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01.19.20

CRISPR Patents Disallowed, But Where Are the Journalists?

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 11:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Journalists and corporate pressure groups are not the same thing

CRISPR patents; Because reproducing is 'stealing'
The Shark Tank patent meme

Summary: The narrative surrounding last week’s decision against CRISPR patents may have been virtually monopolised by the litigation think tanks and law firms; it certainly feels like no journalism is left to rebut them, fact-check, and introspect

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has spent more than half a decade lowering patent quality. Ask EPO examiners. They’ll say so off the record (for fear of retribution they won’t say so openly and publicly).

It didn’t start with Battistelli, but it became far more profound under Battistelli and it continues to get worse with António Campinos, who intervenes in legal cases (more recently in support of software patents in Europe).

In the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and even more so in American courtrooms we’ve seen Alice and Mayo routinely used — via 35 U.S.C. § 101 — to squash patents on naturally-repeating/recurring phenomena and maths. That’s just common sense, isn’t it?

“Last year the opposition/s folks at the EPO came to the conclusion that CRISPR patents are impermissible and days ago the EPO judges doubled down on that decision.”Here in Europe it’s possible that later this year EPO judges will reject a lot of software patents by deciding on a ‘simulation’ patent; it won’t be a European ‘Alice‘ because the level of EPO tribunals is nowhere near that of SCOTUS in the US. But that can be a start

Last year the opposition/s folks at the EPO came to the conclusion that CRISPR patents are impermissible and days ago the EPO judges doubled down on that decision. That’s a pretty big deal with wide-ranging ramifications. Having surveyed all the EPO-CRISPR news I was able to find, it seems clear to me that no journalism exists anymore in the area of patents. It’s all just pressure groups and press releases of large corporations. It’s grotesque; prove me wrong/show otherwise…

Before this decision, roughly a week beforehand, Jamie Atkins and Claire Weston (Kilburn & Strode LLP) published CRISPR priority appeal – What you need to know ahead of the hearing. This links to their site (of course) and says: “Arguably the highest profile appeal at the EPO in recent years (T 0844/18) will be heard before the Board of Appeal in Munich on 13-17 January 2020…”

One can guess whose side Kilburn & Strode LLP takes; they’re a litigation giant, so the more patents, the merrier (to them anyway).

Back in December we saw some shameless self-promotion by Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C., under the giveaway headline: “Prosecuting Bioinformatics Patent Applications in Europe” (the only “bio” they care about it “bio-litigation”).

Yesterday’s IAM blog post said: “This week, all eyes are on the EPO Boards of Appeal’s oral proceedings in T0844/18, the Broad Institute’s appeal against the revocation of its key patent on CRISPR-Cas9.”

Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review, a site whose sole purpose seems to be advocacy of such patents, wrote a lot about it throughout the week [1, 2, 3].

Except a couple of blog posts, which were cited here a day ago, I’ve found nothing else but this mainstream media piece behind a paywall. It said: “The saga over who owns the valuable patents that cover CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing took a new turn this week with a court decision that goes against the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and two local startups.”

There are paid press releases, such as this one: (Yahoo, Business Wire)

ERS Genomics Limited, which was formed to provide broad access to the foundational CRISPR/Cas9 intellectual property held by Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, announced that yesterday the European Patent Office’s (EPO) Technical Board of Appeal (Board) upheld the earlier EPO Opposition Division ruling that the Broad Institute patent EP2771468 is not formally entitled to a number of its asserted priority dates and all its claims are therefore not novel and fully revoked.

EP2771468 is viewed as the Broad Institute’s foundational CRISPR-Cas9 patent in Europe. In January of 2018 the Opposition Division found that all claims of the Broad Institute’s patent were invalid because the Broad Institute was not entitled to its two earliest priority dates and thus the claims lacked novelty in light of prior art. The Broad Institute appealed the Opposition Division’s decision, which the Board affirmed yesterday. Thus, all claims of the Broad Institute’s patent remain fully revoked with no option left to overturn this decision.

So there’s panic among patent zealots looking to ‘own’ all lives; they panic because even EPO judges explain that patents on life are fake, bogus, invalid patents.

GenomeWeb, a patent maximalism site focused on that domain (their track record suggests so always), said this:

The European Patent Office (EPO) Board of Appeal has upheld the revocation of a Broad Institute CRISPR patent in Europe.

The Science Board wrote:

An important patent on CRISPR technology held by the Broad Institute has been revoked by the European Patent Office (EPO).

On January 16, the EPO’s Technical Board of Appeal upheld a previous ruling in 2018 that the Broad Institute’s EP2771468 patent was not novel and therefore should be revoked. EP2771468 is seen as the institute’s foundational CRISPR-Cas9 patent in Europe, noted a release from ERS Genomics.

The Broad Institute had appealed the earlier decision, saying the issue related to the “current interpretation of rules that dictate what happens when the names of inventors differ across international applications. This interpretation affects many other European patents that rely on U.S. provisional patent applications, and is inconsistent with treaties designed to harmonize the international patent process, including that of the United States and Europe,” according to background information about the patent.

Notice how nobody bothers explaining why such patents are so troubling and problematic. These monopolists are shedding a tear this weekend because there were planning to turn organisms into ‘private property’ and it’s not quite working as they hoped.

How long will it take for a real article to explain all this? We’ll watch closely…

Links 19/1/2020: Wine 5.0 RC6, Alpine 3.11.3

Posted in News Roundup at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Why Windows 7 Users Should Switch to Linux

        Now, if you think that Linux is intimidating, confusing, or (and I mean this nicely) for nerds: I hear you. At first glance it can often look that way.

        But Linux suffers from poor marketing rather than poor product. With no multi-million dollar marketing campaign out there promoting one specific flavour of Linux it’s left to enthusiasts to ‘sell’ each system, usually on its technical merits — which is what makes things seem rather niche.

        However it’s 2020 and Linux-based operating systems (called ‘distros’) like Ubuntu and Linux Mint are very user-friendly. They let you continue to do pretty much all of that you currently do on Windows 7 just as easily, but with safety first.

      • Should I upgrade from Windows 7 to Linux?

        After 10 years of service, Microsoft has finally decided to cease support for Windows 7. This means that the OS will no longer receive any type of updates and that anyone still using it will be exposed to online threats.

        Given this change, many users are left wondering what they should do. Most think that they are limited to just three choices…

      • Windows 7 Support Ended. Here’s You Should Do.

        As per the information available, there are 200+ million devices that are still running Windows 7. The number might increase, as, it is difficult to estimate the offline devices which might be still running Windows 7.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • CentOS 8 (1911) derived from RedHat Linux 8.1 Enterprise released

          With the release of RedHat Linux 8.1 Enterprise, we knew that it was only a matter of time for CentOS V8 (1911) to be released. Now that it is finally here let’s have a look at what this new update has in store for us.

          What’s New

          Since RedHat Linux 8.1 Enterprise powers this version of CentOS, it’s going to accompany all the features and improvements that came with the latest RHLE. If you’ve not been keeping up with RHLE, you need not worry as we’re going to discuss all the changes that were implemented with this update.

        • Enterprise Insights: Red Hat And The Public Cloud

          Open source projects are the epicenter of technology innovation today. Docker and Kubernetes are revolutionizing cloud-native computing, along with data-focused projects like Mongo and Redis and many others. Even as open source projects drive innovation, however, sponsoring companies face a growing existential threat from hyper-scale cloud providers.

          Red Hat is the recognized leader in enterprise open source support. It’s a successful public company with a track record of growth, so it was somewhat puzzling to understand why the Red Hat board decided to sell to IBM this past year.

        • Red Hat Shows Off Their vDPA Kernel Patches For Better Ethernet Within VMs

          Red Hat engineers have been developing virtual data path acceleration (vDPA) as a standard data plane that is more flexible than VirtIO full hardware offloading. The goal is providing wire-speed Ethernet interfaces to virtual machines in an open manner.

          This patch series was sent out on Thursday by Red Hat’s Jason Wang. This implements the vDPA bus for the Linux kernel as well as providing a vDPA device simulator and supporting vDPA-based transport within VirtIO.

        • What is the latest kernel release for my version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux?

          I read an interesting question on the Red Hat Learning Community forums recently. What is the latest kernel version for my version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)? In this post we’ll see how you can find out.

          Some users, trying to be helpful, gave a specific version of the kernel package. Unfortunately, that might only be valid at the time of writing. A better approach would be to understand where to get that information about the latest kernel version for a given version of RHEL.

          When Red Hat releases a major or minor update to RHEL, they ship it with a specific branch of the kernel version. This page in the customer portal shows the kernel version “branch” associated with a release of RHEL (e.g. RHEL7.6).

        • dnf-automatic – Install Security Updates Automatically in CentOS 8

          Security updates play a crucial role in safeguarding your Linux system against cyber-attacks and breaches which can have a devastating effect on your critical files, databases and other resources on your system.

          You can manually apply security patches on your CentOS 8 system, but it is much easier as a system administrator to configure automatic updates. This will give you the confidence that your system will be periodically checking for any security patches or updates and applying them.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.4.13

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.4.13 kernel.

        All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.4.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 4.19.97
      • Linux 4.14.166
      • Btrfs Async Discard Support Looks To Be Ready For Linux 5.6

        After months of work by Facebook engineers, it looks like the new async discard support for Btrfs is ready for the upcoming Linux 5.6 cycle as a win for this Linux file-system on solid-state storage making use of TRIM/DISCARD functionality.

        Btrfs has been handling its DISCARD functionality synchronously during the transaction commit, but that can lead to performance issues depending upon the amount of TRIM’ing required and how the drive behaves. With this async discard support, the work is punted off the transaction commit.

      • BTRFS Guide | The Best Desktop File System

        This video goes over BTRFS in-depth, and in this guide, you will learn basic commands, structure, snapshots, and raid capabilities.

      • Ryzen

        • Ryzen 9 3900X vs. Ryzen 9 3950X vs. Core i9 9900KS In Nearly 150 Benchmarks

          This week our AMD Ryzen 9 3950X review sample finally arrived and so we’ve begun putting it through the paces of many different benchmarks. The first of these Linux tests with the Ryzen 9 3950X is looking at the performance up against the Ryzen 9 3900X and Intel Core i9 9900KS in 149 different tests.

          The Ryzen 9 3950X is AMD’s new $749 USD processor just below the Threadripper 3960X. The 3950X offers sixteen cores / 32 threads with a 3.5GHz base clock and 4.7GHz maximum turbo clock. Over the 3900X at $499 is four extra cores / eight threads, a 300MHz lowering of the base clock, 100MHz higher maximum boost clock, and larger L1 and L2 caches while both of these Zen 2 processors share the same TDP of 105 Watts.

        • Ryzen CPUs On Linux Finally See CCD Temperatures, Current + Voltage Reporting
    • Applications

      • The 10 Best Presentation Software for Linux in 2020

        Presentation always plays a vital role in decision making, and in closing any kind of deal. It provides graphical descriptions and clears the situation. In ancient times, we used papers for presentation. With the revolution of our modern technology, we shifted to screens from the papers and developed a lot of tools for making our work easy. If any company’s core system in Linux, then they should go through the whole post and find out the best presentation software for Linux.

        Our world has many types of operating systems for our personal computers and laptops. Among them, Linux is one of the most popular ones because it’s free and has a lot of open-source tools. With that, a user can customize his/ her’s operating system at his/ her will. But getting the right presentation software for Linux distributions can be quite tough. Don’t fear, and we will discuss the presentation software in our content today. I hope you will get the right match for your work.

      • 5 Best GUI Clients for PostgreSQL on Ubuntu

        Written in C, PostgreSQL which is also known as Postgres is one of the most popular relational database management systems. macOS server has it as default database and is also available for other operating systems such as Windows, FreeBCD, OpenBCD and Linux. As PostgreSQL is one of the most used database management systems in the world, it is used as the backbone of many small to large applications and software’s.

        Even though I feel working in command-line is best way to learn anything in the world of application and software development, there are some limitations while working with databases in command-line. It requires great experience of working in command-line or it could get really messy for newbies as well as for professionals.

      • XMPP – Fun with Clients

        As I already wrote in my last blog post there’s much development in XMPP, not only on the server side, but also on the client side. It’s surely not exaggerated to say that Conversations on Android is the de-facto standard client-wise. So, if you have an Android phone, that’s the client you want to try&use. As I don’t have Android, I can’t comment on it. The situation on Linux is good as well: there are such clients as Gajim, which is an old player in the “market” and is available on other platforms as well, but there is with Dino a new/modern client as well that you may want to try out.

        The situation for macOS and iOS users are not that good as for Windows, Linux or Android users. But in the end all clients have their pro and cons… I’ll try to summarize a few clients on Linux, macOS and iOS…

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Shift on Stack: api_port failure
      • How To Git Commit With Message
      • Windscribe VPN on openSUSE

        With all the talk of VPN (Virtual Private Network) services to keep you safe and my general lack of interest in the subject, I was talking to Eric Adams, my co-host on the DLN Xtend podcast about the subject. He was telling me that he was hesitant to recommend any service so he gave me some option to try out. The one I chose, after doing a little reading was Windscribe.

        I am new to the VPN game so I want to be careful in saying, I am recommending this as the perfect solution but rather demonstrating how I set it up and how I am using it on my openSUSE Tumbleweed system. Much in the same way Eric informed me about it.

      • How to Install Minecraft on Ubuntu 18.04
      • How to Remove Top Bar Application Menu in Ubuntu 19.10, 18.04
      • How to add podcasts to a mobile device with Linux
      • How to transfer a file from a remote computer to a local machine on Linux/Ubuntu
      • How to Make Linux Mint Look Like Windows 7
      • 50 Useful and Productive cURL Command in Linux

        The cURL utility is a simple yet powerful command-line tool for transferring files to/from remote locations. Its full form stands for ‘Client URL’. It has cemented its position as one of the best tools for remote data transfer over the internet. cURL offers a robust collection of commands that enable many advanced functionalities. Additionally, most curl command in Linux works exceptionally well for headless agents and/or automated scripts. To help you get started with cURL, our editors have compiled this thoughtfully curated introductory guide. Although it’s meant as a starting point for beginning Linux users, seasoned users can use it as a reference guide.

        The cURL utility supports a wide variety of protocols and features. We’ve outlined the essential commands with appropriate examples and suggest readers try them interactively for gaining first-hand experience on them. As with any Linux tool, your expertise with cURL will only grow when you continue to use it in everyday life.

      • How To Install Selenium Chrome On Centos 7
      • How To Limit User’s Access To The Linux System
      • How to Get Started with Raspberry Pi
      • How to Install Arduino IDE on Ubuntu 18.04
      • How to Preserve Directory Path with CP Command
      • How to Set or Change Timezone in Ubuntu Linux [Beginner’s Tip]
      • Install Steam on OpenSUSE to Play Games
      • What is Kanban and How to use Kanban in Linux

        in 1997, directly after University, I started as an IT specialist and have been working in this area ever since in different roles. During these more than 20 years of being part of and later also leading IT related projects, our teams were using several methods and supporting software to plan our projects in the best possible way. Not all were equally successful. Currently our teams are working in a Scrum approach which is part of the Agile methodology. To support this way of working we use among others a Kanban board to plan and monitor our work. Kanban is nothing new but seems extremely popular at the moment. It is not only a great approach for large and complex projects, but also on a smaller scale for your study and your personal projects. In this article, which will be a part of a series on productivity apps, I want to explain three topics: What is Kanban, Why should you use Kanban to be more productive and What are the best Kanban apps for Linux.

      • What’s your favorite Linux terminal trick?

        The beginning of a new year is always a great time to evaluate new ways to become more efficient. Many people try out new productivity tools or figure out how to optimize their most mundane processes. One area to assess is the terminal. Especially in the world of open source, there are tons of ways to make life at the terminal more efficient (and fun!) with shortcuts and commands.

        We asked our writers about their favorite terminal trick. They shared their time-saving tips and even a fun terminal Easter egg. Will you adopt one of these keyboard shortcuts or command line hacks? Do you have a favorite you’d like to share? Tell us about it by taking our poll or leaving a comment.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.0-rc6 is now available.
        
        Barring any last minute issue, this is expected to be the last
        release candidate before the final 5.0.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Bug fixes only, we are in code freeze.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.0/wine-5.0-rc6.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.0/wine-5.0-rc6.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
      • Wine 5.0-RC6 Released With Another 21 Fixes

        We’ll likely see the Wine 5.0 stable release next week or the following week, but for now Wine 5.0-RC6 is available as the newest weekly release candidate.

        Given the code freeze that’s been in place for over the past month, there are no new features but only bug fixes at this stage. Wine 5.0-RC6 ships with 21 known bug fixes in total.

        Some of the fixes in Wine 5.0-RC6 are for Brothers In Arms – Hell’s Highway, Tomb Raider, The Witcher Enhanced Edition, Serious Sam Classic, and other games. There are also fixes for applications like 7-Zip, Acrobat Reader, and Pale Moon.

      • The sixth Release Candidate for Wine 5.0 is out now

        The Wine team have released a sixth and perhaps final Release Candidate for the upcoming stable release of Wine 5.0. What’s going to be one of the biggest releases ever, with some truly massive feature improvements since Wine 4.0 back in January last year.

        Going by how many Release Candidates they’ve done before (7 for 4.0 and 6 for 3.0 and 6 for 2.0), the final stable Wine 5.0 release could well be next week.

        For this sixth Release Candidate of Wine 5.0, they noted 21 bug fixes. As always, some might have been fixed in older versions that have been retested recently. From the recent fixes you should see a better experience with The Witcher Enhanced Edition, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, Serious Sam Classic, Far Cry 5 and probably more too.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • So you want to make a KDE video…

          KDE is running a competition in search of the next great promotional video for KDE’s Plasma desktop and KDE’s applications.

          The prizes are two fantastic TUXEDO computers, one per category, which will undoubtedly boost your film rendering capacity. There are also 12 goodie packages for runner-ups, and who doesn’t need more Linux shirts, caps and stickers?

          Although we have already received some interesting entries, we feel it may be time to help video artists out there with ideas from the judges themselves.

          Below, Julian Schraner, Ivana Isadora Devčić, and Paul Brown from the Promo team and Farid Abdelnour from the Kdenlive team give their views on what a KDE promotional video should look like, where to find resources, and which pitfalls may hurt your film if you fall for them.

        • Learning about our users

          In a product like Plasma, knowing the kind of things our existing users care about and use sheds light on what needs polishing or improving. At the moment, the input we have is either the one from the loudest most involved people or outright bug reports, which lead to a confirmation bias.

          What do our users like about Plasma? On which hardware do people use Plasma? Are we testing Plasma on the same kind of hardware Plasma is being used for?

          Some time ago, Volker Krause started up the KUserFeedback framework with two main features. First, allowing to send information about application’s usage depending on certain users’ preferences and include mechanisms to ask users for feedback explicitly. This has been deployed into several products already, like GammaRay and Qt Creator, but we never adopted it in KDE software.

          The first step has been to allow our users to tune how much information Plasma products should be telling KDE about the systems they run on.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Doing Things That Scale

          I used to have an Arch GNU/Linux setup with tons of tweaks and customizations. These days I just run vanilla Fedora. It’s not perfect, but for actually getting things done it’s way better than what I had before. I’m also much happier knowing that if something goes seriously wrong I can reinstall and get to a usable system in half an hour, as opposed to several hours of tedious work for setting up Arch. Plus, this is a setup I can actually install for friends and relatives, because it does a decent job at getting people to update when I’m not around.

          Until relatively recently I always set a custom monospace font in my editor and terminal when setting up a new machine. At some point I realized that I wouldn’t have to do that if the default was nicer, so I just opened an issue. A discussion ensued, a better default was agreed upon, and voilà — my problem was solved. One less thing to do after every install. And of course, everyone else now gets a nicer default font too!

          I also used to use ZSH with a configuration framework and various plugins to get autocompletion, git status, a fancy prompt etc. A few years ago I switched to fish. It gives me most of what I used to get from my custom ZSH thing, but it does so out of the box, no configuration needed. Of course ideally we’d have all of these things in the default shell so everyone gets these features for free, but that’s hard to do unfortunately (if you’re interested in making it happen I’d love to talk!).

          Years ago I used to maintain my own extension set to the Faenza icon theme, because Faenza didn’t cover every app I was using. Eventually I realized that trying to draw a consistent icon for every single third party app was impossible. The more icons I added, the more those few apps that didn’t have custom icons stuck out. Nowadays when I see an app with a poor icon I file an issue asking if the developer would like help with a nicer one. This has worked out great in most cases, and now I probably have more consistent app icons on my system than back when I used a custom theme. And of course, everyone gets to enjoy the nicer icons, not only me.

    • Distributions

      • TROMjaro Updates Deliver Lighter, Better Manjaro

        TROMjaro is based on Arch Linux but is much simpler to install and maintain. That makes it a good computing platform to investigate.

        While it is easier to install and use than most other Arch Linux-based distributions, users already familiar with how the Linux OS works will have a less challenging experience than newcomers to Linux migrating from macOS and Microsoft Windows.

        The TROMjaro desktop has its own unique look and feel, and its own approach to handling software.

        Existing TROMjaro users do not have to do anything special to update their systems if they installed an earlier ISO. Just update the TROM repository.

      • New Releases

        • Alpine 3.11.3 released

          The Alpine Linux project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 3.11.3 of its Alpine Linux operating system.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Arch Family

        • Tuxedo’s New Manjaro Linux Laptops Will Include Massive Customization

          The Manjaro/Tuxedo Computers partnership will also offer some intense customization options, Forbes adds.

          “Want your company logo laser-etched on the lid? OK. Want to swap out the Manjaro logo with your logo on the Super key? Sure, no problem. Want to show off your knowledge of fictional alien races? Why not get a 100% Klingon keyboard?”

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora’s CoreOS Released and Out for Preview (Stable & Testing Version)!

          Fedora’s CoreOS Released Now: The team Fedora officially announced that the CoreOS stable and testing version are released for users. CoreOS is designed for handling the running containerized workloads securely and at scale. Fedora’s CoreOS combines the OCI support, SELinux security for atomic host, provisioning tools and automatic update model of container Linux with the packaging technology.

        • Linux Container Fedora CoreOS Released For Public Use: Download Now!

          As per the official blog, Fedora CoreOS does not give guaranteed stability, which is challenging to achieve along with the incremental and evolving development required by Fedora CoreOS.

          However, Fedora CoreOS is still under active development. The CoreOS team promises to provide tools and work over the time to manage the impact of any regressions or breaking changes from automatic updates.

          Future of CoreOS Container Linux and Fedora Atomic Host

          CoreOS Container Linux will be maintained for a few more months, as mentioned in the latest blog by Fedora CoreOS team, whose end-of-life date will be announced later this month.

          Fedora Atomic Host has already reached end-of-life, and the users are highly recommended to migrate to Fedora CoreOS as soon as possible.

          Upcoming Enhancements

          Fedora CoreOS also serves as the upstream to Red Hat CoreOS. It aims to provide the best container host to run containerized workloads securely and at scale.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Is Making The Process Easier To Bisect Itself Using Their Wayback Machine

          For a decade now snapshot.debian.org has been around for accessing old Debian packages and to find packages by dates and version numbers. Only now though is a guide materializing for leveraging this Debian “wayback machine” in order to help in bisecting regressions for the distribution that span multiple/unknown packages.

          The bisecting is intended for Debian Sid users of the latest bleeding-edge packages and to helping track down what specific package versions may have introduced a regression. This Debian snapshot archive offers a JSON-based API to query changed packages based upon dates and from there with leveraging Git can make the bisecting manageable.

        • Stremio

          There is a new tool available for Sparkers: Stremio

          What is Stremio?

          Stremio is a one-stop hub for video content aggregation. Discover, organize and watch video from all kind of sources on any device that you own.
          Movies, TV shows, series, live television or web channels like YouTube and Twitch.tv – you can find all this on Stremio.

        • Debian 10, the clean install

          Events have ended my upgrade procrastination. Last week my hard drive started having many errors. Fortunately it lasted long enough for me to copy all of its contents to my USB backup drive. (My /home/brad directory is automatically backed up daily, but I also have separate partitions for downloaded files, PDFs, Linux CD images, and archived photos from my digital camera…and those only get backed up now and then.) Then a quick trip to the store for a new SATA hard drive.

          I suppose I could have copied my old root partition over to the new drive. But I’ve been running 32-bit Debian 8 (“Jessie”), which is now two versions behind. And I’ve been noticing more and more applications that I want to run are only being distributed for 64-bit Linux. So I decided to do a clean install of 64-bit Debian 10 (“Buster”), with my preferred MATE desktop (now a standard option with Debian).

        • gnu Linux Debian – top 1000 packages by install – popularity contest

          remember: only the installs are counted where the user said yes during setup to: „do you want to participate in popularity contest?“ (guess that many Linux users are privacy sensitive and a lot of them probably say „no“)

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • [Ubuntu] Design and Web team summary – 17 January 2020

          The second iteration of this year is the last one before our mid-cycle sprint next week.

          Here’s a short summary of the work the squads in the Web & Design team completed in the last 2-week iteration.

        • 5 key steps to take your IoT device to market

          IoT businesses are notoriously difficult to get off the ground. No matter how good your product is or how good your team is, some of the biggest problems you will face are just in getting to market and maintaining your devices once they’re in the field. The webinar will take a look at how Canonical’s Brand Store product allows you to get to market while catering for long term problems and the need to keep your product up to date in the future.

          More specifically, this webinar will look at the common problems we see organisations facing on their way to getting an IoT device to market, and cover five key steps to solve these problems. Along the way we will dig a little into serval case studies Canonical has done with various customers and partners to show you what has already been achieved with these solutions.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 7 things I learned from starting an open source project

        I’m currently involved—heavily involved—in Enarx, an open source (of course!) project to support running sensitive workloads on untrusted hosts. I’ve had involvement in various open source projects over the years, but this is the first for which I’m one of the founders. We’re at the stage now where we’ve got a fair amount of code, quite a lot of documentation, a logo, and (important!) stickers. The project will hopefully be included in a Linux Foundation group—the Confidential Computing Consortium—so things are going very well indeed.

        I thought it might be useful to reflect on some of the things we did to get things going. To be clear, Enarx is a particular type of project, one that we believe has commercial and enterprise applications. It’s also not mature yet, and we’ll have hurdles and challenges along the way. What’s more, the route we’ve taken won’t be right for all projects, but hopefully, there’s enough here to give a few pointers to other projects or people considering starting one up.

      • Open source: A matter of license and lock-in

        Recently, a few bits of newsworthy information hit the open source landscape. Separately, these pieces of news were not that glaring, but when you put them together something a bit more ominous comes into focus–something I never would have thought to be an issue within the open source community.

        Before I get into this, I want to preface this by saying I am not usually one to cry foul, wolf, or squirrel! I prefer to let those pundits who make a living at gleaning the important bits out of the big bowl of alphabet soup and draw their own conclusions. But this time, I think it’s important I chime in.

        Yes, at this very moment I am donning my tin foil hat. Why? Because I think it’s necessary. And with me sporting that shiny chapeau, understand every word you are about to read is conjecture.

      • Why Did Red Hat Drop Its Support for Docker’s Runtime Engine?
      • [KDE] Itinerary extraction in Nextcloud Hub

        Nextcloud announced their latest release and among the many new features is itinerary extraction from emails. That’s using KDE’s extraction engine, the same that powers similar features in KMail as well.

      • One open source chat tool to rule them all

        Last year, I brought you 19 days of new (to you) productivity tools for 2019. This year, I’m taking a different approach: building an environment that will allow you to be more productive in the new year, using tools you may or may not already be using.

        Instant messaging and chat have become a staple of the online world. And if you are like me, you probably have about five or six different apps running to talk to your friends, co-workers, and others. It really is a pain to keep up with it all. Thankfully, you can use one app (OK, two apps) to consolidate a lot of those chats into a single point.

      • Finance goes agile as open source checks the security box

        “At Northwestern Mutual, we’ve finally gotten past that curve,” said Sean Corkum (pictured, right), senior engineer at Northwestern Mutual. “Now we’re trying to make it even easier for our internal developers to participate in open source … and contribute more to the community.”

      • Top NLP Open Source Projects For Developers In 2020
      • Kiwi TCMS: Project roadmap 2020

        Hello testers, the Kiwi TCMS team sat down together last week and talked about what we feel is important for us during the upcoming year. This blog post outlines our roadmap for 2020!

      • Events

        • Let’s Talk With Neal Gompa of Fedora @ openSUSE Conference

          In this episode of Let’s Talk, we sat down with Neal Gompa of the Fedora community at openSUSE Conference

        • FOSSCOMM 2019 aftermath

          FOSSCOMM (Free and Open Source Software Communities Meeting) is a Greek conference aiming at free-software and open-source enthusiasts, developers, and communities. This year was held at Lamia from October 11 to October 13.

          It is a tradition for me to attend this conference. Usually, I have presentations and of course, booths to inform the attendees about the projects I represent.

          This year the structure of the conference was kind of different. Usually, the conference starts on Friday with a “beer event”. Now it started with registration and a presentation. Personally, I made my plan to leave Thessaloniki by bus. It took me about 4 hours on the road. So when I arrived, I went to my hotel and then waited for Pantelis to go to University and set up our booths.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Google announces end of support dates for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS

            The end of support for Chrome apps has been a long time coming — Google announced more than two years ago that it was going to start winding things down.

            The Chrome Web Store has already been stripped of the App section on Windows, macOS and Linux, and now Google has announced that it is to be pulled from Chrome OS too. The company has also revealed the dates on which support will be dropped completely for all platforms.

          • Linux disk resizing on Chromebooks pushed back to Chrome OS 81

            The good news is that plans have been in the works since March of last year to allow you to reclaim some of that space by shrinking or resizing the Linux storage. The bad news is that after being pushed back twice since the feature is being put off again; this time until Chrome OS 81.

            You’d think this would be a relatively simple thing to implement but in reality, it’s not. That’s because the Chrome OS filesystem has evolved in the past year and due to expected support for a particular file type for older Linux kernels never worked out.
            I’d rather the Chromium team take their time for a well designed and implemented solution so as not to break any functionality. Plus there’s the challenge of having enough free storage to restore a container backup.

        • Mozilla

          • The Pros And Cons Of Using Tor Browser

            The Tor Browser sends all traffic data through the Tor Network. Some also call it the anonymity network. It does so by connecting to a server with a list of Tor nodes and bouncing the connection through three different proxies.

            There’s an entry node, a middle relay, and an exit node that are selected at random. The connection between these different nodes is encrypted, and the IP addresses aren’t public. It makes the whole process safe and anonymous.

            The Tor Browser is easy to download and install and doesn’t cost a penny to boot. Volunteers created and run the Tor Project, so donations are welcome. Moreover, the code is open-source, which means anyone can review it. It ensures that the code stays secure, and no one can use it for any hidden exploitative money-making purposes.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Guile 3.0.0 now available

            GNU Guile, a programming and extension language for the GNU Project, is now available as version 3.0.0. According to the team, this is the first release in the stable 3.0 release series.

            The major new feature in this version is just-in-time (JIT) native code generation, which helps speed up performance. In this release, microbenchmark performance is twice as good as the 2.2 release, and some individual benchmarks have seen improvements up to 32 times as fast, according to the project maintainers.

            Other new features include support for interleaved definitions and expressions in lexical contexts, native support for structured exceptions, and improved support for R6RS and R7RS Scheme standards.

          • Experimental Support For C++20 Coroutines Has Landed In GCC 10

            As of this morning experimental support for C++20 coroutines has been merged into the GCC 10 compiler!

            Coroutines allow a function to have its execution stopped/suspended and then to be resumed later. Coroutines is one of the big features of C++20. Sample syntax and more details on C++ coroutines can be found at cppreference.com.

            Coroutines support for GCC has been under development for months and now as a late addition to GCC 10 is the experimental implementation.

          • GNU Binutils 2.34 Branched – Bringing With It “debuginfod” HTTP Server Support

            With GNU Binutils 2.34 comes debuginfod support, which is the HTTP server catching our eye while the debuginfod server is distributed as part of the latest elfutils package. This isn’t for a general purpose web server thankfully but is an HTTP server for distributing ELF/DWARF debugging information and source code. With debuginfod enabled, Binutils’ readelf and objdump utilities can query the HTTP server(s) for debug files that cannot otherwise be found. Enabling this option requires building Binutils using –with-debuginfod.

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Fugue open sources Regula to evaluate Terraform for security misconfigurations and compliance violations

            Regula rules are written in Rego, the open source policy language employed by the Open Policy Agent project and can be integrated into CI/CD pipelines to prevent cloud infrastructure deployments that may violate security and compliance best practices.

            “Developers design, build, and modify their own cloud infrastructure environments, and they increasingly own the security and compliance of that infrastructure,” said Josh Stella, co-founder and CTO of Fugue.

            “Fugue builds solutions that empower engineers operating in secure and regulated cloud environments, and Regula quickly and easily checks that their Terraform scripts don’t violate policy—before they deploy infrastructure.”

      • Programming/Development

        • Announcing git-cinnabar 0.5.3

          Git-cinnabar is a git remote helper to interact with mercurial repositories. It allows to clone, pull and push from/to mercurial remote repositories, using git.

        • Steve Kemp: Announce: github2mr

          myrepos is an excellent tool for applying git operations to multiple repositories, and I use it extensively.

          I’ve written several scripts to dump remote repository-lists into a suitable configuration format, and hopefully I’ve done that for the last time.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Term::ANSIColor 5.01

            This is the module included in Perl core that provides support for ANSI color escape sequences.

            This release adds support for the NO_COLOR environment variable (thanks, Andrea Telatin) and fixes an error in the example of uncolor() in the documentation (thanks, Joe Smith). It also documents that color aliases are expanded during alias definition, so while you can define an alias in terms of another alias, they don’t remain linked during future changes.

        • Python

          • JavaScript destructuring like Python kwargs with defaults

            I’m sure it’s been blogged about a buncha times before but, I couldn’t find it, and I had to search too hard to find an example of this.

          • Create the input text box with tkinter

            In the previous post, I have written a python program to create the database, earning table as well as input the first row of data into the earning table. In this chapter, I will create a simple UI to accept the user’s input so we do not need to hardcoded the values into the SQL query. I will leave the SQL commit code to the next chapter, we will only create a simple input’s UI in this chapter first.

            A description box and the earning box of the Earning Input user interface
            As you can see I will create the above simple UI with tkinter which can then be further upgraded in the future to include more stuff.

          • Start using 2FA and API tokens on PyPI

            To increase the security of PyPI downloads, we have added two-factor authentication (2FA) as a login security option, and API tokens for uploading packages. This is thanks to a grant from the Open Technology Fund, coordinated by the Packaging Working Group of the Python Software Foundation.

            If you maintain or own a project on the Python Package Index, you should start using these features. Click “help” on PyPI for instructions. (These features are also available on Test PyPI.)

          • How to Build RESTful APIs with Python and Flask

            For some time now I have been working with Python but I just got to try out Flask recently, so I felt it would be nice to write about it. In this aritcle I’ll discuss about Flask and how you can use it to build RESTfull APIs.

            Flask is a Python-based microframework that enables you to quickly build web applications; the “micro” in microframework simply means Flask aims to keep the core simple but extensible.

          • Reading Binary Data with Python

            When you deal with external binary data in Python, there are a couple of ways to get that data into a data structure. You can use the ctypes module to define the data structure or you can use the struct python module.

            You will see both methods used when you explore tool repositories on the web. This article shows you how to use each one to read an IPv4 header off the network. It’s up to you to decide which method you prefer; either way will work fine.

          • Python 3.7.5 : Django security issues – part 001.

            Django like any website development and framework implementation requires security settings and configurations.
            Today I will present some aspects of this topic and then I will come back with other information.

          • How to display flash messages in Django templates

            Sometimes we need to show the one-time notification, also known as the flash messages in our Django application. For this Django provides the messages framework. We are going to use the same here.

            To show flash messages in the Django application, we will extend our previous project Hello World in Django 2.2. Clone the git repository, check out the master branch and set up the project on your local machine by following the instructions in the README file.

  • Leftovers

    • Baby Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark

      In violation of the separation of church and state, American tax dollars are funneled to fundamentalist private schools teaching crackpot absurdities – such as a claim that Noah probably took two baby dinosaurs onto his ark.

    • Brecht in Berlin

      One of Brecht’s best-loved and most-performed works, The Caucasian Chalk Circle was written in Los Angeles in 1944 while the playwright was still in exile. He returned to Germany in 1947, but the play remained behind, a parting gift to the country that had offered him refuge from the Nazis, but which, with the Cold War heating up and the House Un-American Activities Committee in full lather, had turned against his socialist politics. With Brecht back in East Berlin, The Caucasian Chalk Circle received its premiere in May of 1948 in a student production at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota under the direction of the young theater professor Henry Goodman, a World War II veteran.

      A native of Minneapolis, Goodman had been stationed in Berlin during the occupation and had seen Brecht’s work onstage in the devastated city. From America Brecht had tried to stop such productions. In September of 1945 he wrote to the Soviet cultural official Mikhail Apletin requesting that all further stagings of his work be forbidden until his own repatriation to Germany. Brecht was appalled that a production of his Threepenny Opera—utterly inappropriate given the circumstances, he thought—had been mounted in August of 1945, just a few months after the end of the war, and likely seen by Goodman. In the new post-Nazi, post-War world, Brecht felt all his plays needed at least some revision. The only work he believed ready for immediate presentation was Fear and Misery of the Third Reich.

    • Education

      • Why College Should Be Free

        Obviously, I am making an analogy with free college. And obviously, people who don’t support free college (and probably many who do) are going to reject this analogy. Here are some possible counterarguments: [...]

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Evidence Shows Whooping Cough Is Evolving Into a ‘Superbug’, Scientists Warn

        In new world-first research, a team of Australian scientists has discovered how B. pertussis strains are adapting to the current acellular vaccine (ACV) used in Australia, which is similar to the ACVs used for whooping cough in other countries around the world.

        “We found the whooping cough strains were evolving to improve their survival, regardless of whether a person was vaccinated or not,” explains microbiologist Laurence Luu from UNSW.

      • Federal Regulators: Newark Beth Israel Put Patients in “Immediate Jeopardy”

        Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s heart and lung transplant program was putting patients in “immediate jeopardy” before the hospital began to implement corrective measures, according to federal regulators.

        In a pair of reports sent to the Newark, New Jersey, hospital on Dec. 12, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that the transplant program repeatedly failed to fix mistakes. Spurred by ProPublica articles, the CMS investigation uncovered a series of incidents in which the hospital identified areas for improvement following botched surgeries but didn’t carry out its own recommendations, allowing “subsequent adverse events to occur.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Boeing discovers new software problem in 737 Max

          The news comes following the release of internal documents showing employees knew about problems with pilot training for the 737 MAX and tried to conceal them from regulators. In the documents released by US lawmakers, Boeing employees said the aircraft was “designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys,” in an apparent reference to regulators.

        • A Georgia election server was vulnerable to Shellshock and may have been hacked

          Forensic evidence shows signs that a Georgia election server may have been hacked ahead of the 2016 and 2018 elections by someone who exploited Shellshock, a critical flaw that gives attackers full control over vulnerable systems, a computer security expert said in a court filing on Thursday.

          Shellshock came to light in September 2014 and was immediately identified as one of the most severe vulnerabilities to be disclosed in years. The reasons: it (a) was easy to exploit, (b) gave attackers the ability to remotely run commands and code of their choice, and (c) opened most Linux and Unix systems to attack. As a result, the flaw received widespread news coverage for months.

        • Micro Focus AD Bridge 2.0: Extending security policies and access controls to cloud-based Linux

          With AD Bridge 2.0, organizations can leverage existing infrastructure authentication, security as well as policy, in order to simplify the migration of on-premises Linux Active Directory to the cloud, resulting in fully secured and managed Linux virtual machines in the cloud.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • [Attacker] stole [sic] over 10,000 hospital files

            Jason Corden-Bowen, of the CPS, said: “Moonie had no right to access confidential patient and staff records. He admitted his earlier wrongdoing and accepted a police caution yet he went ahead to reoffend knowing fully well it was not just against hospital procedures but it was wrong and illegal.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Dear Reuters: This Is NOT How You Report On Dishonest, Disingenuous Talking Points From US Officials Regarding Encryption

              Attorney General William Barr and his DOJ and FBI have really ramped up their bullshit campaign against the public being able to use encryption. President Trump himself weighed in himself with some ignorant statements, suggesting that Apple owes him some sort of quid pro quo, because his policies may have helped them on trade:

            • FBI used Graykey to unlock an iPhone 11 Pro, which was previously thought to be the most secure iPhone

              A recent article by Thomas Brewster at Forbes highlights the fact that the FBI is able to unlock iPhones using a product called Graykey. Specifically, a product called Graykey was used in a case against Baris Ali Koch to unlock Koch’s iPhone – an iPhone 11 Pro. Graykey works by bypassing the timeout functionality in iOS and allows for brute forcing of the passcode or password.

            • Police forces around the world continue to deploy facial recognition systems, despite no evidence of their utility

              Last month, this blog wrote about governments around the world continuing to trial facial recognition systems, and the growing concerns this is provoking. There’s one area in particular where facial recognition systems are deployed: law enforcement. That’s hardly a surprise, since the legal system can only operate if it identifies alleged criminals that need to be arrested, tried and punished. But it also emphasizes how facial recognition is seen by many as a natural tool for controlling populations. The most famous example is in China, where facial recognition systems are widely deployed, especially in the turkic-speaking region of Xinjiang. The situation is getting so bad that even Chinese citizens are becoming concerned.

            • Report: Adult Site Leaks Extremely Sensitive Data of Cam Models

              There are at least 875,000 keys, which represent different file types, including videos, marketing materials, photographs, clips and screenshots of video chats, and zip files. Within each zip folder – and there is apparently one zip folder per model – there are often multiple additional files (e.g. photographs and scans of documents), and many additional items that we chose not to investigate.

              The folders included could be up to 15-20 years old, but are also as recent as the last few weeks. Even for older files, given the nature of the data, it is still relevant and of equal impact as newly added files.

            • 2019 End of Year Campaign Wrap Up – Thanks for Helping Tor Take Back the Internet

              Our commitment to privacy extends to our donors. We execute our fundraising in a way that is very different than other nonprofits. We never share your information with third parties. We never receive potential new donor information from outside sources. We do not track the behavior of our donors when you open our emails. We allow donors to choose what information you share with us. You can be more anonymous by sending a money order to our physical address or utilizing cryptocurrency to protect your personal information. Privacy is limited by requirements of the most popular donation methods, PayPal or credit card, but we are committed to offering privacy-preserving methods of making donations.

            • America’s Most Powerful Woman Called Mark Zuckerberg a Crook. Facebook Has No Rebuttal

              “They don’t care about the impact on children. They don’t care about truth,” she said, adding that Facebook’s only interest is turning a profit. Facebook has “schmoozed” the administration—a likely reference to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s secretive dinners with President Trump—because “all they want is their tax cuts and no antitrust action against them.”

              “I think that what they have said very blatantly, very clearly, that they intend to be accomplices for misleading the American people with money from god knows where. They didn’t even check on the money from Russia in the last election. They never even thought they should,” Pelosi said, before returning to the topic at hand, the Senate’s looming impeachment trial.

            • The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It

              Clearview has shrouded itself in secrecy, avoiding debate about its boundary-pushing technology. When I began looking into the company in November, its website was a bare page showing a nonexistent Manhattan address as its place of business. The company’s one employee listed on LinkedIn, a sales manager named “John Good,” turned out to be Mr. Ton-That, using a fake name. For a month, people affiliated with the company would not return my emails or phone calls.

              While the company was dodging me, it was also monitoring me. At my request, a number of police officers had run my photo through the Clearview app. They soon received phone calls from company representatives asking if they were talking to the media — a sign that Clearview has the ability and, in this case, the appetite to monitor whom law enforcement is searching for.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • A Conflict Fueled By Global Warming

        One of the world’s worst humanitarian crises is unfolding on the shores of Lake Chad, according to the United Nations. In Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, people are suffering from more than just extreme poverty. Boko Haram and other violent Islamist groups combined with corrupt governments and the absence of any functional state administration are making their lives hell — not to mention diseases, natural disasters and overpopulation. All these problems are now being made worse by climate change.

      • Gun-Rights Activists Gear Up for Show of Force in Virginia

        Police are scouring the internet for clues about plans for mayhem, workers are putting up chain-link holding pens around Virginia’s picturesque Capitol Square, and one lawmaker even plans to hide in a safe house in advance of what’s expected to be an unprecedented show of force by gun-rights activists.

      • City Of Dallas Shuts Down Business Of Man Who Called Cops Over 100 Times In 20 Months To Deal With Criminals Near His Car Wash

        Let’s talk about nuisance abatement laws. These are laws cities can use to shut down businesses that appear to draw more than their fair share of the criminal element.

      • Riots in Lebanon’s Capital Leave More Than 150 Injured

        Police fired volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets in Lebanon’s capital Saturday to disperse thousands of protesters amid some of the worst rioting since demonstrations against the country’s ruling elite erupted three months ago. More than 150 people were injured.

      • Eminem Attacked for Rapping About 2017 Manchester Arena Bombing

        The latest album by rapper Eminem is facing backlash over lyrics that seemingly make light of the 2017 bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

      • As Iran and Iraq simmer, giants of Shiite world vie for influence

        “Lots of Iraqis believe in Iran,” says Hisham al-Hashemi, a security analyst with the European Institute of Peace. “They believe in it as an Islamic Revolution, and the right for this revolution to cross borders everywhere.”

      • War in Syria drives out Christian community

        The recent history of the Christians of the Khabur Valley is a nightmare in a loop. They are descendants of those who fled Anatolia during the 1915 genocide. Iraq was a first stop for many, but life there was far from easy either. After a massacre in northern Iraq in 1933, many crossed to French-controlled Syria, where they settled along the Khabur River.

        Once a thriving community of 15,000 individuals in the Khabur Valley, local NGOs say there are a “few hundred” left in the area following the IS offensive in 2015.

        “It was IS back in 2015 and it’s very much the same people right now,” said Lunan. Videos continue to emerge of Turkish-backed Islamists committing atrocities against civilians.

    • Environment

      • Michigan’s ‘green ooze’ may be ‘tip of iceberg’ of state’s toxic sites

        The discovery of toxic PFAS chemicals at a contaminated site in Madison Heights could triple the cost of an already expensive cleanup effort, a state official told lawmakers Wednesday.

        And taxpayers could get stuck with the bill to clean up the green ooze site, since it’s unclear if its imprisoned owner can pay for it.

        “Is it $2 million? Is it $20 million? I don’t know, but it’s not in the hundreds of thousands. It’s in the millions,” said Tracy Kecskemeti, southeast district coordinator for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).

      • Brazil’s indigenous communities resist Bolsonaro

        Meanwhile, in southern Brazil, the Kaingang are working to reforest their land with araucaria, an indigenous tree which produces a fruit they can eat and sell, and that supports indigenous wildlife. For Marcio Kokoj of the Kaingang Guarani Indigenous Environmental Association, the Bolsonaro government feels like a throwback to Brazil’s military dictatorship that murdered thousands of indigenous people, drove thousands more from their lands, and tortured many and enslaved others between 1964 and 1985.

        “The greatest concern today is with the attacks on the demarcations of our lands, we therefore need to make self-demarcation,” Kokoj said. “If it depends on Bolsonaro, he will open up areas for large-scale agricultural production, multinationals, mining. That worries us a lot.”

        Self-demarcation is when indigenous communities draw the boundaries of their own territory, often expelling illegal occupants, such as loggers.

      • No one will be untouched by a warming planet, scientists say

        Climate change is costing cities as they try to adapt and mitigate. Farmers are facing increasing challenges, which can lead to consumers paying more for food. Extreme weather disasters are on the rise in Canada and costing insurance companies, leading to higher premiums. People are dying in heat waves which are set to become more frequent as the planet warms; and hurricanes are stalling, meaning more people are in danger for longer periods of time.

      • With Passage of NAFTA 2.0, Congress Boosts Fossil Fuel Polluters in Mexico

        NAFTA 2.0 cleared another hurdle on January 16 as the U.S. Senate approved the trade deal with bipartisan support.

      • This Is Our Last Decade to Get Climate Right

        The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in October 2018 that we have 12 years to keep global temperatures increases at 1.5 degrees Celsius or less. Now, we have more like 10 years.

      • Activists Find Evidence of Formosa Plant in Texas Still Releasing Plastic Pollution Despite $50 Million Settlement

        Their suit against Formosa Plastics Corp. USA resulted in a $50-million-dollar settlement and a range of conditions in an agreement known as a consent decree. Key among the conditions was the company’s promise to halt releasing the nurdles it manufactures into local waterways leading to the Texas Gulf Coast by January 15.

      • Energy

        • How One Utah Community Fought the Fracking Industry — and Won
        • ‘Pete Takes Money From Fossil Fuel Billionaires’: Climate Activists Disrupt Buttigieg Rally in New Hampshire

          “We are really concerned about candidates who have taken money from fossil-fuel executives. So that includes Joe Biden as well as Pete Buttigieg.”

        • Big Oil sponsors Croatia’s EU presidency

          The six-month Croatian presidency of the Council of the EU has signed a deal with the country’s national oil company INA to supply its fuel.
          The part state-owned firm is now designated as the EU council presidency’s “official gasoline supplier” – and comes during the launch of the European Commission’s European Green Deal, a seminal policy that seeks to cut carbon emissions and fossil fuel consumption across the European Union over the next three decades.

          “INA is proud to be official fuel supplier during Croatian’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2020. The company will provide fuel for official vehicles,” it said when asked for a comment.
          The deal, described as an in-kind contribution, was confirmed to EUobserver by the secretariat of the Croatian Presidency (EU2020HR) whose spokesperson, in an email, also noted it had signed sponsorship deals with six other Croat companies.

          “The EU2020HR has so far signed seven sponsorship agreements with exclusively Croatian companies. When we complete the list of sponsors full information will be posted on the EU2020HR website,” said the secretariat on Wednesday (15 January).

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Pacific Ocean’s Warm “Blob” Killed a Million Seabirds in One Year

          For this new study, published in the journal PLOS One Wednesday, researchers from the University of Washington, the United States Geological Survey, and other institutions determined that approximately 62,000 murre carcasses had washed ashore from central California through Alaska between the summer of 2015 and spring of 2016.

          In some locations, the number of carcasses was 1,000 times more than normal. In total, the researchers estimate that one million murres died during the time period they studied, making the event the largest mass death of seabirds in recorded history.

        • Victoria Police rejects social media campaign claiming arson caused fires

          Victoria Police say the fires engulfing the eastern part of Victoria are not being treated as the work of arsonists, as claimed by a widespread social media campaign.

          In the past week, a Twitter hashtag #ArsonEmergency – mimicking the popular #BushfireEmergency hashtag – attracted thousands of tweets linking the fires to arsonists and casting doubt on the role of climate change in exacerbating the bushfires’ severity.

          But authorities have moved to dispel those claims.

          “Police are aware of a number of posts circulating in relation to the current bushfire situation, however currently there is no intelligence to indicate that the fires in East Gippsland and north-east Victoria have been caused by arson or any other suspicious behaviour,” a police spokeswoman said.

        • WHEN IT COMES TO THE AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRES, RUPERT MURDOCH IS AN ARSONIST

          In times of crisis, social media can become a hotbed of misinformation. Often it’s accidental—people sharing faulty information they think is true, based on unconfirmed initial reports, or comical trolling, like the now-nearly-decade-old “shark on the highway” photoshop that gets shared during seemingly every hurricane landfall. But there is increasingly another sort of misinformation, and it’s much more sinister. It’s the deliberate injection of lies, disinformation, employing a combination of high profile trolls and bot armies to wage a public disinformation campaign.

          The bushfires currently engulfing Australia offer an unwelcome example, one that I’m watching from front row seats here in the country. Little did I know when I planned my sabbatical in Sydney to study the impact of climate change on extreme weather events in Australia, that I would be here in the country to witness what is arguably the most profound example yet of that phenomenon. As I write this commentary, I’m looking out at smoke-tinged skies while the faint smell of smoke wafts in through an open window. Living through its consequences, even as we study it, is a recurring irony of climate science in the 21st century.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Airbus Asks Court To Dismiss Chuck Yeager’s Lawsuit, Pointing Out It Doesn’t Allege Anything Actionable

        You may recall that last summer we wrote about how American aviation legend Chuck Yeager decided to sue Airbus when the company mentioned the fact that Yeager broke the sound barrier in marketing material. Yeager’s lawyer is Lincoln Bandlow, who has spent much of the past few years as a copyright troll after a formerly respectable career in which he once touted himself a free-speech fighter. His complaint, however, served mostly as comedic material. There were claims of trademark infringement and violation of Yeager’s publicity rights. Neither made much sense, as repeating a historical fact, even in marketing material, does not constitute either violation and is clearly protected speech. It was only a matter of time before Airbus responded and now we have that response.

      • Marin to meet with Google, Apple CEOs at Davos conference

        During the 22-24 January conference, Marin also meet with leaders of major tech firms including Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft President Brad Smith to discuss “new technologies and data policy, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development and job creation,” the statement says. Google has a major data centre in Hamina, while Microsoft shut down its product development operations in Finland in 2016.

      • Harry, Meghan to Give Up Public Funds, ‘Highness’ Titles Under Deal

        Goodbye, your royal highnesses. Hello, life as — almost — ordinary civilians.

      • Bernie Sanders Denounces Trump’s Effort to Divide Democrats

        After President Donald Trump earlier in the day accused Democrats in Congress of “rigging the election again against Bernie Sanders,” the 2020 presidential candidate shot back Friday evening to say the president’s effort to divide Democrats would be unsuccessful.

      • “Let’s Be Clear About Who Is Rigging What”: Bernie Sanders Denounces Trump Effort to Divide Democrats

        2020 candidate says only reason for impeachment trial is president’s effort to “use the power of the federal government for his own political benefit.”

      • Yes Minister Fan Fiction

        I have been rather unwell this last week with atrial fibrillation, and at 5am last Sunday morning had the paramedics out and puzzling over the ECG results. This particularly severe episode was a result of being out in the cold and storm for hours on the AUOB march, and I felt so guilty at being a self-inflicted drain on the NHS that I declined their offer to take me into hospital and decided to recover at home.

      • How an Anti-Sexist Candidate Got Smeared as Sexist

        The recent scandal alleging that Bernie Sanders told Elizabeth Warren a woman couldn’t beat Trump captured attention for days. The manufactured narrative shows how the media repeats cynical, bad-faith attacks until they get seen as fact.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Iranian Tech Users Are Getting Knocked Off the Web by Ambiguous Sanctions

        Between targeted killings, retaliatory air strikes, and the shooting of a civilian passenger plane, the last few weeks have been marked by tragedy as tensions rise between the U.S. and Iranian governments. In the wake of these events, Iranians within the country and in the broader diaspora have suffered further from actions by both administrations—including violence and lethal force against protesters and internet shutdowns in Iran, as well as detention, surveillance and device seizure at the U.S. border and exacerbating economic conditions from U.S. sanctions. And to make matters worse, American tech companies are acting on sanctions through an overbroad lens, making it much harder for Iranian people to be able to share their stories with each other and with the broader world.

        The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions that target foreign countries, groups, and individuals. Some of these sanctions impact the export to Iran (or use by residents of the country) of certain types of technology, although trying to parse precisely which types are affected appears to have left some companies puzzled.

      • ‘King Of Bullshit News’ Sees His Bullshit Libel Lawsuit Tossed For A Second Time

        Michael Leidig, the owner of Central European News, wasn’t thrilled BuzzFeed called him the “King of Bullshit News” in a 2015 article. The BuzzFeed investigation dug into CEN’s publishing business and found the company did nothing more than generate a steady stream of salacious and rarely plausible “news” stories, which were then picked up by other “news” agencies (Mirror, Sun, etc.) less concerned with accurate reporting than with racking up page views.

      • Joe Biden Can’t Tell The Difference Between The 1st Amendment & Section 230; Still Thinks Video Games Cause Violence

        Joe Biden is the latest Democratic candidate for President interviewed by the NY Times editorial board, and if you’re interested in tech policy, well, it’s a doozy. Biden seems confused, misinformed, or simply wrong about a lot of issues from free speech to Section 230 to copyright to video games. It’s really bad. We already knew he was on an anti 230 kick when he gave a confused quote on it late last year, but for the NY Times he goes even further:

      • Turkey restores access to Wikipedia after 991 days

        Internet rights group Turkey Blocks first reported the block on April 29 2017, establishing technical evidence of a nationwide restriction in the absence of a court order or official notice. After the initial blocking, authorities explained that the entirety of Wikipedia was restricted because attempts by state officials to amend specific articles via the platform’s own editorial process and legal demands had both been unsuccessful.

        The site uses TLS encryption to enforce HTTPS security, an industry standard that provides user confidentiality and makes it impossible for governments to censor individual web pages. Hence, network operators blocked the entire platform in order to comply with the order. The sites were blocked with a combination of SNI filtering and DNS poisoning at the ISP level, with each telecom operator responsible for technical implementation of restrictions.

      • National Archives Censors Anti-Trump Messages from 2017 Women’s March Photo to Avoid ‘Political Controversy’

        A massive, blown-up photo of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, D.C., currently on display in the National Archives, has been altered to remove anti-Trump messages, in order to avoid “political controversy.”

        As reported in the Washington Post, the photograph, taken by Mario Tama for Getty Images, sits near the entrance to a National Archives exhibit on the women’s suffrage movement. But upon closer inspection, it’s clear that the exhibited photo has been quietly changed, with any mentions of President Donald Trump, as well as references to parts of female anatomy like “vagina” and “pussy,” blurred out from the protestors’ signs.

      • Librarians, Advocacy Groups Take Action Against Missouri’s Proposed Censorship Legislation

        As news broke about HB 2044, legislation proposed in the state of Missouri which would open wide the doors to rampant censorship of library material and prosecution of librarians, librarians and library advocacy groups got to work.

        “Public libraries already have procedures in place to assist patrons in protecting their own children while not infringing upon the rights of other patrons or restricting materials. The Missouri Library Association will always stand against censorship and for the freedom to read, and therefore opposes Missouri House Bill 2044,” reads the statement from Missouri Library Association president Cynthia Dudenhoffer. “Public libraries exist to provide equitable access to information to all of its users, as it is key to having an informed populace. Missouri Library Association will always oppose legislation that infringes on these rights.”

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Cambodia: Drop Charges Against 2 Journalists

        Expand

        Former RFA reporters Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin speak to the media outside of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Aug. 29, 2019.

      • Obama Freed Chelsea Manning Three Years Ago. Why Is She Still in Jail?

        The country that Manning stepped into in 2017 was very different from the one she essentially left in 2010. For one, Donald Trump was president, and his administration was already outwardly hostile toward her—only days after he was inaugurated, Trump called Manning an “ungrateful traitor” in a tweet.

      • Impeachment trial security crackdown will limit Capitol press access

        “There is no additional safety or security brought by bringing such a device into reporter work space and gives the impression that it is being done mostly to protect Senators from the bright light of the public knowing what they are doing in one of the country’s most important moments,” the Standing Committee of Correspondents wrote in a letter Tuesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

      • EU could force mobile phone manufacturers to standardise chargers

        “To reduce electronic waste and make consumers’ life easier, MEPs want binding measures for chargers to fit all mobile phones and other portable devices,” claims the briefing.

        The parliament plans to vote on the measures in the next month.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Verizon Kills Cable Contracts As TV Sector Finally Starts Listening To Cord Cutters. Kind Of.

        Remember cord cutting? The trend that cable and broadcast execs and countless sector analysts spent years claiming either wasn’t real, didn’t matter, or would most certainly end once Millennials started procreating? It set records in 2019, and despite some wishful thinking among cable TV executives, there’s no real sign that the trend is going anywhere thanks to the continued rise of new streaming services.

      • ICANN Needs To Ask More Questions About the Sale of .ORG

        Over 21,000 people, 660 organizations, and now six Members of Congress have asked ICANN, the organization that regulates the Internet’s domain name system, to halt the $1.135 billion deal that would hand control over PIR, the .ORG domain registry, to private equity. There are crucial reasons this sale is facing significant backlash from the nonprofit and NGO communities who make the .ORG domain their online home, and perhaps none of them are more concerning than the speed of the deal and the dangerous lack of transparency that’s accompanied it. 

        Less than three months have passed from the announcement of the sale—which took the nonprofit community by surprise—to the final weeks in which ICANN is expected to make its decision, giving those affected almost no chance to have a voice, much less stop it. The process so far, including information that the buyer, Ethos Capital, provided to ICANN in late December, raises more questions than it answers. U.S. lawmakers are correct that “the Ethos Capital takeover of the .ORG domain fails the public interest test in numerous ways.”

    • Monopolies

      • 2019 Income Sources

        Trad pub certainly sells a bunch through Amazon. Traditional publishers put even more effort into diversification than I do. I’m going to assume that they’re at least as successful as I am, and roughly one-third of my trad pub income comes through Amazon. This means Amazon backs roughly 42% of my income.

      • Book Review: 3D Printing and Intellectual Property

        One of the subjects that IP laws have had to grapple with in the 21st century is that of 3D printing technology. 3D printers manufacture physical objects based on input from a digital file. The range of 3D printable products includes medical products, aesthetic products, plane parts, toys, buildings, guns etc. With the opportunities offered by 3D printing technology comes the worry from the IP community that the technology is susceptible to abuse and undue exploitation of IP rights. In 3D Printing and Intellectual Property, Lucas S. Osborn explains the technical aspects of 3D printing in plain language before going on to address how various aspects of IP laws (copyright, trademarks, patent and design laws) confronts the issues raised by 3D printing technology. A primer chapter on the foundations of IP law provides a much-needed context for the issues at the root of IP law concerns about 3D printing.

        [...]

        This book will be relevant to a variety of readers: lawyers, lawmakers, policymakers and judges. For its plain, easy-to-read language and its coverage of technical aspects of the 3D printing technology, this book will also be relevant to technologists and artists. Having said that, legal practitioners and scholars in the US, Europe and many countries in the Global North might find the book more relevant than practitioners from the Global South and the African continent, as it focuses on the former jurisdictions.

      • Patents

        • Proportionality clause in draft German patent reform bill falls short of not only eBay v. MercExchange but also the EU’s definition

          The debate over a draft patent reform bill presented by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection is raging. I outlined some fundamental issues on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the ministry has published its draft bill.

          On his (strongly recommended) Comparative Patent Remedies blog, Professor Thomas Cotter indicated my reaction to the draft bill made more sense to him after reading the explanations provided by the ministry. The rationale provided for the measure, and the legislative intent expressed in the “Eckpunktepapier,” are very clear that they don’t mean to change anything about where the case law already stands under the current statutory framework. Yesterday, CIPLITEC hosted a speech by Presiding Judge Ulrike Voss (“Voß” in German) of the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court (not to be confused for Andreas Voß of the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court, formerly Mannheim Regional Court). The last question an attendee had for the appellate judge was about what the reform bill would change, and essentially she said this:

          There’s the statute, and there’s the rationale given by the ministry. As a judge, she’ll be sure to read the rationale part as well, but the statute will be the law to apply. The rationale says that there’s no intent to change anything, and the language of the statute is consistent with existing case law. Yet the courts may ask themselves whether the fact that the law was amended means that some change of the situation was intended anyway, contrary to the official statement by the ministry. She certainly predicted that the statute would encourage defendants to argue proportionality more frequently than before.

          The judge went on to say that there might be a bit more of an opening for exceptional cases in which the defendant would, on the basis of proportionality, be granted not only a transitional (workaround/”use-up”) period as stated by the Federal Court of Justice in the Heat Exchanger decision, but in some cases might be able to elude injunctive relief on a permanent basis. She did, however, note that “it would take a lot” to get to that point, and in response to a follow-up question agreed that the standard for that would be clearly more demanding than the one for a transitional period. In my opinion, while Heat Exchanger addressed the hypothetical possibility of a use-up period and stopped short of suggesting a permanent denial of injunctive relief, it didn’t preclude that from being the outcome in some extreme cases either. So the door was never closed, but the judge has a point that it may be slightly more open now.

        • Shooting from the Hip and Curing a Premature Appeal

          When I first wrote about Amgen v. Amneal, I focused on the patent law issue regarding Markush groups in the patent claims. Here, I want to circle back to the question appellate jurisdiction. I’ll be teaching the 2nd semester of Civil Procedure at Mizzou this spring and appellate jurisdiction is the the first topic up for grabs.

          Most patent infringement litigation reaches the Federal Circuit under the “final judgment rule” which creates appellate jurisdiction over cases “appealed from a final decision of a district court.” 28 U.S.C. 1295(a)(1). Final decisions “are decisions that end litigation on the merits and leave nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment.” Slip op.; Coopers & Lybrand v. Livesay, 437 U.S. 463, 467 (1978). Thus, in a patent case involving infringement claims and invalidity defenses, both must be resolved before appeal. (Note here, that there are some, albeit limited, options for interlocutory appeals prior to final judgment).

          [...]

          Too Short Analysis: The Federal Circuit did not cite any precedent or statute to support its conclusion that the oral-argument waiver can cure the lack of final judgment. The procedure principles here fall within the umbrella of “cumulative finality.” Most courts have accepted the notion that a premature appeal can be cured by a subsequent entry of final judgment by the district court. However, some courts have taken an alternative approach.

        • Without eBay factor #2, German patent reform movement is left with nothing but Kremlinology, spin, and self-delusion: licensing vs. injunction

          Thanks to both those favoring and those opposing patent injunction reform in Germany who gave me feedback. What I hear for the most part is that people appreciate my relentless pursuit of harsh analysis. The injunction-related part of the German patent reform bill is redundant boilerplate of the kind that’s not really going to move the needle. Someone has to tell it like it is. The only good news so far is that Ingmar Jung, the rapporteur of the CDU/CSU (= the chancellor’s party) group in the German Federal Parliament, told Handelsblatt that they’re going to “scrutinize and discuss” the proposal.

          I’m quoted in that same article, saying that the proposed reform, a draft version of which was revealed earlier this week, fails to deliver meaningful progress as a prevailing patentee simply needs to make a licensing offer that may be excessive, but just not excessive enough for the court to categorize as unreasonable based on a superficial analysis. In that case, the “infringer” will be considered an “unwilling licensee,” and the injunction will come down regardless of the damage it may do.

          While I agree with at least one of the thought leaders of the reform movement who says that he sorely misses (as do I) a reference to the commercial value of an invention underlying an injunction patent relative to the accused product, even that perspective isn’t comprehensive enough. At the heart of the single biggest issue there’s the total absence, from the statute as well as the government’s rationale, of the second eBay v. MercExchange factor: the requirement for an injunction that monetary relief (= a damages award) be “inadequate” to make the patentee whole. That includes, but is not limited to, the intrinsic value of the invention at issue and its relevance to the accused product.

        • Obstruction Ahead! The IPEC decision in Adolf Nissen Elektrobau v Horizont Group

          As an early Christmas gift, on 18 December 2019, His Honour Judge Hacon handed down a judgment in the matter of Adolf Nissen Elektrobau v Horizont Group. This case concerned the field of electric road traffic signs. Horizont’s UK patent (the ‘Patent’) claimed a board to be mounted on to vehicles which had an arrangement of lights which included flashing directional arrows and a warning cross which was shown in a different colour in a constant light. The benefits of the invention was said to be causing “increased levels of attention” to road users due to the “unusual – and thus unexpected – form and colour”. Oddly the Patent specification described mobile electric road traffic devices that were known in the art as those that include directional arrows and warning crosses both of which flash and are in a yellow colour. This, however, was not in line with UK road traffic regulations which require that the crosses are constant (not flashing) and are red. It was noted in the decision that yellow flashing arrows and crosses are consistent with German road traffic regulations.

          Adolf Nissen (‘Nissen’) sought to revoke Horizont’s Patent for lack of inventive step over three pieces of prior art: DE007 (a German Utility Model), a US Patent (‘Pederson’) and the prior use of one of Nissen’s traffic boards. The court held that Horizont’s Patent was invalid as it lacked inventive step over DE007 and one of Nissen’s traffic boards. DE007 described a panel with flashing lights which could be “interconnected to represent a leftward or rightward arrow or a diagonal cross”. Horizont argued, among other things, that DE007 differed from the Patent as it did not display a constant (i.e. not flashing) red cross. It was held that it would be obvious to adapt DE007 to show a constant red cross as well as flashing yellow arrows as these were conventional road traffic signals in the UK. The skilled person would have known how to achieve this as part of his common general knowledge (‘CGK’) using LEDs of two colours in the spotlights. Further it was held that the any reservations the skilled person might have concerning safety or regulatory approval were not relevant to the assessment of obviousness. Turning to the other successful piece of prior art: Nissen’s traffic board. This was supplied with a purely yellow LED display which contained a full library of possible signs, including a cross or flashing yellow arrows. As this yellow LED display was not in line with UK regulations, it was argued that the skilled person would not find this purely yellow LED display useful and therefore it would be obvious to incorporate red LEDs to allow the optional display of a red cross, so as to comply with UK regulations. This would make the device familiar to UK road users.

        • Help or headache? Counsel share data tips and pitfalls

          Data is providing both headaches and solutions for corporates, according to in-house lawyers, who say that data mining has proven to be a useful means of tracking down infringers.

        • Cross-Licenses, Royalty Stacking, and Patent Disputes

          While the majority of U.S. patent litigation is now NPE litigation (and has been since at least 2009), litigation between operating companies continues to occur at roughly the same rate as it has for the past 20 years. (So much for the idea that IPR or eBay destroyed the ability for patent owners to enforce their intellectual property.)

          These two categories of litigation are often fundamentally different, occurring for completely different reasons. For every Smartphone War, there are dozens of cases that are fundamentally about getting a competitor to pay a little more for the license they were probably already discussing taking. That’s true in cellular technology, but it’s true in a lot of other areas as well, ranging from semiconductor manufacturing to automotive to digital video. It’s relatively rare for an operating company to file a lawsuit without discussing the possibility of a license first—after all, patent litigation is expensive and if you can avoid it, why wouldn’t you? (This is also why large companies employ entire teams of people whose sole job is to make deals to license patents—at least, once they’re aware those patents exist and have a chance to evaluate infringement.)

          But there are a couple of considerations that can make it hard to get to an agreement as to that license. These considerations can result in litigation being filed—and often quickly settled after the parties refocus on negotiations, realizing that they’d far rather have a deal than spend tens of millions on protracted patent litigation.

          [...]

          Another issue is royalty stacking. When you have a complex multi-component product it could potentially require licensing hundreds or thousands of patents. Smartphones might implicate more than 250,000 patents. And if each licensee asks for 1% of the sales price, you can very quickly wind up paying more for licenses than you’ll make from the product—at which point you just don’t make the product. That’s the essence of the royalty stacking problem.

          One analysis, examining the royalty stack problem for smartphones, arrived at an estimate of more than $120 in patent royalties for a $400 smartphone. Each licensee, individually, might only receive $0.50 or $1.00 or $9.00 per phone—but, when summed up, the licenses approach the cost of the hardware. That situation recurs in many consumer products—for example, consumer audio-visual devices may need to license Wi-Fi patents, A/V codecs, user interface patents, and other features, all of which can add up quickly on a $50 or $100 device.

          Effectively, the royalty stacking problem is a species of tragedy of the commons. Licensors are incentivized to extract the highest possible royalty from the manufacturer, but if every licensor does so, they run the risk of the product becoming unprofitable and the manufacturer ceasing to manufacture it. Even worse, licensors generally don’t have knowledge of the total royalty stack of the party they’re negotiating with, meaning that their idea of a reasonable portion of the stack may be very different from what the licensee knows is possible. (And licensees are generally obligated to keep their licenses secret, meaning they can’t share how much they’re paying as a way of reducing this knowledge gap during negotiation.)

          At the end of the day, the licensor may think they’re asking for something reasonable, while the licensee knows the requested royalty is out of line with licenses for similar patents and paying that rate would drive the product into unprofitability, a net loss for all involved. Again, this can make it difficult to reach a settlement.

        • 2020 is set to be a crucial year for Standard-Essential Patent litigation in Europe

          The debate over standard-essential patents (SEPs) is typically distinguished as much by concerns over competition than issues of patent law per se. Erixon argues: ‘…SEP disputes are less concerned about the rights and boundaries of patents, and more about antitrust limits to market behavior.’ At the European level EU institutions acknowledge the policy concern that the owners of patents on technological standards (SEPs) could block competitors from making use of standards, and thus obstruct the development of efficient and thriving ICT and Internet of Things (IoT) sectors, an acute point in the 5G era. The aim is to balance the role of monopolistic patent rights (granted at the non-EU EPO) in the context of the EU’s overriding focus on competition (embedded in Articles 101 to 109 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)).

          The inherent fragmentation of the European patent system, which has significant EU and non-EU aspects, works against the regulatory centralisation typically favoured by the EU. Further fragmentation is caused by the self-regulation model of standard-setting, which occurs at independent standard organisations such as ETSI and ISO. Yet, the EU is still able to exert a great deal of influence – in particular, in disputes over SEPs national courts are obliged to follow the CJEU’s guidance on what amounts to fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing of standard-essential patents (FRAND). At the judicial level, the challenges of resolving this issue are compounded by tension between the CJEU’s role in making prescriptive rulings on matters of intellectual property and the implementation of these rulings by national courts in complex domestic litigation.

          [...]

          Key questions concern the global nature of SEP disputes, the interpretation of the CJEU guidance in Huawei (2015), and assessing the effect of the non-discrimination component of the FRAND (does it mean that materially the same licence terms as offered to Samsung must be offered to Huawei in the circumstances of the Unwired case?). The question of royalty-rate calculation is also the subject of appeal. In a linked case, the UKSC will also decide a case involving Conversant, Huawei and ZTE concerning whether England & Wales is an acceptable forum to decide global patent licensing disputes regarding patents valid in other territories.

          Huawei seeks to overturn the earlier Court of Appeal and High Court rulings that held that seeking a global FRAND licence (rather than a territory-by-territory one) is fair and reasonable approach in the context of SEPs. In this view, if an implementer of the SEP technology refuses a FRAND global licence, an injunction can be sought by the SEP holder and granted by the court (as it will not constitute abuse of dominance). The UKSC will consider whether Unwired Planet, as SEP holder, made use of a ‘time advantage’ to improve its negotiation position.

          Will the decision be handed down before the UK’s formal exit from the EU on 31st January 2020? What could the impact of a ‘no deal’ or ‘bare-bones’ exit mean for the UK’s legal system post-transition at the end of 2020? Could the impact of Brexit mean UK courts choosing (in coming years) to depart from the CJEU’s guidance in Huawei v ZTE and develop an alternative approach? Looking to the year ahead, 2020 ought to bring a measure clarity on at least some these issues.

        • Software Patents

          • $4,000 Cash Prize for Prior Art on Universal Cipher Patent

            On January 17, 2019, Unified added a new PATROLL contest with a $4,000 cash prize for prior art submissions for US 7,721,222. The ’222 patent generally relates to a non-English text generation system by which text can be generated in any language without a keyboard. The ‘222 patent is owned by Universal Cipher, LLC (an NPE) and has been widely asserted in district court. To protect innovation and deter future frivolous assertions, Unified is offering a $4,000 cash prize for the best prior art on this patent.

      • Copyrights

        • Learned societies turn against scholarship and join publishers for profit

          Many researchers, including the authors of this post, are members of learned societies whose mission is to support research and advance scholarly values. At the end of last year, we saw these values betrayed when over 100 societies joined with the Association of American Publishers in signing the letter to the White House. It is unsurprising that corporate publishers would resist reform. For them, any change to the rules threatens their profits. But why would learned societies purporting to represent researchers sign on? One reason is that some scholarly societies have come to depend on the lucrative business of journal publishing to subsidize their operations. In the case of one of the signatories, the American Psychological Association, publishing income accounts for ~80% of their revenue. Such learned societies face a dilemma: Their stated mission is to support scholarship, but the funds to do it come from a publishing system that has worked against scholarly values for more than three decades. We are saddened that these societies have decided to side with the publishers against the public interest.

        • Red Hat and IBM Jointly File Another Amicus Brief In Google v. Oracle, Arguing APIs Are Not Copyrightable

          Monday Red Hat and IBM jointly filed their own amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the “Google vs. Oracle” case, arguing that APIs cannot be copyrighted.

          “That simple, yet powerful principle has been a cornerstone of technological and economic growth for over sixty years. When published (as has been common industry practice for over three decades) or lawfully reverse engineered, they have spurred innovation through competition, increased productivity and economic efficiency, and connected the world in a way that has benefited commercial enterprises and consumers alike.”

        • OSI Files Amicus Brief in Supreme Court’s Google v. Oracle

          The Open Source Initiative is proud to join OSI affiliate members Creative Commons, Mozilla Foundation, Software Freedom Conservancy, and Wikimedia Foundation along with other small, medium and open source technology organizations in filing an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the Google v. Oracle case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

          In Google v. Oracle, Oracle successfully convinced the appeals court that Google’s reuse of a limited number of Java declarations in its creation of the Android operating system is a copyright infringement and that a jury finding it fair use was mistaken. The brief asks that the Court reverse this decision and confirm that, as has been the common understanding for decades, API interfaces are not copyrightable and that their reuse by others is a fair use under copyright law.

        • Ariana Grande Faces Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Over ’7 Rings’

          A rapper is suing pop star Ariana Grande for copyright infringement, claiming that she copied the chorus of “7 Rings” from one of his songs.

        • ‘Local’ Pirate Sites Are Thriving Around the World

          The Pirate Bay, YTS and Animeflv are well-known pirate brands that are hugely popular in many countries. The same can’t be said for Mrpiracy, Filma24, and Cimaclub. However, the latter and many other ‘local’ sites dwarf these major brands on their ‘own’ turf.

        • ‘Casting Couch’ Movie Company Orders Cloudflare to Unmask Tube Site Pirates

          Adult movie company AMA Multimedia has obtained a DMCA subpoena from a Washington court to help it track down individuals who uploaded content to various ‘tube’ sites. The subpoena orders Cloudflare to hand over the identities of uploaders and potentially site operators too but given the way the content seems to be delivered, it remains a question whether the former will be possible.

        • Manga Scanlation Teams Don’t Want War, They Want Accessible Content

          Huge scanlation platform MangaDex recently revealed that legal pressures had, among things, restricted its ability to receive donations from users. Following our report, a server administrator connected to several other groups gave us additional insight into these anti-piracy efforts. Amid the hostilities, however, it appears that all the scanlation community really wants is to improve the chances of manga titles arriving in the West.

        • Pirated Copy of ’1917′ Leaks in Massive Screener Dump

          Six pirated movie screeners have leaked in the span of just a few hours. The screener dump includes a copy of Golden Globe winner 1917, one of the most prominent leaks thus far. Also notable is the involvement of the group TOPKEK, which hasn’t released any screeners before.

Judges Reject EPO Patents on Life as Constitutional Complaints Against the EPO Pile Up in Germany

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 3:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

5 challenges and counting…

Pile of old books

Summary: EPO judges throw out patents on life (CRISPR at least); there’s now growing hope that they’ll have the courage to do the same to patents on software

THERE HAS been mostly good news coming from the European Patent Office (EPO) in recent days. We hope there will be positive impact and perhaps an end to software patents in Europe.

“As fewer readers may know, there are currently quite a few constitutional challenges against the EPO.”As most readers know/are aware of, Team Campinos/Battistelli is unscientific and perhaps anti-scientific. The sole goal is granting as many patents as possible, irrespective of what the science says and what scientists need. It’s not in vain that examiners are protesting and it is not without reason.

As fewer readers may know, there are currently quite a few constitutional challenges against the EPO. Richard Gillespie wrote about Constitutional complaints against the EPO in Germany just under a day ago. There’s a decent roundup right there, naming 2 BvR 2480/10, 2 BvR 421/13, 2 BvR 756/16, 2 BvR 786/16, and, 2 BvR 561/18:

Patent Attorneys like myself are not known for their love of excitement. For example, I like reading lists. One regrettably exciting item that appears to have slipped off the ‘things to look out for in 2020’ lists that I have seen is the outcome of the constitutional complaints against the EPO in Germany. The outcome of these complaints could have potentially explosive implications for patent practice in Europe and they have not received enough attention.

At present there, are five constitutional complaints relating to the European Patent Office (EPO) before the German Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG), namely, 2 BvR 2480/10, 2 BvR 421/13, 2 BvR 756/16, 2 BvR 786/16, and, 2 BvR 561/18. At issues is the lack of sufficient legal remedies at the EPO against negative decisions of the Boards of Appeal. I believe there is a clear risk that the BVerfG will uphold at least some of the constitutional complaints relating to the EPO. Such an outcome would likely mean that the European Patent Convention (EPC) in its present form is incompatible with the German constitution.

My reasoning is as follows: according to these complaints there is a question (amongst others) on whether or not Articles 19(4) and 103(1) of the German constitution (i.e. the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany) have been violated. Article 19(4) states that if any person’s rights are violated by a public authority, they have recourse to the courts. Article 103 deals with the right to a fair trial.

[...]

As noted in by Vissel (GRUR Int. 2019, 25) it is instructive to note the submissions of the Federal Republic of Germany during the Travaux Préparatoires of the EPC (emphasis added):

“The delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany opposed this request [to delete para. (b) of Art. 135]. It pointed out that the application of a national procedure should be possible not only in cases in which the applicant suffered a loss of rights as a result of the omission of an act but also where the European Patent Office had given a negative decision. It was in precisely these cases that there was a constitutional problem in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Basic Law required that every administrative act should be capable of being examined by a court. The Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office, although similar to courts of law, were not in fact courts proper so that the possibility of recourse to a German Court had to be maintained. It should, however, be borne in mind that the Federal Republic did not at present intend to avail itself of the option available under para. 1(b). However, even if this option were applied, there would be little danger of any delay in the procedure since it was unlikely that proceedings would be initiated before the German patent authorities and the German Court after the European procedure had been concluded.”

Hence, the provision of Article 135(1)(b) EPC was drafted for a situation in which the Boards of Appeal of the EPO could no longer be seen as independent courts.

This was a situation that had occurred within the German Patent Office when appeals against decisions of the Office were conducted internally. There was a constitutional complaint against the internal appeals of the German Patent Office because of a lack of sufficient legal remedies at the German Patent Office. This complaint was upheld and it ultimately lead to the establishment of the German Federal Patent Court.

We assume readers are aware of the constitutional complaint against the UPC and we have repeatedly shown that the press does not properly cover this (if at all). Amplifying the EPO's lies is not journalism and here’s a new example of it (“New EU Patent System On Course For End Of 2020, Says EPO”). The EPO lies and some people copy-paste the lies, just like so-called ‘reporters’ who publish “Trump says” pieces. From the outline:

Progress is being made towards the implementation of the EU’s new patent system, but the UK’s insistence on severing all ties with the European Court could spell the end for its participation.

Could or will? Will. Has. This is hardly news.

The EPO’s management has meanwhile moved on to its new lie (warning: epo.org link), having published this piece in which patent maximalists from all around the world push software patents agenda under the guise of “emerging” and “HEY HI” (AI). The EPO attributes this propaganda to “IP5” and says:

The five largest intellectual property offices held the inaugural meeting of their joint Task Force on New Emerging Technologies and Artificial Intelligence this week in Berlin. Known as the “IP5”, the five offices – which are the EPO, the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) – together handle about 85% of the world’s patent applications. The meeting was organised jointly by the EPO and KIPO.

Launched at the IP5 annual meeting last June in Incheon, South Korea, the new task force will explore the legal, technical and policy aspects of new technologies and AI, their impact on the patent system and on operations at our five offices. The aim is to pinpoint which areas can most benefit from joint IP5 responses, ranging from employing AI to improve the patent grant process, to applying the patentability requirements to inventions in the field of AI, and handling applications for inventions created by machines.

“This task force is the IP5 offices’ first joint response to a changing global patenting landscape and evolving user needs in the field,” said Christoph Ernst, the EPO’s Vice-President for Legal and International Affairs, opening the event. He added: “New emerging technologies and AI touch upon almost every aspect of daily life and seem to question the traditional models for the generation and utilisation of knowledge flows and decision-making. This translates into considerable challenges in IP, and the task force is a chance for us to demonstrate that we, as the world’s leading offices, are agile and responsive to change.”

It’s very clear that Campinos, Iancu and the others just want to grant as many patents as possible, no matter the legality of these. This includes software patents.

Having said that, this EPO agenda has just suffered a major setback because CRISPR patents turn out (again) to be fake patents. This can, by extension, doom many other European Patents on life and nature.

The EPO has just tweeted: “Heinz Müller, #patent expert at @ige_ipi, will talk about the #patent landscape of #CRISPR at this event in Zurich…”

Maybe the EPO did not get the memo, but around the very same time (maybe the same day) judges found the courage to say no to CRISPR patents.

A site advocating for such patents (pressure group of the “life science” monopolists) wrote:

In a dramatic reversal, a European Patent Office’s (EPO) board of appeal has upheld the revocation of a Broad Institute CRISPR/Cas9 patent.

Yesterday, the board indicated that it would refer several key issues at the heart of the case to a higher panel, potentially triggering a lengthy delay.

But today the board has announced that, after consideration, it is already equipped to decide the case and agreed with the earlier Opposition Division ruling that the Broad’s patent lacks a valid priority claim.

Daniel Lim, partner at Kirkland & Ellis, said the decision was “quite the change of heart” from the board.

“I can imagine that the stakes involved in this case and the level of interest and scrutiny have not made the Board’s life easy,” he said.

Yesterday’s proceedings opened with the announcement that the board intended to refer at least three questions to the EPO’s enlarged board of appeal.

This has also been covered by Rose Hughes (AstraZeneca), who said:

The Board of Appeal (3.3.08) finished hearing submissions on priority from the parties this morning. Proceedings were then adjourned until the afternoon whilst the Board conferred. The parties undoubtedly had a tense lunch. The Board was either going to decide on the issue of priority or refer the issue to the EBA for clarification. There was a strong feeling following the comments made by the Board of Appeal on Day 3 that a referral to the EBA was likely. However, news came soon after recommencement of the proceedings that the Board of Appeal was to dismiss the appeal. [In a classic fake news saga, Merpel watched with bemusement today the ongoing proliferation of reports that the Board of Appeal had referred the matter to the EBA].

The immediate impact of the referral would have been to prolong the dispute. Even if the EBA had accepted the referral (far from certain), any decision from the EBA would not have been the end of the matter. The EBA is there to provide clarity on points of law. After a EBA decision, the case would then have had to be sent back to the Board of Appeal. Those wishing for legal clarity will welcome the Board of Appeal’s decision to settle the matter today.

On the other hand, a fact easily forgotten amidst the all the excitement over this week’s appeal hearing, is that the patent in dispute, EP2771468, is far from being the Broad Institute only patent relating to CRISPR. Whilst today is the end of the road for EP2771468, there are 5 divisional applications in the same family as the patent in dispute: EP2784162, EP2896697, EP2940140, EP2921557, EP3144390.

[...]

The patent family of EP2771468 is also, of course, not the only family relating to CRISPR. There are many other patents relating to aspects of CRISPR technology, owned by the Broad Institute and other parties, most notably University California Berkeley.

Could this be the most courageous decision these judges have made in recent years? More importantly, will there be ‘consequences’ for it? Will they soon decide to rule out software patents (‘simulation’) as well? Let’s hope so.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 18, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:50 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

StartPage (System1) Found New Spin Allies. Some Have Been Offered StartPage Jobs. Some Might Already be Working for StartPage in Secret.

Posted in Deception, Search at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When you have critics and you pay people to discredit them, what does that make you?

StartPage gifts
From StartPage with love

Summary: Pro-StartPage voices appear to be paid (or have been promised pay) by StartPage; the key strategy of StartPage seems to be, attack and betray people’s privacy while paying people in particular positions to pretend otherwise

IT HAS been a while since we last touched the StartPage saga and little has changed. StartPage is still owned/controlled by a surveillance company and it is trying to muzzle/squash/discredit its critics.

“At this moment in time we do know for a fact about the conflict (some are more upfront about this than others), but we just don’t know the full extent of it.”Based on our understanding, as well as evidence we have but cannot divulge at this time, StartPage made job offers to people who are in a potential position to relist the company in privacy sites. In a sense, they’re trying to pay their way into re-acceptance, without disclosing pertinent details. It’s possible that some of these people are already on StartPage’s payroll because they refuse to answer very simple questions.

At this moment in time we do know for a fact about the conflict (some are more upfront about this than others), but we just don’t know the full extent of it. This corrupts or at least erodes trust in groups which claim to advance privacy agenda. If they receive money from surveillance companies, what does that tell us about them? Maybe some time soon we’ll be able to publicly name the culprits, too.

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