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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 1 min ago

Links 27/6/2016: Linux 4.7 RC 5, OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 Beta 2

3 hours 26 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • The heartbeat of open source projects can be heard with GitHub data

    GitHub released charts last week that tell a story about the heartbeat of a few open source, giving insights into activity, productivity and collaboration of software development.

    Why are these important? Enterprises increasingly define software development as a top priority to gain competitive advantage or defend against disruption. They often turn to open source software because it is fast and agile. Enterprise IT decision makers should understand GitHub because it is the backbone of most open source projects.

  • 7 myths about open sourcing your company’s software

    Many companies benefit from open source, and countless companies have opted to open source components of their infrastructure (or even their bread and butter) in an effort to give back. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about what happens when you open up your business’ code and workflows to the public, and as companies delve into how to apply open principles within their organization, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Here are some common misconceptions about what happens when you open source your code.

  • Open source software has to sell user experience

    Open source software that is to succeed in this new world is going to have to be better than anything else. You can’t sell just openness anymore; it is added value, not a unique selling point. Open source software now has to sell user experience. In a way it is a simpler metric, and probably one that is going to change open source forever—for the better.

  • Top 7 open source business intelligence and reporting tools

    In this article, I review some of the top open source business intelligence (BI) and reporting tools. In economies where the role of big data and open data are ever-increasing, where do we turn in order to have our data analysed and presented in a precise and readable format? This list covers tools which help to solve this problem. Two years ago I wrote about the top three. In this article, I will expand that list with a few more tools that were suggested by our readers.

    Note that this list is not exhaustive, and it is a mix of both business intelligence and reporting tools.

  • Six free open source alternatives to Windows 10

    Windows 10 has generally be viewed as a welcome successor to Windows 8, both by businesses and individuals. However it has also come under scrutiny from users that are concerned about data privacy. So why not opt for a free Windows 10 alternative?

    We’ve listed open source Windows 10 alternatives based on features and user reviews. Here’s some of the best.

  • Obsidian Systems brings open source monitoring with Icinga
  • Obsidian offers Open Source monitoring with Icinga

    Obsidian Systems is now the exclusive African reseller partner for Icinga, a scalable and extensive monitoring system that checks the availability of resources, notifies of outages and provides business intelligence data.

  • Open source connects the dots in the digital transformation

    Developments in cloud, big data, analytics, and social and mobile technologies are all happening to a large extent because the underlying technology is evolving quickly, and Red Hat believes that this is happening because a lot of it is based on open source and is developed collaboratively between multiple communities and companies. Much of the cloud is based on Linux and open source based technologies, consequently open source is a key driving force in these changes and the rapid innovation cycles.

  • Lime hits crowdfunding target, a milestone in open source mobile hardware

    UK RF specialist Lime Microsystems has raised almost $624,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to bring its LimeSDR software defined radio to market, and will now begin production of the radios, which enable open source, programmable ‘network in a box’ devices for low cost coverage, especially in rural or temporary networks.

  • Nokia is traditional telecoms’ fifth column, embracing open source disruption

    One of the most important trends in the current reinvention of the mobile network is the introduction of open source to infrastructure hardware. Open source processes have been creeping into this formerly tightly closed world in software (from Android to carrier Linux) and in devices, but the network equipment itself remained the preserve of proprietary vendors and formal standards bodies. Now that is changing. From small innovators like Lime Microsystems (see separate item), to entrenched guardians of the old ways, like Nokia, suppliers are finding new ways to work with open source.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla Pushes Online Privacy with New Open Source Funding Awards

        Mozilla is funneling yet more money into the open source ecosystem. This week, the organization best known for the Firefox Web browser announced an award of $385,000 to fund eight open source projects, including several important online privacy platforms.

      • Mozilla to Rebrand Itself, and You’re Invited to Help

        Mozilla has been involved in reinventing itself for some time now. Known for the venerable Firefox browser, it has made forays into several other open source arenas, and was even known for its dalliance with the smartphone business. The company is currently involved in a broad rebranding effort, and the way it is going about rebranding comes directly from the open source playbook.

      • “Branding without walls”: Mozilla’s open-source rebrand

        Internet advocacy and software group Mozilla is rebranding with help from johnson banks. In an unusual move, the company has decided to document the process online – from strategy and concept development to refinement – inviting its community to help shape its new positioning

  • SaaS/Back End
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice 5.1.4 Released with Over 130 Fixes

      The first release candidate represented 123 fixes. Some include a fix for a crash in Impress when setting a background image. This occurred with several popular formats in Windows and Linux. Caolán McNamara submitted the patches to fix this in the 5.1 and 5.2 branches. David Tardon fixed a bug where certain presentations hung Impress for extended periods to indefinitely by checking for preconditions earlier. Laurent Balland-Poirier submitted the patches to fix a user-defined cell misinterpretation when using semicolon inside quotes.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open source. Open science. Open Ocean. Oceanography for Everyone and the OpenCTD

      Nearly four years ago, Kersey Sturdivant and I launched a bold, ambitious, and, frankly, naive crowdfunding initiative to build the first low-cost, open-source CTD, a core scientific instrument that measures salinity, temperature, and depth in a water column. It was a dream born from the frustration of declining science funding, the expense of scientific equipment, and the promise of the Maker movement. After thousands of hours spent learning the skills necessary to build these devices, hundreds of conversations with experts, collaborators, and potential users around the world, dozens of iterations (some transformed into full prototypes, others that exist solely as software), and one research cruise on Lake Superior to test the housing and depth and temperature probes, the OpenCTD has arrived.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
  • Programming/Development
    • PHP 7.1 Alpha 2 Released

      Succeeding the PHP 7.1 Alpha release that happened earlier this month is now the second alpha build of this significant update to the PHP programming language.

    • 4 languages poised to out-Python Python

      Nothing lasts forever — including programming languages. What seems like the future of computing today may be tomorrow’s footnote, whether deserved or undeserved.

      Python, currently riding high on the list of languages to know, seems like a candidate for near-immortality at this point. But other languages are showing that they share Python’s strengths: convenient to program in, decked out with powerful ways to perform math and science work, arrayed with a huge number of convenient third-party libraries.

    • ECMAScript 2016: The Latest Version Of JavaScript Language Has Arrived
Leftovers

From Alleged Organised Crime to Vice-President of the European Patent Office (EPO)

9 hours 39 min ago

Lawlessness is in Team Battistelli’s blood

Summary: Željko Topić’s situation in Croatia illuminated by means of recent documents from the authorities

OVER the weekend while we were away on holiday and the EPO struggled to digest the news about 'Brexit' (as did we, but for other reasons) someone sent us an update from Croatia. It’s not looking any better for Battistelli’s ‘bulldog’ (not to be confused with ‘lapdog’ or ‘his master’s voice’, Mr. Kongstad).

“The various criminal complaints filed against Željko Topić and others,” told us a source, “have been spread among a number of public prosecutor bodies in Zagreb and elsewhere (Municipal State Attorney’s Office, County State Attorney’s Office etc.).

“This seems to have led to a lack of coordination and delay in progress with processing of the complaints.

“According to what I have understood, the main public prosecutor is now trying to sort out the matter and has been sending letters to some of the other public prosecutors in an attempt to improve the coordination and deal with various issues that have been festering for many years now.

“I managed to get my hands on a redacted copy of one these letters which is dated June 10th.”

Here is the original letter.

A rough English translation is included below.

REPUBLIC OF CROATIA
Office of the County State Attorney in …

File No.: …
Zagreb, 10 June 2016

To the County State Attorney in …

Re the file no.: …

Referring to your letter of 11 May 2016 re the above case in which you have submitted an assessment and opinion of the criminal complaint of V.S. of 9 January 2013, filed against Z. T. and SM in connection with the criminal acts of illegal changes in the structure of state administration under Article 320 of the Criminal Code / 97, abuse of office under Article 337, paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code / 97, bribery under Article 348 para. 1 and 347 no. 1 of the Criminal law / 97 and negligent performance of duty under Article 339 of the Criminal code / 97, we draw your attention you, in this respect, to the criminal charges annexed to the file of the Office of the County State Attorney … number … given the fact that it concerns the same legal matter. Namely, in the indicated criminal case prior proceedings were conducted by this State Attorney’s Office concerning suspected irregularities in the actions of those responsible and officials of the State Intellectual Property Office, the Croatian Composers Society and the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Croatian and the Croatian Government, whose acts directly or indirectly damaged the State budget of the Republic of Croatia.

On the other hand, concerning the criminal offence of racial or other discrimination under Art. 174 para. 1 of the Criminal Law / 97 and violation of the right to work and other labor rights referred to in Art. 114 of the Criminal Code / 97, which alleged offences were committed to the detriment of the applicant V.S., bearing in mind that it is a criminal offence falling within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Municipal State Attorney, in this part, we return this criminal complaint to the competent procedure for a prosecutorial decision on the merits. In this regard, because it has been reported to you by the Zagreb Police Department, Department Criminal Investigation, Department of Economic Crime, that they are also linked to the findings on crimes carried out which have been notified to the Office of the County State Attorney in … under the file reference number …, we note that the aforementioned criminal case does not apply to the criminal complaint that was submitted by V.S. and that it was a mistake that the result of the police investigation was delivered under that file number, and at the same time that the competent lawyer Office of the Municipal State Attorney wasn’t informed about the result of the police investigation. Concerning the above, we informed the Zagreb Police Department, Criminal Police Department, Department of Economic Crime, which then with the special report of 1 June 2016 file no … submitted the results of criminal investigations relating to the crimes within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Municipal State Attorney and which we also enclose for you to use.

In addition, we enclose for you the submission of the applicant V.S., sent to the Office of the Municipal State Attorney in … electronically on 6 June 2016, which shows that the stated criminal charges are dealt with in other criminal cases of the Office of the Municipal State Attorney in …, and how to perform the review of the specified files to establish a possible connection with your criminal case.

Deputy County State Attorney
[Signature and official stamp]

Attachments:
as in the text

For notification to:
Zagreb Police Department, Criminal Police Department,
Department of Economic Crime, reference number …
V.S., Zagreb, …

“What is interesting here,” explains our source, “is the statement at the end of the first paragraph indicating that officials of the State Intellectual Property Office and others are under suspicion of having caused direct or indirect damage to the state budget of Croatia by their actions as detailed in the criminal complaints. If this line of inquiry is followed up by the public prosecutor then it seems quite likely that prosecutions could be initiated fairly soon.”

In the mean time someone sent us a further document which is dated 22nd of June, 2016 (even more recent). To quote a source that understands this better than we do, this is a document “which indicates that the public prosecutor has sent the results of the investigation in one case to the USKOK – the Croatian State Prosecutor’s Office for the Suppression of Organized Crime and Corruption – a department of the State Prosecutor’s Office that specialises in cases of corruption and organised crime.

“As far as I understand the current state of affairs the investigation report is now with the USKOK for a decision as to whether or not to initiate a prosecution. These developments come at an interesting time because according to information from the EPO, the renewal of a number of Vice-President appointments including VP4 (i.e. Mr. Topić) is on the agenda for next week’s Administrative Council meeting.”

We actually wrote about this before. Here is the original document:

Here is an English translation:

REPUBLIC OF CROATIA
Office of the County State Attorney in …

File No.: …

Zagreb, 22 June 2016

Dear …

As the submitter of a criminal complaint against Z.T. etc. in relation to unlawful conduct of the then director of the State Intellectual Property Office as well as other persons who are associated therewith, and whose acts directly or indirectly damaged the state budget of the Republic of Croatia, we inform you that the preliminary investigation in the criminal case has been completed, after which, according to the General Instructions on the Work of the Public Prosecutor and the USKOK for cases in which there are indications of corruption and organized crime number O-3/11 of 11 May 2011, the file has been submitted to the Office for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK) for a prosecutorial decision concerning which you will be notified in writing.

Yours respectfully,

Deputy County State Attorney

[Signature and stamp]

Expect to learn more soon. If the Administrative Council continues to ignore issues such as the above, then that makes the delegates somewhat complicit. A few days remain to inform national delegates regarding Topić’s legal status.

Battistelli May Still be on the Way Out as Pressure Grows in Germany, UPC in Shambles

10 hours 28 min ago

Even Tilman Müller-Stoy is growing impatient


Image source

Summary: Pressure on Battistelli is growing even from within circles that are traditionally protective of him and a long letter is sent to Dr. Christoph Ernst, who some believe will replace Battistelli

THERE are many articles about the EPO planned for today. A whole lot of stuff in happening and just a short whole ago MIP wrote that: “Pressure on EPO Admin Council which meets this week. Letter from Tilman Müller-Stoy of @bardehleIP calling for “transparency initiative”” (that’s quite an understatement).

Well, there is already some discussion around about this (see context in Twitter) and we are fortunate to have copies of the relevant text. First, as a little bit of background, consider what huge amount of pressure Battistelli will come under not just for 'Brexit' but also for his latest abuses against a truth-telling judge (again). As mentioned here before, EPLAW expresses concern about this and CIPA worries about the whole situation too. These are traditionally pro-EPO circles and they seem to be losing their patience. Not too long ago Alex Robinson bemoaned the latest among systematic attacks on the appeal boards. He wrote: “According to an unconfirmed report on the usually-reliable IPKat blog, European Patent Office (EPO) President Benoît Battistelli has submitted a further proposal for reform of the EPO’s Boards of Appeal. The alleged proposals are not yet publicly available, but if the report on IPKat is correct, Battistelli proposes a sharp increase in the EPO’s official Appeal fees, from a current level of €1880 to a projected level of €7350 by 2021.”

These aren’t just reports, it’s exactly what Battistelli plans to do and it would further erode patent quality for sure. Now, see 2016 AMBA Panel Discussion on Judicial Independence. AMBA is the Association of the Members of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office. It strives to protect those whom Battistelli cannot help attacking.

We publish in our web site the proceedings of the panel discussion on judicial independence held in Munich on 27th February, 2016.

AMBA is the Association of the Members of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office, having its seat in Munich.

The Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office as an Independent Judicial Body.

The attack on justice itself at the EPO was bound to invoke the wrath of legal professionals, who Battistelli needs to support him. They are, after all, some of the biggest stakeholders. But they are revolting now.

Shortly after Dr. Tilman Müller-Stoy sent a dissenting message someone ended up forwarding us the E-mail and related material. Dr. Tilman Müller-Stoy, according to our source, “is an attorney of the renowned Bardehle Pagenberg firm (he represented Microsoft in most their offensive cases in Germany against Motorola but he also does defense work for clients such as Amazon) to an undisclosed circle of recipients.

“His open letter to Dr. Ernst, one of Battistelli’s rumored potential successors [is] linguistically imperfect but the message is pretty good and strong.”

Tilman was mentioned here before, in the following articles among more:

In English we have the message raising awareness of this:

From: Tilman Müller-Stoy
Sent: Monday, June 27, 2016 1:55 PM
To: Tilman Müller-Stoy
Subject: WG: EPO Crisis – Call for Transparency Initiative

Dear „Interested Circles“,

In view of the latest events at the EPO, I sent today the attached further public letter (to which I refer for any details) to the Head of the German Delegation in the Administrative Council of the EPO (following up on my letter of 5 December 2014 that you all know). I strongly believe that it is time for the EPO to engage in a transparency initiative.

Notably, the next session of the Administrative Council of the EPO is scheduled for this week (29/30 June 2016) and I am very interested to see the respective results.

Best regards,

Dr. Tilman Müller-Stoy
Partner
Rechtsanwalt / Attorney-at-Law
Fachanwalt für Gewerblichen Rechtsschutz / Certified IP Lawyer
Wirtschaftsmediator / Commercial Mediator (MuCDR)

In German we have the message to Ernst:

Von: Tilman Müller-Stoy
Gesendet: Montag, 27. Juni 2016 13:38
An: ‘ernst-ch@bmj.bund.de’
Cc: ‘cornelia.rudloff-schaeffer@dpma.de’; Tilman Müller-Stoy
Betreff: EPO Crisis – Call for Transparency Initiative

Sehr geehrter Herr Dr. Ernst,

anbei übersende ich Ihnen im Nachgang zu meinem Schreiben vom 5. Dezember 2014 meinen offenen Brief vom heutigen Tag. Über eine gelegentliche Antwort würde ich mich freuen. Frau Rudloff-Schäffer ist in Kopie. Den Ergebnissen der Verwaltungsratssitzung am 29./30. Juni 2016 sehe ich erwartungsvoll entgegen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Dr. Tilman Müller-Stoy
Partner
Rechtsanwalt / Attorney-at-Law
Fachanwalt für Gewerblichen Rechtsschutz / Certified IP Lawyer
Wirtschaftsmediator / Commercial Mediator (MuCDR)

Here is the full message from the accompanying PDF:

BARDEHLE PAGENBERG – Postfach 86 06 20 – 81633 München

Bundesministerium der Justiz
und Verbraucherschutz
Herrn Dr. Christoph Ernst
Head of the German Delegation in the
Administrative Council
Mohrenstr. 37
10117 Berlin

Per E-mail
ernst-ch@bmj.bund.de

CC:
Mrs. Rudloff-Schäffer:
cornelia.rudloff-
schaeffer@dpma.de

München, 27. Juni 2016

EPO Crisis – Call for Transparency Initiative

Dear Dr. Ernst,

In December 2014, following a house ban on a member of the Boards of Appeal, I took the liberty to address you in your capacity as Head of the German Delegation in the Administrative Council (hereinafter: AC) of the EPO in order to express concerns about the judicial independence at the EPO and a functioning EPO patent system, concerns which I shared with many users of the European patent system. Please allow me to reiterate these concerns, in the form or a public letter, in the light of the following two developments:

The Proceedings against the suspended member of the Boards of Appeal

Notably, not knowing the details of the facts and accusations, I have no word to say as to the substance of the matter. However, I do have some general observations:

Until now, the member concerned has been temporarily suspended for more than 1 1⁄2 years. The AC made three attempts to request pursuant to Article 12a (1) of the EBA’s Rules of Procedure that the EBA makes a proposal to remove the member concerned from office. The first one was rejected as unsubstantiated in the

EBA’s decision of September 17, 2015, the second one was presumably withdrawn and the third one turned out to be unsuccessful on June 14, 2016. As far as I understand the latter was the result of a conflict between the President of the EPO, the AC and the EBA about the question whether or not oral proceedings should be held in public and that the EBA felt threatened by a letter of the President alleging that the course of proceedings intended by the EBA was unlawful, insinuating consequences for the members of the EBA in case they would conduct public oral proceedings. Eventually, as a result, the proceedings appear to have come to a deadlock now as the EBA decided not to propose removal from office but to close the proceedings without a decision on the substance of the case.

Since the public has not been officially informed of what had actually happened, I have to abstain from commenting on these events in detail. However, the intended and codified system seems not to have worked properly in this case due to the President intervening in the procedure, the reaction of the president of the AC, and the EBA not providing a substantive decision in the case (contrary to its judicial function which is another concern in itself). These events increase my earlier concerns about the functioning of the EPO and the judicial independence at the EPO (see also the reasoning of the in the meantime published decision of the EBA: http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2016/06/enlarged-board-publishes-decision-epo.html; http://eplaw.org/epo-eba-complains-undue-pressure-exercised-by-the-president-of-the-office-in-proceedings-on-the-request-to-remove-a-member-of-the-boards-of-appeal-from-office/).

Notably, the proceedings and their background rightfully gained prominence over the last 1.5 years which seems to be only natural as they concern a house ban / removal from office of an EPO judge, i.e. a question which relates to the core of the reliability of the EPO’s judiciary system. Therefore, I believe that the users of the system (who also finance it to a large extent) have a justified interest in obtaining respective official information from the AC. This issue should not be dealt with in camera. Further actions in the proceedings should be taken – at least partially – in public. At any rate, the case should be terminated quickly and, if not dealt with in a public oral hearing, the public should be informed about the cornerstones of the underlying fact finding and legal assessment process.

Thus, as my first request, I ask the AC to officially inform the public about the details of the reported events to the extent compatible with the justified interests of all participants.

Secondly, I request the AC to publish an unredacted version of the letter of the President and the AC’s view on the substance of this letter.

Thirdly, I request the AC to provide a plan as to how the issue shall be decided in substance, in due course.

Structural Reform of the Boards of Appeal

Following decision R 19/12 in which the EBA allowed an objection to the Vice-President DG3 as Chairman of the EBA based on concerns of partiality, the President presented a proposal for the structural reform of the Boards of Appeal to the Council (Doc. CA/16/15). In reactions from users’ organizations (e.g. epi in epi information 3/2015, 87, Union IP, epi information 4/2015, 120) and from the Board of Appeals (see website AMBA-EPO.org), objections were raised e.g. to the mixing of the questions of efficiency and independence and to the role of the Board of Appeals Committee (BOAC) to be created as a subcommittee to the AC.

In March 2016, the AC requested the President to submit proposals for immediate implementation of the structural reform of the Boards of Appeal. The President prepared a further paper which is still not publicly available but cited as CA/43/16. So far, there does not seem to be the intention to make it public, for consultation with the users of the European Patent System.

Again, an open communication seems to be key in the present situation. This is what the users can expect from a modern administration in a democratic society and this is the standard in the Contracting States to the Convention. A transpar-

ent procedure excludes that the still unpublished proposals could be accepted in the June meeting of the AC. Compared with national German legislation, the structural reform of the Boards of Appeal may be compared with a reform of the Law on the Constitution of Courts (GVG), the Law on the Judiciary (DRiG) and further laws affecting judges at the same time. It would be unthinkable that legislation of such importance implying basic questions of the rule of law, in particular the principle of separation of powers, could take place behind closed doors. The public at large, applicants, the patent profession and academia should have a proper opportunity to scrutinize and comment on the proposals. It should be kept in mind that a reform which does not achieve its aims would add further damage to the reputation of the Boards of Appeal and the European patent system as a whole.

Thus, my fourth request to the AC is to provide transparency in this context to the users, and to take comments of the members of the Boards of Appeal and other contributors with sufficient expertise into serious consideration before any reform is adapted (unless that has not been done already).

Concluding, I do only see one solution to reduce the risk that users like myself continue to lose confidence in the EPO system – namely sufficient transparency. Therefore, the AC is generally called upon to develop a transparency initiative. Following the above requests could be a first step towards the right direction.

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Tilman Müller-Stoy
Rechtsanwalt
- Fachanwalt für Gewerblichen Rechtsschutz -
- Wirtschaftsmediator (CVM) -

As readers may recall, Ernst isn’t just the German representative this week but also a rumoured possible successor to Battistelli.

We look forward to publishing some more new material about the EPO — material of which we already have plenty. It is a very busy week ahead.

Caricature: European Patent Office (EPO) Under Battistelli

11 hours 19 min ago

Summary: The latest caricature about the state of the European Patent Office (EPO)

Techrights (Almost) at 10: From Software Patents to Novell and to Present Focus on EPO

11 hours 49 min ago

A weak and/or incompetent EPO would harm everyone in the world

Summary: A short story about how and why we ended up writing so much about the European Patent Office (EPO) and the impact beyond Europe

THE EPO has become a subject of considerable debate and focus here. It started around 2014 after we had primarily focused on the US patent system, the USPTO.

For those who have not been reading the site since its inception, here is a short introduction.

I had been a GNU/Linux advocate well before this site existed and an opponent of software patents (not patents as a whole) for a little longer than that. People who have themselves developed software don’t find it difficult to understand why copyrights, not patents, are suitable protection for one’s work (protection from plagiarism, misuse, misattribution, and so on).

The earliest goal of the site, back almost 10 years ago, was to end the software patents assault by Microsoft against GNU/Linux and Free software in general — an assault which began if not publicly culminated with the Microsoft/Novell patent deal. Novell took several years to decline after this deal and ultimately, unsurprisingly, Microsoft grabbed Novell’s own software patents, in a joint takeover along with Apple, Oracle, etc. These companies do not want Linux and Android to succeed, not without them being heavily taxed by the proprietary software oligopoly (Microsoft, Apple and Oracle still have ongoing patent/copyright fights against Android).

Apple’s attack on Linux (through Android) officially began in 2010, whereupon we wrote a great deal about Apple and shortly afterwards Oracle joined this war. It had already shown some hostility towards Red Hat, just shortly before the Microsoft/Novell deal in 2006.

For those who are not yet seeing a pattern, let it be spelled out clearly; the rise of Free software and GNU/Linux gave power to new actors such as Google, which made proper use of Free software in order to build back- and front-end stacks (databases, operating systems, AI, Web servers and so on). This meant that gadgets-selling giants, database giants, operating systems giants/monopolies etc. that were and still are proprietary (e.g. iOS, Mac OS X, Oracle, Windows) needed to either crash/crush emergent forces or tax them, using either patents or copyrights (this goes back to 2003 with the Microsoft-backed SCO assault on Linux).

Right now, in 2016, the aforementioned issues are unresolved. Microsoft is still attacking Linux (but more cleverly, with shrewdly-worded announcements that brand/frame patent settlements as bundling deals), Apple still has several patent cases against Android OEMs, and Oracle refuses to give up even after 6 years in the courtroom (against Android through Google). The cause of utmost importance here deals not only with software patents anymore but also with some design patents (Apple v Samsung) and copyright on APIs (Oracle v Google).

About 8 years ago we expressed concerns about software patents in Europe due to FRAND lobbying (from companies like Microsoft) and Brimelow’s loophole “as such”. We thereafter didn’t keep a close eye on the EPO for quite some time. Not much seemed to happen, but new kinds of abuses started to emerge and these seemed to be related to the resurrection of the “EU patent” or “community patent”, this time under a new kind of name and marketing (equating maximalism with union, unity, universality etc.) accompanied by/with repression of staff and suppression of critics. Even the staff union of the EPO, which had existed for several decades, came under unprecedented (even outside the EPO) attacks.

The reason we now focus a great deal on the EPO is that we have reasonably good understanding of the matters involved. We also have many articles on the subject, which helps us create a cohesive story with a lot of cross-referencing. Our goal now is to help other people (EPO insiders as well as politicians who are outsiders) gain an equally good understanding of why the EPO’s management must be chopped laterally and replaced en masse. It is the only way to save the EPO right now. Delegates that make up the Administrative Council probably have a good grip on the current situation, but they are afraid (or tied up by Battistelli’s hand on the budget), so they are not likely to do anything. The EPO needs somewhat of a revolution and strikes/demonstrations are steps towards that.

In the coming days we shall have a lot to write about the EPO and we will devote plenty of time and resources to ensure this historic period in the EPO is properly documented. We welcome feedback from readers and we hope that new material will continue to flow in. Now that everyone in the UK (and increasingly beyond) talks about “Brexit” it looks like Battistelli will definitely fail to deliver on his promises. He will be remembered not as a pioneer manager who compromised the rule of law for some ‘necessary’ reform but as a ruthless tyrant that shattered the EPO’s reputation for many years if not decades to come.

The EPO will outlive Battistelli and it is everyone’s job, especially at the EPO, to fight for patent quality (i.e. defy Battistelli’s ‘productivity’ obsession or lunacy). Remember that patent offices live or die (or make or break if not perish) based on the value or perceived value of their granted patents, i.e. examination that increases certainty in a court of law. Being an ENA graduate, Battistelli perhaps hopes that his predecessor will be left to deal with the aftermath of his atrocious policies (brain drain, low patent quality, reputation problems). Then the blame might be misplaced. A retired Battistelli would have little or nothing to worry about, but what about patent examiners who are far from retirement? How about retired examiners whose pension will be at risk? Given some upcoming Battistelli ‘reforms’, many people’s pensions are already at risk. This is just bad for Europe’s competitiveness across many sectors (medicine, chemistry, physics, telecommunication and many more). As patents get granted and assigned not just to European applicants (only the employees of the EPO are European), this may also means innovation will happen in the courts (lawyers’ strategies with patent trolls) rather than in the laboratories. Patent monopolies that are granted for the sake of being granted (artificially elevating some measure of EPO ‘output’) rather than to promote innovation can retard human progress as a whole.

Patents Roundup: Bad Quality (USPTO), Bad Analysis (India), Bad Microsoft, Bad Actors (Trolls), Bad Scope (Software Patents), and the Ugly

Sunday 26th of June 2016 08:36:47 PM

Learning from bad aspects or what has gone awry in the patent world

Summary: A mishmash of news about patents, mostly regarding the United States, and what can be deduced from that at the moment

THIS coming week promises to be rather big and historic, at the very least in Europe. It’s not just because of Brexit and its impact on the UPC but also because of the Administrative Council’s meeting. Big news is definitely afoot. In order to get some less important news out of the way in preparation for tomorrow (I’m getting back home after 3 days’ holiday), below are bits and pieces of relevance. It’s all from outside Europe.

“With patent ‘quality’ like this, why even pretend that the USPTO does legitimate quality (or novelty) assessment?”

USPTO’s Neglect of Patent Quality a Bursting Bubble

IAM, which is preaching under the guise of 'journalism', actually bemoans not the quality of USPTO patents being terrible and truly worth of cleanup by PTAB. Instead, it keeps moaning about the ‘worth’ of patents, as if not quality control is the problem but lenience of courts etc. “Judge Newman alone again as she warns of devastating loss of public confidence in US patent system” is the latest headline. IAM being IAM, it’s amusing to see how shallow the agenda is to see.

“It sure looks like pride is harder to derive these days from USPTO employment.”For details about the low quality of today’s USPTO patents, see the new article titled “General Mills Granted A Design Patent On A Tortilla Bowl Because Why Even Pretend Anymore?”

To quote the opening part alone: “While we’ve talked in the past about how absurd design patents can get, it’s worth pointing out that, hey, shit’s not getting any less absurd, people. Design patents, as opposed to utility patents, function more like trademarks. The idea is that the “invention” in the case of design patents are supposed to be unique outputs of what might otherwise not be unique inventions that are then said to act as some sort of single-source invented thing. Honestly, the whole concept smells of a workaround on the actual purpose of patent law and it tends to function that way as well. How else do you explain the design patent granted on a toothpick with some lines carved into it, for instance? Or Apple’s design patent on the animation of turning a page within an ebook? Rewarding exclusivity to these types of “inventions” that barely work up the sweat of an “inventor” should seem absurd to you, as should the frequency with which the public is left wondering where exactly the “invention” is in any of this.”

“Patent lawyers everywhere have been trying to spread software patents to just about everywhere on the planet, irrespective of what software developers are saying.”With patent ‘quality’ like this, why even pretend that the USPTO does legitimate quality (or novelty) assessment? We were recently contracted in relation to someone who works for the USPTO and does not wish to be described as such. It sure looks like pride is harder to derive these days from USPTO employment. Today’s USPTO is not what it used to be; rubber-stamping millions of patent applications for large corporations whose managers become USPTO Directors isn’t so scientific anymore.

Trying to Push Software Patents Into India

Patent lawyers everywhere have been trying to spread software patents to just about everywhere on the planet, irrespective of what software developers are saying. Last week, for example, Germany’s Bastian Best asked: “Targeted advertising is patentable in India if a piece of hardware is claimed?” Software patents are not legal in India, but Kenneth Saldanha, one of those hoping to change that, wrote:

A Software Patent in India is a tricky issue. First of all, let us understand what a Patent is. A patent is essentially a set of rights granted to a person in respect of something new (an invention) created by him. This ‘something new’, under the Indian law i.e. the Patents Act, 1970 is called an ‘invention’ and includes a software as well.

No, not really. India’s Patents Act excludes that and those hoping to change that are the same people who say software patents are possible and legal in Europe (or Germany, which is consistently more lenient on the matter). Even Battistelli’s EPO cannot change that, not without the UPC or some other new loophole.

Microsoft Bought a Patents Dud and Engages in Trolling (Through “Microsoft Tech Licensing”)

“Put another way, Microsoft acts like a patent troll (Microsoft Tech Licensing is technically a patent troll).”“At a glance,” IP Watch wrote some days ago, “Microsoft’s portfolio of US patents currently stands at approximately 50,000, compared to LinkedIn’s US patent portfolio of 1,085. Microsoft is well known for asserting its patent rights and has even created a licensing entity Microsoft Tech Licensing Ltd.”

Put another way, Microsoft acts like a patent troll (Microsoft Tech Licensing is technically a patent troll). We wrote over a thousand posts on this subject alone.

Even Microsoft-connected sites have already explained why “Microsoft’s LinkedIn Acquisition Is a Bad Move”. Compare that to other failing companies (LinkedIn had gotten into serious issues before Microsoft placed a bid) that actually have a lot of patents. As IAM put it the other day: “In terms of IP value creation Blackberry is one operating company worth keeping a close eye on. The Canadian tech giant has a huge portfolio of assets – around 38,000 – and has a brand with global cachet; but it is slowly withering in its legacy handset market and is transitioning away from manufacturing devices.”

“Will software patents ever make a comeback in the US? We sure hope not.”We previously wrote explanatory posts on how BlackBerry (or RIM) was becoming a patent troll. Thankfully, many of their patents would no longer be valid or possible to uphold in a court of law. Not in the US and not even in Canada (home country). See the paper “Patents and the Wealth of Nations” by Stephen Haber from Stanford University, published almost 2 months ago.

The Fight Against Patent Trolls Continues

“There are even uglier aspects inside law firms which focus on/pertain to patents and their clients.”Writing about the pro-patent trolls Halo decision, a comment from someone called Mike at IP Kat says that “influential Senator Orrin Hatch has filed an amendment to a funding bill criticizing the Supreme Court’s decision in Halo. Basically, it states that Congress considered the Seagate test and did not act to change it, thus Congress’ intent is for the Seagate test to govern.”

Destruction of Software Patents Continues

Remember some old news about CAFC ruling against software patents, in this case a “patent infringement claim filed by software company Rosebud.” There have been so many such cases since, including a lot from the court that initially authorised software patents in the US. Will software patents ever make a comeback in the US? We sure hope not.

The Ugly Side of Patent Practice

A few days ago Patently-O wrote about “Sexism in Patent Practice”, taking note of what’s characterised as “stories of appalling sexism. Each had been taken as the assistant for the actual lawyer. Each had been called things like “missy” and the like. And each had experienced this at high levels of practice, in recent years, not at some point long ago.”

“That’s where particular patents (or patent holders) do not just have ethical issues but also criminal/forensic issues.”There are even uglier aspects inside law firms which focus on/pertain to patents and their clients. “Commission finally targets Patent Boxes as tools of fiscal evasion,” Benjamin Henrion wrote, “not sure they cover EU2EU transfers” (reference in europa.eu). Prior to it, Francisco Moreno wrote about this as well, but in Spanish (“Exit taxation en paquete anti-evasión de la Comisión:si sacas patentes fuera de la UE pagarás en función de su valor”), his native language.

This serious subject was covered here before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. That’s where particular patents (or patent holders) do not just have ethical issues but also criminal/forensic issues.

Links 26/6/2016: IceCat 38.8.0, Wine 1.9.13

Sunday 26th of June 2016 07:00:37 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Q&A with Tracy Hinds: Improving Education and Diversity at Node.js

    To increase developer support and diversity in the Node.js open source community, the Node.js Foundation earlier this year brought in Tracy Hinds to be its Education Community Manager. She is charged with creating a certification program for Node.js, increasing diversity, and improving project documentation, among other things.

  • Startup Snyk Aims to Lockdown Open Source Code in Real Time

    Eight months ago, without a lot of fanfare, a startup company called Snyk, with roots in London and Israel, started talking about its unique focus on helping developers keep open source code secure. Specifically, Snyk monitors vulnerabilities and dependencies in open source code and integrates securing open source into common developer workflows. The bottom line is that code vulnerabilities get checked in real-time, rather than getting focused on during official audits.

    Now, Snyk is coming out of beta with its tools, and releasing some metrics on how successful it has been at finding probems and patching them.

  • Best Open Source Software for Windows 10
  • Open Source Replacements for Windows XP
  • Open Source Business Intelligence Software [Ed: rather old]
  • Open Source Software: Top Sites
  • A DevOps dashboard for all: Capital One’s Hygieia project offers powerful open source resource

    When do you know a technology or process has reached the peak of its hype cycle and crossed over to the mainstream? When there’s an executive dashboard to track key performance indicators.

    US-based financial services company Capital One birthed an open source project that provides a dashboard for DevOps projects. The project, called Hygieia, is notable for several reasons.

  • EU Researchers Are Making a Tool That Fact-Checks Tweets

    Back when people were still using the term “Web 2.0,” everyone was excited about Twitter‘s impact on journalism. After all, anyone could use it. Maybe it could crowd-source journalism starting from the exact moment a newsworthy event happened across the globe!

  • A team of researchers from 7 countries is building an open-source tool to help verify claims on Twitter

    Social media newsgathering and verification are no longer novel practices in the newsroom. But even if publishers now have a person or a team of reporters tasked with monitoring conversations on these platforms and verifying their accuracy, there have still been instances of fake rumours or misrepresented facts spreading online when news breaks.

    A team of researchers, developers and journalists is hoping to solve this through the EU-funded project Pheme, an open-source dashboard they are currently building to help newsrooms detect, track and verify facts and claims the moment they start spreading on Twitter.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • Open Source NFV Part Four: Open Source MANO

      Defined in ETSI ISG NFV architecture, MANO (Management and Network Orchestration) is a layer — a combination of multiple functional entities — that manages and orchestrates the cloud infrastructure, resources and services. It is comprised of, mainly, three different entities — NFV Orchestrator, VNF Manager and Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM). The figure below highlights the MANO part of the ETSI NFV architecture.

    • After the hype: Where containers make sense for IT organizations

      Container software and its related technologies are on fire, winning the hearts and minds of thousands of developers and catching the attention of hundreds of enterprises, as evidenced by the huge number of attendees at this week’s DockerCon 2016 event.

      The big tech companies are going all in. Google, IBM, Microsoft and many others were out in full force at DockerCon, scrambling to demonstrate how they’re investing in and supporting containers. Recent surveys indicate that container adoption is surging, with legions of users reporting they’re ready to take the next step and move from testing to production. Such is the popularity of containers that SiliconANGLE founder and theCUBE host John Furrier was prompted to proclaim that, thanks to containers, “DevOps is now mainstream.” That will change the game for those who invest in containers while causing “a world of hurt” for those who have yet to adapt, Furrier said.

    • Is Apstra SDN? Same idea, different angle

      The company’s product, called Apstra Operating System (AOS), takes policies based on the enterprise’s intent and automatically translates them into settings on network devices from multiple vendors. When the IT department wants to add a new component to the data center, AOS is designed to figure out what needed changes would flow from that addition and carry them out.

      The distributed OS is vendor-agnostic. It will work with devices from Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Juniper Networks, Cumulus Networks, the Open Compute Project and others.

    • MapR Launches New Partner Program for Open Source Data Analytics

      Converged data vendor MapR has launched a new global partner program for resellers and distributors to leverage the company’s integrated data storage, processing and analytics platform.

    • A Seamless Monitoring System for Apache Mesos Clusters
    • All Marathons Need a Runner. Introducing Pheidippides

      Activision Publishing, a computer games publisher, uses a Mesos-based platform to manage vast quantities of data collected from players to automate much of the gameplay behavior. To address a critical configuration management problem, James Humphrey and John Dennison built a rather elegant solution that puts all configurations in a single place, and named it Pheidippides.

    • New Tools and Techniques for Managing and Monitoring Mesos

      The platform includes a large number of tools including Logstash, Elasticsearch, InfluxDB, and Kibana.

    • BlueData Can Run Hadoop on AWS, Leave Data on Premises

      We’ve been watching the Big Data space pick up momentum this year, and Big Data as a Service is one of the most interesting new branches of this trend to follow. In a new development in this space, BlueData, provider of a leading Big-Data-as-a-Service software platform, has announced that the enterprise edition of its BlueData EPIC software will run on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other public clouds.

      Essentially, users can now run their cloud and computing applications and services in an Amazon Web Services (AWS) instance while keeping data on-premises, which is required for some companies in the European Union.

  • CMS
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • FreeBSD 11 Alpha 1 — New Features Coming To This Open Source OS

      For those unfamiliar with FreeBSD, it is considered one of the few operating systems left to be true UNIX. It is a direct descendant of the BELL/AT&T labs UNIX. Much of the software available for Linux is also available for FreeBSD as well, including Gnome and KDE desktop environments and much more user and server software. Despite the amount of software available, it is often thought of as an obscure system with a rather small software library. This is simply

    • FreeBSD 11.0 Alpha 5 Released, Schedule So Far Going On Track

      The fifth alpha release of the huge FreeBSD 11.0 operating system update is now available for testing.

      FreeBSD 11.0 is bringing updated KMS drivers, Linux binary compatibility layer improvements, UEFI improvements, Bhyve virtualization improvements, and a wide range of other enhancements outlined via the in-progress release notes.

    • DragonFly’s HAMMER2 File-System Sees Some Improvements

      The HAMMER2 file-system is going on four years in development by the DragonFlyBSD crew, namely by its founder Matthew Dillon. It’s still maturing and taking longer than anticipated, but this is yet another open-source file-system.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Public Services/Government
    • North American Cities Are Slow To Adopt Open Source Software

      Government IT departments are often one of the last places that politicians or the general public look to when trying to squeeze more out of the limited public purse. This is not likely intentional. Elected officials and their constituents understand when roads and bridges are in need of repair. But the IT department is often just seen as a bunch of people in a far off building who make desktops work so that employees at the municipality can get their work done.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • In-demand dev skills, understanding licensing, and more open source news
    • Open Access/Content
      • Higher ed systems expanding access to open-source materials

        Open-source learning technology is at the core of higher education for institutions that want to reach broader audiences with very strict ideas about how convenient learning should be. But developing these initiatives does not happen quickly or easily. It requires strong leadership in information technology, expertise to determine which solutions work best for a campus, and a financial commitment to making sure the technology is sustainable.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Proxmark Pro Proxmark3 Standalone Open Source RFID Tester (video)

        Rysc Corp has unveiled a new open source board in the form of the Proxmark Pro which now offers a true standalone client and RFID test instrument, check out the video below to learn more.

        The Proxmark Pro will feature an FPGA with 5 times the logic cells of the Proxmark3 and will remove the need to switch between HF and LF bit streams during operation, to use developers.

  • Programming/Development
    • Python gains functional programming syntax via Coconut

      Many Python fans have longed for the language to adopt functional programming features. Now they can get those features without having to switch to a new Python implementation.

      Coconut, a newly developed open source dialect of Python, provides new syntax for using features found in functional languages like Haskell and Scala. Programs written in Coconut compile directly to vanilla Python, so they can be run on whatever Python interpreter is already in use.

    • ECMAScript 2016: New Version of the JavaScript Language Released

      Ecma International, the organization in charge of managing the ECMASCript standard, has published the most recent version of the JavaScript language.

      ECMAScript 2016, or JavaScript 2016, is the first release in the organization’s new release schedule that it announced in 2015, when it promised to provide yearly updates to the JS standard instead of updates years apart.

    • PowerNex: A Kernel Written In The D Programming Language
    • ErupteD Brings Vulkan To The D Programming Language

      The D programming language is just the latest to have support for Vulkan alongside C++, Rust (via Vulkano, if you missed that project), Go, and many other modern languages getting bindings for this Khronos Group high performance graphics API. Should you not be familiar with the D language, see Wikipedia.

Leftovers
  • Printing At Night

    I haven’t touched a Mac in over a decade but one came to my home yesterday in the hands of a visitor. A party was being planned and a document was produced on the Mac. It should have been simple to print over my LAN. I allow all comers. Somehow, it didn’t work. The printer was seen but no driver could be found and there was the “locked” icon beside it. The last time I was in a school that used Mac OS (Pre UNIXy version) printing kept failing to a bog standard HP Laserjet printer so the Macs e-mailed a Mac which had been liberated by me to GNU/Linux. A tech arrived eventually and made the Macs print again but within an hour of his departure printing failed again. Besides connectivity, the Macs butchered every file with a MacOS header of some kind which I had to strip off… MacOS/X is apparently much more sane.

  • Meanwhile, In An Alternate Universe, M$ Defines Reality

    The slaves of Microsoft accept that upgrading a motherboard is “essentially building a new PC”.

  • Health/Nutrition
  • Security
    • Linux Kernel 4.6.3 Has Multiple Networking Improvements, Better SPARC Support

      Today, June 24, 2016, renowned Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced the general availability of the third maintenance release for the Linux 4.6 kernel series.

      Linux kernel 4.6.3 is here two weeks after the release of the second maintenance update in the series, Linux kernel 4.6.2, to change a total of 88 files, with 1302 insertions and 967 deletions. Unfortunately, very few GNU/Linux distributions have adopted the Linux 4.6 series, despite the fact that Greg Kroah-Hartman urged everyone to move to this most advanced kernel branch as soon as possible from Linux 4.5, which reached end of life.

    • Teardrop Attack: What Is It And How Does It Work?

      In Teardrop Attack, fragmented packets that are sent in the to the target machine, are buggy in nature and the victim’s machine is unable to reassemble those packets due to the bug in the TCP/IP fragmentation.

    • Updating code can mean fewer security headaches

      Organizations with high rates of code deployments spend half as much time fixing security issues as organizations without such frequent code updates, according to a newly released study.

      In its latest annual state-of-the-developer report, Devops software provider Puppet found that by better integrating security objectives into daily work, teams in “high-performing organizations” build more secure systems. The report, which surveyed 4,600 technical professionals worldwide, defines high IT performers as offering on-demand, multiple code deploys per day, with lead times for changes of less than one hour. Puppet has been publishing its annual report for five years.

    • Over half of world’s top domains weak against email spoofing

      Over half of the world’s most popular online services have misconfigured servers which could place users at risk from spoof emails, researchers have warned.

      According to Swedish cybersecurity firm Detectify, poor authentication processes and configuration settings in servers belonging to hundreds of major online domains are could put users at risk of legitimate-looking phishing campaigns and fraudulent emails.

    • Friday’s security updates
    • A couple of unpleasant local kernel vulnerabilities

      As part of a kernel fuzzing project by myself and my colleague Tim Newsham, we are disclosing two vulnerabilities which have been assigned CVEs. Full details of the fuzzing project (with analysis of the vulnerabilities) will be released next week.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Emails Show Hillary Clinton’s Email Server Was A Massive Security Headache, Set Up To Route Around FOIA Requests

      While trial-and-error is generally useful when solving connection problems, the implication is undeniable: to make Clinton’s private, insecure email server connect with the State Department’s, it had to — at least temporarily — lower itself to Clinton’s security level. The other workaround — USE A DAMN STATE DEPARTMENT EMAIL ADDRESS — was seriously discussed.

      This latest stack of emails also exposed other interesting things… like the fact that Clinton’s private email server was attacked multiple times in one day, resulting in staffers taking it offline in an attempt to prevent a breach.

    • Post Gag Order, Lavabit Founder Reveals Non-Secret That Feds Were After Ed Snowden’s Emails

      Want some unsurprising news? Apparently a three year gag order has just lapsed, allowing Ladar Levison, the founder and former operator of Lavabit, the secure email service Ed Snowden famously used, to finally say that yes, the feds asked him to turn over his encryption key in order to access Ed Snowden’s emails.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Democrats Ignore Urgency Of Climate Crisis, Vote Against Adding Fracking Ban To Platform

      Democrats appointed to the Democratic Party’s Platform Committee by Hillary Clinton and the party’s chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, defeated a ban on fracking on June 24.

      Former U.S. Representative Howard Berman, American Federation of State, County, and Muncipal Employees executive assistant to the president, Paul Booth, former White House Energy and Climate Change Policy director Carol Browner, Ohio State Representative Alicia Reece, former State Department official Wendy Sherman, and Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden all raised their hands to prevent a moratorium from becoming a part of the platform.

      Those who voted against the ban were met with a cry of, “Shame on you! Shame on you!” from the audience.

  • Finance
    • European Parliament to Britain: Don’t let the door hit you as you Leave

      The leaders of three of the European Parliament’s largest groups have called for exit talks with Britain to begin immediately, and Members of Parliament are likely to vote on a resolution on the matter at a voting session on Tuesday, sources told POLITICO.

    • The British are frantically Googling what the E.U. is, hours after voting to leave it

      The whole world is reeling after a milestone referendum in Britain to leave the European Union. And although leaders of the campaign to exit Europe are crowing over their victory, it seems many Britons may not even know what they had actually voted for.

      Awakening to a stock market plunge and a precipitous decline in the value of the pound that Britain hasn’t seen in more than 30 years, voters now face a series of economic shocks that analysts say will only worsen before they improve. The consequences of the leave vote will be felt worldwide, even here in the United States, and some British voters say they now regret casting a ballot in favor of Brexit.

    • British Lose Right to Claim That Americans Are Dumber

      Across the United Kingdom on Friday, Britons mourned their long-cherished right to claim that Americans were significantly dumber than they are.

      Luxuriating in the superiority of their intellect over Americans’ has long been a favorite pastime in Britain, surpassing in popularity such games as cricket, darts, and snooker.

    • Brexit could be Scotland’s ticket into the EU as an independent state

      In times like these, political journalists like me tend to reach for the collected works of WB Yeats. “All changed, changed utterly,” he wrote after Ireland’s Easter rebellion, and those words could not be more appropriate as a description of Scottish politics in the wake of yesterday’s Brexit vote. The Yeats poem captured a decisive moment that altered everything in its wake; for Scotland that moment was the 2014 independence referendum.

    • Blimey, it is Brexit!

      A striking victory for what I dubbed ‘Maggyism’ has taken place. It seeks the “liberation” of Europe from a ‘super-state’, not isolation. It might even succeed, this being a time of surprise, as the EU is struggling with a dysfunctional currency and has other electorates already enflamed by its rigid policies and lack of democracy. In England for sure, under the banner of Maggyism’s alluring yet chilling command to ‘take back control’, a new form of populist Toryism will be tested. The challenge for the left across England will go deep and it will have to discard its attachment to the ruins of Labourism if it is to recover.

    • Oil prices plunge 5 percent as Britain votes to leave EU

      Oil prices settled 5 percent lower on Friday after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union spurred massive risk aversion and a rally in safe havens like the U.S. dollar that threatened to cut short a three-month-long recovery in global oil markets.

      Financial markets have been worried for months about what a British exit from the European Union, dubbed widely as ‘Brexit,’ would mean for Europe’s future, but were clearly not fully factoring in the risk of a ‘leave’ vote.

    • Five legal points about the Leave victory
    • Reality Check: ‘Do I need a new passport?’ and other Brexit questions

      A Reality Check reader gets in touch to ask about what happens to his Italian wife. “My wife has lived and worked in the UK for 15 years having come over from Sardinia, Italy. We got married in March of this year.”

      It seems unlikely that your wife will be forced to return to Italy – nobody has suggested there will be deportations of people already living and working in the UK.

      If there were to be problems, she may be eligible to apply for British citizenship as she is married to a British citizen and has been in the country for more than three years.

    • DisUnited Kingdom

      This is a man-made disaster. The EU is a mess but it is fixable. Breaking up the UK will be a bigger mess and it isn’t fixable.

    • Brexit won the vote, but for now we remain in the EU

      The most significant announcement David Cameron made this morning was not that he plans to resign in October. It was that he will not be triggering article 50 of the Lisbon treaty in the meantime. When to “start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU” would be a matter for the new prime minister, he said.

    • Petition for London independence signed by thousands after Brexit vote

      A petition calling for Sadiq Khan to declare London an independent state after the UK voted to quit the EU has been signed by thousands of people.

      The petition’s organiser James O’Malley, said the capital was “a world city” which should “remain at the heart of Europe”.

      Nearly 60% of people in the capital backed the Remain campaign, in stark contrast to most of the country.

    • Post-Brexit – The What Now?

      Out of 46,500,001 electorate 17,410,742 voted to leave, which is a mere 37.4% or just over a third.

    • To mitigate poverty, Y Combinator set to launch minimum income plan

      Earlier this month, Y Combinator, the famed Silicon Valley incubator dropped a bombshell: it had selected this city to be the home of its new “Basic Income” pilot project, to start later this year.

      The idea is pretty simple. Give some people a small amount of money per month, no strings attached, for a year, and see what happens. With any luck, people will use it to lift themselves out of poverty.

      In this case, as Matt Krisiloff of Y Combinator Research (YCR) told Ars, that means spending about $1.5 million over the course of a year to study the distribution of “$1,500 or $2,000″ per month to “30 to 50″ people. There will also be a similar-sized control group that gets nothing. The project is set to start before the end of 2016.

    • America’s national priorities: Police thuggery, broken schools, and the ‘wages of whiteness’

      A budget is a statement of priorities and values. In a political community, a budget also prioritizes the interests of some individuals and groups over those of others.

      For example, the city of Chicago has spent more than $ 500 million since 2014 in literal blood money for the victims of police brutality. Collectively, the 10 largest American cities have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars to settle police misconduct cases during the same time period.

      These sums of money are the macro-level reflections of individual tragedies and needless deaths that include names such as Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Laquan McDonald, and Rekia Boyd.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Republican delegate sues to avoid voting for Donald Trump at convention

      One of Virginia’s delegates to the Republican National Convention has filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to avoid voting for presumptive nominee Donald Trump at the party convention next month.

      The delegate, Carroll Correll Jr of Winchester, Virginia, argued in the suit that being forced to vote against his conscience was a violation of his constitutional rights.

    • Osborne Told LBC Last Week He Had No Plan For Brexit

      The Chancellor told LBC earlier this week that he has no plan for the UK economy should the nation vote to leave the European Union.

      He said: “Britain does not have a plan for Brexit. It’s not for me to come up with [Leave's] plan.

      “It wouldn’t just be when we left in two years time that the economic hit would come,” said Osborne. “It would start to come this coming Friday.

      “That’s when the uncertainty would start.”

      Iain says that means he shouldn’t stay in his job.

      Speaking on Britain Decides, LBC’s results show, Iain said: “As far as I’m concerned – and I like the man and have a lot of respect for him – but his credibility has to be shot after this.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • New Service Sends Summaries of Your Social Media to Landlords, Employers to ‘Assess’ You

      Here’s a shout out to all of you who said “If I’ve got nothing to hide I’ve got nothing to fear” after the Snowden revelations. And this little gem deals only with publicly available information about you. Imagine what it’s like when it gets into the good stuff you think is private.

      An Orwellian startup called Tenant Assured will to take a deep dive into your social media, including chats, check-ins, how many times you’ve posted words like pregnant, wasted, busted, no money, broke, moving back in with the parents, weed, or loan, and deliver to potential landlords and employers a “personality score.”

    • Judge Says FBI Can Hack Computers Without A Warrant Because Computer Users Get Hacked All The Time

      The FBI’s use of a Network Investigative Technique (NIT) to obtain info from the computers of visitors to a seized child porn site has run into all sorts of problems. The biggest problem in most of the cases is that the use of a single warrant issued in Virginia to perform searches of computers all over the nation violated the jurisdictional limits set down by Rule 41(b). Not coincidentally, the FBI is hoping the changes to Rule 41 the DOJ submitted last year will be codified by the end of 2016, in large part because it removes the stipulation that limits searches to the area overseen by the magistrate judge signing the warrant.

      For defendant Edward Matish, the limits of Rule 41 don’t apply. He resides in the jurisdiction where the warrant was signed. He had challenged the veracity of the data obtained by the NIT, pushing the theory that the FBI’s unexamined NIT was insecure (data obtained from targets was sent back to the FBI in unencrypted form) and info could have been altered in transit.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • OECD Ministerial On Internet Wraps Up: Openness A Concern

      The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) should not wait 8 or 10 years before its next Internet Ministerial, said OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria at the closing session in Cancun Mexico yesterday. Gurria called for a faster pace for government and regulators to adapt to the digital markets. Better data on the data economy will help, as reflected in the new Cancun Declaration.

    • Tell Europe’s regulators: Net neutrality isn’t just for the US and India!

      Net neutrality exists when Internet service providers (ISPs) must allow equal access to everything on the Web, rather than favoring some sites over others. It’s a bedrock condition for Internet freedom, but ISPs generally oppose it because it prevents them from charging companies extra for privileged access to the network — making a video from one Web site load faster than video on other sites, for example.

  • DRM
    • Oculus reverses course, dumps its VR headset-checking DRM

      The Oculus team has reversed course on one of its most unpopular decisions since launching the Rift VR headset in April: headset-specific DRM. After weeks of playing cat-and-mouse to block the “Revive” workaround that translated the VR calls of Oculus games to work smoothly and seamlessly inside of the rival HTC Vive, Oculus quietly updated its hardware-specific runtime on Friday and removed all traces of that controversial DRM.

    • Oculus Reverses DRM Course After Public Backlash

      Weeks back, Karl Bode wrote about the curious position Oculus Rift had taken in updating its software to include system-checking DRM. VR headset technology and game development, experiencing the first serious attempt at maturity in years, needs an open ecosystem in which to develop. What this DRM essentially did was remove the ability for games designed to run on the Rift from running on any other VR headset, with a specific targeting of community-built workarounds like Revive, which allowed HTC Vive owners to get Rift games running on that headset. Oculus, it should be noted, didn’t announce the DRM aspect of the update; it just spit out the update and the public suddenly learned that programs like Revive no longer worked.

      The backlash, to put it mildly, was swift and severe. Oculus having been acquired by Facebook likely didn’t help what were already negative perceptions, supercharging the outcry with allegations of the kind of protectionism and the lack of care for the public that Facebook has enjoyed for roughly ever. Still, many saw the whole thing as peons screaming at a feudal lord: Oculus would simply ignore the whole thing. Just weeks ago, in fact, Oculus was working journalists at E3 in defense of the DRM.

    • Sony agrees to pay millions for removing Linux support from the PlayStation 3
    • Sony settles with PS3 owners over Linux lawsuit
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Sequencing the future of IP in genomics [Ed: Bristows cannot see the issue with patents on genomics yet?]

      Genomic technology has rapidly created a multi-billion dollar growth industry. With life sciences companies scrambling in US and European courts for a share of the lucrative market, in-house IP counsel should start preparing for the next wave of IP litigation, explain Dominic Adair and Annsley Merelle Ward

    • Key amendments to Russian patent legislation

      Federal Law No 35-FZ of March 12 2014 introduced several substantial amendments into Part IV of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation which regulates intellectual property. Some of the amendments came into force on October 1 2014, and others did so on January 1 2015. We provide a review of the key amendments that involve patents.

    • Trademarks
      • Dweezil Zappa Renames His Tour Again: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever The F@%k He Wants; The Cease & Desist Tour

        Oh boy. A few weeks back, we wrote about the absolutely ridiculous story in which the four children of Frank Zappa appear to be fighting over the Zappa name. The story is somewhat complex and involved and is actually somewhat more nuanced than the unfortunately-all-too-typical “heirs of famous artist fight over splitting up the proceeds of that artist’s legacy.” In that original article, we noted that the dispute seemed to focus on two specific claims: first that the Zappa Family Trust (run by Ahmet and Diva, but to which all four children are beneficiaries) had a trademark on the tour name “Zappa Plays Zappa,” under which Dweezil Zappa had toured for years. After some fairly public back and forth online, it became clear that there was an underlying dispute that had simmered for years here: Frank’s wife Gail, who had controlled the ZFT, had trademarked Zappa Plays Zappa and charged Dweezil to use it, but had (according to Dweezil) then reneged on an agreement to share the proceeds from
        merchandise sales. Ahmet insisted that he’d allow Dweezil to continue to use the name for just $1, but it didn’t seem that there was any interest in clearing up the older dispute about merch sales, or to allow Dweezil to get some of the proceeds from ongoing merch sales.

      • Is it safe to bring abandoned brands back to life?

        What trade mark issues arise with the resurrection of zombie brands? Carrie Bradley and Tony Dylan-Hyde examine the position in Europe and the United States

      • Super Slimey: Comodo Tries To Trademark ‘Let’s Encrypt’ [Updated]

        Almost two years ago, we excitedly wrote about the announcement behind Let’s Encrypt, a free certificate authority that was focused on dramatically lowering the hurdles towards protecting much more of the internet with HTTPS encrypted connections. It took a while to launch, but it finally did and people have been gobbling up those certificates at a rapid rate and getting more and more of the web encrypted. This is a good thing.

        [...]

        Update: And… of course, after this goes public, Comodo suddenly backs down. Of course that doesn’t explain why it refused to do so when asked months ago.

    • Copyrights
      • A Bug in Chrome Makes It Easy to Pirate Movies

        For years Hollywood has waged a war on piracy, using digital rights management technologies to fight bootleggers who illegally copy movies and distribute them. For just as long, hackers have found ways to bypass these protections. Now two security researchers have found a new way, using a vulnerability in the system Google uses to stream media through its Chrome browser. They say people could exploit the flaw to save illegal copies of movies they stream on Chrome using sites like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

      • As CBS/Paramount Continue Lawsuit Over Fan Film, It Releases Ridiculous & Impossible ‘Fan Film Guidelines’

        We’ve been covering the still going lawsuit by CBS and Paramount against Axanar Productions for making a crowdfunded fan film that they claim is infringing because it’s looking pretty good. Things got a little weird last month when the producer of the latest Star Trek film, JJ Abrams, and its director, Justin Lin, basically leaked a bit of news saying that after they had gone to Paramount, the studio was going to end the lawsuit. At the time, Paramount said that it was in “settlement discussions” and that it was “also working on a set of fan film guidelines.”

        We pointed out that we were concerned about what those guidelines might entail, and worried that they would undermine fair use. In the meantime, as settlement talks continued, the case moved forward. I’m still a little surprised that the two sides didn’t ask the court for more time to continue settlement talks, as that’s not that uncommon, and it’s something that a judge often is willing to grant if it looks like the two sides in a dispute can come to an agreement. But, without that, the case has continued to move forward with ongoing filings from each side.

With UPC Dead for Battistelli’s Entire Remaining Term, No Reason for the EPO or the Administrative Council to Keep Battistelli Around

Saturday 25th of June 2016 05:40:24 AM

SUEPO, the staff union of the EPO, will prevail, unlike Battistelli

Summary: Thoughts about what happens to the EPO’s leadership after ‘Brexit’ (British exit from the EU), which severely undermines Battistelli’s biggest project that he habitually used to justify his incredible abuses

THE EPO management’s sheer abuses served to discredit the European Union as a whole, as we noted here many times before. Despite not being an EU body, as Europe’s second-largest intergovernmental entity it was seen by many as symptomatic of a failure to respect the rule of law, honour democracy etc. This was the legacy of Battistelli. In many ways, Battistelli caused more damage to the European Union than anyone else in Europe so far this year and last year.

This post is an outline of recent news regarding the UPC and the EPO. There is a lot to be said and many sites already speak about it. Even insiders at the EPO speak about it. “Earthquake in EU,” one person labeled it, in relation to the “decision of the UK citizens to BR-EXIT!”

To quote the core argument:

As you have most certainly heard, the UK referendum has turned out in favour of the BREXIT yesterday. The decision has had the effect of a bombshell – Cameron has announced his resignation for October- and if it can be a measure of it, the markets which are reacting in freefall worldwide.

At this stage nobody can foresee the effects on EU economy nor politics. But the same can be said about the impact on the European Patent System. Clearly the Unitary Patent set-up – and the future of its UP-Court which was meant to be in London – is shaken at its root and it is remains to be seen if it can go forward despite yesterday’s [or 2 days ago] event.

In the mean-time, The UK remains a full member of the EPC: it is simply joining the select club of the major IP countries not belonging to the EU, such as Switzerland… However, in the context of such a political earthquake, it is doubtful that our supervisory body – not renowned for finding simple solution to simple problems – will be able to go beyond the state of stunned confusion and focus on the major problems at hand in the EPO. let alone find solutions.

As a recap for our readers, as part of the planned transition to the UPC system, Battistelli has been crushing appeal boards. Jonathan Radcliffe, who wrote about the latest twist in this plan a few days ago, has this article about it. This repeats the euphemisms of the EPO’s management and the headline says “European Patent Office to Make Pan-European Revocation Proceedings Faster, More Efficient as of July 1″ (i.e. a few days from now). Alternative headline: EPO crushes appeals process to lower quality of patents and give an illusion of success.

Battistelli’s war on the appeal boards, including threats against them (the leaked text clearly shows a threat issued to all of the members), is quite telling. In fact, the judgment has been covered by Kieren McCarthy in the British media. It happened just over 24 hours ago (1 AM). To quote some portions from “Nazi witch-hunt ends with fierce judgment”:

The judge in question was dismissed by the president for allegedly leaking documents that embarrassed Battistelli and EPO management and for making anonymous criticisms of them.

Battistelli set up an investigative unit – nicknamed “the Stasi” internally – to root out who was making the criticisms. It concluded that the judge was behind the leaking and he was suspended. The decision was then backed up by a disciplinary council.

When it came to removing the judge from the Boards of Appeal however, the independent body decided to look deeper into the issue, prompting an unusual series of events where the EPO’s Administrative Council lodged and then withdrew two successive complaints before finally settling on a third complaint in which its initial allegations were reduced from five to two.

[...]

This is simply the latest in a long series of complaints about Mr Battistelli’s behavior. Just this week, an anonymous group of staff wrote an open letter to the representatives of European countries asking them to fire him. Previously there had been a zero per cent vote of confidence in him.

The judgment also comes just before a meeting of the EPO’s Administrative Council, where it will consider what progress he has made on a previous request for him to improve conditions at the EPO.

So far, Battistelli has been able to persuade the Administrative Council to continue backing him and his proposed reforms, but with even the organization’s highest judicial body accusing him of overstepping his role and undermining the organization’s very functioning, it is hard to imagine how he will continue to retain support.

Looking at some early comments, people compare this to FIFA again. One person wrote: “Well… all this is making the popcorn sellers happy. I just feel like we’re watching a really, really bad movie being played out here and it’s not going to end well for someone. Anyway… like watching a train wreck… can’t not watch.”

Another person said: “I can’t figure out how this guy keeps his job. The Administrative Council continues to back him despite that fact he has borked things so badly that he needs bodyguards. Hard to explain I would have thought.”

“Just look at what’s going on at FIFA,” wrote another person, “someone gets some power helped by some others, and promises to give ‘em some advantages as long as he or she retains power…”

Battistelli — like Blatter — works under the pressure of other people who are powerful as well (recall the Michel Platini and Sarkozy twist), or so it sometimes seems. “Bundestag UPC ratification is fast-tracked,” Benjamin Henrion (FFII) noted the other day, “while it should have been handled with care” (or put on ice). It’s not suggestive of Bundestag loyalty for Team Battistelli; maybe they work for the same ‘bosses’ (oligarchs, large corporations, etc.) and a lot of the aforementioned abuses — like in FIFA — are means to an end. Other than the European public, a major casualty might be Battistelli himself. As one EPO insider put it:

Earthquake in the EPO: Decision of the EBoA… could it mean a BB-EXIT?

At the more modest scale of the European Patent Organisation, a bombshell also went off yesterday as the Enlarged board of Appeal published its decision on the DG3 disciplinary case. From some prior information gathered during the previous tumultuous Oral Proceeding, it became obvious that the President had found it necessary to send a long threatening letter to the EBoA.

While the Office has been as usual silent about that such news (nothing on Intranet as of now – total transparency, literally…), this information has spread like wildfire in the media and the blogs:

o IPKat: Enlarged Board publishes decision: EPO President violated judicial independence;
o Techrights: Benoît Battistelli Should Resign in Light of New Leak of Decision in His Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Judge (Updated) (the site may not be visible from within the EPO as it is blacklisted);
o Register: Nazi witch-hunt ends with fierce judgment – Boards of Appeal excoriates EPO president over threats

In general this decision will have a major impact on the future of the European Patent Organisation: by threatening the board, Mr Batistelli has “undermined the fundamental principle of judicial independence,” the board noted, adding: “All present members of the Enlarged Board find themselves threatened with disciplinary measures if they continue with these proceedings in the presence of the public, and seek to determine the facts of this case”.

The debate on the independence of Board of Appeals is now more than ever open: we, the Staff of the EPO, are looking forward reading how the Administrative Council will deal that critical topic in its discussion of the Reform proposal (CA/43/16) – and which has been abundantly been criticised by AMBA, the Association of the Members of the BoA.

Much more is at stake than the mere disciplinary case. One can hope that the supervisory ins tu on and the media will note how critical the situation is. Ideally, one could expect that Administrative Council even to act, for instance by taking seriously its own March resolution : the least would be to decide on concrete consequences for the President, Mr Battistelli and his team, who, through all its recent decisions made a mockery of the AC public claims.

The bottom line is, Battistelli needs to be sacked this month, unless he resigns first. In spite of everyone speaking about the UPC and Brexit yesterday, there was still a long discussion about this in IP Kat. One person wrote:

BB’s [Battistelli's] words usually implied that the creation of the Unitary Patent was justification for his actions, and seemed to be one of the reasons why the AC put up with him, beginning with his secret contract.

Now that the Brexit meteorite hit the planet, and the UP looks at least severely compromised, will the AC change course? And what will BB do? Hide in a corner and sit out the storm?

The trade, foreign, and justice ministers of the EU28/EPC38 will undoubtedly have more pressing priorities than to try to salvage this comparatively minor agreement… (If the text of treaty has to be ratified, then the ratification cycle will have to start all over again).

As one person put it: “Who is the first EPO President who violated the judicial independence of the Enlarged Board?”

On Battistelli, says another person, it’s him who “started his 1st term by a speech in the hague, where he declared himself to be a “convicted european”. We should have known back then! The brexit news this morning left me nauseous, but truly, how could I blame voters for not wanting to be part of that kind of Europe…” (not sure if this quote is real, maybe a result of poor English)

Regarding “he declared himself to be a “convicted european”” this one person said: “I do not really believe this. He enjoys diplomatic immunity. Securing a conviction would be next to impossible.”

Another person said: “The Protocol on Privileges and Immunities does provide for the Administrative Council waiving the President’s diplomatic immunity, but as the relationship between the President and the AC is akin to that of a dog who is being wagged by its tail, the prospects of his immunity being waived seem slim.”

Battistelli “continues to repeat… Investigation Unit is only a “Fact-finding” body, but is the IU that “decides”,” this one person noted and Battistelli’s abuses are now being mentioned even by EPLAW, i.e. patent lawyers. Battistelli, insisted one person, “was of the view that the EBoa had no authority to conduct their own fact-finding exercise.” As one person later noted, “it seems increasingly likely that some comments are being posted on IPKat on behalf of the EPO management.” Watch the merit (or lack thereof) of this claim.

No doubt there’s an urgent need to debate Battistelli’s latest abuse, but very soon thereafter came Brexit (the same night that the above document got leaked) and then everyone started speaking about the UPC.

Here is Managing IP (MIP) back to its UPC script and British patent lawyers “air[ing] concerns over departure from EU” (but it’s not lawyers we should worry for, it’s science and technology we should worry for). Also see “UK’s referendum—its implication on the Unitary Patent System” (the UPC is effectively dead for good or for 2+ years). Other new articles of interest are “Brexit vote should spur businesses to review their patent filing and commercialisation strategies, says expert”, “Brexit – What does it mean for trade mark portfolios, IP contracts and the UPC?” and “Drama of Brexit Decision Won’t Bring Clarity For IP Owners”. In relation to “Brexit: CIPA calls for calm”, bear in mind that CIPA has been somewhat of a think tank and propaganda mill for the UPC.

Mathieu Klos ‏from Juve: wrote “Düster o. strahlend? Die nächsten 6 Tage entscheiden über Zukunft des europä. Patentsystems: #Brexit + #UPC Strukturreform #EPOorg (29.6.)” which roughly translated into “Dire o. beam? The next 6 days decide the future of the European. Patent system: #Brexit+ #UPC structural reform #EPOorg(29.6.)” (there will be some more bombshells next week, based on what we privately learned).

The UPC propagandists are, as expected, very sad about Brexit (focus on the original article, not just the many comments), but not for reasons that matter for ordinary people. To them it’s just a potential loss of income. “Unified Patent Court came to fruition,” says the Bristows employee, reminding us that proponents of the UPC (not all patent lawyers) worry about Brexit the most. See this analysis from Appleyard Lees and from Bird & Bird (big pusher of the UPC). As Out Law put it, “Rights holders might need to re-register IP in the UK as a result of Brexit, says expert” (that’s the headline).

Lawyers’ firms explain (or self-market) the situation in articles such as “UK “Brexit” Leaves IP Community With Many Questions” “Impact of Brexit for Intellectual Property Rights” and “Brexit – law firm resources” (mostly a set of links from MIP, which persists with the UPC push in spite of the latest news).

There is no lack of coverage about the impact of Brexit, but we don’t want to focus on it because many unknowns remain and we prefer to focus on the EPO’s position. Remember the EPO’s connections to IAM and watch how its Editor in Chief sucks up to Battistelli some more. “What will change,” he wrote, “is the immediate future of the proposed Unified Patent Court and EU unitary patent regime. The UK’s ratification is a requirement before they can enter into force. That was scheduled for this summer, but is now not going to happen. That means until the UK has formally left the EU they will not proceed. So we are looking at a minimum two years delay, though I would bet on longer.”

So even pro-Battistelli circles admit that we are “looking at a minimum two years delay, though I would bet on longer.” It can be called off altogether, but they don’t wish to admit it. As such, there’s no purpose for Battistelli at the EPO anymore. He does far more harm than anyone. He should resign next week. To keep him in order to “get the job done” (the “job” being the UPC project) isn’t rational anymore.

As for the EPO itself, it now promotes a lie. Battistelli publishes a lie in the EPO’s Web site (warning: epo.org link). it says: “Concerning the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court, the Office expects that the UK and the participating Member States will find a solution as soon as possible which will allow a full implementation of these so-long awaited achievements…”

“The @EPOorg issues #Brexit statement,” IAM wrote. “Expects the UK and EU member states to find #UPC implementation solution. Hmm” (sounds like an expression of doubt). Even the minions of Battistelli seem rather doubtful as we suppose that the UPC will die like its predecessors (thrown in the ashtray of history).

“EU institutions are not mentioned in the statement,” wrote Francisco Moreno. “Are they irrelevant to find a solution or are they the problem?”

The UPC is just harder to believe in right now. As even MIP put it: “Fear that may be beyond even Margot F’s formidable skills.”

It seems, based on the time it took the EPO to issue the above statement, that it required a long time to prepare a single whitewashing paragraph, or a truth-dodging lie (or semi truth). “We have heard from the @EPOorg,” WIPR wrote beforehand, “which we understand is preparing a statement. #Brexit has implications for unitary patent and UPC. #EUref” (why did it take so long to prepare just one single paragraph?).

The “EPO says it expects UK and #EU member states will “find solution to allow long-awaited implementation” of UPC and unitary patent,” WIPR later noted. It published an article about it in a couple of its sites [1, 2]. We wish to remind readers that EPO management has historically lied to journalists, so this time too we must take everything it says with a grain of salt (the size of Russia).

Darren Smyth of IP Kat, writing on the subject, says: “Sir Robin Jacob thinks that UPC will likely not go ahead at all without UK if UK is to leave the EU”

“Sir Robin may well be right about that,” MIP replied.

“Jacob and other believers think they can patch the UPC to handle the UK case,” Henrion wrote. “We should be better prepared for another round.”

Jacob is actually part of the group that used self-fulfilling prophecies for the UPC, in order to induce defeatism among opposition. “The CJEU said explicitly that non-EU countries can’t participate,” one person (Steve Peers) noted, and Henrion responded with: “Froehlinger is already probably busy rewriting it.” A short while ago Peers said: “UPC can go ahead without the UK. Simply move one part of the court.”

Changing the rules again, for millionaires and billionaires (and patent trolls as a side-effect)?

On “Unitary Patent fast track,” Moreno wrote, “UPCA never enters into force. New enhanced cooperation w/o UK. Same 2 regulations + a third one for a court under the ECJ.”

As Henrion points out, “art6 and 8 were the art of Jacob and Cameron.”

It sure looks like Darren Smyth accepted my interpretation of the situation all along (that it’s plausible the UPC will just die) [1, 2] and one person wrote: “If this breaks the EPO, that would have been worth it.”

Actually, saving the EPO rather than breaking it is the goal. Removing people like Battistelli is the means. Florian Müller wrote: “Countries won’t leave the European Patent Organisation as easily as the EU because of less public debate, but it helps to at least stall UPC” (it can eliminate it as well).

The next few days will be interesting because of the meeting next week. In the words of an EPO insider:

Let’s face it: the Staff of the EPO, is ON ITS OWN!

Clearly concrete actions of the AC, such as suggested above, would solve many problems. But was yesterday’s “earthquake” enough? In the meanttime, that IS until something is done, the staff of the EPO has to face it: we are on our own. And I suppose the EPO will see more of the demonstration.

As you know, the next meeting of the Administrative Council will take place on 29 and 30 June. On the agenda, beyond the “independence” of the DG3, there are
four documents proposing further seriously flawed reforms:

o CA/15/16 on self-insurance for health-care costs
o CA/29/16 on post-service employment restrictions
o CA/52/16 ”standards of conduct” and investigations
o CA/53/16 concerns a review of the disciplinary procedures

A protest will coincide with this meeting next week. We hope it will be well attended. It needs to send out the message that Battistelli must go. UPC is no longer an excuse for keeping him.

Postscript: I’m away in York for the entire weekend, but will resume on Monday.

Links 24/6/2016: Xen Project 4.7, Cinnamon 3.0.6

Friday 24th of June 2016 11:59:45 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Coach of world 1500m champion arrested as part of EPO probe released but forfeits passport as investigation continues

      Somalian coach Jama Aden and two other detainees has been instructed to report to court once a month and have had their passports forfeited after being released by police as an investigation into the alleged doping of athletes continues in Spain.

      A Moroccan physiotherapist, who was also arrested as part of the initial operation on Monday (June 20), and Qatari 800 metres runner Musaeb Balla were placed under the same conditions by a judge.

      The operation had been carried out by police, in collaboration with the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (AEPSAD) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), at a hotel where the Somali coach was staying with his training group.

    • Nigel Farage: £350 million pledge to fund the NHS was ‘a mistake’

      Nigel Farage has admitted that it was a “mistake” to promise that £350million a week would be spent on the NHS if the UK backed a Brexit vote.

      Speaking just an hour after the Leave vote was confirmed the Ukip leader said the money could not be guaranteed and claimed he would never have made the promise in the first place.

    • EU referendum: Nigel Farage disowns Vote Leave ‘£350m for the NHS’ pledge hours after result

      Nigel Farage has disowned a pledge to spend £350 million of European Union cash on the NHS after Brexit.

      The Ukip leader was asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme whether he would guarantee that the money pledged for the health service during the campaign would now be spent on it.

    • Waukesha gets permission to draw water from Lake Michigan

      The governors of the eight U.S. states surrounding the Great Lakes, including Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, today in Chicago unanimously approved diverting Lake Michigan water to supply a Wisconsin community just outside the Great Lakes basin — but only with conditions, including that water withdrawn must be treated and returned to the basin.

      The controversial decision to allow Waukesha, Wis., access to Lake Michigan water marks the first test case of the Great Lakes Compact, an agreement ratified by the lake states in 2008 to protect the Great Lakes from large-scale water diversions out of the Great Lakes basin.

    • This US City’s Move to Divert Great Lakes Drinking Water Is Just the Beginning

      The drinking water of Waukesha, Wisconsin, is contaminated. On Tuesday, the suburban city won its 13-year-long-bid to divert water from the Great Lakes, by way of Lake Michigan, to appease its thirsty inhabitants. Environmentalists are worried the diversion will have a devastating impact on the lakes that so many people rely on—and critics say it could pave the way for similar requests.

      It’s just the beginning of what many worry will be growing fights over who has the right to clean drinking water from the Great Lakes.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Armed police at scene of Germany cinema shooting

      An armed man has reportedly been shot dead by police officers after storming a cinema complex in Viernheim, in Germany’s Hesse region. The man reportedly fired into the air as he entered the cinema and is said to have taken hostages, all of whom have escaped uninjured

    • Not the Chilcot Report

      It was an aggressive war on the basis of lies, for which people still die today, all over the world.

    • Colombia and Farc rebels sign historic ceasefire deal to end 50-year conflict

      Final peace deal will require approval in referendum but formal cessation of hostilities and Farc’s acceptance of disarmament are key steps toward resolution

    • Pakistan Mourns Sufi Singer Amjad Sabri After He Was Shot Dead in Karachi

      The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assassination

      Thousands of people in Pakistan mourned the death of one of the country’s most famous musicians, Amjad Sabri, on Thursday, a day after he was shot dead by armed assailants in broad daylight in the city of Karachi.

    • Amjad Sabri: Pakistanis mourn singer killed by Taliban

      Pakistan is mourning one of its most famous singers, Amjad Sabri, who was shot dead in Karachi by militants.

      Thousands paid their respects, throwing rose petals over an ambulance carrying his coffin. A faction of the Pakistan Taliban claimed Wednesday’s attack.

      Sabri performed Qawwali devotional music from the Sufi tradition, an Islamic practice opposed by extremists.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • German government agrees to ban fracking indefinitely

      Germany’s coalition government agreed to ban fracking for shale gas indefinitely on Tuesday, after years of fractious talks over the issue, but environmental groups said the ban did not go far enough and vowed to fight the deal.

      Test drilling will be allowed but only with the permission of the respective state government, officials said.

  • Finance
    • ‘Britons, vote in our name’: UK referendum dominates continental front pages

      Germany’s Bild newspaper promised on Thursday that Germans would not hog hotel sunloungers and would make key concessions to the England football team if the UK voted to stay in the European Union.

      “Dear Brits, if you remain in the EU … then we ourselves will recognise the Wembley goal,” Bild declared above a picture of Geoff Hurst’s controversial extra-time goal in the 1966 World Cup final, when England beat West Germany. The paper said Germany would go without its goalkeeper in the next penalty shootout between England and Germany.

    • I Will Vote Remain Because I Love My Mum

      After voting tomorrow I shall fly down to take part in an alternative online referendum results programme from the Ecuadorian Embassy with Julian Assange, to give you a chance to hear a discussion of the results without having to listen to yet more neo-liberal spokesmen spouting establishment propaganda.

      It is no secret I am an enthusiast for the EU. However as an ardent Scottish nationalist it has of course crossed my mind that it might be a plan to vote tactically for Brexit, to provoke a new independence referendum.

      I have decided against this for two reasons. First, there is no way the Establishment is going to allow Brexit to happen. And second, I love my mum, who is English and moved back from Inverness to Norfolk following the death of my father a decade ago. I wish England and the English nothing but well. An independent Scotland inside the EU would be disadvantaged by having its only land border with an ailing England outside the EU.

    • Farage declares ‘remain will edge it’ as polls close in historic vote

      The polls have closed in Britain’s referendum on EU membership, with a survey suggesting a bitterly close fight and the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, saying it “looks like remain will edge it”.

    • Intel Fighting EU’s $1.4B Fine Levied 7 Years Ago

      Today’s topics include Intel’s return to a European Union court to fight a $1.4 billion antitrust fine, the FAA’s finalized commercial drone rules, the addition of new business-oriented features to Drobox’s cloud storage service, and Docker’s launch of its containers-as-a-service management and orchestration software.

    • Pound rises – do markets believe Remain has won?

      Sterling hit a 2016 high today against the dollar and could be on track for one of its strongest weeks on the markets – in terms of increase in value – for 30 years.

    • FTSE 100 hits two-month high on Remain hopes

      The FTSE 100 hit a two-month high and the pound surged as investors bet on the UK voting to remain in the European Union.

      London’s blue-chip shares rose 1.2% to 6,338.1 points, with miners, banks and travel firms rising.

      Sterling almost hit $1.50 after Leave campaigner Nigel Farage said it looked as though Remain had “edged” the vote.

      Wall Street also jumped in late trading, with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 both closing 1.3% higher.

    • EU referendum: Pound hits lowest level since 1985

      The value of the pound has fallen dramatically as it emerged that the UK had voted to leave the EU.

      At one stage, it hit $1.3305, a fall of more than 10%, and a low not seen since 1985.

      The Bank of England said it was “monitoring developments closely” and would take “all necessary steps” to support monetary stability.

      Before the results started to come in, the pound had risen as high as $1.50, as traders bet on a Remain victory.

    • Going on holiday soon? You’re the first victim of the leave victory

      Many UK holidaymakers travelling abroad will pay more for foreign currency as the pound plunged to its lowest level since 1985 following the EU referendum.

      Sterling was down against every single major currency group.

    • Scotland’s Status Returns to the Center of Attention

      All 32 voting areas in Scotland voted to stay in the European Union, but they were outnumbered by an overwhelming “Leave” vote in England and Wales.

      That has created an immediate political dilemma for Scotland, which in a referendum in September 2014 voted against secession from the United Kingdom.

      Scotland, which has been legally in union with England and Wales since 1707, is considered the most pro-European part of the United Kingdom, and the decision by British voters to leave the 28-member European Union could prompt a second independence vote.

    • UK votes to leave the EU in historic referendum
    • Nicola Sturgeon: Second Scottish independence vote ‘highly likely’ after Brexit vote

      Nicola Sturgeon has said a second independence referendum is “highly likely” after Scotland’s voters overwhelmingly backed Remain.

      Scotland was out of step with England and Wales after all 32 of its local authorities voted to stay in the EU.

      Speaking this morning after the result was declared, the Scottish First Minister said it was “democratically unacceptable” that Scotland had been taken out of the union against its will.

    • Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland sees its future as part of the EU as Brexit confirmed

      Nicola Sturgeon has said the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union, after it became clear Britain had voted for Brexit in a historic referendum.

      Speaking after all 32 local authorities delivered a vote to Remain in Scotland, the First Minister welcomed her country’s “unequivocal” vote to stay in Europe. But despite the vote, the country still faces having to exit the European Union after the Leave campaign edged ahead across the UK.

    • LuxLeaks special committee’s first country visit: Belgium is breaching EU tax law

      This Tuesday a delegation of the European Parliament’s special committee on tax rulings and similar measures has completed its first country visit to a Member State with a problematic ruling practice. Visits to at least the UK, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Ireland and Switzerland will follow. The programme included discussions with tax experts, the Belgium parliament and the commission responsible for tax rulings. On the lessons from this visit Green committee members Sven Giegold and Philippe Lamberts conclude:

    • David Cameron says he will stand down as Prime Minister – new PM by October

      The Prime Minister said he had been honoured to serve as Prime Minister for the past six years. He held nothing back in his campaign. He always believed Britain would be safer, stronger and better off inside the EU. He said it was only right for someone else to lead the country in this new direction.

    • Rest in peace UK

      I am mourning for the UK. I feel so much pain and pity for all my good friends over there. Stupidity has won again. Good bye UK, your long reign has found its end.

    • FTSE 100 sees £120bn wiped off its value in worst day of losses since financial crisis

      The FTSE 100 has plunged more than 8 per cent in its biggest opening slump since the financial crisis, wiping £120 billion off the value of the 100 biggest UK companies.

      Banks were particularly badly hit, with shares in a number of banks losing at least 20 per cent of their value on opening, including Lloyds, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutschebank.

    • Shares and pound plunge on Leave vote

      The FTSE’s slump was its biggest one-day fall since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in October 2008.

    • UK now poorer than France as pound hits 30-year low and FTSE 100 drops 8.7pc following British vote to leave EU

      The FTSE 100 fell as much as 8.7pc when the London market opened after the UK voted to leave the European Union, an unexpected outcome that prompted the resignation of prime minister David Cameron this morning.

      The blue chip index recovered slightly to a loss of 4.9pc, but the FTSE 250 – which is considered a closer barometer of the UK economy – fell by 12.3pc before paring losses back to 7.1pc.

    • Spanish minister calls for Gibraltar to be returned to Spain on back of Brexit vote

      Spain’s Foreign Minister José García-Margallo y Marfil has proposed a shared British-Spanish sovereignty over Gibraltar followed by the “restitution” to Spain, after the British territory voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU while the U.K. overall voted to leave.

      “Our formula … is British-Spanish co-sovereignty for a determined period of time, which after that time has elapsed, will head towards the restitution of Gibraltar to Spanish sovereignty,” García-Margallo told Spanish radio on Friday, AFP reports.

      Gibraltar, a former Spanish territory which was ceded to Britain in 1713, heavily relies on Spain for its economy, with over 12,000 people commuting across the border every day.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The Tories Will Knit Back Together Quicker than Joe Ledley’s Leg

      The purpose of the Conservative Party is simply to be in power. The object of power for them is to make sure that nobody else can use the power of the state to counteract the power of the wealthy and curb their excesses.

      You will therefore be amazed by how, whatever the result today, the Tory cabinet will next week be smiling together in a show of unity. Because unity is needed for power. That they were calling each other liars, abusers of government funds, racists, unpatriotic or inciters to murder will be heartily brushed off as the rough and tumble of politics. Cameron will sleep soundly in his bed in Number 10.

    • WaPo Cites FAIR on C-SPAN’s Record of Bias

      The Washington Post‘s Callum Borchers (6/23/16) cited FAIR research in a story about complaints that C-SPAN continued to cover the Democratic sit-in on the House floor even after House Speaker Paul Ryan had the network’s cameras turned off.

      “This isn’t the first time C-SPAN has been accused of taking sides, of course,” Borchers wrote, noting that usually, “the charge is that it has a conservative bias.”

    • CMD Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Prosecutors’ Appeal in John Doe II Corruption Case

      On Wednesday, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the Brennan Center for Justice, and Common Cause filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging the justices to grant a hearing and overturn a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that shut down a criminal investigation into potentially illegal campaign coordination between Governor Scott Walker’s campaign and groups that spent millions during the 2011-2012 recall elections.

    • Clinton’s private e-mail was blocked by spam filters—so State IT turned them off

      Documents recently obtained by the conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch show that in December 2010, then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her staff were having difficulty communicating with State Department officials by e-mail because spam filters were blocking their messages. To fix the problem, State Department IT turned the filters off—potentially exposing State’s employees to phishing attacks and other malicious e-mails.

      The mail problems prompted Clinton Chief of Staff Huma Abedin to suggest to Clinton, “We should talk about putting you on State e-mail or releasing your e-mail address to the department so you are not going to spam.” Clinton replied, “Let’s get [a] separate address or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal [e-mail] being accessible.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • 100 years ago in Spokane: Petition sought end of movie censorship ordinance

      The censorship ordinance was mainly about sexually suggestive movies and plays, but it also was intended to prohibit movies that incited racial hatred.

    • Information Warfare: China Demands Better Censorship

      In a rare move Chinese leaders recently criticized, in public, their own Propaganda Department for not doing its job. The Propaganda Department is the several hundred people who direct the vast censorship

    • Turkey blocks Google Cache to stop censorship circumvention, breaks its own internet

      It was first speculated that the Google domain might be simply overlooked among a long lists of URLs to be censored by the authority, just like the ‘accidental’ censorship of shortening service Bit.ly last year. But local sources reported that the ban was intended to block access to Google servers, which keep a cached copy of content previously banned in Turkey.

      Indeed, various Google services have been used in Turkey to circumvent political censorship. During the Gezi Protests of 2013, protesters tagged ‘8.8.8.8’ graffiti (Google’s Public DNS) on walls to broadcast ways to avoid DNS-filtering (a method for censoring internet content). Turkish authorities resorted to IP-blocking and even DNS-hijacking to prevent access to social media during the 2014 local elections. For Turkish citizens who cannot use VPN or the Tor anonymity network, which masks users’ locations and identities, both Google Cache and Google Translator were suggested options among lists of proxies since then.

    • Rather Than Launch A Massive DDoS Attack, This Time China Just Asks GitHub To Take Down Page It Doesn’t Like

      You may recall that a year ago, a massive DDoS attack was launched against GitHub from China. The attack itself was somewhat clever, in that it effectively turned the Great Firewall around, using Chinese search engine Baidu’s ad platform and analytics platform to basically load code that contributed to the attack. The target of the attack were two tools that helped people in China access material that was blocked in China by the Great Firewall. Of course, this attack was actually the second attempt by China to stop people from accessing such information on GitHub. The first attack involved just using the Great Firewall to block GitHub entirely (it needed to block the entire GitHub, rather than just specific pages, because GitHub is all HTTPS) — but that caused Chinese programmers who rely on GitHub to freak out and point out that they rely on GitHub to do their jobs.

    • Web content blocking squeezed into draft EU anti-terrorism law

      A vote in the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee early next week will set the stage for a debate over Web content blocking and terror attacks. It comes during a jittery period of concern around extremist activity online following the atrocity in Orlando and the murder of British politician Jo Cox.

    • West Allegheny student petition decries censorship of reading list

      In response to parents’ demands this year that some books be removed from the West Allegheny High School reading list, about 200 students have signed a petition asking the district not to use censorship in an attempt to shield teens from problems they may be encountering in their lives.

      “You’re trying to protect the children and I see that, but you’re really sheltering them and making them ignorant to issues that actually plague our society and are relevant right now,” student Renae Roscart,15, said of the parents who had sought the removal of some books.

    • Don’t Look! Erotic Khajuraho Drawings Show Hypocrisy of Censorship

      While Shiv Sena’s repeated attempts at beating, slapping and thrashing couples on Valentine’s Day started as a hot topic for outrage, it ended up as a Twitter joke.“It’s not part of Indian culture,” is what they often announce.

    • Twitter trolls are reporting Muslim girls to the police for posting ‘blasphemous’ messages online

      This weekend an account was spotted sending screenshots of ‘blasphemous’ tweets to the Dubai police and calling for action, after a 16-year-old girl rewrote a passage of the Quran to include a slang term for vaginas

    • SEX AND CENSORSHIP

      Although I believe censorship is a potential danger to the First Amendment’s protection of free speech, I find myself wistful for the bad old days of the Motion Picture Production Code of the 1930s and 1940s.

      [....]

      There’s the smarmy sexualization of “family” sitcoms and the suggestive advertising using sex to sell.

    • Icasa to hold public hearing on SABC censorship
    • Public hearing looms over SABC censorship
    • Activists Say the SABC’s New Editorial Policy Is Shutting Them Out
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Court Rules the FBI Does Not Need a Warrant to Hack a Computer

      In one of the many ongoing legal cases surrounding a dark web child pornography site, a judge has written that the FBI did not require a warrant to hack a suspect’s computer.

      According to activists, the ruling could have serious implications for how law enforcement is able to conduct remote searches.

      “The Court finds that no Fourth Amendment violation occurred here because the Government did not need a warrant to capture Defendant’s IP address,” Henry Coke Morgan, Jr., a senior United States District Judge, wrote in an opinion and order on Tuesday. He adds that the government did not require a warrant to extract other information from the suspect’s computer either.

    • VPN Providers Protest Plans to Expand Government Hacking Powers

      Proposed legislative changes that will increase law enforcement’s ability to hack into computers are under attack by a broad coalition. Google, EFF, Demand Progress and FightForTheFuture are joined by TOR, Private Internet Access and other VPN services seeking to block changes to Rule 41.

    • In Wisconsin, a Backlash Against Using Data to Foretell Defendants’ Futures

      When Eric L. Loomis was sentenced for eluding the police in La Crosse, Wis., the judge told him he presented a “high risk” to the community and handed down a six-year prison term.

      The judge said he had arrived at his sentencing decision in part because of Mr. Loomis’s rating on the Compas assessment, a secret algorithm used in the Wisconsin justice system to calculate the likelihood that someone will commit another crime.

      Mr. Loomis has challenged the judge’s reliance on the Compas score, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which heard arguments on his appeal in April, could rule in the coming days or weeks. Mr. Loomis’s appeal centers on the criteria used by the Compas algorithm, which is proprietary and as a result is protected, and on the differences in its application for men and women.

    • EU to adopt new US data rules in July

      The European Commission is set to present a new draft of its data-exchange pact with the US, the Privacy Shield, in early July.

      EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova told EUobserver in a recent interview that the most contentious issues had been agreed by Washington and Brussels.

      These concerned access to data by US security services, bulk collection of people’s personal information and independent oversight.

    • Snoopers’ Charter: Government explains why it needs the power to hack into everyone’s devices

      GCHQ WILL have the power to hack into the devices of entire towns under the forthcoming Investigatory Powers Bill, according to a recently released Home Office briefing document.

      The ‘Operational Case for Bulk Powers’ is intended to explain why the security services need such wide-ranging and intrusive powers of surveillance and hacking granted under the so-called Snoopers’ Charter.

      The document uses a series of examples to make its case, citing terrorism, serious crime, terrorism, paedophiles, terrorism, state-based threats and, of course, terrorism.

    • GCHQ explains why it may want to hack every computing device in your town

      The Home Office has made the case for GCHQ’s new powers of bulk collection and hacking under the Investigatory Powers Bill, which will become law once it passes its third reading in the House of Lords, in a new document released this week.

      “The draft Investigatory Powers Bill… seeks to update the law to reflect technological change, ensuring that these powers – including those relating to sensitive capabilities available to the security and intelligence agencies – are set out transparently and consistently, with robust safeguards and world leading oversight,” claims the document.

    • Russia’s Problem (According To Russian Politicians): Not Enough Mass Surveillance

      When you look back at Techdirt’s coverage of Russia’s attempts to control its people and shut down online dissent, it’s unlikely you will be thinking to yourself: “What Russia really needs is more mass surveillance.”

    • Privacy Shield: Experts in the dark on planned EU-US data sharing pact

      National representatives charged with assessing the European Union’s controversial Privacy Shield proposal still haven’t seen the final text of the would-be Safe Harbour replacement, Ars has learned.

      The so-called Article 31 working group—which includes officials from the bloc’s 28 member states and the European Commission—held its last meeting on Monday. But despite anticipation, the commission didn’t deliver a new draft of the data-sharing deal it is negotiating with the US, and some delegations are getting frustrated.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • FBI, police visit activists’ homes in advance of Republican National Convention

      Law enforcement investigators this week began visiting the homes of local activists in an attempt to gather intelligence for possible planned demonstrations surrounding the upcoming Republican National Convention.

      Activists said they view the “door-knock” visits as intimidating. A spokeswoman for the local branch of the FBI acknowledged that “community outreach” is taking place as law enforcement officials try to make sure next month’s GOP convention is a “safe and secure” event.

      Jocelyn Rosnick, a leader with the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, a left-leaning group planning legal support for RNC protesters, said over a dozen activists have reported visits by teams of federal and local law enforcement officials this week.

      Some of the activists are involved with groups planning RNC demonstrations, while some aren’t, she said. She also said that some of the people who were visited were among the 71 people who were arrested in May 2015 in the aftermath of protests that broke out following the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a then-Cleveland police officer who had been charged with voluntary manslaughter in connection with the 2013 shooting deaths of two Cleveland motorists following a police chase.

    • FBI and Police are Knocking on Activists’ Doors Ahead of Republican National Convention

      Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, have been knocking on the doors of activists and community organizers in Cleveland, Ohio, asking about their plans for the Republican National Convention in July.

      As the city gears up to welcome an estimated 50,000 visitors, and an unknown number of protesters, some of the preparations and restrictions put in place by officials have angered civil rights activists. But the latest string of unannounced home visits by local and federal police mark a significant escalation in officials’ efforts to stifle protest, they say.

      “The purpose of these door knocks is simple: to intimidate the target and others in efforts to discourage people from engaging in lawful First Amendment activities,” Jocelyn Rosnick, a coordinator with the Ohio chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, wrote in a statement denouncing the home visits.

    • Teen Sues U.S. Over Cavity Drug Search for Which She was Billed $575

      Ashley Cervantes, a then 18-year-old American citizen, was stopped at the Mexico border and, for some unspecified reason, perhaps related to her being young and of Hispanic ethnicity, accused by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of smuggling drugs.

    • The Campaign To Dox Twitter Users In Islamic Countries For ‘Blasphemy’ And Supporting LGBT Rights

      Nearly half a decade ago, we wondered publicly what a company like Twitter, a self-proclaimed advocate of free and open speech, would do if confronted by a government that is anything but. In that post, Mike discussed how Twitter had been used to rant against the government in Saudi Arabia, and wondered what would happen if Saudi Arabia decided to make such speech illegal. But what if it’s not direct government action but that of other users that threatens such speech? While we have seen some governments routinely punish internet speech they don’t like, we’re now seeing signs of non-government individuals getting into the racket as well, as a way to silence the kind of barely-progressive speech a company like Twitter would likely say it wants to protect.

    • #LibbyLeaks: Oakland Mayor Launches Investigation Against City and Police Whistleblowers [iophk: "Multiple separate scandals and they try to distract with this instead"]

      This week, the national spotlight is on Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and her embattled police department — and the headlines aren’t favorable.

      And now the Express has learned that Schaaf and City Administrator Sabrina Landreth have opened an investigation to identify internal whistleblowers and leaks, according to multiple city and police sources, who asked not to be identified because they fear retaliation.

      The investigation started after recent news reports exposed details regarding multiple police-misconduct cases, as well as efforts by city and police officials to keep the misconduct hidden from the public.

    • Interpol says it’s seeking public help to track down 123 suspected human traffickers

      Interpol said on Thursday (June 23) it is seeking public help to track down 123 suspected human traffickers wanted around the world.

      The largest international police organisation put out the public appeal from its base in Lyon, France, in a bid to bring the remaining fugitives to justice.

      “People smuggling is a global issue which is why international cooperation through operations such as Hydra are essential,” said Interpol’s director of Operational Support Michael O’Connell in a statement announcing the programme’s launch.

      The operation, known as Infra Hydra, involves 44 countries as well as the EU police agency Europol, and has already made 26 arrests and located 31 other suspects, Interpol said.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • North Carolina’s New Broadband Plan Forgets To Include ‘Don’t Let ISP Lobbyists Write Shitty State Telecom Law’

      For years we’ve noted how 19 states have effectively let companies like AT&T and Comcast write protectionist state broadband laws to protect the status quo. Such laws usually either block or hamstring frustrated communities looking to build their own broadband networks, or in some instances from striking public/private agreements with companies like Google Fiber. Last year the FCC finally started paying attention to such bans, stating it intends to use Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to preempt restrictions conflicting with its Congressional mandate to ensure even broadband deployment.

      The FCC’s action specifically targeted bans in both Tennessee and North Carolina, both states where incumbent telecom lobbyists quite literally control state legislatures. Both states’ dysfunction on this front is legendary, yet both chose to sue the FCC in court to, they claim, defend “states rights” from federal government “overreach” (defending state residents from shitty telecom law written by lobbyists isn’t much of a concern).

    • DTN: Vint Cerf And NASA Just Created An Internet For Whole Solar System

      Making the communication systems more reliable for its future missions, NASA and Google VP Vint Cerf has created a Solar System Internet service. Called DTN, or Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking, this service is already incorporated in the software suite at the International Space Station.

    • Senate Report Cites Charter, Time Warner Cable Overcharges

      According to a copy of a staff report from the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Charter and Time Warner Cable (now a part of Charter) have failed to refund customers for overcharges, but both have taken steps to correct the issue.

      The report found that MVPDs vary greatly in how they handle billing overcharges, but that while “Time Warner Cable and Charter have procedures for identifying overcharges and removing them from customers’ bills prospectively, [n]either company, however, has automatically provided full retroactive refunds or credits for past overcharges.”

  • DRM/E-books
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • South Centre Steps Up Activity On IP, Medicines Access, Trade, Investment And More

      The Geneva-based organisation represents the interests of its developing country members.

    • Trademarks
      • Defending Our Brand

        We’ve forged relationships with millions of websites and users under the name Let’s Encrypt, furthering our mission to make encryption free, easy, and accessible to everyone. We’ve also worked hard to build our unique identity within the community and to make that identity a reliable indicator of quality. We take it very seriously when we see the potential for our users to be confused, or worse, the potential for a third party to damage the trust our users have placed in us by intentionally creating such confusion. By attempting to register trademarks for our name, Comodo is actively attempting to do just that.

    • Copyrights
      • MPAA Boss: Europe’s Geo Unblocking Plans Threaten Movie Industry

        MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd fears that Europe’s plans to limit geo-blocking will “cause great harm” to the movie industry. In a keynote address at the CineEurope convention, Dodd warned that broad access to movies and TV-shows will result in fewer films and higher prices for consumers.

      • Court Orders Usenet Providers to Expose Prolific Pirates

        Dutch Usenet providers Eweka and Usenetter have been ordered to hand over the personal details of two uploaders who shared over 2,000 pirated e-books. The case was initiated by local anti-piracy group BREIN, which plans to offer a settlement to the accused uploaders.

      • Jury finds Led Zeppelin did not steal intro to ‘Stairway to Heaven’

        Led Zeppelin did not steal a riff from an obscure 1960s instrumental tune to use for the introduction of its classic rock anthem “Stairway to Heaven,” a federal court jury decided Thursday.

        The verdict in Los Angeles settles a point that music fans have debated for decades but didn’t find its way to court until two years ago, when the trustee for the late Randy Craig Wolfe filed a copyright lawsuit.

      • Led Zeppelin Wins Copyright Case Over Stairway To Heaven

        Back in April, we talked about the fact that the lawsuit against Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page for copyright infringement over “Stairway to Heaven” was moving forward to a jury trail, and how ridiculous it was. As we noted, the song was written in 1970, and it’s a bit crazy to argue after all these decades that there’s infringement. But, more importantly, the similarities between Stairway and the Spirit song “Taurus” were just a few common notes that were predated by many artists, including Bach’s Bouree in E Minor. Still, as we’d seen with the Blurred Lines case, when copyright cases go to juries over song similarities, they often turn out wacky. The intricacies of copyright law are tossed out the window and often “hey, these sound similar” seems to win out.

      • Led Zeppelin Wins ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Jury Trial

        A jury rules in the band’s favor after hearing testimony and arguments that the iconic song was a copyright infringement of Spirit’s “Taurus.”

      • Good News: California Legislature Dumps Stupid Plan To Copyright All Government Works

        Back in April, we noted that California Assemblymember Mark Stone was pushing some legislation to basically push California governments to copyright and trademark everything they could. This was a bad kneejerk response to the admittedly ridiculous situation in Yosemite, where the concessions vendor had trademarked various park names and then tried to hold them ransom. Of course, the proper response is to make sure that kind of thing can’t be covered by trademark or copyright law, not push state government entities to lock up things under intellectual property laws.

      • Digitising public domain images creates a new copyright, rules German court

        A Berlin court has ruled that digitising paintings that are in the public domain creates new copyrights, even if the intent is to create a faithful image rather than produce an artistic interpretation.

        The case was brought by the Reiss Engelhorn Museum (REM) in Mannheim, Germany, against the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland—the local German chapter of the global Wikimedia movement—over 17 images of the museum’s public domain works of art, which have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

      • Terrible Ruling In Germany: Digitizing The Public Domain Creates New Copyright

        This is not a particularly new issue — it’s come up many times in the past. In the US, thankfully, we have a nice precedent in Bridgeman v. Corel that states clearly that exact photographic copies of public domain works are not protected by copyright, because they lack the originality necessary for a copyright. Of course, that hasn’t stopped some US Museums from looking to route around that ruling. Over in Europe, where there is no Bridgeman-like ruling, we tend to see a lot more of these kinds of attempts to relock down the public domain by museums. There have been similar attempts in the UK and in France, though as far as I can tell, neither case went to court.

Benoît Battistelli Should Resign in Light of New Leak of Decision in His Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Judge (Updated)

Thursday 23rd of June 2016 08:01:14 PM

Summary: Benoît Battistelli continues to break the EPO’s own rules, not just national laws, as a new decision helps reveal

THIS afternoon we wrote about the EPO ‘trial’ and people were eager to ‘leak’ to us the outcome, as we had hoped all along. We urge readers to inform their delegates and maybe even Heiko Maas regarding the matter. Enough is enough.

Battistelli, judging by his blog today [warning: epo.org link], has just gone to Albania (champion of patents!), which makes one wonder what he told or promised them other than free dentists.

Here is the decision’s text, which could use some brushing up (we shall do this as we go along and highlight bits in yellow).

Internal distribution code:
(A) [X] Publication in OJ
(B) [ ] To Chairmen and Members
(C) [ ] To Chairmen
(D) [ ] No distribution

Datasheet for the decision
of 14 June 2016

Case Number: Art. 23 1/16

Language of the proceedings: EN

Petitioner:
Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation

Respondent:

Headword:
Request for a proposal for removal from office

Relevant legal provisions:
EPC Art. 23(1), 23(3)
RPEBA Art. 12a(9), 12a(10), 18(3)

Keyword:
Decision on the request of the Administrative Council under
Article 23(1) EPC to make a proposal to remove the respondent
from office: The Enlarged Board decides to make no proposal”
Petitioner party to adversarial proceedings (yes)”
Publication (yes)”
Reimbursement of all the respondent’s procedural costs
proposed”
Violation of Article 23(3) EPC, judicial independence, by
Office President’s letter of 10 June 2016 (yes)”

Catchword:
For the Enlarged Board to be able to continue with these
proceedings the position of the Petitioner would have to be
that it did not agree with the Office President and
acknowledged that, from an institutional point of View, the
pressure exercised by the Office President in the present case

EPA Form 3030
This datasheet is not part of the Decision.

- 2 -

was incompatible with the judicial independence of the
Enlarged Board guaranteed by the EPC. As the Petitioner did
not clearly distance itself from the Office President’s
position, there is the threat of disciplinary measures against
the members of the Enlarged Board. It is then the Enlarged
Board’s judicial independence in deciding on this case which
is fundamentally denied.

EPA Form 3030 06.03

Case Number: Art. 23 1/16

D E C I S I O N
of 14 June 2016

Petitioner: Administrative Council of the
European Patent Organisation
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
D-80469 Munich

Representatives:

Respondent:

Representative: Senay Okyay
Rechtsanwaltin
Sonnenstrasse 6
D-80331 Munich

Composition of the Board:
Chairman: M.-B. Tardo-Dino
Members: E. Liiv
A. Dimitrova
I. Beckedorf
D. Rogers
U. Oswald
H. Meinders

C 1 0 9 5 8 . DA

Summary of Facts and Submissions

I. These proceedings began on 11 February 2016 and concern
the request of 11 January 2016, confirmed on 27 January
2016 (hereafter AC Request 3), from the Administrative
Council of the European Patent Organisation (hereafter
the Petitioner or AC) asking for a proposal from the
Enlarged Board of Appeal that Mr X (hereafter the
Respondent) be removed from office as a member of the
Boards of Appeal, such a request being made under
Article 23(1) EPC and Article 12a of the Rules of
Procedure of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (RPEBA).

II. The request in these proceedings is the third such
request made by the Petitioner. The first request was
found to be inadmissible because it failed to fulfil
the formal requirements of factual substantiation
prescribed by Article 12a(5) RPEBA (decision in case
Art. 23 1/15 of 17 September 2015). The Petitioner
itself withdrew its second request at the oral
proceedings in case Art. 23 2/15 on 11 February 2016.
Following said withdrawal, the proceedings were
terminated by the decision in case Art. 23 2/15 of
11 February 2016.

III. The orders of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (hereafter
the EBA or Enlarged Board) that both the above
mentioned decisions were to be published have not yet
been executed by the competent authorities of the
Office.

IV. The filing of these three requests by the Petitioner in
this matter, and in this fashion, led not only to
delays in the treatment of this matter, but forced

various changes in the composition of the Enlarged
Board due to the non-availability of some of its
members, thus adding further delay.

V. In order to understand the current proceedings a review
of the background and history of these requests is
required. Only the most relevant facts will be set out
below.

VI. On 3 December 2014 the President of the EPO (hereafter
the Office President) ordered a house ban and the
suspension of the Respondent.

VII. On 11 December 2014 (CA/D 12/14) the AC, on a proposal
from the Office President (CA/C 8/14), decided to
confirm the suspension of the Respondent, considering
that this was the most appropriate measure to take and
was in line with the house ban decided on by the Office
President. It also decided that the Office
investigative unit (hereafter IU) was the competent
body to pursue this investigation and to deliver its
report to the AC and to the Office President.

VIII. On 5 March 2015, the IU delivered its report (hereafter
IU Report).

IX. On 26 March 2015 the AC initiated disciplinary
proceedings against the Respondent (CA/28/15, Summary
of decisions item 10.1, page 5). It also mandated its
Chairman to take all necessary follow-up actions.

X. The AC set up a Disciplinary Committee, (hereafter DC),
which upon the basis of the IU Report delivered a
report on 23 June 2015, (hereafter DC’s opinion), to

the Chairman of the AC. The DC found that the
Respondent had carried out several acts and that these
acts constituted misconduct, for which the appropriate
sanction was dismissal.

XI. In the present proceedings, based on AC Request 3, the
Petitioner relies on the IU Report and on the DC’s
opinion and has redrafted its request.

XII. AC Request 3 contains two allegations:

Allegation 1: Unauthorised disclosure of non-public
information and critical opinions related to Board of
Appeal activities outside the EPO while using
pseudonyms.

Allegation 2: Spreading of false accusations and
unjustified attacks or threats against the EPO and its
members either directly or indirectly using anonymous
statements and pseudonyms.

XIII. The parties were summoned to a first non-public oral
proceedings on 10, 11 and 12 May 2016. The purpose of
these oral proceedings was to discuss the competence of
the Enlarged Board, the admissibility of AC Request 3
and the Respondent’s request for summary termination of
the proceedings.

XIV. By a letter dated 2 May 2016 the Petitioner stated that
it did not consider itself a party to the proceedings,
it represented only the institutional interest of the
AC. It initiated the proceedings, pursuant to
Article 23(1) EPC, in its capacity as the competent
appointing authority.

XV. The written and oral submissions of the Respondent can

be summarised as follows:

1. Procedural status of the AC in the proceedings.
The Respondent requested in the May 2016 oral
proceedings that the position of the Petitioner as
a party to the proceedings be confirmed, or, if
not, that it be excluded.

2. Competence of the Enlarged Board, its independence
and its legitimacy to deal with the case on the
following grounds:

(a) The conflict between Article 12a RPEBA and
the higher ranking legal norm of Article 23(1)
EPC.

(b) Perversion of the procedure foreseen under
Article 23(1) EPC: AC usurps the provisions
of the EPC and their spirit.

(c) The failure to comply with the fundamental
principles of judicial independence set forth
in the “European Charter on the statute for
judges” and the “Magna Charta of Judges” in
the composition of the Enlarged Board in
proceedings under Article 12a RPEBA (lack of
elected members).

(d) The impermissible attempt on the part of the
AC to instruct the Enlarged Board by means of
CA/D 14/15, which constitutes a perversion of
the procedure foreseen under Article 23(1)
EPC.

(e) The consequence of the amendment of
Article 95(3) of the Service Regulations

(hereafter ServRegs) (CA/D 18/15) on the
independence of the Enlarged Board.

3. Admissibility issues on the following grounds:

a) The power delegated to the Chairman of the AC
in CA/D 14/15 was exhausted upon termination
of the proceedings in case Art. 23 2/15, with
the withdrawal of the request.

b) The principle of Res judicata should apply.

c) The principle of N6 bis idem should apply.

d) AC Request 3 fails to heal the deficiencies
in the preceding requests and is no more
substantiated than in case Art. 23 1/15.

4. Request for summary termination of these
proceedings on the following grounds:

a) The proceedings should lead the Enlarged
Board to immediately terminate or stay the
proceedings until the AC adopts appropriate
measures to ensure that the independence of
the members of the Enlarged Board is
guaranteed.

b) Lack of lawful basis of the proceedings.

c) Attempts to undermine the presumption of
innocence.

d) Flawed composition of the DC.

e) Flawed disciplinary procedure.

f) Deficient opinion of the DC.

g) Flawed investigative procedure initiated by
the EPO administration.

h) CA/D 12/14 failed to heal the flaws of the
investigative procedure.

i) Procedural abuses.

j) Flawed IU Report.

5. Relating to the substantive subject-matter on the
following grounds:

a) Failure to consider the circumstances in
which the alleged misconduct occurred.

b) Failure on the part of the AC to address the
issue that the IU Report is neither neutral
nor objective in its presentation of facts;
observations on the DC’s opinion.

c) Inconsistencies in the DC’s opinion.

d) Suppression and/or deliberate omission of
evidence.

e) Unresolved issues concerning exhibits B43 to
B45.

f) Attempts to reintroduce previously abandoned
allegations.

g) Failure to respond to issues previously
raised by the Respondent.

h) Observations about the events of 3 December
2014.

XVI. During the non-public oral proceedings of 10 to 12 May
2016 the aforementioned issues under numbers 1-4 were
discussed with the parties. A discussion of the issues
raised under number 5 above was postponed to the June
2016 oral proceedings on the merits. The Enlarged Board
concluded that the AC Request 3 was admissible. It also
decided not to summarily terminate the proceedings.

XVII. The Enlarged Board gave case management directions for
the oral proceedings foreseen for June 2016 to discuss

the merits of the case, in particular as regards the
notion of serious grounds and probative and formal
aspects of the evidence.

XVIII. Upon the request of the Respondent, and after
discussing with the parties, the Enlarged Board decided
that the oral proceedings on the merits in June 2016
would be held in public unless the Enlarged Board would
decide to exclude the public, which it would do
whenever the nature of the debate made this necessary.

XIX. The oral proceedings on the merits of the case were
arranged for 14 to 16 June 2016. The parties were
invited to prepare their submissions for that debate.
The Chair informed the parties that the Enlarged Board
had decided that three members of the IU would be
called as witnesses.

XX. Both parties filed their submissions with letters of
6 June 2016. Thus the parties and the Enlarged Board
were in a position to discuss the merits of the case at
the public oral proceedings on 14 to 16 June 2016, and
the Enlarged Board considered that it would then be in
a position to issue a final decision on the merits.

XXI. The Vice-President Appeals was given, and took, the
opportunity to submit his observations in the
proceedings in accordance with Article 12a(2) RPEBA.

XXII. In addition to the submissions of the Petitioner, on
6 June 2016, the Chairman of the AC sent a letter
directly to the Chair of the Enlarged Board expressing
general reservations in respect of the decision to hold
the oral proceedings of June 2016 in public. Further,

he asked for confirmation that the file would not be
made available to anyone other than the members of the
Enlarged Board in its present composition.

XXIII. The Chair of the Enlarged Board replied to the Chairman
of the AC on 7 June 2016, confirming that there had
been no disclosure of the file by the Enlarged Board
other than to the members of the Enlarged Board in its
present composition. In addition to this the Chair
repeated the wording of the decision on the holding of
public oral proceedings on the merits, as taken in the
oral proceedings of May 2016. In addition to that, the
Chair confirmed that the Enlarged Board was fully aware
that the proceedings should not jeopardise the
interests or honour of any person, in particular
persons whose names might arise during the proceedings.

XXIV. On 14 June 2016 the Petitioner confirmed, during the
in camera conference, that this letter by the Chair of
the Enlarged Board addressed the general reservations
raised in the earlier letter of the Chairman of the AC.

XXV. By a letter of 10 June 2016 the Office President, who
is not foreseen as a party to these proceedings under
Article 23(1) EPC and Article 12a RPEBA, wrote directly
to the Chair of the Enlarged Board with copies to the
other members of the Enlarged Board in its present
composition.

The letter is titled “Office representation in the case
Art. 23 1/16”. This letter stated:

“With due respect to the principle of independence of
the Board of Appeals enshrined in Art. 23 EPC, by
Virtue of the powers under Art. 5(3) and 10(1)(2)(h)(i)
EPC, I would like to bring to your attention certain
concerns expressed in the attached position prepared by
my legal counsels.”

XXVI. The attached document, an English QC’s opinion, is
entitled: “In the matter of a procedure in front of the
Enlarged Board of Appeals”, “Position Statement for the
President of the European Patent Office”. The following
passages appear to be relevant for the proceedings:

“19. It will be recalled that the role of the EBOA
under Article 23 EPC is to make a proposal on the
removal from office, having regard to the fact that
this sanction has been recommended by the DC and
endorsed by the AC. This article does not confer an
appellate or investigative power, let alone a free
standing and further fact finding mandate. The
nature and extent of the evidence already available
to the EBOA means that the attendance of these
witnesses is not necessary for the Article 23(1) EPC
proceedings to be conducted fairly and effectively.”
“21. It is quite inappropriate that a full re-
hearing of the facts take place on 14-16 June; there
are no Vires in this forum to conduct an appeal
process nor indeed to recommence an investigation;
accordingly, the personal presence of any witnesses
from the Office will not be required or authorised
by the President.”

“23. With that in mind, the President will not, we
are also instructed, hesitate to take any
appropriate steps available to him to ensure the
orderly running of the Office and the safety of its
employees.”
“27. In View, in particular, of the gravity of the
reputational, security, welfare and public order
risks identified, there is a strong case for saying
that any decision to conduct this hearing in public
would be unlawful because it could not be defended
as either proportionate or reasonable.”
“28. For all these reasons, the President deems it
necessary in the interests of the whole Organisation
that there is an assurance that this matter will
proceed in camera and that no witnesses will be
called from the Office.”

XXVII. Although it was foreseen to open the public oral
proceedings on the merits of this case at 9:00 hours on
14 June 2016, the Enlarged Board decided to hold a
preliminary in camera conference with the parties in
order that the Petitioner could clarify its position as
regards the Office President’s letter of 10 June 2016.
This conference was adjourned from 11:40 to 14:30 hours
to permit the Petitioner’s representatives to take
instructions on this matter.

XXVIII. At 14:30 hours, the Petitioner’s representatives were
finally in a position to submit a statement from the
Chairman of the AC relating to the Office President’s
letter of 10 June 2016.

XXIX. At 17:15 hours, the in camera conference ended and the
public oral proceedings began. The Chair of the
Enlarged Board then made the following statement:

“The Enlarged Board of Appeal has received a letter of
an authority not party to the proceedings, in which it
expressed the opinion that the Enlarged Board, in
deciding to hold public oral proceedings, took an
unlawful decision. It was discussed with the parties,
whether this letter could be considered, from an
objective point of View, as a threat to the
independence of the Enlarged Board in this case. The
petitioner was requested to express clearly whether it
endorsed this position or not, since the petitioner is
the appointing and the disciplinary authority for all
members of the Enlarged Board. The petitioner made a
declaration which did not distance it from this opinion
and which does not remove the threat. Under these
conditions, the Enlarged Board cannot legally continue
with the present proceedings, and therefore terminates
them with the decision that it does not propose the
removal from office of the respondent.”

XXX. The public was then excluded and the oral proceedings
continued without the public in order to deal with the
remaining requests of the parties.

XXXI. The final request of the Petitioner was

that the Enlarged Board of Appeal make a proposal
that the Respondent be removed from office as a
member of the Boards of Appeal.

XXXII. The final requests of the Respondent were that:

1. The Petitioner’s request be dismissed,

subsidiarily that the proceedings be terminated;

and

2. The reimbursement of all of the costs incurred by
the Respondent in these proceedings be proposed;

and

3. The decision in case Art. 23 1/16 be published;

and

4. The Enlarged Board includes in the reasoning of
its decision obiter dicta in respect of the
Respondent’s requests set out in its letter of
24 November 2015.

XXXIII. At the end of the non-public oral proceedings the
present decision was announced.

Reasons for the decision

Nature of these proceedings

1. The present proceedings are in respect of the
Petitioner’s request for a proposal for the removal
from office of the Respondent. They are governed by
Article 23(1), first sentence, EPC. They are conducted
independently of any disciplinary proceedings
(Article 12a(8) RPEBA).

2. A proposal to this effect has to emanate from the
Enlarged Board of Appeal, and the Enlarged Board comes
to such a proposal exclusively by way of a decision, as
evidenced by Article 18(3) RPEBA. As it concerns a

member of the judicial body of the EPO, who enjoys the
guarantee of judicial independence pursuant to

Article 23(3) EPC, this decision must itself also be
arrived at in accordance with the principle of judicial
independence pursuant to Article 23(3) EPC.

3. Neither the European Patent Convention nor the Rules of
Procedure of the Enlarged Board of Appeal foresee these
proceedings as an appeal from a decision or opinion in
the disciplinary proceedings or establish these
proceedings as a legal or factual part of the
disciplinary proceedings governed by Article 11(4) EPC
and the ServRegs. It is rather for the Enlarged Board
to establish, to its own satisfaction, by an
examination of the facts, evidence and arguments,
whether it is in a position to make the requested
proposal for removal from office.

INADMISSIBILITY OF THE PETITIONER’S REQUEST AND SUMMARY

TERMINATION OF THE PROCEEDINGS

Procedural status of the Petitioner in the proceedings

4. The procedure as adopted in CA/D 3/15 establishing the
Rules of Procedure of the Enlarged Board of Appeal in
this respect, is an adversarial judicial procedure (see
the Enlarged Board’s decision in case Art. 23 1/15,
point 5.7 of the Reasons). Filing the request,
representing the Petitioner’s interests and supporting
allegations against the Respondent, corresponds to the
role of a party in such proceedings. The Board merely
underlines that the adversarial nature of the
proceedings aims, as is usual under the rule of law in
democratic countries, at guaranteeing the Respondent a

fair trial and not at undermining the power of the
disciplinary authority to take a final decision.

Competence of the Enlarged Board, its independence and
legitimacy to deal with the case

5. The Respondent insisted that Article 23(1) EPC was at
the core of the case, and the independence of the
members of Boards of Appeal was at stake. According to
this article the members of the Enlarged Board of
Appeal and of the Boards of Appeal shall be appointed
for a term of five years and may not be removed from
office during this term, except if there are serious
grounds for such removal and if the AC, on a proposal
from the Enlarged Board of Appeal, takes a decision to
this effect.

6. The Respondent argued that the procedure foreseen under
Article 23(1) EPC must be carried out entirely by the
Enlarged Board, in the sense that it was incompatible
with the wording of Article 23(1) EPC for the AC to be
able to initiate such proceedings by itself making a
request for a proposal.

7. In its decision in case Art. 23 1/15, point 5.7 of the
Reasons, the Enlarged Board already determined that the
procedure under Article 23(1) EPC is further specified
by Article 12a RPEBA. The AC as legislative power under
the EPC has endorsed these supplementary regulations by
its approval of them.

8. Neither Article 23(1) EPC nor Article 12a RPEBA
requires that the Enlarged Board and the Enlarged Board
alone has the power to initiate such a procedure.

9. The Respondent has raised the issue that the amendment
of Article 95(3) ServRegs affects the independence of
the members of the Enlarged Board because it permits
any board member to be indefinitely suspended by a mere
decision of the AC. This amounts to a de facto removal
from office, since the suspension can be extended until
the member’s five year term expires. Upon expiry of the
five year term, re-appointment of the member in
question can then simply be denied, without a proper
Article 23(1) EPC proposal of the Enlarged Board. The
Respondent has not, however, raised this issue as part
of an objection under Article 24(3) EPC that is that
the members of the Enlarged Board might be suspected of
partiality by a party.

10. In the light of this the Enlarged Board considers that
it has to address the issue under Article 4(1) RPEBA,
that is whether any members of the Enlarged Board in
its current composition consider that because of the
amendments made to Article 95(3) ServRegs, they should
not take part in this procedure as they no longer
consider themselves to be impartial and independent in
their decision making.

11. The Enlarged Board notes that the amendment to
Article 95(3) ServRegs was decided upon by the AC in
its December 2015 meeting, during the course of this
series of proceedings. With this amendment it cannot be
excluded that the suspension of the Respondent will
continue to the end of his present five year term. The
Enlarged Board further notes that this is possible
because the period of suspension has been raised from 4
to 24 months specifically for board members, and it can

now be extended by the AC in “exceptional cases”. A
limit to this extension is not given, and no guidance
as to what may constitute exceptional circumstances is
provided.

12. This amendment of Article 95(3) ServRegs therefore
gives the possibility, de facto, to the AC to remove a
member of the Boards of Appeal from office without
following the procedure in Article 23(1) EPC.

13. At the time this issue was raised in these proceedings,
during the May 2016 oral proceedings, the members of
the Enlarged Board, making their own individual
assessment of their situation, considered that the
threat to their judicial independence was a general,
abstract threat that would be present in all cases
before the boards, not just the present case. In fact,
taking it as a reason to exclude oneself would
necessarily imply that one could neither sit on any
normal Board of Appeal case, nor on referrals,
including petitions for review, to the Enlarged Board.

14. This situation has now changed as a consequence of the
Office President’s letter of 10 June 2016, (see para
XXV above, and para 36 to 47 below).

15. The Respondent has also objected to the Enlarged Board
of Appeal being composed of members none of whom is
elected, (see facts and submissions, para XV, 2(c)).
Neither the European Patent Convention, nor the Rules
of Procedure of the Enlarged Board in Article 23(1) EPC
cases have constituted the Enlarged Board with elected
members. The Enlarged Board has already decided upon
this point in its decision in case Art. 23 1/15,

point 5.6 of the reasons. The Enlarged Board remains of
the same opinion in the present proceedings and adopts
the reasoning of that decision, without seeing any
necessity to repeat it here verbatim.

Admissibility issues

16. The Respondent has argued that the power delegated by
the AC to the Chairman of the AC to pursue this series
of proceedings was exhausted upon termination of the
proceedings in case Art. 23 2/15, when the Petitioner
withdrew its second request.

17. The Enlarged Board is of the view that the present
proceedings fall within the scope of the mandate of the
Chairman of the AC, which authorises him to act for the
AC until the AC’s final decision (see CA/D 14/15,
point 2).

Res judicata

18. The Respondent raised this issue in view of the
decision in case Art. 23 1/15. The Enlarged Board
considers that this case concerned procedural issues
rather than the actual “legal cause of action”. Hence
the doctrine of res judicata finds no application to
the present case.

Ne bis idem

19. The Respondent has raised this issue under two aspects.
The first aspect is that in the present case the
Respondent was the subject of the same allegations,
which were already decided upon in the earlier case

C10958 .DA

Art. 23 1/15 and which were withdrawn in case
Art. 23 2/15.

20. The Enlarged Board considers that the first decision is
a procedural decision not on the merits of the case.
The second proceedings did not even get to the stage of
the merits, as the Petitioner withdrew its request.
These circumstances cannot be assimilated to an
“acquittal” or “conviction”. In this respect, the
Enlarged Board concludes that the present case is not
hindered by the existence of these earlier proceedings.

21. The second aspect raised by the Respondent concerns the
question of further disciplinary sanctions based upon
the same facts as were considered sufficient by the
Enlarged Board for a removal from office, such as the
proposed dismissal. This is only of relevance if the
Enlarged Board were to make a request for removal from
office. As this is not the case, (see Order, point 1,
below), there is no need to deal with this second
aspect.

Article 12a(5) RPEBA

22. Article 12a(5) RPEBA provides that a request to the
Enlarged Board shall set out all the facts, arguments
and evidence relied on. The Respondent’s objections to
the admissibility of AC Request 3 are that this request
is still not sufficiently substantiated so that the
Respondent is not in a position to know which
allegations, facts and evidence it has to respond to.

23. In AC Request 3, the five allegations maintained by the
Petitioner in the first request and by the Petitioner’s

declaration at the oral proceedings in case
Art. 23 1/15, have been reduced to two.

24. In comparison to the first request, which was found
insufficiently substantiated, the Petitioner has made
in AC Request 3 a clearer distinction between facts,
evidence and arguments/conclusions, and has sought to
structure its request in a more logical manner. The
Enlarged Board is of the View that from AC Request 3 it
can discern what case the Petitioner is attempting to
make for the purposes of Article 12a(5) RPEBA.

25. The Petitioner stated in the oral proceedings held on
10 May 2016 (point 12 of the Minutes) that it did not
wish to pursue a request based on allegations 3, 4 and
5 that were present in its earlier requests. The
Petitioner has adopted the position that it is seeking
to remove the Respondent from office only upon the
basis of the two allegations that it has sought to
substantiate in these proceedings.

Request for summary termination

26. A summary termination of proceedings is only possible
in the light of manifest and substantial procedural
violations of such a nature as to lead to a serious
prejudice to the legal and procedural position of a
party.

27. The Respondent has argued that such violations are
present in this case due to the lack of a lawful basis
for the proceedings, the flawed composition of the DC,
its deficient opinion, the flawed disciplinary

procedure and the flawed investigative procedure as
initiated by the AC.

28. The Enlarged Board is of the View that these issues
rather go to the quality and reliability of the
evidence gathered against the Respondent. Hence they do
not lead the Enlarged Board to the conclusion that it
should summarily terminate the proceedings.

29. The Respondent has also argued that no fair procedure
is possible given the undermining of the presumption of
innocence in his favour due to the public airing of
what can be described as the “Nazi” allegations, both
in the statement of the Office President (CA/C 19/15)
to the AC (in direct contradiction with the findings of
the DC’s opinion at para 131 and 142), and the press
campaign of October 2015. This was aggravated by the
alleged influence improperly exerted on the Enlarged
Board (meetings of 5 and 8 December 2014 with
respectively the Principal Director of the IU and the
Office President) and the clear prior endorsement by
the AC of the flawed DC’s opinion.

30. As regards summary termination of the proceedings due
to the undermining of the presumption of innocence, the
Enlarged Board does not consider itself to be
prejudiced against the Respondent by these events.
These public disclosures and statements by high-ranking
EPO officials constitute part of the factual background
to this case. For the Enlarged Board, what counts is
the reliability of the evidence gathered against the
Respondent and of the credibility of the investigation
carried out by the IU. These issues fall to be dealt
with under the merits of this case and are not such as

to lead the Enlarged Board summarily to terminate these
proceedings.

Oral proceedings open to the public

31. According to Article 12a(9) RPEBA, unless and to the
extent that the Enlarged Board decides otherwise, the
proceedings shall not be public and shall be
confidential.

32. The Respondent himself requested that the oral
proceedings relating to the substantive merits of the
case be public.

33. The reason why the Respondent requests to have the oral
proceedings open to the public is because the
confidentiality of the proceedings has already been
breached by the Office. Public oral proceedings give
him the opportunity to explain his case and defend his
reputation.

34. The confidentiality of proceedings tends to protect the
interest of the persons concerned as well as the
Office’s interest. The Enlarged Board therefore also
has to consider whether it would be contrary to the
interest of the Office and the Organisation and the
employees in question to have the oral proceedings in
this matter open to the public.

35. Given the history of the case, in particular the fact
that the Office sought publicity for its point of view
on the matter, the Enlarged Board is of the opinion
that it is also in the interests of the Office and the
Organisation to have transparent proceedings. It should

be avoided that the proceedings are perceived by
objective observers as expedited proceedings based on
questionable or suspect evidence, in particular as
these proceedings involve the removal of a member of
the Boards of Appeal from judicial office. In any case,
the Enlarged Board reserved to itself the power to
exclude the public from the oral proceedings, whenever
the nature of the debate made it necessary, which
corresponds to the “extent that the Enlarged Board
decides otherwise” provision of Article 12a(9) RPEBA.

THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE ENLARGED BOARD AND THE OFFICE

PRESIDENT’S LETTER OF 10 JUNE 2016

36. In his letter of 10 June 2016 (see quotations in
point XXVI. above), the Office President expressed his
View that the Enlarged Board’s decision to hold public
oral proceedings was unlawful. He further elaborated
that the Enlarged Board does not have the competence to
determine the facts in these proceedings. Finally, he
indicated that he would not hesitate to take any
appropriate steps available to him to ensure the
orderly running of the Office and the safety of its
employees in respect of the present case.

37. The making of an unlawful decision is clearly
misconduct. Hence the general, abstract threat to the
independence of the Enlarged Board resulting from the
amendment of Article 95(3) ServRegs (see para 8 to 13
above) has now crystallised as a result of the Office
President’s procedurally irregular intervention in
these proceedings.

38. As the present case has shown, the Office President
assumes the power to investigate and to suspend members
of the Boards of Appeal and bar them from the Office.

39. In addition, he may also propose any other disciplinary
measures to the AC, pursuant to Article lO(2)(h)EPC.

40. Thus, in the presence of these facts, ascertainable by
any objective observer, all present members of the
Enlarged Board find themselves threatened with
disciplinary measures if they continue with these
proceedings in the presence of the public, and seek to
determine the facts of this case. This undermines the
fundamental principle of judicial independence as set
out in Article 23(3) EPC. Thus the conditions of
Article 23(3) EPC are not fulfilled, unless the AC as
appointing and disciplinary authority for all members
of the Enlarged Board, including its external members,
distances itself from this position of the Office
President.

41. After having been given time during the in camera
conference held on 14 June 2016 to reflect upon this
situation, the Chairman of the AC made the following
remarks in writing concerning the Office President’s
letter and enclosure of 10 June 2016:

Such a communication does not emanate from a party to
the proceedings. In View of the fact that the
Administrative Council is only represented in the
proceedings pursuant to Article 12a(2) of the rules
of procedure of the EBA, it cannot take position on a
communication from the Executive Head of the Office.

In this respect, and as per Article 23(3) EPC, the
EBA members are not bound by any instruction but must
abide by the provisions of the EPC. This cannot be
prejudicial to them, bearing in mind that the Council
is the sole competent disciplinary authority for
them…”

42. The Petitioner in this case is the AC. The AC is the
appointing and disciplinary authority for the Office
President (the highest ranking appointee of the AC), as
well as for the members of the Enlarged Board, (the
highest judicial authority of the EPO). The Petitioner
thus has an institutional obligation to clarify whether
it endorses or not the Office President’s position as
set out in his letter of 10 June 2016 and referred to
above.

43. For the Enlarged Board to be able to continue with
these proceedings the position of the Petitioner would
have to be that it did not agree with the Office
President and acknowledged that, from an institutional
point of View, the pressure exercised by the Office
President in the present case was incompatible with the
judicial independence of the Enlarged Board guaranteed
by the EPC. As the Petitioner did not clearly distance
itself from the Office President’s position, there is
the threat of disciplinary measures against the members
of the Enlarged Board. It is then the Enlarged Board’s
judicial independence in deciding on this case which is
fundamentally denied.

44. As can be derived from the statement of the Chairman of
the AC, there was no clear and unequivocal declaration

that the AC distanced itself from (or did not share)
the Office President’s position. In such a situation,
the Enlarged Board cannot legally continue with these
proceedings. As a consequence it cannot make a proposal
to the Petitioner to remove the Respondent from office.

45. Thus to summarise, the Enlarged Board was reduced to
the following alternatives:

either,
to take an “unlawful decision”;

or,
to take a “lawful decision” according to the
demands of the Office President, i.e. setting
aside its decision on the public oral proceedings
and taking as granted the facts established in the
IU Report and/or the DC’s opinion.

46. In either case, the respective decision would be
inherently vitiated because it would have been made
under pressure from the executive and without the
serenity and independence needed for a fair trial.

47. The intervention of the Office President, and this
intervention alone, prevented the Enlarged Board from
continuing the proceedings as had been planned, (see
above points XVI to XXI), from examining the case on
its substantive merits as put forward by the Petitioner,
and from establishing whether serious grounds for the
removal from office of the Respondent existed in
accordance with Article 23(1) EPC.

Respondent’s request that this decision deal with certain

issues by way of obiter comments

48. In its letter of 24 November 2015 the Respondent set
out nine requests which it has repeated mutatis
mutandis in the present proceedings.

49. These requests may be divided into four categories.
Category 1: Requests that are now without purpose
Request II, that the request that initiated the current
proceedings be withdrawn.

As the Enlarged Board will not make a proposal to the
AC for the removal from office of the Respondent, this
request is now without purpose.

Category 2: Requests that fall outside of the
competence of the Enlarged Board in these proceedings
Request IV, that the house ban be rescinded.

The Office President, who decided upon the house ban,
is not a party to these proceedings. The Enlarged Board
does not have a respective jurisdiction over him, nor
is the house ban itself a subject of these proceedings.
Request VI, that the Respondent be reinstated with
immediate effect as a member of the Boards of Appeal;
and

Request VII, that the Enlarged Board make a legally
binding order to the effect that the investigation and
disciplinary procedures, and the procedures before the

Enlarged Board with reference numbers Art. 23 1/15 and
2/15 shall constitute no obstacle for reappointment
following the current appointment period which expires
on 31 December 2017. Further that all documents
associated with the aforementioned procedures shall be
removed from the Respondent’s personnel file.
The Petitioner is the appointing authority for the
members and chairmen of the Boards of Appeal. Its
exercise of this authority is outside the competence of
the Enlarged Board and is beyond the scope of these
proceedings.
Request IX, that an award of moral and or exemplary
damages shall be made, in the amount of at least one
gross annual salary.
The Enlarged Board does not have the power to order
such an award.
Category 3: Independence of Enlarged Board proceedings
from disciplinary proceedings
The Enlarged Board cannot grant the following requests
of the Respondent because of the present proceedings
being independent from any disciplinary proceedings
(Article 12a(8) RPEBA):
Request I, that the disciplinary procedure D 1/15
before the AC is to be terminated without prejudice to
the Respondent; and
Request III, that the suspension be lifted; and

Request V, that all withheld components of remuneration
are to be repaid with interest.

Category 4: Requests that the Enlarged Board may deal
with

Request VIII, that all costs of the proceedings, in
particular the cost of legal representation shall be
borne by the EPO. For this request, see below.

Request for reimbursement of costs

50. The Petitioner referred to Article 12a(10) RPEBA and
stated that it would leave it to the Enlarged Board to
decide on this matter.

51. Pursuant to Article 12a(10) RPEBA, the Enlarged Board
may on request propose the reimbursement of some or all
of the costs incurred in the proceedings by the
Respondent if the request to make a proposal for
removal from office has been rejected.

52. The Enlarged Board has decided not to make a proposal
for removal from office of the Respondent; therefore
reimbursement is proposed.

Request for publication

53. The Respondent contended that public declarations have
been made in the press that are detrimental to him. In
order to offset that, he requested the publication of
the present decision.

54. According to Article 18(3) RPEBA, the final decision of
the Enlarged Board in proceedings under Article 23(1),
first sentence, EPC, may be published, due regard being
taken of the confidentiality of the proceedings.

55. In the present case the Enlarged Board has made a final
decision that it does not make a proposal for removal
from office of the respondent.

56. The decision is to be published.

Order
For these reasons it is decided that:

1. The Enlarged Board of Appeal does not make a proposal
for removal from office of the Respondent.

2. Reimbursement of all costs incurred by the Respondent
in the present proceedings before the Enlarged Board of
Appeal is proposed.

3. The decision in case Art. 23 1/16 is to be published.

The Registrar:

N. Crasborn

The Chairman:

M.-B. Tardo-Dino

The above was the result of quick and dirty OCR. We should stress strongly that for accuracy readers must look at the original PDF and bear in mind that this ‘masterpiece’ might force the dismissal or resignation of Battistelli, unless he has the skin of an elephant and enough ‘brought’ delegates in his pocket (like Clinton with her biased/corruptible superdelegates).

Update: While still working on the text some people told us that IP Kat had published a portion of the text (not highlighted in yellow above) and added these remarks about the original: “Merpel has now got her paws on several copies of the Enlarged Board of Appeal’s decision in the latest round of the “House Ban” disciplinary action (reported here). If you like your IP decisions to be explosive, then she can’t recommend it highly enough. The case reference is Art. 23 1/16, incidentally.

“Readers can access the document here. It arrived in several copies today thanks to a number of correspondents who would no doubt prefer not to be identified, for reasons of modesty and career security. The decision is marked for “Publication in OJ”, but the Board notes with admirable deadpan that its orders in the two earlier sets of proceedings, to publish those earlier decisions “have not yet been executed by the competent authorities of the Office.”

“It was already known that this third set of proceedings collapsed due to what was seen as an improper intervention by Mr Battistelli, the EPO President, regarding a decision by the EBA to hold oral proceedings in public, and that this was aggravated by the fact that the Administrative Council refused to distance itself from the actions of Mr Battistelli. Bear in mind, in what follows, that Mr Battistelli was not party to these proceedings, which were instigated by the Administrative Council (“Petitioner”) and the only other party was the impugned Board Member (“Respondent”).”

Her concluding words are that “some AC delegates will not be fans of this decision (this being their third rebuff from the Enlarged Board in relation to a single disciplinary matter). Bear in mind that the AC was already given the opportunity to distance itself once from Mr Battistelli’s actions and did not do so, or at least not unambiguously. One must assume that Mr Battistelli still enjoys the love and support of at least a faction within the AC (though Merpel hears that the faction shrinks at each meeting…).”

Well, see the above about Albania, which is one among many (we gave other possible examples in the past). We urge readers to contact their representatives and German readers to contact Heiko Maas.

Fake Patents on Software From Fake Australian ‘Inventor’ of Bitcoin and the Globally-Contagious Nature of EPO Patent Scope

Thursday 23rd of June 2016 06:26:43 PM

Laws can ‘hop’ from one continent to another

Summary: News from Australia regarding software patents that should not be granted and how patent lawyers from Australia rely on European patent law (EPO and UK-IPO) for guidance on patent scope

THE following remarkable article by Mike Masnick (of TechDirt) is titled “Fake Satoshi Nakamoto Trying To Patent All Sorts Of Bitcoin Related Ideas” and it speaks of one of many charlatans who claim to have invented Bitcoin. Masnick has already written a great deal about other fake inventors, notably regarding E-mail. “Earlier this week,” Masnick wrote, “I got knocked out by some pretty serious food poisoning. The few times I would try to do some work or pop in on Twitter, all I was seeing was people mocking the London Review of Books’ somewhat insane 35,000-word-long profile of Craig Wright, the guy who earlier this year claimed to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto. While he even convinced Gavin Andresen (the guy who really turned Nakamoto’s original work into actual Bitcoin), many others quickly pointed out that Wright’s “proof” appeared to be a giant scam. Why write a 35,000-word profile on a guy who isn’t Satoshi Nakamoto? I don’t know, but thankfully the food poisoning and the few snarky tweets I saw saved me from digging into the entire thing and wasting an afternoon. Fusion posted a much shorter summary of the piece, in case you’re wondering.”

Watch how corporate media repeats these lies about this Australian poser who claims to have invented Bitcoin and now wants a monopoly on it. To quote Reuters: “Craig Wright, the Australian who claimed to be the inventor of bitcoin, is attempting to build a large patent portfolio around the digital currency and technology underpinning it, according to associates of his and documents reviewed by Reuters.

“Watch how corporate media repeats these lies about this Australian poser who claims to have invented Bitcoin and now wants a monopoly on it.”“Since February, Wright has filed more than 50 patent applications in Britain through Antigua-registered EITC Holdings Ltd, which a source close to the company confirmed was connected to Wright, government records show.”

Well, these are basically software patents (like those which USPTO is still happy to accept, unlike courts) and they are assigned not to an original inventor but somewhat of a scammer, who ‘stole’ attribution. What has the world sunk to?

Sadly, Australia’s fascination with software patents is becoming a real problem and in the face of a Commission's report against software patents in Australia parasitic firms like Shelston IP and AJ Park started somewhat of a lobbying campaign. Yet another lawyers’ firm, Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick, has just published “Full Court looks into Best Method requirements” where it says “attacks against patents for lack of best method have been relatively rare.”

“Sadly, Australia’s fascination with software patents is becoming a real problem and in the face of a Commission’s report against software patents in Australia parasitic firms like Shelston IP and AJ Park started somewhat of a lobbying campaign.”Well, it’s patents that attack. They are still using misleading language where those who pursue sane patent policy (or patent quality) are “attacking”. Lawyers’ reversal of the narrative is rather typical. The article from Malcolm Bell says: “The trial Judge had held that Servier had failed to describe the best method known to it in performing the invention where it described only the general method of salification rather than any specific method. Such specific methods include the 1986 or 1991 methods which would have provided the reader with information as to a method that met the characteristics of the claimed invention. The Full Court held that Servier had not shown that the trial Judge was wrong.”

That last part frames the situation as one where the judge is right or wrong, almost as though the Full Court is an ultimate arbiter that can just discredit ‘unwanted’ decisions. Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick published this marketing piece and also — on the very same day in fact — published “Software patents in Australia: where to from here?”

“They are still using misleading language where those who pursue sane patent policy (or patent quality) are “attacking”.”So the mask comes off. They’re among the lobbyists for software patents, probably alongside Shelston IP and AJ Park. In principle, software patents are out of scope; moreover “[i]n May 2016,” to quote the above, “The High Court of Australia dismissed an application for special leave to appeal the RPL Central decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia. The Full Federal Court found that RPL Central’s invention was not patentable as it was simply a scheme or idea implemented on a generic computer, using standard software and hardware.”

So both the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia decided that software patents are invalid. Who would the lawyers thus lean on? The USPTO, where Alice crushes software patents on a daily or weekly basis? No, the EPO. Under the section “Moving closer to Europe” it says: “The Full Court looked to the UK Aerotel decision in determining that a claimed invention must make a ‘technical contribution’. Recently received Examination Reports appear to indicate that the Australian Patent Office is applying a European style ‘technical contribution’ approach to patentability, albeit in a less structured manner than is the case before the UK Patent Office or the EPO.”

“So both the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia decided that software patents are invalid.”Surely this helps remind us of the dangers posed by Battistelli's race to the bottom when it comes to patent quality. Software patents are being granted in Europe under pressure (if not collusion) from companies like Microsoft and this can have a knock-on effect far away from Europe, maybe even in New Zealand and in India where loopholes for software patenting are eerily similar to those which exist in Europe (Brimelow’s bad legacy).

Patent Lawyers Love (and Amplify) Halo and Enfish, Omit or Dismiss Cuozzo and Alice

Thursday 23rd of June 2016 05:32:43 PM

Lobbying or marketing dressed up as ‘analyses’


Reference: Selective perception

Summary: By misinterpreting the current situation with respect to software patents and misusing terms like “innovation” patent lawyers and others in the patent microcosm hope to convince the public (or potential clients) that nothing in effect has changed and software patents are all fine and dandy

THE USPTO gradually moves away from software patents, whereas the EPO moves closer to them. That’s quite a twist and an unexpected development, but that’s where we are today.

Two days ago we wrote about the Cuozzo decision. We are very pleased as it is another major blow to software patents. Patent lawyers’ sites are still talking about it, but not so much (interest has been lost exponentially). Patently-O, for example, says about another case that “Chief Judge Prost likely held the decision release to await the Cuozzo affirmance that implicitly supports the court’s ruling here.”

“In a nutshell, PTAB survives and all those cranky patent lawyers who compared it to a “death squad” will have to find another lobbying strategy.”Cuozzo coverage from MIP’s Natalie Rahhal said that the “Supreme Court’s decision in Cuozzo v Lee maintains the different standards for claim construction used in the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the district courts. The ruling indicates that the Court believes the USPTO is performing its inter partes reviews (IPR) in accordance with the America Invents Act (AIA).”

In a nutshell, PTAB survives and all those cranky patent lawyers who compared it to a “death squad” will have to find another lobbying strategy. TechDirt wrote about the decision as follows:

Supreme Court Says, Yes, The Patent Office Can Review Crappy Patents Using Broad Standards

Last week, the Supreme Court made life a little easier for patent trolls, and this week it made life a little harder. At issue was just how the Patent Office could review patents after they were granted. The last round of patent reform, the America Invents Act in 2010, included something called Inter Partes Review (IPR) that allows anyone to basically challenge a bad patent, presenting specific evidence that it shouldn’t have been granted due to prior art. A special board at the Patent Office, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), can then decide to review the patent if it decides that there’s a “reasonable likelihood” that it will invalidate some of the patent claims due to the submitted evidence.

In the case that went to the Supreme Court, Cuozzo Speed Technologies was upset that the PTAB knocked out some patent claims on a patent it held after Garmin filed an IPR effort with the Patent Office, claiming that one of the claims in a Cuozzo patent was invalid thanks to prior art. The PTAB knocked out three claims from the patent, saying that two other claims were equally impacted from the prior art. Cuozzo appealed to the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on two points: first it was upset that the PTAB reviewed three claims when Garmin really focused on just one. And, second, it was upset that the PTAB used “the broadest reasonable construction” of the claims rather than the “ordinary meaning as understood by a person of skill in the art.” CAFC sided with the PTAB, saying that the law says that you can’t appeal what PTAB chooses to review, and that the standard it used was perfectly reasonable.

There is not much coverage of this from pro-software patents people, as one might expect. It’s that propaganda by omission as we noted here before. More than a month after Enfish Arent Fox LLP publishes “Enfish Database Case Brings New Twist in Software Patentability Saga” (no, not really). Growing desperate there for good news, don’t they? Enfish is old news and it was quickly contradicted by the very same court only a few days later.

“There is not much coverage of this from pro-software patents people, as one might expect. It’s that propaganda by omission as we noted here before.”Here is IP Kat‘s very latest on SCOTUS. It mentions the Halo case (pro-patent trolls) and says: “Is the U.S. Supreme Court pro-patent or anti-patent? One of my favorite books on patent reform is by economists Adam B. Jaffe and Josh Lerner titled, “Innovation and its Discontents: How Our Broken Patent System is Endangering Innovation and Progress and What to do About It,” published in 2004 by Princeton University Press. One of the insights from the book is the recognition of how patent legal protection moves like a pendulum throughout history. Notably, we tend to swing either too far in favor of protection or too far away from protection. We have trouble finding the middle way. On June 13, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court in Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics and Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer (Halo) made it easier to obtain enhanced damages for willful infringement in patent infringement cases.”

It’s not a bad post actually and a comment on the above says: There is a clear common theme among most of the patent cases decided by the US Supreme Court in the last couple of years: the CAFC should stop laying down hard-and-fast rules for judging inventive step, patent-eligibility, damages, attorney fees, injunctions, etc. etc. etc. If there is a connection with fear for patent trolls, it is probably that inflexible rules create too many opportunities for abuse.”

“Funny how they mostly evade cases that are not — shall we say — so “convenient” to patent lawyers…”In this particular case not patent scope but the scope of damages was at stake. Those quite likely to benefit from this decision are patent trolls, which most often use patents on software (hence the relevance to patent scope too). IP Kat has also just published this
analysis from Taly Dvorkis (Allen & Overy LLP). It’s about the Halo case as well. Funny how they mostly evade cases that are not — shall we say — so “convenient” to patent lawyers… this particular analysis was posted by a Bristows employee and longtime proponent of software patents, the UPC, etc.

To be frank, my feelings towards IP Kat soured recently, especially in light of the censorship. It’s not about my particular comment but about input I receive about other people whose comments too are being censored, presumably for not concurring with the ‘party line’ (I have repeatedly asked IP Kat on what basis my comment was deleted and I am still waiting for a response, probably in vain). The worst situation is one where people like Merpel hardly write anymore and people from patent law firms write the lion’s share of the blog’s articles. “I’m fully aware of this,” told us someone from the EPO about IP Kat. “Unfortunately I have to agree with you and since Jeremy left the Kat their EPO reports leave a lot to be desired. Also the frequency of reporting (as you already mentioned in Techrights before) dropped remarkably. I suspect pressure from the Dark side…” (EPO management, which earlier this month banned IP Kat).

Looks Increasingly Plausible That Battistelli is Covering up Bogus and/or Illegally-Obtained ‘Evidence’ From the EPO’s Investigative Unit

Thursday 23rd of June 2016 04:32:13 PM

Summary: Why we believe that Benoît Battistelli is growingly desperate to hide evidence of rogue evidence-collecting operations which eventually landed himself — not the accused — in a catastrophic situation that can force his resignation

EARLIER this month there was an EPO ‘trial’ against a judge, as previously covered in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. It’s not really a trial because in Eponia there is no real justice and no real courts. It’s just a monarch’s execution den, where largely bogus (or exaggerated if no cherry-picked) charges are brought up and then used mercilessly in spite of what's supposed to appear like a jury (it’s being ignored by the monarch, Battistelli, who is typically an omnipotent accuser, plaintiff, judge, jury and executioner).

In our previous posts on this subject we ended up mentioning not only the illegality of the surveillance but also the possibility of Parallel Construction (details in this recent post about IP Kat censorship of comments).

Now we have a translation of this original German report from Mathieu Klos. We got a translation as it was published in SUEPO’s Web site and we made an HTML version of it. The more important (or original) bits are highlighted in yellow below:

Coup at the EPO: Battistelli intervenes in dismissal proceedings

The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) yesterday put an end to proceedings for the dismissal of a suspended judge, by refusing to reach a decision. The dismissal had been prompted by the Administrative Council, but a coup was scored on the first day of the oral hearing when EPO President Benoît Battistelli intervened beforehand in the independent disciplinary proceedings by demanding that the public be excluded. A lot of people watching developments see this as an attack on the independence of the court.

Benoît Battistelli

Even before the proceedings got under way, there had been a major conflict among the people concerned about holding a public hearing in the dismissal proceedings. The Enlarged Board of Appeal had ultimately decided to act in public, in line with the petitions by the suspended judge and his attorney Senay Okyay.

According to Okyay, last Monday the Chair of the Administrative Council Jesper Kongstad raised the issue of the proceedings being held in public. The Administrative Council is the
disciplinary body for all EPO judges.

Last Friday the Enlarged Board of Appeal received a letter from EPO President Battistelli. He had arranged for the suspension of the judge, but was not taking part in the dismissal proceedings. “In the letter Battistelli demanded that the hearing be held behind closed doors”, says Okyay, the attorney. “The President is maintaining that a public hearing is contrary to the statutes of the Office.” Okyay also says that further questioning of witnesses, as the court had in fact scheduled for three days of the proceedings, from 14 to 16 June, is being regarded by Battistelli as “inappropriate”. The President accordingly would not authorise the presence of witnesses from the Office. The court had planned to question three witnesses from the Office’s own investigation unit.

According to a number of observers, however, yesterday’s planned oral hearing did not in fact happen. A few minutes after the start the court excluded members of the public, so as to inform the parties of Battistelli’s letter and the concerns it raised.

Battistelli’s letter causes confusion among the judges

Again according to Okyay, the judges regarded the letter as interference with their independence of action. They demanded that the representatives of the Administrative Council at the proceedings obtain a response from the supervisory body as whether its members shared the President’s interpretation of the legal situation or not, but the reply was somewhat ambiguous.

The Enlarged Board of Appeal yesterday informed the participants that it regarded the letter as a massive exertion of influence on its independence, according to observers. The fact that the Administrative Council had not unambiguously distanced themselves from the letter caused the court to terminate the proceedings, without issuing the proposal needed in order for the judge to be dismissed.

It also remains unclear whether there would have been a normal course of the proceedings at all. Okyay says that “the Administrative Council actually cannot now decide on the dismissal of my client at their next meeting. According to the statutes, my client should be reinstated in office with his reputation and dignity intact. The Administrative Council now only has recourse to disciplinary measures such as a reprimand or censure.”

Battistelli himself did not make any comment on the accusations in response to an enquiry from JUVE. The EPO pointed out that the Administrative Council is the body responsible for appointments and disciplinary procedures. And to protect the integrity of the proceedings, and of all the parties concerned, the disciplinary proceedings are confidential – according to the rules of the EPO.

Highly explosive proceedings

The dispute about the suspended EPO judge has been smouldering for the last year and a half. In December 2014 Battistelli imposed a ban on the judge entering the EPO premises. This decision came in for a lot of criticism among the European patent community, who saw it as a threat to the independence of the Board of Appeal.

A good year later, in October 2015, the Administrative Council initiated the dismissal proceedings against the judge. Since the establishment of the Office in the 1970’s, no proceedings like this have ever been attempted. According to EPO regulations, however, the dismissal of a judge is only possible on the recommendation of the Enlarged Board of Appeal.

By taking this step, however, the Administrative Council was not following Battistelli’s proposal, who had tried for a direct dismissal. According to sources close to the Board of Appeal, the EPO President was under the threat at yesterday’s hearing of questions being raised also about the internal investigation into the events. This would have thrown up the matter of whether there was truth in the reports that publicly accessible computers at the EPO had been monitored. The Administrative Council had already been insisting that the investigations and disciplinary proceedings were being handled correctly.

Struggle for the independence of the EPO court

A good number of the observers see the letter from Battistelli as being further proof of his interfering in matters which concern the court. At the forthcoming meeting on 29 and 30 June the Administrative Council will be deciding on a package of reforms aimed at greater independence for the Boards of Appeal.

For a good two years now, the Office has been confronted by a vociferous public debate, in which criticism has been increasingly sharply levelled against too close an amalgamation between the Office management and the EPO court. The actual aim of the Boards of Appeal is to examine the decisions by the patent authority, such as the issue of European patents. In May 2014, however, the court declared that its own president was proving an embarrassment with excessively close links to the EPO management, and set a laborious reform process in motion. A number of proposals for solutions have so far remained without result. The only thing that is clear is that the 38 Member States of the European Patent Organization really do not want the court to part company from the Office.

In the light of yesterday’s events, however, whether the Administrative Council will now in fact, as planned, decide on the reforms at the end of June, is entirely in the lap of the gods.

(Mathieu Klos)

From the above we learn quite a few things, including the reasons for Battistelli’s phobia. It sure looks like he’s hiding something from the public for fear of backlash. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the integrity of the process as the accused and his representatives sought transparency, the board wanted transparency, and the names of Investigative Unit staff are mostly public knowledge by now [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Battistelli and his goons are most likely worried that defamation of the accused will be more widely realised, challenging the narrative which Team Battistelli ‘planted’ in the Dutch and German media just weeks after signing the FTI Consulting 'crisis control' contract (later paid specifically for Dutch and German propaganda).

Battistelli is digging his own grave these days. He’s doing a fine job.

As Decision on the UK’s EU Status Looms, EPO Deep in a Crisis of Patent Quality

Thursday 23rd of June 2016 03:46:50 PM

Not Battistelli Exit, not until next week at least

Summary: Chaotic situation at the EPO and potential changes in the UK cause a great deal of debate about the UPC, which threatens to put the whole or Europe at the mercy of patent trolls from abroad

JUSTICE is long dead at the EPO and our concerns about software patents in the EPO grow bigger. The EPC is simply being ignored by Benoît Battistelli whenever it suits his personal objectives. It should be noted that the UK’s role and membership in the EPO (through the EPC) is disconnected from the EU (a subject of great confusion and debate in The Register comments nowadays), but either way, today’s referendum plays an important role not just in the future of the UPC but also the EPO itself. Many British workers have already left the EPO and given Battistelli’s mistreatment of an Irish judge, one might wonder if the same is true for Ireland. We published/highlighted some statistics about this yesterday.

“Many British workers have already left the EPO and given Battistelli’s mistreatment of an Irish judge, one might wonder if the same is true for Ireland.”Having examined this week’s news we found not so much coverage in English-speaking media, unlike German media for instance (translations welcome), probably as it is closer to ‘the action’ (the same applies to Dutch media).

Where would the EPO be if the UPC failed? Probably a vastly superior position than if UPC ever becomes a reality and we shall explain why. In short, the UPC isn’t about improving the EPO but about optimising it for billionaires who aren’t even necessarily European. These are the sorts of billionaires whom ENA graduates (such as Battistelli) traditionally serve. “I already fought against this thing called EPLA at the time,” wrote to us one reader, alluding to a previous incarnation of the UPC. “10 years ago I hoped it would be stopped,” this reader added (slightly modified quote).

EPLA is not to be confused with EPLAW, but it sure seems like EPLAW is now one of the big ‘engines’ behind it. They’re becoming rather worried about Battistelli as a flag bearer because as his popularity sinks (to 0% approval rate) it looks like the UPC (or EPLA) will sink with him. EPLA is the European Patent Litigation Agreement, whereas EPLAW is a patent lawyers’ body which we mentioned here before as it had grown tired of Battistelli's behaviour and even cited Techrights (which Battistelli’s EPO basically banned, probably out of fear). Speaking of the UPC (previously known as EU Patent, Community Patent and so on), watch what the EPO’s own mouthpieces say about the UPC in light of what Battistelli and his minions recently admitted to the media, as we last noted yesterday. With Brexit, they openly admit, “Unified Patent Court project is likely to be put on hold for a few years…” (or just die altogether, if not get renamed/rebranded yet again). Also watch a longtime UPC booster from Bristows (part of the conspiracy to create and pass the UPC) worrying about Brexit. To patent lawyers, being self-serving as they tend to be, Brexit is all about their own profession [1, 2, 3] and nothing else. Witness some of the very latest UPC lobbying and opportunism from patent law firms [1, 2, 3]. At whose expense are they promoting it? Follow the money.

“Yesterday we said more on the subject and also yesterday a Senior Director with FTI Consulting (the EPO’s PR firm) and Karel De Gucht’s spokesperson suddenly started following me in Twitter (those who are familiar with Karel De Gucht’s ugly political legacy would probably have a good laugh over the connection to the EPO and UPC).”Last year we showed the connection between UPC lobbying and EPO budget (the connection was FTI Consulting). Yesterday we said more on the subject and also yesterday a Senior Director with FTI Consulting (the EPO’s PR firm) and Karel De Gucht’s spokesperson suddenly started following me in Twitter (those who are familiar with Karel De Gucht’s ugly political legacy would probably have a good laugh over the connection to the EPO and UPC). I must have made it into their list of “enemies” or something…

Many things are happening right now in the media, which FTI Consulting was hired to help 'manage' (see the original contract which was later expanded to be worth over a million Euros!). It must not be pleasant for Battistelli, who has just earned the derogatory title “King Battistelli” from Kieren McCarthy of The Register (UK). McCarthy’s latest article gives coverage to the EPO-FLIER Team and speaks about patent quality — one of those things that UPC would demolish (give way to software patents and invite patent trolls over to European member states). To quote the bits about patent quality:

It also makes the serious claim that the EPO’s quality checking system has been designed to always return positive results, regardless of actual quality.

“The EPO’s own quality measuring system ‘CASE’ suffers from a built-in conflict of interest. The way it has been designed, it will always indicate excellent quality, no matter what the actual quality is,” the letter states.

It goes on to highlight several specific proposals for reform put forward by the Administration that undermine the rights of staff, including the ability to fire examiners if they don’t get through what the administration feels is a sufficient number of patent applications.

Changes at the EPO, including the dismissal of staff that have resisted reform efforts, are causing knock-on impacts, the letter claims, and potential recruits are staying away. “The Office no longer attracts the same caliber of staff and therefore has had to resort to recruiting what it gets,” the letter claims. It says that the EPO has dropped language and geographical requirements due to the inability to attract sufficient applicants.

For those who think this is just some EPO-FLIER Team ‘propaganda’, look no further than pro-EPO publications. They too admit there’s a profound problem. A few days ago Thorsten Bausch wrote in a patent lawyers’ blog that “Scary Figures Call for Action by the EPO,” to quote just the headline. Here is the ‘meat’ of the article:

Yet the really scary figure in the Annual report 2015 is the number of vacant positions of Board of Appeal members. The report shows that the number of BoA chairpersons went down from 27 to 22 and the number of technical and legal BoA members from 132 to 120. At the same time, the number of appeal cases remained more or less the same. What does this mean? It means that the duration of EPO appeal proceedings, which even now is excessively long (in the order of three years on the average, and in the chemical and biotech fields even more, according to this author’s experience) will continue to rise in the not too distant future. This author has already been put on notice by one board of appeal that in view of its current backlog of cases, a decision can only be expected in about six years.

This is a dramatic development against which swift action must be taken. Stakeholders in the patent field need nothing more urgently than legal certainty, which includes quick decisions within 1-2 years at most. This is not the time and place to play the blame game and to investigate why we are where we are. Yet it is the time and place to really call the EPO President and the Administrative Council to their duty to fill up the gaps in the Boards of Appeal as soon as possible. If the objective to have a BoA decision within 1-2 years is to be achieved in a few years’ time and if the quality of the decisions is not to suffer, then it is in my view inevitable to set up significantly more Boards of Appeal and to appoint additional capable members standing up to this challenge. Whether or not Brexit will come and whether or not the UPCA will eventually be ratified, the Boards of Appeal will continue to be one of the most important cornerstones of a functioning patent system in Europe. This should not be put at risk.

Basically, appeals (i.e. boards of appeals) are being systematically crushed by Battistelli so that he can make bogus claims about patent quality having been maintained. The EPO too more or less admits doing this. But how? Well, it’s a little more subtle. Watch Battistelli’s EPO trying to crush the appeal boards (again) for that UPC ‘conspiracy’ under the guise of “go-faster”, as explained yesterday by Jonathan Radcliffe of Reed Smith [1, 2, 3] and today by another author. When is it effective from? Just a couple of days after the Administrative Council’s meeting. Incredible timing!

“Battistelli won’t be man enough to take responsibility when the value of European Patents (EPs) suffers a sharp fall or a freefall.”Articles by people like Mark Ness use words like “streamlined”, but anyone with an IQ of elementary school level can see what’s really going on here. Under Battistelli, who has systematically 'cheapened' patents for his own glory, oppositions to patent grants don’t matter. They simply interfere with ‘production’ as measured using ENA-esque yardsticks. Worth or value of EPO patents is now a ticking time bomb; not just for newly-granted patents but also retroactively, i.e. for patents granted decades back. Everyone with stakes at the EPO, more so than just European citizens, should be up in arms. Battistelli is killing our patent office.

As a side note, we’re amused to see this morning’s piece from EPO mouthpieces (funded also by patent lawyers and patent trolls). They are justifying anti-whistleblower laws and design patents as if patent scope and quality matter not at all. As for the EPO itself (not its indirect mouthpieces), it is still milking a lobbying event from a fortnight ago. Well, they wasted millions of Euros on this distraction, so what better way to distract the public? Based on this morning’s tweet from the EPO, the Battistelli loyalists are going to the US in an apparent effort to prop up software patents (“ICT” is one tricky phrase which is growingly being used). They certainly don’t care about patent quality anymore and they are not doing a good job hiding it, either.

Battistelli won’t be man enough to take responsibility when the value of European Patents (EPs) suffers a sharp fall or a freefall. He won’t even be at the Office anymore.

Another Demonstration by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff on Same Day as Administrative Council’s Meeting

Thursday 23rd of June 2016 02:30:19 PM

Institutionally violent EPO management (which baselessly projects this onto staff) cannot be tolerated by staff

Summary: SUEPO (staff union of the EPO) continues to organise staff actions against extraordinary injustice by ‘ringleader’ Benoît Battistelli and his flunkies whom he gave top positions at the EPO

“SUEPO organises on Wednesday 29 June 2016 a demonstration in Munich,” it said this morning, “in front of the EPO Isar building starting at 12.30h.” The staff union of the EPO fights a good fight in the name of staff and in the face of an oppressive regime like I have never before — in my entire life — encountered, not even outside Europe (not in Turkey and not even in notoriously repressive countries like Singapore). There is, in my humble opinion, a moral obligation for European citizens to support SUEPO, which fights not only for EPO staff but for labour rights in general (in Europe and in the West, by extension).

As longtime readers are aware, I now cover mostly EPO matters as I find that lack of information about what goes on there is the only thing which prevents or keeps away people from crystal clear realisation that it is a lot worse than what happened at FIFA and Volkswagen. It’s what keeps most politicians from intervening (to the extent possible).

“The EPO’s information war is a war on truth itself and even a war on justice, which EPO management downplays in spite of the fact that justice is the very cornerstone of this whole system — a system which strive to or at least claims to do patents justice.”The plethora of abuses by EPO management have been covered here in nearly a thousand articles/posts. The information we share here, however, is being ‘drowned out’ by an EPO PR campaign. EPO management, having paid MILLIONS of Euros for newspapers to write puff pieces, is now fighting an information war. It long ago blocked Techrights, simply for daring to inform people about what goes on, including the criminal charges against the EPO's Vice-President from Croatia (speaking of Croatia, see what EPO management wrote yesterday). The EPO’s information war is a war on truth itself and even a war on justice, which EPO management downplays in spite of the fact that justice is the very cornerstone of this whole system — a system which strive to or at least claims to do patents justice. This crucial point was mentioned yesterday by the EPO-FLIER Team. If the EPO cannot serve justice to its very own employees, what hope is there for the rest?

Looking at some recent comments on the lack of justice (at least those comments which IP Kat is not deleting*), one person notes regarding the injustice against a real judge (not ‘judge’ Battistelli): “Shall we expect the EBA [Enlarged Board of Appeal] to issue a decision based on what happened and/or minutes of the hearings? Maybe in time for the next meeting of the AC? Obviously, don’t expect the Office [management, i.e. Team Battistelli] to publish them…”

“Since the hearing was public,” one person noted, “it would seem logical that the decision (and reasoning) would be public. Of course, in camera discussions would be excluded but it would be likely that some people would/could be concerned in advance about the scope of disclosed information relating to third parties? Perhaps sufficiently concerned as to ‘advise’ the EBoA about what they should disclose and not? I’m intrigued.”

Alluding to the deeply defamatory allegations against the judge, one person added: “What one would definitely expect from the EBoA is that it considers whether the accused judge really is the dangerous, armed Nazi propagandist depicted by BB [Battistelli] in several public interventions and newspapers to justify the immediate house ban imposed upon him since December 2014. If not, they should absolutely exonerate him publicly from such charges.”

“What one would definitely expect from the EBoA is that it considers whether the accused judge really is the dangerous, armed Nazi propagandist depicted by BB [Battistelli] in several public interventions and newspapers to justify the immediate house ban imposed upon him since December 2014.”
      –AnonymousWith judges being treated as criminals by ENA graduate Battistelli, it’s understandable that they worry about their independence. In our next post we’ll explain why their fears are very much justified. “To what extent,” asked one person, “is the EBoA (or any board) able to function as a court? I’m not clear what their ability is to hear witnesses and what the consequence of perjury is. Can they refer such cases (and I’m not suggesting that is relevant here) to local authorities? Would they be able to require witnesses to make affidavits before local authorities? I ask this only with regard to the EBoA’s ability to make statements of innocence or guilt. I thought their brief was limited to answering the request placed before them according to EPO laws.”

A previous EPO protest/strike was titled “lawfulness at the EPO” and since Battistelli has done virtually nothing to restore even the perception of lawfulness (he has only escalated his union-busting since) we know that hopes of an EPO that respects the rule of law — be it patent law or human rights laws — is farcical at best. Degradation of patent examination protocols will be discussed in our next post.
_____
* Some readers have contacted us since we published an article regarding IP Kat. They say that they too have had polite comments of theirs deleted.

Links 23/6/2016: Red Hat Results, Randa Stories

Thursday 23rd of June 2016 01:12:55 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Lessons learned for building an open company with transparent collaboration

    In the first part of this two-part series, Building a business on a solid open source model, I described how an open source business needs to provide a solid ground for all stakeholders, users, contributors, employees, customers, and of course investors. Foundations, licenses, and trademarks can be helpful in building an open ecosystem. Open source communities need supporting organizations to work transparently, otherwise there are barriers to contribution. Code might be public, but code dumps (like Google tends to do with Android) don’t always facilitate collaboration. To encourage collaboration, you must go one step further and be proactive. Development in a place like GitHub or GitLab, and having open feature planning meetings and conferences help toward that goal. But still, open source project leaders can do more.

  • Why share / why collaborate? – Some useful sources outside Debian

    I consider that the Golden Rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it. Software sellers want to divide the users and conquer them, making each user agree not to share with others. I refuse to break solidarity with other users in this way. I cannot in good conscience sign a nondisclosure agreement or a software license agreement. … “

  • “But I’m a commercial developer / a government employee”

    Your employer may be willing to negotiate / grant you an opt-out clause to protect your FLOSS expertise / accept an additional non-exclusive licence to your FLOSS code / be prepared to sign an assignment…

  • How to share collaboratively

    Always remember in all of this: just because you understand your code and your working practices doesn’t mean that anyone else will.

  • twenty years of free software — part 3 myrepos

    myrepos is kind of just an elaborated foreach (@myrepos) loop, but its configuration and extension in a sort of hybrid between an .ini file and shell script is quite nice and plenty of other people have found it useful.

    I had to write myrepos when I switched from subversion to git, because git’s submodules are too limited to meet my needs, and I needed a tool to check out and update many repositories, not necessarily all using the same version control system.

  • OPNFV
    • Linux’s NFV crew: Operators keen to ditch clunky networks, be cool like Facebook

      Network operators have a jealous eye on the likes of Facebook and Google and want to ditch their clunky networks to compete for “cooler” consumer services, the head of the open-source network function virtualisation (NFV) project has said.

      Heather Kirksey is director of the collaborative Linux foundation’s OPNFV project – the open source software platform intended to promote the uptake of new products and services using Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV).

    • Nokia, Intel collaborate on open source hardware

      Just a week after Nokia (NYSE:NOK) announced an agreement to help China Mobile move to a more flexible cloud network infrastructure, Nokia said it is teaming up with Intel to make its carrier-grade AirFrame Data Center Solution hardware available for an Open Platform Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV) Lab.

    • OPNFV Summit: Key Takeaways

      The open source multi-VIM MANO, Cloudify, is giving a sneak preview of its Telecom Edition today at the OPNFV Summit in Berlin. Cloudify is an open source orchestrator used by a growing group of large telecoms and Tier 1 network operators that are pursuing network functions virtualization (NFV).

  • SaaS/Back End
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Being open to open source and creating a new business category at VMWare

      In the age of developer-defined infrastructure, where developers have decision making power in application and cloud infrastructure technologies, open source has proven to be a powerful go-to-market and distribution method for both startups and enterprises. Developers are always looking for new technologies to improve their productivity.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Standards/Consortia
Leftovers
  • Microsoft Edge is a system hog and cannot be called ‘power efficient’

    IT WAS ONE HELL of a Monday morning. The rain was hammering down with no end in sight, and the usual ‘wrong type of rain’ and ‘leaves on the line’ meant that trains from outlying areas into central London were all pretty much stationary.

    When I finally got to the office, I dashed to my desk, powered up my system and launched Microsoft Edge – the window to my Office 365-using world.

    I was met with a big, blank white window that wouldn’t shift, no matter how often I pressed Ctrl+Alt+Delete.

    It was the final straw after a year of repeated crashes, hangs, random tab locks followed by forced refreshes, and general slow motion performance that’s made anguished cries and keyboard thumps a normal occurrence for those around me.

    So after using Edge religiously since Windows 10′s launch as an attempt to ‘embed’ with the tech I write about, I decided this morning to stop using it entirely.

  • Opera repudiates Microsoft Edge battery-saving claims

    The browser-maker Opera has negated Microsoft’s much-publicised claim that its Windows 10-exclusive Edge browser provides significantly less battery drain than competitors Chrome and Opera – and its own tests put Edge firmly in second place for battery efficiency.

    In a post at the Opera blog today, Błażej Kaźmierczak reveals the result of the company’s own tests, which put Google Chrome in third place at two hours and fifty-four minutes, Edge in second at three hours twelve minutes, and Opera ahead of that by obtaining three hours and fifty-five minutes of battery life under identical tests.

  • Dell Sells Off Software to Double Down on Its Riskiest Business

    For Dell, combining software and hardware within a single company was supposed to be like chocolate and peanut butter. Instead, it’s turning out more like oil and water.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • The media may have stopped talking about it, but the Flint water crisis is far from over

      “The national media [attention] has waned, but we are trying to keep the story alive,” Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha said, with a voice of sheer determination.

      After becoming the face of a national movement, Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who helped unmask the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, knows all too well — for herself and the residents of Flint — the disaster which almost destroyed the city is far from over. The series of unfortunate of events leading up to the calamity, the world knows all too well — the city stopped using Detroit’s water supply to use water from the Flint river as an economic measure in April 2014.

      High levels of lead permeated the pipes and infiltrated the water supply, while Flint locals complained incessantly about the water’s color, taste and odor, and reported several incidences of strange rashes and skin outbreaks. Yet, government officials assured residents of a majority black city, the water was not a “threat to public health” and “safe to drink.”

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Destroying Fallujah to ‘Save It’

      One of the concepts that emerged from the Vietnam War was that of destroying a village to save it. The idea was that by leveling a place where people once lived, the area would be denied to the Viet Cong. The people? Well, they’d just have to find somewhere else.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Here’s the Full Transcript of Our Interview With DNC Hacker ‘Guccifer 2.0′

      We spoke to the hacker who claimed to have broken into the servers of the Democratic National Committee, who goes by the name of “Guccifer 2.0,” in reference to the notorious hacker who leaked the George W. Bush paintings and recently claimed to have hacked Hillary Clinton’s email server.

      In the interest of transparency, and to let readers judge for themselves, we decided to publish the full chat log. We kept the parts in Romanian, adding the English translation, according to Google Translate.

    • Signs of thaw in Assange affair as he begins fifth year in embassy

      As Australia’s Julian Assange begins a fifth year of life in the Ecuador embassy in London, it looks like Sweden, the country that has accused him of rape, is finally beginning to come around.

      A report in the Guardian says Ecuador has received a formal request from Swedish authorities to interview Assange, a move that could bring the long-running saga to an end.

      Strangely, this is exactly what Ecuador has been asking for all along!

      Proposals for Assange to be extradited to Sweden for questioning were rejected because it was feared that he would be sent to the US from there.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Saudi energy minister just declared the oil glut over

      After two years of pain, the market has finally worked off the global glut of crude that slammed oil prices, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said in a newspaper interview published Wednesday.

      “We are out of it. The oversupply has disappeared,” said Khalid Al-Falih, according to the Houston Chronicle. “We just have to carry the overhang of inventory for a while until the system works it out.”

    • Indonesian Foreign Ministry on Smoke Haze

      This story is from the Jakarta Post. I reproduce it with this brief comment.

      I find the reluctance of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry to make meaningful comment about the problem of transboundary haze very puzzling indeed. It leads me to wonder whether there is the will and capacity, at a national level, to tackle this problem.

  • Finance
    • We can only contemplate leaving the EU because its miracles have become banal

      Another day has brought another dismal poll for the Remain campaign. And yet, if Britain does vote to leave the EU on the 23rd, it will still most likely not be because a majority of British people wish to leave, but because those who wish to remain are too lukewarm about the issue to get out and vote.

      This, if it happens, will be tragic. For all its faults – which, though very real, are inherent to the grandeur of its virtues – the European Union is arguably the greatest thing human beings have ever achieved in the political sphere.

      To put the matter in perspective, imagine for a moment how the world would look if the international system worked like the EU.

    • EU Referedum polling day: Race ‘too close to call’ as four polls give different sides the lead as voting begins

      People are taking to Twitter to complain about flooded polling stations.

      The rain doesn’t seem to be putting people off, but many are being forced to return to their polling stations this evening.

      There are reports of flooded streets as storms swept through the South East this morning.

    • EU referendum: Why is there no exit poll?

      There will be no (public) exit poll following the EU referendum: our Chief Political Commentator explains why, and tells you what to look out for instead

    • Why isn’t there a European referendum exit poll?

      When Britain votes at general elections, minutes after voting ends at 10pm, the broadcasters reveal the results of their exit poll – a massive survey of around 150 seats in the country, paid for the BBC, Sky and ITV – which, mostly, gives us a fairly clear idea of how the country has voted.

    • Chinese internet firm buys majority stake in Finnish gamemaker Supercell

      The Chinese internet giant Tencent has finalised a deal to purchase a majority share in Finland’s biggest earning game company, Supercell. Tencent replaces the Japanese telecoms group SoftBank as the Finnish gamemaker’s largest owner.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The degenerate gambler: Trump runs his campaign like he ran his casinos — right into the ground

      Monday’s bombshell that Trump had finally fired his incompetent campaign manager Corey Lewandowski hit the news networks like a lightning bolt. It had been clear for months the man was in over his head but Trump was loyal to him apparently under the assumption that he’d ushered him through the primaries and therefore knew what he was doing. According to news reports it took the Trump heirs gathering Lewandowski and The Donald in a room together to confront the campaign manager with the campaign’s lack of organization.

    • R. Crumb v. D. Trump, 1989 [NSFW]
    • More young people voted for Bernie Sanders than Trump and Clinton combined — by a lot

      It’s hard to overemphasize how completely and utterly Sen. Bernie Sanders dominated the youth vote to this point in the 2016 presidential campaign. While Hillary Clinton dominated him among older voters, he dominated her right back among younger voters — even winning more than 80 percent of their votes in some states against no less than the eventual Democratic nominee.

      But this fact might say it better than any: In the 2016 campaign, Sanders won more votes among those under age 30 than the two presumptive major-party presidential nominees combined. And it wasn’t close.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Wearables at work are the new spy tool, UK workers say

      Despite 3m Britons buying a wearable device in 2015, we are not willing to use them at work, according to new research from PwC.

      In a survey of 2,000 workers across the UK, only 46pc of people said they would accept a free piece of wearable technology if their employers had access to the data recorded.

      This was despite the fact that two-thirds of respondents wanted their employer to take an active role in their health and well-being. The biggest barrier to adoption was trust, with 40pc saying they don’t trust their employer to use it for their benefit, and in fact believe it will actively be used against them.

    • Facebook Signs Deals With Media Companies, Celebrities for Facebook Live

      Facebook Inc. has inked contracts with nearly 140 media companies and celebrities to create videos for its nascent live-streaming service, as the social network positions itself to cash in on a lucrative advertising market it has yet to tap—and keep its 1.65 billion monthly users engaged.

    • Facebook Just Made A Pretty Awkward Change To Your Profile

      If you haven’t looked at your own Facebook profile recently, you might want to go check it out.

      The social network recently tweaked a setting that changes how your employment and education history is displayed, a spokeswoman for Facebook told The Huffington Post on Monday. While the change won’t make any private information public, it could make some previously tucked-away information very obvious to your friends — which might be a bit uncomfortable.

    • Supreme Court Gives Police More Leeway on Illegal Searches

      NBC reports that Justice Sonia Sotomayor let loose a scorching dissent in a case involving the Fourth Amendment and police conduct. The case concerns Edward Strieff, who was stopped while leaving a house a police officer was watching on suspicion of drug activity. When the officer discovered Strieff had an outstanding warrant for a minor traffic violation, he searched Strieff and found methamphetamine. The court had to decide whether the drugs found on Strieff could be used as evidence or whether such evidence was disqualified by the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, saying the evidence was “admissible because the officer’s discovery of the arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the evidence seized incident to arrest.”

    • After Orlando, Senate rejects plan to allow FBI Web searches without court order

      The Senate on Wednesday rejected a Republican-led effort to allow the FBI to access a person’s Internet browsing history, email account data and other electronic communications without a court order in terrorism and spy cases.

      The measure from Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) would have also extended the government’s authority to conduct surveillance over potential “lone wolf” attackers.

      McCain and Burr argued that the changes were necessary in the wake of recent terrorist attacks such as in Orlando, where a gunman claiming inspiration and loyalty to the Islamic State killed 49 people at a gay nightclub.

    • How ‘Deleted’ Yahoo Emails Led to a 20-Year Drug Trafficking Conviction

      In 2009, Russell Knaggs, from Yorkshire, England, orchestrated a plan to import five tonnes of cocaine from South America hidden in boxes of fruit. Somehow, he did this all from the cell of a UK prison, while serving a 16-year sentence for another drug crime.

      As part of the plan, a collaborator in Colombia would log into a Yahoo email account and write a message as a draft. Another accomplice in Europe would read the message, delete it, and then write his own. The point of this was to avoid creating any emails that could be found by law enforcement.

      Knaggs didn’t use the email account himself, but when Yahoo provided copies of the inbox contents to the authorities, he was convicted and sentenced to another 20 years in prison. The emails certainly aren’t the only pieces of evidence used to bust Knaggs (the plot was foiled after officers found a piece of paper with transfer routes and other details during a cell search), but it’s one that the defense is scrutinizing.

    • Invoking Orlando, Senate Republicans set up vote to expand FBI spying

      U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a vote late on Monday to expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s authority to use a secretive surveillance order without a warrant to include email metadata and some browsing history information.

    • Don’t break crypto, go easy on the algorithms—global Internet commission

      Crypto backdoors, the overuse of opaque algorithms, turning companies into law enforcement agencies, and online attacks on critical infrastructure have all been attacked by the Global Commission on Internet Governance in a new report published on Wednesday.

      The body, which was set up in 2014 by UK-based Chatham House and the Canadian Centre for International Governance Innovation, has presented its 140-page-long One Internet report to provide “high-level, strategic advice and recommendations to policy makers, private industry, the technical community, and other stakeholders interested in maintaining a healthy Internet.”

      It comes out in favour of strict legal controls on the aggregation of personal metadata, net neutrality, open standards, and the mandatory public reporting of high-threshold data breaches. Along the way, it offers opinions on areas such as the sharing economy, blockchains, the Internet of Things, IPv6, and DNSSEC.

    • EFF Urges Citizens, Websites to Fight Rule Changes Expanding Government Powers to Break Into Users’ Computers

      San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Tor Project, and dozens of other organizations are calling today on citizens and website operators to take action to block a new rule pushed by the U.S. Justice Department that would greatly expand the government’s ability to hack users’ computers and interfere with anonymity on the web.

      EFF and over 40 partner organizations are holding a day of action for a new campaign—noglobalwarrants.org—to engage citizens about the dangers of Rule 41 and push U.S. lawmakers to oppose it. The process for updating these rules—which govern federal criminal court processes—was intended to deal exclusively with procedural issues. But this year a U.S. judicial committee approved changes in the rule that will expand judicial authority to grant warrants for government hacking.

    • Congress Seeks to Expand Warrantless Surveillance Under the Patriot Act

      How would you feel if the Federal Bureau of Investigation could get information about websites you visited or emails you sent – without ever getting permission from a judge? Would you begin to self-censor the websites you visited — maybe avoiding revealing sites? Or, avoid emailing your pastor, therapist, or lawyer? These scenarios may soon no longer be hypothetical.

    • Battle of the Secure Messaging Apps: How Signal Beats WhatsApp

      This spring, text messages got a lot more private. In April, the world’s most popular messaging service, WhatsApp, announced it would use end-to-end encryption by default for all users, making it virtually impossible for anyone to intercept private WhatsApp conversations, even if they work at Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, or at the world’s most powerful electronic spying agency, the NSA. Then in May, tech giant Google announced a brand new messaging app called Allo that also supports end-to-end encryption.

    • Senate Just Barely Rejects Plan To Expand FBI Surveillance Powers

      Just yesterday we wrote about how the Senate was, somewhat ridiculously, rapidly pushing forward plans on a vote for an amendment to the laws concerning what information the FBI can gather using National Security Letters (NSLs). Despite the fact that the big push for this bill began a few weeks ago, and the fact that it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Orlando shooting, cynical Senators including John McCain and Mitch McConnell pointed to the shootings in Orlando as a reason that this expansion of FBI surveillance powers was needed. Of course, the reality is that it wasn’t needed, and the law is really there to paper over the fact that the FBI has already been widely abusing its NSL powers to get information it’s not allowed to request.

      After a vocal debate this morning, the measure (somewhat surprisingly) failed to pass, but by just two votes. It need 60 votes to move forward (it was a vote for “cloture” on debate, which requires 60 votes), and it only received 58. But McConnell already made it clear that the amendment will be reconsidered soon, which means he’s likely going to be pushing strongly to get those two remaining votes.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • CIA Psychologists Admit Role In ‘Enhanced Interrogation’ Program In Court Filing

      Two psychologists who helped the CIA develop and execute its now-defunct “enhanced interrogation” program partially admitted for the first time to roles in what is broadly acknowledged to have been torture.

      In a 30-page court filing posted Tuesday evening, psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen responded to nearly 200 allegations and legal justifications put forth by the American Civil Liberties Union in a complaint filed in October. The psychologists broadly denied allegations that “they committed torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, non-consensual human experimentation and/or war crimes” — but admitted to a series of actions that can only be described as such.

      “Defendants admit that over a period of time, they administered to [Abu] Zubaydah walling, facial and abdominal slaps, facial holds, sleep deprivation, and waterboarding, and placed Zubaydah in cramped confinement,” the filing says.

      The American Psychological Association issued a lengthy report last year acknowledging members of the profession collaborated with the CIA and Pentagon on the torture program, and apologized. But until now, no psychologist has ever been called to account in court.

    • Anger as Swiss council plans non-pork school lunches

      Politicians with the conservative Swiss People’s Party believe school authorities in Basel have caved to religious minorities in their decision to take pork off the school lunch menu in the coming school year.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • OECD Ministerial On Internet: Trust, But Whom?

      Beware “digital protectionism.” That was one of the key messages of United States Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, speaking at the official opening of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Ministerial on the digital economy in Cancun, Mexico.

    • After Net Neutrality Win, Emboldened FCC Eyes New Reforms

      One week after a federal court upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s landmark net neutrality policy, emboldened FCC officials are moving to advance an ambitious set of reforms that are already generating static from the broadband industry and its political allies.

      The decade-long battle over net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible to consumers, is not over. Industry giant AT&T has said it plans to join an appeal of the DC Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court, and net neutrality foes in Congress continue to pursue their relentless campaign aimed at knee-capping the FCC’s consumer protections.

    • Open Access Idaho Broadband Network Lets Customers Switch To A New ISP In Seconds

      In 2009, the FCC funded a Harvard study that concluded (pdf) that open access policies (letting multiple ISPs come in and compete over a central, core network) resulted in lower broadband prices and better service. Of course when the FCC released its flimsy, politically timid “National Broadband Plan” back in 2010, this realization (not to mention an honest accounting of the sector’s limited competition) was nowhere to be found. Since then, “open access” has become somewhat of a dirty word in telecom, and even companies like Google Fiber — which originally promised to adhere to the concept on its own network before quietly backpedaling — are eager to pretend the idea doesn’t exist.

  • DRM
    • Taking the headphone jack off phones is user-hostile and stupid

      Another day, another rumor that Apple is going to ditch the headphone jack on the next iPhone in favor of sending out audio over Lightning. Or another phone beats Apple to the punch by ditching the headphone jack in favor of passing out audio over USB-C. What exciting times for phones! We’re so out of ideas that actively making them shittier and more user-hostile is the only innovation left.

      [...]

      1. Digital audio means DRM audio

      Oh look, I won this argument in one shot. For years the entertainment industry has decried what they call the “analog loophole” of headphone jacks, and now we’re making their dreams come true by closing it.

    • 74% of Netflix Subscribers Would Rather Cancel Their Subscription Than See Ads

      In its early days as a streaming service, Netflix wasn’t just the biggest and best company on the block – it was the only one. In those heady days, Netflix was able to charge low subscription rates and still provide a catalog that included just about everything.

      As we’ve seen, that’s been changing. With new competition from companies like Hulu and Amazon, Netflix has seen streaming deals get pricier and customers get antsier. For a few years now, Netflix’s catalog has been shrinking while its prices have been rising.

      So where’s a streaming company to find new profits in a tight market? According to some people, the answer is for Netflix to start showing ads, like competitor Hulu does. That would give the company new revenue streams without forcing them to raise prices.

      Of course, there’s a group of stakeholders that’s still left unaccounted for here: Netflix’s customers. We decided to ask them about the issue. And, in a survey of more than 1,200 people on Reddit, we got some pretty clear answers.

    • If you kill the headphone jack, you need to replace it with something better

      As the rumors that the next iPhone will drop the 3.5mm headphone jack have intensified, I’ve been keeping tabs on the specific argument that Daring Fireball’s John Gruber made yesterday: that removing the headphone jack from the iPhone is the modern-day equivalent of removing the floppy drive from the iMac in the late ’90s. It caused some pain at the time, but it was the way things were moving anyway and in the grand scheme of things it was a smart thing to do.

      The people on the “get rid of the headphone jack” side of the debate normally choose some version of this position as the justification that the jack is “old” and so getting rid of it represents “progress.” And the fact of the matter is that Apple has been pretty good at this kind of progress over the years, picking up new technologies like USB and SSDs and dropping aging ones like the DVD drive well before those technologies had gone (or ceased to be) mainstream.

      But the headphone jack is not the floppy drive. It’s not the 30-pin connector. It’s not the DVD drive. It’s not even USB Type-C. It’s not, in other words, directly comparable to all those other times when Apple has been “right” to remove or change something, both because of the ubiquity of the headphone jack and the quality of the supposed replacements.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Texas Trademark Spat Full Of Crap?

        We’ve seen plenty of strange, even laughable, trademark spats around here. What can get lost in the kind of ownership culture we’ve collectively created is that trademark is chiefly built around the concept of avoiding customer confusion. With that noble goal in mind, businesses are allowed to reserve the right to use specific marks that act as identifiers for their brands. One of the tests that’s commonly referenced to determine whether there is the potential for customer confusion is: would a moron in a hurry be confused by a given use between two competing companies?

    • Copyrights
      • Pirate Bay Co-Founder to Sue Record Labels For Defamation

        Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde is firing back at several major record labels, demanding compensation for damaging his name. Sunde is preparing a lawsuit against the music labels, who were recently awarded damages for his involvement with the notorious pirate site.

Interview With FOSSForce/All Things Free Tech

Thursday 23rd of June 2016 12:17:19 PM

Summary: New interview with Robin “Roblimo” Miller on behalf of FOSSForce

Links 22/6/2016: PulseAudio 9.0, GNOME 3.21.3 Released

Wednesday 22nd of June 2016 11:14:23 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Building a business on a solid open source model

    Since we announced Nextcloud, an ownCloud fork, many people have asked me how we plan to build a sustainable, healthy open source business. My short answer is that it requires a strong focus on maintaining a careful balance between the needs of all stakeholders: users, contributors, employees, customers, and—of course—investors. Building a solid open source business requires that management has confidence in the abilities of your company, stakeholders must be on board with the business model, and everyone must understand that balance is important for the ecosystem. Like a rising tide lifts all boats, a strong ecosystem benefits all stakeholders.

  • Why I must use Free Software – and why I tell others to do so

    My work colleagues know me well as a Free/Libre software zealot, constantly pointing out to them how people should behave, how FLOSS software trumps commercial software and how this is the only way forward. This for the last 20 odd years. It’s a strain to argue this repeatedly: at various times, I have been asked to set out more clearly why I use FLOSS, what the advantages are, why and how to contribute to FLOSS software.

  • BusyBox 1.25 Released

    This latest update to the widely-used BusyBox software features a new blkdiscard applet, new options for gunzip/gzip, new nsenter / unshare / ubirename applets, build system changes, fixes for unzip, updates to ntpd, Ash additions, and a wide variety of other changes.

  • Altair Adds Open-Source Licensing to PBS Pro

    One of the problems that continues to hinder HPC is that, by and large, there’s a greater demand for computing cycles than there are CPUs and GPUs available. With researchers and engineers lining up to have their calculations crunched, it’s critical that HPC schemes have effective job management software that can keep track of a queue or jobs and assign the appropriate hardware to each project.

  • ClusterHQ’s Mohit Bhatnagar Talks Flocker, Docker, and the Rise of Open Source

    Container technology remains very big news, and if you bring up the topic almost everyone immediately thinks of Docker. But, there are other tools that can compete with Docker, and tools that can extend it and make it more flexible. CoreOS’s Rkt, for example, is a command-line tool for running app containers. And, ClusterHQ has an open source project called Flocker that allows developers to run their databases inside Docker containers, leveraging persistent storage, and making data highly portable.

  • Events
    • openSUSE Conference 2016 Day 1

      The first day of this year’s openSUSE Conference went well and the keynote speaker team of SaltStack Chief Technical Officer and technical founder Thomas Hatch along with Senior SaltStack Engineer David Boucha and SUSE’s Joe Werner showed how powerful Salt is for IT automation.

      Boucha gave a live demo and Hatch talked about the evolution of Salt and even talked a little about Salt’s Thorium Reactor, which was added to Salt as an experimental feature in the 2016.3.0 release. Werner discussed how SUSE uses Salt with SUSE Manager.

    • Building a better LibrePlanet: What we learned from the conference surveys

      Our samples are usually about sixty to seventy respondents, and self-selecting — from their responses, we can say with confidence that LibrePlanet attendees feel we’re doing a decent job organizing the conference. The questions “How much did you enjoy the sessions you attended, compared to those at other conferences you have attended?” and “How likely is it that you will return to LibrePlanet next year?” received an average of about 3.5 out of 4 each of the last three years.

    • Do you GNU? Attend the GNU Hackers’ Meeting in France this summer!

      The GNU Hackers’ Meeting is a friendly, semi-formal forum to discuss technical, social, and organizational issues concerning free software and GNU. This is a great opportunity to meet GNU maintainers and active contributors.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Back End
  • OPNFV
  • Healthcare
    • Dysfunction and Sabotage: Why Large Hospital EHR Costs So Much

      Years ago I read the cannon of the classic medical book “House of God” by Samuel Shem which reads: “…the House of God was sad and sick and cynical…like all our doings in the House…” At first, before I had worked in an actual hospital I thought the book itself was sick and cynical. After working in an actual hospital I re-read the book. I then found it hilarious for its uncomfortable truths, and did not think it was sick or cynical enough. Therein likes the crux of the matter with regard to very expensive large hospital EHR’s.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • ‘Steal My Tool’ showcases open source tools for journalists at IRE conference

      Robert Gebeloff, database projects editor at The New York Times, demonstrated how to use XML Grid to access and interpret a website’s data. Using these tools and techniques, Gebeloff showed how one can find which Trader Joe’s stores sell beer by simply scraping the site’s XML code. Gebeloff has published detailed instructions for web scraping without programming on his GitHub page.

    • Open Data
      • The current state of open data in the US government

        The S.2852 OPEN Government Data Act aims to require true open data access at the federal level. In this article I will discuss the importance of open data in government, the current state of open data in government, and what we need to do to implement true open data.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • VR Care is Frog’s open source VR headset for hospital patients

        VR is pretty good at distracting us from the outside world – take off the headset you’ve been wearing and you’ll see that it’s gone dark/everyone has left/you really need to shower.

      • 2048 DIY Open Source Game Console Hits Kickstarter (video)

        Anyone looking to learn more about coding and creating video games may be interested in the new DIY open source games console called 2048 which has been created by 2048.

        The name refers to the special screen that the game console is equipped with that is constructed from 2048 individual LED bulbs that are placed in a matrix form offering a 64 x 32 resolution.

        Learn more about what is possible using the open source games console from the developers at Creoqode. Who was taken to Kickstarter this week to raise the £20,000 they require to take the hardware into production. Early bird pledges are available from just $99 with delivery expected to take place during December 2016 with worldwide shipping available if required.

Leftovers
  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Google Hacker Donates His $15,000 Bug Bounty Cash Award To Charity

      Google’s leading security engineer Tavis Ormandy recently won a bug bounty challenge run by security solutions firm Bromium and decided to donate the money to charity. Following his gesture, Bromium matched Ormandy’s donation and donated $15,000 to Amnesty International organization.

    • TOR Project And Security Experts Making A “Hardened” Version Of TOR To Defeat FBI

      The TOR Project is working closely with security researchers to implement a new technique to secure the TOR Browser against the FBI’s de-anonymization exploits. Called “Selfrando”, this technique will fight the FBI’s “Code Reuse” exploits and create a “hardened” version of TOR.

    • Mozilla Awards $385,000 to Open Source Projects as part of MOSS “Mission Partners” Program

      For many years people with visual impairments and the legally blind have paid a steep price to access the Web on Windows-based computers. The market-leading software for screen readers costs well over $1,000. The high price is a considerable obstacle to keeping the Web open and accessible to all. The NVDA Project has developed an open source screen reader that is free to download and to use, and which works well with Firefox. NVDA aligns with one of the Mozilla Manifesto’s principles: “The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.”

    • Mozilla MOSS ‘Mission Partners’ makes it rain $385,000 on open source project developers

      Open source is very important nowadays, especially from a privacy and security standpoint. Look, closed source ideology is not inherently bad — it is a good way to protect a company’s code. The problem, however, is that users are increasingly suspicious of software since Edward Snowden’s leaks. There is no telling what kind of back doors or other malicious things are hiding in the code.

    • Severe flaws in widely used archive library put many projects at risk

      n a world where any new software project is built in large part on existing third-party code, finding and patching vulnerabilities in popular open-source libraries is vital to creating reliable and secure applications.

      For example, three severe flaws in libarchive, recently found by researchers from Cisco Systems’ Talos group, could affect a large number of software products.

      Libarchive is an open-source library first created for FreeBSD, but has since been ported to all major operating systems. It provides real-time access to files compressed with a variety of algorithms, including tar, pax, cpio, ISO9660, zip, lha/lzh, rar, cab and 7-Zip.

  • Defence/Aggression
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Ecuador ‘fed up’ with Assange embassy ‘under siege’

      Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Guillaume Long says there is concern about the health of Julian Assange, who has now been in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for four years.

      He told Zeinab Badawi: “We are concerned about his health. He doesn’t have access to good health care. We are very worried about this. After four years, there is a clear deterioration.”

      The Wikileaks founder sought refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face accusations of sexual assault, which he denies.

    • Julian Assange Just Began His 5th Year Inside the Ecuadorian Embassy

      This past Sunday, June 19, Julian Assange began his fifth year inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he was granted asylum from the United States in 2012. The date was marked with simultaneous worldwide events—with 60 prominent supporters, including Noam Chomsky, Ai Wei Wei, Patti Smith, and Michael Moore, demanding Assange’s release. The theme of the day was “First They Came for Assange,” an allusion to Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous poem warning of the dangers of staying silent in the face of rising state repression.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • NSA rejects ‘inappropriate’ invitation to assist with design of lynx introduction programme

      Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “Our understanding is the Project Advisory Group will design the trial that will only go ahead if Lynx UK is successful in gaining a licence from Natural England and/or Scottish Natural Heritage. We feel it is inappropriate for NSA to provide guidance to Lynx UK ahead of that licence application, as we remain opposed to any pilot taking place. In addition, we are not prepared for someone from NSA to be part of the group when the terms of reference state members would not be there to represent the views of any particular organisation.”

    • The lynx effect: Plans to release wild animals in Britain abandoned

      But two more sites on either side of the border are still under consideration and one will ultimately be chosen to have lynx released to start breeding colonies.

      Alarmed farmers say it could lead to savage attacks on livestock and even children by the hungry beasts, which became extinct in Britain around 700 AD, almost 150 years before King Alfred the Great was born.

    • Bloodthirsty lynx to be released into UK for breeding for first time

      One of two sites will be chosen where the Eurasian lynx will be reintroduced.

      Alarmed farmers warn the decision could lead to savage attacks on livestock and even children by the beast.

      Now the Lynx UK Trust hopes to release the wild cat to somewhere in Aberdeenshire or Northumberland.

    • Lynx return ruled out in Cumbria and Norfolk

      Plans to reintroduce the lynx to the wild in Cumbria and Norfolk have been scrapped.

      The Lynx UK Trust said the animal, which has been extinct in Britain for 1,300 years, would help control deer populations and attract tourists.

      But it has now ruled out Ennerdale in the Lake District and Thetford Forest in Norfolk, as too small to support populations of the big cat.

  • Finance
    • Banks Warn Of Trading Issues Over EU Vote

      Banks and money transfer services are warning that a surge in market volatility surrounding Thursday’s EU referendum may impact electronic trading platforms.

      As holidaymakers flock to cash in on the strong pound, and buy their travel money ahead of the vote, a number of money transfer companies are suspending services.

      Azimo and rival website Transferwise, have both announced they will be suspending trading on Thursday morning.

    • Michael Gove compares experts warning against Brexit to Nazis who smeared Albert Einstein’s work as he threatens to quit David Cameron’s Cabinet

      Michael Gove has compared economic experts warning about Brexit to Nazis who smeared Albert Einstein’s scientific findings during the 1930s.

      Mr Gove, who chairs the Vote Leave campaign, also suggested that he may quit the Government if Britain votes to stay in the EU because David Cameron will not be able to meet his pledge to control migration.

    • Eddie Izzard: Comedian Gets Serious with ‘Remain’ Campaign

      English comedian Eddie Izzard is a passionate European who has been vigorously campaigning for young people to vote Remain in the Brexit referendum. Ahead of his last speech before the vote, he told Handelsblatt about his vision for a positive, unified European future.

    • A Brexit won’t stop cheap labour coming to Britain

      The Unite union is fighting all the way for a remain vote and for British workers to build their future in unity with workers in the rest of Europe. But I refuse to lecture or to patronise those working people who take a different view. After all, who can be surprised that in so many industrial areas, voting for the status quo is not a popular option?

    • Brexit: James Dyson is lone, pro-Leave voice among UK tech superstars

      British tech firms overwhelmingly support the UK remaining part of the European Union, even at the eleventh hour before Thursday’s referendum vote.

      In fact, the vacuum cleaner innovator Sir James Dyson is the only really big name among the country’s tech players to publicly come out and back Brexit—he believes that leaving the EU might help him recruit top engineering talent from outside Europe to come and work in the UK, and says “we will create more wealth and more jobs by being outside the EU.”

      Aside from him, the British tech sector appears to be very pro-European Union.

    • Why Mining Corporations Love Trade Deals

      From the salmon-spawning waters of Alaska to the cloud forests of Ecuador, communities are standing up to mining projects that threaten their health, environment, and livelihoods.

      But mining corporations are fighting back with a powerful tool buried in trade and investment agreements: the ability to go to private, unaccountable tribunals and sue governments that act to protect communities from mining.

      In these private tribunals, which sit outside of any domestic legal system, corporate lawyers – not judges – decide whether governments must pay corporations for halting destructive mining projects. To date, mining corporations have used these private tribunals to sue over 40 governments more than 100 times.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Hillary Clinton Criticizes Donald Trump for One of the Few Things He Is Right About

      Deficit hawks often raise the specter of hyperinflation to scare people who disagree with them. And that’s exactly what Hillary Clinton did on Tuesday.

      Speaking in Columbus, Clinton criticized Donald Trump for saying last month that the U.S. can never default on its debt obligations “because you print the money.”

      “We know what happened to countries that tried that in the past, like Germany in the ‘20s and Zimbabwe in the ‘90s,” Clinton said. “It drove inflation through the roof and crippled their economies.”

      But printing money — otherwise known as increasing the money supply – is a routine occurrence for governments that control their own currency. The Federal Reserve has increased its balance sheet by over $3 trillion since the financial crisis, explicitly to support the economy. (The Fed does this by buying stocks and bonds with electronic cash that didn’t exist before.)

      In fact, an increasingly influential school of economics, known as Modern Monetary Theory, argues that deficit spending, including through money printing, is critical to promote full employment.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • The New Censorship

      How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?

    • Cleveland Bans Soapboxes and Sleeping Bags, Not Guns, Near Republican Convention

      Anyone venturing into a 3.3-square-mile “event zone” surrounding next month’s Republican National Convention will be prohibited from carrying tennis balls, tape, rope, bike locks, sleeping bags, or any object they could stand on to rise above the crowd and speak. They won’t be allowed to carry swords or water guns. But if they have a license, they’ll be permitted to openly carry real guns, including assault weapons.

      As Cleveland gears up to host one of the most controversial GOP conventions in decades, Ohio’s permissive gun policy isn’t the only red flag raised by prospective protesters and civil rights advocates. Many also warn that the regulations put in place by the city place “unacceptable restrictions on free speech” and risk escalating conflict, rather than diffusing it, by forcing rival groups of demonstrators to share tight quarters and schedules while keeping them out of sight and earshot of delegates and the media.

      The restrictions imposed on the large event zone drawn around Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena — known locally as “The Q”— have earned the city a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Ohio and widespread criticism across the spectrum of groups planning to show up at the convention to make their voices heard.

    • Egyptian and Lebanese film festivals censor ‘I Say Dust’ because of a same-sex kiss

      In making her short film “I Say Dust,” Darine Hotait wanted to explore Arab American identity from her perspective as a New York-based American Lebanese writer and director. It just so happened that her two lead characters would be women in their 20s who share a kiss. That kiss, however, has put “I Say Dust” at the center of a long-standing discussion about censorship after it was recently banned from two film festivals in the Middle East.

    • Sex Party forced to remove posters in ACT

      The Sex Party says it will reluctantly take down posters around Canberra deemed offensive by the ACT government.

      The party’s Senate candidate Steven Bailey says he will on Thursday remove signs reading “Screw the major parties – Vote for the Sex Party” and “Tax the Church – Vote for the Sex Party”.

      He said a city ranger on Monday gave the party 48 hours to remove the signs or face potential prosecution.

    • Election 2016: Sex Party hits out at ‘censorship’ after election signs taken down
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • NSA Designates UTEP as a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Operations
    • Author Stephen Budiansky adds perspective to NSA’s covert activities

      Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon used the CIA and NSA for personal projects

    • American Intelligence Agencies Lag Behind in Diversity

      For decades, intelligence agencies like the CIA and NSA that have been tarred with accusations of sexism and racial profiling have worked hard to clean up their images and present a friendlier, more inclusive face to the world. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, similar scandals continue to hound the intelligence community, from the CIA’s hand in helping the NYPD monitor “ancestries of interest” to a culture within the NSA that condones violations of women’s privacy.

    • DOJ Insists That Rule 41 Change Is Not Important, Nothing To See Here, Move On Annoying Privacy Activist People

      We’ve been talking a lot about Rule 41 lately around here. As we’ve discussed, the DOJ had pushed for an update to the rule, basically granting the FBI much greater powers to hack into lots of computers, including those abroad (possibly creating diplomatic issues). We’ve been discussing the problems with the DOJ’s proposed change for years, and we haven’t been alone. Civil liberties groups and tech companies have both blasted the plans, but to no avail.

      Back in March, a judicial panel approved the DOJ’s proposed changes, and the Supreme Court gave its blessing a month later. The rule changes are set to go into effect on December 1st if they’re not stopped. Senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul have introduced a bill to block them, while the EFF, Tor and friends have kicked off a big No Global Warrants campaign, encouraging Congress to block this change.

    • Firm pays $950,000 penalty for using Wi-Fi signals to secretly track phone users

      A mobile advertising company that tracked the locations of hundreds of millions of consumers without consent has agreed to pay $950,000 in civil penalties and implement a privacy program to settle charges that it violated federal law.

      The US Federal Trade Commission alleged in a complaint filed Wednesday that Singapore-based InMobi undermined phone users’ ability to make informed decisions about the collection of their location information. While InMobi claimed that its software collected geographical whereabouts only when end users provided opt-in consent, the software in fact used nearby Wi-Fi signals to infer locations when permission wasn’t given, FTC officials alleged. InMobi then archived the location information and used it to push targeted advertisements to individual phone users.

    • Senate Narrowly Rejects Controversial FBI Surveillance Expansion—For Now

      A controversial amendment that would expand the FBI’s surveillance power was narrowly defeated in the Senate Wednesday.

      The final tally was 58 to 38, two votes shy of the 60 needed for the amendment to move forward. The issue will likely surface again soon, however, as Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., immediately filed for a motion to reconsider the amendment.

    • Dashcam and bodycam undermine reasonable suspicion in two cases

      These two make one wonder how many times officers have just fabricated reasonable suspicion and courts have bought it:

      The dashcam video supports the defendant’s argument that he was stopped without reasonable suspicion of driving with lights off when they should have been on. The stop for following too close is also unsupported. The highway was nearly empty. Suppressed. United States v. Dominguez-Fernand, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76368 (S.D.Ind. June 13, 2016).

    • Court Refuses To Uphold Evidence Seized During A Completely Bogus Traffic Stop

      Very rarely does anyone want to believe a defendant in a criminal prosecution. They have the most to lose, are often presumed guilty by all involved, and if they’d done nothing wrong, they wouldn’t be here defending themselves, right? None of that is how the system is supposed to work. But that’s how it often does.

      Law enforcement officers, on the other hand, are often treated as unimpeachably credible, even when their recollections of events are less than accurate. Sometimes they get called out for it. Most times they don’t. About the only way their dishonesty is called out if if there’s another set of eyes on the scene — like dashcams or body-worn cameras. (This, too, is far from a sure thing.)

      That’s what happened here. A bogus traffic stop that morphed into a drug bust began with zero traffic violations — even though the officer performing the stop claimed at least two violations had occurred. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      Victor Dominguez-Fernand was pulled over for allegedly driving with his headlights off and following too close to the vehicle ahead. Unfortunately for Deputy Nicholas Ernestes, his dashcam showed both claimed violations were bogus.

      First off, the supposed violation of “driving with headlights off” was only a presumed violation. Deputy Ernestes testified that he “believed” headlights were required because of the weather conditions (overcast and raining) but couldn’t actually assert that such a requirement exists.

    • GCHQ sets out ‘operational case’ for bulk collection

      A GCHQ document has put forward the ‘operational case’ for bulk collection.

      Authored by the UK’s signals intelligence agency, which is also the principal agent of bulk collection in the UK, the report sets out the manner in which “bulk powers provide vital intelligence that cannot be generated from any other source”.

      It goes on to draw out scenarios, some real, some hypothetical, in which bulk powers were or could be useful.

    • EFF Urges Senate Not to Expand FBI’s Controversial National Security Letter Authority

      The controversial National Security Letter (NSL) statute could be significantly expanded under two separate bills currently being debated by the Senate. Every year, the FBI issues thousands of NSLs to telephone and Internet companies, demanding records about their customers and gagging the companies from informing the public about these requests. NSLs are inherently dangerous to civil liberties because their use is rarely subject to judicial review. But NSLs are not magic, and they don’t require recipients to do whatever the FBI says. Above all, the type of information available to the FBI with an NSL is quite limited, reflecting the need to tightly control the extrajudicial nature of this controversial power.

    • Jewel v. NSA Moves Forward—Time For NSA To Answer Basic Questions About Mass Surveillance

      It’s time to lift the cloak of secrecy that has until now shielded the NSA from judicial scrutiny. EFF served the agency with information requests late last week in Jewel v. NSA, EFF’s signature case challenging government surveillance. Since we filed the case in 2008, leaks about government spying—much of which have been confirmed by intelligence agencies—have vindicated our claims that the U.S. government is and was illegally spying on millions of innocent Americans. Now, we are seeking answers to basic questions about the nuts and bolts of the government’s Internet and telephone mass surveillance programs.

      Not only does this mark the first opportunity to obtain evidence since the case was filed nearly eight years ago, but it’s also the first time any party has been allowed to gather facts about the programs’ inner workings from the NSA in a case involving the agency’s warrantless surveillance.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Customs Agents, Local Doctor Subject 18-Year-Old To Vaginal, Rectal Probing In Search Of Nonexistent Drugs

      The police obtained no drugs, but Eckert obtained a $1.6 million settlement.

      Perhaps that sort of payoff is in 18-year-old Ashley Cervantes’ future. Cervantes did nothing more than cross the border to eat breakfast in Nogales, Mexico. Upon her return, things went from bad to worse to nightmarish.

    • Guy In Australia Pleads Guilty To Criminal Trolling On Facebook, Faces 3 Years In Jail

      Let’s start off with this: there’s no legitimate way to defend Zane Alchin, a guy in Australia who appears to be an all around horrible person. He went on Facebook, and after seeing a friend of his post (and mock) a woman’s Tinder profile, proceeded to post a whole bunch of pretty horrible and misogynistic posts on Facebook, including some pretty horrifying statements about “raping feminists.” I won’t post any of his other comments, though they’re covered in some of the articles written about the case. Alchin, who now claims he was just drunk and trolling, and also insisted he wasn’t breaking any laws, has since discovered that apparently he was breaking a weird Australian law…

    • Sydney labourer Zane Alchin switches to guilty plea over Tinder shaming case

      A Sydney labourer, who unleashed a torrent of explicit abuse online after a screen shot of a woman’s Tinder profile was uploaded to Facebook, told police he was drunk and unaware that trolling was a crime, court documents show.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • As OECD Gathers, Call For New Internet Social Compact – With Some Open Questions

      The GCIG report is here. Information on the OECD Ministerial is here.

      Information Society (ISOC) background on Ministerial is available here.

      Insurance companies for example are asked in the report presented in Cancun today to “rise to the challenge of ensuring that best practices for data protection and security are appropriately rewarded.” Governments are requested “to ensure their taxation policies do not bias the market for internet services or related equipment.”

    • Study Finds That T-Mobile’s Binge On Is Exploitable, Unreliable, And Still Violates Net Neutrality

      For a while now we’ve warned how “zero rating” (letting some content bypass usage caps) is a creative way for ISPs to tap dance around net neutrality –potentially to public applause. Comcast, for example, exempts its creatively-named “Stream” streaming video service from caps, but claims this doesn’t violate net neutrality because the traffic never technically leaves Comcast’s network. Verizon exempts its own Go90 video service from caps as well, and to date doesn’t even bother justifying the move. Both AT&T and Verizon let companies pay for cap exemption.

      And while these programs all laugh in the face of neutrality, many users still tend to applaud the horrible precedent because they believe — despite paying an arm and a leg for wireless data — that they’re getting something for free.

      T-Mobile has been perhaps the most creative in exploiting this belief and implementing zero rating, now exempting some 90 video services from user usage caps and throttling these services to 1.5 Mbps (or 480p) unless a user opts out. But neutrality advocates have repeatedly noted this idea still violates net neutrality given that thousands of startups, educational orgs, and non profits still aren’t whitelisted — and may not even realize they’re being discriminated against.

    • Northeastern researchers find T-Mobile’s Binge On doesn’t live up to the hype

      Want to watch unlim­ited videos from Net­flix, YouTube, and other providers on your mobile device for free? Make us your internet ser­vice provider, says T-​​Mobile. Our Binge On ser­vice allows you to do just that.

      Not so fast, says Northeastern’s David Choffnes, assis­tant pro­fessor in the Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence. New research by Choffnes and his col­leagues shows that what T-​​Mobile promises is not what you, or con­tent providers, may actu­ally get.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • No Man’s Sky Settles With Sky TV So It Can Have ‘Sky’ In Its Name

        As you may or may not be aware, Sky TV is a European cable television network owned by Rupert Murdoch. Sky TV is also a company that has trademarked the word “sky” and enjoys bludgeoning anyone who uses the word “sky” in business into the ground. This has resulted in exceptionally silly disputes, such as Sky TV suing Skype, despite there being not a lick of competition between a messaging/calling system and television.

        This past week, gaming enthusiasts learned that the much anticipated open universe space exploration game No Man’s Sky had been battling with Sky TV over the inclusion of the word “sky” in its title. This case of trademark bullying can act as a wonderful barometer, because if you don’t think this is ridiculous, then you are ridiculous.

      • Cinemark Files Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against Roblox Over User-Generated Content

        Today’s misguided IP infringement lawsuit comes from Cinemark USA, one of the largest theater chains in the United States. Its target is Roblox, a multiplayer online sandbox game where users can create their own “worlds” using blocks — putting it somewhere between Minecraft and Second Life.

        Cinemark is accusing Roblox and a few dozen of its users of trademark infringement, thanks to the latter’s creations. According to the lawsuit [PDF], various users have created versions of Cinemark theaters (complete with branding) and placed them in their own worlds, or uploaded for others to use in theirs.

    • Copyrights
      • MPAA Happily Gets Into Bed With Russian State Censor Agency… To Protect Copyright!

        Roskomnadzor is the Russian “telecommunications regulator” or “watchdog,” but it could just as easily be described as the Russian internet censor, because that appears to be a large part of its role in the country. In the past, we’ve written about Roskomnadzor blocking all of Wikipedia over a single reference to hashish (really) and also a plan to block all of CloudFlare because the company made it difficult for Russia’s internet censorship plans to work. Earlier this month, Roskomnadzor made news for blacklisting a Vice article, claiming that it would encourage shoplifting.

        So, who better to support such a censorship regime than… Hollywood! The MPAA has now proudly signed an agreement with Roskomnadzor to cooperate on protecting copyright online. The linked article is unfortunately horribly written. The title implies that the MPAA represents the government of the United States (while sometimes true in practice, that’s not how it’s supposed to work…) and then provides frightfully few details on what the agreement really is), beyond “protect copyright!”

IP Europe’s UPC Lobbying and the EPO Connection

Wednesday 22nd of June 2016 09:50:18 AM

Michael Fröhlich lobbying for the UPC as an EPO employee


Photo credit: Nordic Patent

Summary: The loose but seemingly ever-growing connections between AstroTurfing groups like IP Europe (pretending to represent SMEs) and EPO staff which is lobbying-centric

THE EPO is a small world and there are many revolving doors in that world. Just watch what kind of people Battistelli gave top positions to. See their recent professional background. Apparently it’s OK for Battistelli to dismiss and prevent future employment of people whom he doesn’t like, but the same standards do not apply to him. He won’t reciprocate when it comes to ethics because he has none. Those who mention it are likely to become victims of his witch-hunting parades (intended to terrify the rest of the staff).

We recently did some research regarding Michael Fröhlich, who not too long ago joined the EPO and is already lobbying for the UPC with his EPO hat. On our path we found all sorts of interesting connections. “IP Europe” for example (these are newly-named parasites, vultures and enemies of Europe, as mentioned by Professor James Bessen, a high-profile trolls opposer, earlier this year) has been doing a lot of pro-UPC lobbying. There is also Francisco Mingorance, the author of the EU Commission’s proposed software patent directive. There is even Claudia Tapia, previously at BlackBerry, which increasingly leans towards patent trolling [1, 2, 3, 4]. Claudia’s colleague of then, Michael Fröhlich, works at the EPO right now. It appears to be a lobbying-oriented job (a growing activity at the EPO, which perhaps forgot its real task, which is patent examination). Earlier this year we mentioned in an article about the PR strategy of the EPO how an entity called “IP Europe” was about to be launched in Brussels (a location/site for which EPO hires lobbyists).

“It’s rather revealing that Battistelli visits nations that consider leaving the EU as of late, notably Finland and the UK.”We mentioned Michael Fröhlich earlier this month in relation to that UPC promotion he had done in Scandinavia and perhaps elsewhere. He lived in Munich even while working at RIM, so he didn’t even have to relocate for becoming another Battistelli minion. The UPC is definitely stoppable, but the 'UPC gang' (a conspiracy of patent lawyers basically) wants us to believe otherwise. So does the EPO, albeit it reluctantly admits there are major barriers as of late (Battistelli and his minions name Brexit as one of them). So what’s all this UPC lobbying for? It’s rather revealing that Battistelli visits nations that consider leaving the EU as of late, notably Finland and the UK.

Sadly, UPC lobbying comes from many directions right now, including from what Florian Müller said yesterday made the “false claim of supporting ‘innovatives SMEs.’” This is reminiscent of the Association for Competitive Technology (Microsoft front group, pretending to represent SMEs in Europe). As we have shown here before, UPC lobbyists are hijacking the voices of SMEs, which openly complain about this. Here is what Müller wrote about the latest name of the front group, “IP Europe” (calling it a “trolls’ lobbying entity” in his headline):

With respect to standard-essential patent licensing, my preferred European voice of reason(ableness) is the Fair Standards Alliance, an organization Google recently joined and which I’d like to see Apple and Samsung team up with at some point. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a lobbying group named IP Europe. While I personally know and respect two of the individuals working for that one, I fundamentally disagree with its policy positions and object to its false claim of supporting “innovatives SMEs.” IP Europe advances the cause of patent trolls and of businesses that failed in the mobile phone business for a lack of innovation and increasingly resort to patent licensing as a revenue source.

Looking at IP Europe’s member list, it’s generally easy to see why each of those organizations expects to gain something from overpatenting and from an overcompensation of patentees, with a couple of exceptions, however.

[...]

To many of you this may seem obvious, but let me explain this for the rest: there is no such thing as a software patent that guarantees stability and security. The reason: no matter what a patent may describe (with or without specificity), it can always be implemented in an unstable and insecure fashion.

Airbus has a software quality problem. Last year Airbus even admitted that a software configuration error caused the crash of a military transporter, and I vaguely remember a crash of a commercial Airbus plane many years ago that some experts attributed to a software issue. In terms of success factors in the airplane business, that is what Airbus should be focusing on. It has nothing to do with patents. Any code that is stable or unstable, secure or insecure, is protected by copyright (and trade secrets). Any configuration that is stable or unstable, secure or insecure, is a matter of quality assurance.

If Airbus focused on software quality, it wouldn’t have to fear copycats. If someone copied great code, copyright (not patent) law would protect Airbus.

With ‘SMEs’ like Airbus it’s not hard to imagine who “IP Europe” really stands for (or fronts for).

Expect us to write a lot more about the UPC in the coming months. It has a lot to do with everything that’s wrong in the EPO nowadays.

“When asked by Ars, the EPO’s spokesperson mentioned the imminent arrival of the unitary patent system as an important reason for revising the EPO’s internal rules…”

Dr. Glyn Moody

EPO “Recruitment of Brits is Down by 80%”

Wednesday 22nd of June 2016 09:02:43 AM

Board 28 has already admitted there's a "crisis" as mass departure [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] goes all the way to the top

Summary: Letter says that “recruitment of Brits is down by 80%” and “the EPO lost 7% of UK staff in one year”

THIS morning someone diverted a message about the EPO to us. This message appears to have headed towards quite a few delegates and perhaps politicians too.

In the tradition of maximal transparency we have decided to share it below. We hope that readers will end up contacting their national representatives to let them know what nationals (whom they supposedly represent) think about this.

“We hope that readers will end up contacting their national representatives to let them know what nationals (whom they supposedly represent) think about this.”The message below is long (3 pages) and there are some interesting things in there about brain drain and the rather amazing exodus of British workers this past year (or slightly longer).

“The EPO-FLIER Team,” we learned, “a group of concerned staff of the EPO who wish to remain anonymous due to the prevailing harsh social climate and absence of rule of law at the European Patent Office, sent an open letter to delegations of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation. Interested circles and stakeholders of the European patent system were informed as well.”

Text of the E-mail was as follows:

Open letter to the Delegations of the EPO’s Administrative Council

Dear Heads and members of the Member States’ delegations to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation,
dear Chairman, dear Mr Grandjean,

Please find enclosed an open letter titled

‘The Administrative Council’s fiduciary duty to the European Patent Organisation and the Office’s duty of care’

directed to the delegations of the member states of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation.
The EPO-FLIER Team,
a group of concerned staff of the EPO
who wish to remain anonymous
due to the prevailing harsh social climate and
absence of rule of law at the European Patent Office

__________________________________
further links:

http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/12/european-patent-office-examiners-fear.html

http://www.ip-watch.org/2014/12/10/epo-supervisory-body-to-face-patent-quality-judicial-independence-fears/

http://techrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/EPO-examiners-can-no-longer-ensure-appropriate-quality-standards.pdf

http://techrights.org/2014/12/08/epo-staff-is-demonstrating/

There was a PDF attached to the message and here is what it said:

Open letter – by email to the Heads of Delegation

22 June 2016
EPO-FLIER team

The Administrative Council’s fiduciary duty to the European Patent Organisation and the Office’s duty of care

Dear heads and members of the delegations to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, dear Chairman, dear Mr Grandjean,

Ever since the founding fathers drafted the European Patent Convention, a high perception of legal validity of a granted patent has taken the Office from strength to strength. Highly qualified staff has for a long time dealt with significant workload increases while maintaining the quality of work that has drawn applicants to the EPO. However, we are now observing an accelerated change for the worse. Strong professional ethics are gradually giving way to rubber stamping in order to meet entirely arbitrary production targets. Despite embellished statistics allegedly showing otherwise, staff’s health is on the decline and the EPO is no longer an employer of choice.

Is it not the Administrative Council’s (AC’s) and the President’s duty to hand over to any successor an Office that is at least as healthy as it was when he took it over? And should
the AC not be seen to be positively influencing good housekeeping and a constant pursuit of excellence?

Who is the boss?

It was so refreshing to see the AC take its responsibility when it issued a resolution with clear and achievable objectives for the President. Very briefly there was a marked
improvement of the atmosphere in the Office. Very briefly, the AC had switched on the light at the end of the tunnel.

But instead of complying with unambiguous instructions, Mr Battistelli is playing games like an adolescent who is testing the envelope. He has not even tried to comply. Instead, he is
doing the opposite, challenging his supervisory body, rebelling against his “parents”.

It is time for the members of the AC to stop flogging a dead horse:
Mr Battistelli is causing immeasurable damage to the Office; he is now untenable.

The President’s extravagances

The AC delegations are aware of and endorse the costs for the President’s luxury fortress on the top floor of the Isar Building and his alleged need for highly expensive personal body guards. The EPO further pays for hosting high-profile events that seem to be mainly instigated for the greater glory of the President.

The Office should not be seen to be celebrating some inventors as being better than others. It risks reputational damage by highlighting the success of some inventions, especially if they later could prove not to work (see media coverage on Elizabeth Holmes’ dysfunctional blood testing equipment). For critical observers, her results looked too good to be true. The same applies to the current EPO results.

EPC changes through the back door?

Sinking almost endless resources into the IT Roadmap, with its badly managed outsourcing and brain-drain (due to salary cuts and a poor work atmosphere), is failing to provide appropriate tools. The changes in operation – above all an ill-conceived new career system in combination with management by intimidation – are resulting in more products per staff member, but with an outcome that no longer compares favourably to past quality standards.

Critical observers have started speculating about the effects the dramatic increase in the number of patents granted may have1. Applicants have started observing a decline in the quality of the EPO’s products and sometimes share their concerns with individual examiners. The existing quality indicators are not reliable. IAM 2, 3 is sponsored by the Office and the EPO’s own quality measuring system ‘CASE’ suffers from a built-in conflict-of-interest. The way it has been designed, it will always indicate excellent quality, no matter what the actual quality is.

A presumption of invalidity of granted patents leads to higher litigation costs. Big applicants might be able to finance such higher costs, but SMEs will suffer economically from low quality patenting4. The EPO can foster economic growth only if it returns to the previously high search and examination standards5.

The AC is the guardian of a non-discriminatory application of the EPC.
That is not possible under the leadership of this President.

EPO – employer of choice?

Word has got out that all’s not well at the EPO. The Office no longer attracts the same calibre of staff and therefore has had to resort to recruiting what it gets. That’s why the
EPO is currently abandoning previous quality criteria, such as language skills, or a balanced geographical distribution6, in the selection of new staff.

The recent Technologia survey on psycho-social risks for EPO employees is alarming, and the comparison of three surveys from consecutive years shows that the situation is deteriorating. Despite the AC’s mandate to the President to go easy with HR reforms, the Administration is still instigating some highly undesirable changes.

The self-proclaimed Dr. med. Battistelli and Dr. med. Bergot judge on the fitness of staff for work. The EPO exposes vulnerable staff to its medical advisors, who now have a direct reporting link to a PD Human Resources, who herself has a reputation of being vindictive. The Office now has the tools that it needs to breach medical secrecy indiscriminately and to abuse information given to medical practitioners in confidence.

The unfair dismissal of two staff representatives, the downgrading of a third and the ongoing attacks on other members of the staff representation are unacceptable, and have been criticised by the Council itself. Staff are dumbfounded by the way that an organisation that has a legal function (granting and refusing patents) behaves in ways that are contrary to the rule of law in its member states and how representatives of countries with a great legal tradition can condone such behaviour.

_________
1 http://ipnoncredere.blogspot.de/2016/06/high-how-will-ball-bounce.html
2 http://www.iam-media.com/Blog/Detail.aspx?g=77979ee9-60a0-4b2c-b074-e9a2b2623a0c
3 65% of the respondents rated the quality of patents granted by the EPO as excellent or very good.
4 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/15/patent_trolls_innovation_and_brexit/
5 http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/12/european-patent-office-examiners-fear.html
6 It seems that in the EPO the „brexit“ is taking place, as according to the Social Report for 2015 CA 55/16, page 22, the recruitment of Brits is down by 80%, while according to page 8, the EPO lost 7% of UK staff in one year. Further, no Irish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Danish and Swiss personnel was recruited.

Mr Battistelli continues to undermine the rights of staff

EPO staff undergo a stringent selection process and have a long probationary period before being appointed as permanent staff. But in the interpretation of the EPO’s very senior management it is professional incompetence if staff members do not meet inflated output demands. In the President’s plans there will be no intervention of any meaningful advisory review instance in decisions for dismissal for reasons of professional incompetence (CA/53/16). If the proposal gets approval, Mr Battistelli will be in a position to expose staff of the EPO to unemployment without a social security system, which he aggravates by claiming exclusive rights to permit gainful employment a full two years following departure from the Office (CA/29/16).

The review of the Investigation Guidelines (CA/52/16) will, if adopted, increase the autonomy and powers of the Administration. The guidelines would become an even more dangerous weapon if put in the wrong, i.e. in Mr Battistelli’s and Ms Bergot’s, hands. Due process, duty of care and state-of-the-art HR management are completely absent from the Office now.

And all the time, the members of the Office’s only supervisory body watch it happen. To the neutral observer there is no doubt: this Administration is professionally incompetent, and
the supervisors are doing nothing about it.

The President and his cronies have to be stopped. By you. Now.

The Council and President have to show that they are good caretakers of the great organisation that has been put in their custody and entrusted to them. It is time to live up to
the expectations of the founding fathers, the European public and the staff of the Office.

You will be in the spotlight during the June Council meeting.

Please do not support the President’s change proposals in CA/29/16, CA/52/16 and CA/53/16.

Instead, please do what needs doing: restore a constructive climate at the EPO, under leadership of a President who wants to join the effort for the continued success of the Office.

For the undersigned, that President is not Benoît Battistelli.

With our best regards,
The EPO-FLIER team

a group of concerned staff of the EPO who wish to remain anonymous due to the prevailing harsh social climate and absence of rule of law at the European Patent Office

Copies to: Competent Ministries of the Member States

These proposal were mentioned here one week ago. We can’t help wondering how many other EPO employees are contacting delegations or at least heads of delegations. These delegates might only feel compelled to save the EPO if they witness enough voices of concerned insiders and outsiders. That’s how it goes in politics, for better or for worse.

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