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

12.30.08

Ray Niro, Microsoft, and Other Patent Failures

Posted in Apple, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 10:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent troll

AN IMPORTANT STORY that we mentioned on Boxing day is about a high-profile, yet outrageous, lawsuit that involves software patents and what some sources label “trolling”. As correctly pointed out here:

If necessary, Google, Microsoft, and Apple will surely fight all of this tooth and nail. Whether even a smallish effort is necessary remains to be seen, however, since examples of prior art are abundant.

Prior art has already been identified.

In five minutes of searching, I found this mention in a book that Windows 98 offered an option to use image thumbnails in Explorer. Cygnus originally filed their patent on June 12, 1998, but Windows 98 was already in beta at that point — I was testing it at that time — and by that time Microsoft probably had the feature implemented. And I wonder, where did Microsoft get the idea for the feature? Was it really a totally original idea, or did they have some earlier example they were following?

Now, watch this:

The Niro firm is representing the patent holder – Cygnus Systems. An additional continuation is pending. The complaint can be found through Stanford’s LexMachina Database.

Niro?

Over time, however, I have heard from many people in the industry that what they see coming at them by way of lawsuits is nothing more than harassing, and I would have to say if that is the definition of what a patent troll is then I can’t imagine how else Cygnus Systems could be properly characterized. The federal complaint filed by Raymond Niro in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona has absolutely no useful information in it and is hardly appropriate to put anyone on notice of what the plaintiff is claiming the defendants did wrong.

Is this Raymond Niro [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] by any chance?

Why yes it is. “Cygnus Systems has initiated a patent infringement law suit with Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro Partners against Microsoft, Google, and Apple Inc.”

So, the father of a notorious methodology for abusing loopholes in the patent system could be a mastermind behind this mess. This lawsuit is also covered here and here.

Microsoft was among those who got sued, but it’s no victim; far from it. Microsoft is seeking a patent on addictionware/drugware that restricts people’s ability to own and control their computers, returning us all back to the age of mainframes when Gates and Allen unnecessary created problems.

Microsoft files pay-per-use PC patent

[...]

Microsoft’s patent application does acknowledge that a per-use model of computing would probably increase the cost of ownership over the PC’s lifetime. The company argues in its application, however, that “the payments can be deferred and the user can extend the useful life of the computer beyond that of the one-time purchase machine”.

The document suggests that “both users and suppliers benefit from this new business model” because “the user is able to migrate the performance level of the computer as needs change over time, while the supplier can develop a revenue stream business that may actually have higher value than the one-time purchase model currently practiced”.

This seems like a repetition of one of Microsoft’s oddest patent stories, which we covered here before. They want to apply the same principles to access to documents [1, 2].

Intel, Microsoft's collusions partner, is helping Microsoft with this initiative by the way, especially in countries that are determined to move to GNU/Linux. This pair also collaborated on destruction of OLPC's mission, which was to help underprivileged children. Microsoft’s vision is entirely different -- it's about artificial limitations and addiction as well.

Elsewhere in the news, which got published throughout the holidays, software patents strike again:

On Christmas Eve, South Korean game developer NCSoft received a lawsuit in its stocking from a Massachusetts firm that claims to hold an extremely broad patent for developing online virtual worlds.

We already know that the system is broken and, in order to make progress, companies with strong presence must push for a reform, but it’s not happening just yet.

The tech giants in the Coalition for Patent Fairness are joined by a strange assortment of others, most notably prominent banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Wachovia, HSBC North America, Capital One and others. The reason for what appears to be a strange assortment of collaborators is the fact that tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Apple and others are facing what they characterize as a huge patent troll problem, and this so-called patent troll problem comes disproportionately from business method patents and software patents. So it is easy to see why the banks and tech giants have formed an alliance to go after these types of patents that impact technology, communication and software. The Coalition for Patent Fairness is waging an all out assault on those that invent in the high-tech areas that will define the future of the US economy.

[...]

The Coalition for Patent Fairness home page has a series of factoids in the bottom right corner. If you refresh the screen you will see several different factoids pop up, all with the objective of scaring those who read the information into believing that there is a patent troll problem and the technology and bank members of the Coalition are the victims and they are almost helpless to do anything. First, they are not helpless, they just choose to pursue bad strategies that are calculated to encourage patent troll lawsuits.

A solution may come nearer to an extent, ushered by the Bilski ruling [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14].

Experts believe that the Supreme Court is unlikely to accept review of the Bilski decision, leaving intact Bilski’s rule that to be patentable, computer software must meet a (nonstatutory, judicially-imposed) “machine or transformation” test.

It’s not just business methods and software that make bad patents. There are ethical questions too when life is at stake. Glyn Moody possibly paraphrases Slated when he points out that:

There is currently a huge bun-fight going on at the WHO over who has the “rights” to “own” key genomic information about pandemic influenza viruses.

[...]

You would have thought that against the background of a financial system brought to its knees by blind greed, at least here at the World *Health* Organisation there would be a more, er, healthy and mature attitude to saving the world from a potentially even greater disaster. Apparently not….

Patents need to be reassessed not in terms of their financial impact alone but their impact on life too. Many patents are inherently unethical as they lead to deaths, primarily in the name of endless greed profit and reluctance to share vital information innovation.

“Since the birth of the Republic, the U.S. government has been in the business of handing out “exclusive rights” (a.k.a., monopolies) in order to “promote progress” or enable new markets of communication. Patents and copyrights accomplish the first goal; giving away slices of the airwaves serves the second. No one doubts that these monopolies are sometimes necessary to stimulate innovation. Hollywood could not survive without a copyright system; privately funded drug development won’t happen without patents. But if history has taught us anything, it is that special interests—the Disneys and Pfizers of the world—have become very good at clambering for more and more monopoly rights. Copyrights last almost a century now, and patents regulate “anything under the sun that is made by man,” as the Supreme Court has put it. This is the story of endless bloat, with each round of new monopolies met with a gluttonous demand for more.”

Lawrence Lessig

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: patent court)
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. The Patent Microcosm is Really Panicking as European Patents on Life and Other Spurious Junk (Invalid Patents) Are Successfully Rejected

    European Patents (EPs) may be revoked en masse if what we're seeing is the gradual emergence of 'European Mayo' (and maybe soon 'European Alice')



  2. Distractions From Microsoft's Gigantic Tax Evasion and Contribution to Denial of Climate Science

    Microsoft (connected to oil companies) wants us to think of it as a "green" company; not only does it contribute to climate denial but it also evades tax, which is a serious crime that costs tens of billions of dollars (the public pays this money instead)



  3. Confirmation: System1/Startpage Offered Pay to People Who Pushed for (Re)Listing in Privacy Directories

    The debate is now settled; those arguing in favour of listing Startpage as privacy-respecting are in fact secretly 'compensated' by Startpage (in other words, they're Startpage 'shills')



  4. Vandana Shiva: “Bill Gates is Continuing the Work of Monsanto”

    A recent interview on what Bill Gates is really up to in that sham ‘charity’ of his



  5. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 22, 2020



  6. Extending Linux With DRM, Azure and exFAT

    An insufficiently 'conservative' Linux ceases to be freedom-respecting



  7. Linux Foundation (LF) Now Dominated by Lots of Microsoft People and LF Chiefs Join Microsoft in Smearing GPL/Copyleft

    We continue to see additional evidence which serves towards reinforcing our view that the so-called 'Linux' Foundation is actually hostile towards many things that are associated with Linux (unlike those looking to exploit/hijack Linux for proprietary ends)



  8. Links 22/1/2020: Wayland 1.18 Alpha, ODF 1.3 Approved

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 21, 2020



  10. Poor Excuses for Granting Poor (and Often Illegal/Invalid) Patents

    A quick look at some of the latest examples of software patents advocacy (not by actual software professionals, obviously) and why it's deeply misguided (or guided solely by greedy law firms)



  11. A Simple Plan For a Universal Free Software Community

    "For software to be free as in freedom, we need more people to care personally about software freedom."



  12. Links 21/1/2020: Wine 5.0 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  13. Startpage/System1 Almost Definitely Pay for People to Lie About Their Surveillance

    A longterm investigation suggests that there are forces in the debate that aren't objective and are being super evasive and dodgy; this typically happens only when somebody has much to hide



  14. The Internet is an Appalling Medium for News and It Has Only Gotten Worse

    Something ought to change in the way people gather and assess news; at the moment — as proper journalism runs out of steam (and budget) — things only deteriorate and quality suffers; this rapidly exacerbates as people come to rely on — and then relay — hearsay, not fact-checked bodies of work



  15. Media Reactions to the EPO Coming to Grips With Fake Patents That It Granted (Spoiler: the Media is Controlled by Lawyers of Monopolists and EPO Partners)

    Appalling quality of reporting and truly awful bias in the media, primarily owing to the fact that it is dominated/manned not by actual reporters but the firms looking to patent life itself; they use their lawyers and operatives who are literally funded by these lawyers (wearing "journalist" badges to mislead)



  16. Links 21/1/2020: EarlyOOM Fedora Decision and AMD Zen 3 Microcode

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, January 20, 2020



  18. Links 20/1/2020: MNT Reform, Linux 5.5 RC7, KMyMoney 5.0.8

    Links for the day



  19. Mansion of Pedophilia – Addendum: Accessing and Assessing Court Documents

    How anyone out there can do the job the media failed to do (after an apparently unprecedented arrest at the home of Bill Gates)



  20. Mansion of Pedophilia – Addendum: Progress on Police Request

    9 updates from the police department of Seattle but still nothing material/concrete, only promises and major delays



  21. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 19, 2020



  22. Mansion of Pedophilia – Part VIII: More Than 4 Months of Waiting for Police Department to Send Over the Files They Claim to Have an Issue Opening

    The police department (PD) of Seattle is unable to open its own files about arrest for pedophilia at Bill Gates' home; it has been unable to open these files for several months, it claims...



  23. Starting a GNU Replacement for GitHub, Possibly Based on GitLab

    "It might be easier if we start from the GitLab software," Stallman said



  24. European Commission Pushes for Even Greater Patent Maximalism Instead of Rationality, Patent Zealots' Site Cherry-Picks China as Whipping Boy

    Fear of China is being leveraged to promote an agenda of patent maximalists; the general idea they promote is that granting millions of low-quality patents is the only way to compete, even if in reality that merely handicaps the whole market



  25. CRISPR Patents Disallowed, But Where Are the Journalists?

    The narrative surrounding last week's decision against CRISPR patents may have been virtually monopolised by the litigation think tanks and law firms; it certainly feels like no journalism is left to rebut them, fact-check, and introspect



  26. Links 19/1/2020: Wine 5.0 RC6, Alpine 3.11.3

    Links for the day



  27. Judges Reject EPO Patents on Life as Constitutional Complaints Against the EPO Pile Up in Germany

    EPO judges throw out patents on life (CRISPR at least); there's now growing hope that they'll have the courage to do the same to patents on software



  28. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 18, 2020



  29. StartPage (System1) Found New Spin Allies. Some Have Been Offered StartPage Jobs. Some Might Already be Working for StartPage in Secret.

    Pro-StartPage voices appear to be paid (or have been promised pay) by StartPage; the key strategy of StartPage seems to be, attack and betray people's privacy while paying people in particular positions to pretend otherwise



  30. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, January 17, 2020


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