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UK-IPO Approves Software Patent as Microsoft and its Lobbies Pressure for Software Patents in EU

Toy soldiers
Microsoft's cronies army wants anti-FOSS laws all across Europe



Summary: The UK-IPO is again betraying its principles and lobbying activity from Microsoft deserves at least part of the blame for what happens in Europe

AS WE noted some weeks ago, the EPO is selling out to Microsoft. The UK-IPO has already messed up because of Symbian and it's happening again after pressure from all sorts of Microsoft buddies like Finjan [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and Steve Ballmer's occasional lobbying in London. From yesterday in The Register:



Intellectual Property Office approves software patent for UK



[...]

Software that allows programmers to program a mobile phone system remotely from a computer can be patented because it is more than just a software program, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has ruled.


Who else might be responsible for this? Let us take a look.

ACT, which claim to be protecting small business innovation, are actually a lobbying gun for Microsoft. Here is ACT's lobbying supreme Zuck pimping Microsoft's lobbying event for software patents in Europe (it's all about Microsoft). They have also just pressured the EPO to support software patents, identifying themselves using the old and tired obfuscation ("eBay, Oracle, Microsoft are members of ACT"). These people hardly even hide their intent [MPG].

The EBoA has come under pressure from all sorts of companies with vested interests ("you cannot link any of the documents," explains a reader, "because they have session keys, [but] the second one is signed by Zuck") and here is Stefan Steinbrener from the EBoA talking about it. The FSFE was among those who wrote to the EBoA and my submission is missing from the on-line list because I only sent it electronically without a signature. From the FSFE's Web site:

Our vision is for the European Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) industry become the most vibrant in the world - and the European Parliament shared this vision, when it made the necessary amendments to the directive on computer-implemented inventions during its first reading on 24 September 2003.


To Microsoft, it is important to legalise software patents all across the world so that it can terrorise users and vendors of GNU/Linux everywhere. In Europe, this includes Canonical and Mandriva.

Here is a good new article about FAT and Linux. It comes from Chris Smart, who used to distribute one of the first operating systems with 3-D effects working out of the box (GPL violation though).

Microsoft wants to collect royalties over patents, whether it is from proprietary or open source software manufacturers. In an interview with Chicago Sun-Times Friday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said: “Our goal is to try to educate people on what it means to protect intellectual property and pay for it properly.” If Microsoft lets the cat out of the bag, it’s game over for them. And they know it. Thanks to the patch from Tridge, Microsoft may not be able to collect royalties from other companies who also use VFAT with the Linux kernel.

Microsoft wants the world to believe that there are major patent issues in the Linux kernel, without telling what they are. By doing this they are trying to create a cloud of uncertainty around the use of free software and as a result are hoping to deter companies from taking up the technology over their own. By moving any patent issues into the public spotlight however, those in the free software world can help break down the cloud of fear, uncertainty and doubt that Microsoft is spreading. The future problem will be, are companies willing to fight back and make details of the patent claims public?


For those in favour of humour about the US patent office, here is another article from The Register (about Kindle).

Newer Kindle models may be looking much better, but the e-reader's debuting aesthetic left quite a lot to be desired. Presumably before the USPTO granted its boon, the Kindle 1's look was ingeniously guarded by virtue of it already looking like a cheap Chinese knock-off.


We wrote about the Kindle back in March. It is powered by Linux, but it is Defective by Design. Amazon is also a fiend when it comes to software patents.

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