back to article Pro-Linux IP consortium Open Invention Network will 'pivot' to take on patent trolls

Keith Bergelt, CEO of the Open Invention Network (OIN), says the organisation is "pivoting to focus on" risks from "non-practising entit[ies]" also known as patent trolls. The OIN was founded in 2005 by IBM, Suse, Philips, Red Hat and Sony, its purpose being to cross-license patents, royalty-free, subject to a non-aggression …

  1. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Just to say Gnome fund seems to have exceeded its target

    Well done all and sundry.

    1. TVU

      Re: Just to say Gnome fund seems to have exceeded its target

      "Just to say Gnome fund seems to have exceeded its target"

      And a big thank you goes to The Register for both highlighting this important case and the Gnome donation page (now currently standing at $130,705 compared with the original target of $125,000).

      Also, all credit to the Open Invention Network for recognising the great threat from scumbag patent trolls and for making it a policy priority now.

      (And yes, I did donate)

  2. John G Imrie Silver badge

    SCO

    SCO, SCO,SCO,SCO

    SCO, SCO,SCO,SCO

    SCOOOOO

    lovaly SCO

    wonderfull SCO

    With apologies to Monty Python, but no apologies to SCO.

    Where's a dead parrot icon when you need it

    1. Robert Halloran

      Re: SCO

      The only useful thing about the SCOundrels was that it triggered a shedload of anti-FUD tactics such as OIN to prevent further rent-seekers.

      Other than that, they need a stake through the heart, cremation at a crossroads and the ashes scattered across a field of garlic. Then nuke 'em from orbit 'cuz it's the only way to make sure...

    2. razorfishsl

      Re: SCO

      SCO was simply Microsoft attempting to steal the Linux kernel for their own use..

      Since that failed it is now over to plan "B"

      They will now ingrain M$ values so deeply into the Kernel that you won't be able to see the difference in a decade, basically it will become the slave M$ programming team, where M$ and others set the corporate agenda then the "free" programming team implement the business requirements.. what's not to like?

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: SCO

      "Baked beans are off"

      "Can I have SCO instead of the baked beans, then?"

      etc.

      troll icon 'cause it's apropoo

  3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Fundamental Question

    Why is software even patentable? Basically software encodes real world processes and models so they can be on a computer rather than on paper. The common side benefit of doing it on a computer is can eliminate many errors that occur with paper processes and models though this requires testing to validate the software. So you are either patenting a paper process or a mathematical model, neither of which really meet the primary requirement for a patent.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Fundamental Question

      My objection based on the following argument:

      The research that lead to the idea of software patterns showed that although the code might differ people presented with the same problem would come up with fundamentally similar solutions leading to the conclusion that most software solutions to problems are fairly obvious to people "skilled in the art". A novel piece of software might be no more than the result of a problem's first being posed to such a skilled person who does no more than what would be expected in solving it.

      It follows from that that it should be a requirement to demonstrate that the proposed patent isn't obvious rather than assume that it isn't. The only such clearly non-obvious solutions, therefore, are those to problems which are well known in the literature but hitherto unsolved. Before a patent is granted the prospective patentors should be able to show the existence of such literature (and not straw-man articles of their own) well known in the field.

      This makes the bar considerably higher even if it cuts the income of the US Patent Office. In fact the best example I can think of is HTTP/HTML in that Vannevar Bush & Ted Nelson's ideas had been floating about for years without any successful implementation. But what made them take off in the way they did wasn't being patented, just the reverse. It was their release with open source, unencumbered, working code; the very antithesis of patenting.

    2. rcxb Bronze badge

      Re: Fundamental Question

      You're suggesting that novel and innovative technologies cease to be novel and innovative once they're converted into software?

      i.e. A VCR is patentable, but a DVD player/recorder is not?

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Fundamental Question

        Specific aspects that made the transition from laser disk and video cd to dvd possible woukd be patentable, but the general idea that you increase capacity vs a cd by using a shorted wavelength of laser thereby making smaller pits possible would be “obvious”. For example, the actual redesigned laser, more accurate motors that enable smaller movements, they might be patentable.

        1. rcxb Bronze badge

          Re: Fundamental Question

          You're restricting your response to the hardware, and avoiding the actual question...

          Compare analog video signal encoding systems such as Japan's MUSE versus the digital (i.e. software based) MPEG-2. Or analog audio encoding methods like Dolby Prologic, NR, etc., versus MP3, AAC and AC-3.

          Of course the stance on software patents in EU countries is a bit insane... If it's a software program on a PC, not patentable. But once you flash that software into firmware on a non-PC device (which may just be a PC with less end user control) THEN it's hardware and the soft

      2. Long John Brass Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Fundamental Question

        A simpler solution would be... You can copyright or patent; Not both.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Fundamental Question

          The problem with copyright is that I can take you code, change all the variable names by one letter and I have created a new work.

          Copyright sees it as taking a song and changing all the notes.

          1. katrinab Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Fundamental Question

            If you took a book and changed the names of the characters, copyright law would still prevent you from publishing the resulting work.

          2. rcxb Bronze badge

            Re: Fundamental Question

            The problem with copyright is that I can take you code, change all the variable names by one letter and I have created a new work.

            Completely untrue. That would be a "derivative work". In fact you could change every single line of code, and it would still fall under copyright.

            https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p22_derivative_works.en.htm

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Fundamental Question

          I sort of agree, but patents have considerably shorter terms of protection than copyright. Whilst the difference in practical terms is largely irrelevant* at this point in history, who knows what the future holds. The logical thing to do is for a special category of software protection to be created by the world's legal systems, pegged at a reasonable length of time - say, until it is EoL'd. That way, the creators get their money, and people who want to maintain whatever it is (e.g. Win XP) can do so.**

          *Given that most software is EoL'd long before a patent term expires, and ancient history once a copyright expires.

          **This is just a thought experiment - there will be caveats all over the place.

      3. matt 83

        Re: Fundamental Question

        What is novel and innovative about a physical VCR?

        The design of the spinning head that allows the tape to appear to "move" passed the head at a speed great enough for a video to be played back. Without that innovation VCRs would fill a room and require the tape to move at the kind of speeds where it might be dangerous to someone standing next to it.

        What is novel and innovative about a software DVD player / recorder?

        Perhaps you can think of something but I can't.

        Most if not all software patents seem to resolve around taking an existing process or technique done without a computer and claiming that it's somehow novel and innovative to implement it in software.

  4. jelabarre59 Silver badge
    Joke

    But will...

    a programme designed to attack poor quality patents and to invalidate them so that they can't use them...

    Will they patent it?

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