Bonum Certa Men Certa

Amazon and Google Have Both Become Part of the Software Patents Problem

Giants benefit from a so-called 'thicket' (patent barrier to entrants) that protects their monopoly/ies

Page Rank
Some truly fundamental software concepts -- however trivial (simple reference count) -- are already patented by Google (or Stanford)



Summary: The transition from so-called 'defensive' patents to offensive patents (ones that are used to suppress competition) as seen in Amazon and in Google, which is already suing rivals and is pursuing additional patents by acquisition

AS noted in our previous post, it's still possible to get software patents granted, albeit they're very difficult to successfully enforce in court.



Amazon is said to be one of the most litigated companies out there (if not the most, depending on what's measured). There were articles about it last year. Amazon, as far as we're aware, is not a patent bully, at least not yet (growing companies rarely need to resort to aggression). Google, by contrast, started patent aggression earlier this year.

"They are loathed partly because software patents are an abomination in general."Generally speaking, software patents -- especially after Alice/Section 101 -- are lame ducks, but not if the accused (or defendant, mainly if this reaches the court) cannot afford a legal battle.

"Amazon, eBay, Google lead surge in AI patents" was the headline of this article from last week. As we noted in the last post, "AI" is one of those buzzwords that are frequently used to justify software patent grants. "The whitepaper," it says, "titled "Artificial Intelligence in Retail: Patent Analysis," suggests that the publication of patent filings may have peaked in 2015, with 329 publications that year, before drifting down to 296 in 2016. Prior to 2015, there were 128 AI-related patent filings published in 2012, 191 in 2013 and 224 in 2014. There have been only 54 published this year, though Netscribes stressed that there is often an 18-month lag between when patents are filed and when they are published."

These are software patents.

As an article recently put it, Mr. Bezos suggested reducing the lifetime of "business method and software patents from 17 years to three to five."

Well, he never did that or never really accomplished any of this. In the meantime, as stated above, Amazon continues to stockpile lots of horrible patents, as does Google. Amazon-friendly media like GeekWire has just published this podcast about the recently-expired one-click checkout patent of Amazon. From the show's outline: "The patent was for the technology that made one-click checkout possible, and on this episode of the Week In Geek, we dig into why it was so unpopular and why patents themselves occupy a controversial place in the tech world."

Well, this Amazon patent was one of many that are similarly outrageous. They are loathed partly because software patents are an abomination in general. Over the years we covered several other examples of Amazon patents that should never have been granted at all. Certainly, as it's likely inevitable, one day Amazon too will resort to patent aggression. Or an aggressor might buy/receive these patents.

As for Google, well... an older article of ours reached Hacker News' front page and Reddit last week. No idea why people suddenly cared half a year late, but we can only speculate that it had something to do with reports like this one (a subject we covered a week ago). Here's another report about it:

Entropy coding technology known as ANS devised by a Polish academic is now sought to be patented by Google – even though he released it into the public domain precisely so no company could swoop on it and lock it up.



So Google is increasingly being portrayed as a raider of ideas and a patent opportunist that seeks a monopoly even on the public domain. Not good...

Now that Google uses patents pro-actively it cannot be cheered and can no longer be trusted with any patents. According to this blog post from IAM, Google might soon take HTC's patents too:

Three weeks ago, Bloomberg reported that Taiwan smartphone maker HTC has held takeover talks with Google, as the struggling business explores ‘strategic options’. More recently, several outlets have reported that a deal – either for the whole company or just its smartphone unit – is in late stages. Other options on the table include an investment by the US company. Whatever happens, there is a good chance that HTC’s days as a stand-alone smartphone maker are numbered. If Google does pull the trigger, this latest hardware deal won’t have patent implications as big as its previous Motorola turnaround, but it will mark the unification of two long-term patent partners.


Remember that after Google had taken patents of Waymo it sued a competitor. It's now a CAFC case, Waymo v Uber, reminding us of the real danger of any patents landing on Google's lap. As Patently-O put it some days ago:

The Federal Circuit has released a pair of decisions (2017-2235; 2017-2130) in this patent / trade secret case. Waymo (Google) sued Uber (Ottomotto) for patent infringement and trade secret misappropriations. “Specifically, Waymo alleges that its former employee, Mr. [Anthony] Levandowski, improperly downloaded thousands of documents related to Waymo’s driverless vehicle technology and then left Waymo to found Ottomotto, which Uber subsequently acquired.”


Google uses patents against rivals. Expect it to do more of that (the temptation is greater once it has been done already). As for Amazon? Give it time and see Bezos too (as the world's richest man, like Bill Gates before him) turning to patents as a last resort to save an empire.

'“Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio" —Marshall Phelps (formerly of IBM, which also resorts to patent aggression because its empire crumbles)



Recent Techrights' Posts

Why Virtually All the Wikileaks Copycats, Forks, and Rivals Basically Perished
Cryptome is like the "grandpa" of them all
In the United Kingdom Google Search Rises to All-Time High, Microsoft Fell Nearly 1.5% Since the LLM Hype Began
Microsoft is going to need actual products or it will gradually vanish from the market
When Wikileaks Sources Were Actually Murdered and Wikileaks Was Still a Wiki
when Wikileaks was a young site and still an actual wiki
Why the Media is Dying (It Sucks, No Mentally Healthy People Will Tolerate This for Long)
linking to actual news articles helps fuel the spam, too
 
Links 24/07/2024: Many New Attacks on Journalists, "Private Companies Own The Law"
Links for the day
Gemini Links 24/07/2024: Face à Gaïa, Emacs Timers for Weekly Event, Chromebook Survives Water Torture
Links for the day
A Total Lack of Transparency: Open and Free Technology Community (OFTC) Fails to Explain Why Over 60% of Users Are Gone (Since a Week Ago)
IRC giants have fallen
Trying to Put Out the Fire at Microsoft
Microsoft is drowning in debt while laying off loads of staff, hoping it can turn things around
GNU/Linux Growing at Vista 11's Expense
it's tempting to deduce many people who got PCs with Vista 11 preinstalled are deleting it, only to replace it with GNU/Linux
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 23, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, July 23, 2024
[Meme] Was He So Productive He Had to be Expelled Somehow? (After He Was Elected and Had Given Many Years of Work to Earn a Board Seat)
Things like these seem to lessen the incentive to devote one's life to Free software projects
GNOME Foundation is Causing Itself More Embarrassment With Secrecy Than With Full Transparency
It also arouses suspicion and hostility towards Codes of Conduct, which gave rise to 'secret courts' governed by large corporations
Links 23/07/2024: NetherRealm Layoffs and Illegitimate Patent 'Courts' (Illegal)
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/07/2024: AM Radio, ngIRCd, and Munin
Links for the day
A Lot of GNU/Linux Growth on the Client Side is Owing to India (Where GNU/Linux Has Reached 16%)
A lot of this happened in recent years
Insulting Free Software Users in Social Control Media (Proprietary, Bloated With Opaque JavaScript) is Like Insulting Amish on TV
Why bother? Don't take the bait.
statCounter: Dutch GNU/Linux Usage Surged 1% in Summer
Microsoft is running out of things to actually sell
Microsoft's "Results" Next Week Will be Ugly (But It'll Lie About Them, as Usual)
Where can Microsoft find income rather than losses as its debt continues to grow and layoffs accelerate?
Julian Assange is Still Being Dehumanised in Media Whose Owners Wikileaks Berated (With Underlying Facts or Leaks)
Wikileaks and Free software aren't the same thing. Nevertheless, the tactics used to infiltrate or discredit both ought to be understood.
A Month Later
We're optimistic on many fronts
Links 23/07/2024: Downsizing and Microsoft and Still Damage Control
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/07/2024: Friends and Solitaire
Links for the day
Censorship in Eklektix's Linux Weekly News (LWN)
Medieval system of speech, where the monarchs (Linux Foundation) dictate what's permissible to say
10 Years of In-Depth EPO Coverage at Techrights (Many Others Have Abandoned the Topic)
Listen to staff
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 22, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, July 22, 2024
[Meme] The Latest in the Microsoft Windows Blame Game
Microsoft found the culprit and came to everyone's rescue!
Links 22/07/2024: Overworking and Performance Issues From Europe
Links for the day
Microsoft Eliminates 67% of the Building Occupancy - That's Some Truly Massive Layoffs
Half a dozen floors? Microsoft cuts that down to two.
[Meme] Signs of a Dying Patent Office
"Bribe the media to say you excel"
This Month's General Consultative Committee (GCC) Webchat ('Meeting') Covered the European Patent Office's Attacks on Its Own Interpreters
The Central Staff Committee is currently circulating a report with appendices about the GCC meeting [sic] (webchat) that took place less than a fortnight ago
A Byzantine European Patent Office Where Staff Must Beg for Help With Contraception (Worse Than the Rest of Europe)
The Central Staff Committee (EPO staff representation) has just circulated a report
[Teaser] EPO Run by Children
"Daddy, why was I born?"
Let's Encrypt About to Fall Below 100 (Capsules) in Geminispace, It's Basically in a Freefall
The "self-signed" portion keeps growing
Gemini Links 22/07/2024: Spacewalk Dies and Old Computer Challenge in the Rear View
Links for the day
For the First Time Since May Linux.com (Linux Foundation) Published Something. It's All Spam.
Can we trust the Linux Foundation to look after anything at all? Look what it turned this once-thriving site into.
Honduras: Windows Down, Android Peaking Again
Honduras does not have many stakes in Microsoft
[Meme] Twitter (X) Will Reject the Concept of a Female President
Twitter (X) is controlled by misogynists, who socially control (or socially-engineer) their fake concept of "media"
Second Family Photo of Julian Assange Since His Release (First Since His Birthday)
His wife shows the 4 of them for the first time (2 hours ago)
Protesters in Kenya Need Software That is Free (Libre) and Supports Real Encryption in Order to Avoid Capture and Torture (Sometimes Execution)
There's more to fight over than economic issues
The Ludicrous Idea That GNU/Linux is a "Poor Man's" Operating System
Seeing the trends in countries such an Norway, it ought to be abundantly clear that adoption of GNU/Linux has nothing to do with poverty
Links 22/07/2024: Internet Optimism and Kamala Harris Policies Debated
Links for the day
Something is Happening at OFTC
It looks like it shrank by 20,000 users
GNU/Linux Usage in Guadeloupe Rises Closer to International Average, Based on Web Data Collected by statCounter
It should be noted that the estimates of GNU/Linux usage are now in 4.5% territories
The Impact of OFTC's Latest Changes on the Perceived Scale of IRC Globally
IRC is still one of the more potent alternatives to the social control media conglomerates
New: Why They Really Went After Assange
Uploaded by Chris Hedges
Links 21/07/2024: Health, Politics, and Kamala Harris in Focus
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 21, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, July 21, 2024
A Drop in Half (From 208 to 104): Sharp Decline in Number of Gemini Capsules That Use Let's Encrypt CA Since December
Gemini is increasing its independence from Certificate Authorities (CAs)