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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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. Links 25/11/2020: GamerOS and Biden Transition in Motion

    Links for the day



  2. An Orwellian December

    With December around the corner and states tightening the screws on the population (or employers on employees) at least we can look forward to spring



  3. The Non-Technical (or Lesser Technical) Software User That Wants Software Freedom

    Assuming that Free software should care about what users — not only developers — really want (and need) it’s important to understand how they view the current situation (with growing waves of corporate takeover and compromises, even expulsions)



  4. The European Patent Office Should be Run by Patent Examiners (Scientists), Not Politicians

    Europe would be better off (and patent quality much improved) had people with an actual grasp of science and reality were in charge of the EPO, not a money-chasing kakistocracy (which is what we have now)



  5. Member of the EPO's Boards of Appeal Explains Why VICOs (or ViCo/Video Conferences/Virtual 'Hearings') Are Not Suitable for Justice

    It's interesting to hear (or see/read) what people inside the EPO have to say about the "new normal" when they enjoy a certain level of anonymity (to avert retribution)



  6. Open Source Initiative (OSI) Co-founder Bruce Perens: Open Invention Network (OIN) is Protecting the Software Patent System From Reform and OSI Approves Faux 'Open' Licences (Openwashing)

    Richard Stallman was right about the OSI and the fake 'movement' that claims to have 'coined' the term "Open Source" (it wasn't a new term at all; it had been used in another context and the Free software community spoke of things like "Open Hardware" years earlier)



  7. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 24, 2020



  8. Making JavaScript Suck Less

    "Other than that, the first rule of JavaScript is: Do not use JavaScript. But this article is for people who break the first rule."



  9. Microsoft 'Moles' Inside WINE Project? WINE Should Bring Windows Users to GNU/Linux, Not the Other Way Around.

    The press release above (link omitted, it was pinned in several sites) is a cause for concern; after Microsoft infiltrated OSI and the Linux Foundation (both are now GitHub boosters, in effect diverting projects to Microsoft’s proprietary monopoly) it’ll be important to watch this space



  10. Links 25/11/2020: Raspberry Pi 400 With Touchscreens, Animation Framework in GTK/GNOME

    Links for the day



  11. [Meme] Things Will Get Amusing When/If EPO Proceedings Are Cancelled Due to Patent Trolls Suing the Platforms Using Software Patents (Granted by the EPO)

    The management of the EPO is so proud to be granting illegal software patents in Europe; this clear abuse of authority can come back to bite it in the rear



  12. Dr. Bausch Questions the Merits and Claims of EPO Management Regarding ViCo ('Skynet' Virtual 'Courts')

    Few courageous attorneys are willing to speak out about (and against) what EPO management is doing right now, in effect exploiting a public health crisis to override the law, spy on lots of people, outsource legal proceedings to the United States and so on



  13. Links 24/11/2020: Linux 5.9.11, Istio 1.6.14 and LibreOffice 7.1 Beta Released

    Links for the day



  14. Lots of Good News Today

    A quick roundup of news and key developments; most of them are positive and they give us hope



  15. Massive Collective Action Begins at the European Patent Office Today, Demanding Change and Forewarning the Management (Litigation)

    The financial "hoax" at the EPO (taking away money from staff to feed a gambling addiction of managers) needs to stop; staff has begun mass-mailing the management, threatening legal action



  16. EPO Management is Still Distracting From the 'Elephant in the Room' by Corrupting Media and Academia

    Under the EPO's dictatorship the law is being routinely violated; in order for the public to not pay attention or receive mixed messages (resulting in confusion) the EPO is manufacturing so-called 'studies' (which patent offices aren't supposed to do; they should focus on patent-granting while complying with the law)



  17. EPO's Central Staff Committee on Latest Meeting With Office Dictator: “No Meaningful Discussion Could Take Place.”

    Whilst allegedly preparing legal action the staff representatives at the EPO report on the lack of progress after so-called 'dialogues' (merely a false impression of consultation)



  18. Growing Concerns That EPO Staff Has Been Placed Under de Facto House Arrest by an Entirely Unaccountable Office

    "House arrest" is excessive and disproportionate. So says the Central Staff Committee of Europe's second-largest institution (which surprisingly enough the media is failing to properly study and investigate) as it highlights yet more human rights violations.



  19. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, November 23, 2020



  20. Internal Error: Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent Incompatible With the Constitution and Basic Laws

    The FFII has issued a statement for Members of the Bundestag, Members of the European Parliament, Members of the Council, German Presidency of the EU, Chancellor Merkel, Commissioner Von Der Leyen, Commissioner Reynders, and Battistelli's buddy Breton



  21. The EPO is Using Hype Wave and Buzzword to Promote Illegal Software Patents in a So-Called “Digital Conference”

    The "HEY HI" or "AI" hype is misused by the Office; not just in person but also in webstreams, which basically serve as a vehicle for illegal agenda



  22. Dutch Delegation and German Delegation at the Administrative Council of the EPO Upset at the Office for Secrecy, Working Behind the Scenes to Crush Productive Staff

    Less than halfway through his term at the Office, Battistelli's buddy already faces growing criticism and, according to the Central Staff Committee, he "was emotionally affected by the intervention such that he was not able to effectively reply to the questions of the delegates."



  23. Links 23/11/2020: GNU Guix 1.2.0, Evaluating Precursor’s Hardware Security, Kdenlive 20.08.3, Kodi 19.x Beta, Vulkan 1.2.162

    Links for the day



  24. Links 23/11/2020: Linux 5.10-rc5, GIMP Turns 25, 4MLinux 34.2, Escuelas Linux 6.11, MPV Player 0.33

    Links for the day



  25. How to Put on Airs of Professionalism Like a Boss

    "Boardroom suits are not meant to be flashy, but to conform. Simple lines and smart ties -- the opposite of what Richard Stallman would wear, show that you are either a well-machined cog or a serious adversary."



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 22, 2020



  27. Legal Action at the European Patent Office (EPO) Leveraged Against Management... for Robbing EPO Staff and Robbing Europe, by Extension

    The EPO is being looted for its value; the staff is rightly concerned and there’s legal action on the way, filed reluctantly as there’s clearly no other option (a last resort/necessary recourse)



  28. Cory Doctorow at Privacy Week 2020 on DRM, Freedom/Software Freedom, Regulation, Etc.

    “We Used To Have Cake, Now We’ve Barely Got Icing” by Cory Doctorow.



  29. Links 22/11/2020: KaOS 2020.11, Calindori 1.3, KStars 3.5.0

    Links for the day



  30. New Position Paper on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Says It's “Not the Best Solution for Europe” -- Clearly an Understatement

    UPC proponents (profiteers) aren't enjoying support anymore; not only has progress stalled (come to a complete stop) but the whole debate about the UPC (or anything conceptually like it) turned toxic and negative because facts come out, overriding lobbyists of litigation giants


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