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12.01.18

Patent Offices Reward Microsoft for Corruption

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No-OOXML

Summary: The EPO and Britain’s UKIPO join the USPTO in making Microsoft’s proprietary format the ‘standard’ in filing; this merely perpetuates the negative publicity associated with patent offices

THIS IS not an unfamiliar topic. A decade ago (or more) we wrote hundreds of articles about Microsoft’s OOXML-related abuses. Corrupt European Patent Office (EPO) officials now help the abusers from Microsoft by advancing their fake ‘standard’ that they bribed and corrupted ISO for. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does too, but the latter is based in the US (where Microsoft is based, unlike ISO, which is Europe-centric).

“We suppose they’re perfectly OK being agents of Microsoft, rewarding the company for its corruption instead of embracing open standards anyone can use (not just clients of Microsoft).”As IP Kat put it two days ago: “The EPO and UKIPO are teaming up to make online filing easier to understand. In the EPO and UKIPO online services workshop you will learn about the EPO’s web-based online filing system and the second phase of the DOCX filing pilot. Witness a live demonstration of Mailbox and hear an overview of best practice interaction with the EPO.”

No ODF pilot? Why not? We suppose they’re perfectly OK being agents of Microsoft, rewarding the company for its corruption instead of embracing open standards anyone can use (not just clients of Microsoft).

09.16.18

Watchtroll and Other Proponents of Patent Trolls Are Trying to Change the Law Outside the Courts in Order to Bypass Patent Justice

Posted in America, Law, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 11:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Court's steps

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) voids almost every software patent — a reality that even the most zealous patent professionals have come to grips with and their way of tackling this ‘problem’ is legislative, albeit nowhere near successful (so far)

TWO years ago we still wrote some articles about the EPO‘s relationship with Microsoft — a subject we had covered in years prior to that and got us some threats from the EPO’s lawyers. A few weeks ago we wrote about the USPTO in relation to "Changing Rules to Punish PTAB Petitioners and Reward Microsoft for Corruption at ISO" — a subject which was later discussed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC), as scheduled earlier this month. Based on Watchtroll’s report on this: “The USPTO is also looking to encourage patent applicants to file their applications in the DOCX format by introducing a new surcharge for utility non-provisional applications that are filed in formats other than DOCX. This would introduce a new $400 fee for such applications. According to Hourigan, the decision to encourage DOCX-format filings is intended to simplify the sharing of application data as DOCX files are XML-based. Other formats, such as PDFs, must be converted to XML using optical character recognition (OCR), a technology which is a source of potential errors.”

“Related to this is a bill that deals with fee-setting authority, as covered by CCIA three days ago.”So they basically decided that proprietary Microsoft formats are the gold standard? This is ridiculous. What about ODF (Open Document Format) or XML-based formats that do not contain blobs and Microsoft-specific directives like OOXML?

Related to this is a bill that deals with fee-setting authority, as covered by CCIA three days ago. Josh Landau (CCIA’s main patent matters person) said:

Today, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to markup Rep. Chabot’s newly-introduced SUCCESS Act, which is itself a combination of portions of two other bills Patent Progress has covered: Reps. Comstock and Adams’ SUCCESS Act, and the fee-setting authority contained within Rep. Chabot’s BIG DATA for IP bill.

Each bill is individually worthwhile. The SUCCESS Act attempts to address the relatively low number of patent applications filed by underrepresented groups. And fee-setting authority is important to help prevent marginal patents from being issued.

At the same time, Rep. Chabot’s bill does not currently incorporate any of the suggested improvements to the SUCCESS Act designed to study the impacts of patents that never should have been granted when they’re used to threaten innovative companies founded by underrepresented minorities. Without these improvements, the SUCCESS Act can only study a portion of the barriers to innovation faced by underrepresented minorities.

The problem with many of these bills is that they’re promoted by bribed politicians. They try to shape the law depending on which millionaires and billionaires sponsor them.

Going back to Watchtroll, a site that promotes several anti-PTAB bills (but hasn’t done so recently), on the same day (as the above) it published complete nonsense, pretending that patents are necessary for startups and whatnot (they’re not). In “Can I hold on long enough until the madness stops?” (also published on the same day) Watchtroll gives Jeffrey Killian a platform in which to frame patent quality as “madness”. These people are laughable. Here’s the portion which bemoans Section 101: “This anti-patent bias toward software is illustrated in many ways. The Supreme Court of the United States added the words “abstract” and “significantly more” to 35 U.S. Code § 101 and did not define such terms. Previously 35 U.S. Code § 101 granted patents in the past and now 35 U.S. Code § 101 has become a provision to deny software patents on a wholesale basis. The added judicial exceptions were not approved by Congress, the law still reads the same, the added and undefined terms were legislated from the judicial bench. Something is inherently wrong with this situation from a common person’s viewpoint.”

SCOTUS decided on Alice and patent maximalists like Watchtroll and Patently-O try hard to get US Congress to intervene, counterbalanced by the likes of HTIA, CCIA, EFF etc.

Patently-O meanwhile says that the “House [is] Considering [a] Bill that Would Preclude Enforcement of Injunctions Against Non-Parties,” interjecting the author’s views as follows: “I am trying to envision the problems this creates for patents, and happen to be writing a book on Remedies right now. Problems?”

Injunctions are basically something like an embargo, imposed by the ITC typically. We have already seen how the ITC simply disregards judgments made by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) on inter partes reviews (IPRs), before or after the Federal Circuit gets involved. This means thar they disregard and totally disreprect the principle of due process — something which certainly makes the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seem rather aloof or detached from the rule of law.

Courts aren’t entirely “pure”, but high courts a lot less impure than politicians with “campaign contributions” and a patent office that measures “success” by number of patents rather than justice. So we’d rather rely on Justices than on a bunch of politicians.

08.16.18

USPTO Craziness: Changing Rules to Punish PTAB Petitioners and Reward Microsoft for Corruption at ISO

Posted in America, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 7:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mr. Iancu and his colleagues do not appear to understand (or care) that they are rewarding Microsoft for epic corruption at ISO and elsewhere

No-OOXML

Summary: The US patent office proposes charging/imposing on applicants that are not customers of Microsoft a penalty; there’s also an overtly and blatantly malicious move whose purpose is to discourage petitions against wrongly-granted (by the USPTO) patents

THE previous post spoke about how the Federal Circuit rejects software patents, as does the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). An inter partes review (IPR) is almost guaranteed to thwart any software patent if it is applied to one (not a cheap process, but a lot more affordable than a court battle, which can only be initiated by patent holders).

“Iancu was a pick of the notoriously corrupt Trump, whose firm had previously worked for Trump. Coincidence?”It is no secret that Director Iancu wrote articles in support of software patents and software patents are not valid anymore, based on what the SCOTUS has decided. This means that the person whom Trump put in charge of the patent office in inherently is disagreement with patent courts. An untenable situation? Iancu was a pick of the notoriously corrupt Trump, whose firm had previously worked for Trump. Coincidence?

Either way, everything we have seen so far confirms our worst fears — that Iancu would work for the patent microcosm rather than for science and technology. The patent system was conceived to serve that latter group, not a bunch of lawyers, but things have changed since conception and nowadays the Office is adding yet more fees that make expensive lawyers a must to some. With prohibitive costs, too (maybe $200 per hour). Punishing poor companies, obviously.

Docket Navigator has been covering quite a few 35 U.S.C. § 285 cases/motions lately, with some being successful, i.e. when some troll or bully made bogus claims it was punished financially for it. Those are the courts doing so, not the Office. In Phigenix, Inc. v Genentech, Inc. (based on this latest Docket Report), the court ended up considering the argument regarding frivolous patent lawsuits. Will the court make it more expensive to the abuser? That remains to be seen. “Following summary judgment,” Docket Navigator wrote, “the court granted defendant’s motion to join plaintiff’s founder/inventor as a necessary party and pursue attorney fees against him under 35 U.S.C. § 285.”

Upcoming changes at the USPTO do not look promising however. For at least three reasons.

Firstly, the patent microcosm is being shielded from competition. “It is no secret to anyone in the industry; the unauthorized practice of law is rampant, and OED does nothing to stop it,” Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) said yesterday. Terms like “unauthorized practice of law” (used both in the body and headline of Watchtroll) imply that it’s illegal to represent oneself too. The patent and litigation ‘industries’ want a monopoly on this activity. A form of corruption surely? Consider Iancu’s professional background and how he might view this.

Secondly, this Trump appointee would have loved to abolish PTAB and destroy patent quality, but SCOTUS and CAFC are not allowing that to happen. He’ll still try though. He might even ignore Oil States and try to just price IPRs out of reach. Here’s what Kevin E. Noonan, a patent maximalist, wrote a couple of days ago

On August 8th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued revisions to its Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Guide (see “Trial Practice Guide Update”), first promulgated in 2012 as part of the Office’s implementation of inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and covered business methods review (CBM) proceedings established under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). As discussed in an accompanying memorandum from USPTO Director Iancu, this update is part of the Office’s plan to issue updates periodically, on section-by-section, rolling basis; the Director anticipates further future updates “to take into account feedback received from stakeholders, changes in controlling precedent or applicable regulations, or the further refinement of the Board’s practices over time.”

In addition to being a resource for petitioners and patent owners, the Guide has as its purpose “to encourage consistency of procedures among panels of the Board,” akin to the role of the MPEP with examiners. As with the practice of having “expanded panels” to promote consistency in decisions, this function further limits the extent to which APJ’s activities are consistent with an independent adjudicatory arm of the USPTO.

It’s just a pretext for price hikes, as Michael Loney noted in a couple of articles. The first one spoke of changes to the process:

AIA Trial Practice Guide changes attracting the most attention are patent owners getting sur-replies and the opportunity to present a brief sur-rebuttal at the oral hearing, giving them the final word in PTAB proceedings

That should not take long, should it?

Thirdly, and finally, there is the most ridiculous thing of all. The USPTO will apparently punish people for using non-Microsoft binary (OOXML) format. How is this not corruption at USPTO? Microsoft used corruption to impose OOXML on the world, now USPTO punishes those who use standards! OOXML is not really a standard; it has binary blobs in it and Microsoft bribed officials and delegates for it. Here are the details:

The USPTO is seeking across-the-board fee increases, as well as a new fee surcharge for filing in a non-DOCX format and an annual active patent practitioner fee

So they are making it more expensive yet again (25%) in an effort to suppress IPRs. Battistelli used the same tricks as Iancu. He kept raising the costs of appeals (against bogus patents) in an effort to reduce patent quality and hide all this.

Iancu’s proposed fee hikes for PTAB IPRs obviously harm small businesses the most. Who benefits? Microsoft. Who else benefits? Lawyers. But that pretty much sums up what this leadership became, even in direct defiance of US courts as high as the Supreme Court. We hope that these proposals will be imminently challenged.

03.13.17

Ten Years Later, Microsoft Admission on Dirty Tricks and Borderline Corruption Which It Uses to This Day in Order to Suppress GNU/Linux Adoption in Desktops

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 7:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Munich, pay attention

“I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

Summary: Remarkable new admission from the former head of Microsoft Office development, who makes it no secret that the war over file formats (trying to pass off proprietary formats as a ‘standard’) was “a critical competitive moat” (denying the competition access to the desktop)

Microsoft is a very corrupt company. I should know. I wrote many thousands of articles about it, including nearly 1,000 articles about the OOXML saga (almost as many as the EPO saga that makes the US counterpart look like an angel).

I’ve noticed something over the past few years, and I cannot understand if it’s due to erosion of collective memory or due to young people joining in, with little or no understanding of Microsoft’s past (which mostly continues to present, just better veiled or misleadingly marketed). Reddit actually censored a link to this article of ours about Microsoft's ongoing attacks on Free software proponents. It was deleted from the Linux subreddit. Is this like a new thing? Cannot criticise Microsoft even in Linux-centric forums? It had a lot of upvotes and comments. It was on topic and widely appreciated by most. We have been hearing similar things over the past two weeks in relation to other forums, but were unable to verify with strong enough evidence that this was a conscious decision to gag members who had criticised Microsoft. Is the “Microsoft loves Linux” charm offensive targeting enough gullible people to actually be effective?

“Is the “Microsoft loves Linux” charm offensive targeting enough gullible people to actually be effective?”Anyway, this new article was brought up yesterday in the Linux subreddit. It is not directly about GNU/Linux, but as the title put it, “Former head of Microsoft Office development brags that file formats were “a critical competitive moat””

So now they admit this so openly. Having infected so many infrastructures with OOXML lock-in, which typically limits or prevents access by Free software users. Or has developers wasting a lot of time chasing a bogus ‘standard’ that even Microsoft cannot implement or conform to.

“Gates spoke about breaking compatibility on numerous occasions (that we caught him in antitrust exhibits). The above is just one example among several which we covered here before.”This head of Microsoft Office development wrote: “This is probably already way too long but I also wanted to just touch on the ongoing discussions we had with Bill Gates over my entire career at Microsoft that directly related to these perspectives on complexity.”

Gates spoke about breaking compatibility on numerous occasions (that we caught him in antitrust exhibits). The above is just one example among several which we covered here before.

The thugs from Microsoft, for those who cannot recall articles from one decade ago, bribed, colluded and did even worse things for OOXML. The whole thing was a culmination of desperate need to counter fair competition through ODF. Microsoft was put under investigations, but just like Battistelli at the EPO it always managed to get away with it. It never got punished for it. It was absolutely extraordinary and it demonstrated what a large corporation can get away with. It was a good example of when crime pays off, and one manages to stay out of jail “because well-connected” or “that’s just business” or “we deny the allegations.”

“Well, the only ‘standard’ Microsoft accepts and embraces is Microsoft.”In Reddit, a lot of people commented about this issue. One person said: “I’ve said before that even Microsoft couldn’t re-implement MS Office file formats in another product with perfect compatibility, and here they admit it!’

They almost admitted it before and we quoted them on it. Nobody ever implemented OOXML, not even Microsoft. It was just a mirage ‘standard’ — or the mere pretense that Microsoft and its proprietary software adhere to industry standards. Well, the only ‘standard’ Microsoft accepts and embraces is Microsoft. None of that has changed. All other embraces are “embrace, extend, extinguish” (EEE). Right now it’s trying to interject such bogus 'standards' into Free/Open source software.

03.17.16

Institutional Failure and Dirty Tricks: Benoît Battistelli Seemingly Gets Support Like Microsoft Gets Support

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 1:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When all votes count as equal…

Arūnas Želvys, Director of the State Patent Bureau of the Republic of Lithuania, and EPO President Benoît Battistelli sign the agreement
Published only hours ago. Where next? Croatia?

Also see: Benoît Battistelli: “An Earthquake Would be Needed for the Administrative Council... Not to Support My Major Proposals.”

Summary: Today’s reminder that Battistelli is not at all monitored or ‘bossed’ by the Administrative Council, which he not only comes from but also offers incentives to (days after waving EPO money at Dutch politicians in an effort to influence them to place the EPO above the law)

BACK in the days — nearly a whole decade ago — we used to thoroughly cover Microsoft’s use of corruption to make Microsoft Office an ‘open’ ‘standard’. Given enough money, power, connections etc. one can conceivably achieve anything, especially in poor countries where even dental treatment is a massive treat. Remember that Microsoft offered financial incentives to entire countries (or politicians’ own cities) in an effort to buy their votes. Conversely, sometimes blackmail gets used (“do what we say, or else…”). We covered examples of that. Well, Microsoft still relies on bribes (to officials) to get business 'done'.

The EPO, which is especially close to Microsoft, is hardly any better. Rather than label itself a private or ‘public’ (in the shareholders sense) corporation it is an international body that acts like a corporation and enjoys exemptions from the law. It even calls itself “European”, even though the only European thing about it is the staff. The EPO is connected to some very powerful people from all over the world and therefore it guards powerful people, obviously at the expense of ordinary Europeans. Battistelli is a good example or a symptom of this, for reasons we covered here many times before. Battistelli often looks more and more (at least appears to outsiders) like he’s carrying out the orders or instructions of somebody else (or many somebodies). The way I personally look at it (yes, personally), Battistelli is the first domino piece to fall and serve as a deterrence against those who follow his footsteps and implement so-called ‘reforms’ that abolish human rights, commonwealth, etc. Next on the list might be Kongstad, e.g. for protecting Battistelli for many years and then hiding his contract. EPO workers need Kongstad to get Battistelli out, but they won’t see it any time soon because Battistelli is Kongstad’s predecessor and the latter now acts more like his guardian (we first pointed this out in 2014). In order to implement popular change (not corporate/billionaires’ change) at the EPO, the Administrative Council too needs to be tackled. They’re mostly lawyers from national patent offices, they’re not scientists or examiners. They too need to be shaken a bit. Then, staff may move on to other culprits (whose power if not reputation as well will be simpler to destroy based purely on their unethical actions, as they’re low-profile people compared to Battistelli and Kongstad).

“Well, Microsoft still relies on bribes (to officials) to get business ‘done’.”The EPO scandals will surely outlive Battistelli and Kongstad, so EPO staff should be prepared for a longer struggle before sanity is restored, the EPC is obeyed, human rights are respected and so on.

As one reader put it the other day: “It can be a course of events, but I am afraid the domino effect might not be as automatic as we wish. For sure active pressure, e.g. by media and union action, will be needed and still well organized. Laws in and about EPO are murky, so that no matter how unreasonable and indefensible some managers’ behaviour might be, they might still get away with it.

“Another key factor would be to get ever more examiners getting out of the dark when showing support and denouncing abuses. This could set the beginning of an end, so to say.

“Another key factor would be to get ever more examiners getting out of the dark when showing support and denouncing abuses.”
      –Anonymous
“If Battistelli’s and/or Kongstad’s ditching takes longer than this year, we might lose the momentum, with examiners retreating their heads in their necks and Union back in its self-referential playing of pretending to be Machiavellis they never were, and as if they have a hundred years to play about.”

Earlier today some people’s hearts sank because they came to realise that the Administrative Council is not on their side. Doctored results and fake union recognition at EPO apparently fooled those who wished to be fooled. This didn’t surprise us at all, but it’s only an expected step, probably to be followed by strikes.

In the mean time, as there is a personal aspect to my activism/reporting in this area (I am a software engineer worried about software patents), I decided to also take personal action and therefore contacted some delegates. I sent them the following message a few days ago:

I am writing to you as a concerned European and as a software professional based in the UK. As you may know, the management of the EPO is under heavy attack for its mistreatment of staff, which even led to an imminent Office-wide strike and resulted in staff suicides (see TV coverage from earlier this month in Germany). However, I am a lot more concerned at the moment about a parade of misinformation, intended to distract from this and also mislead delegates of your country, who shall soon be attending the Administrative Council meeting in Munich. I want to keep this short, so let me highlight two kinds of lies you may be told by the EPO. The first lie concerns so-called union recognition. There is no such thing at the EPO, except a quasi-staged signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with a tiny union that hardly represents even 1% of staff at the EPO (the real union represents about half of all staff). This is intended to lull delegates into the illusion that relationships between staff and management have improved. It’s far from the truth. In fact, over 91% of staff which voted on a strike last week voted in favour. EPO workers are unwilling to tolerate the abusive management, in spite of their salary and despite the risk of voting in favour of a strike (the ballot provides no real privacy). The second point I must stress is that when the EPO claims improved performance, efficiency, results etc. these claims must be regarded as dubious/questionable at best. Numerous people, professionals in the field in fact, have already demonstrated that the EPO uses misleading statistics in order to give an illusion of success. This, in their minds, is intended to distract from (or justify) the aforementioned abuses and consequent unrest.

Over the past few months I’ve covered examples where the EPO lies not only to staff but also to journalists. In a desperate effort to salvage their reputation they are now creating an alternate reality. Sceptical analysis of EPO claims thus becomes a survival skill.

I want to see the EPO repaired. I wish to see it serving the European people and European interests. Right now the EPO is merely being used by very few people to advance their personal interests and this is unsustainable. It will, over the long run, damage Europe’s science, technology, and reputation.

My sincere regards,

Roy Schestowitz

Judging based on the message from John Alty today (UK-IPO), whom I contacted a few days ago, there’s no pleasant surprise, just the expected complicity. “Just back from @EPOorg Council meeting,” he wrote. “Strong statement of Council’s expectations to encourage improved social engagement.”

“Amid abuses that are widely recognised both at the EPO and outside of it the ‘opposition’ sounds like not even a slap on the wrist (hardly even that).”It’s hardly a strong statement. Amid abuses that are widely recognised both at the EPO and outside of it the ‘opposition’ sounds like not even a slap on the wrist (hardly even that).

Earlier today one anonymous person sent us a stream of messages about the outcome of the Administrative Council meeting. Among them:

  • “Unfortunately hard measures against Battistelli are off the table! The AC welcomed the impressive results for production & quality.”
  • “In order to address the social issues, the AC and Battistelli jointly agreed to launch a programme of actions to be implemented in the coming months.”
  • “The revision of the investigation guidelines, which was launched by the office in January, and the revision of disciplinary proc.”
  • “of course they do however the supreme question here remains unanswered, that is… who is the axis of evil? BB of the AC?”
  • “That was the biggest mistake ever and I warned in the past. Clearly a conflict in interests.”
  • “well it isn’t over yet, we need to wait till the end of the day to get a real picture of the situation, let’s keep our fingers”
  • “that is in preparation and the next logical step. Sad to say that a few thousands of staff members will be downhearted today!”

“It was rather unlikely all along that Administrative Council folks would be the ones to take serious action against Battistelli; not therein lies redemption anyway (the Administrative Council is simply too self-absorbed to care about EPO staff).”My response to the above was, EPO workers should go on strike and denounce not only EPO management but also the Administrative Council for being supine, complicit, and disinterested. It was rather unlikely all along that Administrative Council folks would be the ones to take serious action against Battistelli; not therein lies redemption anyway (the Administrative Council is simply too self-absorbed to care about EPO staff). This one comment which we received earlier today put in context this EPO announcement (warning: epo.org link) that we had noticed hours earlier. There is also this post-meeting hogwash (warning: epo.org link) for those who believe what the EPO says to the media. The latest EPO propaganda now tries to paint the Office as poor-friendly/SME-friendly (a total lie amid PACE propaganda in Twitter today, as well as more from Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP) and also serves to highlight what may have happened behind the scenes. In the words of the commenter:

I see Mr. Battistelli has signed an agreement to subsidize searches carried out for Lithuanians as for “Cyprus and other member states”. Only a cynic would suggest that this is a mechanism to encourage these states to support him in the AC.

EPO link: http://www.epo.org/news-issues/news/2016/20160317.html

Some believed that Battistelli had "bribed" lower management for support (like Microsoft did for OOXML at ISO) and now again some interpret that as a bribe. This is not sufficient evidence, but still, it cannot count for nothing at all. There is at the very least a perception that Battistelli gave some gifts and got one back. Remember Battistelli’s money-waving strategy when dealing with Dutch politicians. It hardly works in rich countries.

There is already an article about this latest development. It comes from NRC. Human-corrected machine translation of this article was provided, as usual, by Petra Kramer, who put it as follows:

EPO Member States want fair sanctions

[Kramer: They changed the headline. First it was “After criticism EPO workers now getting fair sanctions”
see: http://drimble.nl/overige/business/34514479/na-kritiek-krijgen-werknemers-europees-octrooibureau-nu-eerlijke-sancties.html]

Majority votes for compromise over sanctions

The controversial punitive measures for employees of the European Patent Office, with among others an office in Rijswijk, are to be reviewed. With 12 abstentions 26 of the 38 Member States of the office Wednesday in Munich have voted in favour of fair sanctions, sources confirm.

The international organization (7,000 employees) accepts patent applications and grants European patents. The position of the President of the Agency, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli (65) is under pressure because of his “authoritarian” management style. During a critical interview in early March with State Secretary Martijn van Dam (Economic Affairs, Labour Party) which Battistelli left in anger, this newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Governing Council, the highest body consists of the 38 member states, including the Netherlands, have great concern about the dismissal and demotion of three members of SUEPO trade union and the works council. So far Battistelli showed not to be very receptive to this criticism. In leaked minutes of February, the board of the Management Board described the situation as “a crisis.”

The council, which met Wednesday and Thursday in Munich, would rather an external investigation into the sanctions. In today’s resolution, which today is made public, that demand has been weakened. Battistelli must now consider an investigation or intervention through mediation or arbitration. The management board calls the patent office and the trade union to resume social dialogue and to reach an agreement. The president has embraced the content of the resolution, according to the patent office.

As an international organization the patent office claims not to be bound by national labour law. Battistelli does not recognize SUEPO union, which represents half of the total staff, either. The patent office has its own disciplinary procedures and an internal investigation service to screen workers. The method of this investigation service and the penalty rules are to be revised.

It is unclear what will happen to the trade unionists who are punished because of a “corruption campaign.” The Dutch Elizabeth Hardon, chairman of SUEPO in Munich, was fired and her pension was reduced. Her predecessor Ion Brumme was fired and the treasurer of the union, Malika Weaver was cut in her salary. Other members of the union have received official warnings.

Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld of the union calls Battistelli to undo the dismissals and demotion. “Battistelli abuse of his authority and power as he decides to expel the three union officials in Munich,” said Zegveld. “He is thus acting in blatant contradiction with the express wish of the Member States to improve social conditions and to protect the union.”

Notice that the above cites/quotes documents we leaked last night (at around 2 AM).

Is the EPO peaceful now? No.

“For the second day in a row in Twitter, the EPO lobbied for software patents (using the weasel word “ICT”) and will do the same tomorrow.”There will almost certainly be strikes soon.

Is the EPO’s propaganda over? No.

For the second day in a row over at Twitter, the EPO subtly lobbied for software patents (using the weasel word “ICT”) and will do the same tomorrow [1, 2]. The EPO arrogantly stomps on the EPC as nobody seems to be able to stop it. These liars keep citing their own bunk 'statistics' today [1, 2, 3], even when there are demonstrable issues with these. IAM ‘magazine’, which unwittingly uses a survey to give Battistelli his usual propaganda/ammunition, is now offering gifts in exchange for participating in the latest round of propaganda (maybe SUEPO's surveys scare Battistelli a little too much).

10.04.15

Microsoft Continues to Extort Linux and Android OEMs Using Software Patents, This Time ASUS (Forced to Pre-Install Microsoft Spyware With OOXML)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Embrace and Extend
Credit: unknown (Twitter)

Summary: A roundup of news illustrating that Microsoft is still very much in a total war against Android, (mis)using federal regulators and even software patents to get its way

MICROSOFT’S attacks on Linux never stopped. Anyone thinking otherwise must not have paid attention. To make matters worse, Microsoft is manipulating the media into pretending that “Microsoft loves Linux” and that there is “peace”. In this post we are going to share some stories of interest to assure readers that nothing has changed except Microsoft’s rhetoric and some of the attacks have become more discreet.

“The FTC is wrong about antitrust fears over Android,” writes Microsoft's booster Bill Snyder in IDG, summarising it as follows: “Microsoft can’t develop a successful mobile operating system, so it’s making a crybaby case against Google”

If Android (Free software) is an antitrust violation, what does that make proprietary software? Microsoft and its proxies, as we have shown over the years, were behind these complaints. Remember that back in the SCO days, i.e. around 2003-2005, the Microsoft minions (and few others) tried to frame the GPL itself as anti-competitive. They failed, but it took time and cost money. One of the first questions that the FTC must tackle here is, who is behind the complaints? They may find that it’s little more than a Turf War. (Mis)Using Feds as pawns in the battle (a Turf War), as in using the government to derail one’s competition (even Free software), should be a crime. It is a waste of resources. When the media claims that Microsoft and Google now have “peace” (on patents) be sure to reminder the reporters of what Microsoft has done to cause Google (and Android) antitrust trouble. It is very well documented and we wrote over a dozen articles touching on this subject alone.

“Tell Mary Jo Foley that this is not a “deal” but an extortion.”As we noted the other day (and many people read this article, some news sites even linked to our analysis), Microsoft under Nadella is no different from Microsoft under Ballmer, at least when it comes to patents. The monopolist, under Nadella specifically, has already attacked Samsung, Kyocera, and Dell (over Linux/Android). Where is the love? Does Microsoft have patent peace with Android now? No, of course not. There is no peace even with Google, there is just a settlement in the Motorola case. Microsoft is leaving Motorola aside and is just attacking the OEMs instead, continuing with this latest assault on ASUS. Microsoft is still blackmailing companies, using patents, into bundling Microsoft spyware with non-standards (lock-in). This is extortion. Tell Mary Jo Foley that this is not a “deal” but an extortion. Tell this to others who believed that we have a ‘peace’ for our time after Google and Microsoft reached one settlement (regarding Motorola).

Android is being infiltrated by Microsoft now. It wouldn’t have worked without patent extortion. As Microsoft’s Mouth (Mary Jo Foley) put it: “As nearly two-dozen Android, Chrome OS and Linux vendors are doing, ASUS seemingly is licensing Microsoft’s patents to cover anything that is in those operating systems which potentially infringes on Microsoft’s intellectual property.

“But ASUS also is agreeing, as part of the deal announced today, to pre-install unspecified Microsoft “productivity services” on Android smartphones and tablets. When I asked, a Microsoft spokesperson said the services included the Microsoft Office suite.”

“Patents are being used for leverage.”So Microsoft is embracing and taking over Android inside ASUS. Remember the ASUS EEE? It used to run GNU/Linux before Microsoft intervened. Microsoft calls it EEE, which also stands for “embrace, extend, extinguish” — Microsoft's currently principal strategy against Android. Mark Hachman chose the headline “Microsoft strikes a deal with Asus: We won’t sue if you put Office on your Android devices” (we fought for years against it, starting with the Microsoft/Novell deal). Untimately what we are seeing it is a strategy that first became publicly known after Microsoft had done this to Samsung (earlier this year). Threatening to sue companies if they don’t serve Microsoft’s agenda is not a new strategy even when it comes to GNU/Linux as a whole, Android set aside. See the Microsoft/Novell deal (2006). Patents are being used for leverage.

The media has hardly covered this scandal. Reuters is busy writing about the Microsoft/Google settlement and Microsoft propagandists are everywhere to be seen. Why does ECT, for example, keep quoting its occasional writer Rob Enderle as an ‘expert’ regarding Microsoft, which paid him for Linux FUD? It’s gross. ETC talks about “Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.” It’s a one-man group and he gets paid by ECT and Microsoft. Why is he approached for his views on Android and Google? Do they think the readers are this dumb? Here is some promotional Microsoft messaging found therein: “There’s strong, scientifically verifiable evidence indicating Microsoft’s move to join the rest of the tech world in open source and collaboration was propelled by a compelling force: the Nadella effect. While tech analysts and reporters had fun with CEO Satya Nadella’s odd “cloud first, mobile first” mantra last summer, his much less concise — yet more encouraging — message has been one of collaboration, and meeting consumers on their terms. For example, Microsoft pushed Office 365 to all major platforms.”

ECT quoted Enderle not just once but at least twice last week, in both cases regarding Linux matters, e.g. in this article titled “Microsoft Pushes Deeper Into Linux, Containers, IoT”. In it, ECT asks Hilwa, who used to work for Microsoft, about Microsoft and Linux (no disclosure in the article about his Microsoft background). Rob Enderle, who also worked for ECT and is notoriously close to Microsoft, is simply described by ECT as “Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”

“Rob Enderle, who also worked for ECT and is notoriously close to Microsoft, is simply described by ECT as “Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.””What a sham. Richard Adhikari basically interviews Microsoft moles regarding Linux when he’s not busy writing his lots of anti-Android articles (usually regarding security). Al Hilwa and Rob Enderle being his “sources” tells us a lot more about him, perhaps his agenda too. Well, to be fair and to give him the benefit of the doubt here, quite often when it comes to so-called ‘analysts’, everywhere you look it’s proprietary software (e.g. Microsoft) and its minions. Even Dana Blankenhorn, who used to cover Open Source for ZDNet (sometimes being an apologist for Microsoft), has just said in the financial press that “Microsoft has stopped fighting with open source” .

Well, that is complete and utter nonsense. It didn’t stop, Microsoft still does all sorts of things to both Linux and Android. Other financial press says that Microsoft “has finally succumbed to the free OS Linux” because Microsoft copies Linux code, raising all sorts of GPL-related questions and potential issues [1, 2].

the bottom line is, don’t believe for even a second that Microsoft is some gentle aging giant. It’s a vicious abusive monopolist, as its actions against Android (in particular Android because of the platform’s market share) continue to demonstrate.

09.01.15

Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM ‘Open’

Posted in Deception, DRM, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 6:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“DRM is the future.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

“We’ve had DRM in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an iPod is “stolen”.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

“We’ve been very focused on producing a DRM system. [...] We think DRM is important”

Robbie Bach, Microsoft President

“DRM is nearly always the result of a conspiracy of companies to restrict the technology available to the public. Such conspiracy should be a crime, and the executives responsible for it should be sentenced to prison.”

Richard Stallman

Alliance for Open Media

Summary: What Microsoft et al. call ‘Next-Generation Open Media Formats’ are basically neither open nor acceptable (it’s DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub ‘Open Source Tools’ are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse

“Alliance for Open Media” is the latest Orwellian name/title for that which casts DRM collusion as “open”. Typical DRM proponents are part of it (Microsoft included) and so is Mozilla, which joined the DRM cartel about a year ago, causing much anger among many of its strongest supporters. DRM is not “open”. It’s not even compatible with the notion of “open” as this strictly requires proprietary software. Mozilla gave up on “openness” when it entered the DRM conspiracy and now we have the press littered by lots of puff pieces that frame DRM as “open” (however they define open, maybe alluding to patents). These are manufactured false perceptions and spin, calling a DRM conspiracy “Next-Gen Video Format” [1, 2, 3]. Here is the press release. It’s hogwash.

It is sad to see the Open Web falling over like this, after the MPAA essentially bribed the World Wide Web Consortium, which had hired a fool from Novell (we wrote a lot about this in prior years). These people are trying to set up ‘standards’ with patents on them and DRM as part of the (secret) ‘standard’. When it comes to what they define to be “open”, it’s just about patents. When a bunch of companies agree not to sue each other (like OIN, which has just added WSO2, but proved rather fruitless when one member, Oracle, sued another, Google). “In joining OIN, an organization dedicated to defending the Linux ecosystem, WSO2 extends its commitment to fostering innovation through open source software,” says the summary from the new press release. That’s nothing to do with innovation. It’s nothing to do with FOSS, either. Many members are proprietary software companies just agreeing on patents being pooled together. Many of these patents pertain to sofwtare and are therefore inherently incompatible with FOSS. Therein lies the core of the latest spin, misleadingly named “Alliance for Open Media”. It’s not a standard but a collusion. That’s what it is. It is, at best, a patent pool.

In other news, we have just come across some truly bizarre openwashing of Microsoft Office. Sam Dean is once again doing a service to his apparent new hero, Satya Nadella. Under a rather misleading headline Dean describes something which facilitates proprietary software as “Open Source”. But it’s not open source, it’s bait for OOXML and proprietary software. Watch the article starting with nonsensical claims:

Has Microsoft finally, truly warmed up to open source? New CEO Satya Nadella (shown) is definitely pushing that notion. Several media outlets previously reported on his comments on how he “loves Linux” and he has claimed that approximately 30 percent of Microsoft’s Azure cloud is already Linux-based.

Any GNU/Linux instance running under Microsoft’s control is already compromised, with back doors included. It’s basically dependent on proprietary software from a company which notoriously colludes with the NSA.

Talk about distorting the notion of “openness”…

Those who can successfully ‘sell’ the corruptible media OOXML, Office and DRM as “open” can probably also ‘sell’ it genocidal carpet-bombing as “spreading freedom and democracy”, or disabled people as “special people”.

“[Vista DRM] seems a bit like breaking the legs of Olympic athletes and then rating them based on how fast they can hobble on crutches.“

Peter Gutmann

04.02.15

Governments Adopt Free Software and Standards, So Microsoft Distorts the Press for Propaganda and Lies About Microsoft’s Proprietary ‘Products’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s lobbying apparatus is trying to hook entire nations into PRISM (i.e. NSA espionage) with proprietary Microsoft formats and proprietary software, especially now that nations have policies in place and Free software available which renders Microsoft obsolete

DESPITE Microsoft’s gross behaviour and sheer influence in the Indian government, the Government of India recently managed to pass new laws in relation to software, making Free software a necessity (to what degree depends on the article one trusts the most, as there have been at least a dozen of them in English). This makes perfect sense for a software powerhouse like India. It would benefit local industries. India can be self-sufficient in the software sense.

Meanwhile, here in the UK the government managed to pass pro-ODF policies, despite lobbying by Microsoft, its proxies, and its British partners. We covered this last year and we played a role in giving feedback to the government, at the expense of many hours and as much as one day’s work. We now have what can be cautiously labelled Free software-friendly procurement policy even in the UK, which has historically been one of the most Microsoft-friendly countries in the world.

“We now have what can be cautiously labelled Free software-friendly procurement policy even in the UK, which has historically been one of the most Microsoft-friendly countries in the world.”Microsoft is of course not accepting defeat. It is now pretending to be “Open Source”, starting with lies about the status of .NET, accompanied by concealment patent issues (as with OOXML) and openwashing of Visual Studio — an integral part of .NET — even though it’s a mischievous distortion of facts. Microsoft pretends to be “Open Source” because it wants a loophole into government contracts even where governments strictly require Free software and open standards. A new article by Liu Qihao & Ciaran O’Riordan highlights the reality behind so-called ‘Open Source’ .NET. The instruction states:

Microsoft is publishing the source code to certain parts of .NET. The terms of distribution (the licence) is the combination of the MIT licence and a separate patent promise. Given that Microsoft has a history of aggressively using software patents against free software, we decided to take a look at the legal details.

The conclusion is as follows:

If you only intend to use the software as published by Microsoft, then everything looks fine. The patent promise (if it’s even necessary) will apply. If you intend to modify the code, then the protections of the patent promise may be necessary or useful and you should take care. And if you’re looking for a project to contribute to, then it would be worth giving your preference to projects which don’t contain conditions which create or suggest patent risks if the code is used in other free software projects (outside of the set of .NET Runtime projects).

So it’s basically false marketing, as one should expect from Microsoft. The Economist has just released a horrible Microsoft puff piece (more like an advertisement in article form), misleadingly titled “Opening Windows”. Opening, really? As in “Open Source”? The article, written in Redmond, says: “At an event in San Francisco last October Mr Nadella showed a slide that read: “Microsoft loves Linux”. In contrast, Mr Ballmer once called the open-source operating system a “cancer”.”

Paul Krill, a Microsoft-friendly writer (for many years now), has meanwhile published “Windows goes open source?” (not April’s Fool). Paul Krill consciously (or not) helps Microsoft openwash Windows, pretending there are such legitimate claims as policies in governments change to require “Open Source”.

What we have here is a misinformation campaign. You love Open Source? Then you will love Microsoft. That’s the (almost) daily message from your Microsoft-affiliated and at times Microsoft-bribed friends (acting as ‘reporters’).

Here in the UK our government is apparently so dumb that even when it adopts ODF as the editable documents standard and asks for Free/Open Source software it remains stuck with the prospect of blobs from Microsoft. Regarding an article that seeks to associate Microsoft with ODF, iophk told us: “In practice it is unlikely that it will actually comply with the standard.”

This relates to statements like this one from Linda Humphries, titled “Making document formats open, it makes them better” (the same applies to software, not just data).

Francis Maude has just met (i.e. lobbying) with a Microsoft liar, Michel Van der Bel (see her mentioned in this older post). Microsoft pretends that it can deliver ODF support and that therefore the government’s requirement (ODF) and preference (Free software) should be compatible with Windows and Office. To quote the article: “Stanchak said Cabinet Officer minister Francis Maude met with Microsoft’s UK country manager, Michel Van der Bel, to discuss the company’s work on open standards to enable universal document access across government departments.

“Maude said the use of ODF will deliver significant savings to the public sector.

“”This will give people more choice about the software they use. This supports our digital by default agenda, which is helping save citizens, businesses and taxpayers £1.2bn over this Parliament as part of our long-term economic plan,” he said.

“The update comes despite Microsoft arguing last year that its own Open XML file format is more widely adopted than ODF and therefore should be on the government’s approved format list.”

So Microsoft attacked ODF and now it wants to be part of ODF. Is that how it works? The UK government should shun Microsoft. As this other new article reminds us: “In 2014, Microsoft went against the government’s request to support ODF, claiming its own XML format was more heavily adopted. The UK government refutes the claim, stating that ODF allows users to not be boxed into one ecosystem.”

Microsoft now pretends otherwise. More lies from Microsoft UK, an opportunist with NSA connections. The British government’s decision on office suites (if they’re needed at all) shouldn’t be about picking a ‘cloud’; it would be a privacy farce. If the government was ever to adopt Microsoft ‘cloud’ (i.e. NSA PRISM with that glorified ‘cloud’ buzzword which appeases non-technical people), would it be sued by any British citizens for supporting espionage by foreign spies? A lot of personal data is being encoded and stored in such documents. In the past, for NSA to acquire data/files from Office it needed to use Microsoft’s Windows back doors. With Office 360 [sic.] it’s becoming trivial. Microsoft is in PRISM.

The British government needs to adopt Free software such as LibreOffice and stop wasting time being lobbied by the company that attacked open standards and Open Source software like no other company in the history of computing.

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