08.27.10

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Second Microsoft Co-founder Becomes a Patent Troll Just Like Bill Gates, Sues Microsoft Competitors

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another yacht man attacks with patents, joining Law Suit Larry



Paul Allen, photo by msprague

Summary: Having helped to create an abusive monopolist, driven some companies into the ground, subverted CNET with his money and so forth, Paul Allen turns to patent trolling as a business model

Paul Allen is not as pleasant as he wishes to portray himself. We have already criticised some of his investments [1, 2], warned about his influence, and mentioned embarrassing parts of his days at Microsoft and beforehand. He was never a particularly ethical guy and maybe that’s why he hooked up with Gates. A few weeks ago he announced that he was following the footsteps of Gates by becoming a philanthrocapitalist. His latest gig playing the “charity” game is a subject we addressed this morning.

For those who do not know yet, Bill Gates not only invests in the world’s biggest patent troll (which Gizmodo shamelessly promotes at this very moment) but he also has his own patent troll, called “Searete”. These Gates footsteps too are now being followed by Allen, who sued like a true patent troll, based on this WSJ article and others (Microsoft PR Bot Ed Bought already jumps to defend Allen, but Slashdot is far less sympathetic). “Apropos of Allen suing everyone around [except Microsoft],” writes Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols:

In the aftermath of the Bilski Supreme Court decision, the Supreme Court did nothing to stop software or business method patents. As a result, not only software development companies but all businesses are now in more danger from patent lawsuits than ever before.

That’s because as Keith Bergelt CEO of the Open Invention Network (OIN), a non-profit, patent-protection consortium, observed, “Patent lawsuits have been doubling for the last three to five years, and I expect this trend to contribute.”

In particular, you can expect to see more attacks from patent trolls, companies that exist for the sole purpose of extorting money from businesses by threatening them with lengthy and expensive litigation. Bergelt estimated that win, lose, or draw, it costs $3- to $5-million dollars to defend against a patent lawsuit.

What a lovely press release to find late on a Friday. It says: “Interval Licensing LLC (“Interval”), a Paul G. Allen company, filed a complaint today in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington against major internet search and e-commerce companies alleging that they have infringed on four patents held by Interval. The eleven defendants are AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube.”

Shame on Paul Allen. Does he still crave more money? Mike Masnick calls him a “patent troll”, which he certainly is.

Paul Allen Becomes A Patent Troll, Sues Google, Apple, Facebook, eBay And Others…

[...]

Because, while Interval was unable to actually execute, thanks to the wonders of the US Patent system, it was able to secure lots of patents, and now it looks like Paul Allen has gone full on patent troll. He’s using those patents to sue Google (and, separately, YouTube), Apple, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Yahoo, Office Depot, OfficeMax and Staples — you know, the companies that actually did innovate and did execute — for being successful where he failed. Of course, Paul Allen has been tangentially related to patent trolling operations in the past, so perhaps it was just a matter of time. Still, this is a pretty disgusting situation all around.

Microsoft booster Florian Müller finds a way to spin that against Google (“Google is pro-patent,” he writes) and in response to this, gnufreex writes in one of our channels: “Patent Boy attacks everyone but Microsoft. He attacked Red Hat, Oracle (twice) IBM (every day), Google, Eben Moglen, SFLC… just Microsoft is great”

Speaking of Müller as a Microsoft booster, in blog discussions he has used the exact same spin on words that Microsoft uses, words like those which are used in the context of software freedom. He hijacks and distorts words like “FOSS” by assimilation (pretending that his positions represent FOSS).

Pay attention to how Microsoft spins the words “choice” and “freedom” (there is a new cartoon about it in Free Software Magazine), not just the term “open source” (see links below).

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