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08.08.17

Microsoft-Connected Patent Troll (Finjan Holdings) Goes After SonicWall

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 12:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Troll in Chief, Phil Hartstein, CEO [sic] of Finjan

Phil Hartstein

Summary: SonicWall, which was a Dell subsidiary from 2012 to 2016, comes under fire from a ‘company’ whose main ‘product’ is so-called ‘intellectual property’ (litigation)*

OUR previous post, a post about patent trolls, mentioned the Microsoft-connected Intellectual Ventures, which mostly uses USPTO-granted patents to ‘nuke’ Microsoft’s rivals. There are many more Microsoft-connected trolls like that. One of them is called Finjan, which we last mentioned earlier this year, having looked closer into it two years ago and even more than half a decade ago (the Microsoft links are pretty strong).

“Finjan is just busy suing the whole world or threatening the whole world (much like its sugar daddy, Microsoft).”According to this new press release from Finjan, its notorious software patents (which probably are not patent-eligible) are now being used against SonicWall, a private company with about a thousand employees. I used their software product (VPN client) very briefly after Dell had taken over. Unlike Finjan, SonicWall is actually successful. Finjan is just busy suing the whole world or threatening the whole world (much like its sugar daddy, Microsoft).

The paid press release from Finjan did not result in any press coverage we could find; Finjan uses a separate entity to do all the trolling, so it’s possible that journalists will fail to see what Finjan really is.

It’s pretty sad that real companies with real programmers who work on real products can become the target of parasites like Finjan.

“Finjan is an example of a parasite that simply relies on patents to threaten (blackmail) or even sue.”This latest paper by Jason Rantanen (mentioned here earlier this summer) is summarised by Patently-O this week and Rantanen asserts that money or greed play a major/principal role in patenting. “The conventional explanation for why people seek patents,” he said, “draws on a simple economic rationale. Patents, the usual story goes, provide a financial reward: the ability to engage in supracompetitive pricing by excluding others from practicing the claimed technology. People are drawn to file for patents because that is how these economic rewards are secured. While scholars have proposed variations on the basic exclusionary mechanism, and a few have explored alternate reasons why businesses seek patents, the question of whether individuals—human beings—seek patents for reasons other than the conventional economic incentive remains unexplored. As Jessica Silbey recently observed, human creativity is motivated by more than just the potential for immediate economic returns. But an individual’s motivation to create does not explain why that person would go through the trouble and expense of obtaining a patent absent the promise of economic gain.”

Finjan is an example of a parasite that simply relies on patents to threaten (blackmail) or even sue. It’s acting a lot like Microsoft, which played a financial role in Finjan. We hope that readers will remember that.
_____
* “To date,” their Web site brags, “Finjan has generated more than $250M in income from the licensing of its intellectual property.”

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