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08.13.17

The Farce Which is Nokia’s Patent Portfolio, a Ripoff of Other People’s Ideas (and Patents)

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 5:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia ripoffSummary: The untold story about Nokia’s alleged ripoff (plagiarism) of other people’s patents, which are now being used aggressively in a shakedown campaign even against OEMs that distribute Linux

THE patents of Nokia have been weaponised by Microsoft against Microsoft’s competition. We have been writing many articles about it since 2011 and recently we showed that Nokia is nowadays shaking down Android OEMs, too (we last covered this matter earlier this month). It’s a serious problem because Nokia has a massive trove of patents and Android, which is built on top of Linux, is the world’s leading mobile platform (by far). It’s also one of the biggest success stories of Linux.

The other day, Android Headlines published this piece about a software patents case which had culminated in a motion for embargo. Here is the part about Nokia:

In addition to Qualcomm, Apple is also in legal battle with Nokia after the Finnish company sued the tech giant last year for allegedly infringing on its patents for displays, video coding, antennas, software, user interface, and chipsets.

For a number of months we have been speaking to people who know Nokia from the inside. There’s a dispute going on and this dispute has just gone public. It serves to show that Nokia hardly deserves the credit it claims for innovation, or at least for patents which Nokia conveniently conflates with innovation.

“It serves to show that Nokia hardly deserves the credit it claims for innovation, or at least for patents which Nokia conveniently conflates with innovation.”“You seem to be interested in EPO/USPTO patent issues,” we got told, “and we have been following those interesting things that your tweets periodically reveal about EPO and patent practices in general, so thus we are letting you to know about our case.”

We don’t want to name the company although Nokia, which is well aware of this dispute, already knows who that involves. We’ll refer to the person as “Y” and omit any mention of the company. The core story is this:

We found out two years ago with “Y” that his patent was copied by Nokia in the beginning of 2000’s. Today is an important day because it changes a huge chapter (I would say for the better) in our life. We are making this case public now.

“Y”, besides living as a foreigner in Finland, loves the country like his second birthplace, he loves the Finnish people, nature and culture, especially the honesty that is highly valued in Finland. Exactly because of this honesty, he could never have imagined that Nokia had literally copied one of his patents.

Of course, this has already been thrown into international hurricane (e.g. Bloomberg, CNET, BBC, CNN, YLE, HS, etc. are already following and aware of the initial data of this case).

This is a campaign to help other inventors too, so kindly help this to be informed to other inventors and patent creators in triplicating their care when negotiating, submitting patents to large companies. “Y” actually did everything by the book, only revealing info when his patent was already published, and then negotiating a license with Nokia but still they didn’t follow the fair practices.

Surprisingly, during these last two years “Y” got into direct contact with Risto Siilasmaa (the chairman of the board of Nokia) and Rajeev Suri (CEO of Nokia), top management and auditors of the company’s current Corporate Code of Conduct. Essentially and factually, they didn’t act in this disgraceful matter as they advertise, although they are direct responsibilities for not fixing the damages their actions were apt to cause. People in Finland sadly know that besides bringing tax money to the country years ago, the “old” Nokia didn’t always respect their subcontractors and other partners. Mr. Siilasmaa has admitted it too (he was earlier subcontracted by Nokia with his own company) and he has campaigned for fixing the culture, talking about the “New Nokia” but this case still follows exactly the same paths as the ones in “Old Nokia”. Are they just talking about values of acting ethically but not really doing it?

There are many other disgruntled/exploited people out there whom the Nokia management (and/or board) has betrayed and mistreated. Thankfully, more of them are nowadays getting the courage and coming out (for whatever reason, maybe Nokia’s patent aggression). Some of them got in touch with us, but they are not yet prepared to take their stories public. Some of them are GNU/Linux advocates and promoters/proponents of Maemo/MeeGo. They’ll never forget what Microsoft did to Nokia. Never.

“There are many other disgruntled/exploited people out there whom the Nokia management (and/or board) has betrayed and mistreated.”What does the EPO have to do with it? Actually, it is very much relevant to the above. “EPO is denying to give their examiner report analysis or anything related to the process,” we were told, or “why they have accepted the patent of Nokia. They say only Nokia can get those infos.”

The video regarding this patent is now public and can be seen below (mind the illustrations, which are direct copies).

We spoke to one of our members who is from Finland about the situation. That was a while back. When one lives in Finland, especially around Helsinki, speaking to Nokians, ex-Nokians, or (sub)contractor is pretty much inevitable and one can learn a lot from them (off the record). “I think there will be a lot of useful information depending on who you can talk with,” our member said. “I spoke with a few from Nokia and could not get much info out of them, but did find that they were really worried about a high level mole from Microsoft entering the company. In retrospect that was Elop.”

“I spoke with a few from Nokia and could not get much info out of them, but did find that they were really worried about a high level mole from Microsoft entering the company. In retrospect that was Elop.”
      –Anonymous
So our member learned this months before it actually happened.

“A lot of the damage was done after Elop, in the media,” our member explained. “In Finland some Microsoft apologists got together and wrote a revisionist history book that got accepted as fact, thus ending any investigations and pre-empting the possibility into criminal investigations into the Nokia board.”

“We expect Nokia to shake down many more Android OEMs in the months or years to come.”As we have written many dozens of articles since then, the actual history is still documented, albeit not in mainstream Finnish media. The revisionism typically strives to blame Nokia and make its demise look inevitable, with Microsoft as the party attempting to ‘rescue’ Nokia. That’s pretty similar to Netscape revisionism; the cause of the demise is being framed as benevolent, as in “Nokia crashed in spite of Microsoft, not because of Microsoft.”

Either way, Nokia is still a pawn of Microsoft, especially in the patents sense. We expect Nokia to shake down many more Android OEMs in the months or years to come. But how legitimate are all these patents? How many of these are ripoffs like the above?

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