09.06.08

Gemini version available ♊︎

Patents News: Philips Pirates, Candidates Wants Reform, Trolls Still on the Loose

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

With Patent Pirates Like Philips, Who Needs WIPO?

Patent Pirates shall be a term which refers to large companies that attack smaller ones with the help of armed “pirates”; this is not to confused with patent sharks, also sometimes referred to as patent trolls. If big companies are allowed to daemonise sharing of knowledge or information using words like “pirates”, why can’t we?

The racketeers from Sisvel [1, 2, 3] may soon be served some justice for taking the law into their own hands. This blow-your-kneecaps-or-pay-for-patents firm may have its proprietor, Philips, be taken to court for its illegal (never mind excessively aggressive) raids on potentially-legitimate products.

Electronics giant Philips is being threatened with legal action following raids at a major German trade fair sparked by Sisvel, the Italian licensing company. Sisvel. which administers patents related to MP3 technology on behalf of a number of companies including Philips, asked German customs authorities to take action against a group of exhibitors at the fair, claiming that products they had on show were infringing.

If a lesson is worth learning here, it is the lesson that large companies like Philips do their ‘dirty work’ via proxies that have no products and hardly even a public face. Recall Microsoft and those Microsoft-occupied shell companies like Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] and Intellectual Ventures [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Crisis of Intellectual Monopolies

Whereas McCain seems likely to encourage more of the same [1, 2], the following post suggests that both presidential candidates want a patent reform.

Intellectual property advisors to both US presidential candidates have said that the US patent system is in need of reform. The advisors told a meeting at last week’s Democratic Conference that patent quality must be improved.

Perhaps it’s true that there will be a reform. Maybe a reform for the worse (a deform), assuming AT&T’s desires are eventually fulfilled.

It’s interesting that AT&T is bragging about its pursuit of “more patents” rather than, say, more R&D spending or more innovation. AT&T isn’t exactly known for its record of high-tech innovation, so it’s a little surprising to see it hold itself out as a poster child for the patent system—particularly when we remember that AT&T and other telco incumbents have used the patent system to extort tens of millions of dollars from companies like Vonage that are actually innovating.

AT&T for patents

Free Software Magazine has this good new article about the adversities at play.

Intellectual freedom versus intellectual property

The liberation of information has been going on for a long time: one might say for all of human history, as history itself is one of the oldest forms of information sharing. There are several major landmarks dotting that course, which I might point to: the invention of spoken language, of writing, of ink and paper, of block printing, movable type printing, digital typesetting, electronic distribution, and most recently, the internet.

Each of these steps has produced an opening up in the exchange of information, resulting in more efficient technological progress, followed by additional steps in increasing our communications abilities. These steps have been associated closely with massive and rapid improvements in science, health, and standard of living, for most of human history. And, despite post-modernist angst, the reality is that there aren’t many of us who would genuinely trade our present lifestyle for that of our ancestors: especially if we consider the additional pressures imposed by population growth.

Bad, Bad Software Patents

Watch how the TiVo patents saga unfolds. With its software patents used offensively, TiVo is clearly no friend of Free software, despite its adoption of the Linux kernel. [via Digital Majority]

Another change is that TiVo won a key lawsuit against Dish Networks. In that lawsuit, a federal court ruled that Dish’s recording devices infringe TiVo software patents. In fact, a hearing begins Thursday in federal district court in the Eastern District of Texas on how the penalties against Dish will be enforced.

Another integral part of this problem is Amazon, which has been awarded a patent on a bunch of nonsense. Tech Dirt has the dirt on Amazon:

theodp writes “Amazon was awarded a patent Tuesday for its Interactive Time-Limited Merchandising Program and Method for Improved Online Cross-Selling, which appears to be lawyer-speak for presenting customers with one limited-time offer after another until they finally bite on one or decline them all. So be careful – the next time you offer folks 10% off on a garden rake if they purchase it within sixty minutes after declining to buy a saucepan, you could be guilty of patent infringement!”

At a lower scale, the Sheldon Goldberg troll [1, 2, 3] is still keeping busy.

Patent Troll Strikes Again! Targets: AOL, Digg, Google, and Yahoo!

They’re all targets in a lawsuit filed by a Mr Sheldon Goldberg, a patent-bearer who’s infamy as a conniving troll stretches back to 2004, when he began to go after companies for purportedly infringing on a couple of his holdings. His aim: to seek legal (and financial) restitution for all things solitaire related. Or most all things, anyway.

Yes, you read it right. Solitaire. The still-phenomenally-popular card game. That’s his beef.

More patent troll ammunition is up for sale. It’s funny to see how it’s being marketed.

“In addition to the pay-per-call application, our click-to-call
patented technology has many other applications, including but not limited
to search-engine-results, online directories, websites, advertising
banners, auction-site postings, branded desktop buttons, and any
communication delivered via email such as newsletters, statements, order
confirmations, opt-in email campaigns, all part of the online advertising
world. Our patent protection goes back to May 1999. Our portfolio of
patents claims the front end to any ‘click-to-call’ transaction, no matter
where the ‘click-to-call’ technology is utilized,” says Liebster.

So here they are. Thriving in a broken system that nobody really wants, yet nobody wants to repair, either; promises alone don’t repair a system. Is implosion the only way out of this?

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Taking Back Control or Seizing Autonomy Over the News Cycle (Informing People, Culling the Marketing)





  2. Reality Versus Fiction: EPO Insiders Versus EPO Web Site and UPC 'Churnalists'

    The "official" sources of the European Patent Office (EPO), as well as the sedated "media" that the EPO is bribing for further bias, cannot tell the truth about this very large institution; for proper examination of Europe's largest patent office one must pursue the interpretation by longtime veterans and insiders, who are increasingly upset and abused (they're being pressured to grant patents in violation of the charter of the EPO)



  3. Links 06/02/2023: Linux 6.2 RC7 and Fatal Earthquake

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 05, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 05, 2023



  5. Links 05/02/2023: Wayland in Bookworm and xvidtune 1.0.4

    Links for the day



  6. Links 05/02/2023: Pakistan Blocks Wikipedia, Musharraf Dies

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 04, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 04, 2023



  8. Links 04/02/2023: FOSDEM Happening and Ken Thompson in SoCal Linux Expo

    Links for the day



  9. 2023 is the Year Taxpayers' Money Goes to War and Energy Subsidies, Not Tech

    Now that a lot of powerful and omnipresent ‘tech’ (spying and policing) companies are rotting away we have golden opportunities to bring about positive change and maybe even recruit technical people for good causes



  10. Getting Back to Productive Computer Systems Would Benefit Public Health and Not Just Boost Productivity

    “Smartphoneshame” (shaming an unhealthy culture of obsession with “apps”) would potentially bring about a better, more sociable society with fewer mental health crises and higher productivity levels



  11. Links 04/02/2023: This Week in KDE and Many More Tech Layoffs

    Links for the day



  12. Dotcom Boom and Bust, Round 2

    The age of technology giants/monopolies devouring everything or military-funded (i.e. taxpayers-subsidised) surveillance/censorship tentacles, in effect privatised eyes of the state, may be ending; the United States can barely sustain that anymore and raising the debt ceiling won't solve that (buying time isn't the solution)



  13. Society Would Benefit From a Smartphoneshame Movement

    In a society plagued by blackmail, surveillance and frivolous lawsuits it is important to reconsider the notion of “smart” phone ownership; these devices give potentially authoritarian companies and governments far too much power over people (in the EU they want to introduce new legislation that would, in effect, ban Free software if it enables true privacy)



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 03, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, February 03, 2023



  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 02, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 02, 2023



  16. Links 03/02/2023: Proton 7.0-6 Released, ScummVM 2.7 Testing

    Links for the day



  17. Links 03/02/2023: OpenSSH 9.2 and OBS Studio 29.0.1

    Links for the day



  18. Links 03/02/2023: GNU C Library 2.37

    Links for the day



  19. Sirius Finished

    Yesterday I was sent a letter approving my resignation from Sirius ‘Open Source’, two months after I had already announced that I was resigning with immediate effect; they sent an identical letter to my wife (this time, unlike before, they remembered to also change the names!!)



  20. The Collapse of Sirius in a Nutshell: How to Identify the Symptoms and Decide When to Leave

    Sirius is finished, but it's important to share the lessons learned with other people; there might be other "pretenders" out there and they need to be abandoned



  21. Links 03/02/2023: WINE 8.1 and RapidDisk 9.0.0

    Links for the day



  22. Links 02/02/2023: KDE Gear 22.12.2 and LibreOffice 7.5

    Links for the day



  23. Linux News or Marketing Platform?

    Ads everywhere: Phoronix puts them at the top, bottom, navigation bar, left, and right just to read some Microsoft junk (puff pieces about something that nobody other than Microsoft even uses); in addition there are pop-ups asking for consent to send visitors’ data to hundreds of data brokers



  24. Daily Links at Techrights Turn 15, Time to Give Them an Upgrade

    This year we have several 15-year anniversaries; one of them is Daily Links (it turned 15 earlier this week) and we've been working to improve these batches of links, making them a lot more extensive and somewhat better structured/clustered



  25. Back to Focusing on Unified Patent Court (UPC) Crimes and Illegal Patent Agenda, Including the EPO's

    The EPO's (European Patent Office, Europe's second-largest institution) violations of constitutions, laws and so on merit more coverage, seeing that what's left of the "media" not only fails to cover scandalous things but is actively cheering for criminals (in exchange for money)



  26. European Patent Office Staff Votes in Favour of Freedom of Association (97% of Voters in Support)

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) at the EPO makes a strong case for António Campinos to stop breaking and law and actually start obeying court orders (he’s no better than Benoît Battistelli and he uses worse language already)



  27. Links 02/02/2023: Glibc 2.37 and Go 1.20

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 01, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 01, 2023



  29. Links 01/02/2023: Security Problems, Unrest, and More

    Links for the day



  30. Links 01/02/2023: Stables Kernels and Upcoming COSMIC From System76

    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