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03.27.10

Patents Roundup: Microsoft Sells Algorithms But Not Programs, Sued for Patent Violations in Zune

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paper innovation

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Summary: Patent news with particular focus on how Microsoft and its patent troll (the world’s largest troll) do business

“Microsoft licenses caching algorithms,” tells us a reader who points in this direction. What the following article shows is that Microsoft does not actually act as a software vendor but as a licensor that manages the sales through lawyers who also abuse GNU/Linux (that would be David Kaefer [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

Adaptec has announced benchmark results for its MaxIS solid state drive (SSD) caching card and revealed it’s based on licensed Microsoft code.

[...]

Adaptec said it licensed ideas from Microsoft about using SSDs as read caching devices. Its release about the benchmark quoted David Kaefer, general manager of Microsoft’s Intellectual Property Licensing, saying: “When our datacenter team came up with some innovative ideas around using solid state devices as read caching devices, we determined it made good sense to license these advances to Adaptec because Microsoft itself doesn’t sell these types of products.”

Here is the press release. It shows a new business model that develops at Microsoft and also its patent troll Nathan Myhrvold, who said that “intellectual property is the next software.”

A few days ago we showed that Myhrvold was allegedly using Durham Logistics as a shell and Glyn Moody covers this now, claiming that “The King of the Trolls Strikes Gold”.

What’s just so perfect, of course, is that not only did Intellectual Ventures not invent anything here, but that it used other companies to hide the fact it had acquired the patent – the very opposite of the disclosure that the word “patent” implies. It’s a perfect demonstration of what is wrong with Intellectual Ventures and the US patent system, and with their unhealthy symbiosis.

It will be interesting to see what happens now. I’m sure that lots of conversations between Intellectual Ventures and smartphone manufacturers are underway; deals will be done, and we’ll never know the details. So now might be a good time for companies and engineers to dig through that prior art at the bottom of their filing cabinets in the hope that the patent can be blown away rather than bowed down to.

Microsoft and its trolls are not exactly in a position where they can claim any moral ground. Based on many new reports [1, 2, 3, 4], Microsoft has been sued by an ophthalmologist for patent violations.

A patent-holding Illinois ophthalmologist has sued Microsoft over the Zune, alleging the software company illegally added his patented technology to the media player after he tried to license it to Microsoft.

This patent may seem absurd, but it’s no more absurd than Microsoft’s own patents.

An eye doctor has sued Microsoft for allegedly nicking his patented technology with its Zune media player.

Dr Edward Yavitz, of the Yavitz Eye Centre in Rockford, spotted two wizard ideas to quickly tag and downloading music via a device’s FM radio receiver.

Microsoft Nick writes about the ongoing VirnetX case (VirnetX is suing Vista 7 now, having just won another case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]) and IDG has this new slideshow which contains some notable patent lawsuits against Microsoft [1, 2]. There are over 50 of them at the moment.

TechDirt has just published a rebuttal to a man who promoted software patents.

His take is that by only allowing for seven years, “patent trolls” lying in wait to pounce on a technology to become successful would lose their window in which to sue. This of course ignores the cases where lawsuits are filed almost immediately after a patent is rewarded.

TechDirt has also found this dangerous precedence [via] where the migration of cases to the Eastern District of Texas is said not to matter. Should judges simply ignore patent troll tourism?

The FFII’s president points to what he describes as “FRAND and reasonable royalties for patents on Philips CDs and Orange Book compliance used by a Dutch Court.” From the lawyers’ den (they call patents “IP”):

The relationship between IP and competition law is one of the hottest topics in IP law. It now seems that two respected European courts have come to different conclusions on the applicability of the “competition law defence” (although in the result, the decisions do not differ).

In Europe, the danger persists that a unification will eliminate safe havens for developers.

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