Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patents Roundup: Amazon, Centrify, Microsoft, TecSec, and Bilski



Summary: This is a set of news links about patents and their injustices

Looking out for Bilski: software patents v. FOSS (see our Bilski index)

This period also saw the rise of FOSS as a threat to monopolistic proprietary software companies. The rule of required sharing of computer program source code in FOSS, and creation of a “protected commons” for the free exchange of ideas embodied in program source code eliminated the need for patents. “Copyleft” sharing, under the GNU General Public License (“GPL”) and similar licenses, helped firms to increase their levels of investment in cooperative production, and to exchange ideas, secure in the knowledge that those investments would not be appropriated by others claiming exclusive rights.

But companies in the business of acquiring patents merely to license or sue parties refusing to pay for a license, called “patent trolls,” also sprang up in great numbers. They imposed license fees that FOSS projects could not afford under terms that unacceptably conflicted with FOSS licenses. They exploited companies' willingness to pay license fees for patent claims of questionable validity, in order to avoid the high costs of patent litigation.

Usually, these trolls prefer to bite deep-pocketed businesses and not small FOSS distributors, much less non-profit communities of programmers. Proprietary software giants charge their customers high prices, in effect collecting in advance any patent royalties they may be required to pay to trolls. Thus, patent rent is included in the cost of proprietary products: Microsoft and similar companies may sting from reduction of their profits, but their users have been stung in advance. Moreover, cross-licensing works well for them, as they have or can build a portfolio of patents with which to buy others' claims without using money. But the same approach is not available to FOSS communities, which in general do not seek patents; their users thus risk ending up as casualties in the war.


ITC Becomes Battleground in Nokia-Apple Patent Dispute (more on the ITC's embargoes right here)

The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has agreed to investigate Apple's patent claims against Nokia, after already agreeing last month to do the same for Nokia's patent claims against Apple. With dueling lawsuits pending in federal court over the patent disputes, the ITC has become the battlefield du jour.


USPTO's 1-Click Indecisiveness Enters 5th Year (FFII's president shares this link which he says contains "Amazon testimony in front of Congress on 1-click patent, software patents and patent trolls")

theodp writes "When it comes to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' 1-Click patent, the USPTO is an agency that just can't say no. Or yes. It's now been 4+ years since actor Peter Calveley submitted prior art that triggered a USPTO reexamination of the 1-Click patent. Still no 'final answer' from the USPTO, although an Examiner recently issued yet another Final Rejection of 1-Click related claims (pdf), admonishing Amazon for making him 'sift through hundreds of submitted references to identify what applicant allegedly has already submitted,' which he complained is 'adding an undue burden' to his workload. Looks like Bezos' 2000 pledge of 'less work for the overworked Patent and Trademark Office' isn't working out so well in practice. Not too surprising — after all, Amazon did inform Congress that it 'has modified its specific [patent] reform proposals from the year 2000.'"


Centrify Suite 2010 Expands Ability to Ensure Higher Levels of Trust, Control and Compliance in the Data Center [1, 2] (more on the latest from Centrify, which is putting Microsoft patents in GNU/Linux)

Pfizer, Microsoft, Viacom: Intellectual Property

Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software company, received a patent for a method of encoding and transmitting network data over a satellite network.

According to patent 7,644,092, one of 4,484 U.S. patents issued yesterday, the technology would enable Internet protocol data packets of variable length to be encoded and sent through a fixed-length multi-packet transport system.


Nazomi sues Amazon, Microsoft, Nokia over Java

California-based Nazomi late yesterday sued several tech firms, including Amazon, Microsoft and Nokia, for allegedly violating patents it owns on translating Java code to specific devices. Filed in a Los Angeles court, the lawsuit complains that the three main firms as well as Garmin, Iomega, Sling, Vizio and Western Digital all have devices that supposedly copy its techniques. These include the Kindle and Zune as well as less common devices like the Slingbox or Nokia's tablet computers.


Nokia, Microsoft, Amazon Sued on Translation Patents (Microsoft faces patent-related legal action from over 50 directions, including Emblaze)

Nokia Corp., Microsoft Corp., and Amazon.com Inc. were sued by a closely held company which claims they used two patents used for translating Java code for specific computers.

Nazomi Communications Inc. claims in the suit, filed yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles, that each of the companies sells consumer electronics that infringe its patents. The suit is seeking an order stopping the infringement and unspecified damages.


Cognition In Licensing Deal With Microsoft

The firm--which is headed by Scott Jarus--said it has licensed some of its proprietary semantic technologies to Microsoft Corp.


TecSec Aims Suits at IBM, Cisco, eBay (covered the other day, as the situation is akin to that of Eolas [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8])

TecSec, a closely held firm near Washington D.C., filed patent suits against IBM, Cisco, Sun Microsystems and a host of other tech companies after recently settling one with Microsoft.


[Expired patents]

People are increasingly filing lawsuits over expired patents. An engineer's claim against Sigma-Aldrich, a chemical company, is the twelfth such claim filed this year in courts covered by Courthouse News. Lawsuits over labels marked with expired patents are not a new cause of action, but the sudden surge in such claims is new.

Harold Josephs sued Sigma-Aldrich in Detroit Federal Court on Tuesday, citing seven chemical products he claims the company falsely labels as patented, though the patents have expired.


Sony seeks 'universal console controller' patent (prior art, anyone?)

It's perhaps a step too far to say that just because Sony has applied for a US patent that covers a "universal game console controller" that it's actually developing one with a view to bringing such a product to market.


Recent Techrights' Posts

Microsoft Windows in Nicaragua: From 98% to Less Than 25%
Operating System Market Share Nicaragua
[Meme] Debian's 'Cannon Fodder' Economics
Conflicts of interest don't matter
According to Microsoft, It's Not a Code of Conduct Violation to Troll Your Victims Whose Files You Are Purging
The group of vandals from Microsoft think it's "funny" (and for a "nominal fee") to troll Microsoft critics
Microsoft Inside Debian is Sabotaging Debian and Its Many Hundreds of Derivatives With SystemD (Microsoft/GitHub Slopware With Catastrophic Bugs is Hardly a New Problem)
What is the moral of the story about The Scorpion and the Frog?
 
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, June 23, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, June 23, 2024
Edward Brocklesby (ejb) & Debian: Hacking expulsion cover-up in proximity to Oxford and GCHQ
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
You Know the Microsoft Products Really Suck When...
"Qualcomm and Microsoft go 'beyond the call of duty' to stop independent Copilot+ PC reviews"
IBM and "Regime Change"
Change of regime is not the same as freedom
Techrights in the Coming Decade: The Community Angle
Somebody needs to call them out on their BS
Techrights in the Coming Decade: The Free Speech (Online) Angle
Free speech is a fundamental tenet of a free society
Techrights in the Coming Decade: The Software Angle
Gemini Protocol has just turned 5 - i.e. roughly the same age as our Git repositories
Techrights in the Coming Decade: The Patent Angle
Next month marks 10 years since we began covering EPO leaks
Wookey, Intrigeri, Cryptie & Debian pseudonyms beyond Edward Brocklesby
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] Choice Versus Freedom
So When Do I Start Having Freedom? Freedom is choice between the GAFAMs
Digital Liberation of Society at Times of Armed Conflicts and Uncertainty
We have technical contributions, not just written output
Links 23/06/2024: More Microsoft Cancellations, Growing Repression Worldwide
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/06/2024: The Magician and the Hacker, tmux Tips
Links for the day
Links 23/06/2024: Twitter/X Wants Your Money, Google Reports a Billion DMCA Takedowns in Four Months
Links for the day
Digital Restrictions (Like DRM) Don't Have Brands, We Need to Teach People to Hate the Underlying Restrictions, Not Companies That Typically Come and Go
Conceptually, the hens should fear humans, not the farmer who cages them
Going Above 4% Again
Maybe 4% (or above) by month's end?
Conviction, jail for Hinduja family, Debian exploitation comparison
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 23/06/2024: Hey Hi (AI) Scrapers Gone Very Rogue, Software Patents Squashed at EPO
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, June 22, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, June 22, 2024
Gemini Links 23/06/2024: LoRaWAN and Gemini Plugin for KOReade
Links for the day
Links 22/06/2024: Chat Control Vote Postponed, More Economic Perils
Links for the day
[Meme/Photography] Photos From the Tux Machines Parties
took nearly a fortnight
Uzbekistan: GNU/Linux Ascent
Uzbekistan is almost the same size as France
SLAPP as an Own Goal
We have better things to with our limited time
Independence From Monopolies
"They were ethnically GAFAM anyway..."
GNU/Linux at New Highs (Again) in Taiwan
latest numbers
Links 22/06/2024: More Layoffs and Health Scares
Links for the day
Rwanda: Windows Falls Below 30%
For the first time since 2020 Windows is measured below 30%
[Meme] IBM Lost the Case Over "Dinobabies" (and People Died)
IBM agreed to pay to keep the details (and embarrassing evidence) secret; people never forgot what IBM called its staff that wasn't young, this keeps coming up in forums
Exactly One Year Ago RHEL Became Proprietary Operating System
Oh, you want the source code of RHEL? You need to pay me money and promise not to share with anyone
Dr. John Campbell on Gates Foundation
Published two days ago
Melinda Gates Did Not Trust Bill Gates, So Why Should You?
She left him because of his ties to child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein
How Much IBM Really Cares About Software Freedom (Exactly One Year Ago IBM Turned RHEL Into Proprietary Software)
RHEL became proprietary software
Fedora Week of Diversity 2024 Was Powered by Proprietary Software
If instead of opening up to women and minorities we might open up to proprietary software, i.e. become less open
18 Countries in Europe Where Windows Fell Below 30% "Market Share"
Many people still use laptops with Windows, but they're outnumbered by mobile users on Android
[Meme] EPO Pensions in the UK
pensioners: looks like another EPO 'reform'
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, June 21, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, June 21, 2024
During Fedora Week of Diversity (FWD) 2024 IBM and Its Subsidiaries Dragged to Court Over Discrimination at the Corporate Level
IBM is a deplorable, racist company
Workers of the European Patent Office Take the Office to Court Over Pension
pensions still precarious
Gemini Links 22/06/2024: FreeBSD vs XFCE and Gemini Bookmarks Syncing Solution
Links for the day