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LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
PostgreSQL 9.3 beta: Federated databases and more
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 9, 2013
(Nearly) full tickless operation in 3.10
Google wins patent case against Oracle
Posted May 23, 2012 18:33 UTC (Wed) by karim (subscriber, #114)
Posted May 23, 2012 18:39 UTC (Wed) by jthill (guest, #56558)
I think it's cause for hope that many Judges do know what they're looking at these days. I think juries see that.
Posted May 23, 2012 21:46 UTC (Wed) by martin.langhoff (subscriber, #61417)
Posted May 23, 2012 23:46 UTC (Wed) by drag (subscriber, #31333)
Lets all hope together that Oracle has learned that threatening their partners and customers with IP lawsuits isn't a good business plan.
Posted May 24, 2012 0:42 UTC (Thu) by JoeBuck (subscriber, #2330)
Posted May 24, 2012 2:29 UTC (Thu) by kevinm (guest, #69913)
Posted May 24, 2012 3:43 UTC (Thu) by jtc (subscriber, #6246)
I'm curious, in case anyone knows: Is there much of a chance the appeal process for the API issue could end up in the supreme court?
Posted May 24, 2012 4:14 UTC (Thu) by aryonoco (subscriber, #55563)
If Oracle decides to appeal the patent verdict (very difficult as it is a jury verdict), it will go to the Federal Circuit Court. There, Oracle could argue that the case is so intricately linked with its Copyright claim that the court might decide to hear the case all together. If Oracle decides to appeal both Copyright and Patent verdicts, and the Federal Court decides against hearing the Copyright section, then the patent phase will be heard by the Federal Circuit Court and the Copyright section by the 9th Circuit court.
If Oracle decides to appeal just the Copyright verdict, it will definitely then only be heard by the 9th Circuit Court. This is most likely if J. Alsup rules that the SSO of Java API are not patentable. Appealing the patent verdict will be very difficult for Oracle cause it is a Jury decision so unless Oracle has a problem with one of the Judge's directions to the Jury or as a matter of law, then it's very difficult to appeal.
However this case is appealed, and whichever appeal court hears the case (Federal Circuit court or the 9th Circuit court), if Oracle doesn't like the verdict it can still seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, but the likelihood that the Supreme Court will actually hear the case is very remote. The Supreme Court generally only hears a fraction of the cases that apply to it, and those are generally cases in which different lower courts have come to different verdicts on similar issues. I don't see the Supreme Court hearing.
Posted Jun 2, 2012 14:53 UTC (Sat) by jjs (guest, #10315)
Posted May 24, 2012 6:53 UTC (Thu) by eduperez (guest, #11232)
No, every legal system is like that
Posted May 24, 2012 14:21 UTC (Thu) by felixfix (subscriber, #242)
It all comes down to people, and anything vague is going to give vague results. The only way to avoid this kind of patent case, or the copyright case, is to avoid patents or copyrights altogether, something which would please me immensely. As clever as copyleft is, I'd rather have neither copyright nor copyleft, and have all the associated resources spent on innovation.
Posted May 24, 2012 18:32 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333)
So it would be pretty much the same.
What would be ideal is 'rule by nobody'. Just voluntary contractual agreements. There really is no factual basis for any of this IP law crap.
The only defense that people can bring up for IP is either a argument economic practicality (we need copyright/patents to create markets to foster ideas), which has no factual basis (this is something that should can be demonstrably true if it a correct notion). Or a argument supporting some vague notion of 'rights' and 'fairness' over the ownership of ideas.. which is something impossible since ideas have no physical presence.
Posted May 24, 2012 18:46 UTC (Thu) by krakensden (subscriber, #72039)
And when people disagreed on the meaning of those contracts, they would...
Oh right, avail themselves of a neutral third party to arbitrate. Who would have to be able to enforce that arbitration.
It doesn't matter what you do, you're going to wind up with judges.
Posted May 24, 2012 18:46 UTC (Thu) by felixfix (subscriber, #242)
I will address third party judgements.
You suggest completely voluntary contractual agreements. What if the parties disagree?
*Someone* has to be an independent judge, even if it is just those who consider doing business with any of the parties to a disagreement, and people will differ, which is fine. But in practice, few individuals would want to investigate and fully inform themselves of all disagreements by all parties with whom they might consider doing business; they will instead rely on third parties, whether that be a coercive central government or a voluntary distributed system of judgement (whether friends or service bureaus), and then you are right back to people making judgement calls.
And this is all pretty off-topic, but I suppose that too is a judgement call.
Posted May 25, 2012 6:46 UTC (Fri) by eduperez (guest, #11232)
I would prefer a system of rule by law... well thought and written laws.
Posted May 25, 2012 7:43 UTC (Fri) by felixfix (subscriber, #242)
You cannot get away from judgement by people. The oceans will evaporate before you get rid of judgement by people.
Posted May 25, 2012 9:27 UTC (Fri) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784)
Posted May 26, 2012 12:16 UTC (Sat) by SecretEuroPatentAgentMan (guest, #66656)
Laws can be well thought out and well written at the time, yet will fail as the world evolves and can also be incorrectly applied. There is also the law of unintended consequences. Many countries have specialised courts or specialised judges to take care of IPR-related cases, even so an appeal will often show that the law was incorrectly applied. Also the same laws can be applied by the supreme courts in different countries and come to opposite conclusions.
Most of the European countries have acceded to the European Patent Convention (EPC). The European Patent Office (EPO), operating under EPC, runs seminars for Europe's top judges. Even so you still get totally different conclusions. Now the European Union is considering a centralised patent court. Unless something changes dramatically it will only mean you get to throw the dice once in Europe rather than once for each EU member state.
How easily people forget the history...
Posted May 24, 2012 8:12 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
What I find particularly funny is the Gosling's moans and people's reaction to them.
Gosling says Google "tramped" and "abused" Java developers at Sun, but somehow forgets to add that he himself did the same thing thirty years ago.
And it's not like it was some low-profile unknown sidestory. It was quite
a big deal back then. Remember? While Stallman tried to organize community around Emacs with explicitly expressed presumption that all improvements must be given back to him to be incorporated and distributed Gosling went on and created it's own Goslinc Emacs for the new frontiers (Unix was relatively new and tiny back then). Worse: later, when Stallman reused his code to create his own Unix port he went on and demanded to remove his code from Emacs¹ (Google never did that: if Sun or now Oracle wants to reuse pieces of Dalvik in Java it can do that quite legally). And after all that he have the nerve to talk about abuse?
Sorry, but this is hypocrisy, plain and simple.
¹) Strictly speaking it was Unipress, not Gosling, but I don't recall any Gosling's complains WRT that unfairness thus we can safely assume he approved this behavior.
Posted May 24, 2012 11:20 UTC (Thu) by job (guest, #670)
I would be very surprised of Stroustrup expressed outrage in other implementations of C++, or if van Rossum thinks Pypy somehow abuses Python coders. After all, independent implementations is a maturity sign for computer technology. Most ideas doesn't reach that far which puts him together with just a handful other talented language designers in our age.
(In this particular case it is doubly astonishing. I hope nobody could reasonably expect Android to be a success on top of the mess that was J2ME. Even if they built something on top of Sun's code the result would still not run J2ME code.)
Posted May 24, 2012 14:25 UTC (Thu) by felixfix (subscriber, #242)
Thanks for the reminder. Made me smile. I hope Gosling's ears are burning and his breakfast is feeling a bit nauseous.
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