Summary: How widespread coverage and talking points from the tiny minority which is patent lawyers have contributed to biased and at times utterly distorted reporting on the subject of software patents around the world
Skewed coverage is not so exceptional. Depending on one’s background and peers one shapes his or her views of the world. A programmer likes to develop software. A patent lawyer loves turning ideas into a formalised description of a process, sometimes acquiring a state-imposed monopoly on these ideas. In certain states (or continents) the patent lawyer may have to cheat a little in order to bypass limitations on the scope of monopoly. Not many places grant a monopoly on the process of computation for instance. It is about as concrete as one’s brain, where the brain is the equivalent of computation machine and the programming the equivalent of neural signals. In recent years patent lawyers have sought to solidify a loophole whereby all programming ‘recipes’ get accompanied by a computation device, even though a computer program can be run in one’s brain, perhaps with the aid of pen and paper. When the law on patenting excludes patents on software “as such” it generally means that patent lawyers just need to disguise software patents as something which they are not. This leaves plenty of room for battle over interpretation and therefore there is a multitude of views, where nobody quite agrees if software is patentable or not. It is the role of real journalists to distinguish between the views of patent lawyers (or their clients who are often managers of large corporations) and the views of software professionals. Since most judges are former solicitors it is expected that the former group will appeal to them, so where does it leave the press? Who is left to listen to the latter group? Certainly not the business press, whose interests are more closely aligned with those of large corporations. This post is a complete (not selective) summary of all the articles we saw generated by key events in 3 continents, showing that: 1) patent lawyers dominate the media on these matters and 2) the views of patent lawyers are very consistently in favour of software patent, as one ought to expect. This reduces certainty over the impact of rulings, bills, and parliamentary actions which clearly limit or altogether ban software patents.
“It is about as concrete as one’s brain, where the brain is the equivalent of computation machine and the programming the equivalent of neural signals.”The EU has much greater problems than patents at the moment, so not many people pay attention to software patents in Europe. These defy the law and they increasingly hurt software developers who are based in Europe. Interestingly, many of these patents are not even granted to European entities.
The government in Germany recently took steps against defiance of common patent law, so patent lawyers’ sites like IAM tried to portray those who reform/uphold the system as “pirates”. This type of characterisation continues, demonstrating to us just how venomous an element patent lawyers can be. They can be rude, not just deceitful for an agenda. Some of IAM’s stuff, as we covered it before, percolates onto other lawyers’ sites, helping to portray NZ’s exclusion [1, 2] of software patents in the relatively small island as some kind of illegitimate move. Other law-themed sites like Lexology asked about the NZ Patents Bill, “how will it effect software patents in NZ?”
The Bill is clear about it. It is not equivocal about it, the loophole that remains in the law set aside. Another article from the same site of patent lawyers helps shed doubt about the CAFC’s criticism of software patents in the US [1, 2, 3].
“The bottom line is, in the EU, NZ, and the US the patent lawyers continue to be instrumental in reality distortion field.”The headline says “Federal Circuit fails to clarify software patent eligibility” and this influences the business press which goes with headlines like “Patent Court Torn on Whether Software Deserve Patents”. Another pro-’IP’ site asks, “How CLS v Alice affects software patents” (the content deviates from the openness of the question).
Other lawyers who lobby for software patents say in their headline that “Federal Circuit deals blow to software patents, but fails to provide cohesive rationale” (criticism for expressing such a view).
A site that calls itself “Law Review” goes further than all the above by rushing ahead with the pretentious, poorly-thought out headline “Massive Growth in Software Usage the Real Reason for More Software Patents, Not Abuse” (very illogical statement of course, something along the lines of “many cockroaches give reason for breeding them,” as if quantity implies desirability).
The bottom line is, in the EU, NZ, and the US the patent lawyers continue to be instrumental in reality distortion field. We should take with a grain of salt what’s the result of seeding disinformation; think afresh based on the actual evidence. Software patents have been dealt a large blow and if this trend continues, patent lawyers’ spin aside, we might see them going away some time in the foreseeable future. Popular view is strongly against them, suggest polls even in the US. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Hostility towards the practice of patenting software is seen in a nonprofit organisation, a corporation, and a government branch responsible for patenting
Dr. Glyn Moody says that “at last [the] EFF contemplates software patents abolition,” citing EFF positions in the essay “What’s At Stake in CLS Bank—Do Software Patents Hold Up The Sky?”
“Remember that i4i is a Canadian company best known for its lawsuit against Microsoft.”The essay comes from Mr. Nazer, whose positions we wrote about in [1, 2]. Earlier on he was targeting just trolls, not software patents. In his latest essay he says: “It is important to realize that software patents and the software industry are not the same thing. As Judge Moore’s own scholarship shows, patent issuance is “a poor measure of innovation value.” And there are straightforward economic reasons why patents and software are a bad fit. Far from being an incentive, software patents tend to operate as a barrier to entry and a tax on innovation.”
In other news cited by Moody, Newegg beat what some call a “corporate troll”. One summary says that “Newegg’s policy of not backing down from patent trolls, even ones as large as Alcatel-Lucent, continues to result in victory. Earlier this year, Overstock and Newegg successfully defended themselves with a jury invalidating Alcatel-Lucent’s main patent used to force companies as large as Amazon to settle. ”
Lastly for this week, Moody points out that there are more pushbacks against software patents, this time in Canada. As a short summary puts it: “The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has recently published two notices for patent examiners relating to patent interpretation, and in particular computer-related/business method type patents saying: ‘for example, what appears on its face to be a claim for an “art” or a “process” may, on a proper construction, be a claim for a mathematical formula and therefore not patentable subject matter.’”
Here is the corresponding article. Remember that i4i is a Canadian company best known for its lawsuit against Microsoft. There are other notable examples of patent parasites in Canada and we covered them before. █
Send this to a friend
Media coverup allegedly helps shelter the train wreck which is software patents
Summary: How press coverage of software patents in the EU and New Zealand (NZ) varies depending on the source; allegations that the US press tries to dismiss end of software patents by twisting an outcome of a major trial
THE EU, NZ, and the US: are software patents actually really banned there? It’s all about perspective, or so we may be led to think by the corporate press.
First of all, software patents in Europe are not an impossibility due to the “as such” loophole. As software patents continue to creep into the continent the German government steps in to stop the potentially illegal practice. “Siemens tried to enforce a software patent against a German webshop owner in 2007 http://ur1.ca/du5ku #swpat threat in Europe is real,” writes the FSFE’s founder, Georg C. F. Greve. The FSFE has just published a “response to German Parliament on #swpat ur1.ca/dtypk (German) Today @kirschner in Parliament hearing #endswpat” (here it is from the current head of the FSFE).
In Europe, the loophole which facilitates software patenting is virtually the same as in New Zealand, where software patents are still possible albeit officially denounced (we wrote about it twice before).
The patent lawyers’ sites which are more inflammatory (yes, IAM again) deny that software patents are banned in NZ and the NZ press focuses on domestic reactions like this one (ignore US press to dodge talking points of US-based corporations). One NZ-based site (not US site with NZ localised version like IDG’s) says: “The Government has announced a change to planned new patent rules today which has put an end to fears that computer software might be covered by new patent protection.”
There are “no patents on computer program “as such”,” says one person who is familiar with these matters. It’s not perfect, “but better than nothing,” says Glyn Moody in Twitter. Here is some other coverage of interest. NZ is in the same position that Europe is in. Software patents are not “officially” legal, but in practice one can get them anyway, defying the law using loopholes (characterising software as an inseparable part of a general-purpose, programmable computing device).
Over in the US, the corporate-dominated USPTO, SCOTUS and even CAFC (to a lesser degree) call the shots. These people don’t know how to use computers or program them. They know just the very basics. As one person puts it: “Out of touch Fed Circuit judges? Two are over age 75. None under 60. I’m guessing none ever wrote a line of code, or use Instagram.”
Another says: “Computers Compute i.e. do Maths. Maths isn’t patentable therefore Software shouldn’t be patentable – Simple”
And moreover from the same person: “Surely it can’t be difficult for the Patent Office to recognize that a Computer Computes Maths; says what it does in the name ”
Lastly: “The problem with most lawyers IMO is that they don’t have a clue about Programming & think it’s all Innovative when it’s not”
So the US press has been trying to decipher or spin the CAFC’s latest decision on this subject. Will Hill writes: “No matter what happens, the Microsoft press will say the results are unclear or favor software patents. Bilski seemed to be a rejection of software patents.”
Here is Crouch’s response, which we cited before. He insinuates that many but not all software patents may be dead given this decision and some allege that all software patents are dead in the US now. Another legal site calls it a “nightmare”. The business press dismisses this as a game changer. We wrote about it twice before, initially calling this a missed opportunity to reform the system. The British press is more optimistic than that, insinuating that software patents died in the US. Compare that to US news sites with headlines like “Mixed Ruling In Software Patent Case Raises More Questions Than Answers” (prevalent headline) and Australian perspective which focuses on the Australian company. A fairly independent US-based site summarised it all as follows: “Ten judges, seven opinions, 135 pages, zero legal precedent.”
Not everyone agrees. Rupert Murdoch’s influential corporate press continues to entertain this discussion in comments and polls at WSJ. Its coverage of the trial came under the headline “Long-Awaited Patent Ruling Yields Few Answers” (prevalent talking point in US sites).
Meanwhile, report some Russian journalists: “The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of biotech giant Monsanto, closing the door on a patent case that has pitted a smalltime farmer from Indiana against a titan of the agriculture industry.”
The US report was quick to dismiss claims that this may be applicable to software (here is AOL). The SCOTUS almost always rules in favour of large corporations. Justices are appointed by politicians that those corporations are bribing.
In the post “Diagnosis From USA Federal Circuit – Software Patents Are Sick” Canadian blogger Robert Pogson alleges software parents were crushed. He adds: “Isn’t that a hoot? Can you hear the patent-FUD rushing out of M$’s collapsing balloon? Can you hear the “partners” who have signed up to pay M$ per Android/Linux smart thingy calling their lawyers and accountants? Can you see the small cheap computers becoming even less expensive? I can.”
Who can be trusted? Legal sites that say software patents are affected (completely dead or partially dead) or corporate press which almost uniformly argues that there is no change whatsoever? The confusion or the mixes signals sure serve the status quo. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: The collection of opinions from notable figures and sources that analysed the CAFC decision regarding a software patent in the US
Excessive optimism in NZ will do not good for the cause of software patents elimination. Software patents have been weakened in NZ, but they are not dead. The same is true for EU. Loopholes remain, and they remain by design.
A couple of days ago we mentioned the CAFC (US) ruling/s, noting that it helps legitimise the status quo because mixed messages are sent, offering no decent clarity. It was a missed opportunity. CAFC was not only lobbied by multinational corporations but also front groups like the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which is funded by Microsoft for lobbying (for software patents of course). Here is the original ruling/s
[PDF] (text version here). Grant Gross wrote in IDG that the ruling/s could be the end of software patents. It could, but won’t. “The case generated briefs from Google, Facebook, Newegg and software trade group BSA, with some tech companies arguing the Alice patents should be invalid,” he writes. And based on this report, perhaps the headline in particular, Nicolas Charbonnier wrote: “Most Apple and Microsoft patents are hereby invalidated and worthless. Have a nice day.”
The article from Groklaw was more in-depth than most and it transcribed /extracted the content of the PDF, making it more accessible and searchable. Pamela Jones wrote: “I remember the first time we wrote on Groklaw that software and patents need to get a divorce. Remember? So long ago, and how everybody laughed at us. I remember that too. I am thinking about Apple and Microsoft and all the software patent bullies. Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”
Restrained optimism is better than excessive optimism, but let’s survey some other optimists. Jones wrote by citation/blockquote, attributing Moore: “Let’s be clear: if all of these claims, including the system claims, are not patent-eligible, this case is the death of hundreds of thousands of patents, including all business method, financial system, and software patents as well as many computer implemented and telecommunications patents” (that is why it’s such a big case).
Brian J. Love, a Law Professor at Santa Clara University, said: “Ultimate analysis of CLS Bank: Back where we started, in that panel draw still determines who wins 101 appeals in software cases.”
Poul-Henning Kamp, “Author of a lot of FreeBSD, most of Varnish and tons of other Open Source Software” (to use his own description of himself), said it “Looks a lot like the end of pure software patents to me” (source).
The Oregonian correctly pointed out that the court was split on the issue. To quote: “The nation’s top patent court issued a deeply divided opinion Friday on how to determine whether software is eligible for legal protection, reflecting the broader debate that has split the computer industry.
“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which handles all patent appeals, issued a 135-page decision by 10 circuit judges that included five viewpoints and “additional reflections” from Chief Judge Randall Rader.”
AOL said that the “Federal Circuit Rules Software Invention Unpatentable” and this is inaccurate if applied to the whole, in generality. This gives false expectation that something will happen despite there being no major change.
The bottom line is, as the EFF points out, patentability of software needs to be addressed by the SCOTUS again. The decision there needs to be less than a two-way tie this time around. █
Send this to a friend
Corporations-run nation cannot listen to the wisdom of citizens-run nation
Summary: In disappointing news from CAFC, which helped make software patents the monster they have become in the United States (and only in the United States, deviating from much of the world), there is further legitimisation of this root problem, whereas NZ does the very opposite
WHETHER software patents in New Zealand have officially been destroyed may definitely be a subject of active debate (we wrote about it twice already), but de-legitimisation of software patents is certainly achieved and the NZ press still plays along [1, 2, 3], making software patents look very bad. Patent lawyers are hardly quoted in NZ articles and multinational corporations like IBM and Microsoft seem to have fled from the scene, having lobbied heavily to legitimise software patents in NZ (unbelievable overreach not just by corporations but by foreign corporations). As Alan Lord put it the other day, “Sanity in #NewZealand. Gov says NO to #swpats [software patents] … When is the USA going to wake up and smell the coffee?”
“Patent lawyers are hardly quoted in NZ articles and multinational corporations like IBM and Microsoft seem to have fled from the scene, having lobbied heavily to legitimise software patents in NZ (unbelievable overreach not just by corporations but by foreign corporations).”The rude patent boosting site (patent lawyers) say “New Zealand has not abolished software patents”, but this is more spin than truth. Being IAM ‘magazine’, they always try to discredit software patents-hostile sources and instead push the pro-software patents line.
Meanwhile, teaches us Reuters in some breaking news (overnight), the United States has done nothing like NZ, in spite of having another opportunity. The headline says that the “U.S. appeals court issues divided ruling in software patent case” and the opening paragraph names the Australian company Alice Corp: “A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that Australia’s Alice Corp does not hold valid patents on a computerized trading platform, but it remained unclear how the decision would affect other software patents.
“The software industry had been watching the case for a clue to legal protection of intellectual property rights that generate much of the sector’s profits. But the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals failed to reach a consensus on how to determine what software is patentable.”
As TechDirt put it, “10 Judges, 135 Pages Of Ruling About Software Patents… And Zero Clarification”. It says that CAFC “has quite the reputation for mucking up rulings concerning patents over the years. In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that CAFC is a key reason that our patent system is so screwed up today. So, leave it to CAFC to issue one of the most bizarre and useless rulings ever concerning software patents. The specific case is CLS Bank v. Alice Corp, and we had noted this was a chance for CAFC to actually fix the software patents problem, though the oral hearings suggested a very conflicted court, and that’s certainly what came out in the ruling. Or, rather, I should say: rulings.”
“There are seven (count ‘em) different opinions issued in the document,” the site says, “none of them meaning anything, because none of them — other than that one paragraph above, have more than the majority in agreement.”
Masnick notes that “basically, all of this means nothing. It doesn’t help to wipe out or clarify software patents at all. It doesn’t really help anyone. It probably doesn’t make anyone on any side of this issue happy. It just leads to more confusion.
“However, as Julie Samuels at the EFF notes, hopefully this will help make it clear to the Supreme Court that it finally needs to issue a clear ruling on software patents, after completely punting the last time it had a chance.”
“We wrote about CAFC before and we also wrote about SCOTUS, noting its role in perpetuating software patents in the US. Both rule favourably towards software patents, perhaps due to influence from large corporations.”Julie Samuels says “It’s Time [for SCOTUS] to Take Up Software Patents (Again)”
We wrote about CAFC before and we also wrote about SCOTUS, noting its role in perpetuating software patents in the US. Both rule favourably towards software patents, perhaps due to influence from large corporations. Just look who the administration appoints to run the patent system and the courts.
Surprisingly (or not), it was a law professor who actually said the ruling was favourable to weakening of software patents. This contradicts somewhat other reports we can locate at this stage (this is fresh news). █
Send this to a friend
Summary: The US patent system wants us to believe that humans should be deserving of a monopoly on life
The USPTO has gotten scrutinised and came under heavy fire after it had awarded patents on genetics. These were not invented, so they redefine what parents actually are. This site does not deal much with patents other than software patents (that’s not to say that these are the only contemptible monopolies), but some other sites, including sites of lawyers who know nothing about biology (some would say that genetics were invented by “God”), did cover an important case which can help redefine US patents as applying to naturally-recurring biology, too. Here are three links:
Today the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. Myriad Genetics was founded in 1991, and licensed, exclusively in the field of diagnostics, and also invented a group of patents associated with the five to ten percent of breast cancers known to have a strong hereditary component. The biomarkers disclosed, discussed, and claimed in these patents are also associated with an increased lifetime risk of ovarian and other cancers. See this U.S. Government website Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer, updated 3/04/2013, and accessed April 14, 2013, for timely information on the significance of these biomarkers.
Today is human genome day at the US Supreme Court. There will be oral argument on Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.. The link will take you to the ABA’s collection of amicus briefs, and there are many of them, and the merits briefs. The question before the court is this:
Rather than slam only the patent holders (or applicants) we should chastise the system led by the USPTO, aided by SCOTUS, for serving multinational megacorporations at the expense of people and thus causing more economic disparity and death. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Small businesses too — not just middle- and large-sized corporations — increasingly targeted by patent trolls and software patents; opposition to patent maximalism on the rise
The USPTO has been taking a lot of beatings recently. Many people from all around the world are berating and condemning the USPTO as well as key utilisers like Monsanto. SAP has been hit too, despite being based in Europe. The patent trolls went after American customers. To quote the British press, “SAP has moved to defend the users of its Sybase database software by filing suit against Pi-Net International, a “patent troll” that has filed several patent infringement lawsuits against SAP customers in the US financial services sector over patents it claims SAP is infringing.
“Pi-Net claims that SAP’s Financial Fusion software, used for online banking, among other things, infringes three of its software patents. SAP acquired the Financial Fusion product as a result of its 2010 acquisition of Sybase.”
Masnick’s site says that small companies too begin to realise the threat of trolls. To quote:
Startups Realizing That Patent Trolls Are An Existential Threat
Most people used to think that patent trolls tended to focus on bigger companies — those with huge bank accounts who’d rather pay the troll off than deal with a lawsuit. But over the last few years, we’ve been hearing more and more stories about startups hit by patent trolls, who are taking advantage of the fact that a patent lawsuit — win or lose — would almost certainly kill the company. One common tactic? Wait until a startup announces a round of fundraising and then pounce — knowing that the company (a) has some money and (b) has little time to deal with a lawsuit. Finally, this issue is getting some attention. Crain’s recently had a piece on patent trolls going “downmarket” after startups, which has some quotes from startup execs (many who want to remain anonymous to avoid further attacks).
Wired continues to have a lawyers-only debate about software patents. The latest comes from someone who was previously at the University of Miami (law) and there is still no call to abolish software patents. Here is a baffling statement:
Infringement of software patents is usually a good thing because in most cases the alternative to infringing is to produce nothing new. So, what if we could fix the patent problem by rethinking the assumption that infringement should always be penalized?
Another lawyer gets platform at Wired to say: “It’s become clear that the patent system is impeding, rather than incentivizing, innovation. The laundry list of what’s gone wrong is long: a standard for patentable subject matter that makes no sense, notoriously vague and hard-to-understand claim language, the rise of the patent trolls … and all of these problems disproportionately impact software.”
Yes, so why not call for the end of them all? Where are the software developers in this series of articles from the popular magazine? Do the editors at Wired even approach developers, or even science professors as opposed to law professors? Nope, hardly.
Speaking of controversial patents, there is some good news this week:
In a case closely watched by global drugmakers, Switzerland’s Novartis AG has been fighting since 2006 to patent its leukemia-treating drug Glivec in India on the grounds that it is a newer version. India revised its patent protection law in 2005.
India’s Supreme Court rejects plea from Swiss pharmaceutical giant, paving way for more affordable, generic medicines worldwide
The Australian government has released the draft report of its Pharmaceutical Patents Review, which had been tasked to “review the effectiveness of the Australian patent system in providing timely access to affordable pharmaceutical and medical treatments and supporting innovation.” The report considered domestic law on patents, data exclusivity, and pharmaceuticals, as well as Australia’s current trade obligations and its position in ongoing trade negotiations.
India’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Swiss pharmaceutical company’s effort to patent an updated version of its cancer drug, a decision aimed at boosting a domestic generic drug manufacturing industry that supplies cheap versions of lifesaving cancer and HIV medicines for much of the developing world.
We wrote about Novartis in [1, 2, 3, 4]. Through proxies specialising in PR, Bill Gates and his friend Nathan Myhrvold love to prop up international monopolies of such companies; they help disguise clinical trials (at the expense of fragile populations) as ‘charity’, never mind the truth of the matter. Slashdot has become a pathetic wuss for helping Myhrvold whitewash himself today. Who on Earth thought this would be a good idea? There are PR talking points all over the place, as we expected right from the start.
Patents that help cause death or limit access to cures based on one’s personal wealth are not ethical. They might even be more harmful than software patents and patents on seed DNA, which India will hopefully squash just like Novartis patents. █
Send this to a friend
When corporations are allegedly people and corporate lawyers — people whose professional agenda is to prop up ‘IP’ — are writing the laws
Summary: No signs of real change because hearings involve lawyers of large corporations rather than representatives of public interests
The USPTO remains a farce of a system which strives to assimilate patent offices all around the world to itself. It needs to be stopped or else we will all face the consequences, be those consequences visible or not. A lot of what we buy costs little to manufacture, but since we pay patent tolls prices can be inflated considerably.
Groklaw writes about the House hearing we were referring to the other day. It is a debate for lawyers only, based on this summary which states:
Thursday was the hearing on abusive patent litigation by the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. By abusive patent litigation, they mean trolls — or as one calls them when one holds one’s pinky genteelly in the air, NPEs, nonpracticing entities. I put out a call for one of Groklaw’s own to attend and let us know what happened. Webster was able to attend, and he has provided an eyewitness account for us in his own inimitable style.
The chairman of the hearing, US Representative Bob Goodlatte, opened with a statement, as did several members of the subcommittee with a little speechifying of their own, and then the invited witnesses of the day each told about their company’s experiences with abusive litigation, except for one, a lawyer whose firm represents trolls and who opined that the patent system is working well overall. If you click each of the following names of the witnesses, you can download as a PDF the written testimony each provided in advance:
* Mr. Mark Chandler, Senior VP, General Counsel and Secretary, Cisco Systems, Inc.
* Ms. Janet L. Dhillon, Exec. VP, General Counsel and Secretary, J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
* Mr. John G. Boswell, Sr. VP, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, SAS Institute, Inc.
* Mr. C. Graham Gerst, Partner, Global IP Law Group, LLC
* Mr. Philip S. Johnson, Sr. VP and Chief IP Counsel, Johnson & Johnson
* Mr. Dana Rao, VP and Assoc. General Counsel for Intellectual Property Litigation, Adobe Systems, Inc.
Mark Bohannon, Red hat’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Global Public Policy, wrote about this hearing as follows:
As President Obama pointed out in February, the patent reform legislation Congress passed several years ago hasn’t “captured all the problems” and the bill “only went about halfway to where we need to go.”
“[Patent trolls] are a classic example. They don’t actually produce anything themselves,” the President said. “They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.”
It is important to keep contacting policy makers on this important issue. If you haven’t done so, let the members of the Judiciary Committee in both the House and Senate hear from you. Your voice is important and can make a difference.
Your voice is important and but unfortunately you cannot make a difference. Why? Because unless you have the name of some giant corporation next to your name and you claim to have a degree in law, these people will treat you like dirt and will never give you a platform, let alone any influence.
The FSF is about to have a more suitable public event about patents — one where actual scientists participate. Here are the details which the FSF published this week:
Chicago, IL – Room 1040, 10th floor, Power Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom, Philip H. Corboy Law Center, 25 E. Pearson St., Water Tower Campus, Loyola University Chicago
Going back to Groklaw, Posner, a critic of the patent system and of software patents in particular [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], is mentioned in this article which alludes to the patent fight against Android:
Motorola has now filed its response to Apple’s appeal of Judge Richard Posner’s decision to toss out Apple’s claims against Motorola (and vice versa), and it adds its own cross appeal [PDF] on the vice versa part — especially challenging the implication of Judge Posner’s ruling that there can be no injunctive relief for FRAND patent owners ever, as a categorical rule.
A blanket denial of the right to seek injunctive relief, Motorola argues, violates patent law, contradicts eBay v. MercExchange [PDF], where the US Supreme Court held that it was error to come up with a categorical rule that “injunctive relief could not issue in a broad swath of cases”, and violates the original expectations of donors of technology to standards bodies. In fact, it says any such rule would violate the US Constitution, which provides that Congress shall have power to secure exclusive rights for inventors, and in the Patent Act Congress came up with, it says every grant to a patentee includes the right to exclude others. Motorola asserts that it has never waived its rights to injunctive relief and states that there is no language in its ETSI agreements requiring it to do so. Motorola argues that there should continue to be a case-by-case analysis under eBay, with judges having discretion to make such decisions based on the particular facts of each case.
Fair warning, though: the PDF is 737 pages. The actual brief is one-tenth that, 73 pages, so I’ve done that part of it for you as text. The rest is a collection of patents at issue, judge’s orders in this case, and one from a related Apple v. Motorola litigation in Wisconsin, which is where this case began, before being transferred to Illinois and Judge Posner.
Posner, a US judge, has so far been the exception when it comes too his views on these patent battles and software patents, which he opposes. The house hearing had nobody like Posner in it; it was just a bunch of lawyers bickering and gloating over patents.
Here is LG using patent FUD against its biggest national rival. It’s about software patents:
The Samsung Galaxy S4 possibly uses a new type of eye-tracking software that LG believes violates one of its own patents.
LG on Tuesday claimed that its South Korean competitor may have violated the company’s patent which pauses video clips when a user turns their head away from the video they are watching.
During the Samsung Galaxy S4 event last week the company announced the new feature as one of the smartphones best new options.
Samsung however was very clear in stating that it does not actually use eye-tracking technology but rather facial recognition software.
Apple too is reportedly being hit by patents relating to software:
The Wall Street Journal reports that patent holding company Intertrust Technologies Corp. has filed suit against Apple, accusing the Cupertino-based company of infringing on 15 of Intertrust’s patents related to “security and distributed trusted computing.”
Publications like the Wall Street Journal view the patent problem as trolls hurting large corporations such as Apple. But it’s not the real issue. It’s just a symptom of the real issue. The multinational corporations try to change the law to benefit corporations, not trolls and not anyone else. People should be outraged by this. █
Send this to a friend
« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »