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The Gnome desktop environment developers have recently taken the decision to reengineer the Gnome desktop around the Mono framework. This decision has mainly been influenced by the main Mono developer Miguel de Icaza, who is a very vocal employee of Novell. Reasonable doubt has been raised to whether or not Mono can actually be deployed freely. Mono itself is basically a free and halfway portable implementation of the .NET framework developed by Microsoft. However, the .NET framework itself is subject to a large amount of software patents, which cover the concepts used within the .NET framework. Since these are concepts and not individual implementations (which are covered by Copyright, which is certainly untouched by a reimplementation), they most likely also apply to the Mono framework.
by: zoobabzoobab
27 Nov 2007 16:39
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Microsoft Corp. must pay more than $140 million (¤94.31 million) for infringing on software patents owned by a Michigan-based technology company, a federal appeals court has ruled. Z4 Technologies Inc. sued Microsoft and Autodesk Inc., maker of drafting software, in 2004, claiming the technology they used to activate newly installed software and deter piracy infringed on patents created and owned by David Colvin, the owner of privately held z4.
by: zoobabzoobab
27 Nov 2007 10:28
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A Community Patent, or something approaching it, within the next 12 months? That’s what João Tiago Silveira, Portugal’s justice minister said during an unusually productive meeting of national government ministers last week, which he chaired. [...] Success in fixing the patent system is far from guaranteed. Especially as there are now what Zuck calls “new political forces that take an anti-intellectual property stance and are mobilised to work against the creation of a Community Patent”.
by: zoobabzoobab
26 Nov 2007 16:31
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Do you think there is any way Microsoft, patent holders, or lawyers can take direct aim at the kernel development process and impede it? I really don't know. I don't think they can impede the technology, and I really don't think there is anything real behind that whole intellectual property FUD machine. But nearly infinite amounts of money certainly goes a long way. I'm again the wrong person to ask. I work on the technology, and I make sure we do that as well as we can (which does include the ways we do it, including things like doing all the copyright certification we do), but I think that when it comes to these issues, you're really talking about marketing and FUD, not so much anything I'm able to really answer.
by: zoobabzoobab
26 Nov 2007 16:12
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Mark Wilson of Gizmodo.com reports that IBM is applying for a patent for DVDs that contain or download 'on demand' commercials that cannot be skipped. Consumers would be able to purchase these DVDs at a lower price than regular DVDs and pay extra to enjoy their purchase ad-free without having to buy a second DVD. Perhaps this is part of the massive shift in advertising that IBM predicts.
by: zoobabzoobab
26 Nov 2007 12:57
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A method wherein contents of DVDs may be restricted based upon purchased certificates is provided. The certificates allow for secured information on playback. Specifically, whenever a DVD is to be played, a certificate is consulted to determine whether the content of the DVD should be played with or without commercial interruptions. If the certificates provide for commercial interruptions, then commercials can be obtained from an online service that renders commercials on demand, or from the DVD itself. In such a case, the content of the DVD may be interspersed with commercials.
by: zoobabzoobab
26 Nov 2007 10:12
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The case relates to the UK-IPO's practice, following their interpretation of the Court of Appeal judgment in Aerotel/Macrossan, of refusing patent claims directed to computer program products even when such claims refer to claimed methods that are otherwise seen to be allowable. The patent applications in question had method claims that were all deemed to be allowable, but were refused solely on the grounds of having computer program product claims.
by: zoobabzoobab
26 Nov 2007 09:56
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I failed to see this last week, but Acacia Research, the patent troll that recently went after Red Hat and Novell, got its first day in court with a Texas jury and lost. Big time. It was seeking $900 million in damages, as paidContent notes, and instead got 35% of its stock price chopped. Still, not to be dissuaded by things like truth and right, Acacia has filed another suit against Microsoft and Apple (word processing this time). The trolls you will always have with you.
by: zoobabzoobab
23 Nov 2007 18:00
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During the interview, Hilf defended Microsoft's patent threats by arguing that the company is simply conforming with the standard practices implied by United States patent law. "Would we or could we ever litigate, yeah sure, it's always an option," says Hilf. "The key to that is to separate people's, individuals' and groups' belief about software patents as an issue and then what is the current way that we do patent law in at least the United States. You may disagree with it, but there's a law for how we deal with patents. They often get wrapped up together as the same issue, but they're not the same."
by: zoobabzoobab
23 Nov 2007 17:49
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France and others are afraid that trying to deal with the issue of unified litigation and an EU patent at the same time would end up with everything getting bogged down again. "We first wish to have a legal system before we go for a Community patent. We think if we mix the two, we won't reach a solution," France's European Affairs Minister, Jean-Pierre Jouyet told reporters. Germany wants the issue to be dealt with in its entirety. "It should be a package. This is not the breakthrough that we want," said Joachim Wuermeling, a senior Economy Ministry official said. Germany also wants one central court to deal with claims that a patent is not valid, but some states opposed this.
by: zoobabzoobab
23 Nov 2007 17:45
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First, software patents represent an important, and growing, component of university patent holdings. Second, the main determinant of university software patenting is not computer science-related R&D (or even overall R&D) but the university’s overall tendency to seek patents on R&D outputs. The second finding indicates that universities may be using a “one size fits all” technology transfer strategy. The problem with such a strategy is that software is likely to follow a different commercialization path than other types of university-generated invention. One possible consequence is lawsuits in which university patents are being asserted against firms that have commercialized independent of the patent.
by: zoobabzoobab
23 Nov 2007 17:34
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"A patent troll is somebody who tries to make a lot of money off of a patent that they are not practicing and have no intention of practicing and in most cases never practiced" -Peter Detkin, former assistant general counsel at Intel. That's the quote on the front page of the document advertising the world's first Patent Troll conference. It also perfectly describes exactly what Patent Troll Scot Lewis of 1st Tech and his Patent Troll lawyer bosses are and what they do. A Patent Troll convention is the modern day equivalent of when all the pirates used to get together on some island in the Caribbean and discuss the proper pillaging practices of a fine upstanding rogue of the sea.
by: zoobabzoobab
23 Nov 2007 17:28
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Of relevance to us is the fact that Linux is sometimes a victim. Consider Compiz-Fusion (this one used to speak about a an Aladdin lamp-like effect) and AWN (implementing stacks from Leopard) get crippled due to Apple patents, regardless of prior art. The developers implement features which they later decide not to deliver due to fear of Apple. It is worth appending a list of patent stories which we’ve collected about Apple.
by: zoobabzoobab
23 Nov 2007 17:24
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Germany, the EU's largest member state and biggest patent filer, has insisted that so-called invalidation cases should be treated separately from those relating to alleged infringements of a patent without the permission of a right holder. As a result, it is envisaged that infringement cases would be heard by national or regional courts in EU member states rather than by the new judicial body. The idea of a 'European patent judiciary' was proposed by Charles McCreevy, the EU's internal market commissioner, earlier this year. He advocated that this body should be responsible for examining complaints over patents issued both by national administrations and by the European Patent Office in Munich. Yet while the principal ingredients of the litigation scheme have been agreed, discussions on some of its finer points are expected to continue into 2008.
by: zoobabzoobab
23 Nov 2007 17:17
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The defendant characterizes these as "technical features". However, while they may be advantages of the invention, they are not achieved by technical means ­which is standard. They are achieved by changing the business process ­ i.e. changing the sequence of steps - in which the terminals are used. The claim is to how a business uses a known system. In Mr Fernando's analogy, it is not the cash register which is being claimed, but the way in which it is used. The contribution falls squarely within the business method exclusion. It also falls within the computer program exclusion given its implementation by means of a computer program.
by: zoobabzoobab
23 Nov 2007 17:13
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A patent for the handling of gratuities in card payments has been revoked by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for being a business method implemented by a computer program. The decision follows recently-revised guidance on patentability.
by: zoobabzoobab
23 Nov 2007 17:06
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Apple has agreed to pay Burst.com $10m to settle the patent infringement challenge the smaller US company launched against it in April 2006. Back then, Burst.com claimed Apple's iTunes Music Store, QuickTime streaming software and the iPod all incorporate without permission technology detailed in four patents held by Burst.com: 4,963,995; 5,995,705; 5,057,932 and 5,164,839. The IP covers the transmission of compressed audio and video files over the net.
by: zoobabzoobab
22 Nov 2007 14:02
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Just in time for holiday shopping, the USPTO has awarded Amazon a patent for Generating Current Order Fulfillment Plans Based on Expected Future Orders, which explains how to use modeled net present value to adjust an order's delivery date favorably or unfavorably based upon expectations that the customer will have high-profit orders in the future. So don't blame Santa if that special gift isn't under the tree on Christmas morning, kids - it could just be dear-old-Dad's low NPV score!
by: zoobabzoobab
22 Nov 2007 14:00
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The European Commission has set out its vision, in the form of a Communication, for improving the patent system in Europe and for revitalising the debate on this issue. (IP/07/463). Making the Community patent a reality and improving the existing patent litigation system should, together with supporting measures, make the patent system more accessible and bring cost savings for all. The paper highlights that Europe's current patent system is considerably more expensive than the US and Japanese systems. A Community patent would be far more attractive than models under the present system which is a bundle of national patents.
by: zoobabzoobab
22 Nov 2007 13:57
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Mandriva has become the third major Linux distributor to publicly announce it has no intention to join Microsoft in licensing and non-litigation pacts. Red Hat and Ubuntu have made similar statements, while Novell, Xandros and Linspire have partnered with Microsoft in sharing licensed technology and agreeing not to sue each other over possible patent infringements.
by: zoobabzoobab
22 Nov 2007 13:56
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