EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.29.08

State of the Intellectual Bully: Patent Raids, Trolls, and Microsoft

Posted in Asia, FSF, Hardware, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 6:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here is another quick roundup of patent news.

FSF

The Free Software Foundation is joining the good fight against software patents.

In addition, the FSF is planning to hire a new manager for its End Software Patents campaign.

India

The FSF is also active in Chennai (Madras), where the existing problems [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] are being discussed and will hopefully be tackled.

With FSF and ILUGC friends, also representing our LoCo Community attended the Patent Manual – Stake Holder’s Meet held at Intellectual Property Office, Guindy, Chennai.

The Manual has provisions for bringing in Software Patents in cases what it claims to be “Software combined with Hardware”. We expressed our concerns on it and the ambiguity over the term used.

Here is another long article about software patents and India. It was published just a couple of days ago.

India for its part seems to have adopted the more conservative approach of the European patenting norms for software. But the Ordinance definitely has its use and relevance in today’s India, particularly for our growing domestic semi- conductor industry. This, along with judicial tempering might definitely ensure a judicious use of patent protection while allowing the industry to grow through innovations and inventions, thereby, mitigating the risks of trivial patents chocking the life out of real innovations and inventions. This is the reason a patent should always be treated as a “double edged sword”, to be wielded with caution and sensitivity. Now whether, in reality this will be implemented on a rigid basis or will become broad in scope through application (as in the U.S.), and, more importantly, whether the Ordinance would, in fact, result in increased innovation and inventions in the software industry, remains to be seen.

Extremity Kills the System

There is still a certain state of unrest as the world fights back. An expert of the subject was quoted in The Register saying that a lenient and careless patent system can have devastating effects on the economy. Software patents are a good example of going too far.

Intellectual property laws which were designed to protect inventors are actually stifling innovation, according to a leading US law academic.

Michael Heller, an academic at Columbia University in New York, told technology law podcast OUT-LAW Radio that intellectual property laws are being used to stop new products and services being made.

More can be found here and this paper is strongly recommended.

Here is what happens when patents turn violent.

Armed agents search for patent infringers

[...]

A spokesman for German Customs told us: “We’ve raided 69 companies today. We have seized equipment including flatscreen TVs, CD players, set-top boxes and MP3 players.”

Yes! This is innovation. Feel the excitement.

This also happened 6 months ago and was mentioned here. Also 2 years ago.

There have been long discussion about this in the IRC channel today. Doug quotes a new press release: “Effective August 26th, 2008, licenses under those DVB-T essential patents will be available from SISVEL as an alternative to negotiate separate licenses with the individual patent owners.” Zoobab says that Sisvel is a Philips proxy using the same extorsion tactics as Philips and Doug believes that it’s one way of getting a choke hold on the Media. He also adds this pointer [PDF], then saying: “This is a HUGE story. Why isn’t the main stream press covering it?”

Elsewhere in the news, the fight between Qualcomm and Broadcom continues.

The legal drama between wireless chipmakers Qualcomm and Broadcom continues this week.

On Thursday, the companies said a federal judge has ruled that Qualcomm is in contempt of an injunction that bans the use of patented wireless technology owned by Broadcom.

Patent Trolls

Watch this from news:

Patent-licensing and enforcement company General Patent Corp International has reached a settlement with Motorola over a disputed patent belonging to one of GPCI’s clients, Digital Technology Licensing.

Mind the names: “General Patent Corp International” and “Digital Technology Licensing”. Are these classic names for patent trolls or what?

Software patents monster Blackboard [1, 2, 3], which is associated with and funded by Microsoft, is still fighting for its abusive business strategy, which revolves around intimidating rivals with ludicrous software patents. Here are some of the latest developements. [via Digital Majority]

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected a request by Blackboard Inc. for a temporary halt in the office’s review of a software patent the company holds concerning course-management systems.

This year Blackboard won a lawsuit in federal court against a rival software company, Desire2Learn, for violating the patent, though Desire2Learn has appealed the decision. Meanwhile, Desire2Learn had formally challenged the validity of the patent with the patent office, arguing that it is overly broad and covers technology that other companies had developed before Blackboard filed its patent. The patent office issued an initial verdict in March that rejected all 44 of the claims that make up Blackboard’s patent. But that review is “nonfinal,” meaning that the review is still underway.

Microsoft

A patents lover called Microsoft is aiming for embargoes again. We first saw such behaviour a month ago and it seems to be the beginning of a pattern. Microsoft has turned offensive with its patents. From the news:

1. Gov’t grants Microsoft’s request for imports probe

Horacio Gutierrez, a Microsoft vice president, said the company filed its request with the ITC last month after trying unsuccessfully for several years to reach a patent licensing agreement with Primax.

The ITC performs economic research on trade agreements and investigates unfair trade practices. The agency has the authority to bar imports that infringe U.S. patents and trademarks.

2. “ITC Will Hear Microsoft Complaint Against Taiwanese Co.

The U.S. International Trade Commission will investigate a patent infringement complaint filed by Microsoft against a Taiwanese company.

In the complaint filed July 30, Microsoft alleges that Primax Electronics infringes the software giant’s patents used in peripherals including keyboards and mice. Microsoft is asking the ITC to ban the importation of the products.

3. Microsoft achieves U.S. review of mouse complaint

At the end of the day, Microsoft pretends to be just a poor and innocent victim in a messy system. That’s not the case. Also noteworthy is the fact that Microsoft targets a Taiwanese company only a week and half after Taiwan had filed a formal complaint against Microsoft.

The ‘Page Up’/’Page Down’ patent from Microsoft was mentioned in [1, 2, 3]. This is so utterly ridiculous that the press is still paying attention to it.

Microsoft has been granted a patent on ‘Page Up’ and ‘Page Down’ keystrokes.

[...]

Microsoft has a long history of applying for, and being granted patents for, inventions that many argue — and can sometimes demonstrate — were based on earlier work carried out by others, or based on a common, self-evident idea.

More in John Dvorak’s blog.

Microsoft has a new business model, and it ain’t about fixing Vista or just marketing it aggressively. It’s likely to do with litigation, either directly or by proxy.

Nathan Myhrvold

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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. EPO Continues to Grant Hundreds of Thousands of Illegal Software Patents and the Media Doesn't Care

    The only thing worse than the EPO intentionally ignoring courts, Parliament, the EPC and so on is how corporate media and blogs controlled by law firms simply don't care or actively cheer for that



  2. Greenwashing to Distract From the EPO Breaking the Law, Rigging Justice and Its Own Courts

    The so-called 'Haar case' ends as expected; the EPO won't even deal with the question of legality, instead throwing it aside as "inadmissible" while bombarding the media with puff pieces about being "ethical", "social" and now "green"



  3. Linux.com Has Become a Microsoft Promotion Site Under Linux Foundation-Appointed Staff

    The sole editor of Linux.com (after the layoffs of all staff) is a 'true believer' in the 'new' Microsoft and one who uses Linux.com to promote his personal site where he offers PR services



  4. Links 22/7/2019: SUSE Gets CEO From SAP, MuQSS 0.193 Scheduler, VLC Bug

    Links for the day



  5. Links 22/7/2019: Linux 5.3 RC1, GNU Hyperbole 7.0.3, DebConf19

    Links for the day



  6. Don't Kick the Puppy That is Suing Linux Using Patents While Bribing Officials, Threatening Critics and Hijacking the Linux Foundation

    Jim Zemlin is protecting the "puppy" (to use his own analogy), Microsoft, while getting paid about/almost a million dollars per year (about the same amount of money Microsoft pays his PAC)



  7. EPO Gradually Becoming the World's Most Permissive (Low Patent Quality) Patent Office by Consciously Violating the EPC

    Today's European Patent Office is making innovation a lot harder for Europeans; it limits what people can freely do, e.g. what computer code they can implement, and only lawyers are loving it



  8. Tweets Are Not Journalism But Succinct Unverified Hearsay; Time to Treat Them Accordingly

    Childish public discourse can be attributed to SMS-sized nonsense posted in a hurry by career provocateurs, not grown-ups (becoming a waste of time for actual reporters who spend hours/days correcting the record after these go 'viral'); this is killing responsible journalism, necessitating a rethink



  9. The Web is Not JavaScript

    Simple sites respect visitors; rather than and instead of exploiting them or passing burdens to user-end browsers we should focus on text and links — the very core components of hypertext as opposed to bells and whistles



  10. Links 21/7/2019: DXVK 1.3.1, GameMode, Mutter 3.33.4

    Links for the day



  11. Links 20/7/2019: Weston 7.0 Alpha, Nageru 1.9.0

    Links for the day



  12. Companies That Collapse Because the European Patent Office (EPO) Gave Them Fake Patents in a Hurry

    False hopes and false promises won’t do any favours to European Patents, whose legal certainty suffers because Campinos and Battistelli measure nothing but ‘production’ (quantity) rather than quality of patents



  13. Slack Committed a Very Major Crime That Can Cost Many Billions If Not Trillions in Damages for Years to Come

    The inevitable has happened to Slack, which no longer deserves to exist as a company; moreover, the people who ran the company must be held criminally accountable



  14. Demand for European Patents Will Continue to Decrease If a Lot of European Patents Turn Out to be Invalid, Worthless

    The EPO's abandonment of patent justice and quality (in pursuit of so-called 'production' targets) is likely to doom the Office as the whole or render it vastly less relevant to the rest of the world



  15. 35 U.S.C. § 101 Still in Tact in the United States and Software Patents Rot Away

    The United States, where the number of granted patents decreased last year, becomes more productive; there are more signs that patent maximalism (patent litigation, patent scope etc.) has receded



  16. Links 19/7/2019: Deepin 15.11 and GNU/Linux Back on GPD MicroPC

    Links for the day



  17. Violence is Not Free Speech and Laws Exist Against Violence

    Free speech is certainly under attack and the debate is being framed within the context of Nazism; but this overlooks the fact that there are actual death threats and calls for genocide in the mix



  18. Links 19/7/2019: Oracle Linux 8.0, Latte Dock 0.9 Beta and PCLinuxOS KDE Darkstar 2019.07

    Links for the day



  19. Why Does Jim Zemlin Publicly Congratulate Microsoft?

    The signs aren't particularly encouraging when one considers that the leadership of the Linux Foundation is a fan of Microsoft and sometimes connected to Microsoft



  20. 2 Days Later (Case in Progress) and Still Media Silence About G 2/19

    The very legitimacy of years' worth of rulings and the EPO's abusive attacks on judges are under the microscope; but the media isn't paying any attention, perhaps deliberately



  21. The 'Linux' Foundation is Acting Like a Microsoft ISV Now, Commitment to Linux and FOSS Deteriorates Even Further

    The Linux Foundation has just announced a new Microsoft-funded initiative that's pushing GitHub and CLAs (passing copyrights on code to corporations)



  22. Links 18/7/2019: OPNsense 19.7, Krita 4.2.3 and KDevelop 5.3.3 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Index: G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)

    G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)



  24. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 4: G 2/19 - Faites Vos Jeux…

    "Josefsson needs to bring in the “desired result” for his political masters in the Administrative Council if he wants to be in with a chance of reappointment."



  25. Media Not Interested in G 2/19, Which Demonstrates Patent Justice is Nowadays Impossible at the EPO

    The EPO spreads patent injustices to other countries and courts; the media is miraculously enough not interested, almost as though there's a coordinated blackout



  26. Librethreat Database Updated

    Database which keeps track of variants of attack vectors on Free/libre software now includes two more forms of threat



  27. A Look Back (and Forward) at Friendly Programming

    Historical perspective on computer languages and how to do better



  28. Red Hat's Freedom Reduced to Just Online Partner Enablement Network (OPEN) and Microsoft as a Close Partner; Canonical's Ubuntu Just an 'App' for Windows?

    Free software is being snapped up by proprietary software giants and patent bullies that treat it as little more than an 'add-on' for their proprietary offerings



  29. Linux Foundation Apparently Celebrates Sysadmin Day With a Microsoft Windows Site!

    The Linux Foundation shows ‘love’ to actual GNU/Linux (the real thing) by apparently rejecting it and badmouthing it



  30. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 3: The Legal Line-up for G 2/19

    The deck appears to have already been stacked for G 2/19, a decision on EPO judges' exile to Haar (veiled disciplinary action/collective punishment by those whom the judges are supposed to 'oversee')


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