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. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  2. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  3. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  4. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  5. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  6. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  7. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  8. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  9. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  10. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  11. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  12. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  13. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  14. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  15. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  16. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  18. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  19. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  20. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  21. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  22. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day



  23. Links 8/10/2014: A Lot of Linux+AMD News, New ROSA Desktop Is Out

    Links for the day



  24. Lawyers' Propaganda About Software Patents and a New AstroTurf Entity Called Innovation Alliance

    Patent propaganda and deception from patent lawyers (among other parasites such as patent trolls) continues to flood the Web, intersecting with reports that prove them totally wrong



  25. How Microsoft Handles Disasters: Grace Hopper Conference Has Been Infiltrated by "Microsoft Disaster Response"

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) must be a disaster to Microsoft's bottom line because Microsoft is sending "Microsoft Disaster Response" to infiltrate and disrupt a conference about women in FOSS



  26. Links 8/10/2014: Gummersbach Moves to GNU/Linux, Docker Acquires Koality, KDE Frameworks 5.3

    Links for the day



  27. Links 7/10/2014: CAINE 6.0, PC-BSD 10.0.3

    Links for the day



  28. Benoît Battistelli's Balkan Standards in EPO: Part V

    How the European Patent Office facilitated the inclusion of previously-connected elements that are best known for misconduct and dirty politics



  29. Symptoms of Post-x86 Era: Even Intel Apologists Turn Against Bribes-Dependent Intel While Microsoft Continues to Deceive Journalists on Patents in Order to Create a Scare

    The Wintel press, which is bribed by companies that it covers, is challenged by prominent developers and Microsoft continues to plant its patent propaganda in the Wintel-centric (and paid) press



  30. Microsoft Reinforces Its Criminal Organisation Status by Bribing and Corrupting More Officials, Even in Europe

    More criminal activity from Microsoft in Romania and a new TV programme that sheds light on Microsoft's dirty assault on Free software in France


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