01.18.11

Gemini version available ♊︎

Microsoft’s Dangerous Obsession With Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft products like KINect get sued for patent violations following Microsoft’s legal action against Linux/Android, which shows the limit of this monopolist’s patent strategy

MICROSOFT is not in a healthy state and it is trying to earn patents like never before. Rather than produce a portfolio of products it increasingly produces a portfolio of patents and then pressures companies to pay Microsoft for “licences” (otherwise Microsoft sues, until the licensing deal is done). Microsoft booster Todd Bishop says that Microsoft wants to patent ‘fans’ and that it’s a “one-way public relationships”:

In a filing made public today, Microsoft is seeking a patent for something it calls “One-Way Public Relationships” in social networks and other online properties.

Even though you’ve probably never heard or used that phrase, chances are you’re involved in many of these types of relationships already. That’s because it’s more commonly known as being a “fan” of something online.

The latest item of news being debated is “Microsoft Seeks Do-Let-The-Bed-Bugs-Bite Patent”. From Slashdot‘s summary:

“In its just-published patent application for Adapting Parasites to Combat Disease, Microsoft lays out plans to unleash ‘altered parasitic organisms’ on humans, including mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, bed bugs, leeches, pinworms, tapeworms, hookworms, heart worms, roundworms, lice (head, body, and pubic), and the like. ‘Irradiated mosquitoes can be used to deliver damaged Plasmodium to individuals,’ explains Microsoft. ‘Instead of contracting malaria, an individual receiving the damaged Plasmodium develops an immune response that renders the individual resistant to contracting malaria.’ Don’t worry about runaway breeding, advises Microsoft — ‘a termination feature [that] can include programmed death’ makes this impossible. As David Spade might say, I liked this movie the first time I saw it — when it was called Jurassic Park.”

If Microsoft becomes too focused on patents and not actual products, then it puts all of its eggs in the litigious basket and risks going out of business when the law changes (more on that in a later post). Going through some Microsoft patent news which we missed over the past two months, we find that Microsoft expands its patent lawsuit:

Microsoft is rumored to extend the patent infringement lawsuit that claimed his property on the operating system (OS) of mobile Android.

Here is the WSJ blog post “What Smartphone Makers Can Learn From the Sewing Machine Patent War”:

The smartphone market is highly lucrative, has many competing players, and involves countless patents. In other words, it’s a recipe for lawsuits. In the last month alone, Microsoft lobbed a suit at Motorola, who in turn sued Apple. Nokia and HTC both have sued Apple, and Apple has sued both Nokia and HTC.

Remember that the patent system started with real inventors whose contributions included physical and complex inventions like sewing machines (not suing machines like today’s patent lawyers) and whose novelty involved sophisticated mechanics with improvements. Sure, some of these early patents were granted to people who merely improved very slightly the work of others — work that had not been patented. The likes of Edison are a good example of this form of abuse. Anyway, the sewing machine patent war is a decent analogy for the smartphones patent war.

By attacking Motorola (Android) with patents, Microsoft has put Xbox at risk, so this whole strategy is becoming rather dodgy and unpredictable. It’s all that Microsoft has left. Motorola is now using the KINect to sue Microsoft back:

Microsoft and Motorola were discovered on Friday to have expanded their countering patent lawsuits to include technology that could cover the wider industry. Motorola on Thursday filed a lawsuit in the Western District of Wisconsin to include two new patents that claim the Kinect motion controller violates its patents Microsoft responded the same day by filing its own lawsuit in a Southern District of Florida court that added seven new patents to its claims, five of which claimed infringements by Android while two more aimed at Motorola’s DVR boxes.

The mobbyists keep concentrating on this case against Linux, chatting with people who include Rob Enderle. They try to use it to cause damage to Linux’ reputation (or more specifically Android).

SCOny [sic] too is collecting more patents around its console these days:

Sony’s plans for their PS3 – A patent filing hinting on the future?

[...]

I’ve written on many occasions about Kinect, the tech which I believe Microsoft is hoping to take its 360 through the next five years. In the meantime Sony has been busy too and they have released their Move tech which won best hardware accessory at Gamescon 2010, beating Microsoft’s Kinect for the accolade.

As we showed last night, SCOny is suing rivals with patents, but mostly hardware patents. When it comes to peripherals, it’s about patents that are partly software oriented.

Going further back in time, Canesta was bought by Microsoft and resultant articles stress that patents are a major part of it, e.g.:

i. Microsoft Buys Chip Company Canesta
ii. If Microsoft Acquires Canesta, It’s Probably A Patent Play (MSFT)
iii. Microsoft buys gesture-chip maker (and patent holder) Canesta
iv. Microsoft Acquires Canesta, 3D Tech Patents

Here is another one that we missed:

i. Microsoft Patents Brain Implant Gaming Device

Microsoft Corporation Technology Chief Craig Mundie announced today that they have perfected a new “brain implant” gaming device that will assure frequent gamers of “the best gaming experience of their lives”.

And also:

i. Give your keyboard the boot? Microsoft patents foot interface

Microsoft’s research into a “foot-based user interface” seemed somewhat novel in 2006, when I first wrote about the project. Now that the company has released its Kinect full-body motion control system for the Xbox 360, the idea of controlling a machine with your feet seems like only part of the picture.

ii. Microsoft Patents Foot-Controlled Interface–Finally, A Way To Dedicate All Four Limbs To Work

Microsoft has apparently been kicking around the idea of a foot-controlled computer interface for some time now. They don’t want you to type with your toes, fortunately, but rather to use your feet for simple tasks like scrolling and opening email. But now that the company has finally patented the idea, will foot-powered computing usher in an era of healthier and more efficient screen time or just tie people to their machines by four limbs instead of two?

iii. Microsoft Earns Patent for Foot-Based Human-Computer Interface Technology

This one is familiar:

i. Microsoft applies for a patent for a verifying a ‘safe’ operating system

Microsoft has applied for a patent for an “automated, static safety verifier” that will help verify the type- and memory-safety of an operating system.

And notably:

i. Microsoft Files Patent for Tactile Touchscreen
ii. Microsoft physical touchscreen patent app tips dynamic Surface
iii. Microsoft patents a more tactile touchscreen
iv. Microsoft patents shape-shifting display
v. Microsoft tries to reinvent the mobile keyboard

To quote from the first (number i) item:

In what is touted as what could be the future of touchscreen keyboards, Microsoft filed a patent on Nov. 25 for a “shape-shifting” touchscreen.

The technology would let users feel contours of a keyboard as if they were typing on a real physical keyboard even though they are really typing on a touchscreen which has a projected image of a keyboard.

Raining on Microsoft’s parade is the following: “Microsoft Research’s tactile touchscreens: Is it really circa 1970s PARC?”

These patent applications always spark a mixed reaction from me. You cheer the innovative ideas and then the capitalist cynic kicks in. The other item about Microsoft Research worth pondering is whether commercialization even matters.

Also worth mentioning: “Sony, Microsoft Patent New Touchscreen Technologies”

Patents filed by Sony and Microsoft suggest both companies may be planning to take touch screen technologies in interesting new directions, with potential applications for future game platforms.

And finally we have: “Microsoft patent bribes people to watch TV ads”

The patent, originally issued in 2000, is called “System and method for encouraging viewers to watch television programs.” It’s not a bad idea, as far as ideas that have never come to fruition go. Seeing it reminded me of Microsoft’s Magic Wand and Holographic meetings patents issued in 2009. It made me wonder what other oddball patents Microsoft has acquired recently. Answer: quite a few.

It is worth remembering that Microsoft buried Massive, which says a lot about its ventures that involve putting ads on TV.

The bottom line is, Microsoft is becoming a patents company. It’s everywhere in the news and it suggests that Microsoft’s vision is one of extortion and litigation.

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Proprietary Software is Pollution

    "My daughter asked me about why are we throwing away some bits of technology," Dr. Andy Farnell says. "This is my attempt to put into words for "ordinary" people what I tried to explain to a 6 year old."



  2. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XV — Cover-Up and Defamation

    Defamation of one’s victims might be another offence to add to the long list of offences committed by Microsoft’s Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot, Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley; attempting to discredit the police report is a new low and can get Mr. Graveley even deeper in trouble (Microsoft protecting him only makes matters worse)



  3. [Meme] Alexander Ramsay and Team UPC Inciting Politicians to Break the Law and Violate Constitutions, Based on Misinformation, Fake News, and Deliberate Lies Wrapped up as 'Studies'

    The EPO‘s law-breaking leadership (Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos and their corrupt cronies), helped by liars who don't enjoy diplomatic immunity, are cooperating to undermine courts across the EU, in effect replacing them with EPO puppets who are patent maximalists (Europe’s equivalents of James Rodney Gilstrap and Alan D Albright, a Donald Trump appointee, in the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, respectively)



  4. Has the Administrative Council Belatedly Realised What Its Job in the European Patent Organisation Really Is?

    The "Mafia" which took over the EPO (the EPO's own workers call it "Mafia") isn't getting its way with a proposal, so it's preventing the states from even voting on it!



  5. [Meme] Team UPC is Celebrating a Pyrrhic Victory

    Pyrrhic victory best describes what's happening at the moment (it’s a lobbying tactic, faking/staging things to help false prophecies be fulfilled, based on hopes and wishes alone), for faking something without bothering to explain the legal basis is going to lead to further escalations and complaints (already impending)



  6. Links 24/1/2022: Scribus 1.5.8 and LXLE Reviewed

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 23, 2022



  8. [Meme] Team UPC Congratulating Itself

    The barrage of fake news and misinformation about the UPC deliberately leaves out all the obvious and very important facts; even the EPO‘s António Campinos and Breton (Benoît Battistelli‘s buddy) participated in the lying



  9. Links 24/1/2022: pgBadger 11.7 Released, Catch-up With Patents

    Links for the day



  10. The Demonisation and Stereotyping of Coders Not Working for Big Corporations (or 'The System')

    The war on encrypted communication (or secure communications) carries on despite a lack of evidence that encryption stands in the way of crime investigations (most criminals use none of it)



  11. On the 'Peak Hacker' Series

    Hacker culture, unlike Ludditism, is ultimately a movement for justice, for equality, and for human rights through personal and collective emancipation; Dr. Farnell has done a good job explaining where we stand and his splendid series has come to a close



  12. Links 23/1/2022: First RC of Linux 5.17 and Sway 1.7 Released

    Links for the day



  13. Peak Code — Part III: After Code

    "Surveillance perimeters, smart TVs (Telescreens built to Orwell's original blueprint) watched over our living rooms. Mandatory smart everything kept us 'trustless'. Safe search, safe thoughts. We withdrew. Inside, we went quietly mad."



  14. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 22, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 22, 2022



  15. Links 23/1/2022: MongoDB 5.2, BuddyPress 10.0.0, and GNU Parallel 20220122

    Links for the day



  16. A Parade of Fake News About the UPC Does Not Change the General Consensus or the Simple Facts

    European Patents (EPs) from the EPO are granted in violation of the EPC; Courts are now targeted by António Campinos and the minions he associates with (mostly parasitic litigation firms and monopolists), for they want puppets for “judges” and for invalid patents to be magically rendered “valid” and “enforceable”



  17. Welcome to 2022: Intentional Lies Are 'Benefits' and 'Alternative Facts'

    A crooks-run EPO, together with the patent litigation cabal that we’ve dubbed ‘Team UPC’ (it has nothing to do with science or with innovation), is spreading tons of misinformation; the lies are designed to make the law-breaking seem OK, knowing that Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are practically above the law, so perjury as well as gross violations of the EPC and constitutions won’t scare them (prosecution as deterrence just isn’t there, which is another inherent problem with the UPC)



  18. From Software Eating the World to the Pentagon Eating All the Software

    “Software is eating the world,” according to Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape), but the Empire Strikes Back (not the movie, the actual empire) by hijacking all code by proxy, via Microsoft, just as it grabbed a lot of the world’s communications via Skype, bypassing the world's many national telecoms; coders need to fight back rather than participate in racist (imperial) shams such as GitHub



  19. Links 22/1/2022: Skrooge 2.27.0 and Ray-Tracing Stuff

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 21, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 21, 2022



  21. Peak Code — Part II: Lost Source

    "Debian and Mozilla played along. They were made “Yeoman Freeholders” in return for rewriting their charters to “work closely with the new Ministry in the interests of all stakeholders” – or some-such vacuous spout… because no one remembers… after that it started."



  22. Links 22/1/2022: Ubuntu MATE 21.10 for GPD Pocket 3, MINISFORUM Preloads GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  23. Computer Users Should be Operators, But Instead They're Being Operated by Vendors and Governments

    Computers have been turned into hostile black boxes (unlike Blackbox) that distrust the person who purchased them; moreover, from a legislative point of view, encryption (i.e. computer security) is perceived and treated by governments like a threat instead of something imperative — a necessity for society’s empowerment (privacy is about control and people in positions of unjust power want total and complete control)



  24. Peak Code — Part I: Before the Wars

    Article/series by Dr. Andy Farnell: "in the period between 1960 and 2060 people had mistaken what they called "The Internet" for a communications system, when it had in fact been an Ideal and a Battleground all along - the site of the 100 years info-war."



  25. Links 21/1/2022: RISC-V Development Board and Rust 1.58.1

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 20, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 20, 2022



  27. Gemini Lets You Control the Presentation Layer to Suit Your Own Needs

    In Gemini (or the Web as seen through Gemini clients such as Kristall) the user comes first; it's not sites/capsules that tell the user how pages are presented/rendered, as they decide only on structural/semantic aspects



  28. The Future of Techrights

    Futures are difficult to predict, but our general vision for the years ahead revolves around more community involvement and less (none or decreased) reliance on third parties, especially monopolistic corporations, mostly because they oppress the population via the network and via electronic devices



  29. [Meme] UPC for CJEU

    When you do illegal things and knowingly break the law to get started with a “legal” system you know it’ll end up in tears… or the CJEU



  30. Links 20/1/2022: 'Pluton' Pushback and Red Hat Satellite 6.10.2

    Links for the day


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