04.20.09

Patents Roundup: Microsoft, CSIRO, Patent Hawk, and “Corrupt, Malicious” EPO

Posted in Australia, Courtroom, Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The European Patent Office is a corrupt, malicious organisation which should not exist.”

Richard Stallman

Summary: The latest news about patents (software in particular) that affect Free software

TT HAS BEEN a very busy week for patents, whose relevance is being questioned quite a lot these days. Mike Masnick took a look back at some of the recent developments when he wrote about the GPL FUD (lies even) from Microsoft's buddy, White & Case (White & Case subsequently intimidated an open source reporter). Masnick also commented on the Patently-O report which shows patent filings on the decline. We wrote about it earlier.

Considering the large number of bad patents that got through over the years, and the resulting flood of applications from others hoping to strike it rich by gaining monopolies on obvious ideas, it should be seen as a good thing that applications are finally dropping. If anything, we should be wondering why they’re not dropping more. Patents were supposed to be given out in the rarest of circumstances, when other incentives weren’t enough. Somewhere along the way, those who controlled the patent system seemed to forget this and lose their way.

Intellectual Monopolies Versus Microsoft

Microsoft realises that somehow it must elevate the price of its #1 competition (GNU/Linux) because it's going out of control. But by promoting software patents around the world Microsoft is also injuring itself. Consider this report from Bloomberg (same report here):

Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, settled a lawsuit with Australia’s science agency over a patent used for wireless local area networks.

Microsoft and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO, didn’t disclose terms of the settlement in a filing April 10 in federal court in Tyler, Texas. CSIRO claimed Microsoft had been wrongfully using the patent, while the software maker sought a ruling of noninfringement for its networking wireless technology, which includes an adaptor for the Xbox video-game system.

There is also this slightly older one from Australia: US jury orders Microsoft to pay $500m to Australian inventor

Groklaw drew attention to this essay from Patent Hawk, adding that “it’s a case that could test his theory, but considering Microsoft’s lawyers will presumably argue for Bilski exclusion, it should be interesting.”

Odom invented active tool groups, which Microsoft popularized with its Office 2007 Ribbon. In an ongoing licensing campaign, having previously filed suit against Microsoft and Autodesk, today Odom filed against 28 other infringers.

[...]

As an aside, punters who have commented that Odom’s claims are Bilskied out don’t know what they are talking about. The CAFC has been concerned about overreaching business method patents. Bilski required, for software patents, that claims transform the subject matter, and have tangibility (according to one interpretation), i.e., representational of non-computer existence. Odom’s tool groups are like containers in a toolbox, and his claims alter the condition of those groups….As Patent Prospector readers already know, this entry is first person, written in the third person, as Gary Odom is aka Patent Hawk, patent technical consultant.

For some background about Patent Hawk, see this post from December. Additionally, Law.com has just published the article “Microsoft’s IP Losses Don’t Always Stick.” It’s about Microsoft’s other confrontations.

The software company set the record when a San Diego jury ordered it to pay $1.53 billion for infringing on Alcatel-Lucent’s patents for MP3 digital audio technology. It was hit for $512 million in another case with Alcatel-Lucent. And Eolas Technologies Inc. won a $521 million verdict against it.

But appeals courts have been kinder than juries to the software company. The $1.53 billion award was tossed last year . Microsoft appealed the $521 million verdict and ultimately settled with Eolas for $30.4 million in 2007. The $512 million award is currently on appeal. Fish & Richardson has represented Microsoft against Alcatel-Lucent in both cases, at trial and on appeal.

“Microsoft has certainly seen some large verdicts against it in the last few years,” observed Stephen Akerley, a patent litigator with O’Melveny & Myers who wasn’t involved with this week’s case. “However, there are always appealable issues in these cases. And if you look back, Eolas ultimately settled, Alcatel-Lucent is still going on — it’s impossible to tell where this case will end up.”

Intellectual Monopolies Versus the Internet

IPJur has just dropped some bits of wisdom about how dying monopolies daemonise the Web with “piracy”.

One important cornerstone for the proponents of that ‘ancien regime’ in this context is to promote the notion of piracy in conjunction with the Internet.

It’s worth bearing it in mind after the Pirate Bay ruling. Will Google and Yahoo be sued next (for linking to potentially ‘illegal’ content)?

Richard Stallman: “The European Patent Office is a Corrupt, Malicious Organisation Which Should Not Exist”

The animals too will be suffering from Intellectual Monopolies, so the pigs — literally — took it to the streets along with their human representatives.

Stallman’s participation in last week’s protests has finally received some more coverage. We found two more articles:

i. Farmers, Politicians, Free Software Fans Demonstrate Against Patents

Stallman warned against the threat patents pose to free farming and free software engineering, and heavily criticised the EPO for its grant practice. He called it an “evil and malicious organisation” Europeans should try to get rid off and should in the first place try “to stop treating every EU institution as if it was sacred and inscrutable.”

ii. Richard Stallman, Farmers and the German CSU Party Unite Against Patents

Members of the Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), the Piratenpartei (Pirate Party), Greenpeace, the Misereor Catholic organization, and farmers’ unions against the European Patent Office (EPO) recently assembled at a rally in Munich, Germany. Demonstrators included Richard Stallman, who added his own testimonial to those united against the EPO.

These protests in Germany, which were last mentioned here and whose photos can be found here, will be remembered for quite some time. They were a smashing success.

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

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/2009/04/20/microsoft-csiro-patent-hawk/

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

What Else is New


  1. [Meme] Criticising IBM is Racist and Intolerant

    Systemd is becoming untouchable and its critics are framed as "toxic" or "trolls", no matter the facts and irrespective of the technical substance of their complaints



  2. Combatting Revisionist History (Post From 2015, Years Before IBM Bought Red Hat and Increased Vendor Lock-in)

    Today we republish this forum post from more than 6 years ago; in light of what IBM did to CentOS and its vicious attack on the founder of the GNU/Linux operating system we must understand the systemd agenda, which the FSF can more openly speak about now that there are no financial strings



  3. Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit: Right to Repair

    Uploaded earlier this month was this talk and accompanying slides; summary below



  4. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 15, 2021



  5. [Meme] When All That Matters is 'Production' and 'Timeliness'

    The EPO has gone down the same route as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) when it comes to patent quality; as if the goal is to grant 11 million patents (most of them in just a few decades) rather than assess the impact of such patents



  6. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 8: The Radical Student “Brotherhood”

    The latest part in this series explores the roots of Judge Josefsson; that can help explain how Benoît Battistelli constructed his stacked EPO ‘court’, which he and António Campinos basically control to rubber-stamp whatever illegal practices they engage in (in pursuit of money and power, at the expense of the law)



  7. Christoph Ernst Lecturing Us on “Transparency” and EPO Corruption (as Well as Assault on the EPC) Becoming a “New Normal”

    The EPO’s administration continues rushing ahead with an unlawful agenda, exploiting a pandemic that’s gradually coming under control regardless to shred apart the EPC



  8. Richard Stallman's Talk About New/er Risks to Free Software (Free as in Freedom-Respecting, Libre)

    Richard M. Stallman (RMS) gave the above talk not too long before the attacks on him intensified greatly, serving to silence him for nearly 2 years



  9. Jacques Michel and Willy (Guillaume) Minnoye: Stakeholders in EPO Lawlessness

    Former EPO Vice-Presidents who wish not to be held accountable for what they did in the Office (or be chased after leaving their duties, finishing/ending terms there) are adding fuel to the illegal agenda of an EPOnian regime



  10. Links 15/5/2021: Godot 3.3.1 RC 2 and Pine64 Hardware in Focus

    Links for the day



  11. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 7: Calle's Strange Metamorphosis

    Sources believe the “legal anarchy” that EPOnia became notorious for, especially when it comes to handling referrals at the EPO‘s BoA, will become a dark legacy — a legacy that would, if he was alive, disappoint even Josefsson’s source of inspiration



  12. Making up Law at the EPO

    Another video about the ongoing EPO series and some news/commentary from around the Web



  13. Over a Thousand Videos (or Audio Files) and More Protocols Supported

    From just a Web site (ordinary HTTP/S protocol) we've expanded to alternative channels of communication; this is a quick roundup, with focus on last night's development work (already pushed into our self-hosted Git repository)



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, May 14, 2021



  15. Nathan Proctor: Right to Repair and the DMCA

    LibrePlanet 2019 video



  16. [Meme] Calle Calling...

    The values of the Habermasian EPO judge depend on who’s paying the salary



  17. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 6: The Habermasian Who Warned About “Legal Anarchy”

    The political orientation of a Benoît Battistelli-appointed EPO judge who has the audacity to talk about legal anarchy and bemoan abuse of the law; the António Campinos administration extended his term until (at least) 2027



  18. Paid-for Plugs and Coordinated Marketing Fluff (PR Campaigns) Are Ruining 'Linux' Sites

    Junk 'articles' (just marketing disguised as 'news') spoil the World Wide Web; companies repeat the same sales pitch over and over again, sometimes leveraging what they perceive to be avenues read by geeks



  19. Links 15/5/2021: GCC 8.5, Fedora Community Revamp

    Links for the day



  20. Links 14/5/2021: FreeBSD on the Pine H6, Red Hat Hiring

    Links for the day



  21. Protecting Freenode is Protecting the Free Software Movement

    Freenode may seem like a negligible corner of the Internet, which media never bothers mentioning at all; but Freenode, which many have come to take for granted, is core infrastructure for many Free software projects and protecting the network is essential for the Free Software Movement



  22. EPO Justice

    Justice in Europe's second-largest institution, where the law itself is a second-class citizen



  23. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 13, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 13, 2021



  24. Understanding How Freenode (IRC) Works -- or Doesn't Work -- in 2021

    There is a conflict going on behind the scenes at Freenode, but there are also sincere and well-meaning attempts to undo the damage and get back to normal



  25. [Meme] Judges the Office Cannot Control Are Just Nazis With Weapons in Their Office...

    The EPO hasn’t been run by grown-ups for over ten years; Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos and their confidants cannot grasp the concept of law, just blind loyalty



  26. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 5: Battistelli's “Swedish Chef”

    The EPO's 'courts' are controlled by the people whom they're supposed to judge on; this has been the case for at least half a decade



  27. Links 14/5/2021: KDE Plasma 5.22 Beta and GNOME 40 in Gentoo

    Links for the day



  28. Audio: “Unjust Computing Clamps Down” by Richard Stallman

    The FSF has finally uploaded the LibrePlanet talk of Richard Stallman



  29. Links 13/5/2021: KDE Gear 21.04.1 and LibreOffice 7.0.6

    Links for the day



  30. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 4: The President of the Boards of Appeal

    A deeper look into the ‘sausage factory’ that is EPO tribunals certainly helps us understand the inherent bias of many decisions, including a recent decision on European software patents like a controversial simulation patent


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