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. European Media Does Not Care About Europe's Second-Largest Institution Crushing Basic Laws and Fundamental Rights

    New video about the latest publication from SUEPO (the EPO’s staff union); it was published yesterday, seeing that the “Mafia” (what EPO staff actually calls the management!) hasn’t done anything to comply with a wide-ranging set of court rulings from ILO-AT; why has the media said nothing about this and what does that say about today’s media? The material is all in the public domain, in widely understood languages, and SUEPO spoke about it more than 3 weeks ago.



  2. Links 30/7/2021: Distro Comparisons and Tootle Introduced

    Links for the day



  3. [Meme] Enforcing ILO-AT Rulings...

    We’re still waiting for a statement — any statement (direct or indirect) — from EPO management, seeing that almost a month has passed



  4. 'Open Source' as a Failed Initiative

    A closer look at the dire state of the Open Source Initiative, or OSI, which no longer protects Open Source (let alone software freedom) but instead helps openwashing, Microsoft entrapment, and a coup against the FSF



  5. [Meme] Rowan and António Sittin' on a Tree...

    How much longer can Team Campinos keep issuing tons of noisy and self-congratulatory puff pieces to (perhaps) distract from the elephant in the 10th floor of the Isar building (EPO HQ)? Staff won't wait for eternity.



  6. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 29, 2021



  7. Half the People in This Letter Are IBM Employees

    IBM seems to be continuing its war on the FSF because IBM wants to own everything (CentOS being ‘canned’ was just part of the plan)



  8. The OSI Song

    The sad demise of OSI, which has become little but a front group of proprietary software companies in pursuit of openwashing services (and outsourcing to proprietary disservices looking to eradicate copyleft)



  9. [Meme] OSI is Doing Just Fine

    So what if OSI is run by someone who raised money from Microsoft (to sell Microsoft a keynote slot in a copyleft event — the thing that Microsoft attacks through GitHub!) while funnelling the OSI's funds to a serial GPL violator?



  10. The OSI's Defunct Elections (Privacy Breach), Conflict of Interest (Nicholson), and Other Lingering Problems

    The above, together with an email from the OSI below, serves to show they’re re-running a bad election and — yet worse! — there appears to be a conflict of interest implicating the OSI’s sole member of staff!



  11. Links 30/7/2021: Audacity 3.0.3 and KD Chart 2.8.0

    Links for the day



  12. Links 29/7/2021: siduction 2021.2 and Xubuntu 21.10 Dev Update

    Links for the day



  13. GitHub is Racism

    Microsoft has the world's most racist code hosting repository; it wasn't like this when Microsoft took over as the racist policies were added to impress Donald Trump, who would later rig a procurement/tendering process to bail out Microsoft (10 billion dollars from the Pentagon, i.e. taxpayers)



  14. [Meme] António Lost His Power Over Patent Examiners

    Team Campinos at the EPO must be rather stressed at the moment; the people who do all the work can go on strike any time (or all the time, until/unless demands are met)



  15. European Patent Office is Going on Strike (or Strikes)

    The staff of the EPO is ready to strike like never before (dissatisfaction and outrage over 8 years of gross injustice, namely Battistelli's breach of fundamental rights, including the right to strike)



  16. Crying “Wolf!” About Systemd is Only Beneficial to IBM and Systemd Developers/Pushers

    Microsoft controls Systemd only to the extent that Systemd is controlled by GitHub, which is in turn controlled by Microsoft; But Systemd has long been on that proprietary platform (its developers don’t truly value software freedom) and this has long been a problem, even before Microsoft hijacked it for coercive power



  17. Links 29/7/2021: Mesa 21.2 RC3, FSF Responds to Microsoft's 'Hey Hi' Attack on Copyleft

    Links for the day



  18. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, July 28, 2021



  19. [Meme] No Crime Goes Unrewarded at the EPO

    It is more or less undeniable that from a legal and functional perspective the EPO is already defunct and is still perishing under a couple of Mafiosos whose sole interest is cover-up and grifting/plunder (of what’s left of the Office after almost 40 years of goodwill/reputation); the recent G 1/21 fiasco was just icing on the cake and the EU’s insistence on a patently unconstitutional UPC (more legal powers for chronic EPC violators) actually weakens unity in Europe (by discrediting the Union)



  20. [Meme] There's Always a Way (When Financial Results Are Not So Good...)

    Too many US ‘tech’ companies still lie to their investors. They choose financial engineering instead of real engineering.



  21. Links 28/7/2021: OPNsense 21.7 and MX Linux 21 Beta

    Links for the day



  22. The One Reason I Cannot Get 'Google News' (or Google) Completely Out of My Life

    Google has got almost a monopoly on (nearly) real-time news syndication; this is why, for our Daily Links at least, we still rely on Google News to a certain extent



  23. [Meme] When Sociopaths or Psychopaths Run Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO has a very profound issue because it is run (and ruined) by insecure thugs with inferiority complex, so they form cliques of friends of theirs instead of actually qualified people, in effect creating personality cults that laugh at the law and disregard any obligations to the institutions/staff they were entrusted to manage



  24. Links 28/7/2021: GCC 11.2 Released

    Links for the day



  25. Microsoft 'Loves' Linux So Much That It's Spreading FUD About It All Over the Media for 3 Days in a Row (So Far)

    The stubborn cult at Microsoft likes telling us all — especially officials and decision-makers — a bunch lies like, “we invest [some amount of money] in security” and “security is our goal”, but in reality the money is sunk into hiring (‘buying’) firms with “security” in their name, bribing publishers for mindless PR/platitudes that cast critics of Microsoft insecurity/ies as “fanatics”, “bashers”, “jealous”, “irrational” et cetera; finally, actual money goes into collaborations with the NSA on back doors, i.e. the exact opposite of security. The video above is a follow-up or sequel for something we meme-ified two days ago; we’ve since then included more examples (with editorial comments added to the links) in our News Roundups/Daily Links; Western media follows the same script we saw in Indian Web sites on Sunday and the objective is to paint Linux as “equally insecure” if not less secure than Windows. As already noted on Sunday, in a much longer video, the ‘Linux’ malware (it has nothing to do with Linux itself!) needs user intervention, neglect, or even sabotage to even get on the compromised systems in the first place. One can guess what situation or which incidents Microsoft is ever so eager to distract/deflect from…



  26. [Meme] EPO Asked to Comply With the Law and Correct Behaviour

    EPO staff wants reparations for monumental abuses, but the “Mafia” of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos will never allow that to happen (we saw the same regarding the unlawful composition of internal courts)



  27. The Unfunny Joke That Microsoft Cares for 'Developer Rights'

    Microsoft propaganda urging software developers to find comfort in a prison of Microsoft (proprietary software monopoly) is a symptom of dying media, or thinly-veiled PR looking for a buck



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, July 27, 2021



  29. Links 28/7/2021: PulseAudio 15.0 Released, World’s Slowest Raytracer

    Links for the day



  30. Links 27/7/2021: New Godot Engine Beta and a Call for Funding of GIMP

    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