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. East Asia's Patent Peril and the Curse of Patent Trolls

    The high cost of China's new obsession with patents and the never-ending saga of Samsung (Korea), which gets dragged into courts not only in the US but also in China



  2. USPTO Starts Discriminating Against Poor People, and Does So Even When They Rightly Point Out Errors

    Even though the burden of proof ought to be on one who grants a monopoly, the legal costs are being offloaded onto those who challenge an erroneously-granted monopoly (even if the court sides with the challenger)



  3. Ambrose Chan Enters Document Security Systems (DSS), a Partly Patent Troll Entity

    The Board of Directors of DSS enlists a man from Singapore, whose lack of technical background suggests that the company is still more of a bully than an innovator



  4. UPC Threatens to Weaponise Software Patents in Countries That Forbade These

    The reality of software patents in Europe and what a Unified Patent Court (UPC) would mean for these if it ever became a reality



  5. The Latest Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and CIPO's Participation in Those

    Team UPC continues to overplay its chances, conveniently ignoring simple facts as well as the Rule of Law



  6. The Patents Policy of Facebook is Causing an Exodus

    Yet another major player walks away from Facebook's code because of software patents



  7. Links 20/9/2017: Wine Staging 2.17, Randa 2017, Redox OS 0.3.3

    Links for the day



  8. When Google Used Alex Converse to Raid the Public Domain With Software Patents

    In its overzealous pursuit of software patents, Google is now turning public domain methods into private 'property' (in defiance of critics)



  9. Mark Kokes, the Man Behind BlackBerry's Patent Aggression, Leaves the Company

    The man behind the patent troll-like behaviour of BlackBerry is leaving



  10. WordPress Demonstrates That Facebook's Patent Strategy is Deterring/Alienating Developers

    React is being dumped following Facebook's attempt to restrict distribution/derivatives using software patents



  11. Links 19/9/2017: Pipewire, Mir Support for Wayland, DRM in W3C

    Links for the day



  12. Links 18/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC1, Mesa 17.2.1, and GNOME 3.26 on Ubuntu Artful

    Links for the day



  13. Patent Trolls Update: Eolas, Conversant (MOSAID), Leigh Rothschild, and Electronic Communication Technologies

    Patent trolls are still being watched -- as they ought to be -- even though some of them shy away, hide from the media, engage in dirty tricks, and file more lawsuits



  14. Microsoft is Promoting Software Patents in India in Another Effort to Undermine Free/Open Source Software, Microsoft-Connected Trolls Are Still Suing

    The ongoing patent threat to Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) and the role played by Microsoft in at least much of this threat



  15. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Under Attack by IBM and Other Patent Parasites Who Undermine Patent Quality

    The PTAB, which has thus far invalidated thousands of abstract/software patents, is under a coordinated attack not by those who produce things but those who produce a lot of lawsuit



  16. Why the Mohawk Tribe Should Fire Its Lawyers and Dump the Patents Which Now Tarnish Its Name

    In order to dodge the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) with its Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs), the Mohawk tribe is being exploited -- very much in direct detriment to its reputation and status



  17. Amazon and Google Have Both Become Part of the Software Patents Problem

    The transition from so-called 'defensive' patents to offensive patents (ones that are used to suppress competition) as seen in Amazon and in Google, which is already suing rivals and is pursuing additional patents by acquisition



  18. Unless Physical, Inventions Are No Longer Patent-Eligible in US Courts, But USPTO Ignores Precedence

    Even though the ability to enforce software patents against a rival (or many targets, especially in the case of patent trolls) is vastly diminished, the US patent office continues to grant these



  19. Citing the European Patent Convention, Spanish Court Tosses Lawsuit With EPO-Granted European Patent

    The quality of European Patents (EPs) -- a subject of growing levels of scrutiny -- as demonstrated in Barcelona this summer



  20. Links 16/9/2017: More of “Public Money, Public Code”, Equifax Failed to Patch for Months

    Links for the day



  21. BlackBerry Has Turned Into a Patents and Licensing Company

    The Canadian company that made fairly reputable phones early in this century is left with nothing but the power to sue other companies -- a power to which it increasingly gravitates



  22. European Patent Office Continues to Paint a Rosy UPC Picture Even Though the UPC May Already be Dead

    The European Patent Office (EPO) doesn't let facts get in the way as another week passes with UPC promotion and further staff repressions



  23. Tax Evasion by Patent Boxes and Lies About Small Businesses (SMEs) in the Corporate Media

    The lobbying effort of the patent 'industry' -- and its largest beneficiaries -- paints its own perks as something that's intended for their small/minuscule competitors (whom they actually attempt to misrepresent and crush)



  24. Links 15/9/2017: Mesa 17.2.1 RC, Wine 2.17, WordPress to Ditch React Over Patents

    Links for the day



  25. The UPC Fantasy is Going Nowhere as Complaints and Paperwork Pile Up

    Many submissions and complaints about the Unitary Patent have time to arrive before the end of October as a decision on the matter seems as distant as 2018



  26. At Event of EPO SLAPP Firm, a Suggestion That the UPC Should be Scrapped Because It's Stuck

    Just like the TPP, the UPC is now in a potentially fatal deadlock, so people with a stake in the outcome consider starting again (almost from scratch)



  27. Watchtroll Helps the EPO Peddle Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) isn't happening; the EPO, however, keeps on pretending that it can already operate as though the UPC got the green light



  28. Links 14/9/2017: Plasma 5.11 Beta, Q4OS 1.8.8, Orion

    Links for the day



  29. Links 13/9/2017: Blender 2.79, Qt 5.10 Alpha, GNOME 3.26 “Manchester”, Parrot 3.8

    Links for the day



  30. Amazon's Infamous Patent is Dead and the World's Richest Man Failed to Fulfill His Promise on Software Patents

    Amazon continues piling up a lot of software patents even though its founder once pretended (only after enormous public backlash) that he would pursue far shorter terms for software patents


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