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

03.02.17

The Latest Three Stories Which Show Why the US Supreme Court Must Stop Patent Trolls

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Google, Patents at 5:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How long and how much more will it take for the Supreme Court to realise there is a profound issue in Texas?

Rodney Gilstrap

Summary: The lack of justice in the American patent system, where trolls receive favourable treatment from particular judges and one bogus patent (now invalid) can earn a person over $45 million in ‘protection’ money, necessitates firm and decisive intervention from the US Supreme Court

Federal Circuit Once Again Overrules Mistakes by the Kangaroo Patent Court of Rodney Gilstrap in the Eastern District of Texas

Kangaroo courts are not monopolised by the EPO and the USPTO hasn’t a monopoly on bad patents, either (thankfully, the USPTO is actually improving and lowering the incentive for trolls). The US Supreme Court, together with CAFC below it, already do a fine job, further aided by PTAB (the appeals board) for quicker and cheaper determinations against bad patents.

When Apple celebrates the death of bad patents we too are happy, even if we are far from friends of Apple (we used to call for boycotts). Apple has just defeated Smartflash and there are a lot of articles about this, especially or initially in pro-Apple sites. Headlines include “Apple has $533m verdict against iTunes software patents thrown”, “Apple won’t have to pay $533 million to an iTunes patent troll”, “U.S. appeals court tosses patent verdict against Apple”, and “Apple tastes victory against Smartflash at Federal Circuit”.

“When Apple celebrates the death of bad patents we too are happy, even if we are far from friends of Apple (we used to call for boycotts).”“This ruling isn’t surprising,” one of the above articles states, “as US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap ordered a damages retrial, saying the jury’s view of Apple’s infringement might have been confused by his instructions on how properly to calculate royalties.”

But the pro-trolls Judge Rodney Gilstrap did not in fact dispute a liability. To him, it was just a matter of how much money would be paid. First to cover the news, as far as we were able to see, was Michael Loney of MIP. He wrote about it as early as yesterday, noting that CAFC had found yet another ruling from the notorious Eastern District of Texas to be bunk. “The Federal Circuit has found invalid three Smartflash patents,” he wrote, “reversing the Eastern District of Texas.”

Eolas Driven Out of the Eastern District of Texas

There is another important development down in Texas and Joe Mullin probably wrote the best report about it (Mullin is quite the expert in this domain). To quote Mullin:

Eolas Technologies, which has been called a “patent troll,” has continued to file against big companies, even after losing a landmark 2012 trial. But following an appeals court order (PDF) last week, Eolas will have to pursue its lawsuits in California—not its preferred patent hotspot of East Texas.

As of Friday, Eolas’ lawsuits against Google has been transferred to the Northern District of California. The move could reduce Eolas’ chances of winning a settlement or verdict since East Texas courts have been viewed by some as favoring patent holders. Similar lawsuits against Amazon and Wal-Mart remain in East Texas, for now.

Michael Loney wrote about it too, noting that CAFC is potentially moving trolls out of that notorious Eastern District of Texas (even before the Supreme Court rules on TC Heartland LLC v Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC). To quote:

Google’s request for a writ of mandamus to transfer a case brought by Eolas Technologies to the Northern District of California from the Eastern District of Texas has been granted, with the Federal Circuit citing “a clear abuse of discretion”

Eolas was mentioned here as far back as one decade ago and many more times since. It’s definitely a patent troll, but Mullin put the word “troll” (in the headline) and “patent troll” (in the body) within scare quotes, perhaps fearing legal action against the publisher (his employer).

Software patents, as in the above case, are bunk, but it’s very expensive (usually too expensive) going to court to show it (especially if there are appeals). This means that most defendants will silently fold and pay the Mafia (or troll) ‘protection’ money. Insistent and persistent aggressors or trolls, some of whom are well-funded, will just file more and more motions until the defendant — even if repeatedly deemed innocent — decides that it’s simply cheaper to settle. It means that wealth trumps justice and it can be exploited time after time, by simply choosing vulnerable litigation targets which are almost certainly going to buckle.

“Software patents, as in the above case, are bunk, but it’s very expensive (usually too expensive) going to court to show it (especially if there are appeals).”Speaking of software patents, this tweet says that “Salesforce tries to patent Records Management……quick take” (in an image).

Erich Spangenberg Turns Out to be a Patent ‘Fraud’

In the above cases we see deep-pocketed companies like Google and Apple fighting back, again and again, simply because they can afford it. So can smaller (but still very large companies) such as Newegg, which already spent millions of dollars on very few patent cases — and that’s just in legal fees!

According to Mullin’s other new report, mega-troll Erich Spangenberg went after Newegg and finally (belatedly) lost. That’s another software patent dead and we can expect more to come; it’s expensive to prove the invalidity. The USPTO should clean up this (its own) mess. PTAB helps towards that. Mullin wrote:

Patent-holding company TQP Development made millions claiming that it owned a breakthrough in Web encryption, even though most encryption experts had never heard of the company until it started a massive campaign of lawsuits. Yesterday, the company’s litigation campaign was brought to an end when a panel of appeals judges refused (PDF) to give TQP a second chance to collect on a jury verdict against Newegg.

The TQP patent was invented by Michael Jones, whose company Telequip briefly sold a kind of encrypted modem. The company sold about 30 models before the modem business went bust. Famed patent enforcer Erich Spangenberg bought the TQP patent in 2008 and began filing lawsuits, saying that the Jones patent actually entitled him to royalties on a basic form of SSL Internet encryption. Spangenberg and Jones ultimately made more than $45 million from the patent.

Will Spangenberg now refund the extortion money (more than $45 million), plus legal expenses? Or will this be another case of an invalid patent costing a fortune to countless companies, even though they were innocent all along because this patent was bogus?

We certainly hope that the Supreme Court is watching all these cases and will take them into account later this year when TC Heartland can become the new “patent killer” (precedent).

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

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 8/7/2020: SUSE to Acquire Rancher Labs, Btrfs as Default in Fedora, Qt Creator 4.12.4

    Links for the day



  2. Yes, Master

    When the Linux Foundation tells us to tone down our language we ought to remember what kind of hypocritical stance these people have (note: the above have nothing to do with slavery, either)



  3. Fraunhofer is Again Evergreening Software Patents to Maintain Its Codecs Cartel, Forcing Everyone to Pay to View/Stream Multimedia Files

    The roller-coaster of software patents on multimedia isn't stopping; we know the culprits who can be named for perpetuating this injustice



  4. [Humour/Meme] Focusing on the Bombings and Who's Included in the Bombings

    Supremacist agenda disguised as "tolerant and inclusive" is still objectionable supremacist agenda



  5. Manners Are a Good Thing. The Yardstick or the Standard of Manners Changes Over Time.

    Entirely legitimate grievances of African-Americans are being exploited by people who aren’t even African-American (and usually don’t speak for African-Americans) to warp the debate from one about software ethics and technical issues, not to mention war crimes of companies that employ many programmers, to something which is unlikely to really help African-Americans (also, they don't employ any African-Americans)



  6. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, July 07, 2020



  7. Links 8/7/2020: Huawei’s GNU/Linux PC, Sparky 5.12, and Endless OS 3.8.4 Released

    Links for the day



  8. [Humour] Television Channels That Don't Speak of Real Looting But Participate in Looting

    People may need to look beyond (or outside) the television screen to grasp what's going on



  9. (Software) Freedom is Elusive Without the Ability to Concentrate

    Software is consuming people's minds; to make matters worse, people have become so attached to such software that they're unable to see it and get away from it (they associate that software with "social life")



  10. Monopolies Erode Freedom, Freedom Erodes Monopolies

    "There are so many reasons that GitHub makes projects less free."



  11. Links 7/7/2020: NomadBSD 1.3.2, Clonezilla Live 2.6.7 and DRM Comes to Cars

    Links for the day



  12. [Humour] IAM Ranked Top for Quality of EPO Propaganda

    Contrary to what the European Patent Office (EPO) keeps saying, patent quality is slipping very fast in Europe (based on the EPO's own analysis!) but patent trolls-funded publishers deny that



  13. When They're Done With Patents on Foods and Recipes They'll Have Patents on Fashion, Taste and Smell

    The mental dysfunction — an infectious condition — that says everything in the world must be patented should be resisted; it overlooks the fact that patents were introduced to protect/promote actual invention, not thoughts, feelings, nature and art



  14. [Humour/Meme] IBM's Money is Unhealthy to the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    IBM will never be happy as long as RMS (Richard Stallman) has a say in the FSF — directly or indirectly — or even in the GNU Project, both of which he himself created back when IBM was the biggest monopolist



  15. IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, July 06, 2020



  16. Never Let IBM/Red Hat Lecture Us on Morality

    Ethics and morality should not be taught by those who themselves need a lesson; in the meantime we're losing the courage to speak freely and those who commit atrocious acts like it a lot better that way



  17. [Humour/Meme] Wear the Red Hat as the Open Org Becomes Openwash

    IBM is changing Red Hat and not for the better; sooner or later IBM will become another Microsoft and changing from one to the other will be like swapping 'masters'



  18. IBM is Imposing Non-Free, Privacy-Infringing Tools and Patent Tolls on Red Hat Staff

    There are signs that Red Hat under IBM will be more like assimilation to IBM, not IBM assimilating to the 'Red Hat way' or the so-called 'open org'



  19. They Tell the Free Software Community That It is Racist While Saying Nothing at All About Trump's Racism (Because He Gives Them Government and Military Contracts)

    While their president compares 'foreign' people to a virus (using innuendo, dog whistles and racist rhetoric reminiscent of the Nazi era) the big US corporations (American surveillance giants) turn their attention to rather innocuous words inside people's code (which almost nobody sees anyway)



  20. LibreOffice 'Personal Edition' Seems Like a Marketing and Communication Fluke

    Had LibreOffice developers (and the Document Foundation) communicated these changes more openly, they would have averted/avoided some of the FUD



  21. It Almost Feels Like Microsoft Has Already 'Bought' Canonical

    Canonical's disturbing trajectory and betrayal of the community continue unabated; one can easily get the impression that Ubuntu exists to help Microsoft at some level



  22. Update to GNU Project Bleeding into Microsoft

    Update



  23. Microsoft is Going to Get Tired of Whining About “GAFA” and Accept That It's Just as Bad If Not a Lot Worse at Privacy

    Microsoft is being treated by the US government as if it's not abusing anything, let alone people's privacy; if anything, this demonstrates the degree to which Microsoft infiltrated or 'vendor-captured' regulatory branches



  24. Links 6/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 RC1, MX-19.2 KDE Beta 1, Linux 5.8 RC4

    Links for the day



  25. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section: Linux is Full of Problems and It Loves/Embraces Software Patents

    Software patents promotion and GNU/Linux FUD; your daily dosage of 'news' from the tabloid known as ZDNet...



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, July 05, 2020



  27. Links 5/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Mate Beta and GNOME Gingerblue

    Links for the day



  28. Technological Progress? Only If We Assume The Wrong Things...

    When we're told that we're all dumb we're being given increasingly dumb technology (and they tell us dumber is better)



  29. Linux Foundation Still Owned and Controlled Largely -- and More Over Time -- by Surveillance Companies (Openwashing Services for Bad Practices and Bad Actors)

    The Linux Foundation‘s growing role in spying or the focus on data-mining operations is an eternal reminder or warning that the Foundation follows power and money, not freedom or ethics (it began as a salary-paying venture, crowdfunding among large corporations which conduct mass surveillance)



  30. Sharing is Caring, as Those Who Share Usually Care

    Going back to our human roots, people who cooperate and collaborate are vastly more likely to survive and thrive; Free software is almost guaranteed to become the norm when/once everyone demands it (proprietary software is too divisive, supremacist and even racist)


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