03.17.20

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Biggest Threats to Software Freedom (Which Almost Nobody Talks About)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OIN at 9:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Destroying the movement by buying it piece-wise, then using patent traps inside it to assert that it’s indebted to ‘generous’ Microsoft

...and then we pay LF, then OSI, then OIN... Don't forget to grab the repos (Github) and then NPM... You think it wasn't planned already?... Wait, how do we bribe or destroy the FSF?

Summary: The assault on Free software carries on, as various building blocks are hijacked by Microsoft (to spy, censor and generally control) whilst illegal software patents are being advanced using meaningless buzzwords that any programmer would laugh at

THE world of software development — not necessarily just Free/libre software — hardly speaks of the dangers associated with GitHub.

In quick succession Microsoft attacks many pillars of software and its supply/development chain. This is overlooked by those who are bribed by Microsoft to “stay in line”. The Linux Foundation now actively promotes GitHub, which is proprietary software designed to entrap users of Git. Look at the Board of the Linux Foundation; Microsoft is all over it (and top management of the Linux Foundation too).

Today, as of this morning, many people spoke about Microsoft’s move against NPM, which is an act of all-out aggression. Make no mistake about it. Also see who’s behind it. Those are people who have attacked the Free software world for decades. Conde Nast (which ‘ousted’ Torvalds for a month) welcomed this with a number of very recent puff pieces, pretending that a land grab by a proprietary software behemoth is a gesture of “love”. Microsoft loves Open Source? No. Microsoft is attacking it. While smiling at us.

We’re going to leave that aside at the moment and instead return to it in a separate, dedicated article.

We also remain concerned about total apathy towards the patent aspect. When did OSI and Linux Foundation (both in Microsoft’s pocket) last speak about it?

The European Patent Office (EPO) under today’s leadership illegally grants patents that (GNU/)Linux would certainly be in infringement of. And those patents aren’t even legal patents!!!

Where’s the outrage?

Upcoming ‘events’ promoting illegal software patents in Europe are again being advertised today. This new press release says: “An intensive update on patent protection for software-related inventions covering all the major developments in European patent law in particular GUI inventions and mixed’ inventions with both patentable and non-patentable subject matter…”

“We also remain concerned about total apathy towards the patent aspect. When did OSI and Linux Foundation (both in Microsoft’s pocket) last speak about it?”Also, behind IAM‘s paywall this week there’s this scoop about Microsoft’s patent blackmail and extortion chief moving to Marconi. To quote IAM on Twitter: “Another big hire for Marconi as it adds former Microsoft patent chief…”

Microsoft’s patent chief is a thug, but Microsoft is also IAM’s financial backer, so they will not ‘insult’ this Mafia, will they? Money talks, says the famous idiom. Microsoft buys a lot of “talk” and the “talking points” are passed on.

One can imagine what will happen next. HTIA (best known for advocacy of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs)) has meanwhile published this letter and tweet, stating: “The single most important thing the USPTO should do in the context of AI is improve the technical training given to examiners who plan to examine AI-related technologies.” Read more in our joint comments on patenting AI inventions…”

We’ve looked into the underlying ‘letter’ [PDF] and found it rather void of substance if not dreary. They suggest some amendments, but they play along with the buzzwords and the accompanying hype.

“Microsoft buys a lot of “talk” and the “talking points” are passed on.”The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) likes finding tricks to work around restrictions on software patents (limitations such as 35 U.S.C. § 101/Section 101/Alice) and just calling everything “HEY HI!!” (AI) is one of the more popular tricks these days. Out of nowhere they suddenly use these buzzwords all the time.

Suffice to say, the USPTO merely does here what the EPO did before it. They try to make it acceptable for patent offices to grant patents that courts later reject.

“The EPO Board of Appeal lacks independence; there are ongoing and outstanding complains about it. Already, as of months ago, Campinos threatens those same judges to permit software patents.”How about patents granted in defiance of Mayo (the other high-profile SCOTUS decision alluding to naturally-recurring things in nature).

Perhaps not minding the underlying law, Emma Longland (HGF) has just published this piece about the EPO granting likely illegal European Patents on life, as the EPO is totally out of control and even its own judges are besieged by António Campinos and his boss. To quote:

The much-watched validity dispute over the Broad Institute’s patent for fundamental CRISPR-Cas9 technology – recently revoked by the EPO Board of Appeal – is not the only CRISPR-related IP issue to watch out for in Europe this year, explains HGF’s Dr Emma Longland.

The EPO Board of Appeal’s recent revocation of the CRISPR-Cas9 patent, EP2771468 – belonging to the Broad Institute, Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – has garnered a great deal of attention since January. However, IP professionals interested in keeping up to speed with the technology’s patent landscape should also pay attention to several other important CRISPR applications going through the EPO opposition and appeals process this year.

The Broad Institute and its collaborators were among the innovators working on CRISPR gene editing during its early development in 2012 and 2013. Thanks to a strategy of accelerating the prosecution of their related patent applications at the EPO, they were the first to get granted foundational CRISPR patents in Europe. And several patents other than EP2771468 are now at various stages of the opposition and appeal process.

The EPO Board of Appeal lacks independence; there are ongoing and outstanding complaints about it. Already, as of months ago, Campinos threatens those same judges to permit software patents. This is a gross abuse of the EPC.

Free software is in a bad position as long as this carries on. There are already several troll lawsuits against it (GNOME, Mycroft etc.) based upon ridiculous software patents. What did OIN do about it? It's shocking. OIN works for Microsoft now. As for IBM with a Red Hat CEO as President? It is still suing companies using software patents, so we know nothing has changed.

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