05.17.10

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Microsoft Settles With VirnetX After Patent Violations, is i4i Next?

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 3:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: TiVo loses and Microsoft is losing in a major way after violations that it sometimes willfully commits; Microsoft’s patent attack on Android revisited

SEVERAL months ago Microsoft sued TiVo for patent infringement (TiVo is known for its use of Linux) after TiVo had resorted to patent aggression. According to Reuters, TiVo has just suffered a setback which TechDirt explains by saying that “Appeals Court Vacates TiVo’s Big Patent Win Over Echostar”:

Shares of TiVo fell as much as 42 percent on Friday after an appeals court set aside the company’s win in a patent battle over digital video recorders with rivals Dish and EchoStar.

 

TiVo’s lawsuit against EchoStar for patent infringement has been a mostly one-sided affair. TiVo appeared to win at every turn, to the point that there were stories suggesting EchoStar would have to start blocking the use of its own DVR. TiVo had celebrated these victories by suing others as well, and demanding ridiculous sums of money from EchoStar. Of course, it seemed odd to us that, while all of this was happening, the US Patent Office was admitting the patents might not be valid. Oops.

The more relevant news (to us) is probably about Microsoft though. Microsoft has just agreed to pay $200 million to settle its case with/against VirnetX.

“There’s a quote in Comes about MS don’t license other people’s patents,” told us a reader who mailed us with the latest news about VirnetX [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11].

Microsoft Corp will pay $200 million to VirnetX Holding Corp and obtain a patent license to settle litigation accusing it of infringing two patents for communicating over the Internet.

As we mentioned the other day, there are important developments in another patent case. Here is the press release about I4i vs Microsoft and a lot of coverage from Microsoft sites, the ‘Microsoft press’, and a variety of other sources with a lesser or greater degree of interest in Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. The Register summarises it as follows:

Microsoft’s request to have the patent claim it brought against Canadian software maker i4i examined has been thrown out by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

i4i said it was pleased that all the claims of US patent number 5,787,449 that belong to the company came out unscathed following a re-examination called for by Microsoft.

i4i has already told the British press that it would not settle with Microsoft. Will it change its mind? Was it playing hard to get? Microsoft sure does settle.

Again we emphasise that Microsoft is not the victim because it probably suffocates rivals to make billions of dollars using software patents (or the SCO case), which should not exist in the first place. Microsoft’s latest Linux-using victim is HTC (it was reported as a settlement, as opposed to an agreement). “HTC Will Pay Royalty To Microsoft For Using Android,” says this newer article.

The operating system of Microsoft is Windows. The license to use Windows on their cell phones many mobile manufacturers are being given the licence by Microsoft. Microsoft did not reveal what would be the amount of royalties that HTC is going to pay.

One prominent blogger asks, “Does Android Have a Target on its Back?”

Android is the hot smartphone platform currently, and that means the competition has it squarely in its sights. Apple fired the first salvo with its patent infringement claims against HTC. HTC is the largest maker of Android phones, so the suit is a shot across the bow of Android. Then we had HTC sign a deal with Microsoft that gives the handset maker protection over potential infringement of Redmond’s intellectual property (IP) for all Android handsets sold. No matter what you think about Apple’s claims, the HTC deal with Microsoft may have the biggest long-term impact on Android.

We will write about Apple’s case again HTC a little later. Basically, Linux/Android is doing very well, so all that Microsoft and Apple have left is litigation and intimidation (to settle without litigation).

Just how well is the Linux-based Android doing? We wrote about it in the morning (twice even [1, 2]). Watch how the 'Microsoft press' belittles it somewhat using NPD figures (there is a Microsoft connection). The following numbers are US-only, but the Microsoft sources do not state this. Moreover, they quote former Microsoft employee and current shill Michael Gartenberg without disclosure [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

The open source Android smartphhone market just hit a milestone of sorts: it surpassed the iPhone in popularity, moving into the second overall spot behind industry leader RIM OS (BlackBerry).

NPD numbers are worthless. The numbers worth paying attetion to are based on whole numbers as opposed to US-only extrapolation from friends of Microsoft, reported poorly with quotes from Microsoft boosters who receive money from Microsoft. That’s the sort of media corruption that we mentioned earlier today.

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