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

05.12.16

Large Firms Which Are Becoming Troll-Like Threaten Linux, Try to Embargo Imports

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents strike again

“Belief is no substitute for arithmetic.”

Henry Spencer

Summary: Legal battles which primarily involve Android (and by extension Linux) are noted by the media this week because there is a request for bans (injunction)

THERE is a growing trend in downturn economies because infinite growth is impossible and monopolists strive to make up for losses by overstepping new boundaries. Companies that once produced awesome products have nothing left but patents, so they resort to patent shakedowns and try to claw in other companies’ revenue. Watch how, amid massive layoffs, IBM is attacking legitimate companies using software patents these days, earning itself labels like "the World's Biggest Patent Troll". IBM’s victim said: “IBM, a relic of once-great 20th century technology firms, has now resorted to usurping the intellectual property of companies born this millennium.” Can anyone trust IBM with OIN anymore? IBM is not a credible ally, it’s a cornered animal afraid of not employing like half a million people anymore. ‘Poor’ IBM…

Not only companies which pretend to be all about Linux do this. One such company is Creative, which we wrote about the other day. As one new article put it, “Creative rises from the dead to try and destroy Android” and to quote:

Do you remember Creative? In the early 2000s, the company had a brief period of being cool, as its Zen MP3 players were the anti-establishment alternative to the iPod. These days, the Singapore-based company mostly makes gaming headsets and computer speakers — nothing to do with smartphones, in other words. But thanks to a complaint filed against every big Android phone manufacturer, Creative has quietly declared war on Android.

The complaint is filed against a who’s-who of Android smartphones: Samsung, LG, HTC, BlackBerry, Sony, ZTE, Lenovo and Motorola. The issue at hand is music players: all the phones have ’em, and Creative has a patent it thinks is being infringed on. Specifically, all the phones are capable of “playing stored media files selected by a user from a hierarchical display.”

Android Police wrote that “Creative Wants To Ban Most Android Phones From US Over Alleged Patent Infringement” and to quote some paragraphs:

Creative is not a name you hear as often in consumer electronics these days. The Singapore-based firm is known for making audio products, including the Zen line of media players. Creative has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that basically every maker of Android phones is infringing its Zen patents by displaying your music. It wants them all banned, but what it really wants is money.

The complaint targets ZTE, Sony, Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Motorola, HTC, and BlackBerry. At issue is how everyone shows you songs and albums in a hierarchical menu system, which Creative says it invented. It went after Apple for the same thing a decade ago and eventually got a $100 million settlement. If the ITC agrees with Creative, it could lead to a ban on infringing devices, which would be a lot of phones.

Now, remember Microsoft, a partner of Creative? There is definitely no patent ceasefire as publicly claimed some months ago. Google’s stake in Motorola’s mobile business in mind, see this new report which shows that Microsoft is still attacking Linux/Android with software patents (while claiming to “love Linux). To quote Reuters (short report): “Microsoft Corp’s patent on a way to show that a web browser is still loading content is not invalid, a U.S. appeals court said on Tuesday in the face of a challenge by Motorola Mobility and Google Inc.

“A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found in favor of Microsoft and its Klarquist Sparkman attorneys, affirming a ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that refused to cancel a key part of the patent. The panel did not give reasons for its decision, which came just two days after oral arguments in the case.”

So Microsoft is still going after Motorola Mobility and Google (i.e. Android) and it says it “loves Linux”. Makes sense, right? Injunctions were sought not only by Creative (resorting to the ITC as Microsoft did nearby a decade ago in order to block an east Asian rival); it’s probably just growing strategy in America, judging by these new articles authored by law firms from Canada and Brazil [1, 2] to be pinned at IAM earlier this week.

“ITC to investigate Samsung and Sony over patent claims” says another new headline. Who benefits from this? To quote:

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has said it will launch an investigation into smartphone makers including Sony, Samsung, ZTE and LG over alleged patent infringement.

In a statement on its website, the ITC said its investigation would centre on “portable electronic devices with the capability of playing stored media files”.

Lenovo, Motorola, HTC and BlackBerry will also be targeted in the investigation.

The section 337 investigation is based on a complaint filed by Singapore-based Creative Technology and Creative Labs, based in Milpitas, California, in March.

Creative used to be OK in the 1990s, but it’s now notorious for its poor treatment of Linux (there are Microsoft and Intel connections). In addition to this controversial move from Creative we have also just learned about Ericsson's own patent troll that is still active in the UK and will apparently stay in the UK Patents Court rather than the Competition Appeal Tribunal, based on yesterday’s report which says: “For anyone keeping tabs, the mammoth patent dispute in Unwired Planet v Huawei & Samsung continues to thunder along at pace. The latest decision from the Patents Court in the saga addressed the question as to whether the antitrust issues – arguably the juiciest part of the case – could be transferred to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT)? At the end of April, Mr Justice Birss answered that question, deciding that the issues should remain in the Chancery Division [2016] EWHC 958 (Pat).”

We remain committed to meticulous tracking of these threats to Free software, including Android, as software patents are inherently not compatible with Free software such as Linux. When such patents start to overstep the European border we just know that this disease keeps spreading rather than contained (e.g. owing to Alice in the US). There is so much at stake.

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 24/5/2019: PostgreSQL 12 Beta 1 and Rust 1.35 Released

    Links for the day



  2. EPO Strikes Further Diminish Chances of UPC Ever Materialising (in Any Shape or Form)

    The EPO crumbles under the weight of its own corruption while an increasingly-insane Team UPC pretends all remains normal and a patent trolls-friendly system is ready to take off



  3. EPO Allegedly Becoming Insolvent (Pretext for Cuts), So Staff Gets Punished While Management Takes the Jackpot

    The corporate 'logic' at the EPO follows the "shareholders' value" propaganda line as if the EPO is a private company looking to maximise revenue rather than serve the public



  4. EPO President Still Not Obeying Courts' Rulings

    Federation of International Civil Service Associations (FICSA) sent a message to António Campinos yesterday (the same day SUEPO publicly made a call for strike)



  5. António Campinos Has Run Out of Time and EPO Staff is Going on Strike (Skipping Mere Protests)

    European Patent Office strikes are to resume; as SUEPO recently put it, people have come to accept that EPO leadership has not really changed and none of the underlying issues is being tackled



  6. Links 23/5/2019: Elisa 0.4.0, OpenSUSE Leap 15.1 Released

    Links for the day



  7. Links 22/5/2019: Mesa 19.0.5, Huawei and GNU/Linux, Curl 7.65.0, End of Antergos, Tails 3.14, ownCloud Server 10.2, Firefox 67.0

    Links for the day



  8. Quality of Patents is Going Down the Drain and Courts Have Certainly Noticed

    Uncertainty or lack of confidence in the patent system has reached appalling levels because heads of patent offices are just striving to grant as many patents as possible, irrespective of the underlying law



  9. EUIPO and EPO Abuses Growingly Inseparable

    'Musical chairs' at CEIPI and the EPO/EUIPO (Battistelli, Archambeau, Campinos) as well as joint reports never fail to reveal the extent to which EPO abuses are spreading



  10. Links 21/5/2019: China's GAFAM Exit, DragonFlyBSD 5.4.3

    Links for the day



  11. Links 20/5/2019: Linux 5.2 RC1, LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha, DXVK 1.2.1, Bison 3.4 Released

    Links for the day



  12. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  13. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  14. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  15. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  16. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  17. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  18. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  19. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  20. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  21. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  22. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  23. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  24. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day



  25. False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

    Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions



  26. The Race to the Bottom of Patent Quality at the EPO

    The EPO has become more like a rubber-stamper than a patent office — a fact that worries senior staff who witnessed this gradual and troublesome transition (from quality to raw quantity)



  27. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 2: Meet the Kötters

    An introduction to the Kötter Group, the private security conglomerate which is lined up for the award of a juicy EUR 30 million contract for the provision of security services at the EPO



  28. Links 14/5/2019: Red Hat Satellite 6.5, NVIDIA 430.14 Linux Driver and New Security Bug (MDS)

    Links for the day



  29. Links 14/5/2019: GNU/Linux in Kerala, DXVK 1.2, KDE Frameworks 5.58.0 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 1: Urgent Shitstorm Alert

    Experts at the European Patent Office's (EPO) weather observation station have just issued an urgent alert warning about a major shitstorm looming on the horizon


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