Summary: In the infamous case which shows how software patents harm Free software/Linux Motorola hits back against Microsoft and Apple. scoring a win against both
WE recently outlined how Motorola had hit back against Microsoft, using its own patent arsenal as tool of deterrence against Android-hostile aggression (invoked by Microsoft).
Motorola adds another victory by getting deterrence going against Apple. “It’s a busy week at the International Trade Commission, which today found that Apple has infringed on a 3G patent held by Motorola,” says The Register.
It continues: “Administrative Law Judge Thomas B. Pender today issued an initial determination that found Apple guilty of patent infringement by importing and selling the iPhone and 3G-enabled iPads in the U.S.”
“The amount of money remains unknown and some suspect that the main purpose it to seed FUD and deter those who choose Linux for tablets.”“Patent litigation has become little more than a tax on innovation that drives companies from the U.S. market and discourages investment in the next Facebook or tomorrow’s Twitter,” explains Julie Samuels in her latest column. To quote further, “more than all of that, the case serves as an important teaching moment, illustrating much of what doesn’t work in our patent system.”
“That system is of course enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the power to “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to … Inventors the exclusive Right to their … Discoveries.” But when we start talking about software patents, we really only see barriers to innovation, often in the form of expensive litigation and licensing fees. What gives?
“For starters, software often does not require the type of heavy investment that should result in a 20-year monopoly. Instead of expensive laboratories or years of testing for FDA approval, for example, you often just need a coder and a computer. Even complex programs don’t require 20 years of exclusivity to recoup their investment. Software patents are often not even necessary for successful businesses: Facebook and, yes, Google — never relied on software patents to grow their early businesses.”
Much to our regret, while I was down in London Microsoft found another extortion victim. This is the type of action which Techrights was conceived to counter. Microsoft had not signed any extortion for a while with FAT patents being on the rocks. To quote TechEye, “Taiwanese manufacturer Pegatron has agreed to pay Microsoft licensing fees for each Android or Chrome device it makes.
“Redmond told ZDnet that it is the latest in a long string of such agreements, and covers smartphones, e-readers and tablets. It has signed deals with Quanta, Wistron and Compal already.”
The amount of money remains unknown and some suspect that the main purpose it to seed FUD and deter those who choose Linux for tablets. Clearly this is not working. But it’s taxing customers, bringing no benefit whatsoever to anyone. The customers should rebel against the patent system and its misuse for protectionism, extortion, and intimidation. █