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

07.16.17

Immersion, FitBit, Jawbone, and Creative Chose to be a Pile of Patents Rather Than Real Companies

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 10:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some people out there have already labeled Immersion “patent troll”, but it’s not as simple as that

Immersion logo

Summary: FitBit is the latest company to be slapped by Immersion (having already driven Jawbone out of business) and there’s news about Creative, which uses old patents to shake down Apple and Android OEMs

THERE is definitely such a thing as a “patent troll” (or patent shark as it used to be called, or PAE/NPE as the euphemism); but then there’s that grey area where something or someone is “borderline troll” because one still makes some products (or at least aspires to). Today, we have decided to separate companies that are “real” from those that are obviously trolls. Even “real” companies, such as Microsoft, can oftentimes act like trolls, or at least send their patents (or Nokia’s) trolls’ way in order for the patent trolls to sue on their behalf (indirect trolling). It’s a truly nasty aspect of the industry and sadly enough it’s the reality out there; I often hear from victims of such trolls or “borderline trolls”. They can be utterly destructive to people’s personal lives, not just people’s businesses or pet projects. Bankruptcy is a possibility and there’s also an aspect of threats and blackmail (people literally afraid for their lives).

We’ll break down this post as follows (same for the next post, regarding classic trolls).

Immersion

In past years we wrote dozens of times about high-profile Immersion cases and various other cases of Immersion, a “real” company that’s more interested in “licensing” than actually producing something of its own (it sues almost everybody, except Microsoft, which is historically close to Immersion because of DirectX). Less than a week ago FitBit, which is itself somewhat of a patent bully (we’ll come to that later), found itself on the receiving end of Immersion’s litigation machine. Frankly, no sympathy deserved here because Immersion is now doing to FitBit what FitBit did to its own competitors. Here are the details:

FitBit, which makes wearable technology for fitness, has been sued for patent infringement over use of motion sensing software in its products.

The complaint was filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday, July 10.

California-based software company Immersion accused FitBit of wilfully infringing three of its patents, causing “irreparable harm”.

FitBit's own weakness is that its patents may be worthless. We don’t think FitBit can sue Immersion over anything; it would be a lot easier if Immersion actually made something! So there’s no balance of patents here; in effect, only one side can throw patents at the other — the hallmark of patent trolls!

Jawbone

Jawbone got sued by FitBit, but it was at least able to sue FitBit to balance things a little. Both companies actually have products, but as for Jawbone, it seems to be the end of it. The company is becoming just a pile of patents and IAM drools over the possibilities, perhaps expecting these patents to be handed over to trolls:

Jawbone, the consumer electronics business, which was one of the pioneers in fitness oriented wearable devices, started liquidation proceedings earlier this month. Having attracted more than $600 million in venture capital funding and reached a peak valuation of $3 billion, the company suffered in the increasingly competitive wearables market which has seen large tech companies like Apple and Samsung growing their presence. According to reports the company’s founder has set up Jawbone Health Hub which will continue to service Jawbone devices.

What contributed to Jawbone’s collapse was the lawsuit from FitBit, but FitBit too is collapsing and apparently demand for wearable surveillance devices isn’t what they hoped for. We wrote about FitBit’s severe problems (financial) when we also mentioned RPX going headless.

RPX

RPX is not a company but a very major parasite that we wrote about many times before. IAM of course loves such patent parasites, so it recently celebrated this “RPX settlement deal”. Creative settles with another troll (like itself, having run out of ideas and products) and PTAB might serve to thwart this abuse some time soon (we’ll deal with PTAB separately later today). Here is what IAM wrote some days ago:

RPX Corporation yesterday announced a deal with Singapore’s ZiiLabs that will see the Creative Technology subsidiary assign certain patent rights to the defensive aggregator while ending a US litigation campaign with at least seven defendants. The deal appears to end ZiiLabs’ campaign to enforce patents it obtained through a 2002 takeover of 3DLabs. It will not affect Creative’s other major assertion effort, a series of cases based on the so-called ‘Zen patent’ which once compelled a $100 million settlement from Apple and is now awaiting an IPR decision.

Calling RPX a “defensive aggregator” (as IAM does) is misleading; it’s more like an offensive aggressor. It’s full of them anyway. Even Microsoft is a member.

In the next post we’ll syndicate and remark on various patent trolls and what they are up to.

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 24/3/2019: Microsoft Does Not Change; Lots of FOSS Leftovers

    Links for the day



  2. Just Published: Irrational Ignorance at the Patent Office

    Iancu and his fellow Trump-appointed "swamp" at the USPTO are urged to consult academics rather than law firms in order to improve patent quality in the United States



  3. Microsoft Paid the Open Source Initiative. Now (a Year Later) Microsoft is in the Board of the Open Source Initiative.

    The progression of Microsoft entryism in FOSS-centric institutions (while buying key "assets" such as GitHub) isn't indicative of FOSS "winning" but of FOSS being infiltrated (to be undermined)



  4. Jim Zemlin's Linux Foundation Still Does Not Care About Linux Desktops

    We are saddened to see that the largest body associated with Linux (the kernel and more) is not really eager to see GNU/Linux success; it's mostly concerned about its bottom line (about $100,000,000 per annum)



  5. Links 23/3/2019: Falkon 3.1.0 and Tails 3.13.1

    Links for the day



  6. The Unified Patent Court is Dead, But Doubts Remain Over the EPO's Appeal Boards' Ability to Rule Independently Against Patents on Nature and Code

    Patents used to cover physical inventions (such as engines); nowadays this just isn't the case anymore and judges who can clarify these questions lack the freedom to think outside the box (and disobey patent maximalists' dogma)



  7. Patent Law Firms Still Desperate to Find New Ways to Resurrect Dead Software Patents in the United States

    There's no rebound and no profound changes that favour software patents; in fact, judging by caselaw, there's nothing even remotely like that



  8. Links 22/3/2019: Libinput 1.13 RC2 and Facebook's Latest Security Scandal

    Links for the day



  9. Why the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) Cannot Ignore Judges, Whereas the EPO Can (and Does)

    The European Patent Convention (EPC) ceased to matter, judges' interpretation of it no longer matters either; the EPO exploits this to grant hundreds of thousands of dodgy software patents, then trumpet "growth"



  10. The European Patent Office Needs to Put Lives Before Profits

    Patents that pertain to health have always posed an ethical dilemma; the EPO apparently tackled this dilemma by altogether ignoring the rights and needs of patients (in favour of large corporations that benefit financially from poor people's mortality)



  11. “Criminal Organisation”

    Brazil's ex-President, Temer, is arrested (like other former presidents of Brazil); will the EPO's ex-President Battistelli ever be arrested (now that he lacks diplomatic immunity and hides at CEIPI)?



  12. Links 21/3/2019: Wayland 1.17.0, Samba 4.10.0, OpenShot 2.4.4 and Zorin Beta

    Links for the day



  13. Team UPC (Unitary Patent) is a Headless Chicken

    Team UPC's propaganda about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has become so ridiculous that the pertinent firms do not wish to be identified



  14. António Campinos Makes Up Claims About Patent Quality, Only to be Rebutted by Examiners, Union (Anyone But the 'Puff Pieces' Industry)

    Battistelli's propagandistic style and self-serving 'studies' carry on; the notion of patent quality has been totally discarded and is nowadays lied about as facts get 'manufactured', then disseminated internally and externally



  15. Links 20/3/2019: Google Announces ‘Stadia’, Tails 3.13

    Links for the day



  16. CEN and CENELEC Agreement With the EPO Shows That It's Definitely the European Commission's 'Department'

    With headlines such as “EPO to collaborate on raising SEP awareness” it is clear to see that the Office lacks impartiality and the European Commission cannot pretend that the EPO is “dafür bin ich nicht zuständig” or “da kenne ich mich nicht aus”



  17. Decisions Made Inside the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Lack Credibility Because Examiners and Judges Lack Independence

    The lawless, merciless, Mafia-like culture left by Battistelli continues to haunt judges and examiners; how can one ever trust the Office (or the Organisation at large) to deliver true justice in adherence or compliance with the EPC?



  18. Team UPC Buries Its Credibility Deeper in the Grave

    The three Frenchmen at the top do not mention the UPC anymore; but those who promote it for a living (because they gambled on leveraging it for litigation galore) aren't giving up and in the process they perpetuate falsehoods



  19. The EPO Has Sadly Taken a Side and It's the Patent Trolls' Side

    Abandoning the whole rationale behind patents, the Office now led for almost a year by António Campinos prioritises neither science nor technology; it's all about granting as many patents (European monopolies) as possible for legal activity (applications, litigation and so on)



  20. Where the USPTO Stands on the Subject of Abstract Software Patents

    Not much is changing as we approach Easter and software patents are still fool's gold in the United States, no matter if they get granted or not



  21. Links 19/3/2019: Jetson/JetBot, Linux 5.0.3, Kodi Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation, and Firefox 66

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/3/2019: Solus 4, Linux 5.1 RC1, Mesa 18.3.5, OSI Individual Member Election Won by Microsoft

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Continue Their Patent War, Including the War on Linux

    Microsoft is still preying on GNU/Linux using patents, notably software patents; it wants billions of dollars served on a silver platter in spite of claims that it reached a “truce” by joining the Open Invention Network and joining the LOT Network



  24. Director Iancu Generally Viewed as a Lapdog of Patent Trolls

    As Director of the Office, Mr. Iancu, a Trump appointee, not only fails to curb patent trolls; he actively defends them and he lowers barriers in order to better equip them with bogus patents that courts would reject (if the targets of extortion could afford a day in court)



  25. Links 17/3/2019: Google Console and IBM-Red Hat Merger Delay?

    Links for the day



  26. To Team UPC the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Has Become a Joke and the European Patent Office (EPO) Never Mentions It Anymore

    The EPO's frantic rally to the very bottom of patent quality may be celebrated by obedient media and patent law firms; to people who actually produce innovative things, however, this should be a worrisome trend and thankfully courts are getting in the way of this nefarious agenda; one of these courts is the FCC in Germany



  27. Links 16/3/2019: Knoppix Release and SUSE Independence

    Links for the day



  28. Stopping António Campinos and His Software Patents Agenda (Not Legal in Europe) Would Require Independent Courts

    Software patents continue to be granted (new tricks, loopholes and buzzwords) and judges who can put an end to that are being actively assaulted by those who aren't supposed to have any authority whatsoever over them (for decisions to be impartially delivered)



  29. The Linux Foundation Needs to Speak Out Against Microsoft's Ongoing (Continued) Patent Shakedown of OEMs That Ship Linux

    Zemlin actively thanks Microsoft while taking Microsoft money; he meanwhile ignores how Microsoft viciously attacks Linux using patents, revealing the degree to which his foundation, the “Linux Foundation” (not about Linux anymore, better described as Zemlin’s PAC), has been compromised



  30. Links 15/3/2019: Linux 5.0.2, Sublime Text 3.2

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts