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02.01.19

Stupid Acquisition of the Month (or Year): Red Hat Selling Itself to the World’s Biggest Lobbying Power for Software Patents

Posted in EFF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Patents, Red Hat, Servers at 3:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Latest Talk From IBM’s Manny Schecter Shows That IBM Hasn’t Changed and After the Red Hat Takeover It’ll Continue to Promote Software Patents

Manny Schecter
Photo credit: Esteban Minero

Summary: “Stupid Patent of the Month” is an abstract patent of IBM, a company that is about to take all of Red Hat’s patents while it’s actively bullying lots of companies using software patents and also selling software patents to notorious patent trolls

WHEN the announcement/proclamation of the prospective acquisition of Red Hat was first announced we were cautiously optimistic (it soon turned out that Red Hat had considered selling itself to Microsoft). We were hopeful that IBM would change course, but seeing the latest Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) and patent lawsuits in district courts and the Federal Circuit it seems clear that IBM continues gaming the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), lobbying politicians for software patents and so on. They even recruited the former Director of the Office as a lobbyist (David Kappos). We’re going to have to become more vocal given IBM’s continued lobbying for software patents and ongoing bullying with patents on algorithms, even against small entities like online shops/retailers (as the latest IPRs reveal). They’re extorting legitimate businesses using likely illegitmate patents, knowing the cost of invalidating these patents may be too great for these businesses (they might choose to settle, instead). What is going on at the top (management) of IBM? It’s like they don’t give a damn whether Red Hat is becoming a part of them. What is Red Hat’s reaction? So far silence. I asked a few prominent employees, who prefer not to comment (maybe fear of losing their job). I know some people from Red Hat who follow me online; not even one tried to comment/explain/excuse IBM’s behaviour when it comes to this. It’s all silence.

“IBM’s patent policy is extremely incompatible with Red Hat’s.”IBM has been lobbying for abstract patents even in Europe, where software patents aren’t generally allowed (European Patent Office (EPO) President António Campinos does not care what the law says, however, as he’s just another Battistelli with extra secrecy).

At the turn of the new year, seeing that the founder of Watchtroll (Gene Quinn) stepped down as chief editor after 2 decades, we said we would not link to Watchtroll anymore (sending it traffic), not even to rebut its torrent of nonsense. Looking at the latest articles, however, we continue to see more nonsense. “Winning Strategies for Getting Past the Five Types of Patent Examiner” is the title of a new post from Watchtroll. They view examiners as enemies who need to be undermined or fooled/manipulated. How revealing. How anti-scientific of them. Another new post from Watchtroll says “Canada Patent Law Changes Are Bad News for Patent Owners”; by that it means Canada does the right thing and more parasitic lawyers would be out of a job and would likely need a career change.

“Unless the Board of IBM flushed them and replaces them with more Red Hat-like mentality, Red Hat will generally be part of the problem, part of the threat to software development and perhaps to GNU/Linux at large.”Gene Quinn of Watchtroll has just made it abundantly clear, once again, that IBM has not changed because in “IBM Calls for an End to the ‘Legal Fiction’ of Current 101 Law” we’re seeing not even a mild difference/deviation from the old agenda. The outline says: “This marks the final installment in my four-part interview with IBM’s Vice President and Assistant General Counsel Mark Ringes and Chief Patent Counsel Manny Schecter. I found our conversation fascinating and want to thank them both again for their time and insight. Below, we conclude with an in-depth discussion on how the U.S. patent system is affecting startups and the state of enforceability following Director Iancu’s Section 101 Guidance.”

So these are the people at the top of IBM. Unless the Board of IBM flushes them down and replaces them with more Red Hat-like mentality, Red Hat will generally be part of the problem, part of the threat to software development and perhaps to GNU/Linux at large.

“Stupid Patent of the Month” has just been published by Joe Mullin, who joined the EFF about a year ago after he had covered patent trolls a great deal in the media (and he did a good job, unlike the loads of stenography from law firms that dominate patent coverage). Some hours ago he published this post:

In the smartphone era, “distracted driving” is a serious, and well-known, problem. Official warnings about poor driving habits are as old as the automobile itself. The New York Times published a Pulitzer-winning series on distracted driving back in 2009.

Increasingly, technological assists are available for those seeking to manage their smartphone’s distractions while in the car. Apple integrated a “do not disturb while driving” mode into iOS 11, and Google has long had similar functionality in its Android Auto app. Multitudes of third-party smartphone apps exists to address the issue. Finally, more than 50 companies are working on what may be the ultimate solution to distracted driving: autonomous vehicles.

Unfortunately, the U.S. patent system creates warped incentives for emerging software fields like road-safety features. Rather than competing in a challenging space, some players are seeking broadly-worded patents, then hope to sit back and extract profits later.

That may be the strategy of the International Business Machine Corp., which has acquired more U.S. patents than any other company for decades now. This week, IBM was awarded U.S. Patent No. 10,191,462, describing a “Vehicle electronic receptionist.”

This is far from the first time IBM is shown to have pursued (and received) bogus patents on software. None of this seems to be changing following the takeover of Red Hat. This, in turn, makes us rather concerned about Red Hat’s future direction. IBM’s patent policy is extremely incompatible with Red Hat’s.

01.29.19

The EPO Continues to Grant Software Patents Even Though Many European Patents Are Being Invalidated Already

Posted in Europe, IBM, Patents, Red Hat at 9:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The legal certainty associated with European Patents is rapidly ending

USS EPO

Summary: “Strong patents aligned with a company’s products help secure exclusivity in core markets,” the EPO wrote yesterday. The EPO, however, is no longer a place for strong patents (certainly not anymore) because its patents are of low value, low legal certainty, and work is poorly researched (examiners not given sufficient time to do the work properly); the EPO just lowers the bar and violates the EPC in the process, hoping to replace the courts so as to mask this gross violation

LAST WEEK we gave almost a handful of new examples wherein European Patents, granted by the European Patent Office (EPO), were thrown out by courts, including the highest British court. The new President doesn’t seem to care. To the credit of the EPO’s examiners, some of them also threw out patents after oppositions; but they, like the appeals’ processors (not the same thing), do not enjoy independence from this President and they’re grossly understaffed for these respective tasks because the number of oppositions has soared and the number of appeals reportedly reached about 10,000 (the backlog for a few dozen people to handle while the pile grows quickly).

GenomeWeb has another new reminder that patent quality suffers. Even the EPO itself can admit this:

The European Patent Office has revoked a patent held by Pacific Biosciences, the company’s rival Oxford Nanopore Technologies said today.

Oxford Nanopore had challenged the validity of the patent, EP3045542, titled “Methods for nucleic acid sequencing,” which was granted in 2016.

2016 means under Battistelli at the height of all the scandals.

“To the credit of the EPO’s examiners, some of them also threw out patents after oppositions; but they, like the appeals’ processors (not the same thing), do not enjoy independence from this President and they’re grossly understaffed for these respective tasks because the number of oppositions has soared and the number of appeals reportedly reached about 10,000 (the backlog for a few dozen people to handle while the pile grows quickly).”At the turn of the new year I was personally alarmed to learn just how bad things had become at the EPO. And almost nobody talks about, certainly not the corporate media. I decided to throw aside coverage of American affairs in favour of EPO stories (this is the fourth one so far today). The newly-confirmed buyer of Red Hat, IBM, is pushing for "AI" patents in Europe — the very opposite of what Red Hat did around 2005 when the relevant directive was debated in Parliament. Less than a day ago Patent Docs advertised for the patent extremists at the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), notably backed by IBM (with a dedicated “task force” for software patents), who prop up the Berkheimer lie. Among the bulletpoints there: “Finjan, Inc. v. Juniper Network, Inc. (N.D. Cal.), where the court ordered the section 101 invalidity defense be decided at trial, but the ultimate jury instructions and verdict form did not address Section 101″ (this horrendous patent troll has USPTO-granted patents passed to it by IBM).

“The newly-confirmed buyer of Red Hat, IBM, is pushing for “AI” patents in Europe — the very opposite of what Red Hat did around 2005 when the relevant directive was debated in Parliament.”Also less than a day ago Watchtroll published an interview with “Mark Ringes, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for IBM, and Manny Schecter, Chief Patent Counsel for IBM” — an interview in which they’re denying that patent trolls are a problem (“just noise” is what they say) because IBM itself acts like a patent troll. They now bring that very same agenda to Europe. The same patent maximalists’ site that recently revealed IBM proudly promotes this “AI” agenda in Europe (algorithms as “AI”) has caught the eye of FFII. “It is a computer program,” FFII’s Benjamin Henrion wrote yesterday, alluding to this text: “Which is a problem for AI patentability because the technology is seen by some as pure mathematical methods and nothing else.”

Henrion had also taken note of some new event [1, 2, 3] about “AI” patents. “Here’s what you need to deliver as inputs for your patent attorney to protect an AI-related invention,” one tweet said, along with Bastian Best “discussing levels of abstraction for patenting AI-related inventions #AMLD2019. He even prepared a 20-page document describing how to write the perfect invention disclosure report.”

“So highly successful European/French software projects — this one with over 3 billion downloads — are at risk due to software patents.”Best is still promoting software patents (in Europe) as he has done for like a decade (even picking a Twitter username to that effect, “swpat”). Another person was “discussing EPO practice wrt AI-related inventions…”

These are all just patents on algorithms — clearly in defiance of the EPC. Courts would not accept these.

“VLC is constantly receiving patent threat letters,” Henrion wrote, “ignoring them for now, and the UPC will change the whole EU situation, French courts won’t have to power to reject EPO software patents anymore…”

So highly successful European/French software projects — this one with over 3 billion downloads — are at risk due to software patents. They’re being threatened in Europe and patent attorneys (like the ones above, boosters of “AI” patents) typically also lobby for the UPC, in an effort to bypass national courts.

As of yesterday, the EPO carries on with the usual, promoting illegal software patents using hype waves like "blockchain" (just software basically). It wrote this: “What does the future of #blockchain and its impact look like?”

“The more software patents the EPO grants, the worse its reputation will get.”Crowell & Moring LLP’s Kristof Roox, Geert Bogaert, Steven Verbeke and Linh Truong have just written about another (albeit similar) trick for legitimising software on computer vision (software and mathematics, geometry), citing the “European Patent Office’s Study on Patent Applications for Self-Driving Vehicles Technologies in Europe”. They all push for patents on algorithms by calling these something else, typically ‘hot’ and ‘trendy’ acronyms that circulate in the media (perpetuating the concept of them being ‘innovative’).

Yet another conference pushing software patents in Europe was advertised at the start of this week, with the press release saying “Patent Protection for Software-Related Inventions in Europe and the USA”, then elaborating with “Examples and approaches for protecting software and computer-related innovations, taking into account the unique requirements in the US and Europe…”

Then came another with the same title. The more software patents the EPO grants, the worse its reputation will get.

01.27.19

Always Remember That Red Hat Also Considered Microsoft as a Buyer

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat pukeBig proprietary software vendors ruin and take over what’s left of Free/libre software (anything that respects freedom, not just surveillance and digital coercion)

Summary: Red Hat’s decision to sell itself to IBM really stinks; the only upside is, the buyer could be worse because Red Hat had hired many managers from Microsoft, its sites are sometimes composed by Microsoft staff and Red Hat routinely promotes .NET (the hallmarks of Microsoft entryism)

THE largest GNU/Linux vendor is about to be sold and passed over to the largest booster of software patents. Red Hat being Red Hat (a key contributor), it it getting a blank cheque on this just because it wasn’t Oracle or Amazon or Microsoft that bought Red Hat (and Red Hat reportedly reached out to Microsoft for a bidding opportunity before closing the deal with IBM). Red Hat cannot ignore IBM’s terrible record on patent policy and bullying. Is Microsoft interested in Canonical? Microsoft already announced losses several times in the recent past due to largely failed (unprofitable) acquisitions. We don’t mean to bash Red Hat over things like systemd because quite frankly many people do so already, but how can Red Hat carry on pretending that IBM isn’t an inherently incompatible suitor from a legal perspective? As recently as days ago a patent maximalist at Law 360 revealed that IBM is still shaking down small online retailers using software patents and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) refuses to get involved after an inter partes review (IPR). Some readers of ours go further* and allege that IBM sabotaged Red Hat just to buy it ‘on the cheap’.

“We are planning to watch Red Hat (or the Red Hat ‘division’ of IBM) a lot more closely in months and years to come.”Earlier this month we showed that IBM was pushing for software patents in the European Patent Office (EPO), not just at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) where it has lobbied hard against 35 U.S.C. § 101, in effect working to undermine SCOTUS (Alice). We wrote about a dozen articles about this one issue alone (IBM’s lobbying that actively harms Free software).

We are planning to watch Red Hat (or the Red Hat ‘division’ of IBM) a lot more closely in months and years to come.
____
* We have been getting messages to that effect, e.g. the one below.

I came across your articles on website techrights.org recently and wanted to add some details to IBM’s activity in the industry.

The New Yorker broke Red Hat’s Linux founder Linus Torvald’s privacy in September 2018, and was the first publication to publish excerpts from his personal business emails: https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/after-years-of-abusive-e-mails-the-creator-of-linux-steps-aside This led to Torvald’s public apology and withdrawal from Linux’s leadership, sending the RHT stock price on a chaotic path. https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/rht

The New Yorker is owned by Conde Nast Publications (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_Publications).

Conde Nast has partnered with IBM and their Watson technology since 2016 https://www.adweek.com/digital/cond-nast-has-started-using-ibms-watson-find-influencers-brands-173243/ ; https://landt.co/2016/09/conde-nast-ibm-watson-unearths-brand-influencers/

The New Yorker could have been acting on behalf of their partner, IBM, to send RHT into crisis PR mode. The New Yorker’s expose could have been deliberate: to drive down stock price in favor of a cheaper IBM takeover.

I thought this may be of interest to you and the staff at techrights.

To which my reply was:

The main issue I have with this assertion is that it was the Torvalds/CoC debacle that caused Red Hat’s decline, which I tracked closely (every day I posted financial news picks about them).

The followup:

Right, The New Yorker was the first to publish Torvalds’ private business emails, and attacked Torvalds in September 2018 causing Red Hat’s decline (https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/after-years-of-abusive-e-mails-the-creator-of-linux-steps-aside). The New Yorker has been in a partnership with IBM over its Watson software since 2016. It seems to me The New Yorker was financially motivated (by its relationship with IBM) to cause Torvalds’ downfall.

And finally:

With respect:

1. Torvalds isn’t close to Red Hat
2. Red Hat’s financial issues predate the above

I’ve asked around fellow techrights folks and they too think it’s improbable IBM played the major role; Microsoft or Intel would be more incentivised to throw a fit.

From Attacking to Stealing

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 2:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO a decade ago (when he said that)

Summary: With GNU running under Windows (WSL) and other EEE-esque tactics we must remain vigilant and well aware of the grand scheme of things; Microsoft is still all about licensing its proprietary software and using it to spy

WITH various factors like the demise of software patents (e.g. 35 U.S.C. § 101 at the USPTO and US courts) and the OIN situation, not to mention IBM’s takeover of Red Hat (IBM strongly opposes § 101 — a position it reaffirmed 3 days ago at Watchtroll), we must consider the growing threat that is proprietary software companies simply devouring Free software. Under the guise of ‘cloud’ they lock down the code and with purchases like that of GitHub they look to assert more control over it and spy on private code (repositories that will be accessible to the NSA over PRISM). In yesterday’s daily links we included over half a dozen articles about Microsoft’s purchase of Citus (it’s still in the news [1, 2]). A decade or so ago we realigned to focus not only on Novell but also Microsoft entryism at large. Things have changed since then because several more large companies (e.g. Amazon) emerged as threats to the freedom of Free software, so we’d rather not return to a focus on Microsoft. In case it’s not obvious, Microsoft is currently just trying to control (or ‘become’) the competition; this assimilation strategy isn’t new and we resisted it even more than a decade ago when the likes of Sam Ramji were assigned the responsibilities. A reader of ours has been researching the prospect/likelihood Microsoft might take over — or at least try to take over — Canonical. We might revisit that in the future. At the moment it looks as though Microsoft, boosted by the GitHub takeover, infiltrated Python (its board/foundation). They basically bought staff in key positions.

01.15.19

IBM, Which Will Soon be Buying Red Hat, is Promoting Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Europe, IBM, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 1:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat puke

Summary: Even days apart/within confirmation of IBM’s takeover of Red Hat IBM makes it clear that it’s very strongly in favour of software patents, not only in the US but also in Europe

IT HAS been bad enough that US courts got targeted by IBM, which actively lobbies to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the impact of Alice (SCOTUS). We wrote many articles about it. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) uses the word “customer” to refer to companies like IBM — the same thing the Battistelli-appointed António Campinos does.

They totally distort what patent offices are and what they exist for.

“IBM is using OIN to stonewall opponents of software patents and pretend that Free software developers can and should coexist with them.”As we last noted earlier this week, at the European Patent Office (EPO) patent quality is nowadays just “speed of granting”. It’s just a patent-granting machine. Examination is being narrowed. Calling the speed of granting “quality” is like judging the quality of fine dining in some restaurants by how quickly the food gets served (by that yardstick, junk food or deep-fried “fast food” is of the best “quality”).

Ever since Campinos came to the EPO they’ve been calling algorithms “AI” every day; it’s how they promote software patents in Europe.

We have meanwhile noticed that UPC and software patents boosters speak to IBM. They’re constructing their typical kind of propaganda — lobbying with puff pieces that neglect opposition (not even hiding the agenda and it’s clear who’s sponsoring it). Once again, under the guise of ‘harmonisation’ (the word UPC fanatics like to throw around) and using words like “clarity” (the same thing they say in relation to the US), Patrick Wingrove of Managing Intellectual Property pushes this piece. Watch how IBM promotes abstract patents under the guise of “AI”; Even in Europe, in violation of the EPC…

Lawyers from IBM and other artificial intelligence-focused businesses have welcomed the EPO’s new guidelines, but say kinks in the examination approach to the technology in Europe and elsewhere need to be ironed out and then harmonised

[...]

Shaw at IBM says her company would welcome clarification of AI patenting laws to eliminate ambiguity, such as those associated with patentable subject matter and inventorship.

“It’s always helpful in any guidance issued by patent offices to include a range of pointers and examples, such as the useful output from the EPO and JPO,” she says. “That is especially true in some areas where case law within AI has not yet built up.

IBM needs to quit doing this. Red Hat is being sold to an enemy of Free software if it carries on pushing in this direction. Someone wrote yesterday (linking to our coverage about Finjan): “In the security space, it did them [IBM] well in the sense of selling patents to outright troll Finjan, which in turn used them to lift $12M out of FireEye’s pockets.”

IBM is using OIN to stonewall opponents of software patents and pretend that Free software developers can and should coexist with them. We suppose that this is the future of Red Hat as well.

12.30.18

2019 in Techrights: New Datacentre, New Focus

Posted in IBM, News Roundup, Patents, Red Hat at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: As Techrights continues to grow we move to a new hosting environment and we’ll be covering technology a little more than court cases with legalese and pertinent caselaw

SEEING that patent extremists like Gene Quinn throw in the towel after two decades and seeing that patent blogs are becoming a lot less active, we’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest problems at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are being gradually addressed, notably software patents that the Federal Circuit and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) help squash. We’ve seen several new examples over the past fortnight, but we’re not going to cover these. Instead, seeing that António Campinos promotes software patents in Europe under the auspices of tbe European Patent Office (EPO), we’re going to shift focus somewhat. The main difference in the coming year will be less coverage about the US patent system. It’s viewed as a lower priority because, as we said a few days ago, “we feel like goals have been fulfilled.” If elimination of software patents was the goal, SCOTUS and 35 U.S.C. § 101 sealed the deal. Several times earlier this year we pointed out that SCOTUS continually rejects appeals from cases like Alice. It’s not interested in reconsideration. Nothing will change.

“IBM has been stockpiling loads of US patents for several decades and even gave some of these to trolls like Finjan.”The demise of software patents has expectedly caused the number of patent cases (lawsuits) to collapse and many patent trolls go out of ‘business’ (it was never a legitimate business in the first place).

David Perry, senior patent lawyer at Red Hat, wrote for CNBC on Boxing Day. Being a lawyer who will soon work for IBM albeit subject to approval in 2-3 weeks’ time (IBM is overzealously in favour of software patents), he framed the question as a matter of hirings; this has nothing to do with hirings however. Gross slant from people whose job depends on patent litigation. “Companies lose as much as $80 billion every year to litigation brought by patent aggressors,” he explained, perhaps failing to note that his next employer is among those aggressors. To quote:

Tech companies are fighting an $80 billion legal battle to help attract the most talented software engineers

[...]

So-called “patent trolls” may not be top of mind for the public, but they’re certainly on the mind of technology innovators. Nine out of the top ten global internet companies — including Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba and Google — and hundreds of other companies (including mine) have joined forces against them.

These trolls – also known as patent assertion entities — acquire patents for the sole purpose of suing other companies for money. They cost companies $80 billion in lost wealth every year, and are responsible for over 85 percent of U.S. high-tech patent litigation.

What about IBM? Look no further (back) than its patent aggression earlier this year. IBM has been stockpiling loads of US patents for several decades and even gave some of these to trolls like Finjan. Then there’s the scam which is misuse of patents for tax purposes. Luxembourg, for instance, is still facilitating tax evasion using patents as loophole/cover (there's a patent trolls infestation there). An article by Oliver R. Hoor and Samantha Schmitz-Merle (ATOZ Tax Advisers) alluded to this some days ago:

Therefore, IP rights covered by the new Luxembourg regime are patents defined broadly and copyrighted software. These IP rights fall within the scope of the new regime to the extent that they are not marketing-related IP assets and were created, developed or enhanced after 31 December 2007 (the former IP regime provided the same limitation in time) as a result of research and development (R&D) activities…

These tax breaks are benefiting, by design, the richest people and corporations. The monopolists who can afford loads of patents (like IBM) profit from this.

In the coming year we intend to focus a little less on the US patent system (notably courts and Office). Instead we’ll write more about technology companies like IBM and Red Hat, not to mention mischievous Microsoft. EPO coverage will remain unchanged and it will be our highest priority.

A server migration was completed successfully yesterday, but only for the sister site, Tux Machines. We may soon attempt the same with Techrights although this migration will definitely be more complicated for several reasons (3 CMS components, 3 domains and so on). Fingers crossed. Downtime is likely with or without DNS changes taking hours to propagate.

12.13.18

Latest Talk From IBM’s Manny Schecter Shows That IBM Hasn’t Changed and After the Red Hat Takeover It’ll Continue to Promote Software Patents

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 3:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And don’t forget what David Kappos is doing

Manny Schecter
Photo credit: Esteban Minero

Summary: IBM’s hardheaded attitude and patent aggression unaffected by its strategic acquisition of a company that at least claimed to oppose software patents (whilst at the same time pursuing them)

THE SO-CALLED ‘champion’ of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was, for a number of decades, IBM, based on the number of granted patents.

As IBM takes over Red Hat (not finalised yet) Red Hat could use a reminder that IBM is hostile to software freedom, free software, sharing etc. because it's a propagandist for software patents and it's aligned with 'IP' extremists' front groups. It’s funding them and it’s leading them.

Less than a day ago this article from a site of patent propagandists (pro-patent trolls, pro-UPC, pro-software patents and so on) was published with this summary: “IBM’s Manny Schecter believes public awareness of intellectual property has increased but there has not been a corresponding increase in understanding” (patents are not property).

He mentioned patents specifically:

On the patent side, people often get confused about various aspects of patents, such as the difference between filing and grant date. “All understandable,” noted Schecter.

Those who are intimately familiar with IP do not necessarily help the situation: a second area of confusion, according to Schecter, comes from the public debate around IP. “We argue vigorously for positions in the intellectual property world, and we have a tendency to use a lot of rhetoric and take a lot of extreme positions in trying to make our point,” said Schecter. “Sometimes we actually want that extreme position and sometimes we are just trying to get our point across.”

Schecter urged the audience to close the gap between awareness and understanding by increasing the level of understanding. “We have to figure out how to optimise the benefit of intellectual property,” he said.

Schecter believes that people who say that intellectual property is somehow hurting innovation are really saying is it is not achieving its optimum promotion of innovation.

“If we are actually going to get people understanding intellectual property we have to overcome confusion, we have to overcome misinformation, we have to overcome our own rhetoric and we have to overcome pressure from our clients. Just speak honestly and respectfully. Our innovation economy, our national security, frankly our everyday creature comforts may depend on it,” he said.

Earlier this week the IBM-led (still IBM-centric) Open Invention Network, which is also a booster of software patents, added Alibaba and Ant Financial as members. But rather than add members shouldn’t these people work to abolish software patents? They’re ridiculous! There are, as it turns out, even patent on numbers. At first we thought this was merely satirical, maybe parody. But as this new tweet shows (there’s a picture there): “In 1994, Roger Schlafly, trying to showcase the flaws of US Patents, patented two primes. These primes were used to improve modular division thus saving a lot of time in the Diffie-Hellman method for public-key encryption – critical to secure lots of Internet services at the time…”

Just pay the fee and the monopoly is yours.

The Open Invention Network’s CEO said he was “looking to bring in more Chinese companies,” even if membership is of no use against patent trolls and it merely legitimises software patents. To quote this short new report:

OIN is the largest patent non-aggression community in history. It supports the freedom of action in Linux as a key element of open source software. It is funded by Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, Sony, SUSE and Toyota.

In a recent interview with IPPro, OIN CEO Keith Bergelt said the organisation was looking to bring in more Chinese companies and that in 2018, the total number of OIN licensees “has eclipsed the total number of Japanese licensees”.

According to OIN, as a global leader in ecommerce and cloud computing and a global leader in financial technology, respectively, Alibaba and Ant Financial are “demonstrating their commitment to open source software as an enabler of their platforms and systems”.

They are demonstrating their commitment to patents; there are much better solutions than OIN (more on that in our next post), but large members of OIN aren’t interested in these. Companies like IBM and Microsoft try to shield their software patents or cross-license these under the ‘umbrella’ which is OIN. But such patents should not at all exist in the first place. Moreover, being a member of OIN did not prevent IBM from feeding Microsoft-funded patent trolls.

12.03.18

The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) and IBM Are Part of the Software Patents Problem in the United States

Posted in IBM, Patents, Red Hat at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ginni Rometty

Photo source (modified slightly): The 10 Most Powerful Women in Technology Today

Summary: IBM’s special role in lobbying for software patents (and against PTAB) needs to be highlighted; even Ethereum’s co-founder isn’t happy about IBM’s meddling in the blockchain space (with help from Hyperledger/Linux Foundation)

IBM keeps pursuing all sorts of bogus software patents on “blockchains” (a hype wave nowadays surfed by the EPO and USPTO). As can be expected, given our lack of loyalty to any company (we have no sponsors), we very often write about IBM as a patent menace, undermining programming with software patents advocacy and stockpiling of such bogus patents. Last week we stumbled upon this new article titled “Ethereum Co-founder Sounds Off On IBM Blockchain” and it said this, citing Quartz:

Ethereum’s co-founder doesn’t seem impressed with the IBM blockchain.

The company has been among the firms investing both money and mind power into blockchain, evidenced by a string of announcements over the last several months — in a drive to file scores of blockchain-related patents. In fact, IBM is tied with Mastercard for the second-highest tally of blockchain patents in 2017. The company said its blockchain platform has more than 400 clients, using Hyperledger Composer and Hyperledger Fabric. Among recent announcements, the company had a patent accepted to use blockchain for database management.

However, Co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who spoke with Quartz on the sidelines of Devcon4, isn’t thrilled with IBM’s moves.

“I don’t understand this deeply, but the detail that jumped out at me is they’re saying, ‘Hey, we own all the IP and this is basically our platform, and you’re getting on it.’ And like, that’s … totally not the point.”

IBM’s acqusition of Red Hat worries us somewhat because of Red Hat’s software patents. What will be the fate of these patents in IBM’s hands?

We never forgot how IBM leveraged the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) for software patents lobbying in the US. They created a dedicated “taskforce” for this [1, 2].

Another stacked panel of IPO was advertised over the weekend; it is a propaganda mill and front for IBM among other software patents proponents who loathe PTAB as it invalidates software patents by merely applying 35 U.S.C. § 101 or the law (based upon SCOTUS). Notice who’s in this “webinar”; just three law firms: “Gasper LaRosa of Jones Day, Brian Murphy of Haug Partners LLP, and Dorothy Whelan, Fish & Richardson” (they speak about PTAB, which invalidates a lot of software patents).

“The registration fee for the webinar is $135,” it says. Wasting money to be lied to or get indoctrinated?

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