05.06.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Free Software Foundation Europe Likens Apple/Microsoft Behaviour to Blackmail

Posted in Apple, Europe, FSF, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Georg Greve

Original: Georg C.F. Greve, FSFE Founder

Summary: The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) calls the spade “a spade”; Nokia’s solution to the extortion problem cannot be generalised, so patent reform is urgently needed

BACK in March we wrote about the former CEO of Sun Microsystems revealing that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had extorted him. Yes, Apple is doing this too [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], but it does this more discreetly.

The head of the FSFE (not Greve) has just issued a relatively strongly-worded statement in his blog. It says:

Software patents and blackmail

From a very practical perspective, it is next to impossible to determine whether a given piece of software violates patents. A typical program consists of dozens if not hundreds of ideas. Any of them could be patented. In practice, making sure you’re not infringing a patent simply takes too long, and is too expensive. So nobody does it.

And I do mean nobody. Even the largest corporations can’t stay clear of each others’ software patents – over the past few months alone, we have seen lawsuits between Apple and HTC , Red Hat vs. IP Innovation LLC (now that’s a name for a patent troll. Well, they went home with a ringing defeat. Congratulations to Michael Cunningham, Rob Tiller and the rest of the Red Hat legal team!), and the Apple vs Nokia sue-fest.

But corporations sue other corporations only as a last resort. Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s former CEO, illustrated quite pointedly how large corporations normally deal with this problem: They simply threaten each other with their different patents until both agree that it’s better to stay quiet.

Bill Gates was quite right when he said in 1991:

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete stand-still today. [...] A future start-up with no patents of its own will be forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose. That price might be high: Established companies have an interest in excluding future competitors.”

[Internal Microsoft Memo (1991), quoted in Fred Warshofsky, The Patent Wars (1994)]

For a company like IBM, Apple or Microsoft, patent lawsuits are a huge problem. For any organisation smaller than that, they’re an existential threat.

All this turns spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about software patents into a marketing strategy. As Jobs has done, you simply have to say “we know your stuff is infringing patents, but we’re not telling you which ones”. This is a callous strategy to make your target’s customers and users think they are under some sort of legal threat.

There’s a word for that. It’s called blackmail.

Indeed.

Don’t Get M.A.D.

Nokia, which has a vast patent portfolio and is based in Europe, said that it intends to fight Microsoft in case Microsoft tries to ‘tax’ MeeGo distribution using extortion tactics [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] (like those tactics which were apparently used against HTC). Here is what Pogson wrote about it:

Interesting news. While M$ runs amok threatening to sue the world over rumoured patent violations in GNU/Linux, Nokia and Intel are promising to protect customers from such suits.

Needless to say, few companies enjoy the portfolio breath of Nokia and Intel. This is hardly a solution; it’s good enough for Nokia and Intel, but mostly useless to the rest.

What You Can Do About It

As JM Cerqueira Esteves pointed out yesterday, “PATQUAL survey on the quality of the European patent system has been extended to 15th May 2010″ (direct quote below).

European Union. The deadline of the PATQUAL survey on the quality of the European patent system has been extended to 15th May 2010

Tell Europe’s administrative figures to stop accepting software patents from the back door. There ought to be explicit rules to end this by denying access through the loopholes.

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway”, —Marshall Phelps, IAM: Microsoft to have 50,000 patents within two years, Phelps reveals

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. Yuhong Bao said,

    May 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Gravatar

    In fact, blackmail using software patents is not limited to Apple and Microsoft.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I never claimed anything about this. We’re talking about Apple and Microsoft here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring_%28idiom%29

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. [Meme] [Teaser] GitHub an Expensive and Dangerous Trap (Also: Misogyny Hub)

    The ongoing Microsoft GitHub exposé will give people compelling reasons to avoid GitHub, which is basically just a subsidised (at a loss) trap



  2. Norway Should Have Voted Against Benoît Battistelli's Illegal (Anti-)'Strike Regulations' at the European Patent Office

    Benoît Battistelli‘s EPO faced no real and potent opposition from Norwegian delegates, who chose to abstain from the vote on the notorious and illegal so-called ‘Strike Regulations’ (they’re just an attack on strikes, an assault on basic rights of labourers)



  3. Links 19/10/2021: Sequoia PGP LGPL 2.0+, Open RAN Adoption

    Links for the day



  4. [Meme] [Teaser] Benoît Battistelli, King of Iceland

    Later today we shall see how the current deputy of the head of the EPO‘s overseeing body was in fact likely rewarded for her complicity in Benoît Battistelli‘s abuses against EPO staff, including staff from Iceland



  5. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, October 18, 2021



  6. Links 19/10/2021: MyGNUHealth 1.0.5 and Ubuntu 22.04 Now Developed

    Links for the day



  7. [Meme] [Teaser] Thrown Under the Bus

    Tomorrow we shall look at Danish enablers of unlawful EPO regulations, Jesper Kongstad and Anne Rejnhold Jørgensen



  8. The World Needs to Know What Many Austrians Already Know About Rude Liar, the Notorious 'Double-Dipper'

    Today we publish many translations (from German) about the Austrian double-dipper, who already became the subject of unfavourable press coverage in his home country; he’s partly responsible for crushing fundamental rights at the EPO under Benoît Battistelli‘s regime



  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper

    Friedrich ‘Rude Liar’ Rödler is notorious in the eyes of EPO staff, whom he was slandering and scandalising for ages while he himself was the real scandal



  10. Links 18/10/2021: Porteus Kiosk 5.3 and Ventoy 1.0.55

    Links for the day



  11. [Meme] [Teaser] More to Life Than Patents

    Greedy sociopaths oughtn’t be put in charge of patent offices; this is what’s dooming the EPO in recent years (all they think about is money



  12. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part II — The Campaign Against GPL Compliance and War on Copyleft Enforcement

    Microsoft contemplated buying GitHub 7.5 years ago; the goal wasn’t to actually support “Open Source” but to crush it from the inside and that’s what Microsoft has been doing over the past 2.5 years (we have some details from the inside)



  13. Links 18/10/2021: Linux 5.15 RC6 and 7 New Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  14. [Meme] The Austrian School of Friedrich Rude Liar

    With reference to the Austrian School, let’s consider the fact that Friedrich Rude Liar might in fact be standing to personally gain by plundering the EPO‘s staff by demonising them while helping Benoît Battistelli crush them



  15. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 17, 2021



  16. How (Simple Technical Steps) to Convince Yourself That DuckDuckGo is Just Spyware Connected to Microsoft, Falsely Advertised as 'Privacy'

    In recent days we published or republished some bits and pieces about what DuckDuckGo really is; the above reader dropped by to enlighten us and demonstrate just how easy it is to see what DuckDuckGo does even at the client side (with JavaScript); more people need to confront DuckDuckGo over this and warn colleagues/friends/family (there’s more here)



  17. Austria's Right-Wing Politicians Displaying Their Arrogance to EPO Examiners

    The EPO‘s current regime seems to be serving a money-hungry lobby of corrupt officials and pathological liars; tonight we focus on Austria



  18. [Meme] Friedrich Rödler's Increasingly Incomprehensible Debt Quagmire, Years Before EPO Money Was Trafficked Into the Stock Market

    As it turns out, numerous members of the Administrative Council of the EPO are abundantly corrupt and greedy; They falsely claim or selfishly pretend there’s a financial crisis and then moan about a "gap" that does not exist (unless one counts the illegal gambling, notably EPOTIF, which they approved), in turn recruiting or resorting to scabs that help improve ‘profit margins’



  19. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…

    Prior to the Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos regime the EPO‘s hard-working staff was slandered by a corrupt Austrian official, Mr. Rödler



  20. Links 17/10/2021: Blender 2.93.5, Microsoft Bailouts

    Links for the day



  21. Links 17/10/2021: GhostBSD 21.10.16 and Mattermost 6.0

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 16, 2021



  23. [Meme] First Illegally Banning Strikes, Then Illegally Taking Over Courts

    The vision of Team Battistelli/Campinos is a hostile takeover of the entire patent system, not just patent offices like the EPO; they’d stop at nothing to get there



  24. Portuguese Network of Enablers

    Instead of serving Portuguese people or serving thousands of EPO workers (including many who are Portuguese) the delegation from Portugal served the network of Campinos



  25. In Picture: After Billions Spent on Marketing, With Vista 11 Hype and Vapourware, No Real Gains for Windows

    The very latest figures from Web usage show that it’s hardly even a blip on the radar; Windows continues bleeding to death, not only in servers



  26. [Meme] [Teaser] Double-Dipping Friedrich Rödler

    As we shall see tomorrow night, the EPO regime was supported by a fair share of corrupt officials inside the Administrative Council



  27. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli's Iberian Facilitators - Portugal

    How illegal “Strike Regulations” and regressive ‘reforms’ at the EPO, empowering Benoît Battistelli to the detriment of the Rule of Law, were ushered in by António Campinos and by Portugal 5 years before Campinos took Battistelli’s seat (and power he had given himself)



  28. Links 16/10/2021: SparkyLinux Turns 10 and Sculpt OS 21.10

    Links for the day



  29. “Facebook Whistleblowers” Aside, It Has Been a Dying Platform for Years, and It's Mentally Perverting the Older Generation

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  30. [Meme] Microsoft Has Always Been About Control Over Others

    Hosting by Microsoft means subjugation or a slavery-like relationship; contrary to the current media narrative, Microsoft has long been censoring LinkedIn for China’s autocratic regime; and over at GitHub, as we shall show for months to come, there’s a war on information, a war on women, and gross violations of the law


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