06.21.08

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Monopoly Abuser Feels the Wrath of Intellectual Monopolies

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What goes around comes around

Major developments are being reported at the moment on the Alcatel-Lucent/Microsoft saga [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Alcatel-Lucent is an example of a struggling — if not dying — company that reaches out to its portfolio for survival (“defensive” no more [1, 2]). Well, it may have just hoovered up half a billion dollars off of Microsoft for what’s evidently junk patents.

A U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles has ruled that Microsoft Corp. will have to pay Alcatel-Lucent more than $500 million for infringing on two patents.

One patent covers how software users to fill out forms. The other is related to the use of a stylus on a tablet computer.

Will Microsoft cough out that amount without appealing? Will people use this as an opportunity to slam the system? Will Microsoft challenge the patents for their stupidity? There will probably be a lot more coverage of this at the beginning of next week.

Meanwhile, for contrast, here is a short article about ways in which the GPL can mitigate the impact of patent trolls.

Why would a patent troll agree to this? Don Marti explains how the GPL strengthened Red Hat’s bargaining position. In a normal patent licensing negotiation, the patent troll would demand a per-user license fee that would be passed along to the vendor’s customers. But the GPL specifically prohibits Red Hat from doing this; if Red Hat agreed to pay per-user royalties, it would be in violation of the GPL and would lose the right to distribute the software at all.

Below you can find a short description of the power struggle and what’s at stake. [via Digital Majority]

Who will win the “cold war” brewing between commercial software companies and open-source advocates over software patents?

Software developers prefer to rely just on copyrights, based on surveys which were conducted in the past. It’s often a struggle between greed and practicality. Sometimes it’s a case of science versus investors and lawyers, who profit if the system goes belly-up (more lawsuits mean more money).

The threat of McCreevy and his so-called ‘harmonisation’ scheme is revisited now by IAM Magazine. [via Digital Majority]

Essentially, these talks are about harmonising substantive patent law, including areas such as priority of invention, the grace period, the definition of prior art and loss of right provisions. However, I wonder whether Brimelow – who always considers her words very carefully – is hinting that other things may now be on the agenda. It is interesting that when she spoke to me about this, and also in the BBC interview, she talked about users of the patent system raising the issue of mutual recognition. In that way, any talks on the subject can be seen as being responsive and not as policy-makers going out on a limb.

[...]

And, who knows, after the In re Bilski case is finally resolved at either the CAFC or the Supreme Court, Europe and the US may even be a little closer with regard to the controversial areas of business methods and software patents.

Lastly, a poor (too broad) patent that was mentioned here before, gets the attention of IAM Magazine as well. [via Digital Majority]

Since 2006 Ocean Tomo auctions have raised over $70 million for sellers. Its first European sale ““ held in London in June 2007 ““ established a world record for a single patent sold at open auction when an internet shopping patent was bought for $4,865,550.

“In collaboration with IAM magazine, we have planned the most informative, important and exciting event for the IP community this year,” says James Malackowski, President and CEO of Ocean Tomo. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn from and network with the IP pioneers and thought leaders who will be attending.”

This sick orgy of Intellectual Monopolies is ridiculous of course. The ‘brilliant’ idea of internet shopping is not only owned but ownership of it is being passed as well. The value of it? Millions. What is the worth of the one-click shopping patent? Or the double-click? Can’t everyone see that the system has gone insane?

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