Blog of Pieter Hintjens
  • 27 Mar 2009 13:36The Conspiracy of Silence: The greatest threat to the global movement to abolish software patents is not the patent trolls or legacy businesses, but the conspiracy of silence from those on "our side" of the debate. (Comments: 4)
  • 15 Nov 2007 21:53How the French turned exclusive privilege into property: Exclusive privileges - patents - are a natural right, a reward for innovation, an incentive to invent, an incentive to disclose. Do these arguments sound familiar? They should: they are the arguments used by every patent advocate when they explain to us why we need, for our own sake, patents on software. What few people know is that these arguments date to the mid-19th century, when economists fought with patent advocates over the establishment of a patent system, and lost. (Comments: 0)
  • 23 Oct 2007 10:47Opinion: behind the Acacia suit: What is behind the Acacia suit against Novell and Red Hat? Is it simply perfect timing, or something more than coincidence? We explain one possible strategy behind the lawsuits. (Comments: 0)
  • 23 Oct 2007 10:24Opinion: EU and Microsoft gang up on the GPL: As the EU snatches defeat from the slavering jaws of victory, and Microsoft cries crocodile tears, while counting its license fee chickens, we take a look at what's really happened in Brussels this week, and how it will affect the FOSS community. (Comments: 8)
  • 22 Oct 2007 13:42Microsoft finally defeats EU competition ruling with patents: Reuters reports: "Kroes personally negotiated with Microsoft President Steve Ballmer in a number of conversations including over a meal at a restaurant near her home town of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, she said. [...] They agreed that the royalties payable for the interoperability information will be [...] of 10,000 euros. The royalties for a worldwide license including patents will be [...] of 0.4 percent." This is Microsoft final victory over competitors, as FFII predicted in press release of last 17 September "Microsoft will trump EU competition ruling with patents". (Comments: 4)
  • 03 Oct 2007 16:55Will the patent system trigger financial collapse in 2008?: House prices fall and bad debt shakes the financial markets across the US and Europe. Bankers look nervously at their portfolios of consumer debt and mortgages. But some analysts say that it's patents, not houses or loans, that will tip the global financial market into crisis. (Comments: 0)
  • 10 Aug 2007 17:58The ISO standard for corruption: Megatron continues to blast its OOXML format through the ISO process like a tank driving through a village church. Bad faith, anti-competitive, or illegal, history will decide. In the the War on Standards, the stench of bribery and corporate influence has reached the ISO secretariat. (Comments: 1)
  • 24 Jul 2007 11:17EPO plans to create "European Court of Patent Appeals": According to leaked documents and the EPO's own site, the EPO is planning to separate the Board of Appeals (aka DG3) from the European Patent Office, and turn them into an independent body operating within the European Patent Convention (EPC). This looks like an attempt to move forwards with EPLA, despite a ruling from the European Parliament's legal service that this would be illegal. (Comments: 10)
  • 25 Jun 2007 09:54Charlie McCreevy fights on for software patents: Is EPLA dead or not? In a recent speech EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, a long time supporter of Microsoft's quest to tame the European technology market through the strategic software patenting, suggests that EPLA is still on the cards. (Comments: 0)
  • 05 Jun 2007 16:54What's the cost of specialised patent courts?: Pieter Hintjens continues his look at the costs for patent litigation across Europe, and comes up with a surprising result for what happens in countries that create specialised courts that hear only patents, the model being proposed for a single European patent court system. (Comments: 0)
  • 02 Jun 2007 14:13Would a central European patent court save costs?: In this report we look at data on patent litigation in the EU and note that Germany, the main backer of a central patent court, accounts for 57% of cases in the EU. We note that the costs of litigation correlate strongly with the volume of cases; that Germany and the UK account for 90% of all litigation costs in the EU; and we conclude that under EPLA, the average cost of litigation could rise from 150,000 Euro to 1.5M Euro. (Comments: 0)
  • 30 May 2007 17:14Yes, Microsoft is the threat: Mark Shuttleworth recently wrote that “Microsoft is not the real threat”. In this article I argue that Microsoft is most definitely the threat. They hold the sword at the throat of much of the IT industry. When Microsoft understands, finally, that the future belongs to the good guys, that “do no evil” is more powerful marketing than “do more evil”, that in order to have a future, a firm must not hold onto the past... then, finally, we can say that Microsoft is no longer a threat, and we can turn our full attention to the trolls and the lawyers and the bureaucrats. (Comments: 7)
  • 29 May 2007 15:22Dogmia bites Nokia's Karmia: Nokia has been paying $500m a year to Qualcomm for patent rights. Enough is enough, says Nokia. Ironically Nokia was a staunch defender of every European's rights to defend themselves with software patents. I'm wondering how long it will take someone to argue that poor Nokia was left vulnerable exactly because the FFII beat out the Software Patents Directive... (Comments: 0)
  • 22 May 2007 17:23What's wrong with software patents?: Inspired by some ideas presented at EUPACO-2, I'm going to try to summarise a simple set of arguments for explaining to even the most stubborn patent lawyer why patents on software simply don't fly. (Comments: 3)
  • 22 May 2007 09:38FFII to compromise with software patent supporters?: People actually ask me such questions. The long answer involves twenty metres of garden twine, three setting poles, a pair of chopsticks, and a greased pig called Berty. The short answer is two letters long, starts with "n", ends in "o", and rhymes with "snow". (Comments: 0)
  • 18 May 2007 09:04First report from EUPACO-2: A brief snapshot from a successful and packed event that raised more questions than it answered, but left most people agreeing on the problems of the European patent system, and some of the solutions. (Comments: 2)
  • 17 May 2007 20:30The Economics of Examination: What is the main job of the EPO? To sell patents? Or to examine them and reject invalid patents? A close look at the economics of the examination process make it pretty clear (Comments: 0)
  • 07 May 2007 17:34Linux, Dell, Novell, Microsoft... part 2: As I predicted on Digital Majority about two months ago, Dell has announced that it will offer its customers a neat package of Dell hardware, Suse Linux software, and Microsoft patents. (Comments: 0)
  • 03 May 2007 09:06Why is EUPACO-2 important?: I asked some of the thirty-plus experts coming to speak at EUPACO-2 to explain why thought EUPACO-2 was worth the effort. Here are their answers. (Comments: 0)
  • 18 Apr 2007 15:40The examiners are revolting: A coalition of patent examiners say that "many in the intellectual property community have come to realize that an increase in patent applications does not necessarily represent an increase in technological progress." (Comments: 1)
  • 17 Mar 2007 18:34The future of TV: "The future is already here, it's just isn't evenly distributed", said William Gibson. The future of TV is already here, but concentrated in a few spots. (Comments: 0)
  • 14 Mar 2007 09:25Dell about to promote Novell/SuSE Linux Desktop?: In an online survey, Dell has been asking people to express their views about whether they want to be able to buy Dell systems running Linux. We think this innocent survey (which brought Dell's servers down, as the story hit Slashdot) could just see the emergence of Linux on the desktop, from a totally unexpected angle. (Comments: 0)
  • 13 Mar 2007 09:20The battle for the past: Computerworld reports that "Microsoft guns Open XML onto ISO fast track", despite many oppositions. Microsoft's "open" office XML "standard" will, if Redmond has its way, become an ISO standard, possibly by August. Why is Microsoft pulling out all the stops to get its obsolete binary XML format declared a "standard"? (Comments: 0)
  • 01 Mar 2007 11:07Jumping the Shark: Is the call for "ethical patents" weaker than "no software patents"? Has the FFII grown feeble and toothless over the last year? Are we compromising our ideals, or are we doing a triple-E (embrace, extend, extinguish) on the patent system? Have Pieter Hintjens and his cohorts "jumped the shark", or are we instead seeing the start of a wide-ranging offensive that will leave the patent extremists reeling in shock and horror as their carefully-constructed alternate reality collapses around them? (Comments: 1)
  • 26 Jan 2007 21:06The EPO explains its true mission: You thought the mission of the EPO was to examine patents and grant them when valid? Confused when you saw full-page adverts from the EPO calling for software patents? Pompidou, the outgoing president of the European Patent Office, has cleared up the confusion for once and for all. (Comments: 0)
  • 13 Dec 2006 14:27The ethics of the patent system: What defines an "ethical" system? Is the profit motive all that matters? In this article, I provide an easy way of measuring whether a particular system is ethical or not. It sheds some light on the software patent debate. (Comments: 14)
  • 13 Dec 2006 14:03The Software Trust - a new copyright model for software: Here is a modest proposal for a new form of copyright that is specifically designed for software. I call this new form of copyright the "Software Trust". Software Trust balances the needs of software developers with those of society at large (software consumers). Like traditional copyright, Software Trust is free, clearly demarked, easy to enforce. But it has a much shorter protection lifetime, and provides a proper framework for moving abandoned software into the common domain. (Comments: 4)
  • 13 Dec 2006 13:42EPLA - the US gunships are circling: The patent industry says EPLA is a condition for US investment into Europe. What does Europe need more - US practices enforced by gunboat diplomacy, or good conditions for local businesses? (Comments: 0)
  • 12 Dec 2006 15:04A technical analysis of EPLA and CP: Did you know that there are three different EPLA proposals? That one of the strongest supporters of EPLA is Switzerland? Fresh from the desks of the FFII's EPLA workgroup, a deep technical explanation of the Community Patent, and EPLA in all its colours. (Comments: 0)
  • 10 Dec 2006 12:43A sustainable patent system?: Pieter Hintjens suggests that a patent system is necessary, but that the current trends are towards implosive self-destruction. He lists five steps for constructing a sustainable patent system. (Comments: 14)
  • 22 Nov 2006 12:19Who stole my software?: An article by Pieter Hintjens, based on a speech to the Austrian Chamber of Commerce on November 17, 2006. (Comments: 1)