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Patents Roundup: Novell Gets More Software Patents, Patent Watchtroll Gene Quinn is Sued, Microsoft Writer Slams Firefox for Protesting Against Patents

Summary: Novell persists with its Free software-incompatible agenda; prominent booster of software patents gets punishment; Microsoft's Channel 10 writer Sarah Perez is once again badmouthing Microsoft's competition (which promotes Ogg)

HERE is a quick rundown covering patent news, starting with Novell for obvious reasons.



Novell has just earned (at least) two more software patents. It had become an almost-monthly occurrence:

Method and mechanism for the creation, maintenance, and comparison of semantic abstracts, patent No. 7,653,530, invented by Stephen R. Carter, of Spanish Fork, Delos C. Jensen and Ronald P. Millett, of Orem, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.

[...]

Multi-epoch method for saving and exporting file system events, patent No. 7,653,645, invented by Randall K. Stokes, of Provo, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.


The above are just from Utah, so there are likely to be many more. Even European employees of Novell are applying for software patents.

Well, on to some good news, a loud fan of software patents is finally getting sued. Yesterday we called him "Patent Watchtroll" (not Watchdog) because of his behaviour that even Groklaw is denouncing. The Against Monopoly Web site says:

Patent lawyer Gene Quinn has been sued
by Invention Submission Corporation (dba Invent Help) in the United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of New York. The complaint ... alleges that I have engaged in false and misleading advertising that has cost Invent Help business. They apparently do not like the fact that I have written about invention submission scams and have recounted the many stories that I have heard from inventors who feel they have been taken advantage of by Invent Help.
Quinn is a notorious (but inarticulate and inept) defender of the patent system...


On we move to some bad news for Bill Gates, who is investing a lot of money in highly controversial patents on life. He wants to establish another monopoly, this time on the world's food [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and drugs [1, 2, 3]. We wrote about this many times before.

Glyn Moody comments on a report that indicates defeat to what he names "neo-colonialist patents":

Patents are bad enough, because they enclose knowledge. But when they steal that knowledge from the lore of traditional medicine, it's a double crime - adding a dash of neo-colonialism to the mix. So here's some good news on that front:
The Opposition Division of the European Patent Office (EPO) has today revoked a patent granted to Dr. Willmar Schwabe (Schwabe) in its entirety. The patent was opposed by the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) from South Africa acting on behalf of a rural community in Alice, in the Eastern Cape, in collaboration with the Swiss anti-biopiracy watchdog, the Berne Declaration.


That's good news for a change. It shows that perseverance pays off and not always will the sociopaths get their way. Here is Brazil's proposal at WIPO:

On January 15, 2010 the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the World Trade Organization and other economic organizations in Geneva submitted a proposal to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Brazilian note verbale to WIPO notes that the proposal:
"aims at contributing to the discussion of exceptions and limitations to patent rights. . . While not purporting to cover all interfaces of the matter with development concerns, it emphasizes the importance of promoting a wide and sustained debate on the issue in the SCP".


The President of the FFII notes that "President Lula can do any nice speech for Software Libre he wants, the Brazilian Patent Office grants software patents"

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) was there too (WIPO SCP/14). WIPO is typically a venue where maximalists of imaginary property rule supreme. If they are given leeway, they will make things worse. It is the same with the copyright cartel. Public Domain is increasingly being promoted as a substitute for copyright as default option. In the words of Glyn Moody:

"The Public Domain is the rule, copyright protection is the exception": sounds like a good encapsulation to me - let's start spreading it.


Yesterday we noted that Mozilla is fighting against software patents on the Web. As Carla from Linux Today points out, a lot of journalists are missing the point of Mozilla's argument, including the Microsoft minion Sarah Perez ("she also writes for Microsoft's Channel 10," says her public profile), who is attacking Firefox over the call for Ogg. We previously received some complaints from readers about Perez, but we did not cover it at the time. Another person who publicly attacked Ogg is Microsoft Jack [1, 2, 3, 4] from the Guardian.

Anyway, Carla says:

What journalists are missing out on is that H.264 is a patented codec, and that the patent holders expect to collect royalties. The last H.264 patents expire in 2028. Mr. Blizzard draws some apt parallels with GIF and MP3, and the problems caused when patented, royalty-burdened technologies collide with a supposedly open and unencumbered Web. This is a must-read for anyone wanting more good information and less not-well-informed cheerleading on these issues.


There is a lot to be learned from the Rambus extortion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. The company quietly planted a patent Trojan inside a standard everyone uses and now it is claiming billions of dollars from the whole world. nVidia is the latest victim of these ugly tactics of Rambus.

What Mozilla is doing for us is simple: it ensures that the code required to render Web pages will not require that one purchases patents, even in regions that are poor (Africa for example) and/or do not permit software patents anyway.

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