EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.16.09

Patents Roundup: Red Hat, Acacia, Microsoft, Apple, and the European Commission

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

RED HAT is calling for participation in the discovery of prior art to be used against Acacia’s trolling [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. From the blog of Fedora’s current leader:

Back in 2007, IP Innovation filed a lawsuit against Red Hat and Novell. IP Innovation is a subsidiary of Acacia Technologies. You may have heard of them — they’re reported to be the most litigious patent troll in the USA, meaning they produce nothing of value other than money from those whom they sue (or threaten to sue) over patent issues. They’re alleging infringement of patents on a user interface that has multiple workspaces. Hard to say just what they mean (which is often a problem in software patents), but it sounds a lot like functionality that pretty much all programmers and consumers use.

That patent was filed back on March 25, 1987 by some folks at Xerox/PARC, which means that prior art dated before that date is helpful — and art dated before March 25, 1986 is the most useful. (That means any examples from Linux aren’t really going to help, seeing as how Linus Torvalds first began the Linux kernel in 1991.

According to this new essay, patent trolls are merely a “tax on innovation” and it is important never to forget the intersection between Acacia and Microsoft, in addition to interesting timing.

Many years ago, wrote Bill Gates: “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.” Things have changed since then because Microsoft is spending a lot of time filing patents rather than developing actual products and this gets criticised in CNET. Other points are raised too:

Microsoft earlier this week celebrated its 10,000th patent. Implicit in that announcement is the supposition that “patents = innovation.” However, a quick look at Microsoft’s last five years demonstrate a company that is struggling to copycat the best the industry has to offer, rather than innovate.

[...]

In this way it’s much like the criticism it has of open source: Microsoft claims that open source steals others’ intellectual property and doesn’t innovate. Pot calling kettle black?

Here is an indicator of Microsoft’s newly-discovered obsession with patents and here is a new article bearing the headline “Microsoft: We won’t sacrifice original IP.”

But Microsoft has no intention of sacrificing its “focus on exciting IP” and will continue to invest in innovation in order to emerge from any ongoing recession in a “healthy” state.

This is an obnoxious little article. It’s filled with buzzwords like “innovative” and “IP” despite the company’s true (and original) understanding that patents are weapons to very large companies. They are monopoly enablers.

Microsoft’s obsession with patents is not unique because, according to this report, China may be following a similar route.

Patent applications submitted to China’s State Intellectual Property Office totalled 828,328 during 2008, according to statistics just made availableon the office’s website. That’s up over 130,000 on the figure for 2007. But before anyone chokes on their lunchtme sandwich or afternoon tea, just remember that the vast majority of this number would have been for unexamined utility and design rights. That said, examined invention patent applications grew by over 50,000 – with domestic companies accounting for most of the rise from 245,161 in 2007 to 289,838 at the end of last year. This makes SIPO the third biggest patent office in the world after the USPTO and the JPO.

Why is it that every single thought (or idea) needs to be “owned” by someone regardless of the origin of this thought? That is the point being raised thusly:

A patent is not the ownership of a pre-existing thing that needs an owner. Rather, the things over which the patent system gives people ownership are the creations of patent law. And in many cases, it makes little sense to talk about them as “things” at all.

Apple’s case against Linux-powered devices was mentioned the other day, but over in Europe it turns out that two — not one — companies are suing Apple for patent infringement, doing to Apple almost exactly what Apple is doing to others.

A pair of small Scottish companies have filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. (AAPL), claiming two of the computer maker’s best- selling products include technology that infringes on their patents.

Meanwhile, and also in Europe, it turns out that Commissioner Viviane Reding does not understand the problem and she’s being misinformed.

The problem is those kind of numbers is that they seems to be calculated in function of software vendors, which represents only 15% of the whole software industry. The other large part of the industry is pure services. And this does not seems to be taken in account. Does Mrs Commissioner Reding have the wrong numbers? Or she does not know the european software industry?

It’s quite likely that lobbyists will have commissioners bamboozled. That’s just what they’re there to do.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    February 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Gravatar

    What are the best links for the latest word on Europe’s pursuit of antitrust action against WMA and WMV? And what is Europe doing to steer *back* to MPEG and Quicktime or move forward to Ogg Theora?

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 16, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Gravatar

    Antitrust action?? Some of their streams use those formats.

    The commission is deeply disguised when it comes to Free software (patent policy, doing as you preach, and even Samba).

    Given Viviane Reding’s stance on DRM, I’m beginning to think that she’s as bad as Charlie McCreevy. Also remember the Microsoft dinnertime story.

What Else is New


  1. Links 25/7/2014: GOG With GNU/Linux, Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS

    Links for the day



  2. Links 24/7/2014: Oracle Linux 7; Fedora Delays

    Links for the day



  3. Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation's Lobbying for 'Common Core' (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

    Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation's lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption



  4. USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

    Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom



  5. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

    Only "Microsoft as the standard" is the 'standard' Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office's judgment reveals



  6. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  7. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  8. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  9. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  10. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  11. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  12. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  13. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  15. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert



  16. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  17. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  18. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  19. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft



  20. Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

    Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests



  21. Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

    Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers' words



  22. Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

    Links for the day



  23. Interest in Free Software Coverage and 9 Months With Tux Machines

    Thoughts about the level of interest in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and growth of at least some sites that focus on GNU/Linux



  24. White House Backs Away From Appointing Patents Zealot to Top USPTO Position

    Philip Johnson is no longer poised to become the Director of the USPTO, which is basically an establishment that provides protectionism to primarily US-based corporations



  25. Professor James Bessen Presents the Case Against Software Patents After Important SCOTUS Ruling

    The debate about software patents in the Unites States continues, with academia on one side and greedy patent lawyers on the other



  26. Software Patents Demising in the US as Microsoft Patent Attacks on Android/Linux Suffer a Huge Setback

    M-Cam's assessment of Microsoft's bundle of extortion (using software patents) shows toothlessness, irrespective of the SCOTUS decision to effectively annul "abstract" software patents



  27. Links 13/7/2014: KDE Activity Surge

    Links for the day



  28. Pro-Microsoft Spin in Microsoft-Funded News Networks

    The rogue media (misinformation) campaign of Microsoft benefits from networks which have been paid by Microsoft over the years



  29. Cronyism at Play: European Hostility Towards Free/Libre Software Despite Espionage and Moles

    Europe continues to be held hostage with back doors, lock-in, and massive payments to foreign powers, despite evidence that these powers are destructive and hostile



  30. Wirelessly-Controlled Contraceptives and Other Villainous Bill Gates Initiatives

    Remote controls for people's reproductive systems are now in the making and Bill Gates is a prominent investor in the technology


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts