Tax on algorithms in Europe, bans too
Summary: Even in Germany, where software patents are in principle not legal, Microsoft establishes a ban on Motorola’s Android devices, using a monopolistic FAT patent monopoly
THE other day we found this very weak article from Lisa Morgan (writing for a Microsoft-friendly site), who belittles the impact of innuendo, threats, rackets, deterrence, and embargoes in patent wars. Aggression takes many forms, and some of it is suggestive and pre-emptive. One example of this is Microsoft, which has literally terrorised many companies. One company, Motorola, has stood up against Microsoft’s extortion for quite some time. It can afford to and it also has motivation because of the ties to Google.
Microsoft’s FAT patent was implicitly validated in Germany, despite being a software patent, a few years ago. Let is recall how this is done…
“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”
–Marshall Phelps, Microsoft
A report published in the Verge quotes Florian Mueller, an independent blogger who gets paid by Microsoft and Oracle to spin anti-Android stories. Microsoft’s paid blogger writes that “In order to enforce the injunction, Microsoft will need to pay a €10 million bond.”
Recall the TomTom case, which the small company was barely able to carry on it (it had already gotten into financial troubles). This article says more, but its source is a little dubious, Given that Motorola has some of the latest of Android, this is a massive loss for the costumers. Back in the middle of July Motorola got hit by other firms that had patents, showing that not only Microsoft is the problem:
The lawsuit has its roots in April 2011, when FujiFilm says it first notified Motorola that it believed the cellphone maker was infringing on the four patents. The companies held a number of face-to-face meetings, according to FujiFilm. The matter was apparently not resolved to FujiFilm’s liking and that led to this week’s lawsuit.
The patents in question include:
U.S. Patent 6,144,763, which covers the capturing of color pictures by a cellphone and their conversion to monochrome images;
U.S. Patent 6,915,119, which addresses a “telephone and data transmitting method.” FujiFilm alleges a number of Motorola devices infringe on this patent through their use of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi as a means to communicate with a computer or other device;
U.S. Patent 7,327,886, covering the facial detection system included in some Motorola cellphones; and
U.S. Patent 5,734,427, concerning the processing of a high-resolution image into a lower-resolution image for display on an electronic viewfinder.
The lawsuit alleges a number of Motorola handsets infringe some or all of the patents, including the Droid X, X2, 2 Global, Bionic, 3, Pro; and the Atrix 2, Electrify, Photon 4G, XPRT, Defy, Cliq 2 and Titanium handsets.
These are software patents. Some cover algorithms in my area of research, which is computer vision. We must, as a matter of priority, put to an end all software patents. They clearly do harm science and innovation. █
“I do hope that the suit can help demonstrate that Microsoft’s claims of succeeding through innovation are a complete fraud. Their only innovation has been in inventing predatory business practices. Other than that, they have been perhaps the greatest borrowers in the history of the software industry.”
–Sybase Chairman Mitchell Kertzman