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. Protectionism v Sharing: How the US Supreme Court Decides Patent Cases

    As the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) starts delivering some decisions we take stock of what's to come regarding patents



  2. Links 22/3/2017: GNOME 3.24, Wine-Staging 2.4 Released

    Links for the day



  3. The Battistelli Regime, With Its Endless Scandals, Threatens to Crash the Unitary Patent (UPC), Stakeholders Concerned

    The disdain and the growing impatience have become a huge liability not just to Battistelli but to the European Patent Office (EPO) as a whole



  4. The Photos the EPO Absolutely Doesn't Want the Public to See: Battistelli is Building a Palace Using Stakeholders' Money

    The Office is scrambling to hide evidence of its out-of-control spendings, which will leave the EPO out of money when the backlog is eliminated by many erroneous grants (or rejections)



  5. In the US Patent System, Evolved Tricks for Bypassing Invalidations of Software Patents and Getting Them Granted by the USPTO

    A roundup of news about patents in the US and how the patent microcosm attempts to patent software in spite of Alice (high-impact SCOTUS decision from 2014)



  6. “Then They Came For Me—And There Was No One Left To Speak For Me.”

    The decreasing number of people who cover EPO scandals (partly due to fear, or Battistelli's notorious "reign of terror") and a cause for hope, as well as a call for help



  7. As Expected, the Patent Microcosm is Already Interfering, Lobbying and Influencing Supreme Court Justices

    The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is preparing to deliver some important decisions on cases with broad ramifications, e.g. for patent scope, and those who make money from patent feuds are attempting to alter the outcome (which would likely restrict patent scope even further, based on these Justices' track record)



  8. Intellectual Ventures -- Like Microsoft (Which It Came From) -- Spreads Patents to Manifest a Lot of Lawsuits

    That worrisome strategy which is passage of patents to active (legally-aggressive) trolls seems to be a commonality, seen across both Microsoft and its biggest ally among trolls, which Microsoft and Bill Gates helped create and still fund



  9. What the Patent Microcosm is Saying About the EPO and the UPC

    Response to 3 law firms and today's output from them, which serves to inform or misinform the European public at times of Big Lies and fog of (patent) war, revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric patent warfare and lobbying



  10. Tough Day for the EPO's Media/Press/PR Team, Trying 'Damage Control' After Important Techrights Publications

    In an effort to save face and regain a sense of legitimacy the EPO publishes various things belatedly, and only after Techrights made these things publicly known and widely discussed



  11. Links 21/3/2017: PyPy Releases, Radeon RX Vega, Eileen Evans at Linux Foundation

    Links for the day



  12. In IAM, Asian Courts That Deliver Justice Are “Unfriendly” and Asian Patent Trolls Are Desirable

    Rebuttal or response to the latest pieces from IAM, which keeps promoting a culture of litigation rather than sharing, collaboration, negotiation, and open innovation



  13. At EPO “I Have the Feeling That Lowering Quality is Part of a Concerted Plan.”

    Growing concern about patent quality at the EPO -- a subject which causes managers to get rather nervous -- is now an issue at the forefront



  14. EPO Reduces the World to Just Seven Nations to Bolster an Illusion of Growing 'Demand' for European Patents

    The unscientific -- if not antiscientific -- attitude of the European Patent Office (EPO) continues to show with the arrival of yet more misleading 'infographics' (disinfographics would be a more suitable term)



  15. Letter to Angela Merkel Expresses Concerns About Impact of EPO Scandals on Germany and Its Image

    Dr. Angela Merkel, arguably the most powerful woman in the world, is being warned about the consequences of Germany ignoring (and hence facilitating) the abuses of Benoît Battistelli



  16. EPO Caricature: Low Patent Quality Not an Achievement

    A new cartoon about the legacy of Battistelli, which ruins both inventors and staff (examination) while handing money to abusers



  17. Are Lithuania and Latvia the Latest Additions to the List of Benoît Battistelli's Vassal States?

    Benoît Battistelli's 'back room' deals came at an interesting, strategic time and the Office uncharacteristically kept quiet about these



  18. Links 20/3/2017: Linux 4.11 RC3, OpenSSH 7.5 Released

    Links for the day



  19. Supposedly 'Pampered' Prisoners Are Still Prisoners of the EPO

    Response to those gross and familiar attempts to portray patent examiners, not politicians who trample all over them, as the cause of all the problems at the EPO



  20. Insulting Reversal of Narratives at the EPO: Team Battistelli as the Victim

    At times of great oppression against staff, in clear defiance of the law in fact, journalists are being asked (or expected) to view the oppressor as the victim, even when this oppressor drives people to suicide



  21. Battistelli's EPO Copies China -- Not the US -- When it Comes to Patenting Software and Expanding Patent Scope

    A detailed explanation of some of the latest reports from China and the US, serving to show that one opens up to software patents whereas the other shuts the door on them (and guess whose lead the EPO is taking)



  22. What IAM Says About AST, RPX, Ericsson, and IBM

    IAM, the trolls' mouthpiece (also the EPO's mouthpiece, but that's another story), provides updates on trolls and troll-like entities, but further commentary is needed to clarify and counterbalance the promotional language



  23. Apple and Microsoft, Two Patent Aggressors That Habitually Attack GNU/Linux Distributors, Get Sued by a Patent Troll, Soverain IP

    Putting in perspective the latest high-profile (in the press at least) lawsuits filed by a notorious troll, which this time around chose as its targets two patent aggressors that deserve no sympathy because of their own actions



  24. What's OIN Doing While Microsoft is Siccing Patent Trolls on Azure Competitors' Customers?

    Microsoft's patent litigation strategy has become clearer, and patents-centric efforts such as OIN offer no defence against such a strategy, which attempts to pressure everyone to flock to Microsoft for 'protection' (from Microsoft itself)



  25. “EPO Continues to Grant Software Patents”

    The longstanding concern about the granting of software patents at the EPO (typically disguised as a "device") as reinforced by T 0625/11



  26. Links 19/3/2017: Linux Sightings, What's Wrong With Microsoft, and Death of Docker

    Links for the day



  27. Governance Crisis at EPO Deepens After Latest Meeting of the Administrative Council, Necessitating Urgent Outside Intervention

    he EPO's Administrative Council continues to be subservient to -- and without any authority over -- Team Battistelli with its endless mischief and endless power grab, including unbridled money grab



  28. EPO Management Deeply Concerned That the Public Has Found Out Quality of European Patents (EPs) Nosedived Under Battistelli's Regime

    Growing pressure on the EPO's management to acknowledge that quality control has gone totally out of control as stakeholders already grasp the obvious and act accordingly, turning to other patent offices, such as their national ones (NPOs)



  29. European Directives and Boards of Appeal Desperately Needed to Keep EPO Patent Scope in Check

    Battistelli's notorious reign of terror has caused patents to be granted that are bogus and no longer valid (if/once challenged); moreover, it prevents legal firms from lashing out at him publicly while bogus patents continue to pile up, diminishing confidence in European patents (EPs)



  30. Letter From European Public Services Organisation (IPSO) to Angela Merkel and Heiko Maas Regarding EPO Union-Busting Catastrophe

    The latest attempt of many to reach the ears of the ever-so-deaf Heiko Maas (whose silence on the matter seems to be akin to complicity with Battistelli and the UPC), in addition to the top German official, who -- to the best of our knowledge -- was never before contacted regarding the European Patent Office (EPO)


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