11.08.10

Microsoft is Stockpiling and Also Buying More Patents While Microsoft’s ‘Buddy’ Finjan Extorts McAfee With Software Patents

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Security at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Victoria and Disraeli cartoon

Summary: Microsoft’s new direction continues to include “enforcement” (as in aggression) with software patents and Finjan, which Microsoft partly owns, is just attacking companies with software patents because it’s failing as a real business

MICROSOFT is having real problems which we wrote about this morning [1, 2, 3]. The company needs to find new sources of revenue and patent racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] is just one possible source that would render Microsoft a “patent troll” if or when it gives up on Vista Phony 7 [sic] for example.

A Microsoft-sponsored site from Seattle says that Microsoft has just acquired 44 patents that could be applied in the mobile phones market (where Microsoft is said to have just around 5% market share):

Microsoft’s agreement to acquire Canesta Inc., confirmed late last week, will give the Redmond company 44 patents and about two dozen patent applications covering various ways of enhancing a computer’s senses — including gesture recognition, depth perception, and real-time camera and sensor calibration. Taken as a whole, they show how Microsoft could give users new ways of interacting with future versions of its PC and mobile operating systems.

This would enable aggression against rivals even if Microsoft quits this market (or never explores it at all). Microsoft need no longer feel ashamed of being viewed as a parasite. The company is already perceived that way among those who know better and having funded SCO, it is clear that Microsoft also feeds some other parasites. Speaking of parasites, the other day Groklaw wrote about one of Brian Proffitt’s articles: “If Oracle yearns for the title of Community Parasite, formerly held by Caldera, now SCO, they can follow this course. But how well is Oracle’s Linux doing? It’s really hard if you are used to thinking in proprietary ways to see the value in sharing, but there is value.”

“Microsoft need no longer feel ashamed of being viewed as a parasite.”Oracle is also said to be agitating HP at the moment, after Oracle hired Hurd who had been ousted by HP [1, 2, 3, 4], only to be replaced by a possible Microsoft mole, Apotheker [1, 2].

Techrights will be writing more about Oracle in the future. As long as Oracle still maintains and distributes some valuable Free software projects like OpenOffice.org and VirtualBox, however, Techrights prefers not to slam Oracle more than reasonably (what’s absolutely necessary). When it comes to patents, Oracle is a problem only when it comes to Android. The case is quite unique though and no claims are made about Linux in Android. Compare that to Apple’s and Microsoft’s patent lawsuits against Android distributors. A few days ago we wrote about the ITC taking Nokia's side over Apple's and argued that it can be good news for Android (ensuring it’s safe from embargo).

Microsoft’s own patent attack on Linux/Android/Motorola is now reaching review stages at the ITC, say several publications [1, 2, 3, 4] and an older article titled “Redmond’s Anti-Android Patent Trap” gets reposted by ECT. IDG’s Paul McNamara meanwhile blogs about “Microsoft patents ‘record button on a computer system’” (we covered it in [1, 2]) and he argues that “at least one patent expert says such muttering may be unwarranted in this case. (Unlike with Microsoft’s patent on a “butt hinge with integrally formed butt straps,” which proved to be not only funny but erroneous.)”

“The matter of fact is that some years ago Microsoft recruited the likes of Marshall Phelps to help the company mooch other companies just like IBM does.”These apologetics are expected from IDG. The matter of fact is that some years ago Microsoft recruited the likes of Marshall Phelps to help the company mooch other companies just like IBM does. Microsoft wants to make money without producing quite so many products and it even promoted Horacio Gutierrez, a leading person in Microsoft’s extortion crusades (including those against GNU/Linux). Microsoft is now employing the meta-industry not of engineers but of lawyers like this group which built a business model around patent litigation. How appalling. To Microsoft, it’s about quantity, not quality.

It is not too shocking that even Microsoft buddies like Finjan [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] (Microsoft connection to Finjan was last covered here a long time ago and it’s still a major shareholder) are resorting to just patent lawsuits, the latest of which was won by Finjan and forces McAfee to pay Finjan $13 million (for code that Finjan has absolutely nothing to do with). As Fahmida Y. Rashid put it last week, “Federal judges deny McAfee’s appeal to overturn the verdict in the patent infringement lawsuit with Finjan which would require it to pay more than $13 million in damages.”

Why is the company just suing? Well, according to Wikipedia (maybe not be accurate in this case due to lack of citations), “In 2001, the company ran into financial difficulties and Touboul [founder] was asked by the board of directors to rejoin the company as CEO. Touboul realigned the company’s strategy, moving away from developing only software solutions to combined hardware and software security appliances; additionally, the company moved to a channel sales model. But in 2005, following disagreements with the board, Touboul left again and started a new company Yoggie Security Systems.” The company was just sold last year. It probably helps show how patents are a loser’s game and everyone in this game loses, except lawyers perhaps.

There is more in Bloomberg and the official court documents.

Welcome to a world of software patents — a world where money can be made without writing a single line of code or shipping a single product. This is apparently the type of world that Microsoft and its ilk hope to thrive in. They can’t play fairly. Microsoft never could.

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

Mark Shuttleworth

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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. Links 23/11/2020: GNU Guix 1.2.0, Evaluating Precursor’s Hardware Security, Kdenlive 20.08.3, Kodi 19.x Beta, Vulkan 1.2.162

    Links for the day



  2. Links 23/11/2020: Linux 5.10-rc5, GIMP Turns 25, 4MLinux 34.2, Escuelas Linux 6.11, MPV Player 0.33

    Links for the day



  3. How to Put on Airs of Professionalism Like a Boss

    "Boardroom suits are not meant to be flashy, but to conform. Simple lines and smart ties -- the opposite of what Richard Stallman would wear, show that you are either a well-machined cog or a serious adversary."



  4. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 22, 2020



  5. Legal Action at the European Patent Office (EPO) Leveraged Against Management... for Robbing EPO Staff and Robbing Europe, by Extension

    The EPO is being looted for its value; the staff is rightly concerned and there’s legal action on the way, filed reluctantly as there’s clearly no other option (a last resort/necessary recourse)



  6. Cory Doctorow at Privacy Week 2020 on DRM, Freedom/Software Freedom, Regulation, Etc.

    “We Used To Have Cake, Now We’ve Barely Got Icing” by Cory Doctorow.



  7. Links 22/11/2020: KaOS 2020.11, Calindori 1.3, KStars 3.5.0

    Links for the day



  8. New Position Paper on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Says It's “Not the Best Solution for Europe” -- Clearly an Understatement

    UPC proponents (profiteers) aren't enjoying support anymore; not only has progress stalled (come to a complete stop) but the whole debate about the UPC (or anything conceptually like it) turned toxic and negative because facts come out, overriding lobbyists of litigation giants



  9. Mortality Rates Increase at the EPO and Christmases (or Holidays) During Corona Mean Fewer Days Off

    There's still no sign (other than hand-waving and empty gestures/smiles) that the EPO's management wishes to right the wrongs and undo the damage done over the past decade or so; in some ways, today's management is worse than ever before (grossly incompetent and eager to break the law at every turn)



  10. Newly Abnormal: A Crackdown on EPO Staff and Labour Rights in 'Survey' Clothing (Willis Towers Watson)

    In a very characteristic fashion, with zero consultation/input from staff (or staff representatives/union leaders) EPO President António Campinos proceeds to implementing illegal ‘reforms’, assuring any remaining non-sceptics that he’s just another Benoît Battistelli



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 21, 2020



  12. [Meme] Good Advice From the FSF, So It's Time to #DeleteGitHub

    A good gift for the FSF would be git; not GitHub, but git



  13. Go Distributed, Go Encrypted, Go Secure, Transparency Still Possible

    Earlier today we enhanced access to our (sometimes anonymised) IRC logs by issuing text (ASCII) versions, which will from now onwards be a nightly/daily occurrence; we're also making everything we publish accessible from a large number of IPFS nodes (akin to P2P)



  14. IAM Celebrating and Glorifying Illegal Patents With Fake 'Awards' and Bogus 'Endorsements'

    IAM's fake 'awards' are nothing more than business and agenda-steering lies; it's time to call out again the real corruption that's driving IAM (which is itself supporting and advocating corruption)



  15. Been There, Done That: Team UPC's 'October' Becomes 'Early November' and Now Late November

    The self-serving litigation fanatics who mislead their customers are still at it; Bristows says that UPC has no issues other than “delay”



  16. The Only Real Dialogue the 'European' Patent Office is Having... is With Litigation Parasites, Even Foreign Ones

    The EPO's mask falls off again, revealing a ruthless herd immunity-like mentality that welcomes patent trolls, threatens/condemns actual scientists, harms Europe and basically does a disservice to everybody



  17. Inside the EPO During Corona: SUEPO (EPO Staff Union) and the Central Staff Committee Blast the Office for Illegal Practices and Threaten Legal Action

    The Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) and the Central Staff Committee (CSC) are escalating their tone; the management of the Office and the Organisation is running out of time as staff loses its patience and its tolerance for the repeated abuses by the administration



  18. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, November 20, 2020



  19. Links 21/11/2020: Coreboot 4.13, EasyOS 2.5, Wine 5.22, Gmusicbrowser 1.1.16

    Links for the day



  20. Links 20/11/2020: Xfce 4.16pre2 and Qt Releases

    Links for the day



  21. Open Letter to Mogzagain (No Worries)

    figosdev responds to a concerned reader of Techrights, who wants Free software to succeed



  22. Better Privacy Than Pretty Good Privacy

    We're getting into distributed-as-in-decentralised and encryption-enabled page distribution; we're also likely to be adopting Sequoia-PGP over time



  23. Inside the EPO During Corona: The EPO is Violating Workers'/Stakeholders' Privacy and Breaking Data Protection Law (Again)

    There's no respect for the law or for the dignity/privacy of EPO staff; whenever the subject is being brought up there's nothing but stonewalling and the Data Protection Officer is a friend of the offender, who would be reluctant to oversee anything



  24. Conduct of EPO Management Lacks “Basis in Legality” According to EPO Staff Representatives

    The ongoing assault on staff of the EPO isn't going unnoticed and for the impression of consent (acceptance of this assault) a survey is being imposed on workers (with pressure put by line managers to participate); Europe as a whole is under assault from the EPO, whose decision-making groups are entirely infiltrated by special interests (to give an impression of professional consultation)



  25. Inside the EPO During Corona: Managers Don't Think of the Children, Cut Their Budget for First Time in Half a Century

    The systematic attack on staff's rights and welfare shows no signs of stopping; the so-called 'president', who isn't even showing up for meetings with staff, has turned Europe's second-largest institution from cash cow into a cash laundering apparatus that eats its own workers



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 19, 2020



  27. Links 20/11/2020: Mir 2.2, Istio Releases, Linux 5.9.9

    Links for the day



  28. Inside the EPO During Corona: Sending Staff Home to Justify Cutting Their Benefits and Maybe Even Key Allowances

    Questions linger and are being raised by the Central Staff Committee of the EPO, seeing that there's no sign of standard EPO contracts being respected anymore



  29. Inside the EPO During Corona: Acting Chairperson of the Central Staff Committee of the EPO Suggests Involving Staff Representatives in Corona Task Force

    Back in summer, not too long after many scandals (even talk of layoffs) and after the June elections, Cláudia Lopes sent the following letter to the dictator and his Chief of Staff



  30. Inside the EPO During Corona: There's No Rule of Law Anymore and That Takes Its Toll on 'Low-Level' Staff

    The EPO continues to assault its sole real asset (highly knowledgeable staff on the payroll), dooming any prospects of recovery during or after the crisis; to make matters worse, nobody holds the EPO accountable anymore (at least staff representatives are trying to)


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