11.15.19

FOSSPatents Conference is Against FOSS, Promoting the FOSS-Hostile Construct Known as RAND or FRAND

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, RAND at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FOSSPatents Conference. Did you really think it's about FOSS?

Summary: Do not be misled by the term Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in the name FOSSPatents and whatever relates to it (e.g. FOSSPatents Conference); it’s not about FOSS but against FOSS, or pro-FRAND

THE previous post ended with a tweet. As Benjamin Henrion put it the other day: “UPC rules of procedure also mention proportionality. Like bifurcation, rules of procedure should be made by legislators under art6 ECHR”

Henrion posted this while attending an event organised by another software professional, a longtime opponent of software patents and the UPC (those two things are closely related). I’ve long criticised this event (even before it took place), seeing what front groups were attending and speaking alongside Bristows. The event promotes the false concepts of “FRAND” and “FOSS patents” (no such thing). It welcomes litigation fanatics. “No idea why he chose to do this,” I said, “but I can guess…”

He has repeatedly replied to me; the organiser and I have agreed and disagreed on a lot of things over the years. Here’s Henrion stating: “Yesterday’s Fosspatents conference was pretty much “trolls trolls trolls” with many more companies being attacked. Software patent warming is happening…”

That’s an old term.

“FLOSS still absent from the conference of today,” he said, “who is “all” if the developer doing the hard work of writing code is not even mentioned…”

“Yes,” I responded, as “the program itself showed that Fosspatents was all about patents and not at all about FOSS (let alone anything tech)…”

“FRAND” is 4 (or 5) lies in a row, compacted into an acronym that sounds like “FRIEND”. As one person put it: “Of course. Commons law. …but FRAND used to mean Free Rand = RAND-0. Then they said FRAND = Fair RAND. No one could explain the difference between FRAND and RAND. It is not fair and unreasonable discriminates open source implementations. What a waste…”

RAND or FRAND or fancy ‘lego puzzle’ with these lies as letters (“reasonable”, “nondiscriminatory”, “fair”…) won’t change the fact that they’re designed to put gloss on monopoly. They reinforce the concept of patent tax on everything. It is almost depressing and going back to the UPC, high-profile ‘FRAND’ cases already target British courts, looking to tax the whole public through satellite patent trolls. If they got the UPC, the outcome of such court cases would impact hundreds of millions of people, not just tens of millions. So we know who stands to gain from the UPC.

We’ve found some particular tweets (with photographs) from Henrion informative. He focused on the detrimental effect, e.g. in

  • Tweet: “Trolls don’t go after big chip manufacturers, they even go to telco operators, time lost for everybody #trolls #wifi”
  • Tweet: “Trolls wants royalties backwards in time, which would kill many companies”
  • Tweet: “STRONGER patent act trying to abolish eBay jurisprudence, pro-patent trolls”
  • Tweet: “Nokia and Ericsson using proxy trolls to enforce their patents”
  • Tweet: “Conversant Wireless, a Patent Troll based in Luxembourg” (armed by Microsoft to attack Linux as Microsoft instructed to pass patents to this troll when it was known as MOSAID)
  • Tweet/Tweet: “NokiaPlanP is happening, they turned into a patent troll. I should have kept the http://nokiaplanp.com domain” (lots of writings about this topic regardless)
  • Tweet: “Germany as a magnet for patent trolls”
  • Tweet: “Taskin (AirTies): there was originally no patents on WiFi, but it changed with patent trolls”
  • Tweet: “Taskin: P&L (patents & litigation) is pure waste of time and energy”
  • Tweet: “At the end consumer pays #patents”

Of particular interest to our longtime readers is this couple/pair of tweets [1, 2]: “Antitrust law has abolished competition by installing barriers such as patents, for example in the 2007 Microsoft case http://blog.ffii.org/microsoft-will-trump-eu-competition-ruling-with-patents/”

To this date, Microsoft continues to leverage FRAND to impose software patents everywhere and blackmail everyone. Some other tweets speak of the origins of this term, “RAND”, which we’ve used here since 2007 if not 2006. It was always (all along) a deliberate attack on FOSS/FLOSS. Microsoft knew all along that it wasn’t compatible; hence it used front groups such as BSA to lobby for it.

Jake Hamby, who worked for Danger (then Microsoft) and later Google (Android), told me regarding the shock of awful patent quality: “Well, I wouldn’t, considering the sketchy Microsoft patents I tried to help Google’s lawyers defend against with Android. They milked those mobile OS patents for an entire decade. I’d love to know which companies are still paying them and how much per device.”

Microsoft is still suing over it, e.g. Foxconn earlier this years. The underlying patents may all be bogus, more so after Alice — a subject that the EFF has just brought up again [1]. We hope that Mr. “FOSSPatents” isn’t taking Microsoft money again (as he did before) to promote FRAND.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Alice Doesn’t Block Good Patents, It Protects the Public By Requiring Real Invention

    Leaders of the Senate IP Subcommittee have been working, for nearly a year now, on producing some kind of legislation to weaken Section 101 of the Patent Act. Their proposal would throw out all the case law based on Section 101, including the Alice decision, which has been especially critical for keeping bogus software patents out of the system.

    They held three days of hearings on the Senate floor in June, but still haven’t presented a bill detailing the changes they want to make.  As we’ve explained before, weakening Section 101’s protections would be a disaster for innovation, and encourage patent trolls to squeeze money from small businesses.

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