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08.18.19

Toxic Culture at Microsoft

Posted in Google, Microsoft at 10:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Fuck! It took you a year to figure that out!”

Sociopath Bill Gates

Going to America

Summary: Racism, intolerance, sexism and bullying are rampant at Microsoft; but Microsoft would rather deflect/divert/sidetrack to Google and so-called ‘GAFA’

One reader wrote to us about the “Conspiracy Theory” that “Microsoft is just as guilty as Google with regard to employee intimidation/retaliation and toxic cultures” and is therefore behind the latest media wave that defects all attention to Google. Months ago Google was blasted for pursuing business in China — the same thing Microsoft had done for like… forever?

“I wonder if they’re sponsoring the presses vendetta against Google at the moment,” this reader added, “because their names aren’t being mentioned in any of these articles.”

“They did this before,” I told this reader. “Their PR lobby was called “Scroogled”.”

Did they ever completely stop all of these smear campaigns? Seems unlikely.

Since the media likes to talk about toxic culture at Google let’s revisit some old examples from Microsoft.

There are lots more. There are dozens of examples in Techrights, but the above ought to suffice for now. Microsoft lacks moral high ground in just about every area.

Microsoft Grows Within and Eats You From the Inside

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like a parasite or a cancer infecting the host

“Get me into that and goddam, we’ll make so much money!”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft entryism and other subversive tactics continue to threaten and sometimes successfully undermine the competition; Microsoft is nowadays doing that to core projects in the Free/Open Source software world

Microsoft puts one foot in the Web’s dominant browser (Chrome), according to a decades-long Microsoft booster, Paul Thurrott. Now it’s changing it, practically exercising control over the competition, just like it changes the Linux Foundation etc. from the inside.

“Likewise, they call their bribes “contributions” and in this twisted world where “success” means nothing but money they sabotage actual companies for a buck.”Why don’t more people learn from Microsoft’s own history? The company is extremely destructive; this is what made it so notorious and untrustworthy.

Under various misleading headlines, including this from CNBC (it varies), “[a]ctivist [sic] investor [sic] Carl Icahn’s latest target is a struggling company specializing in software for processing big data.”

“This is typical entryism like seen in Yahoo’s case and several companies after it; Icahn is very destructive and he is connected to Microsoft. Wherever he goes he seeds doom.”Always remember what Icahn did to Yahoo on behalf of Microsoft. These people are criminals. Icahn is a white-collar criminal, but in corporate media (owned by such greedy and reckless people) they call the likes of him “activist” or “raider”… it’s like a business compliment. Likewise, they call their bribes “contributions” and in this twisted world where “success” means nothing but money they sabotage actual companies for a buck.

In this particular case Icahn is going after a surveillance company (it brought in NSA projects and former NSA staff through Hortonworks). It’s openwashing itself and labels surveillance “big data” while working for the likes of the NSA, though that’s another matter. See articles such as “Billionaire Carl Icahn Gets 2 Cloudera Board Seats in Settlement” and “Carl Icahn wins two seats on Cloudera’s board in settlement” (among others [1, 2, 3]). This is typical entryism like seen in Yahoo’s case and several companies after it; Icahn is very destructive and he is connected to Microsoft. Wherever he goes he seeds doom.

“GitHub has become Microsoft’s latest infiltration facilitator…”Speaking of doom, this past week there were many examples of openwashing, dooming the term “Open Source”. We shall cover these separately. There were quite a few articles this past week about Apache. Apache’s long history of Microsoft swinging, including entryism that likely led to the outsourcing of all Apache projects to Microsoft, should serve as a warning sign. Half a decade of Microsoft in charge of the ASF (salaried Microsoft employee) did so much damage and only earlier this summer the culprit resigned (but not before sending a huge number of Apache projects to GitHub).

GitHub has become Microsoft’s latest infiltration facilitator; it’s an apparatus of entryism and we’ll deal with it in our next post.

08.17.19

Electronic Frontier Foundation Makes a Mistake by Giving Award to Microsoft Surveillance Person

Posted in EFF, FSF, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like they don’t give a f*** about their reputation anymore

eff

Summary: At age 30 (almost) the Electronic Frontier Foundation still campaigns for privacy; so why does it grant awards to enemies of privacy?

In July 1990 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was founded by John Gilmore, John Perry Barlow, and Mitch Kapor. Barlow died a couple of years ago, so the EFF is now run by its chief executive officer Cindy Cohn. Some of our longtime readers say they have lost confidence in the EFF; the old timers actually told us it had lost direction and nowadays caters for ‘hipsters’ with their ‘gadgets’ near its headquarters (main office in California). The EFF recently lost the person who fought software patents for the EFF (he moved to Mozilla) and they never cared about software patents in Europe or EPO scandals. Never. Not even once. They have some extremely valuable people, such as Cory Doctorow (who fought for the EFF on copyright issues in Europe), but we recently felt upset that they had taken money from Google. This harmed the EFF’s position on patents — and to a lesser degree on copyrights — and indirectly harmed all of us who fight software patents. Even the EFF’s own, namely Birgitta Jónsdóttir, openly expressed dissatisfaction over this. She cited Techrights at the time.

“It probably wouldn’t have happened under Barlow’s watch.”Nobody is perfect and the EFF certainly isn’t perfect. Similarly, several years ago we expressed our disagreement with the FSF after it had given an award to a provocateur who liaised with other provocateurs. 4 years ago there was another anti-Torvalds coup. Don’t forget who did it and how. It was attempted again not so long ago and for the first time in almost 30 years Torvalds took a break from Linux development.

We don’t want to link or name who the EFF has just granted an award to; but it’s someone hypocritical from Microsoft and someone who contributed a great deal to the company’s ‘surveillance capitalism’. Is the EFF totally drunk? Stoned maybe? It probably wouldn’t have happened under Barlow’s watch.

Come on, EFF. You can do better than this.

03.12.19

Microsoft is Complaining About Android and Chrome OS (GNU/Linux) Vendor Not Paying for Microsoft Patents (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft Loves Linux” is a joke

Xiaomi patent settlement

Summary: Microsoft, which nowadays does the patent shakedown against GNU/Linux by proxy, is still moaning about companies that don’t pay ‘protection’ money (grounds for antitrust action or racketeering investigation)

“Foxconn failed to report Android dues for years, Microsoft tells court” (so says the Microsoft-connected IAM behind an aggressive/stubborn paywall).

So apparently, months after the OIN charm offensive (OIN has former patent trolls in charge), Microsoft still engages in the sort of patent blackmail it reportedly made like 10 billion dollars from. Those are patents leveraged against Linux. “Deal was hailed as a coup for Microsoft’s Android efforts in 2013, but a lawsuit filed Friday suggests the Redmond-based business has made little to nothing on it since 2015,” says the text we’re able to see (tweet adds more). “A lawsuit filed by Microsoft reveals years-long royalty dispute with Foxconn, adding context to its recent move out of Android licensing space…”

RacketWhen Microsoft says it “loves Linux” it means to say Microsoft loves Windows, but nowadays Microsoft calls Windows "Linux". See this report from yesterday; it’s all about leveraging Linux (or Android) to spread Windows. How is that love of Linux? Microsoft is so madly in love with Linux that it makes it easier to replace it and then delete it. Is that love?

SJVN responded as though he’s a lawyer for Microsoft, calling the blackmailed company “toxic” and providing no further details: “The MSFT Foxconn lawsuit has little to do with Linux and a lot to do with a toxic company and it’s not MSFT for once. Google “Foxconn legal issues” and “Foxconn Wisconsin” to start down the rabbit hole.”

But this isn’t what the lawsuit is about. Wisconsin is a political stunt that happened years later. It’s a Trump stunt. So basically SJVN’s logic goes something along the lines of, Foxconn is bad, therefore Microsoft is OK.

This is about the “”Android and Chrome Devices” 2013 deal,” as Benjamin Henrion called it, adding that “Microsoft spinners will probably tell it is not about “Android and Chromebooks”.”

Update: There’s now this news report from Reuters (and no paywall this time around). To quote some confirmatory details:

Microsoft filed the complaint against Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile Ltd in the Northern District of California on Friday. It is claiming unpaid royalties for patents used in devices for clients including a top Chinese smartphone vendor.

Foxconn founder and Chief Executive Terry Gou told an impromptu news conference in Taipei that “patent infringement” is not an issue for his company, which “will suffer almost no any loss” as a result of the lawsuit.

Foxconn “has never paid any patent fees to Microsoft,” Gou said.

FIH could not immediately be reached for comment. In a statement, Microsoft said the legal action was related to the royalty reporting and audit terms of a contract it signed with Foxconn parent Hon Hai in 2013.

So Microsoft’s blackmail carries on, but IAM won’t call it that because Microsoft sponsors IAM. IAM is connected to Microsoft in so many ways that we have lost track and count (we wrote about it over the years). Their Web site runs Windows, some articles are from former Microsoft executives, Microsoft gives IAM money and so on. Money buys patent-centric media.

Henrion has just added: “The evil Microsoft taxing Linux with Android and Chromebooks over Foxconn lititation [sic] is back https://www.cnet.com/news/microsoft-sues-manufacturing-giant-foxconn-over-patents/ … The royalties are over this 2013 deal covering “Android and Chrome Devices”…”

This links to another new article that says “Microsoft on Friday sued the Taiwan-based manufacturing behemoth Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, for unpaid patent royalties and failing to file appropriate paperwork.”

IAM wrote about it again: “Foxconn confirms it has never paid Microsoft patent royalties under 2013 licence.”

Why should it if Microsoft now “loves Linux” and has joined OIN? Maybe because nothing has really changed. Microsoft just wants buckets of money for other people’s work.

01.20.19

The EFF Must Return That ‘Internship’ Money to Google or It Would Disgrace the Patent Reform Movement (by Association)

Posted in America, EFF, Google, Patents at 1:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Poisoning and harming the perception of impartiality

Wallet with money

Summary: Whether real or perceived, the EFF’s alleged bias is at stake now that Google money — not just money from a billionaire (Cuban) — lands on its lap; it can, by extension or association, serve to discredit patent reformers

PATENT maximalists like to pretend that Google is being everything and that everyone who challenges the status quo at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a Google ‘shill’. This is totally untrue, however, but late on Friday I pointed out that EFF had taken money from Google, whereupon somewhat of a Web storm erupted (here’s one example among many). This has started a long discussion and some discord (even some members of the EFF’s Board are now dissenting) and there’s risk that Federal Circuit and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) bashers will exploit it. Rather than dwell/focus on the details of what the EFF did (that would be rather counterproductive), let’s just say that the EFF now needs to do the right thing and revoke/return that money of Google. It not only undermines the perception that the EFF fights for privacy; it also emboldens those who accuse EFF — and by extension patent reform — of working for Google.

That’s not to say that the EFF is rogue; but there’s room for corruption and even the perception of corruption needs to be avoided. Here’s what the EFF posted just before the weekend on the issue of patents; key EFF staff, as we’ve noted before in the latest on Uniloc, challenged this patent troll and reported on the latest outcome:

A federal judge has ordered that prolific patent troll Uniloc cannot hide its shell games from the public. After EFF filed a motion to intervene seeking access to sealed court records, Judge William H. Alsup of the Northern District of California has ordered [PDF] that the relevant documents should be made public. Judge Alsup stayed his order for two weeks, however, to give Uniloc an opportunity to appeal to the Federal Circuit. We are pleased by the court’s ruling and will defend it if appealed.

The sealed documents have an importance far beyond this case. As Judge Alsup suggested in court, Uniloc appeared to be using complex machinations to hide its patents or its assets, possibly to avoid being hit with sanctions. The public has a right to know who owns patents, especially patents like the ones Uniloc claims to own, since the company has claimed its patents entitle it to payments from a vast array of technology companies.

In the underlying cases, Uniloc has sued Apple alleging that its iPhones and iPads infringe a number of its patents. For example, Uniloc claims that Apple infringes U.S. Patent No. 7,092,671, because “iPads incorporate software that causes an iPad, in response to a user’s selection, to transfer a telephone number wirelessly to a nearby iPhone which dials the selected number.”

In a heavily redacted motion to dismiss, Apple appears to argue that Uniloc entities and Fortress Investment Group LLC divided rights in the asserted patents in a way that means the Uniloc entities no longer had a legal right to sue for infringement. We say “appears” because the public cannot see most of the briefing and evidence. Because the redactions (requested by Uniloc) make it impossible to understand the dispute, we moved to intervene to seek public access.

A colleague, Alex Moss, wrote about PTAB as follows:

The exclusive rights granted by a U.S. patent create monopolies that can threaten innovation. We all benefit from the pro-innovation effects that come from cancelling monopolies that should not exist. That’s why the 2012 America Invents Act broadly allows “[a]ny person other than the patent owner” to challenge a patent at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

But what if the government itself was banned from asking for this type of patent challenge? That would mean patent holders can demand big payments from government agencies, with access to taxpayer funds—yet those same agencies wouldn’t be able to efficiently test whether the patents are valid.

Now, the Supreme Court is poised to consider the question. EFF has filed an amicus brief, explaining that the government should be able to bring challenges in the Patent Office, based on century-old legal principles, as well as public policy concerns today. Limiting the government’s ability to challenge invalid patents efficiently deprives the public of these benefits for no good reason.

Many inter partes reviews (IPRs) leverage 35 U.S.C. § 101 to eliminate software patents; having said that, if courts get the feeling that the above amicus brief is indirectly funded by large firms rather than a public interest/s group, matters can backfire. I’ve already strongly urged the EFF, on numerous occasions so far this weekend, to walk away from Google. It’s pretty obvious that when it comes to the privacy stance of the EFF (maybe not copyrights) Google is completely and utterly incompatible with the EFF’s values. The EFF’s founder died not so long ago; what would he say if he saw this?

12.01.18

Google Keeps Reminding the World That It’s Part of the Patent Menace Rather Than a Solution to That

Posted in Google, Patents at 5:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Google is no opponent of software patents, either. It plays an instrumental role in LOT Network.

LOT Network: A WHOLE LOT OF SOFTWARE PATENTS

Summary: Owing to a tip sent by a reader we now have yet more evidence that Google is shameless about taking other people’s ideas and turning them into Google monopolies (patents)

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently rejected/declined a patent award after Google had ripped off Dr. Jarosław Duda (Jarek Duda). We wrote about it several times in recent months. It’s a pretty big deal not just because of the ripoff; it’s a software patent application. Here’s some background:

Writing to us regarding an interactive book from MIT Media Lab, a reader highlighted this new thread (“Google Tried to Patent My Work After a Job Interview”), which “also rises at Reddit,” this reader pointed out in relation to this Reddit thread. Authored by Jie Qi (Berkman Klein Center, MIT Media Lab) is this original post, which refrains from naming Google in the title/headline but makes it perfectly clear who the culprit is:

So we had a call directly with their team. As part of negotiations, they offered to add me as an inventor on the patent application if it meant the application could stand. I said no, because in order for me to be an inventor on they patent they would have to add all the other inventors who have contributed to blending books and electronics—I’m not the only one working on this!

What I didn’t realize at the time is that there’s actually a huge difference between inventor and assignee.

An inventor is the one credited with coming up with the idea for an invention. The assignee actually gets the legal rights to the patent. It’s a bit like how an architect (the “inventor”) may design a house but it’s the home owner (the “assignee”) that gets to live in it, and very often those aren’t the same people. It’s the same situation here: Google ATAP would’ve still owned the patent rights even if I got to be listed as an inventor. Meaning even though I would be on the patent and get credit for the work, I wouldn’t actually get rights to use the invention. Luckily I dodged that one, even though it was by accident!

Next the strange thing was that about a couple weeks into the conversation, Regina left Google ATAP. In the process, she put us directly in touch with ATAP’s senior council, who thankfully agreed to submit all of the prior art we had sent them to the USPTO as prior art for the patent application.

So here they go again at Google, trying to get patents on other people’s ideas. It is perfectly clear, therefore, that Google remains part of the problem. We pointed this out recently in relation to the Google-centric ‘Prior Art Archive’ and prior to that LOT Network [1, 2].

10.21.18

Data Engine Technologies (DET) Just One Among Many Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls That Pick on Microsoft’s Biggest Competitors

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, OIN, OpenOffice, Patents at 5:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Data Engine Technologies (DET) and Acacia Research Corp.

Summary: Lawyers’ articles/blog posts continue to obscure the fact that Data Engine Technologies is merely a satellite or unit (one among many) of patent trolling giant Acacia Research Corp., connected to Microsoft and sporting a long history of lawsuits against GNU/Linux

As covered in an earlier post last weekend, potential ‘satellites’ of Microsoft are still attacking Microsoft’s biggest rivals using software patents.

Michael Borella (McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP) wrote about a patent troll connected to Microsoft through Acacia, but like many others he overlooked or missed out the Acacia connection, having published his detailed analysis in a couple of places to say:

Data Engine Technologies (DET) filed an infringement suit against Google in the District of Delaware contending infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,590,259, 5,784,545, 6,282,551, and 5,303,146. Google responded with a Rule 12(c) motion arguing that the patents are directed to patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The District Court agreed and invalidated the patents. DET appealed.

In Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, the Supreme Court set forth a two-part test to determine whether claims are directed to patent-eligible subject matter under § 101. One must first decide whether the claim at hand is directed to a judicially-excluded law of nature, a natural phenomenon, or an abstract idea. If so, then one must further decide whether any element or combination of elements in the claim is sufficient to ensure that the claim amounts to significantly more than the judicial exclusion. But generic computer implementation of an otherwise abstract process does not qualify as “significantly more,” nor will elements that are well-understood, routine, and conventional lift the claim over the § 101 hurdle.

[...]

I have to agree with PatentlyO, which viewed as “fairly questionable” the reasoning under which the notebook tab was the linchpin for patent-eligibility. And if you contrast the surviving Tab Patent claims with the claims that were held ineligible, this case certainly seems to equate claim breadth with patent-ineligibility – perhaps confirming that, as many of us suspect, an “abstract idea” is simply a really broad idea. In any event, decisions like this highlight the not-infrequent anomaly that claims can survive novelty and obviousness challenges, but fail on patent-eligibility. And as we saw here, the present court’s analysis, stripped down to what it really was, had a lot to do with obviousness.

Dozens of long paragraphs about this decision from Judges Reyna, Bryson, and Stoll (with opinion by Judge Stoll) and Acacia not mentioned even once? It already sued major GNU/Linux companies several times after it had hired from Microsoft. Now it goes after Google, specifically the biggest rival to Microsoft’s cash cow, Microsoft Office.

This same case was mentioned by Charles Bienema, who also overlooked the connection when he focused on patent scope:

Some claims directed to a computer spreadsheet are patent-eligible, while others are not, said the Federal Circuit in Data Engine Techs. LLC v. Google LLC (Fed. Cir. 2018) (precedential). The District of Delaware had granted a Rule 12 judgment on the pleadings of 35 U.S.C. § 101 invalidity of claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,590,259; 5,784,545; 6,282,551; and 5,303,146; the Federal Circuit thus reversed-in-part, affirmed-in-part, and remanded.

The three surviving patents (with the exception of one independent claim which had a patentable dependent claim), the ’259, ’545, and ’551) were dubbed the “Tab Patents.” The Tab Patents purportedly solved the problem that “complex commands” were required by “prior art three-dimensional or multipage electronic spreadsheets.” The patent-eligible solution was “a notebook-tabbed interface” to provide users with easy navigation through three-dimensional spreadsheet. Why? Because the notebook tab “allowed computers, for the first time, to provide rapid access to and processing of information in different spreadsheets, as well as easy navigation in three-dimensional spreadsheets.”

A widely-spread article [1, 2] by Joseph Saphia and Bonnie L. Gaudette (Haug Partners) said this:

On October 9, 2018, the Federal Circuit added to its growing collection of favorable Alice step one rulings1 by reversing portions of a decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware concerning an invention aimed to streamline the technology of electronic spreadsheets—a technology that has been around for twenty-five years. See Data Engine Technologies LLC v. Google LLC, No. 2017-1135, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28412 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 10, 2018). The Federal Circuit’s decision may be viewed as a not-so-gentle reminder to patent applicants and drafters alike to continue to draft software patent claims narrowly and with specificity if they wish to survive patent eligibility challenges under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Alice step one.

The court commenced its opinion with a robust overview of Data Engine’s patents-at-issue: U.S. Patent Nos. 5,590,259; 5,784,545; and 6,282,551 (the “Tab Patents”) and U.S. Patent No. 5,303,146 (the “’146 Patent”). See Data Engine, at *2-12. The Tab Patents are entitled “System and Methods for Improved Spreadsheet Interface With User-Familiar Objects.” Id. at *1-2. In its detailed review of the Tab Patents, the court noted that they claim “systems and methods for making complex electronic spreadsheets more accessible by providing familiar, user-friendly interface objects—specifically, notebook tabs—to navigate through spreadsheets while circumventing the arduous process of searching for, memorizing, and entering complex commands.” Id. at *2. In essence, the Tab Patents aim to overcome some of the challenges users encountered when navigating electronic spreadsheets due to complex menu systems that “diminished the utility and ease of use of this technology.” Id. at *3. In an attempt to offer a solution to the challenges of prior art multipage electronic spreadsheets, the Tab Patents are directed to “implementing a notebook-tabbed interface, which allows users to easily navigate through three-dimensional electronic spreadsheets” and “conveniently flip through several pages of notebook to rapidly locate information of interest.” Id. at *4-5. The ’146 Patent is entitled, “System and Methods for Improved Scenario Management in an Electronic Spreadsheet” and is directed to tools that permit “electronic spreadsheet users to track their changes” automatically, as opposed to manually, when testing a multitude of modeling scenarios. Id. at *10-11.

Yes, patents on user interfaces are still being tolerated in the US, at least in the Federal Circuit. Charles Bieneman classifies these as “Software Patents” and recalls a related albeit older case on which he says: “Claims directed to an “information management and real time synchronous communications system for configuring and transmitting hospitality menus” were held patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice abstract idea test in Ameranth, Inc. v. Pizza Hut, Inc., No. 3-11-cv-01810 (S.D. Cal. Sept 25, 2018). The court thus granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment that U.S. Patent No. 8,146,077 is unpatentable.”

“This is a problem. It impacts LibreOffice, OpenOffice etc. because these too have tabbing.”“The patent owner,” he later added, “tried to rely on two Federal Circuit decisions, Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. v. LG Electronics, Inc. (2018), and Visual Memory LLC v. NVIDIA Corp. (2017), as well as a recent district court case. But these cases were distinguishable…”

We covered this before. The above comes from a blog that advocates software patents. Generally speaking, software patents are the joke of all jokes. Not innovation at all. But lobbying from patent law firms has made the unthinkable reality. Bieneman accepted defeat when he wrote about another more neglected case (because it’s a district court): “Agreeing that patent claims “are directed to the abstract idea of facilitating cross-marketing relationships and fail to add any inventive concept” under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo abstract test, Delaware’s Judge Stark granted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a complaint alleging infringement of claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,768,760. DiStefano Patent Trust III, LLC v. LinkedIn Corp., C.A. No. 17-1798-LPS-CJB (D. Del. Sept. 28, 2018).”

“OIN cannot do anything about such a racket.”Why was such a ridiculous patent granted in the first place? The headline should be a “duh” moment: “Linking Web Pages to Each Other Not Patent-Eligible” (based on prior art too, not just obviousness and abstractness).

As the above (main) story shows, however, merely adding tabs to spreadsheets is still considered innovative. The high court considers or determines this to be patent-eligible. This is a problem. It impacts LibreOffice, OpenOffice etc. because these too have tabbing. Will the troll go after them too while Microsoft claims to have reached a “truce” and looks the other way? The only known ‘cure’ is buying Microsoft ‘protection’ in the form of “Azure IP Advantage” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] — a racket that extends to trolls Microsoft can control. OIN cannot do anything about such a racket.

MIT and the Prior Art Archive Perpetuate Existing Problems

Posted in America, Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There’s a reason why similar initiatives perished in the past

Strata Center MIT
Strata Center MIT

Summary: Large companies with many tens of thousands of patents (each) would have us believe that broadening access/reach of prior art (e.g. to patent examiners) would solve the issues; This may very well work for these large companies, but it overlooks the broader picture

COMPANIES like Apple, Microsoft and IBM — large companies that cross-license among themselves — don’t fear the USPTO or even patents in general (not even the EPO where they have a lot patents of their own). The patent system has, with few exceptions, served them well. It protects them. It’s a form of protectionism.

20 years after its foundation Google has already joined this ‘club’; instead of reforming things Google is adapting and so does Red Hat. To companies like these, which use GNU/Linux extensively, OIN and the likes of it represent a solution. Google backs LOT Network, which is similar.

Recently, together with a bunch of other large companies (Cisco, Dell, Intel, AT&T, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce are named below), Google pushed the “Prior Art Archive”; MIT’s self-promotional new piece about it gives a rather foggy idea; it even quotes MIT staff and no critics/sceptics. It doesn't help much when they focus on prior art rather than patent scope and obviousness (among other things). To quote MIT’s own site:

Two years later, a company applies for a patent on your invention. Once the application is granted, the company not only begins profiting from your device, but launches a lawsuit against you, the inventor, for infringing their patent.

This is the danger faced by researchers and developers alike, because the limits of existing content repositories means it is often a struggle for patent examiners to find what they call prior art — evidence that an invention is already known — relating to an application. That means that some applications that should be rejected are wrongly approved.

[...]

Cisco has already uploaded 165,000 documents into the archive, and a number of companies have committed to take part in the initiative, including Dell, Intel, AT&T, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce. Google has also assisted the project with classification technology that will be used in the system.

As we explained earlier this month, this serves to distract from other efforts and put examination efforts in the hands of the public, essentially outsourcing or crowdsourcing the work (for corporate gain). When examiners use the archive they may get a false sense of search exhausion.

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