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

08.22.14

Microsoft’s Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 3:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft’s leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted

Not only Microsoft is laying off nearly 20% of its staff after years of gradual (but mostly concealed) layoffs. Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest patent troll that Bill Gates and Microsoft created, is not quite managing to survive, not even with extortions coordinated and perpetrated en masse. We heard about Intellectual Ventures’ financial issues before, but this is a pleasant surprise:

Intellectual Ventures, the company Silicon Valley loves to despise, is laying off about 20 percent of its employees, Bloomberg Businessweek has learned.

On Tuesday, IV sent a memo to its workers, notifying them of the cuts. The company has been employing 700 people, which means about 140 will be let go. “We are making operational changes that are consistent with this reduction and will enable us to maintain and expand our leadership in the market for invention,” the company said in a statement. “Our assets—both people and intellectual property—are among the best in the industry.” Now, let me try to translate that.

Not too long ago Microsoft threw it a lifeline. This uber-troll, the world’s biggest and most vicious troll, is finally announcing layoffs and it is a major deal because it might come to show what will happen to other trolls like it. This Microsoft- and Gates-funded nuisance cannot go far without Microsoft subsidies, apparently.

Times are tough for a patent troll, apparently. A year ago, we noted that Intellectual Ventures — the world’s largest patent troll, who brought in billions of dollars by getting companies to pay up a shakedown fee to avoid lawsuits over its giant portfolio of patents (mostly cast off from universities who couldn’t find any other buyers) — was running out of cash. While IV did convince Microsoft and Sony to dump in some more cash, IV’s litigation strategy is in shambles. Various lawsuits are dropping like flies without any of the big wins that IV promised.

Now that SCOTUS sheds doubt on a lot of software patents things definitely improve. As one lawyers’ site put it a few days ago:

The Supreme Court has not attempted to “delimit the precise contours of the ‘abstract ideas’ category.” In other words, the Court is essentially saying “we will know it when we see it.” This presents a significant problem to inventors and patent attorneys working in the software industry.

In effect, the Supreme Court is proposing a syllogism such as the following:
- Patents shall not be granted on abstract ideas.
- X is an abstract idea.
- Therefore, a patent shall not be granted on X.

The problem is that the Court has not defined “abstract idea.” Furthermore, “abstract idea” is not self-defining and is not a term that is agreed to by everyone. In fact, an endless chain of assumptions must be followed in arriving at a definition. For example, a court might say: “A general purpose computer executing this software is an abstract idea.” A patent applicant then challenges this statement by saying, e.g., “how is this computer with a claimed memory, processor, input/output unit, and a specific software program “general purpose?” The Court then points to the holding in Alice that the particular claimed computer (system claim) is merely carrying out a method that is an abstract idea and the patent attorney is just re-writing the same general purpose method as a system claim and that including hardware elements does not transform the system claim from an abstract idea. This is circular reasoning.

What patent lawyers wish not to accept or even to grasp is the simple fact that, as we have explained before on numerous occasions, all software patents are inherently abstract. Patents do not cover code but only algorithms, which are conceptual. Code is covered by copyright law. As this gets realised by more judges and they make rulings based on this realisation we are likely to see software patents ebbing away. But don’t expect patent lawyers to give up easily, especially not Microsoft and its extortion strategists. Extortion with patents is Microsoft’s last hope. Here is alawyers’ publication publishing propaganda by a “registered patent agent”:

The Supreme Court has declared abstract ideas unpatentable, but there are structural and other ways around the restrictions, writes Christopher Hall.

Christopher Hall is a registered patent agent in the Silicon Valley office of Womble Carlyle. He has 17 years of industry experience as a professional engineer and is named as sole inventor or co-inventor on 15 granted patents.

Pointless self promotion and not even any content in this article, just an advertisement of vapourware. A bit like Intellectual Ventures…

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. Video: LinuxWorld 1999, Torvalds and Stallman

    LinuxWorld 1999, Torvalds and Stallman



  2. GNU World Order is a Personal Sacrifice, LinuxWorld Just Business

    As the Linux Foundation shows, Linux is just business (and proprietary software) as usual, software patents included, whereas it’s GNU that continues the Free Software Movement’s battles



  3. Links 20/2/2020: Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU18, Mesa 20, VirtualBox 6.1.4

    Links for the day



  4. Open Source Did Not Win, It Was Assimilated to and by Proprietary Software

    Don’t fall for the whole “Open Source has won!” spiel; You know we’ve lost the battle (and were in effect gradually conquered) at OSI and elsewhere when those who speak for the OSI are Michael Cheng (Facebook), Max Sills (Google), and Chris Aniszczyk (Linux Foundation); they say “Open Source Under Attack” (FOSDEM talk) but their employers are the ones attacking and they downplay openwashing



  5. Former Microsoft Employees Don't Like Talking About Past and Present Microsoft Back Doors (Designed for Spy Agencies)

    In a typical Microsoftian fashion, once they cannot defend the illusion/delusion that Microsoft values security the 'Softers' run away and block any further debate



  6. Techrights Warns Against Impending Extradition Efforts (Passage of Julian Assange to His Death in the United States)

    Imprisonment of journalists who are effective at exposing crimes (of the powerful, not petty crimes) must never be condoned



  7. Team UPC: Many Mouths and No Ears

    The mental condition of Team UPC gets more worrisome by the week



  8. Team UPC Insults Judges Because the UPC is Dead and UPC Lobbyists Have Nothing Left to Lose

    More judge-shaming tactics are in the mix; Team UPC seems to feel like there's nothing left to lose as the UPC is already dead (hope itself is next to die)



  9. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 19, 2020



  10. China Bashing is Grounded in Fear (That They Can Simply Do Better Than the West)

    The atmosphere of hate towards China — fuelled partly by a white supremacist in the White House — is unhelpful and insulting; dignity and understanding is the way to go



  11. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 18, 2020



  12. FFII Press Release: Germany Can No Longer Ratify the Unitary Patent Due to Brexit and the Established AETR Case-law, says FFII

    Germany cannot ratify the current Unitary Patent due to Brexit and the established AETR case-law. The ratification of the UPC (Unified Patent Court) by Germany would constitute a violation of the AETR case-law, which was used during the EPLA negotiations in 2006 to consider a deal with non-EU countries, such as Switzerland.



  13. DRM (Proprietary Software) Already Makes Mozilla Firefox Broken, Unreliable, Undependable (Dependent on Binary Blobs)

    More people are beginning to realise that Mozilla resorted to self-harming DRM and self-inflicted damage that impacts Firefox; can Mozilla (re)join the anti-DRM coalitions?



  14. EPO and Other Patent Updates Over RSS

    Site syndication (over RSS feeds or XML/Atom) is vastly better than what became popular in recent years (censored, centralised, discriminatory "Social Control Media"); here are some feeds of interest



  15. When It Comes to a Unitary Patent System, Bad (or Intentionally Dishonest) Legal Advice Has Become the Norm

    The Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent (UPC and UP, respectively) reinforce the old saying about lawyers being liars, doing anything to attract clients (to take their money); the UPC is basically dead, but fiction, falsehoods and outrageous fantasies still find their way into Web sites of law firms



  16. Links 19/2/2020: KDE Plasma 5.18.1, GNOME 3.36 Beta 2 and WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  17. Is Linux Foundation a Microsoft Branch Now?

    The so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation (LF) nowadays helps Microsoft cement its monopoly — the very opposite of what ages ago it said the LF would do



  18. Are Songs Property? And Maths Also Property? Artificial Monopolies Are Not Property...

    Patent maximalists continue to face stronger arguments from their sceptics, who rightly allege that words are being intentionally misused and numbers fabricated so as to distort underlying facts



  19. Battistelli Blocked Techrights at EPO (Banned for More Than 5 Years), So CEIPI Won't Respect Access to Information Either

    The use of censorship to confront people who talk about (not even expose) corruption isn't novel; but the adoption of this approach in Europe (not just places like Russia and China) is definitely noteworthy



  20. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, February 17, 2020



  21. Links 18/2/2020: Linux 5.6 RC2, Wine 5.2, GNU Social Contract and Sparky 2020.02 Special Editions

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 16, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 16, 2020



  23. Links 16/2/2020: MX Linux 19.1 and MyPaint 2.0

    Links for the day



  24. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 15, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 15, 2020



  25. Guest Article: Au Revoir, GNU/Linux

    "Funny how OSI just ended up being another vehicle for their takeover of the computing world..."



  26. Former Microsoft Employee: ZDNet is Owned by Microsoft (and Others) in Some Senses

    A noteworthy message we've received from someone who knows Microsoft from the inside



  27. Links 15/2/2020: Blender 2.82, Qt 5.15 Alpha and NetBSD 9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft Views 'Open Source' as a Zero-Cost Heist Opportunity (Making Proprietary Software/Spyware Using Other People's Free Labour)

    Making GPL-licensed (copyleft) software and hosting it outside Microsoft’s jaws is the best way to counter the abusive monopolist, which still says it “loves” what it is actually attacking



  29. Did Microsoft 'Buy' ZDNet?

    A look at what ZDNet tells its readers (screenshot from this morning) and a rare look at how its writers are censored/suppressed



  30. Anatomy of a Crime and Protection From Prosecution

    It’s hard to forget what António Campinos hides for his friend


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