Summary: Patent stories that mostly relate to Android and its competitors
THE sales of Windows continue to decline as Linux-based platforms gain traction (notably Android).
As Tim points out, Microsoft trolls just attack messengers now and moreover:
Microsoft Advocates who infest the newsgroups, who engage in personal attacks and vile insults claim that the desktop is still alive and well! They claim that the tablet form factor is not what the mainstream consumer is wanting! – The reality though outside the wibbly wobbly world of Microsoft Advocacy is very different and I think the trend away from the desktop form factor by the mainstream consumer will continue. As for Windows and the latest “great” version (8), I think by the time it finally flops onto the market, people will have already settled on the plethora of more mature alternatives leaving Microsoft languishing in a Windows Phone 7 market share hell.
Much has been written on the web about M$’s taxation of Android/Linux but M$ mentions little but lawsuits in its recent 10-Q report. In fact, there we read, “there are approximately 60 other patent infringement cases pending against Microsoft.” Nowhere is there a number showing revenue from royalties levied on Android/Linux. While noting the risk of consumers buying gadgets not running M$’s stuff M$ never mentions royalty income from those gadgets. It must not be substantial because hundreds of millions of units running Android/Linux were sold but royalty revenue by M$ was not enough to prevent a decline in revenue by their client division.
We reckon that many of Microsoft’s patent deals put a small tax only as symbolic as Microsoft needs for them to provide FUD. But patent trolls and proxies like MOSAID are then being sent to push further up the price of Linux/Android. That’s their goal. It’s about destroying the economic advantage of Android, more so than to be a Microsoft cash cow.
We have two options now; one is for Microsoft to be nailed for creating an anti-competitive conspiracy against Android; the other is to target the patent system that enables this to carry on. With more software patents being granted all the time in the US (e.g. this new roundup from Iowa) the problem is clearly getting worse; more and more ideas are being “stolen” from the Commons. IBM too seeks a patent monopoly on software. To quote one article about it:
According to the document, the patent covers “techniques for protecting a child user from inappropriate interactions within an immersive virtual environment” in which those actions may be determined by “examining characteristics of the interactions between a child and another user”, “by monitoring physical signs of stress in the child”, or “by receiving software commands given by the child to signal discomfort in a particular situation”. Once detected, the technology may take action by “notifying the parents of the child, altering the virtual world to end the interaction, or notifying authorities of the behavior of the other user.”
Here is a new post which demonstrates how messed up the USPTO is:
Aleks Yankelevich drew my attention to an interesting patent case Gore versus Garlock. The Federal Circuit court decided to reverse a lower court reaching the stunning conclusion that prior art doesn’t matter if it was kept secret. So if you invent something and keep it secret, someone else can patent it.
There are also some newer articles about items we mentioned before, such as this one from Microsoft:
Despite the fact that the word “ghetto” was not a part of the patent paperwork, the program has been nicknamed the “Avoid the Ghetto” app.
This has led to cries of racism and economic disadvantage for minority neighborhoods. Dallas branch NAACP President Juanita Wallace told CBS, “I’m going to be up in arms about it if it happens. Can you imagine me not being able to go to Martin Luther King Boulevard. because my GPS says that’s a dangerous crime area? I can’t even imagine that.”
For whatever reason Google is still being scrutinised while it is in fact a victim of litigation from Apple, Microsoft, and some of their front groups (CPTN, for example, includes Oracle too). To quote:
Regulatory reviews mean the purchase by Google is likely to close in 2012, Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility said in November. Google plans to use Motorola Mobility’s more than 17,000 patents to protect supporters of its Android software in licensing and legal disputes with rivals such as Apple Inc. — and also move into the hardware business.
Here is another report about the Alcatel case we wrote about the other day:
SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent have ended their patent lawsuit and told the judge that they have had enough.
The lawsuit has lasted ten years so it is perhaps through attrition that it has come to an end. Either way both parties asked US District Court Judge Marilyn Huff to dismiss all claims and just get over the whole business.
If you were searching for Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s European patent lawyers on a Friday, you would have better luck looking in the German city of Mannheim than on the golf course or in a pub.
Judges in the southwest German city hold most patent hearings on the last day of the week and will issue rulings in smartphone disputes involving Apple, Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. over four of the next five Fridays starting today. The city, along with Dusseldorf and Munich, has become the center of European patent litigation as companies seek quick rulings from German judges that influence courts throughout the continent.
“If you have a big multinational corporation setting up a patent litigation strategy for Europe, they will almost always sue in Germany,” said Rowan Freeland, a litigator at Simmons & Simmons LLP in London. “Maybe you add other countries as well, but if you have to choose, it’s almost certainly Germany.”
Mobile device makers filed dozens of cases in the three cities last year. Samsung today lost a patent-infringement suit filed against Apple in the Mannheim court. The judges also heard another suit between the two rivals. A hearing in two disputes between Motorola Mobility and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) originally scheduled for this afternoon were postponed until next month.
They have a common interest as both are suffering from Linux. But their tool for competing, namely patent attacks, is not acceptable, especially when they do so with the goal of removing competition from the market. It’s doupoly abuse [1, 2, 3], or simply a cartel. █