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. Links 21/5/2019: China's GAFAM Exit, DragonFlyBSD 5.4.3

    Links for the day



  2. Links 20/5/2019: Linux 5.2 RC1, LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha, DXVK 1.2.1, Bison 3.4 Released

    Links for the day



  3. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  4. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  5. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  6. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  7. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  8. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  9. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  10. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  11. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  12. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  13. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  14. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  15. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day



  16. False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

    Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions



  17. The Race to the Bottom of Patent Quality at the EPO

    The EPO has become more like a rubber-stamper than a patent office — a fact that worries senior staff who witnessed this gradual and troublesome transition (from quality to raw quantity)



  18. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 2: Meet the Kötters

    An introduction to the Kötter Group, the private security conglomerate which is lined up for the award of a juicy EUR 30 million contract for the provision of security services at the EPO



  19. Links 14/5/2019: Red Hat Satellite 6.5, NVIDIA 430.14 Linux Driver and New Security Bug (MDS)

    Links for the day



  20. Links 14/5/2019: GNU/Linux in Kerala, DXVK 1.2, KDE Frameworks 5.58.0 Released

    Links for the day



  21. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 1: Urgent Shitstorm Alert

    Experts at the European Patent Office's (EPO) weather observation station have just issued an urgent alert warning about a major shitstorm looming on the horizon



  22. Patents That Were Gleefully Granted by the EPO Continue to Perish in Courts

    The decreasing quality of granted European Patents already becomes a growing problem if not a crisis of uncertainty



  23. Links 13/5/2019: ExTiX 19.5 and GNU Radio Conference 2019

    Links for the day



  24. The Microsoft Guide to the Open Source Galaxy

    Thou shalt not...



  25. Microsoft Would Kill the Goose for Money

    Microsoft is just 'monetising' Open Source by using it as 'bait' for Microsoft's proprietary software; those who we might expect to antagonise this have effectively been bribed by Microsoft



  26. Links 13/5/2019: Nanonote 1.2.0, OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 RC, and GNUnet 0.11.4

    Links for the day



  27. Professionally Incompetent EPO Management

    The EPO remains an awful employer, with top-level management largely responsible for the loss of talent and even money



  28. Links 12/5/2019: Linux 5.1.1, GDB 8.3, KStars 3.2.2 Released

    Links for the day



  29. Did Battistelli 'Steal' ~$100,000,000 Euros From the EPO?

    While enjoying diplomatic immunity the thug from CEIPI (who is back at the EPO as a jurist) passed millions if not billions (over the long run) in liabilities; this was done with total and inexcusable impunity, no effective oversight



  30. The Biased EPO Does Not Want to Hear From Anyone Except Those Who Pay the EPO

    The EPO's corruption and violations of the law are a threat to everyone in the world; the EPO only ever listens to those who pay for "access" or those who embrace the "religion" of the EPO


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