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04.24.16

[ES] La Fundación de Frontera Electrónica (EFF) Continua su Batalla por la Sanidad de Patentes en los Estados Unidos

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 5:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Article as ODF

Publicado en America, EFF, Patentes at 8:40 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Al atacar el caso Lexmark la EFF trabaja para derechos de impresión/tinta/tóner en general

Epson

Sumario: Una mirada a las últimas actividades de la EFF en el área de patentes, donde probablemente habrá mayor énfasis en los daños de las patentes de software y la necesidad de eliminarlas completamente

LAFundación de Frontera Electrónica es un aliado potencial en la lucha contra las patentes de software. Hemos escrito sobre su papel en la batalla por casi una década (Novell pagó a la EFF hace casi una década) y seguimos de cerca su progreso. Fundada por Mark Cuban para hacer este tipo de activismo (Cuban, quién lee Techrights, esta sobre todo en contra las patentes de software), creemos que algo grande puede salir de lo que hace el EFF.

Julie Samuels de la EFFescribió hace cuatro dias que todavía está luchando “contra las patentes estupidas” (no demasiado útil elegir la palabra “estúpidas” por ella lucha contra las patentes de software). “A pesar de modesta, pero importante, el éxito del programa al eliminar a algunos de las peores patentes”, escribió, “que es atacada por aquellos que se oponen a la reforma de patentes y al parecer creer que un monopolio del gobierno de 20 años no debería tener que soportar ningún tipo de control. En concreto, los representantes de ciertas industrias (por ejemplo, las industrias farmacéuticas y biotecnológicas) afirman que los IPRs son “escuadrones de la muerte de patentes” y han estado trabajando duro en el Capitolio tratando de hacer retroceder la eficacia del programa por el embotellamiénto de sus procedimientos “.

La EFF básicamente se involucra en el caso de las patentes de Lexmark (tratando de arrastrar al Tribunal Supremo) y está atrayendo /recibiendo cobertura de prensa apoyándola.

Escribimos acerca del términoescuadrones de la muerte de patentesen el pasado, e.g. en [1, 2, 3, 4]. Ellos usan otros maliciósos términospara describir la invalidación de patentes falsas y usan eufémismos para sus propios abusos.

La última batalla de la EFF parece ser atacar una materia sobre la que escribimos hace unas semanas [EN | ES]. La EFF básicamente se envolvió en el caso de patentes de Lexmark (tratándo de envolver en ella a laCorte Suprema) y está atrayendo /recibiendo cobertura de prensa apoyándola.Public Knowledgeescribió temprano esta semana: “Ayer, Public Knowledge llenó un amicus curiae brief con la Corte Supremaen el caso Impression Products v. Lexmark International. Al brief se unió la the Electronic Frontier Foundation y la R Street Institute.

“El caso se refiere a cartuchos de tóner de impresora que se rellenan y revenden. Lexmark sostiene que la reventa de cartuchos de impresora viola sus derechos de patentes. Impresion Products, empresa que reconstruye los cartuchos, sostiene que sus actividades están permitidas legalmente, porque los derechos de patente de Lexmark se agotaron en el momento de la venta de los cartuchos a los consumidores. El escrito de amicus presentado apoya la opinión de Impresión de que los derechos de propiedad de los consumidores deben anular los intereses de patentes de Lexmark”.

El titular de Cory Doctorow dijo “que las guerras de tinta de impresora pueden hacer de la propiedad privada de dominio exclusivo de las corporaciones” y aquí la humilde declaración del EFF (“La EFF pide a la Corte Suprema anular este fallo peligroso permitiendo a los propietarios de patentes para socavar la propiedad”).

Esto también fue cubierto por WIPR, que escribió: “La Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) ha urgido a la Corte Suprema de los EE.UU. escuchar y rechazar una “decisión problemática” pasada a ella por una corte de apelaciónes que se centra en la exaustación de patentes.”
El titular de Cory Doctorow dijo “que las guerras de tinta de impresora pueden hacer de la propiedad privada de dominio exclusivo de las corporaciones” y aquí la humilde declaración del EFF (“La EFF pide a la Corte Suprema anular este fallo peligroso permitiendo a los propietarios de patentes para socavar la propiedad”).
Para citar a la EFF: “El caso de Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. y se refiere a la cuestión arcana, pero importante, del agotamiento de patentes. Esta es la versión de la ley de patentes de “primera venta”, la doctrina de la ley de derechos de autor que dice que una vez que un consumidor compra una copia de una obra, que es el dueño y puede hacer lo que quiera con esa copia. La ley de patentes es similar. Una vez titular de una patente vende un producto, no puede más tarde demandar que el uso o la venta de ese producto infringe su patente.

Hemos sido críticos (a veces) del enfoque de la EFF, pero en general, lo que la EFF está haciendo es mejor que nada en absoluto.

Al mismo tiempo, EFF pelea por otra causa (“Tribunal confirma que la EFF pueda levantarse por el Acceso Público a Expedientes de la Corte”).
“El mes pasado, explicó,” la EFF decidió intervenir en un caso de patentes con el fin de levantar el secreto de registros que se han mantenido indebidamente para evitar accesso del público. Ayer, el tribunal accedió a la petición de la EFF para intervenir, y al hacerlo, rechazó un argumento preocupante que fue puesto por el titular de la patente.
“El caso es de Blue Spike v. Audible Magic. Como señalamos en nuestro post del mes pasado, numerosos documentos, entre ellos al menos tres opiniones judiciales, han sido completamente ocultados al público. Los documentos sellados son altamente sustantivos, y de lo que podemos recoger, ayudarían al público a entender mejor qué es, exactamente, lo que Blue Spike afirma haber inventado.”
Hemos sido críticos (a veces) del enfoque de la EFF, pero en general, lo que la EFF está haciendo es mejor que nada en absoluto. Sólo desearíamos que hiciera más para abordar directamente las patentes de software en los EE.UU., sobre todo ahora que muchos de los gigantes de patentes presionan al gobierno (más sobre esto más tarde hoy).

04.23.16

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Continues Its Battles for Patent Sanity in the United States

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By taking on the Lexmark case the EFF works towards printing/ink/toner rights in general

Epson

Summary: A look at some of the latest activity of the EFF in the area of patents, where there probably ought to be increased emphasis on the harms of software patents and need for elimination thereof

THE Electronic Frontier Foundation is a potential ally in the fight against software patents. We have written about its role in the battle for nearly a decade now (Novell paid the EFF almost one decade ago) and we continue to monitor its progress. Funded by Mark Cuban to do this kind of activism (Cuban, who reads Techrights, is notably against software patents), we believe that a lot of good can come out of what the EFF does.

The EFF’s Julie Samuels wrote 4 days ago that she’s still fighting “Against Stupid Patents” (not too useful to choose the word “stupid” for one who fights against software patents). “Despite the program’s modest but important success at weeding out some of the worst patents,” she wrote, “it’s under attack from those who oppose patent reform and apparently believe a 20-year government monopoly should not have to withstand any scrutiny. Specifically, representatives from certain industries (e.g., the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries) claim that IPRs are “patent death squads” and have been hard at work on Capitol Hill trying to roll back the program’s effectiveness by dulling its procedures.”

“The EFF basically gets involved in the Lexmark patent case (trying to drag in the Supreme Court) and is attracting/receiving supportive press coverage.”We wrote about the use of the term “patent death squads” in the past, e.g. in [1, 2, 3, 4]. They use other malicious-sounding terms to describe invalidation of bogus patents and they use euphemisms for their own abuses.

The EFF’s latest battle seems to be tackling a subject which we wrote about some weeks ago [EN | ES]. The EFF basically gets involved in the Lexmark patent case (trying to drag in the Supreme Court) and is attracting/receiving supportive press coverage. Public Knowledge wrote earlier this week: “Yesterday, Public Knowledge filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court in the case Impression Products v. Lexmark International. The brief was joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the R Street Institute.

“The case relates to printer toner cartridges that are refilled and resold. Lexmark argues that the resale of printer cartridges violates its patent rights. Impression Products, who remanufactures cartridges, contends that its activities are legally permitted because Lexmark’s patent rights were exhausted at the time of sale of the cartridges to consumers. The amicus brief filed supports Impression’s view that consumer ownership rights should override Lexmark’s patent interests.”

“Cory Doctorow’s headline said “Printer ink wars may make private property the exclusive domain of corporations” and here is the EFF’s own humble statement (“EFF Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Dangerous Ruling Allowing Patent Owners to Undermine Ownership”).”This was also covered by WIPR, which wrote: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has urged the US Supreme Court to hear and overturn a “troubling decision” handed down by an appeals court that centres on patent exhaustion.”

Cory Doctorow’s headline said “Printer ink wars may make private property the exclusive domain of corporations” and here is the EFF’s own humble statement (“EFF Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Dangerous Ruling Allowing Patent Owners to Undermine Ownership”).

To quote the EFF: “The case is called Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. and it concerns the arcane but important question of patent exhaustion. This is patent law’s version of “first sale,” the doctrine in copyright law that says that once a consumer buys a copy of a work, she owns it and can do what she wants with that copy. Patent law is similar. Once a patent owner sells a product, it cannot later claim that that product’s use or sale is infringing.”

“We have been critical (at times) of the EFF’s approach, but all in all, what the EFF is doing is better than nothing at all.”At the same time the EFF fights for another cause (“Court Confirms EFF Can Stand Up for Public Access to Court Records”).

“Last month,” it explained, “EFF moved to intervene in a patent case in order to unseal records we believe have been improperly kept from the public. Yesterday, the court granted EFF’s motion to intervene, and in doing so, rejected a troubling argument being put forth by the patent owner.

“The case is Blue Spike v. Audible Magic. As we noted in our blog post last month, numerous documents, including at least three court opinions, have been completely withheld from the public. The sealed documents are highly substantive, and from what we can gather, would help the public better understand what, exactly, Blue Spike claims to have invented.”

We have been critical (at times) of the EFF’s approach, but all in all, what the EFF is doing is better than nothing at all. We just wish it did more to directly tackle software patents in the US, especially now that a lot of patent giants lobby the government (more on that later today).

04.04.16

VENUE Act No es la Solución en Medio de EFF Noticias Acerca Intellectual Ventures y Garfum Es Tiempo de Enfrentárse a las Patentes de Software

Posted in America, EFF, Europe, Patents at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Publicado en America, EFF, Law, Patents at 9:25 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reform jokeSumario: Algunas noticias acerca de patentes con enfasis en la situación de la EFF presente estrategia, que no observa al meollo del asunto, patentability de Software en los Estados Unidos

HOY (o esta tarde) el focus será la USPTO. Hay un montón para decir del sistema de patentes de los EE.UU., ambas buenas y malas noticias. Como nuestros viejos lectores saben, no somos oponentes del sistema de patentes per se, somos oponentes de las patentes de software, las que no deberían ser otorgadas, por que el código es propiamente protegido por derechos de autor. Virtualmente todos los desarrolladores de software (basado en viejos reportajes y encuestas) están de acuerdo con nosotros en patentes de software. Difícimente es materia de debate dentro de la comunidad de software, sólo fuera de ella.

“Virtualmente todos los desarrolladores de software (basado en viejos reportajes y encuestas) están de acuerdo con nosotros en patentes de software.”Hace unos dias remarcamos en la Acta VENUE, el último exagerado proyecto de ley que pretende sólo abordar cuestiones incluso tratándose de una solución a medio cocer. El año pasado vimos Ley de Patentes e Innovación (¿recuerdan? Una de las muchas encarnaciones y esfuerzos [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). Son tan sólo palabras de moda y se centran en los trolles de patentes, no se enfocan en la esfera de patentes. El esfuerzo tomado para llegar a esos acrónimos tontos (como PATRIOTA) muestra que se trata más de su comercialización alrededor de ella en vez de enfrentarse al verdadero problema. Como lo acaba de explicar Techdirt el Acta VENUE (Nathan Leamer y Zach Graves, los autores, no son personas de Techdirt), “no es el tipo de corrección integral al problema de los trolles de patentes de los Estados Unidos” que nos gustaría ver, el Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Ac abordan una pequeña parte del problema. El proyecto de ley, S. 2733, reduciría las rampantes compra de lugares que injustamente distorsiona los resultados legales al permitir que los demandantes seleccionen jueces amigables con anticipación”.

Dada la inclinación algunos tribunales o jueces a aceptar patentes de software abstractas, esto potencialmente tiene un efecto positivo en la resistencia a las patentes de software. Aproximadamente al mismo tiempo que el artículo de la EFF anteriormente, Techdirt también republicó un artículo de la EFF (EFF es un defensor del Acta VENUE por cierto) acerca del mayor troll de patentes de Microsoft, Intellectual Ventures, a que calificó de “Mega-Troll” y afirmando que “Golpea florista con la patente de programación Hazlo-En-Un-Ordenador” (patente de software).

“Este Troll de Patentes conectado a Microsoft también ataca a Linux y Android, como lo mostramos aquí antes.”Para citar a la EFF: “Cuando se trata de trolles de patentes ninguno es más grande que Intellectual Ventures. El behemoth basado en el estado de Washington está al centro de ambos trolling de patentes y el debate acerca de la reforma. Aunque clame promover la innovación, Intellectual Ventures está detras de la más vergonzósas campañas de trolles en años reciéntes. Famosa por esconderse detrás demiles de compañías de cubierta, creó Lodsys, el troll que asedió a pequeños desarrolladores de apps, y la Oasis Research litigación que apareció en Esta Vida Americana.

“Este mes, Intellectual Ventures presentó algunas acciones legales contra objetivos nuevos incluyendo JCPenney, Sally Beauty, y servicios de entrega de flores Transworld Floristerías. Estudiamos las patentes valer para ver si alguno merecía nuestro Premio a la Patente Estúpida del mes. Todos eran buenos candidatas, pero una en particular se destacó”.

Este Troll de Patentes conectado a Microsoft también ataca a Linux y Android, como lo mostramos aquí antes.
Esta actuando como una suerte de proxy de Microsoft, una entre varias. Intellectual Ventures también tiene una red de miles de firmas satelite, haciéndola un fantasma que es muy difícil/torpe para seguirle el rastro.

“Intellectual Ventures también tiene una red de miles de firmas satelite, haciéndola un fantasma que es muy difícil/torpe para seguirle el rastro.”Separadamente, basado en este post de la EFF, “Blue Spike es un contínuo jugadore en litigación de patentes. Lex Machina (un servicio que colecciona filing de patentes en todo el país) indica que hay más de 100 juicios relacionados a Blue Spike y ´sus´ patentes. No sorprende entonces que, la campaña deBlue Spike’s campaign ha atraído la atención de la prensa. Hemos escrito acerca de Blue Spike y sus patentes en conección con la serie “Estupida Patente del Mes”. Otros han escrito acerca de Blue Spike también.”

En noticias más positivas del EFF, en Twitter que dice: “Corte dispone que matón de patentes pague los honorarios del abogado del cliente EFF.” Aquí está el artículo correspondiente, que dice:

En una decisión que podría ayudar a otras víctimas de los litigios sobre patentes abusivo, un tribunal ordenó hoy que la Corporación Garfum.com debe pagar los honorarios de abogados de un cliente de la EFF. La corte encontró que el juicio por patente de Garfum carecía de mérito y fue litigado injustificadamente.

Volviéndo a finales de 2014, Garfum demandó un pequeño sitio web de fotografía llamada Bytephoto.com por violación de patentes. Garfum afirmaba poseer la idea de tener un “voto por el mejor” competencia, pero en el Internet. A pesar de que su absurda patente no era válida claramente en virtud de la decisión del Tribunal Supremo en Alice v. CLS Bank, Garfum exigía que los propietarios de Bytephoto, Ruth y Steve Taylor, que pagen unos $ 50.000. Teniendo en cuenta el elevado costo de defenderse incluso en una frívola demanda de patentes, los Taylor se enfrentarón a una situación difícil.

Esto ya fué cubierto por Joe Mullin, quién a seguido el rastro a trolles de patentes por una década. “La Electronic Frontier Foundation,” escribió, “ha advocado contra ridiculas patentes de software por más de una década, pero no fue hasta el año pasado que la organización tomo un pro bono cliente acusado de infringimiento de patentes. Un pequeño sitio web de videos llamado Garfum.com enjuició a la fotografo de Pennsylvania Ruth Taylor, diciéndo que ella estaba infringiendo la US Patent No. 8,209,618. Garfum, propiedad de un hombre de New Jersey llamado Michael Garofalo, diciendo que la patente era infringida por las competiciones de fotos que Taylor tiene en su website, Bytephoto.”

Vale la pena notar que delo que estamos tratándo aquí son patentes de software, de nuevo. ¿Porqué la EFF simplemente no se enfrenta a las patentes de software en vez de “patentes estúpidas” o “trolles de patentes” Mejor unirse a la pelea justa, mejor tarde que nunca.

04.02.16

VENUE Act Not the Solution and Amid EFF News About Intellectual Ventures and Garfum It’s Time to Tackle Software Patents

Posted in America, EFF, Law, Patents at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reform jokeSummary: Some news regarding patents with emphasis on the EFF’s situation and current strategy, which overlooks the core issue, software patentability in the United States

TODAY’s (or this afternoon’s) focus will be the USPTO. There is a lot to be said about the US patent system, both good news and bad news. As longtime readers of ours know, we’re not opponents of the patent system per se, we’re against software patents, which oughtn’t be granted at all because code is properly protected by copyright law. Virtually all software developers (based on old surveys and polls) agree with us on software patents. It’s hardly even a subject of debate inside the software community, only outside of it.

“Virtually all software developers (based on old surveys and polls) agree with us on software patents.”Days ago we remarked on the VENUE Act, the latest hyped-up bill which claims to tackle issues even if it’s a half-cooked solution. Last year we saw Innovation and PATENT Act (remember it? One of many incarnations and efforts [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). They’re all just buzzwords and they focus on patent trolls, not patent scope. The effort taken to come up with those silly acronyms (like PATRIOT) shows that it’s more about marketing than about substance. As TechDirt has just explained VENUE Act (Nathan Leamer and Zach Graves, the authors, aren’t TechDirt people), “it isn’t the kind of comprehensive corrective to America’s “patent troll” problem that we’d like to see, the newly introduced Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Act would address one small piece of the problem. The bill, S. 2733, would curtail rampant venue shopping that unfairly distorts legal outcomes by allowing plaintiffs to select friendly judges in advance.”

Given some judges’ or courts’ inclination to accept abstract software patents, this potentially has a positive effect on resistance to software patents. At around the same time as the above, TechDirt also reposted the EFF’s article (the EFF is a proponent of VENUE Act by the way) about Microsoft’s biggest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, calling it “Mega-Troll” and stating that it “Hits Florist With Do-It-On-A-Computer Scheduling Patent” (software patent).

“This Microsoft-connected troll also attacks Linux and Android, as we showed here before.”To quote the EFF: “When it comes to patent trolls, no one is bigger than Intellectual Ventures. The Washington State-based behemoth is at the center of both patent trolling and the debate around patent reform. Though it claims to promote innovation, Intellectual Ventures is behind some of the most outrageous troll campaigns in recent years. Famous for hiding behind thousands of shell companies, it spawned Lodsys, the troll that harassed small app developers, and the Oasis Research litigation featured in This American Life.

“This month, Intellectual Ventures filed some fresh lawsuits against targets including JCPenney, Sally Beauty, and flower delivery service Florists’ Transworld Delivery. We checked out the asserted patents to see if any deserved our Stupid Patent of the Month award. All were worthy candidates, but one in particular stood out.”

This Microsoft-connected troll also attacks Linux and Android, as we showed here before. It is acting as a sort of Microsoft proxy, one among many. Intellectual Ventures also has a network of thousands of satellite firms, making it like a phantom that’s too cumbersome to properly track.

“Intellectual Ventures also has a network of thousands of satellite firms, making it like a phantom that’s too cumbersome to properly track.”Separately, based on this post from the EFF, “Blue Spike is a repeat patent litigation player. Lex Machina (a service that collects patent litigation filings from across the country) indicates there are over 100 lawsuits involving Blue Spike and its patents. Unsurprisingly then, Blue Spike’s campaign has garnered press attention. We’ve written about Blue Spike and its patents in connection with our “Stupid Patent of the Month” series. Others have written about Blue Spike too.”

In more positive news from the EFF, on Twitter it said: “Court orders that patent bully must pay EFF client’s attorneys’ fees.” Here is the corresponding article which says:

In a decision that could help other victims of abusive patent litigation, a court today ordered that Garfum.com Corporation must pay an EFF client’s attorneys’ fees. The court found that Garfum’s patent suit lacked merit and was litigated unreasonably.

Back in late 2014, Garfum sued a small photography website called Bytephoto.com for patent infringement. Garfum claimed to own the idea of having a ‘vote for the best’ competition, but on the Internet. Even though its absurd patent was plainly invalid under the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank, Garfum demanded that the owners of Bytephoto, Ruth and Steve Taylor, pay it $50,000. Given the substantial cost of defending even a frivolous patent lawsuit, the Taylors faced a difficult situation.

This has already been covered by Joe Mullin, who tracked patent trolls for about a decade. “The Electronic Frontier Foundation,” he wrote, “has advocated against ridiculous software patents for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until last year that the organization took on a pro bono client accused of patent infringement. A little-used video website called Garfum.com sued Pennsylvania photographer Ruth Taylor, saying she was infringing US Patent No. 8,209,618. Garfum, owned by a New Jersey man named Michael Garofalo, says the patent was infringed by the photo contests Taylor runs on her website, Bytephoto.”

Worth noting here is that we’re dealing with a software patent, again. Why doesn’t the EFF just tackle software patents as opposed to “stupid patents” or “patent trolls”? Better join the good fight, better late than never.

03.20.16

EFF Wants to Tackle the Patent Litigation Mess But Still Stops Short of Abolishing (or Working to Abolish) Software Patents

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 2:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Patent Busting project/initiative/campaign, which abolished one patent at the time nearly a decade ago, a long-forgotten strategy

Patent troll
Image credit: Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Summary: Patent trolls are still the subject of criticism from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, even though some major companies such as Apple and Microsoft (even those that pay the EFF) are a big part of the problem with patents, and software patents in particular

YESTERDAY we published this article which covered jurisdiction reform as a path to mitigation/cessation of patent trolls, who habitually use software patents (still granted by the USPTO where there is no effective quality control) as a weapon in the Eastern District of Texas. The USPTO doesn’t seem to mind over-litigation as it helps drive demand at the patent office*.

The EFF has just published this recommendation (authored by Elliot Harmon) of the VENUE Act, which uses jurisdiction as a factor by which to throttle/impede trolls. Here is what the EFF wrote:

There’s a new bill in Congress that would finally address the egregious forum shopping that dominates patent litigation. The Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Act of 2016 (VENUE Act, S. 2733) would bring a modicum of fairness to a broken patent system.

Forum shopping is a phenomenon that can appear when plaintiffs get a lot of latitude over which federal district to file a case in. Some plaintiffs make their choice based not on what federal district has the strongest connection to the dispute, but rather on which court they believe they have the best chance of winning in. A canny plaintiff will exploit differences between courts in her favor—differences in how they enforce certain rules, for example, or in their track records with a type of case. As anyone knows who’s been following the patent reform debate for very long, forum shopping runs rampant in patent cases.

The EFF correctly points out that this would not solve the problem but only slow it down a bit. What the EFF really needs to do is campaign against software patents — something which clearly it hasn’t been sufficiently interested in (we wrote a lot about this before, either praising or criticising the EFF’s approach/strategy). Justin Blows, a patent lawyer who likes software patents, writes that “Google has been awarded US patent 9,280,534 titled “Generating social glossary”. Broadly speaking, the invention is about scanning social media for new expressions and storing them in a glossary.”

This is similar to a Facebook patent which we recently covered here. Why are such software patents being granted in the first place? A clue might be in the footnote below.
_____
* “A PTO official said to me after my talk that trying to think about IPR with an overlay of prosecution will do nothing but harm,” wrote patent maximalists the other day. “He’s right,” they added. It sure seems like the wolf has been put in charge or the sheep of the wolf is guarding the hen now. They want more patents and more prosecution which drives demand for patents (elevating perceived value of patents).

01.31.16

EFF: “Las Patentes de Software Arruinan Todo”

Posted in EFF, Patents at 4:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Posted in EFF, Patents at 9:27 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EFF logo

Sumario: La Fundación Frontera Electrónica parece estar retornando a un directo criticísmo de las patentes de software en vez de criticar grupos particulares o personas que las explotan, ejemplo los trolles de patentes.

A través de los años (desde 2006 cuando Novell pago servicio de labios a la EFF con un dinero) hemos apoyado y criticado el punto de vista de la EFF sobre las patentes de software. Últimamente escribimos hace unos días. Otros articulos en tales materias incluyen:

Basado en Este nuevo artículo from de EFF (publicado reciéntemente), no sólo la EFF es capaz de nombrar a los Trolles de Patentes explícitamente (siempre era acerca de ¨estúpidas¨ patentes y ¨trolles¨), también esta preparada para golpearlas. Para citar algúnos paragrafos:

En Diciembre más de 3,000 de ustedes se reunierón a apoyar una propuesta del Departamento de Educacion (ED) que haría sus recursos Educacionales mucho más accesibles a educadores y estudiantes en todo el mundo.

Ustedes no fueron los únicos: La Fundación de Sofware Libre, Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, la Software Freedom Conservancy, y numerosos otros grupos a favor del usuario hablaron fuerte. Juntos, mandamos un mensaje a alto volumen: La red de equipo está en el lado de educación abierta.

Leyendo a través de todos los 147 comentarios, un modelo emerge. Proponentes de la Web abierta, grupos de educación abierta y muchos educadores profesionales todos apoyan la idea de recusos solventados por el Departamente de Educación sean COMPARTIDOS CON LICENCIAS ABIERTAS (aunque tengamos diferencias en ciertos detalles). Aunque un grupo nos seguía confundiendo: las universidades. ¿PORQUÉ HAY ALGUNAS UNIVERSIDADES OPONIÉNDOSE A UN MANDATO QUE BENEFICIARÍA DIRECTAMENTE A SUS ESTUDIANTES Y FACULTAD?

Cuando cavas un poquito más, parece que esta oposición a licensia abierta no tiene que ver con el acceso de los estudiantes a recursos educacionales. Lo que en realidad sale a la luz es una lucha larga acerca de como las universidades usan patentes, más específicamente patentes de software. La Educación Abierta y al alcance de las mayorías simplemente esta en medio del fuego.

[...]

Las Patentes de Software Arruinan Todo

La expresión de la AAU cuestiona ¨si el Departamento tiene la autoridad legal bajo la 35 USC 212 para emitir un requerimiento para licensiar abiertamente todo el código fuente de sofware financiado con fondos de grants.¨ Esto es una referencia a una ley de 1980, comúnmente conocida como la Bayh-Dole Act. Antes que ella las Universidades no podían aplicar por patentes creadas usando fondos federales; en vez de eso, el gobierno era el responsable de patentar invenciones fundadas federalmente [.pdf]; cuando lo hizo así sólo las dejaba usar a otros bajo licencias no exclusivas.

Despues de Bayh-Dole, toda una industria de transfer de tecnología de las universidades apareció. Cada programa de transfer tiene sus propias políticas, algunas son más flexibles y amicables a los deseos del inventor que otras pero todas existen para vender o licensiar invenciones de facultad a terceros. Algunas de ellas ejercen sus patentes directamentte, como la Universida de Wisconsin-Madiso hizo en su juicio contra Apple.

Es importante notar aqui que la propuesta de la ED no toca las patentes de ninguna manera. Ya que la propuesta cubre software, es posible que los recipientes quieran aplicar por algunas patentes cubiertas bajo esas policies. No hay nada en la propuesta que los impida hacer eso: no toda licencia de open source que obligaría a la política requeriría que sus creadores desistan de derechos de aserción de patentes.

Recuerden que las patentes de software están dando combustible a los trolles, así que cualquier discución acerca de trolles de patentes frecuentemente evade el núcleo central en vez de ello trata los simtomas (para la alegría de las grandes corporaciones). La OEP fundada Iam ´magazine´ que maquilla a lo trolles de patentes, acepta dinero de ellos y les organiza eventos, esta disfrazando las patentes de abiertas ahora mismo (¨innovación abierta¨) y muestra que pasa cuando los espéculadores de patentes habla o otros de su misma calaña. Iam se ha convertido en una clase de PROPONENTE DE TROLLS Y MAXIMALISTAS. Es suave y tierno con los trolles y los llamados entidades asertoras de patentes. En el otro extremo hay sitios como IP Troll Tracker, que ahora felicita a Florian Müller por criticar el sistema de patentes de los Estados Unidos. En todo es bueno ver que la EFF ahora habla un poco más acerca de las patentes de software no sólo de trolles de patentes. Los animamos a hacerlo más frequentemente. La Fundación De Frontera Electrónica parece estar retornando a un directo criticismo de las patentes de software en vez de grupos particulares que las explotan, ejemplo los trolles de patentes.

01.29.16

EFF: “Software Patents Ruin Everything”

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

EFF logo

Summary: The Electronic Frontier Foundation looks like it may be returning to direct criticism of software patents rather than particular groups of actors that exploit them, e.g. patent trolls

OVER the years (since 2006 when Novell paid a lip service to the EFF with some money) we have been both supportive and critical of the EFF’s approach towards software patents. We last wrote about it a few days ago. Other articles on such matters include:

Based on this new article from the EFF (published very recently), not only is the EFF capable of naming software patents explicitly (it was always about “stupid” patents and “trolls” as of late); it’s also prepared to slam them. To quote some relevant paragraphs:

In December, over 3,000 of you rallied in support in support of a proposed Department of Education (ED) policy that would make ED-funded educational resources a lot more accessible to educators and students around the world.

You weren’t the only ones: the Free Software Foundation, Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, the Software Freedom Conservancy, and numerous other pro-user groups spoke up. Together, we all sent a loud message: Team Internet is on the side of open education.

Browsing through all 147 comments, a pattern quickly emerges. Open web advocates, open education groups, and many education professionals all support the idea of ED-funded resources being shared widely under open licenses (though we might quibble on a few specific details). One group kept confusing us, though: universities. Why were some universities opposing a rule that would directly benefit their students and faculty?

When you dig a bit deeper, it looks like universities’ opposition to open licensing has nothing to do with students’ access to educational resources. What’s really playing out is a longstanding fight over how universities use patents—more specifically, software patents. Open education just happens to be caught in the crossfire.

[...]

Software Patents Ruin Everything

The AAU statement questions “whether the Department has the legal authority under 35 USC 212 to issue a requirement to openly license all computer software source code developed with grant funds.” This is a reference to a law enacted in 1980, commonly known as the Bayh-Dole Act. Before Bayh-Dole, universities couldn’t apply for patents for inventions created using federal funding; instead, the government itself was responsible for patenting federally funded inventions [.pdf]; when it did so, it would only let others use them under nonexclusive licenses.

After Bayh-Dole, a whole industry of university tech transfer offices began to appear. Each tech transfer program has its own policies—some are more flexible and friendly to the inventors’ wishes than others—but they all ostensibly exist to sell or license faculty inventions to third parties. Some of them also assert their patents directly, as the University of Wisconsin-Madison did in its recent suit against Apple.

It’s important to note here that the ED proposal doesn’t touch patents at all. Since the proposal covers software, it’s possible that grantees might want to apply for patents for a few of the works covered under the policy. But there’s nothing in the proposal to stop them from doing that: not every open source license that would comply with the policy requires that creators give up patent assertion rights.

Remember that software patents are fueling trolls, so any discussion about patent trolls often evades the core issue and instead deals with symptoms (much to the chagrin of large corporations). The EPO-funded IAM 'magazine', which often grooms patent trolls, accepts payments from trolls, and even organises events for them, is openwashing patents right now (“open innovation”) and demonstrates what happens when patent profiteers speak to other patent profiteers. IAM has become like some sort of think tank for trolls and maximalists. Here it is going soft on trolls and so-called patent assertion entities. On the other hand there are sites like IP Troll Tracker, which is now congratulating Florian Müller for criticising the US patent system. All in all, it’s nice to see that the EFF now speaks a little more about software patents, not just trolls. We encourage the EFF to do more of that.

01.26.16

The EFF-Recommended Advice on Patents From Juelsgaard/Stanford Law School Potentially Worse Than Useless

Posted in EFF, Patents at 8:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not proposing the end of software patents but something akin to OIN, which shields or cements them

Julie Samuels
Image extracted from this video

Summary: Having been bankrolled by a billionaire, Mark Cuban (said to be worth US$3 billion, based on Forbes), the Electronic Frontier Foundation pursues a patent approach that would further empower large, rich corporations, not small companies

“A guide to alternative patent licensing,” wrote the EFF today, was “produced by the Juelsgaard Intellectual Property & Innovation Clinic at Stanford Law School in partnership with EFF and Engine. Revised and expanded for 2016.”

For those who wonder who or what the producer actually is, see this page which says that “the clinic’s core mission is foster innovation by advancing a regulatory climate that is appropriately sensitive to the ways in which law—whether through litigation, legislation, or regulation—can serve to promote (or frustrate) the inventiveness, creativity, and entrepreneurship that provide the real engine for economic growth.” This is connected to Mark Lemley, who is widely known for his work in this area.

There was also this accompanying blog post which said:

We’re pleased to announce the 2016 edition of Hacking the Patent System, a guide to alternative patent licensing produced by the Juelsgaard Intellectual Property & Innovation Clinic at Stanford Law School in partnership with EFF and Engine. First published in 2014, the guide provides a high-level overview of several tools that inventors and innovators could use to avert unnecessary and costly patent litigation (or at least to avoid trollish behavior themselves).

The tools we cover fall roughly into three categories: defensive patent aggregators, defensive patent pledges, and insurance. Generally speaking, defensive aggregators use the pooled resources of member companies to purchase patents that may otherwise have been purchased by trolls. These include organizations such as Allied Security Trust, RPX, and Unified Patents.

This is basically similar to the approache taken by large corporations such as IBM. They have lots of software patents of their own. What are small companies supposed to do? This relates to useless (e.g. against patent trolls) things like OIN or RPX, which is effectively quite malicious in many ways.

We have, over the years, expressed both agreement and disagreement with the EFF’s approaches. Past articles include but are not limited to:

In Twitter, the EFF has just named software patents as a problem (which is good), but the above is not the correct approach if eliminating software patents is the goal (we wrote a long article about it earlier today). Some people online, notably FFII people, are equally unhappy with the EFF’s approach. The EFF seems to be trying to coexist with software patents. It’s like OIN and the Linux Foundation, both of which are fronts of very large corporations with a lot of patents (some call it "war chest").

“What we see here is EFF policy being steered by and controlled by billionaires.”“The Apple patent that might become subject to the review is the so called “tap-to-zoom” patent,” said the patents maximalists earlier today, showing that there remains hope for elimination of software patents in the US. It is no longer an unattainable goal or some fantasy, not after Alice. No needs for aggregators or patent pledges, which are not binding contracts anyway (see how Oracle sued Google for instance, despite OIN membership). A lot of today’s chaos in the patent landscape helps act as a deterrence against small players, who simply cannot afford to pay legal fees (not for long). See today’s article from patents maximalists who say “Section 285 Does Not Support Deterrence Based Fee Enhancement” (this means proportional to what it takes to deter or discourage participation). As the patents maximalist put it: “In Octane Fitness, the Supreme Court noted the partial overlap between Section 285 fees and R. 11 sanctions. Section 285 does not particularly require sanctionable conduct but does require that the recipient be the ‘prevailing party.’”

Given where the money comes from to the EFF (for this particular initiative), it doesn’t shock us that the above approach is followed. Mark Cuban already invested in a patent troll and despite his rhetoric against software patents, he is no small player himself. What we see here is EFF policy being steered by and controlled by billionaires. Greenpeace has had similar issues.

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