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

09.06.08

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 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 26/12/2014: Devuan in the News, New PCLinuxOS

    Links for the day



  2. Links 23/12/2014: Updates on GNU/Linux in China and N. Korea

    Links for the day



  3. Links 22/12/2014: GNU/Linux at Sky News, Another Tizen Camera

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: November 30th, 2014 – December 20th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  5. Links 21/12/2014: China and Linux, GNOME Shell 3.15.3

    Links for the day



  6. The New Age of Games for UNIX/Linux But Not for Windows, Microsoft is Openwashing Windows-Only Games

    The world is moving to GNU- and Linux-powered platforms, so Microsoft withdraws GNU/Linux support from games it buys and starts openwashing its Windows-only games



  7. Microsoft Essentially Sends Malware to Windows and Bricks It

    Microsoft is once again bricking Vista 7, demonstrating lack of reliability or very low quality programming



  8. Microsoft Lays Off Staff, Cheapens Labour as More Companies Are Dumping Microsoft's Lock-in, NSA-Friendly Services, and Windows

    A look at some of Microsoft's latest woes, including an appeal for cheaper labour amid decrease in business



  9. Links 19/12/2014: Robolinux 7.7.1 LXDE, Red Hat Thriving

    Links for the day



  10. Another Microsoft Partner Markets Linux FUD Using Logo, Name, and Lies

    Microsoft's partner Alert Logic is trying to label a feature of Linux a security flaw and even makes marketing buzz for it



  11. Redmonk is Spreading Black Duck's Anti-GPL Talking Points After Payments From Black Duck, Microsoft

    CBS' ZDNet spreads the GNU-hostile narrative which comes from Redmonk, funded by Microsoft and Black Duck, citing Black Duck, which also comes from Microsoft and is a partner of Microsoft



  12. 'Good' Software Patents From EA Show Cases Where DRM is a Patent Infringement

    Where two evils collide the public benefits, or how some software patents discourage the use of DRM



  13. Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

    New article from Richard Stallman



  14. Links 18/12/2014: LinuxQuestions.org Polls, Fedora for POWER

    Links for the day



  15. Links 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  16. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  17. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  18. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  19. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  20. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  21. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  22. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  23. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  24. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  25. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  26. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  27. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  28. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  29. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  30. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts