EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.13.11

Exclusive: Microsoft Patent Schemes Nobody Knows About

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Information about Altitude Capital Partners (patent troll), Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft, and Apple (who fund Intellectual Ventures to launch legal attacks using small patent trolls)

EARLIER this year (last month to be more precise) we were contacted by a nice gentleman who had interacted with Bill Gates and his mate Nathan, the world’s biggest patent troll. He provided insights. Prior posts about it contained just the gist. Today we will elaborate on it.

It all began when a post from Rick the Patent TrollTracker got the attention of someone who had been approached by the named troll. “I don’t have any info about “Altitude Capital Partners” being linked to Microsoft,” he explained, “that is why I wrote to ask you if you did. Altitude approached me within the past 2 weeks asking to represent me because my patent portfolio covers basic technologies. I have no idea how they found out about me, though.”

It certainly would be valuable to have someone help us understand what Altitude Capital Partners is really doing because its homepage says very little. This is fascinating as a lot of what the gentleman says helps expose anti-competitive conduct that we have been researching for years, e.g. about Intellectual Ventures, which reportedly uses over 1,000 satellite companies to do its manipulation for Nathan and Bill, the company’s key financier.

Going back to the smaller troll in question, it is hard to determine just what it really does and whether it serves another. This minimal site it maintains says a little more than sites of patent trolls, which are usually LLCs registered with some patents for waging wars on behalf of other companies. Rick the Patent TrollTracker, who used to work for Cisco, was aware of what Altitude Capital Partners was up to, but he got silenced by those whom he exposed, using SLAPP-type action and a scary bounty from the father of patent trolling. Cisco had been under siege from many patent trolls, including Intellectual Ventures. Even though Intellectual Ventures finally filed a lawsuit last year, it usually uses other companies to launch lawsuits against those who are unwilling to pay Nathan and Bill. A company the size of Cisco would typically needs to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to keep Intellectual Ventures at bay (otherwise, it passes patents around to fuel patent battles). A broad patent would be an asset for this reason. It affects many companies. Cisco has just released new information about its upcoming Linux-powered tablet. Gates et al. will probably try to tax that if they haven’t already.

One should add that this site’s (Techrights) interest in this area is motivated by lawsuits that Microsoft is launching against GNU/Linux (and Android, which is Linux-powered). These also involve companies or patent trolls which Microsoft appears to be incentivising to do what they do. The SCO case is an older example of copyrights being used to wage similar battles. This battle is broader than most people realise because Microsoft is losing the battle on newer form factors. Windows sales are declining because Apple and Android are growing like mushrooms in the new space of smartphones, sub-notebooks, and tablets. Last month Barnes and Noble (B&N) put out there documents which show how Microsoft uses patents to distort the market and impede the competition in e-Readers and other such devices, which are basically too underpowered to run Microsoft’s Windows.

Our source suggests that Microsoft has been pursuing this type of strategy for quite some as “between 1998-2001 Bill Gates became interested in things I was patenting,” he explained to us. “I wanted him to use them, actually. Except he didn’t want to acknowledge my work, and didn’t want to pay me even one penny. And it wasn’t about money, it was clearly about cheating people who create things he liked…in other words it was a rabid ego “thing”.”

Typical Gates megalomania and shameless self-promotion.

The “Surface” is an example of a product Microsoft wanted to axe before arrival, but reportedly, Gates’ ego prevented that from being axed. It became a money drain. In general, Gates became fascinated with patents a very long time after he had criticised them and to this date he is doing a lot of work promoting them and collecting them like trophies. His good friend Nathan is lobbying the government and trying to warp the software industry.

“Intellectual property is the next software,” Nathan Myhrvold said not so long ago. This is their vision.

“Bill Gates hired my lawyers,” explained our source, “Weil Gotshal & Manges, who subsequently kicked me out to “test tablets” for Microsoft. You can google search it and confirm that Weil Gotshal was doing that around 2001 or so. The thing that got Gates so interested in the tablet form factor was his seeing the designs to what is now the iPad and iPhone…back in 1998-2001!”

At the moment, Microsoft seems to be exploring ways of making money out of other people’s products. Increasingly it views itself as a licensing company because it cannot quite create something compelling enough. It missed the train. With the axing of Courier, in addition to reports about related patents surfacing, We can only imagine that there will be more stories like the B&N one.

“I was dazed and confused by what happened and went around looking for help of any kind,” our source recalls. “I ultimately ran to Larry Ellison & his buddy Steve Jobs in the hope that they…being Gates’ enemies, would invite me to join them in creating a new tablet device…because I believed Microsoft was about to steal the whole thing. Instead what happened was Steve Jobs stole it, and because of Bill gates’ ego…he felt that only he had anything worth doing… Microsoft ended up stalled…making tablets with styluses and which were effectively chopped up laptop computers shoe-horned into tablet shape. Even as late as 2010 Steve Ballmer was telling people at the London School of Economics that people want tablets with styluses and keyboards — that despite the way the iPhone already demonstrated people’s willingness to use their finger.”

This insistence from Microsoft was foolish as it kept everything heavy and expensive. There was also none of the same promotion at the time, not to mention suitable hardware for 3-D effects and lightness. But as rightly pointed out, Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs have this ego game with Gates and recently Ellison decided to go after Android with an outrageous lawsuit over Dalvik. More recently than that we saw Microsoft, Apple and Oracle creating and entering a patent pool from Novell’s patents (Novell was essentially sold last month). They called it CPTN and it was designed by Microsoft to help exclude or coerce until the US DOJ and the German anti-cartel office got involved. All of these companies increasingly use patents to ensure that they stay in power and the more they can accumulate, the better for them. Actually, Oracle once spoke against software patents, but things have changed since then.

Our guess is that in the eyes of such companies patents like those on tablet form factors are becoming a bargaining card that can help limit functionality of a competitor’s product. It is not uncommon for a company to try and get hold of patents using a third party. The OIN did that last year. And actually, B&N did say that Microsoft tried using patents to merely cripple its products. How does that promote innovation? This is yet more evidence supporting the claim that the patent system excludes small players, further empowered those who can amass many patents along with their patent trolls. If a small company sues a large one, it gets hit by an artillery of other patents. It’s an imbalanced game.

The source of the news was by no means trying to help the major companies, which merely approached him. “In the beginning I even went to non-profit organizations like Mozilla and the EFF and the W3C seeking to donate my patents to them,” he recalls, “but they all treated me like dirt.”

Mozilla, the EFF, and the W3C do not like patents. Mozilla openly denounces them, the EFF has a patent-busting project, and Tim Berners-Lee told me personally that he is adamant in his approach that the Web should have no patents in/on it. I think that the OIN would have been better to approach.

“Bill Gates’ friend Nathan Myhrvold was trying to buy my patents for years but later he decided to pay any lawyers I went to, to pretend they wanted to help me, when in reality they were just stalling for time, and trying to keep me from suing anybody,” we were told. “Nokia was interested in acquiring rights from me in August 2010, and Nokia was extremely nice and polite…but then Gates “installed” his man Stephen Elop as CEO of Nokia and gave Nokia some deal worth billions (according to the news), and Nokia suddenly didn’t want to have anything to do with me. And who are Nokia’s lawyers? “Conveniently” friends of the lawyers who filed my patents for me in the 1990′s which Apple copied to create the iPhone, and which represent Apple, MSFT and Nokia, and Nathan Myhrvold.”

Nokia was essentially taken over by Microsoft using an act of entryism. Recently, a senior figure at Nokia said: “This isn’t a deal between Nokia and Microsoft, this is a Microsoft take over.”

Nokia has already expressed intention to use patents as a tool that further affects the market and with Elop in charge we can only imagine (with concern) what they might do next. Elop has just remarked (in Twitter) about the Skype acquisition. Reading his tweet would give the impression that he is still working for Microsoft.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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

2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 14, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Gravatar

    “bountry” ??

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Bounty (typo). I typed that at the gym between sets, so no spellchecker…

What Else is New


  1. Patent Troll MPEG-LA Expands From Software Patents to Patents on Life While USPTO is Virtually Headless

    The travesty of software patents, such as patents on multimedia compression and playback, may soon be made worse as patents on genome are being aggregated by a notorious patent aggressor



  2. Lack of Independence of the Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Organisation (EPO) a Fatal Blow for the UPC

    Issues associated with the EPC, namely the lack of separation of powers at the EPO, may mean that the UPC is merely a zombie waiting to accept its permanent death



  3. [DE] STRASBOURG: Vertreter der Lufthansa wegen Korruption angeklagt

    Laut manche internationale Quellen wurde Željko Topić gerade wegen korruptiven und kriminellen Neigungen, mit welchen er von Natur begabt ist und mit welchen er den internationalen Korporationen beim Schutz von zwielichtigen Patenten in der Republik Kroatien geholfen hat, eigentlich belohnt mit der Arbeitsstelle in EPO in München, obwohl er laut seine Kenntnisse und seine Mentalität dorthin nicht gehört. Dafür spricht auch die Angabe, daß er als Person mit Komplexen neulich seinen Wohnsitz in Zagreb geändert hat.



  4. Links 21/7/2017: New Wine, Ubuntu EoL

    Links for the day



  5. The Bizarre World of US Patents and Ongoing Pursuit/Granting of Software Patents in Spite of Section 101

    A survey of recent patents that are either far too trivial, pertain purely to software, promote surveillance, or are pursued purely for vanity (when a court is likely to deem these invalid anyway)



  6. Battistelli's EPO Abuses May Soon Lead to the Death of the UPC and Return of the Old Order ('EPO Glory')

    Having severely damaged the EPO, in a selfish effort to make Europe attractive to patent trolls and bullies, Team Battistelli gradually goes away along with the UPC



  7. Links 20/7/2017: Qt Creator 4.4 Beta, Libgcrypt 1.8.0

    Links for the day



  8. Microsoft is Googlebombing “Linux” This Week in Order to Sell Proprietary Software That Does Not Run on GNU/Linux (and While Blackmailing OEMs Over Linux)

    A reminder of the fact that Microsoft very much hates GNU/Linux, lobbies against it (e.g. in Munich), blackmails companies that distribute it (using software patents) and shares all data stored by its software through back doors (for access by the NSA and other Western spy agencies)



  9. PTAB Persists and AIA Dominates in Spite of Smears and Bullying From Patent Extremists Including Watchtroll

    The America Invents Act (AIA) and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) maintain and gain prominence in spite of nefarious tactics of attack sites such as Watchtroll



  10. Patent Reform in the United States is Led by the Supreme Court, Not Industrial Lobbies

    Although lobbying by large corporations has served to change the patent landscape in the US, a lot of the big changes become possible because Justices with no vested interests (in patents and patent lawsuits) overturn decisions from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit



  11. Unified Patent Court (UPC): A Conspiracy of Lies and Silence

    The impasse which makes impossible any progress on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is simply being ignored -- as if it never happened -- by Team UPC



  12. The British Government May be Pulling Out of the UPC Fantasy, Team UPC in Panic or Denial About It

    The latest news about the UPC -- news that Team UPC conveniently ignores -- is that the British government "withdrew motion on Unified Patent Court with no notice"



  13. Links 19/7/2017: MPV 0.26, Netrunner Rolling 2017.07

    Links for the day



  14. Links 18/7/2017: Sparky 5.0, Krita 3.2 Beta, Mageia 6, Slackware Turns 24

    Links for the day



  15. New Paper Explains Why UPC Ratification Efforts Have Been Just About as Corrupt as EPO Under Battistelli

    Yesterday, Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna revealed serious Constitutional issues with the campaign for the Unified Patent Court, which resembles an aggressive Battistelli-esque coup, not a democratic process by any stretch of imagination



  16. Anti-Patent Trolls Reform in the US Evolves Nicely and Rogue Judges Get Named, Shamed

    A quick look at today's coverage regarding the battle against patent trolls in the US, as well as the patent microcosm's war on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  17. Software Patents Lobbying at IAM Strives to Reinforce the Positions of Patent Maximalists

    The latest push for software patents in the software powerhouse which is India and rants about the EPO's admission about overpatenting, only after pressure from the European Commission



  18. UPC Puff Piece in the Scottish Media is Just an Advertisement by Marks & Clerk

    Advertising in the form of an 'article' (complete with self-serving bias and falsehoods) in The Scotsman today, courtesy of Team UPC



  19. From East to West and Even Down South at the Eastern District of Texas Patent Trolls Are Losing Everything

    Patent trolls that are accustomed to friendly judges, typically in the Eastern District of Texas, will be circling down the drain if the trend of "fee award" (to the vindicated defendant) continues



  20. Those Who Endlessly Attacked Michelle Lee Now Attack Supporters of PTAB, Not Just PTAB

    Watchtroll, which combats patent progress by character assassination of instrumental figures, continues in its warpath today



  21. In the Face of Malicious Lobbying, High Tech Inventors Alliance (HTIA) and Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) Protect PTAB

    A new push by the patent microcosm to eliminate PTAB and marginalise Section 101 (which helps suppress software patents) is quickly met with opposition from concerned politicians and groups that represent actual technology companies



  22. Weakening of Patents Assigned to Google and Another New Patent Lawsuit Against Uber

    Project Loon patent canceled, Google's lawsuit against Uber gets 'diluted' by 75%, and Uber faces a new lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas (capital of patent trolls)



  23. After the 'Fall' of Texas, Patent Trolls Struggle and Some Are on the Retreat

    Things are getting out of hand for patent trolls, which find themselves on the defensive (from challenges to all their patents) and try to escape the cases they started in order to dodge paying fees (to no avail)



  24. Immersion, FitBit, Jawbone, and Creative Chose to be a Pile of Patents Rather Than Real Companies

    FitBit is the latest company to be slapped by Immersion (having already driven Jawbone out of business) and there's news about Creative, which uses old patents to shake down Apple and Android OEMs



  25. Debate About Software Patentability in India Still Dominated by Patent Lawyers Rather Than Software Developers

    The warped debate in English-speaking media gives the impression that India should open the door to software patents even though it's perfectly clear that such patents would harm India's interests



  26. Links 16/7/2017: Mesa 17.1.5, FreeBSD 11.1 RC3

    Links for the day



  27. Serious Factual Errors in UPC Coverage at Science|Business and Lack of Coverage in the General Media

    With much of the British media already paid by the EPO to produce UPC puff pieces, we continue to see poor coverage on the topic (if any at all)



  28. Guest Post: Is Germany's UPC Ratification Postponement Related to Problems at the  EPO?

    A question currently being asked by some people watching UPC developments in Germany: "Is Germany's UPC ratification postponement related to problems at the EPO?"



  29. Amazon is Stockpiling Terrible Patents and Using These for Competitive Advantage

    Demonstrating the real purpose of patent hoards, Amazon too 'pulls a Microsoft' and shields its dominance by an atmosphere of sheer fear



  30. Microsoft-Owned LinkedIn is Ramping Up Software Patents Pursuits, Maybe Lawsuits

    A quick look at some of the patterns and priorities when it comes to Microsoft's patent strategy, which typically involves coercion, extortion and sometimes (when coercion or extortion fail) litigation


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts