05.07.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Symptoms of the Sickness of the Patent System and Apple’s Infinite Greed

Posted in Apple, Law, Patents at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Jobs with patent
Original photo by Matt Buchanan; edited by Techrights

Summary: The patent system receives more mockery and jabs while monopolies like Apple exploit it in order to marginalise competition

PATENTS are not an ethical thing in general, but their original intent was a positive one. The patent system was created to protect the small guy/girl (the “inventor”) from the big companies. That’s at least part of the story. Nowadays, the patent system does exactly the opposite thing by crushing the small guy/girl (unless it’s a patent troll and a parasite) and the funny thing is that public money is being used to fund this injustice.

As TechDirt puts it

Why Does The US Gov’t Get To Patent Research Paid For By Public Tax Dollars?

An anonymous reader links us to a report from The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which came out earlier this year, that highlights how, in 2008, the US government brought in $170 million (pdf) by licensing federally (i.e., taxpayer-funded) technology and patents to private companies.

This is not the exception by the way. Other countries are doing this and in some cases, the entities generated by taxpayers turn into patent aggressors (CSIRO for example [1, 2]). In other cases, publicly-funded research, some of which gets classified as academic, turns into startups with patents which are in turn being used to exclude the public. This practice is commonplace in medicine.

What’s not helping here is: 1) too many patents are being granted too easily; 2) patents are being granted to monopolies; 3) patents are too broad in terms of scope; 4) litigation/application is too expensive for the small guy/girl to be able to afford.

The written description requirement for patents is perhaps about to change, based on this new article.

The court stated, “The ’516 patent discloses no working or even prophetic examples of methods that reduce NF-kB activity, and no completed synthesis of any of the molecules prophesized to be capable of reducing NF-kB activity”

This seems to address issues with patents in general but not with software patents. How about those notorious “over the Internet” patents, which are acquired for just about anything in the analogue world, only when applied as a digital service? How about “on the cloud” patents, which TechDirt considers to be a looming problem?

With so much focus on “cloud computing” these days, companies looking to leap into the cloud and to embrace the agility and flexibility it provides are being warned that there may be a looming problem on the horizon: patent litigation. Seriously. As with pretty much any hot area of technology these days, there’s a pretty big patent thicket around cloud computing — even if the basic technology really isn’t all that different than what’s been around for ages. But, of course, that won’t stop opportunistic companies from claiming their patents cover new cloud services (or of having some players in the field attack competitors with patents).

Here we have a new patent from a company that ‘innovated’ “wireless handset communication system” and sued Apple (because Apple has cash).

In 1999, a company called NetAirus Technologies applied for a patent on a “wireless handset communication system,” and though laughably broad, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted it in 2006. Now, four years later, the company is using it to come after Apple (AAPL). On Friday, NetAirus filed suit against Apple, alleging that the iPhone–as a concept–infringes on its intellectual property.

[..]

How a patent so overly board could have made it through the USPTO is beyond me.

Apple is hardly a victim of this system though. Apple is an aggressor against Free software and against software in general now that it attacks Ogg Theora along with Microsoft. We covered the subject in:

One post that received too little attention is this opinion piece which says:

Maxwell’s comments aside, I know that I personally contacted Theora’s handlers (Xiph.org) at multiple points on Friday about the alleged patent issue and did not receive the courtesy of any response from them. If Apple or other patent holder had a similar experience, perhaps they have been contacted and Maxwell just doesn’t know about it (yet).

Frankly I’m not surprised that a patent pool is being assembled against Theora at this time. As a Theora user myself (Firefox 3.6 !!) I’ve seen how good the codec is which makes it a potential threat to the patent holders. Good technology unfortunately always seems to be at risk from those who think that their intellectual property is being infringed upon.

That said, I would hope that one of the various open source patent commons can step up and help out Theora with some defensive patents and/or legal assistance. The great thing about open source is that the code is open, so if someone does come forward and show a patent claim (legitimate or otherwise), there is always an opportunity to code around it.

The patent system and software patents in particular have become a threat to culture. Being passive is not an attractive option here.

“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

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. mcinsand said,

    May 7, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Gravatar

    >>The patent system was created to protect the small guy/girl …

    Not quite. The patent system was created as a social deal with an inventor back in a time when technology progressed much more slowly. The concept was to grant a *temporary* monopoly to an inventor in exchange for the inventor’s teaching of how to best implement the invention. This advanced the informational public domain for use after the patent period expired or as food for new ideas.

    However, technology moves much faster than it did in the 18th century. What was a good temporary exchange back then is more than an effective technological lifetime today… depending. Some fields might still be so mature that they move slowly, but software is not one of them. To make matters worse, we already have copyrights that should protect software, as well as a patent system that is not supposed to cover mathematical formula.

    Regards,
    mc

  2. Dr. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 7, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Gravatar

    @mcinsand yes, here is some historical perspective.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, September 24, 2021



  2. Links 24/9/2021: GNU Coreutils 9.0, BattlEye GNU/Linux Support

    Links for the day



  3. [Meme] 'Linux' Foundation is Greenwashing Microsoft Again, Misusing the Linux Brand Like Nobody's Business

    Microsoft has weaponised the Linux brand to dub a toxic company like itself (helping notoriously polluting companies and generating lots of waste, both directly and through planned obsolescence, inefficient software, DRM, etc.) as "green"



  4. Richard Stallman to Speak (in Person) in Poland, Dedicate the Talk to Medical Professionals

    Days after his talk in Ukraine Richard Stallman plans to do the same in Poland (just announced)



  5. Links 24/9/2021: 30 Years of Europe’s First Root Name Server, Repairability of Laptops Discussed

    Links for the day



  6. ZDNet Has Failed

    ZDNet is on the decline and its demise appears to have greatly accelerated in recent months; we take a quick look at this month's coverage and explain the conflict of interest (it's PR, not news, and it's far too shallow/blatant to simply overlook)



  7. [Meme] Some People Are Just Above the Law

    A lot of people are still flabbergasted or at least baffled/miffed to discover that some people are in effect above the law; not even Europol and Interpol can apprehend and hold them accountable; that needs to change. Had Benoît Battistelli worked for France Télécom S.A. (not the EPO), would he be arrested? What about António Campinos and his drunk son?



  8. NPR and PBS, Both Funded by Bill Gates, Try to Save Him

    Bill Gates continues to corrupt the media and corrupt social control media (such as Twitter) using his money



  9. The EPO Must Forsake Its Diplomatic Immunity and Quit Pretending It's About Patent Law (or Any Law)

    There's no sign of the EPO actually trying to obey the law and correct the mistakes of the past; to make matters worse, the existing administration adds yet more corruption to an already-massive pile while dismissing any form of oversight



  10. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, September 23, 2021



  11. Links 24/9/2021: Ubuntu 21.10 Beta, Istio 1.11.3, and More Milestones for Steam Deck

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] President Campinos Addresses the Legacy of Battistelli's “Strike Regulations”

    A sequence of four EPO memes about those infamous and unlawful “strike regulations” that Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos have exploited to abuse thousands of workers



  13. [Meme] Bill Gates Keeps Digging Himself Deeper in the Grave Each Time He Speaks

    These sorts of ‘interviews’ with Gates’ own propaganda mills (he also pays Twitter now) aren’t going to improve his image; people aren’t infinitely gullible (Source)



  14. Linux Foundation and Other 'Diploma Mills' Say There's Demand for Their Products in Their New 'Research' (Marketing)

    The so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation (LF), together with edX, are basically marketing their services and products, but this is disguised as 'research' (a false narrative widely parroted by shallow and paid-for media partners of theirs), piggybacking brands like “Linux” and buzzwords like “Open Source” (even when they promote proprietary things, e.g. memorisation of proprietary GUIs)



  15. [Meme] The EPO's Carte Blanche and 'Diplomatic Immunity' Card

    EPO staff is being taken for another ride by António Campinos and his cohorts, whose popularity among staff has likely gone down to sub-zero levels already (even faster than Benoît Battistelli)



  16. As Expected, Minimal Pseudo Compliance From EPO Management, Adding Insult to Injury

    SUEPO Central, the core of the staff union of EPO staff (almost 7,000 workers at the EPO, most of whom are SUEPO members), has strong words about the EPO's attitude and stance, which is perhaps unsurprising but still extremely disappointing



  17. Links 23/9/2021: PostgreSQL 14 RC 1 and MidnightBSD 2.1

    Links for the day



  18. Links 23/9/2021: More UPC PR Stunts and IBM (Poettering) TPM for Linux

    Links for the day



  19. The EPO is on the Run (Escaping Negative Press Coverage)

    Aside from tens of millions of euros granted to media and academia (to keep them complicit or silent about EPO corruption, which also implicates the EU) there’s also SLAPP and threats against staff representatives; but Members of the European Parliament are becoming interested in what’s really going on in Europe’s second-largest institution, so this utter waste of EPO money (manipulating the press and gaming universities’ research) might in itself become a scandal sooner or later



  20. [Meme] Lowering the Standards...

    It's time for another round of fluff at the EPO, this time without even travelling (PR-over-'ViCo')



  21. Gemini HTTP/HTML/Web Proxies and Self-Hosting Your Own Proxy

    Gemini protocol (gemini://) and the fast-growing Geminispace (expected to exceed 2,000 known capsules by year’s end, in effect quadrupling in a single year!) are possible to access using Web browsers, at least for those who do not have Gemini clients/browsers just yet; today we examine and give an outline of the options



  22. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, September 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, September 22, 2021



  23. Links 23/9/2021: GNU Parallel 20210922, Moroccan Propaganda From EPO

    Links for the day



  24. Links 22/9/2021: Google 'Upstream First' in Linux and New Maui Report

    Links for the day



  25. Links 22/9/2021: Mesa 21.2.2, GNOME 41 Released

    Links for the day



  26. Socially- or Corporate- or Centrally-Controlled Surveillance, Censorship and Throttling is Not Media

    The 'social control media' situation is getting out of hand; in YouTube, for example, there's a broad revolt against strict editorial control by Google and in Twitter it seems like ordinary users aren't shown so much to people who actually "follow" them



  27. Links 22/9/2021: Panfrost's OpenGL ES 3.1 Conformanc and NovProg 3.2.0

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, September 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, September 21, 2021



  29. Agents of Monopoly: WIPO is Lobbying for or Reinforcing Microsoft Monopoly by Pushing Its Proprietary Software and Formats

    The World Intellectual Property [sic] Organization — like the EPO (where António Campinos outsourced IT systems to Microsoft) — is choosing the most notorious/corrupt ‘tech’ ‘company’ (cult) instead of open standards and, as the links above show, this is nowadays done inside the United States and outside the United States as well, raising legal questions/ire



  30. Links 21/9/2021: Windowsfx 11, New Chrome, and LF PR Noise

    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