12.18.08

Patents Roundup: Microsoft’s Intellectual ‘Welfare’, Litigation Rising, Abuse Beyond USPTO

Posted in America, Courtroom, Europe, Law, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 8:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft and Intellectual Monopolies

Some readers might still remember how Microsoft extorted a company, urging it to pay for intellectual monopolies. There were even threats of an embargo, which showed that Microsoft is a patent aggressor. Well, that’s resolved now, probably meaning that Microsoft will be paid for products it has nothing to do with. They essentially use patents as a welfare programme.

Microsoft and Primax Electronics Ltd. of Taiwan say they’ve reached a licensing deal over the Redmond company’s patented mouse technologies, resolving a complaint that Microsoft filed this summer with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

[...]

Separately, Microsoft yesterday settled a series of longstanding patent disputes with Alcatel-Lucent.

The Alcatel-Lucent tiff with Microsoft has gone on for quite some time [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and they seem to have just reached a secret settlement.

Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, and Alcatel-Lucent settled most of their patent litigation, officials of the two companies said Tuesday.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The agreement covers six lawsuits, including one that resulted in the largest patent verdict in U.S. history before it was thrown out by a judge. Microsoft will continue its appeal of a $368 million verdict it lost that swelled to $511.6 million in June, the companies said.

The companies have been fighting since 2002 when Lucent, then a standalone concern, began demanding royalties from Microsoft customers Gateway and Dell over features in the Microsoft Windows operating system. A federal jury in San Diego in one case awarded Alcatel $1.52 billion – the largest patent verdict ever – over digital music technology.

Patent Mess Getting Worse

TechDirt let its readers know that Stanford had created a valuable source that’s a database of patent litigation.

Over at Stanford, some law professors have been putting together a database of IP litigation from the past few years, called the Stanford IP Litigation Clearinghouse. The Law.com article claims that there are “surprising” facts already coming out of the database, but they don’t seem to be any different than what’s been known for a while (specifically, that the number of patent lawsuits has been relatively constant over the past few years).

Here is the article that looks at some numbers.

It’s not true that patent infringement suits are going through the roof — filings have held steady for eight years — but there are a whole lot more defendants out there looking for lawyers.

While many IP litigators have been busier in the past few years, the actual number of infringement suits has hovered between 2,300 and 2,800 a year. But in 2007, the number of defendants named in these cases jumped from around 6,000 in 2006 to 9,000 (see PDF chart; registration required).

That’s just one of the facts revealed by Stanford Law School’s Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse, a searchable online database unveiled Monday evening that tracks all patent cases since 2000. Offering hard statistics on trends, from how many suits have been filed to how plaintiffs fare in front of a particular judge, the clearinghouse is being greeted enthusiastically by lawyers.

So, all in all, it’s getting worse. Lawsuits are not a sign of success but a sign of unnecessary friction and distraction. Another new lawsuit has just hit eBay, which is part of the coalition to end software patents. [via Digital Majority]

Netcraft sued eBay and PayPal for infringement of its patents that cover an “internet billing method.” During claim construction, the Western District of Wisconsin found that the limitation of “providing a communications link through equipment of the third party” requires that an infringer “provid[e] customers with internet access.” Of course, eBay and PayPal do not provide internet access.

Here is a redundant lawsuit being dropped:

In July this year Hasbro set the legal dogs on Scrabulous, the popular Facebook-based Scrabble knock-off, saying it infringed on the intellectual property rights of the board game.

[...]

Scrabulous was later removed from Facebook, following a DMCA take-down order from Hasbro.

Europe

Software patents protest against EPO

Trademark laws can be abused too. We mentioned this one example the other day and it turns out that the EU won’t quite permit this. In fact, the push to end the pro-software patents lobbies in Europe persists as well, so intellectual monopolies as a whole are being challenged.

What will it be in the United Kingdom after Nokia/Symbian did its damage?

Following a recent legal appeal by mobile phone OS vendor (and now Nokia subsidiary), Symbian, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has just issued a practice note relating to software patentability that, according to patent attorneys, still does not bring the UK fully in line with Europe, in spite of a recent court case that suggested the IPO should change its previous practice.

We always have Nokia to blame, but had it not been Symbian, maybe it would be something or someone else.

What Lies Ahead

We wrote about “Linux Defenders” before, mostly to remark that it’s challenging players in the system rather than the system itself [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Here is some more coverage that we didn’t see before:

We ought to have the interview with OIN real soon now.

The monopolists and their cronies are devising a mechanism even worse than patents and copyrights to marginalise the masses and empower the MAFIAA monopolies. It’s an appalling case of people elected by the people (politicians) secretly meeting other rich people behind closed door to conspire against the very same people who voted for them. The ACTA is a crime against society, which is why it’s kept so low-profile [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]. It will remain under the wraps until it’s impossible to protest against it or reverse this crime.

“DRM is nearly always the result of a conspiracy of companies to restrict the technology available to the public. Such conspiracy should be a crime, and the executives responsible for it should be sentenced to prison.”

Richard Stallman

Fortunately, people are beginning to voice some concerns and express skepticism about the ACTA over at the Internet Governance Forum.

The third annual United Nations-led Internet Governance Forum in Hyderabad, India this month addressed a range of topics related to intellectual property rights and the free flow of information, and provided a venue for doubts about a closed-door international anti-counterfeiting treaty negotiation being led by the United States and Japan.

The proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) intended to align governments in their fights against illicit trade, might have the effect of stopping more positive developments in intellectual property law that emerged over the last year, warned Eddan Katz, international affairs director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Developments related to IP were presented in several workshops by the dynamic coalitions on access to knowledge and open standards. Once again IP issues did not make it to the main sessions of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and IP was not mentioned more than three or four times in the main sessions rather ephemerally, with the exception of ACTA.

Brazilian diplomat Everton Lucero in a main session warned against ACTA as a negative example of the contrary to what is seen as the major success model of the IGF: multi-stakeholder cooperation between governments, industry and civil society and also the so-called “enhanced cooperation.” “In fact [ACTA] is the worst example,” Lucero told Intellectual Property Watch.

Tell people about the ACTA. The media does not cover this because it’s controlled by the very same media companies that are committing this crime against the people.

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. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 24, 2020



  2. Making JavaScript Suck Less

    "Other than that, the first rule of JavaScript is: Do not use JavaScript. But this article is for people who break the first rule."



  3. Microsoft 'Moles' Inside WINE Project? WINE Should Bring Windows Users to GNU/Linux, Not the Other Way Around.

    The press release above (link omitted, it was pinned in several sites) is a cause for concern; after Microsoft infiltrated OSI and the Linux Foundation (both are now GitHub boosters, in effect diverting projects to Microsoft’s proprietary monopoly) it’ll be important to watch this space



  4. Links 25/11/2020: Raspberry Pi 400 With Touchscreens, Animation Framework in GTK/GNOME

    Links for the day



  5. [Meme] Things Will Get Amusing When/If EPO Proceedings Are Cancelled Due to Patent Trolls Suing the Platforms Using Software Patents (Granted by the EPO)

    The management of the EPO is so proud to be granting illegal software patents in Europe; this clear abuse of authority can come back to bite it in the rear



  6. Dr. Bausch Questions the Merits and Claims of EPO Management Regarding ViCo ('Skynet' Virtual 'Courts')

    Few courageous attorneys are willing to speak out about (and against) what EPO management is doing right now, in effect exploiting a public health crisis to override the law, spy on lots of people, outsource legal proceedings to the United States and so on



  7. Links 24/11/2020: Linux 5.9.11, Istio 1.6.14 and LibreOffice 7.1 Beta Released

    Links for the day



  8. Lots of Good News Today

    A quick roundup of news and key developments; most of them are positive and they give us hope



  9. Massive Collective Action Begins at the European Patent Office Today, Demanding Change and Forewarning the Management (Litigation)

    The financial "hoax" at the EPO (taking away money from staff to feed a gambling addiction of managers) needs to stop; staff has begun mass-mailing the management, threatening legal action



  10. EPO Management is Still Distracting From the 'Elephant in the Room' by Corrupting Media and Academia

    Under the EPO's dictatorship the law is being routinely violated; in order for the public to not pay attention or receive mixed messages (resulting in confusion) the EPO is manufacturing so-called 'studies' (which patent offices aren't supposed to do; they should focus on patent-granting while complying with the law)



  11. EPO's Central Staff Committee on Latest Meeting With Office Dictator: “No Meaningful Discussion Could Take Place.”

    Whilst allegedly preparing legal action the staff representatives at the EPO report on the lack of progress after so-called 'dialogues' (merely a false impression of consultation)



  12. Growing Concerns That EPO Staff Has Been Placed Under de Facto House Arrest by an Entirely Unaccountable Office

    "House arrest" is excessive and disproportionate. So says the Central Staff Committee of Europe's second-largest institution (which surprisingly enough the media is failing to properly study and investigate) as it highlights yet more human rights violations.



  13. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, November 23, 2020



  14. Internal Error: Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent Incompatible With the Constitution and Basic Laws

    The FFII has issued a statement for Members of the Bundestag, Members of the European Parliament, Members of the Council, German Presidency of the EU, Chancellor Merkel, Commissioner Von Der Leyen, Commissioner Reynders, and Battistelli's buddy Breton



  15. The EPO is Using Hype Wave and Buzzword to Promote Illegal Software Patents in a So-Called “Digital Conference”

    The "HEY HI" or "AI" hype is misused by the Office; not just in person but also in webstreams, which basically serve as a vehicle for illegal agenda



  16. Dutch Delegation and German Delegation at the Administrative Council of the EPO Upset at the Office for Secrecy, Working Behind the Scenes to Crush Productive Staff

    Less than halfway through his term at the Office, Battistelli's buddy already faces growing criticism and, according to the Central Staff Committee, he "was emotionally affected by the intervention such that he was not able to effectively reply to the questions of the delegates."



  17. Links 23/11/2020: GNU Guix 1.2.0, Evaluating Precursor’s Hardware Security, Kdenlive 20.08.3, Kodi 19.x Beta, Vulkan 1.2.162

    Links for the day



  18. Links 23/11/2020: Linux 5.10-rc5, GIMP Turns 25, 4MLinux 34.2, Escuelas Linux 6.11, MPV Player 0.33

    Links for the day



  19. How to Put on Airs of Professionalism Like a Boss

    "Boardroom suits are not meant to be flashy, but to conform. Simple lines and smart ties -- the opposite of what Richard Stallman would wear, show that you are either a well-machined cog or a serious adversary."



  20. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 22, 2020



  21. Legal Action at the European Patent Office (EPO) Leveraged Against Management... for Robbing EPO Staff and Robbing Europe, by Extension

    The EPO is being looted for its value; the staff is rightly concerned and there’s legal action on the way, filed reluctantly as there’s clearly no other option (a last resort/necessary recourse)



  22. Cory Doctorow at Privacy Week 2020 on DRM, Freedom/Software Freedom, Regulation, Etc.

    “We Used To Have Cake, Now We’ve Barely Got Icing” by Cory Doctorow.



  23. Links 22/11/2020: KaOS 2020.11, Calindori 1.3, KStars 3.5.0

    Links for the day



  24. New Position Paper on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Says It's “Not the Best Solution for Europe” -- Clearly an Understatement

    UPC proponents (profiteers) aren't enjoying support anymore; not only has progress stalled (come to a complete stop) but the whole debate about the UPC (or anything conceptually like it) turned toxic and negative because facts come out, overriding lobbyists of litigation giants



  25. Mortality Rates Increase at the EPO and Christmases (or Holidays) During Corona Mean Fewer Days Off

    There's still no sign (other than hand-waving and empty gestures/smiles) that the EPO's management wishes to right the wrongs and undo the damage done over the past decade or so; in some ways, today's management is worse than ever before (grossly incompetent and eager to break the law at every turn)



  26. Newly Abnormal: A Crackdown on EPO Staff and Labour Rights in 'Survey' Clothing (Willis Towers Watson)

    In a very characteristic fashion, with zero consultation/input from staff (or staff representatives/union leaders) EPO President António Campinos proceeds to implementing illegal ‘reforms’, assuring any remaining non-sceptics that he’s just another Benoît Battistelli



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 21, 2020



  28. [Meme] Good Advice From the FSF, So It's Time to #DeleteGitHub

    A good gift for the FSF would be git; not GitHub, but git



  29. Go Distributed, Go Encrypted, Go Secure, Transparency Still Possible

    Earlier today we enhanced access to our (sometimes anonymised) IRC logs by issuing text (ASCII) versions, which will from now onwards be a nightly/daily occurrence; we're also making everything we publish accessible from a large number of IPFS nodes (akin to P2P)



  30. IAM Celebrating and Glorifying Illegal Patents With Fake 'Awards' and Bogus 'Endorsements'

    IAM's fake 'awards' are nothing more than business and agenda-steering lies; it's time to call out again the real corruption that's driving IAM (which is itself supporting and advocating corruption)


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