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

10.31.11

Patents Roundup: Twitter and Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, USPTO and SCOTUS

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A collection of news about software patents and patents in general

THERE is troubling news from the embargo agency known as ITC, which helps one company attack another by means of a sanction. There are some more reports on this which highlight the relevance to software patents, including this one which says:

The ITC affirmed the Chief Administrative Law Judge’s ruling earlier this year that Suprema, Inc. of South Korea and Mentalix, Inc. of Plano, Texas infringe Cross Match’s hardware and software patents, further determining that Suprema actively induced others to infringe one of Cross Match’s patents.

The ITC loves blocking Asian products at the behest of US companies such as Microsoft and Apple. Pressure is applied to them in the same way that US pressure is applied to Cuba. The ‘sin’? Allegedly having similar ideas. How can anybody justify this?

In other news, Twitter, which opposes software patents, is being hit by another patent troll/parasite, just amid complaints from Amazon that it too has become a victim of the patent system:

BOOKSELLER AMAZON has had 11 patent lawsuits filed against it this year, according to a filing with US financial regulators.

The MSBBC covered this too:

Amazon has revealed that 11 companies have filed patent lawsuits against it since the start of the year – more than three times as many as in all of 2010.

From Amazon’s original SEC filing:

Risks have been amplified by the increase in third parties whose sole or primary business is to assert such claims [...] our website technology, including our 1-Click ordering system, infringes a patent obtained by Cordance

Amazon has meanwhile been pushing for software patents in the EU and it is in no real position to complain. It also pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux servers and the Linux-based Kindle. The next Kindle too (based on Android) will allegedly be taxed by Microsoft. Amazon did not even put up a fight. Why is it that the press neglects to mention such stories for background? Amazon is not in a position to whine. Stallman is meanwhile quoted widely as saying that Jobs also made it a personal crusade to attack Android with software patents. It is not far fetched to assume that Larry Ellison did a favour to his “best friend” (by his own words) Steve Jobs by suing Android through Google.

The Wall Street Journal mentions the latest twist and IDG comments on the Oracle vs. Google case, which was delayed, by heckling Google, as one ought to expect. IDG has never been a Google-friendly platform.

Meanwhile, patent lawyers get a platform in the Washington Post and they sort of admit being the parasites coming at the expense of actual work. By one’s own words:

But when patents cannot be understood, are difficult to obtain, or become nearly impossible to enforce, much of the money that would go toward research and development is spent on lawyers. These legal fees drastically increase the barriers to investment for a promising new idea, dulling America’s technological edge. The modern trend of bundling patents into large portfolios for sale on the open market further demonstrates how the patent market currently favors large corporations over the individual entrepreneur.

As a patent attorney, I am constantly meeting hopeful inventors who dream of securing a patent to protect their ideas. They have been told by potential investors that they need a patent before they are willing to invest in their technology. When I explain that a patent will cost upwards of $30,000 and take around five years to obtain, their hopes are dashed. The news only gets worse when I inform them that enforcing a patent is a multi-million dollar proposition. At that point, most simply give up.

Another paper is giving a platform to Microsoft’s FUD against Android and promotion of software patents (there are some parts there about both). To quote the puff piece (Microsoft guest post essentially):

Microsoft attorney outlines Android patent tactics

[...]

Those patents (cover) individual features that have been created in a particularly inventive way by Microsoft and that have been recognized by the patent office. It’s now being tested in court. It remains to be seen what courts say; they will be the ultimate arbiter. But we believe they’re solid patents.

Guess who is is playing along? MSN, Microsoft’s fake ‘news’ site. The Microsoft press on Apple’s ridiculous patents that threaten Android is as shallow as one should expect. Compare it to this good piece which complains about a “broken” system:

Apple’s Newly Awarded Patent and a Broken System

[...]

The result, in my humble opinion, is that the system is broken for the modern age and in need of an overhaul. Over the last few years I’ve seen patents, which were originally developed as a form of protection for an inventor, become a corrupted version of its original intent. Instead of protection they’re now used primarily as strategy and legal weaponry against competition. And the reason is the pure power behind it – a patent grants exclusive rights on the technology in question for 20 years.

Outside of basic patent trolling, there are a number of examples that can be cited here that illustrate the shambles that our patent system is now plagued with, but it was the most recent one that set me off this week. Just recently Apple, which is a perennial member of the patent lawsuit club, was just awarded patent 8,046,721 (7,657,849 is the same thing just older) by the good ol’ USPTO, entitled “Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image.” I’m going to let that one sink in for a second and let you read some of that patent I linked before the tirade that’s about to follow, divided cleanly into three (3) parts for your convenience. And before I get to it, let me put a disclaimer out there that I’m not a lawyer, nor do I have any formal legal education or professional experience.

You good? OK.

E.D. Kain asks, “Do Patents Kill Innovation?”

Of course they are killing innovation. Their goal was never innovation. It was documentation. “Patent office strained by time, staffing” reads a new headline from the Nashua Telegraph and one lawyers’ site helps remind us that this problem is systemic because even SCOTUS won’t do what needs to be done:

The Supreme Court’s decision did not invalidate the multitude of business method patents already issued or threaten patent applications still pending. Rather, the court invited the Federal Circuit to consider the appropriate way to evaluate business method patents. Due to the lack of guidance from the courts, the time was perhaps ripe for intervention by Congress.

The patent system is harmful and it helps harm small players in particular. Something must be done about it.

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

A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    October 31, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Gravatar

    FUD:

    The ‘sin’? Allegedly having similar ideas. How can anybody justify this?

    You made this up. In other words: you are lying. That is not what they are accused of.

    FUD:

    Amazon has meanwhile been pushing for software patents in the EU and it is in no real position to complain. It also pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux servers and the Linux-based Kindle. The next Kindle too (based on Android) will allegedly be taxed by Microsoft. Amazon did not even put up a fight. Why is it that the press neglects to mention such stories for background? Amazon is not in a position to whine. Stallman is meanwhile quoted widely as saying that Jobs also made it a personal crusade to attack Android with software patents. It is not far fetched to assume that Larry Ellison did a favour to his “best friend” (by his own words) Steve Jobs by suing Android through Google.

    You whine when people pay for the patents they use and make up stories about back room deals. Just insane.

    FUD:

    Meanwhile, patent lawyers get a platform in the Washington Post and they sort of admit being the parasites coming at the expense of actual work.

    They make no such admission… and the fact you feel the need to say “sort of” shows even you know this, Roy.

    On and on you go… insisting everyone is tied to MS in one way or the other and anyone who disagrees with you must be in some grand conspiracy.

    Just loony.

What Else is New


  1. Links 19/1/2020: Wine 5.0 RC6, Alpine 3.11.3

    Links for the day



  2. Judges Reject EPO Patents on Life as Constitutional Complaints Against the EPO Pile Up in Germany

    EPO judges throw out patents on life (CRISPR at least); there's now growing hope that they'll have the courage to do the same to patents on software



  3. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 18, 2020



  4. StartPage (System1) Found New Spin Allies. Some Have Been Offered StartPage Jobs. Some Might Already be Working for StartPage in Secret.

    Pro-StartPage voices appear to be paid (or have been promised pay) by StartPage; the key strategy of StartPage seems to be, attack and betray people's privacy while paying people in particular positions to pretend otherwise



  5. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, January 17, 2020



  6. Links 18/1/2020: Mir 1.7 and GNU Guile 3.0.0

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 16, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 16, 2020



  8. Links 16/1/2020: Mozilla Layoffs, PinePhone Braveheart Shipping, KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Reaches Beta

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft is a Market Leader in Lying and Corruption

    Microsoft is working hard to describe itself as the exact opposite of what it is and what it has been; ‘Internet rot’ helps a lot with this agenda, not to mention control of the media (the narrative)



  10. The European Patent Organisation Continues to 'Piss All Over' Separation of Powers

    The EPO continues to scatter invalid patents (IPs) that are European Patents (EPs) all over Europe and nobody can stop this, not even the judges of the EPO because they lack independence (by their very own admission)



  11. Zealots of Team UPC (Patent Litigation) Now Attacking the Courts and the Judges, Removing Their Mask on the Face of Things...

    The tactics of Team UPC aren't changing, only the shamelessness associated with these tactics is changing (because it looks like the end of days to them)



  12. Microsoft Now Uses or Leverages Software Freedom Against Free Software

    A reader's explanation of what Microsoft is trying to accomplish with its so-called 'embrace' and what steps will come next (how they manifest themselves)



  13. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 15, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 15, 2020



  14. Links 15/1/2020: CentOS Linux 8.1, Oracle VirtualBox 6.1.2 and GNU Sed 4.8

    Links for the day



  15. OSI Board at Microsoft: This is How Institutions Die or Completely Lose Their Purpose/Direction

    The photo (or meeting) may mark the turning point of the Openwashing as-a-Standard Initiative (OSI), which less than a year earlier took a bucket of money from Microsoft



  16. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 14, 2020



  17. When Microsoft's Actions Speak for Themselves (About Back Door Access)

    Unwittingly, people are being reminded of the 'special relationship' between Microsoft and the US Army (or government); The back doors or bug doors are still there, even 7 years after Edward Snowden's NSA leaks



  18. Why You -- Yes, You Too -- Should Consider Migrating to GNU/Linux

    The window is closing (and Windows/Vista 7 closing down); the chance to use machines that the users actually control is still there



  19. Can We Please Stop Lying for Microsoft in the Mainstream Media?

    Dishonesty for short-term financial gain (e.g. advertising money) will be a big loss in the long run. There’s a reason why so many news sites perish and Datamation (where I wrote more than a decade ago) now throws away remnants of reputation by spreading a big lie from Microsoft.



  20. It's Only Factual and Truthful to Point Out That About Half of the EPO's Management Committee Are From the President's Nation (and Many Are Underqualified Friends of His)

    The patent-granting extravaganza of what a reader and contributor of ours likes to call "Club Med" will result in great pain (not just for the Office but for Europe as a whole); pointing out who's to blame (the culprits) is an exercise in practicality



  21. Stranger Than Fiction: Team UPC's Mental Condition

    Team UPC's delusions continue to unmask UPC proponents (in 2020) as totally and entirely detached from reality



  22. Links 14/1/2020: IBM Joins LOT Network; X.Org Server 1.20.7, Tails 4.2.2 and Zanshin 0.5.71 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Vista 7 is Dead, Long Live GNU/Linux

    A reminder of Microsoft’s universal “PC tax” ambitions — evidence that the company was never interested in ‘playing nice’ with anybody



  24. Links 14/1/2020: Git v2.25.0 and End of Vista 7

    Links for the day



  25. Systematic Abandonment of the Independence of Judiciary at the EPO (or Collective Amnesia)

    The ‘constitution’ or the convention upon which the EPO is based (known as EPC) is routinely violated and nobody seems to care anymore; the EPO governs itself and conducts itself without as much as a fundamental legal text



  26. They Always Say They Love Linux (and 'the Children')

    Microsoft says it “loves Linux” and the Gates Foundation insists it “loves children” but the real underlying motivations have more to do with monopoly (Windows, Monsanto etc.) and nothing to do with “Linux” or “children” or whatever



  27. The Media's Obligation is Not to Repeat the Lies of EPO Management, But Money Changes Things

    The ridiculous lies about prospects of the Unified Patent Court are now spreading to EPO-friendly publishers — few powerful people to whom truth isn’t valued as much as the customers (their subscribers and sponsors are law firms)



  28. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 13, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, January 13, 2020



  29. The FSF and GNU Need a Better Savannah to Attract GitHub Refugees

    Thomas Grzybowski's explanation of why GitHub poses a risk to software freedom and what can be done about it



  30. Links 13/1/2020: Linux Lite 4.8, Linux 5.5 RC6, Corebird Continues as ‘Cawbird’

    Links for the day


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

Recent Posts