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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.

03.20.16

More Voices in the Media Against Microsoft’s Patent Aggression Against Linux, Prospects of Joining the Open Invention Network (OIN)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sign

Summary: Various journalists and bloggers express dissatisfaction with if not anger and disappointment at Microsoft’s hateful attitude towards GNU/Linux, which it is still attacking using software patents and threats of lawsuits

THERE is definitely growing awareness of Microsoft’s campaign against Linux. That’s progress. The company spent nearly a whole decade attacking Linux with patents, usually keeping a lot of it under the table, or behind NDAs. The secrecy isn’t working too well anymore.

“The Cultural Defeat of Microsoft” is a new essay which, in spite of not touching the patent aspect, helps reveal the core issues which led Microsoft to its patent aggression. Swapnil Bhartiya ‘wakes up’ to this whole situation, having written about this over a week ago (he flip-flopped on Microsoft’s intentions). Based on E-mails we’ve been receiving, many are pissed off at Bhartiya’s very latest article on the subject, saying that it’s akin to a yuppie nuremburg defense (for Microsoft). He spoke of a “section of the open source community that blindly hates Microsoft,” but that’s a fallacy because some people just know and remember what Microsoft has done, there’s no blindness about it. In fact, those who forget or are ignorant about it are blind. We’ll spare the insults here (some people are upset at Bhartiya) and just say that concern about Microsoft’s patent aggression isn’t misplaced and there’s no valid excuse for Microsoft doing this.

In relation to Phipps’ suggestions Bhartiya wrote:

5 reasons Microsoft may never give up on Linux patent claims

[...]

There are many reasons why Microsoft may not join the Open Innovation Network (OIN) anytime soon. First of all, if a company doesn’t want to use patents as a weapon, it won’t, whether or not it joins OIN.

At the same time, joining OIN doesn’t guarantee that a company won’t use patents as a weapon. Both Oracle and Google are OIN members and they have locked horns in one of the fieriest battles in the open source world. IBM is one of the founders of OIN and it has also sued companies (like Groupon) over various patents.

So as much as I believe joining OIN sends a positive message, I don’t think that’s _the_ ultimate solution.

This we can agree on. We wrote about the above issues several times before. But the joining (OIN) would at least be symbolic. There is still no indication whatsoever from Microsoft that it intends to stop the patent aggression. None. We shall expand on that point at some later stage and a later post.

Days before Bhartiya, SJVN wrote a similar article

The one thing Microsoft must do – but won’t – to gain open-source trust

[...]

So, why are people still paying up rather than fighting? Because patent litigation is incredibly expensive. It’s cheaper to pay a $5 to $15 per device licensing fee than to pay a small fortune and take even a remote chance of failure in court.

And Microsoft? Come on, back in 2014, Microsoft was already making about $3.4 billion from its Android patents. Samsung alone paid Microsoft a billion bucks to license its Android patents. This is serious money even by Fortune 500 standards.

In its last quarter, between volume licensing and patents, Microsoft accounted for approximately 9 percent of Microsoft’s total revenue.

And, that, of course, is why Microsoft is never going to stop charging for its Android patents. So long as the boys from Redmond can milk these patents for billions every year, they’re going to keep them.

An article by Susan Linton from around that time said: “A lot of speculation surrounded and followed Microsoft’s latest announcements with many questioning some its statements and motives. Most surmise it’s only because Microsoft needs Linux and Open Source that it’s changed its tune. Several have said that if Microsoft truly wanted to show its new leaf, they’d stop suing companies for dodgy patent infringement claims. Today Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols stated that’s pretty much how he sees it. Most of the patents Microsoft is suing over are for ideas already in the public domain. Microsoft will never give up that revenue stream. Why should they when companies like Canonical and Red Hat sign deals with them despite their actions? “So long as Microsoft can profit from Android patents while still working with open-source enterprises, the company has no reason whatsoever to change its ways.””

Does anyone believe that this is acceptable? Or that Microsoft “loves Linux” as it wants us to believe? Microsoft does not need to ‘make’ peace with Linux; GNU/Linux was never resisting peace, it’s only Microsoft that’s attacking. Even sites that are full of Microsoft apologists are unimpressed by what Microsoft has done. See the following:

Is Microsoft Trying To Attack Open Source And Linux With Its “Patent Bombs”?

[...]

Last week, Microsoft got involved in a legal issue and secured patent licenses from Wistron of Taiwan and Rakuten of Japan around Linux and Android technologies. While Microsoft is already making billions with its patents in Android, its history of Linux-related patent trolling isn’t hidden from anyone. The open source community remains frightened of Microsoft as no one knows who could be the next one to get a notice from Microsoft’s legal guys.

In another case that violates the trust of open source community, Microsoft has recently claimed that it came up with the idea for Continuum and “invented” the concept. On the other hand, Canonical has been working on Convergence since 2013, even though it was never released to the public up until recently.

There’s no doubt that Microsoft has made some serious contributions to the open source community and expressed its love for Linux. However, if Redmond really cares, it should work transparently to win the trust of the open source community as any company’s success in the world of open source depends on its users and developers.

Satya Nadella should also consider joining the Open Innovation Network (OIN) and sending a message the open source world to become a trusted member of the community.

Notice that both the above and the article from Bhartiya say “Innovation Network” rather than Invention Network. They don’t seem to have been keeping up with that area.

The noteworthy thing is, more and more voices now recognise the issue and call for cessation of patent aggression. That’s important progress.

12.14.15

The Open Invention Network and Software Patents

Posted in OIN, Patents at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The Open Invention Network’s latest addition and resultant publicity calls for a timely explanation of its goals and its inherent weaknesses

THE Open Invention Network, or OIN for short, recently did a publicity stunt because it had turned 10. I spoke to the OIN on numerous occasions (phone, E-mail), but I was never able to see the logic of their strategy, nor was I able to see a single example where they foiled a patent attack on Linux. They might argue that they are merely a deterrent, but with only barks and no bites, how much of a deterrent can they ever be? They’re 100% ineffective against patent trolls, including satellites of aggressors such as Microsoft. They weren’t even effective against Oracle’s patent aggression (direct action).

“As longtime readers may know too well, we’re not against patents but against software patents.”A few days ago I found this article/press release which said: “Today Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation are joining the Open Invention Network as community members. Linux and Open Source software are becoming a mainstay in automotive computing. With the first global automotive companies joining OIN, a trend has been set towards Open Source collaboration and patent non-aggression in the automotive industry. The news is in the press here on Yahoo Finance, here on Fortune.com and in many other places.”

As we have pointed out numerous times over the years, among OIN backers there are many software patents proponents, and it’s not just IBM. They serve to legitimise these patents rather than battle to put an end to them. That’s what OIN is often all about. It sets apart so-called ‘good’ software patents — ones that are supposed to be incapable of attacking Linux (Oracle refuted this claim when it attacked Android despite its OIN membership).

As longtime readers may know too well, we’re not against patents but against software patents. This positions of ours is supported by the vast majority of software professionals. Surely there are some problems with today’s patent systems as a whole (scope and motivation gone awry), but this oughtn’t be interpreted as a case for abolition of all patents. The Onion has this new satire on “How To File A Patent”. It has some funny bits in it like “Wait one to two decades” (for A patent to be granted) and “carefully review patent legal documents, occasionally stopping to nod your head as if you understand what they mean” (if they’re written in legal terms, patent lawyers sometimes become necessary, i.e. a tax).

We hope that patent examiners too will agree with us that not all domains should have patents in them, e.g. genetics and software. Over-patenting leads to devaluation, cheapening, self-discretisation, and retardation of innovation. We don’t expect patent lawyers — collectively speaking — to ever agree with us because to them it’s clearly a case of the more (patents), the merrier. Thankfully, there are some patent lawyers who have been enlightened by the former group, especially after decisions such as Alice in the United States. Some of our sources in the campaign to change the EPO are actually patent lawyers.

10.07.15

OIN Turns 10, IDG Floods the Web With Puff Pieces That ‘Normalise’ Software Patents

Posted in IBM, OIN, Patents at 1:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A conspiracy of silence over harmful software patenting

Three monkeys

Summary: The Open Invention Network (OIN) commissions or helps produce puff pieces in the corporate media because it has an anniversary and corporate interests to push forth (including the idea that software patents can coexist with Linux)

“OIN is a waste of time and money,” wrote the FFII’s President this week, “it was created by IBM [...] and collective shields don’t work against trolls” (we have explained this important point for nearly a decade).

Patent pools are not going to protect GNU and Linux, especially not from patent trolls. In private conversations between myself, the OIN and a potential patent trolls half a decade ago I was reminded of that. There is this press release titled “Open Invention Network Celebrates Its 10 Year Anniversary”, which even made it into Linux sites like LWN. OIN appears to have contacted journalists, as they did me on several occasions in the past. Katherine Noyes, who had worked for the Linux Foundation, was probably approached by OIN based on ‘exclusive’ (with quotations) coverage from IDG, which promoted OIN by throwing their stuff all over the place, in dozens of sites, to push their point of view [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

What we basically have here is a sort of front group for IBM, a proponent of (and lobbyist for) software patents, celebrating a massive software patents pact (not as effective as cross-licensing). Remember where the first person to head OIN came from…

OIN generally generated puff pieces in some other places, including mouthpiece of the plutocrats (like those who head large corporations, including IBM).

“Launched back in 2005,” Noyes wrote, “the OIN was formed by IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony to create a protected zone of patents around core Linux and open source software technologies — functionality that’s essential for open source projects and companies like OpenStack, Linux, Red Hat, SUSE, Android and Apache.”

The only surprising name above might be Red Hat, but Red Hat's weird stance on software patents these days is a subject we tackled many times before (over half a decade ago).

There is no room in this world for software patents, not even with the excessively glorified OIN. There is no way to reconcile and to coexist with software patents because small independent developers don’t have a war chest of patents. Companies like IBM and Microsoft have enormous leverage over them. OIN helps perpetuate an injustice. Is there an alternative to OIN? Yes. Just get rid of software patents altogether.

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