05.07.17

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Patents of Microsoft’s Largest Troll, Intellectual Ventures, Are Sold to be Used Offensively

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When Microsoft does not sue directly, as it habitually does, one can count on Intellectual Ventures to step in, if not one of the many shells or shadowy clients of Intellectual Ventures

Related (March 2017): It Certainly Looks Like Microsoft is Already Siccing Its Patent Trolls, Including Intellectual Ventures, on Companies That Use Linux (Until They Pay ‘Protection’ Money)

Ballmer on patents
Full, 6-frame explanation of Microsoft’s strategy

Summary: Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll which came from Microsoft, remains active and its shadow can be found in newly-filed patent cases, including requests for embargo

MICROSOFT loves to pretend to have changed its patent stance (the media habitually helps such pretenses), but Microsoft is a breeding ground to patent trolls, including the world’s largest. Michael Loney from Managing IP calls this nasty patent troll a “PAE”, which is certainly something it is not. The FTC recently published a study warning about such trolls and the ITC occasionally helps trolls, by means of embargoes.

Mr. Loney has written:

A recent Intellectual Ventures lawsuit filed with a companion ITC complaint may be a sign of what is to come in patent assertion entity litigation, with one observer describing it as “a formidable new change”. The ITC has now instituted the investigation against car manufacturers and parts makers

So a massive patent troll is trying not just to tax companies (including those which distribute Linux) but also to embargo, i.e. ban them from the marketplace.

“So a massive patent troll is trying not just to tax companies (including those which distribute Linux) but also to embargo, i.e. ban them from the marketplace.”The ‘new Microsoft’? The mask slips off again?

Another new post, this one from friends of Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures, notes that this nasty patent troll of Microsoft is passing patents to other companies and these patents are used for litigation right now. To quote the relevant part:

Of the 11 grants that ASML and Zeiss are asserting, four were picked up from Intellectual Ventures via a Dutch corporate entity called Tarsium BV (the patent nos. are 6,731,335, 7,297,916, 8,149,312 and 8,625,017). The remaining seven originated with HP and also found their way to ASML/Zeiss via Tarsium. IV appears to have transferred its patents to Tarsium in November 2014, but it has only just shown up in the USPTO assignment database as part of a nunc pro tunc assignment with a recorded date of April this year. IV picked up the quartet of grants in 2011 from an entity called Crosstek Capital LLC as part of a portfolio of more than 300 assets — prior to Crosstek they were owned by Magnachip Semiconductor.

Although IV has built a portfolio that stretches into the tens of thousands, as its sale to Tarsium shows, it has also been open to making sales. As this blog exclusively reported in April, the firm has stopped making acquisitions for its most recent fund and has significantly upped its rate of sales.

So it is indeed like an arms broker. It fuels litigation now.

“Intellectual Ventures, for instance, has used thousands of proxies and now it’s just selling patents for others to carry out the litigation.”The unfortunate thing is, these patent trolls are morphing to hide their real identity. Intellectual Ventures, for instance, has used thousands of proxies and now it’s just selling patents for others to carry out the litigation. Will US politicians take note of it?

Dennis Crouch says that “Congress Continues to See Need to Reduce Abusive Patent Litigation,” but if firms like Intellectual Ventures foster legal chaos not directly, will it be noticed at all? As Crouch put it the other day, the “approach here is that patent litigation reform is being linked with civil litigation reform generally – and Republican control suggests making it more difficult to bring claims. Recognize that a number of influential parties, including IPO, have called for reforms to strengthen patent rights – so far that is getting no traction among Republican leadership.”

“They just want ‘protection’ money based on unspecified threats. This is clearly racketeering and should be treated as such.”This ought to be a bipartisan issue. A lot of people out there are hurt by patent trolls; consider this new story of Kevin O’Connor. As this new campaign against trolls put it, a “letter Kevin O’Connor’s #smallbiz received from a #patenttroll didn’t even name the #patent in question…”

They just want ‘protection’ money based on unspecified threats. This is clearly racketeering and should be treated as such. From a legal perspective, this is quite likely a violation of the law. What’s worth noting here is that Microsoft now exercises a strategy of proxying at two levels; first it outsources a lot of the trolling activities to Intellectual Ventures, which in turn outsources the litigation to thousands of shells (based on the mainstream media’s reports). Microsoft too has its own in-house troll, called “Microsoft Technology Licensing”.

But hey, Microsoft says it “loves Linux”… it even distributes free buttons that say so.

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