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07.15.19

Microsoft Office 360 Banned

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, Standard at 2:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft implemented ODF with all the grace of a 6 year old asked to tidy up their room”

Jeremy Allison, LCA 2010

Summary: OpenDocument Format (ODF, a real standard everyone can implement) and Free/libre software should be taught in schools; it’s not supposed to be just a matter of privacy

Days ago we included in our daily links some early reports about Microsoft Office 360 getting banned in German schools. CBS (ZDNet) is helping Microsoft spin all this with a bunch of lies [1], but this development must worry Microsoft as it can inspire other countries and even non-schools to do the same. We’ve meanwhile noticed (hours ago) that some “Linux sites” promote proprietary software with “ribbons” and OOXML [2] (because there are binaries for Ubuntu). Why not Free/libre software? Are bloggers really this clueless? What does one gain by swapping one piece of proprietary software with another? Or one surveillance form (Microsoft) with another (Google)?

Software Freedom needs to be stressed more and more for such poor advocacy to be discouraged. Choosing something like Google or Apple instead of Microsoft isn’t swapping digital slavery with freedom but instead just swapping ‘masters’.

Update: For the second time in just hours [3] that same “Linux site” promotes yet another piece of proprietary software as a “replacement” for Microsoft Office.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Office 365: Banned in German schools over privacy fears
  2. FreeOffice July Update Adds MS Office 2019 Support, Classic Interface Option

    A major update to FreeOffice by SoftMaker, a gratis set of productivity apps modelled after Microsoft Office, is now available to download.

    Dubbed the “anniversary update”, the latest version of this office suite intros compatibility with the latest Microsoft Office file formats.

    All three apps in the family, TextMaker, PlanMaker and Presentations, are said to be fully compatible with the latest Microsoft Office file formats, allowing users to open, edit and save in native Office formats like .docx.

    The suite now lets users choose an interface layout, with the standard “Ribbon” interface mode and a more traditional menu-based UI available.

  3. Microsoft Office Clone ‘SoftMaker Office 2018’ Sees Summer Update

    Do keep in mind that SoftMaker Office 2018 is not free software so you will need to buy a subscription or make a one-off purchase to use it longterm.

07.11.19

Microsoft Putting Patent Traps Inside Linux While Blackmailing Companies Using Patents Associated With These Traps

Posted in Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Standard at 8:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

Summary: In an effort to make exFAT (a patent trap) the ‘industry standard’, even inside Linux, Microsoft now wants exFAT inside the very heart of Linux and people are pushing back

With food came the appetite and shortly after being allowed into a secretive circulation of flaw information — the kind of information former Microsoft employees use to come up with brands, logos, buzzwords and Web sites to hype up and profit from Linux and FOSS bugs (e.g. "VENOM" and “Heartbleed” [1, 2] — it’s already progressing even further. Suffice to say, corporate media isn’t interested in Microsoft’s bad history (it's just spamming us 24/7 with "Microsoft loves Linux" revisionism).

Michael Larabel has taken note (as recently as yesterday evening) of filesystem guru Ted Ts’o writing: “Personally, if Microsoft is going to be unfriendly about not wanting others to use their file system technology by making patent claims, why should we reward them by making their file system better by improving its interoperability? (My personal opinion only.)” (those last 4 words are an expression of fear of association, like bullying through one's boss/employer)

It was a discussion among some Microsoft people and former Novell people. They’re still up to no good. They’re not serving Linux; they serve Microsoft, which promotes Windows.

“It was a discussion among some Microsoft people and former Novell people. They’re still up to no good. They’re not serving Linux; they serve Microsoft, which promotes Windows.”Ted Ts’o is not a person who trusts Microsoft (never did!) and the same person who tried to portray Torvalds as sexist (back when the person was female, not male) Ted Ts’o was spun as a “rape apologist” based on some very old message — obviously taken out of context to make Ted Ts’o like an an abominable, unemployable person. We recently recalled and highlighted issues related to this [1, 2].

At the moment Microsoft charges patent tax through companies like Tuxera, so the point raised by Ted Ts’o is absolutely legitimate. But if Microsoft’s entryism inside Linux is working as expected/hoped, even senior and prominent developers like Ted Ts’o can be ousted or at least silenced somehow. Microsoft is now officially inserting patent traps into the kernel used on billions on chips. Sometimes it feels like the kernel is being ‘sold’ to Microsoft by Zemlin et al at the Linux Foundation (they became millionaires by doing so). It often feels, now with people like Cox gone, like the Foundation is nothing but the corporate cabal its Board has become (Microsoft, Oracle and so on). First they kicked out community members, then their journalists and editors. So what’s left? Peripheral PR people, 3 developers on the payroll and an operation that ‘sells’ (passes) Linux+FOSS code to surveillance companies. In this particular case they hope to impede ongoing efforts to replace exFAT with non-Microsoft things. What we see here is how Microsoft uses its ‘moles’ inside Linux (the kernel) to make Microsoft ‘the standard’. It’s not hard to achieve when one ‘controls’ both Windows and Linux, where the latter is a lot more widely deployed.

“There are lots of angry comments about this in Phoronix right now (almost 50, tenfold the usual/average).”Microsoft’s participation was all about pushing proprietary things of Microsoft. Just as one would expect…

Larabel brought up OIN, but even after joining OIN Microsoft is not only threatening but also suing using patents, claiming the usual claims. It demands billions of dollars for patents. And yes, it’s about Linux and Android.

EEE moves so, so very fast inside Linux. There are lots of angry comments about this in Phoronix right now (almost 50, tenfold the usual/average).

“He [Bill Gates] is divisive. He is manipulative. He is a user. He has taken much from me and the industry.”

Gary Kildall

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).

06.27.18

US Supreme Court Will Hear Helsinn v Teva, But What’s Needed Right Now is a Challenge to Patents Inside Standards (a.k.a. ‘FRAND’ or ‘SEP’)

Posted in America, Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft, Patents, RAND, Standard at 11:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Standards you can’t use (unless you’re rich)

Trapped

Summary: Antitrust/monopoly aspects of patents one cannot work around (to merely conform/comply with industry standards) are worth debating at the highest of levels rather than in forums full of lobbyists (sometimes hosted inside Microsoft’s very own premises!)

EARLIER this week we noted that SCOTUS would not reassess patent scope (e.g. Section 101). It was mentioned by Patently-O earlier this week and is now being mentioned by many other patent-centric blogs. Managing IP wrote:

The court in Helsinn v Teva appears likely to craft a bright-ruling on the issue of whether the confidential sale or license of a not-yet-patented technology or process qualifies as prior art under the America Invents Act

Gregory Sephton and Anna Schoenfelder said: “As a follow-up to our previous post “The Federal Circuit Has Its Final Say On the “On-Sale” Bar Under the AIA,” the Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the Helsinn v. Teva case, which concerns whether the America Invents Act (“AIA”) changed the longstanding “on-sale bar” rule. This means that at least four of the nine Supreme Court justices agreed to address this case.”

Watchtroll (Gene Quinn) also had to say something only hours after promoting an “ethical” troll, claiming that “iPEL has also defined a set of business practices that a Non-Practicing Entity can follow in order to call itself an Ethical NPETM.”

Ethical? That’s funny!

It’s like Patent Factory Europe (PFE). WIPR has since then done a puff piece for this troll’s PR campaign and it’s comical that those taxing everything with patents, harming small businesses the most, are trying to hide that fact by associating themselves with “Startups and Small Businesses” and “SMEs”. It is, at best, a googlebombing strategy. They wish to drown out the truth with press releases and lies.

The subject of FRAND has meanwhile resurfaced. The same people who push this PFE nonsense are best known for lobbying on FRAND in Europe. They front for large corporations, notably Microsoft. “I am reminded that FRAND worked its way into the ITU’s false definition,” a reader told us, linking to ITU’s definition of “Open Standards” after Microsoft lobbying/entryism (we covered this before).

Florian Müller, a FRAND proponent, has meanwhile ranted about Delrahim (lobbyist-turned-official), whose take on FRAND — related to standard-essential patents (SEPs) — he does not agree with. To quote:

This is a follow-up to last month’s post on an open letter that 77 former government officials and professors (of law, economics, and business) sent Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim in order to remind him of long-standing and consistent U.S. policies on standard-essential patents (SEP) under both Republican and Democratic administrations. I’ve meanwhile become aware of the AAG’s reply, which does not provide any indication that he’s on the side of innovation and fair competition.

To his response, Mr. Delrahim attached a letter dated February 13, 2018 from about a dozen academics and former government officials that support the statements he makes, which he describes as “the United States’ policies” (we’ll talk about that further below). With the greatest respect for those individuals, they do not collectively counterbalance the 77 signatories of the letter that criticized Mr. Delrahim’s statements. That’s not just a matter of numbers: for an example, there is no former FTC chairman among them.

Also, before the academics’ February letter, there was a very impressive industry letter to AAG Delrahim in January, signed by industry bodies such as CCIA, the Fair Standards Alliance, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIAA), and ACT | The App Association, but also by major tech companies such as Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, HP, Dell, and Cisco. It’s very hard to understand why neither of those letters appears to have given AAG Delrahim pause. Does he seriously think he can make his contribution to #MAGA by acting against the likes of Apple, Intel, HP, and Microsoft–and trade organizations that have such companies as Google among their membership?

This whole “MAGA” delusion aside (Müller is an avid Trump proponent), it’s not hard to see that several of the above groups are Microsoft front groups (at least 3 of them). But what ought to matter a lot more is the benefit to society at large, including small businesses. Maybe the Justices at SCOTUS will some time soon find an opportunity to look into the matter (instead of relying on corporations and front groups that set policies by lobbying Trump-appointed ‘officials’, or former lobbyists). We certainly hope so because we have written a great deal about this subject since our inception in 2006.

12.10.17

Patents Are Becoming a Welfare System for the Rich and Powerful

Posted in Patents, RAND, Standard at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: The SEP/Patent Trolls’ Lobby Insults the Victims, Calling Them “Free Riders”

Welfare of dogs

Summary: A culture of litigation and more recently the patenting of broad industry standards may mean that multi-billion dollar corporations are cashing in without lifting a finger

THE gross saturation of patents in the United States used to work in favour of patent law firms, at the expense of firms which actually produce things.

A few days ago we learned about yet another large sum (nearly 0.1 billion dollars) being passed based on a patent dispute/lawsuit that alleges “lost profits” (as if it’s corporate welfare, wherein you declare an entitlement for profits). We wrote about that subject a few weeks ago. “The lawsuit is related to WesternGeco’s patents on marine seismic surveys,” Patently-O wrote. “Adjudged infringer ION manufactures components of the system in the US, for assembly and use “on the high seas.” A jury found liability under 271(f) – exporting components of a patented invention for assembly abroad. The jury also awarded the patentee $12.5 million in reasonable royalties in addition to $93.4 million in lost profits based upon specific competitive contracts lost.”

“Since when have patents become merely a tool of ‘wholesale’ wealth passage?”So that’s even over 0.1 billion dollars (all in all). Based on potential alone, or the mere claim of potential.

Since when have patents become merely a tool of ‘wholesale’ wealth passage? Patents were not originally envisioned as such and this does not contribute to innovation, it just makes already-rich people even richer.

Now let’s look at so-called F/RAND, which ought not exist in the first place. It’s the basic idea that even industry standards are ‘owned’ in the patents sense, and we’re supposed to think that’s “fair”, “reasonable” and “non-discriminatory”. In reality, it is the opposite of all these things. It’s an unjust tax which empowers monopolies.

“It’s the basic idea that even industry standards are ‘owned’ in the patents sense, and we’re supposed to think that’s “fair”, “reasonable” and “non-discriminatory”.”A short while ago (in academic terms) Colleen Chien mentioned her new paper which can be found here. “Patent litigation is down but transactions are up,” she said. “I discuss in my new paper, “Software Patents as Currency, Not Tax on Innovation” @BerkeleyTechLJ”

Here is her abstract: “Software innovation is transforming the U.S. economy. Yet our understanding of how patents and patent transactions support this innovation is limited by a lack of public information about patent licenses and sales. Claims about the patent marketplace, for example, extolling the virtues of intermediaries like non–practicing entities, or characterizing software patent licenses as a tax on innovation tend not to be grounded in empirical evidence. This Article brings much–needed data to the debate by analyzing transactional patent data from multiple sources and reporting several novel findings. First, this study finds that, despite reductions in the enforceability of software parents and levels of patent litigation, the market for software patents has remained remarkably robust, and actually grown in the number of transacted assets. The strength of this demand appears to be driven by the defensive—not only offensive—value of software patents, the importance of software–driven business models, and bargain shopping in the acquisition of patents. Second, this Article explores the extent to which software patent transfers support the transfer of technology as opposed to supporting just the transfer of liability, or freedom from suit, with mixed results. This study finds that the majority of material software licenses reported by public companies to the SEC from 2000–2015 (N=245) support true technology transfer. However, in recent years, large numbers of software patents apparently have also been sold to avoid litigation or to provide general operating freedom, rather than to access specific technologies. Software patents transferred between public companies from 2012 and 2015 were two to three times more likely to go from an older company to a younger company, and from a higher revenue to a lower revenue public company. These findings underscore the enduring importance of software patents in supporting both technology transfer and freedom to operate. Despite the prevalence of NPEs, most patents are not bought for assertion, but to support these critical innovation functions. As such, the data support the characterization of software patents as a currency of—rather than a tax on—innovation.”

It is certainly good news that litigation is decreasing, but software patents ought not be viewed as patent-eligible anymore. A lot of these transactions Chien speaks of are akin to FRAND and it’s a form of loophole, just like the so-called ‘NPEs’ (trolls) she alludes to.

Looking at sites of the patent microcosm rather than academic papers, one finds another new lawsuit. Here is what IAM said:

Sprint, the US’s fourth largest mobile company, has launched a patent infringement lawsuit against Charter alleging that the cable TV giant infringes on 11 patents relating to voice over packet (VoP) technology.

The case was filed in Delaware district court earlier this month and marks the latest attempt by Sprint, which is owned by Japanese tech giant Softbank, to monetise its patent portfolio. As well as the suit against Charter, Sprint also filed a case using the same patents against another cable business, Mediacom Communications.

Unfortunately, VoP is — quite arguably — about software, just like VoIP (Internet Protocol, which deals with packets too). We hope that Charter will fight back and attempt to invalidate these patents (invalidating a dozen won’t be cheap and definitely not fast).

“We hope that Charter will fight back and attempt to invalidate these patents (invalidating a dozen won’t be cheap and definitely not fast).”The patent microcosm shares IAM’s blood-lust. It wants a lot of litigation or taxation as it gets a share of the loor. See this for example. Just about everything that’s bad for society Bristows will love. It is celebrating with patent trolls and maximlaists again (SPCs). It’s also lobbying for software patents, FRAND, SEP, and the UPC, which this guy too is promoting, along with the rest of that toxic bundle. “Isn’t it funny,” he asked, “that the free market loving Anglo-Saxons want judges to determine the #FRAND rate while the Germans (of all people) want the judge to provide boundaries and let the market set the #FRAND #royalty for an #SEP #Patent”

“A lot of that tax pertains mostly if not entirely to software patents.”The term “royalty” is a euphemism for tax. This new article by William New speaks of the 5G tax, which we wrote about earlier this winter.

The bottom line is, patents are becoming merely a tax in many areas. Sure, litigation is on the decline in the US (unlike — say — in China or Germany), but that in itself does not guarantee end of injustices. A lot of that tax pertains mostly if not entirely to software patents.

11.30.17

The SEP/Patent Trolls’ Lobby Insults the Victims, Calling Them “Free Riders”

Posted in Europe, Patents, Standard at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cool guy

Summary: A tax on standards, in the form of patents (usually software patents), is celebrated by the FRAND/SEP lobby, which basically serves to protect the powerful while blocking everyone else

YESTERDAY we wrote about the EPO‘s friends, who represent or front for patent trolls, influencing the European Commission (EC) into the patent thickets trap. They now add insult to injury.

For those who don’t understand the ramifications, see this new article titled “Qualcomm 5G Royalty Rate Shines Light on Dispute With Apple”, among others [1, 2] (we mentioned more articles about it last night).

“They now add insult to injury.”Now Bristows, which has long pushed the SEP agenda (often in IP Kat, where it also promotes software patents, patent trolls, and UPC) cites and quotes nasty lobbying groups, noting that they’re happy about the EC’s SEP sellout. It said (yesterday): “Today the EU Commission published their much-awaited and debated communication on standard essential patent (SEP) licensing. The document entitled “Setting out the EU approach to Standard Essential Patents” contains 14 pages of key principles aimed at fostering a “balanced, smooth and predictable framework for SEPs”. The key principles reflect two stated objectives: (1) incentivising the development and inclusion of technologies in standards by providing fair/adequate return and (2) ensuring fair access to standardized technologies to promote wide dissemination.”

Channeling pro-SEP agenda (like BSA/IP Europe people), it linked to this post, which not only celebrates but also insults. Benjamin Henrion took note of this part: “Where opportunities to find negotiated outcomes have been exhausted, our position remains that courts are the best venue to enforce Intellectual Property Rights, including to find remedies for growing marketplace trends such as ‘patent freeriding’ by implementers that use our innovations without taking a license or paying royalties.”

“Patent freeriders means poor software developers who write code,” Henrion noted. See the “about” section (it’s structured like a press release): “free riders that rely on R&D investments made by others to earn higher profits…”

“No signs of dignity there.”Apart from the fact that it’s a slur which dodges a real debate about how standards come into being, it also stigmatises the ‘opposition’. No signs of dignity there.

“The SEPs guidance was particularly well received,” Managing IP wrote today. “Well received”? By who?!

Well, patent trolls and cartels. But Managing IP works for them, so that’s all that matters apparently.

11.29.17

IAM Celebrates (With the Patent Cartel) a System of Unjust Monopolisation of Industry Standards Through Unethical Patent Thickets

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents, RAND, Standard at 7:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Many of these are software patents

ITU Microsoft

Summary: Once again, quite frankly as usual, lobbying by large corporations pays off and companies that are not multi-billion dollar entities will suffer for they cannot participate in the market (anticompetitive patent thickets)

THE policy regarding patents in China has made Asia increasingly friendly to patent trolls. Korean and Japanese companies, for example, are being dragged into Chinese courts (much of their production was outsourced to factories in mainland China).

Days ago we saw IAM saying that “NPEs [patent trolls] armed with former [Chinese] Huawei and [European patent troll] Sisvel patents attack [Korean] Samsung in China, in possible privateering campaigns”. Well, “privateering” is putting it far too politely. The word they’re looking for is trolling. The patent arsenal from Europe now travels to China, the most fertile ground for patent trolls, in order to attack Samsung, one of the world’s biggest technology companies. “An article published in China,” IAM writes, “has turned up two previously unreported patent infringement suits against Samsung in the country’s courts, both filed this year. In one case, an apparent Chinese NPE is asserting a patent formerly owned by Huawei against the South Korean company. In the other, a Texas NPE is suing Samsung with a former Sisvel patent. Taken together, the cases indicate that there may be much more NPE activity – foreign and domestic – than meets the eye in China.”

Further down SIPO is mentioned. To quote: “Li further reports that Samsung challenged both patents before SIPO’s Patent Reexamination Board (PRB), which evidently upheld the Dunjun patent, while invalidating the Dual Sim patent. Both decisions can, of course, be appealed.”

What we are seeing here is actualisation of our predictions. Does China want to be known for patent trolls or for manufacturing (or both)?

Meanwhile, the Japanese government, according to this IAM blog post, recognises the problem with SEPs (standard-essential patents), not just with trolls. One should refrain from using the terms FRAND or SEP. They basically masquerade or conceal an anticompetitive injustice that’s hinged on patents. Here is what IAM wrote:

The ADR scheme was also described by the government as a “licensing award system for SEPs”. In short, it proposed that when two parties could not agree on an SEP licence agreement, the prospective licensee would be able to request mediation by the JPO, which would determine a FRAND royalty rate in a mandatory process, “with due care of not unfairly haring the interests of the patent holders”. Major global rights owners raised numerous objections, branding it as a form of compulsory licensing.

This has become a hot topic because companies like Qualcomm, which IAM again glorified a few days ago, want to create industry standards everyone must pay Qualcomm to merely implement. There are many software patents in the mix, even though such patents are no longer potent anywhere but China.

As Benjamin Henrion stated earlier today: “After the glyphosate, another vistory of (patent) lobbyists is to remove the “licence for all” from the Commission FRAND paper, and to insult Open Source licensing…”

The context to all this was a stream of IAM tweets that said: “Commission Communication on SEP licensing has now been published. On a first, skim, read it looks like SEP owners have got most of what they could have reasonably hoped for [] There doesn’t seem to be any prescriptions about what kind of licensing approach should be followed – ie no mention of the “license for all” regime that implementers were calling for. This is crucial. Looks like SEP owners have got their way. [] If detailed reading of the SEP licensing Communication confirms the initial impression, there has bene a big turnaround in the Commisison [sic] over th elast two weeks. SEP owners will be celebrating.”

IAM’s chief, Joff Wild, later wrote this blog post about it (updated throughout the evening). It is very disappointing that the European Commission seems to be in bed with the patent cartel/thickets, basically the likes of Qualcomm which it’s supposed to investigate. To quote Wild:

The European Commission’s long-awaited Communication on the licensing of standards essential patents was finally published this morning and, on an initial read, it looks like SEP owners have a fair amount to be pleased about – especially given how things were looking a couple of weeks back, when it seemed as if extensive lobbying from the implementer side was about to bear fruit. A subsequent delay in agreeing the final text of the Communication provided a hint that implementers might not get all they were after and today’s publication seemingly confirms that.

[...]

My guess is that SEP owners are going to be feeling a great deal of relief today. The Commission has acknowledged that while the rapid and efficient diffusion of technology at the lowest cost possible is vital, those who do the innovating need to be incentivised to carry on – and that means they have to feel they will receive adequate reward for the investments they make.

Is this any worse than the Commission turning a blind eye to EPO abuses?

Writing behind a paywall IP Watch has covered this as well (under the headline “European Commission Announces Guidance On Copyright Enforcement, SEP Licensing”).

To quote:

The European Commission today announced plans to ratchet up the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, and to introduce more clarity in licensing standard-essential patents (SEPs). The first involves guidance on the 2004 EU directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRED); the second recommendations for making the relationship between patent owners and technology users more “balanced and efficient.”

The likes of Qualcomm certainly got their way here; interesting timing given the immense scrutiny this company comes under. Earlier today we learned that Apple has just countersued Qualcomm for patent infringement [1, 2, 3], further escalating a long battle against the SEP cartel set up by Qualcomn. It is very disappointing to see that in addition to the constant deception from sites like IAM we have public officials who play along with patent cartels and protectionism. They really ought to know better. Corporate lobbyists got their way again. IAM gave them a platform (we covered that).

10.08.17

Microsoft Lobbying, the EPO, and Software Patents Disguised as ‘Internet of Things’

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents, RAND, Standard at 6:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway” —Marshall Phelps (Microsoft at the time)

ITU Microsoft

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) continues to act like a vassal of patent aggressors, Microsoft carries on pretending that it’s no longer attacking Free software, and evidence shows that patent policy is being perturbed by lobbyists connected to Microsoft

TECHRIGHTS published many thousands of articles about Microsoft, particularly regarding the company’s use (or misuse) of patents. It’s no secret that Microsoft front groups and other nefarious lobbies want to make Free/Open Source software more difficult (if not impossible) in Europe. Microsoft lobbies if not bribes for the removal of GNU/Linux not just from Munich but also anywhere else around Germany and Europe as a whole. We wrote many articles about it over the years. We gave many concrete examples. We also published some secret E-mails to that effect. The evidence is there, but corporate media is rarely interested in such stories; there’s a PR campaign going on now. It’s more profitable. Nasty spin is what brings income. Malicious companies that elevated themselves to dominance/monopoly by dirty tricks and sometimes crime don’t just change overnight; they might simply hire more lobbyists (for better connections) and deploy better marketing. “Microsoft loves Linux” is one of the latest incredible lies*.

“Malicious companies that elevated themselves to dominance/monopoly by dirty tricks and sometimes crime don’t just change overnight; they might simply hire more lobbyists (for better connections) and deploy better marketing.”Recently we saw further evidence that Apache had been compromised. Microsoft paid the ASF too much and even put its own ‘moles’ (or full-time staff) in leadership positions at the ASF. And let’s not even mention the LF and OSI. That may be a subject for another day. Notice how Microsoft never joined OIN and never promised not to sue/threaten with patents (the same promise needs to be made for Microsoft-connected patent trolls). In 2017, unfortunately, Microsoft continues to operate like the Mafia; it pays those who may otherwise speak out (or simply ‘eliminates’ them) while patent blackmail goes on covertly.

The other day we found out that the BSA-connected firm of Bill Gates’ father, a firm which is also connected to Microsoft lobbyists, is targeting the EPO now. As a reminder, many employees of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) moved back and forth (from and to this firm). We wrote a lot about that around 2007. This article came out a few days ago:

K&L Gates has launched a European Patent Office (EPO) practice.

The new practice, combined with K&L Gates’ network of intellectual procurement, portfolio management, and litigation lawyers and patent attorneys makes it the only fully integrated global law firm with full-service patent capabilities in the US, Australia, and Europe, it claims.

“Some time back, we embarked on the mission of bolstering our global patent prosecution capabilities to include an EPO practice in order to better provide our clients with a truly global IP solution,” said Robert M. Barrett, a partner at the firm’s Chicago office.

Remember that a lot of the staff is connected to the BSA, which we’ll come to in a moment.

As we have been pointing out for a number of months, the “IoT” buzzword is nowadays being used as a loophole for software patents. Another such word is “AI”, which only yesterday Watchtroll tried to frame as patentable (in spite of Alice). A few days ago we saw a new press release that said “AI Technology Patents” in the headline. “AI” is just a codeword for software patents which are neither allowed nor enforceable in the US anymore. “Procurement Software Company Xeeva Announces Receipt of Multiple AI Technology Patents,” it said, but these are simply software patents ‘dressed up’ as something scientific or smart. As we shall show in a moment, Microsoft uses such buzzwords more and more.

“What we basically have here are patent radicals plotting to put software patents right inside standards using the “IoT” buzzword.”As for the EPO, internal documents exposed that it had offered Microsoft an inherently-discriminatory fast lane. And yet, the "SMEs" lies continue to be trotted out. Here’s one from Friday, followed by retweeting of others who do the same. This is all based on a big lie from the EPO — the pure nonsense which is EPO working for SMEs rather than to their impediment/detriment. See “Using intellectual property to help large multinationals harness their innovative edge” — that’s the headline and tone of an article published by IAM some days ago. We’re expected to believe that anyone other than these “large multinationals” (or patent trolls) would benefit. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Now comes the interesting part. Last month we wrote quite a bit about IP Europe and the EPO. Days ago someone told us about “European Standardization” with “Francisco MINGORANCE (IP Europe)” in it. It’s about so-called ‘IoT’ and there’s a “Kick-off meeting CEN-CENELEC/WS IoT SEP licensing” (“SEP licensing” is standard-essential patent tax).

So the lobbyists are once again killing everything that is sane!

Mingorance isn’t new to us. We wrote about him when he worked for the BSA and more recently in relation to the UPC and EPO [1, 2]. They’re all pretty close.

What we basically have here are patent radicals plotting to put software patents right inside standards using the “IoT” buzzword. They link to a patent maximalists’ site and tweet: “#Standards bodies, global tech developers & users to create a European Vision for #SEP licensing for #IoT and #5G”

“Sites like Groklaw and Techrights sort of gave up on ASF ages ago, for various different reasons, even well before their chief was a Microsoft employee.”As the President of the FFII interpreted it, “5G and IOT standards to be dominated by trolls, making free software impossible [] Today swpat [software patents] lobbyists meetup to exclude free software from 5G and IOT https://is.gd/eaT8xS”

Incidentally, only days ago IAM published this article titled “Monetising patented wireless technologies”, composed by Marc Pépin from TechPats, Ottawa, Canada. About a week ago we also heard from inside sources about a war on Free software in wireless technology. They’re understandably concerned when software patent are being painted “IoT” or G*” to impose a tax on everything, rendering Free software unsuitable for purpose.

It was pointed out to us that Apache played a role in it, too. Sites like Groklaw and Techrights sort of gave up on ASF ages ago, for various different reasons, even well before their chief was a Microsoft employee. As it turns out, Jim Jagielski became part of the problem and he recently sent a shout-out to Sam Ramji and congratulated Microsoft. It would not be a big deal if he hadn’t also been “very big” on Inner Source, and gave 3 talks at this secret event, InnerSource Commons Fall Summit 2017.

“As a reminder, Microsoft is still lobbying quietly (more quietly than IBM) against Alice. Microsoft wants to leverage software patents against everyone.”Then there’s this event, Second Joint ITU-NGMN Alliance Workshop on Open Source and Standards for 5G. Hosted by Microsoft! This is what entryism looks like. This is the second workshop and the first one was hosted by Qualcomm.

“Software patents are the key issue there,” we got told, and “the mobile industry wants to define FOSS as “access to the code” and normalise separate patent agreements, and wants regulators to endorse that position.”

As a reminder, Microsoft is still lobbying quietly (more quietly than IBM) against Alice. Microsoft wants to leverage software patents against everyone.
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* The PR campaign is so strong and so broad that one gets nothing but scorn (like “tinfoil hat”) for being sane and rational about what Microsoft is truly up to.

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