Simon was surprised when he went to the Microsoft press release page looking for the news about Linux support for SQL Server and joining Eclipse. He found that the only press release related to Linux was about patent licensing. He’s written about it today on InfoWorld and expanded the thought on his blog.
Tag Archives: Patents
FRAND Is Always Discriminatory
I participated in a study asking about the fairness, reasonableness and non-discriminatory nature of FRAND licensing in the context of licensing of patents in standards. I was surprised to find people there asserting there was no conflict between FRAND licensing and open source software. Here’s a simple explanation why that’s wrong.
Since patent licensing is by definition bilateral, and since open source communities that aren’t run by a single vendor are by definition multi-lateral, any standard which includes patents that require licensing discriminates against true multi-participant open source implementation. By definition, patent licensing as a precondition of implementation of a standard cannot ever be non-discriminatory. Even zero-fee licensing is discriminatory as it still requires implementers to seek permission, the antithesis of open source.
Good News Roundup Podcast
The effects of the Alice v. CLS Bank Supreme Court case have been felt in the recent Federal Court of appeals, Digitech case. The court decided to not even check for infringements, as the initial image processing software was deemed not to be a significant improvement to the computer, but merely a computer implementing a non‑patent‑eligible technique.
On an entirely separate, but equally positive note, last week the UK government announced that from hence forth it will be using an open document format as its standard. To hear (or read) more detail and insight on both these stories, check out Simon’s recent podcast with Red Hat Cloud Evangelist Gordan Haff.
FFII’s April 1st gag takes aim at OIN
In a satire of OIN‘s stated aim “to promote the Linux system by using patents to create a collaborative ecosystem”, the FFII used the opportunity provided by April 1st’s traditional gag pulling to announce two new “initiatives”, labelled “Coin2Patent” and “Offensive Publications”. Directly playing on the names and concepts of two OIN programs “Peer-to-Patent” and “Defensive Publications”, the initiative descriptions closely mirror those of their OIN counterparts but with a hard satirical edge.
The actual Peer-to-Patent program describes itself as a “system that aims to improve the quality of issued patents” and Defensive Publications are called “powerful preemptive disclosure [which] prevents other parties from obtaining a patent on the product, device or method.” The FFII gag paints their alternative projects as crowd funding for patent trolls and “basically the patents themselves” respectively. Read Alexandra’s full write up in the ComputerWorldUK spot.
Understanding Google’s Sale Of Motorola
In InfoWorld today, Simon challenges the assertion some are making that Google’s sale of Motorola after such a short time is a sign of failure. Noting all the gains Google has made, both financial and strategic, he suggests actually the deal is both profitable and clever. Certainly it’s a deal for its time, focussing mainly on triaging the negative consequences of a patent system designed for an industrial age being misapplied to the meshed society. Read all about it.
Supreme Court Patents Decision Pending
In yet more intellectual property news, we heard yesterday that the US Supreme Court has agreed to consider a question arising from the Alice Corporation vs CLS Bank dispute over the patentability of software. The Federal Circuit court, which is known to have a bias towards patent holders, has referred the question to the Supreme court after an en banc hearing resulted in a divided opinion. The matter unresolved concerns agreeing on a foolproof test for whether a patent ought to be valid if it combines a computer and an unpatentable abstract method. Read more in Simon’s InfoWorld summary.
SFSCon 2013 Video
We delivered a workshop on defences against software patents at SFSCon 2013 in Bolzano, with travel sponsored by Open Invention Network. Here’s the video summarising the event
If you’d like to attend a similar seminar, let us know.
More on Patents
After looking at patents on Wednesday in relation to the Apple v Samsung ruling and applauding Obama’s actions against trolls, patents are popping up again today. We’re taking a look at some realistic changes that could be made to the patent system. Whilst in an ideal world software patents would be eliminated completely, that’s not something that’s really on the cards. So what steps could be taken within the system as it stands to improve the situation? Read some of Simon’s thoughts in today’s InfoWorld article.
Patents; a good time for change
Yesterday saw the unveiling of a new White House initiative to combat patent trolls. The measures are a welcome follow-through to President Obama’s online comments and could be a much needed step towards curbing the power of patents. The announcement correctly highlights the fact that patents are intended to encourage innovation and protect innovators. Patent trolls, in contrast, represent the very antithesis of patents desired usage and outcome; “costing the economy billions of dollars and undermining American innovation”.
Dealing with trolls needs to be a first step though. The patent system contains other flaws, equally damaging to innovation and competitive business practice . Yesterday’s other big patent news was of the ITC’s decision that Apple are in breach of Samsung’s patents Continue reading
Google’s VP8 License Proposal
Google have released a draft agreement designed to help VP8 adoption by licensing a number of relevant patents on a royalty free basis. It sounds good, but the details of the license still need some work. Hopefully we’ll see some changes to this draft before the final license is released.
There are a number of issues with the document as it stands. One key problem is that it’s not sub-licensable; every user wanting to benefit from the agreement would need to make an individual response. Continue reading