02.28.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

Patents Roundup: Microsoft Trolls, Lobbyists, and End[ing] Software Patents (ESP)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 7:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Intellectual Ventures revisited; Microsoft keeps busy promoting software patents in Europe; software patents under scrutiny with successful campaigning against them.

A very long post about the TomTom case [1, 2] is coming, but for the time being, let us look at other existing issues and developments that are part of the same important theme.

A new legislation for patent reform in the United States is set to be proposed next week, according to our sources. Until then, Microsoft is keeping busy lobbying and hoarding patents.

Microsoft-Funded Patent-Trolling

Nathan Myhrvold

Several days before the TomTom lawsuit came to light, CNET had pointed out that a risk to Free software is also the Microsoft-conceived and Microsoft-funded patent troll which goes by the name of Intellectual Ventures.

I ask because it’s almost certain that someone is going to purchase the IP, and it’s likely to be a Microsoft or Oracle (or, possibly worse, Intellectual Ventures), to the extent the IP is worth anything. Instead, now would be a good time for open-source patent-pooling collectives like Open Invention Network to buy up these assets and use them to protect open source.

In a later post from CNET it was also argued that “the real patent threat” is Microsoft’s patent troll but not Microsoft itself. Intellectual Ventures, unlike Microsoft, cannot be countered by OIN.

Hence, while the open-source world is up in arms about Microsoft’s TomTom patent suit, it should be far more worried about news that Intellectual Ventures has grabbed another 500 patents through a deal with Telcordia Technologies, as TechFlash reports. Intellectual Ventures, arguably the world’s largest patent troll, is set up to do nothing more than license its intellectual property, which it has done to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here is the report cited by the above.

Intellectual Ventures is adding to its huge pile of patents. The Bellevue-based firm, founded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, is today announcing a partnership with broadband company Telcordia Technologies, giving it access to more than 500 Telcordia patents. Intellectual Ventures has also pledged to fund Telcordia research and development.

There are other large patent trolls, including Gates' own, and the endless possibilities in Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Mike Masnick ponders this outlandish idea of investing just in patents and running companies that are dedicated just to them.

European Law Under Microsoft-Funded Attack

We learn that in the 5th of March Zuck will be in in Brussels, as expected. He is already mucking about with an "open source" report on Microsoft's behalf and we are seeing constant reminders of the threat of the Community patent. Microsoft really wants software patents to be formally legalised in Europe. It essentially buys anti-Free software laws.

Absurdity of Software Patents Revisited

Several new posts question the legitimacy of patents as a whole. Examples:

i. Science Needs Permission?

Because GM crops are considered “intellectual property” of the companies that sell them, reearchers need permission from the company to plant them, even for research purposes.

ii. There Are No Good Arguments for Intellectual Property (and ‘Interaction Rights’!)

There are some decent arguments out there that argue in favor of a state, welfare rights, war, democracy, drug laws, and so on. They are all flawed, since libertarianism is right, but there are coherent, honest arguments that we libertarians have to grapple with.

But it is striking that there are no decent arguments for IP–as Manuel Lora remarked to me, “You know, I haven’t seen a good pro IP article ever.” This is true. One sees the same incoherent or insincere claims made over and over, such as:

1. It’s in the constitution (argument from authority; legal positivism)
2. Intellectual property is called property! (argument by definition?)

iii. More Examples Of Patents Harming Research

A group of scientists are now complaining about this to the EPA, but perhaps they should be complaining to the USPTO and Congress, as well, as it’s time that this sort of abuse of intellectual property was stopped entirely.

Here is an indicator of the very poor state with regards to software patenting.

I call them the ‘on the Internet’ patents. You can patent anything by adding the suffix – ‘on the internet’.

Visa feels the wrath of this bad system.

Visa has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly infringing a patent covering the notification and authorisation of transactions via text messages sent to cardholders’ mobile phones.

What about standards, which are being stifled by patents? How is that productive?

Both patents and standardisation are areas of regulation based on public benefit considerations. Succinctly put, a patent is a monopoly granted for a limited time by the government on behalf of its citizens to promote disclosure of breakthroughs that will in turn enable future innovation.

Greed and Hypocrites

SUN claims to be in a transition to an open source identity, but its policy on software patents gives room for doubt. And in fact, based on this new article from India, SUN is accepting (almost reinforcing) rather than challenging a broken system.

Added Dr Jaijit Bhattacharya, director, government strategy, Sun Microsystems India, said, “The Open Innovation Portal will be complimentary to the existing IPR framework and will cater to those innovations that come below the bar for a patent application and will cater to those innovators who cannot afford the patenting process. This is especially true in the emerging economies scenario where standalone innovators may or may not have the financial wherewithal to file the patent.”

Kaspersky too has resorted to playing the game of software patents and Palm is no foe of stuff that’s antithetical to Free software despite its use of Linux, maybe for ‘defensive’ purposes (against Apple for example).

The Pre’s Combined Messaging: Patent Pending

[...]

Something missing from Palm’s CES presentation of the Palm Pre: jaunty claims that they’ve patented their innovations up the wazoo. Maybe it’s because they have a massive cache of smartphone patents in their portfolio already and didn’t want to toot their horn. Maybe they were just being coy. Maybe, though, they were just waiting for their various patent applications to get approved before they brought it up.

Campaigning

In order to end software patents once and for all, the End Software Patents (ESP) campaign pushes harder and harder. It has also earned media attention in:

i. Let’s keep the software patent debate on the straight and narrow

I very much hope that what the End Software Patents project comes up with in terms of studies, statistics and the rest of it does stand up to independent scrutiny. There could be a case for removing all patent protection from software – though I have yet to see one convincingly made – but it will not be advanced by manipulation and distortion. One thing that you can be sure of is that this blog will be watching very carefully for any signs of people being economical with the truth.

ii. Again A Desperate Attempt To Re-Vitalise Campaign Against CII-Patents

Now, according to a recent report, the Free Software Foundation has announced funding for the End Software Patents project to document the case for ending patents on computer-implemented inventions worldwide. A catalogue of studies, economic arguments, and legal analyses will build on the “in re Bilski” court ruling, in which End Software Patents (ESP) claims to have helped play a key role in narrowing the scope for patenting software ideas in the USA.

iii. FSF in Round Two Against Software Patents

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is persisting in its worldwide battle against software patents with comprehensive background information and has hired lobbyist Ciaran O’Riordan to fight the next round.

With Bilski at everyone’s disposal, a big final push to end software patents is practical and thus encouraged.

Linux users can help with the patent problem. “Talk about this problem. Educate ourselves and educate others. Instead of fostering innovation it’s hindering innovation,” he said. “We have a large amount of work to do to educate people about this.” Red Hat is also seeking prior art to help defend a lawsuit from a patent troll firm that is suing both it and Novell.

Inform peers, family, MEPs, etc. so as to end software patents for good. Without such patents, Free software sure will triumph much faster (as it should).

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. pcolon said,

    February 28, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Gravatar

    There are no “potentially corrupted politicians”. The seeds of corruption were sowed many years ago. Microsoft, Intellectual Vultures, Acacia, etc. are just “reaping” from the now fully corrupted elected and appointed officials entrusted to lead the nation. Now they want to take their stain outside the US and propagate their excrement unto other nations.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 28, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Gravatar

    Well, of course. You have to ‘harmonise’ and simplify universal legislation, just like DMCA.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 07/12/2022: ArcoLinux Beta 23.01 and Cryostat 2.2

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] Where Did the Money Go?

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ became a company that cannot even do accounting right; pertinent technical employees had to do a lot of chasing for years just to get the basics rectified



  3. Evidence of Sirius ‘Open Source’ (or Sirius Corporation) Failing to Pay Pensions, Failing to Inform Staff, Not Responding to Staff

    The job my wife and I left this past Friday (after about 21 years combined) had turned sour years ago; hoping that this serves as a cautionary tale to others, we've decided to show pension lapses, lack of payslips, and excuses that accompanied that for years



  4. Links 07/12/2022: Blender 3.4 and Apple GPU Drivers Now in Asahi Linux

    Links for the day



  5. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 06, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 06, 2022



  6. Links 07/12/2022: Kali Linux 2022.4, GNUnet 0.19.0, and Pgpool-II 4.4.0

    Links for the day



  7. Subsidising the Likes of Rupert Murdoch is Not Supporting Journalism

    There are yet more attempts to tax citations; not only does that make no practical or moral sense, it's being lumped in or joined together with a must-pass "defence" (military) bill in order to suppress opposition



  8. Microsoft Layoffs Again

    The company behind Windows is in a bad state, but it is being propped up by the taxpayers; if rumours are true, Microsoft might get a lot smaller next year



  9. Microsoft is Killing Hospital Patients With Its Insecure-by-design Windows Operating System

    Many people continue to needlessly die because many hospitals still foolishly deploy Windows on mission-critical life-saving machines



  10. Sirius ‘Open Source’ Failing at the Most Basic Employment Regulations

    The company we left behind last week was a repeat violator of employment laws; to make matters worse, it led to its long-term or long(time)-serving staff becoming very baffled, having to contact the pension provider for clarifications



  11. Sirius ‘Open Source’: When the Company Stops Paying Your Pension and You Don't Know Until the Pension Provider Keeps Sending Physical Post to Alert You

    Today we turn our attention to pension blunders at Sirius ‘Open Source’; in recent years even something basic like pension contributions wasn’t smooth sailing



  12. [Meme] Sirius Open Source, Closed-Minded Bossing

    At Sirius ‘Open Source’, decisions are made in the dark without consultation with staff and many things go wrong as a result; of course the culprits never hold themselves accountable



  13. Links 06/12/2022: LibreOffice 7.5 Alpha and digiKam 7.9.0

    Links for the day



  14. Rumour: Very Large Microsoft Layoffs (Another Round) Next Month, Lists Already Being Prepared





  15. Benoît Battistelli in 2015: EPO is Ready to Start Unified Patent Court (UPC), Expect UPC in 2016

    We’re almost in 2023 and UPC is being delayed again; this is what EPO President Benoît Battistelli said way back in 2015 (official video from the EPO; 3:45-4:34 cropped apart)



  16. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 05, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, December 05, 2022



  17. Links 06/12/2022: FreeBSD 12.4 and Inkscape 1.2.2

    Links for the day



  18. Sirius Not-So-‘Open Source’: Cannot Talk to Colleagues, Cannot Speak About Work

    Cover-up and lies became a corporate pattern at the company where I had worked since 2011; it was time to go in order to avoid cooperation in unethical activities



  19. [Meme] Guilt by Association

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ has a history of hostility towards people with disabilities; the company got sued over this, but kept the lawsuit secret



  20. That Time Sirius 'Open Source' Fired a Blind Lady While Gagging Sympathetic Staff

    Sirius 'Open Source' was taken to court after it had wrongly fired a couple of employees, one of whom was blind; this was accompanied by lies about why the staff's communication server was shut down



  21. Links 05/12/2022: Gnoppix Linux 22.12 and Armbian 22.11

    Links for the day



  22. Unified Patent Court (UPC) is “Real Soon Now!” Since 2014

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobby is once again forced to admit issues and delays; we've seen this time and time again for nearly a decade already



  23. Unified Patent Court (UPC) 'Delayed' Again, As Usual, as Unitary Patent Boosters Caught Up in Lies and Scandals

    “UPC [is] delayed by 2 months,” a source has told us, dubbing it “good news” and reaffirming what we’ve said this past year; this litigation lobby's 'wishlist' system isn’t legal, it’s not ready, there are yet more scandals, and journalists have been catching up with these scandals



  24. Links 05/12/2022: GStreamer 1.21.3

    Links for the day



  25. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 04, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 04, 2022



  26. Links 04/12/2022: Status of the 15-Minute Bug Initiative

    Links for the day



  27. When a Company Simply Refuses to Talk to Technical and Exerienced Staff Through Internal Avenues

    When companies behave like monarchies where staff has no role at all in decision-making and decisions are made in violation of those companies’ tenets (or mission statements) it is inevitable that staff will issue concerns, first internally and — failing that — in other channels



  28. [Meme] Kings Instead of Open Consultation Among Peers

    In Sirius there’s no room for debate, even among half a dozen or so technical colleagues; decisions are made in the dark by a tightly-knit cabal (with rather childish superhero cartoons as their avatars) and then imposed on everybody else (hardly democratic, not sane)



  29. Sirius Open Source: The Home of Stress and Bullying by Management

    Part 3 of a report regarding Sirius Open Source, which is imploding after bad judgement and misuse of power against employees



  30. Links 04/12/2022: Fosshost Shudown and OpenIndiana Hipster 2022.10

    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