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[News] OIN Not the Solution, Abolishment of Software Patents is the Solution

  • Subject: [News] OIN Not the Solution, Abolishment of Software Patents is the Solution
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2010 20:39:13 +0100
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/4.4.2
Hash: SHA1

The Open Invention Network's Associate Member Program: what's that?


The OIN's Linux System: the only constant is arbitrary change 

,----[ Quote ]
| It's easy to see why IBM wouldn't want the 
| list to include the Hercules open source 
| mainframe emulator. Its patent pledge shows 
| that it likes to redefine its commitments. 
| But if Red Hat and Novell determined that 
| some OIN patents might hurt a competitor of 
| theirs like Mandriva, they could also use 
| the OIN for that purpose.
| The OIN's definition of the "Linux System" 
| changes all the time. Since it's version-
| specific, that's inevitable until they 
| adopt a fair, reasonable, non-
| discriminatory, reliable and transparent 
| approach instead of the current scheme.


Canonical Becomes First Associate Member of the Open Invention Network 


The Open Invention Network launches Associate Member programme



Canonical, OIN's 1st Associate Member, Commits to Freedom of Action in Open Source

,----[ Quote ]
| Bergelt is highly respected in the FOSS
| community, as is OIN, as you can verify by
| looking at the lists of those signed on as
| licensees. I see Florian Mueller
| immediately attacked OIN. Yes, again. He's
| wrong again, of course, and all I ever see
| from him is attacks on those working hard
| to protect FOSS from the patent threat. His
| complaint this time is that OIN isn't
| transparent enough.
| You know who I think would *really* love
| OIN to be transparent? Microsoft. Then it
| could avoid getting checkmated by OIN next
| time. Remember, it was OIN who blocked
| Microsoft's attempted sale of antiLinux
| patents to patent trolls last year. Florian
| didn't do that. I didn't do it. You didn't
| do it. OIN did it. And he thereby protected
| Linux from an evil machination designed to
| tie Linux to the railroad tracks, as I
| wrote at the time. For this one act alone,
| the community owes OIN our thanks to time
| indefinite. Yes. Really. I'm guessing that
| is why OIN is now a target for FUD attacks.


Linux patent defense: comments on Open Invention Network / Canonical

,----[ Quote ]
| Open Invention Network (OIN) today
| announced that Canonical, the company
| behind Ubuntu, has become its first
| Associate Member. Open Invention Network
| developed the Associate Member program to
| further strengthen the Linux community and
| empower open source leaders to ensure
| ongoing freedom of action for Linux as it
| relates to intellectual property (IP)
| rights..


Mueller calls OIN a scam

,----[ Quote ]
| Much of what Mueller has been doing of late
| is setting himself as an active FOSS
| advocate, and thatâs a good thing.


Harmfulness ranking of ways to use software patents

,----[ Quote ]
| That trend isn't difficult to imagine. Just
| look at the current situation surrounding
| smartphones, a field in which there's now a
| number of lawsuits and countersuits among big
| players as well as different non-producing
| entities ("patent trolls") targeting large
| vendors.
| In light of all that's going on, which ways
| to use software patents are more harmful than
| others? After giving it some thought, I have
| arrived at this harmfulness ranking:
|    1. most harmful: malicious strategic
|    patent holders pursuing exclusionary/anti-
|    competitive objectives
|    2. second-most harmful: non-producing
|    entities ("patent trolls")
|    3. least harmful: cooperative strategic
|    patent holders granting licenses to entire
|    portfolios on acceptable terms
| [...]
| "Trolls" are a feature -- not a bug -- of the
| software patent system
| The above subhead is a summary of a statement
| that Carlo Piana, a leading European FOSS
| lawyer, recently made on identi.ca/Twitter.
| If one believes that certain general ideas
| should be "monopolizable" through patents,
| then it's a natural consequence that some
| will obtain (or acquire) patents and try to
| derive commercial benefits from them without
| ever creating their own products. Far be it
| from me to defend the concept of "patent
| trolls" -- I just want to point out that it
| wouldn't be practical to impose an obligation
| on every patent holder to make actual
| products. At the most it might be possible to
| limit the procedural rights of a non-
| producing entity to the right to be
| indemnified (excluding injunctive relief).


Open Invention Network (OIN) demystified

,----[ Quote ]
| Only six companies call the shots
| The OIN's name starts with an utterly
| misleading term: "open".
| In reality, the organization is owned and
| run by a closed circle of six companies,
| some of whom have a terrible background
| concerning software patents:
|     * IBM (the world's largest patent
|     holder and one of the most ruthless
|     ones, recently in the news for
|     betraying its own "patent pledge" by
|     infringement assertions made against
|     open-source startup TurboHercules)
|     * Philips (a company that once
|     benefited from the temporary abolition
|     of patents in its country but later
|     lobbied extremely aggressively for
|     software patents, left the World Wide
|     Web Consortium because of the latter's
|     royalty-free patent policy, and
|     threatened politicians with killing
|     software development jobs in Europe if
|     they weren't going to allow software
|     patents, even though patents are always
|     related to a target market in which
|     they're valid and 100% independent from
|     where in the world the patented
|     invention is made)
|     * NEC (a large patent holder)
|     * Sony (a large patent holder)
|     * Novell (which never supported any
|     serious push against software patents
|     and instead told EU officials in 2004
|     that it liked software patents a lot
|     except that a proposed EU law on them
|     appeared to limit "customer choice" a
|     bit too much)
|     * Red Hat (which lobbied to keep the
|     aforementioned EU bill alive when we
|     had already formed a majority for its
|     rejection, and which partners with IBM
|     on a number of initiatives that appear
|     to protect FOSS but are either
|     ineffectual or even potentially
|     harmful)
| [...]
| So what is the OIN good for?
| The fact of the matter is that today,
| almost five years after its foundation, the
| OIN still hasn't proven its ability to help
| any Linux (or other FOSS) company in any
| meaningful way. Totally unsubstantiated and
| illogical claims by propagandists aren't a
| substitute for a single convincing success
| story. That success story would have to
| consist in some company potentially hostile
| to open source (and with a dangerous patent
| arsenal) accepting the OIN's licensing
| terms. That hasn't happened and I have
| serious doubt that it ever will.
| The OIN continues to buy patents at
| auctions that might otherwise be acquired
| by regular trolls. At first sight, that may
| sound good. But given the intransparent and
| arbitrary structure of the OIN, it's not
| clear whether that's actually the lesser or
| the greater evil than a conventional troll.
| In the end, the OIN is under the control of
| those six companies who could decide to use
| some of those patents against competitors,
| including FOSS competitors. By controlling
| the definition of what the OIN calls the
| "Linux System", they can always ensure that
| their competitors don't benefit from it,
| even if they were or became OIN licensees.
| Buying those patents at auctions is really
| expensive. So far the OIN has spent
| hundreds of millions of dollars. Given the
| way businesses operate, that's not the
| amount of money that one would spend
| unselfishly. Instead, that level of
| investment, intransparency and unbalanced
| rights suggests ulterior motives, if not a
| long-term hidden agenda.

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