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11.07.19

The GNOME Foundation’s Potentially Useless Defense Strategy is an OIN-Styled ‘Fix’ and Not a Software Patents Fix (Abolition)

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Red Hat at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria.”

Richard Stallman

They get attacked by software patents. And they don't use Alice.

Summary: The anti-Stallman club known as ‘GNOME Foundation’ is not interested in tackling software patents as a whole. What does that tell us about the situation we’re in?

THE short series about the defamation of Richard Stallman (RMS) isn’t over yet. The media defamed him repeatedly for about a month (yet again earlier this week) and Stallman was in contact with us. Whether he wants to make further comment/s on the subject will depend on him.

“We’re not bashing McGovern, but we worry about his predecessors at this prestigious position; they’re are from SFC (also anti-RMS), Peters (now Microsoft), and de Icaza (also Microsoft).”One thing we continue to research is the controversial announcement or media statement from GNOME Foundation, signed by Neil McGovern, who has called himself “Politico and geek, GNOME Executive Director, Cambridge CAMRA press officer, Ex-Debian Project Leader. Views are own etc.” (His personal Web site is nowhere as active.)

We’re not bashing McGovern, but we worry about his predecessors at this prestigious position; they’re are from SFC (also anti-RMS), Peters (now Microsoft), and de Icaza (also Microsoft). Neil McGovern, known better for his anti-RMS rant, is a credible person, but the context he’s in requires him to adopt particular positions.

His media statement, which is two months old (and put a lot of pressure on RMS), has caused a bit of controversy within GNOME itself. Some GNOME people have distanced themselves from it, even in the open. There are blog posts to that effect. Even in GNOME’s own Web site!

As we recently noted (in relation to OIN and IBM), there's an element in this 'community' that does not want software patents to go away. Instead it wants pertinent patents to be challenged based on something like prior art. A reader has just pointed out to us Free software [sic] is under attack. How you can help. (w/ Neil McGovern) from @TheLinuxGamer on LBRY.tv” (a new video interview).

Our reader adds that it’s about “software patents versus Shotwell, though they are mistakenly referred to only as “patents” there; strategy might be a bit misguided since it is not going after software patents in general but instead choosing to play whac-a-mole against one single troll at a time; they also naively plan to recover costs from the troll, which is probably just a shell company anyway; perhaps you could correspond with them…”

I personally will not bother, but I invite readers to do so. I’ve criticised the ‘GNOME Foundation’ in the distant past, so its chief is not likely to talk to me. Well, seeing what he wrote and with predecessors like these, McGovern merely continues a decade-long pattern of trying to overthrow or at least discredit RMS. His employment history in the UK and his work for Debian isn’t something to be mocked or belittled. He’s not a bad person. But his employer and the people who now surround him may be bad influence. The Foundation isn’t so credible; we wrote many articles about this back in 2009. They’re even close to Microsoft (and they will never point out the troll’s connections to Microsoft [1, 2, 3]). The Foundation raises other concerns. It is also deeply connected to IBM through Red Hat (many GNOME developers are salaried by Red Hat), probably the foremost influence source — one which as we noted before wishes 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice to go away, and for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to issue IBM with tens of thousands of software patents, not to be overturned and invalidated in Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) with Federal Circuit affirmation of these invalidations. This is the biggest downside of IBM’s acquisition/takeover and it has been our main concern regarding Red Hat (the reasonable patent policy being cast aside).

This approach from the GNOME Foundation must be pleasing not just for IBM but also Microsoft, now an OIN member. Days ago Microsoft Tim belatedly expressed satisfaction about OIN getting involved. OIN is in the ‘business’ of teaching FOSS people to tolerate rather than eliminate software patents and days ago it added another high-profile Japanese member (in our Daily Links).

10.25.19

We Need to Talk About IBM’s and OIN’s Stance on Software Patents at Times When Microsoft-Armed Patent Trolls Attack GNU/Linux

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OIN (IBM roots) has already admitted that it has no solution to trolls (it's run by them) and it refuses to oppose software patents

OIN loves Microsoft

Summary: The people who claim to be tackling the patent woes of GNU/Linux are actually in bed with Microsoft and don’t oppose software patents; they try to wed the Free software community and such patents — even if that means a shotgun wedding

THERE IS a serious problem in the Free software world which few of us talk about (or want to talk about). It’s not convenient. Our so-called ‘flag bearers’ and sometimes sponsors work against our interests. They do this in a number of dimensions, but this post will focus on patents. We’ll try to keep this non-legal (as in no legalese) and non-technical — to the point or the degree possible. We won’t, for instance, explain 35 U.S.C. § 101 caselaw in the USPTO or the illegal granting of European software patents by the European Patent Office (EPO). It really doesn’t matter so much in this context. All that matters is that software patents are inherently bad, developers don’t want these (no matter if Free software developers or non-free software developers), and courts increasingly reject these patents.

“All that matters is that software patents are inherently bad, developers don’t want these (no matter if Free software developers or non-free software developers), and courts increasingly reject these patents.”So here we are in 2019, with IBM as the likely biggest “contributor” (in the coding sense) to GNU/Linux because of the Red Hat acquisition. One could choose other criteria such as number of instances/installations serviced/hosted. But that’s not the point. The point is, whether we like it or not, we’re sort of ‘stuck’ with IBM as a major ‘flag bearer’; yes, it dominates development of many components in a GNU/Linux system, including the kernel and systemd. Many are happy about IBM’s (or Red Hat’s) kernel contributions, more so than the latter. IBM does a lot of important — and sometimes good — things. It also does bad things. Pretty common when dealing with very large companies…

We now come to the ‘beef’ of this post if not this borderline rant. Earlier this week Benjamin Henrion (FFII President) complained about the “EPO sponsoring yet another software patent conference on Internet Of Things (IOT) http://www.iam-events.com/events/iot-ip-2019/agenda-6e588d27158140d98ee1f35b75c3e976.aspx …”

“IBM does a lot of important — and sometimes good — things. It also does bad things.”For those who don’t know, at the EPO “IOT” (or “IoT”) is nowadays one of several buzzwords that they use to disguise software patents. Henrion might be wrong here because the EPO is not listed among sponsors but OIN is. Yes, OIN. This wouldn’t be the first time OIN shows up in pro-software patents events of the EPO and IAM, which is a patent front of the EPO et al. IAM is funded in part by patent trolls. Sometimes it’s supported and funded by the EPO and its PR agencies. When they’re pushing for software patents it isn’t motivated by logic, just money, greed and self-interest. “Closing keynote address” in this event is Grant Philpott, a Microsoft-friendly proponent of software patents (we wrote about him many times in the past). This whole event is a farce and OIN’s role in these IAM events is to give the illusion that “Open Source” too is participating. That’s just a reminder that OIN is an enemy of Software Freedom and friend of software patents (like IBM is).

These EPO events or OIN-attended events aren’t a new problem; they’re part of a pattern we’ve been covering here for at least a year. They tend to push software patents without mentioning that term or that phrase. Here’s another new example from an EPO tweet that said: “EPOPIC 2019 starts in less than a week. We look forward to welcoming you for three days of thought-provoking exchanges with patent information specialists from all over the world.”

Notice who’s speaking there. Andrei Iancu with “Intellectual property and the next Industrial Revolution” (another weasel term for software patents, akin to “4IR”) and Alexander Klenner-Bajaja from the EPO with “Artificial intelligence and patent classification” (the usual “AI” hype).

“These EPO events or OIN-attended events aren’t a new problem; they’re part of a pattern we’ve been covering here for at least a year. They tend to push software patents without mentioning that term or that phrase.”The EPO’s social media team then retweeted this tweet that said: “The @Derwent experts are on hand next week at #EPOPIC Attend our workshop on the new enhanced Derwent Innovation and hear how the latest patent research tool is going to transform the way you search for data.”

This thing is being advertised by EPO staff. Why? Shouldn’t the EPO be impartial? But let’s leave the EPO aside for a moment; it’s no secret that it’s lobbying for illegal software patents.

Going back to OIN and Henrion (FFII), there’s a discussion about the high-profile lawsuit against GNU/Linux; we wrote 3 articles about it [1, 2, 3] and over at Tux Machines we carefully filed every article and blog post on this subject (we always try to exhaustively archive topics for reference, both present and future reference).

“Will you use Alice as defence?”

So asked Henrion, who continued: “Using prior art is not helpful to get rid of software patents, Alice is. You should clarify in your fundraising message if you gonna use it or not. If that’s the case, http://FFII.org and its thousands of supporters database can be called.”

“The GNOME Foundation still refuses to even acknowledge rather obvious Microsoft connections (their biggest troll armed this smaller troll)…”He continued separately: “Will the Gnome Foundation use Alice to kick software patents out in the US? as RMS said “fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitos will eliminate malaria” https://www.gnome.org/news/2019/10/gnome-files-defense-against-patent-troll/ … read https://lwn.net/Articles/802819/ …”

He made a similar point about a week ago.

The GNOME Foundation still refuses to even acknowledge rather obvious Microsoft connections (their biggest troll armed this smaller troll) and if they rely on IBM front groups such as OIN (proponents of software patents to whom patent trolls aren’t really a problem but a cost of IBM doing ‘business’… i.e. blackmailing companies with a trove of lousy old patents) you end up having a rather lousy defense strategy, potentially a costly one too.

“I have asked the Gnome foundation to clarify if they gonna use Alice as defense,” Henrion noted, citing this message of his:

Hi,

I wanted to ask the Gnome foundation a crucial question before calling
on FFII supporters to donate.

Will you use Alice as defence (patentable subject matter)?

Using prior art is not helpful to get rid of software
patents,patentable subject matter is way more important.

You should clarify in your fundraising message if you gonna use it or not.

If that's the case, FFII.org and its thousands of supporters database
will be called to donate.

You should also call on donators to contact their senators to oppose
the STRONGER patent act which aims to restore software patents in the US:

https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/strengthen-free-software-by-telling-congress-to-reject-the-stronger-patents-act

We keep seeing blog posts from GNOME people and Debian people (sometimes also tweets). Oddly enough, Red Hat employees and Fedora developers have hardly said a thing! Maybe with the exception of Richard Hughes (LVFS/fwupd developer).

These must be rather awkward times to be at Red Hat; on the one hand they’re developing and supporting GNOME and on the other hand, while at the same time working for IBM (remember that IBM lobbies for those software patents — the type of patents that IBM lobbies hardest for) they’re confronting these ruinous lawsuits. Can they speak out against patent trolls while IBM, their employer, keeps shaking down companies like a troll? Maybe they prefer not to say anything.

“These must be rather awkward times to be at Red Hat; on the one hand they’re developing and supporting GNOME and on the other hand, while at the same time working for IBM (remember that IBM lobbies for those software patents — the type of patents that IBM lobbies hardest for) they’re confronting these ruinous lawsuits.”Stefano Zacchiroli (“Free Software activist” by his own description, with past connections to OSI where he was a technical member) wrote: “Please donate to the #GNOME Patent Troll Defense Fund here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/gnome-foundation-inc/gnome-patent-troll-defense-fund … Software patents are a disgrace and we should defend FOSS from them. Learn more in the blog post below. https://twitter.com/gnome/status/1186412835083042817 …”

Zacchiroli is a very good person whose geek credentials and track record speak for themselves. But where are the Red Hat (IBM) employees? Why are they so quiet on matters pertaining to patents? The sad reality is that GNOME’s key sponsors/stewards, Red Hat included (now IBM), are big proponents of software patents (and IBM is naturally and perhaps factually the biggest). We need to talk about this…

“Red Hat was quick to comment on (celebrate with diplomatic restraint) the ousting of Richard Stallman, but as far as we can tell no comment has been made — at least not yet — about a troll armed by a Microsoft proxy suing GNU/Linux.”Henrion, commenting on the FOSDEM conference near him, has noticed that the sponsors’ page has just been updated.

“Remember that the 3 sponsors of FOSDEM routinely file software patents,” he wrote. “And sue using these patents,” I continued his thoughts, “especially IBM (so Red Hat basically).”

Red Hat was quick to comment on (celebrate with diplomatic restraint) the ousting of Richard Stallman, but as far as we can tell no comment has been made — at least not yet — about a troll armed by a Microsoft proxy suing GNU/Linux. Odd that…

09.21.19

IBM Cannot Become a True Friend of Free Software Because of Its Current Patent Policy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 1:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

To make peace with the Free software movement IBM may need to re-balance or re-calibrate its priorities

A balance

Summary: IBM needs to quit bullying people/companies with software patents; that would help towards appeasement of IBM critics and sceptics

AT risk of sounding like a broken record, let’s make a point absolutely clear and be upfront about it. Our Openwashing Reports have often mentioned IBM as an habitual faker and culprit; IBM is, at its core, still a proprietary software company, unlike Red Hat. But IBM is bad for two more reasons: 1) it lobbies for software patents and 2) it shakes down companies with such patents. When it comes to patent policy and practice, IBM is hardly better than Microsoft; it just targets GNU/Linux a lot less (if at all); it gave us OIN.

Techrights would rather not spend much time or dedicate much space to IBM criticism because it’s hardly the foremost threat to Software Freedom; it’s mostly a threat to a sane patent policy/law.”It seems safe to believe or to think many Red Hat employees already know what IBM is and does (IBM’s patent shakedown is decades-old). The rest are in denial about it or choose to say nothing, even among themselves. Henrion brought up a recent court document [PDF] and stated that “IBM is a software patent bully,” quoting from the corresponding document: “Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service, Method for simultaneous display of multiple object categories, Method for a runtime user account creation operation within a SSO process in a federated computing…”

We discussed this over IRC on Thursday. The IRC logs will unfortunately not be ready for publication until the end of this year (we used to publish these daily, then weekly, now it’s 3 times a year in large lumps).

Another person wrote: “IBM published today a patent application on “software controlled ad-avatars (or bots)” for advertising in virtual worlds. Relatable bot profiles include “Jenny Teen,” “Joe Geek,” and “Travis Cowboy.” US 20190287119.”

There’s also a picture there.

Techrights would rather not spend much time or dedicate much space to IBM criticism because it’s hardly the foremost threat to Software Freedom; it’s mostly a threat to a sane patent policy/law. We hope that Red Hat can influence IBM positively (rather than the other way around).

08.30.19

A Closer Look at the ‘Trojan Horse’ That is exFAT Inside Linux

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Snakes like to deceive

Snakes like to deceive

Summary: Microsoft and its boosters (media insiders) spread the illusion that Microsoft is “opening up”; the reality, however, is that it’s looking to tighten control over Linux while at the same time profiting from exFAT patents owing to back room deals

TECHRIGHTS has come to the saddening realisation that entryism inside Linux is in an advanced phase if not a “terminal” stage.

The “4 Freedoms” of Richard Stallman (RMS) are probably not enough for Software Freedom. There are glaring loopholes or workarounds. We’re not talking about stuff like systemd here. We talk about changes/passage of ownership/control. If you allow moles, entryism and other forms of infiltration into key projects — and those projects are too complicated (or vast) to fork because that doesn’t scale well — these projects are screwed. Again, we’re not talking about Devuan/Debian here but mostly about Linux, the kernel.

“We’re losing the battle… we’re ceding control.”It’s extremely sad for me to say it, but access to source code (and permission to modify, run, redistribute) is not enough for Software Freedom anymore. We see a lot of evidence of this in Linux. That’s aside from the fact that openwashing — a term I believe I coined more than a decade ago — is a massive threat to Software Freedom (yes, right now more than ever before). We’re losing the battle… we’re ceding control. It’s all about control.

Microsoft doesn’t come to Linux “in peace”. It’s hostile. It did the same thing to Yahoo, to Nokia, and to Novell. My wife’s view on Microsoft ‘helping’ Linux is the same as mine. Microsoft needs to belately adopt EXT4 if it cares about Linux; but it’s only entering Linux to advance Microsoft’s ‘standards’, APIs and proprietary software inside Linux… through Linux. It’s exploitative, pure and simple.

“Microsoft doesn’t come to Linux “in peace”. It’s hostile. It did the same thing to Yahoo, to Nokia, and to Novell.”Microsoft loves Linux like Donald Trump loves the women whom he groped, illegally, by his very own admission. We’re only glad to see that a lot of Linux sites reject Microsoft’s dishonest ‘storytelling’ about how it ‘fell in love’ with Linux — the most laughable story since Temer and Bolsonaro claiming to serve people of Brazil. But let’s leave politics out of it, at least for a second (they’re used only for analogies here).

Steve R. at Linux Questions wrote: “Can’t argue against better interoperability, but I’m skeptical. Why should the Linux community adopt Microsoft technology while Microsoft is apparently reluctant to incorporate Linux technology.

“For example, Microsoft could adopt the “EXT4″ file system instead of pushing exFAT. Obviously Microsoft won’t do that to preserve its proprietary nature, even though they are opening up exFAT.”

fido_dogstoyevsky responds as follows: “They could, but as you say they won’t. It’s just the scorpion promising to not sting.

“If only we had the wherewithall to embrace what they’re offering and then extend it…”

Many of the comments we see are more or less the same. Unless one asks proprietary software front groups such as OIN for their views…

I should know; Many years ago on the phone (he phoned me) OIN’s CEO told me that many of Microsoft’s shakedown actions over Linux involved exFAT patents — some software patents that Alice/Section 101 likely would invalidate (if it went to court).

“Many of the comments we see are more or less the same. Unless one asks proprietary software front groups such as OIN for their views…”OIN, being a pro-software patents group, won’t bother actually invalidating these patents. It never even tried, e.g. at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). And suffice to say, my image of OIN ‘darkened’ over the years because it turned out it was more interested in fronting for proprietary software giants than in Linux or anything “community”. It’s like the Linux Foundation.

What does the Linux community (i.e. users and developers) actually think of all this? See the comments here; Microsoft spinners won’t be able to catch up with honest, frank, unpaid-for opinions.

Microsoft made a fortune from exFAT blackmail and it is likely still being paid ‘royalties’ for it, owing to large and high-profile OEM patent deals it signed years ago (even under Nadella).

“Microsoft made a fortune from exFAT blackmail and it is likely still being paid ‘royalties’ for it, owing to large and high-profile OEM patent deals it signed years ago (even under Nadella).”Obviously, and perhaps inevitably, Microsoft helpers like Greg K-H are happy to help, willing to oblige. Greg’s 'professionalism' notwithstanding, we’re supposed to think that this ‘mature’ (read: industry-friendly) man has no choice but to do what Microsoft says, never mind the community’s views.

Michael Larabel of Phoronix wrote about the Microsoft-friendly (Novell past) Greg carrying water for Microsoft, yet again, with its “horrible” code (like he did Hyper-V). To quote “The Existing Linux exFAT Code Is ‘Horrible’ But Could Soon Be In Staging”:

Following Microsoft’s approval of seeing exFAT support on Linux and at long last releasing public specifications to the file-system, the existing out-of-tree Linux driver code was quickly volleyed on the mailing list for review and hopeful inclusion into the kernel.

The existing out-of-tree exFAT Linux driver is the several year old one that was accidentally leaked by Samsung though later cleared up back in 2013. Due to uncertainty over Microsoft’s exFAT patents and the company previously not publicly giving their blessing to this file-system Linux support, it’s never been mainlined.

Tom’s Hardware did a relatively good job reporting on this, having researched it further than press releases and blog posts from Microsoft. Nathaniel Mott actually went on to dig some actual responses from actual Linux developers to Microsoft’s EEE-like move against Linux file system components/parts. “Phoronix reported today that Linux developers weren’t particularly enthused about what Microsoft released, with one kernel developer calling it a “pile of crap,” which is exactly the kind of frankness we’ve come to expect from Linux developers,” he said. Sometimes the truth needs to be said. Free as in speech, right?

“Tom’s Hardware did a relatively good job reporting on this, having researched it further than press releases and blog posts from Microsoft.”In our previous post about it, a month after we wrote about this plan and the associated patent issues, we mentioned that this agenda of Microsoft is mostly being promoted by Microsoft boosters who pretend to care about Linux (after bashing it for years if not decades). Bogdan Popa, Microsoft News Editor [sic] (propagandist for over a decade), has just proven our point again (“Microsoft loves Linux” lie as an image). Microsoft Tim did so too. Notice how all the Linux haters suddenly pretend to care about Linux; They try to UNDERMINE it and they know what Microsoft has in mind.

We have meanwhile noticed some more shallow puff pieces. This one says that Microsoft “Opens Up exFAT”; It did not open it up, there are still patents on it and it’s controlled by a company that attacks Linux. Making a statement about patents isn’t the same as “opening up”. “Microsoft opens up the exFAT filesystem” was this headline in bit-tech.net. So much for “open”. Like a hunter opens a bear trap, waiting for the bear to come. It’s only about cementing monopoly or monoculture.

“Microsoft publishes exFAT spec” was a more accurate headline, but it continues/proceeds to saying that “it attempts to woo Linux…”

“So much for “open”. Like a hunter opens a bear trap, waiting for the bear to come.”Errr… nope, to control Linux. Not the same thing. How about this article? This is really bad code, according to Phoronix, so why is it being added? Shouldn’t Torvalds make a public rant? Is he afraid to speak out now in light of recent events? As far as we’re aware, he has said not a word about it.

Puff pieces still dominate the news; there are quite a few more like the above-cited ones. There are also spammy press releases from Paragon Software (we saw them several times so far this week). Paragon has long profited from perpetuation of Microsoft’s patent blackmail against Linux and now it wants more money. We’ve found lots of puff pieces later in the day yesterday. Microsoft totally controls the narrative here (few people would bother reading comments). Reactions from actual users and developers of GNU/Linux don’t seem to matter.

Ryan Farmer, a former Microsoft MVP who over a decade ago turned against Microsoft and became a regular in our IRC channels, had a lot to say about it.

Last night he asked me: “What did you think of Microsoft saying it will “donate” exFAT patents to get a kernel module into Linux? They published the specification of exFAT and announced that they would be giving a patent license to all OIN members with the goal of getting a kernel module merged. They said it won’t be them that writes the kernel module though.”

MinceR responded in IRC with a joke: “good, at least it can be good then…”

“Microsoft totally controls the narrative here (few people would bother reading comments).”“Well,” Ryan pointed out, “there’s already at least one GPL licensed kernel module out there. That one that initially leaked out of Samsung. It just hasn’t been merged because Microsoft has sued people over file system patents so many times. Microsoft was quick to point out that they are not “currently engaged in any ongoing litigation related to exFAT patents”. Of course they aren’t. Litigation is what happens when threats don’t work.”

I showed him the latest reports about Microsoft moving to second “E” [1, 2]. “More gifts,” Ryan joked.

So yes, it’s really happening!

“Lawsuits work the same way plea bargaining does,” Ryan said. “Microsoft doesn’t want to sue people over patents that may be found invalid. It wants money.”

“Quite a few OEMs already pay Microsoft for exFAT patents. Now that there aren’t any large ones left to ‘milk’ Microsoft is ‘opening up’…”The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) should never have granted these patents in the first place.

“The way to get money isn’t to nuke everyone,” Ryan concluded. “It’s to threaten them if they don’t pay up. Usually like part of what the cost of going to court and losing would be. As long as you never go to court, you don’t risk anything.”

Quite a few OEMs already pay Microsoft for exFAT patents. Now that there aren’t any large ones left to ‘milk’ Microsoft is ‘opening up’…

Quite the publicity stunt!

06.22.19

American Front Group Open Invention Network (Riding the Linux Brand) is a Proponent of Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Europe, IBM, OIN, Patents at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just like IBM (with its Trojan gifts to Europe), its foremost member (and where it originally came from)

IBM and the Holocaust in Europe

Summary: The impact of American multinationals on Europe’s policy is difficult to deny; in fact, we’re observing the same old lobbying/lobbies still working hard albeit more covertly (typically using front groups)

AT the start of the year we said that “IBM, Which Will Soon be Buying Red Hat, is Promoting Software Patents in Europe” (none of this has changed). IBM’s lobbying for software patents in Europe is a subject we’ve covered for over a decade. About a decade ago IBM said ‘on behalf’ of Free/Open Source software that patents on software would be beneficial to it or that such software would not be possible without the patents. It was an incredible lie that enraged many people at the time. Remember that the first CEO of OIN was from IBM, a founding member. OIN is now run by a politician, the tennis partner of Timothy Geithner. After his political career he did work that’s akin to patent trolls’. OIN is partly managed by patent trolls or 'former' trolls and is similar to the Linux Foundation in the sense that it hardly represents what it’s called after. It’s somewhat of a PR-centric façade — a marketing-esque strategy for influence-buying and policy-shaping. It’s a corporate front group of very large corporations with about half a million patents and many thousands of patent lawyers. Many if not most patents they deal with are on algorithms. They value these bubbles of theirs at tens of not hundreds of millions of dollars; they don’t want to lose that imaginary ‘asset’ (in essence a state-guarded monopoly).

Also recall David Kappos, who had worked for IBM before becoming the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). After his term there he’s a lobbyist (paid by IBM and Microsoft) against 35 U.S.C. § 101, i.e. for software patents. We already wrote several articles about how IBM paid IPO (another front group) to lobby against 35 U.S.C. § 101. Don’t expect anyone at Red Hat to comment on it (that would put the future job in jeopardy as takeover looms*). IBM spoke for software patents as recently as this month (the mock/stacked 'hearings' in Senate) and so did Kappos. Nothing has changed since the declaration of intentions to take over Red Hat.

“OIN is now run by a politician, the tennis partner of Timothy Geithner.”Citing this recent report from IP Kat on “4IR” (buzzwords that the European Patent Office (EPO) paid European media to promote), Benjamin Henrion wrote in Twitter: “When the patent industry wants to know about “Open Source”, they invite “Open Invention Network (OIN)”, which is working for the patent industry. So it loops back to itself, while insulting independent developers at the same time” (referring to Keith Bergelt, who was there alongside Battistelli‘s friend Yann Ménière). To quote the relevant part about the “EPO study”:

The discussion during Panel 2 concerned “Autonomous Vehicles: Changing Markets, Business Models and Institutions” and had a more practical approach: the panelists, Monica Mangnusson (Ericsson), Yann Ménière (European Patent Office), Ruud Peters (Philips) and Matthias Schneider (Audi), and moderator Keith Bergelt (Open Invention Network) discussed various underlying issues concerning the topic at hand, including the EPO study Patents and self-driving vehicles and the role of patents in autonomous vehicles, SEPs and the combination of technology therein. Questions that were raised included: who will be the beneficiaries, i.e., who will be willing to pay a higher price for autonomous cars? Will autonomous cars create more traffic? What is the value assigned to the patents? Is 5G or WiFi technology more suitable? How do carmakers know what needs to be developed?

OIN is facilitating this ludicrous narrative, wherein “Open Source” too was invited. It recently participated in an EPO event that promoted software patents in Europe under the guise of “blockchains”. It generally boasts large members that are proponents of such patents. That now includes (formally) Microsoft! They’re happy to even repeat PR lies such as “Microsoft loves Linux,” rendering them complicit in a campaign of deception.

Microsoft also in the shadows…

Over at the site connected to IAM, a writer now obsesses over Microsoft ‘cloud’ (NSA surveillance) and António Campinos as EUIPO chief. The headline is a question: “Cloud computing: an answer to cybersecurity?”

The short answer is no because sending all your data to the Pentagon is the very opposite of security, it is a data breach. It’s a violation of privacy and basic/fundamental laws. To quote some bits:

The president of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), Antonio Campinos, recalled how the digital world transformed the fight against counterfeiting, citing an IP Perception Study led by the European Observatory that showed 42% of young people feel that illegal downloading is a legitimate act when done for private use.

[...]

The Director of Microsoft Digital Crime Unit, Juan Hardoy, pointed out…

[...]

Is this a way to promote the Microsoft Cloud server or does Cloud computing really prevent companies from cyber criminality? Companies seem to be pretty divided on this topic.

Which companies? The ones that do the surveillance and those that do not? Whose voice is being aired?

“Innovation and litigation summit” has just been promoted by its organiser, another think tank funded by only one side of the debate (to air only its views). Their own writers admitted this to me last month. This event from the trolls’ think tank has nothing to do with innovation, only litigation. Obviously no innovators there, only parasites who sue. And IP Kat has also just published an article about a legalised ‘protection racket’ scheme. This scam insurance ‘industry’ is cashing in on patent trolls and that “AYE PEE” cult (people who pretend to themselves that the world would be better off with every single gene and thought privatised and monopolised). What we have here is one bunch of parasites profiting from other parasites; one can eliminate the former to get rid of the other (the latter being this insurance scam). Firms like IBM are the biggest culprits and the firm of Kappos profits from this mess, so don’t expect them to abandon their twisted mindset any time soon. Instead they’ll mock scholars who do. They will urge small companies to buy “insurance” (for lawyers’ fees in case IBM decides to sue, as it often does).
_____
* In a recent public interview with Fedora Project leadership (“Ask Me Anything”) they said upfront that people can ask anything except about IBM. This is how afraid they are (of the new/upcoming boss). Some Red Hat staff used to campaign against software patents — a practice that no doubt IBM frowned upon.

06.09.19

Corporate Front Groups Like OIN and the Linux Foundation Need to Combat Software Patents If They Really Care About Linux

Posted in EFF, GNU/Linux, Kernel, OIN, Patents at 8:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EFF does more for Linux than groups that drape themselves in Tux logos and even put “Linux” in their name

Alex Moss, EFF

Summary: The absurdity of having groups that claim to defend Linux but in practice defend software patents, if not actively then passively (by refusing to comment on this matter)

A NEW week is about to commence. No more bogus ‘hearings’, which are stacked and stuffed with lobbyists and think tanks like IBM’s David Kappos (his handlers now include Microsoft as well because it’s funding his front group). We don’t expect the law to change, but they had their little show for a few days. The audience of patent extremists loved it! They had even paid for it [1, 2].

Where are the supposed “Linux” groups? They never even submit a single brief! Never! Even ACLU got involved in this patent debate (well outside the ACLU’s scope of operations), not to mention CCIA.

Any comments from the “Linux” groups? No, nothing. Absolutely nada.

OIN is probably in favour of software patents (same side as Microsoft and IBM), so it prefers to just keep its mouth shut. Its leadership now includes patent trolls. It’s just farcical considering their Linux- and Tux-themed initiatives, which in the past they claimed would help Linux (looking for ways to induce Linux coexistence with software patents).

“Any comments from the “Linux” groups? No, nothing.”People need to seriously ask themselves why the Linux Foundation and OIN never do even as much as issue a statement on this subject (takes a lot less effort than preparing briefs or preparing for hearings in Senate). Their silence merely enables if not empowers those who pose the greatest threat to Linux, GNU and Free software in general.

Suffice to say, last week’s hearings were all just a farce; our latest response to it mentioned Benjamin Henrion's (FFII) remarks as well as the EFF's (which posted the above photo in Twitter). Henrion is rightly upset. “EFF and others are just decoration,” he argued, “senators @ChrisCoons and @senthomtillis have no intention to seek for the right barriers to protect software developers from patents. Those hearings are just a joke! No software developer was even invited!”

They just try to give an appearance (or perception) of balance; or to shallowly lend legitimacy to these hearings. We saw similar hearings in past years and these had just about nobody (zero people) with ‘dissenting’ views; obviously nobody did anything technical, it was a consistent, monotonic parade of lawyers/attorneys.

“We saw similar hearings in past years and these had just about nobody (zero people) with ‘dissenting’ views; obviously nobody did anything technical, it was a consistent, monotonic parade of lawyers/attorneys.”As I told Henrion this morning: “Where was the Linux Foundation in these hearings? Did IBM (Manny) keep Zemlin in his little pocket? Software patents are a threat to Linux too.”

“I think that 99% people did not look past the organization’s name and got a rude shock last fall when LT [Linus Torvalds] was temporarily kicked out and then brought back in under reduced authority,” one reader told us about the “Linux” Foundation (another reader of ours calls it “the Linux-destroying Foundation” for about 5 years now).

Henrion is still the President of the FFII, but it’s underfunded and barely active. This means that operations like the “Linux” Foundation, which has an annual income of about $100,000,000, basically suck up all the capital (and voices) to do just about nothing for Linux (in this domain). Even the EFF doesn’t have anywhere near this kind of budget and yet it does something on the matter. Why?

“Why is the OSI quiet? What about OIN and the Linux Foundation? They’re worthless. Bloody worthless as we say here… and worse — they’ve morphed into organisations that arguable undermine people’s freedom.”The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) sent some nontechnical people to speak (obviously only in support of the bill), but the supposed ‘defenders’ of Linux, groups like OIN and the Linux Foundation, could not bother in any way whatsoever? Not even a short statement? Check out the Boards and the management, not to mention key members; they don’t actually oppose software patents, not even when momentum to squash these for good is already there. At the moment, software patents face unprecedented legal uncertainty in the United States’ courts, owing to 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice (SCOTUS); by asserting such patents against a suspected (merely accused) party not only are you at risk of losing these patents; in some cases you’re forced to then pay all the legal expenses of the accused. So litigation is rarely a good option with these. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) made it easier to squash litigation and the Federal Circuit very rarely accepts software patents as valid (there were rare exceptions in recent years).

Why is the OSI quiet? What about OIN and the Linux Foundation? They’re worthless. Bloody worthless as we say here… and worse — they’ve morphed into organisations that arguable undermine people’s freedom.

03.04.19

Today’s Open Invention Network is Run by Former Patent Trolls, Connected to and Backed by Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 1:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It is even disclosed upfront

Jaime Siegel

Summary: Turns out that the Open Invention Network (OIN) is nowadays about “Linux” as much (or as little) as the "Linux Foundation" is; it’s all about money and power

IT IS no secret that OIN has origins in a patent bully, IBM, which also gave it its first CEO. It is also no secret that OIN does not oppose software patents. We wrote about it some months ago. It is not, however, noticed by many that the current CEO (Tim Geithner’s tennis partner) used to work in roles that resemble those OIN is supposed to shield against. As Wikipedia notes, “Bergelt was then brought into Motorola Corporation in Schaumburg, IL to establish and serve as General Manager of its Strategic Intellectual Asset Management business unit focused on distilling value from Motorola’s intellectual property. In addition, he served as Director of Technology Strategy during his tenure at Motorola.

“Following his experience at Motorola and coincident with the departure of Bob Galvin from the Motorola Board of Directors, he was recruited by Kelso & Company, the New York-based private equity firm, to manage IP strategy, business development and licensing for its IP-based portfolio company – Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) – in Cambridge, England.

“So the OIN’s main licensing person is a former patent troll basically.”“After establishing the strategy and licensing program at CDT for Kelso, Bergelt was then engaged by Texas Pacific Group (TPG) as a full-time advisor to its Technology Investment Group, until he was recruited by Principal Financial Group to establish and run the first-of-its-kind IP Fund and financial services advisory firm, focused on transforming IP into a viable source of collateral and a fourth lending vertical to complement asset-based lending backed by property/plant/equipment, accounts receivable and inventory.

“During his tenure as the CEO of Paradox Capital, Bergelt worked with professionals from banking and IP law to raise over $350MM in capital that enabled Paradox to pioneer the emergence of IP as a viable asset class in asset-based lending and, in so doing, obviate the necessity for second lien lending into IP-rich companies.”

It was only then that he was recruited by OIN, after he had done some of the very things OIN was supposed to be against. But it gets worse. Having checked who they have added since, I can’t help seeing an MPEG-LA* veteran acting as “Global Director of Licensing”. He also worked for a Microsoft-connected, anti-Linux troll called Acacia. So the OIN’s main licensing person is a former patent troll basically. Wonderful! An OIN so debased that even Microsoft can join it.
____
* MPEG-LA is legally and technically a patent troll (also its CEO), which is working closely with Microsoft and is nowadays using software patents (even in Europe last month) to blackmail companies that ship GNU/Linux/Android.

01.15.19

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

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

Red Hat puke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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