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

01.24.16

Software Patents and Patent Taxes: How 100 Grams Worth of Components Can Cost as Much as $1000

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 10:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nearly challenging the price of gold now

Phone and USPTO
Phones now a pocket-sized patent thicket

Summary: A roundup of recent news about patents that affect phones in particular, notably patents on software rather than hardware

THE SUBJECT which is software patents hasn’t been covered here recently. It’s due to other important issues. “How to get around software patents” is an article published nearly a week ago. To quote part of it: “Isn’t is possible to work around software patents and use [...] In some cases it is really possible. The Ogg/Vorbis developers have done patent research and hope their format won’t vulnerate patents in the United States.”

“The patent attacks on Chinese companies have led some of them to a pursuit of patents akin to stockpiling.”Well, Apple’s Steve Jobs attacked Ogg, as we wrote here several times in past years (well before Jobs’ death). Don’t forget that, when it comes to patents, Apple is not only a foe of Linux (and by extension Android) but of FOSS as a whole. There’s a long tradition to it, as we showed here over the years.

Earlier this month and later last year we wrote about Xiaomi, a rival of Apple, craving or lusting for patents (perhaps as many as 10,000). Two recent articles from IAM [1, 2] said more about this area, noting that “Xiaomi’s latest gambit in its quest to find sales growth outside of its home market of China was a short-lived one. The company launched its first phones in South Korea last Monday, 4th January, through KT Corporation, the nation’s second largest mobile carrier. Just two days later, the handsets were abruptly pulled from the market, based on what KT described as “legal matters related to sales”. There are several possibilities for what has happened, but given the company’s history of IP troubles, some in the media have wondered whether a patent dispute is behind the setback. If that does prove to be the case, it would raise some serious questions about Xiaomi’s IP strategy and its ability to gauge its own freedom to operate.”

The patent attacks on Chinese companies have led some of them to a pursuit of patents akin to stockpiling. Over a week ago we learned about Huawei and Ericsson signing a patent agreement [1, 2] and it is worth noting that Ericsson uses patent trolls as fronts. “As the battle for patents rages on,” said one report, “and tech giants are at each other’s throats on court, arguing who has the right to use what technology, two companies have extended their agreement to use each other’s patents without much hassle.

“Imagine higher prices on everything (the lawyers’ tax), including mobile phones whose prices are artificially high.”“Those two companies are Ericsson and Huawei and they have, according to a recent press release, extended their global patent licence agreement that includes patents regarding wireless communication technology.”

This new report about Ericsson’s troll, Unwired Planet (formerly Openwave Systems), shows that Ericsson has become a big liability to Android companies. Unwired Planet has become a leading example of patent trolls serving even European companies, or a proxy war with SEPs. This is what UPC would lead to more of (given growing momentum it’s easy to be pessimistic, especially now that UK-IPO and British patent lawyers make decisions behind closed doors), making Europe more accessible to patent trolls from the US as well. To quote lawyers’ media: “The UK government has prepared legislation to give effect to EU legislation on the unitary patent and to the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which backs the creation of a new UPC for resolving disputes over new unitary patents.”

Imagine higher prices on everything (the lawyers’ tax), including mobile phones whose prices are artificially high. That’s where we are today.

Earlier this month, Florian Müller chose to focus again on Apple’s patent war with Android [1, 2]. “Today I received a really interesting Lex Machina press release,” he wrote. “Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, operates the Legal Analytics platform and claims that companies such as Microsoft, Google, Nike and eBay as well as various top-notch law firms are among its clients. Its new “Patent Trial and Appeal Board 2015 Report” provides lots of insight about last year’s trials before the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board, i.e., the USPTO’s in-house court system.” This study, Müller says, shows that Apple and Samsung now use so-called ‘patent death squads’.

“We have written so much about the so-called slide-to-unlock patent, which is effectively a software patent.”In other news [1, 2], “Samsung is appealing its Apple infringement case to the Supreme Court because a very old law is a bad fit with very modern technology” (with the CCIA’s support).

The case, which we have grown quite tired of after half a decade, is still the subject of much media coverage (the latest development is that Apple is suing Samsung for embargoes to be belatedly enforced and technology giants take Samsung’s side [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]) and legal sites too.

“Devices that cost just several dollars to make (on the basis of material) end up being sold for almost a thousand dollars in some cases.”As Müller put it earlier this month: “The ’721 slide-to-unlock patent, whose European sibling has already been held invalid by 15 judges, is irrelevant not only because it will likely be held invalid but also because it covers only certain graphical variants of the slide-to-unlock mechanism, but not the slide-to-unlock functionality as a whole.”

We have written so much about the so-called slide-to-unlock patent, which is effectively a software patent. We don’t wish to spend too much time debating it again, but we are gratified to learn that Apple too receives a reminder of the harms of software patents. “Apple has been targeted in a patent infringement complaint centring on its voice recognition technology Siri,” said WIPR the other day.

The bottom line — if there is one — might be that patents are very destructive in the so-called ‘smart’ phone space (smartphone). Devices that cost just several dollars to make (on the basis of material) end up being sold for almost a thousand dollars in some cases. Who benefits from this?

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. Links 18/9/2018: Qt 5.12 Alpha , MAAS 2.5.0 Beta, PostgreSQL CoC

    Links for the day



  2. Today's European Patent Office (EPO) Works for Large, Foreign Pharmaceutical Companies in Pursuit of Patents on Nature, Life, and Essential/Basic Drugs

    The never-ending insanity which is patents on DNA/genome/genetics and all sorts of basic things that are put together like a recipe in a restaurant; patents are no longer covering actual machinery that accomplishes unique tasks in complicated ways, typically assembled from scratch by humans; some supposed 'inventions' are merely born into existence by the natural splitting of organisms or conception (e.g. pregnancy)



  3. The EPO Has Quit Pretending That It Cares About Patent Quality, All It Cares About is Quantity of Lawsuits

    A new interview with Roberta Romano-Götsch, as well as the EPO's promotion of software patents alongside CIPA (Team UPC), is an indication that the EPO has ceased caring about quality and hardly even pretends to care anymore



  4. Qualcomm's Escalating Patent Wars Have Already Caused Massive Buybacks (Loss of Reserves) and Loss of Massive Clients

    Qualcomm's multi-continental patent battles are an effort to 'shock and awe' everyone into its protection racket; but the unintended effect seems to be a move further and further away from 'Qualcomm territories'



  5. Links 17/9/2018: Torvalds Takes a Break, SQLite 3.25.0 Released

    Links for the day



  6. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Helps Prevent Frivolous Software Patent Lawsuits

    PTAB with its quality-improving inter partes reviews (IPRs) is enraging patent maximalists; but by looking to work around it or weaken it they will simply reduce the confidence associated with US patents



  7. Abstract Patents (Things One Can Do With Pen and Paper, Sometimes an Abacus) Are a Waste of Money as Courts Disregard Them

    A quick roundup of patents and lawsuits at the heart of which there's little or no substance; 35 U.S.C. § 101 renders these moot



  8. “Blockchain” Hype and “FinTech”-Like Buzzwords Usher in Software Patents Everywhere, Even Where Such Patents Are Obviously Bunk

    Not only the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) embraces the "blockchain" hype; business methods and algorithms are being granted patent 'protection' (exclusivity) which would likely be disputed by the courts (if that ever reaches the courts)



  9. Qualcomm's Patent Aggression Threatens Rationality of Patent Scope in Europe and Elsewhere

    Qualcomm's dependence on patent taxes (so-called 'royalties' associated with physical devices which it doesn't even make) highlights the dangers now known; the patent thicket has grown too "thick"



  10. Months After Oil States the Patent Maximalists Are Still Desperate to Crush PTAB in the Courts, Not Just in Congress and the Office

    Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) improve patent quality and are therefore a threat to those who profit from spurious feuding and litigation; they try anything they can to turn things around



  11. IAM, Watchtroll and the EPO Still Spread the Mentality of Patent Maximalism

    The misguided idea that the objective (overall) should be to grant as many monopolies as possible (to spur a lot of litigation) isn't being challenged in echo chamber 'events', set up and sponsored by think tanks and pressure groups of the litigation 'industry'



  12. Watchtroll and Other Proponents of Patent Trolls Are Trying to Change the Law Outside the Courts in Order to Bypass Patent Justice

    35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) voids almost every software patent — a reality that even the most zealous patent professionals have come to grips with and their way of tackling this ‘problem’ is legislative, albeit nowhere near successful (so far)



  13. Links 16/9/2018: Windows Plays 'Nice' Again, Elisa Music Player 0.3 Beta and Latte Dock 0.8.1

    Links for the day



  14. Slamming Courts and Judges Won't Help the Patent Maximalists; It Can Only Make Things Worse

    Acorda Therapeutics sees its stock price dropping 25% after finding out that its patent portfolio isn't solid, as affirmed by the Federal Circuitn(CAFC); the only way out of this mess is a pursuit of a vastly improved patent quality, thorough patent examination which then offers legal certainty



  15. Patent Trolls Are Still Active and Microsoft is Closely Connected to Many of Them

    A roundup of patent trolls' actions in the United States; Microsoft is connected to a notably high number of these



  16. Advancements in Automobile Technology Won't be Possible With Patent Maximalism

    Advancements in the development of vehicles are being discouraged by a thicket of patents as dumb (and likely invalid) as claims on algorithms and mere shapes



  17. Battistelli “Has Deeply Hurt the Whole Patent Profession, Examiners as Well as Agents” and Also the Image of France

    A French perspective regarding Battistelli's reign at the EPO, which has not really ended but manifests itself or 'metastasises' through colleagues of Battistelli (whom he chose) and another French President (whom he also chose)



  18. António Campinos Needs to Listen to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) et al to Salvage What's Left of Public Consent for the EPO

    Groups including Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Médecins du Monde (MdM) have attempted to explain to the EPO, with notoriously French-dominated leadership, that it’s a mistake to work for Gilead at the expense of the public; but António Campinos is just another patent maximalist



  19. The Max Planck Institute's Determination on UPC's (Unitary Patent) Demise is Only “Controversial” in the Eyes of Rabid Members of Team UPC

    Bristows keeps lying like Battistelli; that it calls a new paper "controversial" without providing any evidence of a controversy says a lot about Bristows LLP, both as a firm and the individuals who make up the firm (they would not be honest with their clients, either)



  20. Links 15/9/2018: Wine 3.16, Overwatch's GNU/Linux (Wine) 'Ban', New Fedora 28 Build, and Fedora 29 Beta Delay

    Links for the day



  21. Max Planck Institute Pours More Water on the Dying Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Max Planck Institute gives another sobering reality check for Team UPC to chew on; there's still no sign of any progress whatsoever for the UPC because even Team UPC appears to have given up and moved on



  22. EPO Seals Many Death Sentences With Acceptance of EP 2604620

    Very disappointing news as EP 2604620 withstands scrutiny, assuring that a lot of poor people will not receive much-needed, life-saving treatments



  23. Links 13/9/2018: Compiz Comeback, 'Life is Strange: Before the Storm'

    Links for the day



  24. Now We Have Patents on Rooms. Yes, Rooms!

    The shallow level of what nowadays constitutes "innovation" and merits getting a patent for a couple of decades



  25. EPO Granted a Controversial European Patent (Under Battistelli) Which May Literally Kill a Lot of People

    The EPO (together with CIPA) keeps promoting software patents; patents that are being granted by the EPO literally put lives at risk and have probably already cost a lot of lives



  26. Links 13/9/2018: Parrot 4.2.2, Sailfish OS Nurmonjoki, Eelo Beta

    Links for the day



  27. Patents on Life at the EPO Are a Symptom of Declining Patent Quality

    When even life and natural phenomena are deemed worthy of a private monopoly it seems clear that the sole goal has become patenting rather than advancement of science and technology; media that's controlled by the patent 'industry', however, fails to acknowledge this and plays along with privateers of nature



  28. Defending the World's Most Notorious Patent Trolls in an Effort to Smear the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is an Utterly Poor Strategy

    The 'case' for patent maximalism is very weak; those who spent years if not decades promoting patent maximalism have resorted to attacks on judges, to defense of trolls like Intellectual Ventures, defense of patent scams, and ridiculous attempts to call victims of patent trolls "trolls"



  29. The Belated Demise of Propaganda Sites of the Litigation 'Industry'

    Sites that promote the interests of Big Litigation (patent trolls, patent law firms etc.) are ebbing away; in the process they still mothball the facts and push propaganda instead



  30. Links 11/9/2018: OpenSSL 1.1.1, Alpine Linux 3.8.1, Copyright Fight in EU

    Links for the day


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