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

08.05.12

Patent Trolls and Their Favourite Weapon, Software Patents, Could Face Death

Posted in EFF, Law, Patents at 10:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rep. Peter DeFazio and Rep. Jason Chaffetz give us Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (“SHIELD”) Act

Shield

Summary: An existential threat to the #1 foe of Free (as in freedom-respecting) software

THE EFF, which fights against software patents this year (targeting the whole lot, not busting them one at a time), is excited to see a bill that’s intended to stop software patents or at least make a start by flagging them as distinct. As news spreads about this bill in almost every technology site we learn that the target is “[p]eople who sue technology companies over patents when they’re really only trying to win big settlements [and] have earned themselves a nickname: patent trolls.

“Unlike the fake ‘reform’, this one is real, but Glyn Moody won’t believe it until it’s passed, he states.”“Thanks to the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes Act, or SHIELD Act, their days may be numbered.

“The SHIELD Act would require anybody who files a lawsuit related to a computer hardware or software patent to pay his or her opponent’s legal bills if a court finds the lawsuit “did not have a reasonable likelihood of succeeding.”

“Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio introduced the bill in the House to protect innovators from superfluous lawsuits.”

Unlike the fake ‘reform’, this one is real, but Glyn Moody won’t believe it until it’s passed, he states. The EFF’s words are “Can You Believe It? Legislation that Would Actually Help Fix the Patent System” (link).

To quote: “Finally, a moment of sanity. Today, Rep. Peter DeFazio, along with co-sponsor Rep. Jason Chaffetz, introduced legislation (HR 6245) in the House of Representatives that would actually help make the patent system work better for innovators and innovation, and make life more difficult for patent trolls.

“Well, if we wish to impede Microsoft proxies, then this bill can make an enormous contribution.”“We have written time and again about just how broken the system is and how, thus far, the courts and Congress have failed to fix it. Which makes us even more excited about the new bill, the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (“SHEILD”) Act. The idea behind the SHIELD Act is simple: if you sue someone, you better have a reasonable and good-faith belief that you are entitled to relief. In other words, a plaintiff needs to believe that a defendant actually infringes a valid patent before it sues. If it doesn’t, that plaintiff could be on the hook for the costs of litigation and for the winning party’s attorneys’ fees (which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases).

“Fee shifting, often called “loser pays,” is not a new idea. It’s long existed in copyright law, for instance, allowing a court to award a winning party costs and fees in certain cases. In patent litigation, this type of provision would help tilt the playing field slightly more in favor of the good guys. To understand, think about the patent troll business model: making broad claims of infringement based on patents of questionable validity is the troll’s favorite move. It’s no wonder that many defendants choose to pay up rather than take the time, energy, and especially the money to fight in court. Fee shifting would empower innovators to fight back, while discourging trolls from threatening lawsuits to start.

“Trying to understand the recent patent licensing deal between Microsoft and Amdocs is like watching a poker tournament, where you never know whether players are bluffing or if they have pat hands. In this case, it appears that Microsoft is bluffing when it comes to Linux. An inspection of the facts, as they are known, indicates the “Linux licensing” element of the story is only more Microsoft FUD–with Amdocs being a willing participant.

“This isn’t the story of an underdog being pressured by the Redmond giant into paying a bounty on some patents Microsoft claims are being infringed upon by Linux servers in Amdocs’s data centers. In fact, it appears as if Linux licensing isn’t really a part of this deal at all.”

“Lodsys got some patents from IV (Intellectual Ventures).”The OIN, in the mean time, is growing a team behind a portfolio of software patents (latest statement), perhaps refusing to accept that abolishing patent trolls and software patents is an achievable goal. Timothy B. Lee, one of the leading people in the fight against software patents, has this to say: “A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives attempts to deter frivolous patent litigation by forcing unsuccessful patent plaintiffs to cover defendants’ legal costs. Introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act is limited to patents related to computer hardware and software.

“”Patent trolls don’t create new technology and they don’t create American jobs,” DeFazio said in a news release. “They pad their pockets by buying patents on products they didn’t create and then suing the innovators who did the hard work and created the product.”

“While DeFazio portrays the SHIELD Act as anti-troll legislation, its provisions don’t seem to be limited to non-practicing entities. Any plantiff who a court finds “did not have a reasonable likelihood of succeeding” could be on the hook for his opponent’s legal bills, regardless of whether the plaintiff is using the technology in question.”

Mark Webbink keeps track of one such troll with Microsoft connections and a case against Android developers. To quote: “Lodsys has been hit with another declaratory judgment action, this one by Creative Mobile, O.U., an Estonian company, filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. (Complaint [PDF; Text]) There is nothing particularly new about this complaint when compared to earlier declaratory judgment actions filed against Lodsys other than the fact that it provides a useful synopsis of where the case stands. [See paragraphs 17 through 51]

“With so many suits in play it will be impractical to follow all of them, but that really shouldn’t be necessary anyway. There are three critical parts that merit our attention: (1) the pending reexaminations before the USPTO; (2) the intervention by Apple; and (3) the declaratory judgment action by Oracle with its attendant invalidity contentions.”

Lodsys got some patents from IV (Intellectual Ventures).

Well, if we wish to impede Microsoft proxies, then this bill can make an enormous contribution. To quote one of the better reports: “The bill is limited to patents that cover hardware or software for computers and other IT systems. It defines a software patent as a patent that covers “any process that could be implemented in a computer regardless of whether a computer is specifically mentioned in the patent.” This also includes systems that can be programmed to perform such a process. The bill expressly omits the highly controversial question of whether “computer-implemented inventions” should be patentable at all, stating that it does not aim to amend the substantive patent law.”

Excellent stuff!

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

What Else is New


  1. Concerns About IBM's Commitment to OpenSource.com After the Fall of Linux.com and Linux Journal

    The Web site OpenSource.com is over two decades old; in its current form it's about a decade old and it contains plenty of good articles, but will IBM think so too and, if so, will investment in the site carry on?



  2. Electronic Frontier Foundation Makes a Mistake by Giving Award to Microsoft Surveillance Person

    At age 30 (almost) the Electronic Frontier Foundation still campaigns for privacy; so why does it grant awards to enemies of privacy?



  3. Caturdays and Sundays at Techrights Will Get Busier

    Our plan to spend the weekends writing more articles about Software Freedom; it seems like a high-priority issue



  4. Why Techrights Doesn't Do Social Control Media

    Being managed and censored by platform owners (sometimes their shareholders) isn’t an alluring proposition when a site challenges conformist norms and the status quo; Techrights belongs in a platform of its own



  5. Patent Prosecution Highways and Examination Highways Are Dooming the EPO

    Speed is not a measure of quality; but today's EPO is just trying to get as much money as possible, as fast as possible (before the whole thing implodes)



  6. Software Patents Won't Come Back Just Because They're (Re)Framed/Branded as "HEY HI" (AI)

    The pattern we've been observing in recent years is, patent applicants and law firms simply rewrite applications to make these seem patent-eligible on the surface (owing to deliberate deception) and patent offices facilitate these loopholes in order to fake 'growth'



  7. IP Kat Pays the Price for Being a Megaphone of Team UPC

    The typical or the usual suspects speak out about the so-called 'prospects' (with delusions of inevitability) of the Unified Patent Court Agreement, neglecting to account for their own longterm credibility



  8. Links 17/8/2019: Wine 4.14 is Out, Debian Celebrates 26 years

    Links for the day



  9. Nothing Says 'New' Microsoft Like Microsoft Component Firmware Update (More Hardware Lock-in)

    Vicious old Microsoft is still trying to make life very hard for GNU/Linux, especially in the OEM channel/s, but we're somehow supposed to think that "Microsoft loves Linux"



  10. Bill Gates and His Special Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein Still Stirring Speculations

    Love of the "children" has long been a controversial subject for Microsoft; can Bill Gates and his connections to Jeffrey Epstein unearth some unsavoury secrets?



  11. Links 16/8/2019: Kdevops and QEMU 4.1

    Links for the day



  12. The EPO's War on the Convention on the Grant of European Patents 2000 (EPC 2000), Not Just Brexit, Kills the Unitary Patent (UP/UPC) and Dooms Justice

    Team UPC continues to ignore the utter failures that have led to lawlessness at the EPO, attributing the demise of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) to Brexit alone and pretending that it's not even a problem



  13. Links 15/8/2019: GNOME's Birthday, LLVM 9.0 RC2

    Links for the day



  14. 'Foundation' Hype Spreads in China

    Nonprofits seem to have become more of a business loophole than a charitable endeavour; the problem is, this erodes confidence in legitimate Free software and good causes



  15. Links Are Not Endorsements

    If the only alternative is to say nothing and link to nothing, then we have a problem; a lot of people still assume that because someone links to something it therefore implies agreement and consent



  16. The Myth of 'Professionalism'

    Perception of professionalism, a vehicle or a motivation for making Linux more 'corporate-friendly' (i.e. owned by corporations), is a growing threat to Software Freedom inside Linux, as well as freedom of speech and many other things



  17. Links 14/8/2019: Best Chromebooks, EPEL 8.0, LibreOffice 6.2.6

    Links for the day



  18. Being in Favour of Free/Libre Open Source Software Means Rejecting Software Patents

    Those who believe in Software Freedom cannot at the same time believe that software patents are desirable; we've sadly come to a point where many companies that dominate so-called 'Open Source' groups actively lobby for such patents, in effect betraying the community they claim to be a part of



  19. Links 14/8/2019: Apache Evaluated, HardenedBSD Has New Release

    Links for the day



  20. Planet Python is Being Overrun by Microsoft, Just Like PyCon and Python in General

    Microsoft is perturbing the Free/Open Source software (FOSS) world from the inside, promoting Microsoft's most malicious proprietary software from within that world while taking positions of power in powerful FOSS projects



  21. Coming Soon: The Innards of the Eric Lundgren Case That Microsoft is Desperate to Hide or Spin (by Defaming Lundgren)

    Microsoft is rather stressed about Eric Lundgren coming out of prison and telling how Microsoft put him there; right now Microsoft is mostly name-calling while seeking to control public dialogues



  22. Wrong Person in Charge of the Linux Foundation (and in Charge of Linus Torvalds)

    There are several glaring issues when it comes to the leadership of Linux's steward; for one thing, it lacks actual background in... Linux



  23. 2019 Tech Glossary

    This clavis refers to what the de facto definition may be, based on how (and when) media uses the words nowadays



  24. The Silence of the Media Lamb

    There are reasons that are perfectly legitimate to criticise media which is unable and more so unwilling to cover particular scandals for fear that coverage can be detrimental to the media's owners and sponsors



  25. LINUX.COM Managed by Apple’s MacOS Users, Open Source Managed and Covered by People Who Reject Open Source

    The narratives are being hijacked; people who we're supposed to assume speak for Linux and for Open Source support neither of these things; they're only in it for the money



  26. The Linux Foundation's Open Source Summit is a Proprietary Software Marketing Venue

    The distortion of the term Open Source and promotion of proprietary software such as GitHub shows that the foundation called after “Linux” is actually more of a front group of hostile corporations — large brands and rich people to whom Open Source represents a threat that needs to be controlled



  27. Links 13/8/2019: Mir 1.4 Released, Qt PDF Discussed

    Links for the day



  28. Links 13/8/2019: KDevelop 5.4.1 and DragonFly 5.6.2 Released

    Links for the day



  29. Spreading False Rumours or What's Most Likely Lies (Falsehoods) Won't Help Restore Justice at the EPO

    EPO management lies to everyone routinely (to courts, to the press, to staff and so on); it’s not helping when lies or baseless hearsay are spread about EPO management as it helps Team Campinos censor/block/slander sites that expose EPO corruption (under he guise/pretext that these sites are disseminating lies; Campinos, by the way, has blocked Techrights for over a year without explanation, just like a truly insecure autocrat)



  30. Links 12/8/2019: LXD 3.16 and GCC 9.2

    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