Risks to Battistelli’s control be dismantled?
Summary: The unaccountable thugs who run the EPO have hired London-based spooks to help silence their opposition and their critics
Benoît Battistelli, whose own staff (not his establishment) dislikes him greatly, can only ever pretend to have learned his lessons about the downsides of tyranny. His Napoleonic complex remains in tact and as a result of this we are going to renew our criticism of the EPO’s crooked management.
Weeks ago, seeing that there was talk about recognition of a staff union and reform (“reform of sick leave and invalidity constitutes another severe attack on both dignity and fundamental rights of EPO staff”), we decided to stay quiet, giving an opportunity of reform a chance. There was later “Union Recognition Working Group – Report on the 1st meeting of 11 May 2015″.
“Surveillance on people who cover EPO corruption (including Techrights) is now a fact, not merely a possibility.”To quote one recent bit: “In its 119th session the Tribunal delivered a total of 77 judgments, of which 24 cases involving the EPO. Of the 24 EPO cases, only one case was won by the complainant. The remaining 23 cases were dismissed, 13 summarily. This paper discusses the cases that have broader relevance and the overall implications.”
Things seemed to have calmed down a bit, but different sources have told us about at least 3 nefarious surveillance and cracking companies that EPO hired (or is said to have hired because there is disagreement on which firm/s the EPO actually hired, with Blue Coat seemingly quite likely).
Surveillance on people who cover EPO corruption (including Techrights) is now a fact, not merely a possibility. Some of these surveillance agencies need to intercept or thwart encryption, so cracking is usually within their toolset. There is now public information in SUEPO’s Web site, which says: “SUEPO understands that the company Control Risks has been commissioned by the European Patent Office to investigate staff members who are elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union.”
The EPO’s surveillance on staff is an intimidation tactic. Deterrence is the goal. Too bad they don’t know how “blowback” works and how contracting abusive companies (military industrial complex-connected) hurts them in the long run, coinciding with other scandals and reinforcing a perception of corruption and lack of ethics, not to mention gross disregard for the law (Battistelli never cared much about the law, he even snubbed a Hague court’s ruling).
Here is the letter which SUEPO sent to Control Risks:
Nick Allan (Regional Director)
London, SE1 2QG
Crawford Gillies (Chairman),
Richard Fenning (CEO),
Dear Mr Allan,
We understand that your company has been commissioned by the EPO to investigate staff members who are elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union. You should be aware that the EPO is going through a serious crisis in its social relations, caused largely (in our opinion) by a series of controversial reforms initiated by the current President, Mr Battistelli.
The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) firmly believes that several of the reforms affront fundamental human rights. Indeed, in one case that we have been able to present to a national court, the court agreed with SUEPO (see Annex 1).
In reaction to the crisis, the EPO announced an initiative to renew the “social dialogue” (see Annex 2). This renewed social dialogue was not intended to address any of the controversial reforms, but rather to discuss the formal recognition of a Staff Union that has existed for more than 35 years and to which some 50% of the staff of the EPO are members. Although sceptical about the real intentions of the administration, SUEPO accepted the offer to talk. Yet while these talks are on-going, the Office apparently pursues one or more investigations against its newly found, but not yet formally recognized, “social partner”.
This is not the first time that staff representatives in the EPO have come under fire from Mr Battistelli. Last year several elected staff representatives and experts nominated by the staff representation have been investigated and/or disciplined. The disciplinary measures imposed by the President were significantly more severe than the proportionate measures – if any – recommended by the disciplinary committee.
We understand that Control Risks’ has a Code of Ethics and Human Rights policy. The former states that “If Control Risks has reason to believe that in undertaking an activity it would be complicit in human rights abuses committed by others, it will avoid that activity. ” The latter adds that “our employees are never to be complicit in human rights abuses.” We note that your company also adheres to the widely accepted UN Global Compact’s “ten principles”.
As indicated above, SUEPO is of the opinion that in particular the human resource policies and reforms currently implemented by the Office are repressive and serially offend fundamental human rights. For example, the unlawful restrictions on freedom of association have been confirmed by the Dutch court judgment. The right to engage in collective bargaining has never been recognized by the EPO, nor has the Staff Union been formally recognized, an apparent prerequisite (see “historic” talks) to being treated as a social partner. The list of staff grievances is long (see Annex 3) and ever lengthening.
To provide further context, you will find below further references to a selection of publicly available information about the current EPO “situation”. We cannot provide you with any of the internal material since this would be deemed to offend our EPO internal regulations, which are themselves also confidential. However, the cited documents and further information are available on our website: http://www.suepo.org/public/news
SUEPO is not aware of any wrong doing on our side, so we conclude that any investigation serves no other purpose than to intimidate, harass or simply silence Staff / Union representatives who oppose the present regime at the EPO.
We respectfully ask Control Risks to exercise due diligence by verifying both whether the commission from the EPO is “proper” and whether accepting this commission is fully in line with your company’s code of ethics.
We remain at your disposition should you wish to discuss this situation.
For information about “Control Risks” see Source Watch and see also WikiSpooks. To quote some relevant bits: “The majority of their clients are large multi-nationals; they state that more than 90 per cent of the FTSE 100 use one or more of their services [...] CRG is a member of the British Association of Private Security Companies and the Private Security Company Association of Iraq.”
There is definitely more coming. We shall keep an eye on this. As we assured at the start, this gross, crude, unethical and potentially illegal behaviour from EPO management is only going to motivate us to write more about EPO abuses, not less. █
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Gimmicks and marketing won’t save Windows
Summary: Ongoing propaganda about Vista 10, ‘cloud’, and other buzzwords or brands are put in perspective
“Vista 10″ (or Windows 10, as Microsoft prefers to call it) is marketing propaganda and very little beyond that. Microsoft can afford to bribe a lot of news sites (‘incentivising’ as they might put it), offering favours in exchange for PR. We see a LOT of PR right now. Microsoft’s “PR guys and gals [are] working overtime writing press releases, which Internet news sites are posting,” wrote Christine Hall. We recently wrote about the Microsoft copywriters (writing propaganda pieces for Microsoft, to be carefully spread through the media) and the famous lie of 'free' Vista 10. Hall writes that facts notwithstanding, it “hasn’t stopped the PR guys and gals from working overtime writing press releases, which Internet news sites are posting while wondering aloud if Windows 10 will be enough to “save” the PC, and coming to the conclusion that if Windows can’t do it, then it can’t be done. They reach this conclusion with nary a whisper about ChromeOS, which is cleaning Redmond’s clock on the laptop — and with even less being said about traditional Linux.”
“Prepare for an increasingly GNU/Linux-dominated world, not just in mobile, embedded systems, and servers.”GNU/Linux can do just fine on the desktop, but Web sites and services are becoming more mobile-friendly over time. In turn, more people choose to access data/services/programs through portable devices with relatively small (touch)screens.
Overwhelming press-aided propaganda (at critical times) has had people talk about Vista 10 delusions rather than pay attention to sinking Windows profits. Windows was never sold, but it was certainly stolen. Proprietary software is rented, not sold; Bill Gates pinched early operating system (OS) code from the garbage can. “In my case,” Bill Gates once explained, “I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and I fished out listings of their operating systems.”
In a later article Christine Hall wrote: “If you believe what you read, which isn’t always a good idea, Nadella & Company is good with the fact that Windows’ market share is shrinking and the company is more than willing to share market space with others, like OS X, Chrome OS, and presumably Linux. The common knowledge is that the folks in Redmond have come to accept the future and understand that Windows will no longer continue being the cash cow on which an empire was built. Microsoft, going forward, will be more humble than it was in the past and will be leaving it’s plans for world domination behind.”
Prepare for an increasingly GNU/Linux-dominated world, not just in mobile, embedded systems, and servers. █
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Public display of hatred
Summary: Microsoft decides to attack Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in India, where the corporate media is very much complicit in misleading the public
ARLIER this year we repeatedly wrote that upon India's adoption of a Free/Open Source software-leaning policy Microsoft would attempt to paint itself "Open Source", or misleadingly associate Windows with "Open Source" (Microsoft is now openwashing Windows by throwing some Windows Communication Foundation code out there). We were only partly right because Microsoft is now making the decision to actually attack the judgment of India’s government.
Big mistake. It’s offensive and potentially offending.
Microsoft pretends to be “Open Source”-friendly but at the same time it lobbies India government’s against rational, pro-India policy — a policy that would create many jobs in India and improve national security. India, being a software-producing giant, needs Microsoft as much as Norway needs lumber imports from the Sahara. It is worth reminding readers that several months ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to the US and met Microsoft’s CEO in person. See our past articles about Microsoft’s influence in the Indian government, where officials are notoriously corruptible.
Corporate Media to Microsoft’s Rescue
Here is the Business Standard (corporate press of India) helping Microsoft to get its message (lobbying) out. To quote: “The technology-savvy Narendra Modi government may have upset large software firms, especially Microsoft, in its bid to be more efficient and transparent. In March, the government announced an open-source policy that makes it mandatory for all future applications and services to be designed using the open-source software (OSS). In case of an exception, where proprietary or closed-source software (CSS) is deployed, officials have to justify their decision.
“Microsoft pretends to be a victim merely because governments want Free/libre software code and open standards.”“Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik told Business Standard the government’s preference for open source is not an issue. However, putting a clause where use of anything other than open source has to be justified is an area of concern.”
This is a reminder of Microsoft’s unique stance (no other company is named here) and feeling/sense of entitlement. When the British government chose to go with open standards for document formats (ODF) Microsoft attacked the government’s decision rather than comply by properly supporting the standard. Microsoft is upset not about the policy but about rivals of Microsoft getting more of an opportunity. Microsoft pretends to be a victim merely because governments want Free/libre software code and open standards. What’s good for taxpayers is very seldom good for Microsoft.
Calling Proprietary “Open Source”
Speaking of India and its submissive corporate media, the Indian press is wrong yet again (just earlier today). Cyanogen, a proxy of Microsoft (classic embrace extend and extinguish manoeuvre by Microsoft), is not “open source” as this headline from the Economic Times (corporate media) foolishly claims. “US-based Cyanogen,” says the article, “the developer of an open-source mobile operating system, will open an office in India within the next three months, and plans to acquire startups, according to a senior company executive.”
“Microsoft is unable to bring Android apps to Windows, so it is trying to steal Android itself.”It is not an “open-source mobile operating system” because the company, Cyanogen (not to be confused with CyanogenMod), plans to put Microsoft proprietary software in the operating system of another company (Google), exploiting Google’s FOSS-friendly nature. Here is a new reminder (from yesterday) regarding what Microsoft wants/hopes to turn Android into: “Today, they’ve added phone support for beta testers – those who’ve joined the Microsoft Office Preview community on Google+ and sign up for the apps you want to try. You’ll then be able to find them on the Google Play Store, where the apps have dropped “for tablet” from their name.”
So Microsoft is now using Google+ to screw Google and take away Android from Google, turning the platform into just a carrier of Microsoft’s proprietary software, with extra spying of course. Based on  (below), there is a grand plan. Microsoft is unable to bring Android apps to Windows, so it is trying to steal Android itself. It takes something which is Free software and turns it into proprietary software that spies on users (turning them into products to be sold to spies, advertisers, and so on).
Microsoft Wants Everyone’s Data
Based on this new article, StackStorm is now playing along with this kind of agenda, giving Microsoft data to spy on. To quote: “StackStorm CEO Evan Powell says StackStorm can be used to not only automate that management of application workloads on the Microsoft Azure cloud, but also other cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services or an OpenStack-compatible cloud.”
“Indian officials would have to be out of their minds (or corrupt) to continue procurement of Microsoft software after the NSA leaks, among other revelations about Microsoft’s crude business practices.”How foolish. Microsoft is increasingly trying to exploit users for their data and based on this new article from PopSci, Microsoft is now trying to lure children into proprietary software that spies on children. As the article puts it: “This grim declaration is a part of [Microsoft's] De Cicco Remu’s push for pencil-less classrooms. She believes pencils, paper, and chalkboards are all outdated methods of teaching. If De Cicco Remu has her way, “inking”, or using a stylus and a tablet, will be the new handwriting. Also, kids need to have the appropriate products–all Microsoft, of course. (She plugs Office 365 and OneNote as being helpful for classroom settings.)”
These are surveillance products and it is worth recalling Microsoft’s special relationship with the NSA. Indian officials would have to be out of their minds (or corrupt) to continue procurement of Microsoft software after the NSA leaks, among other revelations about Microsoft’s crude business practices.
Modi is renowned as somewhat of a nationalist (as in, looking after his nation’s interests) and he holds a Master of Arts degree in political science. He should be wise enough to know that Microsoft is no friend of India. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Developers are said to be reluctant to modify iPhone and Android apps for Windows Phone over doubts over app quality and how easy the process will be
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Scientists need not apply
Summary: Only large corporations and their lawyers are able to formally change the US patent system through public officials and politicians, despite recent rulings from very high courts
THE PATENT Act may be better than nothing, but it is nowhere near a solution to the patent mess that even Chinese actors complain about. In a very recent article at IDG Robert X. Cringely called it a “sick, sluggish U.S. patent system”. See the article “Even Uncle Sam admits: US patent law is whack”. It says that the “US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is calling on the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to overhaul its rules on licensing intellectual property.” Well, it is Bloomberg (front of Wall Street) that celebrates monopolies, not developers or scientists. It’s all about big business now. It’s about occupation of the industry, not creation or expansion. The Economist has this interesting article which says “Patent records reveal that the way inventions are made has changed over the years” (growing in terms of number by making rules more lenient). Here is an interesting part about a notorious patentor: “Invention can come about in two ways. Thomas Edison’s light bulb, for example, was not so much the product of a metaphorical light-bulb moment of discovery as of the bringing together of pre-existing components—an electricity supply, a heated filament, a vacuum and a glass envelope. None of these things was novel in the 1870s, but in Edison’s hands the combination became a patentable invention. In contrast, William Shockley’s transistor, invented 70 years later, involved a lot of new physics that Shockley and his colleagues had to work out for themselves. Both devices changed the world, though (Shockley’s was the foundation on which IT was built). And together they exemplify the two sorts of novelty that exist, in differing proportions, in any successful invention: discovery and recombination.”
A lot of large corporations are battling small ones and they are artificially elevating prices using software patents. It’s an attack on any emergent entity and it slows down science and technology for the sake of profit (of few large entities alone). See this new article titled “Is Big Business a Bigger Problem Than Patent Trolls?” To quote one of the opening sentences: “It’s easy to point fingers at so-called patent trolls for problems with the U.S. patent system, but corporations might be posing the biggest threat to innovation.”
A large entities-funded Web site which serves to shift focus to trolls (under the misleading guise of “Patent Progress”) wrote this: “Mark Lemley and Robin Feldman have just put out a new paper that shows something many of us suspected: patent licenses tend to be for the freedom to operate, not for technology transfer. That is, in their survey, they found that the overwhelming majority of the time, companies took licenses in order to settle an infringement claim for technology they’d developed independently; they generally did not take licenses in order to be able to develop new products.”
This aligns very well with corporations’ lobbying because it serves to distract from much bigger issues. What this site calls “Real Patent Reform” is not the “Patent Reform” that would actually fix the problems in one fell swoop, it would just empower large corporations even more. Watch this three-part series [1, 2, 3] about a mirage of a ‘reform’. It is clear that the goal there is not to solve the big issues but instead to shift attention to bogus ‘reforms’. It’s about protecting the likes of Apple from lawsuits such as this new one [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], not about tackling the patents themselves. The US is reportedly going as far as allowing patents on brain processes [1, 2, 3, 4], but no politicians speak about limiting patent scope as part of the overall solution. How come? Are they just couriers or spokes(wo)men for large corporations? Are too many blogs that cover these issue written by lawyers of large corporations or lobby groups that are funded by large corporations? It’s probably a bit of both. It is even complementary because if sites serve to inform (or misinform) politicians and decision-makers, then this whole situation is cyclic. It is an echo chamber.
A Red Hat-run site recently commented on the Supreme Court’s impact on need for reform, stating: “The thrust of the HJC hearing was pretty clear: Congress needs to act. And while the Supreme Court has taken some steps, it is not a substitute for legislative actions focused on the fundamental issues in the system that abusive patent litigants use to game the system.
“As Sen. John Cornyn—a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of the key advocate for reforms that failed to reach the Senate floor last May—put in a speech at the end of January, the Supreme Court’s actions around the standards for fee shifting and the modified pleading requirements introduced by the Judicial Conference are welcome, but essentially “marginal changes.””
“A lot of large corporations are battling small ones and artificially elevating prices using software patents.”This latter observation is important because it reminds us that there is already a way to restrict patents (scope of patenting), even without a bill in Congress. Therein lies the real solution and it is scaring a lot of patent lawyers whose biggest clients are very large corporations.
TechDirt recently aired a show titled “How The Patent System Can Be Fixed” and in it there was a “patent attorney [called] Hersh Reddy [who] helped us navigate the many ways in which the patent system is broken.”
They are not focusing on trolls. “Lawyers who know their way around a software patent,” wrote The Register in a recent article, “the blokes who supply those 1s and 0s in the bulk so vital for programming, coffee shops up to date with the latest weird milk for that latte (have they got to badger or vole yet?).”
Actually, these lawyers rarely even understand computers, they are just good with trickery, they are skilled enough at English, and they know how to sneak patents past a system that at least attempts — however loosely — to control their quality. “Drafting Software Patents In A Post-Alice World” is a recent headline from a patent lawyers’ Web site. It gives tips on dodging the rules. “It has been a challenging year for software patent owners,” it says, “following the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International. Since that ruling was handed down, a large number of software patents have been invalidated in the Federal Circuit and in district courts. So what should IP owners do if they are seeking to file a patent in today’s legal environment? Attorneys Seth Northrop and Sam Walling discuss the current state of affairs and offer some useful advice.”
What they mean to say is that they want to dodge the rules. Here is the previous Commissioner for Patents at the USPTO (apropos, Patent Commissioner Peggy Focarino is retiring now) writing for a pro-patents site, providing an opinion in yet another patent lawyers’ site (echo chamber), trying to highlight ways to dodge the rules and successfully patent software in spite of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank.
The EFF is clearly upset, but it hardly scolds/scoffs at all this. It merely asked a few weeks ago: =”Why Does The US Patent Office Keep Approving Clearly Ridiculous Patents?”
The original article is here (by Daniel Nazer) and it says: “Imagine you’re on your way to deliver a case of beer to a party. Before you get there, your boss sends you a text: They want 2 cases now. You read the text while driving (don’t do that), so you deliver an extra case when you arrive. Having successfully completed that task, you leave for your next delivery.”
Well, that’s a patent, sort of. Provided it’s encoded in software. That’s how bad things have become in the USPTO. The EFF has been somewhat of a mixed bag as of late. Julie Samuels (EFF) promotes the PATENT Act, despite its inherent flaws and suppositions (that trolls alone are the core issue). The PATENT Act is also promoted by Adi Kamdar (EFF) right here. To quote: “The PATENT Act fixes this by requiring patent owners to supply certain specific information when filing suit: which patents and claims are being infringed, what product is infringing, and how. If such information isn’t accessible, the patent owner must state why.”
Nothing is being done to actually limit patent granting or create new rules (not precedence) regarding patent scope. Then there is this return to the term “bad patents”, yet again, courtesy of Daniel Nazer (EFF). Writing about patents and especially software patents has become increasingly depressing because the corporate media is only willing to blame ‘trolls’ right now. Lobbyists of large corporations (like Microsoft or Apple) would rather name companies that feed patent trolls, omitting names of companies that these lobbyists represent or work for. The EFF plays along with this, so who is left to fight the good fight? The FFII is mostly defunct now.
“This week,” writes the EFF, “together with Public Knowledge and Engine, EFF submitted written comments to the Patent Office regarding its Patent Quality Initiative.” When they talk about quality they don’t quite talk about scope and the EFF is preoccupied with patent trolls these days, especially when it puts so much effort into the PATENT Act. Everyone talks about it, even in Canada and on television in the US (e.g. John Oliver at HBO, who still receives flak from patent lawyers and opportunists such as Mintz Levin Cohn, Ferris Glovsky, and Popeo PC [1, 2]).
The patent lawyers are still working hard to ensure they can patent everything under the sun [1, 2, 3, 4] and patent academics like Dennis Crouch provide some tips. One of these so-called ‘professionals’ goes as far as suggesting that people register copyrights even though they’re automatically in effect, without needing to be “registered”. Here is why: “CLS Bank International, which has created significant obstacles in patent protection for software. Numerous US patents covering software applications have been invalidated by the courts in recent months relying on the Alice decision.”
So this ‘genius’ now suggests “copyright registration” for software. USPTO is for trademarks and patents to be registered, copyrights do not need to be registered; that’s just the way they work, that’s their nature and that’s why they’re cheap to ‘acquire’ (no cost at all). These tips are just horribly misinformed then.
“Corporate Counsel”, another site for patent lawyers and the likes of them, published “Technology Patent Licensing Trends in 2015 and Beyond”, whereas another bunch of lawyers’ sites cited the Nautilus v. Biosig case [1, 2, 3] because it challenges a heart monitor patent [1, 2]. We generally found a lot of coverage about this in “legal” sites, but not in sites that are not run by lawyers, except in one case (corporate media coverage). Here is the gist about the same case: “The Federal Circuit considered the question of indefiniteness on remand from the Supreme Court’s reversal in Nautilus v. Biosig and, perhaps not surprisingly, found again that the Biosig’s claims were not indefinite.”
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) is actually the most pro-software patents court in the US. One site asks, “Is Federal Circuit Really ‘Terrified’ of Reversals?”
As we demonstrated last year, there’s corruption in CAFC, which led to its head leaving. There are conflicts of interest. Corruption is in fact endemic in the US patents system and the court system, as this new report serves to show. To quote, the “US District Judge Leonard Davis said this week he’s going to leave the bench to join Fish & Richardson, a large law firm focused on intellectual property.
“Davis, who has presided in the Eastern District of Texas since 2002, has one of the most active patent dockets in the nation and has presided over some of the biggest technology lawsuits of the past decade. Corporate Counsel magazine reported this week that he has handled more than 1,700 individual IP cases as a judge. Before becoming a judge, he worked for 23 years in private practice.”
“Here again we see tips being given for getting around the rules.”We wrote about Fish & Richardson before and so did Patent Troll Tracker [1, 2, 3]. As a quick reminder, East Texas is like the capital of patent trolls and Texas media insists these days that “There’s no crisis in current patent law”. Texas Lawyer (capital not only of patent trolls but also stagnant in education amongst US states) wrote about the USPTO‘s new guidelines on software patentability, noting: “The recently revised USPTO guidelines for subject matter eligibility offer an effective summary of the case law post-Alice, and should be closely considered by any attorney representing patent owners.”
Here again we see tips being given for getting around the rules. It’s disregard or even mockery of the law. All the proponents of software patents are very much worried about fees and patent scope being restricted, due to changes in law. Some lawyers’ sites and law firms pursue change to law pertaining to design patents, hoping to latch onto the reform all sorts of expansions in terms of scope exceptions. To quote this one new article: “With all the patent reform legislation discussion going on, PARTS are not getting as much attention. Specifically, in February, members of the House and Senate each re-introduced the “Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade and Sales Act,” known as the “PARTS Act.” The House bill and the Senate bill are identical.” Here is what the PARTS Act is about: “The PARTS Act would amend 35 U.S.C. § 271 to provide an exception from design patent infringement for certain external component parts of automobiles, which include collision-related parts such as hoods, fenders, tail lights, and side mirrors.”
Here is the Washington Post, a front for large business interests, alluding to “design patents” as well. To quote part of the report: “Though design patents play a valuable role in the system that encourages innovation by inventors, they’ve also proven to be a rich source of meritless litigation.”
How does it promote innovation? That’s nonsense. “The patent system has been in focus all year,” says the article, “with the Senate last week announcing a bipartisan proposal to reform the system. Similar to legislation that passed the House last year, the Senate bill will be aimed at making life more difficult for abusive lawsuits by so-called patent trolls — companies that buy up dubious patents from inventors and use them to extract settlements from innovators and users rich and poor.”
The problem is not trolls, it’s broad patent scope that facilitates patent trolls. Bradley J. Hulbert, a lawyer, defended software patents the other day. In a pro-software patents site he wrote: “In following this mandate, the U.S. patent system should be implemented in a way to promote software innovation. In recent years, U.S. courts have developed a series of guidelines defining boundaries for patent eligibility. To the extent that such rules block patents from being issued too freely, they should be applauded as consistent with the Constitutional mandate. However, over the past decade, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions have presented a “moving target” of when software and other computer-implemented inventions are eligible for patent protection. This lack of clarity is reducing business incentives to develop software.”
This is complete nonsense. People don’t stop developing software just because they cannot patent algorithms. Since he wrote in the site of Gene Quinn, who works hard to undermine any reform that jeopardises broad patent scope, much of this should be expected.
One new article is titled “Does your mobile app need a patent?”
It is a loaded question and so is the part which says: “So you’ve got an app idea and want to protect it. Is a patent the right route to keeping it safe?” No, there are already copyrights. Besides, app developers need to worry about being sued over patent infringement, not about imitations. If one is entitled to a software patents, everyone else is too. It makes the environment unpleasant to work in. Besides patents there are already copyrights and failing that, there are trade secrets. Here is a major patent case being dropped, with the press release and press coverage saying that “CA had alleged that AppDynamics misappropriated trade secrets, among other things.”
Eventually they settled, so the only winners are the lawyers who make money from the two-year-old dispute. Sadly enough, it is those parasites that continue to dominate the debate (also in the media) over patents while many scientists remain apathetic or uninvolved. This ought to change.
Andy Updegrove recently related the subject of patents to Free/Open Source software development. He focused on patent pledges, noting: “For all its benefits, one aspect of open source software does cause headaches: understanding the legal terms that control its development and use. For starters, scores of licenses have been created that the Open Source Initiative recognizes as meeting the definition of an “open source license.” While the percentage of these licenses that are in wide use is small, there are significant and important differences between many of these popular licenses. Moreover, determining what rights are granted in some cases requires referring to what the community thinks they mean (rather than their actual text), and in others by the context in which the license is used.”
In a world where there are no software patents issues such as these would not emanate. For a lot of developers in many countries patents are not a factor in choosing a licence, but if they want to bring their software to the US, for example, then it starts to matter. The issue does not affect just Free/Open Source software but also proprietary software. It affects every software developer and to a lesser degree software users as well.
Where has the opposition to software patents gone? █
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