Brendan Scott
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The Open Source Law Weekly Digest or OSWALD first launched late in 2002. Since then it has been regularly providing updates on all things open source related. The focus of this newsletter is on business, rather than technical developments in open source. Another strong component of the newsletter is IP news, as it is of interest to me and has an effect on open source.

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OSWALD #411 Period ending 1 August 2011

Welcome to the Open Source Law Weekly Open Source Digest (OSWALD)

The things that attracted the most attention this week were: the purchase by Google of 1000 patents from IBM in July, Mozilla's thoughts about writing an operating system which runs on top of everyone else's and the announcement of the Open Cloud Initiative. Of interest is article on how the Copyright Act in the US is reincarnating fashion cartels from the 1930s. Mark Lemley has written a paper saying inventors working alone is a myth, but maybe patents are good because they cause inventors to race to be first. The appellate court has held the BRAC genes to be patentable.

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Off Topic

Insight: Microsoft use of low-tax havens drives down tax bill

But Microsoft is straightforward about the core reason for its lower tax bill: It is increasingly channeling earnings from sales to customers throughout the world through the low-tax havens of Ireland, Puerto Rico and Singapore.

In Baring Facts of Train Crash, Blogs Erode China Censorship

Last weekend, Wenzhou bureaucrats ordered local lawyers not to accept cases from families of victims without their permission. After weibos exposed them, they withdrew the order and apologized.

***** Government/Policy

What the 1930s fashion industry tells us about Big Content's "six strikes" plan

Retailers and the Federal Trade Commission challenged the system under antitrust laws. In 1941, the Supreme Court upheld the FTC's position, holding that the system "constituted an unfair method of competition" under antitrust law.

Richard Stallman: Resist the Temptations of the Cloud!,1518,775218,00.html

Javascript created a further problem. Initially used for harmless things such as unusual-looking menus, its capabilities have been extended to the point where it can do nontrivial computing. Services such as Google Docs install large Javascript programs into the user's browser. Even though they run in your computer, you have no control over what they do there.

Red Hat Warns Government About Cloud Lock-in -- And Microsoft?

The Myth of the Sole Inventor

***** Patent/CR/DRM News+Policy

Report: Nortel portfolio buyers facing DOJ scrutiny

Despite last month's $4. 5 billion sale of Nortel's patent portfolio wrapping up this week, government scrutiny over what its buyers intend to do with the patents continues, a new report says.

Why won't Intellectual Ventures answer questions about its relationship with Lodsys?

Here's the odd thing: Intellectual Ventures doesn't seem to be very good at exploiting patents it owns. In two cases it appears to have bought software patents that have value in the courts and then transferred them to little one-man bands who have abruptly realised their value and begun suing people for infringing them.

An Offer He Couldn’t Refuse: Intellectual Property Analysis of Chris Crawford, Intellectual Vent

Appellate Court Says Breast-Cancer Genes Can Be Patented

The ruling is a victory for Myriad Genetics, which owns the BRCA patents, and it overturns a district court ruling invalidating the patents.

Google Acquires Over 1,000 IBM Patents in July

On July 11th and 12th, Google recorded the assignment of 1,030 granted patents from IBM covering a range of topics, from the fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips, to other areas of computer architecture including servers and routers as well.

Ousted EMI boss: pirates are our best customers, suing is bad for business

The America Invents Act’s Patent Reform Might Strengthen Patent Trolls

The Supreme Court Should Invalidate Software Patents

Unfortunately, as Matt Yglesias points out, the patent reform legislation now working its way through Congress is woefully inadequate.

Hollywood Studios Win U.K. Case on Piracy Blocking

Lodsys: Response to Apple's Motion to Intervene

Apple Mac OS X Violates S3 Patents, IPhone Cleared, ITC Says

HTC enlisting supply chain to bypass patent problems

ITC agrees to investigate Samsung's patent case against Apple

Samsung filed the complaint in late June, and asked the ITC to ban the import of Apple products, which it believes are infringing on patents it owns. The complaint accused Apple of copying "many of Samsung's innovations" with the company's iPhone, iPad and iPod products singled out.

InterDigital goes after Nokia, Huawei, and ZTE

The developer of wireless technologies said today that it has filed a complaint with the U. S. International Trade Commission, seeking a ban on the importation of 3G phones, USB laptop sticks, mobile hot spots, tablets, and other wireless components from the three companies. The company separately filed a lawsuit with the U. S. District Court in Delaware.

Patent Troll Sues Amazon Over Electronic Checkout Service

Alsup to Oracle, Get Serious

"The patent owner here simply served a report that overreached in multiple ways, each and every overreach compounding damages ever higher into the billions - evidently with the goal of seeing how much it could get away with, a 'free bite,' as it were," Alsup wrote in granting most of Google's motion to exclude the report.

This American Life: NPE Issue Going Mainstream

I wish I could say the program was inaccurate or sensationalist. It's not. As someone who worked on the fringes of NPE-world for a good number of years, I was surprised at how well the story was reported.

IBM Celebrates 100th Anniversary of its First Patent

IBM is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and with it comes a whole host of other notable milestones. One such milestone is today, which marks the 100th anniversary of IBM's first patent.

12 organizations say VP8 infringes patents

"Patents owned by 12 different patent holders have already been found to be essential to VP8," MPEG LA said in a statement to CNET yesterday.

Reverse Bifurcation in Practice

When Otter's settlement offer was rejected, it filed a motion seeking to sever itself from the existing case and requesting a "reverse bifurcation" procedure in the new matter so that damages discovery and trial would precede liability discovery and trial. A copy of that motion is available here: Download Gellyfish v Alltel Motion. The motion appears to have had some effect: shortly after it was filed, Otter withdrew the motion citing additional discussions between the parties that suggested an amicable resolution.

Rovi Sues Hulu, Expanding Its Patent Fights Over Online TV Guides

The fact that Rovi is suing two big players in this space with quite different software systems suggests the company believes these online guide patents give it a wide-ranging right to royalty payments over online television guides.

***** Applications/Gadgets

OLPC outlines future device specs

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization is currently prepping its next-gen XO-3 tablet, which could feature solar charging, satellite Internet and external keyboard capabilities.

China's Alibaba Unveils New Mobile OS

Alibaba subsidiary Alibaba Cloud Computing unveiled the Aliyun OS on Thursday, and showed off a Chinese-manufactured smartphone using the Linux-based operating system.

Asus Gets Official with $200 Eee PC X101 Netbook

Getting to that price point requires some sacrifices, and chief among them is the operating system. The Eee PC X101 runs MeeGo, an open-source mobile Linux OS designed for netbooks, entry-level desktops, nettops, and other devices. It's also saddled with a single-core Intel Atom N435 processor (N455 also available).

Review: ZaReason's Verix 2 Linux Laptop Hits the Spot

This may not be the year of the Linux desktop, but don't tell that to ZaReason. The folks at ZaReason have, once again, outdone themselves with a high-quality and powerful 15" laptop that will satisfy power users and Linux gamers.

Mikogo: Cross-Platform Desktop Sharing And Web Conferencing Tool

Mikogo is a freeware, cross-platform desktop sharing tool. Starting with the latest version 4 - released a few days ago -, Mikogo is also available for Linux, in addition to the already existing Windows and Mac clients.

LevelDB: A Fast Persistent Key-Value Store

LevelDB is a fast key-value storage engine written at Google that provides an ordered mapping from string keys to string values. We are pleased to announce that we are open sourcing LevelDB under a BSD-style license.

Old King of Computers now on Ubuntu

The best part of the revamped Commodore is that it will run on Ubuntu OS. The company has also announced that it will ship the computer with Commodore OS soon but nobody knows what it is.

Raspberry Pi $25 PC goes into alpha production

WASP: The Linux-powered flying spy drone that cracks Wi-Fi & GSM netwokrs

***** Reports

Stallman: Re: Compiled files without sources????

We have made a very bad mistake. Anyone redistributing those versions is violating the GPL, through no fault of his own.

That Didn't Take Long: Spotify Sued For Patent Infringement Just Weeks After Entering US Market

Welcome to America, where if you do anything even remotely innovative, you get sued for patent infringement. Indeed, just a couple weeks after entering the US market (finally), Spotify is being sued by PacketVideo for patent infringement.

The Open Cloud Initiative

In discussion with one of its founders, former Microsoft open source leader Sam Ramji, he explained...

Rebooting Mozilla: Think Firefox, Just Bigger

Mozilla confirmed that it is going straight against Apple, Google, and Microsoft with new product that essentially creates another platform for Internet devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Harmony's curiously flat tune

A standard for contributor agreements was the promise of Project Harmony, but now the project's agreements have been released, they appear to have hit all the wrong notes with many in the community. We look at why Harmony is off-key.

Before you get locked into Lync, consider open source options,1

Perhaps the best alternative to Lync, especially for small and medium-size businesses, is a unified communications offering from the likes of a Cisco or Avaya. These aren't open source, but still are worth investigating.

Microsoft Extends Interop Patent Deal to SUSE

"This relationship will extend through Jan. 1, 2016, with Microsoft committed to invest $100 million in new SUSE Linux Enterprise certificates for customers receiving Linux support from SUSE," Microsoft said in a statement.

Oracle debuts JDK 7, MySQL 5.6 at OSCON, pledges better OS support

Oracle values open source and will continue to work with open source communities, but it is driven by customer needs and solutions, he said. Oracle remains committed to OpenJDK and the JCP, he noted.

Bob Young, founder of Red Hat &Lulu, on collaboration, innovation

When customers stuck with Red Hat, I asked them why--is it because we're better, faster, or cheaper? They would answer, "No. You're not better--they have more apps, and you're not faster. Their stuff is tuned for their hardware. You're a little cheaper, that's true. But it's none of those reasons. It's that when I use your stuff, and I run into an issue that I need to make changes to, with open source, I can just do it. If it's a worthwhile change, I can just send it to you, and I never see the problem again. When I talk to the others about the problem I'm having on their operating system, the cycle time is too slow. " And what they were talking about is control over their technology.

Dell Launches OpenStack Cloud Platform Solution

"This continues to reinforce Dell's commitment to OpenStack," John Igoe, Executive Director for Dell Cloud Solutions told InternetNews. com. "OpenStack provides companies with an alternative software architecture to build private and public clouds. "

Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

Microsoft: Cloud need only be open surface, not open source

A Guide to K-12 Open Source LMS Options

The key decision when selecting a Learning Management System (LMS) for a K-12 school district is no longer whether to use a commercial option or the open source Moodle. Instead, costly commercial solutions are increasingly left out of the equation, and administrators are instead focusing their energies on which of several open source systems might be best for their district.

What's Red Hat Doing With All That Cash?

"In a market that's this fluid, we do want to make sure that we have flexibility if the right acquisition targets come along," Whitehurst said. "That said, we also want to be careful when markets are this heady to not grossly over pay for assets. "

A new way of measuring Openness, from Android to WebKit: The Open Governance Index

More importantly, the governance model describes the control points used in an open source project like Android, Qt or WebKit, and is a key determinant in the success or failure of a platform.

Apple iPad’s Come Highly Recommended But So Do Cheaper Tablets, Study Finds

The results of this study show that people can enjoy cheaper tablets at the same level as those who spend a few hundred dollars more for their tablets. This is a good thing.

***** Snippets

Alcatel-Lucent Gets $70 Million in Microsoft Patent Case

The new draw of open source: innovation

OSCON 2011, Gianugo Rabellino, Microsoft

Internet Law: Cases and Problems

How Bill Gates' Favorite Teacher Wants to Disrupt Education

SUSE makes good with dismissed Mono devs

Wine 1.3.25 Released

Alfresco 3: Web Scripts

Norman Launches NextGen Malware Analysis Platform (Linux powered)

O'Reilly Open Source Convention coming back to Portland

Choosing the Right Linux Distro for Your Business

GitHub competition growing fast

GNOME vs. KDE vs. Unity: Customization Tools and Ease of Use

Would you like fries with that?

Isostick aims to put multiple operating systems on your keyring

SUSE & Patent FUD: Who Do We Boycott Now?

A Look at Mozilla's BrowserID Project

Ubuntu One Hits 1 Million Users

Thruk a Monitoring Web interface for Nagios

The FOSS fakery problem

Java SE 7 - A triumph for Oracle?

Oracle Previews MySQL 5.6

Scientific Linux pushes RHEL clones forward

The top five Linux desktop vendors

Homeland Security Investigations brings counterfeit designers to heel
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