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12.05.16

Rumour: EPO in Berlin the Next Casualty of Battistelli’s ‘Reform’ (Organisational Suicide Plan)

Posted in Europe, Patents, Rumour at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Early Certainty from ILO (serving Battistelli the news)

On serving Battistelli.png

Summary: Months after we learned that a former staff representative in Berlin had been dismissed we come across an anonymous claim that Berlin’s ‘branch’ of the EPO will be folded onto Munich’s

EARLIER THIS year, at around the beginning of September, we repeatedly wrote about claims that Battistelli’s union-busting actions (with bogus accusations and fake trials) had struck Berlin, not just Munich (and thereafter The Hague). It ought to be pretty clear by now, based on the ruling from judges as well, that ‘justice’ does not exist at the EPO; it’s about as legitimate as Turkish courts in 2016 (after a lot of perfectly-legitimate judges were toppled). We’ve carefully read again all the articles about the latest two ILO-AT decisions (it probably takes a lawyer otherwise, in order to understand the ramification for other cases) and we have just noticed that WIPR wrote an article about this almost a week later, following The Register, IP Watch, and Techrights (which was first to report on this).

To quote the article’s first few paragraphs:

The Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization, a UN agency, has set aside two decisions made by the European Patent Office (EPO) and criticised the Administrative Council in the process.

On Wednesday, November 30, the tribunal dismissed the rulings, which had rejected employee challenges to internal rules.

The first decision, judgment number 3785, stemmed from a practice and procedure notice, which concerned the documents that make up European patent applications, issued by the EPO in 2013.

Now that Battistelli shuffles people around in alleged attempts to retaliate (collective punishment), e.g. moving the boards to Vienna, then Haar (not absolutely confirmed yet, except the budget), one should recall what we wrote about Berlin on the first of September, in light of this rumour which says “heard from the Isar building last week that this is exactly what Battistelli has in mind once the “haar-cut” is done: Berlin should be (des)integrated into Munich.”

EPO Berlin for SUEPOCan someone confirm? On the right by the way is a photo of EPO staff in Berlin protesting in support of the dismissed staff representatives from Munich, urging Maas to offer support (he never did).

“Officially (usual lullabies) this is to increase efficiency (in reality this is to retaliate on the Berlin sub-office which has refused to submit since the beginning),” the same comment continues.

As we noted here several times before, such relocations can discourage people from staying in their job; some of them have spouses and kids in some job and/or school/kindergarten, respectively. It would be a convenient way to get rid of highly-paid staff without announcing any layoffs. See what happened in the now-understaffed boards.

Caricature: the Maas App

Posted in Europe, Humour, Patents at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Heiko Maas

Summary: The failure of Maas to even bother with regulation of Battistelli (among others) earns him this cartoon

Links 5/12/2016: Linux 4.9 RC 8, DeepMind as FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 6:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Eight great Linux gifts for the holiday season

    Do you want to give your techie friend a very Linux holiday season? Sure you do! Here are some suggestion to brighten your favorite Tux fan’s day.

  • More Random Gift Ideas For Linux Enthusiasts & Others Into Tech
  • Which open source gift is at the top of your holiday wish list?
  • 7 Linux predictions for 2017

    Last year I made a set of predictions of events that I thought would happen in the tech world (focused primarily on Linux and free software). I was mostly right. This has emboldened me to make another set of predictions for 2017. I have no inside knowledge on any of these—I am basing this entirely on the twin scientific principles of star maths and wishy thinking.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.9-rc8

      So if anybody has been following the git tree, it should come as no
      surprise that I ended up doing an rc8 after all: things haven’t been
      bad, but it also hasn’t been the complete quiet that would have made
      me go “no point in doing another week”.

      Extra kudos to Arnd, who actually root-caused the incredibly annoying
      “modversions do not work with new versions of binutils”, bisecting it
      to a particular change to symbol handling in binutils, and then adding
      a small one-liner patch to the kernel to work around the issue. We
      already had other workarounds in place, but it’s always good to know
      exactly what in the tool chain changed to cause things like this.

    • Linux Kernel 4.9 Slated for December 11 Release as Linus Torvalds Outs RC8
    • Linux 4.9-rc8 Kernel Released
    • Linus Torvalds finds 163 reasons to wait a week for a new Linux

      Linus Torvalds told the world that if it wanted a new Linux he needed a quiet week. But he didn’t get it and now the world has an eighth release candidate of Linux 4.9 to consider.

      The Linux Lord’s weekly what’s up with Linux post says “things haven’t been bad, but it also hasn’t been the complete quiet that would have made me go ‘no point in doing another week’.”

    • Linux Foundation’s Blockchain Collective Hyperledger Hits 100 Members

      Hyperledger aims to enable organizations to build robust, industry-specific applications, platforms and hardware systems to support their individual business transactions by creating an enterprise grade, open source distributed ledger framework and code base.

    • The Blockchain Milestone You May Have Missed
    • Sasken becomes member of Automotive Grade Linux

      Sasken Communication Technologies Ltd has announced its membership with Automotive Grade Linux as its bronze member.

      This will enable Sasken to provide solutions to customers on Automotive Grade Linux (AGL). Sasken will provide product development and system integration services for automotive customers spanning in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), instrument cluster, heads-up display and telematics.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 12.0.4 Promises 15% Performance Boost for Radeon Users on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        The Mesa problem in Ubuntu Linux is about to be resolved very soon, after the game developers behind the UK-based Feral Interactive video game publishing company urged Canonical to update the software to a most recent version.

        The Mesa 3D Graphics Library is a unique open-source implementation of the OpenGL graphics API for Linux-based operating systems, and it includes drivers for Intel, Radeon, and Nvidia graphics cards. But it looks like Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) was shipping with a pretty old version of Mesa.

      • The Favorite Open-Source Vulkan Projects Of Phoronix Readers
      • Mesa 12.0.5 Released, End Of Road For Mesa 12

        Mesa release manager Emil Velikov announced the availability today of Mesa 12.0.5, just another point release and what he expects will be the last of the Mesa 12.0.x releases.

      • [ANNOUNCE] mesa 12.0.5

        Mesa 12.0.5 is now available.

      • The future of xinput, xmodmap, setxkbmap, xsetwacom and other tools under Wayland

        This post applies to most tools that interface with the X server and change settings in the server, including xinput, xmodmap, setxkbmap, xkbcomp, xrandr, xsetwacom and other tools that start with x. The one word to sum up the future for these tools under Wayland is: “non-functional”.

        An X window manager is little more than an innocent bystander when it comes to anything input-related. Short of handling global shortcuts and intercepting some mouse button presses (to bring the clicked window to the front) there is very little a window manager can do. It’s a separate process to the X server and does not receive most input events and it cannot affect what events are being generated. When it comes to input device configuration, any X client can tell the server to change it – that’s why general debugging tools like xinput work.

      • Please don’t use pastebins in bugs
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • 7 Things to do After Installing KDE Plasma

        Even for other Linux users, KDE Plasma can seem like a different operating system. Except for a few standards like LibreOffice, the apps are different, and so is the design philosophy, which tends to cram in every possible feature. As a result, once they install, users are likely to wonder what to do next.

      • KDE Framworks 5 Content Snap Techno

        In the previous post on Snapping KDE Applications we looked at the high-level implication and use of the KDE Frameworks 5 content snap to snapcraft snap bundles for binary distribution. Today I want to get a bit more technical and look at the actual building and inner workings of the content snap itself.

        The KDE Frameworks 5 snap is a content snap. Content snaps are really just ordinary snaps that define a content interface. Namely, they expose part or all of their file tree for use by another snap but otherwise can be regular snaps and have their own applications etc.

        KDE Frameworks 5’s snap is special in terms of size and scope. The whole set of KDE Frameworks 5, combined with Qt 5, combined with a large chunk of the graphic stack that is not part of the ubuntu-core snap. All in all just for the Qt5 and KF5 parts we are talking about close to 100 distinct source tarballs that need building to compose the full frameworks stack. KDE is in the fortunate position of already having builds of all these available through KDE neon. This allows us to simply repack existing work into the content snap. This is for the most part just as good as doing everything from scratch, but has the advantage of saving both maintenance effort and build resources.

      • Calligra 3.0 Is Ready As A Qt5 / KDE Frameworks 5 Office Suite

        It’s been quite a while since last having anything to report on the KDE Calligra open-source graphics/office suite while surprisingly this morning it was pleasant to see Calligra 3.0 tagged for release.

      • KDE Applications 16.12 Up to Release Candidate State, Final Arrives December 15

        The KDE development team was proud to announce the availability of the Release Candidate (RC) build of the upcoming KDE Applications 16.12 software suite for the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment.

        Work on KDE Applications 16.12 started about a month ago, on November 10, when the third and last maintenance update of the current stable KDE Applications 16.08 release was announced, marking the end of life of the series. Until today, KDE Applications 16.12 received a Beta development version, tagged as build 16.11.80, and now we’re seeing the Release Candidate, tagged as build 16.11.90.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK Lands A Big Refactoring Of OpenGL Code

        In addition to Red Hat’s Benjamin Otte working on a Vulkan renderer for GTK4′s GSK, he’s also been working on a big refactoring of the OpenGL code that’s now been merged to master.

        OpenGL is very important for GTK4 as it will play a big role in rendering with GSK. With this “large GL refactoring”, a big clean-up was done of the OpenGL GDK code, affecting the X11, Win32, Wayland, and Mir code too. Some of the specific work includes no longer using buffer-age information, passing the actual OpenGL context, and simplifying the code. More details via this Git commit.

      • A Vulkan Renderer For GNOME’s GTK+ GSK Is In Development

        A Vulkan back-end is in development for GNOME’s GTK’s tool-kit new GTK Scene Kit (GSK) code.

        Benjamin Otte has begun experimenting with a Vulkan back-end for GTK’s GSK code with GTK Scene Kit being one of the big additions in development for the major GTK+ 4.0 milestone. GSK implements a scene graph to allow for more complex graphical control of widgets and other improvements to its graphics pipeline. GSK was merged back in October and currently uses OpenGL for rendering while there is now a branched Vulkan renderer.

      • GNOME loves to cook

        With the upcoming 20th birthday of GNOME next year, some of us thought that we should make another attempt at this application, maybe as a birthday gift to all of GNOME.

        Shortly after GUADEC, I got my hands on some existing designs and started to toy around with implementing them over a few weekends and evenings. The screenshots in this post show how far I got since then.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Top 3: SparkyLinux 4.5, Mageia 5.1 and Peppermint 7

      SparkyLinux is (yet another) Debian based Linux distribution. The SparkyLinux 4.5 update codenamed “Tyche’ was released on December 3, providing users with multiple desktop choice other than GNOME. SparkLinux 4.5 ships with KDE, LXDE, LXQt, MATE and Xfce.

    • Upcoming Linux Distributions Releasing In December 2016

      In December 2016, a big Linux distribution release is taking shape in the form of Linux Mint 18.1 Serena, flavored by Cinnamon 3.2. It’ll be accompanied by the release of security and privacy-focused Anonymous Live CD Tails 2.9.

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 20.1 Linux Distro Released with Kernel 4.4.34 LTS to Restore PAE Support

        4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki is happy to inform Softpedia today about the immediate availability of the first point release of the 4MLinux 20 stable series of his independently-developed GNU/Linux distribution.

        4MLinux 20.0 was officially released a month ago, on the first day of November, and it’s currently the most advanced version of the Linux-based operating system, shipping with the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel and many recent GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software applications.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Leap 42.2 gets 64-bit Raspberry Image

        The latest release from openSUSE has new images available for the Raspberry Pi and joins SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Raspberry Pi in becoming the initial distributions with 64-bit for the Raspberry Pi 3.

        The 64-bit image of openSUSE Leap 42.2 for the Raspberry Pi 3 has been out for a couple weeks.

        “The ARM and AArch64 Images for openSUSE Leap 42.2 are not a once-only release,” said Dirk Mueller. “They get continuously updated and include fixes as the Leap 42.2 port matures over time. These are the first usable images, and more variants with more fixes will come over time.”

      • OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Does A 64-bit Spin For The Raspberry Pi 3

        Following SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as being available in a 64-bit edition catered to the Raspberry Pi 3, openSUSE developers have now released a 64-bit image of Leap 42.2 for the RPi3.

      • SUSE Buys HPE’s OpenStack and Cloud Foundry Assets, Talent

        Back in November, the Cloud Foundry Foundation, home of an industry-standard platform for cloud applications, announced that SUSE had increased its engagement and support of Cloud Foundry by becoming a Platinum member.

        Now, SUSE has entered into an agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to acquire technology and talent that will expand SUSE’s OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution. In addition, the company announced that it will accelerate its entry into the growing Cloud Foundry Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) market, and said that the acquired OpenStack assets will be integrated into SUSE OpenStack Cloud.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Why Red Hat takes an ‘upstream first’ approach

        Red Hat has been an open source solution provider since 1993 and is 100% open source-focused. Today, the company has more than 80 offices in more than 40 countries around the globe and employs about 10,000 people.

      • Singapore IT Decision Makers Turn to Open Source for Digital Innovation

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the results of a commissioned study by Forrester Consulting, on behalf of Red Hat, about the use of open source in digital innovation initiatives in the Asia Pacific region. The results, highlighted in the study Open Source Drives Digital Innovation revealed that IT decision makers in Singapore are turning to open source to drive better efficiency and digital innovation.

      • Linux Pathshala received Red Hat awards
      • Red Hat OpenStack Platform

        The adoption of OpenStack in production environments has burgeoned, necessitating increased requirements for enhanced management and seamlessly integrated enterprise capabilities.

      • Red Hat’s Paul Smith: Open Source the Basis for Gov’t Digital Transformation

        Paul Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Red Hat‘s (NYSE: RHT) U.S. public sector business, has noted that the government utilizes open source technology as the development model for digital transformation efforts, ExecutiveBiz reported Tuesday.

        “Digital transformation is an unstoppable force as constituents and consumers are demanding more value and a greater user experience,” Smith said Nov. 2 at the 2016 Red Hat Government Symposium in Virginia.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora and GNOME at the Engineering Week of UPIG

          I was invited today to present two Free software projects: GNOME and Fedora at UPIG (Universidad Peruana de Integración Global). They celebrated the event during the whole week the “Engineering Week”. This was the advertisement they used to announce the workshop that last two hours. It was offered free admission with certification fee of s/.25.

        • Fedora 25 review

          Even when dealing with the various Wayland oddities and issues, Fedora 25 is a great distribution. Everything is reasonably polished and the default software provides a functional desktop for those looking for a basic web browsing, e-mail, and word processing environment. The additional packages available can easily turn Fedora into an excellent development workstation customized for a developer’s specific needs. If you are programming in most of the current major programming languages, Fedora provides you the tools to easily do so. Overall, I am very pleased using Fedora 25, but I am even more excited for future releases of Fedora as the various minor Wayland issues get cleaned up.

        • Try Fedora in the cloud for free with Dply

          Fedora 25 is now available on Dply. Dply is a new experimental cloud provider which lets you run an instance for two hours at a time — for free, with no catch. That means that with a few clicks, you can try Fedora 25 from the comfort of your home, school, or coffeeshop.

    • Debian Family

      • My Free Software Activities in November 2016

        This was my ninth month as a paid contributor and I have been paid to work 11 hours on Debian LTS, a project started by Raphaël Hertzog.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based SparkyLinux 4.5 Brings Support for exFAT Filesystems, systemd 232

          The developers of the Debian-based SparkyLinux distribution announced this past weekend the release and immediate availability for download of the SparkyLinux 4.5 operating system.

          SparkyLinux 4.5 comes more than three months after the SparkyLinux 4.4 “Tyche” release and promises to offer users fully updated installation mediums for its KDE, Xfce, LXDE, LXQt, and MATE flavors, which have been synced with the upstream Debian GNU/Linux repositories as of November 29, 2016. The SparkyLinux 4.5 ISO images are powered by Linux kernel 4.8.7.

        • Debian/TeX Live 2016.20161130-1

          As we are moving closer to the Debian release freeze, I am shipping out a new set of packages. Nothing spectacular here, just the regular updates and a security fix that was only reported internally. Add sugar and a few minor bug fixes.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Snapcraft 2.23 Snap Creator for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 16.10

            Canonical’s Snappy development team have released a new maintenance version of the Snapcraft 2.x tool that lets applications developers package their apps as Snap packages for Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux distributions that support Snaps.

          • Canonical to sue cloud provider over Ubuntu images

            Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution, has said it plans to sue an European cloud provider for distributing unofficial images of its cloud distribution despite several warnings.

            The company offers certified cloud images of Ubuntu that are guaranteed to run on specific cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure or Google.

            Performance is optimised and integrated with underlying cloud requirements, with input from the host’s cloud engineers.

          • Pico-ITX SBC runs Ubuntu on Braswell

            DFI announced an Intel Braswell based “BW051” Pico-ITX SBC with up to 8GB DDR3L, mini-PCIe, SATA 3.0, mSATA, and Linux support.

            DFI, which earlier this year tapped Intel’s “Braswell” generation of SoCs for its BW968 COM Express Compact Type 6 module, has now chosen Braswell for a Pico-ITX SBC. The 100 x 72mm BW051 ships with 4-6W Braswell processors including dual or quad-core Celeron models, the quad-core 1.6GHz Pentium N3710, and quad-core, 1.04GHz Atom x5-E8000.

          • Must have Ubuntu Packages

            For most people, any default Ubuntu installation will meet their needs. Ubuntu provides users with Web browsing, email, along with various communication tools right out of the box. Heck, even basic backups are provided…although you must take the time to configure it.

            Putting all of that aside for a moment, let’s consider which “must have Ubuntu packages” aren’t included by default. In this article, I’ll share my top list of must have Ubuntu packages and explain why I rely on each of them.

          • Canonical yells at European cloud provider

            Open saucy outfit Canonical is in the middle of a legal dispute with an unnamed “a European cloud provider” over the use of its own homespun version of Ubuntu on their cloud servers.

            Canonical is worried that the implementation disables even the most basic of security features and Canonical fears that when something bad happens, the great unwashed will not blame the cloud provider but will instead blame Ubuntu.

            Writing in the company bog, Canonical said that it has spent months trying to get the unnamed provider to use the standard Ubuntu as delivered to other commercial operations to no avail. It said that Red Hat and Microsoft wouldn’t be treated like this.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu-Based ExTiX OS Updated for Intel Compute Sticks with Improved Installer

              GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton announced this past weekend the release of an updated build of his Ubuntu-based ExTiX Linux distribution for Intel Compute Stick devices.

              Last month, we reported on the initial availability of a port of the ExTiX operating system for Intel Compute Sticks, boasting the lightweight and modern LXQt 0.10.0 desktop environment and powered by the latest Linux 4.8 kernel, tweaked by Arne Exton for Intel Atom processors.

              And now, ExTiX Build 161203 is out as a drop-in replacement for Build 161119, bringing a much-improved Ubiquity graphics installer that should no longer crash, as several users who attempted to install the Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distro on their Intel Compute Stick devices reported.

            • Should Linux Mint be discontinued?

              Linux Mint has been quite popular with many users for a very long time. But changes to Linux Mint in recent years have one redditor wondering exactly what the point of using it is these days. Distributions like Fedora, Ubuntu and others have also stolen some of Linux Mint’s thunder with notable improvements and popular spins.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 20 houses of Hindus set on fire in Bangladesh

      At least 20 houses of Hindus were set on fire in Bochaganj upazila of Dinajpur in Bangladesh early Saturday.

      A report published in The Daily Star said that houses of seven families of Hindus were set on fire in Railway Colony.

      Fortunately, no one was injured as residents managed to escape on time.

      A person named Jewel was held by the locals, who allegedly set the fire.

    • Exclusive: WikiLeaks documents highlight sinister relations between Erdogan and ISIS

      The connection of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan΄s family with the oil smuggling of the “Islamic State” is revealed after Wikileaks΄ revealing of emails from the Turkish energy minister, and Erdoğan΄s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak. Albayrak΄s emails seem to confirm the not-so-recent accusations, since the energy minister is appealing to be the “unofficial” owner of the oil company Powertrance which is importing oil from the Isis΄ land in Northern Irak to Turkey.

    • 5 Bizarre Groups That Run Entire Foreign Countries

      Nippon Kaigi is an ultra-nationalist group whose members believe the Japanese are a superior race. They want to alter Japan’s history — like denying the rape and pillage of Nanjing, an onslaught with an estimated 200,000 Chinese victims. And they want to change the constitution, scrapping Japan’s pacifist policies, getting rid of foreigners, keeping women at home, bringing back corporal punishment, and generally doing away with a whole bunch of basic human rights, like freedom of speech.

      That headline about how Japan’s PM likes Trump makes a bit more sense now, doesn’t it?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Police “legally mug” gang boss to grab unlocked iPhone

      The Metropolitan Police have debuted a new tactic to beat Apple’s iPhone encryption—by mugging a suspect while he was making a call and then keeping the screen alive while they downloaded all the data from the phone.

      The technique, which bears all the hallmarks of a real mugging, is apparently legal and seems set to be adopted as a standard means of gathering evidence from devices that might otherwise be locked to investigators.

      The evidence gathered from the tactic helped jail five men involved in a major fake credit card operation. Officers from Operation Falcon, the specialist London unit tackling major fraud and other related online crime, seized the phone from one of the ringleaders, Gabriel Yew, whose gang were suspected of manufacturing false bank and credit cards and using them across mainland Europe to buy luxury goods.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Federal Officials to Explore Different Route for Dakota Pipeline

      Federal officials announced on Sunday that they would not approve permits for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a dammed section of the Missouri River that tribes say sits near sacred burial sites.

      The decision is a victory for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of protesters camped near the construction site who have opposed the project because they said would it threaten a water source and cultural sites. Federal officials had given the protesters until tomorrow to leave a campsite near the construction site.

      In a statement on Sunday, the Department of the Army’s assistant secretary for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, said that the decision was based on a need to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.

      “Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Ms. Darcy said. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

    • Nigeria and Morocco Sign Gas Pipeline Deal to Link Africa to Europe

      Nigeria and Morocco have signed a joint venture to construct a gas pipeline that will connect the two nations as well as some other African countries to Europe, Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs said on Saturday.

      The agreement was reached during a visit by the Morocco’s King Mohammed to the Nigerian capital Abuja, Geoffrey Onyema, the minister, said, adding that the pipeline project would be designed with the participation of all stakeholders.

    • Sanders sings Obama’s praises for stopping Dakota pipeline

      Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders applauded President Obama Sunday evening for halting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      Sanders, who has been an outspoken opponent of the pipeline, shared his message on Facebook.

      “I appreciate very much President Obama listening to the Native American people and millions of others who believe this pipeline should not be built,” the post read.

      “In the year 2016, we should not continue to trample on Native American sovereignty. We should not endanger the water supply of millions of people. We should not become more dependent on fossil fuel and accelerate the planetary crisis of climate change. Our job now is to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, not to produce more greenhouse gas emissions.”

    • Sadiq Khan to spend £770m on London cycling initiatives

      London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has promised to spend £770m on cycling initiatives over the course of his term, saying he wants to make riding a bike the “safe and obvious” transport choice for all Londoners.

      Following criticism that Khan has not been as bold as his predecessor, Boris Johnson, in committing to new bike routes, and amid increasing worries about air quality in London, Khan’s office has set out what is described as a hugely ambitious programme to boost cyclist numbers.

      The proposed spending of about £17 per person per year gets near the levels seen in cycle-friendly nations such as the Netherlands and Denmark.

      Among the plans are proposals for two new cycle superhighways, routes on which riders are largely separated from motor traffic by kerbs and dedicated traffic lights, the first of which were built under Johnson and have proved hugely popular.

  • Finance

    • Trump’s pick to lead Treasury tried to kick woman out of her house over 27 cents

      Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s pick to lead the Treasury, worked for Goldman Sachs for 20 years. In 2008 Munchin and his partners founded a bank (funded in part by George Soros) that tried to evict a 90-year-old woman from her home because she underpaid a bill by 27 cents.

    • India’s Modi Defends Clampdown on Cash Economy

      Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday defended his crackdown on the cash economy that has left businesses, farmers and families suffering, saying it was necessary to keep inflation in check and ensure basic amenities for all.

      Modi’s decision last month to scrap 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee banknotes as part of a crackdown on tax dodgers and counterfeiters has caused a currency crunch in a country where most people are paid in cash and buy what they need with cash.

      With a small stock of smaller notes available and new bills of 500 and 2,000 rupee in short supply, Indians are being forced to stand in queues outside banks and cash machines to change their old notes.

    • More farmers going bankrupt

      Eero Vilokki from Kiuruvesi in central Finland lost his family dairy farm after declaring bankruptcy in June when the derivative interest rates his bank suggested on his loans grew impossible to pay. He was kicked off his family farmstead by the new owners in late August.

      The locks on the buildings were changed the very same day.

      “My workers’ belongings and computers, along with my clothing and possessions, were all left behind. All I had was the work clothes on my back. No one bothered to ask if I had a place to stay or food,” Vilokki told Yle.

      Before Vilokki was forced to leave, the farm had been transferred to a company with four equal owners. The value of the farm was estimated at 400,000 euros, with an additional 151,000 euros added on for the property’s office space. The farm’s forest property was valued at 24,000 euros.

      “It was highway robbery. The forest land alone was worth 178,000 euros,” Vilokki said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Austria rejects far-right candidate Norbert Hofer in presidential election

      Austria has decisively rejected the possibility of the European Union getting its first far-right head of state, instead electing a former leader of the Green party who said he would be an “open-minded, liberal-minded and above all a pro-European president”.

      Alexander Van der Bellen, who ran as an independent, increased his lead over the far-right Freedom party candidate, Norbert Hofer, by a considerable margin from the original vote in May, which was annulled by the constitutional vote due to voting irregularities.

    • Bernie Sanders: Trump didn’t win the election, the Democrats lost it

      “I look at this election not as a victory for Mr. Trump, who wins the election as the most unpopular candidate in perhaps the history of our country, but as a loss for the Democratic Party.” -Senator Bernie Sanders, speaking to a sold-out crowd in San Rafael, CA.

    • The Democratic Party has Tuned Out the Jihad… if it Ever Tuned it in to Begin With

      Or, to be more precise, for many Americans it did not really happen because they simply don’t care about Islamic theological violence against their fellow Americans. The reason that many Americans, particularly of the progressive variety, tend not to care about this kind of violence is because to do so is considered “racist” by president Obama, the leadership of the Democratic Party, and the elite media.

      Koranically-based attacks on innocent Americans are, therefore, perceived like the weather. A typhoon or a flood or an earthquake may happen now and again, but what can you do? You cannot dwell on such things. They are simply “acts of God” and there is very little to be done or said, for most of us, beyond, “Gee, how unlucky.”

    • Jury finds Brandon Hall guilty of election fraud

      It took less than an hour Wednesday for a jury to convict political activist Brandon Michael Hall on 10 counts of election law fraud, following a day-and-a-half trial in Ottawa County Circuit Court.

      According to the Grand Haven Tribune, the 27-year-old Grand Haven resident, author of the West Michigan Politics blog and self-admitted political junkie, said the verdict wasn’t a surprise.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The war on ‘fake news’ is all about censoring real news

      Scrambling for an explanation for Donald Trump’s victory, many in the media and on the left have settled on the idea that his supporters were consumers of “fake news” — gullible rubes living in an alternate reality made Trump president.

      To be sure, there is such a thing as actual fake news: Made-up stories built to get Facebook traction before they can be debunked. But that’s not what’s really going on here.

      What the left is trying to do is designate anything outside its ideological bubble as suspect on its face.

    • Academic witch hunts are back: The new McCarthyism, a sign of the stupidity of the post-truth era

      In late November three blocks from the White House, a group of leaders from the so-called alt-right, who many consider to simply be white supremacists, gathered for an annual conference called the National Policy Institute. Their goal was to discuss and debate the opportunities offered by a Donald Trump presidency for their white nationalist plans. In the wake of a rise in hate crimes, the meeting sent a chill throughout the nation.

      But making America whiter “again” is not the only thing we need to fear with a Trump administration. Only two days after the alt-right convention in D.C., Turning Point USA launched Professor Watchlist, a website designed to call out college professors who “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

    • The UK government’s latest deluded idea: ‘banning’ underage sexting on social media

      When the UK government is not busy looking for ways to invade internet users’ privacy, it’s looking for ways to restrict what they are able to do online — particularly when it comes to things of a sexual nature.

      The health secretary Jeremy Hunt has made calls for technology companies and social media to do more to tackle the problems of cyberbullying, online intimidation and — rather specifically — under-18-year-olds texting sexually explicit images. Of course, he doesn’t have the slightest idea about how to go about tackling these problems, but he has expressed his concern so that, in conjunction with passing this buck to tech companies, should be enough, right?

    • Defriend everyone on Facebook if you really want to see the world as it is

      Messing around on Facebook recently, I was appalled to see a man I used to work with gleefully posting about Trump’s election win. I went through a mixture of emotions. First, there was the shock that I had allowed myself to be friends with such a man, because my capacity to make everything about me is impressive, even for a comedian. Second, I couldn’t believe that he could have the temerity to post something that disagreed with what we had all agreed on Facebook was “The Official Viewpoint”. Third, I realised that I probably shouldn’t be on Facebook at my wife’s birthday dinner.

      What I should have done was thank him. It was the first time in ages that I had felt anything approaching an emotion on Facebook. Because I’ve only made friends with people who think like me, my newsfeed is nothing but the sound of people high-fiving each other for having the same opinion. It isn’t even an echo chamber. I am basically part of a Borg hive, speaking in unison on everything. If anyone disagreed with me, I would send them to unfriend exile, as if I were running some sort of Facebook North Korea, or Trump’s America.

    • In these turbulent times, take a break from social media to find comfort

      Five days after the election of Donald Trump, I stood in line at the airport wanting to kill time. I glanced at Twitter on my phone, almost by instinct, to snuff out a momentary feeling of boredom. What greeted me shouldn’t have been a surprise, given what I had read all week: a steady stream of hate promised, chronicled, photographed as it was unleashed throughout America, filled my timeline.

      As the plane began its taxi, my mind spiraled down an abyss of dark thoughts. Was the America I knew, loved, and once lived in, now a place I should viscerally fear? Would I witness this hate firsthand? Would I walk by unsettling graffiti, or feel the string of racism shouted as I spoke in front of crowds of strangers? My stomach churned as the plane climbed, and when the seatbelt sign turned off, I had to lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes, taking deep breaths to stop my whole body from shaking.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • UK Police Circumventing Cellphone Encryption By ‘Mugging’ Suspects While Their Phones Are Unlocked

      So, it’s come to this: lawful mugging. Still, it’s not a terrible solution to the problem. Sometimes the best methods are lo-tech, as anyone swinging a $5 Password Acquisition Tool can tell you.

      This method will work in the UK. It may not in the US. UK law enforcement would likely find compelling a suspect to unlock a device a long and possibly fruitless endeavor, but there’s no Riley decision standing in the way of seizing/searching phones on the hoof (as it were).

      Courts here in the US have interpreted the Supreme Court’s Riley decision in diverse ways, but a motion to suppress evidence might succeed if US law enforcement began engaging in this novel form of encryption circumvention. In one case, a judge found that simply opening a flip phone constituted a search under Riley. Keeping a phone “alive” until evidence can be retrieved from it might run afoul of the Fourth Amendment, even if the seizure itself is completely lawful.

      It’s still a better idea than making encryption backdoors mandatory or requiring device manufacturers to make a second set of keys for the government. The solution isn’t elegant but it works. And it will only work in certain circumstances, so there’s not much potential for abuse. It might encourage rougher arrests than usual, if only to separate the cellphone from the suspect, but the small number of arrests where this process would work shouldn’t result in a sharp uptick in excessive force deployment.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amazombies: Seven seconds to find an item, every move filmed and blistering 12-hours shifts with timed toilet breaks… what YOUR Christmas order does to your ‘worker elves’

      Amazon was last night accused of ‘dehumanising’ its staff battling to deliver gifts to millions of customers in time for Christmas.

      Workers at the internet shopping giant’s distribution centres face disciplinary action if they lose a punishing race against the clock to track down items ordered by online shoppers.

    • Enclaves of Islam see UK as 75% Muslim

      Britain is an Islamic country where the majority of people share their faith, according to a report to be published this week.

      Evidence gathered by Dame Louise Casey, the government’s community cohesion tsar, will lift the lid on how some Muslims are cut off from the rest of Britain with their own housing estates, schools and television channels.

    • Three surprising ways to challenge violence against women

      It’s been more than 20 years since the UN General Assembly committed to eradicating violence against women. Yet today, it’s estimated that one in three women has experienced some form of sexual or physical violence, often at the hands of an intimate partner. This apparent lack of progress doesn’t mean, though, that people aren’t trying to do something about it – sometimes by pretty creative means.

    • Female Genital Mutilation in Pakistan

      World Health Organization defines Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as “procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” FGM is classified into four types. Clitoridectomy includes partial or total removal of the clitoris. 85% of the FGM procedures are of this type. The second type is excision which is performed to partially or totally remove the clitoris or the labia minora (inner folds of vulva). Infibulation, the third type, refers to the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The fourth type can include other harmful procedures like piercing, pricking, scraping, incising or cauterizing. More than 200 million girls across the world have undergone the torturous plight of having their genitals sewn up, removed or mutilated.

      The humiliating practice of FGM is carried out in 30 countries of Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is rampant. The migrants from these regions take along their belief-systems, family rituals and customs to their new settlements and influence other people from their communities to practice the same. Many a religious heads, doctors, community leaders and other medically-trained professionals facilitate this oppressive custom either by indulging in genital-cutting or by sanctifying its prevalence. FGM manifests itself in regressive religious practices, community cultures and traditions. The procedural circumcision which is seen as a coming of age custom for a girl in many cultural rituals incurs life-threatening harm to the girl’s body on which it is performed, putting her at a risk of multiple health-hazards and psychological ill-effects. In religious terms, the practice is performed as a mark of entry for a girl-child from childhood to adulthood.

    • “Eliminating FGM is an essential step to realizing other SDGs”—Lakshmi Puri

      Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one of the most serious violations of human rights of women and girls and no amount of sophistry by its proponents and apologists can change that.

      In 2015, 194 countries at the highest level of government at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit have declared that it must be eliminated and that it’s a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target. So that’s final!

    • The Plot to Sideline Gambia’s First Female Presidential Candidate

      In early September, Gambian feminist activist Isatou Touray stood before a crowd of reporters in the seaside town of Kololi and chastised the administration of President Yahya Jammeh, who has ruled over Gambia with an iron fist since he took power through a bloodless coup in 1994. Touray accused Jammeh of pilfering the country’s natural resources for his own benefit, purposely failing to uphold the rule of law and delegating power to a small and exclusive circle of corrupt men.

      Then she declared her plans to push him out of office in the December 1 presidential election by running for his seat herself. “It is time for him to leave,” she said.

    • The Lesson from Standing Rock: Organizing and Resistance Can Win

      Less than two hours earlier, news came that the Army Corps of Engineers had turned down the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built under the Missouri River. The company will have to find an alternate route and undergo a lengthy environmental assessment.

      Ever since, the network of camps now housing thousands of water protectors has been in the throes of (cautious) celebration and giving thanks, from cheers to processions to round dances. Here, at the family home of Standing Rock Tribal Councilman Cody Two Bears, friends and family members who have been at the center of the struggle are starting to gather for a more private celebration.

      Which is why the dishes must be done. And the soup must be cooked. And the Facetime calls must be made to stalwart supporters, from Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox to environmental icon Erin Brockovich. And the Facebook live videos must, of course, be made. Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard—here as part of a delegation of thousands of anti-pipeline veterans—is on her way over. (“Exhilarated,” is how she says she feels when she arrives.) CNN must, of course, be watched, which to the amazement of everyone here gives full credit to the water protectors (while calling them “protesters”).

    • Analysis: The Assange case in the context of Sweden’s feminist foreign policy for international trade gains

      A previous analysis concluded that Sweden most likely would persist in neither undertaking nor recognizing the international criticism for its rejection of the UN conclusion regarding the arbitrary detention of Mr Julian Assange [See UNGWAD full document in Appendix 1]. That is to say, it will not do so at least in the nearest future.

      Further, the article hypothesizes that –in the eventuality of a positive intervention by the upcoming Trump administration regarding the case Assange – from the Swedish side the case will be likely used as a tool in a bargain including issues of economic interest, support by the US towards Swedish stances in the Security Council (as publicly anticipated by foreign minister Margot Wallström) [1] and other items already put forward by the letter of PM Stefan Löfven to President-elect Donald Trump. [2]

    • Mistrial in murder case against cop who shot Walter Scott

      A South Carolina judge declared a mistrial Monday after jurors said they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the case of a white former North Charleston police officer charged with murder in the death of black motorist Walter Scott.

      The mistrial came just a few hours after Circuit Judge Clifton Newman had ordered jurors to continue deliberating. But the jurors reported later that they were hopelessly unable to reach a unanimous consensus, the Associated Press and CNN reported. The jury had deliberated about 22 hours over four days.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Committee On Traditional Knowledge Agrees On Revised Text For Further Discussions

      World Intellectual Property Organization delegates last week agreed on a revised set of draft articles to be further discussed at the next session of the committee working on a potential treaty to protect traditional knowledge. Views differed on the achievements of the week. For the proponents of a binding treaty, the text reflects a better understanding of issues, and some reduction in differences. However, for some developed countries not in favour of a treaty, gaps are still wide open and much work remains.

    • Will The Voice Of Indigenous Peoples Disappear From WIPO Discussions To Protect Their Knowledge?

      What would be the credibility of the World Intellectual Property Organization committee negotiating a system of protection for traditional knowledge held by indigenous peoples, if none of their representatives could participate in the meetings? That has been a recurring question asked by indigenous peoples and the organisation over the years. But now, if no voluntary contributions are made by governments or others, the next committee meeting could very well be first in 16 years held without a single observer from an indigenous community.

    • Copyrights

      • Every Website Needs To Re-register With The Copyright Office, Who Can’t Build A Functioning System

        As we mentioned last month, the Copyright Office — despite being warned this was a bad idea — has decided to implement a brand new system for websites to register DMCA agents, and has done so in a way that will undoubtedly fuck over many websites. It’s already ridiculous enough that in order to be fully protected under the DMCA’s safe harbor rules (that say you’re not liable if someone posts infringing material to your website), you need to register a designated “DMCA agent” with the Copyright Office. The idea behind this is that by registering an agent, copyright holders will be able to look up who to send a takedown notice to. And, sure, that makes sense, but remember that this is the same Copyright Office that supports not requiring copyright holders to register their works, meaning that there may not be any legitimate way to contact copyright holders back.

        The reason for the new system is that the old system was just ridiculous — on that everyone can agree. You had to fill out a paper form, sign it, and send it in. The Copyright Office has been way behind on digitizing everything, so moving to a web based system is a good thing. Also, the old system required payment of over $100, while the new one is just $6. That’s all good. The problem is twofold: first, the Copyright Office has said that it is throwing out all the old registrations, and if you want to retain your safe harbors, you need to re-register. There’s a grace period through the end of next year, but plenty of sites who don’t follow the Copyright Office’s every move are going to miss this, and will no longer have an officially registered agent with the Copyright Office (it’s possible that, should this issue go to court, a platform could reasonably argue that it still did meet the statutory requirements in the original registration, but why force site owners through that hoop in the first place). The second problem, is that this new system will toss out records every three years, so if you forget to renew, you once again can lose your legal safe harbors. This puts tons of websites at serious risk, removing key protections and opening them up to lawsuits from copyright trolls.

Leaked: Battistelli Acknowledges Bunk ‘Justice’ in About 100 Cases at the Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Damage control’ from the most damaging (to the EPO) President ever!

Battistelli on Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO
Click for large version

Summary: A look at Battistelli’s response to the latest from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), exceptionally delivering two decisions at the very end of last month

THE ILOAT recently slammed (albeit politely) the Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO. It has been a sham for a long time, the Tribunal found. This means there was no Rule of Law or justice (no functional access to real justice) at the EPO under Battistelli. Presidential decrees and legal harassment/bullying by the President turned the Office into a laughing stock all across Europe and even the world.

As expected, late on a Friday (the usual) Battistelli responded with more of the usual lies and hogwash. The EPO is experiencing a post-truth era, so why not again? The response can be seen at the top. But it’s all wrong.

Note that in July of this year the EPO, in Judgment No. 3694, was already reminded of the importance of a properly-formed Internal Appeals Committee. The present formation of the Appeals Committee, with the two “volunteer” Staff Representatives, was preceded by a short period where there were no Staff Representatives on the Committee at all. In Judgment No. 3694 [PDF] the ILOAT sent a case complaining about that arrangement back to the EPO “so that the Appeals Committee, composed in accordance with the applicable rules, may examine the appeal.”

Here is some background from the CSC side — a publication from 2014 (four pages).

Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

It’s not too hard to see why the EPO feels as though needs to lie again. It got caught in a scandal — one in which cyclical lies are essential (like the Watergate Scandal). When asked for its response by IP Watch, which wrote an article on the subject, “The European Patent Office has emailed some gobbledygook in response to the article of IP-Watch,” as one person put it.

Earlier today we wrote about the quarrels Battistelli has with French politicians and the latest comments in The Register further reinforce the observation that Battistelli tarnishes the image of France. One person even called it “typical French behaviour” and alleged something to that effect; “I would say Battistelli is a typical Frenchman,” the comment says, “arrogant, does not listen to critique, believes he is superior to the rest of the world. France in a nutshell.”

A new comment in IP Kat says, “according to my info Battistelli also left the office of the German Minister Heiko Mass, with a “connard” (loud enough to be heard by the Minister Maas who speaks FR) – he also clashed with the NL state secretary, with the head of USIPO and JPIPO. to be continued…. Hey bro’ who’s the boss in da EPO ?”

“Let’s hope the AC delegates act before it is too late.”
      –Anonymous
A tongue-in-cheek comment said: “Currently being rolled out in the EPO is a PRISMA information security policy, it is not about information theft prevention but information manipulation on a scale never seen before! … BB’s chiefs, HR and the IU are taking key positions and use information control tactics to gain ultimate control over Eponia and any opposition. Let’s hope the AC delegates act before it is too late.”

Look what has become of what used to be the pride of Europe. Time for Battistelli to resign rather than continue his charade of lying and finger-pointing.

The UPC Scam Part V: Unitary Patent Regime a Fantasy of Patent Trolls

Posted in Europe, HP, Patents at 6:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The undemocratic patent conspiracy (UPC): We'll just call it something misleading

Summary: “Good for trolls” is a good way to sum up the Unitary Patent, which would give litigators plenty of business (defendants and plaintiffs, plus commissions on high claims of damages) if it ever became a reality

TODAY marks exactly one week since the bizarre statement from the British government, which enjoyed misleading coverage bought/paid for directly and less directly by Battistelli’s EPO.

In the previous four parts we explained the reality of the situation and in upcoming parts we’ll explain why the UPC is still going nowhere — consistent with what we have been saying for a number of years. Some words on a Web page of the British government are not enough to make the impossible (or barely possible) magically attainable.

It’s worth reminding readers that the legal firm which the EPO unleashed at us for legal threats (in an effort to silence us) is itself part of the UPC's advocacy, which comes to show just how crooked things really are. Basically, a bunch of law firms are attempting to hijack the European patent system by means of endless lobbying, lies, fake (or biased) 'news', and fake job ads (for jobs that don't exist). These are some truly malicious actors. Morals don’t exist because they have a mission and they are willing to combat opponents. Our activism is largely reactionary.

Who is the UPC good for other than some legal firms? “Good news for patent trolls,” said this comment, possibly from Mr. Benjamin Henrion (FFII) by the sound of it.

Several days ago Patently-O wrote about last week’s news, noting that “Europe may overtake the US as patent-litigation-central” if the UPC becomes a reality. Another way to put it is, Europe can become a patent trolls’ hub, complete with software patents and everything they currently enjoy in the US (where they file the lion’s share of lawsuits). The Unitary Patent fantasists include those who can either represent these trolls in court or represent their victims (defendants). What’s not to like, eh?

Earlier today we noted that Microsoft agenda was interjected into an event that’s supposed to be about “International Women’s Leadership Forum” (here is the report about it). Well, Microsoft and even the UPC were interjected into this event. The latter subject was mentioned by “Deanna Kwong of Hewlett Packard Enterprise,” who said that the UPC “will be “fertile ground” for NPEs,” i.e. patent trolls (NPE is a euphemism).

Even MIP took note of it, writing in Twitter: “Consensus at #EUPatentUSA2016 that UPC system will attract troll-type activity – IT/TMT panel with @marksandclerk pic.twitter.com/2cbvgnBeSl”

Henrion replied with “oh really? what a surprise!”

We have been warning about this for years.

Here is the relevant part of the report from MIP:

The last six months (since the UK Brexit vote) have led to great uncertainty for Europe’s planned Unitary Patent and UPC system, said Bethan Hopewell of Powell Gilbert. But much progress has been made with 11 ratifications so far and much work on the IT system, the Rules of Procedure and the financing.

The latest news, she added, is yesterday’s announcement by the UK government that it will proceed with ratification of the UPC Agreement. “What needs to be worked on now is establishing certainty for industry so that the UPC is not undermined when the UK leaves the EU,” she said, adding that the UK’s role in the system post-Brexit remains to be seen.

Deanna Kwong of Hewlett Packard Enterprise said that despite the progress made there remains a lot of “uncertainty”: “I don’t know whether it will be a more favourable forum or not … at the outset it may be a more plaintiff-friendly forum to legitimate it as a forum.” Hopewell predicted it will be “fertile ground” for NPEs in the early years.

Kwong highlighted some differences between the UPC and the US system, including less emphasis on expert evidence, faster injunctions and the possibility to amend claims. “Fee shifting is a really big factor – hopefully that will be a counter-balance to the patentee-friendly aspects of the UPC,” she added.

It seems like both Henrion and I noticed this at the same time. HP is admitting that the UPC would be good for patent trolls. Remember all those who used to deny it and mocked those who even dared to suggest so?

“HP says EU Unitary Patent Court will fuel trolls,” Henrion later wrote.

“This is what patent prosecution & litigation in Europe will look like post-UPC,” MIP added, “says Bethan Hopewell of Powell Gilbert at #ipwomen Forum pic.twitter.com/NXxNaFgAuu”

Yes, “prosecution & litigation”…

Not innovation.

Not sharing.

Not competitiveness.

Remember… “prosecution & litigation”…

That’s all it boils down to and no wonder prosecutors and litigators are lobbying so hard for it. They want ‘nuclear’ legal wars to profit from. It’s obvious at whose expense.

EPO at a Tipping Point: Battistelli Quarrelling With French Politicians, Administrative Council Urged to Act, Staff Unrest Peaking

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No career fallback with Nicolas Sarkozy, either

Battistelli

Summary: The latest messages about Battistelli’s regime at the EPO, which faces growing opposition from more directions than ever before

THE EPO seems to be reaching another tipping point, where not only ILO and politicians take the side of EPO staff but a lot of the British media too (definitely not the German media, which seems to enjoy the EPO as a local cash cow). Even a British mouthpiece of the EPO gave a platform to an EPO staff representative a couple of weeks ago. To quote this recent comment, “Mr Prunier’s post on IAM blog : http://www.iam-media.com/blog/Detail.aspx?g=2141acfb-0254-48ab-a380-31fee0da7f97″

Another new comment says that a “reply from the [French] secretary for industry reveals he has even contacted BB to express his discontent.”

The “President of the EPO simply insults the Minister for Industry (responsible for patents in France),” wrote the following comment in reply. Certainly not a way to make friends and allies:

Phillips Cordery was present at the latest demonstration in The Hague. He gave some details in his speech. Christophe Sirugue (Minister for Industry) indeed talked to Battistelli about the social situation. Battistelli answered that he did not care about his opinion.

I could not believe my hears in that demo: there was a MP, talking in public, and announcing that the President of the EPO simply insults the Minister for Industry (responsible for patents in France). But ask anyone present and they will tell you.

What is even more worrying is that Battistelli is probably right. He IS indeed more powerful than a French Minister (or a German, English, Swiss… etc). He has immunity and nobody can do a thing against him.

Phillips Cordery (mentioned above) is the latest among several French politicians who call Battistelli an embarrassment/humiliation/"disgrace"/"damaging to the image of France".

“Tragedy hangs in the air,” said another comment, as “further dismissals ring out.” Well, Battistelli and Bergot have more in the pipeline, but can the Administrative Council or outside intervention put an end to it? Here is the full comment:

It is chilly in the EPO. It is the chill of a fanaticism that has enveloped itself in a harness of principles. Tragedy hangs in the air, further dismissals ring out. A political statement, the scandal of which reverberated far into Europe. BB’s response sounds hollow and hypocritical, ‘No one can escape his duty!’

“Even examiner team managers are showing opposition to the regime” of Battistelli, said the following comment, reinforcing what we heard before (even some Directors join the protests). Here is the comment in its full glory:

Very chilly indeed. Even examiner team managers are showing opposition to the regime: they ignore duties when it comes to completing their examining/oppo duties within the official timescales. The ILO is now pointing at total meltdown. Europe and its innovators deserve much better than this clapped out Enarquien despot. Clean sweep, please.

Perhaps optimistic about the morals of a chinchillas killer, one person believes that the Administrative Council, well paid (or strategically gifted) by Battistelli, will dismiss him:

Why the AC will not dismiss BB?

Because the AC is deeply divided. The AC members from the south – south of France, that is – and from the East – east of Germany, that is – do not care about the internal reputation of BB. Authority and hierarchy are good. And for each and every decision that is even a little bit out of their mandate, they have to Phone home.

At least one of the AC members from some other countries – a rather small country, one of the founders – is rumoured to be very vocal against BB.

But with a divided AC, BB – at the ENA well prepared for politics – will win. The earliest moment BB will leave is with an UMP president in France, probably provided he currently support that candidate (oops, missed the debate tonight…)

The AC wanted someone to put the examiners back to work, work a little harder and pick up files within one to two years after the last letter from the patent attorney – rather than sometimes over six years. The AC made a pact with the devil. The rest is history…

“It’s the end of the EPO as we know it,” another person wrote, “but I feel fine, I’ve got my design.”

Going further back in the comments (over a fortnight backwards), there are many comments which we deem “trolling” or intentionally provocative. We don’t want to draw attention to these as that would only encourage them. Here is one among many responses to such comments:

@ Dry Tears
Why is it that the board members get critisised when they haven’t done anything wrong, unlike the senior management and the Admin Counc who escape your censure. Whose side are you on?

@ the anonymous “Anonymous”
Have you read Merpel’s blog entry? Who is to blame for this mess? The board member you want to see dismissed? Shall we now start dismisssing judges who don’t conform? Why don’t you have a go at getting disciplinary proceedings going against the alleged “enemies of the people” in the UK? Yes, that is the sorry road we all seem to be going down, whether we want to or not.

“Battistelli and his minions have seemingly being drip-feeding information to the press,” noted another person on defaming of the accused board member. Here is the full comment which is actually quite informative:

Also worth reiterating is the fact that, while the suspended Board member is forced to remain incommunicado in the public sphere, BB and his minions have seemingly being drip-feeding information to the press (a) enabling the member in question to be identified without too much difficulty; and (b) containing tantalising hints of the allegations against him, making a mockery of the judicial process.

Namely: without having to look too deeply, it’s possible to find in various sources information about which Board the suspended BOA member comes from; what his nationality is; what his specialism is; and asserting variously that he’s been accused of carrying dangerous weapons within the office, spreading Nazi propaganda, disseminating defamatory information against a certain Croatian Vice-President of the Office, collaborating somehow (in ways curiously unspecified) with at least one of the suspended or fired staff representatives, and so on and so forth.

Some or all of this may be true. We simply don’t know (though I certainly find it doubtful, not least given the public prosecutor’s finding that the allegedly-defamatory press articles were not defamatory). It is surely not right under any reasonable concept of “justice” that the Office is apparently free to cast around such hints and accusations in public while the accused Board member is effectively gagged.

We should also not forget that some of the alleged evidence against the accused was reportedly obtained by means of key logging software or other such spyware installed on computers in public areas of the Office, and that these covert surveillance measures were apparently only authorised retrospectively by the EPO’s data protection officer, after the actions had already been taken.

The seemingly unnecessary plan to move the Boards out of central Munich, too, could do with closer scrutiny. According to some reports I’ve seen elsewhere, this plan has now been backed but only because the majority of AC representatives *abstained* in the crucial vote, thus leading to a “majority” in favour of the plan which actually represents a minority of the delegates. This is outrageous. Abstention is a completely ineffective means of registering a protest if it doesn’t stop the plan going ahead!

“The President has carte blanche and is using it to defeat his only serious opposition – SUEPO,” according to this comment which also relates to the Unitary Patent — a subject we’ll revisit shortly.

No, Anon, a single country cannot interfere, but what about the EU acting as a bloc? It would theoretically be possible for it to command a decisive majority. Indeed it would be very much in its interest in view of the importance to it of the Unitary Patent.

Is this going to happen? Of course not.

Any more than the prescribed ministerial conference is going to happen. When I mentioned the latter in my last post it was because I thought it might at least put some identifiable politicians in front of their responsibilities. But the fact that no-one is responsible for for carrying out this obligation means that it is just a purely theoretical possibility, meant to confer the mere appearance of democratic accountability on the doings of the EPO.

So there is no political entity, country or individual that can intervene. The President has carte blanche and is using it to defeat his only serious opposition – SUEPO.

The next few comments managed to avoid the trolls and stay on target/focus, i.e. the appeal boards. To quote one comment:

One point – an abstention must always be ineffective. It isn’t a vote against but a vote to let the rest decide for whatever reason. The risk is that when too many abstain, the resulting vote lacks authority and also you may then realise how you really felt. In this case if the vote had been against, I’m not sure you would be so agitated.
But I agree with the rest of your points.

A Bundesverfassungsgericht decision is then mentioned as follows:

There are many foul elements to this sorry story, in my view the most disgusting being the possibility for indefinite suspension of BoA members. As Merpel points out, the President no longer needs to go to the trouble of A.23(1) EPC (having spectacularly failed with this 3 times already…) – instead a troublesome BoA member can just be suspended until their tenure runs out. This is absolutely contrary to judicial independence and I look forward to reading the Bundesverfassungsgericht decision on this.

Bit of a risk involving the Bavarian police, no? I wonder if they had anything to say about key-logging / spy cameras, in contravention of German Datenschutzgesetz? Remarkable temerity to involve the police to ask them to act under national law while flouting that same law (sorry – being immune to it) as regards data protection. I don’t believe that such covert surveillance would anyway be admissible before a German court; it would itself be possibly deemed illegal surveillance.

Here is a good explanation of how or why Battistelli has managed to survive in his job so far:

Politicians in the countries, the governments, of Western Europe are fond of patting themselves on the back, when they berate the rest of the world for being unable to maintain The Rule of Law. OK, well then, the Administrative Council of the EPO is an ideal vehicle for them to demonstrate to the rest of the world what they mean by “the Rule of Law” and how it is to be maintained.

And what do we see? Totally supine attitudes. The AC has no backbone. BB is to be held to account by a lump of Plasticine.

No wonder that, these days, authoritarian and lawless regimes all round the world have nothing but scorn for our precious western European democracies. All talk and no action.

Those of us who read Merpel here should try to explain to the honorable profession of journalists what’s going on here, and how the AC story is a good way to demonstrate to the wider general public, in specially simple terms, a practical example of the erosion of our precious rights under a Rule of Law.

“Past tense,” noted another person in relation to the last sentence above is “At EPO the Rule of Law”

Present tense is “At EPO the Rule of Low” (how low can Battistelli stoop before he’s terminated by the Council?)

The whole Organisation is a rogue institution now, not just the Office. As long as the Council is cooperative in this whole charade, one might view it as passively complicit.

“So,” wrote the following commenter, “the EPO has blatantly failed to follow the rule of law.” This has been going on for years actually. Laws are being broken repeatedly, usually to help cover up previous violations of the law. It’s like a Watergate Scandal in slow(er) motion and Battistelli takes the role of Nixon.

So, the EPO has blatantly failed to follow the rule of law. The AC has blatantly failed in its most fundamental role of overseeing the actions of the Office. To add to that, there are numerous rumours circulating about precisely how it is that the President of the Office manages to retain the undying loyalty of certain representatives to the AC.

It is not hard to come to the conclusion that the Office has been entirely captured by a bunch of self-serving career civil servants who care not a jot for the reputation of the Office or the people that work there and merely seek to further their careers (and other self interests).

It seems that we cannot rely upon the current “political” class to “drain the swamp” at the EPO. There is simply too much complicity. My suggestion is that light will serve as the most effective disinfectant here. Does anyone have the number of a good investigative journalist (assuming that such people still exist)?

Here is part of a little debate about “multi-lateral bodies” such as WIPO and the EPO:

I agree with MaxDrei in respect of the general inadequacies of multi-lateral bodies. We just have to look at the impotence of the United Nations in matters far more devastating than this EPO saga.

So-called modern nations can’t combine to police/control despots around the world and many are suffering. Unilateral action by countries such as the US, UK, France are essential to protect people from the genocides and terrorists slaughters that regularly occur.

There is a lot of noise among the comments, with someone who goes by the name “BBRox” and is not alone in spreading pro-Battistelli talking points. “Check out the last comment,” someone told us about this thread at one time, “the use of the “we” shows that BBRox is at the EPO. The only question is who it is…”

Whoever it is, the person isn’t alone and a lot of the discussion got lost, focusing on imaginary staff perks rather than abuses against the staff. It’s a distraction and reversal, putting staff on the defensive. We are happy to see Merpel resuming/continuing to cover EPO (resuming after 4 months!) in spite of threats and sanctions from the EPO, but we are saddened to see some comments showing up with sheer (and likely intentional) inaccuracies in them, like claims that EPO staff is paid half a million Euros per year.

Here is an interesting long comment about the issues associated with such unnatural/multinational institutions that exist in a legal vacuum:

Amongst international organisations granted immunities, the EPO is unfortunately far from being alone in failing to respect basic principles of the rule of law. A 2010 essay by Matthew Parish (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1651784) had this to say about the matter:
“The only way international law applicable to international organizations is enforced is either by the international organizations themselves, or through political pressure of their members. Neither of these is satisfactory, for obvious reasons. Self-regulation cannot expect to be effective, as the rules will be interpreted and applied in a way convenient to the organization applying them. Political pressure is arbitrary: the force that is brought to bear, even if disguised in legal language, is likely to reflect national political interests rather than legal principle. There can be no law without impartial adjudication of its content and application. The inference we must therefore reluctantly draw is that international organizations are lawless creatures, despite their best pretences otherwise. For all their formalities, procedures, internal regulations, bulging legal departments and quasi-legal language in which they cloak their operations, their legal structure is a phantasm. When the rhetoric is stripped away, the legal framework within which international organizations are revealed to operate is entirely self-serving. Divested of the only mode of accountability that might conceivably be available to constrain them, their true form is revealed as an utterly undisciplined bureaucracy, inward looking, unrestrained, hydra-headed but directionless, self-consuming, and subject to perennial self-serving growth”.

I am sure that this description of effective lawlessness will sound pretty familiar to those currently serving under BB’s cosh.

Sadly, the only solution proposed by Mr Parish (the introduction of legal accountability measures for international organisations) is not likely to be effective in the current situation… at least not unless national judges start developing theories by which certain actions of international organisations can be subject to the jurisdiction of national courts. Based upon the “opinion” issued in the case pending before the Dutch courts, this does not look likely to happen any time soon.

So, I guess I am back to reiterating my previous request: does anyone have the number of a good investigative journalist?

Surely it would not be too difficult to find “hard” evidence of actions by EPO management (or failures of oversight by the AC) that would breach provisions of all national laws (including provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights)? The first instance judgement in the Netherlands and the situation of the “suspended” judge spring immediately to mind. Analysis of the voting patterns of each national representative to the AC could well provide a rich source of information too.

Watch the following noteworthy observation about what Battistelli is doing as he strives to have an “INNOCENT PERSON dismissed,” to quote the following comment:

Mmh … let me see if I get it right:

the Munich Public Prosecutor – a fairly independent instance, I would say – has dismissed the complaint.

Did the President inform the Administrative Council of this important development in May?

Or is he using the AC to have an INNOCENT PERSON dismissed?

If anybody, at least the suspended member shall inform the AC, his own appointing authority.

It’s now also pretty clear why the president doesn’t want any external review of the cases of the dismissed Staff Representatives …

And then this came, regarding “dissemination of press articles [which] could constitute defamation under German law.”

The Prosecutor reviewed and analyzed the articles and concluded that their content was not in fact defamatory under German law. The Prosecutor also expressed doubt that in any event the dissemination of press articles could constitute defamation under German law.

Well, well, well … we now discover that the original accusation was “redistribution of press articles” which the Office “considered” “defamatory” against a “member of the senior management team at the EPO”.

(Everybody knows who this “member of the senior management team at the EPO” is. But now we now also understand why the EPO decided to block access to Techrights from within the Office … everything fits together perfectly …)

Given the reaction of the President and the mess in which he has put the Office, these articles should contain explosive material! What a pity that we cannot read them …

… but wait: we can! In Germany, legal proceedings are not subject to the cloak of secrecy imposed in EPOnia. In Germany, everyone can make his/her own mind, and not only hear the management’s version of the facts.

Anyone to get a copy of the decision of the Munich Prosecutor and retrieve a these “dangerous” articles*?

Also, send a copy of the decision to the German press that so far seems to have blindly followed the words of El Presidentissimo?

Mr. Battistelli has made a big mistake here. By the time the Munich Prosecutor announced his decision, he expected the suspended member to be already out of the EPO since long time …

* Yeah, I know they most probably are already available at Techrights, but still …

This defamation against the judge started at almost the exact same time that the EPO started sending threatening legal letters to Techrights. Both strategies (hypocritical SLAPP over “defamation” while the EPO itself is defaming an innocent man) began just shortly after the EPO had signed the first FTI Consulting contract. One wonders if both strategies were at least partly FTI Consulting’s idea (manipulating the Dutch and German press outlets by interjecting attack pieces into them and silencing other press by legal threats).

The EPO sure operates like some kind of a Mafia these days.

Here is a reply to people who think about applying for a job at the EPO:

you are free to apply to this paradise since EPO is hiring.

A salary and good working conditions are not a compensation for violation of fundamental rights or unhealthly management methods, and union bashing, denial of justice, bolchevik trials etc.

“Anyone who can is leaving,” notes the following comments, “early retirements are skyrocketing” (we have heard of actual numbers that confirm this trend). To quote:

It really grieves me to say it after many happy years in the EPO as an examiner, but I can’t recommend that you pursue your application. It is wishful thinking to hope that the badness is all at the top, and the lower management and staff join together to ignore as much as they can what BB and co. are doing. Anyone who can is leaving: early retirements are skyrocketing. You can see from the information in this blog and in the comments that BB’s power is completely unfettered, and is called a “reign of terror” without exaggeration.

You would not receive adequate training. Production pressure is so high that examiners are no longer willing or able to help one another with the benefit of their experience, as was always the case in the past. During the probationary year your targets will be unrealistic, such that you will have to violate your conscience many times in order not to fail.

Anyone brave enough to stand up to BB, such as staff representatives, or even senior managers, can be eliminated without any recourse to law. In this climate it is a miracle that any solidarity survives. It does, but it is hanging on by its fingernails.

It is difficult to see how the situation might improve. Unless and until there are some hopeful signs I would steer well clear.

The quality of comments thereafter is low as discussions have generally descended/devolved into some kind of quarrel between provocateurs and people trying to correct them. We don’t want to feed these as they’re a waste of time. We are not blaming the moderator for failing to maintain quality of comments (censorship should never be the answer), but the signal/noise ratio was down at that point. There were still lots of good comments in there, but they were lost amid many of which are just jokes and slightly off topic remarks. Commenters, many of whom are concerned EPO insiders, were spending a lot of time responding to pro-Battistelli voices that provoke by painting EPO staff as spoiled and self-centric. Here is one such response:

@zbrox as to being wrong. It is not only wrong on the moral merit, what you are writing, but also on the facts. A SR resigned. Evidently he did not feel harassed, as he did NOT file a disciplinary complaint which he could have done. Someone else did for him.

We believe that Bergot did this, but without having the documents leaked to us we can only guess based on vague responses from Mr. Prunier (LP). Here is a response to misinformation about LP:

Your facts on the LP case are interesting. Please quote your (independent or documentary) source.
Your characterisation of Suepo as Trump and BB as Clinton is equally incredible. Not least since BB is part of the right-wing party in France. Suepo, by the way, have not linked any of the current issues to more money or rights, contrary to your statement.

Regarding EPO work pressure, one person noted that it’s “not hard to imagine how this could lead to production pressure and low quality results.” Yes, patent quality has certainly declined. Nobody has told us otherwise. Here is an example of this troll-feeding comment (“BBrox” is one among few trolls):

I find BBrox comments very enlightening. If newly appointed examiners are seriously expected to deliver 90 products in their first year, how much time will be left for the “extensive 2 year training” advertised on the EPO jobs homepage? It’s not hard to imagine how this could lead to production pressure and low quality results.

Based on employment surveys, the EPO no longer even attracts many job applications (at least not of desirable quality), which means that quality of examination will suffer. Things won’t improve until Battistelli and his “swamp” say goodbye and even after they are all gone the EPO may take several decades to rebuild and maybe even regain its reputation.

Quality of Patents at the EPO Dependent on the Appeal Boards When Battistelli Assesses Performance Using the Wrong ‘Production’ Yardstick

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 3:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at some recent articles regarding patent quality in the US and in Europe, in particular because of growing trouble at today’s EPO, which marginalises the appeal boards

THE QUALITY of patents determines the likelihood of winning court battles, or the certainty of sustained validity of patents once scrutinised closely enough (e.g. subjected to evidence/witness testimony in a court). Good examination with comprehensive prior art searches is what applicants ought to pay for; patents that are granted in haste are possibly worthless. Sometimes they can be worse than nothing at all. In fact, going to court with such patents can prove very costly to the plaintiff, which sometimes gets forced to pay the legal fees of the defendant/s (we covered some examples like that earlier this year).

With Alice and Mayo in a couple of domains (among many) the USPTO shows some encouraging signs of improvement. According to this new blog post, increase in prices may soon follow, however not yet for the following reasons:

Under the terms of the America Invents Act (AIA) fee increases cannot come into effect until 45 days after they are approved. That led to speculation by some that the agency might find itself in a showdown with Congressional Republicans if it tried to rush through the changes before the President-elect takes power. But, according to a source at the PTO, any final rule implementing the increase in fees will not be published until after the inauguration thereby averting a possible confrontation.

At the EPO, by contrast, we expect fees to suffer a decrease due to lack of demand in the coming years. Quality of EPs has definitely declined (EPO insiders always say so) and price hikes would only discourage pursuit/filing of new applications. Some very prolific applicants have not overlooked the EPO scandals. Without quality control we expect not just the social climate to tarnish the reputation of the EPO; there are technical concerns too.

According to this new blog post from IP Kat, an anti-HIV therapy patent has been partly thrown away by the EPO. “The patent was opposed by Merck at the EPO,” says the author, “but maintained in an amended form. That decision is under appeal, and the central amendment has therefore been suspended. In the meantime, Shionogi made an unconditional application to amend the UK designation of the patent in accordance with the claims maintained at the EPO. It also made two conditional applications to the Patents Court to amend. There are parallel proceedings in Germany and the Netherlands which are ongoing.”

This may mean that some structures for ensuring quality (control of scope) at the EPO are not entirely dead, but for how long? Opposition has become more expensive and window for opposition narrowed. This is a Battistelli (current administration) policy.

IAM, which says that the EPO is doing great on patent quality (because IAM is an EPO mouthpiece), has a new article in its ‘magazine’ in which it compares patent quality in Europe to patent quality in the US (probably not so different anymore, especially if one compares new EPO patents to new USPTO patents because they move in opposite directions and head for collusion).

A few days ago we mentioned the "poisonous priority" decision from the EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal. Now, imagine what would happen if Battistelli was already crushing the EPO’s appeal boards (he can’t because of the EPC, but he certainly tries to crush them in other ways).

Some patent lawyers wrote about this decision [1, 2] and the latter article noted the meaning of it: “The uncertainty related to situations where an inventor devises a particular invention, and then subsequently realizes that the particular invention may be extended to a broader scope that encompasses their first invention. Provided that a second patent application for the broader subject matter is filed within 12 months of a first patent application directed to the narrower invention, the second application may claim priority from the first application.”

There was also a little ode about this, posted in the form of a comment on an article at IP Kat the other day:

The jilted generation: One’s love is but only for the kittens’ kittens, and so on forward forever to the end of cat-dom – for the rest it is poison.

Hello, yea, hold a sec. Battistelli there’s someone on the phone for you. Oh, f**k sake, trying to write this: jam (is only for tomorrow), man.

We have the poison,
Who has the remedy?
Who has priority’s practical remedy?

We have OR claims,
Ooh, split priorities
Which have alternatives defined countably

May be generic,
We can view sensibly
To have discrete theoretical identities?

We have the poison,
We have the referral,
For the Enlarged Board’s pontifical remedy.

We have the poison?
Who has the remedy?
We have the pressure, the pressure,

No doubt the EPO needs these boards, it needs them to be independent, well staffed etc. but instead they are being crushed by Battistelli. Quality control isn’t on this man’s agenda because all he is pursuing is “production” (as measured by the number of patents). The technical discussion about this case (over 20 comments and counting) alludes to pertinent parts of the patent in question, so we won’t delve into it. However, let this be a reminder of the importance of guarding the appeal boards, especially in the face of a megalomaniac like Battistelli who defames judges in the media, much like Donald Trump does.

Microsoft’s Push for Software Patents Another Reminder That There is No ‘New’ Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft post-Alice

Summary: Microsoft’s continued fascination with and participation in the effort to undermine Alice so as to make software patents, which the company uses to blackmail GNU/Linux vendors, widely acceptable and applicable again

OUR longest article yesterday focused on poor advice — either deliberately bad advice or simply influenced by the echo chamber — regarding software patents. The patent microcosm is in growing denial over US courts invalidating software patents granted by the USPTO using Alice, or even patents invalided by PTAB (in much larger numbers).

Some days ago we saw this report from the 2016 International Women’s Leadership Forum, courtesy of patent maximalists.

As can be expected, it was somewhat of an echo chamber not in the gender sense but in the agenda sense. Microsoft was there too and here is the relevant part:

The first practical step, said Julie Kane Akhter of Microsoft, is to learn from cases where the patent has been upheld, such as Enfish, Bascom and Planet Blue.

“In the Enfish patent, for example, they were actually improving the operation of the computer itself,” she stressed. Lessons from the Enfish decision included: the specification was really important; consider identifying the technical problem in the specification; and avoid being too high level in the claims.

She said Enfish provides several practical strategies for applicants: utilise the interview; talk about the technical improvement; and cite Enfish! Lessons from Bascom are: consider discussing prior solutions and their drawbacks; highlight lack of preemption; and keep drafting software applications! And tips from Planet Blue are: argue the examiner has determined the idea in the claims at too high a level; argue the claim is specific enough and improves the technology; and draft claims with realistic scope and technical effect.

For those who forgot or have not been paying attention, Enfish ended up as a pro-software patents caselaw and Microsoft pays David Kappos, former Director of the USPTO, to lobby along those lines. He keeps trying to eliminate Alice (a Supreme Court case) as caselaw. Various patent law firms too still lick their lips over software patents and try to undermine Alice, hoping to ‘rewrite’ it with lower-level cases such as Enfish or Bascom.

On November 30th Dennis Crouch wrote about Microsoft v Enfish (not the other way around), nothing that it “Turns Out the Claims Are Obvious”. This is a PTAB case:

After instituting review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found some of the patent claims invalid as anticipated/obvious. On appeal, PTAB factual findings are generally given deference but legal conclusions are reviewed without deference. After reviewing the claim construction and rejections, the Federal Circuit affirmed in a non-precedential decision.

It’s no secret that Microsoft’s software patents are rubbish; their low quality was the subject of many old articles here. Moreover, the company’s selective and hypocritical views on software patents were noted here way back in the i4i days. In another new article by Dennis Crouch he says that “PTAB judges are so well trained in the complexity of technology and patent law,” which is probably something that most patent courts lack.

“It’s no secret that Microsoft’s software patents are rubbish; their low quality was the subject of many old articles here.”Microsoft is still promoting software patents and in the words of MIP: “Great first panel at #ipwomen Forum discussing practical steps for software patents post-Alice & overcoming S101 objections @MicrosoftIP pic.twitter.com/cGWe9qrGPh” (Microsoft hates Linux too, except when it taxes it with patents, in which case it’s more tolerable to “MicrosoftIP”, the troll entity of the corporation). The people who covertly extort and blackmail Linux on behalf of Microsoft — all this while shaping patent law for the company’s bottom line — are also mentioned here. To quote: “It’s the @MicrosoftIP networking break at the #ipwomen Forum. Time to make some new contacts! pic.twitter.com/YwajQuWadV”

To be fair, Microsoft is part of a broader movement here. But it’s role is notable. Microsoft is a key player in this.

The following crossposted article [1, 2], for instance, tries to leave Alice behind. Another crossposted article [1, 2], this one titled “No Abstract Idea Where Invention Cannot be “Practiced in the Abstract”,” is also composed by the patent microcosm and the aim is similar. All the above entities generally wish to restore the patentability of software in the US. Also see the new article titled “The Current State of Computer Software Patentability” (behind paywall). What they all have in common is dissatisfaction with the new status quo — one wherein software is barely patent-eligible, or at least barely defensible in the patent sense in the courts. Patent lawyers pretend to care for inventors, but they just want to undermine Alice to patent software without barriers. See this article of one law firm; what they mean by “weather” does not take into account the risk of one getting sued but the chance of one to obtain a patent. Very one-sided a take, as usual. Software developers should stop patenting software as it’s a waste of time/money, even if such patents can sometimes be granted (only to be lost after a long and expensive legal battles). New PTAB cases on patents, such as this one [1, 2] (on reasonable diligence), remind us that sometimes patents will be invalidated even before they reach the court, i.e. even without the patent holders choosing to assert these offensively. Is is worth the risk? Patent lawyers can brag about “privilege” all they want (see new examples [1, 2]), but all they are after is a universal tax on software, extracted from patents nobody needs or wants. In the case of Free software such as Linux, this tax prevents redistribution, so it is inherently incompatible and antithetical.

“Has CCIA flipped sides again, as it previously did after Microsoft had paid it millions of dollars?”Much to our surprise, Matt Levy (CCIA) has decided to give articles to pro-software patents sites — a departure from his usual tune. He gives false hope to software patents hopefuls like Watchtroll readers and also IAM readers. Has CCIA flipped sides again, as it previously did after Microsoft had paid it millions of dollars?

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