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07.12.20

[Humour/Meme] Half a Decade Has Passed and EPO Management Was Never Held Accountable for Illegal Surveillance

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No oversight by anyone; the EPO may thus conclude that it can get away with everything it did and will get away with anything in the future

Medical records again? Yes, please. You know it's illegal, right? Oh, never mind. You're the EPO. You can do anything you want.

Summary: A lot of people may no longer remember it, but the EPO can break privacy laws — as it still routinely does — with no consequences whatsoever

Cleaning the Code

Posted in Deception at 6:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Annie Get Your Gun

Summary: War must go on; but it’ll be more diverse and inclusive

CENTURIES taught the harms of slavery
Toil and violence, torture and cavalry

Metaphors are bad, they can cause trauma
Or for those who never experienced it an opportunity for drama

Changing one’s code, then the documentation
The APIs will change, decades of adaptation

With food comes appetite, so why stop at “slave”
In land of the free, or home of the brave

Little by little the list has expanded
Colours are racism, so more words are added

Never mind the problem, we have a solution
Racism always starts at the institution

One by one we ask the tough questions
Corporations are urged to pay close attention

Do as we say or the company is racist
Bombing is OK, as long as it’s statist

Years go by, inequality grows
But we fix our code by “search and replace” and then the program blows

Where are the developers, we’ve been so inclusive
The debt collectors too are growingly assertive

Words are a weapon, pens mightier than swords
You can get rid of “masters” but there will still be landlords

Equality is tough to attain when a country is established upon lack of it
It’s a republic, not a democracy, just learn to deal with it

Decades then pass, inequality persists
The code may be sanitary, endorsed by the priests

Literature has revealed that book-burning works
Of difficult subjects nobody talks

Dialogue continues, inclusiveness in mind
Words have been banned, have long been left behind

Denylists are red, allowlists are green
Don’t tell the “redskins”, unless that sporting club can win

Monochrome society is less subjected to bigotry
For different races are identified only by colours for mockery

Big endians are offensive, think of the small
Suddenly the code speaks of little and tall

Pronouns amended, big endians ended
Management attended, nobody felt offended

A perfect society, obedience assured
Put behind bars those who say it’s absurd

Privacy degraded, wages stagnated
But who gives a damn where society is headed

Canceled are the ones who stand in Utopia’s way
That’s just the price that for paradise we must pay

On a pedestal we put, at the pedestal we nod
Those who never wrote a single line of code

Sometimes, you see, obstructing progress
Is the tree that infects the entire forest

Climate change accelerated, living condition worsened
Nukes controls lessened, voting rights ended

The code was beautiful, deployed nicely on a drone
It had a few bugs, to killing protesters it was prone

The code was tolerant
Inclusive and excellent

It was better at killing minorities
Just like in past centuries

Herein we arrive, having come full circle
From slavery to assassination, like from Hitler to Merkel

Diverse we’ve become, women too can bomb
‘Annie Get Your Gun’ no longer seems as dumb

Institutional injustice, exclusion notwithstanding
We need more than word changes for reconciliation and understanding

Idealists would say and dreamers might accuse
They’d say antagonists are Nazis, people who hate Jews

It all started with a debate — a debate about words
It was about sensibilities, but never about wars

Society will perish if all debates are shallow
How did we end up with a public discourse this hollow?

Why We Care About (Mis)Use of Language in Technology

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Appearances of people will not change just because we ban or remove words describing some appearance or condition (irrespective of context)

Star Trek tomorrow is yesterday: Captain, the crew is becoming disobedient; I can't take orders from one whose ears are so long

Summary: Software development communities are being divided over issues that would likely not tackle actual racism in any meaningful and profound way (just a symbolic way)

Over the past few weeks we’ve published about a dozen posts (some of which suggestive or humourous memes) about the subject of inclusive language in technology.

Readers should be aware: it’s a risky thing to do! Some people would get upset irrespective of the substance of the argument. To them, if you do not fully and entirely agree with them, that immediately and unquestionably makes you a zealot, a part of the problem so to speak. If you agree with them only partly, well… then wait for the next demand… and the one after that…

“Right off the bat, let’s be clear that people don’t have to be racist or misogynistic to oppose these changes.”This discourages many people who would otherwise speak out and express their position reasonably and politely. Our use of humour is intended to soften the message somewhat.

Right off the bat, let’s be clear that people don’t have to be racist or misogynistic to oppose these changes. For one thing — and this is something we’ve seen explained by the supposed victims already — it’s addressing the lesser or the wrong problem, possibly quite wrongly too. Racism is real and the concept of institutional racism is easily demonstrable. It’s a real, legitimate problem. But large corporations don’t want to damage their bottom line; it’s cheaper to resort to PR stunts and face-saving moves than to train people of colour or women; heck, they don’t even pay women who already work for them equally!

The Linux Foundation, for instance, wrote a blog post and some tweets about black people; but it doesn't hire any. It’s not really interested. It’s like people who speak about racism against blacks but would never date a black person. Pretense is cheap and one has to assume that blacks are dumb to expect them to not understand the real stupidity and exploitation by the Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation impresses nobody but itself and perhaps those who look like its board and management team (nope, zero African-Americans there; how very inclusive).

“The Linux Foundation impresses nobody but itself and perhaps those who look like its board and management team (nope, zero African-Americans there).”So going back to the subject of language, let’s say we remove every word that activists demand we replace with something else (that would require lots of subsequent testing as breakage would be inevitable in very large and complex programs, not to mention add-ons and plug-ins that make assumptions about APIs and are developed separately/independently). Would that get more minorities into college? Would more of them be capable of obtaining a computer science (CS or similar) degree? Need we provide examples of extortionate tuition fees and student loans in the United States? And even if they graduate, that does not guarantee success in job interviews. The people who assess their CV aren’t going to be swayed by names of variables (or language in comments) that they may or may not have seen in computer code. It’s very, very difficult to get into technical jobs, especially when you grow up poor and ‘suit’ (or ‘fit’) some widespread stigma. Challenging the stigma by code and documentation is a nice idea in theory; how many people out there think of a black person when they see or read the word “blacklist” in some technical documentation or a GUI? Heck, if you think of a black person when someone says “blackhat hacker” (cracker), maybe you have a subconscious issue like racism. Like “black magic” or “black mirror” and many other things, that has nothing whatsoever to do with skin colour. And guess what? The darkness (or blackness) of the night scares white and black children equally.

The whole thing started not this year; not due to BLM.

“It has long been said that in class war the high class tries to distract the ‘masses’ by propping up (contributing to) race-related tensions and exaggerating race issues.”Remember when some people inside Python sought to replace the word “slave” with something else? I thought this was partly reasonable and worth considering. Not too long afterwards the founder of Python stepped down and shortly thereafter retired completely (left his daytime job). Proving a correlation may not be possible. But what we can certainly see is that GAFAM nowadays takes control of Python and outsources almost everything to Microsoft (GitHub). How’s that for injustice worth tackling? Almost nobody even talks about it…

It has long been said that in class war the high class tries to distract the ‘masses’ by propping up (contributing to) race-related tensions and exaggerating race issues. One example is sectarian violence (mastered by the British Empire). Never mind if that high class perpetuates exploitation like nobody else. In the past few weeks, for example, how many people spoke about corporate crimes compared to race issues that are accentuated by corporate media controlled (usually also owned) by the high class? That’s not to say that media should ignore the race issues; but the tone or nature of some of the coverage instigates and increases divisiveness (not over wealth but over identity, notably gender and race). Where’s the part in this latest activism wave which speaks of fair wages? Or healthcare? When did we encounter a CoC that says it’s wrong to bomb people (and let’s face it, those bombed are usually not “white”)? We’re doing ‘cosmetics’ in a war zone. Let’s focus on the war.

Links 12/7/2020: KF6 Progress Report, GNUnet 0.13.1, Nano Becomes Default Terminal Text Editor in Fedora

Posted in News Roundup at 2:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • A Vote for American Healthcare is a Vote for Violence

        “I write this to appeal, hell, plead, with my fellow Americans to pay attention to the suffering that exists all around us—to recognize our well, able-bodied privilege, and to come together to tear this cruel system down.”

      • With Covid-19 Deaths on the Rise, Hardest-Hit States Report Hospitals are Near Capacity Following Early Reopenings

        “It’s consistently picking up. And it’s picking up at the time you’d expect it to.”

      • Federal Court Strikes Down Trump’s ACA Rule Amounting to ‘Intentional, Targeted Attack on Abortion Access’

        “It would have created a logistical nightmare for health insurers and individual enrollees and pushed abortion even further out of reach in the midst of a global pandemic that has upended our economy.”

      • ‘We’re hanging on for dear life’ – Khayelitsha Cookies refuses to crumble due to Covid-19

        Almost 100 women in Cape Town who bake goods for Khayelitsha Cookies, a supplier to the hospitality industry, may lose their breadwinner status as the effect of the lockdown takes its toll.

        Many South Africans would have seen the company’s individually wrapped biscuits at tea and coffee stations in their hotel rooms, or in airport lounges, conference centres and large offices – a product which makes up over 65% of total revenue.

        But when the lockdown was announced in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, business all but ground to a halt.

      • Nationalism, Drugs and Public Interest – Remdesivir and Beyond

        With 9 generic companies licensed to manufacture and distribute the drug to 127 countries around the world, without even having to pay royalty to Gilead, one could be forgiven for thinking a substantial impact may be made in the attempts to address the global pandemic. Unfortunately, in terms of countries with Covid-19 cases, only 7 of the 30 worst affected countries are included in these Gilead-generic company licenses. These 7 are India, Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh, Egypt, Belarus, and Indonesia. US has Gilead of course, but not generic versions. And of course – these are only the ‘official’ numbers from these countries. Given that this sounds like a recipe for NOT really stopping the virus, it sounds like there will be plenty of profit to go around for a while. After all, if the disease keeps spreading, treatments will continue to be needed.

        All of this, of course, is only about remdesivir – a drug that shows very moderate therapeutic benefits so far. What happens if/when a full treatment, or even vaccine, is developed? If it is developed in US – we already have an example of what path they may seek to follow. What about if it is developed in another country? Some observers are already warning about a global ‘hunger games’-esque future, with poor countries at the mercy of richer countries. It almost makes one nostalgic of the “Nexavar is only for western patients” times, when prohibitive pricing (and perhaps some variety of discrimination) was the only concern – and not defensive stockpiling, trade-wars and global buyouts!

        Of course, as Mintze and t’Hoen point out, generic companies could start launching ‘at risk’ in these other countries, or apply for compulsory licences. And generics that have the gumption to ‘risk’ annoying Big Pharma may be well placed to do this. After all, if a country is being severely affected by the pandemic, and there is a globally announced shortage of the patented medicine declared – what better time is there to trigger a compulsory licence? It’s also a great time for countries to re-look at the access concerns that patent-linkage (linking regulatory approval with patent status) can cause, while also re-looking at the access benefits that local working requirements can bring. While ‘charity’ or ‘goodwill’ such as through Open-Covid pledges, patent pools, etc can play a large role in helping access concerns – it is high time that stronger legally enforceable public-interest centric policy levers are focused on, to change ‘access’ from a reactive-concern to a pro-active reality. After all, if US can find a way to take such strong ‘national interest’ measures, surely other countries can respond by taking their own ‘public interest’ measures!

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Databricks hands MLflow to Linux Foundation, speeds up Delta Lake, and pushes pandas on Spark forward

                Data science conference Spark+AI Summit is still in full swing. Organised by Spark experts Databricks, it naturally lent itself as a stage for some progress reports and letting the firm show off new products.

                Amongst other things, machine learning platform MLflow has found a new home at the Linux Foundation. After being in the open for two years, the move provides the Databricks project with a new vendor neutral environment in the hopes that this will lead to higher adoption rates and more outside committers.

                While this seems like a somewhat sensible thing to do, onlookers might wonder about the choice of foundation. After all, company co-founder and MLflow creator Matei Zaharia chose the Apache Software Foundation for Spark. A second glance however reveals that the Linux Foundation seems to become a bit of a default for Databricks in recent years, since the company’s Delta Lake was also handed over to the org last autumn.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Wells Fargo tells workers to delete TikTok as security, privacy concerns grow

              The company had requested that its workers remove the app from their mobile devices due to “security risks,” according to a memo to employees seen by Reuters.

              NBC News has not seen the memo.

            • Wells Fargo directs employees to remove TikTok from company mobile devices

              “We have identified a small number of Wells Fargo employees with corporate-owned devices who had installed the TikTok application on their device,” a Wells Fargo spokesperson said in an email to The Verge. “Due to concerns about TikTok’s privacy and security controls and practices, and because corporate-owned devices should be used for company business only, we have directed those employees to remove the app from their devices.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Calling out NYT “unprofessional” reporting on ‘Bountygate’

        Red Lines host Anya Parampil speaks with investigative journalist Gareth Porter about his latest report “How the Pentagon failed to sell Afghan government’s bunk ‘Bountygate’ story to US intelligence agencies.”

      • The BBC World War Two Porn Page

        Waking up this morning and putting on the TV to see the news, instead I saw on BBC Breakfast a 30 minute piece on the role of a teenage girl in 1932 in helping her father do the maths to establish that the Spitfire needed eight .303 guns to deliver a sufficient weight of shot.

      • The colonels list: Why is Alexander Vindman being driven out of the Army? He’s not a suck-up

        Well, it didn’t cost him his life, but it cost him his career. On Wednesday, Vindman announced he was retiring. He had gotten word that pressure had been put on the Pentagon to remove him from the colonels list and effectively end his career. Vindman’s lawyer, David Pressman, issued a statement explaining why he was retiring: “Through a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation, the President of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a President. Between honoring his oath or protecting his career.” Vindman had made his choice when he responded to a subpoena and testified last fall. In the administration of Donald Trump, telling the truth under oath was a career-killing offense.

      • Jeff McCausland Trump, Vindman and a military leadership case study that will be taught for years

        An Army board had selected Vindman, along with hundreds of other officers, for promotion to full colonel. Normally, this is a routine bureaucratic process that requires the Army staff to forward the proposed list to the secretary of defense for review. It is then sent to the White House and subsequently to the Senate for final confirmation.

        Aides to the president had made it clear that Trump did not want to see Vindman promoted. It has also been reported that the release of the promotion list was already being held up over Vindman. In order to avoid a public and embarrassing scene with Trump this summer, defense officials had told Vindman that they were considering forwarding his name on a special “list of one,” or holding his name back until after the election to avoid affecting the promotions of other officers. The White House had even asked Pentagon officials to find instances of misconduct and witnesses that would justify removing Vindman from the list. But Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy were unable to find reason to do this. Esper completed his review and forwarded the list, including Vindman’s name, to the White House on Monday.

      • Reports of a Silicon Valley/Military Divide Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

        We argue that two of the primary tech defense contractors, Microsoft and IBM, helped normalize their industry’s suppression of human rights in exchange for market access. Despite the human rights messaging of Microsoft’s head lawyer and lobbyist, the company has proactively suppressed dissent in Bing for more than a decade, and its subsidiary, LinkedIn, is infamous for doing the same; in early 2010 Bill Gates pointedly criticized Google for — as it turns out, temporarily — taking a principled stand for human rights. [19] IBM’s “safe city” products are known to have involved a video surveillance system for strongman Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City. And IBM’s CEO having directly led sales of cataloguing equipment for Nazi Germany, which directly contributed to the Holocaust, is still defended by the company.

        Similarly, Perspecta, a close Hewlett Packard affiliate/spin-off that dominates our chart of tech defense contractors, incorporates components of both Computer Sciences Corporation, which helped charter CIA rendition flights to secret prisons, and QinetiQ North America. QinetiQ, the privatization of England’s former Defense Evaluation and Research Agency, has had former CIA Chief who personally authorized his agency’s use of torture on its board. [20]

        Another tech defense contractor, Cisco, has been in court since 2013 for not only helping custom-build China’s “Golden Shield” project — commonly known as the “Great Firewall of China” — but even purpose-building a censorship, video surveillance, and “forced conversion” module for suppressing a dissident religious minority. Some of Cisco’s internal marketing materials mentioning this work even leaked the day before a Senate human rights hearing. And despite Google’s 2010-2018 public stance against suppressing dissent, Google’s former CEO, and primary interface to the DoD, Eric Schmidt, has defended complying with authoritarian demands since 2006. [21]

        Companies and executives which comply with authoritarian demands are only openly criticized by the US national security community if they do not significantly interface with the DoD. When they are willing to partner with the DoD, as is the case with Eric Schmidt and Reid Hoffman, they are welcomed as leaders.

      • U.S. Air Force Launches Three-Year Fielding Plan For Skyborg Weapons

        The next combat aircraft to enter the U.S. Air Force inventory will not be a manned sixth-generation fighter or even the Northrop Grumman B-21.

        By fiscal 2023, the Air Force expects to deliver the first operational versions of a new unmanned aircraft system (UAS) called Skyborg, a provocative portmanteau blending the medium of flight with the contraction for a cybernetic organism.

        The Skyborg family of aircraft is expected to fill an emerging “attritable” category for combat aircraft that blurs the line between a reusable UAS and a single-use cruise missile.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Oratory of the Trump

        Two recent speeches by the president are “equally authentic Trump and each describes a country that only the Trump and his benighted followers can see.”

      • The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation

        “It is our obligation as citizens to organize and demand Trump’s resignation and focus millions of voters on turning out the Trumpsters and their four-year Dark Age that is wrecking America.”

      • Trump, the Pandemic, and the End of the Trumpian Tragedy

        “Trump’s idiocy is, perhaps, unsurprising. But is there no one in Trump’s orbit who saw (sees) that ignoring the virus will not revive the economy?”

      • The region’s biggest protest, ever Tens of thousands rally in Khabarovsk to defend their arrested governor

        Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk on Saturday, July 11, for an unpermitted protest against the arrest of their governor, Sergey Furgal. It was the biggest public assembly of its kind in the region’s history. Before the rally, messages circulated on social media and on public announcement boards in apartment lobbies, urging people to attend, reports the local news site DVHAB.RU. The city’s authorities tried to prevent the demonstration by fencing off Khabarovsk’s main square, where organizers planned to stage the protest, under the pretext that the area was being disinfected. This police tactic failed, and protests poured in not just from all around the city but from neighboring towns, as well.

      • Biden campaign hires top cybersecurity officials to defend against threats

        The presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden announced Friday that it had filled the positions of chief information security officer (CISO) and chief technology officer (CTO) in order to address potential cybersecurity threats to the campaign.

        The campaign hired Chris DeRusha to serve as CISO and Jacky Chang as CTO. DeRusha previously served as chief security officer for the state of Michigan, and previously served in the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, along with leading Ford Motor Company’s enterprise vulnerability management program.

      • American Passports Are Worthless Now (Map)

        Welcome to the club. Post-colonial bullshit and racism have made my Sri Lankan passport worthless for years. Now the American passport is worse. America has crashed straight through the third world into the fourth.

        Here is a list, in total, of all the places Americans can go. Most of them are small Caribbean islands.

        American now have access to exactly two dozen states, five more (*) if they want to endure a 14-day quarantine on the end. Americans have gone from world power to getting the side-eye from Ecuador in a matter of months. Right now Americans are only really welcome on remote islands or at corralled resorts in Mexico, where they can be isolated from everyone else.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • As Schools Reopen, China Removes ‘Illegal’ Library Books Nationwide Amid Xi’s Push for Patriotism

        Though specific books were not mentioned in the directive, the news outlet said the ministry did provide schools with a list of books approved to replace the removed titles, which included writings by former Communist Party leader Mao Zedong. According to Reuters’ review of social media posts by teachers in China since the directive was announced, religious texts and at least two of English author George Orwell’s famous books—Animal Farm and 1984—were among those taken from some school libraries.

      • In echo of Mao era, China’s schools in book-cleansing drive

        As schools reopened in China after the COVID-19 outbreak, they have thrown themselves into a nationwide exercise to remove books deemed politically incorrect, deepening Chinese President Xi Jinping’s push to instil patriotism and ideological purity in the education system.

        A directive from the Ministry of Education last October called on elementary and middle schools to clear out books from their libraries including “illegal” and “inappropriate” works. Now teachers have removed books from schools in at least 30 of mainland China’s 33 provinces and municipalities, according to a Reuters review of social media posts, publicly available school and local government documents, and interviews with teachers.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Shaping tomorrow: 3D printing and its impact on IP
      • Patents

        • When is the Attorney-Client Relationship Created?

          John Eaken publicly displayed his cattle-foot-bath invention and then waited more than a year before filing a patent application. During that time, Eaken had called-up a patent attorney (Svendsen, then of Stratton Ballew) who spoke to Eaken before running a conflict check with the firm. During the call, Svendsen did not ask the status of invention development, or whether it had been on public use or display (or would be in the near future). Eaken then hired Svendsen

          Eaken later learned that his public displays would limit his patent protection and then sued the firm for malpractice. The district court, however dismissed the case–holding that there was no duty-to-warn until the the creation of an attorney-client relationship and that the initial screening call did not create such a relationship.

          On appeal, the Washington Court of Appeals has reversed — asking the lower court to delve deeper into whether an attorney-client relationship had been created.

          [...]

          One of the judges wrote in dissent — arguing that Eaken failed his burden of producing sufficient evidence to prove the existence of an attorney-client-relationship.

          Note about the invention: The cattle-foot-bath seems all spa-like when you hear the name, but actually it is a mechanism for coating the feet with chemical fungicide (concentrated medicinal agent).

        • Around the IP Blogs

          The German Federal Court of Justice announced that Judge Tim Crummenerl will join the 10th Civil Senate of this court. The Juve Patent blog brought this news and looked into the most prominent cases that Judge Crummenerl decided while at the Regional Court of Dusseldorf.

        • German Federal Court of Justice announces new judge

          The election was supposed to take place in March. However, the coronavirus crisis meant the court postponed the election. Among the other candidates was Matthias Zigann, presiding judge of the 7th Civil Chamber at the Regional Court Munich. He is also a well-known patent judge.

          The election of Crummenerl means he will now move to the 10th Civil Senate. In turn, this will give rise to staff changes in Düsseldorf.

          The 10th Civil Senate at the Federal Court of Justice is Germany’s highest instance for patent infringement proceedings. Furthermore, the senate is also the appeal instance for patent revocation cases. It thus combines two separate strands of the German bifurcation system. The senate regularly sets important precedents in German and European patent law.

        • WntResearch Gets Positive Opinion From European Patent Office

          * WNTRESEARCH RECEIVES POSITIVE OPINION FROM THE EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE, EPO, REGARDING FOXY-5 MANUFACTURING

          * POSITIVE OPINION PROVIDES WNTRESEARCH WITH A CONSIDERABLE AND ENHANCED PROTECTION FOR MANUFACTURING OF FOXY-5 BEYOND 2035 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: (Gdansk Newsroom)

        • Versa-Flex owner files patent for mask that doesn’t fog glasses
        • Anixa Biosciences’ CAR-T Cancer Therapy Receives Intention to Grant Notice from the European Patent Office
        • Anixa Biosciences’ CAR-T Cancer Therapy Receives Intention to Grant Notice from the European Patent
        • Anixa Biosciences’ CAR-T Cancer Therapy Receives Intention to Grant Notice from the European Patent Office

          Anixa Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANIX), a biotechnology company focused on the treatment and prevention of cancer and infectious diseases, today announced that the European Patent Office has issued an Intention to Grant notice for the first European patent covering Anixa’s novel CAR-T cancer treatment technology, which has been licensed from The Wistar Institute and is being developed at the Moffitt Cancer Center.

        • The German UPC story: take 2 (and is the London seat up for grabs?) [Ed: Nonsensical loaded headline. There's no UPC, hence nothing is "up for grabs"]

          The German Federal Ministry of Justice shows unexpected pace in repeating the legislative process for the German Act of Approval for the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA Approval Act). As we explained in our last post, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled that UPCA Approval Act adopted by the German Parliament in March 2017 was null and void because it had not been voted by a two-thirds majority (it was adopted unanimously, but when the vote was taken at 1:30am only 35 out of 630 members of parliament were in attendance). In a letter dated 8 June 2020, the Federal Ministry of Justice invited patent law circles and associations to comment on the draft bill of the UPCA Approval Act (the substance of which is unchanged) by 3 July 2020.

          Although the invitation is not a constitutional component of the legislative procedure as such, it is nevertheless to be taken as a clear indication that the German Bundestag will vote on the law again (probably within this legislative period ending in September 2021), with the express goal of achieving the two-third majority required by the Federal Constitutional Court.

      • Trademarks

        • Supreme Court Promotes Weaponization of Generic Domain Names–USPTO v. Booking.com

          The USPTO believed that “generic.com” domain names were almost always generic and therefore unregistrable. On that basis, it denied registration for Booking.com. The Supreme Court holds that generic.com domain names aren’t necessarily generic, which means they have the potential to become protectable trademarks and registrable.

          Justice Ginsburg’s majority opinion holds: “Whether any given ‘generic.com’ term is generic…depends on whether consumers in fact perceive that term as the name of a class or, instead, as a term capable of distinguishing among members of the class.” A footnote explains that consumer perceptions can be demonstrated by consumer surveys, dictionaries, usage by consumers/competitors, and other sources.

        • Good tech conquers whack-a-mole but risks info overload

          Trademark attorneys who have a solid technology strategy can more easily beat down infringement but should avoid getting overwhelmed by too much information

        • Singer says lawsuit over Lady A name is ‘white privilege’

          Singer Anita White, who was sued by a country group over the use of the name Lady A, says the group is using their white privilege against her.

          The band, who had previously been known as Lady Antebellum, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday seeking a ruling that their use of the trademark “Lady A” does not infringe on White’s use of the same name. The band is not seeking monetary damages.

        • 38 rules on trade mark infringement in China

          The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has published 38 rules on the criteria to determine trade mark infringement. These provide guidance on trade mark enforcement for authorities including the Administrations for Market Regulation.

          They aim to standardise enforcement across the country and better protect the rights of trade mark holders. Until now, there had been inconsistency in the enforcement of trade marks under the Chinese Trademark Law.

          The criteria were published on 15 June 2020.

          Ms Haoyu Feng and Mr Tingxi Huo of the MARQUES China Team have published an article on the criteria, which is available for members to read on the China Team page here (MARQUES log in required). They have also prepared an English translation of the CNIPA Notice, which is available on the Team page.

      • Copyrights

        • CJEU follows AG and rules that notion of ‘address’ does not extend to email and IP addresses and telephone numbers

          Does the notion of ‘address’ only refer to one’s own postal address or does it also encompass one’s own email and IP address, as well as telephone number?

          This, in a nutshell, is the question which the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had been required to answer in Constantin Film v YouTube, C-264/19.

          The referral, which Germany’s Federal Court of Justice had made, focused on the interpretation of Article 8(2)(a) of the Enforcement Directive, a piece of EU legislation adopted in 2004.

          The background national proceedings had originated from the refusal, by YouTube and its parent company Google, to provide film producer Constantin Film with the email and IP addresses, as well as telephone numbers, of YouTube users who had uploaded on that platform unlawful copies of its films Parker and Scary Movie 5.

          A few months ago – as The IPKat reported – Advocate General (AG) Saugmandsgaard Øe advised the CJEU to rule that the notion of ‘address’ is limited to one’s own postal address, but that individual Member States could go beyond the Enforcement Directive (this is only aimed at providing a minimum harmonization between Member States’ law) and provide for more extensive obligations on infringers or other subjects, including online intermediaries and platforms.

        • Rapidgator Uses DMCA to Crack Down on Premium Link Generators

          File-hosting service Rapidgator has had millions of pages removed from Google’s search results following complaints from copyright holders. However, the site is not just on the receiving end of takedown notices as it has started to send its own too, targeting ‘premium link generators’ and other problematic sites.

        • Amazon Piracy Lawsuit: Court Restrains Assets & Domains of Pirate Sites

          A lawsuit filed this week by Amazon Publishing, Penguin Random House and authors including Lee Child and John Grisham, has chalked up an early win. A Washington court has ordered that the assets and domains of Kiss Library, which is accused of massive copyright infringement, should be seized as part of a temporary restraining order.

They Always Worked for Microsoft (Directly and Indirectly) and Were Financially Rewarded for That

Posted in Microsoft, Mono at 2:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft and de Icaza

Summary: Nat and Miguel, now put in charge of new weapons against software freedom (e.g. GitHub and NPM), have long worked for Microsoft (Nat was also an intern there); Techrights was right all along about this pair

Red Hat Betrayed the Free Software Community With Its Software Patents’ Stockpiling Drive and Then a Sale to the Biggest Software Patents Lobbyist

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Patents, Red Hat at 8:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Even after the sale of Red Hat (Microsoft was entertained too as Red Hat considered a sale to Microsoft) IBM continues to shake down companies using a mountain of patents (to the point of filing lawsuits, just in case the defenseless companies don’t shell out ‘protection money’; Microsoft does the same)

Star Trek Klingon insults: 'Defensive' software patents for IBM blackmail: Red Hat commends its new masters for legitimising software patents

Summary: In 2020 Red Hat is little but a shadow of IBM, whose patent policy continues to threaten software freedom and whose lobbying for software patents (under the guise of “HEY HI”) persists uninterrupted; this growing problem oughtn’t be unspeakable

WE DULY apologise to readers who find our criticism of Red Hat (and by extension IBM) inconvenient, but we are being totally sincere. People who have read this site long enough are aware that for nearly a decade we’ve warned that Red Hat’s patents would likely fall into untrustworthy hands. We even challenged Red Hat employees (like their legal team) on the matter and their responses weren’t too convincing. Logical arguments just weren’t on their side given the hypothetical scenarios presented to them (notably sale of Red Hat to a software patents proponent). This isn’t the same Red Hat that publicly opposed software patents 15 years ago in Europe and even put money where its mouth was.

“People who have read this site long enough are aware that for nearly a decade we’ve warned that Red Hat’s patents would likely fall into untrustworthy hands.”Earlier this year we cited and even made screenshots of evidence (press reports) that IBM is still blackmailing small and large companies using a massive trove/portfolio of dubious patents, including if not primarily software patents. This has hardly changed since April. The new management, if it ever intends to put an end to this policy, will need to sack lawyers, not engineers.

“In-house counsel from IBM” was quoted the other day by Managing IP, which does yet more sponsored puff pieces (this one from Friday) for the litigation ‘industry’. IBM has hardly changed its stance or its way. It’s all rhetoric, marketing, soundbites and buzzwords. IBM is still a company of lawyers and it’s a giant that pushes for secrecy and lousy software patents (by opposing 35 U.S.C. § 101 and lobbying to water it down at the USPTO); remember that IBM also lobbies for software patents in Europe and falsely spoke ‘for’ “Open Source” (claiming that it had benefited from software patents — clearly a deliberate lie).

“Sometimes they also tell us that “HEY HI” (or algorithms in that context) should be entitled to pursue patents — in effect automatically-generated monopolies assigned to companies.”And then there’s all that proprietary nonsense like “Watson” and endless “HEY HI” (AI) nonsense. IBM isn’t changing fast enough (if at all). We might note that a lot of the “HEY HI” media extravaganza was motivated by a patents gold rush. They try telling officials that “HEY HI” is so important and so innovative that “HEY HI” patents should be a priority and should be permitted. Sometimes they also tell us that “HEY HI” (or algorithms in that context) should be entitled to pursue patents — in effect automatically-generated monopolies assigned to companies. It’s as crazy as that sounds…

If the patent system is fast becoming a laughing stock, it’s because of this “HEY HI” lunacy and the COVID-19 situation (patent offices try to spin it as ‘proof’ of patents’ importance, but the public isn’t gullible enough and it understands that the very opposite is true). If one looks at IBM’s site, it’s pretty much reducible to lots of “HEY HI” promises and brands like “Watson” (which they misuse the media to hail as some kind of marvel). They keep talking about COVID as if IBM is some kind of charity fighting for humanity.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s Paul Abbott and Olga Sendetska have just written about this “HEY HI” hype (in relation to patents of course, as it has been a buzzword most exploited by patent maximalists) in Lexology and their site, which said:

For now at least, the “person skilled in the art” (PSA) is deemed to be a human (or team of humans), not a machine, despite having some machine-like characteristics – Jacob LJ’s oft quoted judgment in Rockwater v Technip describes the PSA as “a nerd” but “not a complete android”. However, the PSA may have the assistance of machines. The EPO’s Guidelines for Examination explain that the PSA is presumed to have “at his disposal the means and capacity for routine work and experimentation which are normal for the field of technology in question”. The factual question therefore is whether it was common to use AI in the relevant field at the time of the claimed invention.

In recent times, this may mean there is a gap between what the inventor had at their disposal (which might include, for example, quite advanced AI tools) and what the PSA is deemed to have (for example, only less sophisticated (or no) AI). Does that unfairly skew the system in favour of patent applicants? Or does it amount to a perfectly proper reward for those working at the cutting-edge of research using AI. We suggest the latter – there is no real distinction between this situation and the often-encountered situation of a well-funded laboratory making an invention by utilising equipment that has not yet become routinely available across the field.

This analysis works fine for AI-assisted inventions. But what about AI-generated inventions, in which the AI is fundamental to the core inventive concept? Assuming that patent protection should be permissible for such inventions, how can the traditional obviousness analysis be applied?

We’ve digressed somewhat, but “HEY HI” nonsense like this is not helping the legitimacy of the patent system. Au contraire. Even the patent offices know that. “First off, the USPTO handed down its decision in Re FlashPoint IP Ltd, where it had to consider whether AI can be an inventor under US law,” wrote Jani Ihalainen the other day (post date modified to 5 days ago though it might go a couple of months back) in IP Iustitia, tackling the subject that “Artificial Intelligence Cannot be an Inventor of Patents,” according to the world’s major patent offices, including the EPO. To quote:

Artificial intelligence is a topic that is near and dear to this writer’s heart, and something that has the potential to hugely impact the world of intellectual property law. Whether it is in relation to the possibility of copyright protection being afforded to copyright works by AI, or even inventions devised by the same, both the legislatures and judiciaries of the world will have to tackle these questions more deeply as the technology evolves and becomes more commonplace. However, recently many national governing bodies dealing with IP have handed down decisions relating to artificial intelligence and patents, which will undoubtedly shape the direction we will be heading.

First off, the USPTO handed down its decision in Re FlashPoint IP Ltd, where it had to consider whether AI can be an inventor under US law, and therefore could own patents for those inventions. The case concerned applications for a patent relating to devices and methods for attracting enhanced attention (Application No. 16/524,350), which was created by DABUS – an AI that was created by Stephen Thaler. DABUS was solely listed as the inventor for the invention in question (with Mr Thaler being listed as its representative and assignee for the rights). At first instance, the USPTO rejected the application due to a lack of an inventor, and Mr Thaler subsequently appealed the decision. The Commissioner of Patents then handed down its opinion earlier this Summer.

“HEY HI” has become an excuse for lowering the patent bar and also accepting all sorts of patents on algorithms (provided the code is framed as “HEY HI”). Since technical journalism is generally dying, we expect more of this “HEY HI” nonsense (they call almost everything “HEY HI” these days) to intensify or at least remain frequent. IBM will, as usual, play a big role in that. As for Red Hat? Well, Red Hat sold its soul to IBM. It doesn’t have a say anymore. Red Hat is now Blue.

Politically Correct Tech

Posted in Deception at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This new video entitled “Politically Correct Tech” covers a topic we’ve spoken a great deal about

Video via AVRS

[Humour/Meme] High on Production, Stoned on Pseudoscience

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is granting authority just the licence to ‘print money’?

EPO Production 2000, EPO Production 2010, EPO 'Production' 2020

Summary: All-time high ‘production’ levels at the European Patent Office (EPO) do not mean what they want people to think and what they try hard to hide

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