Posted in OIN, Patents at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Summary: Students are being used to help write so-called “defensive patent publications”
IBM, a key component of the USPTO (with David Kappos, a former IBM employee, running it), helped form OIN, which was the creation run by another former IBM employee. OIN recently made it into the news again. There is a coordinated PR effort to get volunteers to help an agenda that legitimises some software patents (which IBM loves). To quote one output of this PR (in Red Hat’s site): “In Fall 2012, the Linux Defenders, from the Open Invention Network (OIN), teamed with the students of the Open Source Software Practices class at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (in Troy, NY) to write a set of defensive patent publications.
“OIN should join the efforts to end software patents, not tame them for the benefit of IBM et al.”“The students in the class first went through four lectures on the history and nature of patents, one of them given directly by Andrea Casillas, director of the Linux Defenders program at OIN. After this training, each one of the students wrote a defensive patent publication on a topic close to a class project that they were already working on.
“Members of OIN guided the students at every step of the process, providing instructions on how to write the publications and leading them to the finished product that was ready to be submitted to the US Patent Office.”
This is bad because they exploit a volunteer (as in unpaid) workforce to help legitimise software patents as a concept, just like Peer2Patent did. This is a lawyer’s non-solution to a real problem and another lawyer is proposing this rather misguided ‘solution’. Let’s stress that the solution is to abolish software patents, not help garden them. OIN should join the efforts to end software patents, not tame them for the benefit of IBM et al. █
Summary: The goals of Black Duck are doubted by former Debian Leader and key OSI man
Bruce Perens, a key person in the FOSS movement, previously named OpenLogic negatively for their founder and manager from Microsoft.
Well, Black Duck is a similar story. It has strong Microsoft connections. It does not like the GPL, either. So who benefits from this if not Microsoft and perhaps some other proprietary software (and pro-patents) companies like Black Duck itself?
“I think it’s 100% B.S. And it appears to me that it’s driven by Black Duck and it really is time that someone called them upon it. ” –Bruce PerensPerens was asked the following question some days ago: “What is your reaction to the frequent stories in various media about people migrating away from the GPL ”
Perens replied: “I think it’s 100% B.S. And it appears to me that it’s driven by Black Duck and it really is time that someone called them upon it. I think the stories get them publicity, and maybe they are appealing to a prospective customer base who are indeed nervous about the GPL. But the trend they portray isn’t a real one.” █
New Patent Reform Bill Defines Software Patents; Targets Trolls
We’ve discussed the “America Invents Act,” a patent reform bill that passed last year after years of Congressional fighting. As we (and plenty of others) noted at the time, for all the hyperbole around the bill, it completely ignored nearly every problem with the patent system today, and seemed almost entirely useless. Our worry, then, was that this would kill off any appetite for Congress to take on the real problems of patents today. So it’s good to see that a new patent bill has been introduced — by Reps. Peter DeFazio and Jason Chaffetz, with a very, very minor change to patent law: it would allow those sued for hardware or software patents the ability to recover litigation costs if it’s determined that the suing patent holder “did not have a reasonable likelihood of succeeding.”
A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday revived patent infringement claims brought by 01 Communique Laboratory Inc against LogMeIn Inc, sending LogMeIn shares down 16 percent.
According to another report, software patents are at risk from another direction:
The US court responsible for hearing patent appeals is showing fresh signs of disarray over the question of when software-based “inventions” can be patented. We recently covered a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that upheld a patent on the idea of using a computer to perform a particular kind of financial transaction. Now, just a couple of weeks later, the same court has reached the opposite conclusion about a patent on using a computer to manage a particular type of life insurance policy.
The patent in question dates to the late 1990s and is held by a firm called Bancorp Services. Because the courts have traditionally been skeptical of “business method” patents that merely claim a sequence of financial transactions—the Supreme Court invalidated one such patent in 2010, for example—Bancorp’s patent also claims a “system” for carrying out the necessary steps using a computer. It consists of a “policy generator,” a “fee calculator,” a “credit calculator,” and so forth.
The pro-Linux patent group claims to be growing, but it is not an opposer of software patents. To quote: “Open Invention Network (OIN) announced today significant growth in the size of its community of licensees year to date. Licensees continue to benefit from the value of OIN association and the freedom of action enabled by OIN’s licensing program. During the period, OIN had over 50 companies join its community of licensees, so that the community currently numbers over 460 open source supporters. OIN licensees, which include founding members and associate members, benefit from the leverage provided by a patent portfolio dedicated to the protection of Linux and access to enabling technologies through OIN and shared intellectual property resources.”
While we appreciate what the OIN is doing to protect Linux, it is far from a solution; it helps keep software patents in tact. █
“Writing non-free software is not an ethically legitimate activity, so if people who do this run into trouble, that’s good! All businesses based on non-free software ought to fail, and the sooner the better.”
Summary: How the attacks on Android and on GNU/Linux merely bring large companies that compete against Microsoft even closer; another look at Apple’s abominable behaviour
Cisco joining the OIN is an important piece of news because of the scale of Cisco and Sean Michael Kerner claims, based on reliable sources, that Microsoft’s patent cartel (built in part with Novell and Nortel patents) is the driver of OIN’s growth:
The Open Invention Network (OIN) got its start in 2005 as an organization tasked with creating a patent commons to help Linux.
Over the years it has grown, and in the second quarter of 2011, the organization added 35 new member companies. That number is down from the 70 new members that the OIN added in the first quarter of the year.
As to why growth was faster in the first quarter, the reason has to do with an event that caused many organizations to consider their patent positions.
“The first quarter was somewhat extraordinary as there was the hangover from the Department of Justice’s investigation of the Novell patent sale,” Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network told InternetNews.com.
It is nice to see that the OIN recognises threat in Novell’s patents. We have warned about this for almost 5 years. CPTN includes Oracle, Apple, and Microsoft, all of which attack Android.
Earlier this week, we learned that Apple managed to get a preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, barring it from being sold in the entire European Union – except for The Netherlands. The legal construct on which this injunction hinges was not a patent or trademark – it was something else entirely. It’s called a Community Design, was instated in 2002 and 2003, and, as I have learned, is far, far worse than anything the United States Patent and Trademark Office has ever come up with.
The Community Design was instated as part of Council Regulation No 6/2002. A Community Design is basically a trademark on the design of a product, whether it be software, hardware, or packaging. It is filed at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), and once granted, is valid in the entire European Union. Initially it is valid for a period of five years, but it can be extended five times to reach a total of 25 years. Every member state has several Community Design courts, which are regular courts allowed to take on matters relating Community Designs. So far, nothing special.
Resumen: Las noticias sugirien que IBM está mayormente entre los que trajeron el Intercambio de Patentes a Europa.
IBM es una empresa sobre las que tenemos sentimientos ambivalentes. Por un lado, IBM ayuda a que el fenómeno del software libre (abarcándolo más bien de atacarlo), pero por otra parte, IBM sigue siendo una empresa de software propietario en su núcleo y por lo tanto, aboga por políticas que entran en conflicto con una mentalidad/doctrina de software libre. No es ningún secreto que IBM prefiere mantener las patentes de software[http://techrights.org/2009/08/12/ibm-promoting-software-patents/] y su estrategia para defender el software libre en el proceso abarca sólo el software que IBM depende. OIN (Invención de Red Abierta) y RPX[http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/RPX], por ejemplo, no hacen más que legitimar el sistema al mismo tiempo tratar de la reforma en algunos aspectos (la disuasión demandas), especialmente en formas que son beneficiosas para IBM y sus aliados. En la superficie, esto puede parecer bien. OIN hace que el deteriorado sistema actual de un poco menos letal. Sin embargo, distrae la atención de una mejor y permanente solucion al problema en cuestión. En particular, la OIN hace casi nada para destacar los problemas fundamentales con las patentes de software. Una mirada a sus partidarios muestra por qué.
Recientemente escribimos sobre una iniciativa cuyo impacto es muy similar[http://techrights.org/2011/06/01/patent-mopolies-in-the-eu_es/]. El problema es que ahora esta iniciativa va más allá a Australia y el Reino Unido, que podría, a su vez, ayudar a validar algunas patentes allí. Para citar el presidente de la FFII (Fundación para una Infraestructura de Información Libre)[http://twitter.com/zoobab/statuses/76318976887619584]:
IBM validaría sus patentes de software a través de la Peer2Patent en el Reino Unido:
El punto de enfoque del Intercambio de Patentes está en cierto modo empeorando las cosas. Toma patentes que ya pueden ser dudosa y luego se extiende a los demás a despedir a uno o reforzarlas. Esto es lo que una publicación pro-patentes[http://www.managingip.com/Article/2840709/Managing-Patents-Archive/IBM-prominent-in-peer-to-patent-pilot.html] escribe sobre este tema:
Las primeras 20 solicitudes de patentes en la salida a bolsa del Reino Unido piloto de Intercambio de Patentes se han publicado en línea
Ahora es el momento de voluntarios para regar jardín o cosecharlas para aquellos de la talla de IBM, ¿eh? Bueno, citando este informe[http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/patent-site-broadens-public-access-to-review-process-30819], el presidente de la FFII señala[http://twitter.com/zoobab/statuses/76321802871255040] que:
Las solicitudes de patentes concedidas después de usar el sitio web de revisión intercambio de patentes será potencialmente más fuertes.
Nosotros explicamos nuestros puntos de vista[http://techrights.org/2011/05/25/peer-to-patent-in-the-uk/] sobre el tema muchas veces antes. APOYE A LA FFII, NO AL ENFOQUE de Intercambio de Patentes. La solución al problema de patentes depende de los intereses creados; para IBM, las “malas” patentes son el problema. Para Microsoft, las patentes “anti-Microsoft” son el problema. Para la gran mayoría de la gente, TODAS las patentes de software (tal vez las patentes en general, dependiendo de la zona/país) son un problema. █
What Europe needs is not what the United States needs
Summary: News suggesting that IBM is majorly among those who brought Peer to Patent to Europe
IBM is a company which we have ambivalent feelings about. On the one hand, IBM helps the Free software phenomenon (embracing it rather than attacking it), but on the other hand, IBM is still a proprietary software company at its core and therefore it advocates for policies which conflict with a Free software mentality/doctrine. It is no secret that IBM prefers to keep software patents and its strategy for defending Free software in the process mostly covers software that IBM depends on. OIN and RPX, for example, do nothing but legitimise the system while also trying to reform it in some ways (lawsuits deterrence), especially in ways that are beneficial to IBM and its allies. On the surface, this may seem fine. OIN makes the current broken system a little less lethal. However, it does distract from much better and more permanent solutions to the problem at hand. Notably, the OIN does nearly nothing to highlight the fundamental problems with software patents. A glance at its backers shows why.
IBM to validate its software patents through the Peer2Patent in the UK:
The peer-to-patent approach is in some ways making matters worse. It takes patents that may already be dubious and then it reaches out for others to either dismiss or reinforce them. Here is what a pro-patents publication writes about this subject:
The first 20 patent applications in the UK IPO’s peer-to-patent pilot have been posted online
Now it is time for volunteers to garden or groom them for the likes of IBM, eh? Well, citing this report, the FFII’s president points out that:
Patent applications granted after using the Peer To Patent website review will be potentially stronger
We explained our views on the subject many times before. Support the FFII, not the Peer To Patent approach. The solution to the patent problem depends on the vested interests; to IBM, “bad” patents are the problem. To Microsoft, “anti-Microsoft” patents are the problem. For the vast majority of people, all software patents (maybe patents in general, depending on the area/country) are a problem.
Resumen: ¿Por qué la “defensiva licencias de patentes” no forma parte de la solución al problema que el software libre está teniendo.
“La lucha contra las patentes una por una nunca eliminará el peligro de las patentes de software, al igual que aplastar mosquitos eliminará la malaria”, como Richard Stallman celebremente lo expuso. Por eso, todos lo que los refuerzos patentes dicen ser “defensivas” las patentes están totalmente perdiendo el punto, o simplemente mintiendo a todos. Considere la posibilidad de Novell, por ejemplo. Un año que dice ser “defensor” de Linux con OIN y al año siguiente vende esas patentes a Microsoft. Sí, eso es “defensiva” para usted. Tomemos Sun como otro ejemplo. Las llamados patentes “defensiva” que había en Java se utilizan ahora para demandar a Google, que pasa a compartir un asiento con Oracle dentro de la OIN. ¡Qué fracaso! Y luego están las estafas de Microsoft, que la empresa utiliza para fingir que es seguro usar las patentes de Microsoft. Nathan Willis ayuda a promover el software Mono de un empleado de Novell[http://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/444154:pinta-turns-10-and-brings-simple-image-editing-to-linux] a pesar del hecho de que el MCP de Microsoft deja vacíos legales. El análisis jurídico de los que resulta ser inútil.
Hay sin embargo otras de esas “defensivos” piscinas de patentes como se llama a sí misma (o de su proposición) de la Licencia de Patentes Defensivas (DPL), que se ha mencionado aquí antes [1[http://techrights.org/2010/05/08/8-stories-re-swpats/], 2[http://techrights.org/2010/05/19/germany-software-patents-ruling/], 3[http://techrights.org/2011/04/16/how-mobbyists-operate/]]. Se acaba de dar la charla siguiente, como se esperaba.
He escuchado toda la conversación y todavía no está a la altura de la realidad: la eliminación de las patentes de software. Los ponentes son gente amable, pero inútilmente hablan de “propiedad intelectual” y repiten como loros algunos pro-patentes temas de conversación. Ellos no se ocupan de la cuestión, o difícilmente lo harán. Es más como un grupo de defensa, de los cuales ya hay varios. Ellos tratan de encontrar los mecanismos legales para reducir el riesgo sin llegar a cuestionar el status quo, en lugar de limitarse a tomar las patentes de software concedidas. Tampoco proponen una solución a los trolls de patentes. Como señalamos ayer por la noche[http://www.law.com/jsp/tal/digestTAL.jsp?id=1202493630932&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1], Yahoo consiguió batir un troll de este tipo[http://techrights.org/2011/05/12/bedrock-swpats-loss/] (que dirigidos contra Linux), pero esto no es una estrategia sostenible. Linux ya está siendo gravado por algunas patentes de software y Red Hat, por ejemplo, esconde este hecho. Lo mismo hizo Novell. Es necesario eliminar con urgencia las patentes de software, sin excepciones. La FFII(Fundación para una Infraestructura de Información Libre), la FSFE (Fundación Europea de Software Libre) y la FSF (Fundación de Software Libre) ha estado en lo correcto todo el tiempo. █
Summary: Why the “Defensive Patent License” is not part of the solution to the problem Free software is having
“Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria,” Richard Stallman famously alleged. This is why all those patents boosters who claim to be gathering “defensive” patents are totally missing the point or simply lying to everyone. Consider Novell for example. One year it claims to be “defending” Linux with OIN and the following year it sells those patents to Microsoft. Yes, that’s “defensive” for you. Take Sun as another example. Those so-called “defensive” patents it had on Java are now being used to sue Google, which happens to share a seat with Oracle inside the OIN. What a failure. And then there are the Microsoft scams, which the company uses to pretend that it’s safe to step in Microsoft patents. Nathan Willis helps promote Mono software from a Novell employee despite the fact that Microsoft's MCP leaves legal holes. Legal analyses of that show it to be useless.
There is yet another one of those “defensive” pools and it calls itself (or its proposition) the Defensive Patent License (DPL), which was mentioned here before [1, 2, 3]. It has just given the following talk, as expected.
I have listened to the entire talk and it still falls short of actually eliminating software patents. The speakers are lovable people, but they unhelpfully speak about “Intellectual Property” and parrot some pro-patents talking points. They do not address the issue, or hardly ever do. It’s more like a defensive pool, of which there are already several. They try to find legal mechanisms to reduce risk without actually questioning the status quo, instead just taking for granted software patents. They also do not propose much of a solution to patent trolls. As we noted last night, Yahoo! managed to beat one such troll (who targeted Linux), but this is not a sustainable strategy. Linux is already being taxed by some software patents and Red Hat, for example, hides this fact. So did Novell. Software patents need to be eliminated urgently, without exceptions. The FFII, the FSFE and the FSF got it right all along. █