12.31.15

Software Patents Used by Patent Trolls in the United States Are Squashed in Courts

Posted in America, Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 12:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

State of litigation

Summary: New evidence, based on two stories where large victims of patent trolls fought back (rather than cough out settlement money), show that software patents increasingly get tossed out by judges, even in trolls-friendly courts

WHEN a software patent that’s owned by a troll (the classic scenario) is reported on by the corporate media it’s rather easy to spot based on “LLC” in the title, or sometimes just the word “Texas”. The targets of litigation by these trolls needn’t be just US companies, especially if (or when) the UPC becomes a reality.

A German company (maybe the most famous German company, Mercedes-Benz) has become a victim of some US patent troll called “Vehicle Intelligence”. There is nothing about it in Wikipedia and their (his?) Web site is just a handful of pages with all the hallmarks of a patent troll, where “products” are just “licensing” (i.e. patent tax). Reading this article about the troll, we find that “the inventor, Kevin Roe, is also the patent attorney” (again, classic troll). To quote the opening paragraph from Patently-O: “Vehicle Intelligence and Safety LLC is the owner of United States Patent Number 7,394,392 vehicle safety improvements. In particular, the patent claims systems and methods for testing vehicle operators and then taking control of the vehicle if the operator is deemed impaired. Senior Judge Hart of the Northern District of Illinois ruled on the pleadings (12(c)) that the asserted claims were invalid as being drawn to patent-ineligible subject matter under Section 101 of the Patent Act. On appeal, the Federal Circuit here affirms – holding that “the disputed claims cover only abstract ideas coupled with routine data-gathering steps and conventional computer activity.” An early potential strike against the patent that the inventor, Kevin Roe, is also the patent attorney who prosecuted the case and the litigator who filed the appellate briefs.”

“Are we seeing software patents on the retreat in the home of software patents? And if so, why on Earth is the EPO‘s management ushering in more of them?”Got that? “Section 101 of the Patent Act.” This is a relief as it contributes to the belief or the correct perception that software patents are on the run in the Unites States.

There is another bit of good news, akin to the above. Remember that Patent TrollTracker had worked for Cisco before he got himself and/or his employer sued by a troll for defamation or whatever? Well, Cisco, based on this new report, has just beaten a patent troll that had struck in Texas, which attracted a lot of attention this month [1, 2, 3, 4], 5]. “In 2013,” wrote the trolls expert, “a two-judge majority on the panel found that Cisco should have been allowed to tell the jury they had a “good faith belief” that the patent was invalid. The jury instructions were thus improper, and the appeals judges kicked the case back down to the trial court in the Eastern District of Texas.”

Well, the $64,000,000 verdict has just been overturned.

Are we seeing software patents on the retreat in the home of software patents? And if so, why on Earth is the EPO‘s management ushering in more of them? Beggars belief!

Microsoft’s Latest Patent Aggression Comes Under Fire From the EFF, Former GNU/Linux Company the Patent’s Target

Posted in Corel, Courtroom, EFF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘new’ Microsoft…

Satya Ballmer
Satya Ballmer: different face, same strategy/policy

Summary: Microsoft continues its vicious patent war on anything resembling competition (however small), even the competition against which Microsoft previously committed competition abuses/crimes (subject of court cases) in order to attain total monopoly

MICROSOFT, which is connected to many patent trolls (including Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest), is still busy suing companies. Microsoft has a long history of patent aggression, including patent litigation against Linux (not just threats thereof). As longtime readers of this site may know, this and only this was the raison d’être of this Web site.

“…since winning a case for infringement of design patents can lead to a damage analysis based on “lost profits,” which can theoretically lead to a patent owner getting all of a defendant’s profits.”
      –Joe Mullin
As we noted the other day, referring to the original from the EFF, Microsoft is now attacking a company that once dominated word processing. Microsoft allegedly engaged in competition crimes against this company, leading to decades of expensive litigation. This company also pioneered some important GNU/Linux efforts until Microsoft shut these down with a mysterious deal (which we wrote about on several occasions around 2007). Well, Microsoft is now trying to drive this company into bankruptcy, using patents.

What’s the name of this company? Corel. We have a whole category about Corel (with 51 articles, as well as leaked court documents). History is important here and it’s imperative that people properly study Corel to truly grasp how severe this situation really is.

Microsoft is now attacking Corel with what the EFF calls “Stupid Patent of the Month”. As noted by one good journalist (Joe Mullin), “it’s serious ammo, since winning a case for infringement of design patents can lead to a damage analysis based on “lost profits,” which can theoretically lead to a patent owner getting all of a defendant’s profits.”

“Remember the company called Novell? Yes, that company that pretty much vanished half a decade ago and whose patent/special deal with Microsoft (SUSE) will expire tomorrow (there are no signs of renewal or continuation).”In other words, expect layoffs, liquidation, bankruptcy, etc. Legal fees aren’t low, either. Remember the company called Novell? Yes, that company that pretty much vanished half a decade ago and whose patent/special deal with Microsoft (SUSE) will expire tomorrow (there are no signs of renewal or continuation). Other than the name being similar, Novell and Corel have a lot in common because both competed against Microsoft until signing some infamous deals with Microsoft, leading to their demise, as well as the demise of their ongoing court cases against Microsoft (for competition abuses/crimes). When Novell imploded Microsoft grabbed its patents. Sweet deal for Microsoft. Novell is virtually gone (devoured by another company) and its patents are in CPTN, which is a ‘conglomerate’ pool of Linux and Android foes such as Oracle and Apple.

“Microsoft is now using patents primarily against Android, which the company is at war against (don’t believe the pretenses and the “loves Linux” baloney).”We quite liked how Glyn Moody framed the situation in his article “If Microsoft Wins Its ‘Stupid Patent Of The Month’ Lawsuit, Expect A Plague Of Trolls To Move Into Design Patents”.

As if Microsoft itself is not somewhat of a massive troll itself (we wrote a lot about this before). Just look what the company has been doing with patents this past decade. “The recent Techdirt article about Microsoft’s design patent on a slider,” Moody wrote, “understandably focused on the absurdity of companies being forced to hand over all of the profits that derive from a product if it is found to have infringed on someone else’s design patent even in just a tiny portion of that product. But there’s another angle worth mentioning here that picks up on something Techdirt has written about several times before: the rise and threat of patent thickets. Back in 2012, it was estimated that 250,000 active patents impacted smartphones. That makes it impossible to build devices without licensing large numbers of patents, and even then, it’s likely that claims of infringement will still be brought.”

Microsoft is now using patents primarily against Android, which the company is at war against (don’t believe the pretenses and the "loves Linux" baloney).

“The EPO’s lawyers who currently deal with my case were also recently seen working from the same side as Microsoft on the patent front, based on Reuters.”Here is another new article about Microsoft’s “Stupid Patent of the Month”. “The design patent,” says Softpedia, “numbered D554,140, basically states that Microsoft is the owner of the slider you can see in the photo attached to the article. This is the very same slider that the company uses in its Office productivity suite to allow users to zoom in or out of documents, but it has also been implemented in a wide variety of Microsoft and non-Microsoft products.”

But when patent examiners are pressured to issue patents in bulk and/or do a rushed job (as in the EPO for example, with Microsoft being on the high-priority list), no wonder such nonsense gets granted, leaving European courts to sort out the mess at a huge expense to the defendants. It is worth noting again that only articles of mine which mentioned Microsoft were even the target of threatening legal letters from the EPO’s lawyers, which gives room for speculation. The EPO’s lawyers who currently deal with my case were also recently seen working from the same side as Microsoft on the patent front, based on Reuters.

EPO Coverage to Increase in 2016, Including UPC Reality Checks

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A system optimised for the world's patents-wielding multinationals and their patent lawyers in Europe

UPC impact

Summary: Statement of our intention to increase focus on the European Patent Office (EPO) and its massive new PR campaign for the Unitary Patent Court (UPC)

More EPO scandals are to come out shortly (we have not run out of material in our stories backlog) and our coverage this coming year will include more about the UPC. Patent lawyers are celebrating the UPComing chaos (we’ve recently learned that many apply for UPC-related positions in the UK, even before there’s any confirmation or approval thereof). Watch UPC boosters and their antagonists in Twitter [1, 2, 3, 4]. Well, one among several of the boosters, Bastian Best, also sneakily promotes software patents in Europe, as he has done for a number of years (he’s a patent lawyer). Bastian Best now explains to fellow patent lawyers how to bypass the rules and trick examiners into granting patents on software.

In any case, this post isn’t an explanatory article about the UPC, just a preview of things to some. Always remember who the UPC is for. The stakeholders are similar to those involved in pushing hard for the TPP. The UPC is essentially a Trojan horse ‘gift’ for Europe.

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 Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts