Consensus Around the High Likelihood That the Unitary Patent (UPC) is Dead and Backlash Against Deniers of It

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wouter Pors

Summary: Online discussions about the UPC have rapidly shifted to assume, quite correctly in fact, that the UPC is facing mortal danger from which it may never recover

THE EPO was almost single-handedly destroyed by a terror-inflicting tyrant who was in charge for seven years. He tried hard, in vain, to ‘reform’ the Office and instead he broke everything. He even broke the governance of the entire Organisation, thanks in part to a Dane who has just joined the private sector.

The excuse the EPO likes to use for these chaotic changes is the UPC. “The final countdown,” however — as a reader just put it — looks not like a countdown for the UPC but for Battistelli’s departure. He was an utter failure and a disgrace who will be mentioned in the corridors for decades to come. “In addition to the Luther’s 95 theses,” the reader continued, “here are some personal considerations about EPO matters [notably] UPC.”

To quote:

you don’t need to worry, the UPC will never happen. Apart from legal issues linked to Brexit and the possible constitutional deficiencies in Germany, the UPC will not happen because Germany doesn’t want it to happen and will never ratify. You need to deeply understand the German mind to apprehend what is going on in Germany about this. Basically the EPC system, with search and examination/opposition, was copied from or based on the German intellectual property system (DPA). A system that had contributed to the success of German SME. The same cannot be said about the French patent system which were granted SGDG – sans garantie du gouvernement, that is without any governmental guaranty. Valid patents are valuable to German industrials. Now consider that last elections in Germany with a massive entry of the right extremist party AfD in the assembly. What does all this means? It is a serious warning that the Germans are not willing to transfer more power to a supranational institution, the EU. I suppose Ms. Merkel has understood the signals and is willing to send the UPC ad patres. I see another typical German behaviour in the way these matter are dealt with. Germans like Japanese don’t like to say no, it is undiplomatic. They say “may be” even if they think it is a ” no” and they prefer to let others do the dirty job. In this case for instance the Brits with Brexit should have killed the UPC not the Germans. As a safeguard a constitutional appeal and a lengthy procedure are the keys to the failure of the UPC. And Germany would say UPC didn’t happen leider.

The death of the UPC has become common knowledge. Even insiders dare say so. Days ago we started a #upcIsDead hashtag and earlier today even IAM, previously paid to promote the UPC, almost admitted this too. It said that “UPC falters” (to quote today’s headline).

This is as real as it gets. To quote the blog post:

These days one could be forgiven for questioning the significance of the European Commission’s ongoing public consultation on the potential creation of a single, EU-wide supplementary protection certificate (SPC). First proposed in late 2015, the consultation was initially intended to clear up the last remaining problems with a unitary patent regime whose arrival was regarded as imminent. However, the emergence of serious threats to the proposed Unified Patent Court regime mean that the SPC question may now be purely hypothetical.

The Commission is seeking comments on whether a unitary SPC should be created to accompany Europe’s new patent system – a question left unanswered by the Unitary Patent Court agreement. In its Single Market Strategy communication of October 2015, the Commission identified this question as one of the few issues left to be resolved in establishing the UPC.


The more pressing question now, though, is not what the EU Commission’s policy on SPCs will be, but whether the whole issue has been made irrelevant by recent developments in the UK and Germany. Put simply, the significance of the consultation has changed. No longer the means to providing the final piece to the UPC puzzle, it has become part of background efforts to keep the show on the road while more decisive issues play out elsewhere.

“Everything back to normal,” said a reader about Kluwer Patent Blog, or so “it seems.” This reader wanted to draw our attention to this older post from Kluwer Patent Blog, saying quite correctly, “you appear to have missed this new piece.”

Yes, we did miss that. This blog keeps publishing for firms like Bristows (as recently as days ago), so we typically don’t watch it closely, but days ago Wouter Pors (whose UPC propaganda we criticised before [1, 2]) did exactly what is takes to reinforce our perception of him. He has come up with an attack/discreditisation plan which focuses on the messenger in the complaint. He blames attorneys or “fearful lawyers” who merely “have a theoretical interest”.

Apropos, another UPC booster has just said: “The non-official German Bar Association wants to establish Germany as an international litigation venue after #Brexit. Germany is, of course, already a very important venue for international #patent #litigation.”

For them, it’s all about money through increased litigation. We know at whose expense/cost.

The post from Pors is a pleasure to read just because of the comments, of which they are plenty. He did ad hominem and it bounces back at him. “Reading this,” one person said, “it seems that Mr Pors has meanwhile found out what an ad hominem attack is and how to put it in practice.”

“As a “critic” of the UPC,” said another person, “I have to say that I find the general tone of Mr Pors’ comments to be unpleasant, verging on ignorant.”

Also: “I found this an interesting read in the sense that I saw only old arguments, which have already been countered, repeated and referred to, but no countering the counterarguments. It also showed me how making propaganda works by repetition of the same arguments over and over again.”

Here’s “UPC is dead,” echoing what we’ve been saying for a while. To quote: “Even smart people seem to slowly understand that the UPC is dead, which makes them somehow loose countenance.”

Another example among many: “The supporters of the constitutional complaint should welcome unreflected statements like those by Mr Pors as they facilitate presenting him and his ilk to the court as what they are: Self-centered and arrogant opportunists willing to sacrifice almost anything, in particular truth and decency, and to take any view if only it helps serving their agenda, which is filling their coffers in the UPC system of their design. It would be fun seeing similiar interviews with Mr Mooney, Mr Hoyng or Mr Tilmann and see how they rid themselves of the last little bit of credibility they still have left, just as Mr Pors has done here.”

Just about every comment there antagonises the UPC. MaxDrei wrote:

How? By lobbying Brussels with their “40 years of failure” mantra. What a travesty! Look at the EPO White Book of the established caselaw of the EPO’s DG3. For me, (and I started in the profession long before 1978), this is not failure but “40 years of Brilliant Success”.

Meanwhile, Berlin (and Karlsruhe) has just woken up to the cunning French plan to strip Germany of its leading role in patent litigation and ship it all, instead, to Paris. How else to understand the Constitutional challenge to the UPC in Germany?

It is good to see the consensus shifting against the UPC’s chances and desirability (lack thereof). Stick a fork in it. It’s done.

The EPO in the Hands of Politicians Who Serve Their Towns Rather Than Users of the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SIPO and Battistelli
Reference: Loose Patent Scope Becoming a Publicity Nightmare for the EPO and Battistelli Does a China Outreach (Worst/Most Notorious on Patent Quality)

Summary: The utterly absurd situation in which Battistelli has put the EPO; conflicts of interest have become abundantly clear and they are exploited to their fullest

EARLIER today (around morning/noon to be more precise) SUEPO, the staff union of the EPO, published this polite response to Union Syndicale Fédérale from Mr. Campinos. It sounds promising, but that does not change the fact that Mr. Battistelli helped him get ‘elected’ (it seemed like a process as rigged as the DNC nominations in 2016). Don’t forget that Campinos has French nationality even though he — like Battistelli — has some other ‘pedigree’ (Italian name, Portuguese father or whatever).

People inside the EPO already learned the hard way what happens when politicians are put in charge. Battistelli comes from politics (still embroiled/involved in it) and Campinos comes from a political family. As it turns out, based on a message we’ve received, there’s much to be said about Battistelli’s political life in France. To quote:

Saint Germain en Laye / Inventor award: The inventor awards comedy has always been a shame and I fail to understand that applicants play the game. With this show held in St Germain en Laye, the culmination of indecency is reached. Is it acceptable that millions of euros are spent in the town where Benet Battistelli is deputy mayor, a week before his departure to grease the local “players” while epo staff are squeezed to death even on public holidays? No it isn’t and it is our duty to denounce it and to take all measures to stop this offending show.
A few things have changed recently in St Germain en Laye and it is important that the public becomes aware of them. The previous mayor, M. Emmnuel Lamy (69 y.o) passed away on May the 24th, this year leaving the place to his deputy M. Arnaud Péricard. Deputy that M.Lamy didn’t like very much. This wouldn’t be worth noting if M. Lamy, member of the same party as Mr. Battistelli, hadn’t had a very similar curriculum to M.Battistelli (Institut d’études politiques IEP, Ecole nationale supérieure d’administration ENA). M. Lamy being 2 years older than Battistelli (67 y.o.), they therefore met during their studies more than 40 years ago. They were “old friends”. What a coincidence! But the similarities go further that that.
Look this page: http://pssaintgermain.fr/2011/10/
M. Lamy used to edit a publication for his town “le Journal de Saint-Germain, also called “pravda locale”. It reminds of the EPO Gazette. If you further read the quoted article you will find this “pearl” about the degree of satisfaction of the tax payers in St Germain:
En matière de culture et de loisirs, le bilan n’est pas bon. Si les bibliothèques, les musées, les évènements culturels et les activités sportives attirent une majorité de satisfaction, la programmation culturelle du théâtre Alexandre Dumas est fortement critiquée.” (in matters of culture and leisures, the balance isn’t good. Even if libraries, museums, cultural events and sport activities give satisfaction to a majority of users, the program of the theatre Alexandre Dumas is highly criticised). M.Battistelli was in charge of the theatre Alexandre Dumas at that time…..
I also suggest the reader to have a look at :
referring to one of the major French information magazines, l’Express tackles the “système Lamy” (!) with these words.
Further reading: http://pssaintgermain.fr/conseil-municipal-du-10-juillet-nouvelle-attitude-meprisante-du-maire/ about the disdaining behaviour of the Mayor toward the political opposition. This article shows how opponents are insulted, how truth is disguised. All this is familiar to the EPO staff. Did M.Lamy learn from M. Battistelli or vice versa?
I firmly believe that the new Mayor, M. Arnaud Péricard, having M. Battistelli as deputy mayor is in a dangerous position and should be extremely cautious. I don’t think that M. Battistelli, the autocrat, will accept a subordinate position for a long time. If something happens to M. Péricard, what we of course don’t wish, M. Battistelli would be the new Sun King in St Germain en Laye.

As a reminder, political involvement is not allowed for Battistelli, but he was put in charge of the EPO in spite of that. As insiders very well know, Battistelli is allowed the break any rules without any consequences. Staff that’s ordinary (i.e. not Battistelli’s cronies), however, is barely even allowed to volunteer anywhere.

Team Battistelli Snubbed by the EPO’s Representatives of Nations

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Battistelli’s popularity sinks to levels so low that chairs are no longer shy to turn him down

YESTERDAY we wrote about the EPO‘s latest brewing scandal in Haar. EPO management adds insult to injury. It wants to ‘grease up’ delegates just before their next meeting.

We understand that a letter was sent by the Board of Appeals PR (on behalf of Team Battistelli) for chairs/heads of delegation (or similar) to come to Haar and metaphorically piss on the graves. The details are still a little vague, e.g. who exactly was sent an invitation.

“One chair has said he would accept the invitation,” a source has since told us. “Others have expressed their disapproval.”

“They might need to just call that off, as embarrassing for Battistelli as this may be (especially if the public finds out).”“Seems people think up to three might attend.”

We shall soon know more.

What kind of party would that be? They might need to just call that off, as embarrassing for Battistelli as this may be (especially if the public finds out). He can go to Haar on his own; he can even admit himself to an institution there.

Stay tuned as we gather more information. We still hope that someone can leak the letter to us (if there are many recipients, it would be hard to know who leaked the text).

Links 9/11/2017: NetworkManager 1.9.90, Ubuntu Wants a New Theme

Posted in News Roundup at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Cloud Foundry: Focusing on Flexibility and Choice for a Cloud-Native World

      For some organizations working outside of technology hubs such as Silicon Valley, there is a vast shortage of developer talent to choose from. As a result, many have taken a proactive learning approach to help bring their developers up-to-speed with the demands of today’s cloud-native software platforms.

      Cloud Foundry is evolving its technology to benefit these users’ goals, explained Cloud Foundry Executive Director Abby Kearns, in this live-streamed episode of The New Stack Makers podcast recorded at Cloud Foundry Summit Europe last month.

    • Kubernetes by the numbers: 10 compelling stats

      How quickly has Kubernetes’ popularity soared? By most accounts, very quickly. Earlier this year, Cloud Native Computing Foundation executive director Dan Kohn penned a blog post that dug into that claim. People regularly tout Kubernetes as one of the highest velocity projects ever in open source history: Does the data back it up?

      As Kohn found, there may not be a single definitive metric, but they all point in the same conclusion: “You can pick your preferred statistic, such as that Kubernetes is in the top 0.00006% of the projects on GitHub,” Kohn wrote. “I prefer to just think of it as one of the fastest moving projects in the history of open source.”

  • Kernel Space

    • The state of the realtime union

      The 2017 Realtime Summit was held October 21 at Czech Technical University in Prague to discuss all manner of topics related to realtime Linux. Nearly two years ago, a collaborative project was formed with the goal of mainlining the realtime patch set. At the summit, project lead Thomas Gleixner reported on the progress that has been made and the plans for the future.

    • The 2017 Kernel and Maintainers Summits

      The 2017 Kernel and Maintainers Summits were held in Prague, Czechia, in late October, co-located with the Open-Source Summit Europe. As usual, LWN was there, and has put together coverage of the topics that were discussed at these meetings.

      The format of the Kernel Summit was changed significantly for this year. The bulk of the schedule has been moved into an completely open set of talks that ran alongside the rest of the OSS tracks; as a result, the attendance at these discussions was larger than in past years and included more people outside of the core kernel community. The invitation-only discussion has been made much smaller (about 30 core maintainers) and turned into a half-day event.

    • Another attempt to address the tracepoint ABI problem

      Tracepoints provide a great deal of visibility into the inner workings of the kernel, which is both a blessing and a curse. The advantages of knowing what the kernel is doing are obvious; the disadvantage is that tracepoints risk becoming a part of the kernel’s ABI if applications start to depend on them. The need to maintain tracepoints could impede the ongoing development of the kernel. Ways of avoiding this problem have been discussed for years; at the 2017 Kernel Summit, Steve Rostedt talked about yet another scheme.

      The risk of creating a new ABI has made some maintainers reluctant to add instrumentation to their parts of the kernel, he said. They might be willing to add new interfaces to provide access to specific information but, in the absence of tools that use this information, it is hard to figure out which information is needed or what a proper interface would be. The solution might be to adopt an approach that is similar to the staging tree, where not-ready-for-prime-time drivers can go until they are brought up to the necessary level of quality.

    • Restartable sequences and ops vectors

      Some technologies find their way into the kernel almost immediately; others need to go through multiple iterations over a number of years first. Restartable sequences, a mechanism for lockless concurrency control in user space, fall into the latter category. At the 2017 Kernel Summit, Mathieu Desnoyers discussed yet another implementation of this concept — but this one may not be the last word either.

      The core idea behind restartable sequences has not changed. An application defines a special region of code that, it is hoped, will run without interruption. This code performs some operation of interest on a per-CPU data structure that can be committed with a single instruction at the end. For example, it may prepare to remove an item from a list, with the final instruction setting a pointer that actually effects this change and makes it visible to other threads running on the same CPU. If the thread is preempted in the middle of this work, it may contend with another thread working on the same data structure. In this case, the kernel will cause the thread to jump to an abort sequence once it runs again; the thread can then clean up and try again (the “restart” part of the name). Most of the time, though, preemption does not happen, and the restartable sequence will implement a per-CPU, atomic operation at high speed.

    • Kernel regression tracking, part 1

      The kernel development community has run for some years without anybody tracking regressions; that changed one year ago when Thorsten Leemhuis stepped up to the task. Two conversations were held on the topic at the 2017 Kernel and Maintainers summits in Prague; this article covers the first of those, held during the open Kernel-Summit track.

      Leemhuis begin by pointing out that he started doing this work even though he does not work for a Linux company; he is, instead, a journalist for the largest computer magazine in Germany. He saw a mention of the gap that was left after Rafael Wysocki stopped tracking regressions, and thought that he might be a good fit for the job. This work is being done in his spare time. When he started, he had thought that the job would be difficult and frustrating; in reality, it turned out to be even worse than he expected.

    • Improving printk()

      When a kernel developer wants to communicate a message to user space, be it for debugging or to report a serious problem with the system, the venerable printk() function is usually the tool of choice. But, as Steve Rostedt (accompanied by Petr Mladek and Sergey Senozhatsky) noted during a brief session at the 2017 Kernel Summit, printk() has not aged well. In particular, it can affect the performance of the system as a whole; the roots of that problem and a possible solution were discussed, but a real solution will have to wait for the appearance of the code.

    • GStreamer: state of the union

      The annual GStreamer conference took place October 21-22 in Prague, (unofficially) co-located with the Embedded Linux Conference Europe. The GStreamer project is a library for connecting media elements such as sources, encoders and decoders, filters, streaming endpoints, and output sinks of all sorts into a fully customizable pipeline. It offers cross-platform support, a large set of plugins, modern streaming and codec formats, and hardware acceleration as some of its features. Kicking off this year’s conference was Tim-Philipp Müller with his report on the last 12 months of development and what we can look forward to next.

    • Using eBPF and XDP in Suricata

      Much software that uses the Linux kernel does so at comparative arms-length: when it needs the kernel, perhaps for a read or write, it performs a system call, then (at least from its point of view) continues operation later, with whatever the kernel chooses to give it in reply. Some software, however, gets pretty intimately involved with the kernel as part of its normal operation, for example by using eBPF for low-level packet processing. Suricata is such a program; Eric Leblond spoke about it at Kernel Recipes 2017 in a talk entitled “eBPF and XDP seen from the eyes of a meerkat”.

    • Mellanox Announces First Major Production Deployment of Linux Kernel-Based Open Ethernet Switch
    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Some Basic macOS 10.13 vs. Ubuntu 17.10 OpenGL Gaming Tests

        Following last week’s F1 2017 launch for Linux which is making use of the Vulkan graphics API on Linux and Metal API on macOS, originally I set out to compare the macOS vs. Linux performance, but that didn’t go quite as planned due to MacBook Pro woes. But here are some other OpenGL game tests between macOS and Ubuntu 17.10 Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • GeckoLinux Beta Does openSuse Better

        GeckoLinux is an ideal option for switching to a new distro experience. I particularly like how the Cinnamon desktop works. Since I favor the Cinnamon environment in Linux Mint, changing over to GeckoLinux came with no difficulties. All the settings and features played out as expected.

        Kudos to the developer for making GeckoLinux such a solid alternative computing platform. I did not expect a developing early beta to be so glitch-free.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Daily Builds Now Available to Download

            Ubuntu 18.04 daily builds are now available to download. Their availability comes as the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS ‘Bionic Beaver’ development cycle gets in to gear.

          • Canonical Wants You to Contribute to the Default Theme for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            As you probably know, Didier Roche was the one to lead the huge migration task from the Unity 7 user interface to the GNOME Shell one during the development cycle of Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), the current stable release of Ubuntu.

            During Artful cycle, the team lead by Didier Roche only managed to create a fork of the popular Dash-to-Dock extension for the GNOME Shell user interface that they call Ubuntu Dock, as well as some minor modifications to adapt their old Ambiance theme to the GNOME desktop environment.

          • Does Ubuntu Need a New Theme? [Poll]

            Does Ubuntu need a new theme? Ubuntu developers certainly think so. They’ve started a new initiative to try and find a new GTK theme (as well as new GNOME Shell theme and icon set). But is Ambiance really outdated and unfit for purpose?

          • Ubuntu Is Looking for a New Theme

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will be the next gold-standard Ubuntu release when it arrives in April 2018 — and it seems it could have a shiny new theme to boot.

            Ubuntu developers are hoping to run an Ubuntu theme contest (or more accurately let the community run one with some oversight and guidance).

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Might End Up Redoing The System Sounds

            The latest in the development of the “Bionic Beaver” is that new system sounds might come to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            Following a discussion, there appears to be interest in redoing the system sounds for the Beaver release. Though at the moment there is no new sounds already being suggested as the replacement and a shortage of resources by the Ubuntu desktop team itself. The sounds of Ubuntu Touch were also brought up into the discussion.

          • Call for participation: an ubuntu default theme lead by the community?

            As part of our Unity 7 to GNOME Shell transition in 17.10, we had last August a Fit and Finish Sprint at the London office to get the Shell feeling more like Ubuntu and we added some tweaks to our default GTK theme.

          • Mesa 17.2.4 for Ubuntu 16.04 & 17.10

            Hi, the X-SWAT updates PPA has actually shipped Mesa 17.2 for 16.04 for a few weeks now, but it got bumped to the latest stable release yesterday. It’s available for the latest Ubuntu LTS (16.04) plus most recent interim release (17.10) as usual.

          • How to Install Firefox Quantum in Ubuntu Right Now

            Mozilla has an official PPA to test the beta version. You can use the same PPA to install Firefox Quantum.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What is the TensorFlow machine intelligence platform?

    TensorFlow is an open source software library for numerical computation using data-flow graphs. It was originally developed by the Google Brain Team within Google’s Machine Intelligence research organization for machine learning and deep neural networks research, but the system is general enough to be applicable in a wide variety of other domains as well. It reached version 1.0 in February 2017, and has continued rapid development, with 21,000+ commits thus far, many from outside contributors. This article introduces TensorFlow, its open source community and ecosystem, and highlights some interesting TensorFlow open sourced models.

    TensorFlow is cross-platform. It runs on nearly everything: GPUs and CPUs—including mobile and embedded platforms—and even tensor processing units (TPUs), which are specialized hardware to do tensor math on. They aren’t widely available yet, but we have recently launched an alpha program.

  • Twitter Introduces Serial: an Open Source Library for Serialization

    UI smoothness in Android is something that gets brought up from time to time as it can be really easy for the average user to notice what is commonly referred to as jank. This is quite often noticed when scrolling through a list of items and Twitter noticed that serializing and deserializing data both to and from the database using the standard Android Externalizable classes took up about 15% of the UI thread time. The team took some time to optimize this issue and today they’ve announced Serial — a new, open source library for serialization.

  • Deloitte Report: Over 26,000 Blockchain Projects Began in 2016

    More than 26,000 new projects related to blockchain were created on code repository GitHub last year, according to data collected by Deloitte.

    For its new report – titled “Evolution of Blockchain Technology: Insights from the GitHub Platform” and published today – the professional services firm drew information from the development platform, which plays home to the code for over 86,000 blockchain initiatives, including major projects like bitcoin.

  • Open-source search provider Elastic acquires Swiftype to grow its reach
  • Elastic acquires search startup Swiftype
  • Elastic Acquires SaaS Site Search Leader Swiftype
  • Deloitte: 26,000 Open-Source Blockchain Projects Introduced in 2016
  • Deloitte Reports More Than 26,000 Blockchain Projects Launched in 2016
  • There were more than 26,000 new blockchain projects last year – only 8% are still active

    It is one of the fastest growing technologies around, but the majority of blockchain projects are abandoned within months, according to researchers.

    More than 26,000 open-source blockchain projects were created on the software collaboration platform GitHub in 2016, research by auditing giant Deloitte has revealed.

  • Barclays Embraces Open Source

    The industry is seeing a convergence of single-dealer platforms into multi-dealer platforms in the open source space, which is just a logical progression, said John Stecher, group managing director at Barclays Investment Bank, during his keynote at the Open Source Strategy Forum in Lower Manhattan.

  • Events

    • Learn Digital Painting with Krita in Bogota, Colombia

      Lina Porras and David Saenz from the Ubuntu Colombia user group wrote to tell us that they will give an introduction to digital painting with Krita starting this Saturday. David will be teaching Krita four Saturday sessions.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • The Definitive OpenStack Map

      When OpenStack launched in 2010, there were only two projects at the time: Nova compute and Swift storage. Over the last seven years, OpenStack has gotten significantly larger and more complicated, with many different projects that are all part of the open-source cloud platform effort.

      In a session at the OpenStack Summit in Sydney, Australia on Nov. 8, Thierry Carrez, VP of Engineering at the OpenStack Foundation, detailed a new effort to help map the OpenStack landscape.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 10.1 Released

      PostgreSQL 10.1 is now available as the first update over the recently released PostgreSQL 10.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.4.3 Office Suite Released with over 50 Bug and Regression Fixes

      LibreOffice 5.4.3 comes about five weeks after the 5.4.2 maintenance update and it’s a minor point release that attempts to fix even more bugs and regressions that have been discovered in the previous version.

      According to the changelogs for the RC1 and RC2 development milestone, a total of 52 issues were addressed in the LibreOffice 5.4.3 release across various of the components of the office suite. Check out each changelog if you’re curious to know what exactly was fixed.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • MINIX’s creator would have liked to know Intel was using it

      When Andrew S. Tanenbaum created the educational, open-source operating system MINIX, he did it to teach operating system principles to his students at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit and to readers of his classic textbook, Operating Systems Design and Implementation. MINIX would become Linux’s forefather. Tanenbaum knew that. What Tanenbaum didn’t know was Intel would take MINIX and embed it within its CPUs for almost a decade.

      As Tanenbaum wrote in an open letter: “Thanks for putting a version of MINIX inside the ME-11 management engine chip used on almost all recent desktop and laptop computers in the world. I guess that makes MINIX the most widely used computer operating system in the world, even more than Windows, Linux, or MacOS. And I didn’t even know until I read a press report about it.”

  • Public Services/Government

    • 32 European ministers call for more Free Software in governmental infrastructure

      On 6 October, 32 European Ministers in charge of eGovernment policy signed the Tallinn Declaration on eGovernment that calls for more collaboration, interoperable solutions, and sharing of good practices throughout public administrations and across borders. Amongst other things, the EU ministers recognised the need to make more use of Free Software solutions and Open Standards when (re)building governmental digital systems with EU funds.

      The Tallinn Declaration, lead by the Estonian EU presidency, has been adopted on 6 October 2017. It is a ministerial declaration that marks a new political commitment at European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) level on priorities to ensure user-centric digital public services for both citizens and businesses cross-border. While having no legislative power, the ministerial declaration marks a political commitment to ensure the digital transformation of public administrations through a set of commonly agreed principles and actions.

      The FSFE has previously submitted its input for the aforementioned declaration during the public consultation round, asking for greater inclusion of Free Software in delivering truly inclusive, trustworthy and interoperable digital services to all citizens and businesses across the EU.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • CUPS relicensed to Apache v2

      Apple has let it be known that the CUPS printing system will, as of version 2.3, switch from GPLv2 to the Apache License. This change is possible because Apple requires that contributors sign a contributor agreement [PDF] giving joint ownership of any copyrights to Apple.

  • Programming/Development

    • Why Senior Devs Write Dumb Code and How to Spot a Junior From A Mile Away

      One of my all time favorite quotes is from Brian Goetz, a smart dude in the Java world who is one of the authors of Java Concurrency in Practice, among other things. The quote appears in an interview that Oracle published under the title, “Write Dumb Code”. Goetz was asked how to write code that performs well. Here is what he had to say…


  • Baby monkey passes out for 10 hours from caffeine overdose after stealing tourist’s strong coffee

    The baby long-tailed macaque passed out with a caffeine overdose after slurping down a cup of joe nicked from a tourist.

    The thirsty monkey (Macaca fascicularis) jumped on to the tourist’s motorbike in Thai capital Bangkok’s Bang Khun Thien district and quickly downed the brew.

  • 3 free online resources for music research

    In September I wrote about how much fun I was having perusing the archives of the Great 78 Project. Learning about this great resource inspired me to look for other online music resources, and here are three more that I’d like to share.

  • Science

    • A Dying Boy Gets a New, Gene-Corrected Skin

      At the age of 7, Hassan had already seen more than his fair share of hardship. A week after he was born in Syria, a blister appeared on his back. The doctors there diagnosed him with a genetic disorder called epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, which leaves one’s skin extremely fragile and prone to tearing. There was no cure, they said. When Hassan’s family fled Bashar al-Assad’s regime and moved to Germany as refugees, the doctors there said the same thing. Meanwhile, the blisters were getting bigger.

      In June 2015, Hassan was admitted to the burn unit of a children’s hospital in Bochum, Germany. By that time, around 60 percent of his epidermis—the top layer of his skin—was gone. His back, flanks, and limbs had become a continuous landscape of open wounds, red and raw. Much of it was badly infected. The pain was excruciating. “Why do I have to live this life?” he asked his father.

    • When will the Earth try to kill us again?

      Our planet Earth has extinguished large portions of its inhabitants several times since the dawn of animals. And if science tells us anything, it will surely try to kill us all again. Working in the 19th century, paleontology pioneer Georges Cuvier saw dramatic turnovers of life in the fossil record and likened them to the French Revolution, then still fresh in his memory.

      Today, we refer to such events as “mass extinctions,” incidents in which many species of animals and plants died out in a geological instant. They are so profound and have such global reach that geological time itself is sliced up into periods—Permian, Triassic, Cretaceous—that are often defined by these mass extinctions.

  • Hardware

    • Five big patent talking points raised by Broadcom’s proposed buy-out of Qualcomm

      Broadcom electrified the tech world earlier this week when it made a $130 billion offer for Qualcomm. The advance looks set to be rebuffed by the Qualcomm board, but it seems likely that this is a story that will run for a while yet.

      Given the sectors in which the two companies operate, patents are a crucial part of the asset base of both businesses. Were a merger to occur, the combined portfolio would be vast and immensely powerful – something that regulators across the world would be bound to pay very special attention to.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WIPO Hosts Notably Wide-Ranging Discussion On Vaccine Innovation And Access

      A well-represented set of experts this week held discussions on the current situation of access to vaccines, the market, the role of pharmaceutical companies, and partnerships. Vaccines were not a field much affected by patents in the past, but the situation has changed and new vaccines are now covered by intellectual property, which might constitute a barrier to access, according to speakers.

    • South Centre: Clear Rules Needed On Biosimilars Equivalence To Help Market Entry, Lower Prices

      As soon as 2022, biological drugs made from active protein substances are expected to make up 50 percent of the pharmaceutical market, as they are increasingly used to treat a number of illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and hepatitis. But with the high price of therapeutics and difficulty in producing biologically similar products, and with the originator products now coming off patent, regulation is of high importance, says a new report from the intergovernmental South Centre.

  • Security

    • Vault 8

      Source code and analysis for CIA software projects including those described in the Vault7 series.

      This publication will enable investigative journalists, forensic experts and the general public to better identify and understand covert CIA infrastructure components.

      Source code published in this series contains software designed to run on servers controlled by the CIA. Like WikiLeaks’ earlier Vault7 series, the material published by WikiLeaks does not contain 0-days or similar security vulnerabilities which could be repurposed by others.

    • Marissa Mayer sounds distraught over Yahoo’s massive data breach

      Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer appeared distraught at a US Senate hearing Wednesday (Nov. 8) on the unprecedented data breaches at the company during her tenure.

      “As you know, Yahoo was the victim of criminal, state-sponsored attacks on its systems, resulting in the theft of certain user information,” Mayer said in her opening remarks, rarely looking up from her notes. “As CEO, these thefts occurred during my tenure, and I want to sincerely apologize to each and every one of our users.”

    • What Is ARP Spoofing? — Attacks, Detection, And Prevention

      Spoofing is often defined as imitating (something) while exaggerating its characteristic features for comic effect. Not in the real world but also in the computer networking world, spoofing is a common practice among notorious users to intercept data and traffic meant for a particular user.

    • New Hope for Digital Identity

      For your inconvenience, every organization’s identity system is also a separate and proprietary silo, even if it is built with open-source software and methods. Worse, an organization might have many different silo’d identity systems that know little or nothing about each other. Even an organization as unitary as a university might have completely different identity systems operating within HR, health care, parking, laundry, sports and IT—as well as within its scholastic realm, which also might have any number of different departmental administrative systems, each with its own record of students past and present.

    • Linux has a whole crock of USB vulnerabilities
    • Google Patches KRACK Vulnerability in Android
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Politics of Sexual Harassment and War

      Yet, while the political careers of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton survived disclosures of their predatory behavior, Weinstein’s movie empire quickly crumbled after a number of women came forward with accounts of how he used his power to gain sexual favors. Several prominent news personalities, from Bill O’Reilly at Fox to Michael Oreskes at NPR, have lost their jobs, too, amid other sexual harassment complaints.

    • America Breaks Down: The Anatomy of a National Psychosis

      With alarming regularity, the nation is being subjected to a spate of violence that terrorizes the public, destabilizes the country’s fragile ecosystem, and gives the government greater justifications to crack down, lock down, and institute even more authoritarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry.

      Take this latest mass shooting that took place at a small church in a small Texas town.

      The lone gunman—a former member of the Air Force—was dressed all in black, wearing body armor, a tactical vest and a mask, and firing an assault rifle. (Note the similarity in uniform and tactics to the nation’s police forces, SWAT teams and military.)

    • This Florida school is selling bulletproof panels for students’ backpacks

      A Miami private school is offering parents an unusual item for sale: bulletproof panels for their kids’ backpacks.

      The Florida Christian School website has a list of items available for purchase. These include winter wear, red school logo T-shirts and ballistic panels.

  • Finance

    • The GOP tax bill could be a disaster for PhD students

      The bill, in its current form, eliminates or consolidates tax credits used by both graduate and undergraduate students — but those pursuing master’s degrees and PhDs will get hit the hardest by the proposed changes.

    • Grad Students Are Freaking Out About the GOP Tax Plan. They Should Be

      For years, PhD candidates have “paid” for their educations almost exclusively through research and teaching—working in labs, TAing courses, hosting office hours. It works like an apprenticeship: Trade five years of your life learning and working in a field that interests you in exchange for a meager, but livable, salary.

    • What Is Chia? — BitTorrent Inventor Announces His “Green” Bitcoin Competitor

      While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin might be all the rage today, they’re criticised for their heavy consumption of energy. The more energy you use with the help of a powerful hardware, the more cryptocurrency you can mine. Recently, a new hard fork named Bitcoin Gold was facilitated to address similar issues.

      Earlier this year in April, we reported that BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen might launch his own cryptocurrency and Bitcoin-alternative. Just recently, acting well on his promise, Cohen has started a new company called Chia Network.

    • Bitcoin compromise collapses, leaving future growth in doubt

      A group of prominent developers and executives backing a plan to expand the capacity of the Bitcoin network threw in the towel on Wednesday. “It is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time,” wrote developer Mike Belshe in a Wednesday afternoon e-mail.

    • Why I Think IT Certifications are Overrated

      When it comes out to actual job relevance I found certifications to be largely useless. Experience, on the other hand, can be tremendously valuable. I will take someone who knows the ins and outs of a Networking OS (ie, Cisco IOS) and Linux – over someone who has certification any day of the week.

    • The Wilbur Ross Scandal Isn’t About Russia, It’s About Corruption

      COMMERCE SECRETARY WILBUR Ross recently promoted his own agency ethics official, whose job it is to monitor department-wide conduct for ethical lapses. The promotion came just before Ross received scrutiny about his investment in the shipping company Navigator Holdings, which has business ties to Russian oligarchs and members of the Putin family.

      The story played in the mainstream press as evidence of further Trump administration ties to Russia, but any billionaire with vast holdings and an interest in the energy industry is likely to have rubbed up against a few oligarchs and Putin cronies. More to the point, Ross’s story is one of an unchecked conflict of interest.

    • The Brexiters who put their money offshore

      Many of the most powerful supporters of the Brexit campaign appear in the Paradise Papers because of their offshore interests. There is nothing illegal about their arrangements.

      But many of these same voices have urged a “hard Brexit” – which could see the UK ripping up its economic model and in effect becoming a tax haven on the borders of Europe.

      That might suit Brexiters, many of whom have either made their money, or keep their money, or live, offshore.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Monopoly critics decry ‘Amazon amendment’

      The amendment, Section 801 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), would help Amazon establish a tight grip on the lucrative, $53 billion government acquisitions market, experts say.

    • Trump Skirts ‘Great Firewall’ to Tweet About Beijing Trip

      Many Western social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are banned in China. A sophisticated system has been built to deny online users within China access to blocked content.

      That was not an issue for Trump, known for tweeting to his 42.3 million followers at any hour of the day, Wednesday, the day he arrived in Beijing.

    • How Activism Can Lead the Way in the Trump Era

      Our constitutional system depends as much on the work of activists as it does on lawyers. The courts can’t do it alone.

      In his first year in office, Donald Trump has proved to be simultaneously the most dangerous and the most frustrated president in living memory. The danger is clear: He seems unable to control his most basic impulses, and those impulses are shaped more by concern about his image than about the Constitution or the people’s best interests. He has sought to ban Muslims, increase deportations, intimidate the media, repeal Obamacare, bar transgender people from serving the military, and threaten football players taking a knee to oppose racial injustice.

      The threat he poses continues.

      But he has also proved to be one of the nation’s least effectual presidents — even though he enjoys Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. That’s because Americans who care about civil rights, civil liberties, the rule of law, and basic human dignity have stood up to him. And if Americans continue to mobilize in defense of these values, Trump will continue to be stymied. That is our job as citizens — to ensure that a president who tends toward authoritarianism is checked at every juncture. And that is also our job at the ACLU.

    • Trump’s DOJ wants AT&T/Time Warner to sell CNN or DirecTV before merger

      The Trump administration is asking AT&T and Time Warner Inc. to sell off either CNN or DirecTV in order to win government approval of their merger, multiple news outlets reported today.

      AT&T has owned DirecTV since 2015 and is now seeking federal approval to purchase Time Warner Inc., the owner of programming such as HBO, CNN, and Warner Bros.

    • Trump and Democrats Misread Mandates

      The Democrats might have taken away from their defeat the warning that they had forgotten how to speak to the white working class, which had suffered from job losses via “free trade” and felt willfully neglected as Democrats looked toward the “browning of America.”

      The choice of Clinton had compounded this problem because she came across as elitist and uncaring toward this still important voting bloc with her memorable description of half of Trump’s voters as “deplorables,” an insult that stung many lower-income whites and helped deliver Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to Trump.

      For more than a decade, some Democratic strategists had promoted the notion that “demography is destiny,” i.e., that the relative growth of Latino, Asian and African-American populations in comparison to whites would ensure a future Democratic majority. That prediction seemed to have been validated by Barack Obama’s winning coalition in 2008 and 2012, but it also had the predictable effect of alienating many whites who felt disrespected and resentful.

      So, while the Democrats and Clinton looked to a multicultural future, Trump used his experience in reality TV to communicate with this overlooked demographic group. Trump sold himself as a populist and treated the white working class with respect. He spoke to their fears about economic decline and gave voice to their grievances. He vowed to put “America First” and pull back from foreign military adventures that often used working-class kids as cannon fodder.


      It was the sinister genius of Donald Trump to turn the hallowed ritual of the daily briefing into his very own reality show. The press, he learned during his tabloid years in New York, is essentially a sensationalistic enterprise. On the campaign trail, he took advantage of the industry’s most self-serving impulses to inject himself hourly into the national consciousness; later, as his coverage became more negative, Trump turned the media’s outrage into ammunition for his assault on establishment pieties. His shock election seemed to confirm that the nation’s educated reportorial class, cloistered in New York and Washington, D.C., had missed one of the biggest stories of the century. With the briefing room under his control, Trump and his ill-fated stand-in, Sean Spicer, effectively hijacked the network-news cameras, turning them back on the White House press corps, making the once staid question-and-answer sessions into a daily referendum on media bias.

    • More Than A Quarter Of Trump’s Overseas Partners Have Tangled With The Law

      More than a quarter of Donald Trump’s international business deals involve a partner who has been investigated, charged, or convicted of a serious crime, a new analysis by BuzzFeed News shows.

      During the campaign, Trump promised to hire the “best people,” but his international deals show his partners often had tangles with the law. In Dubai, the Trump Organization is building two golf courses and luxury villas with a partner who was convicted and sentenced to prison for collaborating on a deal that would rip off the Egyptian people. In Indonesia, Trump’s company is at work on two resorts with a partner who has been accused of money laundering and threatening the Indonesian attorney general.

    • Exclusive: Lebanon believes Saudi holds Hariri, demands return

      Lebanon believes Saad al-Hariri is held in Saudi Arabia, from where he resigned as prime minister, two top Lebanese government officials said, amid a deepening crisis pushing Lebanon onto the frontlines of a power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Conejo Valley Unified School District Back in Censorship News

      The proposed changes include flagging any text deemed to have any potentially objectionable content with a “mature content” warning. Such preemptive warnings too often tar valuable, complex books with a scarlet “objectionable” label and reduce them to only the words or passages that have caught the attention of the would-be censor. In addition, the proposal requires that parents sign off on syllabi that specifically identify all titles with potentially objectionable content. Going forward, the policy would also require a community review committee made up of non-teachers to review titles suggested for the curriculum. The amendments facing the CVSUD board boil down to two main issues:

    • The ‘Russia’ Excuse for Facebook & Twitter Censorship

      Last week saw a dramatic new phase of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into “Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election” and “possible collusion by members of the Trump team.” Two senior members of the Trump campaign team including former campaign chair Paul Manafort surrendered themselves to federal authorities.

      Some would say that this is it, that Trump is definitely finished. US media reported that the indictments against Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his assistant Rick Gates undoubtedly proved that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, thus installing Trump as president. But if you tried listening to the supposed evidence, you could hear the special prosecutor claiming that these individuals “did work for Ukraine and were paid by the Ukrainian government.”

    • Conservatives must fight media’s censorship of pro-life content

      Twitter had previously halted advertisements from Rep. Marsha Blackburn, because she spoke about her desire “to stop the sale of body parts” by Planned Parenthood. Twitter later allowed the advertisements, but only after they were criticized for it, proving that if people speak out, change is possible.

    • Senate Committee Approves Sex Trafficking Bill Despite Objections From Tech Advocates

      The United States Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved a bill designed to combat sex trafficking online despite numerous objections from technology firms and privacy advocates.

      The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) has enjoyed bipartisan support since its inception and was passed through committee unanimously but will face significant push back over its concerns the legislation, despite its good intentions, will result in internet censorship.

    • Sex trafficking act would lead to censorship online, not safety

      Changes unveiled last week to the controversial Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) have won the support of the Internet Association, which includes tech giants like Facebook and Twitter. While these minor revisions may have eased the bill’s passage out of committee Wednesday, lawmakers haven’t yet come within hailing distance of addressing SESTA’s underlying problems.

      Shaped by good intentions, SESTA would reduce today’s internet to something more like traditional newspapers or broadcasters, rather than a democratic environment in which everyone’s voice may be heard. It would entrench the internet’s dominant voices as trusted sources, essentially because they’re easier to sue in court.

    • SESTA Approved by Senate Commerce Committee—Still an Awful Bill

      The Senate Commerce Committee just approved a slightly modified version of SESTA, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (S. 1693).

      SESTA was and continues to be a deeply flawed bill. It would weaken 47 U.S.C. § 230, (commonly known as “CDA 230” or simply “Section 230”), one of the most important laws protecting free expression online. Section 230 says that for purposes of enforcing certain laws affecting speech online, an intermediary cannot be held legally responsible for any content created by others.

      It’s not surprising when a trade association endorses a bill that would give its own members a massive competitive advantage.

      SESTA would create an exception to Section 230 for laws related to sex trafficking, thus exposing online platforms to an immense risk of civil and criminal litigation. What that really means is that online platforms would be forced to take drastic measures to censor their users.

    • Will Sheryl Sandberg And Facebook Help Small Websites Threatened By SESTA?

      Sandberg’s support, then, is doubly troubling. SESTA will cause more harm to victims of sex trafficking, while at the same time cementing Facebook’s dominant position, by putting smaller companies at significant risk. The cynical among you may suggest this latter part explains Facebook’s decision here, though I’d argue that’s almost certainly not true. It’s much more likely that with all the criticism Facebook has been receiving lately over supposed Russian interference, it had to “give up” something, and it’s easy to toe the misleading line that all of the politicians are following by saying this bill is about sex trafficking and it will magically help end sex trafficking. The fact that it may harm smaller sites and Facebook’s own users? That’s just gravy.

      Yesterday I asked if the authors of SESTA, Senators Blumenthal and Portman, could explain to smaller sites like ours how to stay on the right side of the law. Now I’d like to make a similar ask of Facebook: considering its support of SESTA is what allowed it to sail through the markup this morning, will Facebook commit to funding the defense of small sites that face legal jeopardy because of SESTA? Will Facebook commit to creating a fund to pay for lawyers to help smaller sites comply with SESTA? Will Facebook commit to funding defense of bogus grandstanding attacks by state AGs using SESTA?

    • Ron Wyden Puts A Hold On SESTA And Warns About Its Dangers

      Those are fighting words — and it’s good to see him come out and directly say that just because big tech companies are for SESTA it doesn’t mean it’s a good thing (now will some people finally stop falsely claiming that Wyden just represents the big tech companies?). Last week’s decision by the Internet Association (which represents the largest internet companies) along with Facebook’s direct support for SESTA remain very troubling. These organizations have experience with intermediary liability laws and know how important they are, and how weakening them gets abused. Wyden knows that too.

      In some ways, this reminds me of a similar situation, almost exactly seven years ago, when Wyden blocked COICA, an alarmist censorship bill pushed by Hollywood, which eventually morphed into SOPA and PIPA. As with SESTA, COICA was seen as an “easy” win for Congress and passed out of Committee with a unanimous vote. Wyden put a public hold on it and forced Senators to go back to the drawing board — and eventually the entire bill was killed.

    • David Boies Accused Of Running Horrifying Spy Operation Against Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers

      David Boies is one of the highest profile lawyers in the country. I first became aware of him when he (as outside counsel) represented the Justice Department in the overreaching antitrust case against Microsoft in the 1990s. However, I think most people became aware of him when he represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore. Since then, nearly every time he’s popped up in Techdirt, it’s been doing really, really sketchy things. He was the lawyer for SCO in that company’s insane “set open source on fire” lawsuit against IBM over Linux. He represented Oracle in its ridiculous lawsuit against Google over whether APIs are covered by copyright*. He represented Sony Pictures after its email was hacked and threatened lots of journalists — including us! — for publishing stories based on those leaked emails (we told him “go pound sand.”) And, honestly, until earlier this week, I thought the most egregious efforts by Boies had been his connection to Theranos, the disgraced medical devices company, where Boies wasn’t just a lawyer for the company, but on the board, and participated in terrible and far-reaching attempts to punish whistleblowers at the company.

    • The Woman Battling Hate Speech, Censorship, and Extremism Online (and Off)

      Jigsaw is working on projects like letting people in Internet-censored countries access the open Internet via other people’s connections, and using machine learning to ferret out online abuse.

    • Open Hillel Rejects Censorship and Stands with Princeton Students Calling for Open Discourse

      CJL derived these standards from Hillel International’s Standards of Partnership for Israel Activities, which has been applied by Hillel donors and board members countless times to censor students, speakers and events on college campuses across the country. Just as Open Hillel opposes the Standards of Partnership and its censorship of student voices, so do we oppose the censorship of MK Tzipi Hotovely.

    • Hillel president apologizes to Hotovely for Princeton slight

      The head of Hillel International on Tuesday apologized to Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, three days after the Princeton University branch of his Jewish campus organization canceled her speech there on short notice following pressure from a progressive Jewish group.

    • Miami City Attorney Tries To Erase Photos Of Fired Firefighters From The Internet

      The images are already out there. Telling the media to unpublish the photos is a ridiculous move. The union plans to sue the city for releasing the photos, but that’s not going to do anything to return the internet to the state it was in prior to the accidental photo dump.

      As for the firefighters inadvertently left unprotected by this “violation” of Florida’s open records law, it would seem the best way to keep your photo from being displayed in stories about racist acts by public servants is refraining from engaging in bigoted acts while employed as public servants. Trying to turn online media sources into self-serving time machines only ensures maximum visibility.

    • Arts: University chooses dialogue, not censorship, for controversial mural

      In May 1917, just a few weeks after the United States entered World War I, a motion picture called “The Spirit of ’76” debuted in Chicago. It was advertised as “a historical romance dealing with the American Revolution and its causes,” and its depiction of the British was particularly negative.

      Because the U.S. was now fighting alongside Great Britain in the war, authorities confiscated the film. Later that year Robert Goldstein, its writer and producer, was fined $5,000 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act by disparaging an ally and giving aid and comfort to the enemy: in this case, the Germans. Because in 1915 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that movies did not have First Amendment protection, a federal appeals court upheld the decision.


      This fall, more than 1,600 students at the University of Indiana demanded the administration remove from view a portion of a 1930s-era mural by famed Midwestern regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton entitled “A Social History of Indiana.”

    • Faculty Meeting Briefing: Faculty discusses censorship and diversity

      At their November meeting, the faculty spent a large portion of time in confidential deliberations as a committee of the whole before discussing academic censorship.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • US House panel passes legislation aimed at overhauling certain aspects of NSA’s internet surveillance programme

      A US House panel on Wednesday passed legislation seeking to overhaul some aspects of the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance programme, overcoming criticism from civil liberties advocates that it did not include enough safeguards to protect Americans’ privacy.

    • Sean Parker: We Built Facebook to Exploit You

      Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker — Justin Timberlake in The Social Network, if that’s how you keep track of the platform’s key players — sat down with Axios’s Mike Allen at an event in Philadelphia this week. Parker, who now chairs the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, was there to discuss advances in cancer research — but nevertheless managed to squeeze in a few comments about building Facebook. What he had to say is not going to make Zuck happy.

      Confirming what you basically know, but probably don’t want to think about too closely, Parker explained just how he and the other early Facebookers built the platform to “consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible.” He described the system of users posting content and receiving likes as “a social-validation feedback loop … exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” “We need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever,” Parker said. “And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.” He also noted that he and Zuckerberg, and later Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, were very much aware of this and “did it anyway.”

    • Can you have secrets online? This unusual pop-up shop will make you think again

      Few are aware of their digital footprint and the extent to which their data is harvested, traded, and sold on a daily basis.

      Most people enjoy apps and social media services without thinking about the control over their own personal data they are handing over to giant corporations. For example, if you don’t alter the right settings, Facebook has the ability to track you across the web — and many of its billion users are none the wiser of any of this.

      And Facebook is just one example: companies are collecting and using more data than ever, while some governments are increasingly pushing to gain more powers over online services in order to access user’s private data.

    • CIA director met with NSA whistleblower at President Trump’s urging to discuss his conspiracy theory that DNC leak was an inside job
    • ‘Zero evidence’ that Russia hacked DNC, says NSA whistleblower (VIDEO)

      NSA whistleblower William Binney spoke to RT about his recent meeting with CIA director Mike Pompeo, where they discussed accusations that Russia meddled in 2016 US presidential election by hacking the Democrats.

      In an interview with RT America host Ed Schultz on Wednesday, Binney said tests have “clearly showed” the DNC was not hacked by Russia before the 2016 presidential election, but that the data was downloaded locally.

    • To prevent revenge porn, Facebook will look at user-submitted nude photos

      Facebook is experimenting with a new way to prevent the posting of so-called revenge porn that involves a highly questionable requirement. Potential victims must send nude pictures of themselves though the social network’s official messenger so the images can be viewed, in full, unedited form, by an employee of the social network.

      A Facebook spokeswoman said the employee would be a member of the company’s community operations team who has been trained to review such photos. If the employee determines the image violates site policies, it will be digitally fingerprinted to prevent it from being published on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. An article posted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported said the service is still being tested with help from Australian government officials. To use it, potential victims will first complete this online form, and then send the images to themselves over Facebook Messenger.

    • Fappening 3.0 Continues? — Explicit Pictures Of WWE Divas JoJo, Paige, and Maria Kanellis Leaked
    • NSA’s Spying Obsession – How Lawmakers Could Use Mega Security Breaches to Get the Agency More Powers

      Earlier this morning, the US lawmakers sat together to grill current and former executives from Equifax, Yahoo, and Verizon. Today’s hearing, titled Protecting Consumers in the Era of Major Data Breaches, was focused on massive security breaches that the companies faced under these executives. While Yahoo lost data of over 3 billion of its users, Equifax managed to have personal data, including social security numbers of 145 million Americans exposed. Verizon was in the panel because of its recent acquisition of Yahoo.

      Included in the panel were, Paulino do Rego Barros, Interim CEO, Equifax; Richard Smith, the CEO when Equifax suffered the intrusion; Marissa Mayer, the former CEO of Yahoo (she only appeared before the committee after lawmakers subpoenaed her); Karen Zacharia, the deputy general counsel and chief privacy officer at Verizon; and Todd Wilkinson, President and CEO Entrust Datacard Corp.

    • U.S. House panel advances bill aimed at limiting NSA spying program

      A U.S. House panel on Wednesday passed legislation seeking to overhaul some aspects of the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program, overcoming criticism from civil liberties advocates that it did not have enough safeguards to protect Americans’ privacy.

    • U.S. House panel advances bill aimed at limiting NSA spying program

      The House bill, known as the USA Liberty Act, partially restricts the FBI’s ability to review American data collected under Section 702 by requiring the agency to obtain a warrant when seeking evidence of crime.

    • Facebook’s “shadow profiles”: the involuntary dossiers of information you never provided, and can’t opt out of

      Facebook is well understood as being a major customer of third-party data-brokers, who compile huge dossiers on people based on their spending, internet and phone usage, employment history and so on. In addition, Facebook encourages users to upload their entire address books to the system to “find your friends,” and users generally don’t appreciate that they may be leaking sensitive information, including nicknames, private numbers, and connections to the system.

    • Facebook asks for users’ nude photos so it can block revenge porn
    • Apple says it immediately contacted FBI about unlocking Texas shooter’s iPhone

      Apple is refuting the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s account of the aftermath of the Texas gunman’s attack this past Sunday, saying it reached out to the bureau “immediately” to offer assistance in getting into the gunman’s iPhone and expedite its response to any legal process. The attack, which left 26 dead and many more injured, was committed by now-deceased Devin P. Kelley, who is confirmed to have been carrying an iPhone that may have crucial information about his activities in the lead up to the shooting.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • TSA fails most tests in latest undercover operation at US airports

      When ABC News asked the source familiar with the report if the failure rate was 80 percent, the response was, “You are in the ballpark.”

    • The ACLU Has Challenged the Trump Administration Since the 2016 Election

      Dresslar tells Teen Vogue that the ACLU plans to hire 100 new employees, mostly litigators, and mostly at state affiliates. So while many feel frustrated at the injustices caused by Trump and his cabinet, we have the ACLU as our defenders.

    • Ashamed to work in Silicon Valley: how techies became the new bankers
    • U.S. Gave Its Torturers a Pass, So International Court Steps In

      For the first time, U.S. officials could face the specter of indictment by the international court.

      After a decade of collecting evidence, the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court announced last week that she will take steps toward a full investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed over the course of the armed conflict in Afghanistan since May 2003. While the process could take years, this development means that, for the first time, U.S. officials could face the specter of indictment by the international court.

      The prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has requested to launch a full investigation into whether a number of actors committed gross violations of international law, including “war crimes of torture and related ill-treatment.” That implicates U.S. military and CIA personnel, as well as private contractors. In a 2016 report, the prosecutor’s office revealed that it had reason to believe that members of the U.S. military “subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity” and members of the CIA “subjected at least 27 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and/or rape.”

    • Ramsey Orta Can’t Breathe

      When we went to a New York state prison to visit Ramsey Orta, the young man who filmed a police officer choking Eric Garner to death on a Staten Island sidewalk in 2014, we didn’t even make it past the metal detectors.


      For months, Ramsey had been telling friends that the Fishkill prison guards were targeting him, much like the local Rikers Island guards—who he says tried to kill him with verifiably rat-poisoned food—had back home. He didn’t feel safe at Fishkill, either, he said. In fact, since he’d filmed his friend’s death at the hands of an NYPD detective, he hadn’t felt safe even out in public.


      Ramsey’s treatment, along with that of other activists and copwatchers, may be intended as a cautionary tale for anyone who would film police. But for those devoted to the idea that journalism is a sacred institution that protects and strengthens democracy, his case points to the need to challenge the imaginary line separating journalists and the rest of us, which limits those protections.

      This distinction between bona fide journalists and amateurs is one that members of the press themselves reinforce, when their outrage meter bursts at the thought of a credentialed reporter being manhandled or arrested—but not the average person.

    • The 2017 Elections Show Criminal Justice Reform Can Be a Winning Issue

      Smearing candidates as “soft on crime” didn’t work this election cycle.

      On Election Day 2017, candidates in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Virginia, and New York won on platforms that proactively embraced criminal justice reform or rejected fear-mongering attempts by opponents to label them as soft-on-crime.

      Their victories send a strong signal to politicians running in 2018 elections that they do not need to hide from supporting issues like bail and sentencing reform, ending the death penalty, and restoring the rights of people living with a criminal record. They also represent the continuation of a shifting narrative that rejects the old tough-on-crime politics for a new approach that is rooted in civil rights and redefining community safety.

    • Deputy Shoots Family’s Terrier; Complains About Cost Of The Bullet

      In disturbing, but sadly unsurprising news, a law enforcement officer is being accused of killing a family pet — one that very likely did not need to be killed. Kelli Sullivan’s dog was shot by a sheriff’s deputy when the deputy responded to Sullivan’s call about being harassed by a neighbor. Sullivan soon learned why you’re taking the lives of everyone and everything into your own hands by asking for law enforcement assistance.


      But that’s not the end of it, although that would probably be more than enough. A deputy unable to handle the “aggressive manner” of a 12-lb. dog is going to have severe difficulties handling aggressive behavior by full-grown humans.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Colorado Voters Shoot Down Comcast’s Shitty, Protectionist State Broadband Law

      For years we’ve noted how large ISPs like Comcast quite literally write and buy protectionist state laws preventing towns and cities from building their own broadband networks (or striking public/private partnerships). These ISPs don’t want to spend money to improve or expand service into lower ROI areas, but they don’t want towns and cities to either — since many of these networks operate on an open access model encouraging a little something known as competition. As such it’s much cheaper to buy a state law and a lawmaker who’ll support it — than to actually try and give a damn.

      And while roughly twenty three states have passed such laws, Colorado’s SB 152, co-crafted by Comcast and Centurylink in 2005, was notably unique in that it let local towns and cities hold local referendums on whether they’d like to ignore it. And over the last few years, an overwhelming number of Colorado towns and cities have voted to do so, preferring to decide local infrastructure issues for themselves instead of having lobbyists for Comcast dictate what they can or can’t do in their own communities, with their own tax dollars.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Taylor Swift Using Dubious Trademark Registrations To Shut Down Sales Of Fan-Made Goods

        Oh, to be a lawyer retained by Taylor Swift™ — free of concerns about your client’s financial health or the nuances of intellectual property law. When not pursuing bogus defamation claims or targeting clear fair use cases, you can always bring the power of Swift® to bear on the unofficial adoration of the probably-not-a-white-supremacist singer’s fanbase.

        Legal threat after legal threat sent following trademark filing after trademark filing in hopes of capturing 100% of all available SwiftDollars™. Why only collect royalties when you can submit individual lyrics from songs to the US Patent and Trademark Office to lock everyone else out of the Swift Merch Machine®?

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Sticks Its Nose Into Australia’s Copyright Business: Warns Against Fair Use And Geo-Blocking Relief

        It’s been no secret that the MPAA has been sticking its nose in the copyright laws and enforcement of Australia for some time now. From pressuring government officials in the country to force ISPs to act as copyright police, to trying to keep Australian law as stuck in antiquity as it possibly could be, to trying to force the country to enforce American intellectual property law except the parts it doesn’t like, the MPAA nearly seems to think of itself as an official branch of the Australian government. Given the group’s nakedly hostile stance towards fair use, it should be no surprise that it doesn’t want to see that sort of law exported to other countries and has worked to actively prevent its installation Down Under.

      • Russia Plans Instant Movie Pirate Site Blockades, Without Court Order

        The Russian Ministry of Culture has tabled a new proposal that will allow filmmakers to have pirate sites blocked within 24 hours, without a court order. Officials say that new measures are needed to better protect the revenues of the local movie industry. Interestingly, the plan applies only to local content so major Hollywood productions are not covered.

Apple v Samsung Dominates the News, But Samsung Has Just Taken on MPEG-LA Using PTAB Inter Partes Reviews

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 9:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bin of Software Patents

Summary: Samsung is attempting to trash multimedia patents (HEVC), which are essentially software patents, but the media is focused on the Supreme Court’s refusal to revisit software patents in Apple v Samsung

THE MPEG patent cartel is a subject we wrote many articles about, especially around 2010. It’s not only a barrier to Free/libre Open Source software but to every small company. It’s a thicket of software patents which miraculously took hold even in countries that had already banned such patents. Korea is one of those countries and it seems as though Samsung is finally fed up with this cartel. As IAM put it this week, “Samsung targets fellow pool member’s HEVC patents as dispute escalates” and here are the details (with the obligatory pro-trolls bias/slant):

A fight between Samsung Electronics and a fellow member of MPEG LA’s HEVC patent pool escalated late last month as the Korean tech giant launched four inter partes reviews (IPR) against patents owned by Ibex PT Holdings. All of the patents targeted by Samsung are a part of the HEVC pool, which relates to video compression technology used in 4K HDTV and other video formats.

Samsung brought two IPRs against Ibex late last year, both of which were denied institution, but significantly ramped up its fight in October filing two reviews at the start of the month followed by the more recent quartet of filings. The company has brought a total of eight IPRs against three patents owned by its fellow HEVC pool member.

It is very unusual for pool members to target each other’s IP in this way. The standard practice is for each licensor in a pool to receive licences to all of the patents owned by the other pool members so they don’t pose an assertion risk. Therefore moving to invalidate another pool member’s IP suggests that Samsung is frustrated that Ibex continues to receive a slice of revenues on patents that the Korean company clearly feels shouldn’t have been granted in the first place.

These four inter partes reviews will help demonstrate the value of PTAB, which we shall cover separately (lots happening there this week). Can these SEPs (standard-essential patents) be tackled once and for all? There are probably too many pertinent patents in there for that to be achievable, but one can help. Pretty much all of these patents would be software patents, which Alice renders invalid.

Speaking of SEPs, ITC has been getting involved, according to IAM which wrote:

You just don’t get injunctions in cases relating to standard essential patents in the US, do you? Absolutely not, in almost all circumstances. However, during a presentation at last week’s IPBC Asia in Tokyo, Vinson & Elkins partner John Fuisz drew delegates’ attention to a recent initial determination in an ITC case that might lead to that changing. In the Matter of Certain Magnetic Data Storage Tapes and Cartridges Containing Same – involving Japanese companies Sony and Fujifilm – has opened the door to the possibility, in some circumstances, of SEP owners being able to use the commission as a forum through which to obtain injunctive relief.

SEP injunctions (embargoes) — more so than SEPs themselves — are seriously unjust. But these are the sorts of things IAM likes to promote, even in its events in Asia (like the above). That’s all about agenda and it’s pretty clear whose. Sadly, a lot of media that covers patent matters is just marketing and lobbying. Here’s a new example of a fake article, an advertisement disguised as “news” for a firm that represents patent trolls (Fish & Richardson).

In other news about Samsung, there’s yet more coverage about Apple v Samsung (we wrote about it over the weekend) and people aren’t happy about the Supreme Court denying intervention. We’ve received some long E-mails after our article about it, which basically argued that the only positive thing is Alice remaining in tact (without risk of challenge).

“Apart from the slide-to-unlock patent,” said Indian press, “the case also involved the quick links patent, which covered software that automatically turned information like a phone number into an accessible link.”

Software patents.

Florian Müller wrote a relatively short post about this. The half-full glass:

Samsung made a lot of headway with respect to design patent damages, and will get a new trial. In that context, the Supreme Court had granted a cert petition by Samsung and overruled the Federal Circuit. The Supreme Court might have been particularly hesitant to hear yet another Apple v. Samsung case.

In the meantime Apple has been sued for alleged patent violations again (not software). We don’t suppose Apple intends to start any other (new) case against Android any time soon. Since the death of Steve Jobs not much new has happened on that front.

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” ~Steve Jobs

Administrative Council of the EPO is Concerned That the Office is Largely German and Male, Recruitment Bar Has Fallen

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Old friends

Summary: The EPO’s inability to attract people from abroad (countries other than Germany) and enough female scientists is a subject of concern within the Organisation, whose recruitment standards have sunk to embarrassing levels in the wake of unprecedented scandals

IN our previous post we quoted the Dutch as saying (about last month’s meeting of the Administrative Council of the EPO): “With regard to recruitment, it was also mentioned that one-third of the new staff members are of German nationality and that, on the other hand, the percentage of women is below par. Given the desire for diversity, the EPO staff made a comment on this.”

“Sadly for the Office, not many people even want to work there anymore.”Last year we found out that recruitment of Brits had gone down by 80%. Earlier this year a British worker committed suicide. He had a wife and a child. However poorly, Battistelli has long attempted to bury this issue. Suicides, lack of national diversity (e.g. many Frenchmen around him) and lack of gender/racial diversity is something that nobody ‘dares’ bring up in front of the autocrat. Sadly for the Office, not many people even want to work there anymore. There is a deep recruitment crisis. It guarantees brain drain and thus degradation in quality of service (e.g. examination).

Yesterday, one reader showed us that the EPO was trying hard to recruit in LinkedIn. It has gotten pretty bad and we gave some examples of this in the past (people publicly say that the EPO chases them, even with very low job requirements). “Desperately,” this reader explained, they still try to find staff. “But if you read this account of an interview you get an idea of how low they got…it’s appalling! Even to me [it's] hard to believe, of such a level right on an interview.”

Patent Office of the Netherlands Expresses Uncertainty About UPC, Voices Concern About Benoît Battistelli’s Attack on Staff

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bank robbery

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s ruthless and destructive push for the UPC, combined with disregard for the law and the welfare of EPO staff, results in strongly-worded publications that don’t even assume that the UPC will ever materialise

EARLIER this year, in the April 2017 edition of the “Bijblad de Industrieele Eigendom”, the EPO got slammed for Battistelli's manipulation of the Administrative Council. They called it “an unreal situation.”

The October 2017 edition of the “Bijblad de Industrieele Eigendom”, an official quarterly publication of the Netherlands Patent Office, was also published online [PDF] quite recently.

“Amongst other things,” a reader told us, “it contains a report on the October meeting of the Administrative Council (10 and 11 October) and a report on the meeting of the Select Committee which took place immediately before on 9 October.

“The Select Committee is a sub-committee of the Administrative Council responsible for matters relating to the Unitary Patent Agreement and it acts as a liaison body between the EPO and the EU.

“From the report on the Administrative Council meeting it would appear that some delegations are unhappy about the evident lack of progress in the “social dialogue” and the lack of information provided by the EPO to the Council.”

For example (translation): “Several delegations also addressed the social situation once again and enquired in particular about the state of the social dialogue. Unfortunately, however, the EPO did not provide any concrete information on the results and follow-up of, for example, the ‘focus groups’ which had been established.”

There’s also this: “The (very comprehensive) Social Report for 2016 was also discussed. Several delegations called for the necessary steps in the social dialogue with the focus on a clear objective while recognising that the dialogue itself is an extremely difficult matter in the given situation. The number of meetings has also grown considerably, but the qualitative results are lagging far behind.”

The report on the Select Committee meeting contains an update on the status of the UPC and includes observations on Brexit and the German constitutional complaint.

The report concludes by stating that it is unclear when a judgment on the complaint can be expected from the German Federal Constitutional Court or whether Germany will in fact be able to ratify the UPC Agreement.

Extracts of the relevant sections of the Bijblad in the original Dutch are shown below along with English translations of the most important passages.

Dutch (original):

Kort verslag 153e Administrative Council (AC)

De Administrative Council (AC) van de European Patent Organisation (EPO) kwam laatstelijk bijeen
op 10 en 11 oktober 2017.

Voor het eerst werd de vergadering geleid door de in juni nieuw gekozen voorzitter, Christoph Ernst, in het dagelijkse leven Ministeraldirigent (plv. directeur-generaal) bij het Duitse Justizministerium.

Aan de AC meeting werd ook deelgenomen door twee nieuwe Heads of Delegation: Catherine Chammartin namens Zwitserland (zij vervangt nu in die rol haar voorganger Roland Grossenbacher) en Sune Sörensen namens Denemarken (hij is bij de Denen de opvolger van Jesper Kongstad). Vermeldenswaard is verder dat de Luxemburger Lex Kaufhold werd gekozen tot voorzitter van het Budget & Finance Committee, als opvolger van Christoph Ernst die inmiddels AC Chair is geworden.

Natuurlijk stond deze AC voor een heel groot deel in het teken van de verkiezing van de volgende president van het Europees Octrooibureau (EOB). Na intensieve sessies met questions and answers, waarin de twee kandidaten door de AC uitgebreid aan de tand zijn gevoeld, werd de Portugees Antonio Campinos gekozen. Per 1 juli 2018 is hij dus de opvolger van de Fransman Benoît Battistelli. Campinos, nu nog Executive Director van het EU-bureau voor merk- en modelrechten in Alicante (EUIPO) en voordien ook nog president van het Portugese nationale bureau, was op voorhand al de gedoodverfde favoriet. Met 36 stemmen, tegenover 2 stemmen voor zijn Italiaanse tegenstrever, maakte hij de status van favoriet volledig waar. Het hem verleende mandaat geldt voor een periode van 5 jaar.

Naar aanleiding van het gebruikelijke activities report van de EOB-President is het management en het personeel van het EOB lof toegezwaaid voor de fraaie resultaten die door het bureau steeds kunnen worden gepresenteerd. Verschillende delegaties zijn daarnaast overigens andermaal ingegaan op de sociale situatie en vroegen zich in het bijzonder af hoe het staat met de sociale dialoog. Over de uitkomsten en de follow-up van bijvoorbeeld de ingestelde ‘focus groups’ is door het EOB echter jammer genoeg geen concrete informatie gegeven.

Voor de eerste keer heeft verder de President van de Boards of Appeal, de Zweed Carl Josefsson, zijn activities report gepresenteerd. Ingegaan is door Josefsson onder andere op de zeer onlangs afgeronde verhuizing van de Boards van München naar het plaatsje Haar. Verder is door hem aandacht besteed aan maatregelen, die een periode van vijf jaar beslaan, om de backlog aan te pakken, wat anders dan door sommigen wordt gedacht, beslist géén sinecure is. Als ook een uitvloeisel van de package deal in de AC (maar Nederland was toen tegenstemmer) van juni 2016 ten aanzien van Boards of Appeal is het overigens zo dat het plan bestaat om de fees bij de Boards met misschien wel 20% te verhogen; een verhoging die naar verluidt niet zou gaan gelden voor het midden- en kleinbedrijf.

Op de agenda stond verder het (voor het eerst uitgebrachte) Quality Report, in dit geval over 2016. Verschillende grotere octrooilanden maken zich druk om de kwaliteit van de producten en diensten van het EOB. Als het gaat om proceskwaliteit is het rapport overigens overtuigend. Wat productkwaliteit betreft blijft het moeilijk om te begrijpen hoe het er bij het EOB voorstaat. Nederland heeft opgemerkt dat het verhaal gaat dat de brief (inhoudend de intention to grant) die het EOB uitstuurt vóór de uiteindelijke verlening van het octrooi tegenwoordig in de vorm van amenderingen aanzienlijk meer reacties oproept bij de aanvragers dan voorheen. Als dat inderdaad zo is, dan zou het EOB in de voorfase dus minder goed werk geleverd hebben. Deze concrete vraag bleef echter onbeantwoord door het EOB. Door het EOB is toegezegd dat het Quality Report voortaan jaarlijks zal worden.

Ook het (zeer uitvoerige) Social Report over 2016 werd besproken. Bepleit werden door meerdere delegaties de nodige stappen in de sociale dialoog, gericht op een duidelijke doelstelling, in het besef dat de dialoog op zich in de gegeven situatie een uiterst moeilijke aangelegenheid is. Het aantal meetings is overigens flink gegroeid maar de kwalitatieve uitkomsten blijven daar ver bij achter.

Verder gaat de werving van (bijna uitsluitend nog) nieuwe examiners onverdroten voort. Ook is door delegaties aandacht gevraagd voor de gang van zaken en de uitkomsten bij de appeal en disciplinary procedures.

Ten aanzien van de werving kwam ook nog ter sprake dat één-derde van de nieuwe personeelsleden de Duitse nationaliteit heeft en dat daarentegen het percentage vrouwen achterblijft. Gegeven de gewenste diversiteit is hier door de staff van het EOB een kanttekening bij gemaakt.

Tot slot zij hier vermeld dat de AC het EOB heeft gevolmachtigd om het EPO-WIPO Agreement te vernieuwen dat ziet op het functioneren van het EOB als International Searching Authority en als International Preliminary Examining Authority onder het Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

terug naar nieuwsbrief

English (portions from original):

Naar aanleiding van het gebruikelijke activities report van de EOB-President is het management en het personeel van het EOB lof toegezwaaid voor de fraaie resultaten die door het bureau steeds kunnen worden gepresenteerd. Verschillende delegaties zijn daarnaast overigens andermaal ingegaan op de sociale situatie en vroegen zich in het bijzonder af hoe het staat met de sociale dialoog. Over de uitkomsten en de follow-up van bijvoorbeeld de ingestelde ‘focus groups’ is door het EOB echter jammer genoeg geen concrete informatie gegeven.


In response to the usual activities report of the EPO President, the management and staff of the EPO were commended for the fine results that could be constantly presented by the Office. Several delegations also addressed the social situation once again and enquired in particular about the state of the social dialogue. Unfortunately, however, the EPO did not provide any concrete information on the results and follow-up of, for example, the ‘focus groups’ which had been established.


Ook het (zeer uitvoerige) Social Report over 2016 werd besproken. Bepleit werden door meerdere delegaties de nodige stappen in de sociale dialoog, gericht op een duidelijke doelstelling, in het besef dat de dialoog op zich in de gegeven situatie een uiterst moeilijke aangelegenheid is. Het aantal meetings is overigens flink gegroeid maar de kwalitatieve uitkomsten blijven daar ver bij achter.

Verder gaat de werving van (bijna uitsluitend nog) nieuwe examiners onverdroten voort. Ook is door delegaties aandacht gevraagd voor de gang van zaken en de uitkomsten bij de appeal en disciplinary procedures.

Ten aanzien van de werving kwam ook nog ter sprake dat één-derde van de nieuwe personeelsleden de Duitse nationaliteit heeft en dat daarentegen het percentage vrouwen achterblijft. Gegeven de gewenste diversiteit is hier door de staff van het EOB een kanttekening bij gemaakt.

The (very comprehensive) Social Report for 2016 was also discussed. Several delegations called for the necessary steps in the social dialogue with the focus on a clear objective while recognising that the dialogue itself is an extremely difficult matter in the given situation. The number of meetings has also grown considerably, but the qualitative results are lagging far behind.

Furthermore, the recruitment of (almost exclusively) new examiners will continue unabated. Delegations also drew attention to the state of play and the outcome of appeal and disciplinary procedures.

With regard to recruitment, it was also mentioned that one-third of the new staff members are of German nationality and that, on the other hand, the percentage of women is below par. Given the desire for diversity, the EPO staff made a comment on this.

Dutch (original):

Kort verslag Select Committee d.d. 9 oktober 2017

Het Select Committee (SC) van de Administrative Council (AC), dat gaat over de implementatie van de unitaire octrooibescherming in EOB-context, kwam bijeen op 9 oktober 2017.

Het Europees Octrooibureau (EOB) heeft het SC geïnformeerd over de voortgang en de nieuwe functionaliteiten van de IT-systemen die nodig zijn om de voorziene unitaire octrooibescherming te ondersteunen om zo het vereiste dataverkeer tussen het EOB, de national offices en het UPC mogelijk te maken. Vermeldenswaard voor gebruikers is nog dat er op verzoek van de user community van het EOB een nieuwe code komt om in het EOB-register de Europese octrooien met unitair effect te kunnen identificeren.

Aan de orde kwam ook het belang dat in het Unitary Patent Protection (UPP)-deel van het EOB-register ook alle relevante informatie vindbaar zal worden over Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs). Het EOB ziet daartoe graag dat national offices gebruik maken van de mogelijkheid om de bedoelde informatie electronisch uit te wisselen met behulp van het EOB- systeem INPADOC.

Ook deze keer is gesproken over de stand van zaken met betrekking tot het Unitary Patent en het Unified Patent Court (UPC). Belangrijke hobbels zijn de instemming met de “Provisional application phase” van het UPC Agreement en hat “Protocol on Privileges en Immunities” van dat UPC alsook natuurlijk de nog onvoltooide ratificatieprocedures in het UK en Duitsland (waar de Bundespräsident wacht met het contrasigneren nu het Bundesverfassungsgericht zich nog moet uitspreken over de aldaar op 31 maart ingediende constitutionele klacht).

Ter informatie stonden op de SC-agenda de “Results of the questionnaire on national measured accompanying the implementation of the European patent with unitary effect”. Het SC nam hier kennis van. Het is de bedoeling een overzicht van alle nationale implementatiemaatregelen te publiceren op de EOB website, zodra het unitaire systeem operationeel wordt.

Tav de voorlichting en communicatie over het unitaire octrooipakket door het EOB nam het SC kennis van de plannen die daarvoor bestaan. Het SC verwelkomde de producten die in ontwikkeling zijn, zoals brochures, een uitgebreide User Guide en de aanpassing van de EOB-website. Ook werd door het EOB meegedeeld dat het EOB bereid is om de vertaling van de User Guide in andere dan drie officiële EOB-talen te verzorgen.

Daarnaast heeft de Europese Commissie een update gegeven van haar plannen voor ondersteunende maatregelen voor het midden- en kleinbedrijf. Een haalbaarheidsstudie over een systeem van pre-diagnose voor bedrijven is gestart. Een aanbesteding wordt georganiseerd voor een database on IP licensing, gericht op implementatie ervan in 2018. Ook wordt nagedacht over mogelijkheden voor arbitration en mediation.

De plannen om in het bijzonder het innovatieve midden-en kleinbedrijf te ondersteunen worden op zich verwelkomd, al zijn er ook landen die vervolgens uitdrukkelijk wijzen op het subsidiariteitsbeginsel dat veronderstelt dat rekening wordt gehouden met nationale verantwoordelijkheden en initiatieven en dat er waar mogelijk wordt samengewerkt met organisaties in de nationale omgeving.

terug naar nieuwsbrief

Update UPC Agreement

Sinds eind juli jl. hebben weer twee landen het UPC Agreement geratificeerd: Estland en Litouwen. Daarmee bedraagt het aantal ratificaties inmiddels 14 landen (zie hier voor een volledig overzicht van de ratificaties). De voor inwerkingtreding vereiste ratificaties van het Verenigd Koninkrijk en Duitsland ontbreken echter nog.

Verenigd Koninkrijk
Wat betreft de Britse ratificatie kan worden gemeld dat het Schotse parlement het Protocol inzake Privileges en Immuniteiten heeft goedgekeurd. Het parlement in London dient dit echter ook nog te doen (zie hier), alvorens het VK het UPC Agreement kan ratificeren. Van Britse zijde wordt verzekerd dat hun ratificatie nog dit jaar zal worden gedeponeerd in Brussel.

Over de Duitse klacht is in augustus jl. meer bekend geworden. De Duitse octrooigemachtigde dr. Th. Bausch heeft aan het Bundesverfassungsgericht meer informatie gevraagd en gekregen (zie hier). De klacht blijkt te zijn gebaseerd op vier bezwaren:

1) De UPC-goedkeuringswet waarbij soevereiniteit wordt overgedragen, moest met tweederde meerderheid worden gekeurd door de Bundestag en de Bundesrat.

2) Democratische en rechtstatelijke gebreken ten aanzien van de regelgevende organen van het UPC.

3) Gebrekkige onafhankelijkheid en democratische legitimatie van de UPC rechters.

4) Strijd met het principe van openheid jegens Europees recht (Europarechtsfreundlichkeit) op grond van vermeende onverenigbaarheid van de UPC Agreement met het EU recht.

Het Duitse constitutionele hof heeft een aantal derden in de gelegenheid gesteld om hun zienswijze op de klacht te geven. In oktober jl. is voorts aan andere derden ook deze gelegenheid geboden en blijkt het Bundesverfassungsgericht de termijn voor het geven van een zienswijze te hebben verlengd tot eind december. Het dus is vooralsnog onduidelijk wanneer een beslissing van het Duitse hof op de klacht tegemoet kan worden gezien of dat Duitsland het UPC Agreement kan ratificeren.

terug naar nieuwsbrief

English (portions from original):

Update UPC Agreement

Since the end of July, two more countries have ratified the UPC Agreement: Estonia and Lithuania.

With this, the number of ratifications is now 14 countries (see here for a full overview of ratifications).


However, the ratifications of the United Kingdom and Germany which are required for entry into force are still missing.

United Kingdom
As regards the British ratification, it can be reported that the Scottish Parliament has approved the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities. However, the Parliament in London still has to do this (see here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2017/9780111158555/contents) before the UK can ratify the UPC agreement. From the British side it has been assured that their ratification will be deposited this year in Brussels.

More became known about the German complaint in August. German Patent Attorney Dr Th. Bausch asked for and received more information from the Federal Constitutional Court (see here).


The complaint appears to be based on four objections:

1) The UPC Agreement Act, which transfers sovereignty, had to be approved by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat with a two-thirds majority.
2) Democratic and legal deficiencies in respect of the UPC regulatory bodies.
3) Inadequate independence and democratic legitimacy of the UPC judges.
4) Conflict with the principle of openness to European law (“Europarechtsfreundlichkeit”) on the grounds of alleged incompatibility of the UPC Agreement with EU law.

The German Constitutional Court offered a number of third parties an opportunity to give their views on the complaint. Last October, this opportunity was extended to other third parties, and the Constitutional Court appears to have extended the deadline for submission of opinions to the end of December. It is thus unclear for the moment when a judgment on the complaint can be expected from the German Court or whether Germany can ratify the UPC Agreement.

The above is an admission from UPC ‘cheerleaders’ that UPC may not happen. This is rather significant.

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