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01.17.11

Microsoft’s Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures Is Reportedly Extorting Linux Now

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

World’s leading ‘intellectual’ vulture…

Black vulture

Summary: Microsoft’s former CTO Mr. Myhrvold is making money from Android, based on some news

THE previous post spoke about the increasing clout of Intellectual Ventures, which is an unprecedented patent extortions operation created with funds from Apple, Microsoft, and Bill Gates’ own bank account. This is some nasty operation intended to turn back time and fight against progress. Watch what even SAP is being subjected to right now:

Intellectual Ventures, a firm that claims to own more than 30,000 patents and to have earned almost $2 billion in licensing fees, said it reached a licensing accord with software maker SAP AG.

SAP uses SUSE in many of its operations, so it already pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux. It doesn’t say what exactly SAP pays Myhrvold for. It doesn’t really matter because Intellectual Ventures is just a large-scale extortion racket. It hoovers up money and sues those who don’t/can’t pay up. It’s by far the largest patent troll in the world and it complements similar campaigns from the likes of Microsoft, which is “Going to Go After the Chinese Government” based on this recent report that relates to a recent batch. The extortion plan is all they have left now that the world moved towards mobility and Windows is nowhere prominent. To quote the article:

Steve Ballmer wants everyone who ships devices running Android to pay Microsoft a licensing fee. Soon that could include companies with close ties to the Chinese government.

Well, don’t miss the picture of Gates, who runs a very large organisation that lobbies for patents and calls itself the Gates Foundation (inside it there are some managers who came from industries whose patents they sell to governments so that taxpayers pay for the patents).

One has got to appreciate the insightful posts from TechDirt, whose take on the Chinese situation is as follows:

China’s Patent Strategy Isn’t About Innovation; It’s An Economic Weapon Against Foreign Companies

John Bennett points us to an article in the NY Times that claims to be about how China is gearing up to be an innovation powerhouse rather than just known for “copying.” Of course, the actual focus of the article is about how China is trying to get a lot more patents. In fact, we covered this very issue back in October, highlighting how China has set an “innovation policy” that appears much more focused on getting more patents, rather than increasing innovation. There are, of course, some people who still think that the number of patents is a proxy for innovation, but this claim has been debunked so many times, it’s just kind of cute when people still bring it up.

So, could it be that thanks to sustained US pressure on China to “crack down” on infringement, that China has suddenly come to believe that patents equal innovation? Last month, just before some diplomatic meetings between the US and China over trade issues, US officials did their usual misleading grandstanding about how China doesn’t do enough to “protect” US intellectual property. And, in response, Chinese officials did their usual song-and-dance about how they’re really serious about intellectual property now, and we should stop worrying.

Of course, as we’ve pointed out, China seems to be much more aggressive with intellectual property lately, but not in the way the US wants. That is, it’s been using patent and copyright laws to make life more difficult for foreign companies, specifically US companies. And, in reading through the details of that NY Times article above, it looks like they’re planning to do more of the same.

Mike Masnick puts it very nicely and in recent days we showed some articles that help confirm it. In copyright too China is adopting this sort of strategy so that it can have leverage over the West when payday comes (the West has debt to China). But back we go to Intellectual Ventures, which little by little is destroying the American industry by turning it into a virtual economy done on paper and motored by intimidation/lawsuits. The Chinese must be laughing their behinds off watching how the USPTO helps once-productive industries just self-nuke.

Intellectual Ventures is just one example that shows us how Microsoft breeds major patent trolls. We made this point some months ago and the observation is now echoed by news sites. This one example asks: “What’s With These Microsoft Patent Trolls?”

Paul Allen and Nathan Myhrvold: what’s with these ex-Microsofties now turned Patent Trolls? Was there something in the water at Microsoft or what?

I’m reading lately about Allen’s efforts to bring to bear a portfolio of patents filed by Interval Research, a company he founded once upon a time. Myhrvold has a whole company apparently devoted to Trolling, called “Intellectual Ventures.”

I don’t get it. You have two ostensibly technical guys. Both are wealthy beyond most people’s wildest dreams. What is the thinking that causes a man in that position with those credentials and experience to decide to be a patent troll? They can’t possibly need the money. It can’t possibly escape them that a large part of the technical world abhors what patent trolls do, so they’re not doing it to polish their reputations or leave a legacy. There is a certain irony that Microsoft has always had a reputation for copying others rather than innovating and now ex-Microsofties are doing this.

Several years ago we showed Myhrvold’s interview with Charlie Rose, where he mentioned Linux and expressed disdain (that was after he had ‘moved on’ from Microsoft). Techrights theorises that Microsoft finds other forms and sources of Linux tax and as we shall show in later posts, they are now attacking Android simultaneously, piling on liabilities that Microsoft alone cannot impose. Traul Allen, for example, mimics some of Intellectual Ventures’ ways (both are actively suing) and based on a news report, both are targeting Android at this moment. We shall deal with Traul Allen separately, in a later post. The latter has already started suing, but when it comes to Android it seems to be signing deals before litigation. See Myhrvold’s funny photo in Murdoch’s press. How fitting.

“It is becoming fashionable and Myhrvold merely joins Microsoft’s patent feast on companies far greater (in size) than Microsoft itself.”As a little reminder, Android distributors near China are already being targeted by Myhrvold [1, 2]. It is becoming fashionable and Myhrvold merely joins Microsoft’s patent feast on companies far greater (in size) than Microsoft itself. SCOny [sic] too appears to have joined this game by suing LG over alleged patent violations in its phones while Microsoft and LG grow even closer (see our wiki page about LG). Microsoft was extremely busy doing legal extortion last year, which is a milestone to be noted to the cheering of its biggest boosters.

Korean giants LG and Samsung (see the Samsung wiki page) are paying Microsoft for Linux while both are generally faithful to Microsoft, even if Vista Phony 7 [sic] is something they can hardly use. Such companies are using Android phone designs to pretend to support Windows too. It keeps the monopolist more calm in the short term and HP is on the same boat (worn out by Windows but still persisting to a lesser degree).

Several weeks ago we showed reports about Intellectual Venture and Asian companies that sell Linux. Some authors were calling it a pact (and some still do [1, 2, 3]), but here is one that said they signed more than just a deal. It alleged that it was actually anti-Linux extortion from Myhrvold.

Android Tax Being Paid by Samsung, HTC

[...]

While Android is a free and open-source operating system developed by Google, its use may not be so free as HTC and Samsung, manufacturers who use Android in part of their smartphone portfolio, are now paying a price to use Android as an OS by licensing technology from a company called Intellectual Ventures.

Can Korean competition authorities intervene to find the justification? This seems like racketeering (disguised as an amicable deal) and Korea has history dealing with such abuses (like cartels). With American FTAs on its doorstep pushing to legalise software patents in Korea, the Korean people ought to rise up and protest. HTC’s jurisdiction is Taiwan (China), so the Chinese people too should do something about it.

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