The USPTO Continues to Snub the US Supreme Court and Issues Software Patents That Are Totally Bogus

Posted in America, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

US courts are constantly rejecting software patents, but the USPTO doesn’t seem to care and continues to issue them anyway

“LinuxFest Northwest 2016: Software Patents After Alice: A Long and Sad Tail” [via Montana Linux, which says “Deb Nicholson talked about the state of software patents after the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in the landmark Alice vs. CLS Bank case.”]

Summary: The ‘production line’ which the USPTO has devolved into (just accepting nearly everything that comes in) passes costs of spurious litigation to the public (externality to be taxed by monopolists, trolls, and patent lawyers) and new information serves to highlight this gross injustice which is motivated by USPTO greed and corporate control (vendor captivity)

Professor Dennis Crouch, still keeping abreast of “Pending Supreme Court Patent Cases” (there are interesting SCOTUS-level patent cases on their way), brings updates about USPTO adaptations to rulings such as Alice, which basically brought the end to a lot of software patents (the USPTO should obey court rulings and end software patents, but it’s too greedy to do so). The articles composed by Dennis Crouch are actually quite informative and they help us track how things are changing (Crouch’s work is academic/scholarly, so he hasn’t much to personally gain from patent maximalism). Writing about the latest in the Fitbit case, a patent lawyers’ site says: “As an update to our April 13, 2016 blog post, US International Trade Commission administrative law judge (ALJ) Dee Lord has granted summary determination that the asserted claims of two of Jawbone’s remaining patents in its Section 337 action against Fitbit are directed to ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.”

“It’s not hard to see why large corporations are up in arms.”This is basically the latest high-profile legacy of Alice, which the USPTO (unlike courts, SCOTUS included) is still trying to ignore. The USPTO is still having discussions about the subject. According to a new bit of text found by Benjamin Henrion a few days ago, the USPTO says “Functions that are not generic computer functions and therefore amount to significantly more than an idea” (PDF therein).

Does the USPTO intend to ever obey court rulings? Or is it too rogue to accept that things have changed? Its former director, David Kappos, is now actively lobbying against the Supreme Court on behalf of huge corporations — a move which contributes to the perception of corruption in this whole system.

“Another new analysis from Crouch reinforces the idea that the patent office should enforce patent boundaries, restrict scope.”It’s not hard to see why large corporations are up in arms. Dennis Crouch, the pro-patents scholar, has done some research and plotted charts which show that what the patent system was created for ain’t so anymore. Crouch’s analysis is showing how large corporations get the lion’s share of patents (first author plus bosses etc. and people who want to get some of the credit), not independent developers (same in Europe) and he adds the following interpretation of the numbers/chart:

The primary goal of the patent system is to encourage innovation – “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” For me, the nature of inventorship is a fascinating pursuit: what are the factors that lead to invention and what are the results of invention?

A major shift over the past few decades in terms of inventors listed on U.S. patents is the rise of team-based inventorship. Back in 1975, the vast majority of U.S. patents were issued to a single inventor. Since that time, there has been a steady trend toward more inventors-per-patent. Around 1990 we reached a point where, for the first time, more than than half of US patents listed multiple inventors. That trend toward more inventors per patents continues today.

Drilling down, the increase is seen in patents with three or more inventors. The chart below shows the percentage of utility patents with either one listed inventor (downward sloping double line) or three+ listed inventors (upward sloping line). The drop in the first almost exactly correlates with the rise in the second. Throughout this time, the percentage of two-inventor patents has remained steady at around 25%.

Another new analysis from Crouch reinforces the idea that the patent office should enforce patent boundaries, restrict scope. But his focus, however, is the number of claims per patent, showing a very sharp decline about a decade ago (patent barriers perhaps falling far too low, allowing virtually every patent application through, or more than 90% of them). He calls this “Right Sized Patents” and adds:

Many progressive policies focus on reducing disparities (income, wealth, education, and opportunities) that reflect some social injustice between those at the top and those at the bottom of our social spectrum. Conservatives often recognize the gaps but disagree about whether the result qualifies as injustice as well as about government’s role in redistribution.

Patent policy is often easier to implement than social policy (especially compared with other property law changes) because a new generation of patents emerges every twenty years and the old generation does not hang-around protecting and directing wealth but instead melds into the Soylent of the public domain.

In some ways though, patents are bucking the social trend and becoming more standardized and less diverse – at least by some outward measurements such as document size, claims per patent, and prosecution pendency.

To rephrase that last sentence (above), patents are bucking the corporate trend and becoming low quality and more trivial. It means that those who are poor will be further impoverished and those who are rich and powerful will have more ammunition with which to marginalise the small guys (or girls). More and more small guys (or girls) are under more threats from more patents and more corporations. This means they lose control; they’re being dominated. Bogus patents that are possible to invalidate in a court are too expensive to invalidate, and those whom they’re asserted against don’t face huge damages which can justify the legal bills (so they settle or close down the shop). Is this what the patent system was created for? Surely the opposite. The saddest thing is that the EPO too is gradually becoming more like that.

The Economist Says What Patent Lawyers and Other Maximalists Prefer Not to Hear About the Patent System

Posted in Patents at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EconomistSummary: Responses to a new batch of complaints from The Economist over what’s increasingly perceived as patents excess (due to maximalists who would have us believe that the more, the merrier)


oo much of a good thing” is a famous term we have recurringly seen mentioned in relation to the USPTO, where patent quality has gone downhill and patent numbers skyrocketed, just like in China.

“Too much of a good thing” is the headline of this recent article from The Economist (very influential publication), which angered many patent lawyers when it said the truth about patents some time ago (less than a year). “The Economist is at it again,” IP Kat wrote some days ago, “when it comes to patents” (it’s sort of a rant, as words like “at it again” serve to insinuate).

“The Economist is at it again,” the author starts with (not just in the headline). “This time the issue is not innovation but the decline in market competiveness and the increase in industry concentration, both as embodied in the stickiness of oversized corporate profits. Companies are making too much money and displaying too little competitive instincts, preferring to consolidate their positions, to the detriment of the economy writ-large.”

When excessive, abundant, wide thickets of patents are everywhere, who benefits? It is interesting to see patent scope (or examination lenience) coming under attack from the Establishment media too, more than once even. What we found more interesting than the response from IP Kat are the comments in response to IP Kat, namely:

The Economist attack on patents mentions a number of legitimate problems with the patent system, including reducing the number of unenforced or weak patents. However, some of the proposed solutions, e.g. reducing patent terms and expanding the options for challenging patents without a full blown court case, seem to be unrealistic.

Reducing patent terms is virtually impossible since nearly every country in the world is a party to the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, which mandates a 20 year patent term. Amending TRIPS would be far more difficult than amending the US Constitution. Forget it. An alternative solution would be to tinker with maintenance fees payable by patent holders. Before the European Patent Office, maintenance (renewal) fees are payable every year, start the third year after filing an application and reach €2000 by around year 10. If the US adopted a similar system, rather than only charging fees after grant of a patent and making them payable every 4 years, it could have a helpful effect.

As for out-of court options for challenging patents, these may already go too far. Witness the recent activity of Kyle Bass, a well known hedge fund manager, in using Inter Partes Reviews (IPR) before the USPTO to challenge key pharmaceutical patents in order to take advantage of the effects of the challenges on the stock prices of the companies holding the patents. Another way to reduce the number of weak patents would be to raise the quality of examination by making a job as a US Patent Examiner more attractive. This could be achieved by increasing the compensation of Examiners, particularly senior Examiners. The compensation of US Examiners is significantly less than their counterparts at the European Patent Office (EPO). In fact, partners at European law firms have been known to leave their jobs to become Examiners at the EPO. This would be unheard of in the US.

Regrettably, any changes to maintenance fees or significantly impacting the compensation of Examiners would require the most unproductive Congress in history to stir itself from lethargy, which could be an unrealistic proposition.

The part which says “partners at European law firms have been known to leave their jobs to become Examiners at the EPO” (we know about exodus in the opposite direction) triggered this comment: “I have not heard of this at all in recent times.” Neither have we. People don’t want to work for the EPO, which has a serious brain drain problem, as we covered here before.

Here is another (newer) comment that says:

I haven’t read “The Economist” recently, but in points I and II it is absolutely correct, certainly in the fields in which I work. The gaming of the system by big companies is especially egregious. Thankfully the EPO has realised to some extent what’s going on and the Examiners involved (I’ve spoken with some of them) do their limited best to restrict some of the more outrageous cons. However, they are always playing catch-up.

On the far side of the Atlantic, where it sometimes seems that the USPTO selects examiners on the basis of a rather unique blend of incompetence, laziness, stupidity, sheer bloody-mindedness and downright dishonesty, things are often much worse, and these obstructive patents, filed purely for that purpose, block off whole areas of legitimate research and actually impede progress.

The patent system may not be broken, but it is certainly badly distorted and rigged against the little guy.

The part worth emphasising says that “it sometimes seems that the USPTO selects examiners on the basis of a rather unique blend of incompetence, laziness, stupidity, sheer bloody-mindedness and downright dishonesty, things are often much worse, and these obstructive patents, filed purely for that purpose, block off whole areas of legitimate research and actually impede progress.”

Amen to that. “Adding software patents as yet a further mechanism for concentration on top of that makes for a landscape that looks even more worrying,” says a later comment.

Thankfully it’s widely recognised, even in IP Kat circles, that software patents contribute little to competition, economics, innovation and so on. They oughtn’t exist at all.

IAM ‘Magazine’ Preaching (Patent Maximalism), Not Reporting

Posted in Apple, Deception, Patents at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IAM: the IP Pravda

PravdaSummary: A look at this past week’s ‘reports’ from IAM and what they teach us about IAM’s agenda

IT is amusing to see how abusive some journalists can get, e.g. when news becomes advocacy or lobbying while still under the guise or cover of “journalism”. Such is the case of IAM, which even receives money from patent trolls, not just patent lawyers (whose interests are widely known). IAM isn’t alone in this category and it’s unfortunate that a lot of self-described ‘news’ sources in this domain are so biased that they have become meaningless tripe. This is where Techrights typically weighs in and attempts to intervene/interfere with the echo chamber.

Last month we wrote about software patents on driving and right now, using Apple’s term ("thermonuclear") IAM underplays the risk or the issue, stating: “My guess is that despite increasing litigation in the sector between operating companies and continued suits launched by NPEs, we are not going to see what we saw in the mobile communications industry.”

“The bottom line is, IAM advocates (not reports) more and more patents, more proprietary, less sharing, less peace, and more patent trolls, patent feuds, etc.”“NPEs” means patent trolls — a term that IAM never uses because it's paid by them. Patents on the act of driving (not a novel thing) are a real problem and after Tesla gave up on many patents pertaining to electric cars IAM ‘magazine’ (patent maximalists in ‘journalists’ clothing) shows that it is upset at this act which changes the climate of fear from patent litigation. It even tells Chinese companies what to think (see the headline “Memo to China’s electric vehicle startups: hope is not an IP strategy”).

What is this? Preaching or reporting? Having borrowed terms from Apple, IAM also plays up design patents, despite them being controversial enough to reach the Supreme Court. “Interest in design patents has increased recently,” IAM says, “particularly following Apple’s success in asserting its design patents associated with the iPhone and the iPad. Apple discovered that a few relatively inexpensive design patents were just as effective against Samsung’s smartphones as its arsenal of utility patents on various phone and tablet functions.”

“Don’t be misled by IAM. It’s not really a news site.”Actually, no. The case still hasn’t been decided. Even the Supreme Court decided to take on the subject and assess this kind of patents, which long ago we claimed are related to software patents (UI plus callback functions). Another new article from IAM wishes readers to believe that Apple woes being due to it being too proprietary aren’t quite so and Tesla is again brought up. Watch them preach again: “It would certainly appear to be the case that LeEco’s ecosystem-oriented, collaboration-based approach has propelled it very rapidly towards the top of China’s high-tech sectors. But rejecting the proprietary strategy characteristic of Apple – among many, many others – altogether could prove to be an unwise choice.”

The bottom line is, IAM advocates (not reports) more and more patents, more proprietary, less sharing, less peace, and more patent trolls, patent feuds, etc.

Don’t be misled by IAM. It’s not really a news site. It just gives its limited audience what it wants. Like a think tank. Leave it for the choir to read.

US Bodies Are Locking Up the Commons and Industry Standards in Patent Enclosures, in Order to Benefit Few Monopolists

Posted in America, Patents, RAND, Standard at 4:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Anybody surprised by this?

Obama TPP
Campaign promises versus actions

Summary: How public policy and guidelines are being warped by patent aggressors and super-rich opportunists rather than public/collective interest

EARLIER this year we showed how Microsoft-connected FRAND lobbying yielded discriminatory (against FOSS) policies in Europe. This is not a coincidence, it’s intentional. This is also one way to legitimise software patents through the back door.

“In some ways not much has changed since the IEEE Standard Association’s (IEEE SA) new patent policy came into effect in March last year.”
FRAND should not be acceptable for standards, for reasons that have been covered to death around the Internet. According to a new press release, NASA makes some patents (not many) “available in the public domain,” to use its own words. As Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer put it in Twitter, “Good! But why not all?” We wrote about this before [1, 2]. As NASA is funded by taxpayers, hoarding patents makes no sense, especially when NASA auctions these away to patent trolls who can then tax the public.

Writing about standard essential patents and FRAND, IAM ‘magazine’ has just said: “In some ways not much has changed since the IEEE Standard Association’s (IEEE SA) new patent policy came into effect in March last year. There remains a group of tech companies led by Qualcomm, Ericsson and Nokia who refuse to license their standard essential patents (SEPs) under the new rules while, on the other side, the IEEE and another, larger band of tech companies including Cisco and Intel, insist that the changes were vital in bringing clearer guidelines to licensing on fair, reasonable and non discriminatory (FRAND) grounds.”

Nokia now feeds patents into patent trolls, at Microsoft’s request. One of these patent trolls literally pays IAM — a fact that even IAM’s editor was unable to deny when I asked him. Then we have Ericsson, which brought patent trolling to Europe, and also Qualcomm, which Will Hill explained 2 days as follows:

Heh, no surprise there. Qualcomm is a big Microsoft partner, allegedly “playing nice” for the “internet of things.” Maybe their existence is as a Microsoft proxy and PRISM partner, corrupting free software like Android from the inside. I wonder if they are one of the vendors that aggressively push for non free firmware that the guy behind Core Boot complained about in 2006 or so.

As a patent victim,



Attacking Nokia with patents,




As a patent perp,





blocking legal reform


“working with Android” receiving Palm patents,


Lock step with Microsoft in killing Windows 7 and Windows 8 to push Windows 10,



Part of the empire,


The latter bunch, those who advocate FRAND, are also asking for something unfair, unreasonable and discriminatory because it excludes FOSS. To quote IAM: “To Cisco’s Ohana that means that the IEEE dispute is about much more than a small number, albeit significant, changes to its patent policy. “I have never believed that the furore around the IEEE policy has much to do with the policy itself but more to do with the concerns that some companies have about contagion,” he says. “Fundamentally what they’re worried about is if what has happened at IEEE spreads beyond the IEEE.”

“Notice to what degree IEEE policy is guided by multi-billion multinationals.”Notice to what degree IEEE policy is guided by multi-billion multinationals. Where are public interests in all this? Well, just like in NASA’s case, we are seeing how even at a Federal or supposedly scientific level there’s no real debate about merit of policies, only self interest of a bunch of billionaires. And that’s a problem.

The IEEE’s hostility towards FOSS isn’t a new thing. See for example the older articles below.

Microsoft’s Patent Troll and Taxman Intellectual Ventures Gets Indirectly Closer to Google (Android/ChromeOS Steward) and to Linux

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan MyhrvoldSummary: The world’s largest patent troll, composed of literally thousands of shells having been created by Microsoft with significant help from Bill Gates, is widening its reach to to the Google-backed Yieldify and TiVo (through Rovi)

NOBODY denies the fact that Intellectual Ventures (IV) is a patent troll, as per the definition of the term, and also the world’s largest one. It’s closely connected both to Microsoft and to Bill Gates (at a personal level/capacity), so we pay careful attention to it. We recently criticised IAM for grooming IV and now, based on a rare weekend update, IV speaks to IAM. As the editor put it: “Subsequent to the article’s publication, IV co-founder Peter Detkin got in touch with myself and Kent Richardson to comment on some of what it said; Kent then responded. Both have given me permission to publish their correspondence (note that this has been edited into IAM house style – so, for example, original US spellings have been turned into British English – but there no substantive changes were made).”

We understand why IAM entertains patent trolls’ marketing. IAM is, after all, partly funded by patent trolls, for whom it organises reputation-laundering events. It’s thus not hard to see why IV might view IAM as an ally rather than a suspicious or critical foe. There’s a sort of back-rubbing there.

Google came under fire some days ago because a company it backed has hooked up with IV. The Register‘s most trollish pundit, who habitually comments in IP Kat since weeks ago, said this (under the words “Um, Google… I thought you hated patent trolls?”):

Yieldify, the Google-backed startup accused of stealing code from British adtech company Bounce Exchange, has been making some unusual friends.

Yieldify has acquired an ancient web patent from III Holdings which was first filed in 2007. III Holdings is better known as Inside Intellectual Ventures, co-founded by Nathan Myhrvold. It has been dubbed “the most hated company in tech” and “the world’s biggest patent troll.”

IIV is a “NPE” (non-practicising entity), which gathers up patents and seeks to unlock their value through selling on or licensing the IP. This has been backed up by litigation, such as Samsung, a recipient of one of III’s sueballs.

In a court filing made last week, Yieldify made a request for declaratory judgement in its ongoing case versus Bounce Exchange, citing the IIV patent. This is a request for the case to be thrown out. The complaint also uses the patent in question to lodge an infringement claim against Bounce Exchange.

Here is another report about this, which correctly notes:

The patent wasn’t originally Yieldify’s, though. Yieldify has purchased the patent from Intellectual Ventures in order to open up a new front in its battle with Bounce Exchange. It was first submitted for approval to the US Patent and Trademark Office back in 2005 by Intellectual Ventures (IV), an organisation that CNET once described as “the most hated company in tech.”

There is a little more IV in the mix and it directly impacts Linux because DRM proponent and Linux kernel troublemaker (TiVo) reportedly gets together with a friend of patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures. As a patent maximalist’s site put it the other day: “Whether Rovi uses that war chest to attack competition (which becomes harder or easier as the anti-software patent pendulum continues to swing), or to further refine the Bolt and Rovi’s own media guides or both – the acquisition does spell positive for both companies and their stakeholders.”

One must remember that any proximity/link between IV and Linux can help Microsoft tax Linux using patents from thousands of different directions (IV has literally thousands of shells or satellites). A lot of patent trolls attack legitimate companies down in Texas and it’s hard to tell who they work on behalf of.

Vice has this new sort of ‘expose’ about Rodney Gilstrap, who was mentioned here before, e.g. in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. He is the patent trolls’ best friend at the court and to quote portions of this rather damning report:

The Small Town Judge Who Sees a Quarter of the Nation’s Patent Cases


The first thing people tell you about Judge Rodney Gilstrap is that he’s not from Marshall. In the small Texas city (population 24,000) east of Dallas where he presides as a US district court judge, where you’re from matters, and the 59-year-old Gilstrap was actually born in Pensacola, Florida. But because he earned both his BA and his law degree at Baylor University (three hours away in Waco, Texas), has practiced law in Marshall since the 80s, and married a local girl whose family owns the town funeral home, most folks forgive Gilstrap this blight.


Since taking the bench in 2011—moving literally across the street from his law office into the district courthouse—Gilstrap has become one of the most influential patent litigation judges in the country. In 2015, there were 5,819 new patent cases filed in the US; 1,686 of those ended up in front of Judge Gilstrap. That’s more than a quarter of all cases in the country; twice as many as the next most active patent judge.

Patent trolls are truly an epidemic, but they rely on software patents and corrupt courts (or states that harbour patent trolls for profit, much like tax havens that welcome tax evaders). What’s also crucial for everyone to remember is that many patent trolls work at the behest of some corporation lurking in the shadow, targeting its competition to drive prices higher or drive the competition out of the market. Intellectual Ventures already attacks Linux in various ways (from many directions), as we showed here before.

Patent Maximalists Are Afraid of — and Increasingly Obsessed With — PTAB’s Patent Invalidations (Inter Partes Reviews)

Posted in America, Patents at 3:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Background for the uninitiated]

Inter partes reviewSummary: A growing level of coverage for what has become, especially over the past year or two, something which patent maximalists (such as lawyers) call “patent death squads”

THE rise of PTAB as destroyer of software patents, especially after Alice, was mentioned here a while back. IAM ‘magazine’ is daring Chinese firms to waste more time and money on lawyers (for PTAB paperwork), as this is what the target audience (mostly patent lawyers) probably wants. To quote IAM regarding Korean giants: “In many cases there is a close correlation between the number of reviews that a company files and the number of infringement suits that have been filed against it in district court. Not surprisingly, therefore, the likes of Samsung and LG, who are among the most targeted companies in US cases, also feature among the most active at the PTAB as they look to knock out the patents they have been accused of infringing. Samsung for instance filed 64 reviews last year and was a defendant in the same number of new US lawsuits (the most for any company) according to Lex Machina’s data.”

IAM makes it sound like some kind of popularity contest, having gone with the headline “Chinese companies still have some way to go to catch up with Asia’s leaders at the PTAB” (“catch up” with “leaders” implies competition on paperwork, not production and innovation).

What we’re attempting to highlight here is not just IAM’s bias but also a bizarre mentality, in particular as far as it relates to invalidation of patents. The so-called ‘IP community’ has lost sight of what this system was supposed to be all about (or for).

In the US, and also right here in the UK, almost every patents-centric site now speaks about Cthe uozzo case, which we covered last month [1, 2]. As one writer put it, “the U.S. Supreme Court will determine which standard the PTAB should apply.” Within broader context: “Importantly, the PTAB standard used to review patents in IPRs is different from the standard used by District Courts and may result in more patents invalidated. The PTAB standard is the “broadest reasonable interpretation” of the claims, whereas the District Courts use a plain ordinary meaning standard. In Couzzo Speed Technologies v. Lee, the U.S. Supreme Court will determine which standard the PTAB should apply. Either the Supreme Court will decide that the PTAB should apply the same standard as the District Courts, the “plain ordinary meaning standard,” or the Supreme Court will require application of the “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard.”

Associate Justice Stephen Breyer is quoted as saying the following: “You could look at this new law as trying to build a little court proceeding. If I thought it was just doing that, I would say you were right [that the PTAB standard should be the same as the district court's standard]. But there is another way to look at it. And the other way to look at it … is that there are these … patent trolls, and that the Patent Office has been issuing billions of patents that shouldn’t have been issued; I overstate, but only some. And what happens is some person in business gets this piece of paper and looks at it and says, ‘Oh my God, I can’t go ahead with my invention.”

Not too shockingly, patent lawyers are upset by Breyer’s words (which we mentioned here a week ago). One commenter says: “The quote from Associate Justice Breyer is simply stunning.” Another commenter says in response: “You are stunned that invalid patents have been issued by a patent office?”

There are even ruder comments about Breyer in other sites, including Patently-O. Every judge or official who stands in the way of patent maximalists is typically discredited, demonised, declared incompetent. We covered several examples of that in recent weeks. They’re being bullied or marginalised for saying the truth while holding a position of power/influence (such as the Supreme Court).

MIP’s coverage of the Couzzo case said: “Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) observers are split on whether the Supreme Court will allow the broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) claim construction standard used by the Board in inter partes review (IPR) to survive, following oral arguments in Cuozzo v Lee on April 25.

“The Supreme Court was considering two questions: whether the PTAB can construe claims according to their BRI rather than their plain and ordinary meaning and whether the Board’s decision to institute an IPR proceeding is judicially unreviewable by the Federal Circuit.”

Another article about PTAB (also from MIP) said:

Managing IP reveals the biggest petitioners and most-targeted entities in April and year-to-date at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. HP and Apple had a busy month, while Finjan and Nike were on the receiving end of the most petitions

Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) filing was up to 148 petitions in April, according to data from the Docket Navigator database.

This consisted of 136 inter partes review (IPR) petitions, 10 covered business method (CBM) petitions and two post-grant review (PGR) petitions.

The number of petitions in April was up from 118 in March and compares with other figures so far this year of 150 in February and 99 in January. The number of petitions filed in April this year were roughly comparable with the 146 petitions filed in April 2015.

Finally, this article from Patently-O said: “Gregory Dolin and Irina Manta argue in a forthcoming article that the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) effectuated a Fifth Amendment “taking” by enhancing the mechanisms for challenging issued patents in administrative proceedings. Initial data do indicate that patents are more likely to be found invalid in the new inter partes review (IPR) and covered business method review (CBMR) proceedings than in district court actions or through the IPR and CBMR’s administrative predecessors. Patentees’ have even complained that the filing of individual IPR petitions has affected their stock prices.”

Further down the author adds: “In any case, we think that, given this regulatory backdrop and the existence of administrative review proceedings for over thirty years, patentees could foresee—or reasonably should have foreseen—that the government would continue to actively regulate patent rights without “just compensation.”

“Together, these arguments persuade us that the AIA is not a taking. Nevertheless, the authors’ article is a thought-provoking and educational analysis of the constitutional implications of Congress’s recent efforts to reform the patent system. We thank them for reopening the door on this area of scholarship.”

And going back to MIP we have this: “While granting Tire Hanger’s motion to amend, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board approved “grouping prior art references together according to their particular teachings” and “discussing only a representative few in its motion to amend”. This may provide guidance to other patent owners seeking to amend claims” (so as to maintain borderline invalid patents).

What’s worth noting, based on all the above sites (patent maximalists), is that there is growing concern about systematic elimination of patents that the USPTO should never have granted in the first place. This erodes confidence in (and perceived value of) patents that are of poor quality, notably software patents in the post-Alice era.

India’s Patent Law Under Attack by Software Patents Ambitions; Tata, Wipro and Infosys Among the Culprits

Posted in Asia, Law, Patents at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Although Infosys is having second thoughts apparently (or contradiction in statements)

Summary: A look at who inside India is promoting software patents and why

WITH software patents in India being increasingly on the agenda (due to software patents lobbyists from abroad) we must pay close attention to what happens in India. Things can get a lot worse there (later to spread to other countries), as lobbyists of large corporations from other countries relentlessly try to change the law of a country which they perceive as theirs to own (large population and not too difficult to bribe compared to other places owing to economic gaps). We now need to watch quite closely those who cooperate in these efforts domestically, i.e. from within the Indian industry. One such company is Tata. We wrote about Tata in 2010 in relation to its patent ambitions and we previously remarked on its connections to Microsoft as well. The company does, at times, show signs of looking beyond proprietary software and trying to embrace some Free/Open Source software (FOSS), but what kind of ally can the company ever be if it now pursues patents on software? According to Indian media coverage, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], patent maximalism is high on the agenda at Tata and this new report frames the fight as one waged between “IT bigwigs” and “startups”. To quote:

Battle lines are drawn in the technology industry over software patents as the bigwigs and startups spar over allowing patenting of software. At a government-organised meeting this week, a war of words erupted between India’s services-focused traditional IT industry and product software startups, both of whom have concerns about the rules.

While startups said allowing any kind of patents would force litigation and licence costs on them, the IT industry and multinational technology companies argued that the current law that doesn’t allow for patenting of software is leading to a loss of intellectual property and investments from the country.

At the heart of the face-off is a set of guidelines that the Patent Office introduced in August 2015 for computer-related inventions (CRI), and eventually rolled back in February this year after a huge backlash from startups and product software companies. The guidelines suggested that if a software has novelty, is inventive or tangible, and has proper technical effect or industrial application, it can be patented.


Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and Infosys, which were also present at the meeting, didn’t reply to emails seeking comment.

Wipro and Infosys were doing Microsoft’s lobbying in India, e.g. on OOXML, so we imagine that refusal to comment is due to their unpopular position on the subject. Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and Infosys and still de facto Microsoft proxies or actual peripheral departments in India and they need to be shunned, not just because of corruption. Those who oppose software patents need to understand the dependence on outside forces such as Microsoft to better grasp these policies.

Links 8/5/2016: Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5r1, Slackware Live Edition

Posted in News Roundup at 1:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Why It’s The Best Time To Learn Linux And Open Source Programming — Tons Of New Jobs

    The results of a recent survey conducted by the Linux Foundation and Dice.com are out. The survey indicates that the open source professionals are now in high demand and companies are ready to pay fat packages to hire them. This growth in demand is likey to be easily seen in the next six months and developers are advised to brush up their Linux and open source skills.

  • Desktop

    • Linux Q&A, With a Grain of Salt

      Without rambling on about the advantages and disadvantages of the many different kinds of Linux distributions, I will summarize this section as “use what works best for you.” You will have people arguing that their version of Linux is the best because it is the most stable (Debian), or the most user friendly (Ubuntu), or has the most up to date packages and customizability (Arch), or because theirs is backed by a large corporation (Redhat/SUSE). Because of how many different variations of Linux there are, each with their own philosophy of what a Linux distribution should be, you will have people who have settled into their distribution of choice, and tend to think their version is the best version. And in some cases, it absolutely is… but for them, not necessarily for everyone. However, you will hopefully be using the version of Linux you pick for a long time, and you will pick your version of Linux based on how completely it meets your needs for a computer.

    • 11 Reason Why To Migrate From Windows Desktop To Linux Desktop

      We have always felt that Windows is one of the most user-friendly interfaces among the Operation Systems that have been developed and upgraded in this technological era. However, this has become a myth with the release of the Linux Desktops as they have proved to be more user-friendly and safe compared to that of the Windows Desktops.

    • Microsoft half-bricks Asus Windows 7 PCs with UEFI boot glitch

      A recent Windows 7 update partially bricks computers that have an Asus motherboard fitted, it emerged this week.

      Windows 7 machines that have installed Microsoft’s KB3133977 update may trigger a “secure boot violation” during startup, preventing the PC from loading the operating system, Asus said.

      Though the KB3133977 patch has been out for a while, Microsoft has only this week changed its classification from “optional” to “recommended”, meaning for many users it now automatically installs through Windows Update – and then borks the PC.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Bacon and Linux

      Now the conversation isn’t about bacon or no bacon. It’s about how much bacon. Linux is still built on the idea of “do one thing and do it well.” The fact that there’s proprietary software out there is fine. No one says we had to do #AllTheThings perfectly right out the gate. You can’t cook or eat all the bacon at once.

    • PulseAudio is a Toilet Full of Roses

      I can honestly say with a straight face that I’ve never, ever had any real show-stopping issues with PulseAudio. Yeah, I know – you have. And so have many others. I guess this means I’m blessed by the Linux audio gods, as my PulseAudio experience has never been anything other than mundane and functional.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • gNewSense 5 Hopes To Be A Speedier Release Of The FSF-Approved Linux OS

      GNewSense 4 was released yesterday as the successor to gNewSense 3, which had been around since 2013. GNewSense 4 was also their first release being based off the current Debian stable 7. GNewSense releases have been far and few between, but the developers involved are looking at possibility expediting gNewSense 5 and beyond.

      With gNewSense 4 “Ucclia” out the door, developers have already turned the discussion to gNewSense 5. Developer Sam Geeraerts started a mailing list thread about speeding up the development for this next major release. He’s also started this planning Wiki page with brainstorming ways to improve their build processes to be able to push out new releases in a faster manner.

    • New Releases

      • Welcome to Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5r1 Release Notes

        Parsix GNU/Linux is a live and installation DVD based on Debian. Our goal is to provide a ready to use and easy to install desktop and laptop optimized operating system based on Debian’s stable branch and the latest stable release of GNOME desktop environment. Users can easily install extra software packages from Parsix APT repositories. Our annual release cycle consists of two major and four minor versions. We have our own software repositories and build servers to build and provide all the necessary updates and missing features in Debian stable branch.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Installing OpenSUSE on Thinkpad P50

        The Lenovo Thinkpad P50 is quite a nifty laptop. However installing Linux required some digging around, so I’m writing this up for others to stumble upon it when looking for answers to similar issues.

    • Slackware Family

      • Slackware Live Edition – final testing please

        My gut feeling tells me that I should announce a stable release of my “liveslak” project soon. I have implemented much more than I set out to do from the beginning, and no bugs have surfaced for a while.

        So it was time to stamp a final beta number on the liveslak sources and generate new Slackware Live ISO images. I want you to give them a spin and report any bugs that you find. Otherwise there may well be an 1.0.0 release after the weekend.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Final Testing Slackware Live, Mint Removes Codecs

          Closing out the week Eric Hameleers today announced the final testing release of Slackware Live dubbed 0.9.0. In other news, Clement Lefebvre said today he was reducing the workload over there and axing OEM and NoCodec images, instead shipping no codecs for anyone. gNewSense 4 was recently released based on “a solid Debian” and the Hectic Geek compares and contrasts several flavors of Ubuntu.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian’s i386 Builds Now Require 686-Class CPUs

        Those running any old VIA C3, AMD K5/K6, or original Intel Pentium CPUs, you’ll be losing your Debian support past the current stable (Jessie) series.

        The Debian i386 architecture builds now require an i686 class processor for Debian testing (affecting Debian Stretch) and future builds. Support for 586 class and 586/686 class processors has been dropped, similar to the 486 CPUs being dropped previously. This i686 CPU requirement means the end of the line for hardware like the AMD K5 and K6, Intel Pentium / Pentium MMX, and VIA C3 Ezra hardware.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mark Shuttleworth: We Won’t Make the Same Mistake Again with Unity 8

            The Ubuntu Online Summit 2016 for Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) has ended, and we told you already that Unity 8 and Snaps are the future for the popular operating system.

          • Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak Release Schedule

            Ubuntu 16.10, which is codenamed the Yakkety Yak, is currently penciled in to ship on 20nd October, 2016. The release date Ubuntu 16.10 has now been firmed up as are the other development milestones leading up to the mid-October, currently we don’t know what new features and technologies will ship in 16.10.

          • LXD, ZFS and bridged networking on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

            LXD works perfectly fine with a directory-based storage backend, but both speed and reliability are greatly improved when ZFS is used instead. 16.04 LTS saw the first officially supported release of ZFS for Ubuntu and having just set up a fresh LXD host on Elastichosts utilising both ZFS and bridged networking, I figured it’d be a good time to document it.

          • Customize NotifyOSD Notification Bubbles In Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus)

            Sukochev Roman’s (Leolik) patched NotifyOSD PPA adds extra features on top of the Ubuntu NotifyOSD notifications, like closing the notifications on click, option to move the notifications to a different screen corner, configurable colors for both the notification background and text, and much more.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus – Oh Shucks … it’s Schuster!

            Dafuq? What is this? Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus is supposed to be an LTS. A pillar of stability! It’s buggier than Werewolf. And it sure comes with a dozen new issues and/or regressions that Trust did not have. Horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible. Why? WHYYYYYY? Why oh why?

            Why can’t I have my peace and quiet and sanity? Why do you have to dash my hopes? Why do you have to ruin my day? Why can’t I use this new LTS with a big and happy smile on my face? Why did you have to rush this release? Why release the tablet without the newest LTS on it? Why all of it?

            I am really displeased. But I also believe I must keep on testing Xerus, so that you know where you stand, and hopefully, with enough pressure, we will see some positive results. Much like openSUSE, I presume the issues will be ironed out a few months after the initial offering. Which reminds me, I need to test Leap again. On the Xenial side of things, there’s a lot of room for improvement. Network support first and foremost, Bluetooth, battery life, memory consumption, codecs, package management. All of it really.

            At the moment, Ubuntu 16.04 is not ready for mass consumption. It pains me, really deeply pains me, because I know there will be a ripple effect on Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Mint, and for months ahead, we will struggle with silly problems and regressions, and hardware support will just suck. For now, Xerus gets 3/10. Let’s hope things improve, for everyone’s sake. More than just pride and silly release names are at stake. The whole of Linux, even if you don’t believe that. See ya.

          • Top 10 Task to do after installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
          • Software Defined Radio App Store

            LimeSDR is an open source SDR with a crowdfunding campaign. By itself, that’s not anything special. There are plenty of SDR devices available. What makes LimeSDR interesting is that it is using Snappy Ubuntu Core as a sort of app store. Developers can make code available, and end-users can easily download and install that code.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu LTS Flavors Comparison: Ubuntu 16.04 vs Kubuntu 16.04 vs Ubuntu GNOME 16.04

              After reviewing Ubuntu 15.10 a few months ago, I came up with an Ubuntu (15.10) flavor comparison as well. So after reviewing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and especially since this is a LTS (Long Term Support) release, I decided to come up with yet another Ubuntu 16.04 LTS flavors comparison that involves Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME because they come with the 3 main desktop environments of GNU/Linux: Unity, KDE Plasma and GNOME.

              But just like the previous one of its kind, this too will be based on the performance aspect and the stability of the each operating system, and I won’t talk about the new features of the desktop or the applications. But as a general introduction, all three flavors use the Kernel 4.4 & Xorg 1.18.3. Ubuntu’s Unity desktop features the version 7.4.0, Kubuntu features the KDE Plasma 5.5.5 (and KDE Applications 15.12), and Ubuntu GNOME features GNOME 3.18 release.

            • Voyager 16.04 LTS
            • Lubuntu 16.04 LTS – See What’s New

              Lubuntu 16.04 LTS was officially released as part of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Official Flavors. This release ships with the latest build of LXDE Desktop Environment and powered by long-term suported of Linux kernel Series 4.4.

            • Monthly News – April 2016

              April saw the releases of Cinnamon 3.0 and MATE 1.14 which will be featured in the upcoming Linux Mint 18.

            • Linux Mint 18 Will Be Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Offers Better Hardware Support

              The announcement posted by Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre on May 6, 2016, was a pretty big one, revealing a lot of information about the upcoming Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” operating system.

            • Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS – Video Review and Screenhsot Tours

              Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS as part of Ubuntu 16.04 Offical Flavors has been released and announced by Ubuntu MATE Developer. This release include mate desktop 1.12 as default desktop environment and powered by long-term support Linux Kernel series 4.4.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Brazil: Free and Open Source Culture Is Economics, Not Politics

    Over the years people have accused Free and Open Source Culture (FOSC) as being a “religion”. Other people have used FOSC as a political tool, assigning the advocacy of FOSC to one political party; usually the “left”, “liberal” or (as some people call them) “progressive” party.

    FOSC is none of these. It is an economic model just like “Communism”, “Socialism” (yes, those are two different things) or “Capitalism”.

    People also tend to forget that economic models are usually never “pure”. One of my favorite sayings is that “unbridled capitalism is almost as bad as unbridled communism”, and that typically a good mix of economic models is better than “purity”.

  • Events

    • First Linux Desktop Meetup in Brno, CZ

      Last Thursday, the 5th of May, we had our first Linux Desktop Meetup in Brno. It was an exciting start, with informal talks from fellow members of our community. In this first edition, we had talks focused on IDE and development environments.

    • #self2016 Update: Schedule released, registration open, and rooms nearly gone!

      Our rooms at the hotel are nearly completely booked out. We have already had to add rooms twice. So if you haven’t already, book immediately! If it says no availability, please contact us immediately and we’ll work to get more rooms added. Even if we cannot, we can get you a discounted rate at a nearby hotel that will shuttle you to the event hotel for free.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Is Web Mail Killing Thunderbird?

        I have used Thunderbird off and on since about 2003. I started using it on Windows and then installed it onto my Linux PCs later on. The point is: Thunderbird is near and dear to my heart.

        Unfortunately over the past few years Thunderbird’s importance with Mozilla has faltered. Not because of anything negative, rather because Mozilla is trying to refocus their efforts with Firefox. Most recently, the news that Mozilla is finally letting Thunderbird go took a lot of folks by complete surprise. What was once loved by legions of users has now been placed onto the market for others to adopt it.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Log analytics talk at Apache: Big Data

      As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be talking about feature engineering and outlier detection for infrastructure log data at Apache: Big Data next week. Consider this post a virtual handout for that talk. (I’ll also be presenting another talk on scalable log data analysis later this summer. That talk is also inspired by my recent work with logs but will focus on different parts of the problem, so stay tuned if you’re interested in the domain!)As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be talking about feature engineering and outlier detection for infrastructure log data at Apache: Big Data next week. Consider this post a virtual handout for that talk. (I’ll also be presenting another talk on scalable log data analysis later this summer. That talk is also inspired by my recent work with logs but will focus on different parts of the problem, so stay tuned if you’re interested in the domain!)

    • Hadoop: Can the Tortoise be a Hare?

      As early as 2012, writers, industry critics, and big data companies such as Cloudera predicted Hadoop’s demise as the de facto standard for big data analytics. Hadoop’s future as a viable real-time big data analytics platform seemed questioned at the height of its hype and adoption.

      And indeed, many businesses that manage large data sets have looked elsewhere to find something better to use. In the view of some, Hadoop’s complexity and management requirements make it a technology that cannot survive long-term in business.

  • Databases

    • An Early Look At The Features Of PostgreSQL 9.6

      PostgreSQL 9.6 isn’t being released until later this year, but with it moving along, the release notes are starting to be assembled for this next major update to this open-source SQL server implementation.

      This week added to PostgreSQL Git was the start of the 9.6 release notes. Among the prominent items to mention are the parallel query support, synchronous replication now supports multiple standby servers, full-text search for phrases, support for remote joins/sorts/updates, “substantial” performance improvements (especially for many-core servers), no more repetitive scans of old data by auto vacuum, and much more.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • International Drone Day in Campinas

      On May 7 there will be the first International Drone Day in campinas, and I’m working with qgroundcontrol for a while, it’s a very nice drone control station build entirely on C++/Qt/QML and it runs on everything you may think of (not bricks, however),and I’ll be using it to showcase on the International Drone Day in campinas. There’s a facebook event for those that may like to go, and live in São Paulo state.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Not so fast, open standards!

      There are however some hiccups with vendor lock-in, in cloud computing or elsewhere. It just hasn’t disappeared. The lock-in still exists through proprietary or otherwise unimplementable file formats; through undocumented protocols and weak or non existent reversibility clauses. Vendor lock-in has not gone away, it has become more subtle by moving up the ladder. If your entire business processes are hosted and run by a cloud service provider there may be some good reasons for you to have made that choice; but the day the need for another provider or another platform is felt the real test will be to know if it is possible to back up your data and processes and rebuild them elsewhere and in a different way. That’s an area where open standards could really help and will play an increasing role. Another area where open standards are still contentious is multimedia: remember what happened to Mozilla in 2015 when they chose to embed proprietary, DRM-riddled codecs because of industry pressure.


  • Science

    • GM, Lyft to Test Self-Driving Electric Taxis

      General Motors Co. and Lyft Inc. within a year will begin testing a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric taxis on public roads, a move central to the companies’ joint efforts to challenge Silicon Valley giants in the battle to reshape the auto industry.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • White House Joins CIA in Discrediting 9/11 Commission’s Allegations of Saudi Involvement

      The diplomatic crisis on these infamous 28 pages regarding the terrorist attacks keeps growing.

    • A Lesson of Auschwitz

      Auschwitz survivor Leon Schwarzbaum, who had lost 35 members of his family in that camp gave evidence in the trial against Hanning. He said that he remained haunted by his experiences in the camp and described Hanning as “cruel and sadistic”. Schwarzbaum said, “The older I get, the more time I have to think about what happened. I am nearly 95 years old and I still often have nightmares about this.”

      But the most remarkable part of Schwarzbaum’s testimony is when he declared before entering the court, “I’ll look into his eyes and see if he is honest, because the truth is what is most important. I don’t want revenge; I don’t want him tormented in prison. He is just an old man like me.”

    • The Secret Behind the Yemen War

      A recent PBS report about the war in Yemen exposed the secret connection between the U.S.-Saudi alliance and Al Qaeda, a reality that also underscores the jihadist violence in Syria, writes Dan Lazare.

    • Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines agree to boost sea security

      YOGYAKARTA: Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines agreed on Thursday to run coordinated patrols to boost maritime security following the kidnappings at sea of Indonesians by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Hightower: Money Grubbing Banks Show That Crime Does Pay

      Sure, they went belly-up and crashed our economy with their frauds, rigged casino games and raw greed. And yes, the Bush and Obama regimes rushed to bail them out with trillions of dollars in our public funds, while ignoring the plight of workaday people who lost jobs, homes, businesses, wealth, and hope. But come on, byu7uckos, have you not noticed that the feds are now socking the bankers with huuuuuge penalties for their wrongdoings?

    • NATO on trade, in Europe and Asia, is doomed

      The President of the United States (POTUS) is desperate. Exhibit A: His Op-Ed defending the Asian face – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – of a wide-ranging, twin-headed NATO-on-trade “pivoting”.

      The European face is of course the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

      POTUS frames TPP – as well as TTIP – in terms of a benign expansion of US exports, and private (US) firms having “a fair shot at competing against state-owned enterprises.” “Fair”? Not really. Let’s see how the mechanism works, focusing on TPP’s European twin.

    • Another Goodbye to Democracy if Transatlantic Partnership is Passed

      Corporate control on both sides of the Atlantic will be solidified should the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership be passed. Any doubt about that was removed when Greenpeace Netherlands released 13 chapters of the TTIP text, although the secrecy of the text and that only corporate representatives have regular access to negotiators had already made intentions clear.

    • Poverty in America: the Deepening Crisis

      Bernie Sanders has put inequality at the center of the 2016 presidential elections. However much the corporate media attempt to turn the election into a personality contest between Clinton and Trump, inequality will not go away as the defining domestic election issue. Whoever are the two major party presidential candidates, they will have to address the deepening problem of inequality.

      The Occupy insurgency of 2011 put inequality onto the American political agenda, redefining class struggle in terms everyone could understand – the 1% versus the rest of us. Sadly, only one major political campaign has followed — the push for a $15 minimum wage – and it has been fought by grassroots campaigns at the local and state levels by labor unions, NGOs, community groups and ordinary workers.

      The concept of inequality, of the 1% vs the 99%, is a powerful metaphor that makes clear the structure of wealth and power defining American life today. Sadly, while framing the problem confronting the nation, the concept of inequality doesn’t delineate the forms of economic, political and moral tyranny impacting the lives of an increasing number of Americans. To illuminate the deepening crisis the U.S. is undergoing as capitalism restructures its useful to reframe the notion of inequality in terms of poverty.

    • Republicans In Congress Want To Cut Free Lunches For Poor Kids; Don’t Let Them

      Conservative lawmakers are well known for wanting to cut funding to public education. But just remember, every time they take a swing at public school budgets, they hit poor kids.

      The newest blow aimed at public schools will hit low-income students in the stomach, literally.

      A bill introduced by a Republican in Congress called The Improving Child Nutrition And Education Act does the exact opposite of what it claims to do.

      In this case, “improving” children’s nutrition means cutting the availability of federally subsidized lunches to hungry children in public schools.

    • Our Awful Elites Gutted America. Now They Dare Ring Alarms About Trump, Sanders—And Cast Themselves as Saviors

      Now this panic alert, designed to get us in line behind Hillary, is raised by the man who ended The New Republic as we knew it (which then went on to end and then end again), promoting racist and imperialist dogma during his reign at the magazine in the 1990s, and then, with his finger in the wind (which to him and that other arch-hypocrite Hitchens meant being like George Orwell), turned into one of the biggest shills for the war on terror, the Iraq war, the whole works, all the while denouncing the fifth column within our ranks. This so-called journalist, who has no record of liberal consistency, who keeps shifting to whoever holds moral power at any given moment, is scaring us about the mortal threat that is Trump.

    • Could Knowing How Much Your Coworker Earns Help Close the Gender Pay Gap?

      President Obama has taken action to increase pay transparency among federal contractors. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces laws prohibiting employment discrimination, recently issued a regulation requiring large companies to disclose aggregate salary information in their annual informational filing. And states have been taking action as well, with California and New York enacting legislation to support pay transparency efforts.

    • Blessed are the Poor

      During his last 1 ½ years at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Sparks was involved in creating something called a “synthetic collateralized debt obligation.” Unlike the securities Goldman Sachs sold to unsuspecting investors, the debt obligations Mr. Sparks helped create did not include actual bonds but, instead, instruments whose value was based on the the performance of sets of junk bonds. Those instruments were sold to unsuspecting investors by Goldman Sachs knowing they were worthless. (For those who would like more detail than is provided by the foregoing, that practice is described in some detail in a report on Mr. Sparks’ testimony before Congress) What both activities had in common, however, was that both were part and parcel of the financial collapse that took place in 2007-2008. As a result, in hundreds of thousands of cases, buyers defaulted on their mortgages and lost their homes. And that brings us to the present.

    • Economy passengers may rage after being marched through first class

      Research on inequality usually looks at fairly static social structures like schools, transport, healthcare, or jobs. But sometimes glaring inequality can be quite fleeting, as researchers Katherine DeCelles and Michael Norton argue in a recent PNAS article. Their example? Coming face to face with just how awful airplane economy class is in comparison to first class.

      DeCelles and Norton wanted to study whether exposure to this kind of inequality could prompt people to behave badly. They looked at records of “air rage” incidents, where “abusive or unruly” passengers threaten staff or fellow travelers. “Popular explanations for air rage include crowded planes, frustrating delays, and shrinking seats,” they write—but they suspected these explanations are missing something.

    • Our Childhood Poverty Is a Global Embarrassment

      If a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members, the United States just received an incredibly unflattering judgment.

      A new study published by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, or UNICEF, ranked the wealthiest countries of the world by the well-being of their most disadvantaged children. Out of 41 countries, the U.S. ranked No. 18 overall.

      For context, the U.S. ranks No. 1 in total wealth.

      The study took a comprehensive approach, comparing the gap between children at the very bottom to those in the middle across a range of criteria – including household income, educational achievement and self-reported health and life satisfaction. The central question was this: How far do countries let those at the very bottom fall?

      In the United States, the answer seems to be distressingly far.

    • Welcome to the Machine World: the Perfect Technological Storm

      A perfect technological storm: the awesome threat you won’t hear about in America’s presidential campaign.

      For a huge number of Americans the key emotion driving the tortured primary campaigns has, arguably, been fear.

      It’s fear of terrorism, fear of immigrants; but above all, it’s a fear—panic for some—of Americans whose standard of living has declined or stagnated, and who apprehend an even bleaker future for their children.

      But the candidates—and most of the media—are ignoring the real cause of that angst.

      We are, in fact swept up in a vast technological tsunami. It’s a tsunami bearing challenges as great as anything our species has ever known.

      It has already swept away millions of jobs and will wipe out tens of millions more. It will totally transform the economic landscape, and—like climate change—could conceivably threaten our very existence.

      But, if you tune in to the cacophony that currently passes for political debate in the U.S. –and much of Europe—you hear precious little about that massive, relentless threat.

      Instead, there are tirades against immigrants, against supposedly disastrous international trade deals and ruthless businessmen who close domestic factories to exploit labor in sweatshops abroad; against a political and economic system crafted to make the top .1 % even more obscenely rich.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Obama on Trump: ‘This is not a reality show’

      President Obama on Friday urged the news media to closely scrutinize Donald Trump’s record and past comments, and avoid coverage that highlights “the spectacle and the circus” of the campaign trail.

      Obama previewed his role as an anti-Trump spokesman and pressed the media to follow suit.

      “He has a long record that needs to be examined. And I think it’s important to take seriously the statements he’s made in the past,” the president told reporters at the White House. “I just want to emphasize that we are in serious times and this is a serious job.”

    • BBC Lies and Statistics #SackKuenssberg

      And yet the BBC ran a claim all day that the “projected” national vote share was Labour 31%, Conservative 30%.

      This simply cannot be true. Labour won the London mayoral election by over 200,000 votes. They were 130,000 ahead in Wales. Taking all the elections except the English local council seat elections, Labour were 360,000 votes and approximately 6% ahead of the Tories. To balance this plus the majorities of the 1,291 Labour English councillors elected, each of just 828 Conservative English councillors elected would have to have an average majority of approximately 1,000. Random sampling shows this is absolutely not the case.

      My own calculations, based on knowing all the other results and extrapolations from samples of the English local council results, is that the national vote count was Labour 34% Conservative 29%. It might not be precisely correct, but is not far out.

      But I can say for certain is that the BBC 31/30 figure is a despicable and quite deliberate lie. The BBC has become a caricature of a state propaganda machine.

    • Strategist for Pro-Trump Super-PAC Convicted in Ron Paul Pay-for-Endorsement Scheme

      An Iowa jury found three political operatives with deep ties to Ron and Rand Paul guilty on Thursday of a scheme to pay an Iowa state senator for his endorsement of Ron Paul in the 2012 campaign.

      All three men were key Ron Paul lieutenants in that campaign, and two, Jesse Benton and John Tate, went on to run a pro-Rand Paul super-PAC during his 2016 candidacy. After the younger Paul dropped out of the race, Benton began working last month with a pro-Donald Trump super-PAC. Along with Benton and Tate, operative Dimitri Kesari was also convicted.

    • Donald Trump Will Soon Get Classified Briefings. How Worried Should We Be?

      Donald Trump may not have the keys to the nuclear arsenal quite yet, but his all-but-guaranteed nomination, sealed with a landslide victory in the Indiana Republican primary on Tuesday, means the intelligence community must soon start briefing the presumptive GOP nominee and giving him access to classified security information.

    • Strange Bedfellows: the Bizarre Coalition of Kochs, Neocons and Democrats Allied Against Trump and His #FUvoters

      Politics makes for strange bedfellows they say, but often political differences that appear deep and fundamental are not so much that way, especially given a threat to the bipartisan political establishment. Take the strange case of Mr. Donald Trump. Today the same pundits of all stripes who predicted he could never win even one primary, then that he could never win the nomination, now are saying “have no fear, he could never be President of the United States.” Who you gonna believe, them or your own lying eyes?

    • A Contested Convention Is Exactly What the Democratic Party Needs

      Bernie Sanders will go to Philadelphia with more pledged delegates than any insurgent in modern history. Here’s what he could do with them.

    • The Legend Of The Miami Cannibal Provides Lessons In Shoddy Drug Journalism

      No one knows why Rudy Eugene, a 31-year-old car wash employee, suddenly launched himself at Ronald Poppo, a 65-year-old homeless man he encountered on Miami’s McArthur Causeway, chewing off most of his victim’s face in an 18-minute assault that ended only after a police officer shot him dead. But one thing is certain: “Bath salts” did not make him do it.

    • After Indiana: Sanders Wins another Purple State, But Remains Lost in a Haze of Bad Strategy and Rigged Delegate Math

      Sanders’ fairly narrow victory in another purple state, Indiana, continued the pattern that was established in Nevada and Iowa. Clinton’s lead in delegates is based on a combination of closed primary states and southern red and purple states. Unfortunately neither of these results have much relevance to the winning map for the electoral college. Clinton’s identity politics appeals to the Democratic party faithful who dominate the closed primaries held at public expense for the Party’s 29% of the electorate. Those who see all politics as identity politics remain loyal to a corrupt party which provides in exchange the surface image of empty symbols. You can buy a faux “Woman Card” from Clinton. But you will not get from her a restored democracy in which 99% of women’s votes, or of anyone else’s votes, can achieve policy reforms.

    • The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru

      It is hard for many to absorb the true magnitude of the change in the news business — 40 percent of newspaper-industry professionals have lost their jobs over the past decade….Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”a

    • Christians Can’t Wait for God to Punish ‘Wicked’ America With Trump—and Usher in the Apocalypse

      Christians who claimed months ago that Donald Trump was foretold in Biblical prophecy must be feeling prescient today. Worrying in 2015 that Trump would be a major party nominee was treated as being about as likely as the 5000-1 odds that bookies gave Leicester City at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. But this week, as both unlikely predictions came to pass, it seems prudent to take a look at just what it is that those eschatologists claim to see.

    • Bringing the Sanders ‘Revolution’ to Philly’s Streets

      Sanders has won nearly ten million votes in the primaries so far including his latest strong come-from-behind win in Indiana, and that is only a fraction of his national base of support, given that many states have closed primaries where independents — his strongest backers — have been barred from voting.

    • Sanders Vows to Fight DNC for Progressive Agenda that Voters Want

      The Vermont Senator said he will ‘mobilize’ his delegates if party platform does not reflect the bold progressive vision demanded by Democratic grassroots

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The Labour Party, Israel, and antisemitism

      Two individuals were involved in the escalation of this row to new and explosive heights. Naz Shah, in 2014, before she became Labour MP for Bradford, tweeted that Israel should be transported to the United States as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Shah issued a dignified apology, explaining that feelings were running high during the Israeli assault on Gaza. Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London and close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, rushed to Shah’s defence but compounded the crisis with his bizarre claim that Hitler supported Zionism in 1932 “before he went mad and killed six million Jews”. Jeremy Corbyn was pilloried in much of the press for not dealing quickly enough with the antisemitism that was said to be endemic in the left of the party. One result of this furore has been to shift the focus of debate from any criticism of Israel to condemnation of the critics of Israel and to bypass discussion of Palestine altogether.

    • American Academic Freedom in Jeopardy

      American academics will soon realize that their jobs are in jeopardy, if they don’t know it already. Not only their jobs, but their right to think, say, and write what they wish – and to engage in the pursuit of truth, wherever it may lead them.

    • Film censorship and the courts

      The censor board, the guidelines it operates under and the law that created it were all sanctified by the highest court in the land

    • Leaked EU Communication – Part 1: Privatised censorship and surveillance

      A draft European Commission Communication on Platforms has been leaked. The proposals with regard to the regulation of “illegal” “or harmful” content are hugely disturbing. In summary, the European Commission seems willing to completely give up on the notion of law. Instead, regulation of free speech is pushed into the hands of Google, Facebook and others.

    • Chrome, Firefox and Safari Block Pirate Bay as “Phishing” Site

      Chrome, Firefox and Safari are actively blocking direct access to The Pirate Bay. According to the browsers, Thepiratebay.se is a “deceptive site” or “web forgery,” that may steal user information. The TPB crew has been alerted to the issue, and hope it will be resolved soon.

    • Pirate Bay Blocked in Chrome, Firefox & Safari Due to Phishing Site Error

      Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari are blocking access to The Pirate Bay torrent portal showing the classical “Deceptive site ahead” error usually seen on dangerous sites that may attempt to collect user credentials with fake login pages, show deceptive ads, or push unwanted downloads.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Return of the 691st ISR Group, aiding NSA and Air Force Cryptologic Enterprise

      Prior to assuming command of the 691st ISRG, James held the position of Director of Cyberspace Policy, Resources and Capabilities for the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington D.C. position. An Air Force academy graduate, James has served in all three levels of leadership roles to include commanding ISR and Cyberspace units.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Mexico Already Has a Giant Wall, and a Mining Company Helped to Build It

      Some walls are made of concrete and razor wire. Others are made of soldiers, violence, bureaucracy and misinformation. While Grupo Mexico has built a long wall to stop migrants from getting on or off its long distance train, “The Beast,” the Mexican government’s Southern Border Plan is also making it much harder for Central American migrants desperately fleeing violence and poverty to travel through the country.

      It was a bright, sunny day, though nowhere near as hot as Honduras. Migrants knocked on the door of the refuge in Tlaxcala, central Mexico, exhausted. Eyes dark and half closed, and their feet shredded after having walked for 15 days, they handed their one small bag each over to the volunteers, changed into donated clothing, and threw out their old clothes. The two barrels near the entrance were full to the brim with such clothing.

    • The FBI Is Ramping Up Use of Informants to Snoop on Muslims

      Can the FBI recruit your child’s college sport shooting coach to be on the look out for vague signs that your teenage son—an avid shooter, a great coder, and not a fan of certain federal government policies—is becoming a “violent extremist”? Apparently, yes.

    • Prison Labor Strike in Alabama: “We Will No Longer Contribute to Our Own Oppression”

      Despite being held in solitary confinement for years, men known as Kinetik, Dhati, and Brother M, primary leaders of the Free Alabama Movement, have been instrumental in organizing a statewide prison work stoppage in Alabama that began on Sunday, May 1. Currently, the prison labor strike has begun at Alabama’s Holman, Staton, and Elmore Correctional Facilities. St. Clair’s stoppage will begin on May 9, with Donaldson and other correctional facilities to follow soon after. The current plan is for the work stoppage to last 30 days, although the Movement’s leaders said the length of the strike is contingent on the cooperation of legislators in regard to reforming the prison labor system and the conditions of the prisons. The Free Alabama Movement is an activist network of incarcerated men, spanning numerous state prisons across Alabama.

    • When Liberals Run Out of Patience: the Impolite Exile of Seymour Hersh

      Hersh synthesized the information from the dissenting Seals, combined it with the account of events in the email from Pakistani nuclear security, and presented the result to the SOC consultants to help sort things out. After getting their views, he was sufficiently prepared to take what was by then an internally consistent alternative narrative to the unnamed “retired senior intelligence officer.” He, too, confirmed the new outline of events and contributed his own details. All that was missing was a candid assessment of events from the Pakistani high command. He interviewed Gen. Asad Durrani, a former chief of ISI and one of the most powerful men in the country, who was eager to cooperate.

    • Ivy League economist ethnically profiled, interrogated for doing math on American Airlines flight

      On Thursday evening, a 40-year-old man — with dark, curly hair, olive skin and an exotic foreign accent — boarded a plane. It was a regional jet making a short, uneventful hop from Philadelphia to nearby Syracuse.

      Or so dozens of unsuspecting passengers thought.

      The curly-haired man tried to keep to himself, intently if inscrutably scribbling on a notepad he’d brought aboard. His seatmate, a blond-haired, 30-something woman sporting flip-flops and a red tote bag, looked him over. He was wearing navy Diesel jeans and a red Lacoste sweater – a look he would later describe as “simple elegance” – but something about him didn’t seem right to her.


      He laughed because those scribbles weren’t Arabic, or another foreign language, or even some special secret terrorist code. They were math.

    • Sesame Street: Video Tells Kids How to Deal with a Parent in Prison

      Maybe one day they can do one about living under constant government surveillance, or being denied healthcare. What are a world we are making for our children to deal with.

    • May’s the Month for Protest. Daniel Berrigan Would Agree.

      The Jesuit writer and activist’s death is a reminder of the necessity and power of protest in America.

    • The backlash against expanded voting rights in Virginia

      Estimated number of people directly affected by the order: 200,000

    • Egyptian Court Recommends Death Sentence for Two Al Jazeera Employees

      An Egyptian court on Saturday recommended the death sentence against six people, including two Al Jazeera employees, for allegedly passing documents related to national security to Qatar and the Doha-based TV network during the rule of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

    • The End of Prison Visitation

      It’s inhumane, dystopian and actually increases in-prison violence — but god, it makes money.

    • Sadiq Khan says he ‘never dreamt’ he could become Mayor of London at inauguration at Southwark Cathedral
    • London’s New Mayor, Sadiq Khan, Hailed in UK and Pakistan

      Sadiq Khan, the son of Pakistani immigrants who won a landslide victory in this week’s London mayoral election, was sworn in on Saturday in a multifaith service at Southwark Cathedral, becoming the British capital’s first Muslim mayor.

    • Airbnb Has An Unsurprising Race Problem

      Airbnb is facing a storm of criticism after several consumers complained of racial discrimination from some of the home-sharing service app’s hosts.

    • After a Century In Decline, Black Farmers Are Back And On the Rise

      A few years ago, while clearing dried broccoli stalks from the tired soil of our land at Soul Fire Farm in upstate New York, I received a cold call from Boston. On the other end was a Black woman, unknown to me, who wanted to share her story of trying to make it as a farmer.

    • How One State Ended its ‘Rigged’ Superdelegate System Once and For All

      Frustrated by what they describe as a “rigged” electoral system in the face of Bernie Sanders’ overwhelming majority win, Democrats in Maine on Saturday voted to adopt a rule change that will essentially eliminate the power of superdelegates to pick a candidate of their choosing.

      Though Sanders won 64 percent of the Maine vote, he has only received one of the state’s five superdelegates. Three have endorsed Hillary Clinton, who only secured 35 percent of the popular vote, while one remains undeclared.

    • Sheldon Silver set to be sentenced Tuesday [Ed: Clinton 'super' delegate]

      Silver was found to have engaged in a two-track corruption scheme that netted him an estimated $4 million in bribes and kickbacks disguised as legal fees.

    • It’s Official — the First Democratic Convention Just Abolished Superdelegates

      An amendment to eliminate the influence of superdelegates just passed overwhelmingly at the Maine Democratic Party’s statewide convention.

      Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland), who introduced the amendment, told US Uncut that the measure was passed by a single voice vote, followed by chants of “Ber-nie! Ber-nie!”

      “I never expected this kind of response from the amendment,” Russell said in a phone interview. “I’m suddenly seen as the hero of the convention.”

    • Homeland Security wants to subpoena Techdirt over the identity of a hyperbolic commenter

      This week, Techdirt’s Tim Cushing published a story about the Hancock County, IN Sheriff’s Department officers who stole $240,000 under color of asset forfeiture.

      Digger, a Techdirt commenter, remarked, “The only ‘bonus’ these criminals [the Sheriff's Department officers] are likely to see could be a bullet to their apparently empty skulls.”

      This prompted the Department of Homeland Security to contact Techdirt and ask whom they should send a subpoena to in order to get at the identity of Digger. Masnick is worried that the subpoena, when and if it arrives, could come with a gag order…

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ISP Boss Criticizes Calls to Criminalize File-Sharers

        The boss of a prominent ISP in Sweden has criticized moves by the government which could criminalize hundreds of thousands of Internet users. Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung says the country is stuck in the past when it calls for harsher punishments for file-sharing and should instead concentrate on developing better legal options.

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