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06.05.20

When You Realise People Who Don’t Support RMS Do Not Really Support GNU, Either

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, IBM, Microsoft, Petitions, Red Hat at 11:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If in my lifetime the problem of non-free software is solved, I could perhaps relax and write software again. But I might instead try to help deal with the world’s larger problems. Standing up to an evil system is exhilarating, and now I have a taste for it.”

Richard Stallman

Puppy and evil dog: 2019: We want GNU that works for everyone, 2020: We want to replace GNU

Jeff Law signed

Jeff Law for LLVM

IBM for LLVM

Summary: The (in)famous letter against Richard Stallman (RMS), which was signed by many Red Hat employees with Microsoft (GitHub) accounts, doesn’t look particularly good in light of recent revelations/findings; it increasingly looks like IBM simply wants Microsoft-hosted and “permissively” licensed stuff, just like another project it announced yesterday [1, 2] and another that it promoted yesterday

03.23.18

Team Battistelli and Team UPC Are Both Very Deep in Denial

Posted in Deception, Europe, Petitions at 7:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They still have a very long way to go

Five Stages of Grief by Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler
Reference: Five Stages of Grief by Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler

Summary: The perpetrators of a terrible patent system that permits patents on abstract ideas (which sometimes aren’t novel, either) and litigation as a priority refuse to let go of their dream — a distant, runaway fantasy which may soon cost over a thousand examiners their careers

Team Battistelli and Team UPC have a lot in common and they mutually benefit at the expense of the EPO. We have stressed this repeatedly over the years and there are many aspects to this symbiotic relationship.

Earlier today Team Battistelli said that “[p]atent applications at the EPO from UK companies and inventors continued to climb in 2017 (+2.4%),” but I told them that prices were lowered to ‘cheat’ for this supposed increase, which is still a decrease in revenue. They don’t like talking about that. For a number of months they hoped nobody would notice and point this out. Finances of the EPO are pretty opaque, but one can imagine what’s going on.

“Fourth Industrial Revolution technology patents [i.e. software patents at the EPO] are flourishing…”
      –World Economic Forum
Not only did the EPO lower the cost of applications (after observing decline in the number of applications); it also lowered the bar, welcoming for example software patents which are illegal in Europe. It just introduced some loopholes for that and wasted money promoting such loopholes in the media.

Earlier today the EPO retweeted this nonsense from WEF (World Economic Forum), which is based on something the EPO had paid the media for. “Fourth Industrial Revolution technology patents,” it said. “are flourishing…”

“Replace “patents in ICT” by “software patents”. And guess there are few software developers in the audience…”
      –Benjamin Henrion
This buzzword just means software patents, which are not legal in Europe. How do we know that this buzzword means software patents? IAM and Battistelli jointly said so earlier this year. “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (IR4) should just be read/interpreted as “software patents”; it’s a new (totally made up) term that’s being used in conjunction with older misleading terms like “CII”. Benjamin Henrion has also just taken note of “ICT” — a term that Grant Philpott likes to use alongside “Industry 4.0″ (they all mean the same thing). “Replace “patents in ICT” by “software patents”. And guess there are few software developers in the audience,” Henrion wrote today.

Then there are terms like “artificial intelligence”, which can be used for assessment of patents or for patents on software. We wrote about it many times so far this year (because the “AI” hype has been really strong in the past few months). Earlier today the EPO wrote: “We will discuss artificial intelligence and patent information searching at the East Meets West conference in Vienna…”

Carry on with buzzwords, EPO, but buzzwords won’t save you. The quality of patents is declining along with revenue (apparently). Courts aren’t easily fooled by buzzwords and don’t have 'production' pressures that compel them to decide within just hours.

“The quality of patents is declining along with revenue (apparently).”And on we move to Team UPC, which benefits from low-quality patents because these fuel more lawsuits (which is what they profit the most from). Thomas Adam (“UPCtracker”) wrote about CJEU in relation to UPC (4 days ago), foolishly believing (in spite lots of evidence to the contrary) that the Conservative Party will make exceptions just for UPC (which they never even speak about).

Then there’s “UPC blog” from Louise Amar, who went on about the selective data points from the likes of Bristows, choosing to create/embrace a sort of parallel reality wherein UPC is “almost there” and “inevitable”. In reality, or in this only universe, the UPC is dead. Team UPC (with blogs called “UPC blog” and accounts called “UPCtracker”) will sooner or later reach the “acceptance” phase. Deal with it and move on, Team UPC. Your Twitter accounts and blog names are now obsolete.

Amar wrote this:

Since the Brexit referendum the future of the UPC has been in jeopardy and, despite the optimistic schedules published by the UPC Preparatory Committee, its opening is still uncertain. Recently however, member states have taken encouraging steps. The UPC may thus soon become a reality.

No, it may not and the ‘evidence’ presented is delusional at best. As time goes by there is only growing evidence that the UPC will not happen. Nothing positive has happened since before Brexit. Nothing.

“As usual, especially when it comes to Team Battistelli and Team UPC, there’s an incredible difference between perception and reality. Maybe all of them — not just Battistelli — are perpetually drunk (not only on power).”Amar then proceeds to mumbling some incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo about SPC and Brexit. Brexit’s impact on patents is not profound because the UK remains in the EPO, but it will never participate in the UPC, which won’t materialise anyway.

As usual, especially when it comes to Team Battistelli and Team UPC, there’s an incredible difference between perception and reality. Maybe all of them — not just Battistelli — are perpetually drunk (not only on power).

12.08.15

Hypocrite in Chief: Benoît Battistelli Compares Staff Union to ‘Mafia’

Posted in Europe, Patents, Petitions at 8:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

"Nazis", "Snipers", “Mafia” and the name-calling strategy of Team Battistelli

Mafia man

Summary: The gloves come off as Battistelli resorts to name-calling and European patent attorneys increasingly defect to the side of protesters (staff of EPO), expressing dissatisfaction if not disgust at the EPO’s management

THERE is no denying that the EPO‘s management is extremely popular right now.

According to this new article, the Tony Soprano-like Battistelli says that SUEPO “is not a trade union [but] a mafia-type entity” (look who’s talking). In a recent poll, 96% of respondents expressed concern and almost half of the staff is brave enough to march against the management. We have heard estimates of over 800 EPO employees protesting in The Hague and over 2,000 in Munich last week. This new summary from Merpel gives similar figures and justifiably wonders what will happen next:

Three members of the EPO Staff Committees have been suspended, as Merpel reported here. In support of their suspended colleagues, further demonstrations have been taking place (Merpel reported the initial one here) – and now she hears that the further protest in the Hague on 1 December numbered around 600 EPO employees, while that in Munich on 4 December attracted over 2000. It is clear that the unrest within the EPO at various things, including the treatment of these officials, is widespread – these numbers are pretty much without precedent.

[...]

There seems to Merpel to be an unsustainable escalation in conflict at the EPO. This affects both the general employees, and also the Boards of Appeal, as Merpel reported here. There seems to be a somewhat raised level of political interest in member states now, but how long must Merpel keep writing that something must be done?

See a certain pattern in early comments. Trying to frame this as a general problem (affecting a lot of public bodies) is serving to distract from the EPO’s situation. I know this type of media strategy fairly well because Microsoft uses that too (trying to characterise other companies as ‘equally evil’).

To quote one comment from a British lawyer(from the comments section):

Does anyone have any ideas how we can prevail upon the AC to act – assuming, that is, that they’re not actively complicit in BB’s wrecking of the entire system?

As a GB-based attorney I can write to my national delegates on the AC, but it’s easy for them to ignore correspondence from a single person. If a substantial proportion of GB representatives were to write, individually, they’d hopefully find it harder to ignore. Similarly with attorneys in other countries, there is strength in numbers if we all write to our national delegates.

Are the relevant national professional associations taking any action? Has CIPA made any representations to the GB delegation? Has EPI made representations to any AC delegates? (I know both made submissions on the BoA reform proposals, which were largely ignored, but surely it is time for both CIPA and EPI, and their counterparts in other member states, to make a more general intervention directly to the AC members.)

If the largest EPO-using law firms and companies in each member state made official representations to the AC would these carry any more weight?

The IPKat is performing a great service in Kataloguing all of the perverse developments at the EPO but the time has come for us to speak up directly to those in power. While the complaints are being documented on a handful of blogs, the AC and the management can disregard these as being just some bloggers’ opinion. We can’t just sit on the sidelines and complain amongst ourselves, watching while the EPO management continues to ride roughshod over its employees – we users need to let the EPO know that we are concerned too, and that the opinion of the blogs is shared by many practitioners.

Who will coordinate such action?

As was hinted earlier today, we now consider setting up (or helping to set up) a petition, maybe organise some kind of action which can compel the abuses by EPO management to stop. Hitting them where it hurts, it might help to embargo or discourage further patent applications unless or until some ultimatum is met (e.g. allowing external auditors and an independent investigation to take place at the Office). It may be the only remaining way to resolve this AC-Team Battistelli deadlock.

11.02.11

Sign the New White House Petition Against Software Patents

Posted in Action, Antitrust, Patents, Petitions at 3:19 am by Guest Editorial Team

The Obama administration issued a feeble response to a previous petition against software patents signed by more than 14,000 people. Please sign the new one which requires more than 20,000 signatures to merit a response.

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Pursue Software Patent Abolition.
We hold the belief that software patents, in nature and practice, hinder true innovation and grant unjust monopolies.

The Obama Administration’s response to a previous petition shamefully attempted to absolve the President of responsibility and placate us with the toothless America Invents Act. We summarily reject his response and demand immediate action.

Rapid growth in the software industry during economic malaise demonstrates the importance and power of this market. The President must use his full power and influence to fight harmful forces from entrenched incumbents and non-producing entities.

There are no possible reforms to be made to the USPTO that will enable it to keep pace with innovation in the software industry. Those who truly understand software are creating it.

03.02.11

HP Acquires Firm Hostile Towards Free Software, a Microsoft Ally

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, HP, Microsoft, Petitions, Security at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New article about software patents reveals that HP, under new leadership, has quietly bought a group of Microsoft allies (Fortify)

Following Hurd’s departure [1, 2, 3, 4] a former Microsoft ally was made the CEO of HP [1, 2, 3, 4] and this is important because of HP’s leading position in the desktops/servers market, not to mention all of its patents. “Every time a software patent is registered, an angel is bludgeoned to death with a shoe,” wrote “MrAlanCooper” to a former Microsoft employee. Yesterday we noticed this article about software patents in security, in which it’s mentioned that Fortify has just been acquired by HP. It’s important because Fortify too is a Microsoft ally, as we noted in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. The article says:

Can you patent the obvious? Apparently when it comes to software security, maybe you can. Gary McGraw explains how another party may get a patent on a technique he had a hand in inventing.

The notion of software patents is extremely controversial. The basic idea is simple and mirrors “regular” patents. An inventor invents something and files a number of claims about the invention. The Patent Office reviews the filing and determines whether to grant a patent for the invention. Holding a patent guarantees the inventor some rights to enjoy the fruits of the invention for a fixed period of time. Not so bad if you invent the next great inside-the-peel Tomato twaddler, but a bit harder to understand in the software space.

Can you patent the obvious? Apparently when it comes to software security, maybe you can.

[...]

On to patent land. Apparently the security testing firm Cenzic believes that they deserve a patent for software fault injection. In February 2007 (a decade after our book was published) Cenzic was awarded patent number 7185232 for “fault injection methods and apparatus.” The basic claims in the patent involve injecting some faulty input into a web program (thing one) and watching for error responses (thing two). Very nice. Or maybe not. A grass roots effort to collect prior art and dispute the patent is being spearheaded on the net byEnrique A. Sanchez Montellano.

As an inventor of security technology, I am not completely opposed to the idea of software patents. In fact, we hold eight patents in various aspects of software security at Cigital (some of which are likely to be infringed upon). We like the idea of licensing our ideas and our prototypes to others. In fact, that’s exactly what happened with Fortify which was recently acquired by HP. We licensed our code scanning ideas and prototypes to Kleiner-Perkins who went on to found Fortify, build a real commercial product, and sell the heck out of it. So the notion of protecting our ideas with patents is not foreign to us.

A lot could be said about the article’s attitude w.r.t. software patents, but the news that we missed about Fortify may be important in the future. Fortify attacks Free software quite routinely, so it’s unclear why HP would want this culture to become ‘in-house’. Incidentally, considering that Hurd was fired after Microsoft had pointed out that his work on a homebrew Linux-based operating system was a major threat (c/f SEC filing), one ought to watch carefully what Apotheker does at HP. Microsoft also named Intel’s work on MeeGo as a major threat (alongside HP) and we all know what Microsoft did to Nokia [1, 2, 3, 4], harming MeeGo a great deal using entryism (a manager from BT privately told us by mail that it was probably illegal, he called it “100% corrupt”). Yesterday we wrote about the contractual obligations of Micromoles. Watch out, HP.

Microsoft way

12.01.09

Call for Action: Support the GIMP

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Petitions, Ubuntu at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Direct link

Summary: Please sign the Bring Out The GIMP petition

IN order to avoid further Mono dependencies in Ubuntu, readers are kindly urged to sign this new petition, titled “Bring Out The GIMP”. Please spread the word so as to get as many signatures as possible.

Related posts:

08.07.09

Please Sign Petition to Protest Amazon’s Remote Deletion of 1984 and Animal Farm

Posted in Action, DRM, FSF, Petitions at 1:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kindle

SARAH from the Free Software Foundation has called for people to express their dissatisfaction with far-reaching DRM in Amazon’s Kindle. “We have over 1400 signatures already,” she emphasises, “and signers include Lawrence Lessig, Clay Shirky, Cory Doctorow and other notable authors, librarians, and scholars.”

If you know other people who may wish to support the cause, please pass this around as it will be used to persuade Amazon to reverse, not just apologise, and it may also serve as a future lesson to other companies that attempt the same predatory action.

George Orwell

Don’t let Amazon ‘pull an Orwell’ on Orwell

Related post:

04.16.09

Microsoft Tells Antitrust Regulators to Sod Off For Another Couple of Weeks

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Petitions at 6:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Assassins and mercenaries

Summary: Microsoft delays EU response even further while ECIS lays charges against Microsoft

Yesterday we wrote about ECIS's strike against Microsoft and today it turns out that Microsoft keeps procrastinating while its existing products remain anti-competitive by design.

EU antitrust regulators have granted Microsoft yet another extension to respond to charges that the software giant abused its dominant market position by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.

A European Commission spokeswoman confirmed to The Register this morning that Microsoft has been given a one-week extension. The company now has until 28 April to respond.

Someone has sent us a new document about Microsoft’s crimes. Yes, found within the PDF in a recent complaint is one link to this other EU document [PDF]. It is reminiscent of the Comes petition, but it’s more recent and a lot shorter. It is titled “Microsoft: A History of Anticompetitive Behavior and Consumer Harm” and it comes from ECIS. It happens to speak very concisely about Microsoft’s version of “reasonable and non-discriminatory” (really meaning “predatory and anti-competitive”).

To use an excerpt that contains references to GNU/Linux in particular, here is a new message from HPT in USENET (quoted text is unifont):

Table of contents of this document is a further indictment against the monopoly regarding its anti-competitive practises against competition.

Microsoft

A History of Anticompetitive Behavior and Consumer Harm

March 31, 2009


TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION .............................................1
II. MICROSOFT’S HISTORY OF ANTICOMPETITIVE CONDUCT ..........3
A. Microsoft’s Campaign To Destroy DR-DOS ...................3
B. Microsoft’s Anticompetitive Per Processor License Fees ...5
C. Microsoft’s Retaliation And Price Discrimination Against IBM
.............................................................6
D. Microsoft’s Organized Collective Boycott Against Intel ...7
E. Microsoft’s Elimination Of Word Perfect ..................7
F. Microsoft’s Deceptive WISE Software Program ..............9
G. Microsoft’s Elimination Of Netscape .....................10
H. Microsoft’s Attempts To Extinguish Java .................14
I. Microsoft’s Elimination Of Rival Media Players ..........16
J. Microsoft’s Campaign Against Rival Server Operating Systems
............................................................18
III. MICROSOFT CONTINUES TO ENGAGE IN ANTICOMPETITIVE CONDUCT
............................................................19
A. Microsoft’s Failure To Comply With The Final Judgment ...20
B. Microsoft’s Campaign of Patent FUD against Linux and Open
Source Software.............................................23
C. Microsoft’s Ongoing Misconduct Has Sparked Further European
Commission Investigations ..................................23
IV. MICROSOFT’S FALSE PROMISES OF INTEROPERABILITY .........24
V. MICROSOFT’S MONOPOLIES HAVE HARMED CONSUMERS ............25
A. Microsoft’s Operating System Monopoly Has Harmed Consumers
............................................................25
B. Microsoft’s Office Monopoly Has Harmed Consumers ........26
C. Microsoft’s Web Browser Monopoly Has Harmed Consumers ...28
VI. CONCLUSION .............................................31

Section III.B discusses FUD against Linux:


B. Microsoft’s Campaign of Patent FUD against Linux and Open
Source Software

    “This is not a case of some accidental, unknowing
infringement. There is an overwhelming number of patents being
infringed.”

    — Microsoft General Counsel and Intellectual Property and
Licensing Vice President Horacio Gutierrez [128]


Here is an indicting observation about the anti-competitive practises through unsubstantiated patent violations in Linux:


The open source Linux operating system is the principal rival to
Microsoft Windows. Linux has been taken up by both corporate
customers and, increasingly, by private individuals for home use
(e.g., with netbooks). In a recent interview with CNET, Steve
Ballmer identified Linux as one of the top two competitive
threats to Microsoft in the enterprise segment. [129]

Consistent with its behavior in response to other competitive
threats, Microsoft has used unfair and anti-competitive tactics
to try and slow the uptake of Linux. In particular, Microsoft
has made and continues to make broad, unsubstantiated claims that
software developers distributing Linux or other open source
software, as well as their customers, are infringing
Microsoft’s patents. [130] However, although Microsoft has
claimed that as many as 235 patents may have been infringed
[131], it has consistently failed to identify which patents are
at issue.


It warns of possible future legal action by Microsoft, as a part of its FUD campaign against Linux and Open Source to kill Linux, requirement for additional licensing for “immunity”.  According to this next paragraph, licensing fees have a certain ring of action for protection similar to action by organised crime:


Microsoft’s tactic is to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt
(“FUD”) as to whether developers and users of open source
software may be the target of future patent infringement
suits, and thereby chill consumer enthusiasm and demand for Linux
and open source solutions.

Indeed, Microsoft’s unwarranted threats have brought such
pressure to bear on Linux users that some have felt compelled to
enter into royalty-bearing patent licenses with Microsoft. [132]
Microsoft’s campaign of FUD effectively works to impose a “tax”
on the use of the most viable alternative software to Windows:
faced with an intimidating and powerful potential litigant known
for its hardball tactics, Linux users are driven to pay the
licensing fee despite the speculative nature of the IP claims.
Microsoft’s bullying tactics therefore raise the overall cost
and slow down market penetration by innovative technologies
intended to compete with Microsoft’s monopoly products.

Interesting is the comment about the US Law in regard to software patentability.


Moreover, there is a strong likelihood that Microsoft’s patent
FUD campaign may be unfounded in law. Recent U.S. jurisprudence
clarifies that the scope for patenting business methods, which
lie at the heart of many software patents, is much narrower than
was previously thought to be the case. [133] In addition, one of
the thresholds for patentability – that an invention is not
obvious to a person skilled in the art – has recently become
harder to meet. [134] As such, many of the patents held by
Microsoft are likely to be of questionable validity today.


According to this next paragraph, patents are a methodology to deter competition.


Furthermore, given the myriad of software patents in existence,
consumers may often be unable to determine with certainty whether
their use or distribution of certain software products actually
infringes another company’s IP rights. Therefore, contrary to the
broad and categorical statements of Mr. Gutierrez as to the
intentional nature of any alleged patent infringements, it is
widely recognized in the industry that, regardless of whether
proprietary or open source software is used, there is a high
likelihood that patent infringements will have been committed
inadvertently. Microsoft has sought to exploit the current
absence of clarity in patent law in order to deter consumers from
taking up offerings competing with Microsoft’s own products.


Below mentions Microsoft suing TomTom regarding Microsoft’s questionable patents.


In an apparent escalation of its patent FUD strategy, Microsoft
sued the navigational system vendor, TomTom, for patent
infringement at the end of February 2009. Three patent claims
related to Linux are included in the lawsuit. [135] At least two
of them are related to highly questionable patents on long file
name support in Windows, which have been partially invalidated by
an EC patent court on the grounds that Microsoft’s patent claims
were “not based on inventive activity”. [136] While Microsoft has
publicly claimed that its action is not directed against Linux or
open source, and the case was settled in March 2009 pursuant to a
mostly confidential agreement, this represents an aggressive
development of Microsoft’s use of spurious or highly questionable
patent claims to intimidate and eliminate competition from Linux
in order to maintain or strengthen its dominant position in the
OS market.




The full document is a compelling, fascinating read.

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