Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Techrights

Syndicate content
Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 41 min ago

The Spanish Supreme Court Rejects the EPO’s “Problem and Solution Approach” While Quality of European Patents Nosedives

3 hours 24 min ago


Reference: Loose Patent Scope Becoming a Publicity Nightmare for the EPO and Battistelli Does a China Outreach (Worst/Most Notorious on Patent Quality)

Summary: European Patents (EPs) aren’t what they used to be and their credibility is being further eroded and even detected as such

EARLIER this year an EPO stakeholder said that s/he had received better service from the Spanish patent office than from the EPO. That comment became widely cited in the sense that several other people referred to it later. Spain is not exactly renowned for high patent quality or even an abundance of patents.

“SIPO is an atrocious patent office which unfortunately reaffirms the view/perception that China makes low-quality things.”In our view and our long-term assessment, the world’s worst patents are being issued in China (SIPO), where even software patents are explicitly and unequivocally allowed (unlike the USPTO where such patents were born).

SIPO is an atrocious patent office which unfortunately reaffirms the view/perception that China makes low-quality things. Earlier today the EPO said that “SIPO [had] changed how often and when it publishes its patents. Read here more about the change…”

“Battistelli aspires for what we called “SIPO Europe” just under a year ago.”As EPO workers ought to know, Battistelli is close to SIPO — to the point of inviting Chinese officials to his home town in France (for professional work). Battistelli aspires for what we called “SIPO Europe” just under a year ago.

According to this blog post from three days ago, the “Spanish Supreme Court clarifies that “problem & solution approach” is not legal doctrine” (which is a big deal).

To quote:

For many years, Spanish Courts have considered the “problem & solution approach” developed by the European Patent Office (“EPO”) to be a very useful tool for the purpose of trying to make an objective assessment of inventive activity. Unlike in other jurisdictions such as Germany, in Spain this method has become the natural instrument used by the Courts to examine inventive activity. Its use in judicial decisions, including those emanating from the Supreme Court, is so frequent that in a recent case, one of the parties alleged that it had become legal doctrine. In particular, that party, in an appeal filed before the Supreme Court, alleged that in its judgment of 29 December 2014, the Court of Appeal of Navarre had infringed this legal doctrine because it had failed to apply the “problem & solution approach.”

[...]

All in all, the main teaching of this judgment is that although the “problem & solution approach” is a very valuable method, other methodologies may be used.

The subject was incidentally brought up again in comments on a bunch of event (echo chamber) reports from Bristows. One comment spoke of “making a scapegoat out of the EPO’s “Problem and Solution Approach”.”

Thanks for that Report, which I read with a sinking feeling in my stomach, that panellists are creating unnecessary difficulties and misunderstandings and (as usual) making a scapegoat out of the EPO’s “Problem and Solution Approach”. Why is this ever the case, I wonder.

My point is that what disclosure you need to include in the original patent filing for Europe is not what the Panel Chair said it was.

The reaction from the USA, that such drafting imperatives (stating “the problem”) are incompatible with drafting for the USA, might be right. But, gentle readers, what if “stating the problem” is not actually required?

The way I see it, the EPO explores obviousness by toggling between the technical features recited in the claim and the technical effects they deliver. In his definitive book on drafting in Europe and the USA, Professor Paul Cole equates patentability with “A difference, that makes a difference”. If I may state it in other words “A new combination of technical features that delivers a technical effect”. What one needs in the original application, therefore, is not only a disclosure of the features but also of the effects delivered by that specific combination of technical features. No more than that.

Do the courts of the USA punish drafters and patent owners for saying in the application as filed what effects one gets with the claimed feature combination? I suspect not. But if they do, it is not helping to achieve the aims of the patents clause of the Constitution of the USA, to “promote the progress” of Useful Arts ie technology.

Amirite? Or do you disagree with me? Will other readers comment, please.

Watch the response:

Agreed re the “no more than that”. Also I thought a technical effect canhelp in the US too (Enfish) or did I misunderstand?

A US view of Paul Cole’s Fundamentals of Patent Drafting (I haven’t seen one?) and whether US practice has since moved on/changed would be helpful. I believe a copy of the book is still given by CIPA to students joining the patents profession in the UK.

CIPA is now instrumental in running IP Kat (which is why, we often assume, IP Kat no longer covers EPO scandals).

And again from the original commenter:

It occurs to me that some readers might retort, in reply to my posting above, that EPC Rule 42 “Content of the Description” makes it mandatory to recite “the problem” in the application as filed. I have two thoughts on that.

First, when was a patent application ever refused by the EPO, or an issued patent ever revoked, for the reason that the application as filed failed to disclose “the problem”?

Second, if you read the text of Rule 42, after reading my posting above, and with knowledge of the EPO’s Problem and Solution Approach to the analysis of obviousness, you can discern the beautiful clarity and simplicity of the EPC’s substantive law of patentability, how it optimises, in a First to File context, the promotion by the patent system of progress in the useful arts.

Sadly, the EPC is history. We have lost count of how many times Battistelli blatantly violated the EPC. It’s not even funny. It’s a very serious matter. Don’t expect Campinos to be much different or hold Battistelli accountable for it. He is, after all, not an Italian ICC judge.

Europe is Being Robbed by Team Battistelli and the UPC/PPH Would Make Things Worse

3 hours 50 min ago


Battistelli and his French successor

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) has put litigation at the forefront, having implicitly decided to no longer bother with proper patent examination and instead issue lots of patents for judges and lawyers to argue about (at great expense to the public)

THE EPO has become a pariah organisation. All it cares about is money and patents’ legitimacy does not matter at all. As everyone from the inside (e.g. examiners) ought to know, patents don’t magically help money (or wealth) grow on trees. There are economic aspects to it and the general equation does not say that the greater the number of granted patents, the better off society will be. That’s just a dangerous mythology, typically perpetuated by the patent ‘industry’ (e.g. litigators, patent trolls, Team UPC).

“If trolls are described as “SMEs”, then sure… the EPO is their dream come true. They can run amok blackmailing real SMEs for ‘protection’ money, knowing these real SMEs cannot afford or justify a legal battle over crappy patents (invalidated only at enormous cost to the defendant).”Nowadays the EPO has a true fetish. It’s called “SMEs”. Those are probably the EPO’s biggest victims — biggest in terms of their suffering. If trolls are described as “SMEs”, then sure… the EPO is their dream come true. They can run amok blackmailing real SMEs for ‘protection’ money, knowing these real SMEs cannot afford or justify a legal battle over crappy patents (invalidated only at enormous cost to the defendant).

The EPO posted three tweets about these old lies regarding SMEs on Thursday morning and the night before (from another account). These three [1, 2, 3] have all appeared before midday today (we have not checked since). If one searches the Web for “EPO” and “SME” (we’ve tried this), the search results page will be dominated by EPO propaganda rather than leaks about how the EPO actively discriminates against (and directly harms) SMEs. That’s called “googlebombing”. They identify some kind of negative publicity and then do whatever they can to drown it out.

We generally assume that EPO insiders know all this. It seems to be common knowledge among examiners.

“The EPO has become just a cash cow for French men in suits and they externalise all the costs to the public (those who get sued using dubious EPs).”Earlier today the EPO also wrote that “Latin American PPH agreement enters into force.”

Without getting down/delving into all the technicalities, what it generally means is even more hastened patent examination. The EPO cares not about quality but about “prosecution” (the P in PPH).

The EPO has become just a cash cow for French men in suits and they externalise all the costs to the public (those who get sued using dubious EPs). There is already a lot of suffering inside the EPO; I occasionally hear from those who suffer outside the EPO due to patent trolls taunting them.

Does the EPO care? Does Team Battistelli care? Naaaa. It doesn’t even know what the word “care” means, judging by the way ordinary EPO staff gets treated by them (sometimes driven to suicide).

To ensure that patent quality remains low at the EPO (not detecting errors), Battistelli has already sent BoA (the appeal boards) to exile and watch what the EPO wrote a few hours ago: “The Boards of Appeal commenced operations at the new location. If you don’t know the details yet, have a look here…”

Don’t expect Ernst or Campinos to reverse this travesty. These boards are still grossly understaffed and skyrocketing costs have made appeals unaffordable to most (especially SMEs). They are being driven to extinction by inducing lower demand.

“As we argued at the start, the EPO has become a pariah organisation. Those who refuse to see it are either preoccupied with something else or are paid (possibly by the EPO) to turn a blind eye.”It sometimes looks like the EPO is now broken beyond repair. It has become a liability rather than an asset to Europe. Even the USPTO, according to some law firms, is more strict than the EPO these days (and that says a lot). As this one comment put things this morning: “The situation outline by “Still Examiner” is one which has been de facto situation in the USPTO. The difference is that in the US, the request for continued examination is available allowing applicant to continue the prosecution. It seems to me that the EPO MUST introduce such a procedure to compensate for the push for a streamlined examination.”

The more interesting comment comes after it and asks: “Firstly, where is all of the additional income going, especially within the EPO?”

Well, ask Battistelli. He’s wasting millions of “dark money” building himself a secret ‘bar’ at the top floor and he’s gifting Team Battistelli with all sorts of massive bonuses.

What else is happening to the money? Well, maybe ‘gifts’ (bribes) to buy delegates’ support and control the media, organise lobbying events and pay lawyers to intimidate bloggers like yours truly. That too is where some of the money goes. Maybe they also buy fake Twitter "followers"; we already know that they pay for journalists’ flight tickets (they told us), in order to cover EPO lobbying events that cost several millions of euros (for just one afternoon!). The ‘king’ likes a good show. He is always, by definition, the star of the show. He thinks he’s Alfred Nobel.

Anyway, here is the comment in full:

In the light of the comments on this thread (and on other blogs / sites that more directly address the issue of quality at the EPO), I find it interesting to mull over the following points.

EPO fees have certainly not been reduced in recent years (in fact, they have gone in the opposite direction). However, the level of service provided by the EPO in return for fees paid by applicants has, despite the valiant efforts of many examiners, pretty much fallen off a cliff.

With grants and “efficiency” (ie cases “disposed of” per year) driven up under the current EPO management, it is clear that the net income from fees (ie gross income minus the costs of conducting the tasks for which those fees were paid) will be significantly increased for both the EPO and the EPC Member States.

This raises a number of questions.

Firstly, where is all of the additional income going, especially within the EPO?

Secondly, for how long will applicants continue to accept having to pay premium level fees for bargain basement level service?

Thirdly, where is the voice of the professional associations in all of this? I would have thought that at least the epi ought to be complaining long and hard (and publicly!) about the all too obvious drop in quality. And if they are not doing this, then why not?

At the end of the day, it is clear that a majority of EPC Member States are addicted to the fee income, and so care more about maintaining that income than they do about maintaining standards at the EPO (whether standards on quality or on fundamental issues of human rights). There is nothing to suggest that the Member States will change this of their own free will. Not even being dragged before the European Court of Human Rights has shamed them into taking action. But they will listen to those that pay the fees upon which they rely.

As we argued at the start, the EPO has become a pariah organisation. Those who refuse to see it are either preoccupied with something else or are paid (possibly by the EPO) to turn a blind eye.

Team UPC Continues to Promote Illusion of UPC Progress Where There’s None

4 hours 40 min ago

Related: Bristows LLP is Still Trying to Attach Wings to the UPC and Distract From Serious (Likely Fatal) Barriers to It

Summary: The core members of Team UPC in the UK spread obvious falsehoods in the media, probably in an effort to attract ‘business’ (consultation regarding something that does not exist)

WE HAVE not forgotten about UPC; it’s just that there’s nothing to say about it as nothing is happening. Even the EPO barely mentions it any longer. Marks & Clerk has long been absent and Bristows had not said anything in weeks! Until yesterday. If this is all they have to show, then they’re running out of material. It’s worth seeing the comments in the tweet about it. The UPC is dead.

“The Unitary Patent is a pipe dream. It probably won’t happen.”“Draft UPC legislation reaches final stage in Scottish parliamentary process,” Bristows wrote, which almost makes it sound (or feel) like there’s finalisation of some kind. The usual deception from Bristowsfor the purpose of money.

But towards the end Gemma Barrett from Bristows confesses that “[t]he Parliament is now in recess (from 7 October to 22 October inclusive),” reminding us that the latest push is just this illusion of UPC progress. Nothing is happening in England and Ireland has virtually given up even on a referendum on the subject.

The Unitary Patent is a pipe dream. It probably won’t happen. More complaints are being submitted this month in Germany and judging by this report from yesterday, the EU is no longer a friend of “Big Pharma” (which wanted the UPC in order to impose broad injuctions). To quote:

EU To Get Rid Of Big Pharma-Friendly SPCs

Extended monopoly protection by the Regulation EC 469/2009 concerning the supplementary protection certificate (SPC) mechanism for medicinal products has led to spiralling prices in Europe for lifesaving medicines, while exhausting the national budgets and depriving patients of fair access to treatments. The EU Commission should repeal the SPCs and put in practice the recommendations signed on 8 September 2017 by thirty-three civil society organisations, in alignment with the final report of the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines.

Having watched the UPC (and similar things which predate it) pretty closely for about a decade, we can honestly say that we’ve never really seen this much of a lull. Even recent events regarding patents say nothing about the UPC. The last we saw of it was in today’s marketing from Graham Burnett-Hall and Sarah Routledge (Marks & Clerk), who are spreading half-truths and lies about UPC at IAM. They have just published this FUD/advertisement in the form of an ‘article’/Q&A (scaring people to attract business).

It comes from IAM (EPO mouthpiece) and here is the part about UPC:

Q: Has your jurisdiction signed the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court? If so, when do you expect it to be ratified?

The United Kingdom has signed the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement. [wrong] Ratification of the UPC Agreement and Protocol has been delayed by the 2017 General Election. [wrong] The Conservative Party, which was in government before the election, lost seats in the election, but remains the largest party in Parliament and has formed a minority government and is continuing the ratification process [wrong]. Ratification is most likely to take place in Autumn 2017 [wrong].

Q: Will your country play host to one or more divisions of the Unified Patent Court?

The United Kingdom will host both a local division of the UPC [wrong] and a branch of the central division [wrong], both of which will be located in London [wrong].

The London seat of the central division will [wrong], in particular, hear cases relating to pharmaceuticals, life sciences, chemicals, medical devices and agriculture/food.

For further information on the role and scope of the UPC, please click here [SPAM].

[...]

This article first appeared in Intellectual Asset Management Magazine. [Battistelli’s mouthpiece]

The number of false statements above (marked by us in bold) is truly extraordinary. It’s like they live in an alternate universe and look for readers gullible enough to call them (for business) to seek advice regarding a non-existent system. It disgraces the legal profession.

António Campinos: A True EPO Reformer or More of the Same?

5 hours 25 min ago

…Will fit right in at Battistelli’s 'pub' at the top floor

Summary: More unfortunate reminders that Campinos and Battistelli don’t quite diverge on the big issues, they’re just more than two decades apart in age (but the same nationality)

THE stakeholders of the EPO would like to think that things will improve when António Campinos settles in next summer. But that’s too optimistic in our assessment.

Earlier today we shared this ritualistic old photo op of Campinos and Battistelli. “Another Campinos photo-op from the archives,” a reader told us, comes “[f]rom Croatia – check out the photo.”

“What kind of “social dialogue” can they hope for with the likes of Željko Topić in the mix?”We have shared this photo in this site before, but here is the page which says: “On the occasion of attending The Forty-Ninth Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of the World International Property Organization (WIPO) held in Geneva, the MoU concerning bilateral cooperation between the two Offices was signed on 27 September 2011, on behalf of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) by President Antonio Campinos and on behalf of the State Intellectual Property Office by Mr. Željko Topić, Director General of SIPO Croatia.”

SUEPO’s message to staff is rather different from the message to the media because it considers reservations to be rather “dangerous” for diplomatic purposes.

Earlier today SUEPO linked to this new article titled “SUEPO confirms position on Campinos election” and it says:

The Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) has confirmed that it’s “ready to embark on a road to fruitful cooperation” with new president of the European Patent Office (EPO) António Campinos.
Last week, a source close to SUEPO said that the staff union was willing to work with Campinos, provided there was a “respect by top management for the rule of law”.

In a letter from SUEPO, it states that the vacancy for the position listed “unprecedented requirements: to lead the EPO with modern management techniques and an outstanding ability to engage in social dialogue”.

“We believe this indicated the [Administrative Council’s] desire to re-establish harmonious working conditions and to dissipate the atmosphere generated over the past year.”

What kind of “social dialogue” can they hope for with the likes of Željko Topić in the mix? Years ago he said “SUEPO has no standing in this Office. SUEPO has no role to play in this Office.”

Juve Has Confirmed That António Campinos is French

8 hours 8 min ago

And Kluwer Patent Blog found this photo from six years ago


Photo ops like these aren’t going to help either of them

Summary: The relationship between Campinos and Battistelli has a nationality aspect to it, not even taking into account the interpersonal connection which goes a long way back

THE EPO‘s focus right now is on the new Chairman and the upcoming (next) President. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO – Part III will be published some time soon, maybe tomorrow or in the weekend. We’ll cover the INPI connection.

In the meantime, someone has just told us about this new article. Here are some key bits from it:

Heavy task lies ahead of Antonio Campinos as future EPO president

[...]

Apparently, EPO member states think the Portuguese Campinos is the right man to tackle the problems. A diplomatic source told Kluwer IP Law he is seen as a person ‘who will be able to improve social relations and enter into dialogue with workers and unions, after a period of very effective reforms by Benoit Battistelli, which have led to increased productivity.’ The German legal website JUVE quotes a Spanish trademark expert as saying Campinos (who was born in France and, according to JUVE, has the French as well as the Portuguese nationality) is ‘an experienced IP lawyer and a pleasant and passionate director, who is committed to the EUIPO staff.’

[...]

The Techrights blog, which has been reporting for years on the problems at the EPO, is not convinced at all that Antonio Campinos will be an improvement and has pointed at the close ties between the current and the new EPO president, who have known each other for a long time.

We did not notice (at the time) Juve reporting this. So what we did not have a “100%” confirmation for can now be ascertained. Campinos is French. Thus, out of 4 EPO Presidents (in a row) 3 are French. Quite a diversity, no? Might as well call the next President “Antoine”.

The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO – Part II: António Campinos at Banco Caixa Geral de Depósitos

9 hours 32 min ago

Summary: A look at the largely-hidden banking career of the next President of the EPO and the career of the person who competed with him for this position

THE EPO will have a new President in just over 8 months from now. The 'Club Med' series was intended to help readers familiarise themselves with this man and today we continue the latest series, which is to some degree based on the official Campinos CV in Spanish. [PDF]

“First Angola, now Brazil. Any other former Portuguese colonies left in the pipeline?”In part 1 (published last night) we presented a very short introduction. Last night we also saw this new article about further rushed examination, as explained André Venturini from DANIEL Legal & IP Strategy, for a former Portuguese colony, this time Brazil. To quote: “A Rule setting forth the acceptability requirements of this PPH program is yet to be published, but the BRPTO has already anticipated that this will be a pilot program with a limit of 300 applications per year. Moreover, only those patent applications related to medical devices and general chemistry would be allowed to participate.”

First Angola, now Brazil. Any other former Portuguese colonies left in the pipeline? Either way, let’s proceed with part 2.

The Banco Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), which was established in Lisbon in 1876, is a Portuguese state-owned banking corporation, and the second largest bank in Portugal.

CGD is Portugal’s largest public sector banking corporation and the largest Portuguese financial group with presence in 23 countries spanning four continents through branches, representative offices or direct equity interests in local financial institutions. As might be expected it is heavily involved in former Portuguese colonies.

“For some reason, Mr. Campinos does not appear to be particularly keen to advertise his previous career in banking.”During the time of the Angola civil war it appears to have been heavily involved in the financing of arms sales from Russia to Angola.

The “Angolagate” Trial by Paula Roque, an article from November 10th 2008, says: “The investigation revealed, amongst other things, how more than $21 million worth of illicit arms sales from Russia to Angola were transferred through Portuguese banks, in particular the state-run Caixa Geral de Depositos, and Banco Comercial Portugues.”

In more recent years CGD has been named in connection with financial shenanigans in Angola and Portugal involving the Dos Santos clan. See Investigation into Isabel dos Santos’ Portuguese investments (16th of October, 2015) and President Dos Santos Illegally Inflates Daughter’s Fortune (7th of December, 2015).

For some reason, Mr. Campinos does not appear to be particularly keen to advertise his previous career in banking. His carefully preened public image these days is that of an expert in IP matters, but his curriculum vitae indicates that his expertise in these matters is limited to the area of trademarks. He does not appear to have any particular experience in the area of patents.

Of course none of this disqualifies him as a potential President of the EPO, but it is interesting to note that the choir of cheerleaders supporting him were keen to stress his IP expertise and his experience of running an international organisation supposedly in contrast to his only competitor, the ICC judge Mr. Tarfusser.

“Maybe Tarfusser’s impressive professional record and his experience as a public prosecutor made some members of the EPO’s Administrative Council nervous that he might take his new job at the EPO too seriously and start asking awkward questions or poking his nose into things that are supposed to remain closed secrets.”This seems rather one-sided and unfair to Tarfusser who served at a senior level in the ICC which is an international organisation with 124 member states compared to the 38 member states of the EPO.

It is also known that during his time as Chief State Attorney in Bozen/Bolzano the working practices of the Office of the State Attorney in South Tyrol were radically restructured. In fact the organisational model developed under his guidance is now considered as the standard for the entire justice administration system throughout Italy. So Tarfusser was not just a “courtroom judge” lacking experience in managerial and administrative matters.

Throughout his career he appears to have been heavily involved in the managerial aspects of administrative and judicial bodies.

Tarfusser’s work as Public Prosecutor included a number of investigations and trials encompassing crimes against individuals; crimes against the state, including terrorism; crimes against public administration such as extortion and corruption; trafficking; smuggling and European Union fraud; and organised crime such as money laundering.

During his career he has lectured at a number of law faculties within Italy and has been appointed to a number of rogatory commissions in Europe, Belarus and the Dominican Republic.

In 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Edge Hill University’s Department of Law and can be seen speaking on video here.

“Campinos seems to have been hand-picked by the Administrative Council as a “safe pair of hands” and as part of a carefully crafted plan to ensure that as much dirt as possible from the Battistelli era at the EPO is safely swept under the carpet and kept away from the prying eyes of public scrutiny.”Maybe Tarfusser’s impressive professional record and his experience as a public prosecutor made some members of the EPO’s Administrative Council nervous that he might take his new job at the EPO too seriously and start asking awkward questions or poking his nose into things that are supposed to remain closed secrets.

Campinos on the other hand is a long-standing member of the same “golden circle” as Battistelli composed of the directors of national IP Offices who see the EPO purely in terms of a money-making machine like the “gold-ass” from the tale of the Brothers Grimm and who do not seem to be particularly concerned with the wider societal aspects of patents.

Although he must ultimately be judged by his actions when he takes up the job as EPO President next year, Campinos gives the impression of being a typical EU Technocrat from much the same mould as Battistelli. Campinos seems to have been hand-picked by the Administrative Council as a “safe pair of hands” and as part of a carefully crafted plan to ensure that as much dirt as possible from the Battistelli era at the EPO is safely swept under the carpet and kept away from the prying eyes of public scrutiny.

SUEPO to the Media, Regarding Campinos: “No Comment, It’s Too Dangerous”

10 hours 32 min ago

Summary: António Campinos (right), who is Benoît Battistelli’s (left) chosen successor at the EPO, as covered by German media earlier this month

LAST night we published SUEPO's internal message to staff regarding Campinos. It was fairly diplomatic and not too blunt.

Considering the many EPO scandals (we wrote nearly 2,000 articles about these), it’s hard to believe that Campinos can turn things around. Even if he ever “drained the swamp” so to speak (removing Battistelli’s cronies at top-level management), that would still leave largely complicit delegates in place. Battistelli basically destroyed the integrity of the entire system and even the media, which he threatened or passed bribes to. Battistelli is, in our view, one of the most dangerous people in Europe (but the media does not recognise this). His destruction will be mostly left in tact when he leaves. Businesses will be crushed (especially SMEs).

The other day the German media published this article from Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann, who had been covering EPO issues for a number of years. His article focused on Battistelli/Campinos and apparently sought comment from SUEPO (highlighted below in yellow towards the end). SUEPO has just published an English translation of this article and we’re highlighting important bits of it:

European Patent Office New Boss must be a Peacemaker

By Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann

11.10.17, 19:54

Following the controversial figure of Benoît Battistelli, the European Patent Office in Munich has elected Portuguese António Campinos as President.

Photo:

imago/argum

As of 1 July 2018, the European Patent Office in Munich is getting a new President, the Portuguese António Campinos. Nothing particularly surprising about that. The 47-year-old was already tipped as the hottest candidate. But it was unexpected that the 38 Member States of the international authority were able to agree so rapidly on a new supreme executive in the world of patent protection. Campinos was already enthroned in the first round of voting with the three-quarters majority needed, as an insider let slip. At the time when the departing President Benoît Battistelli was elected, a good 30 rounds of voting were needed. But because the 67-year old Frenchman is leaving his house in such disorder, this is not a change of office like the others. The 7,000 patent specialists who make up the staff in particular are viewing the move with hope and anxiety alike.

After all, Battistelli has been in office for seven years, and his reforms have indeed ensured that last year almost 100,000 patents were issued, around 40 percent more than even as recently as 2015. But his methods have brought large numbers of the workforce literally to the barricades. Among other things, he fired the entire executive of the in-house staff union Suepo, made strikes as good as impossible, and spied on the staff using spyware. Highly respected legal experts maintain that a lot of
what the Frenchman ordered done was incompatible with German labour law. But as an international body, the Office is not subject to German laws.

For the first time – a representative of Southern Europe at the top

To drive it home to the members of the Administrative Council just how badly the inner peace of the Office has been destroyed, on the day Campinos was elected the in-house union, driven to the edge of extinction by Battistelli, organized yet another demonstration before the glass façade of the Office. “That was a cry for help to the Administrative Council, to make sure they don’t send us someone like that again”, was how one long-serving patent examiner viewed the demo. He was not prepared to be named for fear of thrown out, which says a lot about the mood in the Office.

The Administrative Council is well aware that a peacemaker is needed to head up the Office. In the job description for the new chief executive of the Office, an explicit requirement was given as “clear ability to conduct social dialogue, negotiating skills, and a talent for communications and public relations.” “Our decision is a very important matter, and in Mr. Campinos we have found an excellent candidate”, was the diplomatically reticent comment on the election by Christoph Ernst, German head of the Administrative Council and himself only in office since the beginning of the month.

The technical expertise of the Portuguese, who as from mid-2018 will be leading the European Patent Office for at least five years, is beyond dispute. He is currently at the head of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante. Before that, as a trained jurist, he had been President of the Portuguese Patent Office, and for a number of years a member of the Administrative Council at the European patent authority in Munich. In other words, this is his business, which even Battistelli emphasises. “It is a victory for skill, competence, and impressive experience in the patent sector”, was his reaction to the election of his successor. With Campinos, for the first time a representative from Southern Europe has been made the President of the primary European patent authority.

But hopes are nevertheless fading for major change

Because for months everything has been pointing towards the 47-year old, staff representatives of the European Patent Office have already been finding out from colleagues in Alicante about the kind of person they were likely to have imposed on them. The answers raised doubts as to whether there really is going to be a new style of management forthcoming in Munich.

“He is said to be more skillful and more diplomatic than Battistelli, but otherwise he’s a chip from the same block”, is how one patent examiner summarised his research. He did not have a lot of hope, however, that things are about to change a great deal under Campinos.

Suepo representatives are not even prepared to make an anonymous comment about the election of Campinos. “No comment, it’s too dangerous”, is the response, completely repressed. At the beginning of the month the union sent a letter to the new leader of the Administrative Council Ernst, with the request that, in view of the tense situation in the Office, they might be permitted to put a few questions to the candidates for the post of the new chief executive.

The staff wanted to know, among other things, how a new Office President intended to restore social peace within the establishment. To date there has been no response. Campinos would probably be well advised to take up the offer of discussions soon, and not to set at risk the chance of making a new start.

A lot of the same management will still be in place, including Battistelli’s bulldog and further-promoted Battistelli cronies from France, so negotiations and mediation would not be vastly simpler. SUEPO’s statement to members is, in our view, understandably too optimistic. It’s all bureaucracy if not wishful thinking.

Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Willing to Work With Campinos But Foresees Difficulties

Wednesday 18th of October 2017 11:59:47 PM

Summary: New message from SUEPO regarding Battistelli’s successor of choice (Campinos)

THE OTHER day there was a report citing someone close to SUEPO (but not SUEPO itself). It said that SUEPO was ready to work with Campinos to defuse the situation created by Battistelli. Earlier today the following message was circulated among EPO employees:

Dear Colleagues,

Mr Campinos will be our President from July 2018 onward. We congratulate him on his election.

We have noted that the vacancy notice listed unprecedented requirements: to lead the EPO with modern management techniques and an outstanding ability to engage in social dialogue. We believe this indicates the Council’s desire to re-establish harmonious working conditions and to dissipate the atmosphere generated over the past few years.

We want to express our wholehearted support for this endeavour. We are ready to embark on a road to fruitful cooperation with Mr Campinos – a road which we know to be steep and time-consuming, as a long list of tasks lies ahead of us.

Kind regards,

Your SUEPO Committee The Hague

This was accompanied by the following longer message:

18 October 2017

Mr Campinos will be the next President of the EPO

Dear SUEPO Members, dear Colleagues,

Mr Campinos will be our President from July 2018 onward. We congratulate him on his election.

While the previous election required many rounds of votes, he was promptly selected in a single vote and with a very comfortable margin. We believe this is a testament to his competence and to the trust which the Administrative Council puts in him.

We have noted that the vacancy notice listed unprecedented requirements: to lead the EPO with modern management techniques and an outstanding ability to engage in social dialogue. We believe this indicates the Council’s desire to re-establish harmonious working conditions and to dissipate the atmosphere generated over the past few years.

We want to express our wholehearted support for this endeavour. We are ready to embark on a road to fruitful cooperation with Mr Campinos – a road which we know to be steep and time-consuming, as a long list of tasks lies ahead of us.

Unfortunately, on taking up his post, the new President will inherit the following problematic legacy:

- violations of fundamental rights and an apparent systematic disregard for the rule of law;

- management by fear, isolation and punishment championed by the current higher management;

- a culture of arbitrariness and repression, targeting not only outspoken union leaders, but also the most vulnerable members of staff: the old and the sick. They are now branded by the appraisal system as “lazy” or “incompetent” and placed on a fast-track for dismissal;

- a code of silence that makes it is impossible to raise awareness of a problem (particularly if it is due to the actions of top managers) without the fear of reprisal. This same culture also emerges in the EPO’s unwillingness to investigate properly the six suicides that occurred during the current presidency. Fortunately, a potential seventh suicide was miraculously averted only two weeks ago

- a culture of repression and impunity worthy of the most autocratic of regimes and curiously reminiscent of the scandal currently afflicting WIPO.

We must re-establish a social dialogue that is shaped by trust and cooperation, and not by fear, isolation or punishment. This dialogue must be held between management, Council and staff. We assure Mr Campinos that SUEPO, as the largest staff union within the EPO, wishes to take part in this process with a constructive attitude if there is a willingness on his side to create propitious premises. We propose bringing in an external expert and moderator, who may help to leave the previous path of arbitrariness and repression.

We propose that the new President consider establishing a multilateral Working Group, charged to:

a) Engage in truth-finding with respect to the following topics and recommend concrete
- action where necessary:
- the respect of and compliance with the rule of law and fundamental rights
- the dignity of staff, protection of the vulnerable
- staff welfare
- the relationship between working conditions and psychosocial risks
- work pressure and its impact on work quality

b) Revisit Council resolution CA/26/16, including reversing the sanctions of all staff representatives and union leaders, which are widely perceived as having been politically motivated.

c) Without questioning the spirit and goals of the recent reforms, identify any legal lacunae or incompatibility, identify any problems with implementation practices, and recommend concrete remedies.

We are aware that it takes time and good will to solve the problems lying ahead. SUEPO would readily accept an invitation to participate in such a working group and would spare no effort in working towards the success of its mission.

We can offer considerable legal and technical expertise and are ready to help as needed. Mr Campinos will find that SUEPO is a very reliable and predictable social partner. We look forward to being able to work with him soon.

Your SUEPO Committee The Hague

We shall comment on it in the near future. We shall also continue our series regarding Campinos and his past.

Links 18/10/2017: GTK+ 3.92, Microsoft Bug Doors Leaked

Wednesday 18th of October 2017 11:23:11 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Blockchain and the Web Are Coming Together, Says Berners-Lee

    Sir Tim Berners-Lee is a famous computer scientist and academic who invented the World Wide Web in 1989—so when he talks about new technologies it’s worth paying attention.

    Today, one of the topics on his mind is blockchain, a revolutionary way of creating permanent, tamper-proof records across a disparate network of computers.

    Blockchain is most famously associated with the digital currency bitcoin but the technology is increasingly being used for record keeping by banks and retailers. It will also come to be used by more ordinary citizens in the near future, says Berners-Lee.

  • GMO Internet introduces open source KYC as blockchain project enters fifth phase
  • Eclipse Science Advances Open Source Technology for Scientific Research

    The Eclipse Science Working Group, a working group of the Eclipse Foundation, today announced the new releases of five open source projects used by the scientific research community to advance and simplify the software used by science projects, like genomic, astrophysics, nuclear simulations, etc. The new project releases are part of an annual release train that is managed by the Science WG.

  • Dmark East Africa to develop open source IT applications

    We have an operation around the region; in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Kenya and Rwanda. And this has exposed us to different levels of talent across the region. As a result, we have come to a conclusion that Uganda has special talents in the area of information technology, specifically, product development or software engineering.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla brings Microsoft, Google, the W3C, Samsung together to create cross-browser documentation on MDN

        Community contributions are at the core of MDN’s success. Thousands of volunteers have helped build and refine MDN over the past 12 years. In this year alone, 8,021 users made 76,203 edits, greatly increasing the scope and quality of the content. Cross-browser documentation contributions include input from writers at Google and Microsoft; Microsoft writers have made more than 5,000 edits so far in 2017. This cross-browser collaboration adds valuable content on browser compatibility and new features of the web platform. Going forward, Microsoft writers will focus their Web API documentation efforts on MDN and will redirect relevant pages from Microsoft Developer Network to MDN.

      • A Week-Long Festival for Internet Health

        Says Mark Surman, Mozilla’s Executive Director: “The Internet is layered into our lives like we never could have imagined. Access is no longer a luxury — it’s a fundamental part of 21st century life. A virus is no longer a nuisance consigned to a single terminal — it’s an existential threat that can disrupt hospitals, governments and entire cities.”

        But much of the Internet’s best nature is flourishing, too. Each day, new communities form despite members being separated by whole continents. Start-ups and artists have access to a global stage. And open-source projects put innovation and inclusion ahead of profit.

  • SaaS/Back End
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice 6.0 Arrives Late January 2018, First Bug Hunting Session Starts Soon

      Now that the LibreOffice Conference 2017 event is over, it’s time for The Document Foundation to start the bug hunting sessions, and the first one was set for the end of the week, October 20, 2017, for the first Alpha release of the LibreOffice 6.0 office suite.

      Work on LibreOffice 6.0, the next big release of the popular open-source and cross-platform office suite for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows operating system, begun this week with a focus on revamping the user interface as well as various of its core components, including Writer, Calc, Draw, Impress, Base, and Math.

    • Coming up on Friday: first Bug Hunting Session for LibreOffice 6.0 Alpha 1

      The LibreOffice community has returned from a great conference in Rome (more on that later this week), and we’re now working eagerly on LibreOffice 6.0, which is due to be released at the end of January 2018. This version will include a large number of new features – and those already implemented are summarised on the release notes page.

    • LibreOffice Is Getting New Look for KDE’s Plasma Desktop Thanks to LiMux Project

      During the LibreOffice Conference 2017 event that took place in Rome, Italy, from October 10 to October 13, there were talks about the status the Qt 5 port of LibreOffice’s VCL plugin for KDE Plasma.

      Every year, The Document Foundation plans and organizes a LibreOffice Conference event where developers, contributors, sponsors, users, and other members of the LibreOffice community can gather to talk about the future of the Open Souce office suite.

      And this year they planned the new features of the next major release of the cross-platform office suite, LibreOffice 6.0, which will arrive in late January 2018 with a new look for the KDE Plasma desktop environment, work that will be sponsored by the LiMux project.

  • CMS
  • Healthcare
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Licensing/Legal
    • Eclipse Public License version 2.0 added to license list

      We recently updated our list of various licenses and comments about them to include the Eclipse Public License version 2.0 (EPL).

      In terms of GPL compatibility, the Eclipse Public License version 2.0 is essentially equivalent to version 1.0. The only change is that it explicitly offers the option of designating the GNU GPL version 2 or later as a “secondary license” for a certain piece of code.

    • Linux kernel community tries to castrate GPL copyright troll

      Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman and several other senior Linux figures have published a “Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement” to be included in future Linux documentation, in order to ensure contributions to the kernel don’t fall foul of copyright claims that have already seen a single developer win “at least a few million Euros.”

      In a post released on Monday, October 16th, Kroah-Hartman explained the Statement’s needed because not everyone who contributes to the kernel understands the obligations the GNU Public Licence 2.0 (GPL 2.0), and the licence has “ambiguities … that no one in our community has ever considered part of compliance.”

    • Fiduciary License Agreement 2.0

      After many years of working on it, it is with immense pleasure to see the FLA-2.0 – the full rewrite of the Fiduciary License Agreement – officially launch.

    • Control Or Consensus?

      In a recent conversation on the Apache Legal mailing list, a participant opined that “any license can be Open Source. OSI doesn’t ‘own’ the term.” He went on to explain “I could clone the Apache License and call it ‘Greg’s License’ and it would be an open source license.”

      As long as the only people involved in the conversation are the speaker and people who defer to his authority, this might be OK. But as soon as there are others involved, it’s not. For the vast majority of people, the term “open source license” is not a personal conclusion resulting from considered evaluation, but rather a term of art applied to the consensus of the community. Individuals are obviously free to use words however they wish, just like Humpty Dumpty. But the power of the open source movement over two decades has arisen from a different approach.

      The world before open source left every developer to make their own decision about whether software was under a license that delivers the liberty to use, improve and share code without seeking the permission of a rights holder. Inevitably that meant either uncertainty or seeking advice from a lawyer about the presence of software freedom. The introduction of the open source concept around the turn of the millennium solved that using the crystalisation of consensus to empower developers.

      By holding a public discussion of each license around the Open Source Definition, a consensus emerged that could then by crystalised by the OSI Board. Once crystalised into “OSI Approval”, the community then has no need to revisit the discussion and the individual developer has no need to guess (or to buy advice) on the compatibility of a given license with software freedom. That in turn means proceeding with innovation or deployment without delay.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • UK Startup Lifebit Builds on Popular Nextflow Open-Source Genomics Platform
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Makerbot Labs Is One Step Toward Open Source 3D Printing

        3D printing feels a bit stuck. At the dawn of the 2010s, the device seemed destined to reimagine the creative process, putting the power of additive manufacturing within anyone’s grasp. But trend has gone cold since reaching its popular zenith in 2013. While people continue to create amazing things with 3D printing, the “one in every household” promise has been put on temporary—or possibly permanent—hold.

        But the leader of the once great 3D printing revolution hasn’t gone away quietly. In fact, it’s done the opposite. Makerbot, the Brooklyn-based startup that sold its first printers back in 2009, is launching a brand new platform, Makerbot Labs, to help turn its 3D printing community into super-users, able to access parts of the printer that were otherwise inaccessible. Makerbot describes this new platform as a place, built for creators, who want to experiment with 3D printing but still have the bedrock of the platform to fall back on if need be.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • IEEE to develop standard for automotive Ethernet of over 1 Gbps

      Industry body IEEE and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) announced the formation of a task force to develop IEEE P802.3ch—Standard for Ethernet physical layer specifications and management parameters for greater than 1 Gbps automotive Ethernet. The new standards development project aims to meet the demand for higher speed Ethernet in the automotive environment to support ongoing technological developments, such as connected cars, advanced driver assisted systems and infotainment systems.

Leftovers
  • Smartphones Are Killing Americans, But Nobody’s Counting
  • Meet Bill Pollock, founder of No Starch Press

    If you’re a geek, a do-it-yourselfer, a maker, or just plain curious, you need to get your hands on some reading material from No Starch Press, which bills itself as “The Finest in Geek Entertainment.” I have used its books as reference materials when teaching students about the Linux operating system and helping them learn to code.

    I recently chatted over email with Bill Pollock, owner of No Starch Press, which he founded in 1994. Bill didn’t set out to be a book publisher; he enrolled at Amherst College to study biology, with the goal of becoming a medical doctor, but became fascinated by his political science coursework and, in 1983, earned his bachelor’s degree in that discipline. Even so, he put his interest in medical science to use in his first editorial job, with Springer-Verlag Publishing, where he edited medical books for fun. While there, he tried (and sometimes failed) to teach others how to use the new personal computer in the office.

  • Science
    • The Supreme Court Is Allergic To Math

      For decades, the court has struggled with quantitative evidence of all kinds in a wide variety of cases. Sometimes justices ignore this evidence. Sometimes they misinterpret it. And sometimes they cast it aside in order to hold on to more traditional legal arguments. (And, yes, sometimes they also listen to the numbers.) Yet the world itself is becoming more computationally driven, and some of those computations will need to be adjudicated before long. Some major artificial intelligence case will likely come across the court’s desk in the next decade, for example. By voicing an unwillingness to engage with data-driven empiricism, justices — and thus the court — are at risk of making decisions without fully grappling with the evidence.

  • Hardware
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Trumpcare for Veterans? VA Outsourcing Will Create Healthcare Industry Bonanza

      In January President Trump delivered on his promise to shrink the federal government: he announced a hiring freeze, despite thousands of federal job vacancies.

      As a candidate, Trump campaigned as a great friend of veterans. He pledged to make big improvements in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) the arm of the Veterans Administration (VA) which operates the largest healthcare system in the country.

      Yet Trump’s hiring freeze deepened an already existing staffing crisis at VHA hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S where there are 49,000 vacant positions.

      Union activists believe that the resulting understaffing is designed to generate patient complaints and negative publicity that will cause veterans and their families to lose faith in VA-provided care.

    • A nurse’s aide plays video games while a Vietnam veteran dies at Bedford VA Medical Center
    • Honey tests reveal global contamination by bee-harming pesticides

      Honey from across the world is contaminated with potent pesticides known to harm bees, new research shows, clearly revealing the global exposure of vital pollinators for the first time.

      Almost 200 samples of honey were analysed for neonicotinoid insecticides and 75% contained the chemicals, with most contaminated with multiple types. Bees range over many kilometres to collect nectar and pollen, making the honey they produce an excellent indicator of the pesticide pollution across their local landscape.

      Bees and other pollinators are vital to three-quarters of the world’s food crops but have been in serious decline in recent decades. The destruction of wild habitats, disease and widespread pesticide use are all important factors. Scientists responding to the new work say a crackdown on the industrial-scale use of the nerve agents is urgently needed.

  • Security
    • Microsoft never disclosed 2013 hack of secret vulnerability database

      Hackers broke into Microsoft’s secret, internal bug-tracking database and stole information related to vulnerabilities that were exploited in later attacks. But the software developer never disclosed the breach, Reuters reported, citing former company employees.

      In an article published Tuesday, Reuters said Microsoft’s decision not to disclose details came after an internal review concluded the exploits used in later attacks could have been discovered elsewhere. That investigation relied, in part, on automated reports Microsoft receives when its software crashes. The problem with that approach, Reuters pointed out, is that advanced computer attacks are written so carefully they rarely cause crashes.

      Reuters said Microsoft discovered the database breach in early 2013, after a still-unknown hacking group broke into computers belonging to a raft of companies. Besides Microsoft, the affected companies included Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. As reported at the time, the hackers infected a website frequented by software developers with attack code that exploited a zero-day vulnerability in Oracle’s Java software framework. When employees of the targeted companies visited the site, they became infected, too.

    • Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and elementary OS All Patched Against WPA2 KRACK Bug

      As you are aware, there’s a major WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) security vulnerability in the wild, affecting virtually any device or operating system that uses the security protocol, including all GNU/Linux distributions.

    • Fedora Dev Teaches Users How to Protect Their Wi-Fi Against WPA2 KRACK Bug

      Former Fedora Project leader Paul W. Frields talks today about how to protect your Fedora computers from the dangerous WPA2 KRACK security vulnerability that affects virtually any device using the security protocol to connect to the Internet.

    • WPA2 was kracked because it was based on a closed standard that you needed to pay to read

      How did a bug like krack fester in WPA2, the 13-year-old wifi standard whose flaws have rendered hundreds of millions of devices insecure, some of them permanently so?

      Thank the IEEE’s business model. The IEEE is the standards body that developed WPA2, and they fund their operations by charging hundreds of dollars to review the WPA2 standard, and hundreds more for each of the standards it builds upon, so that would-be auditors of the protocol have to shell out thousands just to start looking.

      It’s an issue that Carl Mamamud, Public Resource and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been fighting hard on for years, ensuring that the standards that undergird public safety and vital infrastructure are available for anyone to review, audit and criticize.

    • Patch Available for Linux Kernel Privilege Escalation

      The issue — tracked as CVE-2017-15265 — is a use-after-free memory corruption issue that affects ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture), a software framework included in the Linux kernel that provides an API for sound card drivers.

    • ​Linus Torvalds says targeted fuzzing is improving Linux security

      Announcing the fifth release candidate for the Linux kernel version 4.14, Linus Torvalds has revealed that fuzzing is producing a steady stream of security fixes.

      Fuzzing involves stress testing a system by generating random code to induce errors, which in turn may help identify potential security flaws. Fuzzing is helping software developers catch bugs before shipping software to users.

    • Devsecops: Add security to complete your devops process [Ed: more silly buzzwords]
    • Companies overlook risks in open source software [Ed: marketing disguised as "news" (and which is actually FUD)]
    • Q&A: Does blockchain alleviate security concerns or create new challenges?

      According to some, blockchain is one of the hottest and most intriguing technologies currently in the market. Similar to the rising of the internet, blockchain could potentially disrupt multiple industries, including financial services. This Thursday, October 19 at Sibos in Toronto, Hyperledger’s Security Maven Dave Huseby will be moderating a panel “Does Blockchain technology alleviate security concerns or create new challenges?” During this session, experts will explore whether the shared nature of blockchain helps or hinders security.

    • ACME Support in Apache HTTP Server Project

      We’re excited that support for getting and managing TLS certificates via the ACME protocol is coming to the Apache HTTP Server Project (httpd). ACME is the protocol used by Let’s Encrypt, and hopefully other Certificate Authorities in the future. We anticipate this feature will significantly aid the adoption of HTTPS for new and existing websites.

      We created Let’s Encrypt in order to make getting and managing TLS certificates as simple as possible. For Let’s Encrypt subscribers, this usually means obtaining an ACME client and executing some simple commands. Ultimately though, we’d like for most Let’s Encrypt subscribers to have ACME clients built in to their server software so that obtaining an additional piece of software is not necessary. The less work people have to do to deploy HTTPS the better!

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Google now offers special security program for high-risk users
    • Chrome 62 rolling out to Mac, Windows, and Linux w/ increased ‘Not secure’ HTTP warnings

      Chrome 62 is now rolling out to desktops in the stable channel with a number of new features for developers, as well as some changed security behaviors as Google continues to encourage HTTPS adoption.

    • DHS orders federal agencies to bolster cybersecurity with HTTPS, email authentication

      The US Department of Homeland Security will require federal agencies to use web and email encryption practices to enhance their security posture.

    • Adobe warns that hackers are exploiting its Flash software

      Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O) warned on Monday that hackers are exploiting vulnerabilities in its Flash multimedia software platform in web browsers, and the company urged users to quickly patch their systems to prevent such attacks.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Deadly Overconfidence: Trump Thinks Missile Defenses Work Against North Korea, and That Should Scare You

      Could a president’s overconfidence in U.S. defensive systems lead to deadly miscalculation and nuclear armageddon? Yes. Yes, it could. Last Wednesday, referring to potential American responses to North Korea’s missile and nuclear program, President Donald Trump told Sean Hannity “We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time, and if you send two of them it’s gonna get knocked out.” If Trump believes — or is being told — that American missile defenses are that accurate, not only is he factually wrong, he is also very dangerously wrong. This misperception could be enough to lead the United States into a costly war with devastating consequences.

      Here’s why: If Trump believes U.S. missile defenses work this effectively, he might actually think a first strike attempt to disarm North Korea of its missile and nuclear forces would successfully spare U.S. cities from North Korean nuclear retaliation. They probably wouldn’t. Believing that each ground-based midcourse missile defense (GMD) interceptor can provide anything close to a 97 percent interception rate against retaliation raises the temptation to attempt a so-called “splendid first strike” based on the assumption that missile defenses can successfully intercept any leftover missiles North Korea could then fire at the United States.

    • Mogadishu Massacre: Hospitals Run Out of Blood, Antibiotics for Victims in Mass Bombing Killing 300+

      Rescue operations continue in Mogadishu, Somalia, after two massive truck bombs exploded Saturday, killing at least 300 in the country’s deadliest attack since the rise of the al-Shabab militant group a decade ago. The disaster is being referred to as the “Mogadishu massacre,” and some are calling it “the 9/11 of the Somali people.” The explosions came after the Trump administration stepped up a U.S. campaign against al-Shabab in Somalia. We speak with Somali scholar Abdi Samatar and journalist Amanda Sperber, who splits her time between Nairobi, Kenya, and Mogadishu, Somalia.

    • “Tell Me How This Ends?”

      It was March 2003, the invasion of Iraq was underway, and Major General David Petraeus was in command of the 101st Airborne Division heading for the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Rick Atkinson, Washington Post journalist and military historian, was accompanying him. Six days into a lightning campaign, his division suddenly found itself stopped 30 miles southwest of the city of Najaf by terrible weather, including a blinding dust storm, and the unexpectedly “fanatical” attacks of Iraqi irregulars. At that moment, Atkinson reported,

      [...]

      So as American air power in places like Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan is ramped up yet again, as the latest mini-surge of troops arrives in Afghanistan, as Niger enters the war, it’s time to put generals David Petraeus, James Mattis, H.R. McMaster, and John Kelly in context. It’s time to call them what they truly are: Nixon’s children.

    • The CIA Is Playing Coy About Trump’s First Raid In Yemen

      The CIA’s attempt to use Glomar to keep the public in the dark about its role in the Yemen raid is absurd.

      Just days after Donald Trump assumed the powers of the presidency, he convened a group of top intelligence and military officials for dinner at the White House. The group included Secretary of Defense James Mattis and CIA Director Michael Pompeo. Presumably they were not there for the steak.

      Instead, they were there to discuss and sign off on an intelligence-gathering raid in al Ghayil, Yemen — the first of its kind under the Trump presidency, though planning for it had commenced under his predecessor. Days later, Navy SEAL Team 6 carried out the raid, but early reports were that the raid went awry. One service member and multiple Yemeni civilians — the exact number remains disputed — were killed.

      Still, the White House defended the raid as a success. From the White House podium, then–Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained that “the goal of the raid was intelligence-gathering. And that’s what we received, and that’s what we got. That’s why we can deem it a success.”

      But criticism continued, and reports surfaced that prior to the raid, President Trump had exempted the area of Yemen in which the raid took place from rules governing the United States’ use of lethal force outside of war zones. Those rules were put in place by President Obama and were intended — however flawed they were — to limit civilian casualties.

    • Iran Doesn’t Have a Nuclear Weapons Program. Why Do Media Keep Saying It Does?

      The problem with all of these excerpts: Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. It has a civilian nuclear energy program, but not one designed to build weapons. Over 30 countries have civilian nuclear programs; only a handful—including, of course, the US and Israel—have nuclear weapons programs. One is used to power cities, one is used to level them.

      If you are skeptical, just refer to a 2007 assessment by all 16 US intelligences agencies (yes, those 16 US intelligence agencies), which found Iran had “halted” its nuclear weapons program. Or look at the same National Intelligence Estimate in 2012, which concluded again that there “is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb.” Or we can listen to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, which concurred with the US intelligence assessment (Haaretz, 3/18/12).

      The “Iran Deal,” formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is built on curbing Iran’s civilian nuclear program, out of fear—fair or not—that it could one day morph into a nuclear weapons program. But at present, there is no evidence, much less a consensus, that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. JCPOA cannot be used as per se evidence such a program exists today; indeed, it is specifically designed to prevent such a program from developing down the road.

    • In 3-1 vote, LA Police Commission approves drones for LAPD

      The Los Angeles Police Department, one of the nation’s largest municipal police forces, approved a one-year pilot program for drones—making it the largest city in the nation to undertake such an evaluation.

      According to the Los Angeles Times, the LA Police Commission approved a set of policies that limits “their use to a handful of tactical situations, searches or natural disasters.” Each drone flight must also be signed off by a “high-ranking officer on a case-by-case basis.” The drones are also not to be weaponized. The decision, which was announced Tuesday, was made despite vociferous protest.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Police sergeant suspended after Facebook comments celebrating Caruana Galizia murder

      A police sergeant who yesterday celebrated the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia has been suspended, with the Office of the Prime Minister describing his remarks on Facebook as ‘reprehensible’.
      He will be investigated by the Public Service Commission.
      The shadow minister for justice, Jason Azzopardi, the Malta Police Association and the Police Officers’ Union all condemned the comments.
      The post, by Ramon Mifsud, was uploaded yesterday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Pentagon accidentally included reporter in Puerto Rico spin talks

      Officials at the Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accidentally included a Bloomberg climate reporter on an internal email distribution list that included discussions on how to present Puerto Rico recovery efforts to the media.

      Bloomberg’s Christopher Flavelle said he repeatedly alerted officials at the Pentagon to the error but kept receiving emails for five days.

      “Those messages, each of which was marked ‘unclassified,’ offer a glimpse into the federal government’s struggle to convince the public that the response effort was going well. That struggle was compounded by the commander-in-chief, and eased only when public attention was pulled to a very different disaster,” writes Flavelle in a Bloomberg story published Friday.

    • NOAA Marks 45th Anniversary of the Coastal Zone Management Act

      The hurricanes of 2017 affected many coastal areas. Guided by the CZMA over the past 45 years, the coastal programs have gained the experience, scientific information, and policies needed to address reconstruction and recovery needs. As a result, coastal communities stand a better chance of weathering future storms and day-by-day challenges. Two examples illustrate this approach.

  • Finance
    • What is technical debt? And why does almost every startup have it?

      Technical debt is no different. It allows companies to create software faster, with the understanding that they will slow down software development in the future. Companies will eventually be forced to spend more time fixing the debt than the amount of time it took them to produce the best solution at the beginning.

    • Austerity, Macron-Style

      When French President Emmanuel Macron’s secured his sweeping majority of the Elysee Palace and parliament in May and June, it was said that only the unions had a chance of checking his power. So this week’s show of unity and strength by public sector unions – after months of squabbling – will have him worried.

      For the first time a decade all nine unions representing 5.4 million public workers protested in the streets of France on Tuesday. At issue are Macron’s plans to axe 120,000 public sector jobs, to reduce sick leave compensation and freeze public sector pay. Workers in health, education, local government, air traffic controllers and train drivers are among those who went on strike.

    • No-deal Brexit requires a general election, Carwyn Jones says

      Carwyn Jones has argued there would have to be a general election in 2019 if Theresa May failed to secure a Brexit deal by that deadline.
      Talks at securing a deal with the other 27 EU states on trade and on any remaining budget payments have stalled.
      Some MPs have backed a “no deal” Brexit while others warn of economic chaos.
      The first minister told S4C’s O’r Senedd programme the UK government had an unrealistic view of Britain’s influence in the world.

    • After five rounds of Brexit talks, David Davis runs out of bluster

      Same time, same place, same speech. The humiliation is now almost complete. Five times David Davis has come back to the Commons to report on the progress of his talks with Michel Barnier, and on each occasion the Brexit secretary has had little to say. In the early days, he used to claim that the lack of progress was a sign of how much progress had been made, but now he has lost the will to even bluster. The former SAS man has barely got the strength to fight his way out of a paper bag.

      Throughout his five-minute statement, Davis could barely bring himself to raise his eyes towards the opposition benches. The contempt he could have taken. But it was the pity that got him every time. Some important steps had been made, he said in a barely audible mumble. He couldn’t say exactly what they were but they had been made. The negotiations were being conducted in a good spirit. As in, no one had actually walked out yet. But he was reaching the limits of what was possible.

    • Verhofstadt condemns ‘witch hunt’ by David Davis against British MEPs

      The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, criticized David Davis for conducting a “witch hunt” against British MEPs who voted to delay trade talks.

      Davis has called for 18 Labour MEPs and one from the Liberal Democrats to be sacked “in the national interest” for supporting a European Parliament resolution critical of the British government’s approach to the negotiations.

    • Government rejects calls from OECD to reverse Brexit for the sake of the economy

      The Government has rejected calls to reverse Brexit after economic experts said a second referendum would have a significant, positive effect on the economy.

      The decision to leave the EU has “raised uncertainty and dented business investment” in the UK, a new report warned.

      Real wages are being stripped back amid soaring inflation despite low unemployment, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

      Its 140-page annual report outlines the state of Britain’s economy 16 months after last year’s EU Leave vote.

    • Reverse Brexit with second referendum to save your economy, OECD tells UK

      Economic experts have made an explosive suggestion of a further referendum to reverse Brexit, to avoid the crippling of the British economy.

      The influential Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said the deadlock in the exit talks now threatened a “disorderly Brexit”, with severe consequences.

      Its report controversially puts the case for a dramatic rethink on the agenda – suggesting halting EU withdrawal is a route to avoiding that fate.

    • Brexit poses an ‘extreme risk’ to Britain’s food security. Don’t ignore the warnings

      Global food security — its availability, affordability, quality and safety — is beginning to slip for the first time in half a decade. Britain, being far from self sufficient in its food production, is taking a massive risk in quitting the safety of the single market.

      In response to concerns about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on food prices and the UK’s food security, Brexiteer Chris Grayling suggested recently that British farmers will just have to grow more food.

      Alongside this ‘Dig For Victory’ bravado was the suggestion that we should also increase imports from across the world: two diametrically opposed food and farming policies in one breath.

      Such ‘solutions’ come easily if you’ve never had to think deeply about where food comes from; if all it has ever meant is a stroll to the nearest supermarket.

    • Trapped in an immigration nightmare: How a single Home Office error threw a couple’s life into chaos

      Somewhere out there is the immigration officer who made the decision. As a result of what they did, my husband and I were locked in a legal ordeal for seven months, separated for four, lived in rural Sweden for three, and spent over £10,000. What we went through provides an instructive lesson in the failures and mean-spiritedness of the Home Office.

    • Who’s to blame for Brexit’s fantasy politics? The experts, of course

      Politics, runs the cliche, is the art of the possible. The compromise. The curbed expectation.

      Not any more. Not in the age of Brexit and Trump. In 2017, politics is the art of the impossible. Of writing blank cheques and scattering them to the wind. Of peddling fantasies and promising the voters they will be made flesh by tomorrow.

    • Report Reveals ‘Staggering’ Scale Of Foodbank Demand In Britain

      Growing numbers of foodbanks are distributing emergency parcels amid problems with the roll out of universal credit, a new report reveals.

      More than 2,000 foodbanks are now recorded as operating in Britain, with around 700 independent and 1,235 Trussell Trust centres, figures up slightly on earlier this year.

      The report highlights problems with the roll out of the welfare reform as a reason for recent “dramatic increases” in demand, the Press Association reported.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Trump gives his own performance a Trump-sized endorsement

      Friends say President Donald Trump has grown frustrated that his greatness is not widely understood, that his critics are fierce and on TV every morning, that his poll numbers are both low and “fake,” and that his White House is caricatured as adrift.

      So on Monday, the consummate salesman — who has spent his life selling his business acumen, golf courses, sexual prowess, luxury properties and, above all, his last name — gave the Trump White House a Trump-sized dose of brand enhancement.

      With both the Roosevelt Room and the Rose Garden as backdrops, he mixed facts and mirage, praise and perfidy in two head-spinning, sometimes contradictory performances designed to convince supporters and detractors alike that everything’s terrific, moving ahead of schedule and getting even better. His opponents were cast as misguided, deluded or even unpatriotic.

    • Trump’s alternative reality

      President Trump “goes there, on just about every topic imaginable,” as NBC’s Brian Williams put it, during a pair of Q&As, two hours apart yesterday — one in the Cabinet Room and one with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Rose Garden.

      Why it matters: It’s almost impossible for the media to cover these press conferences — or for Republicans to discern what he wants and how he plans to get it — because Trump spreads fake news while calling real news fake. This isn’t new. And, yes, 35% of voters don’t seem to care. But that doesn’t make it any less dangerous.

    • Trump Falsely Claims Obama Didn’t Contact Gold Star Families

      President Donald Trump broke his silence Monday over the deaths of four U.S. Army Green Berets who died in an ambush in Niger two weeks ago, saying he would contact the families of the soldiers—while falsely claiming that President Barack Obama did not reach out after U.S. troops were killed in combat. Trump’s comments came only after he was questioned over his silence by reporters during a press conference at the White House with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

    • Is the BBC hideously middle class?

      A panel at the Royal Television Society Convention in Cambridge this year revealed a broad range of concerns regarding class in television. Ofcom released a report coincident with the Convention reporting on diversity and equal opportunities in television. While Ofcom focused on race, gender and disability, it also reported on broadcasters’ initiatives to promote social mobility. Ofcom added that it will explore what new information can be provided on social background.

      Broadcasters, including the BBC, have recently begun to address social class in terms of diversity. Undoubtedly, this has been aided by existing initiatives on diversity with reference principally to gender, race, disability, age and sexual orientation. Much of this engagement with class seems tentative and in development. Some commentators are concerned variously with ‘class’, ‘socioeconomic background’, or ‘social mobility’. Different variables are proposed to measure class. Proponents tend to rely exclusively on a metrics-based approach.

      At this stage, key issues must be addressed: what is the problem against which these initiatives are directed? Is ‘class’ a valid category for analysis and, if so, how might class be monitored? If class is insufficient as a category to address the diagnosed problem, what other categories and interventions might be warranted? I will explore these questions with particular reference to the BBC. I do so in part because the BBC is a public service broadcaster whose duties raise distinctive issues regarding class.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Q&A with Professor Xaioxing Xi, Victim of Unjust Surveillance
    • California Governor Signs Bill to Defend Against Religious Registries

      On the last day to act on legislation in 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill creating a firewall between the state’s data and any attempt by the federal government to create lists, registries, or databases based on a person’s religion, nationality, or ethnicity.

      S.B. 31 was one of the earliest bills introduced by the legislature to oppose discriminatory policies floated by Pres. Donald Trump and his surrogates during the 2016 campaign. S.B. 31, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara, was a direct response to Trump’s and his surrogates’ support of a so-called “Muslim Registry.” Although the bill places California at odds with the White House, both parties in the California Senate unanimously approved the bill, as did an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Assembly.

    • Risk & Repeat: Kaspersky antivirus scans implicated in NSA breach

      Kaspersky antivirus scans were further implicated in the NSA breach by reports last week from The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal; anonymous sources claimed Israeli intelligence officers hacked into Kaspersky’s network in 2015 and observed Russian hackers using the company’s antivirus software to search millions of computers around the world for classified government documents. The reports also claimed the U.S. government determined that Kaspersky antivirus scans were specifically designed to search for classified U.S. data.

    • Regressive group finally out of debate on our ePrivacy!
    • UK spies using social media data for mass surveillance
    • UK intelligence agencies ‘unlawfully’ sharing sensitive personal data, court hears
    • British spies are collecting and sharing datasets of people’s social media activities

      Well. The latest revelations from the UK’s crusading Privacy International show not only that the GCHQ spy agency has been assembling databases of people’s social media data by gaining access to private companies’ own troves of data, but also that the agencies shared their databases with foreign governments and their law enforcement agencies – without the knowledge of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, the supposed provider of oversight.

    • British intelligence agencies may have been collecting and sharing your social media data
    • UK spy agency GCHQ is monitoring social media accounts of millions of people
    • British intelligence allegedly using social media for mass surveillance
    • UK spy agencies are unlawfully collecting social media data on ‘millions’ of people
    • British government accused of spying on millions of social media accounts
    • UK spy agencies may be circumventing data-sharing law, tribunal told

      MI5 and MI6 may be circumventing legal safeguards when they share bulk datasets with foreign intelligence services and commercial partners, a court has been told.

      Most of the bulk personal datasets relate to UK citizens who are not of “legitimate intelligence interest”, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) heard.

    • Internet giants contest proposed privacy laws

      Internet giants Comcast and Verizon have brought along some friends to their fight against three local towns considering adopting online privacy ordinances.

      Representatives of the two companies have partnered with four national lobbying groups to convince officials in Falls, Lower Makefield and Middletown not to pass laws that would prohibit internet service providers from sharing customers’ “personally identifiable information” with advertisers without the customers’ permission.

      The information could include web search activities, medical and financial information, and video viewing habits

    • Garmin teamed up with Amazon to make a tiny Echo Dot for your car [Ed: The scariest thing is, there are enough gullible people who will think it's "cool" to have listening device in car]
    • The Cyber World Is Falling Apart And The DOJ Is Calling For Weakened Encryption

      It seemed like the (mostly) one-man War on Encryption had reached a ceasefire agreement when “Going Dark” theorist James Comey was unceremoniously ejected from office for failing to pledge allegiance to the new king president. But it had barely had time to be relegated to the “Tired” heap before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resurrected it.

      Rosenstein has been going from cybersecurity conference to cybersecurity conference raising arguments for encryption before dismissing them entirely. His remarks have opened with the generally awful state of cybersecurity at both the public and private levels. He says encryption is important, especially when there are so many active security threats. Then he undermines his own arguments by calling for “responsible encryption” — a euphemism for weakened encryption that provides law enforcement access to locked devices and communications on secured platforms.

      Considering recent events, this isn’t the direction the DOJ should be pushing. Russian hackers used a popular antivirus software to liberate NSA exploits from a contractor’s computer. Equifax exposed the data of millions of US citizens who never asked to be tracked by the service in the first place. Yahoo just admitted everyone who ever signed up for its email service was affected by a years-old security breach. Ransomware based on NSA malware wreaked havoc all over the world. These are all issues Rosenstein has touched on during his remarks. But they’re swiftly forgotten by the Deputy Attorney General when his focus shifts to what he personally — representing US law enforcement — can’t access because of encryption.

    • Article 13 Open letter – Monitoring and Filtering of Internet Content is Unacceptable
    • How these librarians are changing how we think about digital privacy

      In August, New York University and the Library Freedom Project – an organization that trains librarians on using privacy tools to protect intellectual freedom – received a $250,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency. Its purpose: to train librarians to implement secure protocols on their own web services, and to teach members of the community to evade the prying eyes of governments, corporations, and criminal hackers. According to the Library Freedom Project’s website, the group aims to create what it calls “a privacy-centric paradigm shift in libraries and the communities they serve.”

    • ShadowBrokers’ Kiss of Death

      Forgive me for being an ingrate, but I’m trying to engage seriously on Section 702 reform. Surveillance boosters are already fighting this fight primarily by waging ad hominem attacks. Having TSB call me out really makes it easy for surveillance boosters to suggest I’m not operating in the good faith I’ve spent 10 years doing.

    • Details Emerge Of World’s Biggest Facial Recognition Surveillance System, Aiming To Identify Any Chinese Citizen In Three Seconds

      The article says that the system will use cloud computing facilities to process images from the millions of CCTV cameras located across the country. The company involved is Isvision, which has been using facial recognition with CCTV cameras since 2003. The earliest deployments were in the highly-sensitive Tiananmen Square area. Other hotspots where its technology has been installed are Tibet and Xinjiang, where surveillance has been at a high level for many years.

      However, the report also cautions that the project is encountering “many difficulties” due to the technical limits of facial recognition and the sheer size of the database involved. A Chinese researcher is quoted as saying that some totally unrelated people in China have faces so alike that even their parents cannot tell them apart. Another issue is managing the biometric data, which is around 13 terabytes for the facial information, and 90 terabytes for the full dataset, which includes additional personal details on everyone in China.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • ICE Now Calling Aiding Unaccompanied Minors ‘Human Trafficking’ To Bypass Sanctuary City Laws

      In the name of fighting sex trafficking, legislators are willing to make the internet mostly worthless. Punching a hole in Section 230 protections will encourage incumbents to limit user participation and prevent startups from ever making it off the ground. Proponents claim it’s narrowly-targeted and abuse-proof, but the language would allow any service provider to be held accountable for the criminal actions of users. If traffickers can’t use Facebook or Google thanks to heavier moderation, they’ll move onto other websites and services until those too are rendered useless by government action.

      Part of the problem with legislation like this is mission creep. It may start with sex trafficking, but it will inevitably be expanded to cover other illicit content. And sex trafficking itself is its own dodge. All the government has to do is claim something is trafficking and the hammer begins to fall.

      This is because the term leaves no room for intelligent conversations. Proponents know people aren’t likely to speak up against efforts to fight sex trafficking, especially when they point out this sometimes includes children. It becomes a governmental blank check for enforcement action — something that deters questioning of the government’s activities, much in the way the term “national security” has limited legislative and judicial discussion about surveillance overreach.

    • Wife of stroke victim who needs 24hr care must leave UK while he cares for children

      A British stroke victim who uses a wheelchair, requires 24-hour supervision to keep him alive and cannot speak, write or reliably understand what is said to him, has been told by the Home Office that he must become the sole carer for his two young British children while his wife travels to the Philippines to apply for a visa to care for the family.

      Simon Waterman was living with his Filipino wife, Leah, and their children Kimi and Bryce, aged 10 and seven, in the Philippines when he had a severe stroke in September 2015. The family moved back to Abergavenny in South Wales in December so Simon could be near his family. When they applied for a visa for Leah to remain in the country, however, they were told there were “no exceptional circumstances” preventing her following the conventional route of applying for her visa from outside the UK.

    • Whistleblower Protections in USA Liberty Act Not Enough

      The USA Liberty Act fails to safeguard whistleblowers—both as federal employees and contractors—because of a total lack of protection from criminal prosecution. These shortcomings—which exist in other whistleblower protection laws—shine a light on much-needed Espionage Act reform, a law that has been used to stifle anti-war speech and punish political dissent.

      Inside the recent House bill, which seeks reauthorization for a massive government surveillance tool, authors have extended whistleblower protections to contract employees, a group that, today, has no such protection.

      The Liberty Act attempts to bring parity between intelligence community employees and contract employees by amending Section 1104 of the National Security Act of 1947.

      According to the act, employees for the CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and National Reconnaissance Office are protected from certain types of employer retaliation when reporting evidence of “a violation of any federal law, rule, or regulation,” or “mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.” Employees working at agencies the President deems have a “primary function” of conducting foreign intelligence or counterintelligence are also covered by these protections.

    • New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro Breaks the Law to Enforce It. We’re Holding Him Accountable.

      Cannizzaro and elected district attorneys like him must answer to the communities that elect them.

      Renata Singleton was the victim in a criminal case and served five days in jail. That’s right, the victim. And Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro is to blame.

      In the fall of 2014, Renata Singleton and her boyfriend got into an argument at her apartment. He took her phone and slammed it on her porch. She wanted him out of the house, so she called the police, and they took him away. A criminal case was brought against her boyfriend. After Singleton told the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office that she had resolved things with him and wanted to move on, Cannizzaro’s office didn’t listen. Instead, agents left two “subpoenas” at her door demanding she appear at its office for a private interview.

      Only they were not subpoenas at all.

    • As the Weinstein Scandal Sinks in, Where Do We Go From Here?

      Here’s how to start making workplace sexual misconduct and discrimination a thing of the past.

      In the wake of bombshell reports by the The New York Times and The New Yorker detailing three decades of sexual misconduct by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, the revelations keep coming. So do the questions: How did such flagrant misconduct stay an “open secret” for so long? Just how many women were harmed? And how do we make sure that such an egregious abuse of power never happens again?

      Sexual harassment that is “severe or pervasive” was deemed by the Supreme Court to be illegal sex discrimination more than 30 years ago, when Mechelle Vinson, a bank employee in Washington, D.C., challenged her manager’s three-year campaign of abuse, including rape. And it’s been nearly a quarter-century since the court clarified that conduct becomes illegal harassment at the point that a “reasonable person” would find it abusive, even if it never gets physical.

    • Fired Cop’s Attorney Argues His Client Is Being Punished Unfairly Because The Public Got To See His Misconduct

      A little over a month ago, body cam footage of a police officer trying to bully a nurse into breaking the law went viral. Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Payne wrapped up his failed intimidation attempt by arresting nurse Alex Wubbels for following her hospital’s policy on blood draws. If there are no exigent circumstances and the person not suspected of criminal activity, police need a warrant to draw blood.

      None of those factors were present when Detective Payne demanded the hospital draw blood from an accident victim. The victim was, in fact, a reserve police officer from an Idaho law enforcement agency, who had been hit head-on by a fleeing suspect. This officer later died from his injuries. He was in a coma when Detective Payne began demanding the hospital hand over some blood, obviously in no condition to consent to the search.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • GAO Will Investigate The FCC’s Dubious DDoS Attack Claims

      You might recall that when HBO comedian John Oliver originally tackled net neutrality on his show in 2014, the FCC website crashed under the load of concerned consumers eager to support the creation of net neutrality rules. When Oliver revisited the topic last May to discuss FCC boss Ajit Pai’s myopic plan to kill those same rules, the FCC website crashed under the load a second time. That’s not particularly surprising; the FCC’s website has long been seen as an outdated relic from the wayback times of Netscape hit counters and awful MIDI music.

    • Six days later, FCC chair says Trump can’t order FCC to revoke TV licenses

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai initially resisted calls to tell President Trump that the FCC won’t revoke broadcast licenses from stations whose news coverage Trump dislikes.

      But today, six days after Trump first said that NBC and other networks should have their licenses challenged, Pai said the FCC won’t pull licenses based on the content of news reports.

    • FCC Chair Finally Says Agency Won’t Censor Trump’s Enemies

      Last Wednesday President Donald Trump took to Twitter to suggest the government should challenge broadcasting licenses for stations that air “fake news.”

    • AT&T Spent Hundreds Of Billions On Mergers And All It Got Was A Big Pile Of Cord Cutters

      Over the last few years AT&T and Verizon have been desperately trying to pivot from stodgy, protectionist old telcos — to sexy new Millennial media juggernauts. And while this pivot attempt has been notably expensive, the net result has been somewhat underwhelming. Verizon, for example, spent billions to gobble up AOL and Yahoo, but its lack of savvy in the space has so far culminated in a privacy scandal, a major hacking scandal, a quickly shuttered website where reporters couldn’t write about controversial subjects, and a fairly shitty Millennial streaming service even Verizon’s own media partners have called a “dud.”

      AT&T’s efforts have been notably more expensive, but just as underwhelming. The company first decided to shell out $70 billion for a satellite TV provider (DirecTV) on the eve of the cord cutting revolution. And the company’s putting the finishing touches on shelling out another $89 billion for Time Warner in a quest to gain broader media and advertising relevance. That was paired with the launch of a new streaming service, DirecTV Now, which the company hoped would help it beat back the tide of cord cutting.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Disney: The Only Fun Allowed At Children’s Birthday Parties Is Properly Licensed Fun

        For that reason, Characters For Hire is claiming that both the copyright and trademark claims from Disney aren’t valid. The characters are altered and renamed in an effort to gain protection from the idea/expression dichotomy, with those same changes and the disclaimer making it clear to the public that the company has no affiliation with the IP owners of the original characters from which these generics are inspired.
        That said… yeah, but no. The point made in the disclaimer that the likenesses are strictly coincidental is laughable at best. It’s very likely that the copyright portion of Disney’s claims will hold up in court. The trademark claims have less a chance of success, as it’s abundantly clear that these are not licensed characters or associated in any way with companies like Disney. But, still, the so-called generic characters of Characters For Hire appear to be more than merely “inspired” by the originals and are instead near identical characters with alterations made only to get around copyright law.
        But the larger point is: hey, Disney, why? Given that the copyright claims are the most substantive, there was nothing requiring Disney to take this action. Certainly it is laughable for Disney to claim any serious harm from a copyright perspective due to Characters For Hire’s actions. All this is really doing is keeping some fun, if unoriginal, characters from entertaining kids and people at birthdays and related events. Is giving up the stated aim to make children happy really worth smacking around a relatively small company that works these sorts of parties?

      • Digital Rights Groups Demand Deletion of Unlawful Filtering Mandate From Proposed EU Copyright Law

        The upload filtering mandate in Article 13 isn’t the only provision of the proposed Directive that concerns us. Another provision of concern, Article 11, would impose a new “link tax” payable to news publishers on websites that publish small snippets of news articles to contextualize links to those articles. Since we last wrote about this, an interesting new report has come out providing evidence that European publishers—who are the supposed beneficiaries of the link tax—actually oppose it.

      • Abandon Proactive Copyright Filters, Huge Coalition Tells EU Heavyweights

        Dozens of influential civil rights groups have called on EU decision-makers to abandon proposals for compulsory proactive copyright filters. Their open letter, addressed to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and colleagues, warns that monitoring citizens’ Internet traffic would restrict fundamental rights while running counter to the Electronic Commerce Directive.

      • Over 50 Academics Slam Censorship Filter & Join Calls to Stop © Madness

        On 17 October, 56 respected academics co-signed a recommendation on measures to safeguard fundamental rights and the Open Internet in the framework of the EU copyright reform. This effort is a reaction to the multiple questions regarding the legality of the so-called censorship filter (Article 13 and its Recitals) that were raised by seven Member States, including Germany (see here and here).

      • New ‘Coalition Against Piracy’ Will Crack Down on Pirate Streaming Boxes

        A newly announced coalition of major entertainment companies including Disney, Fox, HBO, NBCUniversal and BBC Worldwide has set its eye on pirate streaming boxes. The Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) will coordinate local enforcement efforts in Asia, hoping to disrupt the “criminal syndicates” behind these devices.

The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO – Part I: Introduction

Wednesday 18th of October 2017 06:54:44 PM


Picture showing the legendary “Dukatenesel” from the town square of Diekirch in Luxembourg

Summary: Some new details about Mr. Campinos, who is Battistelli’s successor at the EPO

Some interesting snippets of information about the earlier career of Mr. Campinos have emerged from a curriculum vitae in Spanish obtained from the website of the University of Alicante.

It turns out that after completion of his master’s studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Montepellier in France in 1994, his professional career began as a legal advisor with the Portuguese bank Banco Caixa Geral de Depósitos, and its subsidiary Caixa Geral de Aposentações, where he worked from 1995 to 1998.

We shall soon start part 2 of this series. Stay tuned.

Confessions of EPO Insiders Reveal That European Patents (EPs) Have Lost Their Legitimacy/Value Due to Battistelli’s Policies

Wednesday 18th of October 2017 06:39:46 PM

Summary: A much-discussed topic at the EPO is now the ever-declining quality of granted patents, which make or break patent offices because quality justifies high costs (searches, applications, renewals and so on)

THE world used to think that EPO-granted patents (EPs) were the best. We thought so too, but when software patents started to creep in, even after the ban, we began to feel worried. Then came the infamous “as such” moment of Brimelow, the President who soon thereafter left her job for Battistelli to take.

We’re not in a good place right now. Europe’s position is at stake. EPs play an important role in competitiveness.

Yesterday, Patently-O presented another graph. It’s a graph which can be interpreted as a patent bubble building up provisionally in the US. SIPO in China is probably doing even worse, with over a million patent applications last year alone (and many terrible patents being granted all the time). “For the chart above shows the percentage of US-originated utility patents that claim priority to one or more provisional filings, grouped by year of issuance,” Patently-O wrote. So the gold rush continues.

This morning we found this new article titled “Patents as a Technology and Marketing Resource” (yes, marketing!).

So right from the horse’s mouth (the patent microcosm) we now have admission that many patents are for marketing, not for innovation. For some nations, especially China and the US, there’s some false sense of national pride in the number of patents, as if the greater the number of patents, the more innovative they have become. Anyone with a scientific background knows that this is utter nonsense. This accomplishes nothing but litigation chaos (which already spreads to China, sometimes at the expense of the US). It’s already happening in Germany too (number of patent cases is soaring). It’s good for nobody but the litigation ‘industry’, which makes up much of Team UPC.

The above article says: “Patents and published applications are readily accessible via the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and via the websites of other countries or jurisdictions, such as the European Patent Office (EPO). Patent information is also available via commercial sites, such as Google Patents.”

To them, the litigation people, this is a sort of catalogue for stemming potential lawsuits, i.e. profit opportunities. At whose expense? The public, obviously.

What we worry about most (since we started covering EPO about a decade ago) is patent quality. It was always our focus.

Earlier today an EPO insider told us: “Observed at the EPO by an experienced examiner: At the EPO inexperienced examiners (e.g. 2 years of service) have to reached 85% of the target of an (very) experienced examiner. How to they do this? They skip reading large parts (if not all) of the description and they concentrate mainly on independent claims.”

As one of our members put it, “rubberstamping is obviously enough [and] the patent racket must go on” (hurting potentially innocent small businesses, sometimes putting them out of business).

“EPs play an important role in competitiveness.”Stories about EPO patent quality have begun coming out, mostly at IP Kat comments. There are many other issues, such as nepotism. To quote one new comment:

Sorry guys but you seem to be very critical about the quality of work at the EPO and this is not fair.

Look this chart : https://www.suepo.org/documents/42912/54300.pdf

It speaks for itself. Contrary to your allegatioins, it shows how good the quality of work at EPO must be if so many Battistelli’s associates now work at EPO.

La Famiglia

Then there are the EPO’s human rights abuses:

Do not forget the extraordinary quality of the investigative unit and disciplinary committees !

They always find the culprits among staff reps and union officials at a 100% rate !

It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that EPO was supposed to be an examination office rather than facilities where staff gets tortured, commits suicide etc.

No doubt the patent world is, in general, worthy of some scrutiny. Two days ago we saw this article titled “And He Could Have Been the Father of 3D Printing” (whatever they mean by father).

It perpetuates the invention myths (like the “little guy”, or the “sole inventor”, or “eureka moment”) and the notion that some things come into being overnight by a single person rather than evolved on the “shoulders of giants”. Wrongly asserting that something is “invented” because a patent got filed (1984 on 3D-printing in this case) is clearly misguided. 3D-printing is like printing or sculpting. Nothing too innovative about it, except it’s done by robot, typically managed by software. The article says: “That concept became the genesis of a 3D-printing patent that Masters filed in 1984 — before some of the most celebrated pioneers in what has become a $6 billion industry filed their own 3D-printing patents. Masters subsequently filed additional patents as well, though few have heard of the now-67-year-old grandpa from South Carolina. For those who have, Masters is better known as a pioneer in a very different field.”

Getting back to the original subject, let’s remember what patents are and what they exist for. To assume that without patents there would be no innovation? That’s just insane. That’s the kind of insane ENA thugs like Battistelli are likely to be, having never experienced science firsthand.

“During the Battistelli era,” said the next comment, “I have noticed a very clear degradation of quality in three aspects.”

Here is the full, long comment:

Re. the quality of work at the EPO, here’s my two pennies’ worth:

I’m a former EPO examiner, currently working as a professional representative, prosecuting quite a lot of applications both in Europe and overseas, and both for domestic and overseas clients. Consequently, I believe to have a decent insight into the current and past situation, as well as some points of comparison with other patent offices. My evidence is of course purely anecdotal, but I believe it to be rather representative.

Examination quality at the EPO has historically had three strong points and one weak point: the strong points were quality of search, supervision of the primary examiners’ work thanks to the three sets of eyes’ system at the examination division, and consistency in the evaluation of inventive step thanks to the problem-solution approach and how it’s drilled into examiners’ heads during training. The historically weak point has always been bad training concerning clarity, which is related to the “once it’s granted, it isn’t our problem any longer” view of patents at the EPO, leading to a very formalistic, by-the-numbers examination of clarity at the EPO, without taking into account the actual purpose of the patent claims: determining whether there is infringement or not. There have of course always been outliers with respect to quality, individual examiners clearly unable and/or unwilling to do a proper work, and a clear lack of accountability of these examiners, but thankfully it has historically been a very small minority.

During the Battistelli era, I have noticed a very clear degradation of quality in three aspects. The first is quality of search: I more and more often see other patent offices (mostly USPTO and China’s SIPO, but even the New Zealand PO) come up with “killer” prior art for applications that passed the EPO’s search report with flying colours. This is of course intensely frustrating for my domestic clients, who choose to invest significant money in foreign filings based on the EPO’s search report to see the application then squashed abroad. The second issue is an increasing tendency by examiners to “push” applications to grant, with examiner amendments that are too restrictive (without consulting me first), unwittingly introduce added matter and/or are riddled with clerical and language errors. I’m losing count of the times I’ve had to file requests for correction of the text intended to grant due to an erroneous amendment by the examiner. The third issue is a worrying readiness to summon to oral proceedings as a means to pressure the representative to accept amendments proposed by the examiner. Requests to hold the OPs by videoconference are of course systematically denied without much reason, putting representatives not based in Munich or The Hague at a clear disadvantage.

Knowing the EPO’s internal production evaluation system, it is quite clear that every one of these problems has Battistelli’s productivity pressure at its source. Examiners pushed to churn out increasing numbers of “work products” (search reports and grants/refusals) at the end of the year cut corners in search first, and then in the exchanges with the representative during examination. This has, in many ways, negative effects on applicants and professional representatives as much as on third parties. It appears that I’m not the only person working “at the coal face” of patent prosecution to be aware of these problems, and that we should start making our complaints better heard at the level of the AC.

The next comment is good too:

So it was a “tactical” decision by the “rebel” AC delegations not to strongly resist the current President and his horrible policies? Hmmmn.

To quote John Stuart Mill: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing”. That applies pretty directly here, doesn’t it?

And, pray tell, what did the “rebel” AC delegations stand to lose by registering their dissent? They certainly would not have lost their standing or their vote, so what were they afraid of risking? As I see it, the only two possibilities are money and influence. The former is no excuse to look the other way whilst bad things happen under your watch. The latter is more complex but also, ultimately, no excuse. What is the point of biding your time in order to regain control when what you seek to control is being systematically dismembered in the meantime?

There is also another evil that is committed by the “rebel” AC delegations remaining silent. That is, is covers up the utterly dysfunctional nature of the AC, where the President (eg through judicious use of “cooperation” projects and budgets) appears to be able to “buy” the undying loyalty of certain AC delegates. Covering this up delays, or perhaps even prevents, reform of the governance of the EPO that is so obviously (and so urgently) required.

It may not be “diplomatic”, but sometimes it is essential to take a strong stand against evil – even if that risks provoking conflict. Why? Because sometimes those that we struggle against are either sociopaths or psychopaths who will stop at nothing to achieve their own, selfish aims. That would seem to apply pretty directly here as well, eh?

The next comment spoke of “[t]he election of Campinos, a man with a career riddled with scandals…”

We’ll soon start a series about that. Here is this comment in full:

I would like to inform “glad to be out of the mad house” of our internal regulations. We are not supposed to write more than one communication as “speed of procedure” has top priority. The number of extra communications is counted for our search report and I know of colleagues who were quietly suggested to retire because they were writing too many. Some directors did not apply this untold rule, but 60 or so directors are out of a job since last summer. Statistics on why these particular directors were sacked are not available. Part of their posts are still open.
So effectively, as an examiner, you cannot write extra communications. The only options are oral proceedings or grant with examiner written amendments. You can complain about it to your earth’s content, it will have no effect. Our management has as much contempt for the applicants as for the staff. And why wouldn’t they? They are effectively immune to everything. The election of Campinos, a man with a career riddled with scandals should prove it.

About searches: the new examiners are only trained in our new system called ansera. It finds prior art mostly automatically, you saw the results.

Citing something which we covered before (back in summer), someone recalled how Battistelli gets his way:

The current situation at the EPO is described in the Bijblad bij De Industriële Eigendom for April 2017.

https://www.rvo.nl/sites/default/files/octrooiportal/2017/04/Bijblad_2017_nr_2_april.pdf

“The Administrative Council (AC) of the European Patent Organization (EPO) held it most recent meeting on 15 and 16 March 2017.

To begin, the AC has now lost a lot of ground only a year after the AC itself gave very clearly defined tasks to the EPO President Battistelli with a unanimous resolution. Due to his evident influence over a large group of smaller states Battistelli does not have to worry about the smaller group of larger critical patent countries (CH, NL, DE FR, GB, SE). An unreal situation.”

As we’ve said many times before, IP Kat has become pretty useless for anything but the comments.

Patent Firms From the United States Try Hard to Push the Unitary Patent (UPC), Which Would Foment Litigation Wars in Europe

Wednesday 18th of October 2017 05:42:21 PM

Summary: The UPC push seems to be coming from firms which not only fail to represent public interests but are not even European

THE UPC is a dead or dying project, but Team UPC and Team Battistelli (a small bunch of hooligans at the EPO) refuse to let go.

We need to keep a close eye on these manoeuvres and we invite readers to send us more information because Team UPC always prefers secrecy (except when it lies to the public, whereupon it uses gullible journalists as couriers).

“The Empire strikes back,” a reader told us today. “After the recent turbulence at the MPI event in Munich on Friday the 13th (!), in which concerned Munich patent attorneys and representatives of industry rained on Mr. Ernst’s parade, it now seems that the pro-UPC forces are launching a counter offensive. This event is scheduled for 6 November at 15:00 in the Event Pavilion in Nymphenburgerstraße 3B in Munich.

“We need to keep a close eye on these manoeuvres and we invite readers to send us more information because Team UPC always prefers secrecy (except when it lies to the public, whereupon it uses gullible journalists as couriers).”“According to the press release: “ANAQUA initiates a Dialog about the Future of the European Patents”.

“The organisers of this event are ANAQUA Inc., a Boston-based (!) provider of intellectual asset management (IAM) and SaaS software and services.”

As a reminder to our readers, IAM organised a US-based event for UPC advocacy — an event which was funded by the US-based PR firm of the EPO and directly supported by the EPO.

“As a reminder to our readers, IAM organised a US-based event for UPC advocacy — an event which was funded by the US-based PR firm of the EPO and directly supported by the EPO.”“The speakers are Michael Fröhlich from the EPA,” our reader continued, “Philipp Nordmeyer from Munich-based patent law firm df-mp and Dr. Heiner Flocke who is the Chairman of the German industry association “Patentverein.de”. The discussion will be chaired by Wulf Höflich of the Munich-based patent law firm AKLAW.

“More details about the event can be found here (in German) and an English version of the press release about the ANAQUA event can be found here (“Anaqua Hosts Dialogue on the Future of European Patents”).

“Attendance requires registration before 27. October. The e-mail address for registration is: mklein@anaqua.com.”

In the Age of Alice and PTAB There is No Reason to Pursue Software Patents in the United States (Not Anymore)

Wednesday 18th of October 2017 11:36:08 AM

Summary: The appeal board in the US (PTAB) combined with a key decision of the Supreme Court may mean that even at a very low cost software patents can be invalidated upon demand (petition) and, failing that, the courts will invalidate these

Unwired Planet (formerly known as Openwave) is a patent troll that’s controlled by Ericsson. It is very malicious and it has already targeted the UK too. According to this (more reports from this event can be found at IP Kat), the troll was discussed in Australia and Ruschke from PTAB was there too. Here is the relevant section:

Arguing before a jury is second nature for experienced US patent trual lawyers. According to PTAB Chief Judge David Ruschke, that fact accounts for one of the biggest mistakes parties make in IPRs. Those same trial lawyers are still trying to figure out how best to argue at PTAB proceedings, Ruschke told a panel on post-grant procedures around the world. “You’re not talking to a jury, you’re talking to a panel of technology and law experts,” the judge reminded practitioners. “Some counsel try to tell a story like they would tell to a jury, but then can’t answer fundamental technical questions,” he observed. Ruschke said he was well aware that the PTAB has received what he called “challenging press” and assured attendees that he does not turn a blind eye to it. But he emphasised that the post-grant system is still very much in a transition period.

That’s almost the equivalent of the EPO‘s appeal board (albeit there are fundamental differences).

PTAB is a very important subject right now because it has managed to squash software patents a lot faster than courts, and at a vastly lower cost. No wonder the trolls’ lobby wants so badly to squash PTAB itself.

According to yesterday’s press release from StrikeForce, it managed to escape PTAB’s scrutiny. The funny thing is, this company actually paid money to brag that it had managed to dodge scrutiny of its crappy patents (which would probably have been trashed by PTAB, based on their description which invokes Alice).

“PTAB is a very important subject right now because it has managed to squash software patents a lot faster than courts, and at a vastly lower cost.”Also yesterday there was this press release from FatPipe Networks, which calls itself “the inventor and multiple patents holder of software-defined networks” (i.e. software patents).

Unless they can pretend that the software is somehow physical (an impossibility), these patents are likely worthless.

Eric Lavallee from Lavery de Billy LLP has just published this article, openly urging people to disguise software patents as something else like “AI” (a fashionable buzzword these days even though the concept is far from new). To quote:

The initial instinct of many entrepreneurs would be to patent their artificial intelligence processes. However, although in some instances such a course of action would be an effective method of protection, obtaining a patent is not necessarily the most appropriate form of protection for artificial intelligence or software technologies generally. Since the major Supreme Court of the United States decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, it is now acknowledged that applying abstract concepts in the IT environment will not suffice to transform such concepts into patentable items. For instance, in light of that decision, a patent that had been issued for an expert system (which is a form of artificial intelligence) was subsequently invalidated by a U.S. court.2

Law firms are just trying to ‘dress up’ software patents as “AI” to bypass the simple law that renders them worthless.

When will the wider public realise that software patents are virtually dead now? It’s very hard to actually enforce these in a court of law.

“When will the wider public realise that software patents are virtually dead now? It’s very hard to actually enforce these in a court of law.”“Software patents provided some limited protection,” yesterday’s article from Venturebeat said, “but feature wars rage on.”

Programs live or die based on their features, not based on patents that are basically dead now (no leverage to gain from them).

Let’s face the simple fact that Alice changed everything. Last night the EFF published yet another story about Alice, this time regarding blackmail by “My Health”. To quote some portions:

Alice Saves Medical Startup From Death By Telehealth Patent

[...]

When Justus received the demand letter, he was shocked. He read the patent, and it seemed incredibly mundane. It didn’t offer any of the technical detail that Justus knew went into building a complex product like the one offered by MyVitalz. It gave no explanation on how to accomplish any of the goals it claimed. Instead, it seemed to claim the idea of telehealth itself. Justus thought, “I put in four years of work to build my product, and this patent seems so basic.”

“It almost felt as though my business was being blackmailed,” Justus says. “Sure, I could make the threat go away with a payment that would be less than the cost of litigation. But I refused to pay just to be able to keep running my business which I’d devoted my life to building.”

Justus scoured the Internet for information that could help him with My Health’s demand. He tried to figure out how he could defend himself, knowing that to do so would likely mean selling his personal assets to afford a lawyer.

[...]

Thanks to Alice, Justus never heard from My Health again. He’s now back focusing on what matters most: helping people get better health care.

Patent filings at the USPTO are still growing, but legal actions have collapsed. In the coming years we can expect further reduction in the number of patent cases, bringing the system closer to its roots (and further away from extortionate litigation).

IAM is Wrong, the Narrative Isn’t Changing, Except in the Battistelli-Funded (at EPO’s Expense) Financial Times

Wednesday 18th of October 2017 10:36:53 AM

Summary: The desperate attempts to change the narrative in the press culminate in nothing more than yet another misleading article from Rana Foroohar and some rants from Watchtroll

The patent trolls lobby, not the “pro-patent lobby” as IAM called it yesterday, is attempting to warp the debate. In general they’re losing; the laws are being changed against them. So what makes IAM think that this “lobby in the US finally seems to be getting its act together and so the narrative is changing”? They just got that nonsense in the Financial Times (as we pointed out earlier this week). To quote: “if a recent Financial Times article is any guide, the tide might be turning. Headlined “Big tech versus big pharma: the battle over US patent protection”, the article goes through a series of complaints from patent owners, that includes the full list of Supreme Court cases familiar to all readers of this blog. Its hook is the danger of pharmaceutical companies declining to invest in new drugs if they are unable to effectively defend their IP; but the story makes clear that it is not just the large, brand name drug companies that are concerned – it cites similar feelings among semiconductor and electronics firms, universities and the venture capital community. “The large drug companies are only one voice among many that have begun to complain about how shifts in the US patent system over the past decade have weakened the ability of companies to protect their innovations,” writer Rana Foroohar states.”

“The patent trolls lobby, not the “pro-patent lobby” as IAM called it yesterday, is attempting to warp the debate.”Foroohar has a track record of publishing misleading nonsense about patents. We did debunkings before. And look at the name of her section. It’s rather revealing.

One might say that the Financial Times, now paid by the EPO, has dedicated itself to patent indoctrination for the litigation ‘industry’. They even created sections and campaigns for the EPO’s management, i.e. not for examiners. They’re a compromised publication.

“Foroohar has a track record of publishing misleading nonsense about patents.”Also yesterday it was Gene Quinn (Watchtroll, the trolls’ lobby) bemoaning the crackdown on patent trolls, inadvertently exposing what Watchtroll really is (and stands for). According to Watchtroll (2 days earlier), it seems likely that Trump has put the fox in charge of the hen house, but it may be premature to tell. We ought to give him the benefit of the doubt (if he is at all going to head the USPTO).

“One might say that the Financial Times, now paid by the EPO, has dedicated itself to patent indoctrination for the litigation ‘industry’.”All in all, the supposition that things are becoming somehow better for patent trolls/aggressors is delusional at best. IAM has an incentive to claim so, having been paid by trolls. And speaking of trolls, watch what RPX stated in is press release a few days ago: “As of June 30, 2017, RPX had invested over $2 billion to acquire more than 18,000 US and international patent assets and rights on behalf of over 320 clients in eight key sectors: automotive, consumer electronics and PCs, E-commerce and software…”

RPX markets itself as a sort of shield against trolls. Whether anything good will come out of it remains to be seen because some people — rightly or wrongly — accuse RPX itself of being a potential troll.

The Federal Circuit Continues Squashing Software Patents

Wednesday 18th of October 2017 12:00:00 AM

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit virtually overrides even a rare decision from last year — one in which it tolerated a software patent

Summary: Under the leadership of Sharon Prost (left) the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues its war on software patents, making it very hard to remember the last time it tolerated any

THE EPO is depressing, but at the USPTO we are currently seeing a lot of bad patents swept aside and eliminated by the courts.

The latest?

It’s referring to Enfish v Microsoft again:

Federal Circuit finds mail patents invalid under Alice despite Enfish plea

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has affirmed a district court decision that found seven patents belonging to patent licensing company Secured Mail Solutions (SMS) invalid under the Alice Corp v CLS Bank ruling.

This is despite SMS stating that the decision in Enfish v Microsoft—which adopted a more permissive approach to computer-related technology—meant its patents shouldn’t be invalidated.

The dispute began after a complaint was made by SMS, which was set up by former lawyer Todd Fitzsimmons “to pursue the using and licensing of his inventions”. SMS accused marketing company Universal Wilde of infringing seven patents relating to various systems and methods for mail verification.

So Enfish does not quite change much (if anything at all). In fact, on the same day as the above report — a report about invalid patents — the patent microcosm (PCK Perry + Currier Inc Currier + Kao LLP) suddenly recalls Enfish v Microsoft. To quote:

This rare decision bucks the current US trend of invalidating software patents as mere abstract theorems as started by the decision in Alice Corp Pty Ltd v. CLS Bank Int’l, 573 U.S. __ (2014) (“Alice”).

[...]

In this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) reversed the decision of the district court in part, finding that the claims at issue were patent-eligible as being directed to “an improvement to computer functionality itself, not on economic or other tasks for which a computer is used in its ordinary capacity.” [pg. 12] The CAFC also reversed the finding that the claims were anticipated, but affirmed the district court’s decision that there was no infringement. [pg. 30]

Let’s wait and see how many patent maximalism sites conveniently ignore the decision regarding the patent troll, SMS.

Here is what Patently-O wrote several hours ago:

The patents all involve an mailer (i.e. package or envelope) with an identifier on the outside such as a barcode, QR code, or URL. Once delivered, information is communicated (via computers) to the recipient about the contents and the sender.

As Patently-O readers understand, abstract ideas themselves are not patentable. Likewise a patent directed to an abstract idea is also unpatentable, unless the claims include an additional inventive concept that goes beyond the unpatentable idea to “transform the nature of the claim into a patent-eligible invention.” Alice.

The Alice two-step inquiry first asks whether the claims are directed to an abstract idea. Here, the courts agreed that the claims “are directed to the abstract idea of communicating information about a [mailer] by use of a marking.” Under Step Two, the appellate panel found that the claims merely recited “well known and conventional ways to allow generic communication between a sender and recipient using generic computer technology.” Invalid.

So yet more software patents bite the dust at the Federal Circuit. When was the last time the Federal Circuit tolerated an actual software patent (not something which the maximalists wrongly described as such)? We can hardly remember.

It certainly seems like, at least as far as the Federal Circuit is concerned, software patents are dead. They have no chance.

Dr. McDonagh has meanwhile mentioned this new case in which “Facebook and Instagram receive enforcement letters over iFramed app” (nothing innovative).

To quote: “Telecoms company UnitedCorp has claimed that features on Facebook and Instagram that allow users to reveal their location infringe technology it owns covering a newly released smartphone app.

“In cease-and-desist letters, Miami-based UnitedCorp said the social media networks’ geolocation-based image overlays infringe a patent covering the iFramed app.”

Seems like a simple Alice case if Facebook (connected to Instagram) decides to file an IPR and/or challenge it in a court. Facebook is one of the loudest PTAB proponents after all. It’s incredible that some patent cases like these are still being filed, let alone against a deep-pocketed company which can afford to appeal all the way up to CAFC (or higher).

SUEPO Representatives Like Elizabeth Hardon Vindicated as Battistelli’s Detrimental Effect on Patent Quality is Widely Confirmed

Tuesday 17th of October 2017 11:23:44 PM

And some EPO insiders already want Christoph Ernst (below) to resign or be fired

Summary: Feedback regarding the awful refusal to acknowledge patent quality crisis at the EPO as well as the appointment of a President so close to Battistelli (who most likely assures continuation of his policies)

THE EPO saga is a show that never ends. It just keeps getting worse in all sorts of ways, much as predicted by insiders several years ago (they were trying to prevent this horror show while it was still remotely possible).

“Reckoning With The “System Battistelli”” — an article which we mentioned 24 hours ago — is now available as a PDF at SUEPO’s Web site (it’s otherwise behind a paywall at IP Watch). Having read that article, it seems to be very similar but not identical to Monika Ermert’s report at Heise (in German, translated and published by us on Monday night). The importance of this couple of reports from Ermert is that they shed some light on the otherwise-secretive proceedings. It doesn’t look particularly good for Christoph Ernst. EPO staff doesn’t seem too happy about him, either.

“After all, it’s not really difficult to find out what’s wrong rotten in and about EPO, is it? Reports, whistleblowing, all easy there to see,” one observer or insider wrote. “Maybe he’s paid to not grasp,” s/he continued. “It’s often the case.”

People like him tend to be promoted based on whether they turn a blind eye to it all. It’s the same in politics. Ethics/morals aren’t appreciated, only an illusion thereof. Apathy and loyalty/obedience is something people tend to be rewarded for (in this domain anyway).

Someone whom we know for sure is an insider told us: “Immediate resignation of Ernst would be more than appropriate. With all respect but Ernst is an insult to EPO staff. Remember, supporting Battistelli for 5 years…multiple suicides and firing/downgrading of union workers….the list seems almost endless…”

Strong words.

Earlier today Kieren McCarthy published yet another article about EPO affairs (third article in less than a week). It’s similar to what Ermert reported, including the bits about Elizabeth Hardon.

Well, Germany has become infested with patent trolls (we wrote some articles about this, the statistics speak for themselves) and crappy European Patents that should not exist are at the centre of it. Many of these are found to be invalid only after two parties spend a lot of money on lawyers (legal fees). We covered some examples of that recently (in English, not in German).

Anyway, from McCarthy’s article:

The issue of falling patent quality at the European Patent Office (EPO) has again reared its head, this time thanks to German intellectual property lawyers.

Following a testy exchange last week at an official meeting of the EPO’s Administrative Council where staff aired their grievances and were attacked by EPO president Benoit Battistelli in response, companies are now raising their concerns.

According to German newspaper Heise, a meeting at the Max Planck Institute in Munich grew heated when a group of patent lawyers used a presentation by new EPO chairman Christoph Ernst to make their views known about the “System Battistelli”.

For several years Battistelli has been aggressively pushing changes at the EPO aimed at increasing the number of patents that are reviewed and approved. The result of that drive has been a complete breakdown in communications between EPO staff and management – but that is something many consider a price worth paying in order to “modernise” the EPO and keep it in line with other competing patent authorities in the US and Japan.

The problem, as the patent attorneys told Ernst, is that despite official EPO claims stating the opposite, quality is starting to fall as a result of the changes.

[...]

That point was also made last week by a Reg commenter who complained that even though his patent application had been noted as valid by the EPO, “the brief comments given provide just one reference to another document – and that one has very little to do with the subject of my invention. Seems that a poor soul under heavy pressure to close as many open cases as quickly as possible just did that.”

A further warning was relayed by another German IP lawyer who was present at the meeting. Thorsten Bausch warned in a blog post that there is also a “catastrophic backlog of EPO appeal cases” and argued – in all caps – that “URGENT ACTION IS REQUIRED HERE! This matter should not be allowed to wait until the next EPO President takes over.”

[...]

However, Elizabeth Hardon, an EPO staffer who was controversially fired by Battistelli for resisting his reforms, was also present at the meeting and said that it is going to take a few years for a decline in quality to be officially recognised as poor patents are challenged in nullity actions.

There are a few comments there too. The first few comments are OK.

“So less appeals is an obvious result of more patents granted,” said the second comment to appear. To quote:

What rubbish!!! If EPO rejects a patent, the filer will presumably appeal. If the patent is accepted, of course there will be no appeal. So less appeals is an obvious result of more patents granted. More patents granted means either an upsurge in quality of patent filings, or a lowering of standards for accepting filings of the same quality. My money is on the second.

We have been talking about this for years. It’s not at all surprising. It was inevitable.

There are many more comments at IP Kat. Why did that blog even mention the EPO after all this time? Well, check out this comment. The comment may be why IP Kat (nowadays a primarily mouthpiece for Battistelli and UPC, as it’s connected to CIPA) belatedly mentioned Campinos, and only in a short puff piece (the comment was approved only 5 days after it had been posted). To quote: “I wonder if I am missing something here. A new EPO President has been elected and IPKat is completely silent about this development … how strange …”

It took a long time (almost a week) for this comment to appear (it appeared earlier tonight).

As usual, comments are much better than the posts at IP Kat, which is mostly used for (self) promotional purposes since the founder left.

Let’s examine some of the latest comments on the puff piece:

“Merpel welcomes Mr. Campinos to the exciting world of European Patents.”

Shouldn’t that read “to the murky world of the European Patent Office”?

Yes, it should. They refrain from even mentioning the EPO.

And what’s “exciting” about European Patents? The rapidly-declining quality?

Watch the next comment:

The Importance of Being Ernst is a farcical comedy with a Wilde plot about patent quality. This Oscar candidate will be showing at your local cinema soon(open Bank Holidays).

Not a big fan of Ernst then…

Regarding Campinos:

Another French grand commis d’ètat in disguise…

Yes, he’s French but disguised as Portuguese to give an illusion of ethnic/national diversity at the Office. He and Battistelli go quite a few years back. They know each other well.

The next comment refes to Ernst as “Senor Ernst.”

Here it is:

To that last Anonymous, I too see an increase in something you might call “Quality”. Every one of my cases glides through to issue. My clients pay the EPO fees and, in return, the EPO grants them a patent, as fast as the Applicant requires. No wonder some Applicants are happy.

So there are more crap patents, and more oppositions. And the oppositions get examined more quickly, don’t they? Trouble is, OD Decisions are less and less rigorous. Crappy, one might suggest?

Which throws the burden of maintaining “quality” on to DG3. Precisely where the AC hasn’t got a clue, and doesn’t give a toss.

The consequences of this disgraceful sacrifice of “quality” will manifest themselves long after your career and mine have ended, anon. not to mention the EPO career of Senor Ernst.

The next comment quite correctly recalls that “[t]he Portuguese AC member hasn’t exactly been particularly vocal in condemning BBs behaviour, and Campinos is clearly a member of the French school…”

We wrote about the Portuguese AC member before. Again, plenty of connections there, linking back also to Battistelli.

I agree with Max3. I see poor examination quality (sometimes to the detriment of my clients, sometimes to their benefit), disrespect for procedures and for applicants legal rights.

I also see increased productivity,and in itself that is a good thing, but not with inferior quality

The Portuguese AC member hasn’t exactly been particularly vocal in condemning BBs behaviour, and Campinos is clearly a member of the French school, so I am sceptical, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

Things get even heavier in the next comment, which says that “even under the new chairman, the AC is much more of a lapdog than a watchdog.”

To quote:

Better late than never. I was beginning to think that IPKat had given up entirely on matters pertaining to the EPC and the EPO.

On a more serious note, I am prepared to put my scepticism aside and see how Mr Campinos performs before reaching any conclusions on whether it is a good or a bad thing that he has been appointed as the next President of the EPO. In the meantime, I will be much more interested to see how another “newbie” performs: Mr Ernst, the Chairman of the AC. My hope is that the AC will grow a backbone and start taking its role as a supervisory authority more seriously.

In this regard, does anyone know the fate of CA/103/17 (https://regmedia.co.uk/2017/10/10/epo-reforms.pdf)? If the AC failed to block the heinous proposals in that document, then we will be able to say with certainty that, even under the new chairman, the AC is much more of a lapdog than a watchdog.

We imagine that many people who wrote these comments are either insiders or stakeholders (or people who used to be one and are currently the other).

In reply to the above:

you might be interested in the “Ernst” thread on the Kluwer blog, here:

http://patentblog.kluweriplaw.com/2017/10/16/epo-all-problems-solved/

As to those who sit on the AC, and whether they are worms or vertebrates, it is well-known to be folly to commit all your troops to a battle you cannot win. This is why, until now, so many AC members have declined to challenge BB to his face. But now BB is half way out the door, those AC Members, scarred during the tenancy of the departing President, have a second chance to do the right thing, to draw a better ethical line in the sand, and collectively grasp afresh the responsibilities that come with their office. Can we be optimistic that they will seize the chance, under their very experienced new Chair? I do hope so.

And also in reply to the same:

Isn’t that document on the agenda of the next AC, despite its date – it was too late for the October meeting? It still has to go to the Budget & Finance Committee.

If someone has all these documents, please consider sending these to us. This stuff needs to be made public (not partially but wholly).

There is some troll in the comments, basically trolling EPO examiners, like at The Register‘s comments, only to receive this reply (we would rather not draw attention to it all). “Please do your housework and check FACTS before trolling,” it concluded. But replying to these merely emboldens the trolls and tends to invite yet more insults.

The latest three comments say a lot about declining patent quality and intentional denial of the facts. In case IP Kat deletes these comments (it recently deleted some UPC comments, and not for the first time) we have reproduced these below:

There is in Germany a misconceived idea that, given enough time, an Examining Division can issue a valid patent. Wrong! Inter partes proceedings are the only thing that can truly test validity. So there has to be a balance, how much time and effort to put into examination, ex parte, prior to issue. Too little, and crap patents routinely issue. Too much and EPO fees for everybody rise too high.

The EPO President must know this. The EPO AC must know this. Shame on them both, then, that they give no attention to getting the balance right. Shame on them, that they discard the jewel of the 40 years life of the EPO, namely, the vigour and “Quality” of DG3; the clarity of the Established Caselaw of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO.

There are so many hidden gems in CA/103/17 that one does not know where to start.

My preferred is however Article 14. A true masterpiece missed by many observers.
While the newcomers are to be recruited on a fixed-term basis for a couple of years (extendable, of course, to introduce flexibility and modernise the framework) the present “compulsory retirement at 68 years” sentence is now suddenly gone, so that the old lucky ones who are in the grace of Le President may enjoy the EPO as long as they like after the age of 65 (always, of course, “in the interest of the service”).

Proof, we’ll know pretty soon what kind of dog the AC is.

It’s already looking more like a lapdog than a watchdog.

The longest and most detailed comment speaks quite correctly about Ernst’s not-to-earnest record. “During the past 5 years, Dr Ernst supported ALL policies presented by Mr Battistelli,” it says. To quote the whole thing:

1 – the EPO quality figures are produced and checked by the EPO (this in all objectivy of course).

2 – Dr Ernst (new Chairman of EPO Administrative Council since this month) was former Head of the German Delegation at the Administrative Council of the EPO.

During the past 5 years, Dr Ernst supported ALL policies presented by Mr Battistelli.
Dr Ernst systematically disregarded ALL reasoned opinions he received from the Central Staff Committee and SUEPO among which those underlining :

- the risks on the health of staff generated by HR policies deliberately designed to add too much pressure with irrealistic production targets (please never forget the six suicides for which the CSC/SUEPO requested independant enquiries which were all refused by Mr Battistelli and the 7th miraculously avoided 3 weeks ago in The Hague see http://www.br.de/br-fernsehen/sendungen/kontrovers/traumjob-albtraum-arbeit-belastung-story-100.html),

- the fact this far too high production pressure de facto leads to cutting corners with regards to patent quality.

The more one speaks about something (eg sex) the less he/she actually practices it.

Dr Ernst (or is it Germany?) speaks a lot of quality but it seems they play naughthy on all grounds at EPO:

1 – with Munich and Berlin as EPO branches : over a BILLION of EPO money have been invested in buildings (and their maintenance) over the past 4 decades in Germany.

2 – with Munich and Berlin as EPO branches : 4000 EPO Staff live in Germany with their families (thousands of dependents) and spend tons of EPO money in eg houses, schools, restaurants, cars, clothes etc; hundreds of pensioners (even expats) stay in Germany when retired and continue thus to actively support the German economy.

3 – Finally last year roughly about 140.000.000 Euros went from the EPO back into the German State budget (that of the Ministry of Justice).

GELDGIER. Nothing else but money matters at EPO.

Funny though is that after years of a brutal Battistelli regime actively supported by Dr Ernst, all of sudden some wonder that the quality of EPO patents may have declined. Funny is that they find surprising that when questioned Dr Ernst has nothing convincing to answer.

The reality at EPO today is simple: hundreds of EPO staff of each site come at work every day with pain in their stomach; hundreds are in treatment with psycho-therapists; hundreds take drugs to go to bed and other drugs to stand in the morning and be able to go to work.

You bet that they produce lower quality like hell since otherwise they fear reprisal via harsch sanctions in mock trials and are being put off work. All this was said by SUEPO to no avail for more than five years. All this is known by Dr Ernst which could not care less.

Yes the quality of patent at EPO is worse off than before Battistelli’s time.

But have faith in the system: for his zealous and complacent attitude towards Battistelli Dr Ernst will soon be properly rewarded: he should get the position of VP5 which will soon be vacant (when current VP5, another competent jurist coming from the German Ministry of (in)justice), retires).

All this is a sad cynical farce. They cannot care less about the quality of patent work at EPO. Only their little interests matter, not that of the Public, much less that of true inventors.

Battistelli does not care about inventors. He just has a lobbying event named after them, and the event is all about him, not them.

The EPO has become nothing but a shrine to Battistelli, with his face and quotes plastered everywhere to glorify him like a bunch of statues in public squares. Nothing will stop that any time soon because he promoted his loyalists to top positions at the Office, in order for them to enjoy EPO budget while it lasts. They certainly make a killing. A pile of dead bodies won’t bother them.

Links 17/10/2017: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Safe Browsing in Epiphany

Tuesday 17th of October 2017 01:19:15 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • 20 Most Promising Open Source Solution Providers – 2017

    Open source has become an imperative part of every developer’s arsenal. The potential to gather assistance from the community and the capacity to link into a range of systems and solutions make open source incredibly powerful. As open source software becomes ubiquitous, and used by the vast majority of enterprises throughout the world, 2017 is all set for vendors of application delivery controller (ADC) to start providing improved and tighter integration packages for various open source projects, especially surrounding ADC-generated telemetry. Companies have been extensively using their analytics and machine learning capabilities for quite some time to identify actionable patterns from the collected data. With the rising demand for business intelligence, this year is foreseen to be the year of information superiority with businesses, leveraging data as a key differentiator. In the past couple of years, containers have been emerging as an imminent trend. As the business focus starkly shifts on rightsizing of resources, containers are expected to become a common phenomenon, giving businesses the ability to leverage highly portable assets and make the move into micro services much simpler. Adjacently, automation has become essential now. Mostly intensified by DevOps adoption, the automation of software delivery and infrastructure changes have freed developers to spend more time creating and less time worrying about infrastructure.

  • DevOps pros and open source: Culturally connected

    Like chocolate and peanut butter, DevOps and open source are two great tastes that taste great together. For many DevOps pros, it’s the perfect cultural and technical match.

  • Interoperability: A Case For Open Source – GC@PCI Commentary

    He continues: “An open source model allows companies to see the assumptions behind the calculation and lowers the cost of entry into the cat modeling business. More importantly, the standardized and interoperable hazard, vulnerability and financial modules included in a true open source model facilitate the collaboration of data from insurers, reinsurers, entrepreneurs, scientists, computer programmers and individuals, all of which may result in a new generation of cat models.”

  • DevOps Skills Are Key to Collaboration within Organizations

    DevOps is one of the most highly sought skills employers are seeking to fill among 57 percent of respondents in the 2017 Open Source Jobs Report, from Dice and The Linux Foundation. Specifically, firms are looking for developers (73 percent) and DevOps engineers (60 percent).

  • The origin and evolution of FreeDOS

    Over the years, developers have shared with me how they use FreeDOS to run embedded systems. My all-time favorite example is a developer who used FreeDOS to power a pinball machine. FreeDOS ran an application that controlled the board, tallied the score, and updated the back display. I don’t know exactly how it was built, but one way such a system could work is to have every bumper register a “key” on a keyboard bus and the application simply read from that input. I thought it was cool.

    People sometimes forget about legacy software, but it pops up in unexpected places. I used to be campus CIO of a small university, and once a faculty member brought in some floppy disks with old research data on them. The data wasn’t stored in plaintext files, rather as DOS application data. None of our modern systems would read the old data files, so we booted a spare PC with FreeDOS, downloaded a shareware DOS program that could read the application data, and exported the data to plaintext.

  • Uber Open Sources AthenaX, Its Streaming Analytics Platform
  • Bloomberg’s big move on machine learning and open source

    With its orange text on black interface and colour coded keyboard, the Bloomberg professional services terminal – known simply as ‘The Terminal’ – doesn’t appear to have changed much since it was launched in the early ’80s.

    But behind the retro (Bloomberg prefers ‘modern icon’) stylings, its delivery of financial markets data news, and trading tools has advanced rapidly.

    The terminal’s 315,000 subscribers globally are now able to leverage on machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing techniques developed by the company, as they seek an edge in their investment decisions. Bloomberg is also applying those same techniques to its internal processes.

    Leading the company’s efforts in the area is Bloomberg’s head of data science Gideon Mann, who spoke with CIO Australia earlier this month.

    [...]

    Behind much of Bloomberg’s recent builds has been an open source ethic. Mann says there has been a sea change within the company about open source.

    “When the company started in 1981 and there really wasn’t a whole lot of open source. And so there was a mentality of you know if it’s not invented here we’re not interested,” Mann says.

    [...]

    The organisation took some convincing, but, championed by the CTO, there has been a “huge culture change” towards open source.

    “There are two groups you got to convince: you’ve got to convince management that using open source is going to be safe and lead to better software, and then you also have to convince engineers that using open source is going to increase their skillset, will lead to software that’s easier to maintain and is less buggy and it’s going to be a more beautiful system. Once you can kind of convince those two then you’re set,” Mann says.

    The company is an active contributor to projects including Solr, Hadoop, Apache Spark and Open Stack.

  • OSIsoft to Collaborate with Dianomic as Part of Edge and Open Source Strategy
  • How open source and agility are powering enterprise IT

    Looking back over the past decade, history has certainly demonstrated that trying to predict the pace and nature of technology development is a near impossible task.

  • Events
    • Join The Linux Foundation at Open Source Summit EU for Booth Swag, Project Updates, and More

      Going to Open Source Summit EU in Prague? While you’re there, be sure stop by The Linux Foundation training booth for fun giveaways and a chance to win one of three Raspberry Pi kits.

    • Japanese TeX User Meeting 2017

      Last saturday the Japanese TeX User Meeting took place in Fujisawa, Kanagawa. For those who have been at the TUG 2013 in Tokyo you will remember that the Japanese TeX community is quite big and vibrant. On Saturday about 50 users and developers gathered for a set of talks on a variety of topics.

      The first talk was by Keiichiro Shikano (鹿野 桂一郎) on using Markup text to generate (La)TeX and HTML. He presented a variety of markup formats, including his own tool xml2tex.

    • Who knew we still had low-hanging fruits?

      We had the opportunity of explaining how we at Collabora cooperated with igalians to implemented and optimise a Wayland nested compositor for WebKit2 to share buffers between processes in an efficient way even on broken drivers. Most of the discussions and some of the work that led to this was done in previous hackfests, by the way!

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox 57 – Trick or Treat?

        The best way to describe Firefox 57 is too little, too late, but better later than never. In a way, it’s a pointless release, because it brings us back roughly where Firefox was and should have been years ago. Only all this time in between was wasted losing user base.

        WebExtensions will be the thing that makes or breaks the browser, and with insufficient quality in the available replacements for those that don’t make the culling list, there will be no real incentive for people to stay around. Firefox 57 is better than earlier versions in terms of looks and performance, but that’s like saying you get 50% discount on a price that is twice what it should be. Ultimately unnecessary, just like graduating from university by the age of 68. There aren’t any major advantages over Chrome. This is essentially a Firefox that sucks less.

        So yes, on the positive side, if you do want to continue using Firefox, version 57 makes much more sense than the previous 53 releases. It has an almost normal look, some of the sorely needed security & privacy addons are available, and it offers a passable user experience in terms of speed and responsiveness. Bottom line, I will stick with Firefox for now. As long as my extensions keep working. Take care.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Oracle Promises To Open Source Oracle JDK And Improve Java EE

      Oracle had already announced it would be moving Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation, and the announcements at JavaOne move the language further to a more vendor-neutral future. It’s worth noting that the keynote was preceded by a Safe Harbor disclaimer in which Oracle said it could not be held to plans made during the speech, so nothing is actually certain.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • Public Services/Government
    • U.S. makes renewable energy software open source

      As a longtime proponent of open source solar photovoltaic development, I am happy that the U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has shared all the source code for System Advisor Model (SAM), its most powerful renewable energy economic analysis software.

      SAM is now SAM Open Source. It is a performance and financial model designed to help make decisions about renewable energy. This is perfect timing, as the costs of solar have dropped so far that the levelized cost of electricity for solar power is less than what you are probably paying for electricity from your utility.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Conservancy Applauds Linux Community’s Promotion of Principled Copyleft Enforcement

      Software Freedom Conservancy congratulates the Linux community for taking steps today to promote principled, community-minded copyleft enforcement by publishing the Linux Kernel Enforcement Statement. The Statement includes an additional permission under Linux’s license, the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 (GPLv2). The additional permission, to which copyright holders may voluntarily opt-in, changes the license of their copyrights to allow reliance on the copyright license termination provisions from the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) for some cases 1.

      Conservancy also commends the Linux community’s Statement for reaffirming that legal action should be last resort for resolving a GPL violation, and for inviting noncompliant companies who work their way back into compliance to become active participants in the community. By bringing clarity to GPLv2 enforcement efforts, companies can adopt software with the assurance that these parties will work in a reasonable, community-centric way to resolve compliance issues.

    • Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement FAQ

      Based on the recent Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement and the article describing the background and what it means , here are some Questions/Answers to help clear things up. These are based on questions that came up when the statement was discussed among the initial round of over 200 different kernel developers.

    • Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement
    • Linux Kernel Gets An “Enforcement Statement” To Deal With Copyright Trolls

      Greg Kroah-Hartman on the behalf of the Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board has today announced the Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement. This statement is designed to better fend off copyright trolls.

      Among the copyright troll concerns is how a Netfilter developer has been trying to enforce his personal copyright claims against companies for “in secret and for large sums of money by threatening or engaging in litigation.”

    • An enforcement clarification from the kernel community

      The Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory board, in response to concerns about exploitative license enforcement around the kernel, has put together this patch adding a document to the kernel describing its view of license enforcement. This document has been signed or acknowledged by a long list of kernel developers. In particular, it seeks to reduce the effect of the “GPLv2 death penalty” by stating that a violator’s license to the software will be reinstated upon a timely return to compliance.

Leftovers
  • Science
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Senator Elizabeth Warren: Attacks on Birth Control Access Are Attacks on Women’s Freedom

      If anyone told a young woman today that she was expected to quit school after eighth grade or leave her job once she got married, most Americans would be outraged. Not fair! Women should have the same range of economic choices as men.

      Through the years, one door after another has opened, as women have become astronauts and neurosurgeons, run Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations, and started their own businesses. Sure, there’s still a lot of ground to make up, but the country has headed in the direction of greater equality for decades now.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • “Stop the Unconstitutional War in Yemen”: Rep. Ro Khanna on Growing Opposition to U.S.-Backed War

      The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war and naval blockade in Yemen has sparked a cholera epidemic that has become the largest and fastest-spreading outbreak of the disease in modern world history. There are expected to be a million cases of cholera in Yemen by the end of the year, with at least 600,000 children likely to be affected. The U.S. has been a major backer of the Saudi-led war. But in Washington, opposition to the U.S. support for the Saudi-led war is growing. Lawmakers recently introduced a constitutional resolution to withdraw all U.S. support for the war. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Congressmembers Ro Khanna, Walter Jones and Mark Pocan wrote that they introduced the resolution “in order to help put an end to the suffering of a country approaching ‘a famine of biblical proportions.’ … We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians.” We speak with Ro Khanna, Democratic congressmember from California.

    • Jesus Campos, Vegas security guard shot before rampage, appears to have vanished

      The story seemed straightforward: The unarmed security guard approached Stephen Paddock’s room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, distracting the gunman and potentially saving lives.

      With a gunshot wound to his leg, he helped point officers to the gunman’s location and stayed behind to evacuate hotel guests.

      He was hailed a hero by many, even as the story changed. Twice.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Hillary Clinton Just Told Five Blatant Lies About WikiLeaks

      As part of her ongoing “Thank God You Didn’t Elect Me” tour, Hillary Clinton made her debut on Australian television last night in an interview with the ABC’s Sarah Ferguson. Though she didn’t repeat her infamous “17 intelligence agencies” lie, which she’d continued to regurgitate long after that claim had been conclusively debunked, there were still plenty of whoppers to be heard.
      From her ridiculous claim that the aggressively protested DNC convention was “very positive” to her completely baseless assertion that Bernie Sanders “couldn’t explain his programs” during the primaries, Clinton did a fine job of reminding us all why the average American finds her about as trustworthy as a hungry crocodile. But while she has blamed her loss on James Comey and Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders and self-hating women and the media and uninformed voters and voter suppression and her campaign staff and the DNC and campaign finance laws and Jill Stein and the Electoral College and Anthony Weiner and sexism and Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton reserved the lion’s share of her deceit for the organization she hates most of all: WikiLeaks.

    • Leading Maltese political journalist killed by car bomb

      Daphne Caruana Galizia, a leading Maltese journalist who had reported extensively on government corruption, was killed in a car bombing Monday, according to TVM, the country’s public broadcaster.

      The explosion took place near her home in Bidnija at approximately 2:30 p.m., minutes after her last blog post was published.

      Caruana Galizia, 53, had spent the last year publishing stories about allegations of corruption involving Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his closest allies. The story first came to light in the Panama Papers scandal — a leak in April 2016 of more than 11 million documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

    • Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed in car blast

      Daphne Caruana Galizia, one of Malta’s best known investigative journalists, was killed after a powerful blast blew up her car, local media reported Monday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Get Ready For A New Chernobyl In Ukraine

      According to analysts from Energy Research & Social Science (ERSS), there is an 80% probability of a “serious accident” at one of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants before the year 2020. This is due both to the increased burden on the nuclear plants caused by the widespread shutdowns of Ukraine’s thermal power plants (the raw material they consumed – coal from the Donbass – is in critically short supply) and also because of the severe physical deterioration of their Soviet-era nuclear equipment and the catastrophic underfunding of this industry.

    • Ophelia became a major hurricane where no storm had before

      The system formerly known as Hurricane Ophelia is moving into Ireland on Monday, bringing “status red” weather throughout the day to the island. The Irish National Meteorological Service, Met Éireann, has warned that, “Violent and destructive gusts of 120 to 150km/h are forecast countrywide, and in excess of these values in some very exposed and hilly areas. There is a danger to life and property.”

    • London’s sky turns red Monday, but we can’t blame pollution

      Residents of England awoke on Monday morning to a sky that looked very much like a scene from the movie Blade Runner—red and hazy. Fortunately this isn’t science fiction—or even pollution. Rather, it’s a combination of the rare, powerful ex-hurricane Ophelia’s winds and African dust.

      The large, extra-tropical cyclone that brought high winds and damaging seas to Ireland on Monday also produced a huge swath of powerful southerly winds that brought Saharan dust from the West Coast of Africa all the way north across the Atlantic and Western Europe into the United Kingdom.

    • More than 4,000MW of coal power slated for retirement in Texas. But why?

      Late last week, power company Vistra Energy announced that it would close two of its Texas coal plants by early 2018. In a press release, the company blamed “Sustained low wholesale power prices, an oversupplied renewable generation market, and low natural gas prices, along with other factors.”

  • Finance
    • EU commission obscures growing impacts multilateral investment court

      The European Commission published an impact assessment of a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution. The current supranational system is known as investor-to-state dispute settlement or ISDS. ISDS gives multinationals far reaching supranational privileges to challenge government decisions.

    • You fired your top talent. I hope you’re happy.

      Instead, they played Rick like a fiddle, burned out all of his talent and skill, and once Rick was considered damaged goods, kicked his ass to the curb for the good of the company’s productivity. How brave! How heroic!

    • Russia Plans To Launch Its National Cryptocurrency Called “CryptoRuble”

      Slowly, but yes, governments across the world are giving cryptocurrencies a place in their economy. Earlier, we heard about India in talks to launch their cryptocurrency called LakshmiCoin. Soon, there might be a Russian digital money called CryptoRuble as well.

    • Financial regulator warns of growing debt among young people

      In an interview with the BBC, Andrew Bailey said the young were having to borrow for basic living costs.

      The regulator also said he “did not like” some high-cost lending schemes.

      He said consumers, and institutions that lend to them, should be aware that interest rates may rise in the future and that credit should be “affordable”.

    • Centrist MPs could save us from hard Brexit – but they’ve gone silent

      The lunatics have taken over the asylum. The Labour and Conservative conferences were proof positive that the moderates no longer hold sway. The cheers were for the zealots, whether that was John McDonnell or Jacob Rees-Mogg. And, whether from front or back benches, it is they who rule the roost when it comes to leaving the EU. So where have the centrists (and I acknowledge, as Helen Lewis has underlined, that the term is imprecise and potentially misleading, but I can think of no better one) gone? And how should they react?

    • The Koch brothers (and their friends) want President Trump’s tax cut. Very badly.

      The message from the billionaire-led Koch network of donors to President Trump and the Republican Congress it helped to shape couldn’t be more clear: Pass a tax overhaul, or else.

      As the donors mixed and mingled for a policy summit at the St. Regis hotel in midtown Manhattan last week, just a block south from Trump Tower, it came up again. And again. And again.

      “It’s the most significant federal effort we’ve ever taken on,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-aligned group with offices in 36 states. “The stakes for the Republicans, I’ve never seen them this high.”

    • I work for the DWP as a universal credit case manager – and what I’ve seen is shocking

      I work with many compassionate and thoughtful employees, who try their hardest every day to help vulnerable claimants. However, we can only act within the remit of strict guidelines which don’t offer us the flexibility we sometimes need to prevent unnecessary suffering.

      The problem is compounded by employees’ lack of knowledge about the universal credit regulations which can have an especially devastating impact on care leavers, the disabled and those with mental health conditions. It is not uncommon for charities and support workers to inform case managers – the ones whose job it is to assess people for universal credit and other benefits – of the law, rather than the other way round.

    • May’s Brexit gambit leaves Brussels mystified

      At least there was an agreement about no leaks.

      When U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last shared an intimate dinner focused on Brexit, it was a debacle. Leaks from the Brussels side claiming May was “deluded” about Brexit infuriated London, sparking condemnation on the steps of Downing Street by the PM.

    • Mystery deepens over secret source of Brexit ‘dark money’

      A number of major political donors have denied they are the source of a controversial £435,000 donation to the DUP’s Brexit campaign, openDemocracy can reveal today – with only one person refusing to distance themself from the secret donation.

      openDemocracy has investigated a list of key figures in relation to the donation, and all apart from one have either denied involvement or have made public statements indicating opposition to Brexit. The only person we contacted who has told us he will not comment is Henry Angest, a banker and longstanding Conservative party donor, who is known to be a supporter of Brexit.

    • Turns out Britain is £490 billion poorer than everyone thought

      Britain is £490 billion poorer than everyone thought.

      The Office for National Statistics has revised its assessment of the country’s accounts, and decided Britain has overestimated its international assets.

      And we owe far more to foreign investors than previously thought.

      Overall it amounts a quarter of the UK’s Gross Domestic Product.

      It comes just six weeks ahead of Philip Hammond’s first Autumn budget – and Treasury officials are reportedly braced for “gloomy” forecasts.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump

      Metaphorically anyway, Trump supporters like Goril were right. Not one of these career politicians had the gumption to be frank with this crowd about what had happened to their party. Instead, the strategy seemed to be to pretend none of it had happened, and to hide behind piles of the same worn clichés that had driven these voters to rebel in the first place.

      The party schism burst open in the middle of a speech by Wisconsin’s speaker of the State Assembly, Robin Vos. Vos is the Billy Mays of state budget hawks. He’s a mean-spirited little ball of energy who leaped onto the stage reminding the crowd that he wanted to eliminate the office of the treasurer to SAVE YOU MONEY!

      Paul Ryan speaks at the Wisconsin Fall Fast, avoiding the the topic of Donald Trump.

      Vos went on to brag about having wiped out tenure for University of Wisconsin professors, before dismounting with yet another superawkward Trumpless call for Republicans to turn out to vote.
      “I have no doubt that with all of you standing behind us,” he shouted, “and with the fantastic record of achievement that we have, we’re going to go on to an even bigger and better victory than before!”

      There was scattered applause, then someone from the crowd called out:

      “You uninvited Donald Trump!”

      Boos and catcalls, both for and against Vos and the Republicans. Most in the crowd were Trump supporters, but others were angry with Trump for perhaps saddling them with four years of Hillary Clinton. These camps now battled it out across the field. A competing chant of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” started on the opposite end of the stands, only to be met by chants from the pro-Trumpers.

    • Puerto Rico Is a Symptom of America’s Rotting Democracy

      Ferocious hurricanes and other climate-fueled disasters are nature’s stress tests. They expose faulty infrastructure and systemic inequalities, to say nothing of incompetent leadership. With payments on its massive debt to Wall Street long prioritized over safe electricity, Puerto Rico’s archaic power grid was already prone to blink out in a windstorm. Then Maria hit. Help has been grudging; President Trump took eight days just to waive shipping restrictions.

    • Trump’s dumbfounding, expansive press conference with Mitch McConnell, annotated
  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Australia’s National Rape Hotline Run By Insurance Company, Who Demands All Sorts Of Private Info

      Australia is providing a fairly stunning case study in how not to set up a national hotline for sexual assault, rape, domestic abuse and other such situations. It has a service, called 1800Respect, which lets people call in and be connected to trained counselors from a variety of different call centers around the country. However, as Asher Wolf informs us, a change in how the system will be managed has created quite a shit storm, and leading one of the major providers of counselors to the program to remove itself from the program — meaning that it will likely lose government funding and may go out of business entirely.

      The issues here are a bit convoluted, but since its inception, 1800Respect has actually been run by a private insurance company, Medibank Health Solutions, who partners with organizations who can provide qualified counselors. One of the big ones is Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDSVA). While it already seems somewhat troubling that a private insurance company runs the “national” rape and domestic violence hotline — it’s even more troubling when you find out that the company views the service as a profit center:

    • Big Data is watching you

      This week, MEPs on the Civil Rights Committee will vote on the ePrivacy regulation, which will determine how secure our data is when we are online. For the past 16 months, industry lobbies, including all those who collect or use citizens’ personal online data for advertising purposes, have been vigorously opposing new proposals on ePrivacy. On the other side of the debate, digital rights campaigners demand that citizens should enjoy optimum data privacy when online.

    • USA Liberty Act Won’t Fix What’s Most Broken with NSA Internet Surveillance

      A key legal linchpin for the National Security Agency’s vast Internet surveillance program is scheduled to disappear in under 90 days. Section 702 of FISA—enacted in 2008 with little public awareness about the scope and power of the NSA’s surveillance of the Internet—supposedly directs the NSA’s powerful surveillance apparatus toward legitimate foreign intelligence targets overseas. Instead, the surveillance has been turned back on us. Despite repeated inquiries from Congress, the NSA has yet to publicly disclose how many Americans are impacted by this surveillance.

    • Here’s What Might Come of NSA’s Surveillance Powers

      As the deadline to renew the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance powers looms, proposed bills and speculations of bills drive the conversation on national security versus privacy.

      Senate Republicans led by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., proposed a bill in June to completely renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) without any changes or sunset provision. Section 702, which expires at the end of the year, allows the NSA to collect data from foreign nationals without obtaining a warrant.

      Proponents of Section 702 said that it would be impossible for the NSA to protect the country effectively without the law, because of the backlog that would be created by having to go to the FISA court every time the agency wanted to spy on suspicious foreign activity.

      “This program has provided our national security agencies vital intelligence that has saved American lives and provided insights into some of the hardest intelligence targets,” said Cotton. “Section 702 also includes extensive privacy protections for American citizens. We can’t handcuff our national security officials when they’re fighting against such a vicious enemy. We’ve got to reauthorize this program in full and for good, so we can put our enemies back on their heels and keep American lives safe from harm.”

    • Surveillance “Reform”: The Fourth Amendment’s Long, Slow, Goodbye

      Over 16 years after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent repeated passage or renewal of draconian “temporary” but “emergency” domestic surveillance laws in response, it’s fair to ask: Have we officially abandoned the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights?

      With the expiration of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) less than three months away, now is a good time to review the effects of these surveillance laws in the seemingly endless “War on Terror.” But first, a quick recap of America’s embrace of mass surveillance in the post-9/11 era.

      Within six weeks of the terrorist attacks in 2001, and with virtually no serious debate, Congress passed the behemoth PATRIOT Act. The law created vast new government surveillance powers that abandoned the Fourth Amendment’s across-the-board probable cause warrant requirement. In an October 11, 2001 speech discussing the Senate version of the legislation, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) assured terrified civil libertarians that the PATRIOT Act’s five-year “sunset” clause governing 15 of the bill’s provisions would serve “as a valuable check on the potential abuse of the new powers granted in the bill.”

    • The search for painless Internet privacy gets another boost with InvizBox 2

      InvizBox, a small Irish company focused on building Wi-Fi routers with built-in Internet privacy, has successfully crowdfunded the next generation of its eponymous privacy platform. The InvizBox 2 and InvizBox 2 Pro are more than an evolution from the team’s original product, which was an open source modification of the OpenWRT router code focused on use of the Tor anonymizing network. These new devices are more powerful and faster, and they focus more on usable networking that avoids ISPs’ prying eyes (and defeating geo-blocking of online content) rather than striving to avoid the long arm of state surveillance.

      The InvizBox team is doing a livestream event today, despite the arrival in Ireland of Hurricane Ophelia—which has caused widespread closures of businesses in the country. But the project is already fully funded, which bodes well for delivery based on the team’s previous track record. Working with an industrial design team in China, InvizBox has created a much more attractive privacy tool, both aesthetically and practically.

      The original InvizBox launched two years ago in response to the somewhat poorly conceived crowdfunding launch of another product aimed at Internet privacy. Ars tested InvizBox (and its competitor, Anonabox) in 2015. An open source Wi-Fi router with built-in support for the Tor anonymizing network, InvizBox was a good implementation of an idea with some major roadblocks to wide adoption—the most obvious one being the limitations of Tor itself. Then InvizBox followed up with the InvizBox Go, which shifted the focus away from Tor and toward a more consumer-friendly and mobile-friendly form of privacy. This was a battery-powered Wi-Fi router that could act as a protected bridge to public Wi-Fi networks.

    • Supreme Court to decide if US has right to data on world’s servers [Ed: Microsoft has given NSA et al access to everything. This is a PR stunt.]

      The US government appealed, contending it has the legal right, with a valid court warrant, to reach into the world’s servers with the assistance of the tech sector, no matter where the data is stored.

    • Microsoft’s fight with the feds over foreign servers is headed to Supreme Court

      The current state of the law doesn’t mean that US law enforcement has no access to data stored on foreign servers. If domestic disclosure warrants cannot be served on the foreign servers of US companies, US law enforcement can lean on treaties with the country that the servers are based in.

    • DOJ Continues Its Push For Encryption Backdoors With Even Worse Arguments

      Early last week, the Deputy Attorney General (Rod Rosenstein) picked up the recently-departed James Comey’s Torch of Encroaching Darkness +1 and delivered one of the worst speeches against encryption ever delivered outside of the UK.

      Rosenstein apparently has decided UK government officials shouldn’t have a monopoly on horrendous anti-encryption arguments. Saddling up his one-trick pony, the DAG dumped out a whole lot of nonsensical words in front of a slightly more receptive audience. Speaking at the Global Cyber Security Summit in London, Rosenstein continued his crusade against encryption using counterintuitive arguments.

      After name-dropping his newly-minted term — responsible encryption™ — Rosenstein stepped back to assess the overall cybersecurity situation. In short, it is awful. Worse, perhaps, than Rosenstein’s own arguments. Between the inadvertently NSA-backed WannaCry ransomware, the Kehlios botnet, dozens of ill-mannered state actors, and everything else happening seemingly all at once, the world’s computer users could obviously use all the security they can get.

    • White House Cyber Security Boss Also Wants Encryption Backdoors He Refuses To Call Backdoors

      Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently pitched a new form of backdoor for encryption: “responsible encryption.” The DAG said encryption was very, very important to the security of the nation and its citizens, but not so important it should ever prevent warrants from being executed.

      According to Rosenstein, this is the first time in American history law enforcement officers haven’t been able to collect all the evidence they seek with warrants. And that’s all the fault of tech companies and their perverse interest in profits. Rosenstein thinks the smart people building flying cars or whatever should be able to make secure backdoors, but even if they can’t, maybe they could just leave the encryption off their end of the end-to-end so cops can have a look-see.

      This is the furtherance of former FBI director James Comey’s “going dark” dogma. It’s being practiced by more government agencies than just the DOJ. Calls for backdoors echo across Europe, with every government official making them claiming they’re not talking about backdoors. These officials all want the same thing: a hole in encryption. All that’s really happening is the development of new euphemisms.

    • Facebook looks to hire people with national security clearances amid backlash over Russian meddling

      Earlier, security clearances were deactivated once an official or intelligence worker left their government job. Now, they can be carried over to private sector jobs so long as the position still requires access to classified information.

    • Facebook Is Looking for Employees With National Security Clearances

      Workers with such clearance can access information classified by the U.S. government. Facebook plans to use these people — and their ability to receive government information about potential threats — to search more proactively for questionable social media campaigns ahead of elections, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is sensitive. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.

    • Visiting websites with your smartphone on mobile data can reveal your full name, phone number, address, and even location

      With just your mobile IP address, a website can find out all of your billing information, and even your precise location. This has been going on for years, largely behind the scenes – but recently the issue has been re-highlighted and the benefits of hiding your IP address are super clear.

    • Facebook is testing a CV upload feature as it chases LinkedIn (again)

      Facebook has been trying to push into the enterprise space for some time with Facebook at Work (now known as Workplace), and if confirmed, this would see the social network going head to head with LinkedIn owner Microsoft in the same space.

    • PureVPN Explains How it Helped the FBI Catch a Cyberstalker

      After several days of radio silence, VPN provider PureVPN has responded to criticism that it provided information which helped the FBI catch a cyberstalker. In a fairly lengthy post, the company reiterates that it never logs user activity. What it does do, however, is log the IP addresses of users accessing its service.

    • Bizarre: Swedish Minister of Justice shames ISP in public for NOT doing illegal wiretapping

      Something quite bizarre just happened on Twitter: the Swedish Minister of Justice went out of his way to lash out at the ISP most known for privacy in Sweden, criticizing the ISP for following the direct orders of the European Court of Justice instead of agreeing to covert illegal wiretapping. The Minister of Justice criticized the ISP for “not helping investigations against severe cases of child pornography”. The CEO of the ISP responded in the only way possible: “we cooperate with the police, but we also follow the law and due process”.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • COINTELPRO 2? FBI Targets “Black Identity Extremists” Despite Surge in White Supremacist Violence

      A leaked FBI counterterrorism memo claims that so-called black identity extremists pose a threat to law enforcement. That’s according to Foreign Policy magazine, which obtained the document written by the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit. The memo was dated August 3, 2017—only days before the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis killed one anti-racist protester, Heather Heyer, and injured dozens more. But the report is not concerned with the violent threat of white supremacists. Instead, the memo reads: “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” Civil liberties groups have slammed the FBI report, warning the “black identity extremists” designation threatens the rights of protesters with Black Lives Matter and other groups. Many have also compared the memo to the FBI’s covert COINTELPRO program of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, which targeted the civil rights movement. We speak with Malkia Cyril, co-founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice as well as a Black Lives Matter Bay Area activist.

    • Week 6: Guide To NFL Players Who Protested During National Anthem

      Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the movement of taking a knee during the anthem, filed a “grievance” against the National Football League. He alleged owners colluded to prevent him from playing another NFL game because he engaged in protest.

      “If the NFL (as well as all professional sports leagues) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished,” one of his attorneys, Mark Geragos, said in a posted statement. “And athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the executive branch of our government. Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation.”

    • Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist

      The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her home.

      Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device which blew the car into several pieces and threw the debris into a nearby field.

      A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe’s smallest member state.

      Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

    • Utah Senator Wants To Revive The State’s ‘Porn Czar’ Office To Combat The Threat Of Women’s Magazines

      Todd Weiler, a state Senator in Utah, has appeared on our pages before. When last we checked in with the good senator, he was quite oddly attempting to purge his notoriously prudish state from the dire threat of pornography. His plan was more than a bit heavy-handed in that it centered on mandating porn-filtering software on all smartphones under his stated theory that “A cell phone is basically a vending machine for pornography.” This tragic misunderstanding by a sitting state senator of what a phone is and exactly what its primary functions are aside, government mandates that infringe on free and legal expression are kind of a no-no in these here secular United States. Even setting constitutional questions aside, attempts like these are immediately confronted by the obstreperous demands from the public for a definition of exactly what constitutes “pornography.”

    • New York Considers Barring Agreements Barring Victims From Speaking

      In the wake of the news about Harvey Weinstein’s apparently serial abuse of women, and the news that several of his victims were unable to tell anyone about it due to a non-disclosure agreement, the New York legislature is considering a bill to prevent such NDAs from being enforceable in New York state. According to the Buzzfeed article the bill as currently proposed still allows a settlement agreement to demand that the recipient of a settlement not disclose how much they settled for, but it can’t put the recipient of a settlement in jeopardy of needing to compensate their abuser if they choose to talk about what happened to them.

      It’s not the first time a state has imposed limits on the things that people can contract for. California, for example, has a law that generally makes non-compete agreements invalid. Even Congress has now passed a law banning contracts that limit consumers’ ability to complain about merchants. Although, as we learn in law school, there are some Constitutional disputes about how unfettered the freedom to contract should be in the United States, there has also always been the notion that some contractual demands are inherently “void as against public policy.” In other words, go ahead and write whatever contractual clause you want, but they aren’t all going to be enforceable against the people you want to force to comply with them.

    • Only Nonviolent Resistance Will Destroy the Corporate State

      The encampments by Native Americans at Standing Rock, N.D., from April 2016 to February 2017 to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline provided the template for future resistance movements. The action was nonviolent. It was sustained. It was highly organized. It was grounded in spiritual, intellectual and communal traditions. And it lit the conscience of the nation.

      Native American communities—more than 200 were represented at the Standing Rock encampments, which at times contained up to 10,000 people—called themselves “water protectors.” Day after day, week after week, month after month, the demonstrators endured assaults carried out with armored personnel carriers, rubber bullets, stun guns, tear gas, cannons that shot water laced with chemicals, and sound cannons that can cause permanent hearing loss. Drones hovered overhead. Attack dogs were unleashed on the crowds. Hundreds were arrested, roughed up and held in dank, overcrowded cells. Many were charged with felonies. The press, or at least the press that attempted to report honestly, was harassed and censored, and often reporters were detained or arrested. And mixed in with the water protectors was a small army of infiltrators, spies and agents provocateurs, who often initiated vandalism and rock throwing at law enforcement and singled out anti-pipeline leaders for arrest.

    • The refuge system at breaking point

      In a small office in the Midlands the telephone rings every half hour or so. On the line are women desperate for help, trying to flee domestic violence. But there is no space in the refuge, there is almost never any space.

      “Last week”, says a volunteer, “we had a lady call; she had four children, and the closest space we could find for her was the Orkney Islands.” They do not know if the woman took the 600 miles trip to safety; she did not call back.

      An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found domestic violence refuges across England struggling under huge budget cuts. More than a thousand vulnerable women and children have been turned away from refuges in just six months.

    • Black members of Congress push for more diversity in Silicon Valley hires

      Days after two leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus got Facebook to commit to hiring a black member to its board of directors, they again pressed major tech firms to diversify the hiring of executives and rank-and-file employees.

      In brief remarks before dozens of assembled employees at the downtown offices of Hustle, a texting startup, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina) said Monday morning that they have been meeting with companies including Uber and Salesforce to improve on a longstanding issue of underrepresented minorities in Silicon Valley.

    • Court Tells Sheriff’s Dept. Shackling Kids Above The Elbows Is Excessive Force

      The ruling [PDF] restates common sense, albeit in 33 pages of legalese. It is excessive force to restrain preteens who weigh less than 60 lbs. with handcuffs meant to keep full-grown adults from moving their arms. The procedural history notes school personnel are forbidden from using mechanical restraints on students by state law. This law, however, does not forbid law enforcement officers from using handcuffs on students.

      In both cases, the students cuffed by a sheriff’s deputy had been combative. School personnel turned both students over to the SRO once it became obvious they would not be able to calm the students down. The combativeness didn’t stop once the deputy entered the picture. These would appear to be arguments in the deputy’s favor but only if other factors weren’t considered — like the students’ ages and sizes. Both children also suffered from behavioral disorders.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Google Bombs Are Our New Normal
    • FCC’s DDoS claims will be investigated by government

      The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) will investigate DDoS attacks that allegedly targeted the Federal Communications Commission’s system for accepting public comments on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to roll back net neutrality rules.

      Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) requested the investigation in August, and the GAO recently confirmed that it accepted the Schatz/Pallone request.

      [...]

      The FCC’s public comment website suffered an outage on May 8, just as the commission was receiving an influx of pro-net neutrality comments spurred by comedian John Oliver’s HBO segment on the topic.

      The FCC attributed the downtime solely to “multiple” DDoS attacks and said the attacks were “deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host.”

  • DRM
    • Linux Users Discuss DRM – Unleaded Hangout

      Today my Patreons and I discuss encrypted media extensions, digital rights management and our freedom on the Linux desktop.

    • The European Parliament Should Be Talking About DRM, Right Now!

      [Teresa Nobre, Communia Association, Link (CC-0)] The European Union is currently discussing a reform of its copyright system, including making mandatory certain copyright exceptions, in order to introduce a balance into the system. However, no one, except Julia Reda, is paying any attention to one of the biggest obstacles to the enforcement of copyright exceptions in the digital age: technological protection measures (TPM), including digital rights management (DRM). In this blogpost we will present the reasons why the European Parliament should not lose this opportunity to discuss a reform of the EU anti-circumvention rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Supreme Court refuses to hear case questioning Google’s trademark

        The Supreme Court declined Monday to review a petition asserting that the term “google” has become too generic and therefore unqualified for trademark protection.

        Without comment, the justices set aside a legal challenge claiming that Google had fallen victim to “genericide” and should no longer be trademarked. A lawsuit claimed the word “google” had become synonymous with the term “search the Internet” and therefore could no longer sustain a trademark. For the moment, Google will keep its trademark—unlike the manufacturers of the teleprompter, thermos, hoover, aspirin, and videotape. They were once trademarked but lost that status after they were deemed too generic.

      • JPO Issues First Decision To Register Sound Trademark Consisting Solely Of Sound Element

        On 26 September, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) announced, for the first time ever, the grant of protection to three sound trademarks consisting solely of a sound element.

    • Copyrights
      • Neighbor Sues For $2.5 Million After Renovation Looks Too Much Like Their Own House

        Copyright on home design has always been a really sketchy idea. Earlier this year, we wrote about a disturbing trend of housing copyright trolls and have had some other similar stories over time. For reasons that are beyond me, the Berne Convention requires copyright on architecture, and that creates silly situations, such as the one in Australia, where a homeowner was forced to modify their home due to “infringement.”

        And this nonsense has spread to Canada. The Toronto Star has the story of a couple, Jason and Jodi Chapnik, living in Forest Hill, Toronto (one of the “most affluent neighborhoods” in Toronto), who sued their neighbors for $2.5 million for the horrific faux pas of renovating their house to look too much like the Chapniks.

      • Over 50 Human Rights & Media Freedom NGOs ask EU to Delete Censorship Filter & to Stop © Madness

        On 16 October, over 50 NGOs representing human rights and media freedom (see the full list below) sent an open letter to the European Commission President, the European Parliament (EP) and the Council asking them to delete the censorship filter proposal (Article 13), as it would “would violate the freedom of expression set out in (…) the Charter of Fundamental Rights” and “provoke such legal uncertainty that online services will have no other option than to monitor, filter and block EU citizens’ communications“. It is especially striking that organisations such as Reporters without Borders and Human Rights Watch, which are known to intervene for the protection of human rights in less democratic countries, have now been moved to the point where they felt the need to voice their concerns in this matter to ensure that EU citizens are safeguarded from the EU’s copyright agenda crushing their fundamental rights.

      • 56 Groups Call For Deletion Of Internet Filtering Provision In EU Copyright Proposal

        Today a range of civil society organisations sent an open letter to European Union policymakers calling for the removal of a provision they say would violate citizens’ rights by forcing monitoring and filtering of copyrighted materials.

      • 57 rights groups back anti-Article 13 letter to the European Parliament

        “The European Commission tabled a proposal that would force [I]nternet companies that share and store user-generated content, such as video or photo-sharing platforms or even creative writing websites, to filter uploads to their services,” said the group in a note to interested parties.

        “The signatories argue that the proposal would lead to excessive filtering and deletion of content, while at the same time constantly monitoring users’ activity online. These conditions would violate freedom of expression, freedom of information and also privacy. Therefore, the organisations are asking Members of the European Parliament to delete Article 13 from the proposal”.

      • Pirate Bay’s Iconic .SE Domain has Expired (Updated)

        The Pirate Bay’s iconic .SE domain name has expired and will be deactivated soon if no action is taken. This means that thepiratebay.se, which played a central part in the site’s history, is no longer redirecting to the most current Pirate Bay domain.

      • Spinrilla Wants RIAA Case Thrown Out Over ‘Lies’ About ‘Hidden’ Piracy Data

        In its continuing legal battle, popular hip-hop mixtape site and app Spinrilla is striking back against the major record labels. The company accuses the labels of maliciously hiding crucial piracy data, which puts it at a severe disadvantage. Spinrilla now wants to see the entire case dismissed.

Judge Bryson Rules Against Allergan After It Used Native American Tribes to Dodge Scrutiny of Patents (IPRs); Senator Hatch Does Not Understand IPRs

Tuesday 17th of October 2017 01:09:15 PM

Summary: Having attempted to dodge inter partes reviews (IPRs) by latching onto sovereign immunity, Allergan loses a key case and Senator Hatch is meanwhile attempting to water down IPRs albeit at the same time bemoaning patent trolls (which IPRs help neutralise)

THE above judge, Judge Bryson, called it a "sham" and US Congress got involved too. It’s an old issue [1, 2, 3] that emerged a few months back. Can tribes exploit their sovereign immunity to help patent trolls and other aggressors?

As Judge Bryson sees it, this exploitation of Native Americans by patent bullies and trolls is a serious issue. The case is therefore falling apart, as reported less than a day ago by a trolls expert. To quote:

A federal judge ruled today that patents protecting Allergan’s $1.5 billion blockbuster dry-eye drug, Restasis, are invalid due to obviousness. The international drug company’s stock dropped about five percent on the news.

The ruling by US Circuit Judge William Bryson could have wide effects on the patent landscape because the Restasis patents are at the center of a novel legal strategy that involves using Native American sovereignty rights to avoid certain types of patent reviews, called inter partes reviews, or IPRs.

[...]

Restasis was approved by the FDA in 2002, three years after Allergan began the drug-approval process. Allergan had an original patent on the formulation, known in the case as the Ding I patent, US Patent No. 5,474,979, which was filed in 1994 and expired in 2014.

In a 135-page opinion (PDF) published today, Judge Bryson found that Allergan’s patents on later formulations were obvious in light of the Ding I patent, as well as two other patents known as the Sall patent and the Ding II patent.

Yes, it’s 135 pages long!

As we noted last night, next month there will be oral proceedings in a case that can determine the future of inter partes reviews (IPRs). The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will quite likely (re)affirm the authority of PTAB to invalidate patents (like Allergan’s patents) and the subject is therefore entertained a lot by the trolls’ lobby. The attacks on PTAB in the lobbyists’ media (The Hill) are quite telling. This example from yesterday speaks about the Hatch-Waxman law and says that the “2011 AIA was a solution in search of a problem.” AIA is what ushered in PTAB and it tackled a very obvious problem.

Considering who’s behind these attacks on PTAB — and their motivations — it certainly means that the “right” people worry. These latest attacks acknowledge that patent trolls are a nuisance, but they also devolve into criticisms of PTAB (that stops trolls). Here is one key portion:

The AIA was intended to stymie patent trolls that bought up patents they never intended to use. Hedge funds, individuals and companies purchased patents not with the intent to protect their manufacture of innovative products, but to sue innovators who had their own, similar patents. Stopping this practice was a laudable goal that made sense for technology like software code and cell phone hardware.

However it was never intended to be applied to pharmaceutical innovation, where the so-called Hatch-Waxman law, which created a pathway for generic drugs, had already effectively balanced the interests of brand-name and generic drug manufacturers. Especially with regard to pharmaceuticals, the 2011 AIA was a solution in search of a problem.

The PTAB alternative to the courts has been widely condemned by patent-holders in a number of industries, chiefly the innovative pharmaceutical industry, which considers it to be unfair, unnecessary and anti-innovation. (The Supreme Court will take that up next year). Other, non-stakeholder observers, including one Federal Circuit Court decision, have reservations as well, calling the panels’ actions “arbitrary and capricious.”

Actually, almost all the PTAB bashers are in the litigation ‘industry’; many are trolls or work for trolls. We have provided plenty of evidence to that effect.

Speaking of the litigation ‘industry’, watch yesterday’s article “Hatch Hints At Changes To Patent Law”. It says this:

Senator Hatch discussed venue in non-practicing entity cases, possible reforms to IPR proceedings, and recent Supreme Court subject-matter eligibility case law. While Senator Hatch essentially punted on IPRs as something warranting Congress’s attention, he did not mince words when criticizing “patent trolls” and praising the Supreme Court’s recent TC Heartland decision. But he also expressed concerns about whether the Court’s subject-matter eligibility case law has gone too far, endangering life sciences and software development companies as a result.

Senator Hatch was blunt in expressing his views on non-practicing entities. He wrote that patent trolls “extort settlements” and “have become a serious drain on our economy.” He approved of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in TC Heartland, arguing that it “put a stop to rampant forum-shopping.” He nevertheless believes that “some unanswered questions remain” in the wake of TC Heartland. He cited, for example, the need to develop an answer to what constitutes a “regular and established place of business.”

Perhaps Senator Hatch does not fully understand the importance of IPRs. These are, in very many cases, thwarting attacks from patent trolls which target literally thousands of businesses. You cannot really be against trolls and at the same time against IPRs. Unless, of course, you don’t quite comprehend the situation (perhaps because someone lobbies and deceives you).

Rumours That António Campinos Initially Had No Competition at All (for Battistelli’s Succession) Are Confirmed

Tuesday 17th of October 2017 12:15:25 PM

Did the EPO just get itself a ‘younger Battistelli’?


Reference: Order of succession

Summary: Succession at the EPO (mostly French) shows that there’s little room for optimism and Battistelli’s people are too deeply entrenched in the upper echelons of the EPO

REMEMBER the judge from Italy who wanted to become the President of the EPO? We really feel for him. He probably didn’t know that the next President of the EPO had already been chosen. The purpose of another candidate was only to give an illusion of choice or a selection process. We have been following this closely for months and for a long time there was no eligible application from anyone other than António Campinos (other applications got rejected outright). At some stage, towards the very end, we became aware of only another application. But there was no doubt in our minds António Campinos would get the job, knowing (and hearing) what Battistelli had been doing behind the scenes.

“Maybe it’s time for this Italian judge to consider an ICC investigation. He did, after all, come from ICC.”The culture of nepotism at the EPO is a serious cancer. Just watch the spectacular rise, for example, of Elodie Bergot and her husband, a longtime Battistelli ally (from INPI). We wrote a lot about that. The EPO’s recruitment process has become best known for tailoring job requirements for particular people — a classic nepotist’s trick. Battistelli lobbied countries to help rig the ‘crowning’ process. Why should EPO staff be quiet about it and tolerate any of this?

Maybe it’s time for this Italian judge to consider an ICC investigation. He did, after all, come from ICC. Immunity probably isn’t much of a barrier to ICC, which itself enjoys immunity.

“Is Battistelli going to be to the EPO what Henry Kissinger became to the US government? In other words, is only Battistelli being ejected but not Battistelli-ism?”Consider again Monika Ermert's articles about the EPO scandals (she published articles about Ernst's first chairmanship opportunity over the past few days at IP Watch and Heise).

Here is her Heise article about António Campinos, which SUEPO has just translated into English [PDF] (and French too). It’s useful (especially the latter parts) because it confirms what we reported as rumours several months back.

European Patent Office: Battistelli steps down, Campinos steps up

[photo]

António Campinos in his role as Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office 2013 in Bangkok.

Boss of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, is going. During his time in office some of his staff had dubbed him the Sun King – more of a reign. Maybe António Campinos, a Portuguese, can calm things down at the EPO.

Former chief executive of the Portuguese Patent Office, António Campinos will be the new boss of the European Patent Office. As the Munich-based authority revealed today, Wednesday, the 38 members of the EPO Administrative Council elected Campinos at their meeting directly at the first vote. Campinos is not heir to an easy throne. Campinos is due to succeed Battistelli on 1 July 2018, whose second term in office which is limited to three years will then terminate in the proper manner, according to the EPO.

Proven expert

Still ruling President of the EPO, over the past few years Benoît Battistelli has made some bitter enemies in his own institution due to a rigorous policy of economy measures and a contentious routine of monitoring his staff. He dismissed employees from the ranks of the in-house staff union Suepo who demonstrated their willingness to strike. Some of these have since then lodged proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights in support of their right to strike. At the end of last year Battistelli even fired the chief staff representative at The Hague.

Campinos will be the first person representing a southern European country to head the EPO. As former chief executive of the Portuguese Patent Office he is a proven expert in the field, and was well known to the members of the Administrative Council after representing Portugal on the Council for a number of years.

Campinos’s present job as Managing Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) was plainly viewed by the EPO Administrative Council as proof of his qualifications to lead an international authority. This was lacking with the only other candidate, a judge put up for the position by Italy. Initially Campinos had had no competition at all. Battistelli himself is no longer standing for election.

Fears that he is too close to Battistelli

The EPO is emphasising above all the smoothness of the election and the seamless handover of the reins of office in the summer. By contrast, before Battistelli was elected in 2009/2010, the Member States on the Administrative Council were for months unable to agree on a candidate.

At the same time, JUVE, the publishing house for legal information, was reporting on mixed feeling among the members in the light of Campinos’s election. Some of them are afraid that Campinos is too close to Battistelli, who rapturously congratulated his successor. Nevertheless, “some of the Administrative Council clearly trust” Campinos “to resolve the conflicts with some of the staff and with the unions”, so say the experts.

Those last two paragraphs are key. Even the people inside the Council recognise that the Frenchman (yes, he's French too) Campinos is too close to Frenchman Battistelli. Maybe they’re concerned that Battistelli will sneak back into his 'pub' at the top floorof the EPO building in Munich, acting as a sort of ‘advisor’ to the much younger Campinos. Is Battistelli going to be to the EPO what Henry Kissinger became to the US government? In other words, is only Battistelli being ejected but not Battistelli-ism? We certainly think so. What’s more, a lot of recently-promoted top-level management is French amici of ‘king’ Battistelli. It’s stuffed with his people and there’s no “swamp-draining” anywhere in the foreseeable future/horizon.

EPO Stakeholders Complain That the New Chairman Does Not Grasp the Issues at the EPO (or Denies These)

Tuesday 17th of October 2017 11:34:19 AM

German stakeholders speak out about a German Chairman

Summary: Some information from inside the EPO’s Administrative Council, whose Chairman is denying (at least to himself) some of the core issues that render the EPO less competitive in the international market

THE EPO crisis won’t end until or unless different strategies are adopted. Last night we wrote about the EPO having a dispute over patent quality, but at the end the Administrative Council just parroted the lies of Battistelli. It’s as if there’s no intention at all to tackle the key issues. These key issues are not even publicly acknowledged. It’s all hogwash.

“According to Dr. Thorsten Bausch (Hoffmann Eitle), the Chairman at the Administrative Council does not quite know what’s going on or is in denial about it.”This morning an EPO insider said that “Chair of AC C. Ernst being told by “Users” that he has no clue of what’s going on at the European Patent Office. Note, however, that “Users” are concerned with Board of Appeal staffing and quality. Distressed employees kindly mentioned, but does not really become an issue.”

According to Dr. Thorsten Bausch (Hoffmann Eitle), the Chairman at the Administrative Council does not quite know what’s going on or is in denial about it. Very bad it is indeed if he’s not aware of the judge being illegally put on “house ban” (whatever that is). Why isn’t Ernst bringing him back? Why does he not bring all the judges back to Munich? They were collectively punished and marginalised by Battistelli.

Some interesting inside information can be found in Bausch’s article from yesterday. It’s about Ernst and the German delegation at the EPO:

With regard to the UPC, I learnt that this is a good idea from a European perspective, even though it may occasionally lead to some disruption of the existing business models of some. All well and good. Will it come and when? On that I did not learn anything. I cannot remember Dr. Ernst using the word ‘Brexit’ even once. He did mention the German constitutional complaint against the UPCA ratification, but his only two comments were “I am afraid I must disappoint you – I cannot comment on it here since I am a member of the Ministry of Justice”, and “I hope that it will end well and that it will soon be decided”. Amen.

Turning now to the two problems mentioned above, i.e. quality and the understaffing of the Boards of Appeal, I was flabbergasted to learn that the first was not actually a problem at all – at least not for Dr. Ernst – and the second has meanwhile been solved since the vacant positions have now been filled up, as Dr. Ernst explained.

Hmm. “Die Botschaft hör ich wohl, allein es fehlt der Glaube”. (I hear your message loud and clear, but still I don’t believe it – Goethe, Faust)

[...]

But let us put quality aside and turn to the really good news. The Chairman of the EPO’s Administrative Council said – and I am not joking here! – that the understaffing problem has meanwhile been solved. He literally stated that the (vacant) positions have been filled again (“die Stellen sind jetzt wieder besetzt”).

How great!

Except that this is unfortunately simply not true.

While a few Board of Appeal chairmen were appointed (out of current board members) and a number of current board members were apparently re-appointed in the last AC meeting, the overall result was such that EPO users can only be very disappointed. Following Dr. Ernst’s speech, I asked around and quickly learnt that there have, in fact, been virtually no new appointments of technical members lately.

[...]

In any case, it cannot be denied that the large majority of the more than 20 open positions as shown by the latest complete business distribution scheme from the end of 2016 have not been filled. Just to mention one example, the pharma board 3.3.02 now (finally!) has a new chairman, but still no (zero!) technical members. Its cases go to TBA 3.3.01. The backlog of cases grows and grows. This cannot be the solution!

Dr. Ernst was confronted with this fact by some members of the audience after his speech. He seemed genuinely surprised, if not even a little embarrassed, on hearing this and said he was not aware of this.

This raises serious questions.

I assume that Dr. Ernst genuinely told the audience what he believed to be true. If so, one must wonder how on earth he could come to this view. Did somebody falsely inform the Chairman of the EPO’s Administrative Council? If so, who was it and will that have any consequences? Or did the Chairman not bother to inform himself properly? He may be forgiven for not reading this blog, but is there nobody around him telling him what is going on?

As we expected, he will probably play “aloof” or apathetic much like Kongstad. Unless he tackles the hard issues and becomes a reforming actor we can expect nothing substantial to change. The same goes for Campinos, whom we’ll revisit in the next post.

More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu Budgie 17.10 Releases with Budgie Desktop 10.4, Night Light, and More

Ubuntu Budgie is a more recent officially recognized flavor of the popular and free Ubuntu operating system, and today it has been updated to version 17.10 as part of the Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) release. Read more

BeagleBone based 3D printer focuses on ease of use

The “Voladd 3D Printer” features a Linux-driven BeagleBone SBC that connects to a cloud-based sharing site, plus a unique cartridge and cooling system. San Sebastián, Spain based Voladd has won Kickstarter funding for a Voladd 3D printer that runs Debian Linux on a BeagleBone Black single board computer. Like several other Linux-based printers we’ve seen (see farther below) the Voladd connects to a cloud service, and does not require an attached computer. The printer stands out with its mobile app remote control, as well as a streamlined cloud interface that lets you download one of thousands of free designs in 25 categories and share designs and printer access with others. Kickstarter pricing starts with early bird packages of 499 Euros ($591), with shipments due in December. Read more

Ubuntu 17.10 Released! See What's New in Ubuntu 17.10

Ubunt 17.10 has been released. Check out the new features in Ubuntu 17.10 and see how to upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10. Read more

OSS: Open Source Initiative, Open Xchange, OpenOffice, MakerBot

  • Open Source Initiative Welcomes Cumulus Networks As Premium Sponsor
    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), the internationally recognized home of the open source software movement working to raise awareness and adoption of open source software, announced today the generous sponsorship of Cumulus Networks. Cumulus joins OSI's growing community of corporations that recognize the importance of not only investing in open source software projects and development, but also building a diverse ecosystem that promotes collaboration, enables innovation, and ensures quality. Cumulus Networks has a strong tradition of internally-driven development of original open source software, including most notably, contributions to the Linux kernel that complete the data center feature set for Linux such as Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF), MPLS, MLAG infrastructure, multicast routing features, etc. Cumulus' most recent open source effort is FRRouting, co-developed by a group of contributing companies in the open networking space, to enhance routing protocols. Cumulus Networks has also been a key driving member of the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) with contributions to the Open Compute Project, Prescriptive Topology Manager--which simplifies the deployment of large L3 networks--and ifupdown2, a rewrite of Debian's tool for configuring networks that greatly simplifies large, complicated networking configurations.
  • Let's dig into how open source could KO the Silicon Valley chat silos
    There's never been a better opportunity for the world to start untangling itself from the giant Silicon Valley data harvesters than now. Last week, we revealed a plan to embed open-source chat into three quarters of the world's IMAP servers. And this may be an important development. Maybe. Google, Yahoo!, Apple and Microsoft handle around half the world's email, some 2.5 billion users, while open-source IMAP servers handle the rest, around 2.5-3 billion. Of these the Dovecot open-source server, part of the German business Open Xchange, is installed on 75 per cent of boxes. Quietly drop IM into the mix, and you've given the world a reason to leave WhatsApp.
  • Open source, agility powering enterprise IT
    Looking back over the past decade, history has certainly demonstrated that trying to predict the pace and nature of technology development is a near impossible task, writes Quentin Barnard, lead architect at redPanda Software. While analysts, business leaders and policymakers have certainly made wise predictions, businesses and individuals have to remain agile, responsive and open-minded to a wide possibility of outcomes and developments. It is also helpful, however, to reflect on key trends that have emerged in recent times — and to use this information to prepare for the years ahead. For software developers and development houses, several prominent themes emerged in 2017.
  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Five Years of Apache® OpenOffice™ as a Top-Level Project
    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today the five-year anniversary of Apache® OpenOfficeTM, the leading Open Source office document productivity suite.
  • MakerBot Labs: new experimental 3D printing platform is MakerBot's olive branch to open source community
    New York 3D printing company MakerBot has launched MakerBot Labs, an experimental platform with open APIs, custom print modes, and an online resource-sharing site. The platform purportedly allows users to “push the limits” of 3D printing.
  • MakerBot attempts to embrace the open-source community with its new Labs platform
    The topic of open source has been a touchy one for MakerBot over the past decade. The one-time 3D-printing darling was the subject of some serious smack talk among the maker community when it stopped disclosing machine design in 2012 — a departure from the company’s roots as in the open-source Rep-Rap community. Announced this week, MakerBot Labs doesn’t mark a full return to those roots, but it does find the company carving out a niche for the DIY community that was once a driving force in its rapid growth. “I understand the history,” CEO Nadav Goshen told TechCrunch during a phone call this week, “This is one step in the direction. It’s a step to understand that there are limitations to openness. Openness for us doesn’t mean we have to compromise on quality or ease of use. We’re trying to take responsibility for both.”