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 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  2. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  3. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  4. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  5. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  6. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  7. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  8. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  9. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  10. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  11. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  12. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  13. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  14. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  15. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  16. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring



  17. France Gets Involved in Battistelli's Abuses in the EPO - Part XII (Updated)

    The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions



  18. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

    The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface



  19. Links 11/12/2014: systemd 218, Empire Total War

    Links for the day



  20. Links 10/12/2014: Fedora 21, Ubuntu Core

    Links for the day



  21. Links 9/12/2014: Fedora 21 and Torture Report Are Out

    Links for the day



  22. Exclusive: The Enlarged Board of Appeal Complains About Battistelli's Corrupt Management to the Administrative Council (Updated)

    Text of the complaint from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) reaches Techrights, demonstrating just how rampant the abuse in Battistelli's EPO has become



  23. Protests Against EPO Corruption Approach 1,000 in Attendance

    EPO staff at all levels is revolting against the management of the EPO, whose dismissal seems to be only a matter of time



  24. Links 9/12/2014: Greg Kroah-Hartman Interview, Fedora 21 Imminent

    Links for the day



  25. EPO Staff Protests Today and Protested Last Week, Targeting Corruption in the Institution

    PO staff is demonstrating against abuse by the management of the EPO, today we well as in prior days



  26. Links 7/12/2014: New Linux Release, Marines and Prisoners on GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  27. EPO Scandal: Benoît Battistelli's Arrogance Recognised by European Delegations

    Battistelli’s Nixon moment and the evasive nature of his approach towards external delegations that are troubled by his behaviour



  28. CBS Brushing Aside and Away Microsoft's History of Blackmail and Bribes Against Linux

    Putting in context some of the poor reporting (or whitewash) regarding Microsoft's bribe (disguised as "partnership") to Barnes & Noble



  29. Links 7/12/2014: Typhoon Hagupit, AURORAGOLD

    Links for the day



  30. EPO Imploding: Battistelli Throws a Fit at EPO's Investigation Unit

    Patent institution of Europe is showing signs of tear as protests intensify and suppression of these protests -- as well as suppression of investigation -- intensifies as well


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