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03.25.17

Judge and Justice Bashing in the United States, EPC Bashing at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO took it even further by illegally suspending a judge, putting him on a "house ban" with no foreseen redemption

Gorsuch on Trump
Reference: SCOTUS Nominee Gorsuch Calls Trump’s Judge-Bashing ‘Disheartening’ and ‘Demoralizing’

Summary: Enforcement of the law based on constitutional grounds and based on the European Patent Convention (EPC) in an age of retribution and insults — sometimes even libel — against judges

THE informal mouthpiece (still) of the EPO, IAM, published this article just before the weekend. It’s about a Supreme Court decision (impacting courts more than the USPTO) which can help patent trolls. IAM was of course jubilant and the article boils down to the typical IAM propaganda. It’s just a selection of quotes from just one side of the argument. It’s propaganda disguised as news.

Trolls’ and maximalists’ news [sic] sites quote only other trolls and maximalists, as might be expect. But what’s noteworthy is the following part in which a former USPTO Director says that the “so-called judge” (infamous phrase from Trump) is a hypocrite. IAM uses that to attack (mind the headline) a nonconformist (patent sceptic) Justice, Mr. Breyer, whom the patent microcosm likes to attack over Alice and the his remarks on the Lexmark case. Here is the relevant part:

One critic, former USPTO Director Todd Dickinson, now a partner at Polsinelli, pointed out what he sees as the hypocrisy in Breyer’s comments in SCA and Star Athletica, and the court’s recent mangling of the law around patent eligible subject matter.

Notice how IAM is quoting some of the worst trolls but not actual industry people (producers and productive firms, i.e. anything other than parasites). We have grown accustomed to this, particularly from IAM.

Patent maximalists want more patents, more lawsuits, and more money for themselves (the latter requires more of both). They couldn’t care any less about the raison d’être and core purpose of patents as originally envisioned. They’re like clueless Battistelli, who would have us believe that converting a fine patent examination office into a rubberstampting operation like INPI is a great thing, even if that entails decrease in applications and devaluation of EPs. He’s a hyperinflation politician, not a President; he’s a tyrant like Mugabe and his impact on the EPO is already devastating (brain drain, reputation issues and so on).

Facing the reality of the EPC, the EPO already acknowledged it had granted bogus patents on plants/seed and then decided to stop it (very belatedly and probably due to mounting public pressure). The EPC is like the constitution to examiners, but they are bossed and instructed by Battistelli loyalists, not a legal document. There is clearly a constitutional crisis here, hence the need for whistleblowers.

Tobias Cohen Jehoram, Tjibbe Douma, Gertjan Kuipers and Oscar Lamme from De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek N.V. have just published this article about it. They also take note of the EPC towards the end, along with the EU Biotech Directive:

The patentability of plant varieties has been a recurring topic of discussion over the years. Despite some pro-patentability decisions by the European Patent Office, the European Commission recently set out its restrictive views on this subject in a Notice. This led to the European Council stating its Conclusions on the Notice in February 2017. The outcome is clear: both EU bodies conclude that no patents should be allowed for plant products obtained through essentially biological processes, for example genetically modified plants.

[...]

Under the EU Biotech Directive and the European Patent Convention (EPC), plant varieties and essentially biological processes for the production of plants are not patentable. Plant varieties can be protected by “plant variety rights”, which grant exclusivity to the right holder while leaving room for others to use the protected material as a starting point for further breeding (the breeders’ exemption).

The EPC is a non-EU convention and the Biotech Directive was implemented in the EPC by the EPC Implementing Regulations. Those Regulations also provide that the examining and opposition divisions of the European Patent Organisation (EPO) use the Directive as a supplementary means of interpretation when examining European patents and patent applications for EPC compliance. In addition, the EPO Guidelines provide that judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the interpretation of the Directive may be “considered as being persuasive”.

Also take note of this Turkish law firm writing about the EPC in relation to Turkey; this was published already in IAM and we took note of it the other day. We bemoaned the wrong assumption that the EPO was still following and obeying the EPC; the judges whose job it is to enforce this have already complained openly that they are unable to do it under Battistelli.

Battistelli’s men have already gloated that they would disregard court rulings, they pretty much ignore ILO rulings, and much like Recep Tayyip Erdoğan they oust or drive to exile judges whom they don’t agree with.

Looking for EPO Nepotism? Forget About Jouve and Look Closely at Europatis Instead.

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jouve logoSummary: Debates about the contract of Jouve with the EPO overlook the elephants in the room, which include companies that are established and run by former EPO chiefs and enjoy a relationship with the EPO

THE EPO has many big scandals including privacy violations as covered here months ago, back when we wrestled with a lot of EPO scandals and had already written a great deal about Europatis, e.g. in:

  1. Jacques Michel (Former EPO VP1), Benoît Battistelli’s EPO, and the Leak of Internal Staff Data to Michel’s Private Venture
  2. Europatis: “Turnover of €211,800 and Zero Employees”
  3. Loose Data ‘Protection’ and Likely Privacy Infringements at the EPO: Here’s Who Gets Employees’ Internal Data
  4. Summary of the EPO-Europatis Series
  5. Revolving Doors of High-Level EPO Management: Jacques Michel and the Questel Deal With the EPO

Europatis, in short, is an EPO-connected company of a former EPO Vice-President from France.

Mark Schweizer recently asked about a French company called Jouve. To quote:

If there ever was a first world problem, then this is it. But whenever (okay, not every single time) I walk to the printer in our office and pick up a freshly printed European patent application or European patent, I read the line at the very bottom of the first page which reads “Printed by Jouve, 75001 PARIS (FR)”, and I think “no, it isn’t. It’s printed by my Cannon makeupsomenumber in Zurich, Switzerland. I wish I was in Paris”. Why does it say “Printed by Jouve” on every single European patent (application)?

Jouve is a group of companies headquartered in Paris providing, in their own words, “customers with cross-media solutions for designing, enriching, showcasing and distributing content”, whatever that means. Those services include on-demand printing and web-to-print services. I would assume that Jouve has some kind of contract with the European Patent Office. However, are they printing anything for the EPO, much less patents and patent applications?

Jouve seems to be getting EPO data, but Europatis gets very personal data about staff and there is also the possibility of nepotism (Jacques Michel, former EPO VP1)

Read the latest comments which attempt to answer Schweizer’s question, notably this person who says “I imagine that Jouve still do the typesetting – OCR’ing the scanned specification pages (yes even if you printed them nicely to pdf) and turning them into the published spec.”

Is this another EPO scandal in the making? We don’t think so. But some people latch onto the nationality of the company,e.g.:

Interesting, a French Company not doing what they claim to be doing on every title page of a European Patent.
I always wondered who authorized that after the change to electronic publishing. Why not also the provider of the paper and of the printing ink? Why not the company providing the software for generating the pdf?
Great Ad for Jouve anyway, and a French company deserves this, doesn’t it? The French seemingly have a tradition of having related people doing nothing but the gouvenement paying for it, at least when you read the newspaper you get that impression. Presidential order? Honi soit qui mal y pense

“Here is some background to the EPO contract with Xerox/Jouve for bedtime reading,” says the latest comment, pointing to a Xerox contact with the EPO (which has many Xerox equipment on site). It said that Xerox, as of 1990, would “capture and publish 65%” of EPs and the remainder would be “processed by a French company, Jouve.”

Is there some sort of scandal here? We don’t think so. As it goes back so many years, it’s unlikely to have anything to do with Battistelli. But by all means, someone should look more closely into Europatis.

Depressing EPO News: Attacks on Staff, Attacks on Life, Brain Drain, Patents on Life, Patent Trolls Come to Germany, and Spain Being Misled

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of the latest developments at the EPO combined with feedback from insiders, who are not tolerating their misguided and increasingly abusive management

THE thousands of EPO workers are concerned. The tens if not hundreds of thousands of EPO stakeholders are concerned too. Software developers like myself are growingly concerned about software patents in Europe, seeing what could soon become the European ‘Eastern District of Texas’ with Battistelli as its boss, having granted a lot of bogus patents. This article is an assorted mix of interrelated topics that we have sat on for a while, combined with the latest news. Readers might find these interesting.

“First We Take Munich then we take the Hague”

Tu quoque mi fili“, one person wrote to us, “I just remembered this song,” tweaking Leonard Cohen’s First We Take Manhattan:

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to free the system from the plague
I’m coming now I’m coming now to reward them
First We Take Munich then we take the Hague.

The famous original lyrics said:

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I’m coming now, I’m coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

“With a bit of humour and philosophy,” our reader noted, “one would notice that history repeats and many don’t learn from the past mistakes. It is sad.”

“Battistelli is Playing With Death Not Only With the Suicides That He Has Directly or Indirectly Provoked”

Let’s talk about the “BBB effect,” wrote another reader, in reference to “Bikes brakes and Battistelli” (BBB).

thank you again for the excellent coverage of EPO matters. Your contributions are certainly a key toward the solution.

Allow to comment on one of the recent publications
.
About the brakes story (again!):

It is now clear for anyone that this incident was created by Team Battistelli in order to introduce additional security measures. However that was an insult to the staff (again) and an extremely dangerous move. It is an insult because the staff of the EPO are utterly pacifists and if they really wanted to “illegally” get rid of the tyrant they could do it and no one would find who did it. After all you have there more than 4000 scientists and engineers and I am pretty sure they could have Battistelli “disappeared” in a far more efficient way than cutting brakes. It was thus an insult to their competence.
The point that worries me is that by alluding that one may want to harm the boss, the management creates that perception that such things are possible and you know if there is a foolish thing to do, you will find a fool to do it. This is a recipe for a disaster. Mr. Battistelli is playing with death not only with the suicides that he has directly or indirectly provoked but also by orchestrating a, yet imaginary, plot against himself. Hence no wonder that he turns paranoid: his life must be a nightmare. He would be afraid to be in any public place, of traveling, taking a taxi, being in an airport, even being in the EPO basement carpark (which I would shut off as a precautionary measure because is is really a dangerous place), being in the lift or even shaking hands. All that is really dangerous, Monsieur le President, are you so tired of living? What about a stay in your beloved Haar nuthouse?

Brain Drain and Collapse of ‘Demand’ for Patents

“Brain drain,” another reader noted, is real, as “the figures the Euro Patent Office doesn’t want you to see” are as follows:

I have just heard this impressive figure: in 2016 over 60 persons retired at ages younger than 55, compared to 5 persons in 2015. Who says there is no brain drain?

We are sad to see the EPO failing so badly. The USPTO, by contrast, is improving. US applications for EPs have in fact just nosedived; even ‘artistic’ statistics by the EPO could not hide this.

EPO Patent Quality (or Scope) Now Worse Than USPTO

To clarify, as I did even a decade ago, I am not against patents (I never was), nor am I against patent offices. I just think that the US is improving patents-wide, whereas the EPO is a travesty that will damage Europe’s competitiveness. Patent quality sucks so badly under Battistelli that patents on life, which are rejected in the USPTO these days, are being accepted by the EPO. There was a new article about this yesterday at The Scientist. To quote the summary: “The European Patent Office will grant patent rights over the use of CRISPR in all cell types to a University of California team, contrasting with a recent decision in the U.S.” The confirmation goes one day earlier. To quote: “The European Patent Office (EPO) yesterday (March 23) announced its intention to award a broad-strokes patent for CRISPR gene-editing technology to the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research. The claims include the use of CRISPR across prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and organisms, hitting upon the point of contention in a recent patent interference decision in the United States. In that case, the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied UC Berkeley the rights over the use of the technology in eukaryotes—the money-making application for CRISPR—leaving that intellectual property with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.”

What a disaster. See our index about CSIRO and CRISPR. This will almost certainly bring patent trolls to Europe pretty soon.

Germany Already Attracts Patent Trolls

Speaking of CSIRO, see this new article from IAM (EPO and trolls proponent), which finally admits that patent trolls now infest Germany, attacking legitimate companies using patents. The Battistelli effect? Here is the relevant part:

Recent research from IP analytics firm Darts-ip has identified China and Germany as the two major patent jurisdictions in which NPEs enjoy the most success in infringement proceedings. However, the relatively low volume of cases being filed by NPEs in China suggests that significant monetisation activity is still some way off – though there are already signs that it is picking up.

The Darts-ip study looks at lawsuits filed by NPEs in several major jurisdictions outside of the United States from 2011 to 2016. The researchers pinpointed just over 250 non-US NPE cases over that period, compared to more than 12,000 US cases. While the number may seem “trivial”, as Darts-ip concedes, it is the trend over the five-year timeframe that is telling.

See what the EPO is doing to Europe? Same thing SIPO is doing to China. It’s destroying the domestic industry. Under Battistelli the EPO became just "SIPO Europe", as we dubbed it back in December.

The EPO moves from bad to worse while the USPTO is at least trying to improve. This new piece from Patently-O (also yesterday) speaks of “Regulatory Reform” using a new working group — like the sorts of groups that existed when Battistelli seized power and then proceeded to shutting down. “Under the direction of the White House,” Patently-O wrote, “the USPTO has formed a “Working Group on Regulatory Reform.” To implement the 2-for-1 regulatory agenda previously outlined on Patently-O. According to a release from Dir. Michelle Lee’s office…”

Lee has done a lot to improve the image of the USPTO. It became a lot saner and among the reforms was the suppression of software patent trolls.

Spain and the EPO

In Europe we are now receiving the exact opposite (see the news about Germany, to be further exacerbated and expand scope-wise with the UPC) and Barker Brettell LLP (mentioned before in relation to the EPO [1, 2] and its advocacy of software patents) insinuates that Spain becoming more like the EPO is desirable. To quote the relevant part from “Will the new Spanish patent law bring harmony in Europe?”

The changes will also alter the opposition process; this will move to a post-grant system like the EPO, except that the term for filing an opposition will be six months from grant rather than the EPO’s nine months. Harmony with the EPO is also achieved when it comes to ‘second medical use’ inventions; when patenting already known substances or compositions for use in new therapeutic applications the ‘Swiss type’ form of claim is no longer needed. Also mirroring the changes that EPC2000 brought in, there remains an exclusion from patent protection for surgical, therapeutic and diagnostic treatment methods but the legal fiction that these methods lack industrial application is removed.

The option will be available for post-grant limitation or revocation of the patent by the patentee. As with a central limitation or revocation at the EPO, a request can be made at any time during the life of the patent and will be retroactive in its effect.

“Since when are the Spanish people asking Franco for a comeback?”

That is what an EPO insider thought of it. As we noted yesterday, Spain continues to reject the UPC. Seeing what happens in Germany right now should be a strong defense of this decision. it’s possible that 4 days from now the UPC will be more or less officially dead in the water.

It Certainly Looks Like Microsoft is Already Siccing Its Patent Trolls, Including Intellectual Ventures, on Companies That Use Linux (Until They Pay ‘Protection’ Money)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The patent strategy of Bill, Steve and Horacio seems to be alive and well even in their absence

Ballmer on patents
Full, 6-frame explanation of Microsoft’s strategy

“People that use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us.”

Steve Ballmer

Summary: News about Intellectual Ventures and Finjan Holdings (Microsoft-funded patent trolls) reinforces our allegations — not mere suspicions anymore — that Microsoft would ‘punish’ companies that are not paying subscription fees (hosting) or royalties (patent tax) to Microsoft and are thus in some sense ‘indebted’ to Microsoft

THE analysis we presented here last month turns out to be very accurate. Our predictions didn’t take long to materialise.

Let’s start with some background. In spite of courts in the US limiting the patentability of software, the USPTO keeps granting these and failing to invalidate those already granted, unless someone petitions PTAB to look into particular patents. This means that, for the time being, even bogus patents continue to exist and they can be used for litigation. Challenging them, especially if they are used in bulk, can be very expensive (legal fees). Recently, some companies challenged Intellectual Ventures‘ claims against them and won. All of the software patents of Intellectual Ventures were found to be invalid. But at what cost? These cases had to be escalated all the way up to CAFC before that happened. How many companies out there can afford justice and how rarely would that be an option cheaper than just settling?

“How many companies out there can afford justice and how rarely would that be an option cheaper than just settling?”Nowadays, a lot of small companies choose the so-called ‘cloud’ for hosting. There are numerous reasons for this and they don’t typically receive legal protections or indemnification from the host. There have already been cases where companies got hit with a lawsuit (or more) for a bunch of virtual machines.

This new article by Richard Kemp, providing a good example of what we mean by cloudwashing of software patents (adding something like “on the cloud”, in order to fool examiners into granting software patents, thinking these are novel and combined with a machine).

“Cloud software patent claims will likely increase as more users migrate to the cloud,” it says in the summary, alluding in particular sections about trolls to this phenomenon. Here are the relevant parts:

As the public cloud services market continues to mature and grow – up from $178bn in 2015 to $209bn in 2016 according to research company Gartner – the concentration of computing resources into cloud data centres is increasingly attracting the attention of Non-Practising Entities (NPEs) as a target for patent litigation. At a time when data security and privacy risks are front of mind for cloud service providers (CSPs) and their users, the intellectual property (IP) risks to cloud service availability posed by NPE patent claims are rising up the business agenda.

NPEs are businesses that assert patents through litigation to achieve revenues from alleged infringers without practising or commercialising the technology covered by the patents they hold. NPEs are uniquely well placed to monetise their patents at each stage of the litigation cycle. They have access to capital and all necessary forensic and legal resources; and an NPE doesn’t practise its patents so is immune to a counterclaim that a defendant might otherwise be able to bring against a competitor, or a cross-licence that the defendant could otherwise offer.

[...]

From the CSP’s standpoint all this is bad enough, but software patent risks are further exacerbated by increasing use of open source software (OSS) in the cloud. OSS, long in the mainstream, now commonly powers cloud computing systems. OSS developments are created by communities of individual developers. With no single holder of software rights, patent infringement issues are unlikely to be top of mind, and if they are, developers will generally lack the resources to help them navigate the risks. Simply because they are open, OSS developments and communities are easier targets for NPEs than proprietary software as they don’t need to go to the same lengths to discover potential infringement. The softness of the target increases risk for CSPs using OSS and their users.

Cloud software patent risk is evident and growing, so it is perhaps surprising that it has figured so little in the register of perceived risks up to now, especially when data protection, privacy and information security figure so high. Yet an unsettled cloud software patent claim runs risks to cloud service availability that are arguably of the same order as information security risks. The reason why cloud computing IP risks have had little public airing so far is probably that, while implicitly acknowledged, they have yet to be thoroughly expressed and articulated. For example, in UK financial services, now one of the most heavily regulated sectors, cloud computing is treated as outsourcing and in its cloud guidance, the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority, the UK regulator) states that regulated firms should, amongst other things: “monitor concentration risk and consider what action it would take if the provider failed ….”

How does that relate to Microsoft? Now comes the key part. Microsoft is trying to turn Azure into its new cash cow and it is also trying to turn its patents into cash cows. It’s now doing in the cars what it’s planning to do in the ‘cloud’, namely demand payments for patents (where [GNU/]Linux is used), otherwise send a bunch of trolls to make a legal mess. The Mafia model.

“It’s now doing in the cars what it’s planning to do in the ‘cloud’, namely demand payments for patents (where [GNU/]Linux is used), otherwise send a bunch of trolls to make a legal mess. The Mafia model.”The other day we wrote about what Microsoft and its biggest troll (Intellectual Ventures) had been doing lately, having recently written about Microsoft marketing of “Azure IP Advantage” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] — eerily similar in many ways to the Microsoft-Novell patent deal.

It looks like Microsoft is already siccing its patent trolls on companies that don't pay 'protection' money, we noted, and now it looks like we have another new example, as covered yesterday by friends of Intellectual Ventures, IAM magazine. To quote the relevant bits:

The auto industry has been a hive of patent activity for several years. Manufacturers and suppliers are far more sophisticated players in terms of their own patenting, have become more assertive in fighting claims and are increasingly signing-up to defensive initiatives such as the LOT Network and Unified Patents. The emerging dynamics in the sector were on full display in two separate developments this week.

First up, on Monday, Intellectual Ventures filed seven lawsuits in Delaware against Toyota, Honda and BMW, and the suppliers Denso, Nidec, Aisin Seiki and Mitsuba. Each has been accused of infringing between one and five patents. IV has been attempting to license the auto sector for several years and in a significant boost to its efforts did a deal with Ford in 2015. Obviously not everyone in the industry has been as willing as Ford, hence this week’s move.

[...]

On Wednesday Microsoft announced that it had agreed a new patent licensing deal with Toyota that includes broad coverage for connected car technologies. That deal, the software giant says, is the first in its new auto licensing programme; and so we can presumably expect some similar announcements in the coming months. The deal release was light on details, but the two companies have an existing IP relationship thanks to Microsoft’s recent Azure IP Advantage initiative, which Toyota was quick to sign up to. What will be interesting to follow is how any upcoming deals are structured given that Microsoft’s recent focus has been on using its IP as leverage in getting more of its products onto devices rather than as a driver of licensing dollars.

The Japanese car giant is clearly looking to ensure it has freedom to operate in a rapidly changing market. That strategy, so far, has not included signing a licence with IV — which Microsoft was an early investor in — but the Delaware lawsuit might bring things to a head.

The Microsoft-Toyota patent deal was mentioned here the other day. We later said that Microsoft is using software patents against GNU/Linux and relies on secrecy around what’s covered (Android, file systems, etc.); for those who don’t yet know, Toyota was historically close to Microsoft, but it recently defected to the Linux camp. Microsoft can’t be too happy about that. Here are three items from the news:

  • Toyota licenses Microsoft’s portfolio of connected car patents

    In a blog post, Microsoft Intellectual Property Group chief IP Counsel Erich Anderson suggests the company’s software patents will play a significant role in the automotive industry’s “digital transformation” as more vehicles are connected to the internet and cloud services.

  • Microsoft expands connected car push with patent licensing

    Rather than trying to build a high-tech automobile of its own, Microsoft is focusing on providing carmakers with the tools they need to create smarter vehicles and the Toyota deal is the first of what it hopes will be a series of such agreements.

    [...]

    The deal signed with Toyota includes intellectual property {sic} related to information processing technology and communication technology used in connected cars. In typical Microsoft fashion, the terms of the deal beyond that have been kept secret.

  • Daimler Jumps on Linux Bandwagon

    Not long ago, if a major corporation were to take out membership in an open source project, that would be big news — doubly so for a company whose primary business isn’t tech related. Times have changed. These days the corporate world’s involvement in open source is taken for granted, even for companies whose business isn’t computer related. Actually, there’s really no such thing anymore. One way or another, computer technology is at the core of nearly every product on the market.

    So it wasn’t surprising that hardly anyone noticed earlier this month when Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes-Benz and the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles, announced it had joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), an organization that seeks to protect open source projects from patent litigation. According to a quick and unscientific search of Google, only one tech site covered the news, and that didn’t come until a full 10 days after the announcement was made.

That third one is particularly noteworthy as Daimler may be looking for some sort of protection though OIN — a protection that will not come for reasons we explained some days ago. There’s no redemption from trolls there, by OIN’s own admission. OIN has in fact done nothing against Microsoft’s latest patent manoeuvres against Linux. Nothing.

“Our prediction is that in various fields, be it security, car navigation, or anything “on a cloud” Microsoft will send trolls to wreak havoc unless/until the victims join some Microsoft ‘protection’ scheme such as “Azure IP Advantage”.”To clarify, Intellectual Ventures is not the only Microsoft-connected troll which is storming and suing companies that Microsoft dislikes, particularly Linux distributors (e.g. devices). There are a lot of Microsoft-armed and Microsoft-funded trolls out there (we’ve named many over the years). Last night in the news for example, we saw this patent troll which is connected to Microsoft (even financed by it) settling with Avast. Based on the wording, it’s maybe a settlement or ‘protection’ money (they don’t say), but the text does say “Finjan remains, in various capacities, involved in patent-associated cases against FireEye, Sophos, Symantec, Palo Alto Networks, Blue Coat Systems, ESET (and affiliates) and Cisco Systems.”

Finjan is a troll (as last mentioned earlier this year) and it seems to be going after every security company out there, equipped with nothing but software patents which we looked at closely in the past. Our prediction is that in various fields, be it security, car navigation, or anything “on a cloud” Microsoft will send trolls to wreak havoc unless/until the victims join some Microsoft ‘protection’ scheme such as “Azure IP Advantage”.

03.24.17

Links 24/3/2017: Microsoft Aggression, Eudyptula Challenge Status Report

Posted in News Roundup at 7:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • San Francisco Open Source Voting System Project Continues On

    At the February 15 Elections Commission meeting, the Elections Commission voted unanimously to ask the Mayor’s Office to allocate $4 million towards initial development of the open source voting project for the 2018-19 fiscal year (from Aug. 2018 – July 2019). This would go towards initial development once the planning phase is complete.

  • Hyperledger Bond Trading Platform Goes Open Source

    A bond trading platform built on top of Hyperledger’s Sawtooth Lake distributed ledger was made open source this week, alongside a release of a demo of the technology.

    The project, first announced in September 2016, was designed to demonstrate how bond trading and settlement can be streamlined using distributed ledgers. Created in partnership with the R3 consortium and eight participating banks, the working proof-of-concept has now also been displayed as a public demo on Sawtooth’s website.

  • Coreboot Picks Up A New Kabylake Chromebook “Fizz”

    It may not be as exciting as hearing Dell looking at Coreboot, but another Intel-powered Chromebook is now supported by mainline Coreboot.

  • Cognitive Wi-Fi and disrupting the AP market with Open Source – with Mojo Networks – Wi FiNOW ep 59
  • Open source job opportunities grow at crisis groups

    Learn how you can use your open source skills to make a difference in the world.

  • Why LÖVE?

    This month, IndustrialRobot asked my opinion of FOSS game engines — or, more specifically, why I chose LÖVE.

    The short version is that it sort of landed in my lap, I tried it, I liked it, and I don’t know of anything I might like better. The long version is…

  • CoreOS Tectonic Now Installs Kubernetes on OpenStack

    CoreOS and OpenStack have a somewhat intertwined history, which is why it’s somewhat surprising it took until today for CoreOS’s Tectonic Kubernetes distribution to provide an installer that targets OpenStack cloud deployments.

  • Docker and Core OS plan to donate their container technologies to CNCF

    Containers have become a critical component of modern cloud, and Docker Inc. controls the heart of containers, the container runtime.

    There has been a growing demand that this critical piece of technology should be under control of a neutral, third party so that the community can invest in it freely.

  • How Blockchain Is Helping China Go Greener

    Blockchain has near-universal applicability as a distributed transaction platform for securely authenticating exchanges of data, goods, and services. IBM and the Beijing-based Energy-Blockchain Labs are even using it to help reduce carbon emissions in air-polluted China.

  • An efficient approach to continuous documentation
  • The peril in counting source lines on an OSS project

    There seems to be a phase that OSS projects go through where as they mature and gain traction. As they do it becomes increasingly important for vendors to point to their contributions to credibly say they are the ‘xyz’ company. Heptio is one such vendor operating in the OSS space, and this isn’t lost on us. :)

    It helps during a sales cycle to be able to say “we are the a big contributor to this project, look at the percentage of code and PRs we submitted”. While transparency is important as is recognizing the contributions that key vendors, focus on a single metric in isolation (and LoC in particular) creates a perverse incentive structure. Taken to its extreme it becomes detrimental to project health.

  • An Open Source Unicycle Motor

    And something to ponder. The company that sells this electric unicycle could choose to use a motor with open firmware or one with closed firmware. To many consumers, that difference might not be so significant. To this consumer, though, that’s a vital difference. To me, I fully own the product I bought when the firmware is open. I explain to others that they ought to choose that level of full ownership whenever they get a chance. And if they join a local makerspace, they will likely meet others with similar values. If you don’t yet have a makerspace in your community, inquire around to see if anyone is in the process of forming one. Then find ways to offer them support. That’s how we do things in the FOSS community.

  • Events

    • The A/V guy’s take on PyCon Pune

      “This is crazy!”, that was my reaction at some point in PyCon Pune. This is one of my first conference where I participated in a lot of things starting from the website to audio/video and of course being the speaker. I saw a lot of aspects of how a conference works and where what can go wrong. I met some amazing people, people who impacted my life , people who I will never forget. I received so much of love and affection that I can never express in words. So before writing anything else I want to thank each and everyone of you , “Thank you!”.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • Public Services/Government

    • Defense department announces the launch of “Code.mil,” an experiment in open source

      The Department of Defense (DoD) announced the launch of Code.mil, an open source initiative that allows software developers around the world to collaborate on unclassified code written by federal employees in support of DoD projects.

      DoD is working with GitHub, an open source platform, to experiment with fostering more collaboration between private sector software developers and federal employees on software projects built within the DoD. The Code.mil URL redirects users to an online repository that will house code written for a range of projects across DoD for individuals to review and make suggested changes.

      [...]

      DoD faces unique challenges in open sourcing its code. Code written by federal government employees typically does not have copyright protections under U.S. and some international laws, which creates difficulties in attaching open source licenses.

    • PrismTech to Demonstrate Open Source FACE 2.1 Transport Services Segment (TSS) Reference Implementation at Air Force FACE Technical Interchange Meeting

      PrismTech’s TSS reference implementation is being made available under GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) v3 open source license terms.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • RApiDatetime 0.0.1

      Very happy to announce a new package of mine is now up on the CRAN repository network: RApiDatetime.

    • FYI anyone who codes outside work: GitHub has a contract to stop bosses snatching it all

      In contrast to the restrictions many companies place on their workers, GitHub believes it can loosen the reins through the release of its Balanced Employee Intellectual Property Agreement (BEIPA).

      Technology companies often require that employees, as a condition of their employment, sign away the intellectual property rights to any work created while employed, even on personal time. Such contracts may even give companies ownership rights to work created during a limited period after employees leave the company.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Medicines Patent Pool Sublicenses New Antibiotic Candidate To TB Alliance For Development

      TB Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation which works to find affordable medicines to fight tuberculosis. The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) is a United Nations-backed organisation which works to increase access to HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis treatments in low and middle income countries. Medicines Patent Pool was awarded an exclusive licence on the drug candidate from John Hopkins University (US), which holds the patent on the compound. MPP has sublicensed the patent to TB Alliance so that the groups can collaborate in clinical development of the drug.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • U.S. reclassifies information in response to FOIA for Iran-Contra files

      Years after information on Iran-Contra had been labeled UNCLASSIFIED and released to the public, the government began reclassifying some of that information in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Unlike the more well-known reclassification program, this cannot be said to be in response to correcting mistakes from the 1995 declassification order as the information had been declassified and published in 1987. One notable example from the Iran-Contra files, a formerly TOP SECRET chronology on US-Iranian Contacts and the American Hostages, shows that key pieces of information about the extent of CIA and Israel’s involvement have been reclassified. This seems to have taken place sometime between the publication of the Report of the congressional committees investigating the Iran-Contra Affair (November 1987), which included versions of the chronology, and the time the document was reviewed as part of a FOIA request (June 2005).

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How Much Of The Trump-Russia Story Is Smoke And How Much Is Fire?
    • Media can’t ignore financial scandal in Ecuador’s presidential election

      As Ecuador heads toward the second round of its presidential election on April 2, a scandal has broken out over the opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso’s financial dealings.

      The accusations are serious and largely based on public records, with most of it verifiable on websites such as the Panamanian Public Registry and Superintendency of Banks and the Ecuadorean Superintendency of Companies. The newspaper that broke the story was Página/12 of Argentina, with two articles there in the last week by journalist Cynthia Garcia, as well as on her website.

      Yet, as of this writing, the major international media covering the election, as well as the big privately owned Ecuadorian media, have pretended for a week that the story does not exist.

      This is despite the fact that President Rafael Correa has publicly denounced Lasso for his dealings and called on him to resign from his campaign. And Lasso publicly responded without denying the accusations. It is difficult to explain this gap in reporting on the basis of what most people would consider journalistic norms.

    • Hardball political operative Roger Stone finds himself on the receiving end

      Roger Stone, the legendarily hardball Republican operative who for years has lustily embraced such media epithets as the dapper don of dirty deeds and the undisputed master of the black arts of electioneering, now finds himself on the receiving end of what he calls a political dirty trick –– allegations that he helped mastermind Russian leaks of hacked Democratic Party emails –– and he’s not liking it much.

      “You just wake up one day and a bunch of congressmen are kicking your balls across the field,” Stone said reflectively. “Based on nothing more than a Hillary Clinton campaign meme…. I understand. It’s politics. It’s the democratic process. All I want is the same open forum to respond.”

      A steady drumbeat of accusations against Stone that had been building for months –– since a Jan. 19 story in The New York Times identified him as one of three associates of President Donald Trump under FBI investigation for links between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia –– reached a crescendo this week, when Stone’s name was mentioned 19 times during a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee.

    • The House Intelligence Committee’s Civil War

      The top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee escalated their feud on Friday, with GOP Chairman Devin Nunes announcing that he wished to cancel a public hearing next week and Ranking Member Adam Schiff charging Nunes with bad faith and attempting to choke off an independent hearing.

      In a press conference at the Capitol Friday morning, Nunes announced that Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, had offered through his attorney to testify before the committee as it investigates Russian interference in the presidential election. But Nunes also announced he wanted to cancel an open hearing scheduled for next week, with former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, until the committee had a chance to have a closed hearing with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers. He said his decision did not have anything to do with new documents he received this week.

    • House Intelligence Committee chairman abruptly cancels open hearing on Russia

      Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has abruptly canceled a public hearing scheduled for next Tuesday with former DNI director James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. The hearing is part of the committee’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, including whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amos Yee faults Singaporean activists for not pressuring the USA judge to release him from jail sooner
    • Saudi Arabia says 43 Indian workers not held captive, addressing their concerns

      The more than 3 million-strong Indian community in Saudi Arabia is the largest expatriate community in the kingdom.

    • [Older] What’s driving Malaysian support for Islamic penal code?

      As Malaysia considers the introduction of a strict sharia punishment code known as hudud, minorities have been left to consider their place in a country once lauded for diversity and moderation – and to ponder the wisdom of experts who warn creeping Islamisation could breed extremism.

    • Lawsuit: Police Destroyed Farm House To Capture Homeless Man Armed With An Ice Cream Bar

      Is it possible to arrest an unarmed homeless person without destroying the residence he’s hiding in? To the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department and Clovis PD (and far too many other law enforcement agencies), the question remains rhetorical.

      David Jessen’s farmhouse felt the full, combined force of two law enforcement agencies and all their toys last June. According to his lawsuit [PDF], a homeless man was rousted from a nearby vacant house after he was discovered sleeping in the closet. He left peacefully but was soon spotted by the construction crew breaking into Jessen’s house. The construction worker, god bless him, called the police because he thought they could help.

      Jessen was notified shortly thereafter. He returned home to find four sheriff’s office cars parked at his residence (one of them “on the lawn,” because of course it was) and a deputy yelling at his house through a bullhorn. According to the deputies, the homeless man refused to come out and threatened to shoot anyone who came in. Jessen was asked if he had any guns in the house. He replied he did, but two were unloaded and had no ammo and the third was hidden so well “only he could find it.”

    • A Last Chance for Turkish Democracy

      The first time I met Selahattin Demirtaş, the leader of Turkey’s largest Kurdish political party, known as the H.D.P., he arrived at a restaurant in Istanbul with a single assistant accompanying him. Demirtaş is warm and funny. Among other things, he is an accomplished player of the saz, a string instrument that resembles the oud. At the time—it was 2011—Demirtaş was trying to lead his party and people away from a history of confrontation with the country’s central government. It wasn’t easy. Like other Kurdish leaders in Turkey, Demirtaş had spent time in prison and seen many of his comrades killed. I remember him telling me how, in the nineteen-nineties, when civil unrest in the country’s Kurdish areas was hitting its bloody peak, a particular make of car—a white Renault—had been notorious in Kurdish towns. The cars were used by Turkish intelligence officers, who had developed a terrifying reputation for torturing and executing Kurds. “I’ve been inside the Renaults,’’ Demirtaş told me. “A lot of people I know never made it out of them.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • How iTunes built, and then broke, my meticulous music-listening system

      There is an entire field of Apple criticism reserved for iTunes, a cross-platform monolith that serves a bewildering variety of functions. It outgrew its origins as a place to manage your MP3s to become the place where you activate new iPhones and iPads, buy TV shows and movies, and access Apple’s subscription music service. It’s an app that does way too much, and yet each function is so important to Apple that the company seemingly cannot imagine it doing less. And so each year it does more.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • “What is this thing called love, this funny thing called love”? And while you’re at it, what is a covenant not to sue?

      Focusing on patents, consider that the statutory treatment of licenses and licensing varies greatly. In the U.S., the subject is largely absent from the patent statute, with no real treatment of the differences between an exclusive and a non-exclusive license. By contrast, take a country like Israel, whose patent statute provides (at least a partial) definition of exclusive and non-exclusive licenses, with special attention to the right to sue. Here, as well, however, there is no statutory reference made to a covenant not to sue. Varieties of these two approaches can be found in most other jurisdictions; what seems common to all is that none provides a real definition of what is entailed in a covenant not to sue.

    • Copyrights

      • Mining Is The New Reading

        Representatives of the research and academic community applauded amendments by the rapporteur to the draft new European Union Copyright Directive in yet another hearing on the megaproject yesterday in Brussels. Especially welcomed was the rapporteur’s proposal to extend the scope of an exemption for text and data mining. Representatives of publishers, on the other hand, said there is no evidence of the need for additional mandatory exemptions.

      • Australia Shelves Copyright Safe Harbor For Google, Facebook, et al

        Due to what some have described as a drafting error in Australia’s implementation of the Australia – US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), so-called safe harbor provisions currently only apply to commercial Internet service providers Down Under.

      • US Ambassador Asks Vietnam to Target 123movies, Putlocker and Kisscartoon

        While copyright industry groups frequently call on governments to take action against pirate sites, it’s not often that we see such requests on the highest diplomatic level.

Bernhard Rapkay, Former MEP and Rapporteur on Unitary Patent, Shoots Down UPC Hopes While UPC Hopefuls Recognise That Spain Isn’t Interested Either

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When even UPC proponents admit that the UPC (in its present form) may be dead in the water…

Bernhard Rapkay
Photo credit: Official Web page of Bernhard Rapkay

Summary: Germany, the UK and Spain remain massive barriers to the UPC — all this in spite of misleading reports and fake news which attempted to make politicians believe otherwise (for political leverage, by means of dirty lobbying contingent upon misinformation)

TODAY it’s Friday. Monday will be the 27th of the month, i.e. just two days before Article 50. Must be pretty depressing a time for UPC hopefuls… did all of their lobbying fail? Did they sacrifice what was left of their reputation in vain? The supposed ‘expectation’ of ratification on the 7th of March was a long time ago (false prediction, as usual) and we don’t expect anything to happen by the end of this month. Fallback dates are meaningless if nothing concrete has changed; in this particular case, things only got worse (read on for details).

“The supposed ‘expectation’ of ratification on the 7th of March was a long time ago (false prediction, as usual) and we don’t expect anything to happen by the end of this month.”With just 5 days left for Team UPC to lobby (even fewer weekdays that are working days), they are growing visibly irritated if not stressed. They have attempted to lie, spread fake news (or at best distortions), and shame politicians in an effort to bamboozle Jo Johnson into a Unitary Patent sellout, which defies the very fundamental interpretation of the law, taking into account Article 50.

Monika Ermert, writing for Intellectual Property Watch last night, caught the gossip about what Rapkay (German politician with the Social Democratic Party of Germany) had said and published this short piece, from which we quote the non-EPO/Battistelli part (totally aloof and disconnected from the reality):

Bernhard Rapkay, former rapporteur for the legislative package for the community patent, was highly sceptical.

The German Parliament on 10 March passed the ratification documents, and Rapkay said he does not expect a much longer delay there, despite some reports over a lack of a quorum for the middle of the night decision. But he was wary of the Brexit government in the UK. Slawomir Tokarski, director of Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing in the European Commission’s Directorate General Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), said that ratifications have to be in by 29 May, otherwise it would be too late to finalise the process this year.

We spotted that earlier than the above as well, but there was no formal article about it. The UPC is a great sham that would give Europe nothing but patent trolls, lots of injunctions, and software patents (as the EPO seems ever so eager to grant them in spite of the rules). Nobody, not even patent examiners, should be interested in the UPC. Maybe a tiny portion of the population (less than a thousandth of Europe) would benefit from it.

“The UPC is a great sham that would give Europe nothing but patent trolls, lots of injunctions, and software patents (as the EPO seems ever so eager to grant them in spite of the rules).”Prior to the report from Ermert we caught this tweet which said: “Quote from today’s hearing on the Unitary Patent, Committee on Legal Affairs, EP (http://bit.ly/2nGfe19 ) #upc #unitarypatent”

This, in turn, quoted another person: “Bernhard Rapkay, ex MEP and rapporteur on unitary #patent: “unfortunately I hold no great hope that the UK will ratify” #Brexit”

So there he goes. Honest person, for a change.

“Fortunately,” he should have said, not “unfortunately.”

Nobody in Europe really wants this monster. It’s no more benign than ACTA and the TPP were.

“Nobody in Europe really wants this monster. It’s no more benign than ACTA and the TPP were.”UPC hopefuls try to look elsewhere, clawing or grasping at more positive visions, like Battistelli’s and the EPO’s delusional lies. Christopher Weber, whose views on the UPC are not necessarily all that positive (relatively apathetic), wrote a series of tweets to say [1, 2, 3]: “Former EU MP Rapkay very skeptic re. #UK ratification based on his years of experience w/ #UK reluctance wrt #ECJ [...] Battistelli replied that he believes in what the #UK government stated on ratification of #UPC [...] EU Parliament committee remains optimistic that #UPC will start soon.”

Which committee would that be? One that’s a bunch of moles, as a result of entryism by Team UPC and its lobbyists/facilitators?

Speaking of moles and lobbyists, Manuel Rey-Alvite Villar from Bristows vindicates us by proving we were right all along about Spain [1, 2]. All that fake news from Bristows (even published in the weekend!), including some about Spain, was all in vain. By Manuel’s own admission [1, 2], the Spanish government continues to reject the UPC. Mind the responses from Francisco Moreno, who includes citations and says [1, 2, 3]: “With the rules of procedure already adopted, what influence could have ES judges/representatives? So French judges would be able to influence the development of the CJEU (but not Spanish ones, as we joined the EU in 1986) [...] My understanding is that ES nationals who are European Patent Attorneys could qualify as representatives [...]”

They would be, bluntly speaking, just moles like Team UPC, which is stacking the deck (or panels) in an effort to accomplish the unthinkable and the outrageous.

“UPC hopefuls try to look elsewhere, clawing or grasping at more positive visions, like Battistelli’s and the EPO’s delusional lies.”Bristows wrote: “The minutes of the debate record that Ms Moraleja noted that she was initially inclined to support joining the system, but changed her mind after learning more about the background of the project and discussions with stakeholders. Most of the concerns she expressed are language considerations. It is PP’s view that the system discriminates against the Spanish language, and therefore benefits foreign companies. The MP noted that Spanish is an official working language of WIPO and the EUIPO, and that it is a strategic priority for Spain to defend the use of Spanish in European institutions and, more broadly, its position as a language of technology.”

Nonsense! Spain should defend its language and it should also defend its SMEs from the UPC, as it’s not just a matter of language (requiring interpreters, who are typically expensive). The whole thing is a coup of patent law firms and their richest clients.

We are still seeing loaded questions which wrongly assume that the UPC is inevitable, e.g. this one: “Which country will get the the third central #UPC court? Can the UK still get it after #Brexit?”

Maybe no country will get any courts. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna wrote a paper about it earlier this year.

“Spain should defend its language and it should also defend its SMEs from the UPC, as it’s not just a matter of language (requiring interpreters, who are typically expensive).”Bristows was not (as one might expect) alone in ‘damage control’ over Spain. Other outposts of Team UPC begrudgingly admit that all the lobbying in Spain (and fake news which was an integral part of the lobby) was in vain. To quote Team UPC itself: “Spain will not join the Unitary Patent system. That became clear today during a session of the Spanish parliament. Earlier this month, the parliamentary committee for economics, industry and competitiveness had approved a motion of the socialist party PSOE, requesting the government to reconsider joining the system. Only the Popular Party, which runs the minority government in Spain, voted against the motion.”

It was never really anything to begin with, but it was taken out of context by Team UPC and EPO mouthpieces like IAM. It’s rather clear by now that Team UPC was playing mental games earlier this month, basically lobbying at truth’s expense, not only in Spain but also in Germany and Britain. Only a fool would still trust anything that Bristows says. They’re not just the patent microcosm but core people of Team UPC, having been lobbying Spain with loaded statements, false headlines and so forth.

What good is a lawyer that lies for a living? It might be comforting for a day or two (maybe a week), but bad advice leads to pricier consequences. Guess who foots the legal bills?

“There is still time for Europeans to sign the UPC petition, which now has 133 signatures, including 24 from CEOs.”Here again is Manuel Rey-Alvite Villar from Bristows, stating: “I find it unrealistic that Spain remains out indefinitely, missing the formative years means no ES input in key case law and decision making…”

Well, get out of your Bristows bubble or echo chamber. It ain’t happening, but UPC events have been so thoroughly stuffed by the “choir” that nobody dares yell out that the emperor is naked. The UPC is a sham. In reply to the above, Benjamin Henrion wrote: “UPC will be a paradise for trolls, better stay away.”

Moreover, the “UK should use Brexit as an opportunity to avoid Software Patents,” noted a person who opposes software patents, knowing what the true implications of UPC would be (it’s against SMEs, not for SMEs). There is still time for Europeans to sign the UPC petition, which now has 133 signatures, including 24 from CEOs.

03.23.17

Links 23/3/2017: Qt 5.9 Beta, Gluster Storage 3.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Eraserhead: the true story behind David Lynch’s surreal shocker

    On 19 March 1977, the world changed, after which there was a long uncomfortable silence. The occasion was the first public screening of Eraserhead, the feature debut of David Lynch, at the Filmex festival in Los Angeles. It was not a hot ticket. The film arrived with little advance publicity at the only festival to accept it. The screening took place at midnight, drawing a modest crowd who dutifully watched for the next two hours (the film was then longer than the 89 minutes it became). When it ended: nothing. But no one left either. Just silence. Then, finally, applause.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How Politicians Force Doctors to Lie to Women

      On Tuesday, the Texas Senate advanced a bill that would enable doctors to lie to pregnant patients about fetal deformities in order to coercively dissuade them from choosing to have an abortion. Specifically, SB 25 eliminates withholding information regarding fetal health as a cause of action in so-called “wrongful birth” lawsuits, which prevents parents from pursuing financial damages.

    • “There’s No Way We’re Gonna Drink That”: Fighting for Clean Water in Flint

      Ongoing government noncompliance and backroom deals halt any progress the city could be making to limit the effects of the crisis, which makes even good news like the EPA’s $100 million grant for infrastructure improvements fall a little flat. The deeply flawed emergency management law, under which both Flint and Detroit’s crises emerged almost overnight, is still on the books.

    • Doctors Around the World Rally for New Surgery to Counter Female Genital Mutilation

      The UNFPA would like to see more doctors that are trained in treating the effects of FGM, says Nafissatou J. Diop, the Senior Advisor for the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM, but for the moment they are putting their scarce resources towards eliminating the practice altogether. “We want to focus on the girls who have not yet gone through it, to make sure that they are the priority.”

    • What To Watch Out For In The EU-Mercosur FTA Negotiations: Consequences For Access To Medicines

      This week (20-24 March), a new round of negotiation of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Mercosur and the European Union (EU) is taking place in Argentina. For almost two decades, the negotiation of bilateral trade agreements (FTAs), outside of the multilateral international institutions, has been part of the strategy of high income countries to extend the monopolies of major pharmaceutical companies, through intellectual property and regulatory measures. Will the Mercosur/EU FTA have consequences on access to medicines in Latin America countries? After the release of the draft agreement by the European Commission, and through projections made on HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and cancer medicines, we tried to evaluate the impact of one of the TRIPS-plus measures of the Mercosur/EU FTA on the prices of medicines in Brazil. Per our calculations, an additional USD 444 million would be necessary to be spent by the public health system for the purchase of 6 medicines alone[1]!

  • Security

    • Windows flaw lets attackers take over A-V software

      A 15-year-old flaw in every version of Windows right from XP to Windows 10 allows a malicious attacker to take control of a system through the anti-virus software running on the system.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Devops embraces security measures to build safer software

      Devops isn’t simply transforming how developers and operations work together to deliver better software faster, it is also changing how developers view application security. A recent survey from software automation and security company Sonatype found that devops teams are increasingly adopting security automation to create better and safer software.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Erdoğan: Europeans ‘will not walk safely’ if current behavior persists

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned Europe that its behavior will put its citizens at risk in other parts of the world, the AFP reported Wednesday.

      “If you [Europe] continue to behave like this, tomorrow in no part of the world, no European, no Westerner will be able to take steps on the street safely and peacefully,” Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara.

      The warning was another sign of the increasingly acrimonious relationship between the EU and Turkey, which soured over some countries’ refusal to allow Turkish government officials to campaign in European cities ahead of a referendum on expanding the president’s powers. On Tuesday, Turkey announced that it is canceling all planned rallies in Germany in the run-up to the referendum on April 16.

    • Crude nature of Westminster attack suggests limited Isis network in Britain

      Last July a stolen truck driven through a Bastille Day parade in Nice killed 86. The strikes appear inspired, if not actively commissioned, by Isis in Iraq and Syria.

      In November a student used a vehicle and knives to injure 13 on a campus in Ohio, in the US. His motives and allegiance are less clear.

      Such attacks are not unprecedented, but have become much more numerous in recent years.

    • Brussels mayor: All our mosques are controlled by Salafists

      He added: “Terrorism is a problem that involves Europe as a whole. Don’t forget what happened in Paris, Nice and Berlin. If this was only a Brussels problem, it would have been solved.”

    • Attempted Antwerp attack: Shotgun and bladed weapons found in man’s car who tried to drive into shopping district

      A shotgun and several bladed weapons have been found in the car of a man who tried to drive at high speed through a busy shopping street in Antwerp, forcing pedestrians to jump out of the way.

      The federal prosecutor’s office said the car was intercepted at the port docks and a Frenchman living in France was arrested.

      The bomb squad was brought in and the authorities raised security in the centre of town, in places where people normally gather.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange: ‘Only 1 percent’ of the CIA material has been published

      There are no less than 16 different intelligence agencies in the United States. In 2017, they will cost US taxpayers some $70 billion (65 billion euros) – roughly twice Germany’s overall annual defense budget. The actual distribution of that sum among US intelligence services is classified, but revelations brought to light by Edward Snowden in 2013 suggest that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) receives the lion’s share. In 2013, that sum was around $15 billion. Now the CIA, a highly funded agency tasked with gleaning state secrets from other countries, has a problem keeping its own secrets: On March 7, the whistleblower platform WikiLeaks began publishing CIA documents under the name “Vault 7.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Why becoming a tax haven would be bad news for Britain

      Theresa May and Philip Hammond have warned the EU that if they don’t like the Brexit deal, they could turn the UK into a tax haven. The truth is that being ‘offshore’ means being unfair and undemocratic – and you still pay tax

    • UK CEOs ‘earn 386 times more than workers on national living wage’

      The average FTSE chief executive earns 386 times more than a worker on the national living wage, according to an analysis published by the Equality Trust as it steps up its campaign for new government rules to expose pay gaps.

    • JEFTA: The Latest Massive ‘Trade’ Deal You’ve Never Heard Of, Negotiated Behind Closed Doors, With Zero Public Scrutiny

      As Techdirt has reported, the election of Donald Trump has turned the world of US trade deals upside-down. The US officially pulled out of TPP, although some still hope it might come back in some form. TAFTA/TTIP seems to be on ice, but Trump’s choice for US trade representative has just said he is open to resuming negotiations, so it’s not clear what might happen there (or with TISA). Against that confusing backdrop, the European Union has been quick to emphasize that it is in favor of trade deals, and is keen to sign as many as possible, presumably hoping to fill the economic and political vacuum left by the US.

      [...]

      But the worst aspect of JEFTA is not that it’s probably not worth the effort, but that the EU and Japan have done everything they can to prevent both the public and even politicians from finding out what a bad deal is being negotiated in their name. After the humiliating defeat of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and the more recent failures of TPP and TTIP, you would have thought that the governments involved would have realized that this kind of secret dealmaking just isn’t acceptable any more, but apparently, they haven’t. Fortunately, JEFTA is finally out in the open, which means it can begin to be subjected to long-overdue scrutiny and democratic input. What we need now is for the EU to release negotiating texts as it did for TTIP.

    • Majority Of Intuit’s Lobbying Dollars Spent Trying To Stop IRS From Making It Easier To File Your Taxes

      There has been an effort underway these past few years to make tax season less stressful, less complicated, and less expensive for a large swath of Americans. These efforts have produced plans to make tax season “return free” for many, with pre-populated tax forms prepared by the government that can either be signed if accurate, or ignored if not with a separate filing then being produced by the person in question. That is, since the IRS already should have most of the details on how much you earned from the companies that paid you, it can send you a pre-filled out tax return document, rather than forcing everyone to redo the same work with the same documents hoping that you don’t make some mistake that will make the IRS man mad. Again, for those who want to go a different way, they can. But for those who find the IRS’s pre-filled documents to be okay, it will make tax filing significantly less of an issue. If you live outside the US, this may sound strange to you, because much of the rest of the world alread does it this way. In a recent episode of Planet Money, the analogy is made that the way we do taxes in the US would be like if credit card companies sent you a “bill” that was a blank sheet of paper, expecting you to fill out all your charges over the past month, and if you got anything wrong, you’d be punished. On taxes, most of the rest of the world the taxes are more like your credit card bill. In the US, it’s more like a blank sheet of paper. And, as in years past, some are finally trying to fix things in the US.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to skip Nato meeting and visit Russia instead

      Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is skipping a major North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) Summit, opting to meet with China and Russia instead and people are worried about the message that sends.

      The Nato summit is scheduled for 5-6 April, but the State Department confirmed that Mr Tillerson would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at President Trump’s Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, from 6-7 April.

      He is also scheduled to visit Russia in April after a Group of 7 meeting in Italy, a State Department spokesperson told Reuters.

      Mr Tillerson is set to meet with 26 of the 27 foreign ministers of Nato member countries on 22 March. The meeting will include Secretary of Defence James Mattis and will be focused solely on counterterrorism and the eradication of Isis.

    • FBI: We have evidence Trump team and Russia communicated mid-campaign, maybe to coordinate Clinton info dump

      Late Wednesday, the FBI said it has evidence that associates of Donald Trump communicated with Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, possibly to coordinate the release of Hillary Clinton campaign info via Wikileaks.

    • Amy Goodman narrates a gorgeous animation about Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent”
    • This is a photo of lawmakers discussing taking away maternity coverage

      On Thursday, a bunch of men met at the White House to discuss taking away potentially millions of women’s coverage for pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

      The White House meeting was broadly about the American Health Care Act, the Republican bill meant to repeal and replace Obamacare. But it was focused on whether the bill should include a repeal of 10 “essential health benefits” that insurers in the individual marketplace must cover. Among those benefits is pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

      Yet Vice President Mike Pence, who was at the meeting along with President Donald Trump and Republican members of the House Freedom Caucus, tweeted out a picture showing that the meeting didn’t represent the exact people who most directly benefit from pregnancy, maternity, and newborn coverage in their health plans: women. This, unsurprisingly, drew quick criticism from groups like Planned Parenthood.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Senate Republicans Just Sold You Out to Advertisers

      In a 50-to-48 vote along party lines, the U.S. Senate decided to kill FCC rules blocking your ISP from selling your browsing history to the advertising industry without permission. Should the change pass the House, as is expected, the likes of Comcast and Verizon will be able to make money disclosing what you buy, where you browse, and what you search from your own home, all without asking permission.

    • Senate Puts ISP Profits Over Your Privacy

      The Senate just voted to roll back your online privacy protections. Speak up now to keep the House from doing the same thing.

      ISPs have been lobbying for weeks to get lawmakers to repeal the FCC’s rules that stand between them and using even creepier ways to track and profit off of your every move online. Republicans in the Senate just voted 50-48 (with two absent votes) to approve a Congressional Review Action resolution from Sen. Jeff Flake which—if it makes it through the House—would not only roll back the FCC’s rules but also prevent the FCC from writing similar rules in the future.

    • Congress Just Voted To Kill Consumer Broadband Privacy Protections

      Despite a last-ditch effort by the EFF and other consumer and privacy groups, Congress today voted to dismantle privacy protections for broadband subscribers in a 50-48 vote. The rules, passed last October by the FCC, simply required that ISPs clearly disclose what subscriber data is being collected and sold by ISPs. It also required that ISPs provide working opt out tools, and required that consumers had to opt in (the dirtiest phrase imaginable to the ad industry) to the collection of more sensitive data like financial info or browsing histories.

      Another part of the rules, which simply required that ISPs were transparent about hacking intrusions and data theft, had already been killed off quietly by new FCC boss Ajit Pai.

      The rules were seen as important in the face of greater consolidation in an already uncompetitive broadband market, where said lack of competition eliminates any organic market punishment for bad behavior on the privacy front (unlike the content or other industries). Now, with neither broadband competition — nor meaningful regulatory oversight — privacy advocates are justifiably worried about the repercussions to come.

    • WikiLeaks Reveals How the CIA Can Hack a Mac’s Hidden Code
    • Dark Matter

      Today, March 23rd 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 “Dark Matter”, which contains documentation for several CIA projects that infect Apple Mac Computer firmware (meaning the infection persists even if the operating system is re-installed) developed by the CIA’s Embedded Development Branch (EDB). These documents explain the techniques used by CIA to gain ‘persistence’ on Apple Mac devices, including Macs and iPhones and demonstrate their use of EFI/UEFI and firmware malware.

      Among others, these documents reveal the “Sonic Screwdriver” project which, as explained by the CIA, is a “mechanism for executing code on peripheral devices while a Mac laptop or desktop is booting” allowing an attacker to boot its attack software for example from a USB stick “even when a firmware password is enabled”. The CIA’s “Sonic Screwdriver” infector is stored on the modified firmware of an Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter.

    • Two Ways GDPR Will Change Your Data Storage Solution

      By now, most companies who do any business in the EU are aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect in 2018 and applies to any entity doing business within any of the 28 EU member states. Not only does the GDPR apply somewhat broadly to “monitoring the behaviour” of EU residents, but it also comes with some hefty fines (up to €20 million, or 4% of worldwide turnover) for companies that violate the regulation. In short, the new regulation is going to require companies to implement entirely new processes and procedures around the collection and storage of personally identifiable information (PII), which will likely result in changes to data storage solutions as well.

    • Senate on the verge of vote to kill FCC’s consumer privacy protections

      A congressional resolution to roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband privacy rules could see a vote in the Senate as early as Wednesday evening.

    • The Senate Prepares to Send Internet Privacy Down a Black Hole

      Even if you agree that the FCC’s rules are unfair or confusing, using the Congressional Review Act to reverse them completely at best complicates future privacy enforcement. One problem lies in the phrase “substantially similar.” The act is seldom used, and depending on how courts interpret it, the FCC could end up barred from introducing even the less controversial parts of the privacy order. “The only difference between the FCC rules and the FTC rules is that [the FCC rules] moves web browsing history to the ‘sensitive data’ category,” says Dallas Harris of the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge. In other words, the FCC could be banned even from passing a less strict set of rules closer to the FTC’s provisions.

    • Just Prior To Hearing Over NSL Gag Orders, Court Allows Cloudflare & CREDO Mobile To Be Named As Plaintiffs

      In December, we wrote about how (thanks to EFF’s lawyering) mobile phone provider CREDO Mobile was finally (after many years) allowed to reveal the National Security Letter (NSL) it had received from the DOJ back in 2013. As per usual, the NSL had a complete gag order, barring the company from admitting it had received such a letter. Then, just about a month later, Cloudflare was similarly ungagged over an NSL it had received in 2013 as well.

    • Decrypt, or else…
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Woman given triple talaq for not bearing male child
    • [Older] Some Saudi women are secretly deserting their country

      Propelling the flight is the kingdom’s wilaya, or guardianship, law. Although it has received less publicity than the world’s only sex-specific driving ban, it imposes harsher curbs on female mobility. To travel, work or study abroad, receive hospital treatment or an ID card, or even leave prison once a sentence is served, women need the consent of a male wali, or guardian. From birth to death, they are handed from one wali to the next [...] women are treated as minors all their lives.

    • Child sex offences recorded across UK hits all-time high amid growing concerns over online grooming

      The shocking statistics, obtained through Freedom of Information requests, have prompted calls for specialist training for police investigating child abuse that occurs through online platforms, which have increased dramatically in recent years.

    • Guantánamo judge orders CIA testimony on destroyed ‘Black Site’ videotapes

      A military judge ruled Tuesday that defense attorneys could call former CIA officials as witnesses in their bid to derail the death-penalty trial of the alleged USS Cole bombing plotter, who was waterboarded in the spy agency’s secret prison network, the Black Sites.

      The one-page ruling by Air Force Col. Vance Spath, the judge, authorized Witnesses A, B, C and D.

    • Rendition: government evidence to be heard in secret in UK for first time

      Government evidence in a rendition case will be heard in secret for the first time following a high court ruling.

      Lawyers for the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office in a case brought by two Pakistani men will be allowed to present evidence behind closed doors under rarely used provisions of the Justice and Security Act.

      The two men, Amanatullah Ali and Yunus Rahmatullah, claim they were subjected to torture and rendition.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Netflix Is No Longer Worried About Net Neutrality Now That It’s Massive And Successful

      Once upon a time, Netflix was among the fiercest supporters of net neutrality, and a consistent critic of arbitrary and unnecessary broadband usage caps. So much so that the company effectively became public enemy number one at many of the nation’s broadband providers, resulting in a steady stream of bizarre policy and lobbying attacks on the company. Netflix, we were told by a rotating crop of ISP-tied mouthpieces (even by current FCC boss Ajit Pai), was a dirty freeloader, and a nasty company responsible for most of the internet’s ills.

      But as Netflix has grown larger and more powerful, the company’s positions on usage caps and net neutrality has, well, softened.

  • DRM

    • DRM in HTML5 Takes its Next Step Toward Standardization

      Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), a mechanism by which HTML5 video providers can discover and enable DRM providers offered by a browser, has taken the next step on its contentious road to standardization. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the standards body that oversees most Web-related specifications, has moved the EME specification to the Proposed Recommendation stage.

      The next and final stage is for the W3C’s Advisory Committee to review the proposal. If it passes review, the proposal will be blessed as a full W3C Recommendation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Millions of Papers, Papers for Me

      Stuck in the 19th Century, the Federal Circuit Rule 30(a) requires appellants to submit six paper copies of the appendix to the briefs. In a recent filing, pro se appellant Urvashi Bhagat asked the court to waive this requirement in favor of another form of out-dated technology known as “CDROM.” Bhagat’s argument is that the 1,000+ pages of her appendix, would be cost prohibitive, unwieldy, and an unwarranted consumption of paper. The copying and delivery cost here really is several thousand dollars — easily outweighing the $500 appeal filing fee.

    • Copyrights

      • Supreme Court Says You Can Copyright Elements Of ‘Useful Articles’ — Which May Spell Disaster For 3D Printing & More

        Last summer, we wrote about a potentially important case going to the Supreme Court, technically about the copyright design of cheerleading uniforms. As we’ve discussed, copyright is supposed to apply to artistic expression, and it’s been considered not to apply to functional products or industrial design — sometimes referred to as “useful articles.” Along those lines, things like fashion design, have always been considered not subject to copyright. In this case, Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, the question was raised about the design of certain stylistic elements on cheerleading uniforms, and whether one copy using similar elements on its cheerleading uniforms infringed on the copyrights of the other. A district court said no, the appeals court said yes. And now the Supreme Court has weighed in saying that the designs can be covered by copyright and creating a new test on such matters (previously, there was something of a mess of different tests that judges would apply, sometimes haphazardly). Having a single test seems better than a mishmash of competing tests, but the situation here is… potentially very dangerous to a variety of innovations.

      • EU Parliament: No Commercial Availability Or Compensation In Marrakesh Implementation

        The European Parliament announced today that its Legal Affairs Committee approved new draft legislation to bring European Union law into line with an international treaty providing copyright exceptions for special format books for visually impaired people. Limitations to the scope of the treaty, such as commercial availability or compensation, were disregarded by Parliament members.

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation Has Just Buried an Innocent Judge That Battistelli Does Not Like

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Having already halved his salary half a year ago, pending an illegal dismissal (unlikely renewal of contract)

EPO hiding evidence

Summary: An innocent judge (never proven guilty of anything, only publicly defamed with help from Team Battistelli and dubious 'intelligence' gathering) is one of the forgotten casualties of the latest meeting of the Administrative Council (AC), which has become growingly complicit rather than a mere bystander at a ‘crime’ scene

“Time for those AC members to admit to their political masters that they are powerless to exercise any form of control,” one person wrote the other day. That’s putting it too generously and politely. “Does anyone have an update on the current status of the suspended member of the Boards of Appeal?”

“Does anyone have an update on the current status of the suspended member of the Boards of Appeal?”
      –Anonymous
That’s the question that followed, and quite appropriately too.

“On other matters,” it continued, “it seems that the “rebel” AC members lost their bottle again and/or were comprehensively outmanoeuvred. It may be time for those AC members to admit to their political masters that they are powerless to exercise any form of control over this troublesome President. Their masters will not be happy, but it would be better to get this all out in the open before the inevitable action at the European Court of Human Rights causes a total s**t storm.”

“Their masters will not be happy, but it would be better to get this all out in the open before the inevitable action at the European Court of Human Rights causes a total s**t storm.”
      –Anonymous
Things are progressing and we have not forgotten about the judge who is one of the earliest casualties of Battistelli's reign of terror (2014). Nor did we forget about dismissed staff representatives, who should be entitled to get their jobs back (plus compensation).

Another comment said “about the DG3 judge” that there is “nothing to report bro ! The judge remains suspended until death follows… this is a huge disgrace not only for the EPO but obviously for the administrative council the level of lack of responsability is a shame. The EPO has definitively become a rogue organisation…”

IP Kat has officially quit covering EPO scandals, claiming quite falsely (we’ll get back to in the weekend) that issues seem to be close to a resolution. Merpel wrote that before the horrific (depressing to staff) meeting of the Administrative Council. Days ago the very last mention was made in “Never Too Late: If you missed the IPKat last week!”

“Things are progressing and we have not forgotten about the judge who is one of the earliest casualties of Battistelli’s reign of terror (2014).”“Merpel gives her last update on the happenings in the EPO,” it said. Well, it’s a sad shame that Merpel won’t be around to cover the latest travesty then. Neither will anyone else at IP Kat, which seems to have been busy lobbying for Battistelli’s ‘baby’ or pet project, the UPC (as recently as a few weeks ago).

Meanwhile, in Merpel’s absence (less accountability), Team Chinchilla is moving in for the kill. Its summary of the meeting (warning: epo.org link) is truly extraordinary for various reasons. Below is a copy of this shockingly short summary from the AC (Kluwer Patent Blog too was a bit stunned by it), which has hardly any mention of the Boards of Appeal (BoA). It just says something about “three appointments to the Supervisory Board of the Academy of the European Patent Organisation and a number of appointments and reappointments to the Boards of Appeal.” We already wrote about how dubious at least some of these appointments were (Battistelli too gets to decide on these, or at least veto to some degree, thereby debunking any illusion of independence). Here is the full thing:

Munich, 17 March 2017

151st meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 15 and 16 March 2017)

The Administrative Council held its 151st meeting in Munich on 15 and 16 March 2017, with Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent Office, in the chair.

After the Chairman’s activities report, covering in particular the last meeting of the Board of the Administrative Council, the Council noted the activities report given by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli. The Council was pleased with the excellent results achieved by the Office.

The Council had an exchange of views on the social situation at the Office and on the issue of the appointment procedure for the next President.

The Council re-elected the chairman of the Committee on Patent Law, Sean Dennehey (GB), for a term of three years. It then made three appointments to the Supervisory Board of the Academy of the European Patent Organisation and a number of appointments and reappointments to the Boards of Appeal.

Lastly, the Council heard brief oral reports on the unitary patent by the Maltese delegation representing the country holding the EU presidency in the first half of 2017, as well as by the representative of the European Commission and the chairman of the Select Committee.

Council Secretariat

Sean Dennehey is no friend of Battistelli and he will be the chairman of the Committee on Patent Law for quite some time to come (for three more years now that he is no longer in charge of the UK-IPO). What bothered us most was the opening paragraph. It spreads or at least legitimises the lies from Battistelli. “The Council was pleased with the excellent results achieved by the Office,” says the report probably led by Jesper Kongstad, who protects rather than supervises Battistelli. Did he never learn about patent quality during his time at DKPTO? Granting patents is easy, but doing so correctly is hard and very time-consuming a process.

The systematic attack on justice at the EPO (labour law/ILO, judges/BoA, high courts, patent laws and even constitutional laws when it comes to the UPC) is somewhat symbolic. The EPO, including the Organisation of Team Chinchilla (faction supportive of Team Battistelli, without any concrete authority over it), has ironically become antithetical to the Rule of Law. Where are Europol and Interpol when one truly needs them?

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