What the New York Times Should Have Asked

This is what Apple “invented” the idea of sliding a latch to open something. But because they were doing it on a computer they got to patent it. Probably it cost some effort to work out the code to create the image and so forth – although if it cost them millions their programmers are incompetent – even tens of thousands seems high for that particular coding job. But here is the point: Nobody gets to copy their code with or without patents. The thing they actually paid for is protected.

Jailbreaking now legal under DMCA for smartphones, but not tablets

No more unlocking

In 2006 and 2010, the Librarian of Congress had permitted users to unlock their phones to take them to a new carrier. Now that’s coming to an end. While the new rules do contain a provision allowing phone unlocking, it comes with a crippling caveat: the phone must have been “originally acquired from the operator of a wireless telecommunications network or retailer no later than ninety days after the effective date of this exemption.”

In other words, phones you already have, as well as those purchased between now and next January, can be unlocked. But phones purchased after January 2013 can only be unlocked with the carrier’s permission.

The reasons for the distinction include that none can be made about what is a tablet.

In Defense of Free Knowledge

I believe that access to information is ethical issue.

This is where I invoke Eben Moglen because he says it a lot better than I can. There’s a great talk Eben Moglen gave that’s based around his dotCommunist Manifesto. Moglen says:

The great moral question of the twenty-first century is: If all knowledge, all culture, all art, all useful information, can be costlessly given to everyone at the same price that it is given to anyone — if everyone can have everything, everywhere, all the time, why is it ever moral to exclude anyone from anything?

If you could make lamb chops in endless numbers by the mere pressing of a button, there would be no moral argument for hunger ever, anywhere.

I see no system of moral philosophy generated by the economy of the past that could evolve a principle to explain the moral legitimacy of denial in the presence of infinite profusion.

 

How a rogue appeals court wrecked the patent system

No institution is more responsible for the recent explosion of patent litigation in the software industry, the rise of patent trolls, and the proliferation of patent thickets than the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The patent court’s thirtieth birthday this week is a good time to ask whether it was a mistake to give the nation’s most patent-friendly appeals court such broad authority over the patent system.

Further “Either way, breaking the Federal Circuit’s monopoly on patent appeals may be the single most important step we can take to fix the patent system.”

Is it surprising that a judicial monopoly over an intellectual monopoly should turn out poorly?

U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner spikes Apple-Google case, calls patent system ???dysfunctional???

In a series of earlier rulings in the Apple case, Posner didn???t mince words as he used plain language to beat up the over-reaching arguments of both sides:

[re a slide-to-unlock patent] Apple???s .. argument is that ???a tap is a zero-length swipe.??? That???s silly.  It???s like saying that a point is a zero-length line.
Motorola???s contention that the term has a ???plain and ordinary meaning??? is ridiculous; Motorola seems to have forgotten that this is a jury trial.
In his ruling to dismiss, Posner noted that a trial would ???impose costs disproportionate to the harm ??? and would be contrary to the public interest.???

Anti-competitive, thank you judge.

The USPTO/DOC’s liberal and misleading definition of IP-Intensive industries is designed to influence policy debates

It turns out, the government has shamelessly ramped up the employment numbers by including a very liberal definition of IP-Intensive industries. To follow appreciate how liberal, it is useful to spend some time on Table 10, which is found on pages 36-38 of the report. Indeed, before you read the whole report, spend 10 minutes reading Table 10, and then things will begin to make more sense. More than 83 percent of all reported IP-Intensive jobs come from the trademark sector, where the mere existence of a brand name somewhere in the value chain makes the industry count as “ip-intensive.” Most of the jobs have nothing to do with anything remotely connected to ACTA, SOPA or other IP policy debates.

They exaggerate? Quelle suprise.

From the Courtroom – Day 17 of Oracle v. Google

Judge: We heard the testimony of Mr. Bloch. I couldn’t have toldyou the first thing about Java before this problem. I havedone, and still do, a significant amount of programming in otherlanguages. I’ve written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundredtimes before. I could do it, you could do it. The idea thatsomeone would copy that when they could do it themselves justas fast, it was an accident. There’s no way you could say thatwas speeding them along to the marketplace. You’re one of thebest lawyers in America, how could you even make that kind ofargument?

Oracle: I want to come back to rangeCheck.

Judge: rangeCheck! All it does is make sure the numbers you’reinputting are within a range, and gives them some sort ofexceptional treatment. That witness, when he said a high schoolstudent could do it–

A fish that walks, and a dog that talks! Whoo-ee