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08.17.13

Reminder of Patent Lawsuits From Proxy Entities

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, SCO at 12:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Many road signs

Summary: Possibilities of lawsuits of interest that target Microsoft rivals and help discourage public participation (like SLAPP but bigger)

THE mysterious company that had famously sued Microsoft (VirnetX) and got paid a huge amount of money from Microsoft recently sued Apple again. It is on a path of destruction:

VirnetX Holding Corp. (NYSE MKT: VHC) today announced that on August 7, 2013, it signed a Patent License Agreement (the “Agreement”) with Avaya Inc. Under the terms of the Agreement, VirnetX has agreed to license certain of its patents to Avaya, in exchange for multiple payments to VirnetX and an ongoing reasonable royalty for future sales through the expiration of the licensed patents as outlined in the Agreement with respect to certain current and future IP-encrypted products. In further consideration, Avaya has agreed to license certain of its patents to VirnetX for its ongoing Gabriel technology product development.

Now that Apple is suing Samsung we should remember that any such troll which Microsoft and Apple pay can go after Android and GNU/Linux, equipped with precedence. Think of Nokia and its patent arrangements with Microsoft and Apple. Here is the latest from Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung:

There will be a hearing in Apple v. Samsung I in Judge Lucy Koh’s courtroom, Courtroom 8 on the 4th floor, on August 21 at 2:00 PM, so if any of you stalwarts can attend, that would be fabulous. You don’t even have to wake up early.

What’s it about? Didn’t they just have a case management hearing in April? Why yes. Yes, they did, but there have been “progress and changes” since, according to the parties’ Joint Case Management Statement [PDF], which fills us in on the details. Both parties would like some changes since the last case management hearing. Here’s the last joint case management statement, back in April. And the judge’s order on April 30 was to go forward immediately with the damages trial, unless certain things happened in the USPTO reexaminations of Apple’s patents at issue. Some of those things have almost happened, and there are other quirks, so some changes are being requested.

An article by Richard Hillesley, titled “the litigation business”, reminds us of the notion of lawsuits by proxy:

SCO’s action against IBM and others failed, but reflects a fashion in the technology industries – not restricted to SCO – for replacing innovation and business with teams of lawyers and threats of litigation, says Richard Hillesley

Lawsuits that involve patents — not copyrights — are the next wave of FUD against FOSS. Steam, a company whose CEO is “formerly” of Microsoft, has another legal tie with Microsoft created:

Jason Holtman, who spearheaded Valve’s Steam business for eight years before leaving the company in February, has a new job.

The former lawyer has taken a job with Microsoft, with a focus on PC gaming and entertainment strategy. Because he has just started at the position, Holtman declined an interview request, but confirmed the move.

Lawyer, not a technical guy. Will he help sue Microsoft’s competition over patents? Maybe, but ether way, it is important to keep track of these movement because entities like Acacia absorbed lawyers from Microsoft shortly before suing GNU/Linux from multiple fronts.

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