Patent Trolls Update: Rodney Gilstrap Maintains His Support for Trolls, MPEG-LA Goes Hunting in China, and Blackberry Hits Nokia
The epidemic broke out outside of Texas, where Rodney Gilstrap (below) had bred them with favourable rulings
Summary: A roundup of the latest news about patent trolls and what they are up to in the United States, Europe, and Asia
Rodney Gilstrap, whom we wrote about before [1, 2], may have had a good run facilitating/norturing patent trolls, but his court may later this year be dealt a very major blow from the Supreme Court, which found merit in a complaint about District Courts like the trolls’ docket (Eastern District of Texas).
According to this MIP report, the trolls’ favourite judge, Rodney Gilstrap in the Eastern District of Texas, allows software patents to tax a Web browser which is based largely on Free software. The toll? $20 million. To quote: “An inventor and his late partner’s family has been awarded $20 million in damages against Google by an Eastern District of Texas jury. In a case presided over by Judge Rodney Gilstrap…”
“Patents in standards (SEP, RAND, FRAND etc.) should not be allowed.”This will hopefully be appealed and eventually reach CAFC or SCOTUS; otherwise a lot of Free software out there, not just Web browsers, may be subjected to patent shakedowns that are too expensive to fight back against.
Once again, based on this separate new report from MIP, CAFC turns out to be a lot more strict on patent scope than District Courts. “The Federal Circuit,” it says about CAFC, “has found Watson did not infringe Shire’s patent for Lialda, noting the “rare” exception established by Norian to the presumptively closed nature of the “consisting of” language…”
The “consisting of” cases have been covered here repeatedly in recent months. It’s not about software patents, but there is still something one can learn from that.
In other news, patent troll MPEG-LA (see background in our Wiki) goes after Huawei, which we wrote about this week in relation to Microsoft proxies attacking it after it had declined to sign patent settlement with Microsoft (paying Microsoft for software that Microsoft never developed). Remember that Microsoft is a prominent member of MPEG-LA and see this tweet where Florian Müller reports “H.264 patent holders and MPEG LA pool contributors suing Huawei and ZTE over alleged infringement. As always with MPEG LA, in Düsseldorf.”
“If a so-called ‘standard’ has patents associated with it, then it ought to be rejected, shunned, or simply deny its adopters the ‘privilege’ to attack other adopters of it.”Müller also took note of this news about BlackBerry suing Nokia. What they have in common is that they are both failed companies that used to make phones (still do, to a lesser degree) but have since since turned into trolls that fight companies, sometimes even in the Eastern District of Texas.
Last night we saw many dozens of articles in English about this (not particularly relevant to software patents which we tend to focus on), including for example “BlackBerry Files Patent-Infringement Suit Against Nokia”, “BlackBerry Launches Patent Lawsuit Against Nokia”, “BlackBerry Slaps Nokia With A Patent Infringement Lawsuit”, “Blackberry Hits Nokia With Suit Over 11 Telecom Patents”, and “BlackBerry sues Nokia over patent infringement”. As the below makes clear, BlackBerry is just interested in a source of income (cash flow) which does not necessitate production or anything. It wants welfare:
BlackBerry has filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Nokia, demanding royalties on the Finnish company’s mobile network products that use an industry-wide technology standard.
Patents in standards (SEP, RAND, FRAND etc.) should not be allowed. If a so-called ‘standard’ has patents associated with it, then it ought to be rejected, shunned, or simply deny its adopters the ‘privilege’ to attack other adopters of it. █