“It may well be that between press and officials there is an inherent built in conflict of interest.” — General C. Westmoreland in Defence and the Media in Time of Limited War, Routledge, 13 September 2013, p. 64.
Summary: Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers
THE USPTO‘s assignment/assessment guidelines (examination instructions for the process by which to rank patent applications for novelty), as well as court rulings, citing SCOTUS regarding Alice, have both diminished and almost eliminated the perceived value of software patents. This reduces the number of patents obtained and number of patents that are brought before a judge in a courtroom, especially where these patents pertain to software. Patent lawyers are ‘politely’ furious and they try to dominate the media with their ‘damage control’, which means misleading statements, misdirection, cherry-picking (bias/lies by omission), and so forth. We gave a lot of examples before. It’s getting rather crass.
“Either Quinn has poor reading comprehension skills or he simply does not want to understand (because he is essentially paid not to understand).”The other day we saw Colleen Chien calling for an “open” patent system. “One year ago,” wrote Chien about Tesla's openwashing (like Panasonic's), “Elon Musk announced that Tesla would dismantle barriers to the use of its technology by “open sourcing” its patents and making them available for all acting in good faith to use. Because patents are usually used to close, not open, doors to competitors, the move created confusion and criticism.”
There is criticism indeed, but from who? Here is the patents maximalist Gene Quinn (loud proponent of software patents) slamming Chien’s analysis, lumping it together with what he calls “a lot of disingenuous articles about the U.S. patent system” and calling it “misleading”.
“The premise of the article,” he says, “is that it is time to open the patent system. Specifically what that means, and to what end that would be useful, is unclear and frankly unexplained.”
Either Quinn has poor reading comprehension skills or he simply does not want to understand (because he is essentially paid not to understand). What Chien suggests is a sort of retreat to the the original raison d’être of patents — where publication (e.g. attribution) rather than litigation is the core goal. Quinn, a supporter of all sorts of crazy patents and even parasitical elements like trolls, surely won’t like that. Another post from Quinn’s site (but not composed by Quinn himself) dares to acknowledge what he very much feared right after Alice had been ruled at SCOTUS one year ago:
…Alice issued a year ago which opened the door to invalidating software patents on the basis that they simply implement “abstract ideas”…
Yes, that’s great news. Sadly, however, the media hardly covers that. The corporate/financial media keeps glorifying patents as though they’re national trophies whose raw count is proportional to innovation and so-called ‘articles’ from Fox Rothschild LLP, Baker Botts LLP, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, and spokespeople for conservative lobbyists/think tanks like Cato and Heritage try hard to crush real patent reforms. They want to preserve the status quo. The grossest headline came from Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP (all of these LLPs are patent lawyers in case that’s not obvious), which says “Innovators Beware! Patent Reform Creates The New “Anti-Patent” Troll” (not calling “trolls” those who antagonise patent trolls but rather referring to those who extort companies using invalidation of patents, i.e. not really trolls at all!). Here is the core of the nonsense, which essentially redefines patent trolls: “Unlike other species of patent troll, the Wall Street troll seeks to destroy the target company. Many companies, especially small drug companies, could potentially lose 100 percent of their value if they lose the patents for their core technologies. This creates a situation that is very lucrative for the Wall Street troll, because if the company’s stock loses all of its value the troll makes a windfall.” Well, any company whose entire value depends on a patent probably does not deserve to be in business. Patents as a tool of artificial price hikes don’t serve society, especially where medicine is concerned. This is where patents become tools of artificial scarcity. It is unethical and we wrote many articles to explain why. There are still valid business models that don’t depend on patents, in the same way that software which is free to distribute still brings income (Red Hat, for instance, has billions in revenue each year).
“Patents and patent lawyers are needed for innovation to the same degree that billionaires are “job creators” who create a “trickle-down effect” (they typically just loot and hoard).”The media these days is absolutely stuffed with patent lawyers, appearing everywhere the subject is discussed, parroting — completely unchallenged — claims about “innovation”, “inventors” and scaring us about China (the same excuse/straw man used by TPP proponents). Patents and patent lawyers are needed for innovation to the same degree that billionaires are “job creators” who create a “trickle-down effect” (they typically just loot and hoard). █
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Summary: The Croatian press comments on the recent declaration from the Council of Europe and Topić’s not-so-sterling status in his home country, where he is wanted for alleged crimes
Some new and exclusive material about the EPO has arrived. Željko Topić is at the centre of attention again, so keeping a low profile probably won’t work for him right now. When Topić speaks out these days it tends to just backfire because he has no leg to stand on, especially as far as ethics go.
Recall our earliest articles about Topić; that was almost one year ago [1, 2]. He has powerful connections in Croatia (even connections to known criminals who are in prison) and there are many criminal charges against him. Months ago he lost in a court of law an effort to silence his victims using the 'defamation' card — the same card with which Battistelli tries to justify going as far as surveillance cameras and keyloggers after his sham 'internal investigation'.
“Two Croatian news portals have covered the Council of Europe story,” said a source, after we had learned about more political interventions against Battistelli et al. Many of these political interventions come from France, so Battistelli’s shameless efforts to paint critics as “racists” won’t work this time around. It was always nonsensical, but now it is a lot easier to see that.
“Many of these political interventions come from France, so Battistelli’s shameless efforts to paint critics as “racists” won’t work this time around.”Here is the first article, titled “Sanaderov kadar u središtu europskog skandala!” (translation coming soon, but the headline of this dnevno.hr article can be roughly translated as follows: “Sanader’s ‘apparatchik’ at the heart of a European scandal”). The second article is titled “VIJEĆE EU POKRENULO DEKLARACIJU O EPO” and we will hopefully have translations soon. Sources that speak Croatian say that they are “busy with other stuff at the moment and it might take a few days before [they] can rustle up a translation.”
The rumour, which we mentioned here before, is that Battistelli was scheduled to travel to Croatia with Željko Topić on the 3rd of July to open an exhibition about inventors at the Technical Museum in Zagreb (see “The exhibition European Inventors Hall of Fame from 3rd July 2015 at the Technical Museum in Zagreb”).
“According to [unsourced] information,” we are told, “neither Battistelli not Željko Topić travelled in the end (maybe because of fears of the negative press coverage) and instead Mr. Francois-Rgis Hannart, a member of Battistelli’s “inner circle” was sent to represent the EPO.”
40 years of EPO reputation may be up in flames in just 4 years (or less) because of Battistelli and his longtime mates, whom he uses to infiltrate this well-funded (by taxpayers) organisation
[PDF]. Many high-salaried managers are selected irrespective of their background, skills, and reputation. Thugs are not just allowed but very much welcomed, including that Mafioso, Željko Topić, who is back in the news right now, receiving unwanted attention. For the uninitiated, here is his relation to Ivo Sanader, among others. █
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Summary: The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled — by extension — invalid
IT REALLY oughtn’t be so shocking that patent lawyers and other non-producing profiteers (or large businesses that employ these lawyers) do not like Alice — an historic high-level case that still serves to invalidate many patents on software, irrespective of all sorts of bogus ‘reforms’ like the Innovation Act [1, 2]. The Innovation Act is one among a couple of misleadingly-named brands which claim to be about a so-called patent ‘reform’. Media which covers the Innovation Act still cites patent lawyers, patent maximalists, and lobbyists regarding this so-called patent ‘reform’. Here is one new example that says: “A coalition of universities, inventors, venture capitalists and small businesses continue to oppose House-introduced patent reform legislation, which could be considered by the House floor in the coming weeks.” Another new one is equally shallow. Dean Chambers cites WatchTroll excessively (notorious for promotion of software patents), so these people are still tilting the debate in the media while activists against software patents remain passive, quiet, and generally inactive. Where have they all gone? Where is FFII? Where are the journalists who slam monopolies on software development? Tumbleweed. Antagonism to software patents mostly goes unheard these days, so lawyers exploit this and conquer the minds. It’s rather sad, but it is true.
“Whenever lawyers don’t get their way in a system which they perceive as theirs (to use against actual scientists who produce things) they like to whine about ‘non-conformist’ elements such as judges that ‘dare’ to question some abstract patents over triviality, prior art, lack of merit etc.”The plutocrats’ media, Fortune Magazine in this case, is meanwhile glamourising patents assigned to giants. The article from 4 days ago says: “Considering that Bessant has convinced BofA CEO Brian Moynihan to spend $3 billion for new software development annually—twice what the bank used to spend when she took on her job five years ago and roughly 17% of the bank’s annual information technology budget—it’s in BofA’s interest to safeguard that investment. Behind Bessant are more than 110,000 employees and contractors.”
This is a puff piece that uses the propaganda language of patent lawyers, e.g. treating patents like “assets”, even when these are business methods and software patents. It is gross propaganda against public soberness/sobriety and it is a damn shame that opposition to software patents isn’t there to set these writers straight.
Patent lawyers (i.e. parasites profiting from technology’s destruction) are very concerned about software patents’ demise and one of them, David Bohrer (Patent Trial Practice, Valorem Law Group), uses Patently-O to protest against courts which ‘dare’ to rule/declare patents invalid. He wrote these words yesterday:
While early resolution of patent litigation is laudable, motions directed to the pleadings generally may not consider matters outside what is pled in the complaint. Yet this is what courts are doing — they have been coloring outside the lines when deciding whether a patented software or business method is an ineligible abstraction. They are looking beyond the allegations in the complaint to discern “fundamental economic concepts.” Independent of anything pled in the complaint, they are making historical observations about alleged longstanding commercial practices and deciding whether the claimed invention is analogous to such practices.
Oh, cry us a river, Dave. Whenever lawyers don’t get their way in a system which they perceive as theirs (to use against actual scientists who produce things) they like to whine about ‘non-conformist’ elements such as judges that ‘dare’ to question some abstract patents over triviality, prior art, lack of merit etc. Remember Andrew Y. Schroeder, patent lawyer who wrote to a patent examiner who rejected his application "Are you drunk? No, seriously…are you drinking scotch and whiskey with a side of crack cocaine while you "examine" patent applications?" He was really bullying the examiner for not just acting as a passive rubber-stamping machine (remember that 92% of patent applications in the US end up enshrined as patents, making the examination process farcical).
Rude and aggressive lawyers are the norm perhaps, not the exception (despite the suit and the shallow façade). After getting the EFF sued for insulting a patent (the EFF eventually evaded this lawsuit, thanks in part to public shaming) Daniel Nazer picks on another bogus patent (instead of stupid he now says “bogus” and “terrible”). Here is what it’s about: “Like all of the patents we highlight in our Stupid Patent of the Month series, this month’s winner, U.S. Patent No. 6,795,918, is a terrible patent. But it earns a special place in the Pantheon of stupid patents because it is being wielded in one of most outrageous trolling campaigns we have ever seen.
“Patent No. 6,795,918 (the ’918 patent), issued from an application filed in March 2000, and is titled: “Service level computer security.” It claims a system of “filtering data packets” by “extracting the source, destination, and protocol information,” and “dropping the received data packet if the extracted information indicates a request for access to an unauthorized service.” You may think, wait a minute, that’s just a firewall. By the year 2000, firewalls had been around for a long time. So how on earth did this applicant get a patent? A good question.”
Another “patent dies,” says IP Kat because the ruler in the case “found the claim to be obvious.”
We are hearing about more and more of these patents that go to court and are ultimately ruled/deemed invalid. This devalues patents as a whole, discourages lawsuits, and most importantly reduced the incentive of one to apply for patents on software and other abstract things. █
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Summary: More political fire targeting the EPO’s management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now
DAYS ago we wrote about an intervention by Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, who had already intervened before regarding EPO abuses. He has since then uploaded his short speech to YouTube and SUEPO has a translation. “Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’,” it said, “a French Member of Parliament, made an intervention at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 25 June 2015.
“Mr Le Borgn’ explained the rollback of fundamental rights at the European Patent Office (EPO) and referred to the Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights from Mr José María Beneyto, Accountability of international organizations for human rights violations [...] The intervention is available on YouTube. A transcript is available here.”
We have made it available below as HTML in English, for future reference and permanent record.
Intervention by Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ (PS)
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at Strasbourg on 25 June 2015
“Thank you Mr. President. My question relates to the suppression of fundamental rights at the European Patent Office.
International organizations are most often accorded immunity from judicial intervention by virtue of the agreements and conventions which brought them into existence, or by headquarters agreements. This immunity allows them not to be arraigned before the courts of the state or states in which they are established. This is understandable and is good policy in particular with regard to the independence of the organization.
But immunity from judicial intervention does not mean creating a place not subject to the rule of law, or of lesser law and lesser right. Accordingly, a person working for an international organization, and there are tens of thousands of them on our continent, starting here at the Council of Europe, cannot be deprived of the right of being heard before a court, in accordance with Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Again, but this time by virtue of Article 11 of the Convention, the right to collective action must be guaranteed. This includes the right of a staff union organization representing the employees of the organization likewise to be heard by a court or tribunal, where defence can be provided both individually and collectively. Thus it is that the Court of Appeal at The Hague summoned the European Patent Office on 17 February this year, suspending its immunity, which rarely occurs, is almost unprecedented, and in any case a rare thing, in order to protect the collective rights of some 7000 staff members concerned.
There can in fact be no doubt that policies which are at odds with the fundamental rights consecrated in the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter are developing under the cover of immunity from court intervention. Restriction on the right of association, reduction of the right to strike, impeding the right of collective negotiation, depriving an organization of any recourse to the courts, and failing to implement a court decision, which unfortunately is the case with regard to the judgment of 17 February, are profoundly unacceptable developments. I would therefore like to take the opportunity of this free debate to set before our Assembly, naturally, but also before the Committee of Ministers on which our 47 Member States are represented, 38 of which are also members of the European Patent Office. Two years ago the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe approved the report by our colleague José Maria Beneyto on the obligations of international organizations to answer for their actions in the event of violations of Human Rights. In the extension of the Beneyto report, this matter of the respecting of social rights, both individual as well as collective, of the staff of international organizations was deemed worthy of being extended, investigated, and, above all, strengthened.
I know the European Patent Office. I esteem all the added value which it provides for the European economy, and I appreciate the excellent work of its staff. But I am also aware of the climate which prevails within it: Management by fear, the impeding of collective action, failure to recognize warning signs, and absence of any independent mechanism of supervision and internal monitoring. I make appeal to the Member States, from whom the European Patent holds its legitimacy, to act, because now is the time to act.”
According to Florian Müller, there is more to it; he has found more questions from politicians. The EPO’s management is under more fire from many more politicians, “17 Members of the European Parliament” by Müller’s count. Here is the one with more names on it. Bear in mind this one is just one of several:
Kostadinka Kuneva (GUE/NGL), Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL), Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL), Pablo Iglesias (GUE/NGL), Lola Sánchez Caldentey (GUE/NGL), Stelios Kouloglou (GUE/NGL), Paloma López Bermejo (GUE/NGL), Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL), Fabio De Masi (GUE/NGL), Tania González Peñas (GUE/NGL), Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL), Neoklis Sylikiotis (GUE/NGL), Kostas Chrysogonos (GUE/NGL), Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL) and Miloslav Ransdorf (GUE/NGL)
Subject: Violation of labour and trade union rights in the European Patent Organisation (EPO)
The Dutch appeal court recently ruled (case number 200.141.812 / 01 / 17-2-2015) that the European Patent Organisation (EPO) violated workers’ labour rights deriving from the EU Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Consequently the Dutch court, exceptionally, has not accepted the immunity EPO enjoys as an international organisation, since this immunity cannot allow for human rights violations. Nevertheless EPO declared it would ignore the ruling pleading execution immunity.
There is definitely strong momentum being built. Regarding DDOS attacks against this site, we are going to visit attorneys tomorrow regarding legal action against Amazon (which refuses to say who used its AWS facilities to repeatedly attack this site). █
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Summary: Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office
According to the SUEPO Web site, political pressure grows following pressure from the media. Pierre Yves Le Borgn’ takes his action against the EPO‘s management further. “In his blog [in French],” writes SUEPO, “Pierre Yves Le Borgn’ announces his intention to subject the deficient governance of the EPO to a review by the Venice Commission (The European Commission for Democracy through Law) which could make suitable recommendations to find a solution.”
Things are heating up right now and there are more press articles about it
[PDF], complete with an opportunity for rebuttal from the EPO’s management. The Münchner Merkur published the following piece on the 26th of June, 2015. Here is the English translation of it:
Münchner Merkur, Nr. 144, Friday 26 June 2015
European Patent Office
“His Domination has got to Stop”
The fight goes into the next round: The staff at the European Patent Office are demanding that Office President Benoît Battistelli be forced to quit. He can’t see how badly he’s performing.
BY THOMAS MAGENHEIM-HÖRMANN
Munich – They’re demonstrating again. For one and a half years, it’s been the same, every month. The regularity of the protests by the staff at the European Patent Office brings back memories of the Leipzig Monday demonstrations in the days of East Germany, and, like them, this is a matter of basic rights. Large sections of the 7000 employees accuse their most senior executive, Office President Benoît Battistelli, of continuing abuse of power and of using East German methods – accusations he strenuously denies.
When it comes to legal matters, the European Patent Office paints a complex picture. The Office is supported by 38 European states, not all of which belong to the EU. This means that the Office is not an EU authority. And as an inter-state organization, it is also not subject to the law of its host country, Germany, even though German citizens count for a quarter of the personnel.
The placards being waived by the several hundred demonstrators in front of the Office headquarters in Munich speak for themselves. Security cameras zoom in on them. “We’re being watched”, is how the first speaker accounts for the demonstration. It needs to be made clear to the management that spying on social partners is not the way to restoring social peace and tranquility, says the Patent Office staff union, SUEPO. That requires some explanation.
For weeks, a publicly accessible computer in the Office has been hacked, and monitored with a camera. The Office itself makes no comment, but several sources, among them the Federal Ministry of Justice, have confirmed this. The aim is said to be to spy on the staff, whom the managers at the Patent Office accuse of defamation. The possibility is that patent attorneys and Administrative Council members may also have got caught in the net of the Office’s internal sweep, prompting Bavaria’s Data Protection Executive Thomas Petri to call for an external data protection officer to be assigned to the Office.
All this is now high on the agenda of the Administrative Council, who are convening at the time of the demonstration. The Council is the controlling body of the Office, made up of representatives from 38 contracting states. The Federal Ministry of Justice is there on behalf of Germany, and they have made it very clear that the issue of internal data protection at the Patent Office is high on the political agenda too.
The snooping is not an isolated incident. Among other things, Battistelli has banned a demonstration and claimed the right to determine the nature and length of labour disputes. A Dutch court has ruled that the Office is in breach of employment legislation as well as basic rights. The President is not bothering to contest the issue. He is in the process of reforming the institution, and all he is doing in the process is carrying out the instructions of the management.
But some of his reforms, and particularly the methods used, are causing unease. According to SUEPO, the Office has engaged the outside investigation company Control Risks to spy on members of the staff representation body. A dozen or so union members are said to be the focus of attention for the outside investigators. The Dutch newspaper “Volkskrant” has just recently disclosed that the Office has also arranged for staff to be scrutinised by a detective agency. This has left its mark on the workforce. Even the personnel who are demonstrating dare not talk to journalists. “There are people from the Office here, and I don’t want to be seen with you”, said one, and turned away. Another simply tapped a button he was wearing: “BB is watching you”. The Office itself is stonewalling. Disciplinary matters are strictly confidential, and that means strictly no comment as to whether and how monitoring is currently being carried out. Insiders have reason to believe that a new guideline regarding video surveillance is in the making.
Staff representatives maintain that Battistelli’s talk of open dialogue with the staff is pure window dressing. Word has it that he is no longer able to control the chaos he has created, let alone restore some kind of order. “His domination has got to stop”, demands one SUEPO speaker on the demonstration, and wins loud applause.
Battistelli has been at the top of the Office since 2010, and has been elected to remain until 2018. Up to now, the Administrative Council has shown no inclination to see him go. SUEPO has announced that it will be calling demonstrations until the Patent Office is “back on track”. Something has gone off the rails.
Staff of the European Patent Office demonstrate regularly in front of the headquarters in Munich
Things are getting worse for Benoît Battistelli, not better. The longer this goes on for, the bigger and broader the scandals become. Battistelli is in a downward spiral; the question is, will he take the EPO down with him or can the EPO repel and expel him and his cronies (whom he added to protect himself)? The latter would of course be preferable. Britain has had similar issues; tackling them is imperative. █
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Summary: Readers’ views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it’s on the ‘targets’ list of the EPO
YESTERDAY we mentioned EPO spying on this site and the day before that we wrote about DDOS attacks against this site. We are still eager to get to the bottom of who’s behind the very latest attacks (different from previous attacks) and some people wrote to us with additional information.
“You should perhaps take your case with US authorities,” one person said, “i.e. the FBI, as the AWS server is located in the US, according to ping timings and traceroute performed [...] The EPO uses AWS on Amazon’s servers in Ireland to host their Open Patent Services, so they would have the technical knowledge to write a stupid stunt like that.
“But it would be amazingly daft to launch an attack from an account clearly connected to the EPO. I would imagine some shady operation running on stolen or prepaid credit cards, so you might not get very far anyway. The code needn’t be very sophisticated, and wouldn’t cost much to run.
“The FBI has acted in such cases in the past: http://www.securityfocus.com/news/9411
“but their own reputation isn’t quite sterling: http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/05/ddos-for-hire-service-works-with-blessing-of-fbi-operator-says/
Others have pointed out that, despite the patterns of attacks showing no signs of it, scrapers of the EPO or the external spies it hired could play a role. “Concerning the monitoring of IRC logs,” said one person, I “have reason to inspect that “bots” have been employed for monitoring the IRC channels which might go some way to explaining those DDOS attacks that you reported some time ago.”
The problem is, it wasn’t IRC pages that were being hammered. I “don’t have any detailed technical information about this,” the person continues, “or who exactly was involved (i.e. whether it was EPO internal or some outside “agents”). [...] just passing on what I have heard so that you are aware that you are somehow “under observation” (or at least your IRC logs are)” (we have strong evidence of that, but it is definitely not the cause of the server stress).
We are going to continue pressuring Amazon for the identity of the attacker (Amazon is still stonewalling) and maybe report abuse to the EPO’s network administrators some time quite soon. █
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Summary: Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law
SEVERAL months ago, before the whole EPO surveillance scandal even began (it’s now standard practice at the EPO, signed off even by a bogus ‘data protection’ officer), we got an important headsup. Our sources informed us that the UK-based “independent global risk consultancy” (i.e. private security company) Control Risks had been “engaged by the EPO to carry out an investigation into EPO Staff Representatives.”
We previously wrote about Control Risks in the following important posts which add some background:
This had significant impact because it meant that the EPO was officially on a fishing expedition, trying to find sources and thus targeting reporters. It was always without doubt that we had been put on Control Risks’ “targets” list. If we were not, it would just mean that Control Risks may be utterly incompetent. These people don’t try to uphold the law but rather to protect those who break the law, by breaking the law themselves (privacy violations and cracking). At a later date we will provide additional details about the EPO’s shameful (and potentially illegal) practices.
Our claims, as above, are based not purely on hearsay. We found out about this before the press even talked about it and before EPO staff knew about it. At a later date we had a source tell us that Control Risks’ involvement “may also indicate that Control Risks will be involved in “investigating” Techrights (due to the fact that EPO managements is highly concerned about negative publicity from that channel).
“According to information, the EPO or its agents are involved in monitoring Techrights IRC channels and the logs of these channels to try and identify who is feeding information to Techrights.”
Look what the EPO has turned into. It’s something to be expected from an authoritarian regime. █
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SCOTUS says no entry!
Summary: SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-’protected’, despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software
FOR anyone who has been paying attention, Oracle‘s hostility towards Android is not hard to understand. It is a CPTN member along with Microsoft and Apple and it has shown on numerous occasions over the years that it is eager to antagonise and badmouth Free software. Oracle killed many of the projects that it bought from Sun. Google, on the other hand, is at least trying to appease the Free software community and it has made Android (AOSP) an ‘open’ platform, even if most developers contribute just proprietary software to run on it.
Many of our readers have probably heard the big news by now. SCOTUS has aligned itself with foes of software development [1, 2, 3] (not just Free software development), reaffirming the ridiculous judgement from CAFC. Now that SCOTUS reaffirms the status of APIs as copyrightable, adding to mass surveillance with NDAs and software patents in the United States, why would software companies still choose to be there?
To give Google some credit, it did fight over this matter for nearly half a decade. After pressure from the clueless White House (exactly one month ago), however, reuse of APIs may be impossible and collaborative development with forking may soon be toxic. Today is a horrible day for software development in general and it’s not too clear to us what Google can do next. Some certain types of lawyers probably know Google’s next steps or options and knowing that this ‘legal’ system favours the deeper pockets, there is usually something someone can do given the correct fees (just see how long the SCO case goes on for).
“Google will hopefully continue to fight that case, whatever its options may be.”One reader of ours was disappointed with this article that FOSS Force published today, comparing Google to Microsoft. “Revisionism,” he said, “especially that closing sentence. People hate Microsoft not for the sake of hating Microsoft but because of how it (and its people) behaves and has behaved. It has held computing back at least 20 years and the damage spreads into all domains where desktop computers are used.
“It’s just that Microsoft pays for constant whine against Google. While Google has many shortcomings, it is not a problem like Microsoft has been and continues to be.”
“But on the topic of Google,” he continued, “here’s something fairly current with yet another ****up by SCOTUS” (he linked to the above news).
Google will hopefully continue to fight that case, whatever its options may be. As for Microsoft and Apple, they surely will keep trying to harm the market. They often work together these days (mostly true when it comes to patents, OOXML, DRM, and so on) and as this article by Galen Gruman reminds us:
If you thought Microsoft was finally treating the Mac as an equal citizen, you’ll be disappointed in the reality
Remember that Microsoft and Apple are both on Oracle’s anti-Android side (even publicly, on numerous occasions). These are all proprietary software giants, aspiring to control the entire market by patents, copyrights, litigation, and intimidation. Google simply does not fall under the same category. It deserves the public’s support in this particular case. █
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