04.22.08

Gemini version available ♊︎

Software Patents Roundup: Ambush, Reform, and Lobby

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 10:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent Poison Inside Our Standards

One good (or very bad) example of software patents in a candidate for standardisation is Microsoft’s OOXML, which might receive the go-ahead in June despite extensively documented corruption. In order to understand the impact of patents in something everyone must use, look no further than Rambus, which has just returned to the headlines.

Rambus, the fast memory designer, has won its appeal to overturn a 2004 Federal Trade Commission anti-trust ruling.

The DC Court of Appeals today decided that the FTC had not established that Rambus had harmed the competition and “therefore that the Commission failed to demonstrate that Rambus’ conduct was exclusionary and thus to establish its claim that Rambus unlawfully monopolized the relevant markets”.

There is a similarly interesting story which is briefly covered by Digital Majority (most links from this point onwards were extracted from there). It speaks of litigation as a barrier to implementation of IEEE standards and it is summarised thusly:

Regrettably, the Court of Appeals has decided not to stay the injunction in the CSIRO v. Buffalo et al litigation during the appeal period. Although Buffalo is confident that the final decision in the appeal will be favorable and that the injunction will be lifted, Buffalo is presently unable to supply wireless LAN equipment compliant with IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g standards in the United States until that decision is issued.

Need for Change Negotiated

At IT World Canada, an article that refers to issues such as RAND's incompatibility with FOSS are debated further. An interesting concept analogous to “fair use” for patents is proposed and then raised as a possible way to resolve this.

Patent quality is very low in some subject matter, such as software, which creates a practical problem. Patent quality must be assured in each subject matter area., possibly with a rule saying that 50% must be good quality in order for patents to be granted and/or enforceable in that subject matter? It is competition and first mover advantage, not exclusive rights, that drive innovation in software

We need a “Fair Use” doctrine for patent law, possibly carving out interface patents, royalty-free FLOSS implementations, and the activities of private citizens in their home or as amateurs and tinkerers. Patents for producing hardware or other tangibles are often opened up to competitors using RAND (Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory) licensing terms where there is a low per-copy royalty which is offered to anyone. While RAND is appropriate for tangibles, it is inappropriate for software which has a natural marginal cost of zero. RAND excludes from implementation any businesses using peer production methodologies.

As mentioned earlier, however, a patent reform seems to have been given the elbow. The bill is on the ice, but as the article below points out, it’s mainly about stopping patent trolls, not monopoly abusers that defend their territory from friendly ‘intrusion’ and fair co-existence with FOSS.

Patent overhaul spurred by the technology industry is in jeopardy of dying, after facing stiff competition from the pharmaceutical industry.

[...]

The technology industry, which relies a large number of patents, says it wants to change the law to deter “patent trolls,” or firms that hoard patents with the sole intent of enforcing them against infringers – regardless of whether or not the firm has any R&D resources or even a product utilizing the patent.

Formally known as S.1145, the Patent Reform Act opened a rift in the business world: biotech companies, labor unions, inventors, and capital firms squared off against the high tech and financial services industry, with companies like Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, and Bank of America fighting for the bill’s passage.

The ‘Troll Apologists’

Litigious leeches of science and technology still receive the sympathy of a few and the word “troll”, as mentioned above, still angers some people, who see nothing wrong with the practice.

In recent times, there have been concerns that the patent system been abused by opportunistic companies known by the phrase “patent trolls”. It has been alleged that such entities have stunted innovation and spurred unnecessary patent litigation.

[...]

Not everyone fears “patent trolls”. James McDonough of Emory University School of Law prefers to use the euphemism, “patent dealers in the ideas economy”. He has argued that, contrary to popular belief, “patent trolls” actually benefit society: “Patent trolls provide liquidity, market clearing, and increased efficiency to the patent markets – the same benefits securities dealers supply capital markets.” He maintains that “patent trolls” are a useful intermediary in the marketplace.

Others question the very existence of “patent trolls”, suggesting that they are little more than mythological creatures designed to frighten the executives of technology companies at night.

European Lobbying

Over in Europe, we previously saw how Microsoft lobbyists try to phase in software patents by lowering barriers (and potentially quality too). This latest push for the Small Business Act might not actually help small businesses. In fact, it will add further restriction and increase legal activity.

Speaking at the Informal Meeting of ministers for Competitiveness in Brdo (Slovenia) today, Arnaldo Abruzzini, Secretary General of EUROCHAMBRES, reiterated the need for a political commitment at all levels in favour of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), in particular in relation to the forthcoming Small Business Act.

Further complication of the system would hardly help small businesses, let alone established vendors of low-cost (or free) products. Another danger is unification of the systems, which can have software patents pentrate countries where they are currently not legal.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

2 Comments

  1. Logan said,

    April 22, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Gravatar

    I can’t resist! One more time: “Because Linux software is available free of charge, many Chinese businesses use it without paying.”

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 22, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Gravatar

    Without paying //who//?

    Paying Red Hat?

    Paying Novell?

    No.

    Paying ->Microsoft-<. Yes. For Linux and GNU.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 18/05/2022: Qt Company Loses Chief; OpenSUSE Leap Micro 5.2 and RHEL 9 Final

    Links for the day



  2. Jim Zemlin's Wife is Funded by Puppies (Microsoft)

    Jim Zemlin — like his wife — is bagging millions from Microsoft, but that’s clearly a conflict of interest for the Linux Foundation



  3. Links 18/05/2022: More Defections From WordPress to Gemini

    Links for the day



  4. Links 18/05/2022: PikaScript and cURL's Annual User Survey

    Links for the day



  5. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 17, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 17, 2022



  6. Phoronix: Microsoft and Phoronix Sponsor (and Close Microsoft Partner) AMD All Over the Place

    When you’re taking massive 'gifts' from AMD (and also some from Microsoft) maybe it’s not surprising that editorial decisions change somewhat…



  7. EPO Has No F-ing Oversight

    Earlier today SUEPO mentioned this new article demonstrating that EPO President António Campinos can very obviously and blatantly violate the Code of Conduct of the Office without facing any consequences; there are translations too, so the report is now available in four languages



  8. [Meme] Linux-Rejecting Foundation

    The Linux Foundation never really leads by example; by default, it uses proprietary software



  9. Linux Foundation Almost Never uses Open Source

    The Linux Foundation uses proprietary software (look where they hire and take money from) and be sure they're probably not even aware of it



  10. Links 17/05/2022: Many More Games on GNU/Linux, YaST Development Report

    Links for the day



  11. Links 17/05/2022: Rocky Linux 8.6 and Budgie Desktop in Fedora

    Links for the day



  12. Patent Examiners Rising Up Against EPO Abuse

    Unhappy with the law-breaking autocracy (the EPO‘s management breaks the law as a matter of routine), fast-deteriorating working conditions and rapidly-decreasing quality of work (or lack of compliance with the law), workers have escalated further, topping off strikes and industrial actions with a large-scale petition



  13. [Meme] What Managers (Really) Mean by Acting Professionally

    The myth of 'professionalism' needs to die along with the façade of conformity as prerequisite for employment (Linus Torvalds can work just fine in a bathrobe in his own home)



  14. Internal Poll: 93% of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers Are Unhappy With the EPO

    On top of strike/s and industrial action/s there are now also petitions; at the EPO, almost all staff is "disgruntled" because of utterly corrupt and defunct leadership



  15. Links 17/05/2022: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Release Candidate

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, May 16, 2022



  17. Links 16/05/2022: FreeBSD 13.1 and Inkscape 1.2 Released

    Links for the day



  18. Archiving Latest Posts in Geminispace (Like a Dated Web Directory But for Gemini)

    Earlier today we saw several more people crossing over from the World Wide Web to Gemini; we're trying to make a decent aggregator and archive for the rapidly-expanding Geminispace, which will soon have 2,500 capsules that are known to Lupa alone



  19. Microsoft Vidal Does Not Want to Listen (USPTO is Just for Megacorporations)

    Microsoft Vidal knows her real bosses. They’re international corporations (multinationals like Microsoft), not American people.



  20. Links 16/05/2022: China Advances on GNU/Linux and Maui 2.1.2 is Out

    Links for the day



  21. Jim Zemlin: Chief Revenue Officer in 'Linux' Seat-Selling Foundation

    Board seats in the Linux Foundation are basically a product on sale, based internal documents



  22. Reminder: Linux Foundation's Last IRS Filing is Very Old (Same Year the CFO Left)

    People really need to ask the Linux Foundation, directly, why its filings are years behind; this seems like a sensitive subject



  23. Linux Foundation Does Not Speak for GNU/Linux Users

    There's a serious problem in the "Linux" world as the so-called 'Linux' Foundation claims to speak for us (the GNU/Linux community) while in fact speaking against us (on the payroll of those looking to extinguish us)



  24. IBM's Lennart Poettering on Breaking Software for Pseudo Novelty

    Recently-uploaded ELCE 2011 clip shows a panel with Linus Torvalds, Alan Cox, Thomas Gleixner, Paul McKenney, and Lennart Poettering (relevant to novelty or perceived novelty that mostly degrades the experience of longtime users, e.g. Wayland and systemd)



  25. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 15, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 15, 2022



  26. Links 15/05/2022: Linux 5.18 RC7 and Calls for More Mass Surveillance

    Links for the day



  27. Audio: Mark Shuttleworth Marketed to Young Males, With Sexy Pictures

    The Web is rotting away, old links become broken links within months or years, so I’ve decided to encode a 3-minute segment of the whole as Ogg



  28. What a Difference Half a Decade Makes (When Linux Foundation is 'Having Fun')

    Media shaming campaigns may have taken their toll on the founder of Linux, who is now bossed by someone who rejects Linux and is married to a Microsoft booster. Like Richard Stallman under FSF guidance (and conditions for return, mostly for fear of further media assaults and attack dogs), he has become a more publicity-shy and private person. The Linux Foundation has in effect reduced the founder of what it’s called after (Linux) into a weekly release manager and mascot, whose brand it is gradually diluting/cheapening.



  29. Links 15/05/2022: GNU libiconv 1.17

    Links for the day



  30. [Meme] Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) Cannot Be Reconciled With the Law

    Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC)? Impossible. But Team UPC counts on an endless torrent of fake news managing to convince you (and more importantly politicians) otherwise.


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts