07.03.08

Gemini version available ♊︎

News Roundup: When Software Patents Backfire

Posted in Apple, Europe, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, SUN at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trend Micro Eats Crow

We have been writing quite a lot about Trend Micro in the recent past [1, 2] due to their exemplary attack on Free open source software. Whether it was deliberate or not to make this a legal challenge against a community of users and developers is a separate matter.

To demonstrate how pointless software patents really are, behold what Barracuda Networks, the scapegoat which is being sued in this case, does as means of retaliation and defense:

Barracuda Networks Countersues Trend Micro

There’s some news on the Trend Micro v.Barracuda Networks case. That is the one where Trend Micro sued Barracuda over ClamAV and brought a complaint to the International Trade Commission. Barracuda has just filed a countersuit in California, alleging patent infringement by Trend Micro. They say it’s a defensive use of three patents they bought from IBM. Barracuda asks for money damages and an injunction on further sales of infringing Trend Micro products.

As proof of the self-defeating purpose of software patents, consider this ‘loaning’ of algorithms.

Drako is reluctant to discuss details, but the patents were purchased from IBM some time in the last six months — in other words, after Trend Micro filed against Barracuda. “I approached IBM asking for help in defense of the open source community, and they directed me to the individual who sells their patents,” Drako says.

It’s a zero-sum war, so while engage in this war in the first place? Everyone implements abstracts ideas all the time. The only sin is seeking to own them when there is no device or exact implementation (copyrights) involved. It’s greed. It’s appalling.

More details about this latest development come from Don Marti.

Microsoft Employee Denounces Software Patents?

Even an outspoken Microsoft employee is against software patents on the face of it (depending on one’s interpretation).

Yes, Jobs and Apple were the first to produce a mass market graphical user operating system, and Gates sure seemed to borrow concepts from that effort. That, somehow, is viewed as bad, even as Jobs “borrowing” of XEROX concepts for his graphical user interface is viewed as good. As someone who is no fan of software patents (approbrium for which seems selectively applied among those who wished a sinkhole had spontaneously opened beneath Redmond sometime in the past 20 years), my personal opinion is that Jobs was as right to borrow from XEROX as Gates was to borrow from Jobs. Ideas are like a pyramid, and pharoah Jobs may have supplied a few stones during its construction, but he built on stacks placed by others before him.

Sun and Patents

The other day we wrote about MySQL's founders opposing software patents. But what about Sun, which now owns MySQL? Watch this one carefully.

Three years ago come August, O’Reilly’s Nat Torkington, interviewing Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz, pressed the CEO on the issues of patents generally and DTrace patents specifically.

Torkington’s question? “So if the Linux kernel were to implement DTrace, Sun wouldn’t employ the patents against them?”

Schwartz’ answer? “Knock yourself out.”

That was 2005. Fast forward to 2008. As one of the DTrace engineers has noted, Paul Fox is taking Schwartz up on that challenge.

[...]

One answer, at least, we have. While many would probably argue that a DTrace port to Linux would be disastrous for Solaris and OpenSolaris – that DTrace was one the reasons the CDDL license was originally selected for the latter project, in face – the engineers that built it appear to be standing ready to help, should anyone be inclined to ask.

As Groklaw recently suggested, trusting Sun is still a bit of a stretch. Sun is neither a friend nor a fan of Linux, against which it competes. Free software as a whole is another story.

Europe’s Back Door Seen as Less Effective

We’ve expressed some concerns (and cited others) about the use of political manipulation and loopholes to change European patent law. Microsoft's pressure groups are involved and they want to legalise software patents one nation/continent at a time (they’ve already got Australia and Japan). At least one of the back doors (there are several) seems to be blocked at the moment.

As France takes the helm of the European Union this week, the officials charged with shaping the country’s contribution to EU-wide innovation policy are busy lowering expectations.

[...]

It’s not the absence of the treaty itself that is so disruptive to long-term initiatives such as Union-wide research projects and reaching agreement on a Community Patent. Most if not all issues that France hoped to push forward during its six months in charge don’t strictly need the new treaty in order to materialise.

The problem is that the house of cards that is EU-wide political unity has been blown down. Forget reaching agreement on a Community Patent, which would require unanimity from all member states, warn many Brussels pundits.

Peer-to-Patent Update

On the other side of this pond, there are those who experiment with the idea of open-sourcing — or ‘crowdsourcing’ — the whole process (mentioned before in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]). Here is a report about “encouraging results”.

Congratulations to the organizers of Peer-to-Patent, which is carrying off one of the most audacious experiments in Internet activism in our day. A lot of ink has been spilled about Barack Obama’s application of social networking techniques to presidential campaigning (and to Ron Paul’s successful fund-raising before that) but Peer-to-Patent makes those achievements seem entirely run-of-the-mill.

The premise behind Peer-to-Patent, which many observers called impractical, was that thousands of experts in technical fields would flock to the site to read patent applications (if you’ve ever read one, you’d hike the stakes against success several notches right there) and would find prior art that would lead to rejection or restrictions on patent claims.

Software patents are dumb. They needn’t be permitted. But those who want a government-imposed monopoly for their computer program will use any excuse available — and sometimes incentive/bribe — to ‘massage’ the system to their benefit. Without response to this threat, the system will be reshaped to facilitate those who thrive in abuse of it.

This debate is very relevant to this Web site because Novell is trying to capitalise on its patent portfolio and use it to ‘punish’ all other GNU/Linux vendors. It wants to acquire a Linux monopoly using software patents and deals that make them relevant.

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.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Unlawful Regimes Even Hungary and Poland Would Envy

    There’s plenty of news reports about Polish and Hungarian heads of states violating human rights, but never can one find criticism of the EPO’s management doing the same (the mainstream avoids this subject altogether); today we examine how that area of Europe voted on the illegal "Strike Regulations" of Benoît Battistelli



  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group

    The EPO‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations” (which helped Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos illegally crush or repress EPO stuff) were supported by only one among 4 Visegrád delegates



  3. [Meme] IBM Has Paid ZDNet to Troll the Community

    Over the past few weeks ZDNet has constantly published courses with the word "master" in their headlines (we caught several examples; a few are shown above); years ago this was common, also in relation to IBM itself; clearly IBM thinks that the word is racially sensitive and offensive only when it's not IBM using the word and nowadays IBM pays ZDNet — sometimes proxying through the Linux Foundation — to relay this self-contradictory message whose objective is to shame programmers, Free software communities etc. (through guilt they can leverage more power and resort to projection tactics, sometimes outright slander which distracts)



  4. [Meme] ILO Designed to Fail: EPO Presidents Cannot be Held Accountable If ILOAT Takes Almost a Decade to Issue a Simple Ruling

    The recent ILOAT ruling (a trivial no-brainer) inadvertently reminds one of the severe weaknesses of ILOAT; what good is a system of accountability that issues rulings on decisions that are barely relevant anymore (or too late to correct)?



  5. Links 22/10/2021: Trump's AGPL Violations and Chrome 95 Released

    Links for the day



  6. [Meme] How Corporate Monopolies Demonise Critics of Their Technically and Legally Problematic 'Products'

    When the technical substance of some criticism stands (defensible based upon evidence), and is increasingly difficult to refute based on facts, make up some fictional issue — a straw man argument — and then respond to that phony issue based on no facts at all



  7. Links 22/10/2021: Global Encryption Day

    Links for the day



  8. [Meme] Speaking the Same Language

    Language inside the EPO is misleading. Francophones Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos casually misuse the word “social”.



  9. António Campinos Thinks Salary Reductions Months Before He Leaves is “Exceptional Social Gesture”

    Just as Benoît Battistelli had a profound misunderstanding of the concept of “social democracy” his mate seems to completely misunderstand what a “social gesture” is (should have asked his father)



  10. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 21, 2021



  11. Links 21/10/2021: MX Linux 21 and Git Contributors’ Summit in a Nutshell

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] [Teaser] Miguel de Icaza on CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Our ongoing series, which is very long, will shed much-needed light on GitHub and its goals (the dark side is a lot darker than people care to realise)



  13. Gemini Protocol and Gemini Space Are Not a Niche; for Techrights, Gemini Means Half a Million Page Requests a Month

    Techrights on gemini:// has become very big and we’ll soon regenerate all the pages (about 37,500 of them) to improve clarity, consistency, and general integrity



  14. 'Satellite States' of EPO Autocrats

    Today we look more closely at how Baltic states were rendered 'voting fodder' by large European states, looking to rubber-stamp new and oppressive measures which disempower the masses



  15. [Meme] Don't Mention 'Brexit' to Team UPC

    It seems perfectly clear that UPC cannot start, contrary to what the EPO‘s António Campinos told the Council last week (lying, as usual) and what the EPO insinuates in Twitter; in fact, a legal challenge to this should be almost trivial



  16. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States

    How unlawful EPO rules were unsurprisingly supported by Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in Baltic states; António Campinos maintained those same unlawful rules and Baltic connections, in effect liaising with offices known for their corruption (convicted officials, too; they did not have diplomatic immunity, unlike Battistelli and Campinos)



  17. Links 21/10/2021: GIMP 2.99.8 Released, Hardware Shortages, Mozilla Crisis

    Links for the day



  18. How Oppressive Governments and Web Monopolists Might Try to Discourage Adoption of Internet Protocols Like Gemini

    Popular movements and even some courageous publications have long been subverted by demonisation tactics, splits along unrelated grounds (such as controversial politics) and — failing that — technical sabotage and censorship; one must familiarise oneself with commonly-recurring themes of social control by altercation



  19. [Meme] Strike Triangulations, Reception Issues

    Financial strangulations for Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations”? The EPO will come to regret 2013…



  20. [Meme] Is Saying “No!” to Unlawful Proposals Considered “Impolite”?

    A ‘toxic mix’ of enablers and cowards (who won’t vote negatively on EPO proposals which they know to be unlawful) can serve to show that the EPO isn’t a “social democracy” as Benoît Battistelli liked to call it; it’s just a dictatorship, currently run by the son of a person who actually fought dictatorship



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 20, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 20, 2021



  22. [Meme] EPO Legal Sophistry and Double Dipping

    An imaginary EPO intercept of Administrative Council discussions in June 2013...



  23. Links 21/10/2021: PostgreSQL JDBC 42.3.0 and Maui Report

    Links for the day



  24. [Meme] [Teaser] “Judge a Person Both by His Friends and Enemies”

    Fervent supporters of Team Battistelli or Team Campinos (a dark EPO era) are showing their allegiances; WIPO and EPO have abused staff similarly over the past decade or so



  25. 'Cluster-Voting' in the European Patent Office/Organisation (When a Country With 1.9 Million Citizens Has the Same Voting Power as a Country With 83.1 Million Citizens)

    Today we examine who has been running the Finnish patent office and has moreover voted in the EPO during the ballot on unlawful "Strike Regulations"; they voted in favour of manifestly illegal rules and for 8.5 years after that (including last Wednesday) they continued to back a shady regime which undermines the EPO's mission statement



  26. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVIII: Helsinki's Accord

    The Finnish outpost has long been strategic to the EPO because it can help control the vote of four or more nations; evidence suggests this has not changed



  27. [Meme] Living as a Human Resource, Working for Despots

    The EPO has become a truly awful place/employer to work for; salary is 2,000 euros for some (despite workplace stress, sometimes relocation to a foreign country)



  28. Links 20/10/2021: New Redcore Linux and Hospital Adoption of GNU Health

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 19, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 19, 2021



  30. Links 19/10/2021: Karanbir Singh Leaves CentOS Board, GPL Violations at Vizio

    Links for the day


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