03.15.09

Patents Roundup: Microsoft, Linux, Acacia, Junk Patents, and Pseudo Reform

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft’s Attack on Linux with Software Patents

Jonathan Corbet’s analysis of the TomTom case is finally available to non-subscribers and more details on why Microsoft is likely to lose the case can be found here.

Bruce Perens and Jeremy Allison discuss the TomTom situation in Slashdot while Stuart DeGraaf writes in LinuxToday:

I believe this is all part of
Microsoft’s strategy to kill
GNU/Linux. Novell won its
case against SCO; Novell
proved that it owns the “IP”
in UNIX. As a result, Microsoft
cozied up to Novell with a
patent protection/extortion
plot it knew would kill Novell.
Now that Novell is at death’s
door, Microsoft will buy Novell,
and own the “IP” rights to UNIX.

Fortunately, ownership of
UNIX doesn’t imply ownership
of GNU/Linux, but I bet that
Ballmer is going to try to
play this legal card anyway.
Ballmer and his M$-bred “IP”
patent trolls (Nathan Myhrvold)
want to destroy the scientific
method and turn the clock back
to the Dark Ages.

Remember that Nathan Myhrvold claims “Intellectual property [to be] the next software.” He is still very close to Microsoft and he is the world’s biggest patent troll, who is now funding a study to defend the practice. Microsoft fosters quite a pack of patent harvesters to potentially support a patent attack on Free software.

Acacia and Other Patent Trolls

Bearing in mind that Acacia has connections with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11], we have already written about this company in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23]. According to one of our readers, Acacia has just ‘patented’ — or rather — bought a patent on anti-Trap safety technology for vehicles. This is what they do for a living rather than ever produce something. They buy rather than develop, just like Microsoft:

“Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products.”

Arno Edelmann, Microsoft’s European business security product manager

TJ Chiang, a professor at George Mason Law School, wrote for Patently-O about patent trolls and this report suggests that a controversial Burst.com patent [1, 2, 3, 4] is being passed to another unnamed entity (probably a patent troll) which will seek return for this large investment. In other words, the so-called ‘inventor’ of buffering for media — as trivial an idea as it is — is enabling racketeering in exchange for money received for a piece of paper.

Wonderful.

Junk Patents

TechDirt is a great resource for information about the troubles with patent systems, the USPTO in particular. The following 3 articles are a few days old, but they are very relevant still.

i. Want To Create A Simple App To Tell You Where Someone Is Calling From? You Can’t, It’s Patented

As he started to write the app, he figured he should take a quick look around to see if anyone else had done so… when he came across the fact that someone had written that app, but thanks to a patent threat, it had been shut down. In fact, the patent holder, Cequent, has sued a few others who dared to create such a simple database lookup app themselves. The patent itself describes an incredibly simple database lookup… yet, now no one else is allowed to create such an app.

ii. The Fight To Patent A ‘Paradigm’ For Marketing

For a variety of reasons this should be unpatentable, and so far (thankfully), the USPTO and the courts have agreed — but Harris keeps trying to appeal, claiming that a company is no different than a machine — and if a machine can be patented, so can the “paradigm” of the company.

iii. Apple Withholds Patent From Widget Standard

It’s way too common these days. The latest to do this appears to be Apple, who withheld a key patent on technology for online “widgets”, which has recently been standardized. The standard was set by the W3C, who asked for companies to commit their patents royalty-free in order to move the standard forward so that everyone could benefit. Instead, Apple held out a key patent, and can now start demanding people pay up.

Speaking of Apple, our reader says that “Apple patents the Wii wand” and another decent article insinuates the the US patent system has gone too far.

When Samuel Hopkins came up with a method for improving the production of potash, it was probably just the kind of invention that President George Washington had in mind when he created the US patent system. Hopkins, who in 1790 received the first American patent ever issued, had discovered a way to increase the production of a critical resource used to make glass, soap, and soil fertilizer.

How does it feel when this very same patent system is implicitly promoting unnecessary death now? Here is the proof from Wikileaks.

2. This document contains a simple, guided system for processing calls for emergency aid. It was created free of charge and distributed with the OpenISES system but was removed from distribution and destroyed due to a patent threat from Priority Dispatch Corporation. This document has the potential to help save lives in areas that cannot afford proprietary emergency response scripts

3. Emergency dispatch offices in areas unable to afford proprietary scripts (especially overseas where U.S. Patent Law does not apply), developers and emergency response personnel wishing to continue the project, and bloggers and journalists wishing to document some of the unsavory ways companies utilize the patent system.

Says one reader: “The patent system promotes and bribes you when you reinforce the belief system. And when you question the religion of the aborigines it would be felt as anything between heresy, intolerance and racism. So you flexibilise your viewpoint, you study the religion and the myths.

“The patent system promotes and bribes you when you reinforce the belief system.”“All what you need to know about patents can be found in the study prepared by Fritz Machlup to Congress, 1958 [PDF, 24.8 MB]. A must read! With it you can debunk 90% of what lawyers tell you as unsound. This is 50 years old but it still reflects the state of the art.

“It is the same with open standards, all you need to understand is that the conflict is about RF and RAND licensing. Everything else is just a screen.”

Reform Farce

The so-called ‘reform’ bill is not much of a change. We are still writing about this [1, 2, 3] and so do many others, e.g.:

i. Abramson on Software and Patent Reform

Tuesday, I was able to speak with Bruce Abramson, who has for years studied the copyright/patent/intellectual property rights conundrum that software presents. And he’s not shy about saying that we’re on course for a series of collisions.

ii. US goes back to work on patent reform

Michael Holsten, HP’s executive vice president and general counsel, said that his company is granted an average of four patents a day, and is constantly targeted by lawsuits over alleged infringements.

They resort to an incorrect solution that protects the likes of H-P but not software developers, particularly not small ones. A ‘reform’ of this kind can only be found in a ‘corporate client state’ — one which is run by (and for) the largest corporations.

Astronaut

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

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2009/03/15/microsoft-linux-acacia-junk/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. aeshna23 said,

    March 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Gravatar

    I doubt that Microsoft would bother to buy Novell for the “IP”. Whatever “IP” Novell “owns” in Linux must be close to being 20 years old and thus irrelevant. Right?

  2. JohnD said,

    March 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Gravatar

    I think the IP issue is with respect to Unix and not Linux. According to SCO Linux uses IP that is in UNIX system V which it licensed/purchased from Novell. Since SCO was never able to produce clear cut evidence of UNIX IP being used in Linux – it’s highly doubtful that SCO and/or Novell owns any piece of IP in Linux.
    My hope was that Novell would just purchase SCO, end the lawsuits, and take a long hard look at why they could donate to the community or at least OIN. I’m pretty sure I read an article that showed M$ has licensed some IP from UNIX to allow Winblows servers to communicate with UNIX boxes. Wouldn’t that be something if the community actually “owned” a little piece of Windows…
    Just because IP is old doesn’t mean it’s useless – look at TCP/IP. Another secret wish of mine was for Novell to dust off IPX and rebuild it as a replacement for TCP/IP – oh how I wish we could get away from DHCP servers and if we could add in autobinding to DNS – wouldn’t the Net Admin’s life be grand?

What Else is New


  1. Links 10/5/2021: Huawei's GNU/Linux Laptops and Kotlin 1.5.0

    Links for the day



  2. Richard Stallman on Writing rm, ls, and cp (Also Working on Bison)

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains what programs he developed in the eighties



  3. Raise the Roof

    Out comes the taxpayers’ subsidy, assured; with military the sky is the limit (and bailout guaranteed)



  4. Richard Stallman Replatformed 10 Hours From Now

    Link to the talk (when it goes live)



  5. [Meme] Bill Says, Bill Saves

    Bill Gates seems more likely to be indicted than to win a presidential election/term



  6. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 09, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 09, 2021



  7. According to the Wall Street Journal, Bill Gates’s Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein Caused the Bill-Melinda Divorce (While the Media Deflected to Dr. Stallman, Using a Phony 'Scandal')

    It’s becoming rather obvious that there’s real substance to accusations that Mr. Gates was in some sense enabling Jeffrey Epstein; while Gates-funded media told us that he was saving us from climate change and a pandemic (PR stunts for empathy and sympathy) Melinda worked really hard to distance herself from him, the father of her kids



  8. [Meme] Bill, What's Your Opinion?

    While it's ludicrous to insinuate that Mr. Gates somehow "started" COVID-19 he certainly "rode the wave" for reputation laundering purposes, profit, and distraction from scandals that precede the epidemic in China (and caused his marriage to break down)



  9. Links 10/5/2021: SystemRescueCD 8.03, KeePass 2.48 Released

    Links for the day



  10. How We Process and Upload Videos Hosted in Techrights

    With ffmpeg as the Swiss army knife (and various other utilities/programs ‘in between’) it’s possible to automate much of the pipeline associated with video production and self-hosting



  11. Richard Stallman's Free Software Speech in 2020 (FSF Turning 35)

    We've re-encoded (as WebM) the likely sole/only speech Richard Stallman gave about his movement last year; today seems like a suitable time to republish it because tomorrow a British university/group will replatform him (to use their term)



  12. The Chaos Theory

    Making GNU/Linux less stable and less predictable isn't good for GNU/Linux users; but it certainly helps sell Red Hat support contracts and vexation inside the community weakens Red Hat's competitors



  13. Gemini and Techrights: Still Growing in Gemini Space and Always Supporting/Loving the Protocol

    As we continue to expand in Gemini space (where our very large site became a very large and likely the largest capsule) it's worth explaining some of the overlooked merits of the protocol; unlike the World Wide Web (WWW) it does not impose things on the user/visitor, who is more or less in charge



  14. Links 9/5/2021: KDE Frameworks 5.82.0 Release and Patents Related to COVID Subjected to Waivers

    Links for the day



  15. Act More 'Professional' to Appease Mobs

    We should all think alike, dress alike, and like everybody (especially the business overlords)



  16. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 08, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 08, 2021



  17. Some Background on the Free Speech Society at the University of Buckingham, Where Richard Stallman is Being 'Replatformed'

    A private British university, the University of Buckingham, will 'host' (virtually) the most-defamed person in the Free software world; the Free Speech Society is only two years old and rationality for its existence is explained by its co-founder James Oliver



  18. Web Sites or News Sites Perish When Their Arguments Are Weak and/or Invalid

    "Just be honest!" is a simple motto for any site; but some sites sell out in pursuit of money or grandiosity, unlike us (we turned 14.5 years old on Friday)



  19. GNU/Linux Turns 38 (in 4 Months From Now)

    Contrary to what the Linux Foundation wants you to think, the operating system turns 38 later this year



  20. Richard Stallman: Steve Jobs Did Some Very Bad Things

    Dr. Richard Stallman told me about Steve Jobs that he had helped digitally imprison computer users



  21. GNU/Linux Founder Richard Stallman to Give a Talk at the University of Buckingham Tomorrow (Live Stream)

    Tomorrow it will be possible to watch this new talk live using Free software



  22. Then We Take Berlin...

    Homage to EPO, based in Munich and Berlin (and defended by the government in Berlin)



  23. The Right to Assemble, Fundamental Rights of Ownership, and Many Other Rights Are Under Attack

    Techrights will be dealing a lot more with erosion of what people have come to assume were “rights” (real rights, such as human rights, labour rights, not copy “rights” or patent “rights”); when rights are reduced to rubble the long-term consequences are severe, shows history



  24. TechBytes Episode 91: End of Privacy and End of Windows 10X

    Tim and Roy produce their 2nd audiocast since TechBytes returned



  25. The Cancel Song

    People who work for (or receive funding from) Nazi-associated IBM are still trying to turn the work/legacy of Richard Stallman (RMS) into dust/ashes



  26. Pro-Software Freedom Advocates and Free/Libre Software Supporters Face Barriers Due to Domination of Communication Channels (Beyond the Media)

    A carefully-checked assessment of an overlooked aspect surrounding the 'cancel mob', which incites and brainwashes people based on lies; there's an attempt to control channels of communication (e.g. Open and Free Technology Community and Freenode) and to generally suppress people who support the founder of GNU/Linux



  27. Bashing Free Software and GNU/Linux is a Terrible Business Model for Publishers

    Contrary to unflattering portrayals by hostile media that's sponsored by foes of Free software, the usage of Free software grows, even if things such as DRM and surveillance stand in the way of software freedom (which was wrongly assumed to be ushered in by Free software, irrespective of malicious features like 'telemetry')



  28. Links 8/5/2021: GIMP 2.99.6, Wine 6.8 Released

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 07, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, May 07, 2021



  30. [Meme] Outsourcing Audacity Development to Microsoft Proprietary Software and Then Copying Microsoft Tactics (and 'Telemetry')

    They've had the audacity to call it "telemetry" and pretend that surveillance companies (spying giants) cannot figure out who you are based on IP addresses


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