EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.05.19

Patent Trolls Are Destroying Free/Open Source Software and They’re Coming to Europe, Thanks to the European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent trolls already infest London, but that’s good for London-based law firms (not a tourism attraction, just a drain and a stain on the British economy)

London taxi

Summary: The EPO was forewarned about its impact on innovation and facilitation of cumbersome litigation by trolls; but the EPO ignored all the warnings as if its goal was to attract the trolls

TODAY’S European Patent Office (EPO) organises events with front groups of patent trolls.

Here’s a new example: “If you want to create an IP strategy that supports your business strategy, join us at our joint event with @LESIntl in Dublin…”

There were more examples like that earlier in the week. Why is the EPO associating with and even promoting LESI? As if they don’t know who (or what) LESI fronts for…

“Why is the EPO associating with and even promoting LESI? As if they don’t know who (or what) LESI fronts for…”The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) under Iancu also sides with patent trolls while denying such a thing even exists, but that’s another matter. Today’s EPO regularly meets litigation and trolling front groups; it never meets actual scientists! That exposes the alarming bias. António Campinos does this just like Battistelli did. Nothing has changed. Both of them also promote software patents in Europe (not merely tolerating these but promoting these — a subject we’ll cover in our next post).

Mind yesterday’s blog post from Mozilla ([1] below, already included in yesterday’s daily links but re-added because of importance). This patent troll, Skyhook, has quite a history attacking FOSS with patent lawsuits [1, 2]. About a decade later it’s still doing that and it now targets relatively small companies.

What do the lawyers think about all this? Fantastic! Good for business. Theirs.

Audrey Horton (Bird & Bird, Team UPC) writes some new nonsense from the UK, promoted by IAM’s parent company for a fee (for extra audience). Remember the Unwired Planet case in London (there are already several such cases)? Horton uses misleading euphemisms like RAND, ZRAND and FRAND (all the letters in these acronyms are white-washing lies) to describe what boils down to patent trolls infesting Europe, looking to exploit frivolous litigation with questionable and possibly illegal European Patents. In her words:

Under the Unwired Planet decision, it might not be open to Z selectively to claim the right to be granted a RAND licence. If the licence was a unitary, portfolio, worldwide, group to group licence, arguably Z had to take it as a whole or not at all. It did not follow that Z was somehow prevented from saying to T, and the court, that it no longer relied on any licence to which it was entitled to resist the grant of relief for infringement of the UK patents. Such a waiver ought not to be treated as ineffective or invalid. Unwired Planet did not suggest that a patent owner had an independent right to come to the court for a declaration as to the scope and extent of the licence he was required to offer to an implementer, when the implementer expressed no interest in taking such a licence.

The case above is significant (we covered it many times before) because several years ago we saw this troll increasingly turning to British courts. It’s looking to shake down everything that moves. It doesn’t develop anything, so the money sinks into black holes. Germany too is rapidly becoming a hotspot for patent trolls. Thanks, EPO!

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Mozilla Cloud Services Blog: A New Policy for Mozilla Location Service

    Several years ago we started a geolocation experiment called the Mozilla Location Service (MLS) to create a location service built on open-source software and powered through crowdsourced location data. MLS provides geolocation lookups based on publicly observable cell tower and WiFi access point information. MLS has served the public interest by providing location information to open-source operating systems, research projects, and developers.

    Today Mozilla is announcing a policy change regarding MLS. Our new policy will impose limits on commercial use of MLS. Mozilla has not made this change by choice. Skyhook Holdings, Inc. contacted Mozilla some time ago and alleged that MLS infringed a number of its patents. We subsequently reached an agreement with Skyhook that avoids litigation. While the terms of the agreement are confidential, we can tell you that the agreement exists and that our MLS policy change relates to it. We can also confirm that this agreement does not change the privacy properties of our service: Skyhook does not receive location data from Mozilla or our users.

    Our new policy preserves the public interest heart of the MLS project. Mozilla has never offered any commercial plans for MLS and had no intention to do so. Only a handful of entities have made use of MLS API Query keys for commercial ventures. Nevertheless, we regret having to impose new limits on MLS. Sometimes companies have to make difficult choices that balance the massive cost and uncertainty of patent litigation against other priorities.

    Mozilla has long argued that patents can work to inhibit, rather than promote, innovation. We continue to believe that software development, and especially open-source software, is ill-served by the patent system. Mozilla endeavors to be a good citizen with respect to patents. We offer a free license to our own patents under the Mozilla Open Software Patent License Agreement. We will also continue our advocacy for a better patent system.

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

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

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Former Microsoft Employee on So-called 'Journalists' Being Blackmailed by Microsoft

    Mitchel Lewis, a former Microsoft employee, remarks on Mary Jo Foley being 'punished' by Microsoft for not mindlessly publishing Microsoft propaganda (we remarked on this before as she had spoken to me about this over a decade ago)



  2. IRC Proceedings: Friday, August 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, August 07, 2020



  3. For the Want of a Pixel

    "It is still possible to win, but the FSF has practically left the field."



  4. Ubuntu and Fedora Project Serving Microsoft

    The Ubuntu 'community' as well as the 'community' component of Red Hat (IBM) don't view Microsoft as a rival; over a decade ago Mark Shuttleworth accused Microsoft of "extortion" and "racketeering" (his words), but now he's paid to change his tune



  5. (Don't Let's) Throw Caution to the Wind

    "As it will become crucial to explain, the effect of all this dancing around truth and reality was to transform a volunteer force primed to bring freedom to users into cheap labour for an industry that exploits everyone in it -- all the way to the very top of Open Source itself."



  6. Links 7/8/2020: Mesa 20.2 RC, Radeon Software for Linux 20.30

    Links for the day



  7. Computing Fundamentals

    "A graphical interface is better, for some things -- sometimes. But it will also put a lot more on our plates."



  8. IBM and the Bomb: Series Index (on 75th Anniversary of Atomic Bombs Being Dropped on Civilians)

    Today seems an apt time to remind readers that IBM participated in the creation of the only bombs ever to be dropped in a war (not tests) and this tradition carries on because IBM is still profiting from it, to this very day (countless billions made by IBM during the Cold War too)



  9. Freedom is Personal

    "Before I say anything else, note that there are literally hundreds of GNU/Linux distros, and I put in a lot of work to rate which were the least encumbered by corporate politics — directly or indirectly."



  10. Links 7/8/2020: Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS and GNU C Library 2.32 Released

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, August 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, August 06, 2020



  12. Our Collective Privacy is Under Unprecedented Attacks and Privacy is Now Conflated With Bad Hygiene, Not Just Criminality

    At warp speed the "War on cash" or "War on anonymous transactions" is moving ahead; now that COVID-19 infects a lot of people we're led to assume that mass surveillance saves lives not because of counter-terrorism but because of contact-tracing or whatever (in practice it's hardly effective, but it's conditioning people to give up any remnants of their privacy)



  13. The Psychology of Developers

    "It turns out, there are ways around a free license -- you can make software "less free" or more imposing, without changing the license at all."



  14. Social Justice is Fine... When It is Not Just a Shallow Marketing Ploy

    Don't let well-meaning concepts such as "Social Justice" become mere buzzwords or tools of corporate propaganda (greedy people's objectives disguised as populism)



  15. Site Upgrades Likely Coming Soon

    After more than 28,000 posts are published it might be time to move from the WordPress x.9.x LTS to something newer (5.5 is about to be released); we explain why it’s not as simple as it might first seem



  16. Focus on the Big Issues, Not the Words

    The pattern that is emerging in recent months if not years is that words hurt and therefore contributors to code must shut up about injustices, including corporate misbehaviour



  17. Computing vs. Marketing

    “The important lesson here is that Windows is NOT a computer — it is actually a horrible thing that people DO to a computer, and to themselves.”



  18. Release: Several Police Reports About Searching the Home of Bill Gates' Engineer (Stockpiles of Child Pornography Found Along With Illegal Firearm)

    The final part of the first installment from Seattle PD, this one focusing on people who searched the home to find a lot of underage pornographic material being amassed



  19. Video: Microsoft-Sponsored 'Copyleft' Conf (Keynote Sold to Microsoft, a Serial GPL Violator and Primary FUD Source) Features Previous FSF (Co)President and RMS Ouster

    There's now a video online of the debates in CopyleftConf 2020



  20. Miseducation

    "...the real crime (OLPC founder Nicholas Negropontes word for it) is that schools aren't teaching computers at all -- they're doing application training."



  21. [Meme] RMS Succeeded by a Microsoft Sponsor

    Congratulations to the FSF, which elected a president almost a year after pushing RMS (its founder) out; but questions need to be answered by the new president, who apparently sees nothing wrong reinforcing the Microsoft monopoly, participating in a PR ploy designed to distract from the notorious ICE contract, and even paying Microsoft (as if it deserves the money)



  22. Controlling Your Computing

    "We at least want our software to be free, and for a while, that was possible. We want software to be free again, so let's talk about what made it free, what made it less free, and what could hopefully improve in the future."



  23. User Libre: Free Computing For Everyone, Start With Perfection

    "As the threats to user freedom evolve, so too must the response to those threats. So long as freedom remains the first priority, worthwhile responses will give more power to every user, and keep limits on how much control can be imposed by developers."



  24. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, August 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, August 05, 2020



  25. Release: Search Warrant and Reports on Findings When Bill Gates' Engineer Arrested for Pedophilia

    Readers can finally see all the details about what was taken (portable drives, laptop, desktop etc.) and what was found when a search was executed at the home of Bill Gates' engineer while he was at Bill's house (where he worked regularly); as far as we are aware, the police never searched Bill's house and computers



  26. Links 6/8/2020: FSF Has New Chief, LibreOffice 7.0, Linux App Summit Goes Online

    Links for the day



  27. Links 5/8/2020: Wayfire 0.5 and Plasma Browser Integration

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, August 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, August 04, 2020



  29. SUSE is Still Pushing Microsoft Proprietary Software and Bragging About the Novell Patent Collusion With Microsoft

    SUSE seems to have learned no lessons after the aftermath of its (or Novell’s) Microsoft patent scam, which had been negotiated partly by Miguel de Icaza (now working directly for Microsoft) before causing Novell to collapse and offload its patents to Microsoft (‘TikTok operandi’ or asset stripping); the past cannot be left behind if SUSE — like Novell — celebrates and perpetuates that past



  30. Release: 29 Pages of Internet Access Report About Pedophile Working for Bill Gates at His Home

    As we’ve found nothing too sensitive in the document, today we’re finally disclosing and publishing the second release (first one published yesterday); this includes network addresses used on the devices of the engineer of Bill Gates, who had a laptop and external hard drives (portable) with plenty of child pornography (imagery and videos)


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

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

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

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

Recent Posts