Gemini version available ♊︎

The Only Solution Would be Abolition of All Software Patents

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Patents at 11:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 17c30d5b36ce3d46e81e5ebc015f63fb
Patents Likely the Biggest Barrier
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The goals of software freedom still heavily depend on our collective ability to eternally demolish all software patents, contrary to what OIN and LOT are trying to do along with the Linux Foundation

SOFTWARE patents are a big problem. They remain a massive barrier to software freedom, including GNU/Linux distributions. At risk of repeating ourselves, it is important to constantly highlight the problem with software patents because many people misframe the issue, as we recently saw when Google removed an image format from Chrome, retracting it due solely to software patents.

Back in October we wrote about Fedora's conflict/dilemma with software patents and this issue returns due to other distros facing similar problems/fears. When someone says that “debian doesn’t care” one misses the point that Debian actually does care but takes certain scenarios into account. As an associate put it today, software “patents [are] misunderstood, there is no hurry to sue until the codecs are widespread enough to make it profitable to do so; they can wait until the last day of the patent to do so” (like ‘submarine patents’).

“At risk of repeating ourselves, it is important to constantly highlight the problem with software patents because many people misframe the issue, as we recently saw when Google removed an image format from Chrome, retracting it due solely to software patents.”The associate asserted that people who post online about this issues are “totally confusing patents with copyright and vice versa”. The “Manjaro link,” for example, “shows some persistent misunderstandings, misinformation about the very nature of sodrware patents. Same for the latest Brodie video in the [above]. Submarine patents are a threat for their entire life cycle and unlike trademarks don’t have to be enforced to be kept valid. Like with GIF / LZW a standards-essential patent can be allowed and even encouraged to spread far and wide so as to maximize the amount of money harvested in the shakedown when the patent is enforced for the first time.”

The associate wanted to revisit the issue, asserting that misconceptions are spreading “and RMS is right about “IPR” being not only a misnomer but intentionally confusing people on the separate topics…”

Psydruid has meanwhile asked, “how do these (Western) patents hold up in countries like India, China and Russia?”

“We’ve not been covering software patents lately and neither did most sites that used to cover the topic.”I told him that Western monopolists are lobbying and shaming those countries, forcing them to assimilate using IAM and other rags that shame those countries into “compliance”.

“I would declare those companies “compania non grata“,” Psydruid said, as “they don’t do anything for India, but obey their US masters instead.”

We’ve not been covering software patents lately and neither did most sites that used to cover the topic. The EFF has been mostly silent on that front. Recently someone complained online that Microsoft-sponsored media was celebrating and promoting software patents, remarking on one particular example as follows:

The summary and the article are missing the link to the actual patent at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) lists “US 20220362677 A1″, which was published recently on 2022-11-17. Outrageously the USPTO does not have a viable search interface and even for known items where one has the patent number it is only possible to find a rendering of the document in their web “app” after a lot of time and effort. Even then it is not possible to link to the actual patent either let alone bookmark it. That is reprehensible.

Anyway, that rant aside, it is important to rant about the apparent fraud being perpetrated by EA there and by the parties reporting on the patent, or more specifically on the pretend patent

That is because software is no longer eligible for patenting in the US and has never been eligible in Europe. In fact, there was only a relatively short period when it was sort of allowed. Nowadays, in the US, protection from patents has been restored to software just as it had been back during the period of exponential growth. This change is the result of the court case “Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International” aka “Alice”. See also the case “In re Bernard L. Bilski and Rand A. Warsaw” aka “Bilski”.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) sometimes grants invalid patents. It has also in the past rubber stamped many software patents. Win or lose software patents means a drawn out, protracted fight in the courts and the accompanying legal fees, so it’s rare to find a lawyer who doesn’t promote them even though they are invalid. If I recall correctly each such case costs the defending company an average of $4M USD. East Texas is a jurisdiction infamous for such activities. The traditional defense of cross-licensing is completely ineffective against NPEs in jurisdictions where software patents are used. The only defense is to operate in jurisdictions where they are not allowed. The way it works is that non-practicing entities (NPEs) create shell companies with no assets and sue companies over software patents in such jurisdictions: With an empty shell there are no assets to confiscate should, after great expense of both time and money, a company win in court against one. Instead of collecting in the case of a win, the NPE and the money both disappear in a greasy cloud of smoke while at the same instant, in the same East Texas suite, at the same East Texas PO Box, a new non-practicing entity spins up with an analog patent.

There is a lot of money riding on this from a small herd of lawyers, including Microsoft’s own lawyers and many apparently corrupt politicians on both sides of the pond. However, those with the largest stake and the most money to lose, computer users, are in the dark.

Microsoft has extensive history arming/weaponising trolls against GNU/Linux. Don’t ever forget that.

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New

  1. Links 30/03/2023: LibreOffice 7.5.2 and Linux 6.2.9

    Links for the day

  2. Links 30/03/2023: WordPress 6.2 “Dolphy” and OpenMandriva ROME 23.03

    Links for the day

  3. Sirius is Britain’s Most Respected and Best Established Open Source Business, According to Sirius Itself, So Why Defraud the Staff?

    Following today's part about the crimes of Sirius ‘Open Source’ another video seemed to be well overdue (those installments used to be daily); the video above explains to relevance to Techrights and how workers feel about being cheated by a company that presents itself as “Open Source” even to some of the highest and most prestigious public institutions in the UK

  4. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, March 29, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, March 29, 2023

  5. [Meme] Waiting for Standard Life to Deal With Pension Fraud

    The crimes of Sirius ‘Open Source’ were concealed with the authoritative name of Standard Life, combined with official papers from Standard Life itself; why does Standard Life drag its heels when questioned about this matter since the start of this year?

  6. Former Staff of Sirius Open Source Responds to Revelations About the Company's Crimes

    Crimes committed by the company that I left months ago are coming to light; today we share some reactions from other former staff (without naming anybody)

  7. Among Users in the World's Largest Population, Microsoft is the 1%

    A sobering look at India shows that Microsoft lost control of the country (Windows slipped to 16% market share while GNU/Linux grew a lot; Bing is minuscule; Edge fell to 1.01% and now approaches “decimal point” territories)

  8. In One City Alone Microsoft Fired Almost 3,000 Workers This Year (We're Still in March)

    You can tell a company isn’t doing well when amid mass layoffs it pays endless money to the media — not to actual workers — in order for this media to go crazy over buzzwords, chaffbots, and other vapourware (as if the company is a market leader and has a future for shareholders to look forward to, even if claims are exaggerated and there’s no business model)

  9. Links 29/03/2023: InfluxDB FDW 2.0.0 and Erosion of Human Rights

    Links for the day

  10. Links 29/03/2023: Parted 3.5.28 and Blender 3.5

    Links for the day

  11. Links 29/03/2023: New Finnix and EasyOS Kirkstone 5.2

    Links for the day

  12. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 28, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 28, 2023

  13. [Meme] Fraud Seems Standard to Standard Life

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ has embezzled and defrauded staff; now it is being protected (delaying and stonewalling tactics) by those who helped facilitate the robbery

  14. 3 Months to Progress Pension Fraud Investigations in the United Kingdom

    Based on our experiences and findings, one simply cannot rely on pension providers to take fraud seriously (we’ve been working as a group on this); all they want is the money and risk does not seem to bother them, even when there’s an actual crime associated with pension-related activities

  15. 36,000 Soon

    Techrights is still growing; in WordPress alone (not the entire site) we’re fast approaching 36,000 posts; in Gemini it’s almost 45,500 pages and our IRC community turns 15 soon

  16. Contrary to What Bribed (by Microsoft) Media Keeps Saying, Bing is in a Freefall and Bing Staff is Being Laid Off (No, Chatbots Are Not Search and Do Not Substitute Web Pages!)

    Chatbots/chaffbot media noise (chaff) needs to be disregarded; Microsoft has no solid search strategy, just lots and lots of layoffs that never end this year (Microsoft distracts shareholders with chaffbot hype/vapourware each time a wave of layoffs starts, giving financial incentives for publishers to not even mention these; right now it’s GitHub again, with NDAs signed to hide that it is happening)

  17. Full RMS Talk ('A Tour of Malicious Software') Uploaded 10 Hours Ago

    The talk is entitled "A tour of malicious software, with a typical cell phone as example." Richard Stallman is speaking about the free software movement and your freedom. His speech is nontechnical. The talk was given on March 17, 2023 in Somerville, MA.

  18. Links 28/03/2023: KPhotoAlbum 5.10.0 and QSoas 3.2

    Links for the day

  19. The Rumours Were Right: Many More Microsoft Layoffs This Week, Another Round of GitHub Layoffs

    Another round of GitHub layoffs (not the first [1, 2]; won’t be the last) and many more Microsoft layoffs; this isn’t related to the numbers disclosed by Microsoft back in January, but Microsoft uses or misuses NDAs to hide what’s truly going on

  20. All of Microsoft's Strategic Areas Have Layoffs This Year

    Microsoft’s supposedly strategic/future areas — gaming (trying to debt-load or offload debt to other companies), so-called ‘security’, “clown computing” (Azure), and “Hey Hi” (chaffbots etc.) — have all had layoffs this year; it’s clear that the company is having a serious existential crisis in spite of Trump’s and Biden’s bailouts (a wave of layoffs every month this year) and is just bluffing/stuffing the media with chaffbots cruft (puff pieces/misinformation) to keep shareholders distracted, asking them for patience and faking demand for the chaffbots (whilst laying off Bing staff, too)

  21. Links 28/03/2023: Pitivi 2023.03 is Out, Yet More Microsoft Layoffs (Now in Israel)

    Links for the day

  22. IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 27, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, March 27, 2023

  23. Links 27/03/2023: GnuCash 5.0 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on Phones

    Links for the day

  24. Links 27/03/2023: Twitter Source Code Published (But Not Intentionally)

    Links for the day

  25. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 26, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, March 26, 2023

  26. Links 26/03/2023: OpenMandriva ROME 23.03, Texinfo 7.0.3, and KBibTeX 0.10.0

    Links for the day

  27. The World Wide Web is a Cesspit of Misinformation. Let's Do Something About It.

    It would be nice to make the Web a safer space for information and accuracy (actual facts) rather than a “Safe Space” for oversensitive companies and powerful people who cannot tolerate criticism; The Web needs to become more like today's Gemini, free of corporate influence and all other forms of covert nuisance

  28. Ryan Farmer: I’m Back After WordPress.com Deleted My Blog Over the Weekend

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan

  29. Civil Liberties Threatened Online and Offline

    A “society of sheeple” (a term used by Richard Stallman last week in his speech) is being “herded” online and offline; the video covers examples both online and offline, the latter being absence of ATMs or lack of properly-functioning ATMs (a growing problem lately, at least where I live)

  30. Techrights Develops Free Software to Separate the Wheat From the Chaff

    In order to separate the wheat from the chaff we’ve been working on simple, modular tools that process news and help curate the Web, basically removing the noise to squeeze out the signal

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

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

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

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

Recent Posts