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01.17.11

Microsoft Co-founder — Like Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures — Helps Add Patent Tax to Linux

Posted in Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 4:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hand on keyboard

Summary: Our extensive coverage (primarily with links) about the refiled Traul Allen [sic] lawsuit, which this time mentions the Linux-powered Android as a target

THE PREVIOUS two posts covered patent troll Intellectual Ventures [1, 2]. In the latter part we showed allegation that Microsoft’s former CTO had begun extorting Linux using software patents and we deliberately separate this from Traul Allen’s similar action. Allen is Microsoft’s co-founder and the ‘Microsoft press’ makes it clear that Facebook, which is a patent abuser-aggressor, is among those hit. We last mentioned Facebook in relation to the Goldman Sachs ‘bubble machine’ and Groklaw‘s response to it was: “Surprise. The SEC announces an investigation of the Goldman Sachs workaround (“We’re only one shareholder, really, just privately sharing with our best friends a little bit”) and presto, chango, Facebook suddenly is talking going public.”

“Haven’t we seen this type of scam before? Harming society for the sake of some stocks and patents while claiming to do ‘charity’?”Anyway, Facebook’s inclusion in Allen’s list is a subject we touched on before and it is better to concentrates on Allen’s impact on Free software. The Seattle press is pretty useless for unbiased information because he is worshipped there just like the Gates Foundation. Money tilts coverage. Here is an example of Allen buying the hearts of Washington State (example from end of November) with another report here and a new (to us) disclosure that he wants “to run his own private investment office.”

Haven’t we seen this type of scam before? Harming society for the sake of some stocks and patents while claiming to do ‘charity’? We saw that coming.

As usual, the Seattle Weekly stands out of from crowd by taking a bolder step and generalising a little. The title is “Paul Allen Still Determined to Sue the Internet” and it is critical:

Microsoft co-founder and 400-foot yacht-owner Paul Allen is determined to sue the pants off the internet. Well, maybe not the entire internet, per se, but rather a bevy of the biggest companies around that use it.

Allen’s lawsuit was originally filed in August, after his platoon of lawyers poured over his patents and came up with a way to argue that he practically invented the internet in his Interval Licensing lab in Palo Alto that’s been closed now for 10 years.

Groklaw generalises by saying that Allen sues the whole world and Robert Pogson has his own take too:

There should be a law against trolling like this. I remember using software that does this kind of stuff in the 1970s before the web was around. Even a table of contents or an index could be said to infringe. This is so vague it should also be chucked. Perhaps they will tweak the court’s interest with a third amended complaint or add a few hundred other software patent claims.

Here are responses from LWN. It’s pretty much as expected and Microsoft Florian posts more anti-Android rhetoric in Twitter (he claims to be using Android but links to inflammatory/Google-hostile news of this type). Jan Wildeboer, who used to know Florian personally, interprets this as follows:

So now [Florian] claims Android could be killed by MSFT/Allen patents. Why am I not surprised? I guess Google should pay FRAND to MSFT?

Jan Wildeboer points to this old page about Microsoft Florian and stresses: “This is what [Florian] had to say on FRAND some years ago” (by the way, Wildeboer posts primarily in Identi.ca and like many of us he also passes output to Twitter where more people reside, including Microsoft Florian).

Basically, the Microsoft boosters keep painting this mostly as problem to Android, perhaps because they want to scare phone makers*. What Allen is doing makes sense on the one hand, but it is also odd because on the other hand “Kiha Raises $20 Million From Paul Allen To Build A Mobile Assistant” and it targets Android:

Seattle-based Kiha Software, which has raised $20 million from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen, launched Aro Mobile, a product in beta for Android devices that it supposed to make your phone smarter, and link together email, SMS, calendar and contacts to make your phone into a virtual assistant.

Microsoft has been very aggressive against Android recently it is now being daemonised further, says a Forbes blogger. There is an attempt to put Bong [sic] on Linux-based Android phones across all U.S. operators [1, 2, 3,, 4], which works well as a Trojan horse. Microsoft cannot stop Android anymore, so it is trying to make Android subservient and profitable for Microsoft.

Google is now under fire and Google’s Android (or Linux) too, by association. One article headline says that Google Fights Back in Patent Suit vs. Microsoft Co-Founder:

Google said Interval failed to identify how Google has infringed on his patents, the underlying technology at issue, and the products or services offered by Google that are alleged to infringe.

When it had just been published in the news (before the new year) Groklaw wrote: “It’s not on PACER yet, so likely one of the parties provided it to the journalist, which as I’ve mentioned in the past is a common event. What is interesting is that the complaint attacks Android directly, surprise, surprise: “54. Defendant Google has infringed and continues to infringe at least claims 1, 3, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 15 of the ’314 patent under 35 U.S.C. § 271 by making, using, selling, distributing, and encouraging customers to use devices containing the Android Operating System and associated software such as Text Messaging, Google Talk, Google Voice, and Calendar, and by making and using the hardware and software that operate the Android and Android Market infrastructure. Google’s infringement of the ’314 patent that relates to Android results from substantially the same activities as its infringement of the ’652 patent, described above in ¶ 44.””

“As a reminder, Microsoft has already attempted to feed patent trolls with Linux-oriented patents.”This can add to Microsoft patent tax and yet seem to be totally independent from Microsoft. As a reminder, Microsoft has already attempted to feed patent trolls with Linux-oriented patents. Luckily, it got caught and stopped by the OIN [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

This whole situation got a lot of people upset and to cite just one example, John C. Dvorak published “Software Patents Have Got to Go!” (also see “Software Patents: Good Idea or Got to Go?”):

All the brouhaha with Paul Allen suing, well, everyone makes it even clearer that software and process patents need to go.

If you haven’t noticed, Paul Allen has sued Apple, Yahoo, Google and other websites over some patents he holds that preclude just about anyone from doing anything modern via a website or browser. I find the brouhaha highly amusing, and it brings up a number of questionable situations.

In addition, see articles such as “Paul Allen refiles to sue the world”; “Paul Allen revises patent suit against 11 tech firms”; “Paul Allen revises patent suit, targets Android, Apple iTunes”; “Paul Allen Refiles Patent Case VS Apple, Google, Etc.”; “Paul Allen amends lawsuit against Facebook, Apple and others” and “Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen re-files patent suit against Apple” .

“The scratching patent is small beer. He is working on a breathing patent, it never happened until his birth.”
      –Satipera
As a joke, our reader Satipera wrote: “Paul Allen says he was the first person to scratch his bollocks , and if you think you did it before him see you in court. #swpats #humour”

Agent Smith replied with: “Oh, Oh, now he wants to earn money just for scratching his bollocks and nothing more… Why need to work, when he can sue ?”

To which Satipera responded as follows: “The scratching patent is small beer. He is working on a breathing patent, it never happened until his birth. #swpats #humour”

He also posted a link to “Patent Troll Alert: Paul Allen Tries Again to Scam the World”. [hat tip: Satipera]

Let us be very specific here: A patent has become nothing more than a rubber stamp passing the whole thing over to the courts to figure out what might be true and then collect money from somebody. In other words, today’s Patent Law is a litigation make-work program to protect the welfare of the legal profession and the courts.

That last statement nicely leads into future posts we’ll make very shortly about the system which enables all this abuse.
_____
* It is hard to tell what happens privately, but Microsoft mobbyists appear to have already ‘briefed’ (by mass-mailing) journalists for anti-Linux tilt. Some of the FUD-spreading mobbyists spin this Interval suit (simply revised, same targets) as someone legitimately attacking Linux for infringement (because it is mentioned briefly, further down in “¶ 44″ and “¶ 54″).

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