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

06.24.13

More Grooming of Patent Trolls in Slashdot

Posted in Patents at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Misinterpretations of the law, mixing completely disparate concepts, used by patent trolls to justify what they do in Slashdot

Slashdot is a weird beast. I recently re-subscribed just to get a taste of where it’s at after doing all the Microsoft PR [1, 2, 3, 4] (there is a bit less of that now). When it comes to patent news, Slashdot used to be good a decade ago, but recently it became a platform for grooming villains, aiding some ill patent agenda [1, 2]. It is not as though software patents are promoted, but sometimes it seems like trolls are. How truly baffling.

A decision made by CAFC last weeks helped validate some horrific software patent from Ultramercial, leading to rants such as this:

Patent Court Stands By Its Claim That Adding ‘On The Internet’ Can Make An Abstract Idea Patentable

We’ve been following the Ultramercial case quite closely over the past few years. If you’re not aware, this involved a company that more or less patented the idea of “you must watch this ad to get this content” (US Patent 7,346,545) and then sued pretty much everyone. Most of the companies it sued settled rather than fight (which happens all the time), including YouTube and Hulu, but one company, WildTangent, has continued the fight. Eventually, though, the case reached the Supreme Court with the key question being does taking an abstract idea like “watch this before getting that” and adding “on the internet” to it make it patentable? It’s well established that you can’t patent an abstract idea, but for some reason many seem to think that if you say “on the internet” it’s no longer abstract. The Supreme Court did not do a full hearing on the case, but asked the appeals court of the federal circuit (CAFC — known as the patent appeals court) to reconsider its original ruling in light of the Supreme Court’s
ruling in the Prometheus case, where it said that you can’t patent broad medical diagnostics. The rule there was that you “could not simply recite a law of nature and then add the instruction ‘apply the law.’” So, is the same true for “abstract idea” plus “on the internet”?

Therein lies a key problem. Software should not be patentable. There are those, however, who single out trolls as the culprit (culling out trolls is better than nothing), noting/highlighting for instance notorious entities like Intellectual Ventures with its 2,000 or so proxies. According to this report from Pamela Jones, the FTC might fail to challenge those most critical elements of abuse, unless they somehow manage to probe Bill Gates’ close friend, who is by far the biggest troll in the world. As Jones put it:

Now that we know that the FTC is interested in whether patent trolls’ business practices are hurting competition and is planning to investigate, I thought I’d point out something I found interesting in a recent motion for a protective order [PDF] by Intellectual Ventures’ CEO Nathan Myhrvold in a dispute with Lodsys, the patent troll trying to sue multiple companies and Apple app developers in two of the Lodsys litigations in Texas, Lodsys v. Brother International Corp. et al. and Lodsys v. Combay, Inc., et al.. The dispute is being handled separately, as Myhrvold v. Lodsys Inc et al, in Washington State, docketed as 2:13-mc-00088-RSL. The presiding judge is Robert S. Lasnik, hence the RSL in the docket line.

Myhrvold’s lawyer has filed a Declaration in Support, as well some exhibits [PDF], one of them under seal. Myhrvold’s trying to avoid a deposition by Lodsys, and the battle over it has been going on since last October.

From these documents, I learned that the patents Lodsys is using to sue everyone did indeed come from Intellectual Ventures, as we had heard, but there was a middle man, fellow patent troll Webvention LLC. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Webvention in the news going after multiple victims with goofy, broad-stroke patents it got from IV. Anyway, IV sold the patents Lodsys is using to Webvention first, and Webvention then sold them to Lodsys. Lodsys has some questions it would like Myhrvold to answer about all that.

He also allegedly had some conversations with Bill Gates that they’d like to ask him about, and there is an email to Gates and others at Microsoft dealing with “combinations” that they say came from Myhrvold’s email account that they are interested in asking him about. Finally, there is an IV license with Microsoft that Lodsys would like more information about.

Me, too, and I hope the FTC will feel the same. A subpoena from the FTC would be harder to avoid complying with than one from Lodsys.

This is interesting because it helps show the unique role of Microsoft in the trolls’ shell game. There are other notorious trolls out there (exposed time after time, many connected to Microsoft) and just like Myhrvold, this one too receives grooming from a long-lost ‘geek’ site. To quote the latest: “A few weeks ago you had the chance to ask James Logan, the founder of Personal Audio, about the business, the patents the company holds, and the lawsuits it has filed.” (Slashdot called for questions here)

iophk says: “It seems that /. [Slashdot] has wandered very far of the path it started out on. I wonder if that is part of the reason that Malda got forced out.”

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. Microsoft's Patent Allies LG and Sony Agree to Put Microsoft Inside Android

    LG and Sony (of Rockstar Consortium) follow Samsung and Dell in Microsoft's campaign to turn Android into 'Microsoft Android' using patents-induced pressure/leverage



  2. Yet Another Major Security Deficiency in UEFI

    UEFI is inherently insecure, more so than the alternatives which it strives to replace, including Free/libre ones



  3. Links 27/5/2015: Fedora 22 is Out, Mandriva Liquidated

    Links for the day



  4. Patent Scope at the EPO is Totally Out of Control, UPC Will Make Things Worse

    A look at the practical issues with the EPO, where patent scope and litigation scope have been vastly extended so as to benefit multinational corporations and possibly patent trolls



  5. Links 26/5/2015: Reviews of Kubuntu 15.04, Linux 4.1 RC5

    Links for the day



  6. Süddeutsche Zeitung Says Talking Helps While EPO Management Back-stabs Other Side of the Table

    German media gives the impression that there is peace and harmony now that Benoît Battistelli and his circle of power speaks to staff, but nothing is said about simultaneous (albeit covert) attacks against that staff



  7. Large Corporations Call the Shots in US Patent Reform

    A reminder of where we stand on the issue of patent 'reform' in the US and who is controlling or shaping it



  8. Microsoft Puts Proprietary Windows and Hyper-V Inside the Free Software-Centric OpenStack

    OpenStack, which celebrates rapid growth in this month's event in Canada, is facing a proprietarisation threat from Microsoft



  9. Microsoft's Secret Lobbying, Bullying, and the Long History of Blackmailing Politicians Around the World

    British media covers Microsoft's abuse in the UK, but there are many similar incidents, and not just in the UK



  10. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Benoît Battistelli and Four EPO Suicides

    German press article from April 2015 (with translations)



  11. Links 24/5/2015: CrossOver 14.1.3, NTFS-3G Vulnerability

    Links for the day



  12. Links 23/5/2015: Fedora 22 to May 26th, Netflix in SteamOS

    Links for the day



  13. The Patents Production 'Industry' (Patent Lawyers) Still Fights Hard to Salvage Software Patents

    A review of recent writings about software patents and patents on business methods in the United States, demonstrating that patent lawyers have gotten very vocal and sneaky (trying to evade the rules)



  14. Patents as a Marketing Strategy: USPTO Now Part of the Advertising Industry

    The existence of publicity patents, or patents whose sole purpose is to advertise some products, serves to discredit the US patent office, which was originally set up to promote science and technology



  15. Microsoft Blackmails and Extorts British Politicians Over Open Standards and Free Software-Leaning Policies

    Microsoft's digital imperialism in the UK getting defended using blackmail, reminding a lot of Brits that Microsoft is just as evil as ever before



  16. Microsoft Gives Another Bug a Name, This Time Logjam™

    The Microsoft crowd is good only at marketing, even when it comes to small bugs in software



  17. Links 22/5/2015: Fedora 22 Final Release is Near, Canonical IPO Considered

    Links for the day



  18. More Utter Shame Unveiled at Battistelli's EPO: Intimidation Tactics With Help From 'Control Risks'

    The unaccountable thugs who run the EPO have hired London-based spooks to help silence their opposition and their critics



  19. GNU/Linux Still Under Attack From Apple and Microsoft, Patents Remain the Weapon of Choice

    A timely reminder of the importance of patent matters, for they are being used to eliminate the zero-cost advantage of Free/libre software and make it more proprietary, privacy-infringing, and user-hostile (as a result of blackmail)



  20. Gartner Group and NASSCOM: Will Lie for FUD, on Behalf of Microsoft and Proprietary Software

    Some of the latest arguments against Free/libre software turn out to be arriving from couriers of Microsoft and its agenda



  21. Windows is a Franchise in Demise, Don't Believe the Hype

    Ongoing propaganda about Vista 10, 'cloud', and other buzzwords or brands are put in perspective



  22. Links 21/5/2015: Fedora 22 RC2, CERN Chooses OpenStack

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft is Again Showing Its Hatred of Free/Open Source Software by Lobbying the Indian Government to Drop a Rational National Policy

    Microsoft decides to attack Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in India, where the corporate media is very much complicit in misleading the public



  24. Links 20/5/2015: Containers, OpenStack, and EXT4 Corruption

    Links for the day



  25. The PATENT Act, Distraction of Trolls, and Lobbying for Software Patents by Protectionists

    Only large corporations and their lawyers are able to formally change the US patent system through public officials and politicians, despite recent rulings from very high courts



  26. Corporate Media and Friends of Microsoft Are Still Lying About the Cost of Vista 10

    In a desperate effort to beat operating systems that are Free (libre) and free (gratis), such as GNU/Linux or Android, Microsoft shores up the illusion of 'free' (gratis) Windows



  27. Links 19/5/2015: Linux 4.1 RC4, Thunderbird 31.7.0, OpenStack Event

    Links for the day



  28. Links 18/5/2015: Russia Chooses Jolla, Many New Distro Releases, Meizu Devices

    Links for the day



  29. Even Converting an Image to Greyscale is Now a Patent

    Simple mathematics becoming patented as Fujifilm claims 'ownership' of photographic conversion to greyscale



  30. Grooming of the World's Biggest Patent Troll, Nathan Myhrvold of Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures

    UCLA and Microsoft-linked media are framing big thugs as heroes, doing a great disservice to both academia and journalism


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