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Militarisation of Patent Battles: Militant Patents and Microsoft Spying (Skype, Kinect, Audio/Video Surveillance)

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 11:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: A look at some of the more disturbing patent news of the week and their effect on civil liberties

THE filing of patents often indicates what companies are planning to do. Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer says that

Haliburton tries to patent trolling…

It has been a while since we lost wrote about Haliburton patents. It seems like this notoriously unethical company, known for its killing of many innocent people, is planning to become a patent troll. Haliburton is of course working closely with the military and the secret services.

There is something rather spooky going on with Microsoft getting many streams of video and audio around the world, with reports such as this coming through former Microsoft staff:

One U.S. researcher has deconstructed a constantly updated file in the China-only version of Skype that contains a list of more than 1,100 words used to censor and monitor its users.

Microsoft, to its ‘credit’, is not only spying on people in their homes with Skype but also with Kinect if this patent is any indication. To quote:

Microsoft’s new Kinect patent goes Big Brother, will spy on you for the MPAA

Microsoft has filed for a Kinect-related patent, and it’s a doozy of an application. The abstract describes a camera-based system that would monitor the number of viewers in a room and check to see if the number of occupants exceeded a certain threshold set by the content provider. If there are too many warm bodies present, the device owner would be prompted to purchase a license for a greater number of viewers.

In other disturbing patent news, a “military industrial patent troll” is
said to be going after Cisco, which is known for aiding Chinese censorship and surveillance:

Emboldened by a win against Apple that was upheld last February, VirnetX – inventor of key VPN technologies or a patent troll, depending on your point of view and understanding of its patents – has now taken up cudgels against Cisco.

In a hearing in front of a Federal jury over a complaint first filed in 2010, VirnetX has said that Cisco owes it $US258 million for selling VPN capabilities in practically any Cisco product.

The battle against Cisco began as part of a sue-everybody suit filed in 2010. Apple, one of the many defendants in the original complaint, was ordered to pay $US368.2 million last year, a decision upheld in February. Apple was found to have infringed US Patents 6,502,135, 7,418,504, 7,921,211 and 7,490,151.

Virnetx got money from Microsoft VirnetX [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15] after a high-profile trial.

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