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

06.28.13

Corporate Debates About Patent Trolls Versus Debates About Patents (or Software Patents in Isolation)

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 5:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The issues most often overlooked by American corporate media

OpenSecrets slide
Image from OpenSecrets

Summary: A roundup of coverage about the menace which is patent litigation and the different angles chosen for tackling it

There is a perpetual disconnect and a considerable difference between what people want and what large corporations, which virtually if not practically control the US government, actually want. The large corporations want to see small companies/firms crushed, whereas the public in general wants to reduce spurious added costs, incurred by litigation and cross-licensing (shrewdly-disguised price-fixing by large corporations). The patent lawyers at some firm called “Armstrong Teasdale LLP” join the club of whiners over PTAB [1, 2]. They need to accept the rulings which crush software patents in the US, but they are in denial. Generally speaking, patents do not necessarily benefit the US, unless one considers in isolation smaller compartments of US commerce (patent lawyers or CEOs of large corporations). As a new paper’s abstract puts it:

We use a detailed data set to estimate the costs and benefits of United States patents. To estimate costs, we combine data from Derwent Litalert with a proprietary dataset of non-practicing entity (NPE) lawsuits collected by Patent Freedom, and use an event study approach to estimate losses suffered by alleged infringers during 1984-2009. To estimate benefits, we combine patent data from the USPTO and EPO with financial data from CRSP and COMPUSTAT, and use market-value regressions to estimate the value of patent rents for publicly-traded US firms during 1979-2002. We find that costs exceed benefits overall and that the gap between costs and benefits has grown across time. Surges in the number of NPE lawsuits, lawsuits filed over Computers/Communications patents, and lawsuits brought against non-manufacturing, software and telecommunications firms contribute to the increase in the gap. Growth in costs outstrips growth in lawsuits, in part, because events in these fast-growing categories have higher-than-
average per-event dollar costs.

There are leeches or non-producing players, which hurt customers a lot. According to this article, the “[p]olicy under President Obama is moving against aggressive assertion of software patents, posing significant long-term risk to the profitability of entertainment technology patent holder Rovi (ROVI).”

Whatever destroys trolls is good for the economy — that is — the collective economy which includes customers. Profit for businesses is the wrong yardstick to use if the businesses are ones of extortion, such as Intellectual Ventures. As Troll Tracker put it: “What’s going on is, as the issue of patent trolling attracts more and more attention in the mainstream media, the message is getting diluted and the waters are getting muddied.” There is also this observation about Lodsys:

Intellectual Ventures (Might Be) Tied To Lodsys: Wait, What?

[...]

It’s a proxy fight, and if Lodsys is successful in getting Mhyrvold to testify, something to that effect will surely come out. No wonder he’s fighting it so hard, he’s trying to avoid exposure. Trolls? This is what happens when you garner FTC attention.

We covered this earlier this week. We also covered the issue in prior years. Lodsys had received patents from Intellectual Ventures, which we know to be using about 2,000 pseudo-companies as litigation proxies. This is a pyramid scheme and part of an extortion racket, wrapped in a riddle and a whole legion of lobbyists.

“Lodsys had received patents from Intellectual Ventures, which we know to be using about 2,000 pseudo-companies as litigation proxies.”Mark Bohannon, the Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Global Public Policy at Red Hat (in other words, a chief lobbyist), ought the know the pain caused by trolls like Acacia (it got money from Red Hat several times). Bohannon says that the “House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and a wide variety of witnesses highlighted the PAE problem in hearings last winter. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy is working with Chairman Goodlatte and committed to working in a bicameral and bipartisan way to counter what they term ‘patent trolling,’ which “casts a pall on the system because it hinders innovation.””

He also says: “A number of key issues “left on the cutting room floor” during consideration of the AIA—including the current unreliable, uncertain, and speculative method of calculating damages, correcting the standard for finding willful infringement, and venue—remain important elements of our broken patent system that play to the hands of PAEs and encourage abusive patent litigation.

“While action in these areas remains important, they are absent from the current legislative agenda. Given the widening attacks by PAEs, it is essential that Congress work to produce meaningful legislation on at least the issues identified above in order to begin to stem the tide.

“With many of the key players in Congress—joined by the Executive Branch—rowing in the same direction, let’s look for an updated draft of the House Judiciary bill that enhances its ‘first step’ proposal. And the Senate Judiciary Committee is well positioned to put forward a robust measure that builds on (and incorporates) the bills introduced by Senators Cornyn and Schumer.”

“Get rid of the patents to resolve the issue.”The problem is, the White House is still tackling the symptom, not the disease [1, 2, 3, 4]. Those bills are hardly the solution, they tackle a symptom really, one among several symptoms which they mostly fail to address. Todd Bishop, a Microsoft booster, shows Google acquiring more privacy-infringing ideas, which is a problem in itself.

MariaDB, which recently joined OIN and OSI, will remain vulnerable to trolls and as the Oracle case against Google taught us, OIN membership is not enough to dodge litigation from giants, either. Get rid of the patents to resolve the issue. The large corporations are definitely part of the problem, but the White House is literally funded by many of those companies, so don’t expect reform in that domain. Expect the White House to go after smaller players, those that opportunistically sue many large companies. This one new example says that “ArrivalStar sued more than 200 companies and cities over bus-tracking patents.” Patent trolls like ArrivalStar are a problem, but they are not the only problem and when one looks at the actual patent, then it becomes clear that patent scope is the issue, not the plaintiff per se. As we saw many times before (e.g. Oracle, Apple, Microsoft), large corporations use equally ridiculous patents to extort other companies. According to this post, a troll we wrote about before is still busy in Texas, suing large corporations’ clients, so those large corporations get involved:

Earlier this week, we provided an update on the multitude of WiFi-related infringement lawsuits brought by non-practicing entity Innovative Wireless Solutions LLC against various hotels and restaurants in Texas, noting that IWS had dismissed these suits (albeit without prejudice). We had discussed that this was a decidedly “un-Innovatio-like” turn in the cases — but yesterday brought a development that makes this series of disputes much more like the ones in the Northern District of Illinois involving Innovatio: Cisco Systems Inc., a supplier of WiFi equipment for many of the hotels accused of infringement, got involved. And Just like it did with Innovatio, Cisco here filed a declaratory judgment action against IWS, seeking declarations of invalidity and non-infringement as to IWS’s three asserted patents.

It is not easy to kill patent trolls, as Gene Quinn’s recent piece indicates. Trolls cannot be sued, so it takes collective effort. The chairwoman of the FTC speaks about predatory tactics of patent trolls. To quote: “At an event co-sponsored by CCIA, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez announced that she would be asking the Commission to institute a Section 6(b) investigation of the patent troll business model. Senator Leahy also sent Chairwoman Ramirez a letter today, encouraging the FTC use its powers “to prevent unfair and deceptive trade practices in patent infringement allegations.”

“It is those large corporations which probably do far more damage than the trolls and the remedy lies within patent scope.”Edith Ramirez should ask her colleagues to look at patent scope rather than the nature of firms that sue large corporations. It is those large corporations which probably do far more damage than the trolls and the remedy lies within patent scope. Don’t expect any real reform in a nation where large corporations have politicians and government agencies in their pockets. Both political parties (including members of Congress) are controlled and bankrolled by the same large corporations, some more than the other. Always ask yourself when the White House debates trolls or some Congressperson brings up the subject, who are those people funded by? Also, notice who is backing all these pushes against trolls in the corporate sector. As always, money makes the world go round and large corporations are still writing everyone’s policies. The public deserves better than that. The corporations-controlled and corporations-run USPTO will continue to grant more patents than ever before (i.e. more profit), it’s just that those capitalising on those patents (monopolies) will be fewer and larger. Those patents are not there to encourage innovation, they are there to justify increases in prices, eternally-forbidding commoditisation, e.g. generics in medicine.

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 22/10/2019: MX-19, Tails 4, Mesa 19.1.8 Released

    Links for the day



  2. “Stallman Was Right” is Not Just a Meme as It's Usually True

    The track record of Stallman isn't immaculate, but it's exceptionally good if not impressive



  3. EPO Diplomatic Immunity

    What people can get away with at the European Patent Office (EPO) if their name is Battistelli or António Campinos



  4. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna Reveals How the German Government Actively Ignored SMEs to Push the Notorious 'Unitary Patent' Sham

    Turning European Patents (which are no longer good patents but expensive or overpriced patent monopolies — patents which European courts will likely reject) into “unitary” ones (i.e. enforceable EU-wide with one legal action) would harm wrongly-accused parties that mostly or only operate in one single country, overriding the authority of those parties’ national laws and courts



  5. Links 22/10/2019: Pacman 5.2, Shame of Disney+ DRM, Microsoft's DRM Scheme, Microsoft Reprimanded for Privacy Abuses

    Links for the day



  6. Patents Need to Exist Only to Pass Information Around and Keep Good Ideas Alive, Not to Feed Litigation Firms and Litigation 'Enthusiasts'

    The current situation or the status quo where legal professionals are advised not to even look at patents means that patents aren’t for “information” and “innovation” anymore; moreover, calling them “intellectual property rights” (or IPRs) is spreading a malicious lie



  7. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 21, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, October 21, 2019



  8. SUEPO Protest Tomorrow. All EPO Staff in Munich Ought to Attend and Prepare to Strike Too.

    Tomorrow’s planned protest should be a bridge towards a full strike, which takes more time to plan for and get authorisation for (because of increasingly strict restrictions)



  9. Looking for Explanations About Samsung's DeX and Other FOSS Initiatives Being Canned

    DeX was primarily a threat to the desktop/laptop monopoly of Microsoft, so its sudden abandonment — without even an explanation — continues to attract speculations



  10. EPO Will Need a Lot More Than Photo Ops and Hoax 'Studies' to Restore the Perception of Lawfulness

    Battistelli‘s illegal attacks on European Patent Office (EPO) judges have tarnished any impression that the EPO serves justice and the current regime torpedoes an assessment of these attacks; EPO workers understand that to follow guidelines from the management may be a breach of the EPC



  11. Links 21/10/2019: More on DeX, Disney DRM and Linux 5.4 RC4

    Links for the day



  12. GNU/Linux is Bigger Than Ever (Used More Than Ever Before), But Communication Means and Brands Have Changed

    The GNU/Linux market is alive and healthy; it's how we measure its health that ought to adapt because things are constantly changing, more rapidly in the realm of technology than anywhere else



  13. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 20, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 20, 2019



  14. Samsung Does Not Say Why It's Dropping DeX, But the ASUS EEE Story Might Offer Clues

    It's not at all outlandish or unreasonable to suggest that Microsoft used patents or bribes or kickbacks as incentives for Samsung to abandon GNU/Linux as a desktop platform



  15. EPO: It's Only Getting Worse

    Inhaling Seagull meme for EPO presidents



  16. It Has Begun: EPO Staff Protests Against António Campinos (Starting Wednesday)

    Wednesday marks the resumption of EPO protests; it’s happening for the first time under Campinos and only a year after he took Office. Even Battistelli, the notorious thug, lasted longer before such escalations/actions or — put another way — he did better than that (if one checks the timeline of his presidency)



  17. Links 20/10/2019: GNU/Linux at Penn Manor School District, Wine-Staging 4.18, Xfce 4.16 Development, FreeBSD 12.1 RC2

    Links for the day



  18. Guest Post: Understanding Autism for More Complete Inclusion

    "...assuming that autistic people are all the same isn't only technically wrong, it is misleading and leads to harmful and needless misunderstandings."



  19. Guest Post: Free Software Freedom is Not a Freedom of Choice

    The concept of "Freedom of Choice" and how the ruling class uses it to give a false impression of "Freedom"



  20. Guest Post: Free Software Developers and Pursuing 'Market Share'

    "The only people interested in software freedom are (almost always) free software developers. And users are interested in freedom to a very limited extent: the "free beer" side. Even many free software developers are only interested in the "free beer" part of free software."



  21. The Assertion That Microsoft Uses Communist Tactics Against GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software

    A study of Taistoism might help understand how Free/libre software is being undermined



  22. European Patent Office and US Patent and Trademark Office Cranks Discovered Buzzwords, Stopped Worrying, Started Granting Patents They Know to be Fake

    The world's patent repositories are being saturated with loads of junk patents or patents that have no legal bearing but can still be leveraged for extortion purposes; the EPO is resorting to lies and artificially-elevated buzzwords to justify granting such fake (yet ruinous) patents



  23. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 19, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 19, 2019



  24. “The True Hypocrite is the One Who Ceases to Perceive His Deception, the One Who Lies With Sincerity,” Said André Paul Guillaume Gide (Nobel Prize in Literature)

    Lies flow like water in the realm of EPO and its publishers, whose sole role is dissemination of deliberate falsehoods, misnomers and misinformation



  25. The EPO Cannot Guard Fake European Patents From Scrutiny (in the Long Run)

    Legal certainty associated with newly-granted European Patents is already pretty low and as long as the EPO refuses to acknowledge that its courts (or boards) lack autonomy the EPO merely brushes a growing problem under the rug



  26. Links 19/10/2019: DeX Discontinued, DXVK 1.4.3 and Wine 4.18 Released

    Links for the day



  27. 'Corporate Linux' Will Not Protect Software Freedom

    The corporate model is inherently not compatible with software that users themselves fully control (or Software Freedom in general), so we must rely on another model of sovereignty over code and compiled code (binaries)



  28. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 18, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, October 18, 2019



  29. 26,000 Posts

    We want to thank those who help spread the word; it gives us moral support and morale.



  30. The Myth of 'Analysts'

    People with exaggerated roles (exaggerated by corporate media and corporations that control them) distort public perceptions about their clients; they're in effect just elevated marketing or Public Relations (PR) operatives


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