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07.27.16

OIN Makes Claims About “Open Source Innovation”, But It Produces Nothing and Protects Virtually Nobody

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, OIN, Patents at 4:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A better initiative would strive and work towards ending software patents, not faith-based ‘protection’

“Where knowledge ends, religion begins.”

Benjamin Disraeli

Summary: The Open Invention Network (OIN) reports growth, but in practical terms it does little or nothing to help developers of Free/Open Source software

THE function of OIN seems benign if not benevolent on the surface; the problem is, it helps distract from better efforts that would more effectively defend Free/Open Source software (FOSS). Another not-so-useful initiative was Peer-to-Patent, but it seems to be gone by now.

OIN is growing (see the OIN ‘Community’) and MRV has just joined OIN (see the press release [1, 2], mostly or completely overlooked by reporters). This is a sign of growth, but it is growth which won't help FOSS all that much because it was never truly designed with FOSS in mind. The “Open Source Innovation” mentioned in the title of the press release wrongly assumes this will be beneficial to FOSS, but unless every company in the world joined and vowed not to sue any of the other members (like Oracle suing Google), what would it achieve? And what about lawsuits by proxy? Even if Microsoft was ever to join, its patent trolls (two of which we wrote about last night) would still be capable of suing Linux developers/companies.

Speaking of which, even Android players are a patent menace at times (e.g. Sony). A new and relatively long article by Professor Jason Rantanen speaks about Ericsson’s patent troll, Unwired Planet, and its case against Apple. “This post will focus on the issue of fault in the context of Unwired Planet,” he wrote upfront, “although its observations about fault are relevant to issues of culpability in the context of enhanced damages determinations.”

Even if Ericsson was ever to join OIN, this would not prevent it from suing Android OEMs, directly or via proxies like Unwired Planet (which even operates in Europe now).

07.18.16

Large Corporations’ Software Patenting Pursuits Carry on in Spite of Patent Trolls That Threaten Small Companies the Most

Posted in IBM, OIN, Patents at 9:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hostile environment in which trolls thrive owing to software patents and cashless startups that must settle

Robert BahrSummary: With unconvincing excuses such as OIN, large corporations including IBM continue to promote software patents in the United States, even when public officials and USPTO officials (like Bahr on the left) work towards ending those

SOFTWARE patents remain a very major barrier not just to FOSS developers but to all software development. Such patents, unsurprisingly, are being promoted by monopolists and their facilitators, to whom they’re a major source of revenue. Those monopolists continually rig the whole system in their favour as they can definitely afford it; in fact, it might be considered part of the obligation to shareholders (protectionism through legislation).

The mainstream media or corporate media no longer talks about software patents. Instead it speaks about “patent trolls” and by patent trolls it means the small ones, not the media owners. Apple, for instance, is directly connected to some major media conglomerates, so bias in patent coverage is to be expected in some cases (we wrote about this in past years). Let’s be easily deluded and just ignore Apple demanding billions (not millions) from Android OEMs (patent aggression and sometimes trolling includes big vendors) and also forget Apple’s unique role in Intellectual Ventures (explained here several years ago), the world’s largest patent troll which goes after Android vendors. The article “Apple will pay $25M to patent troll to avoid East Texas trial” is eye-catching and so is “Newegg’s Three-Step Solution to Fighting Patent Trolls” by Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of Consumer Technology Association (CTA). This group likes to focus on patent trolls rather than patent scope. Here is some of the latest from Gary Shapiro:

Lee Cheng is a troll trapper. As chief legal officer for Newegg.com, the second-largest online only retailer in the United States, Cheng has successfully battled the almost three dozen trolls that have attacked his company in the last ten years. And not just fight them, but win.

Patent trolls — sometimes called “non-practicing entities,” or NPEs — don’t actually create any products or services. Instead, they scoop up patents for the express purpose of using them to extort money from real companies large and small that can’t or don’t want to pay high legal defense costs. NPEs focus on settlements and generally have no desire to test their generally poor-quality patents in trial and through appeal. Even bad patents can generate millions in settlement dollars.

A newly-updated Harvard Business School study finds patent trolls sue cash-rich firms “seemingly irrespective of actual patent-infringement” — because that’s where the money is. The Harvard researchers noted trolls are taking a toll on innovation at the firms they target: “After settling with NPEs (or losing to them in court), companies on average reduce their research-and-development (R&D) investment by more than 25 percent.” So instead of funding development of the Next Big Thing in consumer technology, these American small businesses are handing over legalized extortion payments to trolls.

Research estimates that patent trolls drain a prodigious $1.5 billion a week from the economy. I sat down with Lee Cheng to get a from-the-trenches account of the patent troll problem, and to let him share his lessons for taking down the trolls.

“They also rely a great deal on software patenting, as a look at their patent portfolio easily and instantly reveals.”What Gary Shapiro misses here is that patent trolls are often part of a broader shell game played by large corporations such as Microsoft. They also rely a great deal on software patenting, as a look at their patent portfolio easily and instantly reveals. All the focus is now being shifted towards trolls, both in the media and US Congress. Just see this new tweet (“VIDEO: Sen. Jeff Flake Targets Patent Trolls”).

Proskauer Rose LLP, which likes to cherry-pick cases in promotion of software patents, recently released this so-called ‘analysis’. They try to maintain a grip on software patents no matter what. Some large corporations are doing the same thing and it’s not limited to Microsoft. Consider IBM.

IBM’s commitment to Free software, especially now that it pays lobbyists like David Kappos for software patentability, should be seriously doubted. It just likes “Linux”. Manny Schecter, a patent chief at IBM, is an ardent proponent of software patents and he has just linked to “Latest very brief USPTO update to patent examiners on subject matter eligibility in view of recent cases…”

This is a PDF of a new Robert Bahr (Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy) letter regarding the Rapid Litigation case and Sequenom case (both covered here earlier this month). Herein he is alluding to Mayo and Alice as he might try to gently challenge these or begrudgingly adopt what the ‘pesky’ Supreme Court said. Here is a quote from the PDF: “In summary, the USPTO’s current subject matter eligibility guidance and training examples are consistent with the Federal Circuit’s panel decisions in Rapid Litigation Management and Sequenom. Life sciences method claims should continue to be treated in accordance with the USPTO’s subject matter eligibility guidance (most recently updated in May of 2016). Questions should be referred to Technology Center subject matter experts or your SPE.”

Where does IBM stand on the subject? It’s hardly even a mystery. IBM does not like Alice because IBM loves software patents and actively works to expand these to more countries/continents. At the same time IBM brags about OIN as though it magically makes IBM’s patent policies absolutely fine and compatible with FOSS. “I don’t think there is an alternative choice when you are small entity,” told me someone today. “When has OIN actually helped a small company? Even as a deterrent,” I replied. “When your entity is relatively small,” he said, “OIN represents a potential shield to provide you even a minimum of security.”

“Life sciences method claims should continue to be treated in accordance with the USPTO’s subject matter eligibility guidance (most recently updated in May of 2016).”
      –Robert Bahr
But how in practice can OIN protect one against a troll for example? It cannot. OIN is totally useless against patent trolls. Don’t ever forget that. I saw that firsthand when I was part of E-mail thread I had initiated. Small companies sometimes try taking rivals to court with their patents. If the rival is big enough, then countersuit is massive (IBM has a massive portfolio which virtually every software patents infringes on), defeating the very point of bothering with a lawsuit in the first place. Large companies may use trolls as satellites/proxies, so the lawsuits/countersuits can come from all sorts of mysterious directions.

“Intel and McAfee Sued for Patent Infringement,” writes Patent Buddy this week. Security Profiling LLC (LLCs are usually patent trolls) is suing in the Eastern District of Texas. What can Intel do about it? Nothing. Intel is now trying to sell/offload McAfee, based on last week’s news reports (see our daily links for half a dozen such reports). Has it become too much of a burden perhaps? The point about patent trolls and OIN sticks, no matter what. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has just fallen for the OIN public relations machine, joining the chorus which began with an 'exclusive' puff piece. OIN is not a “Linux” thing as some want it to be widely viewed; it’s mostly an IBM, Sony etc. thing. It helps legitimise software patents rather than acknowledge that they are not compatible with FOSS or Linux and thus need to be ended.

07.16.16

With ‘Friends’ Like IBM and Its ‘Open’ Invention Network We Legitimise Software Patents Rather Than End Them

Posted in IBM, OIN, Patents at 3:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Choice of a ‘lesser evil’ still leaves us with evil

A devil

Summary: Another reminder of where IBM stands on patent policy and what this means to those who rely on IBM for sheltering of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) or small businesses (SMEs) in a post-Alice era

Large corporations take it all when it comes to patents. Patent trolls are somewhat of a distraction and an obsession, as they help obscure the underlying problem with patent scope, including the existence of software patents. Consider IBM. IBM is itself a patent bully (with history). It uses software patents to attack far smaller companies and lobbies for such patents as well. IBM is opposing patent reform and it is also relying on its lobbyist (and former employee and former USPTO Director) David Kappos to maintain the status quo and abolish Alice as a factor, i.e. to prop up software patents at a time they’re increasingly dying.

“IBM is opposing patent reform and it is also relying on its lobbyist (and former employee and former USPTO Director) David Kappos to maintain the status quo and abolish Alice as a factor, i.e. to prop up software patents at a time they’re increasingly dying.”According to another new article from Fortune, which seems to have found an interest in patents lately, “innovation and entrepreneurship has been on a steady decline for the last 40 years, and the U.S. has ultimately become less competitive as large companies take a greater share of profits in their respective industries, and roughly as many small companies go out of business as start up annually. One particularly telling statistic: Nearly 60% of U.S. employees now work for firms founded before 1980, Kauffman says.” The article is titled “How Licenses and Patent Trolls Are Choking Entrepreneurship in America”. The current policy is basically an SME killer (they’re increasingly being eliminated by patents), whereas large companies don’t seem to mind this. They form conglomerates like OIN which provide them with a collective shield in many cases. Where does antitrust law come into this?

“Don’t be misled,” IBM’s Manny Schecter wrote regarding the above article, “this is about occupational licenses, not patent licenses even tho it is also about patent trolls”

Benjamin Henrion responded to Schecter by saying “patent trolls such as IBM. I had a look at your Prodigy patents complain[t], really insane.”

And right now, based on yet another corporate media puff piece (Bloomberg in this case), it sure looks like the OIN people are greasing up major journalists for puff pieces this week. iophk told us regarding this article: “When will Microsoft put their money where their mouth is and join?”

“Some may be friends of FOSS on the technical side, but when it comes to policy — especially patent policy — they are certainly part of the problem.”Well, when will IBM actually do something to stop the menace of software patents rather than promote these? Red Hat, which itself pursues software patents of its own (we wrote about this before), gets all excited about OIN even if it doesn’t achieve much. Today it wrote about it that “Fortune reports that Toyota has joined the Open Invention Network as a full member, joining IBM, Red Hat, Google and others.”

Unless or until OIN makes its goal also the abolition of software patents, why would the FOSS community have a good reason to embrace it? Look at the main parties behind OIN. Some may be friends of FOSS on the technical side, but when it comes to policy — especially patent policy — they are certainly part of the problem. Toyota itself is very close to Microsoft.

07.13.16

The Open Invention Network Keeps Growing, But It Helps Large Corporations, Not Free/Open Source Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, IBM, OIN, Patents, RAND at 6:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Piggy bank OIN

Summary: Free/Open Source software (FOSS) continues to be used as a cover for large corporations (like Google, IBM, NEC, Philips and Sony) to maintain a grip on patent pools and act as gatekeepers with software patents that they openwash (not even cross-license, as Oracle v Google serves to illustrate)

WE were never huge fans of OIN, which is why OIN’s CEO and PR people tried hard to convince us otherwise. I saw first-hand accounts where patent trolls were repelled by OIN, which didn’t quite seem to care (maybe because OIN cannot do anything at all about patent trolls, other than attempt to buy/harvest patents before they’re bought to be used offensively). OIN is basically the world’s biggest legitimiser of software patents. IBM, the main company behind OIN (recall its first head of operations, Jerry Rosenthal from IBM), is a patent bully and a notorious software patents proponent, so how can one honestly expect OIN to be part of a true solution? IBM is demonstrably part of many problems.

“IBM is demonstrably part of many problems.”According to this new article from Fortune, joining OIN makes one “a Patron of Open-Source Software” (what a ludicrous headline). To quote from the article: “It’s called the Open Invention Network, and its other members are Google, IBM, Red Hat rht , NEC nec-electronics , Philips phg , Sony sne , and SUSE (a unit of Britain’s Micro Focus). Fortune is the first to report Toyota’s startling move.

“Formed in 2005, OIN’s mission is to protect and encourage the collaborative development and use of open-source software, like the Linux operating system, which can be freely copied, altered, and distributed, and which no one person or company owns. OIN pursues a variety of strategies aimed at protecting the users and developers of such software against the threat of patent suits by proprietary software manufacturers, like Microsoft and Apple. Such suits, if successful, could deny users the freedoms that make open-source software desirable.

“That Toyota would now join the group reflects the growing importance that software is playing in cars, and the growing number of automakers who believe that open-source software is the best approach to providing many of the needed solutions for its vehicles. Open-source champions say such software is cheaper, more flexible, and of higher quality, because it benefits from the pooled resources of collaborative input.”

Toyota, a very close Microsoft partner (probably more so than any other vehicles maker), claims to have joined OIN, but what good will that do for FOSS? Nothing. Toyota is not even a software company. It’s about as relevant to FOSS as that openwashing campaign from Tesla (and later Panasonic). Total nonsense. It’s about as helpful to FOSS as RAND is and speaking of RAND (or FRAND), this new article from IP Watch speaks about FRAND in relation to Europe, where the term FRAND is typically a Trojan horse (or surrogate) for software patents in Europe.

“Toyota, a very close Microsoft partner (probably more so than any other vehicles maker), claims to have joined OIN, but what good will that do for FOSS?”Going back to OIN, it has done virtually nothing so far to protect FOSS. It’s like bogus insurance plan which does not actually work or cover anything (no matter the circumstances). Where is OIN every time Microsoft blackmails Linux/Android OEMs? Speaking of which, Professor Crouch has this new article about insurance based on patents (or copyright, trademark, and trade secret). He says that “Hammond’s insurance company USLI had refused to indemnify Hammond based in-part upon the intellectual property exclusion found in the policy that specifically excluded coverage for any “loss, cost, or expense . . . [a]rising out of any infringement of copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property rights.” Agreeing, the court particularly found that the basis for TCA’s attorney fee requests stemmed from the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act as well as the Copyright Act – even though no intellectual property infringement claim had been asserted in the underlying case.”

Look what we have come to. With misnomers like “intellectual property”, which compare ideas to “property” and ascribe physical attributes to them (like insurance traditionally did, covering for damage caused to physical things), no wonder the media says joining OIN is becoming “a Patron of Open-Source Software” (FOSS inherently rejects the notion of patron or owner, except in the copyright assignment sense).

“Fortune is the first to report Toyota’s startling move,” its author wrote, but in reality Fortune is the media partner to peddle Toyota’s marketing/propaganda, along with OIN’s agenda.

06.05.16

IBM, Google and Microsoft Patent Stockpiles Demonstrate That Today’s US Patent System Exists for Billionaires, Not for Inventors

Posted in Google, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 1:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not your grandfather’s patent system and not your grandfather’s IBM…

Reuters on tax havens
Creating virtual wealth. Remember Bill Gates ranting about the patent system when he was younger and Microsoft was a lot smaller. Now he makes billions out of various patents, including Monsanto’s, and he pays virtually no tax.

Summary: Persistent lobbying and a surrender of fast-growing companies to the system which was deformed so as to offer protectionism to the super-rich take their toll and distort the very essence that motivated patent systems in the first place

ACCORDING TO this dubious new chart from IAM, it’s not IBM but Google that supposedly leads based on some patent criteria. This is not a cause for celebration but a cause for alarm as over half a decade ago Google was somewhat of a patents antagonist and I spoke to relatively high-level managers at Google about it. Basically, Google erroneously made the choice to waste time and effort on patenting rather than fight an unjust system that had increasingly ganged up against Google.

In some sense, Google has become greedy and sort of defected. It is now actively pursuing patents on software (including patents on driving — something for which I developed an Android app with help from someone who worked at Google) and no wonder Google does nothing against software patents anymore. That would be hypocritical.

Now, the usual defense (not just from Google) might be that Google never attacks using patents unless attacked first, but then again, that’s just what happens in companies when they’re on the way up (ascent). As things begin to turn sour/bitter, as is already the case at IBM, the non-technical managers are turning aggressive and even attacking with any software patents at their disposal. They see patent aggression as a sort of ‘insurance policy’ or a Plan B. Microsoft, as we noted in our previous post, only began doing this a decade ago (to present), around the same time of Windows Vista and the Novell deal.

“If Google starts to nosedive (no company lasts forever, not even with government subsidies) sooner than the expiry (lifetime) of these patents, then there’s potential of selling/auctioning patents to patent trolls or attacking directly, as infamously IBM does.”Manny Schecter, who is in charge of patents at IBM, does not hide the company’s real intentions, lobbying for software patents, and even the lobbyists (people like David Kappos, who came from IBM). He’s quite reckless from a marketing point of view. “We should neither deny that the patent system promotes innovation overall and that abuse of it should be properly curbed,” he wrote the other day at Twitter. What about the patent abuse by IBM (Schecter’s department), which uses software patents against small companies? What does that tell us about OIN?

The FFII’s President responded to Schecter with “”promotes innovation” should be replaced by “promotes litigation”. Innovation cannot exist without any quantification.” As I put it across to both, the patent system was created to incentivise dissemination (publication), not to provide a litigation sledgehammer for billionaires to whack inventors.

Sadly, Google is now part of this whole ‘patent cartel’, as one might be tempted to call it. Google is not aggressive (at least not yet), but time will tell what happens with these patents. If Google starts to nosedive (no company lasts forever, not even with government subsidies) sooner than the expiry (lifetime) of these patents, then there’s potential of selling/auctioning patents to patent trolls or attacking directly, as infamously IBM does.

04.01.16

Grandes Reclamos de Oracle Contra Linux/Android Demuestra la Futilidad de la OIN

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, OIN, Oracle, Patents at 2:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Publicado en Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, OIN, Oracle, Patentes at 4:01 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Una solución que sólo los agresores de patentes y sus proponentes como IBM pueden coexistir

Ginni Rometty

Photo fuente (modificada ligéramente): Las 10 Mujeres Más Poderosas en Tecnología Hoy

Sumario: Oracle (de la OIN) esta enjuciando a Google (también de la OIN) por Android (Linux-based) y buscándo casi $10,000,000,000 en ‘daños’ sirve para mostrar que la OIN no es una atajo/solución al problema clave, que son las patentes de software

La guerra de patentes de Apple contra Android todavía esta en los titulares esta semana [1, 2, 3] y también hay un montón de artículos del caso de Oracle contra Android en nuestras diarias links. No hay duda, dado que Oracle reciéntemente se unió a la OIN, su ataque contra Android comprueba que la OIN está muy lejos de una solución. Oracle quiere recuperárse de la compra de Sun al usar patentes de software por la que los trabajadores de Sun trabajaron, junto a derechos de autor. “El caso tendrá ramificaciones mayores para las patentes de software y licensiamento en todo el mundo,” dijo este reportaje.

Aqui esta un nuevo artícule acerca de la Linux Foundation y la OIN. Para citar las partes más relevantes:

Cumplir con los requisitos legales es uno de los elementos clave que las grandes compañías de software sopesan en sus ciclos de lanzamiento. Tienen equipos que comprueban las patentes de software que puedan impactar en su código, asegúrarse de que todos los derechos de autor sean reconocidos y mirar las cláusulas detalladas de uso en cualquier software de terceros que utilicen.

Una de las razones para hacer esto es para evitar litigios costosos de compañías que se conocen como trolles de patentes. Estas son empresas que han comprado grandes grupos de patentes de software. Su modelo de negocio es como sigue, utilizar estas patentes para demandar a los desarrolladores y en la última década hemos visto una serie de demandas de alto nivel contra compañías como IBM, Microsoft, Google y otros. Algunas de ellas han sido rechazadas por los tribunales, pero otros han sido reafirmadas lo que cuesta cientos de millones de dólares en multas y costos.

Mientras que desarrolladores de código de fuente abierta puedan pensar que ellos están inmunes a este tipo de ataque, lo cierto es que no. Pueda ser que una pieza de software publicada como open source es más tarde presuntamente haber infringido una patente de software. Esto podría significar que alguien usando ese software sea encontrado culpable de infracción.

Para reducir el impacto de reclamo de patentes Google, IBM, Red Hat, SUSE, NEC, Philips y Sony crearon el Open Innovation Network. Su objetivo fue crear una pool (grupo) de patentes defensivas que pudiera ser usada para proteger Linux y a sus desarrolladores. Este ha hecho que más de 1946 compañías se unan a la OIN para usar sus patentes para defenderse así misma de ataques.

Cuando tu trabajas en patentes de software para una compañíá – no importa cuán benigna esa compañía sea – tu nunca sabes quién las conseguirá/usará. Vean la respuesta que recibí de de un trabajador de Red Hat (Alexandre Oliva) después de haber escrito esto, habiendo hecho un llamado a Red Hat detenerse en perseguir patentes de software y descolmillar las existentes. Como Oliva lo puso, “cuando me di cuenta de esto hace 6 años, comenze una campaña para que Red Hat convierta su Promesa de Patentes en una licensia actual, pero hasta hora no suerte. hasta que este problema mayor sea arreglado, no más aplicaciones de patentes de mi…”

Un crítico por largo tiempo de la OIN, Florian Müller, fue uno de los primeros en señalar que la OIN no sería efectiva ya que un miembro de la OIN (Oracle) enjuició a otro (Google). El tiene este nuevo post que dice: “Hay un interesante paralelo entre Apple versus Samsung (quiero decir su primer caso, con respecto al cual la Corte Suprema ha otorgado certiorari) y el Oracle versus Google Android-Java litigación sobre derechos de autor: en ambos casos, la mayoría de los cargos en disputa están basados en la teoría de restitución de los beneficios del infractor, y a primera vista, el monto reclamado por los propietarios de derechos parecen muy altísimos. Hay incluso más similaridades. Por ejemplo, en ambos casos, los acusados son protagonistas claves de Android. Pero también hay importantes diferencias reales, no limitados al hecho que patentes de diseño y derechos de autor son diferentes tipos de propiendad intelectual.

Estos casos de alto nivel sirver para demostrar los peligros de las patentes de software (Novell terminó en manos de Microsoft, Oracle en las manos de Apple y Red Hat podría terminar en cualquier lugar, dependiendo de quién lo compre y cuándo) y la inútil que es la OIN. La verdaderos personaje buscando por una reforma deben hacer campaña para la completa abolición de las patentes de software ellos mismos. El próximo post tratará con otras ideas de reforma/estrategias deficientes.

03.30.16

Oracle’s Huge Claims Against Linux/Android Demonstrate the Uselessness of OIN

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, OIN, Oracle, Patents at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A workaround that only patent aggressors and software patents proponents like IBM can coexist with

Ginni Rometty

Photo source (modified slightly): The 10 Most Powerful Women in Technology Today

Summary: Oracle (from OIN) suing Google (from OIN) over Android (Linux-based) and seeking nearly $10,000,000,000 in ‘damages’ serves to show that OIN is not a workaround/solution to the key problem, which is software patents

Apple’s patent war on Android is still in headlines this week [1, 2, 3] and there are a lot of articles about Oracle‘s case against Android in our daily links. No doubt, given that Oracle had joined OIN, its attack on Android proved that OIN is far from a solution. Oracle wants to recover the cost of buying Sun by just using patents that Sun workers worked towards, along with copyrights. “The case will have major ramifications for software patents and licensing the world over,” this one report said.

Here is a new article about the Linux Foundation and OIN. To quote the relevant part/s:

Meeting legal requirements is one of the key elements that large software companies factor in to their release cycles. They have teams that check for software patents that may impact their code, make sure that every copyright is acknowledged and look at the detailed usage clauses in any third-party software that they use.

One of the reasons for doing this is to avoid expensive litigation from companies often referred to as patent trolls. These are companies that have purchased large software patent libraries. Their business model is to then use those libraries to bring lawsuits against developers and over the last decade we’ve seen a number of high profile lawsuits against companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Google and others. Some of these have been dismissed by the courts but others have been upheld costing hundreds of millions of dollars in both fines and costs.

While open source developers might think that they are immune from this type of issue they are not. It may be that a piece of software that has been released as open source is later alleged to have infringed a software patent. This would mean that anyone using that software could be found guilty of an infringement.

To help reduce the impact of patent claims Google, IBM, Red Hat, SUSE, NEC, Philips and Sony created the Open Innovation Network. The goal was to create a pool of defensive patents that could be used to protect Linux and developers using Linux. This has been successful with over 1946 companies signing up to the OIN to use their patents to defend themselves from attack.

When you work on software patents for a company — no matter how benign a company — you never know who will get/use them. See the response I got from Red Hat staff (Alexandre Oliva) after writing this, having called for Red Hat to stop pursuing software patents and defang all existing ones. As Oliva put it, “when I realized this, some 6 years ago, I started campaigning for Red Hat to turn its Patent Promise into an actual license, but no luck so far. until this major problem is fixed, no more patent applications from me…”

A longtime critic of OIN, Florian Müller, was among the first to point out that OIN was not effective because one OIN member (Oracle) sued another (Google). He now has this new post which says: “There’s an interesting parallel between Apple v. Samsung (meaning their first case, with respect to which the Supreme Court has granted certiorari) and the Oracle v. Google Android-Java copyright litigation: in both cases, most of the damages at issue are based on the theory of a disgorgement of infringer’s profits, and at first sight, the amounts claimed by the right holders appear very high. There are even more similarities. For example, in both cases, the defendants are key Android players. But there are also some important factual differences, not limited to the fact that design patents and copyright are different types of intellectual property.”

These high-profile cases come to show the dangers of software patents (Novell’s ended up in Microsoft’s, Oracle’s and Apple’s hands and Red Hat’s could end up anywhere, depending on who buys it and when) and the uselessness of OIN. The real reform people should campaign for is abolishment of software patents themselves. The next post will deal with other deficient reform ideas/strategies.

03.22.16

Más Voces en los Medios Contra la Agresión de Patentes de Microsoft Contra Linux, Prospectos de Unirse a la Open Invention Network (OIN)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Publicado en GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 6:38 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sign

Sumario: Various journalistas y bloggers expresaron disatisfacción sino cólera y desilución contra las actitudes de odio de Microsoft contra GNU/Linux, a quién todavíá esta atacando usando patentes de software y amenazas de juicios

HAY definitivamente una creciente conciencia de la campaña de Microsoft contra Linux. Eso es progreso. La compañía pasó casi toda una década atacándo a Linux con patentes, usualmente conservando un montón de ello bajo la mesa, o detrás de NDAs (entidades no-prácticantes). El sígilo no esta trabajando más tan bien.

“La Derrota Cultural de Microsoft” es un nuevo ensayo, que a pesar de no tocar el aspecto de patentes, ayuda a revelar los asuntos vitales que llevarón a Microsoft emprender su agresión de patentes. Swapnil Bhartiya ´despierta´ a toda esta situación, habiendo escrito acerca de esto hace una semana (revirtió abruptamente las intenciones de Microsoft). Basado en correos electrónicos que hemos estado recibiendo, muchos están molestos con el último artículo de Bhartiya en la materia, diciendo que se parece a una yuppie defensa de nuremberg (para Microsoft). Habló de una ¨sección de la comunidad de open source que ciégamente odia a Microsoft,¨ pero eso es una falacia porque mucha gente sable y recuerda lo que Microsoft ha hecho, no hay ceguera alguna acerca de ello. En realidad, aquellos que olvidan o están ignorantes al respecto son ciegos. Dejaremos los insultos de lado (alguna gente está molesta con Bhartiya -y con razón) y que simplemente decir que preocuparse acerca de la agresión de Microsoft no está fuera de lugar y que no hay excusa válida para Microsoft hacer esto.

En relación a las sugerencias de Phipps Bhartiya escribió:

5 reasons Microsoft may never give up on Linux patent claims

[...]

Hay muchas razones porque Microsoft pueda no unirsea al Open Innovation Network (OIN) cualquier momento pronto. Primero que todo, si una compañíá no quiere usar patentes como armas, no lo hará, se una o no a la OIN>

Al mismo tiempo, unirse a la OIN no garantiza que una compañíá no usará sus patentes como armas. Ambas Google & Microsoft son miembros de la OIN y han enfrascado cuernos en una de las mas fieras batallas en el mundo del open source. IBM es uno de los fundadores de la OIN y también ha enjuciado compañíás (como Groupon) acerca de varias patentes.

Así que por mucho que crea que unirse a la OIN envíe un mensaje positivo, no creo que sea la decisión final.

En esto podemos estar de acuerdo. Escribimos acerca de las materias de arriba varias veces antes. Pero el unirse a la OIN sería por lo menos simbólico. No hay todavía indicaciones de cualquier manera que Microsoft intente detener su agresión de patentes. Ninguna. Expandiremos este punto más tarde y on otro post.

Dias antes que Bhartiya, SJVN escribió un artículo similar:

La única cosa que Microsoft debe hacer – pero no lo hará – para ganarse la confianza de la comunidad open source

[...]

Así que, ¿Porqué la gente todavía esta pagando antes que pelear? Por que la litigación de patentes es INCREÍBLEMENTE ONEROSA. Es más barato pagar $5 a $15 por licencias de aparato que pagar una pequeña fortuna y tomar el riesgo de perder en corte.

¿Y Microsoft? Vamos, el 2014, Microsoft ya estaba ganando cerca de $3.4 billones de sus patentes de Android. Sólo Samsung pagó a Microsoft un billón de dólares para licenciar ´sus´ patentes de Android. Esto es dinero serio incluso bajo estándares de Fortune 500.

En su último quarteto, entre licencias de volumen y patentes, Microsoft contó por apróximadamente 9% de su total de ganancias.

Y, eso por supuesto, es el por que Microsoft nunca va a detenerse de cobrar por ´sus´ patentes de Android. Mientras que los muchachos de Redmon pueda ordeñar esas patentes por billones cada año, lo van a seguir haciéndo.

Un artículo por Susan Linton de acerca de aquel tiempo dice: ¨Mucha de la especulación alrededor y seguida de los últimos anuncios de Microsoft con muchas interrogaciones y algunos de sus declaraciones y motivos. La mayoría lo resume a que sólo Microsoft necesita a Linux y OpenSource que ha cambiado su canción. Muchos han dicho que si realmente Microsoft quisiera mostrar su nueva hoja, deben dejar de enjuiciar compañías por sus astutos infringimientos de patentes. Hoy Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols dijo que eso es como el lo ve. Muchas de las patentes por las que Microsoft esta enjuiciando son por ideas que ahora estan en el dominio publico. Microsoft nunca renunciara a esa fuente de dinero. ¿Porqué entonces compañías como Canonical y Red Hat han firmado contratos con ellos a pesar de sus acciones? “Mientras Microsoft pueda ganar de sus supuestas patentes de Android mientras todavía trabaje con compañíás de open source, la compañía no tiene razón de cambiar sus acciones?

¿Alguién cree que todavía esto es aceptable? O ¿es que Microsoft ¨ama¨ a Linux como no los quieren hacer creer? Microsoft no necesita hacer paz con Linux; GNU/Linux nunca se resistió a ello, únicamente es Microsoft el que esta atacando. Incluso sitios llenos de los apologistas de Microsfot estan no impresionados por lo que esta haciendo. Vean lo siguiente:

¿Esta Microsoft Tratando De Atacar a Open Source y Linux Con ´Sus´ “Bombas de Patentes”?

[...]

La semana pasad, Microsoft se envolvió en un asunto legal y se aseguró un licensiador de patentes de Wilstron de Taiwan así como Rakuten de Japón acerca de tecnologías Linux y Android. Mientras que Microsfot ya esta cosechando billones con ´sus´ patentes en Android, su historia de trolling Linux con patentes no está escondida para nadie. La comunidad de open source permanece asustada de Microsoft ya que nadie sabe quién será el próximo en recibir una noticia de los abogados de Microsoft.

En otro caso que viola la confianza de la comunidad de open source, Microsoft reciéntemente ha reclamado que fueron ellos los que idearon Continuum e ¨inventaron¨ el concepto. En la otra mano, Canonical ha estado trabajando en Convergence desde el 2013, aunque nunca fue publicado hasta reciéntemente.

No hay duda que Microsfot ha hecho algunas contribuciones a la comunidad de open source y ha expresado su ´amor´ por Linux. Sin embargo, si a Redmond realmente le importa, debería trabajar transparentemente para ganar la confianza de la comunidad de open source como cualquier otra exitosa compañíá en el mundo depende de sus usuarios y desarrolladores.

Satya Nadella también debería considerar unirse al Open Innovation Network (OIN) y enviar un mensaje al mundo de open source para convertirse en un confiable miembro de la comunidad.

Noten que ambos el de arriba y el artículo de Bhartiya dicen “Innovation Network” en vez de Invention Network. No parecen estar al tanto en esa area.

La cosa digna de notar es, más y más voces ahora reconocen el problema y llaman a un cese en al agresión de patentes. Eso es un progreso importante.

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