Monday, November 20, 2006
- As I've said before, I happily admit to being biased against SCO, but I also try to be fair. When there's actual SCO-related product news to be had, it leads, even if (like today) there are much bigger stories going on in the industry. Today's product story concerns the big Australian launch of Me, Inc. The story has the usual blah-blah about what HipCheck does (and not a word about the other Me, Inc apps), but what caught my eye is that ol' Kieran O'Shaughnessy is still with the company. We haven't heard from him in many moons, but his attack-dog rants about Linux were good for a laugh or two back in the day.
- In news more people care about, the Novell-MS deal is getting ugly. I thought it'd be at least 6 months to a year before we hit the "he said, she said" phase of the relationship, but it's here already. There's no way I could keep up with every last story about the deal, but here's a recent selection:
- Computerworld: Novell backs away from Ballmer comments.
- David Berlind sez the deal's descended into a "late night spitting match". I've never seen one of those, so I don't know if he's right or not, but it's certainly a vivid image.
- Reuters: Microsoft to face challenge over Linux licenses. I was skeptical about some of the changes proposed for GPLv3, but more and more I'm leaning toward doing a "GPLv2.1" for the time being, with some common-sense provisions to make life more difficult for patent and other "IP" trolls.
- From IV, rfc3501's take on how to respond.
- IT World Canada says CIOs are unfazed by Ballmer's comments. SCO gets a mention here.
- PC World Australia says Linux users aren't real impressed either (my words, not theirs). Again, SCO gets a mention. It is apparently impossible to talk about Ballmer and the Novell-MS deal without mentioning SCO at least briefly.
- An Inquirer reader wonders if the latest threats from MS might ensnare them in court with IBM.
- A piece at openDemocracy calls the deal "Free software's Faustian moment". Which is as good an analogy as any to go with, since you can't compare it to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact without invoking Godwin's Law.
- More proof of how great it is that there are so many watchful eyes trained on the Lindon mob. I only ping the USPTO site about once or twice every blue moon, but an astute reader informs me that the gears are moving down in ThinkAtomicLand.
- First, a couple of trademark apps for Ralphie's new Canopy-like portfolio, both filed for in October '05, with ThinkAtomic as the applicant. "Nanotop" is supposed to cover "IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: mobile devices, namely telephones, personal digital assistants including nano devices, MP3 players, digital audio players, digital video players, and computer application software for any of the forgoing".
- "Seedlet" is a bit more broad, covering "IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Computer application software for mobile devices, namely telephones, personal digital assistants including nano devices, MP3 players, digital audio players, digital video players.
IC 038. US 100 101 104. G & S: Wireless transmission of data and voice signals; application service provider services for mobile devices, namely telephones, personal digital assistants including nano devices, MP3 players, digital audio players, digital video players; computer application software design, development and implementation for mobile devices, namely telephones, personal digital assistants including nano devices, MP3 players, digital audio players, digital video players."
- The Nanotop application also lists a "published for opposition" date of December 19th, 2006. I don't know what that is, exactly, but I suppose it means you can start disputing his ownership of the term on that date. So far as I'm concerned, let Ralphie have the thing. It's a stupid name, and meaningless, unless maybe Ralphie's branched out into making midget S&M videos. Which I doubt.
- The Seedlet application seems to be in a bit of trouble. On November 7th, the USPTO sent the Yarro boys a "Priority Action" notice, letting them know the application as it stands is not acceptable. Seems the proposed "recitation of services" is vague, and they tried to quietly expand the application's scope with a later amendment, which is Not Allowed under USPTO rules. Gee, that sort of behavior sounds kind of familiar.
- Ralphie and friends also have three applications for different variations on "CP80", and they'd also like to own the phrase "Truth in Porn". Seriously. That application is dated January 31, 2006, and is supposed to cover "C 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: Printed publications, including providing books, pamphlets and other materials regarding the effects and risks of pornography, and methods of combating and reducing pornography; Advertising, marketing, or promoting public awareness, including, of the effects and risks of pornography, and methods of combating and reducing pornography; educational services, including, conducting courses and seminars in public awareness and reducing pornography; online information, including the effects and risks of pornography, and methods of combating and reducing pornography
IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: Clothing, including t-shirts".
Ooh! T-shirts that say "TRUTH IN PORN"! Where can I get one?
- I'm trying to puzzle out the attorney-of-record situation for the various applications. Brent Christensen (of Canopy "fame") is listed for some of them, while one Preston C. Regehr of Techlaw Ventures is listed for the CP80-related ones. As of October 11th, Regehr is now listed as "Correspondent" on the Nanotop and Seedlet apps, although Christensen is still listed as "attorney of record". I'm no expert on the ins and outs of trademark law, but it sure looks like Brent's off the case, voluntarily or otherwise.
- Christensen is listed on the apps as being with the law firm of Fabian & Clendenin. Where he once was the top-dog lawyer for the entire Noorda/Canopy empire, now he's just some random IP lawyer who doesn't even have his name on the door. That's got to chafe a little. Kevin freakin' McBride has his name on the door, and he doesn't even know which side of the courtroom to sit on during a routine hearing.
- Brent's keeping busy, at least, just not working for Ralphie. He's got trademark apps in the works for an industrial air conditioning co. and some sort of police training thing.
- There are also two dead applications connected with the Yarro mob, for the terms "CleanISP" and "CleanInternet" (capitalization inferred), applied for at the same time as the still-living CP80 apps. Both applications were marked "Abandonment - Failure To Respond Or Late Response" in late September '06.
- Also, for the sake of completeness, back in '97 Matt Yarro applied for a trademark on the term "Darkurthe Legends", for some sort of fantasy roleplaying thingy. That's dead now, too. FYI.
- Elsewhere in IP-Land, our friends at Solera Networks have a pending patent application for "NETWORK PACKET CAPTURE DISTRIBUTED STORAGE SYSTEM", which they applied for on July 6th, 2006. It doesn't show up on the USPTO site, but the WIPO patent site identifies it as publication WO/2006/071560, if you want to go have a look.
The most interesting thing about it, to my mind, is Solera's patent attorney, J. Harrison Colter. He was general counsel of Caldera for a while, back in the Ransom Love era (see here for example) until his job fell victim to budget cuts, and he currently belongs to a group of lawyers advising CP80. While he was at Caldera, he supervised the destruction of documents regarding the DRDOS suit against Microsoft.
- As noted with relief on the boards, the California Supreme Court has shielded ISPs, message board providers, and the like from liability for third-party user comments. You can't sue Yahoo for libel just because some random user there said something you didn't like. You'd think that would be basic common sense, but it's never wise to assume common sense will prevail when lawyers and computers collide.
- A couple of negative pieces about Zune, one from Dvorak, and another at Playfuls
- A couple of recent stories about Ubuntu, contributed by one of the boards' many trolls. The second piece is by a guy who's unhappy that the latest release doesn't work well on his laptop. So he's sticking with the previous version for now. The troll who posted the link apparently thought this counts as a great vote of confidence in Windows, but I'm just not seeing it. They aren't the most careful readers, those trolls.
- Oh, and MS is being sued yet again for patent violations, this time by Alcatel.
- MS would also like to license the Office 2007 user interface to you, on the condition that you not work on competing products, so sayeth the convicted monopolist. No word on exactly what protectable elements are covered: patents, copyrights, trademarks, or what. "Look and feel"? "Methods and concepts"? Nobody knows. Their PR just says they have unspecified intellectual property rights in the UI design, and they leave it at that. FUD, in other words.
- On the heels of the latest Top500 list, a piece about how the geeks at Synopsis threw together #242 on the list in their spare time, with hardware they already had on hand. Which is cool and all, but just think of all the SCOSource licenses they'll have to buy for the thing, to avoid the wrath of Darl. Or not, I guess.
- And finally, I've decided I now wish SCO had sued Bank of America. Why? Check out this, uh, catchy tune. Feel free to debate among yourselves which version is "better", the original or the David Cross cover.