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. 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