

Nothing has changed at EPO so far. Actually it is quite pathetic to see Campinos being manipulated by Elodie Bergot (HR) and her husband Gilles Requena, head of Campinos’ presidential cabinet. They are hijacking the EPO. Campinos wants staff to believe he is the boss, but everyone starts to understand that he is only a puppet at the hands of the infernal duo.


Communication means for Staff Representation

05.11.2018

Certain mass emails permitted

Dear Colleagues,

Today I want to inform you that we will be allowing Staff Representatives to send mass emails for certain purposes.

In the scope of our regular discussions, staff representatives have requested authorisation to send mass emails to all staff. Currently, they have a wide range of methods to communicate, such as dedicated intranet pages, RSS feeds and notice boards, among others. However, the ability to send mass emails is not one of them, as a result of our IT policy.

One of my strategic priorities is to enhance dialogue across the Office. If we are truly going to do that, we have to recognise that emails in certain situations are necessary, especially if we want to support Staff Representatives in reaching out to staff so they can represent them effectively. Allowing this possibility would also respect freedom of speech and freedom of association and “contribute to the smooth running of the service by providing a channel for the expression of opinion by the staff”, as cited in our Service Regulations.

As a result, the CSC and each Local Staff Committee will be permitted to send invitations to their assemblies by mass email.

I should underline that this is not an entirely new measure. Some of my predecessors had authorised staff representatives to send mass emails. However, this was withdrawn in view of what was then deemed to be inappropriate use, in terms of volume and offensive content. We have to recognise that while Representatives enjoy a large freedom of expression and criticism, communications have to respect fundamental principles, such as respect of personal data, rights and privacy of individuals, and abstain from using language that could be seen as insulting, offensive or humiliating towards any third party.

The measure will therefore be implemented as a pilot for one year, which we hope will prove to be successful and constructive. Specifically, invitations can be sent for two of their respective assemblies to all staff at the workplace where assemblies are due to take place.

For some of you, like me, receiving mass emails may be seen as intrusive and perhaps not the most appropriate medium to communicate internally with our colleagues. However, at this stage, the possibility to send invitations by email is seen as an effective way in which Staff representatives can invite you to learn more about their activities and follow their progress in social dialogue – goals I support entirely.

António Campinos
President

Andrei Iancu and Laura Peter Are Two Proponents of Patent Trolls at the Top of the USPTO

Posted in America, Patents at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And the EPO isn’t much better at the top (banker as President)

IP Watch and António Campinos

Summary: Patent offices do not seem to care about the law, about the courts, about judges and so on; all they care about is money (and litigation costs) and that’s a very major problem

THE previous post noted that patent lawsuits had significantly decreased in number because the confidence associated with USPTO-granted patents (certainty of validity) just isn’t there anymore. Many lawsuits go astray.

The litigation ‘industry’ fights back with misinformation and ‘moles’ (entryism). Sure it can’t change the courts/judges, but it certainly can lie to the public and to firms, encouraging them to file more patent lawsuits (even frivolous ones are profitable to lawyers). The other day we saw the headline “Experts Assess Coming Changes In US Courts And Patentability” (it’s mostly behind a paywall) — a rather mystifying claim that appeared on Friday. “Experts” in this context means patent/litigation ‘industry’ insiders; they express what they want to happen, not what is actually happening. We’re very disappointed to see IP Watch going along with this although not so surprised anymore; they stopped covering European Patent Office (EPO) scandals and their chief takes selfies with António Campinos (see above), who persists with union-busting and software patents in Europe. Hours ago Michael Loney from Managing IP (patent maximalists) referred to aggressors, trolls and thugs as “patent monetisation market”, citing the notorious IP Dealmakers Forum, an event of predators and trolls (even led by them). This is what Loney wrote about the think tank that’s just next door to him:

The average price of a US patent is down 30% to $176,000 this year. The reason this may not be bad and what is driving “realistic optimism” among patent monetisers were some of the takeaways from the IP Dealmakers Forum

The mood among attendees and speakers at the IP Dealmakers Forum in New York on November 7 and 8 was a marked contrast to the downbeat tone in recent years.

Maybe they’ve noticed who’s being put in charge of the USPTO; but that doesn’t change what courts/judges are saying. For those who missed it, the USPTO has just chosen a Deputy Director who used to work for (arguably) a patent troll. As Benjamin Henrion put it: “USTPO is now filled with patent trolls in the top level position, Laura Peter, here an article from 2007 http://actonline.org/2007/02/22/immersion-corp-gives-small-biz-innovators-a-bad-name/ …”

He cites a Microsoft AstroTurfing group, which does not like this troll, having already (almost 12 years ago!) specifically named Laura Peter:

On February 20, the Wall Street Journal decided to publish an Op-Ed by the Patent Counsel for Immersion Corporation – a tech and patent shop which most famously owns the patent on the “force feedback” technology we all turn off on our gaming consoles. And while I am sure Ms. Peter and I would agree on the importance of IP, our mutual affection for patents, and the passion that only a good licensing deal can bring, she does an enormous disservice by equating patent trolls to technology creators. In a ham-handed attempt to attack the patent system reforms currently under consideration in Congress she suggests that “small business” will be harmed by the myriad of suggested reforms, and we should look more kindly upon the creatures dwelling under the bridge.

Laura Peter will of course be praised by the patent trolls’ lobby, which views her as a potential ally if not ‘mole’. Here we have Watchtroll reposting press releases from the USPTO again. This promotional piece makes it clear that corrupt Wilbur Ross is once again responsible for the pick:

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today announced the appointment of Laura Peter as deputy under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and deputy director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), effective November 13, 2018. Ms. Peter most recently held the position of deputy general counsel of A10 Networks in Silicon Valley and provided counsel on worldwide legal matters, including commercial transactions, intellectual property (IP), licenses, litigation, and regulatory compliance.

“Laura Peter brings a breadth of experience and a deep understanding of intellectual property issues to her new role as deputy director of the USPTO,” said Secretary Ross. “She will be an asset to our administration as we look to increase reliability and balance in the intellectual property system, as well as provide more predictability so that businesses can grow and invest with confidence.”

Ms. Peter has practiced IP law for over 20 years. Among other positions, she was previously vice president and general counsel of Immersion Corporation, where she led all aspects of the company’s legal issues, including its IP portfolio. She was also assistant general counsel and director of intellectual property at Foundry Networks, where she built their patent portfolio and led successful patent actions against large competitors. She began her career as a commercial and intellectual property litigator at Townsend, Townsend and Crew (now Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP).

“I am thrilled that Laura Peter will join the USPTO as deputy director,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu. “Her thoughtfulness, business sense, and keen understanding of the important role intellectual property plays in today’s economy will be extremely valuable to the USPTO and the IP community.”

“I am honored to be chosen as USPTO deputy director at a time when intellectual property matters are at the forefront of national and international affairs,” said Peter. “I look forward to working with Director Iancu and the nearly 13,000 employees of the USPTO to protect and improve our IP system, which is a crown jewel in the American economy.”

Ms. Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Cornell University and a master’s in public policy from the University of Chicago. She is a graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law and received a Master of Laws from King’s College London.

So there is now a Director and a deputy who are both proponents of patent trolls. Great.

Iancu denies that patent trolls exist or that they’re a problem.

“Sorry, Director Iancu,” says this new article from yesterday “trolls are real.” Iancu is being somewhat of a troll by belittling the problem of trolls. The following article was composed by “Kenneth R. Carter [who] is the general counsel to Bitmovin, Inc., a multimedia technology company that provides services that transcode digital video and audio to streaming formats using cloud computing and streaming media players.”

That’s software — a domain in which trolls prey on just about everyone, especially small companies that cannot afford a long legal battle (or are reluctant to contest the claims because settlement is cheaper).

To quote:

I live in an enchanted and magical land of rainbows and unicorns called “Silicon Valley.” In addition to unicorns, Silicon Valley is also inhabited by trolls, who emerge from under their bridges to threaten the denizens of the valley with lawsuits based on dubious patents.

I was shocked to read that Andrei Iancu, director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) gave a recent speech where he complained that people who call non-practicing entities (NPE) patent trolls are “storytellers” who are “scaring our inventors and our entrepreneurs …”. Given how far this is from reality, I could not imagine what kind of fantasyland Director Iancu lives in.

Patent trolls exist in Silicon Valley and are a very real threat to innovators. I should know. I have fought off two patent trolls, most recently this past summer as the general counsel of Bitmovin.

[...]

These three protections have helped companies like mine and Congress, and the USPTO shouldn’t allow them to be weakened. Sorry, Director Iancu, trolls are real. They don’t just exist in fairy tales, and the real ones are a threat to innovators. And that’s not crying “wolf.”

So, in summary, the litigation ‘industry’ may be happy that a couple of unqualified nobodies whose sole accomplishment is suing companies now run the Office. Courts and judges, however, equipped with 35 U.S.C. § 101 (or Alice/SCOTUS in case Iancu waters down § 101), will just further lower the certainty associated with US patents. We are pretty certain that the Federal Circuit will persist, even if Iancu keeps vandalising the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), e.g. by discouraging or pricing out of reach inter partes reviews (IPRs).

What we see in the US right now is a bunch of villainous lawyers, who used to work for Donald Trump, declaring a war on law, on justice, on courts and on judges. This won’t end well. There’s an “innovation wave” coming.

The Patent ‘Industry’ Wants Incitations and Feuds, Not Innovation and Collaboration

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 7:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent Lawyers' Tears

Summary: The litigation giants and their drones keep insisting that they’re interested in helping scientists; but sooner or later the real (productive) industry learns to kick them to the curb and work together instead of suing

THE US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has fallen prey or has been compromised at the hands of the litigation lobby. Patently-O has just promoted IPO indoctrination videos and Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) carries on with his patent propaganda (it’s pretty shallow and easy to debunk, albeit it’s time-consuming and brings attention to the original).

“If companies/people learn to get along with each other, these lawyers will become redundant and their occupation mothballed.”From what we can gather, litigation-wise the US changed for the better; the number of patent lawsuits fell sharply, OIN has just added another member to its non-aggression (no litigation) pact [1, 2, 3, 4], and this major case between Nokia and Blackberry came to an end without a clear winner. Only the lawyers won (money, legal bills) and the lawsuit basically got dropped (not even a settlement). As Bloomberg put it some days ago:

BlackBerry and Nokia agreed to end a patent-infringement lawsuit over royalties on Nokia’s mobile network products that use an industrywide technology standard, according to a court filing.

A federal judge in Wilmington, Delaware, Nov. 7 granted the companies’ request to dismiss the case, according to a filing on an electronic docket.

Crackberry, a pro-Blackberry site, seemed pleased with the outcome and said:

Back in February of last year, BlackBerry filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Nokia alleging Nokia’s networking gear, including its Flexi Multiradio base stations, radio network controllers, and Liquid Radio software infringed 11 patents. Now, the two have dropped the suit.

At the time the complaint was filed, BlackBerry noted that the company ‘was seeking to ‘obtain recompense for Nokia’s unauthorized use of BlackBerry’s patented technology’, and while they were not looking to block use, they wanted Nokia ‘to license them on fair and reasonable terms’ because according to BlackBerry ‘Nokia has persisted in encouraging the use’ without a license from BlackBerry.

Well, “dropped the suit” and settling isn’t the same thing (although no details are given). Either way, that can’t possibly be good news for lawyers. If companies/people learn to get along with each other, these lawyers will become redundant and their occupation mothballed.

EPO ‘Outsourcing’ Rumours

Posted in Europe, Patents, Rumour at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The EPO advertises jobs in Prague and Lisbon; this leads to speculations less than a year after António Campinos sent EU-IPO jobs to India (for cost reduction)

THE volume of patent news definitely seems to have decreased in recent months. We’re not sure why, we can only speculate and say that journalism in general is on the demise.

The European Patent Office (EPO) is nowadays playing if not paying the media for publicity stunts (not journalism). António Campinos, like his predecessor, comes up with more tricks for enabling software patents in Europe. We’re meanwhile trying to figure out what goes on recruitment-wise (HR is still led by Bergot).

“The EPO does not operate there, at least not yet, and back in the days people entertained the possibility of EPO expanding to Romania for ‘cost savings’.”One reader asked us: “Have you seen the job offers on LinkedIn?”

EPO job offers are in themselves news because there’s a hiring freeze in effect for years to come (waiting for examiners to leave or retire).

The reader asked: “Does the EPO have branches in Prague and Lisbon?”

If any EPO insiders/friends are aware of something, please do get in touch.

It was almost exactly one year ago that António Campinos was involved in an outsourcing scandal; he tried hard to suppress debate about it.

If anyone out there can send us information regarding Prague and Lisbon EPO jobs, we’ll be able to clarify. Nobody else is likely to cover it. The EPO does not operate there, at least not yet, and back in the days people entertained the possibility of EPO expanding to Romania for ‘cost savings’. Does Campinos have ‘plans’ he isn’t sincere about? There’s no disputing the fact that under Campinos the EPO is even less transparent than it was under Battistelli.

Links 11/11/2018: Bison 3.2.1 and FreeBSD 12.0 Beta 4

Posted in News Roundup at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Google May Bring GPU Acceleration Support For Linux Apps on Chromebooks In Early 2019

      First off, let’s put this one down as a bit of conjecture and a strong dose of logic. Google hasn’t officially announced a firm release date for GPU Acceleration for Linux apps on Chromebooks just yet, but we know they are already working on it.

    • How Microsoft Ignores Millions of Windows 10 Version 1809 Users

      Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) is without a doubt one of the buggiest releases in a long time, and the way Microsoft handles its very own blunder shows the company still has a lot to learn both from its rivals and from customers who have been sending their feedback for so long.

    • Paging Linux Users: What Made You Give Up on Windows? [Ed: Microsoft propagandist Bogdan Popa keeps spreading the "Microsoft Loves Linux" lie. That doesn't mean anything good. "Enemies closer" and all...]
    • Microsoft Acquires Obsidian & inXile Entertainment [Ed: The game studios always shut down after Microsoft buys them]

      As what could spell bad news for seeing native Linux game ports of future Pillars and Wasteland titles, among others, Microsoft announced they are acquiring Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment.

      Microsoft is acquiring Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment as part of their effort to deliver “a steady stream of new, exclusive games to our fans.” That exclusive reference doesn’t bode well if you were fans of inXile or Obsidian games on Linux.

    • Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment have officially joined Microsoft

      Some rather interesting news here, both Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment (source) have now officially joined Microsoft.

      Together, they’ve made some pretty interesting Linux games such as Pillars of Eternity, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, Tyranny, Wasteland 2, Torment: Tides of Numenera, The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep and more to come.

      [...]

      As long as both studios retain a certain amount of freedom, I think we should be okay for future titles. Microsoft loves Linux after all…right? [sarcasm]

      I have to be honest, I’m a little in shock myself at this news.

  • Server

    • Cloudy weather ahead for IBM and Red Hat?

      The world is buzzing about the software industry’s largest acquisition ever. This “game changing” IBM acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion eclipses Microsoft’s $26.2 billion of LinkedIn, which set the previous record. And it’s the third largest tech acquisition in history behind Dell buying EMC for $64 billion in 2015 and Avago’s buyout of Broadcom for $37 billion the same year.

      Wall Street certainly gets nervous when it sees these lofty price tags. IBM’s stock was down 4.2 percent following the announcement, and there are probably more concerns over a broader IBM selloff around how much IBM is paying for Red Hat.

      This sets the stage for massive expectations on IBM to leverage this asset as a critical turning point in its history. Given that IBM’s Watson AI poster child has failed to create sustainable growth, could this be their best opportunity to right the ship once and for all? Or is this mega merger a complicated clash of cultures and products that will make it hard to realize the full potential?

    • A Slow Motion Strategic Train Wreck With The Color Blue

      IBM’s high premium price for the Red Hat buyout places its stamp of approval on Linux cloud services while cheapening its own brand value.

    • VMware Buys Kubernetes-based Heptio to Boost Its Multi-Cloud Strategy
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.18.18
    • Linux 4.14.80
    • Linux 4.9.136
    • Linux 4.4.163
    • Linux 3.18.125
    • POWER On-Chip Controller Driver Coming For Linux 4.21

      The IBM POWER On-Chip Controller (OCC) driver is queued for inclusion in the next version of the Linux kernel. This on-chip controller driver collects sensor data from the system and processor, including temperature and power metrics, and exposes that to the user as well as handling thermal/power management tasks.

      The on-chip controller is embedded into POWER processors with P8/P9 processors. The newly-queued OCC driver exposes via sysfs temperatures, frequencies, power usage, power capacity/minimum/maximums, and other sensor data. The OCC driver documentation covers the information in more detail.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Open-Sources New I2C USB Type-C Turing GPU Driver In Linux 4.20

        The Linux 4.20 kernel has just received a new post-merge-window new driver: i2c-nvidia-gpu that is being contributed by the NVIDIA crew for their newest Turing graphics cards.

        While it’s great seeing NVIDIA contribute code for their latest generation graphics hardware to the mainline Linux kernel, i2c-nvidia-gpu comes down to just being a bus driver for the USB Type-C controller that is accessible over I2C. These newest NVIDIA graphics cards have a USB Type-C port for next-gen VR headsets using the VirtualLink standard. VirtualLink allows for four HBR3 DP lanes, USB 3.1 data, and up to 27 Watts of power over this slim cable — much better than the mess of cables currently needed for VR headsets.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • A Journey on Budgie Desktop #1: Top Panel

      I decided to make a series of review about Budgie Desktop, the original GUI from Solus OS, now featured on Ubuntu Budgie. Thanks to Ikey Doherty the father of both Budgie and Solus, we can enjoy such free desktop environment that is innovative and customizable. This first part article covers in brief the top panel, the adaptive-transparent one, and introducing its menu and tray, how they look with and without customization. Enjoy!

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.52.0

        KDE Frameworks are 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the Frameworks 5.0 release announcement.

        This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.52 Released With KWayland Virtual Desktop Protocol, Spins Down Drives

        KDE Frameworks 5.52 is now the latest monthly update to this collection of KDE add-on libraries complementing the functionality of Qt5.

      • Automatic C++ comparison operators

        C++ comparison operators are usually fairly straightforward to implement. Writing them by hand can however be quite error prone if there are many member variables to consider. Missing a single one of them will still compile and mostly work fine, apart from some hard to debug corner cases, such as misbehaving or crashing algorithms and containers, or data loss. Can we do better?

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Purism Fractal sponsorship

        I’m happy to announce that Purism agreed to sponsor my work on Fractal for the next couple of weeks. I will polish the room history and drastically improve the UX/UI around scrolling, loading messages etc. which will make Fractal feel much nicer. As part of this I will also clean up and refactor the current code. On my agenda is the following:

      • Developer Center Initiative – Meeting Summary 10th November 2018

        Thibault currently holds a branch for gnome-devel-docs. The branch contains the old GNOME Developer docs ported to markdown. To ensure that no duplicate work happens between gnome-devel-docs master and the branch, the next step is to announce to relevant mailing lists that further contribution to the developer docs should happen in the gnome-devel-docs branch. Even more ideal would be to have the branch pushed to master. The markdown port is not synchronized in any way with the mallard docs in master, so any changes to the mallard docs would require re-synchronization and that’s why currently editing ported markdown docs in the branch currently is a no-go for now.

        Pushing the branch does imply that we initially loose translations though and most changes made to gnome-devel-docs seem to be translations these days with a few exceptions (mostly grammar corrections). Thibault and Mathieu expressed interest in supporting translated docs in the future, but it is a substantial amount of work and low on the todo list.

        We agreed that I should try to get in touch by e-mail to the relevant mailing lists (including translations) and to individuals who contributed to gnome-devel-docs recently to hear their opinion before we proceed.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • CAINE 10.0 “Infinity” is out!

        CAINE represents fully the spirit of the Open Source philosophy, because the project is completely open, everyone could take on the legacy of the previous developer or project manager. The distro is open source, the Windows side is freeware and, the last but not least, the distro is installable, thus giving the opportunity to rebuild it in a new brand version, so giving a long life to this project ….

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Updated Debian 9: 9.6 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the sixth update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename stretch). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

        Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old stretch media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

        Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

        New installation images will be available soon at the regular locations.

      • Debian 9.6 Released With Many Security & Bug Fixes, Adds In Rust’s Cargo

        Debian 9.6 is out this weekend as the latest stable update to the Debian GNU/Linux “Stretch” series.

        Debian 9.6 ships with the latest stable updates and security fixes for this year-old stable operating system. Debian 10 “Buster” meanwhile is the next feature version of the Linux distribution that is under development for release around the middle of next year.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Samsung Announces Linux On DeX; Uses Ubuntu

            Developers who are always on the go – now there’s a new way for you to actually enjoy the full Linux experience on your Galaxy smartphone. Samsung has chosen the Ubuntu distribution, claiming that it’s the “favored Linux distribution amongst their audience.”

            Announced first at Samsung Developer Conference 2018, the new Linux on DeX (that’s what they’re calling it) will appear as a separate app in DeX mode. Upon launching that Linux on DeX app, the entire DeX experience becomes Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu Core and Kura: A framework for IoT gateways

            The Linux distribution model, whilst established and well understood for computing, has some limitations when it comes to IoT edge gateway devices. Due to often being located in remote or hard to access areas, there is a greater demand for a system that offers both high levels of robustness and security.
            With the IoT gateway market growing at a fast pace in recent years and continuing to grow even more rapidly – mostly due to increasing demand for big data collection and analytics, there is greater importance being placed upon finding solutions that are capable of offering this.

            Having a standard Linux distribution as the base is often not the optimal choice due to these systems often lacking a clear update story, creating security risks caused by an unmaintained system. Updates are often deferred because they are identified as risky operations, without a good recovery path. This makes such systems an unsuitable fit for unattended devices.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Ghostery – The eye of the tracker is upon you

      Here’s a mind-blowing but obvious realization: the Internet is one giant shopping litmus test lab, with billions of voluntary participants helping big corporations fine-tune their products and marketing strategies. This is done without the use of elaborate, interruptive questionnaires. All it takes is some Javascript running behind every visible Web page, and Bob’s your uncle.

      The most pervasive form of marketing is, you guessed right, online ads. Shown to you in all sorts of shapes and colors, they not only peddle wondrous solutions, they also directly and indirectly measure (i.e. track) the human response to the shown content, and this wealth of statistical data is used to make future products and future ads work even better for the selling party. On its own, this might not be bad, except people are greedy. What might have been just innocent marketing has become one giant data harvesting industry, going way beyond simple browsing habits. If you are not so keen on participating mind and soul, you are probably using an ad blocker tool of some sort. We talked about Noscript, we talked about UMatrix, we talked about Adblock Plus. Today, we will talk about Ghostery.

      [...]

      Ghostery is an interesting tool, with a pleasant interface, flexible and granular control of tracking elements, some odd quirks, and a questionable opt-in feature. It is indeed as I expected, a bridge between a plug-n-play ad blocker and a fully featured Javascript manager like Noscript. The good thing is, it works well in unison with either one of these, so you can mix. Shake ‘n’ bake. For example, intimidated by Noscript or UMatrix? You can use Adblock Plus plus [sic] Ghostery. The former for ads, the latter for extra trackers, no crippling of Javascript functionality. And then, the tool can block ads on its own, too.

      I believe Ghostery works best in the complementary mode. It is also best suited for less skilled users who seek more control than just ad blocking, and the cross-platform availability sure makes it appealing. The one thing that remains outstanding is the use of the opt-in policy. Not sure how that fits into the larger scheme of things. That said, I believe it’s worth testing and exploring. So far, I’m pleased with its mode of work, and the results from my escapade are promising. Now whether one should really care about these trackers and all that, well that’s a separate story. Or as they say, all your ad are belong to us.

    • Mozilla

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Landing New Custom Widgets Theme, Powered By Cairo

      In an interesting flurry of commits since yesterday, a new custom widgets theme is landing inside this open-source office suite.

      Tomaž Vajngerl and Ashod Nakashian of Collabora has been working on these custom widgets for LibreOffice. The custom widgets are being rendered via Cairo, as an alternative to utilizing the standard GTK or Qt widgets, etc. It appears at least for now much of this custom widget work is intended for use with LibreOffice in its headless mode. At this point the work still appears to be in the very early stages but we’ll see where it leads.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Bison 3.2.1 released [stable]

      We would have been happy not to have to announce the release of Bison 3.2.1,
      which fixes portability issues of Bison 3.2.
      Bison 3.2 brought massive improvements to the deterministic C++ skeleton,
      lalr1.cc. When variants are enabled and the compiler supports C++11 or
      better, move-only types can now be used for semantic values. C++98 support
      is not deprecated. Please see the NEWS below for more details.
      Many thanks to Frank Heckenbach for paving the way for this release with his
      implementation of a skeleton in C++17, and to Nelson H. F. Beebe for testing
      exhaustively portability issues.

    • GCC 9 Lands Initial Support For The OpenRISC Architecture

      It’s been a long journey for the OpenRISC CPU instruction set architecture not to be confused with RISC-V, but with the GCC 9.1 compiler release due out in early 2019 will finally be initial mainline support for this ISA.

      There had been GCC OpenRISC patches for a while, but the original developers were not okay with assigning their copyrights to the Free Software Foundation as is required to contribute to the GCC project (and most other FSF projects for that matter). Since earlier this year a clean-room rewrite of the GCC OpenRISC port has been taking place and the GCC steering committee approved of this CPU architecture seeing a port in GCC.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • FDA releases open source code, open source software gets emotional, and more news

      In this edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at two open source companies getting funding, the FDA open sources app code, Barcelona upping its open source investment, and more.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Arduino Gets a Command Line Interface

        When using an Arduino, at least once you’ve made it past blinking LEDs, you might start making use of the serial connection to send and receive information from the microcontroller. Communicating with the board while it’s interacting with its environment is a crucial way to get information in real-time. Usually, that’s as far as it goes, but [Pieter] wanted to take it a step farther than that with his command line interpreter (CLI) for the Arduino.

        The CLI allows the user to run Unix-like commands directly on the Arduino. This means control of GPIO and the rest of the features of the microcontroller via command line. The CLI communicates between the microcontroller and the ANSI/VT100 terminal emulator of your choosing on your computer, enabling a wealth of new methods of interacting with an Arduino.

  • Programming/Development

    • py3status v3.14

      I’m happy to announce this release as it contains some very interesting developments in the project.

    • Holger Levsen: 20181110-lts-201810

      Today while writing this I also noticed that https://lists.debian.org/debian-lts-announce/2018/10/threads.html currently misses DLAs 1532 until DLA 1541, which I have just reported to the #debian-lists IRC channel and as #913426. Update: as that bug was closed quickly, I guess instead we need to focus on #859123 and #859122, so that DLAs are accessable to everyone in future.

    • RcppArmadillo 0.9.200.4.0

      A new RcppArmadillo release, now at 0.9.200.4.0, based on the new Armadillo release 9.200.4 from earlier this week, is now on CRAN, and should get to Debian very soon.

      Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 532 (or 31 more since just the last release!) other packages on CRAN.

    • Just a techie? – Techies, Devs, Boffins and Geeks

      What’s the solution? We could start by giving up on the dream of developers all being equal in ability, who can then be traded as commodities. Developers have different strengths – some are fantastic systems thinkers, some are drawn towards architecture, and others possess a laser focus on delivery. Some are better at communicating, whilst some just want to think deeply about the problem and to ponder every edge case.

      If developers are recognised as individuals and emboldened with trust and freedom, then they will play to their strengths to give an overall multiplying effect. We can embrace individualism rather than chasing it away, by celebrating and raising up the role of the software developer.

      I want my boffins and techies to be seen as surgeons. They know what they’re doing and you’re in safe hands. We’ve got junior doctors in there also to learn, but the junior doesn’t become the senior overnight. When we’ve got top surgeons the results will speak for themselves, and the good news is that the top surgeons aren’t required in such large quantities. This can make everyone happy.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Samantha Zyontz on CRISPR Adoption

      In a subsequent paper with Neil Thompson, Who Tries (and Who Succeeds) in Staying at the Forefront of Science: Evidence from the DNA-Editing Technology, CRISPR (posted in 2017), Zyontz was able to match individual labs that requested CRISPR plasmids with their subsequent publications, allowing a more direct examination of which researchers succeeded in adopting the technology (what Thompson and Zyontz call “conversion”). Overall, they find that of the 164,993 US authors who publish in genetic engineering, 1.81% ordered CRISPR tools in 2012-14, with an average success rate (subsequent CRISPR publication) of 11.30%. Interestingly, once they control for researcher quality, there is no location effect on experimenting with CRISPR—researchers in Cambridge and Berkeley were not more likely than similar researchers in other locations to order CRISPR tools. But location had a large effect on successful conversion into a publication: researchers were more successful with mammalian CRISPR use if they were located in Cambridge (where CRISPR was first successful with mammalian cells).

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Zika Scare: a Political and Commercial Maneuver of the Chemical Poisons Industry

      Astonishing as these unverified news stories were, government agencies rushed to give them credence. I heard representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention repeating the questionable newspaper and TV stories about the Zika virus. In addition, CDC keeps saying that fighting Zika virus-carrying mosquitoes in Brazil and Florida with a neurotoxin named “naled” is harmless. After all, farmers and mosquito controllers have been spraying naled for more than fifty years in the United States.

      CDC said nothing about the deleterious effects of naled: that this chemical is an organophosphate compound linked to chemical warfare agents: targeting and harming the central nervous system and the brain of man and beast, of birds and insects and fish, of all wild animals.

  • Security

    • Bank of England stages day of war games to combat cyber-attacks [iophk: "neglects to implicate Windows as the key facilitator of attacks, both by making victims vulnerable and by providing a platform for attackers"]

      Up to 40 firms are taking part in the voluntary exercise, alongside the BoE, the Treasury, City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority and UK Finance, the industry trade body.

    • North Korean hackers filched tens of millions from cash machines in ATM heist

      Symantec reports that the scheme has been going on for some time, and while the 2018 attack targeted 23 countries in Africa and Asia, the US government reports a similar attack in 2017 which saw 30 nations’ ATMs breached simultaneously.

      The good news – well, goodish – is that all Trojan.Fastcash attacks seem to have hit servers running outdated software.

    • The US Military Just Publicly Dumped Russian Government Malware Online

      The malware itself does not appear to still be active. A spokesperson for Symantec told Motherboard in an email that the command and control servers—the computers that tell the malware what commands to run or store stolen data—are no longer operational. The spokesperson added that Symantec detected the sample when the company updated its detection tools a couple of months ago.

    • Supply-chain attack on cryptocurrency exchange gate.io

      On November 3, attackers successfully breached StatCounter, a leading web analytics platform. This service is used by many webmasters to gather statistics on their visitors – a service very similar to Google Analytics. To do so, webmasters usually add an external JavaScript tag incorporating a piece of code from StatCounter – www.statcounter[.]com/counter/counter.js – into each webpage. Thus, by compromising the StatCounter platform, attackers can inject JavaScript code in all websites that use StatCounter.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • China recruits ‘patriotic’ teens to work on autonomous weapons

      China has aspirations to become a world leader in AI and autonomous tools and has already been accused of using the technology in espionage. This week, the Xinhua state news agency unveiled AI news presenters at the World Internet Day conference – China’s answer to Davos.

    • China’s brightest children are being recruited to develop AI ‘killer bots’

      Each student will be mentored by two senior weapons scientists, one from an academic background and the other from the defence industry, according to the programme’s brochure.

      After completing a short programme of course work in the first semester, the students will be asked to choose a speciality field, such as mechanical engineering, electronics or overall weapon design. They will then be assigned to a relevant defence laboratory where they will be able to develop their skills through hands-on experience.

    • The Malevolent Hypocrisy of Selective Sanctions

      George W Bush used the phrase ‘Axis of Evil’ in his State of the Union address in January 2002, referring to North Korea, Iran and Iraq, accusing the last of having “plotted to develop anthrax and nerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade.” There were already comprehensive UN sanctions on Iraq, but as pointed out by Global Policy Forum, “The US and UK governments always made it clear that they would block any lifting or serious reforming of sanctions as long as Hussein remained in power. After more than twelve years of sanctions had passed, the US and the UK made war on Iraq again in March, 2003, sweeping away Hussein’s government.” And the rest is history.

      By 1996 “as many as 576,000” Iraqi children had died as a result of sanctions, and an independent analysis determined that there was “a strong association between economic sanctions and increase in child mortality and malnutrition rates.”

      On realizing this, it would be expected that the United States and its allies would cease employing economic sanctions as a weapon of coercion because it was definitively shown that the suffering caused to innocent children was catastrophic to the point of genocide.

    • Europe and Secondary Iran Sanctions: Where Do We Go Now?

      Any country can of course withdraw from the Paris Accord, the INF treaty, UNESCO, UNWRA, the community of nations that recognize that Jerusalem is in part an illegally occupied city, etc. But the U.S. withdrawal from the UNSC-approved JCPOA (or Iran Deal), followed by its imposition of secondary sanctions on countries that without specific U.S. approval trade with Iran is another matter. The U.S. is placing its law over international law. It is placing the judgment of Trump, Bolton and Pompeo over that of Putin, Xi, Merkel, Marcon, May, Mogherini, Obama, etc…. the pillars of the existing if crumbling world order.

      In that world, in order of GDP, Iran ranks around 25th, above Austria, Norway, UAE, Nigeria. With its vast natural resources and educated population, it has boundless development potential and is eager for foreign investment. It’s a country much of the world (China, Russia, India, Pakistan) engages with routinely, while much of the world engages it only to the extent the world’s policeman permits. (Italy and Greece have managed to maintain Iranian oil imports, having received permission from Washington to do so for an extra 180 days. They’re the only European, NATO-member countries exempted. Other countries granted “waivers” by the world cop are China, India, Iraq, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. )

      Europe once traded freely and profitably with Iran. For the U.S. to now say to Daimler-Mercedes and Peugeot, you can’t assemble cars in Iran, or Airbus you can’t supply passenger aircraft to Iran as you’d planned—because we insist that Iran stop supporting Hizbollah and withdraw its forces fighting ISIL in Iraq and Syria and open up its nuclear sites even more than it has so far—-is to say, follow us towards war. You’re our allies, for god’s sake. We pay for your security. Obey!

    • Here’s how many people have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11
    • The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed at least 500000 people, according to a new report that breaks down the toll
    • 500000 killed in US war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan
    • Here’s How Many People Have Died In The Wars In Afghanistan And Iraq
    • US ‘War on Terror’ Has Body Count of Half a Million, Claims Brown U. Report
    • US ‘war on terror’ claimed half a million lives in Afghanistan, Pakistan & Iraq – study
    • US war on terror has killed at least 65,000 people in Pakistan
    • US War On Terror Kills Nearly 147,000 In Afghanistan
    • These 8 iconic images tell the story of every US conflict from World War I to Afghanistan
    • Half Million Killed by America’s Global War on Terror ‘Just Scratches the Surface’ of Human Destruction

      The “direct deaths” accounted for in the estimate include U.S. military, contractors, and Defense Department employees; national military and police as well as other allied troops; opposition fighters; civilians; journalists; and aid workers. About half of those killed were civilians—between 244,000 and 266,000 across Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Up to 204,000 of them were Iraqis.

      While the U.S. government has repeatedly underestimated the costs of waging war, since the project launched in 2011, its team has aimed to provide a full account of the “human, economic, and political costs” of post-9/11 U.S. military action in the Middle East, “and to foster better informed public policies.”

      This latest report comes on the heels of the U.S. midterm elections in which Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Looking forward, Savell suggested that “House Democrats will try to advance a national security strategy emphasizing restraint and accountability for the costs of the War on Terror.”

    • Drone, terror attacks killed thousands since 2004

      A total of 2,714 people were killed and another 728 injured during 409 drone attacks conducted in Pakistan since January 2004, a local media outlet reported on Thursday.

      Most of the attacks occurred between 2008 and 2012 which claimed 2,282 lives and injured another 658.

      The year 2010 saw the highest number of drone strikes at 117.

      On the other hand, at least 19,17

    • 2,714 people killed in 409 US drone attacks in Pak since January 2004: Report

      The US has carried out a total of 409 drone attacks in Pakistan targeting suspected militants since January 2004, killing 2,714 people and injuring 728 others, a media report said on Friday.

      The attacks, carried out by the CIA-operated drones, over the years have targeted the areas of Bajaur, Bannu, Hangu, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, North Waziristan, Nushki, Orakzai, and South Waziristan, Dawn reported.

    • 2,714 people killed, 728 injured in 409 US drone attacks in Pakistan since January 2004; 289 attacks conducted in North Waziristan alone

      The US has carried out a total of 409 drone attacks in Pakistan targeting suspected militants since January 2004, killing 2,714 people and injuring 728 others, a media report said on Friday.

      The attacks, carried out by the CIA-operated drones, over the years have targeted the areas of Bajaur, Bannu, Hangu, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, North Waziristan, Nushki, Orakzai, and South Waziristan, Dawn reported. Majority of the drone strikes were carried out during the government of the Pakistan Peoples Party between 2008 and 2012.

    • US drone strikes in Pakistani ‘regrettable’, says army chief Raheel Sharif
    • Rising death rate prompts some in Congress to reassess “war on terror”

      The United States’ “war on terror” in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq has directly killed at least 480,000 people since 2001, according to a new report by the Costs of War Project at Brown University. This is an increase of 113,000 over the last count, issued just two years ago.

    • Turkey Says Recordings Of Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder Have Been Given To The US
    • CIA chief ‘seen all proof’ related to Khashoggi murder
    • Khashoggi killing: CIA Director has seen all evidence in relation to killing, says media report
    • Audio tape of Khashoggi killing has been given to US, Saudis, Europeans, Erdogan says
    • On A CIA Mission In Laos an Airman Held Off An Assault For Hours With Just A Radio And An M-16

      On March 11, 1968, on a remote mountaintop in Laos called Lima Site 85, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard Etchberger single-handedly repelled a North Vietnamese assault and ultimately gave his life to save his teammates.

      Etchberger was part of a secret CIA operation in Laos. Due to the mission’s secrecy, and its questionable legality, Etchberger’s own family knew little of the details of his death — only that he lived and died a hero. It wasn’t until 1998 that the details of the mission were finally declassified, and a reevaluation of the Air Force Cross he had originally been awarded was ordered.

    • Why Yemeni War Deaths are Five Times Higher Than You’ve Been Led to Believe

      In April, I made new estimates of the death toll in America’s post-2001 wars in a three-part Consortium News report. I estimated that these wars have now killed several million people. I explained that widely reported but much lower estimates of the numbers of combatants and civilians killed were likely to be only one fifth to one twentieth of the true numbers of people killed in U.S. war zones. Now one of the NGOs responsible for understating war deaths in Yemen has acknowledged that it was underestimating them by at least five to one, as I suggested in my report.

      One of the sources I examined for my report was a U.K.-based NGO named ACLED (Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project), which has compiled counts of war deaths in Libya, Somalia and Yemen. At that time, ACLED estimated that about 10,000 people had been killed in the war in Yemen, about the same number as the WHO (World Health Organization), whose surveys are regularly cited as estimates of war deaths in Yemen by UN agencies and the world’s media. Now ACLED estimates the true number of people killed in Yemen is probably between 70,000 and 80,000.

      ACLED’s estimates do not include the thousands of Yemenis who have died from the indirect causes of the war, such as starvation, malnutrition and preventable diseases like diphtheria and cholera. UNICEF reported in December 2016 that a child was dying every ten minutes in Yemen, and the humanitarian crisis has only worsened since then, so the total of all deaths caused directly and indirectly by the war must by now number in the hundreds of thousands.

    • Turkey Says Saudi Chemists Erased Evidence of Journalist’s Killing

      Turkey said agents sent to Istanbul by Saudi Arabia to help investigate Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance worked instead to remove murder evidence—a finding Ankara said reinforced their conclusion that top Saudi officials knew in advance of a plan to kill the journalist.

    • How Veterans Changed the Military and Rebuilt the Middle Class

      We thank labor unions for the eight-hour work day, pensions, the weekend, and many other employment benefits Americans enjoy. Organized workers staged direct actions — strikes, sit-ins, boycotts, etc. — forcing bosses to the bargaining table. It’s a history most of us learn in high school.

      More overlooked is the history of how the modern military was shaped by veteran-led direct actions.

      For one thing, our military is famously all-volunteer. Civilians no longer fear being drafted.

      To get those volunteers, recruiters and guidance counselors tout the free college education, sign-on bonuses, food and housing allowances, and VA benefits that come with military service. I was continually reminded of these things when I joined the Army in 2003.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Shark Attack: Fearing Monsters in the Whitsundays

      It begins with a gruesome account: a tourist, paddleboarding and swimming in an idyllic setting baked by sun – in this case, Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays, Queensland – attacked by a shark. He suffers a massive loss of blood; he goes into cardiac arrest. The accounts that follow are just as predictable as the consequences of the shark’s work: a hunt for the animal, a debate about how best to curb future attacks, and an attempt to minimise adverse publicity for the tourist industry.

      The death of medical researcher Daniel Christidis sent jitters through dive boat operators in the region. Local dive boat operator Tony Fontes remained philosophical. “People are willing to take the risk of swimming in waters that are potential risk of a jellyfish, using precautions like stinger suits, and I’m sure that tourists will do the same with sharks.”

      Marine biologists such as Blake Chapman have also made it into the news with cautionary notes, but there is a feeling that calm heads are about to be lost. “We really need to be smarter than what we have been and actually learn from these things as opposed to just going out and killing animals.” The increased number of attacks could, surmised Chapman, be the result of a range of factors: the movement of shark food sources in the area, increased rainfall or changes in water temperature. According to Inspector Steve O’Connell, the Whitsunday area was not famed for its vicious shark attacks, featuring the odd “minor” nip and bite without more.

    • The Colonial Logic of Geoengineering’s “Last Resort”

      The men and women who are trying to sell us the solution of sulfur injections tend to be strangely silent on the fact that these injections would “disrupt the Asian and African summer monsoons, reducing precipitation to the food supply for billions of people,” as Alan Robock and other scientists reported in a 2008 paper published the Journal of Geophysical Research (the authors of a more recent study published in Nature Geoscience indicate that while sulfur injections would likely cool the earth, they would also reduce global rainfall).[1]

      The effort to resolve our climate crisis in this manner is itself an extension of colonial logic. After all, as Heather Davis and Zoe Todd explain, “colonialism, especially settler colonialism – which in the Americas simultaneously employed the twinned processes of dispossession and chattel slavery – was always about changing the land, transforming the earth itself, including the creatures, the plants, the soil composition and the atmosphere. It was about moving and unearthing rocks and minerals. All of these acts were intimately tied to the project of erasure that is the imperative of settler colonialism.”If history is any indication, the last resort might very well be western civilization’s final act of colonial violence, exclusion and erasure – first, of the peoples and sentient beings it has always exploited and disregarded; then – and no doubt unintentionally – of western civilization itself.

  • Finance

    • China’s internet titan has had a bruising 2018

      It would be no surprise if Tencent were feeling touchy as it approaches its 20th anniversary on November 11th. Its shares, traded in Hong Kong since 2004, have fallen by 28% in 2018 (see chart). This time last year it was the first Asian company to be worth half-a-trillion dollars, hitting a record valuation in January of $573bn. It has since shed $218bn, roughly equivalent in value to losing Boeing or Intel. Other Chinese internet stocks have fared worse than Tencent, among them NetEase, a gaming rival, and JD.com, an e-commerce firm. But even so, the drop stands out.

      The company posted its first quarterly profit decline for nearly 13 years in the three-month period ending in June. [...]

    • Australians pay 34% more for Amazon Prime Video than US customers: report

      Australians and their Canadian counterparts are paying 34% more for using Amazon Prime Video than US users of the video streaming services which were launched worldwide by Amazon two years ago.

    • Forced Marriage Between Argentina and the IMF Turns into a Fiasco

      After the current Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau last year, Matteo Renzi in 2016, Ukrainian billionaire President Petro Poroshenko, or Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, it was the turn of Argentine President Mauricio Macri to receive the “Global Citizen Award”. A few months earlier, awarded by the same American think tank, The Atlantic Council, George W. Bush was honoured to receive the Distinguished International Leadership Awardalong with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

    • Manfred Weber is nominated to be European Commission president

      Missing one chance to renew the EU, Europe’s centre-right may have created another

    • The First Guaranteed Basic Income Program Designed for Single Black Moms

      Ebony, a single mother of three, works two jobs to make ends meet and takes in around $11,000 a year. In addition to a part-time job at a beauty supply chain, she works as a communication specialist at a Jackson, Mississippi, nonprofit, a temporary position that could end in December.

      She’s hoping her employers will keep her on, and she’s doing all she can to inspire them, including showing up for work an hour early.

      “I want to make a good impression,” she says about showing up to work early. “It would be great if [the employers] tell me, ‘You worked so hard, how about you go ahead and stay with us?’”

      Staying on could mean that Ebony’s annual income could double next year if she’s selected to participate in an upcoming guaranteed basic income pilot project for low-income single Black mothers in Jackson.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The fake video era of US politics has arrived on Twitter

      On Wednesday, CNN reporter Jim Acosta had a pointed exchange with the president over immigration during a press conference, resulting in the Trump administration banning him from the White House. During the exchange, a Trump aide attempted to wrestle his microphone away from him. Today, a partisan war broke out over what a video of that incident really showed — and in so doing, seemed to herald the arrival of an era in which manipulated videos further erode the boundaries between truth and fiction.

    • Donald Trump’s White House Using Fake Videos Is What Russia Does, Says Former Top CIA Operations Officer

      President Donald Trump’s White House employed tactics similar to Russian intelligence when it released a doctored video Wednesday to claim CNN’s Jim Acosta had “placed his hands” on a White House aide during a testy exchange with the president at a press conference, according to a former CIA chief of Russian operations.

      Steven Hall, who is now a national security analyst for CNN, said Thursday that the use of “fake videos” was an accusation historically used against Russia, not the “American White House.”

      “Fake videos are things we used to ascribe to Russia and other autocracies, not the American White House. Google the name Kyle Hatcher if you want to see how the pros (Russian FSB) do it,” Hall tweeted.

    • White House press secretary uses fake Infowars video to justify banning CNN reporter

      Looking back at the video, it does not in fact show Acosta “placing his hands” on the woman. But about 90 minutes after she posted her string of tweets, Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson tweeted out a video of the incident that was doctored to make it look like Acosta chopped the woman’s arm with his hand.

      Less than an hour later, Sanders tweeted out the doctored video, writing, “We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video.”

    • Revealed: How Arron Banks’s campaign ‘ambassador’ made his millions in Russia

      In early 1990s Russia, a lot of people died. Organised criminals and ex-Soviet officials fought vicious turf wars for control of industries and political power. And a man called Jim Mellon became fabulously wealthy.

      Two decades later, Mellon toured his friend Nigel Farage around a number of potential major political donors. In late summer 2014, he introduced the UKIP leader to the insurance salesman Arron Banks. Within a few weeks, Banks had pledged a million pounds to the anti-EU party and, the next year, Mellon donated a reported £100,000 to theKnow.eu, a forerunner to Banks and Farage’s Leave.EU campaign. Mellon was described as an “ambassador” for Leave.EU, and was scheduled to appear at Leave.EU’s launch.

    • At Long Last, Donald Trump Knows True Fear

      There is a soul-searing symmetry to the fact that the morning after yet another man with yet another gun slaughtered yet another crowd of people in yet another all-American massacre, a mother who lost her son to gun violence and made that loss her cause of action won her election to Congress.

      Six years ago, Jordan Davis was sitting in a car with friends at a Florida gas station when a man named Michael Dunn opened fire on them because he thought the music they were playing was too loud. Davis was killed in the hail of bullets. His mother, Lucy McBath, became a gun-violence activist and joined forces with the Parkland survivors after that nightmare unfolded.

      [...]

      Beto O’Rourke lost in heartbreaking fashion in Texas, as Andrew Gillum appeared to in Florida — although that may change. However, neither Scott Walker nor Kris Kobach will be governors come January. Voters in Oregon handily defeated an anti-choice ballot measure while voters in Alabama and West Virginia approved them. Ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid won in Idaho, Utah and Nebraska but lost in Montana. Nearly a million and a half people with felony convictions regained the right to vote in Florida, while four states passed “victims’ rights” measures that will exacerbate incarceration.

      [...]

      A White House aide attempted to take Acosta’s microphone away from him during the exchange, and Acosta discovered later in the day that his White House privileges had been summarily revoked. Adding insult to injury, the White House press office fobbed off a demonstrably doctored video claiming Acosta had been violent with the microphone-grabbing aide. The ruse was promptly exposed, and a variety of national press organizations are now raising every shade of Hell on Acosta’s behalf.

    • Millions in masked money funneled into 2018 elections

      The 2018 election cycle has attracted record spending by partially-disclosing groups that give the appearance of reporting at least some of their donors but, in reality, are little if any more transparent than other ‘dark money’ groups.

      Voters may not be left totally in the dark about these groups’ spending but, in many cases, the identities of funders behind the spending ultimately remain hidden. By deploying novel tactics to mask their financial activities, these groups have been able to keep donors secret while giving some illusion of more transparency.

      Partially-disclosing groups have already reported $405 million in 2018 election spending, according to federal election records analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.

      This is the third consecutive election cycle that the portion of outside spending made up by partially-disclosed groups has more than doubled. Making up more than 31 percent of all outside spending, spending by partially disclosing groups this election cycle is up from 12.5 percent in 2016 and 6.1 percent in 2014. The 2018 election cycle is even on track to amass around $100 million more in spending by partially disclosing groups than the previous record of $306.9 million in the 2012 election cycle.

    • How Labor Helped Bring Down Scott Walker and Bruce Rauner

      On Tuesday night, in a strong rebuke to the anti-labor agendas of Wisconsin and Illinois’ Republican governors, voters elected Democrats to lead their states. Illinois’ new governor, Democrat J.B. Pritzker, won the race with 54 percent of the vote, while Wisconsin’s new governor, Tony Evers, won his contest, though final votes are still being tallied. Both ran on strong, clear messages of supporting unions and working families.

      It would be hard to understate the damage to workers wrought by Scott Walker, elected during the Tea Party wave of 2010, and Bruce Rauner, elected in 2014. Walker wasted no time taking aim at organized labor: In 2011 he proposed the notorious Act 10, legislation which stripped public school teachers of their right to collectively bargain, on top of slashing their health insurance and pension benefits. Act 10 inspired 100,000 people to protest at the state capitol, but when Walker easily won a recall election in 2012, he grew emboldened. Republicans repealed Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws for state and local government funded projects, and Wisconsin’s minimum wage remains stuck at $7.25. The last time it was raised was nearly a decade ago.

      [...]

      Meanwhile, the contrast presented by their opponents, Pritzker and Evers, was tremendous. Both Democrats support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and spoke often about the important role unions play in building strong, inclusive economies. Pritzker described his intent to beef up enforcement for a 2010 wage theft law, and a state task force meant to tackle worker misclassification. Evers, who has served as Wisconsin’s state superintendent since 2009, spoke regularly about the ways Act 10 hurt educators, and public education more broadly. He also spoke out against changes made to the state’s prevailing wage laws, and Wisconsin’s prohibition on local communities raising their minimum wage or passing other pro-worker measures like paid sick leave.

    • Not Much of a Wave

      What is the situation like now? Yesterday Americans voted in the most hotly contested election since.. 2016. It is remarkable how quickly cultural amnesia takes hold and electoral memory dissipates—I was left staring in a bookshop yesterday at a New Yorker article on Claire McCaskill’s run in deep-red Missouri, on how she avoids partisan politics and focuses on commonalities—and how this can be a model for Democrats. (She lost).

      Americans voted in the hopes (of some) that this will stymie the Trump agenda, return a semblance of normalcy to politics and social life in this country, and halt the apparently inexorable rise of fascism. I suspect it will not. Enough political analysis has been written of the moment. Suffice it to say, I think the fair take is that the Democratic leadership will take exactly all the wrong lessons from their win in the House; evidence includes among many other data points the aforementioned New Yorker article, Nancy Pelosi’s expected reascension to Speaker of the House and immediate appeals to ‘bipartisanship,’ not to mention the Democrats apparently running exclusively Marine pilots as candidates.

    • Roaming Charges: Chuck and Nancy’s House of Cards
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Europe’s collision course with copyright censorship: where we stand today

      I’ve just published a comprehensive explainer on Medium about the EU’s new Copyright Directive, which was sabotaged at the last minute, when MEP Axel Voss snuck in the long-discredited ideas of automatically censoring anything a bot thinks infringes copyright and banning unpaid links to news articles.

    • Europe’s Copyright Rules Will Stifle Free Expression

      The Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive had been under negotiation for years, and it was set to be the first update to E.U. copyright since the 2001 Copyright Directive. In the 17 intervening years, the copyright landscape had experienced massive shifts. The new Directive was seen as a must-pass piece of omnibus legislation comprising dozens of wonky and technical fixes to E.U. copyright rules. It was largely seen as uncontroversial — that is, until May 25.

      That was the day German MEP Axel Voss reinserted two long-abandoned, hugely controversial rules into the draft regulation: [...]

    • Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi leaves jail, flies out of Multan

      Ms Asia Bibi’s release comes a week after her acquittal in a landmark case that triggered angry Islamist protests in Muslim-majority Pakistan and following appeals from her husband for Britain or the United States to grant the family asylum. Her lawyer fled to the Netherlands on Saturday under threat to his life.

      Ms Bibi’s conviction was overturned by the country’s highest court last Wednesday, but she remained in prison as the government negotiated with hardliners who blockaded major cities and demanded her immediate execution.

    • White House defends doctored Trump-Acosta clip used to justify reporter’s ban

      But in an analysis done for Storyful, which describes itself as a social-media intelligence agency that sources and verifies insights for media, there are apparently several frames repeated in the video.

      According to an analysis by Shane Richmond, a Storyful journalist, “these frames do not appear in the original C-SPAN footage, and appear to exaggerate the action of Acosta.”

    • Interesting petition

      The California Court of Appeal reversed the trial judge’s denial of a Motion to Strike, and dismissed Miss de Havilland’s claims, based on a First Amendment defense for docudramas.

      The Question for the Court is: Are reckless or knowing false statements about a living public figure, published in docudrama format, entitled to absolute First Amendment protection from claims based on the victim’s statutory and common law causes of action for defamation and right of publicity, so as to justify dismissal at the pleading stage?

    • Google Should Rethink Censorship Policies, EFF Says

      Prager University, which sued Google’s YouTube for allegedly censoring video clips based on their conservative political views, may have a legitimate bone to pick with the company. But Prager doesn’t have grounds to sue.

      That’s the gist of new legal papers filed by the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation. “YouTube’s moderation of Prager University’s content was faulty on many accounts, but it was not unconstitutional,” the EFF writes in a friend-of-the-court brief filed Wednesday with a federal appellate court.

      The EFF is weighing in on a battle dating to October 2017, when Prager sued Google for allegedly censoring conservative videos on YouTube by applying the “restricted mode” filter, which made the clips unavailable to some students and library visitors.

    • Sundar Pichai makes case for a potential move into China by saying Google already censors information elsewhere
    • Google CEO’s China argument doesn’t hold water
    • Sundar Pichai defends Google’s controversial search effort in China
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Snowden warns Israelis of dangers of state surveillance
    • Edward Snowden Issues Surveillance Warning To Israelis
    • Snowden issues surveillance warning to Israelis
    • Edward Snowden: Israeli software tracked Khashoggi

      Technology made by an Israeli company was used to target groups of journalists in Mexico and other problematic areas, including slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Edward Snowden, the infamous “whistle-blower” who leaked classified NSA information, told a conference in Israel on Tuesday. Snowden spoke via video-conference from an undisclosed location in Russia to the closed audience.

      Though he was not physically present due to concerns that he would be handed over to US authorities, Snowden was responded to by former Mossad deputy chief Ram Ben Barak and took questions from other members of the audience.

    • Israeli Spyware May Have Helped Khashoggi Killers, Snowden Says
    • Snowden Verifies NSA Report In EFF Spying Case

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation continues to urge a California federal court to keep alive its long-running class action against the National Security Agency over its alleged unlawful mass surveillance of Americans,…

    • CIA’s ‘surveillance state’ is operating against us all

      Over time, the CIA upper echelon has secretly developed all kinds of policy statements and legal rationales to justify routine, widespread surveillance on U.S. soil of citizens who aren’t suspected of terrorism or being a spy.

      The latest outrage is found in newly declassified documents from 2014. They reveal the CIA not only intercepted emails of U.S. citizens but they were emails of the most sensitive kind — written to Congress and involving whistleblowers reporting alleged wrongdoing within the Intelligence Community.

      The disclosures, kept secret until now, are two letters of “congressional notification” from the Intelligence Community inspector general at the time, Charles McCullough. He stated that during “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computer systems,” the CIA collected emails between congressional staff and the CIA’s head of whistleblowing and source protection.

    • Open-plan office? No, thanks – I’d rather get some work done

      There are echoes of the open-plan fiasco in another workplace phenomenon, highlighted on the Study Hacks blog: the way many people spend a big chunk of each week doing tasks that are, to put it bluntly, below their pay grade. In the 1980s, the economist Peter Sassone studied the impact of computer systems on American corporations, and found that senior executives spent “surprisingly large percentages of their time” on things support staff might previously have done. Because computers make it easier for managers to type their own memos, prepare graphics for presentations, schedule appointments and so on, support roles got phased out, to save money. But money wasn’t saved: Sassone estimated that a typical office could save thousands of dollars per employee per year by returning to a clearer delineation between the two kinds of job.

    • Why surveillance is even worse for your privacy than you thought: three cautionary tales

      Readers of this blog hardly need to be told that surveillance represents a grave threat to privacy. By its very nature, it seeks to know who we are and what we do, whether we wish that or not. But there is a secondary harm that surveillance brings – a collateral damage – as three recent and very different stories underline.

    • Flyers should worry about “customer lifetime value” scores

      When it comes to flying, a CLV score takes into account information such as how frequently a customer makes complaints and how often they are affected by flight delays and lost luggage. Companies do not perceive much value in retaining the business of customers who complain all the time, so regular whiners get bad scores. Conversely, frequent flyers in business class who rarely moan get some of the best. Sometimes these scores are transmitted to flight attendants, many of whom are now issued with handheld digital devices on which they can read about passengers. Cabin crew can use this information to wish flyers a happy birthday or decide whether they are worth compensating for inconveniences such as a spilled coffee or broken screens.

    • Facebook joins Google, halts mandatory arbitration in sexual harassment cases

      Arbitration, a private dispute resolution process that resembles the public legal system, is often preferred by corporations as a way to reduce costs and scrutiny surrounding such complaints.

    • New Google Harassment Policy Falls Short of Worker Demands

      Google announced changes to how it will handle claims of sexual harassment among employees, including making arbitration optional for individual harassment and sexual assault claims. While additional transparency and protection for workers is a sign of progress, the change is incremental rather than transformative, because Google’s arbitration provision still prohibits collective action. Harassment claims will no longer be forced into private arbitration, but only individuals can now bring their claims before a jury.

    • Google says no forced arbitration for sexual harassment

      Google has announced that from now on it will not force individual employees with sexual harassment or sexual assault claims to go through arbitration, though the company said that arbitration may still be the best option.

    • China Infiltrates American Campuses

      The main points of contact for Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) chapters in the U.S. are often intelligence officers in the embassy and consulates. China’s Ministry of State Security uses CSSA students to inform on other Chinese on campus.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Dark Money Paid New Trump Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s Salary for 3 Years

      Today, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that Matthew G. Whitaker, who served as chief of staff for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, would replace his boss. Sessions was forced from office a day after the midterm elections, which were rough for climate and anti-fracking measures around the country.

      Whitaker was appointed as Session’s chief of staff on September 22, 2017. Before that, he served for three years as the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), which describes itself as “a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas.”

      FACT has come under fire for its own lack of transparency, with the Center for Responsive Politics calling attention to FACT’s funding, which in some years came entirely from DonorsTrust, an organization also known as the “Dark Money ATM of the Conservative Movement” and whose own donors include the notorious funders of climate denial, Charles and David Koch.

    • Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Connected to World Patent Marketing Fraudulent Scheme to Bilk Inventors

      In May 2018, Scott Cooper and his companies, World Patent Marketing Inc. and Desa Industries Inc., agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that bans them from the invention promotion business, and ordered payment of $25,987,192. The FTC charged World Patent Marketing with being nothing more than a scam, bilking millions of dollars from inventors. “The record supports a preliminary finding that Defendants devised a fraudulent scheme to use consumer funds to enrich themselves,” concluded United States District Judge Darrin P. Gayles as he issued a preliminary injunction in August 2017. Matthew G. Whitaker, the Acting Attorney General of the United States who ascended to the position with the resignation of Jeff Sessions, served on the advisory board of World Patent Marketing. Worse, as PatentlyO reported yesterday, Whitaker was involved in some of the egregious intimidation that led to the charges, issuance of an injunction and ultimately the settlement.

      The Federal Trade Commission originally charged the operators of World Patent Marketing with deceiving consumers and suppressing complaints about the company by using threats of criminal prosecution against dissatisfied customers. At least one such threat of criminal prosecution was made by Whitaker.

      “I am a former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa and I also serve on World Patent Marketing’s Advisory Board,” wrote Whitaker via e-mail in August 2015 to a disgruntled inventor who was attempting to get relief from World Patent Marketing for broken promises. “Your emails and message from today seem to be an apparent attempt at possible blackmail or extortion. You also mentioned filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and to smear World Patent Marketing’s reputation online. I am assuming you understand that there could be serious civil and criminal consequences for you if that is in fact what you and your ‘group’ are doing.”

    • Trump’s acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings

      Matthew Whitaker was paid advisory board member for WPM, of which veteran tells Guardian: ‘I spent the money on a dream. I lost everything’

    • Why Jeff Sessions’s Resignation May Be Sketchier Than You Think

      It could be part of a larger Trump administration agenda.

    • The US Must Take Responsibility for Asylum Seekers and the History That Drives Them

      Some may be influenced by administration efforts to induce panic about immigrants “invading” the US — for instance, President Trump’s decision to send troops to counter the latest migrant caravan, even though US Army planners have concluded that “only a small percentage of the migrants will likely reach the border.”

      But others look around at failing schools, collapsing infrastructure, neighbors dying of drug overdoses or going without affordable medical care, and they ask themselves whether the United States can really spare any of its limited resources to help people from somewhere south of the border. When they hear Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham saying, “It’s not our problem,” and President Trump at the United Nations telling migrants to stay home and “[m]ake their countries great again,” they tend to nod in agreement.

    • One year on from a planned “revolution” in Russia, dozens of people are facing jail time

      “Can somebody explain what this organisation is? Who’s the organiser? Who are the members? Where are the offices? The finances? It’s hilarious, to be honest,” this is how Sergey Okunev, an ally of Vyacheslav Maltsev, responded to the news that the Artpodgotovka movement had been banned in late October 2017. “If the information on the ban of Artpodgotovka is confirmed, it’s the Artillery Forces who will suffer the most,” Okunev joked on Twitter.

      By that time, Okunev had known Saratov politician Vyacheslav Maltsev for two years and, according to Okunev, had conducted several hundred live broadcasts with him on YouTube.

      [...]

      Sergey Okunev, who, like Maltsev, is originally from the Volga city of Saratov, says he met Maltsev just before the PARNAS primaries. At the start of 2o17, they began talking about forming a political party together. Initially, they wanted to take over a small party already registered with Russia’s Ministry of Justice, but these negotiations were unsuccessful. Instead, they came up with the idea of setting up a “Party of Free People” — and they opened a party office in Saratov on 26 May 2017, even before they’d made their first attempt at officially registering the party. Together with the Nationalists’ Party, supporters of Maltsev spent their weekends in towns across Russia, holding “walks for free people”. These actions often ended in arrests. “And there never existed any movement named Artpodgotovka as an organisation,” Okunev insists, adding that Maltsev came up with the date of 5 November 2017 back in 2013. Originally, though, this was supposed to be a “non-stop peaceful protest”.

      Okunev believes that the campaign against Maltsev supporters before October 2017, the last month before the “revolution”. He recalls the case of Alexey Politikov, a businessman from the far eastern city of Ussuriysk and a close associate of Maltsev. Politikov was arrested at the beginning of June 2017 on charges of assaulting a police officer during the 26 March anti-corruption protest in Moscow. (Politikov was sentenced to two years in prison in October 2017, his sentence was reduced to 18 months on appeal.)

    • How old CIA reports reveal that China has been repressing Muslims since the 1950s

      The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has recently released a 117-page report titled, Eradicating Ideological Viruses — China’s Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang’s Muslims.

      It gave fresh evidence of Beijing’s “mass arbitrary detention, torture, and mistreatment, and the increasingly pervasive controls on daily life.”

      The US-based agency affirmed: “Throughout the region, the Turkish Muslim population of 13 million is subjected to forced political indoctrination, collective punishment, restrictions on movement and communications, heightened religious restrictions, and mass surveillance in violation of international human rights law.”

    • Religion, Reformation, and Modernity

      It is extremely important for educated Muslims to argue for a rational Islam and to seek to reconcile Islamic teachings and democracy. We cannot afford to disavow the space of religion for fundamentalists to do whatever they like with it. To keep fundamentalist forces at bay, educated and rational people must endeavor to bring about a reformation, so that religion can be perpetuated in a modern age as a liberal force. We can try to combine the concepts of an Islamic state with the principles of a socialist state, advocating social equality and economic and political democratization. We need to keep in mind that communities can grow historically within the framework created by the combined forces of modern national and transnational developments.

      I agree that the politics of religion as a monolith is hostile to pluralism and evolution, because it insists on the uniform application of rights and collective goals. Such uniformity is oblivious to the aspirations of distinct societies and to variations in laws from one cultural context to another.

      For fundamentalist organizations, religion is meant to be a hostile and vindictive force that ignores art and tradition. For instance, impassioned appeals of the clergy to the outdated concept of Islam have bred rancorous hate against “outsiders” and exploited the pitiful poverty and illiteracy of the majority of Muslims in the subcontinent, who are unable to study progressive concepts of the religion for themselves. This strategy of fortifying fundamentalism has created a bridge between the “believers” and “non-believers,” which, I would argue, is rooted in contemporary politics. The ideology propounded by the ruling fundamentalist order reflects and reproduces the interests of the mullahcracy. Mullahs justify repression of the poor and dispossessed classes, subjugation of women, and honor killings with the language of culture and religion. Such practices have led to regrettable ruptures of the Indian subcontinent and to a denial of science, technology, and historical understanding of the precepts of Islam. I am highly critical of the kind of nationalist logic in theocratic countries in which an image of the non-Islamic world as chaotic valorizes the dominance of the fundamentalist order.

    • Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet, Good Old Boys Are Hunting

      In a recent New York Times column titled “White Male Victimization Anxiety,” Charles Blow described how President Trump publicly apologized to Justice Brett Kavanaugh for “the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure” at the hands of Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed that Kavanaugh had tried to rape her. Blow also cited Senator Lindsey Graham’s own plucky #MeToo moment during the Kavanaugh hearings, when Graham proclaimed, “I’m a single white male from South Carolina, and I’m told I should shut up.”

      Blow’s fine op-ed piece joins a growing media chorus studying the current “victimization” of white American men. We queers can assume – since everybody else does already – that we’re talking straight white American men, who, excoriated for their lapses of “politically correct” behavior, now identify as victims.

      Frankly, I find the term “victim” offensive. These people are survivors! Straight white men haven’t recently begun to feel victimized: they’ve felt that way since the dawn of time. It’s one of their main feelings. I know. I went to a “Make America Straight White Male Again” rally and got a free MASWMA baseball cap! This deeply moved me.

      So I sat down and composed a little history for first graders, to educate them about the oppressed straight white male diaspora. To explain the patriarchy, I’ve devised an unthreatening little Elmer Fudd-type character that children of all ages are sure to love.

    • #GoogleWalkout update: Collective action works, but we need to keep working. – Medium

      Last week, 20,000 Google employees and TVCs (Temps, Vendors and Contractors) walked out to protest discrimination, racism, sexual harassment and a workplace culture that only works for some. By taking collective action, and joining a global movement, these workers took a risk. The risk was calculated, and their demands were reasonable: these employees were asking for equity, dignity, and respect.
      What they showed is that collective action works, and when we work together we can make change.
      Today, Google made progress toward addressing these demands. The company followed Uber and Microsoft by eliminating forced arbitration in cases of sexual harassment. It also committed to more transparency in sexual harassment reporting, and will allow workers to bring representatives to meetings with HR. We commend this progress, and the rapid action which brought it about.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Joke: What do you call a claim without a transition phrase?

      This consolidated appeal involves 12 different inter partes review proceedings collectively challenging three Acceleration Bay patents.[1] The patents at issue here are all related to methods of broadcasting information over a peer-to-peer network. The basic approach here is to ensure that the network is sufficiently connected and then send data through each node to its neighbor participants. I made the gif below that provides a simple example.

      [...]

      The unchallenged testimony was that the article by Lin was uploaded to the UCSD Computer Science and Engineering website (on a page of CSE technical reports). The upload took place in 1999 before the critical date for the patents and the site was indexed and searchable – although the search function was limited. Still, the PTAB found that the document was not “published” — a conclusion affirmed on appeal.

      To qualify as a “publication” the document must either (1) be actually distributed to the public or (2) be publicly available. Because there was no evidence that the document actually reached members of the public, the focus was on the second prong, public availability. The question here: “whether an interested skilled artisan, using reasonable diligence, would have found Lin on the CSE Technical Reports Library website.” Although the site was indexed and searchable, the PTAB concluded that the search function was limited and that the evidence only “suggests that an artisan might have located Lin by skimming through potentially hundreds of titles in the same year, with most containing unrelated subject matter, or by viewing all titles in the database listed by author, when the authors were not particularly well known.”

      Treating public accessibility as a factual determinatoin, the Federal Circuit affirmed — finding that “[s]ubstantial evidence supports the Board’s finding that there “is insufficient evidence of record to support a finding that a person of ordinary skill in the art in 1999 could have located Lin using the CSE Library website’s search function.”

    • Conflicts of Interest in Patent Practice

      Addresses conflicts of interest in patent practice, including patent prosecution, patent opinion work, and patent litigation.

    • Interpreting Claims — Claiming Elements from the Background Art

      Cave Consulting’s U.S. Patent No. 7,739,126 covers a method of determining physician efficiency that includes, inter alia, a step of calculating a “weighted statistic” associated with various “episodes of care.” The broader claims are not expressly limited to the particular statistic used, while the dependent claims require alternatively require “indirect standardization” (Claim 25) or “indirect standardization” (Claim 26) of the weighting. To be clear, the specification spends substantial time focusing on indirect standardization in detail, whereas direct standardization is a method known in the prior art.

      In its case against Optum (a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare and my insurance provider), the patentee argued that Optum used the direct-standardization weighting as claimed and a jury found agreed with a $12 million damages award.

      On appeal the Federal Circuit shifted claim construction and reversed — holding that the independent claims implicitly excluded direct-standardization weighting. In its holding the court relied upon its precedent in Retractable Techs., Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson & Co., 653 F.3d 1296, 1305 (Fed. Cir. 2011) in stating that claims should be construed to “tether the claims to what the specifications indicate the inventor actually invented.”

    • Infringing?: Offers (made in the US) to Sell (abroad)

      A tough aspect of the patent case against Intersil itself is that 98.8% of its products are manufactured, packaged, and tested abroad — then delivered to customers abroad. U.S. patent law is territorial and almost none of the products were made, used, or sold “within the United States.” 35 U.S.C. 271(a). In its new petition for writ of certiorari, TAOS argues that the infringer should still be liable becase it made “offers to sell” the invention within the US.

      Here, the evidence shows that an offer was made in California by Intersil to sell the accused sensors to Apple at $.035 each. Although the offer was made in California, delivery was set outside the U.S. The delivery location is critical under the leading Federal Circuit decision in Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc. v. Maersk Contractors USA, Inc., 617 F.3d 1296 (Fed. Cir. 2010). In Transocean, the court held that “offers to sell . . . within the United States” are limited to offers where – if accepted – the sale will occur in the United States.

    • CCIA Files Additional Comments In Qualcomm ITC Case

      Last June, CCIA filed comments on the public interest issues implicated by Qualcomm’s ITC complaint against Apple. (The ITC is required to take into account whether the public interest would be harmed by exclusion.)

      Last month, the ITC Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) agreed with our comments, determining that an exclusion order was not in the public interest. However, ALJ Pender’s determination isn’t final—the International Trade Commission (ITC) has been asked to review his determination. As part of that process, the Commission invites further comments from members of the public.

      Yesterday, CCIA filed additional comments, reiterating certain aspects of the original analysis, while also confirming the analysis provided by ALJ Pender was correct. In particular, CCIA’s comments note that an exclusion order would harm consumers, would harm competition in the United States, and would pose a risk to U.S. national security.

    • Enforcing FRAND Commitments

      In an important decision, Judge Koh granted partial summary judgment for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that will require Qualcomm to license its Standard-EssentialPatents (SEPs) for 3G Mobile (and other) communication standards on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms. [FTC v Qualcomm]

      Qualcomm agreed that it was subject to its prior FRAND commitment, but argued that it only applied to “complete devices like cellular handsets” and not to components like modem chips. In other words, Qualcomm was happy to license to its chip customers, but not to its competitors. This decision follows other cases, including Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola, Inc., 696 F.3d 872 (9th Cir. 2012) where the 9th Circuit held that “FRAND commitments include an obligation to license to all comers, including competing modem chip suppliers.”

    • ITC’s Chance to Restore Reason and the Public Interest in the Qualcomm v. Apple Case

      An administrative law judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission recently found patent infringement in Qualcomm’s case against Apple (See Qualcomm v. Apple), but then inexplicably refused to recommend that the commission issue an exclusion order against infringer Apple.

      [...]

      To be clear, the ITC has only one remedy available in Section 337 cases: an import exclusion order. The commission cannot award monetary damages or any other damages, under current law.

      In all previous smartphone cases before the ITC, when an importer was found to infringe, the commission has always issued exclusion orders. In its history, the commission has only previously denied an import ban three times when finding infringement.

    • Judge rules that Qualcomm must license essential patents to chip competitors
    • Judge Koh’s high-profile summary judgment order doesn’t bode well for Qualcomm’s efforts to elude patent exhaustion finding

      This is a follow-up (as I promised) to Judge Lucy Koh’s summary judgment order according to which Qualcomm must meet its self-imposed obligation to license its cellular standard-essential patents (SEPs) to rival chipset makers. On Tuesday I mostly wanted to publish the news quickly, and I focused on the commercial consequences.

      The legal standard applied by Judge Koh was stated as follows in the Ninth Circuit’s 2006 opinion in Miller v. Glenn Miller Prods., Inc.: summary judgment is warranted “[i]f, after considering the language of the contract and any admissible extrinsic evidence, the meaning of the contract is unambiguous.” (emphasis added)

      Qualcomm unsuccessfully argued that an alleged need for two U.S. standard-setting organizations (ATIS and TIA) to be consistent with policies established by other organizations supported its position that there was no obligation to extend a SEP license to rival chipset makers, and that baseband chips don’t actually implement the standards in question.

    • Qualcomm must license chip patents to competitors, judge rules
    • Public Knowledge Asks International Trade Commission to Protect Competition

      Today, Public Knowledge and the Open Markets Institute sent a letter to the International Trade Commission supporting a recent administrative law judge’s decision that Qualcomm’s requested relief of banning certain models of Apple’s iPhone from the U.S. market would harm the public interest, by reducing competition in the premium baseband market. Currently Intel is Qualcomm’s only competitor for this vital smartphone component, and the judge found that granting Qualcomm’s request would cause it to exit the market entirely.

    • Why Judge Koh’s Qualcomm FRAND ruling is a big deal

      The ruling that Qualcomm must license SEPs to competitors on FRAND terms helps the FTC but will also have a wider impact – upending the licensing practices of SEP owners, who have criticised the decision

      An important ruling in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit against Qualcomm in the Northern District of California raises many questions for standard essential patent (SEP) holders, who are critical of the uncertainty created by decisions out of the US…

    • Qualcomm must license its chip tech to competitors, judge rules

      Qualcomm has to license its wireless chip patents to its competitors, a judge ruled Tuesday.

      District Court Judge Lucy Koh granted the US Federal Trade Commission’s motion for partial summary judgment in its suit against Qualcomm. The FTC had sought a ruling that declared “two industry agreements obligate Qualcomm to license its essential patents to competing modem chip suppliers.” Koh agreed with the motion and on Tuesday said Qualcomm has to give rivals like Intel access to its technology.

      “Undisputed evidence in Qualcomm’s own documents demonstrates that a modem chip is a core component of the cellular handset, which only underscores how a [standard essential patent] license to supply modem chips is for the purpose of practicing or implementing cellular standards and why Qualcomm cannot discriminate against modem chip suppliers,” Koh wrote.

    • LG Patents Smartphones With Oval-Shaped Display Camera Holes

      LG has patented some new smartphone designs in order to keep up with the competition. If you take a look at the provided images, you will notice that the company actually patented two different designs, and each of those two designs have camera holes in different places on the display (top left, top center, and top right). Both of these designed have been submitted in the company’s home country, South Korea, at the KIPO (Korean Intellectual Property Office) by LG Display. Patents themselves were published on October 24 and November 2, and as you can see, these two designs are somewhat different, but both look quite similar from the front. Both devices sport what is essentially a bezel-less design, but they do have a camera hole in the display. You will notice that the camera hole looks the same on both phones, it has an oval shape to it, which is a bit different than other designs that we’ve seen, and that we’ll talk about a bit later. So why is this camera hole oval? Well, either LG plans to include two front-facing cameras in this phone, or perhaps it’s reserved for both a front-facing camera and an earpiece, which is a possibility, as it will give LG more room above the display to trim down those bezels.

    • The Netherlands’ preferential IP regime for software companies [Ed: Tax evasion loopholes using patents that are likely not patent-eligible either]

      The Netherlands government is promoting engagement in research and development (R&D) activities through a preferential corporate income tax regime, as well as specific R&D tax incentives granted to employers with regard to salaries paid to employees who perform qualifying R&D activities and related capital expenditures.

      Following international scrutiny, most preferential intellectual property (IP) regimes have been amended in line with base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) Action 5. The new Dutch innovation box also follows the internationally approved standards under BEPS Action 5.

      Briefly, the new rules require companies that apply the new innovation box to have performed substantial R&D activities, and that eligible R&D profits are related to patents or other IP rights that are capable of being registered and to which the profit allocation is sufficiently documented. Moreover, the extended application of the Netherlands innovation box has been welcomed by most Netherlands companies that typically have to rely on R&D declarations, but may now also rely on copyrights to support their innovation box position.

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Considers a ‘Makeover’ As It Faces Shrinking Budget

        Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox has been one of the major entertainment industry stories this year. Indirectly, it also impacts Hollywood’s industry group the MPAA, which loses one of its six members. This prompted insiders to rethink the organization’s future and reportedly, streaming giants such as Netflix are being considered as future members.

      • Greek ISPs Ordered to Block 38 Domains, Including The Pirate Bay

        Following a request from a local anti-piracy group, Greek Internet service providers are required to block access to The Pirate Bay, 1337x, YTS, and several other pirate sites. The order, issued by a special Government-affiliated commission, also targets several popular subtitle sites.

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