03.28.21

Conflict of Interest: Microsoft and IBM Controlling the USPTO and Leaving GNU/Linux Users Shut Out (in the Cold)

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, IBM, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 8:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The first part in a series about the USPTO protecting the cabal of proprietary software giants/monopolies, including improper appointments and outright corruption (as observed by a longtime critic of the Office)

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director-turned-lobbyist David Kappos was discussed here many times in the past. He came from IBM, worked for the USPTO, then returned to lobbying for IBM and Microsoft (among others). Nowadays he’s lobbying hard for software patents (or to abolish/bypass 35 U.S.C. § 101). He’s working for software monopolies while they fund him to lobby. It harms the image of the USPTO. The Federal Circuit has a similar problem with two former chief judges.

The issue with Kappos may seem like “old news”, but here’s the gist of it:

IBM Microsoft USPTO

As was explained at the time:

Kappos corruption

“Then, too,” a reader has told us, “there is the issue of the USPTO not working with Linux, which might interest you.”

“The Kappos-Politico article is something I found, where people in Congress were – back in the day – suspicious about Kappos being from IBM, and bringing with him a Microsoft guy. They implemented something called the Electronic Filing Incentive. Trying to force people to use computers and, of course, Microsoft.”

“Can the USPTO moreover block GNU/Linux users wishing to file patents and interact with the Office?”We have been sent about 50 pages, but we are reproducing here just a subset of these (a lot of those deal with exuberant fees or marginalisation of “lone inventors”, which is a legitimate concern, albeit not our focus).

We’d rather focus on the GNU/Linux compatibility issues alone. As we noted here in recent years, the USPTO intends to financially penalise (punish) people who don’t use Microsoft formats [1, 2, 3] though it’s clear Microsoft is somewhat of a thing of the past with just about 30% of the public using Windows or other Microsoft operating systems.

Can the USPTO moreover block GNU/Linux users wishing to file patents and interact with the Office? Look at the status of GNU/Linux in the US government, as per Wikipedia:

Linux in the US government - Wikipedia

Proprietary stuff is required by the USPTO:

Adobe-USPTO dispute combined screenshots to print

Adobe USPTO pages not found

Adobe stuff hasn’t worked since 2013:

Adobe hasn't worked since 2013

“I’m a four-decade American inventor who has been fighting corruption at that USPTO for maybe about 15 years,” the reader said, “and I recently made an important medical discovery, and filed a patent application, and the USPTO is threatening my application, simply because I use Linux.”

We’ve been aware of such issues for a very long time. They range from formats to site access or specialised tools

 Who cares for me?“The Internet informs me that you are interested in USPTO corruption and medical biophysics and open-source software,” the reader told me, “so, perhaps, maybe we can connect to discuss a few things, although you are on the high-tech end of things, which I am not. I suppose, broadly, my medical discovery would be considered medical biophysics, since it involves mechanical sound waves and their effect on the body, and, specifically, urological function.”

We will likely revisit this issue some time in the near future. “As you can imagine,” the reader said, “I’m extremely angry, and I’m right now finalizing a big report that I’m going to send to a bunch of people in DC, hoping to get something done. I’ll send you the report when I finish it.”

We’ve mostly been focusing on EPO corruption, but some overlaps exist across the pond, with European software patents being used as an excuse against SCOTUS precedents, even in the face of challenges like Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs). Stay tuned for more…

10.04.20

If They Call You a “User” (or “Customer”), They Might be Drug Dealers and Lords of Narcotics (Digital or Otherwise)

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 6:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

A media overload

Summary: Preying on so-called ‘users’ is the nature of proprietary software, which puts digital shackles on people and then starts manipulating them

THE simple fact is that many of today’s interfaces are designed to be “addictive”, especially on the Web where the ‘currency’ is screen time (opportunity to spy on people and foist ads onto them). This is certainly true about Facebook (with admissions from the company) and Twitter is hardly better with its infinite scrolling, suggestive (yet cryptic) “trending” clickbait and so on.

“…if many ‘addicts’ get together, they can fork the implementation to better suit their needs and distribute the fork free of charge.”It wasn’t too long ago that Richard Stallman asked geeks to submit to him examples of interfaces that had been designed to be addictive.

In the case of ‘traditional’ and native software, formats that are secret and proprietary software with lock-in mechanisms have long been used to force people to ‘upgrade’ (pay for the same thing over and over again). The network effect, or peer pressure by format incompatibility, is an issue long documented (for decades; it helped rationalise the vendor-neutral OpenDocument Format).

Man all drunkIt’s time to communicate these issues using the jargon or slang of narcotics. The term “users” is heavily used in that context because of the helplessness of the addicts, who are reduced to mere zombies that consume and cannot think clearly.

Free software addresses some but not all of these issues; there’s no guarantee that addiction elements will be entirely obliterated just by virtue of some piece of software being free (to study, modify, share as well as run without restrictions). One can easily get addicted to Free (as in freedom) computer games. But the leverage the developer gains over individual people or large groups of people (even entire nations) is clearly limited; if many ‘addicts’ get together, they can fork the implementation to better suit their needs and distribute the fork free of charge. That’s very much unlike what a certain Bill Gates (nowadays a vaccine profiteer) sought to achieve with Microsoft products. It’s all about power, unjust power and coercion. It’s not about technical excellence; technology here is merely the means by which to gain power (political, not technical) over a lot of people while amassing endless wealth, controlling the lives of so many without democratic oversight.

12.30.19

Why Wouldn’t an Office That Grants Monopolies Support Microsoft Monopoly?

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, Patents at 3:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paths crossed before: Andrei Iancu (Irell & Manella LLP), Microsoft, and Immersion Corporation (where Iancu's deputy comes from amid ruinous changes by the Trump administration)

Microsoft Corporation v. Immersion Corporation, No. 2:2007cv00936 - Document 30 (W.D. Wash. 2008)
Microsoft Corporation v. Immersion Corporation, No. 2:2007cv00936 – Document 30 (W.D. Wash. 2008)

Summary: The media continues to report on the suggestion that people who reject OOXML will be financially penalised (additional fees)

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is still run by Trump appointees who believe that they can disregard the law in the name of profits. 35 U.S.C. § 101 is one example among several and there’s also that OOXML outrage, which we previously covered in:

Earlier this month I saw mainstream media continuing to report along those lines; the USPTO now tries to make proprietary OOXML the ‘standard’ internationally (PCT), having already witnessed what Microsoft did to ISO.

“This perpetuates the idea that the USPTO is a ‘Windows shop’ in an age when Windows no longer has majority market share (Android took the lead about half a decade ago).”To us, as eyewitnesses or online ‘alibis’ to loads of corruption associated with the process (we were also the only ones to leak OOXML itself one decade ago), what the USPTO does is beyond inexplicable. This perpetuates the idea that the USPTO is a ‘Windows shop’ in an age when Windows no longer has majority market share (Android took the lead about half a decade ago).

11.16.19

USPTO Rewards Microsoft for Corruption at ISO by Teaching People Proprietary OOXML and Promoting Its Use

Posted in America, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents at 10:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USPTO locked in

USPTO locked in

Summary: The world’s most important patent office promotes Microsoft lock-in, revealing not only corporate bias but also highlighting ways in which Microsoft crimes continue to pay off

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seems to be working for famous criminals like Bill Gates et al while ‘dissing’ actual judges (e.g. looking for tricks to overcome 35 U.S.C. § 101 caselaw). It’s starting to remind us of what happens in Europe, where Microsoft bribed a lot of people to rig ISO in Switzerland.

“So the USPTO isn’t just looking to penalise people who aren’t Microsoft customers; now it’s actively advertising OOXML instead of something FOSS-friendly such as OpenDocument Format (ODF) or even PDF.”As we noted here before, the USPTO now considers penalising people for not using Microsoft products/formats. It’s almost as if the Office works for Microsoft to reward it for corruption and it’s no laughing matter. Dennis Crouch has quoted the USPTO: “Join us for a seminar on filing DOCX, which is structured text. The DOCX Information Sessions will start Wednesday, November 13 from 2-3 p.m. ET. We will discuss DOCX as an efficient way to file a patent application electronically. You’ll learn what the DOCX format is, how you can use it to file nonprovisional utility applications, and the benefits it provides to you and your patent applications.”

Donald Zuhn has also just mentioned that: “In a Patent Alert e-mail distributed today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it will be offering several seminars on how to use DOCX for EFS-Web filings and on PAIR. The DOCX Information Sessions will focus on the advantages of filing patent applications using structured text (DOCX).”

So the USPTO isn’t just looking to penalise people who aren’t Microsoft customers; now it’s actively advertising OOXML instead of something FOSS-friendly such as OpenDocument Format (ODF) or even PDF. This is an ongoing problem which we will likely revisit if (or when) the USPTO makes these penalties official.

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.

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