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

05.04.13

Software Patents Are Core Issue, But New Obsession Names Just Patent Trolls as the Issue

Posted in Patents at 3:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s about scope, not scale

Equilibrium

Summary: New examples from Internet news sites which show how the debate on software patent is being warped to focus on small players (trolls) and not large ones whose parasitical existence resembles that of trolls

THE DEBATE regarding patent reform is being derailed somewhat. It got reshaped by stakeholders with lobbyists. We addressed the subject several times recently, in posts such as:

  1. Regulators Target Patent Trolls But Lose Sight of Patent Cartels
  2. Patent Trolls Increasingly Recognised as an Issue, Taking Attention Away From Software Patents as Key Issue
  3. Patent Trolls and ‘Royalties’: Distracting From the Real Issue Which is Software Patents
  4. The Notion of “Software Patent Trolls”

An unnamed author in Rupert Murdochs’ press ran a poll on patentability of software. Well, two thirds say “no” to software patents, but the total number of votes is low and thus it is easy to rig (real public opinion may be more hostile towards software patents). Is this a fair introduction?

The first patent for software in the U.S. was awarded in 1968. The question of whether patents should be granted for software has been debated ever since. In recent years, with the numbers of software patents and lawsuits involving those patents both growing rapidly, the debate has intensified.

Fair enough. It is worth adding that much of the world deviates from the US on this and suffers far less litigation such as troll atacks. Here is yet another article which focuses on trolls rather than software patents. It says:

Most of us are familiar with the famous Norwegian fairy tale, “Three Billy Goats Gruff.” where three hungry goats must cross a bridge to find more grass to eat. The problem is, underneath that bridge is a ferocious troll who wants to eat each one as it passes by.

This is not the main issue though; scope is the root of this issue. The Microsoft-run Nokia is still fighting to ban Android in Europe using patents which are probably invalid. Remember that Nokia is not a patent troll but a zombie patent portfolio currently exploited by Microsoft.

Nokia will have to start legal processes in each country as there is no such thing as a worldwide enforceable [patent] injunction.

See the article “Nokia could get the HTC One banned in Europe” and this one too. There is no injunction but a lot of intimidation, typical Microsoft FUD. Nokia is being used like a patent troll in this case, it is not just being used to arm patent trolls. So why talk about patent trolls as the principal or only issue? Perhaps because the government is still run by and funded by large corporations. It’s them who call the shots.

The FTC has been notified by Linux and Android players, spoiled by misplaced focused and with further idiocy from Google which just strengthens software patents. B&N says the patent system is “broken” (more on that another day), whereas Google continues to liaise with the USPTO and dodge criticism of software patents.

Here is one wiser suggestion from a US Senator who at least identify the root issue correctly:

A U.S. senator has announced plans to introduce legislation that would expand patent law to create a method to challenge software patents, much like the one currently available to review covered business method patents.

It is a move welcomed by some members of the technology community, including Google, Inc, who believe there should be more rigorous review of what software is eligible for patents.

Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, plans to introduce the bill on Monday, his spokesman Max Young said on Wednesday.

Contrariwise, some continue to bicker about trolls. Here is a new example:

In the decade since it was founded in Dallas, IP Nav has established itself as a global leader in the increasingly lucrative business of “patent assertion,” offering clients the ability to “maximize the value of their IP assets.” Put more bluntly, it’s a patent troll, shaking down companies by threatening them with lawsuits over patents that they or their clients are squatting on. They are a big problem in the tech world, and IP Nav is a big part of it. Rackspace, the San Antonio-based cloud computing firm, recently called the company “one of the most notorious patent trolls in America.”

Ask what type of patents they use. Therein lies the real issue. It is worth noting that the world’s largest patent troll (which spawned from Microsoft) is lobbying with a new ‘study’ that Mike Masnick covers as follows:

Giant Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures Does ‘Study’ To Show How Much Everyone Loves Patents

Apparently Intellectual Ventures’ attempts to improve its dismal reputation as the worlds largest, most obnoxious patent troll don’t seem to involve finding a legitimate business to be in, or actually doing something to help the world, but rather to ask some execs some loaded questions to produce a study pretending that execs really love patents and think they’re great for innovation. The thing is, the study also shows that the execs they asked are somewhat clueless about patents or how they’re being abused today.

Masnick concludes by saying: “See, next time why not ask them something a bit more accurate, like how they feel about “companies who go out and buy weak, broad patents on obvious things, and then use them to demand cash from companies actually competing in the market?” Or, rather than call them “patent licensing companies” call them by what everyone knows them as: patent trolls.”

This strategy is not unique to patent trolls. Some dying companies, Nokia for instance, do something similar. The important thing is to discuss the patents and not those who use them. The patents are the root cause. Their issuer is the key culprit and it is often controlled by large corporations such as IBM.

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. Links 20/4/2018: Atom 1.26, MySQL 8.0

    Links for the day



  2. Links 19/4/2018: Mesa 17.3.9 and 18.0.1, Trisquel 8.0 LTS Flidas, Elections for openSUSE Board

    Links for the day



  3. The Patent Microcosm, Patent Trolls and Their Pressure Groups Incite a USPTO Director Against the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Section 101/Alice

    As one might expect, the patent extremists continue their witch-hunt and constant manipulation of USPTO officials, whom they hope to compel to become patent extremists themselves (otherwise those officials are defamed, typically until they're fired or decide to resign)



  4. Microsoft's Lobbying for FRAND Pays Off as Microsoft-Connected Patent Troll Conversant (Formerly MOSAID) Goes After Android OEMs in Europe

    The FRAND (or SEP) lobby seems to have caused a lot of monopolistic patent lawsuits; this mostly affects Linux-powered platforms such as Android, Tizen and webOS and there are new legal actions from Microsoft-connected patent trolls



  5. To Understand Why People Say That Lawyers are Liars Look No Further Than Misleading Promotion of Software Patents

    Some of the latest misleading claims from the patent microcosm, which is only interested in lots and lots of patents (its bread and butter is monopolies after all) irrespective of their merit, quality, and desirability



  6. When News About the EPO is Dominated by Sponsored 'Reports' and Press Releases Because Publishers Are Afraid of (or Bribed by) the EPO

    The lack of curiosity and genuine journalism in Europe may mean that serious abuses (if not corruption) will go unreported



  7. The Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Complain That They Are Understaffed, Not Just Lacking the Independence They Depend on

    The Boards of Appeal have released a report and once again they openly complain that they're unable to do their job properly, i.e. patent quality cannot be assured



  8. Links 18/4/2018: New Fedora 27 ISOs, Nextcloud Wins German Government Contract

    Links for the day



  9. Guest Post: Responding to Your Recent Posting “The European Patent Office Will Never Hold Its Destroyers Accountable”

    In France, where Battistelli does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, he can be held accountable like his "padrone" recently was



  10. The EPO in 2018: Partnering With Saudi Arabia and Cambodia (With Zero European Patents)

    The EPO's status in the world has declined to the point where former French colonies and countries with zero European Patents are hailed as "success stories" for Battistelli



  11. For Samsung and Apple the Biggest Threat Has Become Patent Trolls and Aggressors in China and the Eastern District of Texas, Not Each Other

    The latest stories about two of the world's largest phone OEMs, both of which find themselves subjected to a heavy barrage of patent lawsuits and even embargoes; Samsung has meanwhile obtained an antisuit injunction against Huawei



  12. The EPO Continues to Lie About Patent Quality Whilst Openly Promoting Software Patents, Even Outside Europe

    EPO patent quality continues to sink while EPO management lies about it and software patents are openly being promoted/advocatedEPO patent quality continues to sink while EPO management lies about it (the article above is new) and software patents are openly being promoted/advocated



  13. SCOTUS on WesternGeco v Ion Geophysical Almost Done; Will Oil States Decision Affirm the PTAB's Quality Assurance (IPRs) Soon?

    Ahead of WesternGeco and Oil States, following oral proceedings, it's expected that the highest court in the United States will deliver more blows to patent maximalism



  14. Links 17/4/2018: Linux 5.x Plans and Microsoft's 'Embrace'

    Links for the day



  15. The European Patent Office (EPO) Grants Patents in Error, Insiders Are Complaining That It's the Management's Fault

    The EPO has languished to the point where patents are granted in error, examiners aren't happy, and the resultant chaos benefits no-one but lawyers and patent trolls



  16. The European Patent Office Will Never Hold Its Destroyers Accountable

    With only one in seven EPO stakeholders believing that Battistelli's pick (António Campinos) will turn things around for the better, it certainly does not seem like people are happy and there's no real hope that Battistelli will ever be held accountable for his abuses after his immunity expires



  17. With Liars Like These...

    The European Patent Office continues to lie about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) amongst other things, still revealing its reluctance to say anything which is truthful or work to repair the damage caused by Benoît Battistelli



  18. Links 16/4/2018: Linux 4.17 RC 1, Mesa 18.0.1 RC, GNOME 3.28.1

    Links for the day



  19. IAM, Patently-O and Watchtroll (the Patent Trolls' Lobby) Try to Stop Patent Oppositions/Petitions (PTAB)

    In spite of fee hikes, introduced by Iancu's interim predecessor, petitions (IPRs) at the PTAB continue to grow in number and the patent maximalists are losing their minds over it



  20. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Ending Software Patents One Patent at a Time

    At an accelerating pace and with growing determination, PTAB (part of AIA) crushes patent trolls and software patents; the statistics and latest stories speak for themselves



  21. Academics and Think Tanks for Patent Maximalism

    Right-wing think tanks and impressionable academics continue to lobby for patent maximalism, rarely revealing the funding sources and motivations; in reality, however, such maximalism mainly helps large (already-wealthy) corporations, monopolists, and law firms



  22. Killing Patent Quality and Encouraging 'Covert' Software Patents Using the Buzzwords Du Jour

    The epidemic of buzzwords and/or hype waves that are being exploited to dodge or bypass patent scope/limitations, as seen in Europe and the US these days



  23. Crisis of Quality at the EPO Extends to Staff (Notably Examiners) and Management as Institutional Integrity is Severely Compromised

    A rather pessimistic but likely realistic outlook for the European Patent Office (EPO), which seems unable to attract the sort of staff it attracted for a number of decades



  24. The 'Blockchaining' of Software Patents (to Dodge the Rules/Guidelines) Now Coming to Europe

    A lot of software patents are being declared invalid (or not granted in the first place); having said that, using all sorts of hype waves (like calling databases “blockchains”) firms and individuals manage to still be granted software patents and sometimes patent trolls hoard these



  25. Links 14/4/2018: Wine 3.6, KDE Elisa 0.1

    Links for the day



  26. East Asia Should Have Adopted the Patent Strategy of South Asia, Notably India

    China seems to be so interested in patent maximalism that it has lost sight of the effect on foreign investment, e.g. US/European/Taiwanese/Japanese/Korean firms operating/manufacturing in mainland China



  27. Samsung is the 'New IBM', Sans the Trolling With Patents

    The 'relic' company, IBM, loses its patent leadership (as measured using some yardstick) to Samsung, a company which is relatively calm when it comes to patent activity (unless/only when sued, as happens a lot nowadays)



  28. David Barcelou May or May Not be a Patent Troll, But He is Certainly a SLAPPing Bully and Watchtroll is Fine With It

    Like a thin-skinned person/entity (which many in the patent microcosm are), David Barcelou and Automated Transactions (“ATL”) SLAPP their critics and surprisingly enough it's Watchtroll, who has been threatened by WIPO, coming to the bully's rescue (double standards)



  29. Links 12/4/2018: Stable New Kernels, Neptune 5.1

    Links for the day



  30. The USPTO Has a Nepotism and Lobbying Problem That Jeopardises the Rationality of US Patent Law

    The influence games of Washington are spilling over to the US patent office and poisoning/harming its ability to conduct professional operations without corporate influence (from either side, both corporations and law firms)


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts