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

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. When Proprietary Software Users Dictate the Freedom-Leaning Communities

    Fedora doesn't care about software freedom and its steward (or parent company) is sometimes imposing proprietary software on staff; they've quit caring



  2. In 2020 Onwards 'Open Source' is Just a Marketing Ploy of Monopolies, Unlike Free Software

    More people are nowadays seeing or witnessing 'Open Source' for what it truly is; the term has become a misleading marketing term of proprietary software firms looking to rebrand as "ethical" (e.g. by sharing some code with other proprietary software firms, over proprietary platforms such as GitHub)



  3. Microsoft: The Year After We Bought GitHub There Was a Significant Decline in Number of New Projects on GitHub

    Microsoft has just admitted that in 2019 GitHub saw a very significant decline in number of new projects (and users, which it is conveniently miscounting by adding 'phantom' ones) on the site. Just what we had heard before they confirmed it (and they foresaw this effect of the takeover, hence the lies about "loving" Linux).



  4. Social Control Media is a Passing Fad, We Should All Go Back to Blogging and Subscribing to RSS Feeds

    The whole "social control media" phenomenon has been oversold or promoted using lies; in reality, as a mountain of evidence serves to show, it's a way to manage society at a macro scale



  5. As Andrei Iancu Removes Himself From the Patent and Trademark Office All Eyes Are on Biden's Next Nomination

    Patent zealots and their front groups already lobby Joe Biden to put one of them in charge of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; we'll soon see if Joe Biden "means business" or simply means monopoly/large corporations (and their law firms/departments)



  6. Data Point: GNU/Linux Share in Desktops/Laptops Nearly Tripled in the Past Decade, Peaking This Past Month (All-Time High)

    Contrary to what some publishers try to tell us, GNU/Linux is still growing and mostly at the expense of Windows



  7. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 23, 2021



  8. Links 24/1/2021: Nouveau X.Org Driver Release and GhostBSD 21.01.20

    Links for the day



  9. InteLeaks – Part XXX: Harbor Research's Pseudo-scientific 'Research' for Intel, Bizarrely Suggesting a Microsoft Partnership for a Domain Largely Controlled or Dominated by Linux

    The full document that Intel paid for and in turn used to justify cracking down on Free software (obliterating Free software-based workflows inside Intel), instead outsourcing all sorts of things to proprietary software traps of Microsoft



  10. Chromium and Chrome Are Not Free Software But an Example of Microsoft-Fashioned Openwashing Tactics

    It's time to reject Google's Web monopoly (shared with other companies but still an oligopoly); removing its Web browser would be a good start



  11. Links 23/1/2021: Chromium Pains and New Debian Maintainers

    Links for the day



  12. InteLeaks – Part XXIX: Harbor Research Did Not Produce a Study But an Elaborate Hoax for Intel, Suggesting Microsoft Partnership and Outsourcing Based on Zero Evidence and No Solid Rationale

    The pseudo-scientific ‘report’ from Harbor Research is more of the same nonsense we’ve grown accustomed to; unethical if not rogue firms are being paid to lie — or to perpetuate falsehoods which someone stands to gain from



  13. Video: The State of Communities Surrounding GNU/Linux Distributions

    A discussion about the state of volunteer efforts going into the development, maintenance (in the 'maintainership' sense) and support/advocacy of GNU/Linux distros



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, January 22, 2021



  15. InteLeaks – Part XXVIII: Intel Served Report From Microsoft Boosters, Who Provide No Actual Evidence and No Science to Back Their Supposed 'Findings'

    Findings and recommendations from Harbor 'Research' aren't based on any scientific methods, just perceived loyalty, branding, and a bunch of unsourced quotes (from unnamed people with ridiculous job titles like a soup of buzzwords)



  16. Erosion of Communities, Ascent of Corporate-Industrial Fake Communities

    Despite the attempts to manipulate/trick developers (and sometimes users) into becoming unpaid workforce of for-profit companies, there's an exodus back to real communities, which aren't subjected to the fury of wealthy shareholders who utterly dislike or simply don't care for software freedom



  17. The Corporate 'Left' and the Open Source Pseudo 'Movement'

    President Biden may not be as bad as his predecessor, but that hardly means very much; software freedom is still threatened, along with many other things



  18. Links 22/1/2021: pfSense Plus, Endless OS Foundation, and Many Laptops With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  19. The Linux Foundation is Trying to Obscure Racism Using Microsoft-Inspired Tactics (Vouchers Disguised as Actual Money)

    The Linux Foundation and its PR stunts don’t help combat racism; one might argue that the Foundation is leveraging racism, which prevails in the US, to paint itself as benevolent and caring (offering immaterial things and self-serving press releases)



  20. InteLeaks – Part XXVII: 'Pulling a Nokia' on Intel (Outsourcing to Microsoft)

    The recommendation of an Intel marriage with Microsoft (even in units that deal mostly with Linux) is an insulting slap across the face of developers employed there; we take a look at recommendations made to IoTG (Intel) by a firm with Microsoft orientation



  21. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 21, 2021



  22. InteLeaks – Part XXVI: Harbor Research is Horrible 'Research', Lacking Actual Technical Background

    Having looked at the members of staff of Harbor Research (individually), it seems clearer now why they have an affinity for Microsoft and why they're directing Intel to liaise with Microsoft and become a prisoner of Microsoft (even in areas where Microsoft is increasingly irrelevant)



  23. Links 21/1/2021: Raspberry Pi Pico, Ubuntu 21.04 Picks GNOME 3.38, KDE Plasma 5.21 Beta

    Links for the day



  24. How a Newly Inaugurated President Biden Can Advance Software Freedom (If He Actually Wishes to Do So)

    Techrights has 'Four Suggestions' to President Biden, the 46th 'front end' of American plutocracy



  25. InteLeaks – Part XXV: Intel's Brain Drain Leads to Unusual Measures

    As the company once known as 'chipzilla' loses its relevance and dominance in the market it's reaching out to retired people, trying to get them back onboard



  26. Hey Hi (AI) is Just a Trojan Horse for Illegal Software Patents, According to EPO Management and Litigation Firms It's in Bed With

    The longtime pushers or the lobby of patent profiteers just carry on pushing for software patents, nowadays latching onto the inane and unwarranted media hype around Hey Hi (AI) — a hype wave that was co-opted by EPO management to grant unlawful patents



  27. The Central Staff Representatives (CSC) of the EPO Are Petitioning to End the Assault on EPO Staff

    The EPO, just one month after the staff went on strike, is about to receive a compelling petition to stop the assault on EPO staff



  28. InteLeaks – Part XXIV: Love for Microsoft, Not for Free Software or Whatever Replaces Microsoft

    Intel is basing its big decisions on buzzwords and firms that master buzzwords; it's sad that instead of listening to Intel's own (in-house) engineers it's relying on a bunch of clowns who push 'Clown Computing' and 'apps' and 'UX'...



  29. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 20, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 20, 2021



  30. Links 21/1/2021: Google Tightens the Screws on Chromium, VideoLAN VLC 3.0.12

    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