07.18.08

Gemini version available ♊︎

Latest Live Examples of Patent Failure™

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Patents, Red Hat, SUN at 3:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A Firestar Falls

USPTOBased on previous and very recent posts about Red Hat, Sun and Firestar [1, 2] (c/f older analysis in [1, 2, 3]), it could be concluded that the main loser was software patents. The world learned that:

  • Paying for software patents (licensing) may be all in vain
  • Software patents can be challenged in court and potentially trashed through a reexamination process
  • The GNU GPL permits coverage of all users of the software, endowed by by a single entity
  • Patents are not inherently antithetical w.r.t. Free (libre) software

There is some more new coverage of the Red Hat/Firestar/Sun situation in OStatic and The Register. Ars Technica, on the other side of this, makes the incorrect assertion that the patent in question has already been invalidated.

The Linux vendor has been receiving plaudits and its legal team patting themselves on the back for defusing a ticking time bomb of claims against its JBoss middleware partners and customers.

If Sun Microsystems has got its way, though, Red Hat could have become just another victim of patent poker in the US and left customers, partners and itself open to future claims.

Sun has succeeded in overturning the Firestar patent in question – “Object model mapping and runtime engine for employing relational database with object oriented software” – after it approached the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), claiming the existence of prior art. Firestar had brought the claim against JBoss but this passed to Red Hat once it acquired the open source middleware provider in 2006.

At the end of the day, it’s mainly a question of who you upset with patents. Who is to benefit from frivolous lawsuits — or worse — from saber-rattling? That’s why people are encouraged never to depend on Mono (Microsoft’s restrictive and monopolistic .NET atop GNU/Linux).

Remember that it’s about the holder of the patents, not just those without-a-merit software patents, which may seem innocent due to the chaos they have become and the difficulty of having them upheld in court.

Here is a blunt new comment on this subject.

The thing I like most about Mono is how easy I can delete it and anything associated with it from my system. Every time I do an install, it is the very FIRST thing that I remove even before doing package updates.
I cannot justify having anything remotely connected to Microsoft on my machine no matter what Mr. DeCaza says.
Want to sleep with the enemy, fine but don’t complain when you get thrown on the rubbish heap when you are of no further use to MS.

This little rant came in response to Miguel de Icaza’s latest intervention in the direction of GNOME. Didn’t Jeff Waugh insist that Miguel has no influence on GNOME’s direction anymore?

Patent Opposition Grows

Addressing the issue of patents, Glyn Moody has just published a good summary of recent events/developments. In their light he explains why software patents haver become an absurdity.

Again, much kudos to Sun for (a) finding some prior art to invalidate the patent and (b) nobly sharing it with its rival, Red Hat, in a spirit of solidarity. But what this does reveal is that here we have not one but *two* companies being forced waste much effort and much money to get somebody’s claimed intellectual monopoly struck down for the good of the free software (and non-free software) world. Wouldn’t it have been better if the patent had never been awarded in the first place?

[...]

What’s particularly heartening is that those words appeared in the Wall Street Journal, hardly a bunch of sandal-wearing hippies. And the number of respected voices joining in is starting to increase. Here’s what Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics, had to say on the subject:

Patent monopolies are believed to drive innovation but they actually impede the pace of science and innovation, Stiglitz said. The current “patent thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure to encourage innovation, he said.

The same type of opposition comes in the form of an entire book, aptly titled “Patent Failure”.

Bessen and Meurer propose requiring that applications for software patents be required to describe their inventions in greater detail (known as “enablement” in patent jargon). They express sympathy for a formal prohibition on software patents, but ultimately do not endorse that reform out of fears that defining software patents would prove too difficult.

Reading Patent Failure makes two things clear. First, the patent system is in desperate need of reform. Second, it is extremely complicated, and it is therefore difficult to predict the results of any given reform.

Crooked System

We previously wrote about the outrageously poor appointments of judges [1, 2], which enable companies with vested interests to affect the outcome of trials. This serious problem has finally gotten the attention of the US Congress.

Sure enough, a legislative fix is now on the way, in the form of H.R. 6362, sponsored by the chairman of the House IP committee, Howard Berman, D-CA. The bill will require the Secretary of Commerce to make these appointments in the future, together with the Director of the USPTO. It also creates a retroactive defense to any challenges of the 40-odd judges who were appointed “illegally,” IPO Daily News reported on Friday.

For more examples of this problem, see this older article.

A US law professor has uncovered a constitutional flaw in appointing judges who decide patent appeals and disputes, which could undo thousands of patent decisions concerning claims worth billions of dollars.

The basic point John F. Duffy, who teaches at the George Washington University Law School, has raised does not appear to be in dispute. Since 2000, patent judges have been appointed by a government official without the constitutional power to do so.

“I actually ran it by a number of colleagues who teach administrative law and constitutional law,” Duffy said, recalling his own surprise at finding such a fundamental and important flaw. He thought he must be missing something. “No one thought it was a close question.”

The RIAA does this too, so there a similarity between obstruction of justice in patents and in copyrights. Here are a couple of fairly recent examples:

1. RIAA Hopes New Judge will Nab Sharers

Rather that directing the lawsuit at the same defendants as before, the RIAA directed it at John Doe (a defendant to be identified later), therefore obtaining a new judge … who may not be so strict about the “making available” clauses.

Nice move, RIAA.

2. Chief RIAA Litigator Named Colorado Judge — UPDATE

The Pirate Party of the United States took a different position. “Being the lead counsel in a multi-year campaign of extortion, pretexting, and sham litigation should not be rewarded with a seat in any court, except perhaps as a defendant,” said the party’s chairman, Andrew Norton.

CopyleftNone of this is too exceptional. Just watch what McCreevy did for Hollywood the other day. Let’s face the fact that even the legal system can be quite corrupt. Can it be taken to court or would that be recursive?

“Did you know that there are more than 34,750 registered lobbyists in Washington, D.C., for just 435 representatives and 100 senators? That’s 64 lobbyists for each congressperson.”

CIO.com

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. [Meme] [Teaser] Oligarchs-Controlled Patent Offices With Media Connections That Cover Up Corruption

    As we shall see later today, the ‘underworld’ in Bulgaria played a role or pulled the strings of politically-appointed administrators who guarded Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO



  2. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 24, 2021



  3. Links 25/10/2021: EasyOS 3.1 and Bareflank 3.0

    Links for the day



  4. The Demolition of the EPO Was Made Possible With Assistance From Countries That Barely Have European Patents

    The legal basis of today's EPO has been crushed; a lot of this was made possible by countries with barely any stakes in the outcome



  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League - North Macedonia and Albania

    We continue to look at Benoît Battistelli‘s enablers at the EPO



  6. Links 24/10/2021: GPS Daemon (GPSD) Bug and Lots of Openwashing

    Links for the day



  7. Links 24/10/2021: XWayland 21.1.3 and Ubuntu Linux 22.04 LTS Daily Build

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 23, 2021



  9. Links 24/10/2021: Ceph Boss Sage Weil Resigns and Many GPL Enforcement Stories

    Links for the day



  10. GAFAM-Funded NPR Reports That Facebook Let Millions of People Like Trump Flout the So-called Rules. Not Just “a Few”.

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  11. Some Memes About What Croatia Means to the European Patent Office

    Before we proceed to other countries in the region, let’s not forget or let’s immortalise the role played by Croatia in the EPO (memes are memorable)



  12. Gangster Culture in the EPO

    The EPO‘s Administrative Council was gamed by a gangster from Croatia; today we start the segment of the series which deals with the Balkan region



  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”

    The EPO‘s circle of corruption in the Balkan region will be the focus of today’s (and upcoming) coverage, showing some of the controversial enablers of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, two deeply corrupt French officials who rapidly drive the Office into the ground for personal gain (at Europe’s expense!)



  14. Links 23/10/2021: FreeBSD 12.3 Beta, Wine 6.20, and NuTyX 21.10.0

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 22, 2021



  16. [Meme] [Teaser] Crime Express

    The series about Battistelli's "Strike Regulations" (20 parts thus far) culminates as the next station is the Balkan region



  17. Links 23/10/2021: Star Labs/StarLite, Ventoy 1.0.56

    Links for the day



  18. Gemini on Sourcehut and Further Expansion of Gemini Space

    Gemini protocol is becoming a widely adopted de facto standard for many who want to de-clutter the Internet by moving away from the World Wide Web and HTML (nowadays plagued by JavaScript, CSS, and many bloated frameworks that spy)



  19. 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



  20. 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 staff) were supported by only one among 4 Visegrád delegates



  21. [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)



  22. [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)?



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

    Links for the day



  24. [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



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

    Links for the day



  26. [Meme] Speaking the Same Language

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



  27. 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)



  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 21, 2021



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

    Links for the day



  30. [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)


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