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. Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM 'Open'

    What Microsoft et al. call 'Next-Generation Open Media Formats' are basically neither open nor acceptable (it's DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub 'Open Source Tools' are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse



  2. Recycled Old News About Vista 10, Stressing That Not Only '10' is Spyware But All of Windows is

    How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft's gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to 'upgrade' to Vista 10



  3. Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

    Links for the day



  4. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  5. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  6. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  8. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  9. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  10. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  11. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  12. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  13. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  15. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  16. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  17. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  18. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  19. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  21. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  22. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received



  23. Market Share Estimates Confirm That Vista 10 Failed in a Major Way

    Confirmatory evidence that Vista 10 is failing in the market about a month after its much-hyped (paid coverage) release



  24. When Microsoft, the Master of Patent Trolls, Complains About Trolls

    Possibly the world's biggest patent abuser and monopolist, which also creates many patent trolls (including by far the biggest one), takes on a far smaller abuser in Court



  25. Letter Signed by Two German Officials Becomes a Microsoft Weapon of Propaganda

    Microsoft and its minions refuse to leave Munich alone, even though the vast majority in Munich are perfectly happy with Free/libre software



  26. Links 25/8/2015: Linux Kernel 4.2 Final RC, KDE Ships Plasma 5.4.0

    Links for the day



  27. Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl Should Take Note as Russia -- Like China -- is in the Process of Banning Microsoft Windows for Security Reasons

    A look at a strange suggestion, signed by Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl, who suggest going back to Microsoft which is basically a spyware company now



  28. Microsoft Windows Leads to Espionage and Blackmail: Latest Examples

    Another news overview, detailing high-profile examples of high-cost Windows deployments (including the cost of litigation and settlement)



  29. Links 23/8/2015: BcacheFS Benchmarks, Blackphone 2

    Links for the day



  30. Links 22/8/2015: Chromebook Gains, GNOME 3.18 Clues

    Links for the day


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