Microsoft Uses the Broken US Patent System to Attack Linux/Android From Multiple Sources, Wants Nokia’s Patents Too
Summary: Microsoft performs an MSDOS (Multi-Source Denial of Service) attack on Linux and on Android, using patent monopolies and patent trolls
FURTHER to the previous post, there is abundant evidence that the USPTO is broken as it fails to meet its goals. There is no such thing as a “quality” patent. A patent is a monopoly and all those applying to software impede the use of logic and mathematics. Here is another interpretation of the SCOTUS ruling, which we wrote about a few days ago (EN, ES). The Register reads that as follows:
In a case supported by HP, eBay, Red Hat, Yahoo!, and General Motors, the US Supreme Court has issued a ruling that may make it more difficult for a company to be sued for inducing another company to infringe a patent.
According to the ruling, a defendent accused of inducing patent infringement must be proven to have either known that it was infringing, or was “willfully blind” to that infringement. Actual knowledge of infringement can be proven through documentary evidence or sworn testimony.
That again does not address the main issues with the patent system — issues that even the Bilski case in SCOTUS failed to resolve. Let us look at some of the latest casualties based on this week’s news.
Twitter made it clear that it is against software patents and now it is being attacked by patent trolls again. Patent trolls are, statistically speaking, greatly dependent on software patents.
A patent troll called Kootol Software has put Twitter on alert. The ‘company’, which sports a corporate logo (and name) that is suspiciously reminiscent of Google’s, this morning said it has sent a caution notice to Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey and co to express “concerns” about possible intellectual property violations.
Quoting the original source (“Twirpy Patent Troll Threatens Twitter”), TechCrunch/AOL says:
The patent application in question (a patent number hasn’t been assigned yet) is titled “A Method and System for Communication, Advertising, Searching, Sharing and Dynamically Providing a Journal Feed.”
They are making it extremely complicated for software developers to develop in peace and it is only getting worse when people make money from the illness of this system. This incentivises keeping it broken. Jan Wildeboer, who is one of the most prominent among opposers of software patents in Europe, notes that some people built entire enterprises based on exploitation of the patent system’s loophole. He asks: “Is Myhrvolds Intellectual Ventures using patents CDO style to disrupt the market? Lodsys as example?”
He also asks: “Is Lodsys sign of new time? 1. License patents 2. Sell patent 3. New buyer tries licensing again? Patents == CDB business?”
Remember what the world's biggest troll (who came from Microsoft) said before he gave this patent to Lodsys. “Intellectual property is the next software,” he argued. Microsoft and him are in this together. Bill Gates is a close affiliate of this shakedown and Matt Asay challenges this by going back in time (back to the days when Gates denounced patents, as a small player):
Microsoft, once the ruler of the software universe, doesn’t even make Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt’s Gang of Four influential tech companies. It’s not that Microsoft has lost its ambition. But it may be that Microsoft’s ambition has changed, and for the worse.
Microsoft once prided itself on minting profits from licensing copies of Windows and Office. Now it seems more content with eking out $5 per unit from HTC and others it bullies over patents. That’s right: instead of selling product, it’s peddling intellectual property (IP).
We wrote about this extortion before. Not only Microsoft is extorting HTC; it seems as though Intellectual Ventures does too. Another person from Microsoft, Paul Allen of Interval the patent troll, is still attacking many parties including Android/Google for merely implementing some ideas. “People Concerned About Paul Allen’s Ridiculous Patent Claims Gets USPTO To Begin Re-Exams Of His Patents,” says TechDirt. To quote:
Last year, we covered Paul Allen’s ridiculous patent lawsuit against a ton of tech companies. He claimed that all of these companies violated four incredibly broad patents he held:
* 6,263,507: “Browser for use in navigating a body of information, with particular application to browsing information represented by audio data.”
* 6,034,652 & 6,788,314 (really the same patent, involving continuations): “Attention manager for occupying the peripheral attention of a person in the vicinity of a display device”
* 6,757,682: “Alerting users to items of current interest”
Groklaw follows this case quite closely, or at least it used to. What the Microsoft people do (even those who left the company) is what Microsoft has always done, They want to tax everything sold rather than really make anything of value. They are waging legal wars and amassing patents that they lobby for, in order to increase their value.
Right now it seems like Microsoft is hunting for Nokia’s patent so that it can tax all mobile phones. Nokia is of value to Microsoft because of its software and hardware patents; we wrote so much about it that we need not repeat the evidence of this. This is a subject that we talked about in IRC the other day. Assuming Microsoft wants to ‘pull a CPTN’ on Nokia, it will be more about use of Nokia’s patents offensively and exploitation of Nokia’s brand (like Yahoo! and Novell). By sending out moles Microsoft just improves its chances of becoming the patent receiver. Watch how Microsoft put its mole in: [via F. Cassia]
Steve Ballmer was so determined to get Nokia on board with Windows Phone 7, he sent a super-extended prom-style limo to pick up Nokia’s Stephen Elop and other execs when they visited the Seattle area.
That’s one of the revelations in Businessweek’s long profile of Elop’s first six months at the company.
Microsoft is crushing Nokia as this may help Microsoft pick it up cheaply along with its patents. Considering what has happened so far, Elop did a wonderful job (for Microsoft, of which he is a top shareholder). The deal made no sense and it was signed in a rush by the two Stephens who are former colleagues. Watch Ye Booke of Elop for a funny slant. It is clear what’s going on there, but there is nothing amusing about it. Nokia represents the latest victim in the line of corpses left by Microsoft’s abusive-aggressive behaviour. Nokia was becoming a Linux company just before Microsoft put a mole inside it. “Elop” is “Pole” backwards and Microsoft put its Pole inside Nokia, to borrow Brandon’s joke. Rather than have MeeGo and LSB in Nokia, we now have another Microsoft ally out there, threatening to use its patents and promising to deliver a ‘new’ OS some time later this year (at which point Nokia will be ripe for picking by another company). The Linux Foundation’s head was very disappointed by this and it is easy to see why. Nokia was a valuable contributor to the Linux Foundation and its site has a new comic regarding software patents. It can be found here. Somehow Microsoft turned several Linux-friendly companies like Nokia, Yahoo!, and Novell into Microsoft boosters (former Microsoft partner Bartz did nothing of value except shake Ballmer’s hand, just like Elop). Some people still foolishly question what makes Microsoft so much more malicious than other companies of a similar scale. Microsoft is very, very destructive. It just doesn’t give a damn. █