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10.11.09

Apple’s, Microsoft’s and the Gates Foundation’s Games with Intellectual Monopolies

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents, TomTom at 10:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rotten apple

Summary: Apple’s software patents harm/distract the Web and Linux; Microsoft’s software patents harm/distract Linux; The Gates Foundation makes more investments in patents

EARLIER THIS year we wrote about Apple's abuse of the Web using software patents (Apple also threatened to sue over Linux devices). What’s troubling is that both Apple and Microsoft have a chair at the HTML Working Group (W3C) and Apple can be quite a bit of a bully, which now leads the W3C to modifying APIs.

The W3C has spent the last three months poring over Apple’s patent on remote updating, and the web standards organization thinks the patent can be avoided by careful wording and tweaking a couple of APIs.

Software should not be patentable in the first place and the above is a waste of the W3C’s time. What is Apple trying to ‘protect’ anyway? It also publicly attacked Ogg.

NewsWeek has this new report which targets the hype behind the iPhone and the reality behind developing for Apple [via].

Seeking fortune and fame, entrepreneurs rushed to create programs for Apple’s App Store. That’s not always what they found.

So basically, there may be no more money contributing to Apple’s ecosystem than there is in helping Free(dom) software. It was similar with Palm OS.

Moving on to some other software patents, our reader Yuhong Bao claims that Microsoft’s loadable module [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], which was originally a GPL violation, completely hid this important item of news about the workaround for Microsoft’s FAT LFN patent. From the summary:

Only hours after Microsoft’s Hyper-V Linux patch, tridge submitted a revised workaround patch for MS’s FAT LFN patents. If you don’t remember, the original patch was in response to MS suing TomTom over these patents. This revised version provides better compatiblity, particularly with Windows 98, portable MP3 players, as well as mtools.

More and more people are becoming uncomfortable with the patent system, which a writer at Information Week is now denouncing. His complaint is summarised as follows:

Let’s remember the original purpose of the patent system: to encourage innovation and its broader benefits, not to make people rich.

As Gates and Microsoft grow closer to bankers, worth noticing is this item in the news about JPMorgan and the Gates Foundation hooking up. The Gates Foundation also does more of its notorious investments in patents (i.e. monopolies).

The Gates Foundation funding is for a global decision facility for patents and how they impact on innovation.

The Gates Foundation also invests heavily in patents on life, patents on agriculture (GM crops/foods), and Gates himself started a patent-hoarding firm.

This relates rather nicely to what we wrote this morning about Mirosoft and swine flu. The following segment of a talk provides more insight into the real impact of patents. Patents are not what people are led to believe they are.

“While I recognize the great value and importance of prescription drugs and strongly support a continued U.S. focus on pharmaceutical research and development, our nation’s seniors cannot be asked to subsidize the drug costs of other wealthy industrialized nations any longer.”

Michael K. Simpson

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11 Comments

  1. The Mad Hatter said,

    October 11, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy,

    The problem isn’t “Software Patents”, the problem is “Patents”.

    Did you know that a patent was issued for a “waterproof grease fitting assembly” in which the only “Innovation” was that the grease fitting opening was facing down? This is typical of Patent systems worldwide. Large companies like this of course, because there is always something that they can use to sue a smaller, more innovative competitor.

    And the smaller, more innovative, competitors get trashed. The Patent System is supposed to encourage innovation, and it has the opposite effect.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Let’s address the problem of software patents, where the innovative victim is Free software.

    It’s easier to justify an end to monopolisation of mere thought, as opposed to physical objects (or assembly of them).

    The Mad Hatter Reply:

    Both are Monopolization of though.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, but so is copyright. But the scope of precise implementation (word by word, line by line) is different from organisation of processes/objects and mere ideas/thoughts/algorithms.

  2. dyfet said,

    October 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Gravatar

    I agree with Roy. Software can already be constrained by trade secret law, by copyright, and by contract. Patents do not in any way somehow add the “benefit” of temporary artificial market constraints to “encourage” creativity because many such constraints already exist for software. This is of course before we consider equally valid points about software as expression and speech and math, none of which are ever valid for patenting.

  3. Yuhong Bao said,

    October 11, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Gravatar

    I posted a comment to this article as well, BTW:
    http://passthesource.org.nz/2009/07/22/donating-code/

  4. Yuhong Bao said,

    October 11, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Gravatar

    “the above is a waste of the W3C’s time. ”
    Well, as long as software patents exists, they will need to be workaround if needed.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It may also result in less efficient solutions. Everyone loses.

  5. Yuhong Bao said,

    October 11, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Gravatar

    MS was lucky that the hype lasted long enough to automatically bury this patch so they didn’t have to bury it themselves. This patch, which was posted about a day after the Hyper-V patch, is important because it shows that the MS FAT LFN patent still was a problem.

  6. faltu said,

    October 12, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Gravatar

    Hey guess what, I delete all my google analytic / adwords accounts today. Only thing that I am using is gmail.com. Do you guys know a free (gpl friendly) email provider ?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Grab a permanent domain and cheap hosting with Webmail/POP3.

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