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

09.19.09

Patents Roundup: IBM Abuse Carries On, Patent Troll Tracker on Trial, Paltalk Bites Again, and Patent Law Challenged

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IBM logo twist

Summary: IBM as part of the problem at the USPTO despite opposing business method patents; opposition to patent trolls gets radically harassed; patent abuse carries on despite and because of obvious problems with the system — problems that get ignored

WHEN it comes to software patents, IBM is not a friend of Free software [1, 2]. When it comes to the patent system in general, IBM is part of the problem, not the solution. It may be opposing the Bilski patent, but the Bilski test which it created does not go far enough, probably by design. It has just gotten caught sending more of its wannabe ‘inventions’ over for the USPTO to process (the USPTO is now run by an ex-IBMer).

theodp writes “The first known use of a recorded laugh track is said to be in 1950, when the producers of the Hank McCune Show added canned laughter after the show’s taping. Almost 60 years later, IBM says it deserves a patent for ‘inventing’ adding canned laughter to conference calls. ‘A pre-selected stored sound (e.g., an interjection such as a laugh) may be generated if there is a period of silence on one of the telephone lines that exceeds a threshold,’ explains Big Blue in its just-published patent application for Enlivening Conference Calls to Make Conference Calls More Interesting for Participants. Eureka!”

More in The Register:

While tried and true, option b comes with certain drawbacks. For one, the effort could get a gentleman sued by International Business Machines one day, should the method of inserting said flatulence be mechanical.

You see, the folks at TechDirt have uncovered a rather compelling patent application from Big Blue that claims invention of delivering canned sounds over the telephone.

IBM, unlike patent trolls such as Acacia, is not attacking Free software, but it lays the foundations for patent trolls to exist, as an unfortunate side-effect, a symptom.

The Patent Troll Tracker, Rick Frenkel, called the Eastern District of Texas “Banana Republic” and he now gets grief for simply saying the truth. Obviously, the masters of that “Banana Republic” wanted to gag him using a frivolous lawsuit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] that takes away his freedom of speech and harms his career.

Former patent blogger Rick Frenkel took the stand in the federal courthouse in Tyler, Texas, on Wednesday, and apologized for referring to the Eastern District of Texas as a “Banana Republic” in a post he published as the “Patent Troll Tracker.” But Frenkel insisted his blogging about a patent infringement suit against his then-employer, Cisco Systems, was not defamatory.

“You know, I think I was outraged over a situation … and I used words that were strong,” said Frenkel. “But I sure didn’t mean to hurt anyone by it.” Frenkel apologized for using the phrase, and noted that he took it off the blog after 24 hours. In October of 2007, about 500 people per day were accessing the Troll Tracker blog, he added.

The Boston press has some coverage of the patent aggressor known as Paltalk. We wrote about it in when it sued Microsoft [1, 2, 3] and now it proceeds to suing more companies.

Turbine Inc. of Westwood, a leading maker of Internet-based, multiplayer video games, has been named in a patent infringement lawsuit that targets several of the world’s largest online gaming firms.

The complaint was filed by Paltalk Holdings Inc. of Jericho, N.Y., in the US District Court in Marshall, Texas, one of the nation’s most popular venues for patent lawsuits. “The eastern district of Texas is considered a plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction,’’ said Christopher Donnelly, a partner at Donnelly Conroy & Gelhaar LLP in Boston.

Here is some more new coverage.

Paltalk, which recently settled a patent infringement tussle with Microsoft, has launched a new lawsuit against Turbine, Sony and other MMOG makers over their alleged infringement of the same technology.

Paltalk has filed suit against the makers of several popular MMOGs currently on the market, claiming the data-sharing technology employed in their games violates patents it purchased from the defunct company HearMe in 2002.

For future reference:

According to this report, the location is familiar. Guess where the lawsuit was filed? The “Banana Republic” Frenkel spoke about.

How is this beneficial to the market?

As Tim Lee stresses with the backing of the Coase Theorem, patents harm development.

One of the most famous essays in economics is Ronald Coase’s “The Problem of Social Cost.” Its key argument, which was later dubbed the Coase Theorem by George Stigler, says that in a world with zero transaction costs, the initial allocation of rights doesn’t matter because people will negotiate toward an allocation of rights that maximizes total social utility.

Coase illustrates this principle with an example involving a farmer and a rancher who occupy adjacent parcels. The rancher’s cattle sometimes stray onto the farmer’s land and damage his crops. Coase’s claim is that it doesn’t matter whether the law holds the rancher liable for the damage to the farmer’s crops or not: either way, the rancher and farmer will reach a bargain that maximizes the joint value of the rancher and farmer’s output.

Here is another new rebuttal to the fallacy (and propaganda) that the American economy owes its progress to patents.

Some asked me if this proved patents do encourage innovation. But of course it does not. This proves absolutely nothing, in fact, except that there can still be growth despite state intervention such as intellectual monopoly grants. Correlation is not causation. I hope Obama doesn’t see this–I’m sure he could whip up a similar chart correlating growth over the last two centuries with, say, increasing taxes, increasing federal spending, increasing federal size/employment, increasing military size, increasing efficiency at mass murder, and so on.

Even front groups of proprietary software companies seem to agree that patents are counter-productive, depending on the situation (whose side is the plaintiff). Those who disagree with patent abolishers are often lawyers and patent examiners, who primarily monetise this system for personal gain — a broken system they helped create and maintain in the first place.

“Technology products typically consist of hundreds or thousands of patented components. It therefore is impossible for technology companies to investigate all of the patents, and pending patent applications that may be relevant to a new invention (product), notwithstanding their best efforts to do so.” —Business Software Alliance, Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court in eBay Vs MercExchange

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

2 Comments

  1. aeshna23 said,

    September 19, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Gravatar

    As Tim Lee stresses with the backing of the Coase Theorem, patents harm development.

    Actually, what the linked Tim Lee article argues is that using the Coase Theorem to argue that a more efficient patent system would not benefit development. I’m not sure how you’d go straight from the Coase Theorem to making an argument that patents harm development.

    http://timothyblee.com/?p=781 may be of more interest to BoycottNovell readers.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Actually, what the linked Tim Lee article argues is that using the Coase Theorem to argue that a more efficient patent system would not benefit development. I’m not sure how you’d go straight from the Coase Theorem to making an argument that patents harm development.

    I think it’s a similar way or presenting the same conclusions, but yours is more precise.

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft Says It Will Continue to Extort Companies That Distribute Linux, Using Software Patents As Usual

    Microsoft's war on Linux, a war which is waged using software patents (for revenue and/or for coercion in bundling deals), is still going on in spite of all the PR tactics from Microsoft and its paid partners



  2. Australia Might be Next to Block Software Patents If Commission's Advice is Followed

    Australian advice against software patents, which can hopefully influence Australian politicians and put an end, once and for all, to all software patents in Australia



  3. [ES] ''Si la Forma de Pensar de la EPO fuese Seguida, Guantánamo Sería Posible en Suelo Alemán.”

    La EPO está todavía bajo fuego, pero mucho de ello pasa detrás de las cortinas y envuelve abogados y/o burócratas



  4. The European Copy-Paste Office (EPO)

    This morning's example (not the first) of how the EPO uses 'social' media



  5. Links 28/4/2016: Fedora 24, EE Goes Open Source

    Links for the day



  6. Amid Referendum “the New European Unitary Patent System is Likely to Collapse Before It Started”

    The Unitary Patent Court (UPC) vision seems like it may be just one month away from its gradual death, depending on British voices amongst other key factors



  7. USTR is Trying to Shame and Bully India Into Introducing Software Patents in India

    Lobbying body of the US (corporations-led) is trying its usual dirty tactics against India's sound policy which excludes software/algorithms from patent scope



  8. No, Visual Studio is NOT Open Source and Xamarin Openwashing is NOT News

    The latest example of Microsoft openwashing, courtesy of confidants of Microsoft and those who got bamboozled by them



  9. Latest Black Duck Puff Pieces a Good Example of Bad Journalism and How Not to Report

    Why the latest "Future of Open Source Survey" -- much like its predecessors -- isn't really a survey but just another churnalism opportunity for the Microsoft-connected Black Duck, which is a proprietary parasite inside the FOSS community



  10. If EPO “Form of Thinking Were to be Followed, Guantanamo on German Soil Would be Possible.”

    The EPO is still under fire, but a lot of it happens behind the scenes and involves lawyers and/or bureaucrats



  11. Links 28/4/2016: Tomb Raider for GNU/Linux, Proxmox VE 4.2

    Links for the day



  12. [ES] La Departura de la Readidad de la EPO Y Su Entrada en la Esféra Industrial China de Propaganda

    La deceptiva trampa del maximálism de patentes, donde se asume que artficialmente aumentando el número de patentes otorgadas traerá el resultado esperado



  13. [ES] Una Fársa de Sistema: ¿Cómo la SIPO, USPTO, y cada vez más la EPO se Convierten en Llenado de Patentes (No Se Requiere Propia Examinación)

    Una crítica al decline en la calidad de patentes en algunas de las más grandes oficinas de patentes del mundo, donde aspiración parece ser neo-liberal en el sentido económico



  14. [ES] Microsoft ‘Asalto con Todo’ Contra Android, Java, y GNU/Linux, Usando la Clásica E.E.E. Táctica de Nuevo

    Otro recordatorio de la realidad que Microsoft está muy activo en el frente E.E.E., not no sólo contra GNU/Linux pero también Android y Java



  15. [ES] Más Rumores y Llamadas Acerca de Prospectos de Microsoft Vaya a Comprar Canonical (Ubuntu con todo y Zapatos)

    Teniendo en cuenta los últimos movimientos de Canonical, algunos expertos piensan que es posible que Shuttleworth elija el dinero a Microsoft sobre principios sino también inste para que esto ocurra



  16. Links 27/4/2016: A Lot About OpenStack, Vivaldi 1.1 Released

    Links for the day



  17. A Farce of a System: How SIPO, USPTO, and Increasingly the EPO Too Turn Into Filing Systems (No Proper Examination/Filtering Required)

    A critique of the declining quality of patents in some of the world's biggest patent offices, where the aspiration seems to be neo-liberal in the economic sense



  18. Microsoft's 'Full Assault' on Android, Java, and GNU/Linux, Using Classic E.E.E. Tactics Again

    Another reminder of the fact that Microsoft is very active on the E.E.E. front, not just against GNU/Linux but also Android and Java



  19. More Rumours and Calls Surrounding Prospects of Microsoft Buying Canonical (Ubuntu and More)

    Taking some of Canonical's recent moves into account, some pundits not only think it's possible for Shuttleworth to choose Microsoft money over principles but also urge for this to happen



  20. [ES] El Nuevo Impulso Finánciado por Microsoft Para Reforzar las Patentes de Software en los EE.UU., Apoyado por los Sospechosos Usuales (La Sagrada Familia) Mientras que Microsoft Cada Vez Más Lucha Como Compañíá Productiva

    Una mirada al esfuérzo de trae una resurgencia de las patentes de software en los Estados Unidos (con un clarísimo rol de Microsoft en él) y la fundación/conf ianza de Microsoften las patentes de software como arma contr Linux/Android porque las ganancias de Windows se están secando y el Windows Phone está al borde del colápso



  21. Links 26/4/2016: Firefox 46.0, Thunderbird's Stewardship

    Links for the day



  22. Links 25/4/2016: Kodi 16.1, OpenStack Summit

    Links for the day



  23. New Microsoft-Funded Push to Make Software Patents Stronger in the US, Backed by the Usual Suspects as Microsoft Increasingly Struggles as a Producing Company

    A look at the effort to bring about a software patents resurgence to the US (with clear Microsoft role in it) and Microsoft's reliance on software patents as a weapon against Linux/Android because Windows profits dry up and Windows Phone is on the verge of collapse



  24. Patents Roundup: Marijuana Patents, Patent Satellites, Patent Trolls, Wars, and Merchants (Notably Lawyers)

    Various strands of news about patents, focused on issues raised in the latter half of last week



  25. The EPO's Departure From Truth and Entrance Into the Realms of Chinese Industrial-Grade Propaganda

    The entrapping delusion of patent maximalism, wherein artificially or superficially increasing the number of granted patents is assumed to be a desirable outcome



  26. [ES] La Fundación de Frontera Electrónica (EFF) Continua su Batalla por la Sanidad de Patentes en los Estados Unidos

    Una mirada a las últimas actividades de la EFF en el área de patentes, donde probablemente habrá mayor énfasis en los daños de las patentes de software y la necesidad de eliminarlas completamente



  27. [ES] La Sociedad Regional de Economía Comprehensiva (RCEP) Amenaza Traer las Patentes de Software a la India

    La amenaza que arrastra otro acuerdo denominado de "comercio" cuyo impacto a favor de los MONOPOLIOS contra los intereses del pueblo de la India y por lo tanto debe ser rechazadas por ellos



  28. [ES] Toma Menos de 10 Votos para 'Ganar' una Elección en la Mini Unión (Minion) de Battistelli

    Una mirada al minúsculo tamaño de la Unión apadrinada por Battistelli, la que parece tener una docena de miembros activos



  29. [ES] Di la Verdad Acerca del Sistema de Patentes de los EE.UU., Conseguiras Ser Atacado por la Máquina Propagandistica de Patentes (Disfrazada de Prensa)

    El Sr. Darrell Issa (fotografiado arriba) cae bajo ataque de los proponentes de patentes de software patents, los apologistas de los trolles de patentes (quiénes los financian frecuéntemente), y los máximalistas de patentes porque correctamente insinuó que la (mayoría) de demandantes son como/casi trolles de patentes en los Estados Unidos



  30. Links 24/4/2016: Google Summer of Code 2016, Year of the OpenBSD Desktop

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts