07.14.13

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Patent Troll: I Am Not a Troll

Posted in Patents at 1:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like Nixon is “not a crook” and Obama is “not a dictator”

Nixon

Summary: Giving the abusers a chance to defend themselves results in empty denials

Asking a terrorist “are you a terrorist?’ has become somewhat of a popular joke. Of course no person would label himself or herself using a self-incriminating term. There is a growing trend now where trolls try to classify themselves as “good trolls” or “not bad trolls” because a crackdown on trolls is seemingly imminent [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] . It is obvious that patent lawyers and companies like Microsoft, which use trolls as litigation/extortion proxies, would weigh in.

“Of course no person would label himself or herself using a self-incriminating term.”Following all the recent editorial changes at Slashdot it has not been surprising to see that the site helps reputation laundering of notable patent trolls, leading to Troll Tracker getting influenced. “Talk about jumping into the lion’s den,” she wrote, “Jim Logan, founder of Personal Audio of “I’m suing all you podcasters, so git ready!” fame, agreed to participate in a forum on Slashdot.”

That was hardly a lion’s den, it was used by him to promote his side and it certainly worked based on Troll Tracker, who also cites an inflammatory pro-software patents Web site for patent lawyers, namely IAM ‘magazine’, perhaps failing to realise where it’s all coming from. Regarding Logan, even if you get granted a patent, if all you plan to do is sue other companies and not create something of practical use (or failing at it), then you’re a patent troll once you sue empty-handed. Jay Walker falls under this category.

Based on this tweet from IAM ‘magazine’ (blog), “#Patent privateers look set to become much more active in Europe and do not rule out the emergence of #trolls.” With registration required to read the article, it is only possible to judge it by some context.

Over at the Gates-funded Seattle Times, John “Jay” Jurata Jr, who works for Microsoft (“His technology clients include Microsoft,” says the disclosure) is getting a platform in which to defend trolls which Microsoft is using:

In investigating patent trolls, the Federal Trade Commission should tread carefully around the benefits of the secondary market for patents, writes guest columnist John “Jay” Jurata Jr.

No, not really. As Pamela Jones put it: “And there you have it, Microsoft would like to be able to continue to outsource its patents, and Nokia’s, its little partner, to trolls like MOSAID, who will then go after Google’s Android, without putting Microsoft at risk of counterclaims. Google and Red Hat and others have asked the FTC and the DOJ to investigate the antitrust implications of such outsourcing.”

Intellectual Ventures, which Slashdot also helped groom, would love that.

What we have here is a systematic campaign by trolls to defend their parasitical business model. This happens right now because the US government is investigating ways to eliminate trolls. As a European-centric site put it: “Federal authorities are making an effort to rein in patent trolls, but the muddled, dysfunctional US patent system makes significant change a long process with chances of success limited.

“By now you’ve probably heard plenty of stories about the excesses of patent trolls, or Patent Assertion Entities as they’re politely referred to in legal circles.”

“Nothing in such a reform is ideal, but any step in the right direction would be appreciated.”Free software is affected by trolls, even if we don’t hear from the victims very often (they don’t have marketing people). We covered many examples over the years. Here is the FSF giving exposure to one new case. It says: “Patent trolls are a huge problem for software, as the FSF and Richard Stallman have discussed at length. The solution requires a lot more than litigation or even defense against individual trolls; we need a complete elimination or neutralization of software patents. But on the way to that goal, we do our best to help those like Charles that are being attacked by trolls.”

I will discuss this issue on Monday when I meet Stallman in Oxford. Here is a new report on how patent trolls are crushing the developer economy. To quote a business-oriented site (Forbes): “News that Boston University is suing Apple AAPL -0.23% over parts for the iPhone and iPad (the component in question is called “highly insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films”), is one more dull thud of the patent lawyers’ dossier on the smartphone scene. The University already took action against Samsung back in March. But the bigger picture is that companies like Apple and Samsung are encouraging troll-like behavior. It is reverberating seriously on start-ups in the developer economy.”

Strafford Webinars are to discuss this issue. It is clear that the problem of patent trolling is increasingly being recognised, but it is drawing attention away from software patenting and the trolls try to warp this debate. Nothing in such a reform is ideal, but any step in the right direction would be appreciated.

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