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LinuxDefenders.org Launches To Fight Patent Trolls 73

Posted by kdawson
from the avant-and-avast dept.
eldavojohn writes "The Linux Defenders Network is a new organization sponsored by the Open Invention Network, the Software Freedom Law Center, and The Linux Foundation to help the community defend itself against patent trolls. Three models, or 'IP rights management tools,' are offered: Peer to Patent, Post-Issue Peer to Patent, and Defensive Publications. Mich Kabay's article in NetworkWorld cites an all-too-familiar incident from December, when General Patent Corp. announced it was working on behalf of Worlds.com to sue everyone — this probably could have been avoided with a little prior art help from the community. From the organization's about page: 'We encourage contributions from anyone that is interested in ensuring that innovation is not stifled by poor quality patents and is interested in assisting the patent office in its goal of improving the overall quality of patents.' Are these guys saviors arriving in the nick of time, or just another hopeless community effort to rein in the failing patent system?"
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LinuxDefenders.org Launches To Fight Patent Trolls

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  • by alain94040 (785132) * on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @06:19PM (#26718007) Homepage

    A great initiative on paper, but I doubt it will lead to much. As someone who wrote a patent more than a decade ago and had the pleasure of being sued by my ex-employer (using my patents against me - nice), I can attest to the craziness of claim construction and other esoteric legal arguments.

    Unlike coding as a group, which gave us Linux, creating meaningful and valid prior art is both harder and much less rewarding. That's why I doubt it can get enough contributors to make a difference.

    Can't we just force the patent examiners to use Google search instead?

    --
    Fair Revenue Sharing for Bloggers: Pageviews or Equity? [fairsoftware.net]

    • Unlike coding as a group, which gave us Linux, creating meaningful and valid prior art is both harder and much less rewarding.

      Nonsense, you just whine because you do not have a timemachine like the rest of us.

    • That's why I doubt it can get enough contributors to make a difference.

      Can't we just force the patent examiners to use Google search instead?

      Well, based on their recent dismal performance, I think that that's not likely to happen soon. The USPO just does not seem to have the competence available in sufficient numbers.

      They might be better off just posting a summary of all s/w patents to /., where there seem to be plenty of experts with plenty of time *cough*

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, based on their recent dismal performance, I think that that's not likely to happen soon. The USPO just does not seem to have the competence available in sufficient numbers.

        Well it's not even about USPTO incompetence, it's a broken game to start with: if the USPTO don't have expertise in EVERYTHING then they can't distinguish significantly unique inventions. Asking the USPTO to be experts at EVERYTHING is ridiculous so the idea of the patent office as it is is ridiculous. Right now they're handing out

    • Can't we just force the patent examiners to use Google search instead?

      That's already patented.

      Falcon

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @07:20PM (#26718719)

      As someone who wrote a patent more than a decade ago and had the pleasure of being sued by my ex-employer (using my patents against me - nice), I can attest to the craziness of claim construction and other esoteric legal arguments.

      TBH you deserve it and so does everyone else that writes a software patent. I hope you've learned your lesson and thanks for doing your part to ruin the software industry.

    • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @07:21PM (#26718741)

      That's why I doubt it can get enough contributors to make a difference.

      As always, there is another solution: Let the US sink to wherever they feel comfortable, move to another country with no patent laws, and live happily ever after. Of course, said plan fails if you're in the US and don't want to move, and the new country should be heavily guarded against such tendencies...

      However, given the current situation, I personally think this is the most viable route. Unless of course Obama turns out to be smarter than his campaign contributors.

      Troll me if you want, but ask yourself: is a system where ideas can be monopolized, livable? It's not the idea, but the implementation, that adds value and takes work to achieve.

      Also, take into account the fact that Free Software has no jurisdiction. People from all over the world are contributing, and they're not going to stop because one country acts stupid.

      • While the copyright situation in the US is dismal, it is deteriorating at a slower rate than nations with a similar quality of life.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jabithew (1340853)

        It's not the idea, but the implementation, that adds value and takes work to achieve.

        This is a lot less clear cut than you seem to think. I am a student in the process industry. At the moment, as part of a project on process design, I'm researching patents. The process is the production of PV-grade silicon from quartz. There are often patents of things which have never been implemented, but are quite specific. For example, is the idea making PV-grade silicon from quartz? Or is it choosing to use a metallurgical-only route? Or is it choosing to use a Cao.SiO2 slag with blown air to purify it

        • by Ciggy (692030)
          You hit the nail on the head with your example.

          The problem with software patents has been (and still is) that they are overly broad. The equivalent software patent to your example would be to patent making PV-grade silicon from quartz (by any method), not the final suggested one of using a Cao.SiO2 slag with blown air.
        • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @08:12AM (#26723371)

          Or is it choosing to use a Cao.SiO2 slag with blown air to purify it? Surely an idea as specific as the last one is worthy of a patent?

          No, not in itself. Sure, it's a good idea, and you're right to be proud of it.

          However, just because you thought of it first doesn't in itself mean you should be the only one who can have that thought. Now, if you're the first one to think it and you also use it, that's another thing entirely.

          Suppose a patent troll had that thought first. They're not doing anything with it, just sitting on the patent. Now you are verboten to have a good idea, for no good reason. Would you still say the same?

          • by jabithew (1340853)

            It's not my idea, it was Elkem Solar of Norway's.

            Patent trolling never takes the form you describe, except maybe in monopolies like MS. What would be the gain for the troll? They usually either use the tech or license it for some negligible amount.

    • by DeadDecoy (877617)
      I believe patent examiners can use google or some other search engine but they have to be somewhat obtuse when performing their searches. Otherwise, if you could somehow get a hold of their query history, you have a list of ideas or IP that may not be patented yet. This probably hinders the patent examiners ability to find prior art or ensure that the application isn't stupid.
  • by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04&highpoint,edu> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @06:19PM (#26718009)

    Hope this turns out better than Windows Defender!

  • Why linux? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @06:21PM (#26718041)
    A site designed to educate what patent trolling is, and show current examples of patent trolling seems more logical to me. These cretins hide behind obfustification of the issue. A site that plainly cuts through the BS that is often the case of these trolls is what we need not a 'linux defender'. Troll the patent trolls don't defend against them.
    • by 77Punker (673758)

      Troll the patent trolls

      So we shitpost in all of their threads?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Facegarden (967477)

        Troll the patent trolls

        So we shitpost in all of their threads?

        You can't, I just patented Trolling. I'll license it to you though, for a small fee...
        -Taylor

        • Sorry, prior art. "The most likely derivation of the word troll can be found in the phrase "trolling for newbies," popularized in the early 1990s in the Usenet group, alt.folklore.urban (AFU)." Citation. [wikipedia.org]

          I'd sue you, but I think sueing for patent infringement has been patented.
  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @06:38PM (#26718263) Homepage

    So they're going to help improve the 'quality' of software patents so that patent trolls, rather than getting weak patents which can be easily challenged in court, will be able to get stronger, less contestable patents. They're going to publish prior art so that patent applications can be carefully worded to work around it. This may not be such a great idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What we should do instead is raise money to buy an island and form a freedom-compliant government on it. The constitution of this island would state that everyone has total and complete freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom to information, with absolutely, positively, no exceptions. This means yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater is allowed. The constitution would further state that no other country's IP laws have any meaning on the island. This means it is legal to copy any information and

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      What we should do instead is raise money to buy an island and form a freedom-compliant government on it. The constitution of this island would state that everyone has total and complete freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom to information, with absolutely, positively, no exceptions.

      I guess you haven't quite thought that out then. It would be a child abusers paradise. After all, they don't see what they're doing as wrong and as they're entitled to freedom of expression, you cannot convict them. Also, freedom to information means anyone would have completely unrestricted access to any financial information of yours plus any private data as well such as passwords and PIN numbers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by slash.duncan (1103465)

        [pedantic] OK, so you're saying "PIN numbers", where PIN is "Personal Identification Number". Do you enter your "PIN numbers" at the "PIN number keyboard board" on the "ATM machines"? At least you could have been consistent, and used "password words" while you were at it? =:^) [/pedantic]

        Meanwhile, while I agree with your general point, I believe it would have been made more effectively, at least to many here at /. (who pride themselves on being a "thinking" audience highly valuing freedom, true or not),

    • The constitution would further state that no taxes of any kind or any amount may be levied for any reason...

      So how will you fund it? Donations? Bonds?

      ...that the government may consist ONLY of elected people (no appointees or hire)...

      Great. When is the election date for the office intern?

      There is no executive...

      So... nobody to enforce the rules?

      • You forgot to mention: the economy runs on nothing but pure clean air.

        Talk about renewable!
    • Well, I heard sealand http://www.sealandgov.org/ [sealandgov.org] was up for grabs, and Ceres http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceres_(dwarf_planet) [wikipedia.org] ought to be large enough for the asteroid purpose. AFAIK nobody else has laid claim to it.

    • You might want to have a word with the Sultan of Kinakuta [cryptonomicon.com] about that idea.
    • by Tuoqui (1091447)

      As much as I like the idea it would be doomed to failure.

      1) You cannot have freedom without responsibility. In the wild you have freedom to eat whatever you want but the responsibility is that you only eat stuff that you know isnt gonna kill you. The same applies to society. A society needs responsibility in the form of taxes in order to help pay for community resources such as roads, internet infrastructure, etc... Although I suspect without a huge government to piss it away to their buddies in contracts t

  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @07:06PM (#26718577) Homepage Journal

    so we can contribute quickly.

  • If all they achieve is to get SCO to STFU and p*** off, they will have rendered the Linux world a great service.
  • It will unfortunately probably help do the job which should be done correctly to begin with by the patent office, however instead of fixing a system which should not exist, effort and money should be put into getting rid of patents.
  • "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
        -- Margaret Mead

    Seem's fitting, your other option is to suck it up.

Byte your tongue.

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