11.16.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

When Self-Proclaimed ‘Linux Companies’ Turn to Software Patents, Just Like Apple and Microsoft

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 12:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hot-cold dial

Summary: An assorted analysis of patent news with emphasis on the proprietary lobby and its impact when it comes to software freedom

NOVELL loves its software patents and believes that more are needed. Here is the latest addition based on Utah’s press:

System and method for codifying security concerns into a user interface, patent No. 7,831,840, invented by Robert Love of Cambridge, Mass., and Nat Friedman of Boston, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.

Robert Love and Nat Friedman, eh? Well, Friedman has already left Novell. Robert Love left Novell, then joined Google in 2007 and we hope that Google stops its bad habit of collecting software/algorithm monopolies (Love’s patent was probably filed just for Novell).

Meanwhile, Novell’s friends from Redmond patent foot interface (having previously explored ‘stomping’ on SPAM, which Microsoft Windows zombies spew out). Microsoft boosters have the details:

Microsoft’s research into a “foot-based user interface” seemed somewhat novel in 2006, when I first wrote about the project. Now that the company has released its Kinect full-body motion control system for the Xbox 360, the idea of controlling a machine with your feet seems like only part of the picture.

But the wheels of the intellectual property system grind slowly, and the Redmond company won a patent on the concept just this week — under the title of “Foot-based interface for interacting with a computer.”

This just shows that Microsoft is desperate for PR and something profitable as it becomes more of a patent troll. This so-called ‘research’ is just patent farming and PR, as noted by some good journalists. The ideas which come out of it hardly make up good products. Take Surface for example. The Surface will quite likely die soon, says even a Microsoft booster [1, 2, 3], Matt Rosoff.

Microsoft is going to fit well among the trolls. Not so long ago it paid the patent troll Uniloc [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], which is now suing a major section of the industry — a considerably high number of companies (while claiming not to be a patent troll):

On Monday, Uniloc sued 19 software companies in federal district court in Tyler, Tx., alleging that the defendants’ products infringe Uniloc’s primary patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,490,216. It’s quite a powerful patent, ’216. As we reported in September, Uniloc has already sued dozens and dozens of other companies for allegedly infringing the patent, which covers a license validation procedure known as “software activation.” (The technology requires users to unlock authorized copies of software with a digital key.)

By our count, the latest Uniloc suit brings the grand total of companies it has targeted in ’216 infringement claims to 92. Think about that: 92 defendants! (They include big names like Sony and McAfee as well as lots of smaller software firms.)

The company’s sue-’em-all strategy met with spectacular, if short-lived, success last April, when Uniloc won a $388 million verdict against Microsoft in Rhode Island federal district court for infringement of the ’216 patent. At the time, Uniloc’s lawyers at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo crowed that the verdict was the fifth-largest in patent law history. But the victory didn’t hold up: The trial judge granted a post-trial motion by Microsoft’s lawyers at Fish & Richardson and vacated the award just five months later. Uniloc hasn’t given up on vindication in the Microsoft case: It is currently awaiting a ruling on an appeal to U.S. Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit, which heard arguments on Sept. 7.

Here is a screen snapshot of the Uniloc Web site:

Uniloc Web page

Outrageously enough, “MIT’s Tech Review Comes Out In Favor Of Patent Trolls,” claims TechDirt:

Reader David Carter sends in this bizarrely uninformed column by Christopher Mims at the MIT Tech review, praising patent trolls and calling them “the secret heroes of the tech world.” Carter notes that when he first read the article he thought it was satire. I can see why he thought that as well, but it appears to be serious.

In other news about patents, watch hard-drive makers getting hit in a major way by patents [1, 2]. And let’s pay attention to this new Canonical deal with Centrify, which is a software patents proponent and Microsoft ally [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Not only Microsoft is a noteworthy patent threat to GNU/Linux anymore. Apple too is suing Linux and Dana Blankenhorn accepts the possibility that we wrote about yesterday, namely that Apple has something to do with Oracle's lawsuit against Android. Blankenhorn writes about Apple quite harshly, with paragraphs like the following: “Apple has never had any interest in the open source community. It’s a nuisance, a bunch of so-called idealists who copy its ideas and prevent it from gaining the monopoly rents it feels its innovation deserves.”

It takes a lot of Kool-Aid to believe that Apple cares about software freedom and Nick Bilton spoke to Tim Wu (Columbia law professor) a few days ago, only to confirm that Apple’s threat to freedom mustn’t be underestimated. From the interview:

Tim Wu, the Columbia law professor who came up with the term “net neutrality” in a research paper, has just written a new book, “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires,” published by Knopf.

[...]

Which companies do you fear the most?

Right now, I’d have to say Apple.

What about Facebook?

I think Facebook is looking for a mentor, they are looking for a role model. Right now it is choosing between Apple and Google in this great war between open and closed. It is possible that whatever side Facebook takes will have a lot to do with the future of how we communicate.

What worries you about Apple?

As I discuss in the book, Steve Jobs has the charisma, vision and instincts of every great information emperor. The man who helped create the personal computer 40 years ago is probably the leading candidate to help exterminate it. His vision has an undeniable appeal, but he wants too much control.

Apple is now said to be worth more than Microsoft. It is also more restrictive in many areas. As micu (at Identi.ca) put it yesterday, “fascist company Apple blocks Blueray from coming to Mac to sell more HD videos on iTunes. MS strikes back” (yes, even Microsoft is not as bad sometimes). Both companies currently resort to software patents as means of defending a territory and as we’ll explain in a later post, the only real solution is ending software patents.

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.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 24/10/2021: Ceph Boss Sage Weil Resigns and Many GPL Enforcement Stories

    Links for the day



  2. GAFAM-Funded NPR Reports That Facebook Let Millions of People Like Trump Flout the So-called Rules. Not Just “a Few”.

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  3. Some Memes About What Croatia Means to the European Patent Office

    Before we proceed to other countries in the region, let’s not forget or let’s immortalise the role played by Croatia in the EPO (memes are memorable)



  4. Gangster Culture in the EPO

    The EPO‘s Administrative Council was gamed by a gangster from Croatia; today we start the segment of the series which deals with the Balkan region



  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”

    The EPO‘s circle of corruption in the Balkan region will be the focus of today’s (and upcoming) coverage, showing some of the controversial enablers of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, two deeply corrupt French officials who rapidly drive the Office into the ground for personal gain (at Europe’s expense!)



  6. Links 23/10/2021: FreeBSD 12.3 Beta, Wine 6.20, and NuTyX 21.10.0

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 22, 2021



  8. [Meme] [Teaser] Crime Express

    The series about Battistelli's "Strike Regulations" (20 parts thus far) culminates as the next station is the Balkan region



  9. Links 23/10/2021: Star Labs/StarLite, Ventoy 1.0.56

    Links for the day



  10. Gemini on Sourcehut and Further Expansion of Gemini Space

    Gemini protocol is becoming a widely adopted de facto standard for many who want to de-clutter the Internet by moving away from the World Wide Web and HTML (nowadays plagued by JavaScript, CSS, and many bloated frameworks that spy)



  11. Unlawful Regimes Even Hungary and Poland Would Envy

    There’s plenty of news reports about Polish and Hungarian heads of states violating human rights, but never can one find criticism of the EPO’s management doing the same (the mainstream avoids this subject altogether); today we examine how that area of Europe voted on the illegal "Strike Regulations" of Benoît Battistelli



  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group

    The EPO‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations” (which helped Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos illegally crush or repress EPO staff) were supported by only one among 4 Visegrád delegates



  13. [Meme] IBM Has Paid ZDNet to Troll the Community

    Over the past few weeks ZDNet has constantly published courses with the word "master" in their headlines (we caught several examples; a few are shown above); years ago this was common, also in relation to IBM itself; clearly IBM thinks that the word is racially sensitive and offensive only when it's not IBM using the word and nowadays IBM pays ZDNet — sometimes proxying through the Linux Foundation — to relay this self-contradictory message whose objective is to shame programmers, Free software communities etc. (through guilt they can leverage more power and resort to projection tactics, sometimes outright slander which distracts)



  14. [Meme] ILO Designed to Fail: EPO Presidents Cannot be Held Accountable If ILOAT Takes Almost a Decade to Issue a Simple Ruling

    The recent ILOAT ruling (a trivial no-brainer) inadvertently reminds one of the severe weaknesses of ILOAT; what good is a system of accountability that issues rulings on decisions that are barely relevant anymore (or too late to correct)?



  15. Links 22/10/2021: Trump's AGPL Violations and Chrome 95 Released

    Links for the day



  16. [Meme] How Corporate Monopolies Demonise Critics of Their Technically and Legally Problematic 'Products'

    When the technical substance of some criticism stands (defensible based upon evidence), and is increasingly difficult to refute based on facts, make up some fictional issue — a straw man argument — and then respond to that phony issue based on no facts at all



  17. Links 22/10/2021: Global Encryption Day

    Links for the day



  18. [Meme] Speaking the Same Language

    Language inside the EPO is misleading. Francophones Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos casually misuse the word “social”.



  19. António Campinos Thinks Salary Reductions Months Before He Leaves is “Exceptional Social Gesture”

    Just as Benoît Battistelli had a profound misunderstanding of the concept of “social democracy” his mate seems to completely misunderstand what a “social gesture” is (should have asked his father)



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 21, 2021



  21. Links 21/10/2021: MX Linux 21 and Git Contributors’ Summit in a Nutshell

    Links for the day



  22. [Meme] [Teaser] Miguel de Icaza on CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Our ongoing series, which is very long, will shed much-needed light on GitHub and its goals (the dark side is a lot darker than people care to realise)



  23. Gemini Protocol and Gemini Space Are Not a Niche; for Techrights, Gemini Means Half a Million Page Requests a Month

    Techrights on gemini:// has become very big and we’ll soon regenerate all the pages (about 37,500 of them) to improve clarity, consistency, and general integrity



  24. 'Satellite States' of EPO Autocrats

    Today we look more closely at how Baltic states were rendered 'voting fodder' by large European states, looking to rubber-stamp new and oppressive measures which disempower the masses



  25. [Meme] Don't Mention 'Brexit' to Team UPC

    It seems perfectly clear that UPC cannot start, contrary to what the EPO‘s António Campinos told the Council last week (lying, as usual) and what the EPO insinuates in Twitter; in fact, a legal challenge to this should be almost trivial



  26. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States

    How unlawful EPO rules were unsurprisingly supported by Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in Baltic states; António Campinos maintained those same unlawful rules and Baltic connections, in effect liaising with offices known for their corruption (convicted officials, too; they did not have diplomatic immunity, unlike Battistelli and Campinos)



  27. Links 21/10/2021: GIMP 2.99.8 Released, Hardware Shortages, Mozilla Crisis

    Links for the day



  28. How Oppressive Governments and Web Monopolists Might Try to Discourage Adoption of Internet Protocols Like Gemini

    Popular movements and even some courageous publications have long been subverted by demonisation tactics, splits along unrelated grounds (such as controversial politics) and — failing that — technical sabotage and censorship; one must familiarise oneself with commonly-recurring themes of social control by altercation



  29. [Meme] Strike Triangulations, Reception Issues

    Financial strangulations for Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations”? The EPO will come to regret 2013…



  30. [Meme] Is Saying “No!” to Unlawful Proposals Considered “Impolite”?

    A ‘toxic mix’ of enablers and cowards (who won’t vote negatively on EPO proposals which they know to be unlawful) can serve to show that the EPO isn’t a “social democracy” as Benoît Battistelli liked to call it; it’s just a dictatorship, currently run by the son of a person who actually fought dictatorship


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