Summary: How Microsoft and Apple are using patents in bulk (sometimes acquired in unison, e.g. from Novell and Nortel) to artificially lower market saturation of the Android operating system or drive costs up
IN THE LAND of the USPTO patents are not about inventions but about manipulations. They help manipulate competition. Recently, as Groklaw explains, FRAND battles were stopped by Judge Richard Posner (pictured above). Pamela Jones wrote: “The beat goes on in the Apple v. Motorola appeal of Judge Richard Posner’s ruling dismissing both parties’ claims with prejudice, saying neither was entitled to damages or an injunction. Both are appealing, but for different reasons. Motorola has now filed its redacted reply brief [PDF] in response to Apple’s response and reply brief [PDF]. And as soon as Judge James Robart issued his Microsoft-friendly ruling in Microsoft v. Motorola in the Seattle litigation, Apple sent a letter to this appeals court, bringing it to the court’s attention, because it supports Apple’s position and calls Motorola’s patents a trivial contribution to the standard.”
Posner a mixed bag
The seemingly progressive Posner, a judge who sternly opposes software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], deserves no credit for other stances which defy human dignity and rights. Based on this report, Posner does not care about privacy. To quote: “For the most part, the op-ed makes it appear that Posner is only talking about video cameras on every street corner, every building, constantly watching our every public move. The argument in favor of such surveillance is much like the argument for videotaping police in the performance of their duty. They’re in public, where we are lawfully entitled to watch them, so no harm done.”
“The seemingly progressive Posner, a judge who sternly opposes software patents, deserves no credit for other stances which defy human dignity and rights.”Posner, however, gets it right on patents. When it comes to Blackberry appealing for Injunctions, he is shown to be in favour of free innovations, not sanctions. This is about FRAND, a growing threat to FOSS which a new paper calls broken. The title of the paper is “Fixing FRAND: A Pseudo-Pool Approach to Standards-Based Patent Licensing” and it deals not with the legitimacy of the patents themselves but with the way they are used. The growing debate over FRAND has manifested entire blogs dedicated to the subject (see the patent lawyers in Essential Patent, notably posts such as [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). Worth pointing out is this post which shows Microsoft and Apple working together to harm Android using FRAND. It says: “As many commentators have noted, Judge Robart’s Microsoft-Motorola decision may provide a roadmap to courts and parties in other FRAND disputes. Not surprisingly, Apple recently brought the decision to the attention of both the Federal Circuit (in the appeal of Judge Posner’s decision to dismiss Motorola’s SEP-related claim for damages and injunctive relief) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (in Samsung’s case against Apple, in which the Commission is set to issue its Final Determination by May 31).”
“But Apple and Microsoft aren’t working together in this patent plot against Android,” Pamela Jones wrote very sarcastically. Here comes the Microsoft booster (the one who focuses on chastising Google over privacy but never Microsoft). The clever spin from the Murdoch press is cited Mike Masnick, alleging that Motorola — not Microsoft and Apple — is the bully. We saw this type of spin-doctoring from a Microsoft guy who now works for ZDNet. That was just several days ago.
Android finds support
In other news about patent attacks on Android, Jones gives this update about Linux backers helping Samsung against Apple and here is an update about Microsoft’s anti-Linux patent litigation. See this coverage from Murdoch’s Google-hostile press. As Jones put it in her response to it, “Apple was given an opportunity to license the patents and said it wouldn’t accept a rate set by a judge. So, if you are a patent holder, what do you do? When is the EU going to do something about the real problem, which is the grouping of proprietary companies against Android, using patents as the weapon? ”
“The corporate media might not call it extortion, but that’s just what it is.”In the US, Apple has been using the International Trade Commission to block Android devices along with Microsoft. As one recent article put it: “Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) in particular has been taking swipes at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) through targeting handset makers that use Android – it’s built on the Linux Kernel, which supposedly infringes multiple patents owned by Microsoft. As such, companies such as HTC – which uses Android on many of its handsets – must pay Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) for each handset it sells with that operating system installed.”
This is extortion. The corporate media might not call it extortion, but that’s just what it is. Call a spade by its name.
Frank X. Shaw, the Microsoft Chief Liar from Waggener Edstrom, recently complained about anti-Microsoft bias in the media. Well, who is biased really? As Jones put it: “The company leading a smear campaign against Google would like us to say less negative things about Microsoft.”
Microsoft has been using another liar, Mr. Sullivan, to spread lies with the goal of causing Google antitrust problems. From a response to that: “Like Sullivan I believe that Microsoft’s presence in the FairSearch coalition robs it of its credibility and legitimacy. Aside from the breath-taking hypocrisy of one of the world’s worst monopolists whining about anti-competitive behaviour, Microsoft has far too much invested in its own search business to be at all objective on the subject. Antitrust cases are about stopping monopolies from abusing their power – they are not about undercutting your direct competitor because your own product is second rate.
“The only antitrust abusers here are Apple and Microsoft. They distort the system to impede growth of a competitor.”“It is also worth remembering the original point of antitrust legislation: to shield consumers and businesses from being harmed by the actions of monopolies who controlled access to vital commodities like oil, steel and grain.”
The only antitrust abusers here are Apple and Microsoft. They distort the system to impede growth of a competitor. █