03.12.08

Software Patents and Patent Trolls on the Offensive

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 8:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here are some unfortunate stories that we have accumulated for the past couple of days.

Patent TrollTracker Gagged, Sued

The most saddening news today is about the assault of the patent trolls. The victim? A protester against them.

Just this morning we were lamenting the fact that the formerly anonymous Patent Troll Tracker had shut down his blog, but now we know why. It appears that two patent attorneys in East Texas have sued him and Cisco for defamation. One of the attorneys happens to also be the son of the judge who helped make Marshall, Texas famous as a favorite for patent holders. The details on the case suggest that this lawsuit may have been the reason that Rick Frenkel outed himself, as it was actually filed back in November and used as a way to unmask the Troll Tracker.

Web Site Patents

Remember the “JPEG on a Web site” patent (or something along those lines)? Well, be aware that you needn’t be a software developer to consider risk associated with software patents. If you have a Web site, the trolls could come after you.

GraphOn Corp. said Monday it filed a lawsuit alleging patent infringement against Yahoo Inc., Classified Ventures LLC, IAC/InterActiveCorp., Match.com, eHarmony.com and CareerBuilder LLC.

Santa Cruz-based GraphOn (OTCBB:GOJO) said the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern Distict of Texas, claims the companies infringed its patents covering a method of maintaining an automated and network-accessible database.

The suit alleges the companies infringe the GraphOn patents on each of their Web sites, and seeks permanent injunctive relief along with unspecified damages.

Next time people ask if Amazon’s one-click shopping patent (or other similarly poor ones) might get used, consider examples such as the above. Forget about defensive patents. It’s more like an ambush.

Telecom Patents

The telecom Armageddon resumes (well, it never truly ceased). But here comes the owner of the ‘genius’ idea that is transmitting images.

Intellect Wireless Inc. has sued T-Mobile USA Inc., U.S. Cellular Corp., Virgin Mobile USA Inc. and Helio Inc. in federal court in Chicago, accusing the companies of infringing wireless image messaging patents.

Gaming Patents

Gamers hate software patents, not to mention game developers.

The vast majority of the respondents to this Question Of The Week were against the concept of software patents , and those that answered “no” answered with a great deal more fervor then those that said “yes”.

Case of point, fresh from the news: Activision’s “Guitar Hero” violates patent: Gibson

Gibson said the games, in which players press buttons on a guitar-shaped controller in time with notes on a TV screen, violates a 1999 patent for technology to simulate a musical performance.

Classic. How many past and present games are actually said to be violating (“infringing on”) some software patents (renamed “game patents” in this context)?

Software Patents Protest and Poll

In addition to the poll above and this recent other poll which can be found here, consider this testimony. [via Digital Majority]

“What’s all the more infuriating about the current patent situation is that many of today’s patents go against the original social contract surrounding patents. The original goal of the patent system was to get inventors to share their innovations for the common good. In return for a limited monopoly, you, Mr. Inventor, share your invention so that We, the public, can understand how you did it and can then innovate on top of it. Rather than stifling innovation, patents were supposed to drive it forward.

Unfortunately, many patents, even the ones that are legit, would have been created independently anyway. It’s obviously a balance, but at least in the world I live in, I see patents getting in the way rather than helping me. I have never gone and looked at old patents to get new ideas for products. The only time an independent patent, one that I’m not working on filing myself, comes to my attention, it’s because somebody is getting sued for infringing it. This tells me that we have lost the original goal that patents were supposed to foster.

Embargo on Patent Trolls

Lawyers are waking up to realise that the poor reputation of software patents is damaging and they respond accordingly. [via Groklaw]

The debate over patent trolls is dividing the IP bar.

In one of the most overt examples of choosing sides, litigation firm Howrey provocatively proclaims in a new brochure for clients that it absolutely won’t represent trolls — and criticizes firms that do.

“As a firm policy, Howrey does not litigate for ‘patent trolls,’” the page blares underneath a picture of a crossed-out cartoon troll. “Why support firms that are helping perpetuate this scourge on legitimate businesses everywhere?”

Sadly, there will always be some scummy lawyers around (howdy, Ray Niro [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]), and ones that are willing to ruin the industry for a mere buck.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2008/03/12/patent-trolls-on-the-offensive/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 14: The Notorious Revolving Door

    The Benoît Battistelli-António Campinos shuffle left some people in the EPO’s upper management better off; they’re being rewarded for complicity, so there’s no incentive to do the right thing but to do the wrong thing



  2. Links 11/4/2021: GnuPG 2.3.0, Linux 5.13 Additions

    Links for the day



  3. All EPO Articles Are Available Over Gemini Protocol

    For lighter and more privacy-preserving access to Techrights use the Gemini capsule instead of the Web site



  4. Judge and JURI

    The Committee on Legal Affairs, a.k.a JURI, meets the EPO tomorrow (in 24 hours); will abuses by António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli be brought up?



  5. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 13: The Failed Promise of a “Good Governance” Guru…

    Before becoming an absent-minded Vice-President of António Campinos Christoph Ernst was posing as the very opposite of what he would become



  6. Gemini Gateways for IPFS

    The World Wide Web is fine for a lot of things, but for controversial publications and publications that invoke the 'wrath' of corporations/states/plutocracy we must look beyond the traditional protocols, choosing decentralised means and self-hosted means of publication (instead or at the very least in conjunction)



  7. Challenging Times for EPO Management

    A discussion of the status quo at Europe's second-largest (but scarcely-understood) institution, subjected to a JURI hearing tomorrow afternoon



  8. “The Fighters of Freedom”

    Some anime fans have made this video about recent events



  9. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 10, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, April 10, 2021



  10. [Meme] Bundestagate Series Spoiler

    The chain of command/s at the EPO typically leads to major tragedy



  11. Breaking News: Campinos to Appear Before the Legals Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on Monday 12 April

    "Some MEPs have been briefed about ongoing governance deficits at the EPO, in particular the lack of GDPR compliance and the sell-out of "digital sovereignty" to Microsoft, but it remains to be seen whether or not they will dare to bring these issues up during the hearing."



  12. Pro-FSF Petition (“An Open Letter in Support of Richard Matthew Stallman Being Reinstated by the Free Software Foundation”) Tops 6,200 Signatures

    Monopolies and their media, along with their NGOs, have spoken and incited based on falsehoods; people now respond so the hate letter has a real crisis



  13. Links 10/4/2021: osbuild 28, KDE Frameworks 5.81.0

    Links for the day



  14. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 12: A Worthy Successor to His Mentor?

    We examine the role of Christoph Ernst in EPO management, both in the Benoît Battistelli era and the António Campinos era (plenty to hide)



  15. USPTO for Monopolies, Keeping GNU/Linux in the Dark

    Growing evidence of gross discrimination against GNU/Linux (or Free software, even BSD/UNIX) users at the USPTO is too hard to ignore; some people out there challenge the Office over this travesty



  16. Accessibility and Availability First

    To make Techrights more widely accessible and more difficult to block/censor we've been making further changes, including self-hosting where possible



  17. Self-Hosting Videos With Free Formats and Animated Previews, Watermarks/Logos and Translucency

    We examine the power of video editing with ffmpeg, chained with command-line scripting and HTML5 features



  18. Links 10/4/2021: Linux on M1, Wine 6.6, ClamAV 0.103.2

    Links for the day



  19. Lunduke: On Mob Justice in the Tech Industry

    A new video from the former Microsofter who fears the phenomenon that’s adopted by companies like IBM



  20. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 09, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, April 09, 2021



  21. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Appendix (Benoît Battistelli's Vichy Syndrome): Georges Henri Léon Battistelli and Charles Robert Battistelli

    Local copies with evidence of or something concrete about Benoît Battistelli’s connection to unsavoury — and by today’s standards outright fascistic — politics



  22. IBM Doubles Down on Masters Being an Acceptable Word in the Context of Technology

    3 days after this post which disproves IBM's stance or shows its double standards it once again says “Masters” in its official blog (won’t that offend and alienate some people as they insist?)



  23. Hate Letter Against Richard Matthew Stallman (RMS) Backfired So Spectacularly That Signers Asked to Revoke Their Own Signatures and the List Was Then Frozen Permanently (Updated)

    "An open letter in support of Richard Matthew Stallman being reinstated by the Free Software Foundation" tops 6,100 signatures (graph generated just moments ago)



  24. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 11: The BMJV's Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst

    The right-hand man of António Campinos plays a role similar to that of Herr Lutz before him



  25. Links 9/4/2021: Tanglet 1.6.0 and HPVM 1.0

    Links for the day



  26. The Libel Against Richard Stallman Did Not Age Well

    Almost 2 years down the line libel about the founder of the FSF remains online, uncorrected (in sites funded by Microsoft and IBM)



  27. The Letter in Support of the FSF and Richard Stallman is Backed by the International Community, Not American Monopolies and Nationalistic Elements

    Free software is for everybody to use, internationally, it is not the asset of a bunch of current and old monopolists (connected to the US military) that also control the media; the nature of the signatures says that out loud



  28. Gemini Over IPFS (Decentralised Web, Accessed Over Gemini Protocol)

    The Gemini protocol (gemini://) can already be used to fetch (at the back end) and present objects from a P2P-like network; we're currently exploring practical use cases and possibilities



  29. News Sites That Talk About Patents Have Become Shameless Self-Promotion 'Plugs' by Law Firms (and Sometimes Outright 'Spam' for Litigation)

    The sources of news about patent affairs have dried up; sites that actually used to investigate and report facts have since then shut down or defected to the Public Relations/marketing industry



  30. Links 9/4/2021: Kubernetes 1.21 and FFmpeg 4.4 Released

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts