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Free Software is Being Abandoned by Opponents of Software Patents and It's Being Attacked by Patent Trolls

...then, companies that are arming those trolls suddenly pretend to come to our 'rescue'

Manny Schecter: (But I make  IBM's policies and decisions on these issues
Daily lobbying for software patents continues; IBM's Manny Schecter still cites patent trolls as credible allies and recent management changes haven't put an end to that, so Red Hat's 12-year chief is now president of an aggressive proponent of software patents.



Summary: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is rotting away as an advocate against software patents; Patents on algorithms are still being granted (even when courts repeatedly reject these) and Red Hat's Chief Patent Counsel remains Manny Schecter, one of the loudest proponents of such patents (citing the likes of Adam Mossoff this week, in effect Koch operatives); this is a very big problem because Free software projects come under a barrage of lawsuits, using patents like those IBM lobbies ferociously to legitimise

THE NEXT batch of Daily Links will contain what we believe to be the first report [1] regarding Mycroft getting sued by a patent troll, using two software patents (relatively) recently granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It's about patent numbers 9,794,348 and 10,491,679. The Register says that covers handling of “voice commands from a mobile device to remotely access and control a computer." We have not examined these closely, but certainly that sounds like software patents with ample prior art. Mycroft is not so well funded and therefore it might be perceived as vulnerable (easy shakedown), but it will fight back nonetheless. At what cost?



The whole thing comes only a few months after the GNOME/Shotwell lawsuit, demonstrating that we in the Free software world cannot ignore bad patent law, invalid patents being granted and endless corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO), where António Campinos openly promotes illegal software patents in Europe (the EPO did that as recently as yesterday in Twitter).

The EFF likes to speak about 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101 (albeit not much lately), but it never ever speaks about EPO corruption and rarely does it protect Free software specifically. For those reasons, among others (for example, some key staff of theirs leaving), we cannot rely on the EFF. The same goes for CCIA, whose blog which deals with the subject ("Patent Progress") has not been particularly actively lately. We watch these things closely, over RSS feeds and beyond. Since the beginning of the year the EFF has written only a single blog post on the subject and it concerned design patents, not software patents.

We really need to speak out more loudly about these issues; sadly, almost everyone is ignoring the toxic role played by IBM (fear of 'offending' IBM?) and nobody in the Free software world speaks about EPO corruption. How come? Come on, people, those are the biggest issues or barriers. Ignored at one's own peril.

If Mycroft 'goes under' due to this lawsuit, which can cost like a million bucks (appeals cost a fortune), all we'll have left are listening devices.

Related/contextual items from the news:
  1. Startup Mycroft AI declares it will fight 'patent troll' tooth and nail after its Linux voice-assistant attracts lawsuit

    An AI startup is battling a patent-infringement lawsuit filed against it for building an open-source Linux-based voice-controlled assistant.

    Mycroft AI first learned trouble was brewing when it was contacted by a lawyer at Tumey LLP, a Texas law firm focused on intellectual property, in December. In an email to the startup’s CEO Joshua Montgomery, the legal eagle claimed Mycroft AI's technology infringed two US patents – 9,794,348 and 10,491,679 – belonging to Tumey's client, Voice Tech Corp.

    Voice Tech's patents described a system for handling “voice commands from a mobile device to remotely access and control a computer." Mycroft AI develops voice-assistant software that runs on Linux systems, including Raspberry Pis and its own standalone Mark I and II gadgets, and responds to spoken requests, such as setting alarms and reminders, searching the web, and so on. You can add more features by installing add-ons called skills.

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