Can a President who lies ever be trusted?
Summary: Battistelli’s ‘media strategy’ is getting ugly but potentially effective when it comes to silencing opposition, or in other words those who speak about his abuses
THIS SHORT article makes an important observation about the media strategy of Battistelli and his EPO thugs. Unlike the USPTO, the EPO has many violations in its hands and these need to be explained. Moreover, the thugs need to be ousted, potentially with legal action against them. Battistelli realises the severity of this issue (he could lose more than his job but also his career and maybe his freedom), hence the ham-fisted approach.
“Two months later it is easy to show that Battistelli talks utter nonsense because many groups from many countries, including some of his stakeholders (not just staff), speak out against him and make formal complaints.”People in the EPO are afraid but determined to oust the thugs. Across the whole board we hear from people inside and outside the EPO who are afraid of retribution and try hard to dodge Battistelli’s ‘stasi’. Watch how the Investigation Unit is perceived inside the EPO. Watch how people cover their face when they go out protesting against their employer. Is this a democracy? Is this a functioning facility that serves the European public (as in public servant)? Clearly something has gone wrong and Battistelli’s tyranny is about as undemocratic as it can get.
Earlier today we noticed that one site that protests against Battistelli and his thugs went dark. Maybe its operator is afraid of someone; it’s hard to think of other explanations for this. After quite a long time online it now states:
Sorry, the blog at icsfight4yourrights.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.
We don’t know who runs that blog. It might be someone from the EPO, but it’s likely to be someone who is not. In Battistelli’s mind, however, all can be blamed on just ‘disgruntled’ employees (as if being disgruntled over a tyrant is in itself wrong). Sometimes Battistelli and Topić even use the race and nationality card, claiming to be victims of racism or international hostilities. That’s just bunk. They’re bonkers.
Let is be said that our sources range widely and Battistelli’s claim that the sources are EPO staff is patently false. Even some lawyers, not to mention proponents of software patents, have expressed concern. Judges too. Battistelli is cornered by a large number of groups, let aside his own staff. Standing next to him is a thug with notoriety, Željko Topić [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], whose alleged crimes (many of them!) we are going to write about another day. The many criminal charges on which we will elaborate in the future ought to show just what standards Battistelli really has. He needs “protection”, not “professionals”, and this makes the EPO look like a corrupt laughing stock that no lawyer will wish to take seriously.
Back in November Battistelli ‘struck back’ as follows:
Battistelli responded by claiming that there was a “defamation campaign” against him. As WIPR had by then run a series of stories on its website based on the EPO staff’s complaints, it appeared he was referring to us.
However, Battistelli said no. His complaint was broader. The EPO staff union, he said, was organising the campaign and had been “contacting the media throughout Europe” to complain about issues such as a perceived lack of transparency at the EPO and poor governance.
We explained that the complaints sent to us appeared to have come from individual staff members, who for obvious reasons had asked us to protect their identities, rather than from the union, although we couldn’t be sure. Battistelli dismissed this.
Two months later it is easy to show that Battistelli talks utter nonsense because many groups from many countries, including some of his stakeholders (not just staff), speak out against him and make formal complaints. █
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A somewhat belated call for support and a thank-you to existing supporters
Summary: How to support Techrights and why we plan to become more active in 2015
HALF a decade ago Techrights published a lot of articles, at most around 30 per day (requiring well over 100 hours of research and writing per week). We have published 27 articles in the past week in an effort to bring the site back to pace after a relatively slow 2014.
“The more tips we receive, the more resilient we can make the site in the face of DDOS attacks (we suffered several last year) and the more motivated we become to write articles here.”As always, we welcome contributions in the form of guest articles, links (either suggested links sent to us or promotion of our articles in so-called ‘social’ media) and for those who have money to spare in support of the site there is the tip jar. The more tips we receive, the more resilient we can make the site in the face of DDOS attacks (we suffered several last year) and the more motivated we become to write articles here. Enough tips also leave us less dependent on external employment and therefore increase the amount of time spent on this site. It is 2 AM where I am at the moment (Manchester) and I stayed up late in an effort to justify the tips left to us just before Christmas. I have been doing that since New Year’s Eve. My wife and I don’t live lavishly and our main passion in here; most of our time is spent writing in our sites, notably Techrights and Tux Machines.
There are many ways to support this site and those who appreciate what we do and have done for nearly a decade are strongly encouraged to ‘give back’, to to speak, even by just promoting the articles or recommending the site to peers/colleagues. Supporting Techrights also means supporting Tux Machines, which advances GNU/Linux and reaches a broad (and still expanding) audience. █
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Summary: Canada’s patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers
THE case of i4i was a reminder of the fact that Canada is not a software patents-free zone. There is actually evidence to the contrary and also a new article in patent lawyers-leaning press about the subject (see “Computer And Software Related Innovation – Is There A Rationale For Filing Software Patent Applications In Canada?”). It serves to show that Canada more or less follows the neighbours to the south (not the UK or France, which also have profound impact on Canadian politics), especially when it comes to patent practices. This includes patents on software, genetics, etc. These breeds of patents, which originate from rulings in the US, are spreading to other nations including Canada [via], despite the severe implications for practitioners, let alone public interests. To quote The Star:
Canadian courts have not yet ruled on whether genes can be patented. A lawsuit filed Monday over cardiac disorder Long QT aims to clear that up.
In recent years we became increasingly worried about a Canada-based company that had joined Rockstar (Apple- and Microsoft-backed, against Linux/Android) and it is now turning into a patent troll. We are talking about BlackBerry here as “the company also owns a stake in Rockstar – which may itself come up for sale in the near future, based on recent events.”
“Software patents are not only a threat to Free/libre software but to all software developers, except conglomerates that are essentially business entities.”BlackBerry’s transformation into patent troll has been covered here before and there is a chance that negative publicity will discourage it from attacking FOSS (as it already seems to be heading in that direction).
The bottom line is, Canada — like many Five Eyes nations — is silently a supporter of software patents. Our Canadian readers need to contact their politicians in an effort to change that. Software patents are not only a threat to Free/libre software but to all software developers, except conglomerates that are essentially business entities. █
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Summary: A weekly roundup of news about patents in the United States and elsewhere, with special focus on software patents
Free/libre software has much less to worry about now that software patents are getting weaker if not fewer, too. There are changes that affect not only software patents but patents as a whole. In the US, for example, patents on genes/genetics were ruled illegal not too long ago. Here is an explanation of why Australia might soon follow suit. Titled “Australian Court Disagrees With US: Claim Genes Are Totally Patentable”, the article reminds us that “Last year, the Supreme Court made an important ruling in the Myriad Genetics case, effectively saying that genes aren’t patentable, even if you can separate them out from the rest of a strand of DNA. Myriad Genetics had isolated two key genes related to breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2 and argued that only it could test for those genes, because of its patent. The Supreme Court soundly rejected that, noting that you cannot patent something in nature, and clearly Myriad did not “make” the genes. Unfortunately, as we’d noted just a few months earlier, a court in Australia had come to the opposite conclusion, saying that Myriad Genetics had legitimate patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2. That case was appealed, and there was some hope that after the US’s ruling, higher courts in Australia might see the light. Not yet apparently. An appeals court has agreed that genes are patentable Down Under, which means that such important genetic tests there are likely to be much more expensive and limited.”
Australia, quite infamously as we pointed out before, was one of the countries that succumbed to US lead on software patents, so on genetics too there might be changes afoot. Here is a timely reminder that India still wrestles with software patents, having done so for years. India is famous for its heroic opposition to patents on medicine where life is at stake.
One new article from the Indian press quotes a few people who follow this closely. One of them “said that many of the companies that work on open source software and related segments have raised their opposition while the originator companies are demanding for a patent.”
Actually, many proprietary software patents are also against software patents. It is not a FOSS issue but a CS issue (computer science, not closed source).
“Currently,” continues this article, “software is not patentable under the existing Act and it needs to be registered under copyright. Many experts think that a patent would be stringent than a copyright is and would be advisable for the innovators to protect their software from infringement.
“The draft has been issued in the public domain for comments and the government has to consult every stakeholder on it. The issuance of the guideline is in final stage, he said.
“As per the Intellectual Property Office report, about 80% of patent applications at the Indian Patent Office are filed by foreign global technology companies. In the past decade the number of applications by foreign applicants has risen from about 8,221 to 34,276, said industry leaders.”
So these patents have a strong correlation to and with digital colonialism. Why would Indians ever accept them? The multinational corporations surely want these, but what’s in it for India itself? India has fantastic software engineers of its own. It need never be dependent on multinational entities, especially for software.
Here is a US-based pro-software patents site (run by patent lawyers) saying that “Big Banks Get Software Patents Despite Alice”. It is selective and selection-centric spin. The reality, on the whole, is the very opposite. The pro-business, News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal very recently published “Hard Times for Software Patents” followed by the detailed report titled “Courts Nix More Software Patents” and “Federal Courts Reject More Software Patents”. It says what one ought to expect.
Speaking of large corporations and software patents, watch what BMC is doing. The British press said that “BMC has accused ServiceNow of violating seven of its patents (5,978,594, 6,816,898, 6,895,586, 7,062,683, 7,617,073, 8,646,093 and 8,674,992), spanning incident management, performance analytics, configuration management, discovery, orchestration and change release management.
“The company lodged its suit on Tuesday in the generally litigant-friendly US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.”
BMC is acting like a patent troll and attacks small rivals. Witness the glory of software patents! The weapon of abuses indeed, injustice galore!
Contrariwise, Van Lindberg from Rackpace (very large company) says that they have killed a software patent and potentially a troll. The title says “Another Patent Troll Slain. You Are Now Free To Rotate Your Smartphone.”
Here is more on that: “Over the last few years it’s been great to see companies like Newegg and Rackspace decide that they’re not going to give in to bogus patent troll lawsuits. As we’ve discussed, it’s almost always easier, faster and cheaper to just settle and pay up whatever the troll is asking for. That’s part of why trolling works. Fighting a patent lawsuit — even a totally bogus one (i.e., not infrigning) — on a clearly invalid patent will still cost many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. If the troll is offering to settle for tens of thousands of dollars, many, many companies will do the obvious short-term cost-benefit analysis and settle. It’s hard to directly fault them for this — but it only makes the problem worse for everyone else. Not only does it fund the patent trolls to keep suing others, often they’ll use some of that money to buy more bogus patents and shakedown companies over that new ones as well. On top of that, settling patent threats just puts a big “sucker” sign on your company, meaning that more trolls will start circling. Making a stand and saying that you will not compromise or deal with trolls actually helps in the long run by scaring off some trolls. Both Newegg and Rackspace have been getting a lot of publicity (and goodwill) for their anti-troll efforts.”
Here is a somewhat comical take on a troll that decided to attack the government. The headline says it all: “Patent Troll Told That It Can’t Sue The FTC For Merely Investigating Its Shakedown Scam”
Well, “just when US starts correcting them,” writes Dr. Glyn Moody, Europe, with the corrupt EPO, decides to “Repeat US’s Past Mistakes”:
Back in May, I wrote about a very interesting paper discussing some potential pitfalls of the new Unified Patent Court. Given the magnitude of the change that it and the unitary patent system will bring, it is extraordinary that we still don’t really know how things will work out in practice. That makes another paper called “The Unified Patent Court (UPC) in Action – How Will the Design of the UPC Affect Patent Law? ” particularly welcome, since, as its title suggests, it explores how the new UPC is likely to shape the contours of patent law in Europe.
Since the new paper appeared, there has been a further US Supreme Court ruling, Alice v. CLS Bank, that has already led to no less than 11 software patents being thrown out by lower courts. Indeed, there is every indication that the era of completely insane software patents is drawing to a close in the US. It is therefore deeply ironic – and rather frustrating – that at precisely the moment when sanity starts to break out in the US, the EU incomprehensibly decides to take exactly the same path of madness that produced so many problems across the Atlantic.
Those are all good ideas, but it’s rather depressing that we must already be thinking of ways to minimise the damage the new UPC is likely to cause Europe’s economy in general – and the world of software in particular.
In the coming weeks we will continue to show how the EPO turned rogue and corrupt. It would be foolish to adopt software patents when the US relents.
Here comes another smackdown of a troll. As Mike Masnick put it: “We recently noted that a bunch of courts had been killing off bad software patents thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank. And now, that ruling is even leading the trolls themselves to give up. Notorious patent troll Lumen View recently dropped its appeal in its case against the website FindTheBest, saying that the ruling in Alice made it clear it wouldn’t win…”
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wrote about this trend as a whole, saying that patent trolls are starting to get trampled. He also quotes OIN:
First, the Open Invention Network (OIN), whose members include Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony, now has more than a thousand licensees in its Linux and open-source, defensive patent pool. In an e-mail , Keith Bergelt, OIN’s CEO said, “The OIN license is becoming part of a broader set of community norms and is increasingly being integrated into the culture of open source/Linux-centric companies. It is for many the foundation around which their IP [intellectual property] strategy is built and a critical enabler of patent non-aggression and freedom to operate.”
We recently wrote about the podcasting troll winning against CBS, but this is definitely not over. As TechDirt put it: “The trial (in East Texas, of course) for CBS came first and the jury sided with Personal Audio, because that’s how East Texas patent juries typically roll. In a moment of semi-kindness, the jury awarded Personal Audio $1.3 million, rather than the nearly $8 million they supposedly requested. This story is really just a stepping stone, however. CBS has made it clear that it will appeal the case to CAFC, and given how software/business method patents are getting tossed out left and right these days, the company has a decent chance of prevailing. Meanwhile, the EFF reminds us that it’s still working hard to invalidate the patent at the Patent Office, which would help accelerate the process of killing off these bogus lawsuits.”
CBS is a bad company, but hopefully it will win on appeal.
Here is Matt Levy quoting the partly pro-software patents Michael Risch while saying: “We cannot continue the excesses of the past. Invalid patents don’t benefit innovation, they block innovation. And we have a patent system where a substantial portion of the issued patents, if not most, are invalid. And the patents in the software area are even worse.”
At the end of the day we will hopefully see patents on software universally invalidated. Until then we will have rumour mills and speculations (e.g. about prices) telling us that Free software is not free, thanks in part to lack of comprehension of what patents really are for and how they affect the industry (it’s a poor article which reveals its author’s ignorance on this subject). We have already covered this issue before (it’s about Samsung and Microsoft). █
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