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01.19.09

Acacia Bites Dell with Software Patents, Reform Sought at Tilburg

Posted in Courtroom, Dell, Europe, Patents at 3:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“My message to the patent world is: Either get back to the doctrines of forces of nature or face the elimination of your system.” —Hartmut Pilch, Paraflows 06

Acacia, a highly active patent troll that attacked Free software [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11], has just found a new creature to bite. Dell is paying Acacia some ‘protection money’.

Acacia Research Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTG) announced today that its subsidiary, International Printer Corporation, has entered into a settlement and license agreement with Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) covering a patent portfolio that relates to networkable multifunction printer technology. This agreement resolves patent litigation that was pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against Dell. International Printer Corporation has also entered into a license agreement with Lexmark International, Inc. (NYSE: LXK) covering the same technology portfolio.

This is very disturbing because any conceivable idea that’s implemented in software seems to be assigned to someone. Even if the patent is not granted to a patent troll it can easily have its ownership passed. Patents, i.e. ideas, can be bought and sold, which may seem bizarre to outsider. It makes harvesting of imaginary property (or “bubbles”) possible and even trivial.

Here is another patent troll getting its way:

Global IP network operator Global Crossing has settled a patent suit relating to interactive voice applications with Ronald A Katz Technology Licensing.

It delivers a dangerous message to the world when these musketeers get their way. It demonstrates that patents abuse pays off; it pays, literally.

One reader has just found another genuine, yet horrible, software patent. Even online dating sites are now a patent minefield. (mind emphasis)

The site and its powerful tools are ideal for all types of single parents who want to give online dating a try. The site allows members to remain completely anonymous and safeguards all personal information, letting members flirt and interact freely through the use of their patented technology. They can use comprehensive search tools to find others. Followed then by chats, messaging and or the VOIP phone and anonymous text messaging service to get the conversation started.

Virtual world too have patents assigned to them, which is rather absurd because they are in many ways analogous to real world situations.

$50,000 Reward Offered For Proof Worlds.Com Patent Lawsuit Is Bogus

Virtual worlds — or more broadly, 3D online spaces — have been around for a long time. But last month, worlds.com hired lawyers to enforce a patent for the idea, claiming they invented the concept back in 1995. The first target for lawsuits: NCSoft, the Korean company behind games like World of Warcraft-wannabe “Guild Wars.”

There are many people who want to see the end of this madness. In fact, an entire conference is intended to address the issue of patent reforms.

CONFERENCE ON PATENT REFORMS

26 and 27 March 2009

On 26 and 27 March 2009, TILEC – Tilburg Law and Economics Center – hosts an international Conference on Patent Reforms in Hotel Krasnapolsky, Amsterdam. The conference features internationally renowned speakers and intends to foster discussion on patents, innovation and competition policy between lawyers, economists and practitioners.

How long can a crazy patent system last? Too many people have begun realising what’s going on, so this scam may be short lived.

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

Software patents protest against EPO

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5 Comments

  1. Andre said,

    January 19, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Gravatar

    It is against good practice to publish fotos of demonstrators. You know that the staff rules of the EPO are very strict and they put examiners in real trouble. In particular you should not use a demonstration for a certain cause to promote another.

  2. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 19, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Gravatar

    Andre,

    It is against good practice to publish fotos of demonstrators. You know that the staff rules of the EPO are very strict and they put examiners in real trouble. In particular you should not use a demonstration for a certain cause to promote another.

    It would be nice if you made some sense. Instead we have a post that apparently must have meant something, or you wouldn’t have posted it, but that makes no sense at all.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 19, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Gravatar

    Fair point, Andre, but the protesters took it out to the streets with the intention of attracting attention.

    Their criticism of scope of patenting seems like a decent fit in this case.

  4. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 19, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Gravatar

    Actually I’m really happy that Accacia, Intellectual Ventures, etc. are trying to “monetize” their assets as aggressively as they are. By doing this they are making the dangers of an uncontrolled patent system visible, just as the sub prime meltdown made the dangers of an uncontrolled banking system visible. Once the dangers become visible (as with the DMCA) regulation to control those dangers is generally forthcoming, even when the companies in question lobby hard against it.

    I should mention at this point that I am a firm believer that the Patent System needs a total overhaul, that over 95% of all patents should not have been issued due either to obviousness or other issues (Mexican beans anyone?).

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 19, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Gravatar

    Prevention is still better than correction.

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