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


Patents Roundup: TomTom, The ‘Bilski Test’, Junk Patents, and Ambush

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, TomTom at 9:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Truthfulness with me is hardly a virtue. I cannot discriminate between truths that and those that don’t need to be told.”

Margot Asquith

TomTom Revisited

IT IS hard treating the TomTom case as though it’s old news because ramifications may be serious and Microsoft is already spinning. Jay Lyman, a self-professed proponent of GNU/Linux, is optimistically suggesting that the lawsuit has not negatively affected the adoption of Linux in the embedded space and based on our collection of news stories over the past fortnight, Lyman is probably correct. He wrote:

I don’t necessarily see the same effect from the TomTom suit since, at least publicly, Microsoft is not making the case that it is Linux on the line. I can report that there does not seem to be any slowdown or hesitation in the embrace of Linux for embedded devices. Perhaps that is the reason that Microsoft has chosen to play down any implications for Linux and open source, rather than puff them up as it has done in the past. If Microsoft or anyone else challenges the IP integrity of the Linux OS, it is likely to reinforce the idea that the open source software is legitimate, licensed, covered by copyright, and absolutely appropriate for enterprise, embedded and other commercial uses, at least that’s what history tells us.

SD Times has already gathered some more details about mysterious anomalies that harm Microsoft’s case.

Under the original FAT licensing program, pricing was US$0.25 per unit with a cap on total royalties of $250,000 per manufacturer, according to what had been posted on Microsoft’s website from 2003 to July 2006. A Microsoft spokesperson could not explain why they were removed or whether those terms were applicable to the 18 agreements outlined in the lawsuit.

As we showed 2 weeks ago, Microsoft had explicitly promised not to sue over FAT. It therefore fails to keep up with its own licences, let alone just those promises. This is why we believe that Microsoft is fighting a losing battle and it relies heavily on the financial situation of TomTom which is rather frail right now.

“As we showed 2 weeks ago, Microsoft had explicitly promised not to sue over FAT.”Microsoft, like SCO, frequently relies on exhaustion of its opponents (or lingering the uncertainty), so it’s a test that merely determines whose pockets are deeper and who can afford more motions. It is very much the same with the European Commission, which Microsoft drives into exhaustion for many years, so by the time compliance is reached — if that ever happens at all — the documentation delivered is already irrelevant and outdated.

One reader recently told us that this is “unfortunately the nature of the law. As a lawyer, I can tell you that lawyers don’t sit around talking about justice, they talk about whether you can win a motion for summary judgment (a quick way to end cases). Law is very narrow. It is not about justice. It is about whether the law can be used to bludgeon your opponent. [...] It is increasingly becoming true that the party with the greater resources wins. That is why it is so important for TomTom to win this case.

Business law

Software Patents Can Die

Illegitimacy of Microsoft’s claims aside, the question about patentability of software post-Bilski [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] just keeps arising. According to this article about TomTom, In Re Bilski keeps slaughtering software patents.

Due to the Bilski ruling, new software patent evaluation rules have come into existence and just recently IBM lost claim to one of its database query patents. It was rejected because the innovation isn’t “tied to a particular machine”.

The BPAI goes on to justify the rejection by pointing out that the “system” on which the innovation operates is “not recited in terms of hardware or tangible structural elements”, which is to say that the patent is rejected because the elements of the claim are “implemented solely in software or algorithms”.

Moreover, according to Law.com, the opposition to Bernard Bilski’s patent is proving invaluable.

Federal Circuit Bars Patent for Business ‘Paradigm’


“A paradigm is basically a way of doing something,” Harris said. “I was trying to define a whole new set of claims — a new style of claims.”

At the end of the day, do software patents matter anymore? Are they sufficiently valid to actually endure the ‘court test’?

Junk Patents

One of our readers has accumulated examples of new patents that are worth putting here for their hilarity value. As he puts it, Cryptomathic patents user authentication using a central server, Innovid patents in-video brand experience, Worlds.com patents virtual reality, CounterPath patents mobile to IP roaming, laundry viewing over the Internet is patented, reading barcode with camera phone is patented, F-Secure patents updating virus signatures over SMS, Prolexic patents anti-DDOS service, and automatic menu generation too is now a patent.

What on Earth is going on here?

Patent Ambush (or Patents in Standards)

Rambus’ patent trap inside a standard [1, 2, 3, 4] is highly relevant to us because Microsoft patent traps like OOXML and C#, which are wrapped with something called “standard” (never mind if sheer crime was devised to achieve the status), are a danger to Free software.

According to this early report, Rambus is getting its way with a patent ambush and this can cost Hynix as much as $0.4 billion. Yes, all of this money just for patents, which were sneakily concealed inside a standard while it was innocently being adopted by many.

Hynix has agreed to pay royalties of up to 4.25 per cent for the use of Rambus patents in devices sold between the 31st of January 2009 and the 18th of April 2010.

Ars Technica has some more details about this story.

MPEG-2 may not be a case of an ambush, but as we showed last week, Lenovo is being hurt quite badly by it. MPEG-2 is a real issue for Free software because it has spread widely and it requires patents to be used. According to CNET, Apple potentially poisons Web standards with patents, we well.

On March 5 Apple dropped a small bombshell on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards body, excluding one of its patents from the W3C Royalty-Free License commitment of the W3C Patent Policy for Widgets 1.0. The patent in question covers automatic updates to a client computer in a networked operating environment.

The author is an advocate of Apple, so he tries to convince the readers that Apple is a friend of open source when in reality it is a a big foe of open source and freedom in general. Well, fortunately, Apple suffers just like Microsoft and it shows.

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. Luxembourg Can Become a Hub of Patent Trolls If the EPO Carries on With Its 'Reforms', Even Without the UPC

    With or without the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is the wet dream of patent trolls and their legal representatives, the EPO's terrible policies have landed a lot of low-quality patents on the hands of patent trolls (many of which operate through city-states that exist for tax evasion -- a fiscal environment ripe for shells)

  2. The Patent 'Printing Machine' of the EPO Will Spawn Many Lawsuits and Extortions (Threats of Lawsuits), in Effect Taxing Europe

    The money-obsessed, money-printing patent office, where the assembly line mentality has been adopted and patent-printing management is in charge, is devaluing or diluting the pool of European Patents, more so with restrictions (monetary barriers) to challenging bad patents

  3. Links 17/3/2018: Varnish 6, Wine 3.4

    Links for the day

  4. Deleted EPO Tweets and Promotion of Software Patents Amid Complaints About Abuse and Demise of Patent Quality

    Another ordinary day at the EPO with repressions of workforce, promotion of patents that aren't even allowed, and Team UPC failing to get its act together

  5. Guest Post: Suspected “Whitewashing” Operations by Željko Topić in Croatia

    Articles about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić are disappearing and sources indicate that it’s a result of yet more SLAPP from him

  6. Monumental Effort to Highlight Decline in Quality of European Patents (a Quarter of Examiners Sign Petition in Spite of Fear), Yet Barely Any Press Coverage

    he media in Europe continues to be largely apathetic towards the EPO crisis, instead relaying a bunch of press releases and doctored figures from the EPO; only blogs that closely follow EPO scandals bothered mentioning the new petition

  7. Careful Not to Conflate UPC Critics With AfD or Anti-EU Elements

    The tyrannical Unified Patent Court (UPC) is being spun as something that only fascists would oppose after the right-wing, anti-EU politicians in Germany express strong opposition to it

  8. Links 15/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.6 RC, Microsoft Openwashing

    Links for the day

  9. PTAB Continues to Increase Capacity Ahead of Oil States; Patent Maximalists Utterly Upset

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sees the number of filings up to an almost all-time high and efforts to undermine PTAB are failing pretty badly -- a trend which will be further cemented quite soon when the US Supreme Court (quite likely) backs the processes of PTAB

  10. Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Create a Patent Bubble in India

    Litigation maximalists and patent zealots continue to taunt India, looking for an opportunity to sue over just about anything including abstract ideas because that's what they derive income from

  11. EPO Staff Has Just Warned the National Delegates That EPO's Decline (in Terms of Patent Quality and Staff Welfare) Would Be Beneficial to Patent Trolls

    The staff of the EPO increasingly recognises the grave dangers of low-quality patents -- an issue we've written about (also in relation to the EPO) for many years

  12. The EPO is a Mess Under Battistelli and Stakeholders Including Law Firms Will Suffer, Not Just EP Holders

    As one last 'gift' from Battistelli, appeals are becoming a lot more expensive -- the very opposite of what he does to applications, in effect ensuring a sharp increase in wrongly-granted patents

  13. The EPO Under Battistelli Has Become Like China Under Xi and CPC

    The EPO is trying very hard to silence not only the union but also staff representatives; it's evidently worried that the lies told by Team Battistelli will be refuted and morale be affected by reality

  14. Links 14/3/2018: IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119, Tails 3.6

    Links for the day

  15. Links 13/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.5.2, Tails 3.6, Firefox 59

    Links for the day

  16. Willy Minnoye (EPO) Threatened Staff With Disabilities Said to Have Been Caused by the EPO Work Pressures

    Willy Minnoye, or Battistelli's 'deputy' at the EPO until last year, turns out to have misused powers (and immunity) to essentially bully vulnerable staff

  17. IAM and IBM Want Lots of Patent Litigation in India

    Having 'championed' lobbying for litigation Armageddon in China (where IBM's practicing business units have gone), patent maximalists set their eyes on India

  18. The Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM) Already Pressures Andrei Iancu, Inciting a USPTO Director Against PTAB

    Suspicions that Iancu might destroy the integrity of the Office for the sake of the litigation ‘industry’ may be further reaffirmed by the approach towards patent maximalists from IAM, who also participated in the shaming of his predecessor, Michelle Lee, and promoted a disgraced judge (and friend of patent trolls) for her then-vacant role

  19. Patent Trolls in the United States Increasingly Target Small Businesses Which Cannot Challenge Their Likely-Invalid Software Patents

    South by Southwest (SXSW Conference/Festivals in Austin, Texas) has a presentation about patent trolls, whose general message may be reaffirmed by recent legal actions in Texas and outside Texas

  20. EPO Staff Union Organises Protest to Complain About Inability “of the Office to Recruit the Highly Qualified Staff it Needs.”

    Having already targeted union leaders and staff representatives, the EPO may soon be going after those whom they passionately represented and the staff union (SUEPO) wants the Administrative Council to be aware

  21. Battistelli Likes to Describe His Critics as 'Nazis', Team UPC Will Attempt the Same Thing Against UPC Critics

    Demonising one's opposition or framing it as "fascist" is a classic trick; to what degree will Team UPC exploit such tactics?

  22. Session in Bavaria to Discuss the Abuses of the European Patent Office Later Today

    The EPO shambles in Munich have gotten the attention of more Bavarian politicians, more so in light of the Constitutional complaint against the UPC (now dealt with by the German FCC, which saw merit in the complaint)

  23. Links 12/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC5, KEXI 3.1, Karton 1.0, Netrunner 18.03, Debian 9.4

    Links for the day

  24. EPO Patent 'Growth' Not Achieved But Demanded/Mandated by Battistelli, by Lowering Quality of Patents/Services

    Targets at the EPO are not actually reached but are being imposed by overzealous management which dries up all the work in a hurry in order to make examiners redundant and many European Patents worthless

  25. Doubt Over Independence of Judges at the EPO Clouds Reason in Deciding Regarding Patents on Life

    With the growing prospect of a Board of Appeal (BoA) having to decide on patentability of CRISPR 'innovation' (more like explanation/discovery), questions linger or persist about judges' ability to rule as they see fit rather than what some lunatic wants

  26. Patent Academics and CAFC Make a Living Out of Patents, But Both Must Begrudgingly Learn to Accept That Patents Went Too Far

    A look at academic pundits' views on the patent system of the United States and where the Federal Circuit (a high patent court) stands on these matters after the US Supreme Court (highest possible court) lashed out at many of its decisions, especially those from the disgraced Rader years

  27. Patent Maximalists Cause a Crisis of Legitimacy for Patent Law

    The patent extremists who nowadays equate monopolies on mere ideas to "property" and "rights" gradually cause the public to lose respect for patents, more or less in the same way copyright maximalists (and copyright trolls) cause the population to seek alternatives (both legal and illegal)

  28. We Shall Soon Find Out Where Trump Appointees Such as Neil Gorsuch Stand on Patent Policies

    Staff shuffles at top-level roles will soon reveal what Donald Trump's changes mean to patent law and caselaw

  29. Trump's USPTO Changes Patent Designs, Changes Director/Deputy Director, and Anticipat 'Ranks' Patent Examiners Based on How They Deal With Section 101

    Today's USPTO isn't the same USPTO which was managed by Michelle Lee and anti-PTAB groups (proponents of software patents) have begun profiling examiners based on their stance on abstract/software patents -- a form of neo-McCarthyism

  30. Links 10/3/2018: Amarok 2.9.0, Debian 9.4, Sparky 5.3

    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