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03.02.17

The Long Reach of Microsoft’s Patent Troll, Intellectual Ventures, and the Impact on TiVo

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 3:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Becoming more of a patent parasite than it already was

TiVo

Summary: Patent wars in the broadcasting market and the role played by Microsoft and its largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, headed by Microsoft’s former CTO

THE CONNECTIONS between Intellectual Ventures (IV) and Rovi were covered here before, e.g. in [1, 2]. IV is the world’s largest patent troll, which covertly operates through thousands of shells and it is financially connected to Microsoft and Bill Gates. IV is a major threat to Free/libre software and GNU/Linux because, as we have shown here in the past, it also blackmails companies that manufacture and/or distribute BSD- and Linux-based devices.

TiVo is an infamous Linux-based device and also a company. It’s infamous because of what became known as “TiVoisation” (we covered it here repeatedly more than a decade ago) and all sorts of patent aspects which we covered half a decade ago (see our Wiki page about TiVo).

TiVo exploits Free software and Linux, but it’s hardly an ally or a friend. Now that Rovi has bought TiVo and considering “Rovi’s deal with Intellectual Ventures,” as IAM put it today, it’s hardly surprising that it’s followed by TiVo’s patents turning into shakedown or extortion. As IAM put it (obviously lauding and praising the aggressor):

Pre-dating last year’s merger was Rovi’s deal with Intellectual Ventures, where the two agreed to package together their IP relating to over-the-top (OTT) technology for Rovi to license. Since they announced that relationship, licensing deals have been unveiled with both Netflix and HBO. Armaly contends that it’s a model that can be replicated. The digital entertainment and OTT sectors weren’t necessarily high on IV’s list of licensing priorities, so last year’s agreement means that it can benefit from TiVo’s growing experience in the space and its technology offering.

There’s more history to it. Back in 2010 we wrote about how Intellectual Ventures fueled patent wars against TiVo, which had already been sued by Microsoft. And Microsoft keeps telling us that it “loves Linux”…

Microsoft is very malicious and its latest attack plan is reminiscent of the Microsoft/Novell deal. We explained this plan in the following four articles:

When patents get weaponised like that and where Microsoft’s patent trolls have influence over such decisions we simply cannot ignore the persistent danger.

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