12.18.08

Gemini version available ♊︎

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

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

    Links for the day



  2. 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



  3. 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



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

    Links for the day



  5. 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)



  6. 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)



  7. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 03, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, February 03, 2023



  8. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 02, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 02, 2023



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  12. 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!!)



  13. 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



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  16. 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



  17. 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



  18. 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)



  19. 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)



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

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 01, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 01, 2023



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  24. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 31, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 31, 2023



  25. Links 31/01/2023: Catchup Again, Wayland in Xfce 4.20

    Links for the day



  26. Links 31/01/2023: elementary OS 7

    Links for the day



  27. Intimidation Against Nitrux Development Team Upsets the Community and Makes the Media Less Trustworthy

    Nitrux is being criticised for being “very unappealing”; but a look behind the scenes reveals an angry reviewer (habitual mouthpiece of the Linux Foundation and Linux foes) trying to intimidate Nitrux developers, who are unpaid volunteers rather than “corporate” developers



  28. Links 31/01/2023: GNOME 44 Wallpapers and Alpha

    Links for the day



  29. Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) and KU Leuven Boosting Americans and Cancellers of the Father of Free Software

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and its founder, Richard M. Stallman (RMS), along with the SFLC one might add, have been under a siege by the trademark-abusing FSFE and SFC; Belgium helps legitimise the ‘fakes’



  30. Techrights in the Next 5 or 10 Years

    Now that I’m free from the shackles of a company (it deteriorated a lot after grabbing Gates Foundation money under an NDA) the site Techrights can flourish and become more active


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