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

06.12.14

Patent Trolls Still Wrongly Portrayed as the Main Problem With the Patent System and Legislation Follows Suit

Posted in Law, Patents at 7:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Statue of wisdom

Summary: Efforts to improve the patent system focus not on the real issue/s with patents but instead on phantom issues that help protect the interests of large corporations

According to some new statistics, the sordid mess of patent lawsuits is getting more serious, still. “That’s not a surprise,” insists the article. “Statistics from Lex Machina show that 2013 set a new record for new patent lawsuits. All those legal threats are giving new urgency to the patent reform debate.”

As usual, the straw man which is “patent trolls” takes all the blame, even through some entities — including universities — are selling patents to trolls. Watch the boosters of software patents using the straw man (Boston University is not directly a troll for example, so we know that not trolls are the sole issue). Blaming “trolls” is still the large corporations’ approach for diverting all attention to small offenders, using them as scapegoats while large corporations misuse patents themselves. The issue is the offence itself, not the scale of the offender.

When patents are granted on computer programs and video games (which are abstract) it should be clear that patent scope is the main problem. When new programs are introduced by the USPTO to increase the number of patents it should be clear what the source of trouble really is. Patent lawyers take sides and encourage software patents because there is money to be made from it.

Some large companies act no different from so-called trolls and the use of the term “troll” just mostly refers to scale these days. Trend Micro acted like a troll some years ago and now it receives a taste of its own poison. Consider this new article that says a “Delaware federal judge on Tuesday refused a request by Symantec Corp. and Trend Micro Inc. to partially delay two trials over a nonpracticing entity’s claims they flouted four anti-virus software patents, saying the requests came too late since trial dates had already been set.” (source)

According to Red Hat’s staff, new legislation only tackles trolls. To quote: “Patent reform may have stalled this year at the federal level, but patent trolls may soon find their actions curtailed by a number of patent abuse litigation laws that have been passed or are pending in over twenty U.S. states.

“Last year, the state of Vermont passed a law aimed at preventing “bad faith assertions of patent infringement.” The law targets the practice of sending demand letters with very little, if any information regarding the patent supposedly infringed and would require the asserting entity to provide the patent number, name and address of the company alleging infringement, and other details regarding the nature of the complaint. It is a common tactic for patent trolls, sometimes called “patent assertion entities” or “non-practicing entities” to send letters with very vague information alleging patent infringement to other businesses, both large and small, in the hopes of extorting a settlement from them to avoid a nuisance lawsuit.”

Not only trolls are doing this. Much bigger entities are doing the same thing, so this strategy would not bear fruit. Here is an example of this strategy in action: “When Santa Barbara startup FindTheBest (FTB) was sued by a patent troll called Lumen View last year, it vowed to fight back rather than pay up the $50,000 licensing fee Lumen was asking for. Company CEO Kevin O’Connor made it personal, pledging $1 million of his own money to fight the legal battle.”

The entity might be forced to pay the legal fees, but it does not address the issue of litigation by non-trolls. Here is another example. The reason we stopped focusing on patent issues some months ago is that the press gave up focusing on the real issue, focusing instead on the whole “trolls” distraction. Even Red Hat has become part of this problem.

Everyone recognises that there is a problem with the patent system, but the only voice which counts (corporations) as far as corporate press goes steers everyone away from the real solution.

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. There is No 'New Microsoft': Under Nadella, Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android Carries on

    Kyocera is again being targeted by Microsoft, using patent aggression, with a secret settlement being reached whose negative impact on Android remains to be seen



  2. Patent Propaganda, Glamourisation, and Erosion of Citizens' Rights in the Process

    An overview of recent coverage about patents, demonstrative of inherent bias in the world of patent practitioners and the journalists whom they misinform



  3. Corporate Media Should Stop Grooming Black Duck by Calling it 'Open Source' and Repeating Its Lies

    Black Duck uses gullible (or easy to manipulate) journalists to spread its marketing talking points, which grossly overstate risks of using Free software



  4. Links 6/7/2015: Linux 4.2-rc1, YotaPhone Picks Sailfish OS

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft Windows Unsafe at Any Speed, by Design

    More timely reminders that Windows is simply not designed to be secure, irrespective of version, status of patching, etc.



  6. After Moonlight Dies and Even Microsoft Abandons Silverlight, the Abusive Monopolist Keeps Pushing for Other Microsoft Lock-in, Injecting OOXML Traps Into Free Software (Moodle)

    Despite a long history of Microsoft formats being proven guarantee of digital obsolescence, Moodle allows itself to become Microsoft prey and a Trojan horse for OOXML in classrooms (for children)



  7. Links 4/7/2015: Mostly (Geo)Political Catchup

    Links for the day



  8. Links 3/7/2015: KDE Applications 15.04.3, Ubuntu-Flavored Compute Stick

    Links for the day



  9. Patent Lawyers and Their Firms, Still Desperate to Protect the Status Quo, Manipulate the Media

    Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers



  10. Amid Controversy, Political Scrutiny and Increased Media Pressure Željko Topić and Benoît Battistelli Allegedly Cancel Today's Trip to Zagreb (Croatia) Where Topić Faces Many Criminal Charges

    The Croatian press comments on the recent declaration from the Council of Europe and Topić's not-so-sterling status in his home country, where he is wanted for alleged crimes



  11. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

    By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group



  12. Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

    Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely 'dare' to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.



  13. Patent Lawyers and Corporate Media Nervous About New Patents Barrier/Reality (Less Patents on Software and Business Methods)

    The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid



  14. Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

    More political fire targeting the EPO's management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now



  15. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  16. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  17. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  18. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  19. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  20. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  21. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  22. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  23. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  24. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  25. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  26. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  27. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  28. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  29. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  30. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs


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