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01.26.14

Patents Roundup: SCOTUS, Qualcomm, and ‘Beneficial’ ‘Innovations’ (Patent Troll)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Google, Patents at 1:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New gavel

Summary: A quick overview of patent news that’s relevant to FOSS and FOSS backers

THE SCOTUS, which has historically been useless for improving patent policy (it was serving the agenda of the USPTO, which served corporations), finally did something useful [1]. It made it harder to use patents offensively. We no longer cover patent news like we used to, but the impact on Linux is very much clear now that a notorious patent aggressor gains thousands of patents by acquisition. Fortunately this aggressor is an Android/Linux backer, just like Palm, whose patents (for the most part) it took in one fell swoop [1, 2].

“It’s one of those cases where public opinion is ignored and the will of few super-wealthy individuals guides national and/or international policy.”In other news, patent trolls now target the server side too (with software patents of course), but Google has just put one to rest. “A patent-holding company called Beneficial Innovations has been suing over patents related to online gaming and online advertising since 2006,” says this report [2], but the litigation against Google comes to an end. This is good news.

Given more time, we shall be looking again at patents more closely, not only when they affect Android/Linux and FOSS backers. Generally speaking, software patents hurt all of us, except few oligarchs and patent lawyers. FOSS is not unique here; proprietary software developers are suffering from software patents as well. It’s one of those cases where public opinion is ignored and the will of few super-wealthy individuals guides national and/or international policy.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. US Supreme Court: Burden of proving infringement is on patent holder

    The top U.S. Court has upheld that the burden of proof of infringement in a lawsuit rests with a patent holder—not the accused infringer. That holds true even when the parties had previously entered into a licensing deal. The ruling came in the Medtronic, Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures case.

  2. Google wins jury verdict against patent troll that sued its customers

    A patent-holding company called Beneficial Innovations has been suing over patents related to online gaming and online advertising since 2006. Media companies have been one of its favorite targets, and it claims its patents are foundational technology for targeted advertising.

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