07.04.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 4/7/2021: Raspberry Digital Signage 16.0 and Lots About Patents

Posted in News Roundup at 2:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Best Alternative Linux Distributions For Windows 11

        Windows 11 is the latest operating system from the Microsoft. Like previous version of Windows, Windows 11 needs better and bigger hardware to use it smoothly. Users will be forced to buy a new upgraded hardware for the Windows 11.

        In this post, we are going to list out the some of the best alternative Linux operating systems for Windows 11.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Will Keep Core Scheduling Disabled By Default – Phoronix

        Among the many new features that were sent in so far this week for the Linux 5.14 merge window was the long in-development work on “core scheduling” to reduce the Hyper Threading information leakage risks from side channels and help ensuring deterministic performance on such HT/SMT systems by controlling the resources that can run on a sibling thread. As a follow-up to that article from a few days ago, core scheduling will now be disabled by default.

        With the original scheduling pull request that landed earlier this week, the new “CONFIG_SCHED_CORE” build option defaulted to on by default. Linus Torvalds noticed that default enabling even though core scheduling is unlikely to be of interest to the vast majority of Linux users.

      • Linux 5.14 Improving Its Distributed Lock Manager To Allow Message Re-Transmission – Phoronix

        The Linux kernel’s Distributed Lock Manager as a general purpose DLM for kernel and user-space applications with cluster computing systems is seeing a useful reliability improvement with Linux 5.14.

        The Distributed Lock Manager will now be able to handle message re-transmission so nodes can continue operating when network connections fail and then reconnect. Up to now DLM in this case didn’t re-transmit messages and would treat them as lost and would be handled as a node failure.

    • Applications

      • Darktable 3.6 is Here with Full Rework of the Import Module

        Darktable has a bit of a learning curve, but in its latest update to 3.6, it’s easier to use that it ever was.

        If you’re sick of paying for photo editing software and are looking for an alternative to Adobe, then the new Darktable 3.6 may be for you. Darktable is a free, open-source RAW photo file editor software for photo editing and file management.

        Darktable should support RAW files from just about every camera, from 1999’s Nikon D1 on up. You can think of Darktable as Lightroom, but on steroids. It offers a full library organization section which allows you to view and tag multiple images, arrange them by various forms of ranking and much more.

        In the editing portion of Darktable you can of course start the process of non-destructive editing. It has some very powerful and unique features for masking, which once used, you’ll wonder how you managed without them.

      • Audacity is now a Possible Spyware, Remove it ASAP

        The famous open source audio manipulation program was acquired by a company named Muse Group two months ago. The same company owns other projects in its portfolio such as Ultimate Guitar (Famous website for Guitar enthuisasts) and MuseScore (Open source music notation software).

        Ever since, Audacity has been a heated topic.

        The parent company is a multi-national company and it has been trying to start a data-collection mechanism in the software. While Audacity is nothing more than a desktop program, its developers want to make it phone home with various data taken from users’ machines.

      • GNU Binutils 2.37 Is On The Way – Finally Drops ARM Symbian OS Support – Phoronix

        GNU Binutils 2.37 has been branched and the release process initiated for these low-level GNU components likely seeing their v2.37 release later this month.

        As of Saturday the Binutils 2.37 code has been branched ahead of this next half-year update to these binary utilities common to GNU/Linux systems and more.

      • Network Manager: The Low-Down On Getting Up To Speed

        After using a combination of PCC (PCLinuxOS Control Center) and net_applet to manage internet connections under PCLinuxOS for YEARS (pretty much since its inception), PCLinuxOS made the switch to Network Manager in early June 2021. Network Manager also replaces the lesser used (but very capable) wicd program. Network Manager has become the default network management tool in most Linux distributions in recent years. It debuted in November 2004, first introduced by Red Hat, so it’s definitely not a youngster.

        As a result, there is a LOT of information out there about Network Manager (henceforth referred to as NM). In fact, there’s so much information available, it may become a daunting challenge to find the information you seek. Indeed, users could experience “information overload” when searching out information on NM, which could make it difficult to discern what information is needed for a particular issue.

        While I’ll give you a list of some resources to explore as you get accustomed to NM (at the end of the article), let’s spend more time explaining the best way to get your network up and running after this huge change to the PCLinuxOS landscape.

        Trust me. My first time through this on one of my computers was not a joyous affair. It took me about three hours to figure things out. I should have written things down from the forum before I started, but I didn’t. So, I repeated the process on my “travel” laptop, leveraging what I learned in the first attempt, and after going back to the forum to figure out where I erred in my first attempt. What follows is the benefit of my trials and tribulations, coupled with information gleaned from the various threads about NM in the PCLinuxOS forum.

      • Repo Review: Motrix Download Manager

        Motrix is a powerful, easy to use download manager that has support for HTTP, FTP, BitTorrent, and Magnet links. Motrix can handle up to 10 active downloads at once, and it can also accelerate download speeds by splitting the files into multiple parts, making it faster than downloading through a regular web browser.

        Motrix has a very modern and nicely designed user interface. The main page you’re presented with when opening Motrix is the Task List, from which you can view and manage all of your active downloads. The tasks can be filtered to show only those that are currently downloading, waiting, or stopped, from the Tasks panel on the left. From the sidebar on the far left, you can access the Motrix website, the Task List, start a new download, and open the Preferences page. Motrix also gives you a nice internet speed indicator down in the lower right corner.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Older Version of a NPM Package

        NPM (Node Package Manager) is a command-line tool for managing node modules for Node.js applications. It is used to install, update or delete a node module in your system. It also follows the pacakge.json file for proper management of node modules for an application.

        The npmjs.com is the centralized repository containing all the node.js modules. Npm download the packages from npmjs and install them on a client machine. By default, NPM installs the latest version of an available module, but sometimes you may be required an older version of the module for your application.

      • How To Install Tig on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Tig on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Tig refers to the text mode interface for Git. It provides you with a very efficient user interface for interacting with Git. It functions mainly as a Git repository browser, but can also assist in staging changes for commit at chunk level and act as a pager for output from various Git commands.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Tig on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • Video Editing With Shotcut

        I recently took on a project at work which involved editing videos. I wasn’t sure how to do that, or even what editor to use, but Shotcut and Avidemux were recommended to me as good programs. Both have Windows versions as well, and both are in our repo. I chose Shotcut, knowing I could use it on my work computer (Windows) and my home computer (PCLinuxOS, of course!). I also frequently take my work laptop to another office, and wanted to be able to work there as well. While working on my project, I have gotten started learning Shotcut. I won’t pretend I know everything about it, but this article might get you started if you’re interested. Let’s explore.

      • GIMP Tutorial: Remove A Background, Part 2

        In May, I started a series of ways that you can remove the background from most any photo, referencing this video how-to on YouTube. The author has several other videos that are very good.

        This month I’ll finish covering the five methods.

      • Tutorial: Integrating OmniAuth with Sinatra Application

        As part of my GSoC project, my first task includes that user could login into their account on debci using their Debian Salsa account (collaborative development server for Debian based on the GitLab software).

        The task is officially completed using OmniAuth library and while implementing it, I found that the documentation of OmniAuth is quite a mix-match and more focused on using it with Rails app and this gives me a idea to write a tutorial for people looking to integrate OmniAuth with Sinatra application. So here it is.

        Now, depending on the provider, Omniauth requires specific strategy which are generally released individually as RubyGems. For this tutorial, I would be using omniauth-gitlab which I used for Debian Salsa in my project, omniauth-twitter and a developer strategy which could be used for project in development mode and comes with omniauth gem itself.

        For simplicity purposes, I have included all routes and OmniAuth configurations in a single file app.rb.

        Let’s start.

    • Games

      • Noita on Linux | Ubuntu 20.04 | Steam Play

        Noita running through Steam Play on Linux. As mentioned, it just works!

      • Godot Engine – Godot XR progress update June 2021

        The plugin now supports the new motion ranges API added to OpenXR which works in combination with finger tracking to switch between the ability to make a closed fist or limit finger movement to the shape of the controller. More modes will become available as they are added to the OpenXR specification.

        Finger tracking itself is fully supported both through updating orientation of meshes, for which a sample scene is included in the plugin, and through animating a skeleton and bone deformation. There are a few changes to the OpenXR specification in the works around the skeleton implemention. Once these become official we’ll update the plugin and supply sample scenes as well.

        The plugin has been tested on Linux with both Steam and Monado OpenXR runtimes and on Windows with both Steam and Oculus OpenXR runtimes. Feature wise it is a great replacement for both the OpenVR and Oculus Desktop plugins including using the Oculus Quest over (air) link.

        Windows Mixed Reality headsets are currently only supported through SteamVR as WMR natively only supports DirectX game engines.

        We’re looking at Android and native Oculus Quest support for the near future.

        The source for this plugin can be found here. Further documentation on the plugin can be found here.

      • Top New Games You Can Play With Proton Since June 2021

        We are back with our usual monthly update! Boiling Steam looks at the latest data dumps from ProtonDB to give you a quick list of new games that work (pretty much?) perfectly with Proton since June 2021 – all of them work out of the box or well enough with tweaks…

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Raspberry Digital Signage 16.0 released

          Raspberry Digital Signage is an operating system designed for digital signage installations on the Raspberry Pi: it displays a full-screen browser view restricted to a specified resource. It shows web resources from Internet, local network or local folders (so you can use the Pi itself as the source webserver).

          Raspberry Digital Signage comes with the latest Chromium builds (featuring HTML5 capabilities), so you can display more attractive resources, more easily.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Browser Update Features You Might Have Missed

          Back in the early days of the web, we’d have to wait up to months sometimes for an update — and new features — to our favorite web browser. These days, updates for the various browsers seem to come more frequently than I fill the gasoline tank on my pickup truck. You barely have time to get used to and try out one version before the next version is coming out.

          Back in the early days of the web, there were no more than two or three competing web browsers. Today, there is an endless stream of browsers, each offering their own special take on what the developers think a web browser should be. Names like Brave, Vivaldi, Chromium, Konqueror, Midori, Basilisk, Dillo, Epiphany, Ephemeral, Flashpeak Slimjet, Waterfox, Iridium, Min, Netsurf, Microsoft Edge, Palemoon, Otter, Seamonkey, and many others populate the browser landscape. And all of these are just the ones I located during a cursory look in the PCLinuxOS repository. I’m certain that I missed a few … or more. There are many more that aren’t in the PCLinuxOS repository.

          Most publications would say that there are four “major” browsers: Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Microsoft Edge. Some might say there are five, adding in Safari for MacOS/iOS. I call them the “big boys” of the browser world. But, for our purposes, there are only three big boys on the block: Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera. Let’s exclude Safari, since it’s pretty much an exclusive MacOS/iOS thing. I also exclude Microsoft Edge, not because it isn’t innovative (it is), but because most Linux users distrust Microsoft so much that they refuse to install or use Microsoft products on their Linux installation. Microsoft Edge is immeasurably better than the old, recently retired hack called Internet Explorer. That part is impossible to debate. Using the Chromium code-base for the new browser, Microsoft Edge has even recently introduced very innovative and extreme-space-saving TRUE vertical tabs. But Linux users’ collective distrust of anything Microsoft is going to make Microsoft Edge a tough sell to Linux users, and Linux is the “language” we speak around here.

          I’m only going to hit the highlights of the recent browser improvements and new features. This won’t be an all-inclusive review of all that is new and better, so I’m sure to probably miss listing one of your favorite new features or improvements. But I’ll try my best to list the most important of the “new and improved.”

          Also, the list will be presented alphabetically, to avoid any “browser prejudice” or “browser bias.” Those who regularly read my articles probably already know my preferences, but I’ll also try to present the “new and improved” without bias or judgement. However, there is one case among the “new and improved” features that has the potential to introduce what could be a significant security vulnerability, and I won’t hesitate to point that out when we come to it. In theory, the “new and improved” feature sounds like a great idea on the surface, but when looked at objectively could also become quite the security issue.

        • FreeNode Destructs. What It All Means For FOSS, PCLinuxOS

          On May 19, 2021, the FreeNode IRC (Internet Relay Chat) network exploded into controversy. Twenty to thirty FreeNode staff members resigned their positions, and created Libera Chat, a new IRC network. FreeNode is considered the IRC home to numerous FOSS projects, including PCLinuxOS.

          As a result, many FOSS projects have abandoned FreeNode. Most have gone to the newly formed Libera Chat network. These FOSS projects include Gentoo, Ubuntu, Wikimedia, CentOS, FreeBSD, and Arch Linux, just to name a few.

          The controversy over FreeNode still rages like an out of control wildfire. FOSS projects continue to flee the carnage. Libera Chat, started by former FreeNode staffers, went from startup to the sixth largest IRC network literally overnight with all the requests for new IRC channels and new registered users. As you might imagine, the Libera Chat folks have been slammed with requests, and now have a backlog of new channel requests.

          [...]

          The PCLinuxOS Magazine has maintained a chat presence on IRC ever since I became the editor 12 years ago. Had the kerfuffle at FreeNode not occurred, we’d still be there. But the sloppy way that the “transfer” was handled during the power change has necessitated a move to a new home.

          IRC is old technology that predates the World Wide Web, having started in August 1988. Tim Berners-Lee didn’t even propose his idea for the WWW until March 1989, seven months later. His vision wouldn’t become reality until Christmas 1990. IRC has served its purpose admirably during that ensuing time. It allowed people to interact directly with one another, across vast distances, in real time.

          But it definitely has some areas that just don’t make sense in today’s computing landscape. Messaging on the web has evolved to include better, more dynamic, more secure methods. IRC uses an inordinate amount of bandwidth to send plain text messages. It’s insecure, and ripe for data interception.

          So, now is as good of a time as any to move on. PCLOS-Talk runs on a custom XMPP server. It’s more secure, even if just for the fact that it requires users to have an account, which means that users have had some sort of vetting just to be able to connect. IRC will allow anyone to connect, with or without an account, increasing exposure to trolls, spammers, and others with malicious intent.

          When one door closes, another one opens. Thanks for the fond memories, FreeNode and IRC. You served us well.

        • More [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
        • Welcome From The Chief Editor [of PCLinuxOS Magazine]

          While these situations can and do happen, their frequency is far less than we’re made to believe or think. Never mind that you might not have been the most qualified candidate for that coveted job. Never mind that maybe someone else showed more/better leadership potential for that promotion. It’s far, far easier to blame someone else for one’s failings than it is to take responsibility for those failings.

          A little introspection can go a very long way in these cases. But as long as the “aggrieved” party refuses to acknowledge and accept responsibility for the “failure,” there can never be any introspection. That introspection may prompt the “aggrieved” party to seek additional training or schooling to better position themselves for that next coveted job opening or promotion. Without accepting responsibility, the “blame game” continues on, ad nauseum, over and over and over again.

          Related to responsibility is accountability. In fact, “responsibility” is listed as a synonym for “accountability” in the dictionary. Even though the dictionary lists them as synonymous, I see them as separate. There’s not many degrees of separation, but I still view them separately. In my mind anyway, accountability means a willingness to accept the consequences of your actions. It also means that you own up to your own mistakes, shortcomings, and faults. Just as they preach in many of the 12 step programs, admitting that you have a problem is 50% of the solution.

    • Devices/Embedded

  • Leftovers

    • Monopolies

      • If You Thought Google’s Evilness Was Limited To The Internet, You’d Be Wrong

        The story about the origins of COVID-19 continues to be played out like a poorly acted horror film. EcoHealth Alliance, headed by Peter Daszak, has been deliberate and one of the principal players in trying to debunk the lab origins of the virus, despite mounting evidence that the virus had indeed escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Daszak was one of the members of the WHO team who set out to attempt to find a naturally occurring evolution of the virus.

        The plot and number of “players” in this drama continue to thicken and deepen. It has now come to light, by way of investigative journalists and published on The National Pulse website, that Google has funded EcoHealth Alliance for more than the past 10 years. Through the nonprofit foundation/charity arm of the tech giant known as Google.org, Google funneled money to EcoHealth Alliance to fund research on bat coronaviruses. That money, conceivably, could have also been used to fund the “gain of function” research that aided the virus to jump species from bats to humans.

        This story continues to evolve at break-neck speed. However, I doubt that we’ll ever know the whole picture of this biological debacle that has stained humanity. Let’s hope, though, that we learn enough to help prevent another similar occurrence from happening again in the future. The next time, we might not be so lucky as to be able to contain it or find a vaccine or treatment.

      • The Dangerous Liaisons Of Big Tech Companies

        I previously wrote about the nebulous relations of big techs with the American spy agencies, which, by itself, would be very worrisome. These agencies treat citizens as if they were criminals, violating everyone’s privacy, listening to conversations, keeping pictures, archiving personal data, which, normally, would only be acceptable with warrants issued by judges. But no, they act clandestinely and outside of the law(s). This alone would be very bad. But research for writing is an interesting activity, as Forrest Gump would say, when you open a box of chocolates, you never know what you will find. And, research is like that, you start researching a subject, and, how the thing ends, you never know. Imagine my surprise when I found out that American companies, big tech companies, are involved with the Chinese government? Yes, and not that they are spying on the Chinese government. Far from it. But they are helping to perpetrate human rights abuses. Exactly the same government that is openly condemned for human rights abuses, is a first class customer of several US tech companies.

        [...]

        Oracle has always been close to the U.S. government, working with the CIA as one of its first customers, so much so that Oracle’s work with the government (Safra Catz, Oracle’s CEO, was in the Trump administration’s transition cabinet in 2016) helped it and Walmart outmaneuver its rivals in an attempt to control U.S. operations for Chinese-owned social media company TikTok last year, after the Trump administration ordered TikTok to find a U.S. buyer for its American operations. The proposed deal, under challenge in court, was motivated by concerns that TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company could pass on sensitive user data to Chinese authorities. But in a strange twist, the documents show that Oracle marketed the use of its software to those same authorities in an extreme example of putting profit above human rights.

        [...]

        This censorship and surveillance scheme was discovered by Jeffrey Knockel, a 27-year-old graduate student (at the time) at the University of New Mexico, who decoded and published a list of the words that cause Skype to block messages or forward them to Chinese servers.

        In 2019, it came to light that Microsoft has been working with a military-run Chinese university on artificial intelligence research that could be used for surveillance and censorship, a revelation that has sparked outrage from China’s opponents on Capitol Hill.

        Three papers, published between March and November last year, were co-written by academics at Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing and researchers affiliated with China’s National University of Defense Technology, which is controlled by China’s top military body, the Central Military Commission.

        One of the papers described a new AI method for recreating detailed environmental maps by analyzing human faces, which experts say could have clear applications for surveillance and censorship.

        The paper acknowledges that the system provides a better understanding of the surrounding environment “not seen by the camera,” which could have a “variety of computer vision applications.”

        Samm Sacks, a senior fellow at think-tank New America and an expert on China technology policy, said the documents raised “red flags because of the nature of the technology, the author’s affiliations, combined with what we know about how this technology is being deployed in China right now.”

        “The [Chinese] government is using these technologies to build surveillance systems and to detain minorities [in Xinjiang],” Ms. Sacks added.

        The U.S. government is debating whether research collaborations, particularly in sensitive areas such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality, should be subject to stricter export controls.

        Microsoft and Huawei, a happy marriage

        President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning Huawei products in American homes. Huawei not only works closely with the Chinese government to monitor citizens through technology and AI, but is also under investigation for working to subvert the US-Iran nuclear weapons agreement. Huawei is blacklisted on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulatory Entities List.

      • ID checks and Ts and Cs: in-house reveal social media wish list [Ed: Social control media is a cesspool where misinformation can spread fast, without challenge, but when you're an overzealous lawyer of monopolists you worry about 'counterfeiting' instead (competition)]

        Counsel in the fashion, home appliances and pharmaceutical industries call for contractual obligations on social media sites, where counterfeiting is on the rise

      • Russia adopts law that shakes Cognac and Champagne importers

        In an unexpected mix of geopolitics and IP, Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed amendments to the Federal Law ‘On State Regulation of Production and Turnover of Alcoholic Products’. The amendments significantly affect the interests of Champagne and Cognac producers importing their products to Russia.

        The new Law addresses two categories of products: a broader ‘sparkling wine’ for imported drinks on one side, and ‘Russian champagne’ (that is, made in Russia only), on the other. The Law further introduces the notion of ‘cognac of Russia’, ‘a cognac, which is completely (for 100 %) made of grapes, cultivated at the territory of the Russian Federation’. For the rest of ‘cognacs’, the Law also stipulates that, after a transition period of 7 years, the name ‘cognac’ will only be used for those products that are made from distillate produced in Russia. The amendments will enter into force on the date of their publication in the Official Journal.

        A letter from the Russian ‘Moët & Chandon’ branch is circulating in the media, allegedly stating that the importation of the brand’s champagne will be put on hold until the producers decide whether they are ready to rebrand their champagne to ‘sparkling wine’ for the Russian market. Policy officials, contacted by Russian media, claim that champagne producers have misunderstood the new amendments and they will not be obliged to rebrand their products, when entering the Russian market. Surprisingly, the new requirements for cognac have not attracted any right holders’ attention so far and no official statements in this regard have been done by Russian officials.

      • Patents

        • US grants new patent targeting major neurodegenerative diseases [Ed: Maybe they should solve problems instead of looking to just monopolise alleged solutions (or 'monetise' Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s)]

          Alterity Therapeutics have been granted a patent for compounds able to redistribute excess iron in the brain being developed as a treatment for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

        • Why It’s Important to File Oppositions at the EPO to Increase Your Freedom to Operate [Ed: Patents are not about freedom to operate but the exact opposite]

          First off, what exactly are oppositions? Simply put, once the European Patents Office (EPO) has granted you or a competitor a patent, there is a nine-month window to file a complaint and argue the patent was incorrectly granted. Keeping track of the latest patents is particularly useful since your competitors will likely have patents that limit your freedom to use specific features in your products or services. The EPO may grant a patent, but it may not necessarily be valid if there are earlier disclosures of the same invention or something very similar. Filing an opposition is a public opportunity to check and validate the work of the EPO. By opposing a patent, you can potentially have the decision of the EPO work in your favour.

          Patents are often broad and sometimes their wording needs clarification. This is especially common with new technologies. What is and isn’t covered needs to be correctly interpreted as well as what has already been disclosed in other patents. By opposing a new patent, you can check and show what has already been disclosed and narrow its definition based on your limitations. Then, when you know the exact definition of the patent, you can be confident you have freedom to operate up to a certain point without legal recourse (more on this below).

        • Assignor Estoppel Persists — But Only for Claims Specifically Assigned

          In my property law course, I spend a good bit of time walking through post-conveyance rights and obligations. What warranties are are promised to the buyer? Do these need to be express or may they be implied? Can you disclaim the warranties by selling via quitclaim deed or “as is”? Are warranties different in for sale than for a gift? And What about caveat emptor? My class focuses on land and, to a lesser extent, personal property. Minerva asks the same questions, but for patents. The court upheld the assignor doctrine, but with some big caveats.

          [...]

          On remand, the Federal Circuit will consider how these caveats play into the specific case here where the claims were apparently changed substantially post-assignment.

        • EPO hails digital transformation as patent applications fall [Ed: EPO patent applications fall. Maybe the applicants finally realise that EPO will be defunct in a number of years the way things are going?]

          The EPO has said the year 2020 prompted an accelerated switch towards a digital workspace – due to plans brought forward because of the COVID pandemic – and that European patent applications fell marginally in that time.

          In its Annual Review, published on Tuesday, June 29, the EPO said it had accelerated the digitalisation of the patent granting process and extended teleworking to almost all staff, introducing changes during the course of the year that were originally due to be implemented by 2023.

          According to the EPO, 97% of matters across the entire volume of workflows were performed digitally by the end of 2020. As a result, the office used 58.7 million fewer sheets of paper compared to 2019 and saw an 80% reduction in duty travel.

          “These encouraging trends were supported by the large-scale switch to oral proceedings by videoconference, which also ensured access to justice and greater transparency,” said an EPO spokesperson.

          But the review also showed that demand for European patents declined very slightly when compared with 2019. There were 180,250 European patent applications filed in 2020, 0.7% fewer than the previous year.

          António Campinos, EPO president, said: “Thanks to the determination and ingenuity of staff, our close co-operation with partners worldwide, our fresh strategic approach to quality and our accelerated digital transformation, the office has been able to both manage the challenges presented by the pandemic.”

        • Opposition Practice At The EPO – Advice For Patent Owners [Ed: Patents have no "owners"; it's the wrong term, but the patent 'sector' hopes that repetition will reinforce this misconception; the more conventional term for patent assignee is "holder" (and that's temporary; it's not eternal like "property")]

          Opposition proceedings at the EPO provide a time-limited opportunity for a third party to challenge the validity of a granted European patent centrally, with the aim of achieving revocation, or at least a limitation, of the granted patent rights. In this article, we will give an overview of the opposition procedure, before delving into tips and strategies for patent proprietors when faced with opposition proceedings.

          Overview of the EPO opposition procedure

          EPO opposition proceedings are a very cost-effective tool for third parties who wish to oppose the grant of a European patent. A granted European patent is converted into a bundle of independent national patent rights that are administered at the national level under the patent laws of each country. EPO opposition proceedings are an exception to this, whereby the grant of a European patent can be contested centrally for a limited period of time after the date of grant.

          The cost of challenging the grant of a European patent centrally at the EPO is a small fraction of the cost of pursuing separate invalidity proceedings in the national courts in each country where the patent is in force. Furthermore, any decision by the EPO to revoke or limit a European patent is not open to challenge in the national courts. As around two-thirds of oppositions result in limitation or revocation of the opposed patent, EPO opposition proceedings are both a powerful tool for the opponent and a serious threat for the patent owner.

        • When am I protected after having filed a European patent application?
        • How pharma in-house teams do M&A deals [Ed: Stop calling patents "IP" as it's a misleading propaganda term, in this case wielded by pharma litigation monsters who also sponsor this writer]

          Lawyers give advice on the best way to perform IP due diligence in multibillion dollar deals

        • Lithium Australia continuing to advance its battery technology

          Lithium Australia NL’s (ASX:LIT) (OTCMKTS:LMMFF) (FRA:3MW) Adrian Griffin updates following a busy week of news with major announcements within three of its business divisions. Today the company announced it’s progressed its joint venture with soon-to-be-listed Charger Metals with the latter exercising its option to acquire a 70% stake in three of LIT’s battery metals assets. They’ve also reported that its first-generation LieNA® lithium processing technology is set to be granted a patent from the European Patent Office.

        • Patent plaintiffs in U.S. and Germany recently tried fragmenting their infringement claims for tactical reasons, but at least the Federal Circuit won’t support such gamesmanship [Ed: Germany tries copying Texas to nuke the European economy (other ‘states’) for temporary gains]

          I have a penchant for clever litigation tactics. That’s why I’ve repeatedly credited Arnold & Ruess’s Dr. Arno Risse (“Riße” in German) for obtaining the first (at least the first SEP-related) German anti-antisuit injunction in Nokia v. Daimler and getting it, together with lead counsel Cordula Schumacher, affirmed by the Munich Higher Regional Court. Fast forward by two years, and Munich is the go-to venue for anti-antisuit purposes. Talk about breakthrough innovations and agenda-setting.

          While we’re on the anti-antisuit subject, according to Juve Patent, the Munich I Regional Court just upheld an anti-antisuit injunction it had granted IP Bridge against Huawei. I haven’t been able to obtain a redacted copy of the decision. According to the court’s press office, they can’t release it yet. I did, however, attend, and report on, the late-April injunction hearing.

          Sometimes litigators go too far, and the courts decline to condone excessive gamesmanship. On Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted a mandamus petition by Samsung and LG against a patent holder named Ikorongo, which belongs to Concert Technology Corporation. The two Korean smartphone makers (though LG is in the process of exiting that business and will become more patent enforcement-oriented) succeeded in getting Ikorongo’s patent infringement claims against them transferred from Judge Alan Albright’s Waco division of the Western District of Texas to the Northern District of California.

          I already indicated in a Thursday post that Judge Albright’s reluctance to relinquish his jurisdiction over patent cases is controversial. He gets overruled from time to time, and the Samsung/LG petition raised a particularly interesting issue…

          [...]

          In order to get leverage over Daimler by being able to afford the enforcement of an injunction during the appellate proceedings (thereafter, no collateral needs to be provided anymore), Nokia tried a different kind of prayer of injunctive relief: instead of the common format, which bars a defendant from further infringement of a given patent claim on German soil, Nokia targeted combinations of (i) patent claims and (ii) particular Mercedes models. Presumably, Nokia would then have focused its enforcement on where the damage to Daimler would have been most hurtful, such as the most profitable line and flagship: the S Class.

          I heard from one source that the Munich court was skeptical of the admissibility of such fragmentation. But due to the settlement, no formal decision was made, and maybe someone at Daimler was scared of the prospect of Nokia’s strategy working out, and therefore preferred to take a license.

        • Federal Circuit may overrule Judge Albright should he hold Markman hearing prior to ruling on Volkswagen’s motion to transfer venue [Ed: Texas helps opponents of the current patent system. It makes the system looks as corrupt as nobody's business.]

          We’re in the Western District of Texas again. Sometimes, such as on Thursday, I agree with Judge Alan Albright. As a former patent litigator, he knows this stuff inside out. But there are issues. I already indicated in a Thursday post that Judge Albright’s reluctance to relinquish his jurisdiction over patent cases is controversial. And in my previous post I pointed to a recent Federal Circuit decision overruling a denial of a transfer motion by Samsung and LG.

          This “what’s filed in Waco stays in Waco” attitude has practical implications: he gets about 20% of all U.S. patent infringement cases, tries to keep as many of them as he can, and then he struggles to take cases to trial as quickly as he’d like to (and as plaintiffs hope). One of the ways in which he tries to optimize his workstream is that he takes a relatively long time to rule on–guess what–venue transfer motions.

        • WDTX Now Has 25% Of All US Patent Cases [Ed: When courts become like for-profit businesses or companies instead of places for judging]

          er this year when statistics showed that nearly 20% of all 2020 patent cases were filed there. According to a report Friday, the district has gotten an even bigger share of patent cases filed so far in 2021: 25%.

          Unified Patents’ report on patent disputes in the first half of the year found that of the 1,942 patent cases filed in America over the past six months, 489 have been lodged in the Texas district, where they are nearly all assigned to Judge Alan Albright, a former Bracewell LLP patent litigator.

        • Netlist, Inc. (OTCMKTS: NLST) Powerful Runner as Lawsuit Over (‘912) Seminal Patent Moves Forward

          The netlist story really took off in July when the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision upholding the validity of Netlist’s U.S. 7,619,912 (‘912) patent that applies to DDR server memory modules. The decision is final and binding on future cases and represents a resounding win for Netlist. The (‘912) patent is a seminal patent; an invention so impactful that it creates or shifts the technology space. This ruling has much larger implications than just GOOG which will more than likely set the tone for other settlements long overdue here. Since last year the case has been progressing forward and today is the day for the joint letter to the court on discovery if the parties did not come to terms! If they could not come to terms the letter explaining both parties’ position on discovery process no longer than 10 pages is to be submitted today! Once the letter is submitted Judge Spero will decide the discovery process going forward. CA courts favor broad Discovery! The Judge already told Google they would probably not like the result if he had to decide.

        • FOSS Patents: What if a patent injunction impairs the well-being of convertible drivers? German appellate judge raises questions regarding public interest and proportionality

          Judging by what some of the participants wrote at the end of the event, yesterday’s 13th Mannheim IP Forum, which I had recommended on this blog, went great. That’s also my opinion. I attended most of the sessions via Zoom. What limited the event’s reach is that attendance wasn’t free for most people, and that it was held in German.

          In this post I’m going to focus on statements that influential German judges made with respect to the “King of Remedies”: injunctive relief.

          First, there was a noteworthy endorsement of the § 315 approach to FRAND (i.e., an offer by an implementer to take a portfolio license on FRAND terms, but without quantifying them and keeping the door open to judicial review of the actual numbers).

          Professor Peter Meier-Beck, Presiding Judge of the antitrust-focused senate of the Federal Court of Justice, is a patent enforcement hardliner who frequently speaks at events to defend last year’s Sisvel v. Haier I & II rulings. What came across as exceedingly defensive is that he repeatedly (I didn’t count, but if I recall correctly, it happened about five times) made reference to criticism that the Federal Court of Justice strayed from EU case law. The way I would put it (and have put it on previous occasions) is that the Federal Court of Justice has vitiated Huawei v. ZTE.

          Judge Meier-Beck’s approach is to simply give standard-essential patent (SEP) holders maximum leverage because, in the alternative, the courts would have to actually assess whether a royalty demand is FRAND or supra-FRAND, a kind of determination that judges in other jurisdictions make all the time.

          The fact that he is so patentee-friendly makes it all the more interesting that he had license agreements on a § 315 basis on a list of alternatives he considers superior to patent-by-patent SEP litigation.

        • Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc. (2021)

          Patent law is replete with arcane (and often judge-made) doctrines, such as the doctrine of equivalence and obviousness-type double patenting. In addition, long having been considered a property right (Oil States to the recent contrary), patents have been bound to greater or lesser degrees with equitable considerations attendant on the transfer of property and proper limits thereof. These two strands of patent law and jurisprudence converge in the doctrine of assignor estoppel, the question before the Court in Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc. On Monday, a five-justice majority of the Supreme Court, reaffirmed the doctrine, while at the same time limiting its application.

          Simply put, assignor estoppel prohibits an inventor or other owner of rights in a patent from selling that patent to another party, then practicing the invention while attempting to avoid infringement liability by claiming the patent was invalid from the start. The Minerva majority found that the doctrine was well-established in the law and thus was unwilling to abandon it. However, consistent with the equitable nature of the doctrine, the Court limited the doctrine to those instances where the assignor could be fairly understood to have warranted (either expressly or implicitly) the validity of the claims ultimately issued. Thus, in many circumstances — such as when an inventor assigns rights to a patent application that ultimately issues with significantly broader claims — the doctrine will not apply.

        • Game over in Sisvel and Xiaomi’s global SEP dispute [Ed: Uber-aggressive patent troll Sisvel weaponised by "107 patents for the LTE standard." And the public pays for this aggression (hidden toll).]

          It’s game over in the ongoing SEP debate between Sisvel and Mitsubishi, and Xiaomi. On Wednesday, Sisvel and Mitsubishi agreed with Xiaomi to settle all global lawsuits concerning the UMTS and LTE patents.

          Sisvel’s licensor Mitsubishi Electric, as well as the NPE itself, had sued Xiaomi across Europe. Xiaomi had also sued Sisvel at the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, requesting a determination of SEP royalty rates in China.

          The latest settlement includes Xiaomi agreeing to a licence for all of its mobile communication patents. Additionally, the companies announced in a joint press release to end all lawsuits in China, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.

        • Software Patents

          • Analysis Of Patent Filing Trends On Self-Driving Technologies And MaaS-related Technologies [Ed: Lots of this is just bogus and phony software patents with misleading descriptions piggybacking hype and novel-sounding acronyms]

            The combined effect of robust technology development and the prevalence of businesses based on the ICT utilization has served to promote the concept of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) which integrates various forms of transportation services into one seamless service. MaaS allows users to combine the most appropriate transportation services based on their mobility needs with smartphone apps and offers them efficient and cost-effective routes to specific destinations. Of all the MaaS-related technologies, ride-hailing and car sharing have been drawing the most attention amongst the public. Multimodal transportation systems, which provide effective and comfortable transportation services available on demand, have also been becoming popular along with these technologies. This article analyzes patent filing trends in the self-driving technology and MaaS-related technology fields at the major five IP offices in the U.S., Europe, China, Korea, and Japan between 2014 and 2018.

            [...]

            As for R&D trends referred to in a number of scientific publications, European companies most actively publish papers while Japanese companies are completely different. As mentioned in the first part of this article, this is because Japanese transportation businesses are uniquely shaped by their services. Hence, the current transportation environment is less likely to create a MaaS-oriented system. In order to change the ecosystem, Japan needs to establish a multimodal transportation system that includes car sharing and on-demand transportation. Then, it is of great importance that companies regardless of automobiles or telecommunications can access a common pool of data and platforms based on MaaS. In addition, Maas technologies would further enhance and create a new business model by encompassing self-driving technologies.

            Presumptively, new services and business models based on the mobility of humans and things will emerge in the future. Not only automakers and ICT companies but also start-ups, which are invested in by the industry, will make a foray into MaaS. Entrants and incumbent companies will generate disruptive innovation in response to users’ demands.

      • Trademarks

        • Germany: Berlin Regional Court Declares German Word Mark “Black Friday” To Be Revoked

          According to press reports, Berlin Regional Court (Landgericht Berlin) has declared the German word mark “Black Friday” to be revoked for more than 900 goods and services in a judgment handed down on 15 April 2021 (case no. 52 O 320/19). The judgment has not been published yet, and has apparently meanwhile been contested.

          I. Background

          The word mark “Black Friday” was registered in Germany for a large number of goods and services in 2013 (we reported on the topic here: Black Friday is a trade mark! – Noerr (in German only)) and has repeatedly made the headlines since then. After the trade mark owner took action against retailers and portals for allegedly infringing its trade mark by using the term “Black Friday”, a large number of applications for cancellation were filed attacking the word mark.

          In 2019, the Federal Patent Court (Bundespatentgericht) (case no. 30 W (pat) 26/18) found that the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt) was only correct in ordering the trade mark to be cancelled for part of the registered services. The court said it was already foreseeable at the time of application that the term “Black Friday” would become established as a slogan for a discount campaign, however only in the fields of advertising services and retail services involving electrical and electronic goods. It reasoned that the sign was therefore subject to a requirement to keep it available for use for that part. The appeal against this decision is currently still pending before the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof).

        • IP Enforcement Summit: Ships and couriers under spotlight in counterfeit fight [Ed: This is like turning ordinary police or even ISPs... into copyright cops]

          In-house counsel and law enforcement officials have said courier and shipping companies should take more responsibility in the fight against counterfeiting.

          A mix of in-house counsel and directors at non-governmental and enforcement agencies told an EUIPO conference that all parties must work together, but some were split on responsibility for infringements and where liability should rest.

      • Copyrights

        • Russia Fast-Tracks Patent Applications In The War Against Covid-19 [Ed: Russia should instead give patent waivers and financially support research in the public interest]

          Since April 2020, as part of its efforts to address the covid-19 pandemic, the Russia Patent and Trademark Office (Rospatent) has introduced faster prosecution for patent applications for viruses and concomitant diseases, such as pneumonia.

        • Recent Prophetic Example cases from the PTAB [Ed: Dennis Crouch, funded by litigation profiteers, continues attacking (looking to discredit) tribunals that invalidate fake patents]

          Following an obviousness rejection, applicant relied upon an example in the specification to help prove an unexpected result (that the living cell would create certain “unnatural glycan structures”). The PTAB rejected the argument — finding that the example was written in the present tense and therefore assumed to be prophetic and therefore “does not provide the factual evidence needed to support unexpected results.” (emphasis in original). It appears in this case, the PTAB treated the prophetic example as merely an argument.

        • Double Patenting Is Grounds for Refusal Against European Patent Applications Says EPO in G4/19 [Ed: Finnegan conveniently overlooking the fact that the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) is rigged because that’s good for patent profiteers who just pursue as much patent litigation as possible. As long as EPO corruption is profitable to Finnegan they will usher in those who undermine the EPO for chaos profiteers.]

          Last week, the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) confirmed in G4/19 that a European patent application can be refused for ‘double patenting’ despite the absence of an explicit double patenting provision in the European Patent Convention.

          Double patenting, as a concept, seeks to prevent applicants from obtaining multiple patents in the same jurisdiction claiming the same subject-matter. In addition to the administrative inefficiencies such practices would place on the European Patent Office (EPO), allowing double patenting could tempt abuse of royalty arrangements or other matters relating to the licensing/transfer of rights for a particular invention to the detriment of third parties. In recognition of this concept, the EPO will usually issue an objection where a claim has identical scope to that of a previous granted claim covering the same territories. However, because the European Patent Convention (EPC) does not explicitly refer to double patenting, it has been unclear as to whether a European patent application can actually be refused on the ground of double patenting.

          The question of double patenting was therefore referred to the EBA to determine whether, and under what provision, an application could be refused due to double patenting. The EBA has now confirmed that the EPO can rely upon Article 125 EPC as the basis to refuse applications for unallowable double patenting, which specifies that:

          In the absence of procedural provisions in this Convention, the European Patent Office shall take into account the principles of procedural law generally recognised in the Contracting States.


        • UK Supreme Court Refuses to Extend the Scope of Tort of the Tort “Causing Loss by Unlawful Means” Thereby Preserving the Legislative Balance of the Patent System
        • BioWorld MedTech Patent Highlights: Week 25 [Ed: Much of what they nowadays call “medtech” patents are just illegal software patents; spinning illegal and abstract patents as something “medical” or “life-saving” isn’t a novel trick.]

          BioWorld MedTech presents Patent Highlights, an excerpt of the most important med-tech patents from this week’s Cortellis Patents Gazette.

        • UK: Infinite Case Ends – With Limited Award Of Damages For Infringing Copies Of Eminem’s Album

          The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court has assessed damages for copyright infringement by making unauthorised vinyl copies of Eminem’s first album, Infinite.1

          On the facts, the IPEC rejected damages claims based on:

          (a) loss of opportunity to license a third party to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Infinite; and/or

          (b) losses arising from the licence that the claimant would have offered the defendant for releasing the album.

          Instead, the IPEC assessed damages on the basis of a reasonable royalty for the defendant’s actual sales of the record, assuming a negotiation between a willing licensor and willing licensee. That resulted in a putative fee of £2.50 per unit, plus interest.

        • Book Review: (Re)structuring Copyright, A Comprehensive Path to International Copyright Reform

          Professor Gervais advocates that “[t]he IP regime can, and should, be calibrated to lead to human progress”. As a result, the author “proposes a way to structure copyright internationally to achieve” such an aim.

          Gervais underscores that a comprehensive reform is not only required “to ensure that copyright meets its needs in the future … [but it] is also a far better alternative than the current path to a patchwork of regional and bilateral trade agreements, sometimes not compatible with one another, evolving in parallel with myriad new multilateral copyright treaties often ratified only by a fairly small number of countries, and then only years after the treaty’s adoption”.

          The book is divided into two parts. The author emphasizes that it can be read chronologically or directly move to Part II, in which the proposed reforms are discussed.

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