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06.11.19

Chapter 9: Ownership Through Branding — Change the Names, and Change the World

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 1:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team [PDF]

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development [PDF]

Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you [PDF]

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side [PDF]

Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything [PDF]

Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company [PDF]

Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects [PDF]

You are here ☞ Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world [PDF]

Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly


When Adam was given the task of naming the animals, was it to make him their master or participate in their creation?

When Shakespeare wrote that a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet– was he telling us to always look past labels to the true nature of a thing, or was this a sly nod to the power of words? The Bard himself coined many words still used today, including “luggage.”

“The point here is not about the Intellectual Property aspects of branding, but the utility and usefulness of it as part of business practices.”Whatever you think of these questions or their possible answers, names have great power and value, in both computing and corporate culture. The filename used to invoke a program or word used to call a subroutine is called a “command,” for something you order the computer to do– and a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet– but if you want to brand something with “Red Hat” in the name, it might cost more than 30 billion dollars.

The point here is not about the Intellectual Property aspects of branding, but the utility and usefulness of it as part of business practices. Companies can make money from their brands alone– shoe dealers will sometimes license their branding to other companies, allowing them to legally masquerade as a known or better-known business in exchange for royalties. But the effects of branding on the public consciousness are far more interesting.

In computing, politics and in human consciousness, names are objects of association. When men or women go out into the world to see what it has to offer in terms of opportunity, they are said to “make a name” for themselves. In security and also at certain venues, having your name on a list can grant you access (whitelists, VIP lists) or be used to deny it (blacklists, in both contexts.)

Although this handbook focuses primarily on names, objects of association include colors, shapes and context. Edward Bernays wished to fix the color of Lucky Strike packaging, because research had shown that women did not respond well to it. It was deemed too expensive to change the packaging itself, so instead Bernays worked with fashion designers to launch a campaign that associated the same color with current fashions. Diamonds were also built up as a business, via campaigns involving celebrities wearing them.

“In computing, politics and in human consciousness, names are objects of association.”These, along with countless other stories like them– demonstrate the great amount of trouble a company will go to in order to manipulate the public reaction to the smallest details associated with a product or company.

And the manipulation works more effectively if we are quiet about doing it– or even deny that it makes any sort of difference. The value of a trademark may outweigh the cost of your house or car by an order of magnitude, though it has more power still if we pretend it is arbitrary and unimportant. This is relevant to our relationship with Open source on multiple levels.

Every picture tells a story, and every name has a story. The building of a brand includes “making a name” (not just giving one) for a company or product. A large company will have several names– and this is extremely useful– because it allows that company to manage different aspects of its branding as separate entities.

Looking back at the history of Apple or Microsoft, you will find many names that are not part of the public consciousness either because they are no longer useful, or because they were “jettisoned” or put out to pasture for similar reasons. The truth is that having some brands you can distance yourself from can itself be useful.

To keep Microsoft a powerful brand is not only a matter of building, but of maintenance– of grooming. Just as the certain color of green was making women buy fewer cigarettes from a company, the best option at the time is not always to simply start over with a new brand or new package– brands need to be managed.

“To keep Microsoft a powerful brand is not only a matter of building, but of maintenance– of grooming.”The associations people make with the brand object (again, we are focusing on names as our primary example of a brand object) can be shifted from one overall perception to another. Both our Marketing teams and P.R. departments have a firm understanding of this concept. They both work to manage the associations that people make with companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook.

We are top brands, and you do not become a top brand without managing public perception. You do not remain a top brand without grooming the public consciousness and what it associates with your brand name. Today we have people dedicated to managing or salvaging the public image of individual celebrities, but for companies it is necessary to salvage and renew our top brands many times over the years.

Like Microsoft, Apple was once a small company taking on giants from a garage, and often cares little about compatibility with industry standards. It has used the image of being “different” and rebellious to justify overpriced, more proprietary components in its products.

Microsoft, more than Apple, has worked on its reputation of being ruthless and having unfair practices that hurt the computer industry on several different levels. Co-founder Bill Gates has rebranded himself a philanthropist, a common pastime among former ruthless company leaders that gives them an image of being less destructive or sociopathic– and gives them something to spend money on that makes it look like they care about something more than comfort, wealth and power.

“Microsoft, more than Apple, has worked on its reputation of being ruthless and having unfair practices that hurt the computer industry on several different levels. Co-founder Bill Gates has rebranded himself a philanthropist, a common pastime among former ruthless company leaders that gives them an image of being less destructive or sociopathic– and gives them something to spend money on that makes it look like they care about something more than comfort, wealth and power.”The great thing about philanthropy, is that no matter how you make your fortune, you can spread around a portion of it to buy back your image as a humanitarian. While spying on users and selling their data mined by artificial intelligence and unscrupulous third parties, Facebook continues to work to make itself look like a philanthropic organization.

For all of Apple’s white slabs and chrome accents, Google’s brand is more sterile and enigmatic. Google’s brand is perhaps simply about raw power. Like with these other companies, the real power is the power they have over the industry and the users of their products. But their brand is about the smaller amount of power they “share” with users (much like the smaller amount of money that many philanthropists spend on good causes, while helping to destroy the world and everything good in it.)

Of course there are sincerely good companies, and sincerely good people. None of this is to say that all philanthropists are bastards buying a good name, or that all companies exist primarily to sell their customers off to larger enterprise-level customers. The point here is that nearly anybody can buy a good name for themselves, if they have enough money and power to do so. And while some individuals have that kind of money– every top brand does, and must use money and influence (of customers, of other companies) to remain a top brand.

It should come as no surprise that this touches on several subjects already discussed– branding touches on everything we do because (at least in theory) everything we do has the potential to affect our brand.

But among the things relevant to the lessons here, are that we want to look like a friend even when we are ruthless– we want to put every failure behind us, both by jettisoning failed efforts and compartmentalizing key efforts using brands that can be jettisoned and forgotten by the public– do you use Internet Explorer, or Edge? Who funded The Santa Cruz Operation?

“The goal for those fighting against Open source, against the true openness (let’s call it the yet unexploited opportunities) of Open source, has to be first to figuratively own the Linux brand, then literally own or destroy the brand, then to move the public awareness of the Linux brand to something like Azure, or whatever IBM is going to do with Red Hat.”And who really loves Linux? The goal for those fighting against Open source, against the true openness (let’s call it the yet unexploited opportunities) of Open source, has to be first to figuratively own the Linux brand, then literally own or destroy the brand, then to move the public awareness of the Linux brand to something like Azure, or whatever IBM is going to do with Red Hat. (Don’t be silly, just like with Azure we all know it’s going to have something to with “The Cloud.”)

Someday, Linux will be no more– we said in those Halloween memos that it’s just a kernel, but by making it into an Operating System we managed to make it stand for less, while making it look like more than it is.

We can’t kill the GNU brand by owning it, because it always implies a lack of monopolistic ownership. Linux never meant that– like Apple it implied “something different” and like Google it implied raw power. That’s a brand we can rename, own, and reshape.

“And the gradual shift in public consciousness from their branding towards our own, is the next best thing to owning them outright.”Like Bernays helped Lucky Strike not by changing the branding but changing its association, we can still fight GNU not by owning the brand but changing its association– we will continue to work to make them has-beens, neckbeards, amateurs, ideologues, zealots, and even bigots.

Public consciousness is something we have to manage to stay on top. Research showed as far back as 20 years ago that attacking Linux (and free software) directly reinforces our image as ruthless monsters. We get more done using proxies and shills– but this is winner-take-all, and the destruction of their brand is the polish on our own image.

And the gradual shift in public consciousness from their branding towards our own, is the next best thing to owning them outright.

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“OSS poses a direct, short-term revenue and platform threat to Microsoft — particularly in server space. Additionally, the intrinsic parallelism and free idea exchange in OSS has benefits that are not replicable with our current licensing model and therefore present a long term developer mindshare threat.”

“other OSS process weaknesses provide an avenue for Microsoft to garner advantage”

“A key barrier to entry for OSS in many customer environments has been its perceived lack of quality.”

“Recent case studies (the Internet) provide very dramatic evidence in customer’s eyes that commercial quality can be achieved / exceeded by OSS projects. At this time, however there is no strong evidence of OSS code quality aside from anecdotal.”

“Open source software has roots in the hobbyist and the scientific community and was typified by ad hoc exchange of source code by developers/users.“

“Credit for the first instance of modern, organized OSS is generally given to Richard Stallman of MIT. In late 1983, Stallman created the Free Software Foundation (FSF) — http://www.gnu.ai.mit.edu/fsf/fsf.html — with the goal of creating a free version of the UNIX operating system.”

“since money is often not the (primary) motivation behind Open Source Software, understanding the nature of the threat posed requires a deep understanding of the process and motivation of Open Source development teams.”

“to understand how to compete against OSS, we must target a process rather than a company.”

“These individuals are more like hobbyists spending their free time / energy on OSS project development while maintaining other full time jobs.”

“This summarizes one of the core motivations of developers in the OSS process — solving an immediate problem at hand faced by an individual developer — this has allowed OSS to evolve complex projects without constant feedback from a marketing / support organization.”

“The Linux kernel grew out of an educational project at the University of Helsinki. Similarly, many of the components of Linux / GNU system (X windows GUI, shell utilities, clustering, networking, etc.) were extended by individuals at educational institutions.”

“Linus is considered by the development team to be a fair, well-reasoned code manager and his reputation within the Linux community is quite strong.”

“What are the core strengths of OSS products that Microsoft needs to be concerned with?”

“Like commercial software, the most viable single OSS project in many categories will, in the long run, kill competitive OSS projects and `acquire’ their IQ assets. For example, Linux is killing BSD Unix and has absorbed most of its core ideas (as well as ideas in the commercial UNIXes).”

“Loosely applied to the vernacular of the software industry, a product/process is long-term credible if FUD tactics can not be used to combat it.”

“The GPL and its aversion to code forking reassures customers that they aren’t riding an evolutionary `dead-end’ by subscribing to a particular commercial version of Linux.”

“The “evolutionary dead-end” is the core of the software FUD argument.”

“Linux and other OSS advocates are making a progressively more credible argument that OSS software is at least as robust — if not more — than commercial alternatives.”

“In particular, larger, more savvy, organizations who rely on OSS for business operations (e.g. ISPs) are comforted by the fact that they can potentially fix a work-stopping bug independent of a commercial provider’s schedule”

“OSS’s API evangelization / developer education is basically providing the developer with the underlying code. Whereas evangelization of API’s in a closed source model basically defaults to trust, OSS API evangelization lets the developer make up his own mind.”

“Up till now, Linux has greatly benefited from the integration / componentization model pushed by previous UNIX’s. Additionally, the organization of Apache was simplified by the relatively simple, fault tolerant specifications of the HTTP protocol and UNIX server application design.”

“because OSS doesn’t have an explicit marketing / customer feedback component, wishlists — and consequently feature development — are dominated by the most technically savvy users.”

“The interesting trend to observe here will be the effect that commercial OSS providers (such as RedHat in Linux space, C2Net in Apache space) will have on the feedback cycle.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween1.html

“The Linux OS is the highest visibility product of the Open Source Software (OSS) process.”

“Linux poses a significant near-term revenue threat to Windows NT Server in the commodity file, print and network services businesses.”

“In addition to a 80386-based kernel, Linus wrote keyboard and screen drivers to attach to PC hardware and provided this code under GNU’s Public License on an FTP site in the summer of 1991.”

“In contrast to the FSF/GNU work, which provided developers an open source abstraction above the underlying, commercial UNIX OS kernel, Linux’s team was creating a completely open source kernel. In time, more and more of the GNU user/shell work was ported to Linux to round out the platform for hackers.”

“Linux v2.0 [June 1996] was the first major release could effectively compete as a UNIX distribution. The kernel, system libraries, the GNU Unix tool, X11, various open source server applications such as BIND and sendmail, etc. were frozen and declared part of Linux 2.0.“

“’Linux’ is technically just a kernel, not the entire supporting OS. In order to create a usable product, Linux “distributions” are created which bundle the kernel, drivers, apps and many other components necessary for the full UNIX/GUI experience.”

“The kernel is the core part of Linux that is expressly managed by Linus and his lieutenants and is protected via the GPL.”

“Bob Young, president of Red Hat expects the 3-year old company to earn revenues of $10 million this year and to ship about 400,000 copies of Linux, ranging from $50 to near $1,000 for a supported version.”

“Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Red Hat’s business model is their extremely active and continuing contributions to the Linux community. Several prior initiatives spearheaded by RedHat have been released as OSS for modification. In most cases, these code releases were simple fixes or additional drivers.”

“Caldera is Ray Noorda’s latest company with its eye on the operating system marketplace. Caldera’s financials and sales are unpublished but it is widely believed to be the #2 commercial Linux vendor after RedHat.”

“Strict application and OS componentization coupled with readily exposed internals make Linux ideal.”

“Customers enjoy the simpler debugging and fault isolation of individual servers vs a monolithic server runing multiple services.”

“There are hundreds of stories on the web of Linux installations that have been in continuous production for over a year. Stability more than almost any other feature is the #1 goal of the Linux development community (and the #1 cited weakness of Windows)”

“Linux developers are generally wary of Sun’s Java. Most of the skepticism towards Java stems directly from Sun’s tight control over the language – and lack of OSS.”

Reliability – perception that non-Linux OS’s aren’t reliable or scalable enough (in particular Windows NT)”

Modularity & Small size – Because the OS was designed in a very nonintegrated, componentized manner from the outset, it’s very easy to build boxes that don’t have a monitor, keyboard, etc.”

“Systematically attacking UNIX in general helps attack Linux in particular.”

“Microsoft’s market power doesn’t stem from products as much as it does from our iterative process. The first release of a Microsoft product often fairs poorly in the market and primarily of generates fine granularity feedback from consumers.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween2.html

“Good. Good. Now we add the implication that, by comparison, Linux is the eccentric preoccupation of a tiny tribe of malcontents living in the software equivalent of tin shacks on a desert island.”

“Subtext: We at Microsoft will co-opt just as much of this magic as we can, providing it doesn’t require us to lower prices, reduce profit margins, or cede control of anything.”

“Perhaps this is understandable, giving Microsoft’s own long record of buying or outright stealing key technologies rather than innovating.”

“The interpretation of Ms. van den Berg’s parting shot kindest to Microsoft, then, is that it is a lie intended to frighten the gullible.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween3.html

“Microsoft executives dismiss open-source as hype. Complex future projects [will] require big teams and big capital, said Ed Muth, a Microsoft group marketing manager.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween4.html

“After months of silence out of Redmond, the themes of Microsoft’s coming FUD campaign against Linux are beginning to emerge like a zombie army from the fetid mists of Redmond.”

“We get to hear the “no applications” FUD – a tough one to sustain, given that the likes of Corel and Oracle and SAP are on board with Linux. We get to hear “no long-term development roadmap” from the company that can’t seem to decide how many versions of Windows 9x will intrude between now and the much-delayed promised land of Windows 2000.”

“what’s most notable about this article are the things Sheriff Ed didn’t say.”

“Microsoft has never been famous for reluctance to tell lies when that suits corporate purposes.”

“you can bet that after its recent PR blunders anything Sheriff Ed says about Linux at this point has been very carefully focus-grouped with representatives from Microsoft’s most important customers.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween5.html

“the Halloween Documents’ author has quit Microsoft to go to work for a Linux-based startup”

“the first Linux IPO rocketed Red Hat Software to a six-billion-dollar market capitalization.”

“perhaps the most dramatic development in the Halloween saga has been a change in the axis of Microsoft spin.”

“Sometime before 6 October, the Gartner Group published on its central corporate website, www.gartner.com, a series of five reports slamming Linux and predicting that its appeal would fade once the inevitable Service Pack 1 for Windows 2000 came out.”

“So. At first blush, these “Gartner Group” reports seem to have been a warm personal gesture from Microsoft Corporation to itself. That theory would fit both the copyright and the contents, which exactly repeats Microsoft marketing cant that we’ve seen before”

“While the Gartner Group was busily issuing denials, Microsoft was publishing yet another attack document, the Linux Myths page.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween6.html

“Microsoft’s FUD attacks on open source have not only failed, they have backfired strongly enough to show up in Microsoft’s own market research as a problem. This means we don’t need to put a lot of energy into anti-FUD defending the open-source way of doing things. Indications are we’ve won that battle; effort should now go elsewhere.”

“The risk that Microsoft will go on a patent-lawsuit rampage, designed more to scare potential open-source users than to actually shut down developers, is substantial.”

“The term ‘free software’ isn’t mentioned once, not even as an exploitable weakness. This contrasts strongly with the original Halloween Memoranda. I’m not sure what this means, but one strong possibility is that the term has simply fallen out of use both at Microsoft and in their survey population.”

“IT Pro
IT middle manager, what we’d call a PHB (Pointy-Haired Boss).“

“those who are familiar with OSS and Linux are favorably predisposed towards them. Linking this work with other on-point research, we can assume that in the majority of cases this reported ‘favorability’ is more emotional than it is rational.”

“French respondents exhibited a strong anti-Microsoft sentiment as sixty-one percent (61%) stated that ‘an alternative to Microsoft’ was the most compelling reason to support OSS. This sentiment was echoed to a lesser extent among the Germans (37%) and Swedes (35%).”

“Only 24% of IT respondents Worldwide were interested in broadly deploying Linux in their business.”

“Customers (non-IT IT professionals and BDMS) respond best to improvements in the feedback process, and being able to perform security checks.

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween7.html

“The plaintiff in this case, “SCO Group Inc.”, was originally the Linux vendor “Caldera Systems Inc.” It changed its name to “Caldera International Inc.” on October 11, 2000 after purchasing the server division of The Santa Cruz Operation, and changed its name again to “SCO Group Inc.” on May 15, 2003. The original SCO changed its name to “Tarantella Inc” on February 12, 2001 after divesting itself of its deteriorating Unix business to focus on its Tarantella application.”

“These are two distinct companies, one founded in 1979 and headquartered in California, and the other founded in 1994 and headquartered in Utah, which the plaintiff refers to interchangeably as SCO. To distinguish them, we refer to the plaintiff as SCO/Caldera and the older company the plaintiff purchased a server division from as SCO/Tarantella.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween9.html

“The document below was emailed to me by an anonymous whistleblower inside SCO. He tells me the typos and syntax bobbles were in the original. I could not, when I received it, certify its authenticity, but I presumed that IBM’s, Red Hat’s, Novell’s, AutoZone’s, and Daimler-Chryler’s lawyers could subpoena the original. On March 4th, within 24 hours of publication, SCO confirmed that the memo is legitimate.”

“Baystar Capital is a venture-capital firm. In 2003 SCO got about fifty million dollars from them in a deal that was rumored to have Microsoft’s hand behind it. This confirms the rumor.”

“My original commentary observed that IPX is a network stack developed by Novell. The implication was that Mike Anderer thinks SCO might be able to get a patent lock on it, so they were looking for IP leverage against Novell.”

“The ongoing lawsuit between Red Hat and SCO is documented here.”

“This is the smoking gun. We now know that Microsoft raised $86 million for SCO, but according to the SCO conference call this morning (03 Mar 2004) their cash reserves were $68.5 million. If not for Microsoft, SCO would be at least $15 million in debt today.”

“In other words, Microsoft wanted to funnel its anti-Linux payoff through third parties. Maybe in case the antitrust guys at the Department of Justice happen not to be asleep at the switch?”

“The bit about acquisitions seems more ominous when you remember that Caldera/SCO has a long history of lawsuits over obsolete technologies stripped out of dead companies — starting with DR-DOS from Digital Research and continuing through USL’s System V into the present with the IBM lawsuit.”

“There you have it. At least a third of SCO’s entire market capitalization, and their entire current cash reserves, is payoffs funnelled from Microsoft. Their 10Qs reveal that every other line of cash inflow is statistical noise by comparison.”

“This continues to be SCO’s party line. Their response acknowledges that the memo is authentic but claims that Anderer — the consultant they hired to find, handle, and brief the Board Of Directors about this kind of Transaction (see the Statement of Work in his contract with SCO), was mistaken about the deal.”

“We think the kindest interpretation we can put on these events is that Blake Stowell isn’t lying through his teeth, but was kept out of the loop so he could honestly deny all knowledge of Microsoft’s involvement.“

“So Microsoft used BayStar to do its dirty work, then stiffed ‘em.”

“November 2007 update: On July 18 2007 passed the WhatIf patent, gratis, to a shell company called Cattleback Holdings, less than 60 days before declaring bankruptcy. This certainly looks like an attempt to keep that patent out of the hands of the creditors’ committee so SCO can do more damage with it later.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween10.html

“The outlines of the next stage in Microsoft’s anti-open-source propaganda campaign are becoming clear.”

“Writing code that doesn’t suck always has to be our base-level and most important response, but the propaganda war matters too.”

“Anyone who thinks I’m being perfervid or overly melodramatic about this should review the direct long-term revenue and platform threat language from Halloween I. Other people may fool themselves about what this means, but Microsoft never has.”

“We have to assume that Microsoft’s long-term aim is to crush our culture”

“It seems to me very likely that Microsoft’s UK tour is designed as a trial run of themes that they’ll take to the U.S. to the extent they look successful. The UK is not a trivial market, of course, but 50% of all IT spending is still in the U.S., so from a Microsoft strategic planner’s point of view that’s where the main battle is.”

“They’ve quit claiming that Microsoft’s products are technically superior. Instead, they talk up transition costs.”

“Make a big deal about the migration costs of moving to Linux”

“Use the Forrester report to claim that Linux is insecure”

“Trying to neutralize open source by equating it with shared source implicitly concedes that open source is something customers want. Microsoft has given up a lot of ground here.”

“The choice of arguments in the Get The Facts campaign is an obvious circle-the-wagons move to defend Microsoft’s base of large corporate customers and governments. In itself, it is unlikely to accomplish much; at best, if they’re both lucky and persuasive, it may slow down the rate of defections temporarily.”

“So what is Microsoft going to do to try to claw back control after the Get The Facts campaign runs out of sufficiently gullible targets? I expect it to involve legal and political shenanigans much bigger and uglier than we’ve yet seen.”

“Most of us, most of the time, shouldn’t be distracted by worrying about beating Microsoft’s PR or countering their political moves, because writing good code is in the long run a far more potent weapon than flackery.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween11.html

05.28.19

Linux Foundation and the Big Surveillance Industry, Media Industry, Microsoft Azure

Posted in GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, OSDL at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

James Clapper

Summary: The Linux Foundation has become a complex creature with intricate corporate ties and government ties as well (especially the US government); these relationships need to be better understood

IT HAS BEEN a while since we last wrote about the Linux Foundation. We habitually post links to news about it (in our daily links), but we haven’t had time to write articles on the subject. Partly because affairs at the European Patent Office (EPO) are heating up again, culminating in a likely strike next month.

“That undoubtedly disputes claims that the PAC exists merely to pay Mr. Torvalds his salary.”Quite a few things have happened at Zemlin’s PAC this past month. First of all, we came to discover that Amanda McPherson no longer works there. She was receiving about as much money (salary at around half a million dollars per year) as Linus Torvalds. For marketing. That undoubtedly disputes claims that the PAC exists merely to pay Mr. Torvalds his salary. More curious, however, is the background of her successor/replacement. It’s a former spokesperson of James Clapper, best known for lying and perjury (he is deeply connected to Edward Snowden’s employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, and US spying operations at a Federal level too, but to the public he is known as a famous liar because the media focused on it for years). About a week ago the somewhat crypic press release (lacking context) revealed that Huawei connections got the PAC in trouble with the US government, which possibly put direct pressure on the PAC. Here’s how this press release started: “Thank you for your inquiry regarding concerns with a member subject to an Entity List Ruling.[1] While statements in the Executive Order prompting the listing used language granting a broader scope of authority, the Huawei Entity List ruling was specifically scoped to activities and transactions subject to the Export Administration Regulation (EAR).”

Who did the Linux Foundation speak to when it said “Thank you for your inquiry regarding concerns with a member subject to an Entity List Ruling”?

Did some fellow members complain? The final words: “If there is a unique situation of concern, we encourage you to reach out directly to legal@linuxfoundation.org.”

Earlier today we wrote about the increasing likelihood of China's adoption of GNU/Linux at a much larger scale. What might the US government do next? It certainly has a lot of control over the PAC and ways to punish/blackmail it (e.g. removal of the non-profit status or revocation of licence to operate).

This post is a bit of a preview or a look behind the scenes; it’s the subject of ongoing research into the PAC’s strands of work, including the new initiative for “surveillance capitalism” in an ‘urban’ context (companies like Uber and Google, along with “smart cities” and “edge”). We posted many links about this in recent days, weeks and even months (when it was first announced with little additional details). We are also studying the PAC’s media ties (connections to external sites), which do exist but are difficult to decipher (especially money flow, if any, not just staff moves that are simpler to detect). More about training partners ought to be known too; it’s no secret that the PAC nowadays promotes Microsoft Azure at some capacity.

“There are many interests and various powerful corporations in the mix; it’s only rational to attempt to figure out what they want and what they do to their PAC.”We are still not sure why McPherson left (or was pushed out) and Clapper’s former spokesperson became the Linux Foundation’s. McPherson seems to be working in academia now; some colleagues of hers (also alumni of the PAC) moved to media companies. There’s growing suspicion and some evidence of a connection. The Linux Foundation (LF) links to sites of its alumni and these alumni, in turn, write many articles about Linux Foundation projects and sponsors. “I’m trying to find out why the push for Yocto,” one reader told us, “what push does LF have with members for involvement with these projects no one uses? The recent Forbes article about Clear Linux… is that paid for too? The push to use LF projects by partners/members, I guess is understandable. Buying magazine space to promote… seems shady. Need facts.”

We are certainly going to write more about these subjects in weeks or months to come. We also depend on readers’ input, however meager, so we welcome feedback if not leaks (the latter is rare). There are many interests and various powerful corporations in the mix; it’s only rational to attempt to figure out what they want and what they do to their PAC. Microsoft is only one of several [1, 2], so it would be wrong to focus only on this one company.

04.24.19

Any ‘Linux’ Foundation Needs to Be Managed by Geeks, Not Politicians and PR People

Posted in GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft at 12:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), which precedes the Foundation, was also led by a former Marketing VP

LF, Microsoft and Github
LF, Microsoft and GitHub years before the takeover (Source: Microsoft, via)

Summary: Linux bureaucracy has put profits way ahead of technical merits and this poses a growing threat or constitutes risk to the direction of the project, not to mention its ownership

LINUX, the world’s most widely used kernel, is a technical project. It has always been a technical project. It’s also professional and commercial, which the GNU GPL is not incompatible with (au contraire). In fact, about 8 or 9 out of 10 Linux developers are employed (i.e. salaried) to do so, based on the most recent statistics. “90% is kind of [a] guessed number but it’s above 80 percent,” oiaohm explained yesterday in our IRC channels.

If so many geeks (or programmers) make up the project, why aren’t geeks also managing it?

“We don’t mean political in the philosophical sense (like GNU) but rather commercial politics (like corporate political parties). It isn’t even hard to see it. “As we explained much earlier in this series, Linux had become political. We don’t mean political in the philosophical sense (like GNU) but rather commercial politics (like corporate political parties). It isn’t even hard to see it.

“At the recent 2016 Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, we introduced a new open source project called moja global, supported by the Clinton Foundation,” said the Linux Foundation in its site a few years ago. One can see the Clintons alongside Mr. Zemlin on many occasions, e.g. [1, 2, 3] (we could see several more) and people told us that Mr. Zemlin kept promoting the Clintons, even pushing for a particular side in the US election in his capacity as Linux Foundation (LF) chief, whose supposed role — or so says Mr. Zemlin himself — was to pay Torvalds’ salary. This potentially alienates some people who support Linux, yet do not fully support his political viewpoints. The LF also hired political figures from a particular political party. This is why we call it a “PAC”.

“This isn’t about whether you support software freedom or not. It’s not about technical matters but aspects like diversity — which LF management lies about.”The political aspects of the LF are divisive and partisan. This isn’t about whether you support software freedom or not. It’s not about technical matters but aspects like diversity — which LF management lies about. These are sometimes used to wedge out actors based on parallel pretexts; it helps tilt development in favour of particular agenda or particular corporations, which may be pursuing lockdown, back doors and various malicious (anti)features.

We are currently waiting for some results to come from members and readers. One of them is assessing, statistically, the impact of the CoC on actual code. Another is investigating a new draft CoC (which is being circulated but cannot be made public just yet). We wrote about it yesterday in relation to coercion — a form of social engineering (wresting/acquiring greater corporate control over the project, which used to be a lot more community-centric).

“I can’t really share that CoC outline right now,” a source told us, “but I wish they would get done and publish already. I’m waiting. I have the first draft, if nothing comes out soon – for historical purposes.”

“Isn’t it time for the LF to consider leadership with technical literacy?”The shaping of these rules can greatly impact the way Linux is developed, who is allowed to participate and what code gets accepted/rejected. It will likely be motivated by corporate sponsors, not geeks. Or shareholders rather than developers.

It’s no secret that Mr. Zemlin does not understand code. He never wrote any. He has a career track record which is all about branding and PR, not technical matters. That makes it easier for shrewd — in the malicious sense — companies to manipulate the LF. He can speak Japanese, just like Darl McBride from SCO (also not from a technical background), but computer languages aren’t his thing. Isn’t it time for the LF to consider leadership with technical literacy?

04.07.19

The Linux Foundation is Selling Tweets, Access, ‘Thank Yous’ and SPAM Services

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Marketing at 4:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Imagine that they have the audacity to register as a non-profit/foundation


Here is the collection of these screenshots magnified (can alternatively zoom in over the above image, using the Web browser; this is the whole brochure)

Summary: Zemlin’s PAC has become a PR agency or worse — a lobbying apparatus that monetises the corporate takeover of Free/Open Source software (a quarter million dollars for a few paid “tweets”, speaking slots, “diversity” lip service and much more)

THE FREE software community is under attack. It’s a conquest, an invasion. Few people who enrich themselves are taking into private hands projects that are otherwise the Commons and they pretend it’s all just “love” (as in “Microsoft loves Linux”), “sharing” (to themselves), and “diversity”. Microsoft is already writing blog posts on behalf of the OSI, only a year or so after Microsoft gave a lot of money to the OSI. What next?

“Several years ago when their staff contacted me (using Microsoft products, obviously) it was made rather apparent that PR people got contracted, including bulk mailers. Is this what the Linux Foundation boils down to? Maybe.”In this series we rely on disgruntled insiders who are aware of what’s wrong and understand the immorality. In the above image we tried to keep it concise as there’s lots more (not even in the finer prints but in standard fonts, in plain sight). Notice the use of the term pertaining to E-mail; it says “blasts” (the term “blast” is used dozens of times for a lot of events and “products”; what are you, a Linux front group or a marketing SPAM operation?).

Several years ago when their staff contacted me (using Microsoft products, obviously) it was made rather apparent that PR people got contracted, including bulk mailers. Is this what the Linux Foundation boils down to? Maybe.

Here is what we recently wrote about the subject.

This early Sunday post is actually more like an interlude. We’re saving the best for later. We’re still patiently checking the pertinent facts. Our sources have named some of the culprits and we need to check with them in order to avoid making false accusations (about them specifically). To avert accusations of “inaccuracy” and in the interests of right to respond, we wished to find out who was paid to tweet what (no disclosures) at the Linux Foundation with its wingmen and flunkies (the Linux Foundation is contracting from the outside). If we hear something back (or won’t, even after a long wait), we will post the next part. “No comment” means no comment, but readers can reach their own conclusions about refusal to comment or defend oneself.

“I want to write an article called “Putting the CON in Conference!”,” one reader told us last month. If we get all the facts verified, we might publish something as soon as this evening or tomorrow.

10.18.18

The EPO Under António Campinos Relaxes the Rules on Software Patenting and the Litigation ‘Industry’ Loves That

Posted in Europe, Marketing, Patents at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Easier to tax coders, whose projects will be undermined or never come to fruition in the first place (due to fear of lawsuits)

EPO white flag

Summary: EPO management, which is nontechnical, found new terms by which to refer to software patents — terms that even the marketing departments can endorse (having propped them up); they just call it all AI, augmented intelligence and so on

THE EPO seems eager to handicap Europe’s software industry. What does it care anyway? All it wants to do is grant as many patents as possible and get a pat on the back from litigators. António Campinos has taken this lunacy to new levels as the EPO under his leadership constantly promotes software patents in Europe. It does so not only every day but several times per day. Campinos recently saw the need to write a blog post about it.

“…now that nontechnical people (promoted based on loyalties rather than merit) run the EPO they’re more easily swayed by law firms and marketing departments, not scientists.”Not everyone is upset about this abomination. Some people make a living not from creation but from destruction; put another way, they sue things out of existence. Like patent trolls do…

Patent law firms, unlike patent trolls, win irrespective of the courts’ outcomes. It doesn’t matter if European Patents are nowadays presumed invalid; all that matters is that lawyers are needed…

We recently wrote about the leveraging of "AI" as a byword or surrogate for software patents. Philip Naylor (Carpmaels & Ransford LLP) took note of that too; writing in IAM, the EPO’s propaganda rag, Naylor said this:

The EPO has updated its official guidelines to include a specific section on how the office is likely to assess patent applications directed towards artificial intelligence (AI). A preview of the update can be found on the EPO website and will come into force on 1 November 2018.

The update to the guidelines provides further clarity on how the EPO’s existing legal framework will be applied to AI inventions. Generally, the update confirms that the same rules that are applied to all computer-implemented inventions will apply to inventions involving AI. The rules stipulate that mathematical methods per se are “devoid of technical character” and thus are not patentable when considered in isolation. However, inventions that use mathematical methods remain patentable if they provide a technical solution to a technical problem. The EPO’s guidelines now state that AI and machine-learning algorithms are considered to be mathematical methods. Therefore, an invention that uses AI or machine learning must solve a technical problem in order to be patentable, in the same way as any other computer-implemented invention.

So they’re adding tricks for software patenting, knowing that these are not allowed. They tell applicants to say “AI” and at the same time instruct examiners to almost ‘rubber-stamp’ all this “AI” stuff. Never mind if the concept is rather nebulous, much like the concept of “cloud”. The litigation industry rejoices and helps this agenda, based on another new article that says:

Jennings is in the camp that believes that AI “augments humans”. He said he was “very happy to see that the European Patent Office (EPO) stresses AI as augmented intelligence”.

The EPO published its preliminary update of its guidelines for examination in early October, which included changes for provisions relating to the patentability of AI and machine learning.

So software can be patented “per se” and “as such”; just make sure the application says “AI” in it.

Eamon Robinson (Haseltine Lake LLP) has also just published this article about the EPO cutting corners for shallower or faster examination:

A European patent or a patent application may not be amended to contain subject matter extending beyond the application as filed. This section of the Guidelines provides guidance on when replacing or removing features from a claim results in unallowable added subject matter.

The Guidelines describe a three step test to determine if such amendments result in added subject matter. The updated Guidelines clarify that an amendment will fail the test, and thus add matter, if at least one criterion of the test is failed.

[...]

The changes to the Guidelines emphasise the importance of this “gold standard” over the above three step test. The “gold standard” should therefore, be considered when making amendments to the claims of a patent or application, in particular when removing or replacing features. Furthermore, the change to the first step of the test may make it easier for objections to be raised to amendments. The previous Guidelines stated that it was enough for a skilled person to recognise that a feature is explained as essential, whereas, the updated Guidelines require that the feature must be objectively explained as essential.

In summary then, the EPO’s advice to examiners in relation to removal of features would seem to be getting stricter.

Decisions are already being made a lot faster, at the very least in order to meet quotas/targets. Maybe some time soon Campinos will just use so-called ‘AI’ (algorithms) to assess patent applications with the term “AI” in them.

It should be noted that this whole “AI” hype doesn’t deal with novelty; the term “AI” was reintroduced a lot in the media last year. A lot of it boils down to marketing. In the broadest sense of the term the concept of AI dates back to the dawn of computing. But now that nontechnical people (promoted based on loyalties rather than merit) run the EPO they’re more easily swayed by law firms and marketing departments, not scientists.

10.05.18

Microsoft Uses LOT Network to Spread Lies and Promote Its Protection Racket

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 2:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An aggregator (DPA) or a vision so shallow that even Microsoft can enlist

LOT Network: A WHOLE LOT OF SOFTWARE PATENTS

Summary: A Red Hat- and Google-centric aggregator of software patents adds Microsoft as a member even though Microsoft continues to arm and fund patent trolls; the main/net effect of this move appears to be promotion of “Azure IP Advantage” (protection from Microsoft’s trolls as long as one pays Microsoft monthly fees)

THE COMPANY of endless lies is at it again, having leveraged many US patents (software patents wrongly granted by the USPTO) against GNU/Linux.

“Microsoft loves Linux” is a lie. And now Microsoft wants us to think that Microsoft battles patent trolls. This too is a Microsoft lie, albeit one that corporate media is happy to play along with, e.g. with headlines such as “Microsoft joins the LOT Network to help fight patent trolls” (a lie, the latter part in particular).

Deducted from fact-checking is the abundant evidence which is widely available, such as Microsoft’s patent troll Intellectual Ventures, which is the world’s largest. We wrote about it as recently as yesterday. The dedicated Microsoft propaganda sites (these sites’ names give that away) promote the same fiction that Microsoft is against patent trolls. Just don’t let facts get in the way…

There’s also this batch of hours-old headlines about patents Microsoft can and possibly will use against Android OEMs [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft loves its patents and it actively uses them for litigation and shakedown purposes.

So what explains this lunacy we saw yesterday evening in the media? This press release [1, 2] from Microsoft started it. It is a lie because Microsoft actively contributes to patent trolls and their attacks, but the title of the press release says Microsoft wants to “Protect its Community Against Patent Troll Attacks” (whose patent trolls and which community?).

It didn’t take long for Red Hat to play along with this publicity stunt that misleads. Remember that Red Hat hires managers from Microsoft (it’s well documented), so Red Hat will defend its shareholders rather than the Free software community. Red Hat is also still applying for software patents while propping up LOT Network, which is not the solution at all. This is what Red Hat said about its beloved LOT Network:

We are excited to see Microsoft – a top 10 recipient of U.S. patents – announce today it is joining the LOT Network (LOT), a company we helped form. Since 2014, Red Hat and other top companies around the world have come to recognize LOT as an innovative response to patent assertion entities (PAEs). Microsoft is a welcome addition to LOT’s almost 300 members, which together hold more than one million patent assets.

[...]

Red Hat is committed to LOT’s mission and to broadening its reach. We believe that LOT is a significant tool in weakening the threat that PAEs pose to operating companies, including those that distribute free and open source software. We are pleased Microsoft has joined our ranks, and look forward to working with them to expand the reach of LOT.

As we explained a few months back, LOT Network had become somewhat of a joke because it is a proponent of software patents. It’s like its purpose is to protect software patents from the community’s scrutiny rather than protect the community from software patents. It is, in that regard, somewhat similar to OIN. Earlier this week [1, 2] we showed that Microsoft’s patent trolls are still attacking Microsoft’s rivals in new lawsuits, so how can the company pretend to have changed its strategy? Erich Andersen (Microsoft) says they’re “helping to lead the way toward addressing the patent troll problem” (but Microsoft actively contributes to this problem!) and yet LWN framed it as follows: “Microsoft has announced that it has joined the LOT Network, which is an organization set up to help thwart patent trolls by licensing any member’s patents to all members if they end up in the hands of a troll.”

But Microsoft itself does exactly that, e.g. passing Nokia‘s patents to this troll in bulk. Microsoft’s site, which LWN cites for its “facts”, says this:

We are pleased to announce that Microsoft is joining the LOT Network, a growing, non-profit community of companies that is helping to lead the way toward addressing the patent troll problem, an issue that impacts businesses of all sizes.

Microsoft has seen this problem firsthand. We’ve faced hundreds of meritless patent assertions and lawsuits over the years, and we want to do more to help others dealing with this issue. In most cases, the opportunists behind these assertions were not involved in the research and development of the ideas that came to be embodied in patents. Many do not even understand the technical concepts described in them. In the most extreme cases, we’ve seen mass mailings and campaigns to extract value from small businesses who are not equipped to understand patents. Although these problems are less acute in the US today than in the past, in part because of changes in the law, the challenge persists for many businesses. Entrepreneur magazine cited a recent study showing that 40 percent of small companies involved in patent litigation reported “significant operational impact” from those suits, which some described as a “death knell.”

It then mentions Microsoft’s protection racket [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21], known as “Azure IP Advantage” (same as the scheme Microsoft set up with Novell). There’s ‘special’ protection from trolls only for those who host with Azure. It’s like GNU/Linux users need to reach a patent settlement with Microsoft, paid in several installments (Azure subscription). With a host like Amazon/AWS one risks patent lawsuits, albeit not from Microsoft directly.

Mary Jo Foley, a career Microsoft booster (for well over a decade), perpetuates Microsoft’s misleading claims and promotes their extortion racket, which Andersen introduces as follows:

This also means we are continuing on the path we started with the introduction of the Azure IP Advantage program in 2017. As part of that program, Microsoft said that it would defend and indemnify developers against claims of intellectual property infringement even if the service powering Azure was built on open source. We also said that if we transferred a patent to a company in the business of asserting patents, then Azure customers would get a license for free. Our LOT membership expands this pledge to other companies in the LOT network.

So they’re basically saying, “host everything in Azure (even GNU/Linux) and you’ll be safer from trolls” (“even the trolls that we’re funding and arming”). This is, for the most part, just a marketing opportunity for Microsoft. It also helps distort the record, e.g. on Microsoft’s major role in sponsoring and giving patents to patent trolls. How long before Jim Zemlin congratulates Microsoft?

09.23.18

Patent Law Firms Have Become More Like Marketing Departments With an Aptitude for Buzzwords

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Marketing, Patents at 12:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Buzzwords

Summary: What we’re observing, without much reluctance anymore, is that a lot of patent lawyers still push abstract software patents, desperately looking for new trendy terms or adjectives by which to make these seem non-abstract

THE EPO and the USPTO are both relying on buzzwords by which to promote software patents, knowing that software patents in Europe are not quite allowed and SCOTUS — with growing support from the Federal Circuit and endless action via Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) — is frowning/scoffing at such patents (as per Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office). We have written literally dozens of articles about this subject and included over a thousand examples over the years. We keep seeing many of the same buzzwords, which need to be named and deconstructed (they usually don’t mean a thing; it’s marketing).

Over the past week (as in every other week) we’ve been tracking activity like software patenting. What makes it a tad tricky is the (mis)use of homonyms and synonyms, along with the above-mentioned buzzwords. The buzzwords change over time, with some of them aging out of existence and new ones being introduced (e.g. so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’ or “4IR” as the EPO likes to call it). We don’t want to mock or obsess over these buzzwords too much. From what we can gather, EPO examiners are clever enough to spot this nonsense and have a good chuckle over it. This post will, instead, be a rundown of outline or recent articles which demonstrate what we’re talking about.

Several days ago we saw “FogChain Patent Secured Data Access Control”; if this sounds abstract, well… that’s because it is. And the article is just self-promotional junk from Crypto Block Wire, LLC (the publisher). To quote:

FogChain Corp. is a futuristic, highly reputable company offering solutions to software development, testing, and deployment. The company is gratified to announce its most recent decision regarding filing for a new patent. The patent covers secured data access control utilizing localized cryptographic innovation.

Technological advancements in the blockchain industry have empowered secure distribution of digital information using cryptographic techniques. Consequently, secure and quick transactions, including other data adjustments, can take place in a more dynamic and economical manner. In particular, its decentralization endeavors may bring about absolute transparency and immutability of the data.

The patent’s underlying technology covers localized network typologies that are able to grant access control and data management capabilities. The technology can additionally provide particular network architecture models that accommodate and empower such functionalities.

How is that not abstract? It’s so obviously invalid based on Section 101 criteria. But they say “blockchain” and “innovation”, so it must be very, very innovative. “Patent please!”

Remember that all these "blockchain" patents are bunk software patents; we cannot stress this strongly and often enough. This sort of “blockchain” hype is everywhere this year, including in the domain of patents, wherein it’s presented either in the context of patenting or management of patent data (sometimes both, sometimes interleaving to the point of revealing writers’ inability to comprehend what they even write about or get told by law firms). Here is a fairly new article titled “What would a blockchain patent war look like?”

The opening paragraphs go like this:

Blockchain is perhaps the most hyped technology of the past five years. The technology that allows us to create trustless immutable shared ledgers promises to bring transparency and honesty to commerce by disintermediating and decentralizing functions that rely on trusted third parties today. The promise and the potential are almost as big as the hype.

While still the early days, there are several applications that have already launched on blockchains — the first being the Bitcoin cryptocurrency payment protocol. Bitcoin is just a unit of account on blockchain. And more recently, with the implementation of smart contracts, code that is shared across the whole blockchain to execute conditionally with irrefutable results, we have the possibility to tokenize many new financial constructs on blockchains.

It’s all abstract; it’s software.

Another new article, this one titled “Mastercard Eyes Blockchain For B2B,” promoted the misconception that large companies (such as Mastercard) applying for a patent means they intend to implement something rather than simply obstruct competition/disruption. We wrote about this in past years, even in relation to Mastercard. To quote:

Blockchain has been receiving attention well beyond cryptocurrencies, and the focus has shifted in part to patent filings. Though it may seem that China has dominated patent filing activity in recent weeks, a number of firms (not Alibaba) have been making their own way across the patent landscape.

In the latest news germane to intellectual property and blockchain, Mastercard has filed three patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as reported this week. Amid those patent filings came details that the payments giant has developed a blockchain-based system, which aims to streamline high-volume B2B transactions. The patents are titled “Method and System for Recording Point-to-Point Transaction Processing.”

UseTheBitcoin (blog) then published a rather poorly-researched item that attempts to rank large companies based on “Blockchain Patents”, preceding the list with a logo of Microsoft. From the introduction:

Blockchain technology is one of the most trending topics in 2018. With blockchain becoming one of the most popular buzzwords today, every startup or established company wants to jump on the opportunity. This has led to the abundance of companies filing patent applications, hence triggering a potential blockchain race.

This year alone, several major companies applied for Blockchain-related patents. Like any other patent, a blockchain patent is a strict form of legal protection over an invention and the intellectual base of that invention. It’s a legal means for inventors to prevent others from making use of their invention.

Promotion of totally bogus software patents is likely to do no good, except for law firms; it’s about databases. There are also those that pertain to computer vision (mathematics) and are being promoted in press releases like this one which says: “This report provides insights into the development of facial recognition-related granted patents for automotive applications and offers a snapshot of facial recognition-based technology and application trends in the automotive industry.”

Well, facial recognition is all software. I know this, having reviewed scholarly papers on this (even for leading international journals). Why are such patents still being hailed as worthwhile after Alice? The mind boggles…

Campbell University is meanwhile calling algorithms “AI”, failing to note that these buzzwords won’t make these algorithms any less abstract and thus invalid as per Section 101. Here they are advertising the event. Topics include “Patentable Subject Matter for Computer Related Inventions” and “Protecting AI Software & Protecting Inventions Created with the Help of AI” (two different things, but in both cases boiling down to mere algorithms). Their calendar says they are giving “Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit from the North Carolina Bar Association” by lying to people about software patents and telling them, even wrongly, that ‘dressing up’ algorithms as “AI” would be worth the time and money. This is a recipe for major disappointment as judges would throw out such patents.

Matt Acosta and Emilio Nicolas (Jackson Walker) have meanwhile published in JD Supra (press releases platform for lawyers) something about surveillance in one’s toothbrush. They are calling abstract things “smart” and “IoT” to make them seem patentable and desirable (they’re neither). With a term like “Internet of Things” preceding/starting the headline, what could possibly go wrong? Putting the “Internet of Things” on just about anything is supposed to make things sound new, amazing and novel.

We have meanwhile also noticed, from South Africa for a change, the International Law Office (not what it sounds like) publishing a nonsensical piece with “fourth industrial revolution” (three buzzwords) and “IP protection” (three propaganda terms) in the headline. Louw Steyn and Dawid Prozesky use misleading propaganda words like “property” and “protection”, conjoined/combined with “4IR” from the EPO, to promote the false perception that software patents have legitimacy (they lack that in courts, even in South Africa). In the body they also namedrop “artificial intelligence” (AI) and “additive manufacturing” (AM), not to mention “smart” (nowadays everything that does mass surveillance gets called “smart”). From the introductory paragraph:

The so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’ is in full swing. Fields such as artificial intelligence (AI) and additive manufacturing (AM) are no longer a thing of the future, but rather an increasing part of everyday life in the form of smart devices, driverless cars and automated assistants – to name a few examples. This revolution is generally centred on a fusion between physical and digital technologies.

The above is just a big “salad” of buzzwords — something to be expected from a marketing department rather than a law firm. Sadly, however, many law firms have been decimated to just that. They just recite a lot of propaganda terms and trendy words like “smart” or “innovative”. They don’t like using terms like “software patents” anymore, knowing that examiners and judges would be instinctively inclined to reject like a reflex.

08.09.18

Propaganda Sites of Patent Trolls and Litigators Have Quit Trying to Appear Impartial or Having Integrity

Posted in Africa, Deception, Marketing, Patents at 2:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The lobbying groups for patent trolls try to appear like diverse professionals, but they’re actually paid marketing/PR fronts

Mixed team

Summary: The lobbying groups of patent trolls (which receive money from such trolls) carry on meddling in policy and altering perception that drives policy; we present some new examples

THE EPO has long used IAM as a propaganda front. As for the USPTO, its connections to Watchtroll have always been worrying (e.g. former USPTO officials who now profit from lawsuits).

“They are basically a megaphone of trolls with misleading/promotional headlines (also big — if not imaginary — sums of money).”Christal Sheppard will work for the world's most awful patent troll, based on this press release that Watchtroll published the day before yesterday (we presume paid PR, based on the labeling) and Finjan, another patent troll, nowadays pays IAM. In return, IAM continues to write puff pieces for this disgusting Microsoft-connected troll; the troll even gets keynotes/speaking positions from IAM. Such is the nature of these publications/blogs. They are basically a megaphone of trolls with misleading/promotional headlines (also big — if not imaginary — sums of money). As a reminder, IAM is not a news site, but Google treats it as one nonetheless. Case of point is this week’s blog post that says:

There was little surprise in the numbers that Finjan recently announced for the second quarter. Revenue for the first half of the year soared to $82.3 million, an increase of more than 200% year-on-year. This was thanks in large part to the company’s settlement with Symantec, but also helped by additional agreements with Carbon Black and Trend Micro. Net income for the half year also saw a correspondingly large jump to $36.3 million, an increase of almost 177% as the business generated $65 million.

The whole thing reads like an ad for the troll; they’re talking about patent blackmail and they try to make a case for sponsoring this troll (as Microsoft did). Joff Wild, IAM’s chief editor, is already preparing the next lobbying event. He’s raising money from patent trolls. This lobbying group of patent trolls says that “Just a week after the US mid-term elections, the 4th Patent Law and Policy event couldn’t be more timely” (pressure group in action, timing events to impact policies). Quoting Wild:

With two of those decisions – Oil States and SAS Institute – involving the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, we will have two panels focused on post-issuance reviews – including how stakeholders should change their PTAB strategies in light of SAS.

If all of that isn’t enough we will also be asking a panel of experts to weigh in on the thorny issue of standard essential patents and what exactly constitutes FRAND. Given that the Trump administration has changed tack, markedly, on that issue there will be much to discuss.

They will try to attract to this event officials and people who might report on it, reaching the eyes and ears of politicians. Days ago we published "Agenda and Lies From Watchtroll Make It Into the Bill of Rohrabacher, the “Inventor Protection Act”"; well, guess what Watchtroll published only hours ago; it’s like they’re think tanks that help their sponsors craft bills/legislation, pushing these in their events based on lies. There needs to be a more coordinated response to these front groups, which are disguised as sources of news. Watchtroll and IAM do appear among search results and IAM seems to be paying extra money to reach more feeds. We know where that money comes from.

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