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

06.20.11

Lobbyists Against GNU/Linux Increasingly Use Patents as Weapons

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent stooges

Summary: A look at some of the latest lobbying against “Linux” and “FOSS” in light of the news and bogus ‘advice’ from pretenders

Microsoft’s FUD tactics have evolved. No longer must we see lies perpetuated about the capabilities of GNU/Linux (or that it’s like “communism”). The new FUD tactics paint Linux and Android as disrespectful of the law (so-called ‘IP’) and “not free”. The monopolist has been hiring lobbyists accordingly and we named some of these before. Few of them must disclose their funding sources in order to comply with the law (disclosure weakens them).

Any pundit or other entity which promotes Microsoft’s party line on patents can be seen as endorsing the blackmail Microsoft has been engaging in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]; it’s bad for PR and for one’s karma. Justifying what Microsoft does with patents is extremely hard, so such pundits often turn to daemonising Microsoft’s competitors. A few years ago we referred to this tactic as the “equally evil” troll, where basically one ‘defends’ what Microsoft has been doing by saying that a competitor like IBM, Google, or Apple is just as “evil” for some specified reason (which usually does not compute).

Last year a lobbyist came out of the woodwork promoting a company now partly owned by Microsoft. He got some special access to documents with which he daemonised IBM. He is happy enough to accuse companies that are not patent trolls of being "trolls" while leaving parts of the Microsoft cartel — Intellectual Ventures (IV) included — unaddressed. He not calling IV a troll, even though it is the world’s biggest patent troll. The name of this lobbyist — you’ve guessed it — is Florian.

At Groklaw, Pamela Jones asks, “where can you go where you will be safe from patent trolls?”

She wrote this in relation to Microsoft and patent trolls when she added: “Plus the problem is bigger than patent trolls. Remember when Microsoft tried to sell patents to use against Linux to patent trolls? So proxy patent trolls are a much bigger problem than just patent trolls. Remember where Lodsys got its patents from and the picture gets clearer. There is a disturbed ecosystem here, and the problem is that software patents should never have been introduced into the environment. Now they are overwhelming everything. The only true solution is for software and patents to get a divorce. And the only entity that can accomplish that is Congress.”

This was written in relation to a patent from IV being used against iPhone and Android developers (but no Windows developers). We also wrote about the origin of this patent in [1, 2, 3]. The only good thing about patents is that no matter how much they are passed around, the names on them do not change; neither does the changelog, to speak, or the change of ‘ownership’ (however bizarre the notion of ‘selling’ ideas may sound). So, it’s not too hard to show Microsoft in the details.

“Remember when Microsoft tried to sell patents to use against Linux to patent trolls? So proxy patent trolls are a much bigger problem than just patent trolls. Remember where Lodsys got its patents from and the picture gets clearer.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Based on this item, “Lodsys LLC is a Marshall, Texas-based subsidiary of Lodsys Holdings LLC, a Delaware LLC. Some have speculated that the ownership trail leads to Intellectual Ventures” (yes, not news by now, not to mention that IV uses many other shells according to other reports, at least a thousand shells according to one source).

“Leverage If You Are Threatened with Patent Infringement (and why you should ignore FOSSpatents)” says the headline of a post about Microsoft Florian and the misdirection he gives to those sued by Lodsys; basically he instructs them to surrender and he neglects to tell them what IV really is and where it leads back to (Microsoft and Bill Gates, the patents maximalist who lobbies for patents even on poor people's basic food ingredients, for his own profit). Semi-truths and ill advice is what Florian is all about. As the blog post states, “Lodsys probably LOVES Florian’s analysis and opinions. (I have no connection or contact with anyone at Lodsys, Apple, and no longer any contact with Florian). He seems to be making all the arguments that support the troll’s business plan – you can’t afford to fight, don’t even try, the trolls arguments are decent, just give in and sign the license.”

To quote more:

Whatever you do, please ignore the advice of non-attorney commentators (such as Florian Muller @ fosspatents) because they can be shortsighted and are not qualified to provide the complex legal analysis and advice you will need. (e.g. from one of Florian’s latest posts about the Lodsys patents, any patent attorney should be able to recognize that Florian does not understand the law regarding patent infringement and numerous other issues.)

For example, some commentators (including Florian Muller @ fosspatents) are advising targets of patent trolls to roll over and pay the license fee; Florian is even advising you that the license agreement that has not been made public is acceptable for you to sign. I very much question the soundness of this advice, especially considering the above article at IP Watchdog. Contrary to the bad advice and legal analysis put forth by Florian, there are options available to companies threatened by patent trolls and even if the outcome is a license agreement, Florian’s legal analysis and advice is not solid. (I could write a white paper explaining why Florian’s analysis is messed up, but I don’t have the time right now. If anyone requests me to provide more detailed analysis, I will put it on my to-do list.)

For starters, in my opinion, Lodsys probably LOVES Florian’s analysis and opinions. (I have no connection or contact with anyone at Lodsys, Apple, and no longer any contact with Florian). He seems to be making all the arguments that support the troll’s business plan – you can’t afford to fight, don’t even try, the trolls arguments are decent, just give in and sign the license.

[...]

Any good negotiator (which IMO excludes Florian) will tell you that you do not negotiate with yourself. Thus, I have no idea why Florian claims to be supporting application developers when he writes analysis that attempts to shred their potential leverage arguments and advises them to pay what Lodsys is asking. If someone was truly supporting the application developers, they would be trying to bolster the application developers leverage arguments (as I have been trying to provide on this blog).

Some sites evidently fall for it because at least one writer wrote that the “best course of action for iOS developers faced with patent infringement suit threats issued by patent holding firm Lodsys earlier this month might be to play nice with licensing requests, according to one intellectual property researcher. Florian Mueller, who runs the FOSS Patents blog that posted an in-depth FAQ for concerned developers last week, says that indicating a willingness to play nice with Lodsys could be far less costly than the alternative, in the long run.” We have already challenged this FAQ, which is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a trap. Smells more like a lobbying/marketing exercise…

“Later on it turned out that Florian was indeed wrong and his advice was worse than useless.”
Later on it turned out that Florian was indeed wrong and his advice was worse than useless. It was pure poison. As Jones put it, “this was Mueller’s advice when the story began. Now that Apple has stepped in, which every lawyer I know thought was inevitable from day one, how does that advice look to you? It’s important for developers in a particular legal situation to have a lawyer and not to listen to “legal” advice from those not qualified to offer it.” Or worse — from a lobbyist! He also advised companies which Microsoft and its proxies sued to just surrender and pay up. it’s exactly what Microsoft needs. In order for these pieces of bad advice to make it into the press, this lobbyist (not a lawyer or a patents veteran, yet he pretends everyone but himself is not qualified t speak on the subject), whose main skill is mass-mailing journalists, has been working behind the scenes to get himself quoted. We are saddened to see that many people think he is quoted in articles due to merit as opposed to his lobbying skills. He is a veteran lobbyist. He knows the tricks.

This man seems to have been lobbying in vain to paint Google as a patent aggressor because, according to this new report, Microsoft’s lobbying (part of the same party line) failed to incite US regulators to the point of blocking a bid for Nortel's patents.

“According to this article,” notes Jones, “Apple has thousands of patents, Nokia has more than 10,000 patent ‘families’ (same patents, different jurisdictions), Microsoft has around 18,000 patents, and Google has about 600, mostly search-related”, so over whom would Google have an unfair advantage?” Google has its reasons for buying — not so much applying for — patents. Microsoft has been attacking Google’s Android (and by extension Linux) from many angles in an attempt to tax Google’s work and turn that into a Mirosoft cash cow. As we have argued all along, one of the next players that may sue or at least extort Android is Nokia, which Microsoft pretty much conquered in nefarious ways.

“Dying companies try to use patents and copyrights. That’s who does it, as we saw in SCO’s saga.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
About the patent war that has been brewing in the mobile space, Jones writes: “It’s been going on for a while. Dying companies try to use patents and copyrights. That’s who does it, as we saw in SCO’s saga. Now it’s Nokia and Microsoft struggling to deal with a world that is passing them by. So out come the patents. If you find that nauseating, tell your Congresscritter. That’s who can change patent law.”

To quote some findings of interest, in case of “a breakup, Nokia’s three units may be worth about 21.9 billion euros, based on the sales multiples of its competitors this year. The breakup value may not include Nokia’s patents, which Tero Kuittinen, an analyst with MKM Partners LP, estimates are worth 5 billion euros. That would bring the total to 26.9 billion euros. Huawei, ZTE Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. (ZTCOF.PK) may also be interested in buying Nokia’s assets.” [via Groklaw]

“The breakup value may not include Nokia’s patents, which Tero Kuittinen, an analyst with MKM Partners LP, estimates are worth 5 billion euros.”
      –Seeking Alpha
Speaking of lobbyists, recall those employed by the company of Bill Gates’ father [1, 2] and then watch who is going after Apple according to the following report. So, who represents Kodak, which we previously wrote about in relation to the Gates dynasty [1, 2]? Answer:

Pickard and fellow Sterne Kessler attorney David Cornwell are representing the firm against Kodak’s subpoena; Pickard declined to comment. K&L Gates is representing Kodak in the New York case. Kodak spokesman Gerard Meuchner confirmed that the firm will also handle the litigation in Washington.

Interestingly enough, the new York Times has published this piece about the demise of Microsoft as compared to Kodak’s (both resorted to using patents as their products are no longer desirable or necessary):

Technology upends companies in different ways. It allows new firms to deliver better products and services in a more efficient way; it also creates new goods and services for consumers to want. Eastman Kodak, the fifth-biggest company in the S.& P. 500 in 1975, was almost destroyed by digital cameras and is no longer in the index. General Motors, fifth biggest in 1985, was hobbled by rivals that could make more fuel efficient cars. Microsoft still rules the PC desktop. But that will matter less and less as users migrate to tablets and more computing takes place in “the cloud.”

There is another lesson in Microsoft’s long slide. It is about how far corporate behemoths will go to stop technology that threatens their dominance. Ten years ago, Microsoft tried to use its virtual monopoly of the operating system to strangle potential rivals and their new technologies. Fortunately, it failed. But the new rising behemoths will likely try similar tactics on whatever new gizmo challenges them.

As the Microsoft boosters note, “The New York Times this weekend had an editorial comparing the current state of Microsoft with the plight of Eastman Kodak.”

Kodak too is a patent aggressor as we showed in older posts. Curiously, at one point Kodak complained about Gates' accomplice at Intellectual Ventures. Guess which lobbyist dare not really criticise it? Instead, he tries to attribute its deeds to Google. Astonishing claims; look no further than Florian for those bits of humour disguised as serious allegations. If it’s bad for FOSS due to patents, then it’s good for Mr. FOSSpatents.

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

5 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    June 21, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Gravatar

    Groklaw had an article last week on what to do if approached by a patent troll.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    “by Patrick T. Igoe, Esq.”

    Yes, Techrights noted this.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    Yes, thanks. It is useful to bring it up again here.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    This site might have outgrown WordPress and need to move to some other CMS. There needs to be more convenient ways to track responses to comments and to search or browse through old articles.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    What other CMS does this better? Well, our Alexa and Netcraft ranks climbed recently, but much of the activity is in Freenode (IRC network).

What Else is New


  1. The EFF Back to Tackling Software Patents, Not Just Patent Trolls

    Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers start targeting large companies that exploit patents for intimidation and extortion, not just patent trolling



  2. Microsoft Wants to Devour the Competition (Linux), Devour People's Data

    Refuting the "new Microsoft" propaganda and some ludicrous concept that Microsoft is now "playing nice"



  3. Benoît Battistelli Thinks 'President' is Above the Law, Decides to Ignore the Court's Ruling

    Staff of the EPO is given yet more reasons to protest tomorrow at the British Consulate, for the so-called 'President' of the EPO reminds everyone of the very raison d'être for the protest -- a vain disregard for the rule of law



  4. Links 24/2/2015: Xfce 4.12 a Week Away, GNOME 3.16 Previewed

    Links for the day



  5. Links 23/2/2015: Ubuntu Kylin 14.04.2 LTS, Cinnamon 2.6 Previews

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: February 8th - February 21st, 2015





  7. The EPO's Sham 'Internal Investigation' of EPO Vice-President Željko Topić's Affairs

    The EPO never investigated the Željko Topić affair, it only pretends to have investigated (one small aspect, i.e. cherry-picking) using a Benoît Battistelli-controlled group



  8. Links 21/2/2015: GNOME 3.15.90, Google Wins Android Lawsuit

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft AstroTurfing War on GNU/Linux is Still Going On, But Hidden Better, Uses API as Instrument of Lock-in

    The corruptible press continues to describe blatant attacks (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) against GNU/Linux and Free software as Microsoft 'embracing' Open Source



  10. Lenovo's Superfish Scandal is Spyware on Top of Spyware (Microsoft Windows), the Problem is Inherently Proprietary Software

    Shifting focus to the root problem, which is neither Lenovo nor its laptops but the non-free programs installed on hardware



  11. Benoît Battistelli Once Again Threatens EPO Staff That 'Dares' to Protest, Battistelli Exploits Terror Attacks to Pretend to Respect Free Speech

    The European Patent Office (EPO) President, Benoît Battistelli, reportedly started threatening -- as before -- staff that decides to exercise the right to assemble and protest against abuses, including the abuses of President Battistelli himself



  12. Links 20/2/2015: Android Studio v1.1, GDB 7.9

    Links for the day



  13. Links 20/2/2015: Bloomberg Joins Linux Foundation, ClearOS Community 6.6.0

    Links for the day



  14. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys Slams the European Patent Office for Structural Failings

    An important letter which we overlooked while writing yesterday's 4 articles about the European Patent Office (EPO); yet another key stakeholder complains



  15. Links 19/2/2015: Hewlett-Packard on Cumulus Linux, Previews of GNOME 3.16 Beta

    Links for the day



  16. Techrights Under Attack Again, Shortly After Important EPO Articles

    Techrights highlights a pattern that is months old; Site faces availability issues shortly after reports about the European Patent Office and its abuses



  17. EPO Staff Protests Against Benoît Battistelli’s Lowering of Patents Quality (Scope Expansion and Software Patents for Profit)

    A protest in Munich in less than 6 days will target Mr. Sean Dennehey, who has helped Battistelli cover up his abuses and crush legitimate critics, whom he deemed illegal opposition as if the EPO is an authoritarian regime as opposed to a public service which taxpayers are reluctantly (but forcibly) funding



  18. Breaking: European Patent Office Sued by Its Own Staff in The Hague, Must Unblock Staff's Voices

    The crooked management of the European Patent Office (EPO) gets in legal trouble after repeated attempts to cover up abuses and suppress criticism



  19. Željko Topić's History in SIPO Leaves a Legacy of Alleged DZIV Vehicles (Bribes), Authorship Abuses, and Intimidation Against Reporters

    Another deep look at Željko Topić's background in Croatia, preceding his very notorious appointment to the EPO where he now serves as Benoît Battistelli's most controversial attack dog



  20. The Old Obsession With Patent Trolls Continues to Distract From Debate About Software Patenting

    A roundup of recent coverage about monopolies on algorithms in the United States



  21. Links 19/2/2015: 64-bit ARM Linux, Chinese New Year

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/2/2015: Linux Report, FlightGear 3.4

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Scandals: The Story So Far

    An overview of articles about mischief, misconduct and breach of laws at the EPO



  24. Links 17/2/2015: TripleO, Pivotal

    Links for the day



  25. Links 17/2/2015: SystemD 219, Frugalware 2.0 (Rigel) Released

    Links for the day



  26. Željko Peratović Slammed for Whitewashing Željko Topić After Publishing Important Piece on Behalf of Key Sources

    Response from Ivan Kabalin to Zeljko Peratovic's so-called "apology" which is both mysterious and seemingly inadequate as it does nothing to actually explain what was wrong (if anything)



  27. Benoît Battistelli Has Made Oversight of European Patent Office Absolutely Impossible





  28. Microsoft Already Killed Nokia, Don't Let It Kill Android Players Too

    Microsoft's strategy against Android mirrors the company's evil strategy that derailed MeeGo and Nokia



  29. Intel Continues to Attack Software Freedom Through UEFI

    The Trojan horse that Microsoft uses to cement its monopoly on desktops and laptops (making it hard or impossible to install and run GNU/Linux) is also being misused to block Coreboot



  30. Links 16/2/2015: Netrunner 15, Bridge Linux

    Links for the day


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