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LITIGATION VS FREE SOFTWARE

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OSS
Legal

Alice Corporation, a non-practice patent-holding entity, held patents on a method, system, and process for a particular type of financial risk hedging: namely, that one party to a set of financial transactions won’t pay at one or more stages in the set. This risk is known as “settlement risk”. Alice’s patents describe using a computer to keep track of the transactions between the parties. If the computer determines that a party does not have sufficient funds to pay their obligations to the other side, then the transaction is blocked. Litigation against CLS Bank International for alleged infringement of these patented ideas started in 2007, eventually winding its way up to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Writing for a unanimous court, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas begins with a brief description of what the patents claimed. There are effectively three different types of claims made: “(1) the foregoing method for exchanging obligations (the method claims), (2) a computer system configured to carry out the method for exchanging obligations (the system claims), and (3) a computer-readable medium containing program code for performing the method of exchanging obligations (the media claims)” (page 3 of the ruling).

Thomas then goes on to cite the court’s recent ruling in Mayo vs Prometheus, which established a test to determine which inventions incorporating abstract ideas are patent-eligible: “First, we determine whether the claims at issue are directed to one of those patent-ineligible concepts” (page 7). If it is so directed, then the court looks at “the elements of each claim both individually and ‘as an ordered combination’ to determine whether the additional elements ‘transform the nature of the claim’ into a patent-eligible application” (page 7). This is what Thomas refers to as “a search for an ‘inventive concept’” (page 7).

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today's leftovers

  • A Quick Look At Ubuntu 20.04 LTS vs. 20.10 With The Core i9 10900K - Phoronix

    With Ubuntu 20.10 due for release this week I have begun testing near-final Ubuntu 20.10 builds on many more systems in the lab. Larger than our normal distribution/OS comparisons, here is the culmination of running hundreds of benchmarks (366 tests to be exact) under both Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with all available updates and then again on the Ubuntu 20.10 development state while testing on Intel Comet Lake. Aside from specific improvements for bleeding-edge hardware like Intel Tiger Lake performing better on Ubuntu 20.10 or when looking at cases like the Intel and Radeon graphics performance being better on Ubuntu 20.10 due to the newer Linux kernel and Mesa, for general CPU/system workloads the performance has largely been found to be similar to that of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. The other caveat is for workloads being built from source, Ubuntu 20.10 now ships with GCC 10 rather than GCC 9. GCC 10 doesn't normally yield any night-and-day differences in performance but in some cases for newer CPU microarchitectures there has been some improvements there or with features like LTO.

  • TSDgeos' blog: Make sure KDE software is usable in your language, join KDE translations!

    Translations are a vital part of software. More technical people often overlook it because they understand English well enough to use the software untranslated, but only 15% of the World understands English, so it's clear we need good translations to make our software more useful to the rest of the world. Translations are a place that [almost] always needs help, so I would encourage you to me (aacid@kde.org) if you are interested in helping. Sadly, some of our teams are not very active, so you may find yourself alone, it can be a bit daunting at the beginning, but the rest of us in kde-i18n-doc will help you along the way :)

  • News – WordPress 5.6 Beta 1 – WordPress.org

    WordPress 5.6 Beta 1 is now available for testing! This software is still in development, so we recommend that you run this version on a test site. [...] The current target for final release is December 8, 2020. This is just seven weeks away, so your help is needed to ensure this release is tested properly.

  • Google Patches Bug Used in Active Attacks Against Chrome

    Google has discovered and patched a serious vulnerability in Chrome that attackers are actively exploiting at the moment. The bug is a high-severity heap buffer overflow in FreeType, a free font-rendering engine that Chrome, among many other projects, uses. A member of Google’s Project Zero vulnerability research team discovered the vulnerability and subsequently found that attackers were already exploiting it. Google patched the flaw in Chrome 86.0.4240.111 for desktop browsers and the maintainers of the FreeType Project pushed out an emergency release of the library to fix it, as well. “I've just fixed a heap buffer overflow that can happen for some malformed .ttf files with PNG sbit glyphs. It seems that this vulnerability gets already actively used in the wild, so I ask all users to apply the corresponding commit as soon as possible,” Werner Lemberg, one of the original authors of the FreeType, said in an email to the FreeType announcement mailing list.

  • FreeType 2.10.4 Rushed Out As Emergency Security Release

    The FreeType text rendering library is out with version 2.10.4 today as an important security update.

  • Intel: replace thermal compound “every few years”

    Thermal compound (sometimes called thermal paste or grease) is applied to fill minuscule gaps in the materials in the heat spreader (the metal covering on top of the processor) and the heatsink. Eliminating these gaps is essential to ensuring efficient heat transfer into the heatsink. The thermal compound that is used in your computer generally won’t go bad or degrade in its useful lifespan. It will get displaced over time, however. You’d need higher temperatures than what you’ll typically find in a computer for other failure modes to come into effect. The displacement is caused by thermal cycling that results in an effect known as “thermally induced pump-out.” As the components heat up and cool down, the processors’ heat spreader (its metal top) and the heatsink will expand and contract. This effect will, over time, pump the thermal compound out from in between the two metal plates. You can find illustrations and a more technical explanation in the source links below.

IBM/Red Hat Leftovers

  • IBM Launches Call For Code For Racial Justice [Ed: IBM trying to flip reality on its head]

    These include Police & Judicial Reform and Accountability; Diverse Representation; and Policy & Legislation Reform.

  • Node.js 15 release: Updated handling of rejections, npm 7, N-API Version 7, and more – IBM Developer

    Users can plan for a new release every April and October, with the latest even-numbered release (14.x, in this instance) being promoted to LTS in October. Since the 15.x release is an odd-numbered release, it won’t be promoted to LTS. The predictable timetable for quality releases has increased adoption of the next LTS release over time. In general we recommend that only LTS releases be used for production deployments. Today, the Node.js community is releasing Node.js 15 with new features that are important to Node.js users and customers. While it won’t be promoted to long-term support (LTS), we need our customers and the greater ecosystem to try it out and give us feedback to help pave the way for the Node.js 16 release.

  • Key findings from IDC Red Hat Quarkus Lab Validation

    Recently, Arnal Dayaratna, a research director and analystocused on Software Development at IDC, explored Quarkus in an IDC Lab Validation report, sponsored by Red Hat. The report quantifies performance metrics forQuarkus to another widely used Java framework for cloud-native development, referred to throughout as Framework A. The comparison is based on attributes that are important for developers and the developer experience, as well as those that are important for containers, Kubernetes and cloud deployments.

  • Accelerated development cycle enables Macquarie deployments in near real time, addressing business and technical challenges

    As companies continue their quest for digital transformation and face uncertainty in the business environment, especially in current times, the ability to react in an agile manner to address customers’ needs is increasingly apparent. It is a proven strategy cited by industry research and consulting firms, and has delivered results for Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group (BFS), as it modernizes its legacy banking systems.