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Patents Roundup: Android/Linux Defended by HTC; Monsanto and Ghana

Cher Wang in WEF
Cher Wang, Chairwoman of HTC (source)



Summary: News about patents where the system has gone awry (the Apple-HTC case and GMO in Africa)

Android/Linux



YESTERDAY we highlighted HTC's press release where it responded to Apple's lawsuit against Android [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] (and few argue Chrome OS too, which makes GNU/Linux a target as well). There is some press coverage based on this press release, including:





Microsoft supports Apple's action [1, 2, 3], which is already casting some shadow on Android. Take this new article for example. It's about Virgin Media and it says:

Google launched its first Android phone in September 2008, and since then it's become a favoured platform for smartphone enthusiasts. Earlier this month Apple took steps to sue HTC over its range of smartphones with Google software over allegations of infringing hardware and software patents, but it's a platform that only seems to be gaining momentum over time.


Now that Google prepares a product for television viewing (it uses Android), one might wish to recall Microsoft's recent lawsuit against TiVo (which uses Linux). The following news may be of interest:

Verizon Figures If It's Already Involved In A Patent Lawsuit With TiVo, Why Not Sue Cablevision For Its DVR Too



[...]

Ah, the patent wars. As you're probably aware, TiVo spent years fighting a big legal battle with EchoStar/Dish Networks over some patents on DVR technology. TiVo won big, and then immediately turned its patent lawyers on some other companies including Verizon. In Verizon's response to TiVo's lawsuit, it went nuclear back, accusing TiVo of violating Verizon's patents on DVR technology -- including a patent that the world's biggest patent hoarding firm, Intellectual Ventures, gave Verizon for the purpose of being used against TiVo.


Seeds



A new article from Salon sheds light on the effect of genetic engineering (read: patents encumbrances) on Ghana:

In the case of GMOs we are dealing with a remarkable concentration of intellectual property ownership in just a handful of corporations. Like all well-endowed corporate actors, these companies do not shy from vigorously lobbying governments in favor of putting into place place legal frameworks that are designed to maximize profits and minimize caution.

[...]

If you google Ghana and genetically modified crops, you will very quickly run into the name Walter Alhassan, a consultant for the Accra-based Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), and a strong advocate for the position that Ghana's government "needs to speed up the passage of the Biosafety Bill to the global trend to improve agriculture and food security."


Glyn Moody added (based on the above):

I'm conscious that I've written a lot of negative posts about genetically-modified organisms on this blog. That might lead readers to believe I'm against them. That's not the case: I am naturally pro-technology, and GMOs are potentially an important tool for addressing many of the world's most pressing problems. But I have my concerns, and I was pleased to find that Salon's Andrew Leonard not only shares them, but has expressed them rather well:
I don't actually have a position on whether GMOs are by definition good or bad for the environment or human health or even the challenge of alleviating hunger in the developing world. My basic stance, in fact, is pro-science: I believe technological advances have greatly advanced human health and affluence, and will continue to do so, if properly regulated. My concern re GMOs has always stemmed from a profound skepticism that profit-seeking corporations can be trusted to responsibly serve the public good. One need look only at the constant stream of reports detailing unethical and criminal behavior by major pharmaceutical companies to realize that this is hardly a hypothetical concern.

In the case of GMOs we are dealing with a remarkable concentration of intellectual property ownership in just a handful of corporations. Like all well-endowed corporate actors, these companies do not shy from vigorously lobbying governments in favor of putting into place place legal frameworks that are designed to maximize profits and minimize caution.


Earlier this month, Greenpeace revealed that Switzerland stays away from genetic engineering. What do they know that others do not know? It's possible that genetically engineered crops are overall not better, they just happen to be owned by a corporation that markets them as "better" (so it's privatisation of nature).

The Swiss Parliament has just extended its ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) plants for three more years. Originally enacted in 2005, Switzerland will stay GE-free until at least 2013.


As we pointed out before, with its support and investments in Monsanto, the Gates Foundation continues to show its patent agenda that puts African lives at risk (Microsoft does the same type of thing that creates dependence). Bill Gates' attempts to promote Monsanto in India are still met with skepticism and there is even a lawsuit because Monsanto is a pact of bullies who spread experimental, patents-encumbered seeds just to expand their monopoly. We've covered the subject in many posts, such as those that we list below.

Related posts (about Monsanto):

  1. Gates-Backed Company Accused of Monopoly Abuse and Investigated
  2. How the Gates Foundation Privatises Africa
  3. Reader's Article: The Gates Foundation and Genetically-Modified Foods
  4. Monsanto: The Microsoft of Food
  5. Seeds of Doubt in Bill Gates Investments
  6. Gates Foundation Accused of Faking/Fabricating Data to Advance Political Goals
  7. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  8. Video Transcript of Vandana Shiva on Insane Patents
  9. Explanation of What Bill Gates' Patent Investments Do to Developing World
  10. Black Friday Film: What the Bill Gates-Backed Monsanto Does to Animals, Farmers, Food, and Patent Systems
  11. Gates Foundation Looking to Destroy Kenya with Intellectual Monopolies
  12. Young Napoleon Comes to Africa and Told Off
  13. Bill Gates Takes His GMO Patent Investments/Experiments to India
  14. Gates/Microsoft Tax Dodge and Agriculture Monopoly Revisited
  15. Beyond the 'Public Relations'
  16. UK Intellectual Monopoly Office (UK-IPO) May be Breaking the Law
  17. “Boycott Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in China”


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