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

05.05.16

IBM Comes Under Growing Scrutiny for Increasingly Acting Just Like a Patent Troll Amid Layoffs

Posted in IBM, Law, Patents at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘Microsoft syndrome’ strikes or spreads to IBM, its cross-licensing buddy

Ginni Rometty

Photo source (modified slightly): The 10 Most Powerful Women in Technology Today

Summary: Deservedly if not belatedly too, more and more pundits come to recognise the rogue element which is IBM, having promoted software patents all around the world, utilised software patents aggressively (to attack/marginalise/tax rivals), lobbied the government to antagonise the Supreme Court’s decision on Alice (using former IBM staff which it had somehow snuck into the USPTO), created bogus solutions to the side effects (such as patent trolls) and so on

“Patent Trolls have already begun to try & discredit the FTC PAE Report & it’s not even been released yet,” Anti-Software Patents wrote earlier this week. All this while the software patents lobby trash-talks SCOTUS (and one particular Associate Justice in particular), PTAB, an Australian report against software patents etc. As we showed here in recent days, IBM played a major role in this lobby. Are they thugs or trolls? Or both maybe?

“Patent Trolls have already begun to try & discredit the FTC PAE Report & it’s not even been released yet”
      –Anonymous
“PTABWatch”, a blog of patent lawyers (Marshall Gerstein & Borun LLP) now evokes David Kappos again (his lobbying is now funded by massive patent aggressors including Apple, IBM, Microsoft etc. but he came from IBM) and to quote the relevant portion: “In a recent speech at a Federal Circuit Judicial Conference, David Kappos, former Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, suggested § 101 should be abolished because recent case law in this area has resulted in “a real mess.” Like many practitioners, Mr. Kappos reiterated that courts can ensure basic concepts are not patented while protecting innovation by applying other areas of patent law to make sure patents are novel and non-obvious. Consistent with Mr. Kappos’s criticisms of the developing case law on § 101, Sequenom recently has sought the Supreme Court’s review of the Federal Circuit’s application of § 101 in the Ariosa decision, and many companies and industry organizations have filed amicus briefs supporting Sequenom. What will happen remains to be seen, but there is a growing and significant consensus (among practitioners at least) that something needs to be done at a higher level to clean up this “real mess.” Until such time, this blog will keep a close watch on the developments of decisions relating to §101 in IPRs and how patent eligibility is being viewed at the PTAB and the courts.”

It should be clear that the same forces which lobby for software patents often, unsurprisingly, oppose patent reform. Pieter Hintjens, who has not much time left to live, reminisces: “well, they were just lying. IBM was the one that broke the US patent system to allow software patents.”

“IBM was the one that broke the US patent system to allow software patents.”
      –Pieter Hintjens
“IBM says software patents drive OSS development,” he recalls (from a 2009 article). We never forgot that.

Now that IBM openly attacks companies using software patents John C. Dvorak publishes the article “IBM Is the World’s Biggest Patent Troll” in which he says:

IBM’s real value is with the R&D folks who have helped IBM top the list of companies with the largest number of US patents granted year after year. This has never stopped growing. Last year it was 7,355 patents granted for IBM (followed by 5,072 for Samsung and 4,134 for Canon, with a big drop-off after that to Qualcomm with 2,900 and Google with 2,835).

The patent system is out of control since many of these patents are idiotic software algorithm or blocking patents, designed to keep others away from certain technologies. The point, though, is that IBM has been leading this pack for over two decades and shows no signs of slowing down. That is unless you think 7,355 is slowing down from its 2014 tally of 7,534 patents. In 2013, it secured a mere 6,809.

These numbers are outrageous when you stop to consider that patents were intended to protect small inventors and companies. Now the system is used to dominate that small fry. Good work, USPTO.

Many of IBM’s current patents are about data analytics and so-called cognitive computing, like Watson. It in turn collects “over” a billion dollars a year from licensing, which sounds low to me. I say this because on its licensing page, IBM claims to have 250,000 experts who will work with you to find the right patents for your company.

Those experts likely generate at least $100,000 in business each every year, which I think is conservative. You do the math and that’s $25 billion. This makes sense when the company claims to drop $6 billion into R&D each year. In fact, it would not surprise me if most of its revenues were from licensing, and far more than $25 billion. IBM’s overall revenues are around $82 billion.

With puff pieces like this new one about IBM, no wonder few people care to have noticed what IBM recently turned into (amid layoffs).

“Just last week, the Federal Circuit declined to fix this problem, leaving it up to Congress or the Supreme Court to act.”
      –EFF
Patent trolling is a very serious problem in the US and CAFC, which brought software patents to the US, refuses to stop these trolls [1, 2]. The trolls typically use software patents. Here is an MIP report about it and here is the EFF expressing frustration over it: “As the law stands now, patent owners have almost complete control over which federal district to file a case in. That’s a major problem. It lets patent owners exploit significant differences between courts, an advantage that the alleged infringers in patent suits don’t have. It effectively leads to outcomes being determined not by the merits of a case, but rather by the cost of litigation. Just last week, the Federal Circuit declined to fix this problem, leaving it up to Congress or the Supreme Court to act.”

“Mossoff just can’t help attacking the messenger for trying to stop patent trolls.”Trolls’ apologists aren’t idle either right now. Consider Adam Mossoff, who works for some kind of patent maximalism think tank (“The Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property at Mason Law promotes the scholarly analysis of IP rights and the creative innovation they make possible,” by its own description), so it’s not too shocking that he keeps protecting patent trolls, attacks their critics, and now picks on the EFF. Mossoff just can’t help attacking the messenger for trying to stop patent trolls. This isn’t a new thing from him.

“How to Kill a Patent Troll” is a new article which speaks about what patent trolls are and then promotes the IBM-connected RPX as the solution. It’s not the solution at all. To quote portions from this article:

Anecdotally, NPEs are trolls. But Cohen, Gurun, and Kominers wanted some hard proof. For that, they turned to data from RPX Corporation, which maintains a database on NPE litigation going back to 1977. (RPX also offers its clients a novel and slightly odd solution to patent trolling: It buys patents from NPEs before they start suing others for licensing fees. RPX asserts they are not themselves patent trolls.)

Both the RPX data and other sources make it clear that NPEs are predominantly trolls, mainly because of who NPEs go after: cash-rich tech companies. Cohen, Gurun, and Kominers calculate that the likelihood of getting sued by an NPE is roughly 16 percent among companies with the most cash, roughly double the baseline rate. By comparison, the likelihood of getting sued by a practicing entity—that is, a company that actually worked to create its patents—is less than five percent. NPEs are also more likely to sue firms with small legal teams and those dealing with other lawsuits. In other words, they go after companies with the biggest wallets and the fewest available minutes.

They conveniently neglect to mention that RPX is now a powerhouse of huge ‘patent trolls’ such as IBM. Not good advice at all… this is even more useless than OIN, which was also (co-)created by IBM and was originally led by IBM staff, Jerry Rosenthal.

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. The ILO Tribunal: Is It Still Worthy of Our Trust?

    Trusting ILO-AT has become a lot harder in light of its handling of EPO scandals



  2. The Dangerous Adoption of Patents on Life and Nature

    In the face of pressure from patent maximalists, as well as an appointment of a patent maximalist to the top of the US patent office, lawyers/law firms which strive to extend patent scope to life itself (or nature) seem to be getting their way



  3. Stronger Patents or None at All: How the Greed of Patent Law Firms and the Patent Office Contributes to Bogus Software Patents Being Amassed

    Alice Corp. v CLS Bank continues to be the sole recent reference for handling of software patents; that being the case, it's rather disturbing that patent law firms continue to recommend patenting of software and offer lousy excuses for that (mainly because they profit at the expense of those foolish enough to believe them)



  4. Patent Strengthening Would Necessarily Mean Lowering the Number of Patents Granted After Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101

    The concept of patent strength is being distorted in all sorts of ways and acronyms like IPR still being used not to describe the process by which bad patents get eliminated but to spread propaganda like 'intellectual' 'property' 'rights'



  5. Watchtroll's Reaffirmed Hatred Towards Science and Technology, Shattering the Myth About Patent Law Firms Trying to 'Help' Innovation

    The anti-technology rhetoric (what they call derogatorily "Big Tech") of patent maximalists is ruining their old narrative which goes something along the lines of helping inventors



  6. Nearly Half of Patent Applications at the EPO Are (at Least Partly) Software Patents, According to the EPO, and Not Many Patents Are European (Foreign, Not Domestic)

    With lack of care for examiners, for European businesses and for science in general the EPO carries on unabated; its agenda seems to be steered by Team UPC, which is looking to profit from lots of foreign lawsuits across Europe (relying on low-quality patents that wouldn't pass muster in national courts)



  7. Patent Factory Europe (PFE) is a Patent Troll's Publicity Stunt, Attempting to Frame a Predator as the Small Businesses' Friend and Ally

    Patent troll "France Brevets" with its tarnished name (it's the shame of France, a major source of shame other than Battistelli) has decided to do a charm offensive which characterises it as a friend of small firms (SMEs)



  8. Alice, Which Turns Four, Has Saved Billions of Dollars Previously Wasted on 'Protection' Money (Notably Patent Trolls)

    Alice has turned 4 (just five days ago) and software patents have never looked weaker (close to impossible to enforce in high courts in the United States), lowering the incentive to pursue such patents in the first place



  9. Links 23/6/2018: Kodi 18 Alpha 2, Peppermint 9, Wine 3.11

    Links for the day



  10. Somewhat Underwhelming Reception for US Patent Number 10,000,000 (Which Actually Isn't)

    While US patent number 10,000,000 did, in fact, get issued (several days ago) there are un-ignorable reminders that a lot more patents exist and the high number says more about neglected quality than actual, objective success



  11. The United States' Supreme Court Takes the Side of Patent Maximalists, for a Change

    WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp. reaches its conclusion; while it has zero effect on patent scope, it does serve to show that the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) isn’t inherently biased against patents in general



  12. Mainstream Media in Germany Covers Battistelli's Corruption at the EPO Just as He Leaves

    Mainstream German media writes about Battistelli's scandals that nobody seems eager or wishes to discuss, let alone bring up; law-centric German media covers the now-famous open letter from German law firms (Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner)



  13. Links 22/6/2018: PulseAudio 12.0, Krita 4.1 Beta, LabPlot 2.5, Git 2.18.0

    Links for the day



  14. “Dr Ernst Should be Forced by National Politicians to Step Down With Immediate Effect” After Battistelli's Latest EPO Scandals

    Further discussions about the horrible legacy of Battistelli and his protectors, who seem to be interested in a patent trolls-friendly patent system which devalues workers and consciously lowers the patent bar (at all costs, even violation of laws and constitutions)



  15. Links 21/6/2018: Microsoft's 'Damage Control' Amid Role in ICE Scandals, 11-Hour Azure Downtime (Again), GNOME 3.29.3, and More GNU/Linux Wins

    Links for the day



  16. Battistelli and Topić Lose Their Bogus 'Case' Against Judge Corcoran After They Defamed Him and Ruined His Career/Life

    The SLAPP action against Judge Patrick Corcoran, who has so far won all cases involving the EPO, is finally dismissed in Germany; what remains is an ugly legacy at the EPO, wherein everyone bold enough to say something about corruption at the top is having his or her life — not just career — destroyed



  17. Even Media of the Patent Microcosm Mentions the Decline in Quality of Patents at the EPO, Based on Its Very Own Stakeholders, While IAM Ignores the News

    The whole world basically accepts, based on patent examiners as well as those whom they interact with (patent agents), that patent quality at the EPO has sunk; but the EPO and IAM continue to vigorously deny that as it threatens some people's nefarious agenda



  18. Links 20/6/2018: Qt 5.11.1, Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU 33, HHVM 3.27.0, Microsoft Helping ICE

    Links for the day



  19. Patent Extremists Are Unable to Find Federal Circuit Cases That Help Them Mislead on Alice

    Patent extremists prefer talking about Mayo but not Alice when it comes to 35 U.S.C. § 101; Broadcom is meanwhile going on a 'fishing expedition', looking to profit from patents by calling for embargo through the ITC



  20. What Use Are 10 Million Patents That Are of Low Quality in a Patent Office Controlled by the Patent 'Industry'?

    The patent maximalists are celebrating overgranting; the USPTO, failing to heed the warning from patent courts, continues issuing far too many patents and a new paper from Mark Lemley and Robin Feldman offers a dose of sobering reality



  21. The Eastern District of Texas is Where Asian Companies/Patents/Trolls Still Go After TC Heartland

    Proxies of Longhorn IP and KAIST (Katana Silicon Technologies LLC and KAIST IP US LLC, respectively) roam Texas in pursuit of money of out nothing but patents and aggressive litigation; there's also a Microsoft connection



  22. EPO Insiders Correct the Record of Benoît Battistelli’s Tyranny and Abuse of Law: “Legal Harassment and Retaliation”

    Battistelli’s record, as per EPO-FLIER 37, is a lot worse than the Office cares to tell stakeholders, who are already complaining about decline in patent quality



  23. Articles About a Unitary Patent System Are Lies and Marketing From Law Firms With 'Lawsuits Lust'

    Team UPC has grown louder with its lobbying efforts this past week; the same lies are being repeated without much of a challenge and press ownership plays a role in that



  24. The Decline in Patent Quality at the EPO Causes Frivolous Lawsuits That Only Lawyers Profit From

    The European Patent Office (EPO) will continue granting low-quality European Patents under the leadership of the Battistelli-'nominated' Frenchman, António Campinos; this is bad news for science and technology as that quite likely means a lot more lawsuits without merit (which only lawyers profit from)



  25. What Battistelli's Workers Think of His Latest EPO Propaganda

    "Modernising the EPO" is what Battistelli calls a plethora of human rights abuses and corruption



  26. Links 19/6/2018: Total War: WARHAMMER II Confirmed for GNU/Linux, DragonFlyBSD 5.2.2 Released

    Links for the day



  27. More Media Reports About Decline in Quality of European Patents (Granted by the EPO)

    What the media is saying about the letter from Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner whilst EPO communications shift attention to shallow puff pieces about how wonderful Benoît Battistelli is



  28. Beware Team UPC's Biggest Two Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Claims that a Unified Patent Court (UPC) will commence next year are nothing but a fantasy of the Liar in Chief, Benoît Battistelli, who keeps telling lies to French media (some of which he passes EPO money to, just like he passes EPO money to his other employer)



  29. Diversity at the EPO

    Two decades of EPO with 16-17 years under the control of French Presidents (and nowadays predominantly French management in general with Inventor Award held in France almost half the time) is "diversity at the EPO"



  30. Orrin Hatch, Sponsored the Most by the Pharmaceutical Industry, Tries to Make Its Patents Immune From Scrutiny (PTAB)

    Orrin Hatch is the latest example of laws being up for sale, i.e. companies can 'buy' politicians to act as their 'couriers' and pass laws for them, including laws pertaining to patents


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