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05.20.18

In Apple v Samsung Patents That Should Never Have Been Granted May Result in a Billion Dollars in ‘Damages’

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Patents, Samsung at 8:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Merely damages the credibility of the USPTO if anything…

11 Cool, Funny or Just Plain Strange Patents for Back to School
Reference: 11 Cool, Funny or Just Plain Strange Patents for Back to School

Summary: A roundup of news about Apple and its patent cases (especially Apple v Samsung), including Intel’s role trying to intervene in Qualcomm v Apple

HERE in this Web site we prefer to focus on topics/angles which ought to be covered by mainstream media but never/rarely are. The Apple v Samsung trial is generally being covered quite a lot by big publishers, e.g. “Apple v Samsung Poses Threat Beyond Just Tech” and other new headlines/reports [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. It is already being mentioned quite heavily in social control media, probably because Apple is involved. Not many patent cases manage to attract quite as much public interest. We remarked on it a few times earlier this month. As Wall Street media put it last week, “Apple Wants $1 Billion From Samsung at Smartphone Retrial” (retrial after nearly a decade of fighting).

Apple has taken patent maximalism/lunacy to new heights in California. It’s seeking billions in ‘damages’ over a simple shape of something. To quote one report:

Apple Inc. is seeking about $1 billion from Samsung Electronics Co. in another go-round stemming from a long-running smartphone patent-infringement dispute.

Jurors at the retrial before before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, learned at the outset that the South Korean company infringed three of Apple’s design patents and two utility patents. Their sole job, Apple lawyer Bill Lee said, is to determine what damages Apple can collect.

Damages? What damages? As Josh Landau (CCIA) put it 5 days ago:

The design patent total profits rule of § 289 was created in an era when awards of profits were common and where complex multi-component products like we have today were uncommon. (Obviously, the concept of a computing device with an ecosystem of third-party app developers wasn’t even within the realm of imagination when § 289 was written.)

In fact, § 289 was created as a reaction to a decision about carpet decorations. A customer might seek out and buy a carpet just because of the design. But for most products today, that simply isn’t the case.

In order to avoid the kind of perverse results I’ve described, the article of manufacture for an icon or GUI should be interpreted as the software, not the device it runs on. And even if that change were made, Congress should still consider revisiting the total profits rule. A single infringing icon that’s a small part of a complex operating system shouldn’t entitle a patent owner to the total profits on the whole operating system—no matter how iconic it might be.

Patents on designs are a clear misfit; copyright and trademark laws cover designs. There’s this new blog post at IP Kat about industrial designs in Mexico with subheadings like “New concepts for industrial design examination” and “New regime for the validity of designs” (they aren’t talking about patents!).

Going back to Landau, the following day he published “Smartphones, Diapers, and Design Patents” — a post in which he mentioned Microsoft v Corel analysis by Sarah Burstein. She is a proponent of such patents. She wrote about it years ago.

Landau alludes to diapers and says:

Apple v. Samsung is obviously about high tech smartphones. Other recent design patent cases have focused on high tech products as well—both the Nikola v. Tesla case Patent Progress covered recently and the Microsoft v. Corel case that Prof. Sarah Burstein described over on Patently-O deal with high tech products.

[...]

Similarly, in a design patent case involving diapers, you have a printed outside layer—and then all the technology on the inside. Is the article of manufacture the entire diaper, or the printed outside layer? And how do you distinguish that from the Apple v. Samsung case?

The truth of the matter is — as we have been arguing for a number of years — patents on designs are too bizarre a concept. Watchtroll now promotes the nuisance patent litigation against Tesla (over mere shape/curves of a truck). Patent maximalists typically like any patents, irrespective of how broad they are. That just means more litigation, hence more business for them.

“The truth of the matter is — as we have been arguing for a number of years — patents on designs are too bizarre a concept.”There is another patent battle going on which involves Apple. But it’s not about design patents and it has nothing whatsoever to do with Samsung. As Florian Müller put it the other day: “While waiting for a tire change, I get to watch another #Qualcomm v. #Apple #patent infringement hearing at the Munich I Regional Court. Some chipset in some Apple products allegedly infringes on a manufacturing patent. Intel joined Apple in challenging the patent. More to follow [] Breaking News: Qualcomm employee just told the Munich I Regional Court today (at a #patent infringement hearing relating to the A10 chip) that Apple recently canceled a settlement meeting on short notice. Next meeting not scheduled yet.”

Müller then wrote a blog post about it:

While Apple is seeking north of $1 billion in damages from Samsung in the ongoing jury re-retrial in the Northern District of California, its earth-spanning dispute with Qualcomm continued today in the Munich I Regional Court with a first hearing (the primary objective of which is roughly comparable to that of a Markman hearing in a U.S. patent infringement case). Qualcomm alleges that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus infringe its EP1199750 on a “post[-]passivation interconnection scheme on top of [an] IC chip.”

I’ll start with the most interesting piece of information I gleaned there. A Qualcomm employee–presumably an in-house lawyer, but I don’t know his name and title–responded to Presiding Judge Dr. Zigann’s question about the state of settlement discussions. According to Qualcomm, the parties had scheduled a meeting that would have taken place recently, but Apple canceled on short notice, and no new meeting has been agreed upon yet.

Qualcomm has long exploited SEP to tax pretty much every large company that sells chips (or products with chips inside them) — a subject which does not seem to bother Delrahim, unlike a long list or big bunch of “former government officials and professors” as Müller put it (Dennis Crouch covered this around the same time).

“Patent maximalists typically like any patents, irrespective of how broad they are. That just means more litigation, hence more business for them.”It’s worth noting that Intel sides with Apple here; Intel also lobbies for software patents and days ago Michael Proksch from Intel Standards Group was quoted as saying that they they invest $100 million annually in a 50,000-strong patent portfolio.

Intel has in fact filed/fired another patent missile:

Intel has filed for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement against small semiconductor licensing business Tela Innovations, in another dispute that shows how assertion activity is continuing to pick up in the chip sector. This spat has a particularly interesting edge to it given that Intel was an early investor in Tela and the two companies have a covenant not to sue (CNTS) dating back to May 2007. That covenant is still in effect and according to Intel’s filing “covers Tela patents claiming priority during the term of the CNTS”

A CNTS has all sorts of other names associated with it. Tela is actually new to us. It seems to be rather obscure, more or less like many patent trolls, but its Web site does not come across as that. There’s more to them than their patents.

“Imagine lots of patent lawsuits over shapes of cars or components around/inside the car.”Where does this all end up? Where do such large companies (Intel, Qualcomm, Apple and Samsung) position themselves in the market? Who will pay for the legal battles if not customers that nowadays pay about $1,000 for a phone? The shape of things — pardon the pun — ain’t so great.

According to yesterday’s latest update from Müller, Homer Simpson may sway the big trial, which is a jury trial:

It would have been preferable to give the Apple v. Samsung design patent damages re-retrial jury in San Jose (Northern District of California) a chance to render a verdict before the weekend. In that case, jurors might have put an end to this disruption of their lives. But the way things worked out, they’re now going to think about what position to take on Monday morning when official deliberations begin. In the meantime, they’re not allowed to talk to anyone about the case or to take a look at any media reports (whether some jurors do so anyway is another question, but they’re not supposed to).

As in the previous trials in this case, and as I mentioned a few days ago, Apple’s lawyers portrayed Samsung as an intentional infringer, an unrepentant copyist, with Samsung being barred from presenting some evidence that could have shed a different kind of light on that question.

The holdings that (i) Samsung infringed those three design patents (a long time ago) and (ii) that those patents are valid are “law of the case” and the re-retrial jury must presume both to be the case. It is worth noting, however, that courts in other jurisdictions looked at international equivalents of those intellectual property rights (and at devices from the same generation of Android-based Samsung products) and reached rather different conclusions. But things are the way they are for the purposes of this U.S. case, so the focus is just on damages, and the single most important question in this regard is what “article of manufacture” a disgorgement of Samsung’s profits should be based on: the entire device (which was considered a foregone conclusion in previous trials, but the Supreme Court and, previously, the United States Department of Justice disagreed with Judge Koh, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and Judge Lucy H. Koh) or one or more components?

[...]

The world outside that San Jose courtroom overwhelmingly prefers a component-based damages determination. This InsideSources article on the problems that an excessive damages amount in the Apple v. Samsung case could cause tech and non-tech companies alike is a good example. But jurors won’t have the benefit of such information on the wider ramifications of what they’re required to decide.

“What has patent maximalism wrought?”We have always argued that jury trials, especially for technical matters, are inadequate. It is rather odd that such trials are even being considered in this domain. If Apple gets its way, a lot of industries will be impacted. Imagine lots of patent lawsuits over shapes of cars or components around/inside the car.

What has patent maximalism wrought?

Links 20/5/2018: KDevelop 5.2.2 and 5.2.3, FreeBSD 11.2 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux fragmentation – The Sum of All Egos

    If Tom Clancy had been a technophile of the software kind, he’d have used this title instead of the familiar one for one of his iconic blockbuster thrillers. The thing is, Linux accounts for a tiny percentage of the overall desktop market share. The perennial 1% has been around roughly since 2005, and even if the actual share is higher than that, it’s still a small and largely insignificant fraction. And yet, there are hundreds of Linux distributions populating this narrow, crowded arena. Why? Well, ego, of course.

    One might say: open source. Ah, well, the open-source nature of Linux has been the chief excuse to the colorful abundance of replication and duplication of the Linux desktop world, while at the same time serving as the main catalyst to the expansion of Linux in the commercial space, which makes for a dubious cause. I believe the reason is different. Let me tell you what it is.

  • Desktop

    • ‘Crush Them’: An Oral History of the Lawsuit That Upended Silicon Valley

      The then-23-year-old giant, which ruled the personal computer market with a despotic zeal, stood accused of using monopoly power to bully collaborators and squelch competitors. Its most famous victim was Netscape, the pioneering web browser, but everyone from Apple to American Airlines felt threatened by late-’90s Microsoft. The company was big enough to be crowned America’s most valuable firm, bold enough to compare attacks on its domain to Pearl Harbor, and, eventually, bad enough to be portrayed as a (semifictionalized) cadre of hypercapitalist murderers in a major motion picture. The “don’t be evil” optics that colored the rise of today’s tech giants (and have recently lost their efficacy) were a direct response to Microsoft’s tyrannical rule.

  • Kernel Space

    • Steam Controller Kernel Driver Is Landing In The Linux 4.18 Kernel

      The Linux 4.18 kernel will feature the initial Steam Controller kernel driver that works without having to use the Steam client or using third-party user-space applications like the SC-Controller application.

      A few months back we reported on a kernel driver being worked on for the Steam Controller by an independent user/developer outside of the gates of Valve. In part through reverse-engineering, Rodrigo Rivas Costa has been working on this native Steam Controller Linux kernel driver that works for both USB cable and wireless modes of the Steam Controller and is a proper HID driver.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Zen CPU Microcode Added To Linux-Firmware Tree, Bulldozer Updated

        When the Linux Firmware tree was updated on Friday with the newest AMDGPU firmware files for the graphics processors, the Family 17h “Zen” CPU microcode files also made their debut.

      • Learn How To Make Use Of Vulkan’s New Debug Extension – VK_EXT_debug_utils
      • ARM Mali 400/450 “Lima” DRM Driver Steps Closer To Mainline

        When it comes to open-source ARM Mali graphics driver efforts there has been the Panfrost driver targeting the Mali T700 series that has occupied much of the limelight recently, but there has been a separate effort still working on open-source driver support for the older 400/450 series.

        Qiang Yu who works for AMD during the daytime has for the past number of months been working in his spare time on reviving open-source ARM Mali 400 series support. Qiang’s efforts are based upon the original “Lima” driver initiative that was started years earlier by Luc Verhaegen.

      • AMD Rolls Out New Firmware For A Number Of GPUs

        AMD has landed a number of updated firmware images into the linux-firmware tree for their recent generations of hardware.

        There is updated Radeon GPU firmware for Raven Ridge, Fiji, Tonga, Stoney, Topaz, Carrizo, Vega 10, Polaris 10, Polaris 11, and Polaris 12 GPU families. More or less, the newer AMD GPUs now have updated firmware available.

      • RADV Gets Support For 32-bit GPU Pointers For User SGPRs, Benefiting Performance

        Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s Linux graphics driver team has been working on support for 32-bit GPU pointers for user SGPRs as his latest performance enhancement for this open-source Radeon Vulkan driver.

        Months after AMD’s Marek Olšák was working on 32-bit pointers for RadeonSI to free up some scalar general purpose registers (SGPRs), Pitoiset has been pursuing similar support for the RADV Vulkan driver.

      • Raven Ridge With The Ryzen 5 2400G On Mesa 18.2 + Linux 4.17 Is Finally Stable

        Depending upon the motherboard and other factors, the Raven Ridge Linux support has been a bit of a mess since its February launch. Fortunately, with time various Linux driver fixes have landed for improving the stability and performance of these APUs with Zen CPU cores and Vega graphics. During my recent testing of the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, it was completely stable and running fine with the newest open-source driver code but the Ryzen 3 2200G was still a stability nightmare.

      • Mesa 18.1 is out with the shader cache on for Intel

        Open source drivers on Linux have advanced rather quickly and now we have another fresh release out with Mesa 18.1 which was released yesterday.

        One of the major new features, is that the shader cache for Intel is now turned on by default, which should hopefully result in smoother performance for those of you gaming with an Intel GPU. Vulkan 1.1 support for the AMD RADV and Intel ANV drivers, plus various performance improvements and bug fixes.

  • Applications

    • SMTube review – Your train to Youtube

      It’s a no brainer. On the desktop, you go online, and you open a tab and you load Youtube, and then you play clips. But then, on mobile devices, you have dedicated applications, which usually offer a somewhat more efficient media experience. So, on the desktop, it’s the browser way or the … SMTube way?

      SMTube is a cross-platform Youtube player, which allows you to search and play videos from the popular media platform, with some additional search tweaks and filters, and extra download options, all this from the desktop, without having to keep a browser tab open. It’s a convenient tool to use, and with the recent rewrite, it actually works, and it works fairly well. I decided to test to see what gives.

      [...]

      SMTube looks like a nice tool. It is not strictly necessary or needed, but it does allow you to have Youtube open and playing, even if you’re not currently using your browser, i.e. you can use it like any other media player. This is nice, plus you get a clean and intuitive interface, decent search and filter options, and it’s easy to change settings and configure additional players. You also have the option to download clips.

      I don’t know where SMTube stands when it comes to Google, Youtube, but ordinary users will surely appreciate the extra flexibility they get with a media player rather than just a browser tab. Of course, you’re not signed in, you don’t get recommendations, comments or playlists, and such, so I guess there are benefits to going directly to Youtube. But if you’re only after what Youtube can play without any socializing, SMTube is an excellent choice. It’s had a rough ride, it never quite fully worked for me in my various distro reviews, but this new version is stable, robust and works well. At the very least, it’s worth testing. Choo choo.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • FRAMED Collection, a noir-styled spy adventure where you rearrange comic tiles is now out

        It’s actually a compilation of FRAMED and FRAMED 2, games that have been widely praised and previously only available on mobile platforms. It has you moving around slices of an animated comic book, to put the noir-styled spy adventure story together. It actually sounds hilarious, as it’s not a basic “this one has to go here” type of game, as it changes what happens based on where you put the tiles creating some amusing sounding failures:

      • Paradox’s grand strategy titles will be getting more content soon

        At their annual convention, Paradox Interactive have announced new expansions for their current grand strategy titles. There’s a little bit of everything for fans of these games.

      • Stellaris: Distant Stars story DLC pack releases May 22nd, new trailer is out

        The latest and probably one of the most exciting story DLC packs for Stellaris, Distant Stars, is now set to release May 22nd.

        In short, there’s going to be a lot more to find when you go exploring. One of the problems I repeatedly talked about with Stellaris (even though I do love it) was that it just didn’t have enough content. This pack seems like it will fix that problem and then some. They say there’s around 50% more anomalies to discover, they’ve also improved some of the originals. There’s three new leviathans, new types of stars and something about discovering a constellation outside our own galaxy.

      • Myst 25th Anniversary Collection will not being seeing a Linux release for now

        It seems the plans to team up with Codeweavers to bring Myst 25th Anniversary Collection [Kickstarter] to Linux didn’t work out.

      • A Linux beta build of Solstice Chronicles: MIA may come soon

        The developer behind the great looking top-down shooter Solstice Chronicles: MIA [Official Site] has said that they may soon have a Linux beta build.

      • What are you playing on Linux this weekend and what do you think about it?

        It’s a weekend, the sun is shining in a rare event for where I live, so naturally I will be spending my time playing Linux games. What will you be playing this weekend?

        Personally, I’m going to be jumping back into Rocket League. Between the intense gameplay and sweet music, it’s certainly in my top 10 most played Linux games. As much as I love the game, I’m simply terrible at it. Anyone who’s watched some of our livestreams will attest to that fact, but even so I soldier on and keep playing. It truly says something about a game, to keep pulling you back in even when you know you’re probably go to have loss after loss.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.12.5, Applications 18.04.1 and Frameworks 5.46.0 by KDE now available in Chakra

        On your next system upgrade you will receive all the latest versions of KDE’s Plasma, Applications and Frameworks, in addition to several other package updates. For more details and the full changelogs on KDE’s software releases, you can read the official announcements:

        Plasma 5.12.5
        Applications 18.04.1
        Frameworks 5.46.0

        Other noteworthy package updates include wine 3.8, skypeforlinux 8.20.0.9 and pypy 6.0.0.

      • Doxyqml 0.4.0

        After almost two years, here comes a new version of Doxyqml, the QML filter for Doxygen. This new version adds a new command-line option: –namespace to wrap the generated C++ in a namespace, and makes the parser more robust. Nothing ground-breaking, but some nice changes nevertheless.

        What’s interesting with this project is that I don’t use it these days, but it still receives contributions from time to time. This puts me in the unusual position (for me) where most of my contributions to the project are reviewing code, cleaning things, a bit of infrastructure (I just added code coverage checks: 88%, not too bad) and release management.

        Surprisingly, I like doing this, I am happy to see this little tool remains useful enough that others keep it alive.

      • KDevelop 5.2.2 and 5.2.3 released

        KDevelop 5.2.2 and 5.2.3 released

        We today provide a stabilization and bugfix release with version 5.2.2 and 5.2.3. 5.2.2 was tagged 6 weeks ago, but we never managed to release it because we did not have the patience to fix the Windows installers in time due to a broken CI. Windows installers are provided for 5.2.3 again. We’ll only provide source tarballs for 5.2.2 and we encourage everyone to just skip this release and use 5.2.3 which contains a few more bug fixes.

        This is a bugfix-only release, which introduces no new features and as such is a safe and recommended update for everyone currently using KDevelop 5.2.1.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 19

        This week we announced a beta of the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.13 release, and so far the internet seems pretty excited about it.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Nautilus Ability To Launch Binaries Or Scripts To Be Reverted, Might Be Implemented Differently

        It looks like the decision to remove the ability to run binaries and scripts from Nautilus file manager will be reverted. The change comes after some use cases appeared that the developers agreed they need to support, “especially for enterprise and content creators”.

        One such use case that was mentioned as a reason for reverting this is a small “if then that” script for building HTML and PDF files, which uses Zenity to display a dialog, as well as notifications to display the progress.

        I find the use case being used as an example a bit weird because that’s certainly not something common, like a self-extracting game script for instance.

      • Stickers in Riot

        The matrix.org protocol is flexible so this is a good example of how to add new features to the clients that uses matrix without the need to change the protocol.

        This is not a core feature because you can send images, but I think this is great and add a simple way to show reactions for the users, so as I was reading I thought that we can add this to Fractal, so I started to read how we can add support for this.

      • Talking at GPN 2018 in Karlsruhe, Germany

        Similar to last year I managed to attend the Gulasch Programmier-Nacht (GPN) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Not only did I attend, I also managed to squeeze in a talk about PrivacyScore. We got the prime time slot on the opening day along with all the other relevant talks, including the Eurovision Song Contest, so we were not overly surprised that the audience had a hard time deciding where to go and eventually decided to attend talks which were not recorded. Our talk was recorded and is available here.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Cinnamon Desktop Spices Up RoboLinux Raptor

        RoboLinux is a unique distro that focuses on incorporating Windows versions XP through 10 within a fully functional Linux operating system. You might never need the Stealth VM features that let you easily install and run Microsoft Windows within most any Linux distro. Still, RoboLinux is a topnotch general purpose Linux computing platform that comes with a choice of leading desktop environments. RoboLinux creates a cloned Drive C from a Windows partition and installs your favorite Windows version with all of your costly Windows software running in a virtual machine.

    • AsteroidOS

    • Gentoo Family

      • A short history of Gentoo copyright

        As part of the recent effort into forming a new copyright policy for Gentoo, a research into the historical status has been conducted. We’ve tried to establish all the key events regarding the topic, as well as the reasoning behind the existing policy. I would like to shortly note the history based on the evidence discovered by Robin H. Johnson, Ulrich Müller and myself.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Free software log (April 2018)

        This is rather late since I got distracted by various other things including, ironically, releasing a bunch of software. This is for April, so doesn’t include the releases from this month.

        The main release I worked on was remctl 3.14, which fixed a security bug introduced in 3.12 with the sudo configuration option. This has since been replaced by 3.15, which has more thorough maintainer testing infrastructure to hopefully prevent this from happening again.

      • MiniDebCamp Hamburg – Friday 18/5, Saturday 19/5

        Friday and Saturday have been very productive days, I love events where there is time to hack!

        I had more chats about contributors.d.o with Ganneff and Formorer, and if all goes according to plan, soon salsa will start streaming commit information to contributors and populate information about different teams: not only about normal packaging repos, but also about websites, tools, native packages, etc.

      • Progress report from the Movim packaging sprint at MiniDebconf

        Nik wishes you to know that the Movim packaging sprint (sponsored by the DPL, thank you!) is handled under the umbrella of the Debian Edu sprint (similarily sponsored) since this package is handled by the Teckids Debian Task Force, personnel from Teckids e.V.

        After arriving, I’ve started collecting knowledge first. I reviewed upstream’s composer.json file and Wiki page about dependencies and, after it quickly became apparent that we need much more information (e.g. which versions are in sid, what the package names are, and, most importantly, recursive dependencies), a Wiki page of our own grew. Then I made a hunt for information about how to package stuff that uses PHP Composer upstream, and found the, ahem, wonderfully abundant, structured, plentiful and clear documentation from the Debian PHP/PEAR Packaging team. (Some time and reverse-engineering later I figured out that we just ignore composer and read its control file in pkg-php-tools converting dependency information to Debian package relationships. Much time later I also figured out it mangles package names in a specific way and had to rename one of the packages I created in the meantime… thankfully before having uploaded it.) Quickly, the Wiki page grew listing the package names we’re supposed to use. I created a package which I could use as template for all others later.

      • Help the Debian kernel team to help you

        I gave the first talk this morning at Mini-DebConf Hamburg, titled “Help the kernel team to help you”. I briefly described several ways that Debian users and developers can make it easier (or harder) for us to deal with their requests. The slides are up in on my talks page, and video should be available soon.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • UbuCon Europe 2018: Analysing a dream [English|Spanish]

            The idea of organising the Ubucon in Xixon, Asturies was set two years ago, while participating in the European Ubucon in Essen (germany). The Paris Ubucon took place and in those days we uderstood that there was a group enough of people with the capacities and the will to hold an European Congress for Ubuntu lovers. We had learnt a lot from German and French colleagues thanks to their respective amazing organizations and, at the same time, our handicap was the lack of s consolidated group in Spain.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • What’s New in Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS

              Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS has been released and announced by Ubuntu MATE project. As part of official ubuntu flavor, this release features the latest MATE Desktop 1.20.1 as default desktop environment. Also introduces numerous improvements and new features, including better support for HiDPI displays, new desktop layouts, as well as support for indicators in all layouts by default.

              Familiar is new default layout of desktop Ubuntu MATE 18.04. it based on the traditional layout with the menu-bar (Applications, Places, System) replaced by Brisk Menu. Use MATE tweak if you want try out the various desktop layouts.

              Brisk Menu applications menu is now enabled by default in Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS, which ships with the Head-Up Display (HUD) feature of the Unity 7 desktop environmentand .MATE Tweak, which now lets you toggle the HiDPI mode more easily and a revamped Ubuntu MATE Welcome screen that now includes browser selection support and system telemetry if you want to help the Ubuntu MATE team improve future releases.

              Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS also received several improvements. Among these, we can mention the Caja file manager, which can now encrypt your most precious files, advenced bulk rename, hash checking and advanced ACl properties. Marco window manager, which got hardware acceleration. MATE Dock Applet, which now features icon scrolling and matching

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 19-year-old Developer at the Forefront of TRON (TRX) Opensource Wallet DApp
  • 19-years-old German developer Spearheads TRON (TRX) Opensource Wallet DApp

    No doubt that Tron community is preparing for mainnet launch, with different ideas coming in from all roads. As part of its readiness, Tron has unveiled its Opensource Wallet DApp developed by 19-year old German developer, Marius Gill, who has been programming since 13 years old.

    The DApp is an outcome of Project Genesis, which was launched in March 2018 purposely to encourage TRON’s community engagement in bringing in new things into Tron ecosystem. The project provides a bonus pool of 2 billion dollars for active members around the world have lent their hands in implementing ideas for the community.

  • Events

    • Collabora and GStreamer spring in Sweden

      Earlier this month, a few of us from Collabora, Olivier Crête, Nicolas Dufresne, George Kiagiadakis and I attended the GStreamer Spring Hackfest in Lund, Sweden. Hosted by Axis Communications (who uses GStreamer in their surveillance cameras for many years now), it was a great opportunity for the GStreamer community to touch base and work on open bugs and pet projects.

      [...]

      As for myself, I mainly worked on (or rather started to work on) split-field interlacing support in GStreamer, adding relevant formats and modes in the GStreamer video library. In addition, as a Meson developer (Nirbheek Chauhan) was present, I took the opportunity to discuss with him the last bit of porting build system of Geoclue to Meson, a side project I’ve been working on. It helped me get it done faster but also helped Nirbheek find some issues in Meson and fix them!

      All in all, my first GStreamer hackfest was an awesome experience (even though I was not feeling well). It was also very nice to hangout and socialize with old and new friends in the GStreamer community after a long time. Many thanks again to Axis for hosting us in their offices! See you at the GStreamer Conference this fall!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Reality Redrawn Opens At The Tech

        The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose was filled on Thursday with visitors experiencing new takes on the issue of fake news by artists using mixed reality, card games and even scratch and sniff cards. These installations were the results of Mozilla’ Reality Redrawn challenge. We launched the competition last December to make the power of misinformation and its potential impacts visible and visceral. Winners were announced in February.

      • Tangerine UI problems

        I’ve been a big fan of Tangerine for a while, it’s a bank that doesn’t charge fees and does what I need to do. They used to have a great app and website and then it all went a bit wrong.

        It’s now a HTML app for Desktop and mobile. This isn’t the fault of the tools used, but there’s some terrible choices in the app across both.

        [...]

        The overall feel of the app is that its full of spinners, far too cluttered and just to confusing. Hey not everything I’ve built is perfect, but even I can spot some real problems with this app. I pretty sure Tangerine can do better than this.

        And yes, I’m writing this while drinking a beer I recently bought, as shown on my transaction page.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 9 Drops Support For Older ARM Microarchitecture Versions

      Next year’s GCC 9 compiler release will be eliminating support for older ARM versions.

      Fortunately, ARMv7 and newer is still in great shape given they are still common and even ARMv6 support is also still supported by the GNU Compiler Collection. But as of Friday they dropped support for ARMv3 and older followed by dropping ARMv5 and ARMv5E.

      The dropping of ARMv3 and older even includes finally eliminating the support for ARM2. The ARM2 target in GCC is finally no more.

      This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise though with pre-ARMv4T support being deprecated since GCC 6 and the ARMv5 support being deprecated since GCC 7 last year.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Congratulations to Tesla on Their First Public Step Toward GPL Compliance

      Conservancy rarely talks publicly about specifics in its ongoing GNU General Public License (GPL) enforcement and compliance activity, in accordance with our Principles of Community Oriented GPL Enforcement. We usually keep our compliance matters confidential — not for our own sake — but for the sake of violators who request discretion to fix their mistakes without fear of public reprisal. As occurred a few years ago with Samsung, we’re thrilled when a GPL violator decides to talk about their violation and works to correct it publicly. This gives us the opportunity to shine light on the real-world work of GPL and copyleft compliance.

      We’re thus glad that, this week, Tesla has acted publicly regarding its current GPL violations and has announced that they’ve taken their first steps toward compliance. While Tesla acknowledges that they still have more work to do, their recent actions show progress toward compliance and a commitment to getting all the way there.

    • Tesla releases some of its software to comply with open source licences

      Tesla is a software-heavy company and it has been using a lot of open source software to build its operating system and features, such as Linux Kernel, Buildroot, Busybox, QT, and more.

      Some of the copyright holders have been complaining that Tesla hasn’t been complying with their licenses.

    • The Software Freedom Conservancy on Tesla’s GPL compliance

      The Software Freedom Conservancy has put out a blog posting on the history and current status of Tesla’s GPL compliance issues.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Announcing git-cinnabar 0.5.0 beta 3

      Git-cinnabar is a git remote helper to interact with mercurial repositories. It allows to clone, pull and push from/to mercurial remote repositories, using git.

    • RcppGSL 0.3.5

      A maintenance update of RcppGSL just brought version 0.3.5 to CRAN, a mere twelve days after the RcppGSL 0.3.4. release. Just like yesterday’s upload of inline 0.3.15 it was prompted by a CRAN request to update the per-package manual page; see the inline post for details.

    • Sony Is Working On AMD Ryzen LLVM Compiler Improvements – Possibly For The PlayStation 5

      One of Sony’s compiler experts has taken to working on some tuning for the AMD Ryzen “znver1″ microarchitecture support within the LLVM compiler stack. This begs the question why Sony is working on Ryzen improvements if not for a future product.

Leftovers

  • Longer talk at MSST2018

    The most important lesson I’ve learned is that this is fundamentally an economic problem; we know how to do it but we don’t want to pay enough to have it done.

    How far into the future should we be looking?

    What do the economics of storing data for that long look like?

    How long should the media last?

    How reliable do the media need to be?

  • Google Drops “Don’t Be Evil” Motto From Its Code Of Conduct

    In 2015, when Google reorganized itself under Alphabet, the new parent company drafted a new motto for itself — “Do the right thing.” However, Google’s own unofficial motto remained “Don’t be evil.” The company kept it as a part of the corporate code of conduct since 2000.

    In the latest development, Gizmodo has uncovered that Google has dropped the “Don’t be evil” phrase from its Code of Conduct. As per the findings, the updated version of the web page, which was first archived by the Wayback Machine, has a significant change.

  • Google Removes ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Clause From Its Code of Conduct

    Google’s unofficial motto has long been the simple phrase “don’t be evil.” But that’s over, according to the code of conduct that Google distributes to its employees. The phrase was removed sometime in late April or early May, archives hosted by the Wayback Machine show.

    “Don’t be evil” has been part of the company’s corporate code of conduct since 2000. When Google was reorganized under a new parent company, Alphabet, in 2015, Alphabet assumed a slightly adjusted version of the motto, “do the right thing.” However, Google retained its original “don’t be evil” language until the past several weeks. The phrase has been deeply incorporated into Google’s company culture—so much so that a version of the phrase has served as the wifi password on the shuttles that Google uses to ferry its employees to its Mountain View headquarters, sources told Gizmodo.

  • Science

    • How heavy use of social media is linked to mental illness

      According to a survey in 2017 by the Royal Society for Public Health, Britons aged 14-24 believe that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter have detrimental effects on their wellbeing. On average, they reported that these social networks gave them extra scope for self-expression and community-building. But they also said that the platforms exacerbated anxiety and depression, deprived them of sleep, exposed them to bullying and created worries about their body image and “FOMO” (“fear of missing out”). Academic studies have found that these problems tend to be particularly severe among frequent users.

    • Humans Are Dumb At Figuring Out How Smart Animals Are

      The court declined to hear the case, but one judge did say that some highly intelligent animals probably should be treated more like people and less like property.

  • Hardware

    • Popular YouTuber Says Apple Won’t Fix His iMac Pro Damaged While Disassembled

      The damage resulted when they dropped the display while attempting to reattach it to the aluminum chassis. Towards the end of the video, Sebastian also says the iMac Pro requires a new logic board and power supply unit, suggesting there may have been a short circuit that caused damage to internal components as well.

  • Security

    • Purism’s New Purekey OpenPGP Security Token, Windows 10 Now Includes OpenSSH, Vim 8.1 Released and More

      Purism, maker of the security-focused Librem laptops, announced yesterday it has partnered with Nitrokey to create Purekey, “Purism’s own OpenPGP security token designed to integrate with its hardware and software. Purekey embodies Purism’s mission to make security and cryptography accessible where its customers hold the keys to their own security.” You can purchase a Purekey by itself or as an add-on with a laptop order. According to Purism’s CSO Kyle Rankin, “By keeping your encryption keys on a Purekey instead of on a hard drive, your keys never leave the tamper-proof hardware. This not only makes your keys more secure from attackers, it makes using your keys on multiple devices more convenient.”

    • Encrypted Email and Security Nihilism

      Earlier this week, a group of German researchers published an alarm about newly discovered problems with encrypted email that is creating major controversy in the internet security community. This research — published in a snappy-titled report called EFail — is a valuable and important work highlighting the challenges with email security.

      Unfortunately, many of the responses to this report have been close to the line of “security nihilism:” Throwing your hands in the air and saying that because certain important security measures aren’t perfect, we should abandon them altogether. This is harsh and potentially damaging to the best efforts we currently have to protect email and risks leading people astray when it comes to securing their communications. In fact, there are important things that people can do to protect their email. This post examines the controversy, what people should do to secure their email, and how we might do better in the future.

      Email is a widespread communications tool and people generally expect it to be private. But from a security standpoint, the baseline assumption is that email is “like a postcard:” Anything you write in an email can be read by your email provider (e.g., Google, if you use Gmail) and also by the email provider of the person you send mail to. If those providers (or any of their system administrators or lawyers) want to read your mail, or are hacked, or bribed, or coerced by law enforcement into sharing access, the content of your email is easily accessible to them.

    • Most dangerous new cyber security threats [iophk: "Windows TCO, yet neither Microsoft nor Windows get a mention"]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • No monopoly on David Kelly’s death: Miles Goslett responds to David Aaronovitch’s criticism

      As Oborne has demonstrated, Aaronovitch misrepresented my book and portrayed me as an unhinged conspiracy theorist. In fact, the book is intended to be a careful analysis of the Hutton Inquiry into Kelly’s death and the ramifications of that process. Its aim is to show how Tony Blair’s desperate government rode roughshod over the long-established method of inquiry into this event – a coroner’s inquest – and installed its own, less rigorous investigation. As a result key witnesses were excluded, evidence was concealed and loose ends allowed to remain untied. I believe, though I accept I may be wrong, that Aaronovitch began his review with a firmly closed mind. Let me explain why I have arrived at this interpretation.

    • The Donald, Vlad, and the Bibi

      As a general rule, it is pointless to rank world leaders or lesser political figures by measures that track their vileness or how much harm they inflict upon the world.

      Sometimes, though, it can be enlightening to do precisely that – provided it is understood that what is being compared are not so much the character traits of deplorable individuals, but the political lines they advance in the circumstances they confront.

      One such time is now – as Donald Trump is doing his best to launch a “stupid war” against Iran. That expression was candidate Barack Obama’s in 2008; he used it to describe the war George W. Bush and Dick Cheney launched against Iraq.

      Since at least 1945, the United States has only fought stupid wars. Some have been stupider than others, but, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, Democrats and Republicans have supported them all. If Trump does get an Iran War going, count on bipartisan support for it too, though, for sheer stupidity, it would rival and perhaps even exceed the Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon war against Vietnam.

    • Trump: Making America Dread Again

      Trump’s flagrant disregard for the safety of the American people has been punctuated by the proposed elimination of the budget reserved for containing an Ebola epidemic. Earlier this year, Trump pushed through Congress an additional $84 billion for the bloated, unauditable military budget—more than the Pentagon had requested.

      Callous Donald is determined to enable and even abet companies that are spewing dangerous toxics into our air, water, and food-growing areas. Many of these companies have contributed to his campaign. This serial failed gambling czar’s coldblooded personality is anti-law. President Trump and his agency chiefs are violating federal statutory mandates to protect the health and safety of Americans.

    • Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: Civil Disobedience Against Vietnam War Led Me to Leak Pentagon Papers

      Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was a high-level defense analyst in 1971 when he leaked a top-secret report on U.S. involvement in Vietnam to The New York Times and other publications that came to be known as the Pentagon Papers and played a key role in ending the Vietnam War. We speak with Ellsberg about the recent 50th anniversary of one of the most famous acts of civil disobedience in the United States. On May 17, 1968, Catholic priests and activists broke into a draft board office in Catonsville, Maryland, and stole 378 draft cards and burned them in the parking lot as a protest against the Vietnam War. They became known as the Catonsville Nine. Ellsberg discusses the role nonviolent direct action can play in social movements. Ellsberg says that the ending of the war in Vietnam “relied on a lot of people doing unusual things.”

    • Google, drone murder and the military-intelligence-censorship complex

      The publication of this week’s open letter by leading academics protesting Google’s role in the military’s drone assassination program exposes the close partnership between the major technology giants and the US military/intelligence complex.

      The letter, now signed by nearly 1,000 academics, declares that “Google has moved into military work without subjecting itself to public debate or deliberation, either domestically or internationally.” It adds, “While Google regularly decides the future of technology without democratic public engagement, its entry into military technologies casts the problems of private control of information infrastructure into high relief.”

      In March, Google admitted to helping the Pentagon develop artificial intelligence software to identify objects in video recordings captured by drones, within the framework of a program called Project Maven. While Google claims that the technology is not being used to kill people, the letter’s authors note that the system can be easily modified to identify human beings for assassination.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Revealed: Julian Assange’s embassy guest list in the summer of the Clinton email leak which includes RT reporters, hackers and Michael Moore [Ed: And now Daily Fail participates in selectively associating Wikileaks with crime, Russia etc.]
    • Ecuador Removes Extra Security At Embassy Where Julian Assange Lives

      Ecuador’s president has ordered the removal of extra security at the country’s London embassy — where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been since 2012.

    • Price of Coming Forward: Joshua Schulte’s Past Whistleblowing Comes Back to Haunt Him

      On Tuesday, the New York Times and Washington Post publicly identified the U.S. government’s prime and only suspect in the leaks of CIA documents to the transparency organization WikiLeaks. Joshua Schulte, a former CIA software engineer, has been suspected of being the WikiLeaks source since last year, when authorities raided his Manhattan apartment just one week after the first batch of the documents, known collectively as “Vault 7,” were released last March.

      Vault 7 has been a sore spot in the U.S. intelligence community since it broke, largely because it was the “largest ever publication of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents,” one that detailed the CIA’s global and covert hacking program as well as its arsenal of hacking tools and exploits.

      As MintPress reported at the time, one of the agency’s capabilities revealed by Vault 7 was the CIA’s ability to leave the “fingerprints” of foreign governments on hacks the CIA itself had conducted. The revelation of this capacity cast immediate doubt on the evidence that the Russian government had hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

      In addition, the leak represented an unparalleled embarrassment for the agency, particularly after the high-profile leaks of NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden and the measures taken by the government to prevent a repeat occurrence. The sensitive nature of the case is a likely reason as to why Schulte continues to be in government crosshairs despite the lack of evidence against him.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Clean air, water on voters’ agenda, but not Congress’

      All of which provides a backdrop to the truly bizarre spectacle that took place in a hearing held by the House Science Committee this week. In a hearing meant to focus on technological solutions to climate change (like the hugely popular wind and solar), Republican members of the committee decided to once again raise questions about whether humans were influencing the warming climate, with one Congressman suggesting that the warming-driven rise in our oceans might instead be caused by rocks falling into the seas.

    • Republican Rep. Mo Brooks Blames Coastal Erosion for Rising Seas

      Bridenstine’s new comments came a day after Alabama Republican Congressmember Mo Brooks suggested during a House Science committee hearing that coastal erosion—and not greenhouse gas emissions—is to blame for rising sea levels. Rep. Brooks made the comments as he questioned Philip Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center.

    • ‘Somebody’s Cheating’: 8 Years After Ban, Scientists Urge World Leaders to Find Mysterious Source Behind Skyrocketing CFC Levels

      Despite having been banned, emissions of a chemical found to create holes in the ozone layer have skyrocketed in recent years, according to a new study—leading scientists to wonder whether the pollutant is being secretly manufactured somewhere on Earth.

      Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that CFC-11 emissions have gone up 25 percent since 2012, although the international community agreed to end production of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by 2010 as part of the Montreal Protocol in 1987.

      “Somebody’s cheating,” Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, told the Washington Post of the new research. “There’s some slight possibility there’s an unintentional release, but…they make it clear there’s strong evidence this is actually being produced.”

    • Most Americans say climate change affects their local community, including two-thirds living near coast

      Roughly six-in-ten Americans (59%) say climate change is currently affecting their local community either a great deal or some, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

      Some 31% of Americans say the effects of climate change are affecting them personally, while 28% say climate change is affecting their local community but its effects are not impacting them in a personal way.

      As is the case on many climate change questions, perceptions of whether and how much climate change is affecting local communities are closely tied with political party affiliation. About three-quarters of Democrats (76%) say climate change is affecting their local community at least some, while roughly a third of Republicans say this (35%).

    • Oh, POLITICO, Please Don’t Publish Garbage — Reality Check For Electric Vehicle Hit Job

      I’ve read many wonderful pieces of work from POLITICO. The outfit has a great crew of political reporters who sometimes break huge and important stories. The op-eds and in-depth political analyses can be superb. From time to time, POLITICO has been the top source I’ve relied on for US political coverage … and funny cartoons.

      That said, I think I’ve read only one piece on the website about electric vehicles … and it was absolute garbage. Actually, garbage is just something useless that needs to be thrown in the trash can, whereas this was worse. This piece, reaching people fairly new to the concept of electric vehicles, misled readers on a critical point or two. Furthermore, think about who the audience reading the article might be — politically involved people with a left leaning. These are people who might one day (if not today) be in a position to make policy, and they are people who might have particular concern (or at least political concern) to push and vote for environmentally friendly policies. Convincing them that electric cars are not greener than gasoline cars is a disservice to society.

  • Finance

    • Trump personally pushed postmaster general to double rates on Amazon, other firms

      Details of Amazon’s contract with the Postal Service are secret, making it difficult for financial experts to assess claims about the relationship. Amazon has said that publicly releasing the contract, which contains detailed information on the company’s delivery systems, would give competitors an unfair advantage.

    • Trump reportedly wants to punish Amazon by trying to double Postal Service rates

      The Postal Service, though it’s lost money for the last 11 years, reported a 11.8 percent year-over-year increase in revenue to $19.5 billion last year, some of which is likely attributable to Amazon’s increased spending in the area. The nature of Amazon and the Postal Service’s deal remains secret.

    • PayPal in talks to buy Swedish small-business platform iZettle for $2.2 billion
    • PayPal to Buy iZettle for $2.2 Billion to Compete With Square

      The deal is the biggest ever for San Jose, California-based PayPal and will help it compete with Square Inc., which made a name for itself by helping small businesses and food-truck vendors conduct credit card and mobile transactions. Founded in 2010 by Jacob de Geer and Magnus Nilsson, iZettle also started out with a mobile-phone gadget for accepting credit card payments. It has since expanded into software and financing services to support small businesses.

    • Lighthizer says NAFTA countries are ‘nowhere’ near reaching a deal

      U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that after nine months the United States, Mexico and Canada are still far from completing an update of the 24-year-old NAFTA deal with a slew of sticking points looming over the talks.

    • Where next for migrant Roma communities post-Brexit?

      The number of migrant Roma living in the UK is not known. Estimates by the Council of Europe put the figure at 225,000 Roma, which amounts to 0.36% of the entire population. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, however, claims that the real figure is between 500,000 and 1,000,000, excluding indigenous Gypsies and Irish Travellers. In the wake of Brexit this group faces an uncertain future.

      A recent report of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) on ‘Roma communities and Brexit’ has highlighted what it called “a triple whammy of risks: uncertainty over their future legal status, rising concerns about hate crime, and a potential loss of EU funding for integration and support services”.

      The report’s findings do not come as a surprise. They reveal long-standing concerns of human rights activists, NGOs and public policy think tanks over both the UK response to the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, on one hand, and the consequences of the Brexit vote, on the other.

    • Why I am not a Liberal and how we need to fight bin Trump and Brexit

      In the year 2000, when post-1989 globalisation was at the zenith of its self-confidence, four of us got together in North London to plan how to respond to what we experienced as a growing problem with the way the world is governed. We felt the need for a serious space to question the suffocating future being offered us, with the socialist left defeated everywhere except Brazil. Along with Paul Hilder, Susan Richards, David Hayes and others, I initiated openDemocracy.

      Perhaps because he confuses my commitment to openness with liberalism, Jan Zielonka, Oxford professor of European politics, has just tagged me as a Liberal; in openDemocracy, in his contribution to a vitally important debate over how to frustrate the hard right. The exchange began in March, when the historian of Liberalism, Edmund Fawcett, called for liberals like himself and leftists to unite in the face of danger. I then responded and welcomed Fawcett’s positive challenge. How to confront the grim international setting matters far more than my personal politics. And new and surprising allies, such as the ex-Director of the CIA, have emerged. I want to take the opportunity to explore the significance of this, especially for the United States as Trump shreds the Iran nuclear agreement.

      But first, I want to be clear about the direction I’m coming from to explain why Zielonka gets me completly wrong. While liberal in my personal views I have never been a ‘Liberal’ politically. I am an advocate and organiser of political openness, which is quite different. The way politics is conducted remains closed, indeed it invents new forms of closure. The brilliant Transformation section of openDemocracy now focuses on this with a coverage that is both granular and general. As its editor Mike Edwards recently argued, an open approach, “runs counter to the realities of modern politics, media and knowledge production, but the other options are much, much worse: a slide into authoritarianism, enforced artificial unity, or permanent division”.

    • Gender Justice at the Heart of the Poor People’s Campaign

      The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, will begin six weeks of actions on May 13 in more than 30 state capitals. Each week will have a different theme, with the first week dedicated to raising up “Children, Women, and People with Disabilities in Poverty.”

      In a recent interview, Rev. Liz Theoharis explained that when she and fellow campaign co-chair Rev. William Barber II first began developing this initiative, they mapped out the poorest communities in the United States. “Our research revealed that the states with the highest overall poverty rates also had the worst voter suppression and the highest number of women and children in need,” she said.

      The campaign teamed up with the Institute for Policy Studies to conduct an extensive audit of key indicators since Dr. Martin Luther King and other leaders launched the original Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. The report, organized around the themes of poverty, systemic racism, militarism, and ecological destruction, integrates issues related to gender justice throughout. Here are five charts which show that while poverty affects all demographic groups in the United States, women (especially women of color) and transgender individuals are particularly hard hit.

    • Yes, neoliberalism is a thing. Don’t let economists tell you otherwise

      Well, this one at least is half-true. Like literally every concept that has ever mattered, the concept of ‘neoliberalism’ is messy, it’s deeply contested, it has evolved over time and it differs in theory and practice. From the start, there has been debate within the neoliberal movement itself about how it should define itself and what its programme should be. And, yes, it’s often used lazily on the left as a generic term for anything vaguely establishment. None of this means that it is Not A Thing. This is something sociologists and historians instinctively understand, but which many economists seem to have trouble with. Having said this, it is possible to define some generally accepted core features of neoliberalism. Essentially, it privileges markets as the best way to organise the economy and society, but unlike classical liberalism, it sees a strong role for the state in creating and maintaining these markets. Outside of this role, the state should do as little as possible, and above all it must not interfere with the ‘natural’ operation of the market. But it has always been part of the neoliberal project to take over the state and transform it for its own ends, rather than to dismantle or disable it. Of course, there’s clearly a tension between neoliberals’ professed ideals of freedom and their need for a strong state to push through policies that often don’t have democratic consent. We see this in the actions of the Bretton Woods institutions in the era of ‘structural adjustment’, or the Troika’s behaviour towards Greece during the Eurozone crisis. We see it most starkly in Pinochet’s Chile, the original neoliberal experiment. This perhaps helps to explain the fact that neoliberalism is sometimes equated with libertarianism and the ‘small state’, while others reject this characterisation. I’ll say it again: none of this means that neoliberalism doesn’t exist.

    • C.F.P.B. Payday Loan Rule Likely Spared Wrath of Congressional Review Act

      There was rare good news for regulatory safeguards this week: The window closed for Congress to pass legislation repealing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule on payday loans, according to advocates of the initiative.

      Stop the Debt Trap, a coalition of labor unions and non-profits, said Wednesday evening that the “legislative clock has expired” on efforts to annul the rule under the Congressional Review Act.

      “Consumer and civil rights advocates are urging the consumer bureau to keep intact the rule, which is set to go into effect summer 2019, and to fulfill the bureau’s responsibility to enforce the law,” the organization said in a statement.

      [...]

      While Congress appeared on Wednesday to officially spare the payday rule, hours earlier, there was an ominous development in Washington for consumer safeguards. In a party-line vote, the Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 to approve Andrew Smith as head of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

      Smith has previously served as a lawyer for some of the most recognizable corporations accused of malfeasance, as noted Monday by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • England is restless, change is coming

      My purpose today is to make a big argument about the state of politics in England. Namely, without radical devolution we are not going to achieve social justice.

      I’m pleased to be speaking here at IPPR as recently you produced an important report describing the emergence of Englishness as a political force.

      You were correct to begin a conversation about England. There is a restlessness here. A mounting dissatisfaction which ‘Little Englander’ politics has attempted to colonise. I am going to set out why their narrow message fundamentally misunderstands what is happening.

    • The McCain Cult

      So much time spent on this trifle of a story. Someone named Kelly Sadler, a “special assistant” and “communications aide” to the president stated in a White House meeting May 10 that Sen. John McCain’s opposition to the appointment of Gina Haspel as CIA director was irrelevant.

      “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” she said, according to a leak—presumably by a White House colleague wanting to embarrass her. And so the liberal media—assiduously avoiding coverage of the unprecedented teachers’ strikes in this country, or the Afghan situation as the U.S.-trained army deteriorates and the Taliban expands, or the situation in Iraq as the anti-U.S. Sadrists take power, or the opening of that record-breaking bridge from mainland Russia to Crimea—dwells on this issue of a Trump aide making a “joke” about McCain’s likely immanent death.

    • Iraq elections final results: Sadr’s bloc wins parliamentary poll

      A political bloc led by Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr has won the country’s parliamentary election, the electoral commission said, ahead of internationally favoured Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s bloc.

      Al-Sadr himself cannot become prime minister as he did not run in the election, but his bloc’s victory puts him in a position to have a strong say in negotiations.

      His electoral list captured 54 parliamentary seats, according to the results released on Saturday.

      The Fatah bloc led by Hadi al-Amiri, who has close ties with Iran, came in second with 47 seats.

    • Trump Jr. met with Gulf adviser who offered help to win election: report
    • Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election

      The Trump Tower meeting and follow-ups are the first indication that countries beyond Russia may have offered help to the Trump campaign.

    • Tory MPs prepare for snap autumn election as Theresa May hit by Brexit deadlock

      Conservative MPs are preparing for another snap general election as they fear the Brexit deadlock will become insurmountable for the prime minister.

      Some have spoken to their local party associations asking to be readopted as prospective parliamentary candidates in readiness for an autumn election.

      The back-bench MPs acted after meeting Theresa May last week for a private Brexit briefing as she tried to stop a row over Britain’s future customs relationship with the European Union tearing the party apart.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The Curious Takedown Notices of ‘Tongues of Glass’ Poet Shaun Shane

      The poet going by the name Shaun Shane has come to the forefront again, half a decade after his one-line poem triggered a takedown controversy. In a series of DMCA notices sent to Google, the poet posits that people are using black hat SEO to get to him. Targeted sites include BoingBoing and Techdirt, but also entirely unrelated ones, including the homepage of the company ‘Shaun Shane Bricklaying.’

    • UK government plans new legislation to tame internet’s ‘wild west’

      The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Home Office are jointly working on a white paper that is expected to be published in the autumn.

    • Gruesome Jihadi Content Still Flourishes on Facebook and Google+
    • ‘Blocking Pirate Sites Through Court is Uncertain, Slow and Expensive’

      Fairplay Canada sees its own site blocking proposal as the best option to counter infringing websites. In a reply response to the CRTC, the coalition argues that the ‘alternative’ judicial option is uncertain, costly, and will take a lot of time. The response further criticizes misleading and false comments from the public, while adding more support for its blocking plans.

    • Students take on press censorship, get national coverage

      A study of press freedom at Christian universities conducted by Taylor University students has garnered national coverage.

      Religion News Service, the Washington Examiner, the Student Press Law Center and several other religion and college media news sites have run stories in the last two weeks about the study, which was released on May 1 by the newly formed Student Press Coalition. Taylor students created the SPC in order to publicize their study’s results and make clear they weren’t representing the university.

    • Music streaming service Spotify initiates censorship against R. Kelly and XXXTentacion

      On May 10, global music streaming platform Spotify began a regime of censorship against artists it accuses of “Hateful Conduct.” The same day, singers Robert “R.” Kelly and Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy (known as XXXTentacion) became its first targets.

      Under the new policy, Spotify will censor music that “incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status[!], or disability.” Moreover, the announcement goes on, “When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”

      [...]

      Works by the 20-year-old Onfroy (XXXTentacion), who presently faces charges for battery against a pregnant woman, were given the same treatment, including removal from the Spotify playlist “Rap Caviar,” which has nearly 10 million followers.

      Prior to these acts of censorship, a witch-hunt atmosphere had been whipped up around these two singers in the press and on social media. In the case of Kelly, the group of Hollywood figures known as the “Time’s Up movement” threw their weight behind an existing campaign to “Mute R. Kelly.” The manifesto at muterkelly.org makes clear its disdain for democratic rights:

    • Germany’s Attempt to Fix Facebook Is Backfiring

      The new year was just a day old when Alice Weidel, the 38-year-old co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, and Beatrix von Storch, her deputy, came under investigation for inciting hatred on Twitter. Both women had attacked the police in Cologne for tweeting a New Year’s greeting in Arabic: “What the hell is wrong with this country?” von Storch asked in a racially incendiary tweet, accusing the police of supporting what she called “barbaric, gang-raping Muslim hordes of men.” Weidel echoed that sentiment, accusing the police of supporting “knife-stabbing migrant mobs.”

    • Govt to take censorship issue to parliament, says minister

      Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Saturday that the censorship issue would be taken to parliament instead of the information minister tendering her resignation in protest.

      Addressing an Iftar dinner she hosted for journalists, she said the government was aware of the problems being faced by some publications and “I have personally been under pressure to resign on the issue. But I thought for how long the ministers would keep stepping down on such issues instead of taking them head-on”.

    • Minister regrets not doing away with media censorship completely

      Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has said she regrets that her ministry could not do as much as it wished to eliminate the culture of censorship on the media.

      Speaking at an Iftar dinner, hosted by her ministry for the Lahore media, she said that in her short period as the minister she tried her best that the media could be facilitated to the maximum to bring clarity regarding the government affairs.

      She said that she is aware of the concerns and complaints of the media fraternity regarding censorship and sabotage of certain media outlets. She said the government tried its best to do whatever it could to curtail such activities. But, still there was a lot of room for improvement in that regard, she added. The minister pledged that if the PML-N would come to power against after 2018 elections, it would give special attention to the issue.

    • Warframe Moderator’s Authoritarian Censorship Spawns Community Backlash

      Digital Extremes could be looking at some steep community unrest if things don’t get resolved quickly regarding a North American chat moderator for Warframe who has taken the reigns of authority and utilized it to abuse censorship within the community.

    • Prime Minister’s Spokesperson Denounces Church For Censoring Nonconformist Priest

      The Prime Minister’s spokesperson has denounced as “outrageous” an ultimatum by the Church to outspoken priest Mark Montebello that he will be defrocked if he continues speaking out in the media.

      “The Church censors one of its most progressive thinkers,” Kurt Farrugia tweeted. “I had the privilege to work with Fr Mark as deputy editor of It-Torċa…it seems freedom of speech in Malta is a privilege only afforded to conservatives. Outrageous.”

    • Erdoğan ends UK state visit by calling jailed journalists ‘terrorists’

      Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has ended his three-day state visit to the UK by insisting that all the journalists locked in Turkish jails were terrorist criminals, ignoring a warning from Theresa May not to lose sight of democratic values as he sought to defend his country from “the extraordinary pressures of a failed coup and Kurdish terrorism”.

      At a press conference in Downing Street alongside May, Erdoğan made no reference to May’s remarks about human rights, but instead urged her to do more to extradite Turkish exiles from the Gulenist or Kurdish movements, saying that if she did not act act against terrorists, it would come back to bite her.

    • Turkish President Visits UK To Remind Everyone He Still Wants To Punish Critical Speech

      I’m not sure why any nation with at least a passing respect for civil liberties would continue treating Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a world leader worth discussing ideas with. Erdogan rolled into the United States with his entourage of thugs and thought he could have critics beaten and unfriendly journalists tossed from press conferences. He continually petitions other countries to punish their own citizens for insulting him.

      Back at home, Erdogan is jailing journalists by the hundreds, claiming they’re terrorists. A failed coup set off the latest wave of censorial thuggery, with Erdogan bolstering his terrorist claims by pointing to criminal acts like… robbing ATMs. A massive backlog of “insulting the president” cases sit in the country’s court system — a system that’s certainly aware it’s not supposed to act as a check against executive power.

      And yet, world leaders continue to act as though Erdogan is an equal, rather than an overachieving street thug with an amazingly fragile ego. UK Prime Minister Theresa May, hoping to strike a trade deal with Turkey, invited Erdogan to not only discuss a possible deal, but speak publicly.

    • Valve Warns Anime Developers To Censor Sexualized Content On Steam Or They Will Be Removed
    • Steve Stoute Says If R. Kelly & XXXTentacion Music’s Banned, Then Why Don’t People Say ‘We’re F**king No Playing Michael Jackson’
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Revealed: Storyful uses tool to monitor what reporters watch

      Software developed by a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to help journalists verify content on social media is also being used to monitor the videos and images viewed by reporters who use the tool.

    • The growing threat to privacy from big data forensics and false positives

      It turned out that the ambulance crew who had taken him to the hospital that day were later called to where the murder in question took place. Somehow, the ambulance team carried with them the DNA of the accused man, and left it on the body of the victim. Even though the quantity of genetic material involved was minuscule, today’s DNA amplification techniques are such that it is possible to extract long enough genetic sequences from these kind of situations to allow them to be matched with DNA database entries. Ironically, the very sensitivity of DNA forensic techniques means that cases of innocent people being accused of crimes are likely to become more common. The problem is that we shed and leave our DNA on everything we touch, even where we stand, and so it is possible for it to be picked up and transferred somewhere else – even on to a murder victim.

    • Website leaked real-time location of most US cell phones to almost anyone

      LocationSmart, as the service is known, identifies the locations of phones connected to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon, often to an accuracy of a few hundred yards, reporter Brian Krebs said. While the firm claims it provides the location lookup service only for legitimate and authorized purposes, Krebs reported that a demo tool on the LocationSmart website could be used by just about anyone to surreptitiously track the real-time whereabouts of just about anyone else.

    • Cambridge Analytica files for bankruptcy amidst “siege” of negative attention

      The Friday court document also notes that the attorney preparing the filing was paid for by Emerdata, a new data analytics firm founded by many of the same people who were formerly involved in Cambridge Analytica. Emerdata, like Cambridge Analytica, is largely funded by the Mercer family, who are well-known Republican donors and Trump supporters. Rebekah Mercer was named as a director to Emerdata in March 2018. What exactly Emerdata does or how it will operate going forward remains a bit of a mystery.

    • GDPR Hysteria

      In another week the GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation will become enforceable and it appears that unlike any other law to date this particular one has the interesting side effect of causing mass hysteria in the otherwise rational tech sector.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Labor undecided on support for increased airport ID checks

      The government made its proposal known on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying the measure was being advanced because there were “dangerous times” facing the country, according to an ABC report. A sum of $294 million has been set aside to increase security at Australian airports and put in new measures in regional centres.

      Turnbull and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton announced legislation to give the police the power to carry out random identity checks at airports without any cause.

    • TSA Thuggos Turn Into The “Security” Version Of Vindictive Uber Drivers, Secretly Rating You

      This turn of events we’re left with — citizens as docile sheep in the face of our civil liberties being violated — ultimately doesn’t go in a good direction, let’s just say, and it probably won’t end well down the road.

    • $10K Isn’t What It Used To Be — Nor Are Constitutional Rights: Time To Revisit Banking Reporting Requirements

      And Holcombe makes the point that $10K in 1970 dollars would be $65K in today’s.

    • US Immigration Officials Pull Plug on High-Tech ‘Extreme Vetting’

      According to reports, ICE has dropped the requirement to use machine learning or other automated predictive decision-making technologies in its proposals to contractors vying for government business. Instead, ICE will emphasize human oversight of the vetting process.

    • New York workers could get right to ignore bosses emails and phone calls

      That’s if a “right to disconnect” bill sponsored by New York City councilman Rafael Espinal passes. It sets a $250 fine for employers who require staff to answer calls and emails after hours. Espinal’s bill was inspired by a similar law that went into effect last year in France.

    • An Agricultural Movement for People-to-People Reparations Puts Itself on the Map

      On a small plot of land on the outskirts of Chicago, a farm collectively owned by gender-non-conforming immigrants will cultivate produce and a younger generation of food justice activists. That’s the vision that Viviana Moreno, Nadia Sol Ireri Unzueta Carrasco and Jazmín Martinez, organizers and farmers based in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, are working to turn into reality.

      Catatumbo Collective, as the three call themselves, told Rural America In These Times in an email: “We’re approaching a worker-owned farm through an intersectional and holistic lens that understands that our community’s issues can be addressed in part by sustainable farming and food justice educational programs.”

      Viviana, Ireri and Jazmín have known each other from years of organizing against deportations in Chicago and working in Little Village’s Semillas de Justicia community garden.

      Of Venezuelan and Mexican heritage, the three incorporate their families’ experiences—with land stewardship and NAFTA-driven migration—and the history of campesinos’ and Indigenous peoples’ land struggles into their approach.

    • Socialists and Progressives Just Trounced the Democratic Establishment

      If members of the Democratic Party establishment weren’t already worried, after Tuesday night, they should be. In primaries across the country, at least eight candidates running on explicitly progressive platforms won out, including open socialists and political newcomers who took out longtime incumbents.

      These victories are proof that the recent successes of left challengers are no fluke. Rather, the wins show that voters who are tired of the type of milquetoast, means-tested policies pushed by centrist Democrats are willing to embrace candidates running on bold, redistributive policies. And far from being too far left to win, these candidates have the political winds at their backs.

    • Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees

      According to the National Catholic Reporter, Honduran human rights leader and Jesuit priest Fr. Ismael Moreno Coto, who was a friend of slain environmental activist Berta Caceres, plans to meet with members of the US Congress this week in order to “offer a number of suggestions on how the U.S. government can play a constructive role in promoting human rights in Honduras.” He is currently on a 9-city tour of the United States to raise awareness about the state of contemporary Honduran society and the historically negative role that the US has played there, especially in its support and funding of right-wing governments and the Honduran military.

      The Trump administration’s recent decision to suspend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 57, 000 Hondurans who came to the United States after Hurricane Mitch devastated the country in 1998 may have also inspired his visit. Trump’s refusal to renew TPS will affect a total of 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians. The vast majority are perfectly law-abiding members of US society who have now, at the stroke of a pen, been criminalized. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Father Ismael may appeal to American government officials to fight against sending vulnerable people to one of the most dangerous countries in the Western Hemisphere.

    • Time to quell the Lords’ anti-democratic riot

      The constitutional crisis that nobody on the left wants to talk about.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The decline of Snapchat and the secret joy of internet ghost towns

      When websites become useless, they become a reminder of what was lost when the [I]nternet gained purpose, function, and profit. We are all still searching for an online space where we can yell our secrets and be unseen and disappear. These opportunities now often exist only in dying online spaces, the last place where no one is looking.

    • ISPs and Ajit Pai are really sad about Senate’s vote for net neutrality

      USTelecom claimed to speak on behalf of Internet users, saying that “Consumers want permanent, comprehensive online protections, not half measures or election year posturing from our representatives in Congress.”

    • ‘Uphill Battle,’ But Net Neutrality Defenders Say Victory in House Possible

      Celebrating the ‘historic win’ in the Senate on Wednesday for only the briefest of moments, advocates for the open Internet who have worked relentlessly to reverse an effort by the telecommunications industry and Trump’s FCC to kill net neutrality protections have immediately turned their attention to the U.S. House of Representatives where they say victory is possible if the American people keep up the pressure.

      “The people saying we can’t win on net neutrality in the House are the same people who, just 5 months ago, were saying we could never do it in the Senate,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Thursday. “Ignore them. Just keep fighting.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Webinar on Defend Trade Secrets Act
    • Copyrights

      • Police Forces Around Europe Hit Pirate IPTV Operation

        More than 150 law enforcement officers in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Spain have coordinated to dismantle a large pirate IPTV operation. TV channel sources, which were spread among companies, commercial premises and even private homes, were targeted in dozens of locations. The investigation focused on 49 suspects, five of whom were arrested and taken into custody.

      • Congress wants to extend the copyright on some sound recordings to 144 years

        Hatch merged the bill with the CLASSICS act, which creates a new federal copyright rule for pre-1972 sound recordings; in some cases, this will create a 144 year copyright term for these older recordings. What’s more, it gives an unassailable advantage to the biggest streaming companies like Spotify and Pandora, whose existing music publisher agreements lock in a much lower royalty rate than the statute provides for, something no new competitor will be able to use.

      • Congress’ Latest Move to Extend Copyright Protection Is Misguided

        Twenty years later, the fight for term extension has begun anew. Buried in an otherwise harmless act, passed by the House and now being considered in the Senate, this new bill purports to create a new digital performance right—basically the right to control copies of recordings on any digital platform (ever hear of the internet?)—for musical recordings made before 1972. These recordings would now have a new right, protected until 2067, which, for some, means a total term of protection of 144 years. The beneficiaries of this monopoly need do nothing to get the benefit of this gift. They don’t have to make the work available. Nor do they have to register their claims in advance.

05.19.18

Aurélien Pétiaud’s ILO Case (EPO Appeal) an Early Sign That ILO Protects Abusers and Power, Not Workers

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Correction: “Alain Prunier” (as named below by Märpel) is actually a mistake. It is in fact Aurélien Pétiaud in the text below.]

Alain Prunier ILO case

Summary: A famous EPO ‘disciplinary’ case is recalled; it’s another one of those EPO-leaning rulings from AT-ILO, which not only praises Battistelli amid very serious abuses but also lies on his behalf, leaving workers with no real access to justice but a mere illusion thereof

The dismissal of SUEPO secretary Laurent Prunier a couple of years ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] was the subject of much debate regarding EPO scandals. It happened at the Dutch ‘branch’, not the German one. He was probably Battistelli’s last casualty (among many) that was a staff representative and he was fired in defiance of ‘orders’ from the Administrative Council. This served to reaffirm the view that Battistelli was ‘in charge’ of his ‘supposed’ regulator.

“Well, thankfully, owing to EPO scandals, we nowadays know that ILO too is dysfunctional.”It turns out that there’s another Prunier (see correction above), Alain Prunier Aurélien Pétiaud, whose case [PDF] Märpel has just dug out, remarking on oneself in the form of a third person (like Merpel) that “Märpel may only wonder at what the “L” in “ILO” stands for. It used to stand for “labour”.”

Here’s the key part:

The events concerning Mr Alain Prunier Aurélien Pétiaud are known from all the EPO. They took place in 2014. At the time, Mr. Prunierr Pétiaud found it necessary to protest the way the appeal committee was run under President Battistelli’s orders. It was run as a purely rubber-stamping affair and since the members chosen by staff were in minority, cases were lost. Mr. Prunierr Pétiaud protested and took a courageous decision: on each case he took the time to write a minority opinion (see judgment point 16), thereby documenting the malfunctioning of the committee.

President Battistelli was not amused and simply increased the workload to a point where there was no time to write these opinions and still attend the sessions. Mr. Prunierr Pétiaud refused and publicly explained why he took that decision, in agreement with SUEPO. To all EPO staff, it was clear that this was a political message and not a refusal to carry out his duties.

But AT-ILO found differently.

Well, thankfully, owing to EPO scandals, we nowadays know that ILO too is dysfunctional. In many ways and aspects. As noted earlier this month, the ILO nowadays lies on behalf of Battistelli and the EPO. It makes one wonder if ILO defends labour from abuses of power or simply defends powerful people from ‘pesky’ workers who challenge abuse of power.

LOT Network is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Posted in Google, OIN, Patents at 9:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LOT Network's Ken Seddon

Summary: Another reminder that the “LOT” is a whole lot more than it claims to be and in effect a reinforcer of the status quo

THE idea that we need to fight patent injustice by hoarding more patents was always a laughable one. The IBM-led OIN, for example, had us believing that it would somehow tackle the issue by making patents “defensive” (that can never be; it’s just not how patents actually work).

There’s an old saying along the lines of, to understand what an organisation stands for just check who’s running it. At the EPO it would be Battistelli and at the USPTO Iancu, part of the patent microcosm.

“There’s an old saying along the lines of, to understand what an orgnisation stands for just check who’s running it.”The LOT Network charm offensive and puff pieces aren’t over yet. We’re seeing Susan Decker’s Bloomberg piece licensed and reposted even more than a week later; we responded to it a couple of times before and 3 days ago we saw Wayne Williams in Beta News issuing another belated LOT Network puff piece in which he said:

Ken Seddon is the CEO of the non-profit patent protection network LOT. The organization’s members include Google, Red Hat, Lenovo, Pega and other big players, as well as dozens of startups in areas such as transportation, blockchain, and software.

Startups are disproportionately impacted by patent trolls and we chatted with Ken about how a smart, assertive IP strategy can help protect their businesses.

“Startups”-themes nonsense is the typical thing we also hear from Battistelli’s EPO. It’s pure marketing, trying to quell dissent from those who suffer the most. LOT Network is led by Google, which has a massive number of patents; all the key members are large companies, not SMEs (the term typically favoured in Europe).

“LOT Network is no solution to software patenting; it merely perpetuates all the same problems.”Ken Seddon the famous scientist (with an OBE) died earlier this year. The above Seddon, however, “drafted over 300 patent applications while at Motorola and Intel, and managed all US patent prosecution at Intel,” according to his official biography (later today we’ll remark about Intel’s patent policy). He is also connected to IPO and AIPLA, two front groups of patent maximalists. They — like Intel — promote software patents. That tells us what LOT Network really boils down to. LOT Network is no solution to software patenting; it merely perpetuates all the same problems.

‘Nokification’ in Hong Kong and China (PRC)

Posted in Asia, Patents at 8:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia firing people
Picture by Or Cohen

Summary: Chinese firms that are struggling resort to patent litigation, in effect repeating the same misguided trajectories which became so notorious in Western nations because they act as a form of taxation, discouraging actual innovation

LAST week we wrote about how Coolpad had resorted to litigation using patents. Months prior we took note of this strategy, which basically revolved around the idea of leveraging patents rather than products. IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby, says about Coolpad that “its patent portfolio is largely unproven” (not to mention small compared to that of companies it takes on ). To quote:

Earlier this year, Coolpad filed a number of Chinese patent infringement complaints against Xiaomi. IAM reported these stories largely based on local media accounts. But last week Coolpad sought to ramp up the pressure by ensuring that the story, and key details about the accused Xiaomi products, reached the global financial press in the run-up to Xiaomi’s potential $10 billion Hong Kong IPO. On 10th May, one week after Xiaomi announced its flotation plans, Coolpad held a press conference in Hong Kong to update the media on its dispute with Xiaomi.

If Coolpad is attempting to build a business on top of litigation, then it won’t go very far. The company is already in the red and it seems to be struggling, unlike Xiaomi.

“If Coolpad is attempting to build a business on top of litigation, then it won’t go very far. The company is already in the red and it seems to be struggling, unlike Xiaomi.”There are similar companies in the West. After Microsoft entryism, for example, Nokia is like a patent troll using or merely exploiting standards bodies as Trojan horses. No doubt Nokia used to make stuff. Now it’s mostly “licensing” (the brand, patents etc.) and IAM quotes Soininen of Nokia as saying: “The reason for me to put the results of my R&D into a standard is because I have a patent and I know that I can get a fair and reasonable return on it…”

That’s just misuse of those “FRAND” euphemisms, “fair” and “reasonable” (more like SEP). IAM later wrote this article about these “fair” and “reasonable” patents:

An exclusive new study commissioned by IAM has revealed that Nokia’s merger with Alcatel-Lucent means it is now one of the leading players in the Internet of Things (IoT) domain. However, Samsung has the dominant position in the field, with second-place Qualcomm a long way behind. Last year, IP analytics platform Relecura produced research examining the IoT landscape from a patent perspective. Using an IAM-commissioned updated report and additional data from IP platform ktMINE, we inspect the current state of the IoT sector.

A lot of these ‘IoT’ patents (not all) are reducible to software and would thus be invalid in Western courts. Not so in China, which officially permits software patents. But according to Jacob Schindler from IAM, those relying on the possibility of dragging Chinese companies into US courts and in for a surprise:

There are a host of challenges when it comes to trying to assert US patents against a Chinese legal entity. A recent court filing by Dutch telecom KPN, which is suing Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus in the District of Delaware, underlines what looks to be a new normal: it may be two years before a defendant domiciled in China can even be served process.

There is only one way to serve process to an entity in China: the Hague Service Convention’s Article 5 procedure. That means going through a national central authority, which in the case of China is the Ministry of Justice. China formally objects to the service of process by private individuals as well as service of process by mail – so there is no getting around the central government.

[...]

KPN launched 11 patent assertions in January 2017, including the one against Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus. Another of those cases targetted Shenzhen-based TCL. But importantly, TCL has US subsidiaries which KPN was able to name in that complaint.

The TCL case proceeded fairly quickly. On 22nd March 2018, Judge Stark knocked out the sole patent-in-suit, US 6,212,662 (“Method and devices for the transmission of data with transmission error checking”), on Section 101 grounds. The ‘662 patent is also the only patent asserted against Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus. KPN has appealed to the circuit court.

Notice the use of Section 101 — a subject we shall tackle separately later today. Much/many of these lawsuits are fool’s errand; many of today’s granted patents are dubious at best.

CIPU is Amplifying Misleading Propaganda From the Chamber of Commerce

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 1:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU) logo

Summary: Another lobbying event is set up to alarm lawmakers and officials, telling them that the US dropped from first to twelfth using some dodgy yardstick which favours patent extremists

THE USPTO is improving patent quality as per rulings from higher up (the courts) and instructions from the management. This should really be celebrated, but this may mean many layoffs among patent lawyers, who became accustomed to an abundance of patents and lawsuits. As we shall show in later posts, Watchtroll still rants quite a lot and yesterday it resorted to citing the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU), a lobby group of patent maximalists. This, in turn, props up those infamous lies (rebutted here before) from the Chamber of Commerce.

“The US did not drop at all; they measure the wrong thing to intentionally influence the outcome in favour of the patent microcosm, conflating innovation with the number of patents…”It’s just another one of those lobbying events. To quote: “The event was the first Washington gathering in recent history to re-introduce the idea of what innovation policy is, and how it impacts intellectual property (IP) rights. A group of almost 100 key innovation and IP influencers from government, business, and academia met to strategize on reversing the decline in innovative output that has recently seen the US drop to 12th place in patent rankings from the sixth edition of the International IP Index published by the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

The US did not drop at all; they measure the wrong thing to intentionally influence the outcome in favour of the patent microcosm, conflating innovation with the number of patents and similar things (the headline speaks of “US innovation policy” but actually measures it in terms of patents or “IP”). They trash-talk their own country with the sole intention of changing the law to harm that country.

This is tiring old nonsense. Quite a few scholars already debunked it, but one scholar, Dennis Crouch, is still happy to promote it at the behest of patent maximalists and days ago he was still reprinting USPTO press releases to fill up space. He posted this ‘shopping list’ of patent lawyers:

Individuals Listed by Firm:

Alston & Bird LLP — Chris Lightner — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Charley F. Brown — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Jason T. Fletcher — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Michele A. Kliem — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Galit Levitin — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Scott D. Marty — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Sandra Sciascia-Zirger — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — D. Brian Shortell — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Sommer S. Zimmerman — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Wendy Ann Choi — Atlanta, GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — John Chionchio — Philadelphia, PA
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP — David Atkinson — Denver, CO
Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt, LLP — Jason B. Scher — Melville, NY
Cozen O’Connor — Kyle Vos Strache — Philadelphia, PA
CreatiVenture Law, LLC — Dennis JM Donahue III — St. Louis, MO
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP — Jonathan Tolstedt — Seattle, WA
Dentons US LLP — Roman Tsibulevskiy — Washington, DC
DLA Piper LLP — Tim Lohse — East Palo Alto, CA
DLA Piper LLP — Jeff Clark, MD — Boston, MA
Duane Morris — Joaquin Hernandez — Boca Raton, FL
Edam Law PLLC — Edmar M. Amaya, LL.M. — Miami, FL
Eversheds Sutherland LLP — Josh Aronson — Atlanta, GA
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP — Dan Schwartz — Chicago, IL
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP — Kathryn Warner — Denver, CO
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP — Steven Wiemer — Denver, CO
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP — Ryan Duebner — Denver, CO
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP — Bob O’Loughlin — Denver, CO
Fleit, Gibbons, Gutman, Bongini & Bianco, PL — Gary S. Winer — Coral Gables, FL
Foley & Lardner — Joseph F. Janas — Chicago, IL
Foley & Lardner — Roger Rozanski — Chicago, IL
Foley & Lardner — Charles Carter — Milwaukee, WI
Foley & Lardner — John Lazarus — Milwaukee, WI
Foley & Lardner — Lisamarie Collins — Milwaukee, WI
Holland & Hart — Jennifer Junkin — Salt Lake City, UT
Holland & Hart — Dick Schulze — Reno, NV
Holzer Patel Drennan — Rachel Carnaggio — Denver, CO
Husch Blackwell — Marriam Lin — St. Louis, MO
Interdigital Holdings, Inc. — John B. Gillick, Jr. — Wilmington, DE
Interdigital Holdings, Inc. — Damian C. Hamme — Wilmington, DE
IP Services — John Tolomei — Palatine, IL
Jin and Vidhani Consultancy LLP — Dr. Dinesh Vidhani — Tallahassee, FL
Jin and Vidhani Consultancy LLP — Dr. Yonghao Jin — Tallahassee, FL
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP — Stephen Dew — Altanta , GA
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP — Brett Mellor — Denver, CO
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP — Torrey Spink — Denver, CO
Law Office of Nora M. Tocups — Nora M. Tocups — Decatur, GA
Lewis Rice — Kirk A. Damman — St. Louis, MO
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Ben Kimes — Palo Alto, CA
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Sam Noel — Centerville, UT
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Steven Tam — Palo Alto, CA
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Cicero Brabham — Roseland, NJ
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Joseph Jones — Roseland, NJ
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Jonathan Wolfsberger — Palo Alto, CA
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Kevin Grange — Palo Alto, CA
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Kevin O. Grange — Centerville, UT
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Sam Noel — Centerville, UT
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Cicero Brabham — Roseland, NJ
MBCB Attorneys — Jonathan Yates — Bloomington, IN
McDonald Hopkins LLC — Mark C. Guinto — Cleveland, OH
McDonell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff — Emily Miao — Chicago, IL
Medtronic — Tiffany Parcher — Boulder, CO
Mohr IP Law — Devin Miller — Salt Lake City, UT
Neal Gerber Eisenberg — Michael Harlin — Chicago, IL
Patterson + Sheridan LLP — Matthew Seeley — Houston, TX
Perkins Coie LLP — Kevin John Patariu — San Diego, CA
Pham IP Group — Frank Pham — Houston, TX
Poly-Med, Inc — Mary Anthony Merchant, JD, PhD — Atlanta, GA
Quarles & Brady — Justin DeAngelis — Chicago, IL
Quarles & Brady — Erin Fox — Chicago, IL
Rabicoff Law — Kenneth Matuszewski — Chicago, IL
Rosenbaum IP — Ben Rotman — Northbrook, IL
Schwegman Lundberg Woessner — Michael R. Mischnick — Minneapolis, MN
Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP — Thomas Wiseman — Washington, DC
Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP — Greg Kirsch — Altanta , GA
Southeaster IP Consulting LLP — John R. Sweet — Altanta , GA
Stinson Leonard Street, LLP — Judy Carlson — Kansas City, MO
Stinson Leonard Street, LLP — David Kim — Kansas City, MO
The Richards Law Firm LLC — William B. Richards — New Albany, OH
Thomas Hostermeyer — Richard T. Timmer — Atlanta, GA
Tom F. Pruitt PLLC, Retired — Tom Pruitt — Nacogdoches, TX
Vedder Price — Sudip Mitra — Chicago, IL
Vitaley, Vickrey, Niro & Gasey LLP — Oliver Yang — Chicago, IL
WilmerHale — Ben Fernandez — Denver, CO
Womble Bond Dickinson LLP — Dan Ovanezian — Palo Alto, CA
Womble Bond Dickinson LLP — Bill Jacobs — Palo Alto, CA

What have the above individuals actually done? They “reported 50 or more hours of patent pro bono service to a regional patent pro bono program.” They basically aided patent maximalism under the guise of “pro bono” (free). Their volunteer work can end up causing lawsuits and there may be real victims. Look at the comments; it’s only 4 comments from the same person — rants about Alice that are totally tosh. This is just what we have come to expect from patent maximalists.

Patent Law Firms That Profit From Software Patent Applications and Lawsuits Still ‘Pull a Berkheimer’ to Attract Business in Vain

Posted in America, Deception, Law, Patents at 7:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

These patents and lawsuits would still be a waste of time and money

Pulling a Berkheimer

Summary: The Alice-inspired (Supreme Court) 35 U.S.C. § 101 remains unchanged, but the patent microcosm endlessly mentions a months-old decision from a lower court (than the Supreme Court) to ‘sell’ the impression that everything is changing and software patents have just found their ‘teeth’ again

“The Berkheimer Memorandum,” wrote Marks & Clerk’s Julian Asquith and Tobias Eriksson in their headline just a little while ago, is “Good news for software patents in the US” (perpetuating the old hype, such as "Berkheimer Effect" and ‘pulling a Berkheimer’). The USPTO offered a consultation after Berkheimer and there are still months to go. Quoting Marks & Clerk:

The Berkheimer memorandum, issued by the USPTO on 19 April 2018, is good news for applicants of US software-related patents.

In summary, an examiner at the USPTO is now obliged to factually prove that any “additional features” of a claim are well-understood, routine, and conventional in order to support an “abstract idea” rejection. Hence, if a claim is novel and inventive, it should now be easier to show that it is also patent eligible (i.e. that it relates to patentable subject-matter).

It is widely acknowledged that the patenting of software-related inventions became more difficult in the US following the decision in 2014 of the US Supreme Court in decision known as “Alice” (Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International).

That in no way changes Alice, only burden of proof associated with it. In that regard, not much will happen.

“That in no way changes Alice, only burden of proof associated with it. In that regard, not much will happen.”On May 1st Robert Curylo wrote about “Loopholes In The USPTO’s Berkheimer Memo”. To quote: “Rejections of patent claims under 35 U.S.C. § 101 are often criticized when examiners take an “I know when I see it” approach rather than applying any objective standards for assessing patent eligibility. However, in an April 19, 2018, memorandum, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office imposes new limitations on rejecting patent claims as ineligible for being directed to abstract ideas without significantly more.”

But there are still loopholes there, albeit the paywall puts them out of view. Several days ago in IAM’s sponsored ads/’analyses’ (Baker Donelson in this case) the lawyers were ‘pulling a Berkheimer’ (even months later). As they put it:

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently provided additional guidance to its examiners on the issue of subject-matter eligibility, which could make it easier for applicants to overcome rejections under 35 USC Section 101. The memorandum, issued on April 19 2018, addresses the limited question of whether an additional claim element (or combination of additional claim elements) represents well-understood, routine and conventional activity.

But again, Alice itself isn’t being sidelined; so the law remains more or less the same (if that memorandum leads to any material changes to guidelines at the end).

What we see above are “sales pitches” rather than honest analysis/advice.

A Year After TC Heartland the Patent Microcosm is Trying to ‘Dilute’ This Supreme Court’s Decision or Work Around It

Posted in America, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft and IBM would certainly want a patent litigation resurgence and so would their lawyers

Downtown Dallas
Downtown Dallas, Texas

Summary: IAM, Patent Docs, Managing IP and Patently-O want more litigation (especially somewhere like the Eastern District of Texas), so in an effort to twist TC Heartland they latch onto ZTE and BigCommerce cases

THE TC Heartland decision — an historic and important Supreme Court decision — has had a profound effect on enforcement of patents granted by the USPTO; it became a lot harder to reach plaintiff-friendly courts. This meant that, overall, it became even harder to enforce questionable patents, such as software patents.

“Bearing in mind the limitation in terms of diversity of sources/views (IAM, Patent Docs, Managing IP and Patently-O are all cornerstones of patent maximalism), we still decided to cover it here.”The past week has been relatively quiet on the patent front and it can be seen as a positive thing because the patent microcosm is coming to grips with the demise of patent maximalism. Patents that are on abstract ideas, for example, lost their teeth. Notably software patents, which we shall remark on later this weekend.

Of relevance to TC Heartland, more so on its one-year anniversary, were a couple of new cases. These received coverage from sites of patent maximalists (unfortunately the mainstream media does not cover patent news unless it can name-drop “Apple” or something like that… which helps ‘sell’ the story). Bearing in mind the limitation in terms of diversity of sources/views (IAM, Patent Docs, Managing IP and Patently-O are all cornerstones of patent maximalism), we still decided to cover it here. We wish to highlight what they are doing; they’re slanting it in their favour.

The one-year anniversary was noted by IAM just before the weekend. Its main proponent of software patents and patent trolls decided to spin it as “East Texas adjusts” (whatever that means, the numbers speak for themselves). To quote the summary outside the stubborn paywall: “As if prompted by the looming first birthday of the TC Heartland decision, in the last ten days the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has issued a flurry of opinions filling in many of the gaps left unanswered by the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on patent venue. Those recent decisions have largely placed further bounds on patent owners in determining where they can bring a suit. At the start of this week the court issued its decision in In re: ZTE ruling that the burden of proof with regards to venue lies with the patent owner, not the defendant.”

This is what we shall cover here, unfortunately based on sites like IAM (the patent microcosm dominates coverage on this subject).

As last noted a couple of days ago in Patently-O, patent law actively discriminates against foreign firms. As they aren’t primarily based in the US there’s this assumption that they can be dragged into just about any court, even the more/most notorious ones. This isn’t really fair. They paid the same application/maintenance fees as US (domestic) firms.

After TC Heartland, moreover, there’s still this discussion about where a company can sue another company using patents (they prefer dragging the accused to notorious, plaintiff-friendly courts, notably the Eastern District of Texas). Several days ago Andrew Williams (Patent Docs) wrote about In re ZTE:

The Federal Circuit next analyzed the question of which party bears the burden. Interestingly, the Court could not find a case in which the issue had been addressed in its 37-year history. However, prior to the formation of the Federal Circuit, the regional circuits handled challenges to venue in patent cases by placing the burden on Plaintiffs. Even though this precedent might not have been binding on the Court, it was persuasive. Moreover, the Court noted that the restrictive nature of the patent-specific venue statute (as opposed to the more general venue statute of § 1391) supports placing the burden on the Plaintiff. Correspondingly, the Court held that “as a matter of Federal Circuit law, that upon motion by the Defendant challenging venue in a patent case, the Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing proper venue.”

This was highlighted not only by Williams but also Kevin E. Noonan, who 70 minutes later wrote about In re BigCommerce, Inc. “This is a considerable restriction on the already limited venue options open to plaintiffs, which limited proper venue to states where the defendant resides (its state of incorporation),” Noonan opined. From his post:

This is a considerable restriction on the already limited venue options open to plaintiffs, which limited proper venue to states where the defendant resides (its state of incorporation) or “where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.”

The case arose in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, where respondents Diem LLC and Express Mobile Inc. individually filed patent infringement suits against BigCommerce. BigCommerce filed a motion to dismiss for improper venue in the Diem case, and a motion to transfer in the Express Mobile case; each of these motions was denied by the District Court. As noted in the Federal Circuit’s Order, “[i]t is undisputed that BigCommerce has no place of business in the Eastern District of Texas” (rather, its registered office and headquarters is in Austin, which is in the Western District of Texas). Nevertheless, the Diem court ruled that “a domestic corporation resides in the state of its incorporation and if that state contains more than one judicial district, the corporate defendant resides in each such judicial district for venue purposes” and the Express Mobile court found nothing in plaintiff’s argument that distinguished this reasoning.

[...]

The Court’s Order also reviewed and rejected three arguments from respondents. The first was that the use of “resides” in earlier Supreme Court cases (including Stonite) is in tension with later Supreme Court cases (including Fourco). The Federal Circuit rejected this argument almost out of hand, saying that the Court did not address the issue in Fourco at the judicial district level of granularity, “and set a necessary but not necessarily sufficient condition for corporate residence for venue under § 1400(b)” (emphasis in order). The second argument, that modern business circumstances counseled a “more flexib[le]” approach was “a non-starter,” the panel stating that “‘[t]he requirement of venue is specific and unambiguous; it is not one of those vague principles which, in the interest of some overriding policy, is to be given a ‘liberal’ construction,” quoting Olberding v. Ill. Cent. R.R. Co., 346 U.S. 338, 340 (1953), as cited in Schnell v. Peter Eckrich & Sons, Inc., 365 U.S. 260, 264 (1961), and saying that “[s]uch policy-based arguments are best directed to Congress.” Finally, the order addresses the question generally regarding how venue should be properly decided in multi-judicial district states. First, the proper district for venue would be the district in which the defendant has a principal place of business (if there is such a place in the state), citing Galveston, H. & S.A. Ry. Co. v. Gonzales, 151 U.S. 496, 504 (1894). And the Court noted that a “principal place of business” is not the same as “a regular and established place of business” as required by other aspects of the statute, the order citing Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 93 (2010). In the absence of a “principal place of business” in a state in which a defendant is incorporated, the “default’ should be the judicial district in which the corporation has its registered office or agent, calling this a “universally recognized foundational requirement of corporate formation.”

Managing IP‘s Michael Loney wrote about BigCommerce as follows, in conjunction with that other (aforementioned) case:

The plaintiff bears the burden of proving venue in patent cases and venue is only proper for a corporation registered in a multiple district-state in the district where it has its principal place of business, the Federal Circuit ruled in ZTE and BigCommerce

The Federal Circuit has granted two petitions for writ of mandamus that shed light on patent venue post-TC Heartland.

At Patently-O, BigCommerce was mentioned by Dennis Crouch, who said:

The same panel that recently decided In re ZTE (Fed. Cir. May 14, 2018) (Judges Reyna, Linn, and Hughes) have now also decided another improper venue mandamus action: In re BigCommerce, Inc. (Fed. Cir. May 15, 2018).

BigCommerce focuses on the issue of proper venue in multi-district states. The potential confusion comes from the Supreme Court’s central holding in TC Heartland that “a domestic corporation ‘resides’ only in its State of incorporation for purposes of the patent venue statute.” BigCommerce is a Texas Company, but its HQ is in Austin (E.D.Texas) and argues that the Supreme Court’s statement was incomplete. Now, on mandamus, the Federal Circuit has sided with BigCommerce — holding that the rule is more nuanced for multi-venue states.

[...]

The Federal Circuit’s decision here has to be correct, and the only difficulty is the loose Supreme Court wording in TC Heartland.

This is the job of lawyers; they try to twist the law or to cherry-pick decisions, (mis)interpreting them to mean whatever the client (i.e. money) wants. In this case, the Supreme Court’s wordings are being ‘artistically’ (to put it politely) interpreted to make life harder for defendants.

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