08.24.17

Patent Trolls Network-1 and Microsoft-Connected Finjan and Intellectual Ventures in the News Again

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 12:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Apple has agreed to pay $25 million to settle a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Network-1 Technologies, which was suing over a patent from 1999 that basically just describes a simple file system function.” (Source: Apple pays $25 million in settlement with patent troll)

Summary: Microsoft’s extensive network of patent trolls and parasites as seen in this week’s (mostly yesterday’s) news — a network Microsoft habitually sics on its competition — and a reminder of the menace known as Network-1 (article on the right, excerpt above)

THE plague of patent trolls (especially in the US) is not a solved issue. Sure, things are getting a little better, but there are many US patents (still being granted by the USPTO) which can potentially be used by trolls at any time. There needn’t even be litigation; sometimes blackmail/extortion is enough for these trolls to extract ‘protection’ money, as is most often the case (it’s impossible to tell just how many times it happens, maybe a hundred thousand times per year).

“There needn’t even be litigation; sometimes blackmail/extortion is enough for these trolls to extract ‘protection’ money, as is most often the case (it’s impossible to tell just how many times it happens, maybe a hundred thousand times per year).”Finjan, a Microsoft-connected patent troll, has been very active recently. It bragged about new lawsuits early in the month and did it again later. So several times so far this month (even in August when everyone is away), Finjan filed lawsuits, bragging about it in paid press releases. How many unknown firms out there paid ‘protection’ money to this malicious troll? Yesterday, Watchtroll showed its true face by lobbying for this troll or at least justifying this behaviour. This kind of support for trolls is why we call that site Watchtroll. At least it’s consistent in its defense of trolls. Remember that Finjan is little more than a patent litigation/shakedown firm (that’s where money comes from). Maybe it had some real products in the past, but that’s not where money comes from these days.

“So for the past 14 years it has been little more than a patent troll.”The same goes for Network-1. Yesterday, Seeking Alpha published this very long and promotional article about Network-1, basically recommending it. Calling a troll (MPE) a “Patent Company” (even in the headline) is misleading. Here is some background: “Network-1 discontinued its software product offering in December 2002. In November 2003 Network-1 commenced a new business consisting of the acquisition, development, licensing and protection of its intellectual property which currently consists of a portfolio of telecommunications and data networking patents. In February 2004, the Company initiated its licensing efforts relating to its patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,218,930) covering the remote delivery of power over Ethernet cables (the “Remote Power Patent”).”

So for the past 14 years it has been little more than a patent troll. “There was a 2,000% rise in the stock after the business model switch,” the article says. “But to be fair, it was from 2003, when the dot bomb had flattened the stock to near zero. As security software peddler, its results were consistently pathetic, typically losing over five times its sales in loss from continuing operations.”

“So what we have here is a classic transition from production to trolling.”The patents are here to stay for years to come. To quote: “How these court cases turn out is very topsy-turvy and a constant battle against the expiration of the patents. The Remote Power Patent that currently has a yearly revenue stream coming to NTIP from Cisco and others expires in 2020. But expirations don’t necessarily mean no revenue. For example, there is the case of the Mirror Worlds patents. In 2013, NTIP bought some patents from this company that Apple was infringing on.”

The troll is now busy buying some new ‘ammunition’, too: “Otherwise known as the Cox patents, they were “12 issued patents that relate to identifying or tagging uploaded media content and taking business actions based on the identification” as the website puts it. In 2013, Network-1 bought the patents and is filing for more based on the original patents. In 2014, it began proceedings against Google, specifically against its subsidiary, YouTube, alleging it uses this technology without a license. One has to wonder how many more are using it. In June 2016, the Patent Trial and Appeals Board upheld the patentability of 119 of the 129 claims. Another objection raised by YouTube, Covered Business Method, was reviewed and ruled in favor of Network-1 in October 2016.”

“We quite frankly hope that parasites’ cheerleading sites like IAM will go away.”So what we have here is a classic transition from production to trolling.

Contrast this with a new (hours old) article about another Microsoft-connected patent troll, Intellectual Ventures. It starts by noting the connection to Microsoft:

Founded in 2000, Intellectual Ventures “has earned a special brand of hatred in the business world as the ultimate patent troll. It doesn’t delay your flight like United, buffer your movie stream like Comcast, or shellac your shrimp with oil like BP. Rather, it hoards ideas.” It “goes around to companies and says: ‘Hey, you want to protect yourself from lawsuits? We own tons of patents. Make a deal with us. Our patents will not only cover everything you’re doing in your business, no one will dare sue you.” “It then wields this intellectual-property portfolio—the world’s largest—like a weapon. Companies can either pay up or face a lawsuit.”

Co-founders Nathan Myhrvold and Edward Jung “formerly served in high-level positions at Microsoft. Peter Detkin also played a key management role in developing Intellectual Ventures. In one of patent law’s great ironies, Detkin coined the derogatory term ‘patent troll’ during his tenure” as the vice president and assistant general counsel at Intel. Myhrvold, who was once “the ‘chief gastronomic officer’ of Zagat Survey, the company that publishes the eponymous restaurant guides,” is “the kind of guy the press loves to profile.”

Notice the mention there of Peter Detkin (from Intel)? Well, citing IAM (the voice of patent trolls and friend of Intellectual Ventures), hours ago Benjamin Henrion recalled “Peter Detkin: BTW, I still have the original troll that was the inspiration (the doll, not Ray Niro) in my office” (Ray Niro is dead now and his company is defunct).

“These are patent firms, not real firms that just happen to have patents.”We quite frankly hope that parasites’ cheerleading sites like IAM will go away. They perpetuate the trolling epidemic and yesterday IAM published an analysis of Sandoz Inc v Amgen, basically in the form of a firm’s paid puff piece (self promotion). They just want as much patent damage as possible and they are funded by those who profit from the damage. These are patent firms, not real firms that just happen to have patents. Here is a new press release in which Code is bragging about patents (in a paid press release) rather than actual products. It’s really quite the elegant symptom of companies gone wrong/rogue, like its neighbour Novell about a decade ago. All they become is a big pile of patents.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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 27/11/2020: Systemd 247 and Cockpit 233

    Links for the day



  2. A Free Speech Deficit Harms Software Freedom

    Free software and Software Freedom cannot possibly succeed if we keep accepting or even just tolerating systematic censorship of opinionated people in our community; failing to speak out on this matter (for fear of supposedly offending someone, risking expulsion) is part of the problem — complicity by passivity



  3. Perception of Difficulty

    New poem by figosdev



  4. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 26, 2020



  5. Cartoon: After Gambling With Workers' Savings the EPO Can Do Real Estate

    New EPO cartoon from EPO insiders (the one on the right certainly looks a lot like António Campinos and the one on the left can be his EUIPO ‘import’ or Benoît Battistelli‘s INPI ‘import’)



  6. Free as in Freedom Should Not be Associated With Cost

    It's important to remind people that so-called 'free' services (Clown Computing, centralised spaces that 'farm' their so-called 'users') aren't really free; we need to advocate freedom or free-as-in-freedom alternatives



  7. [Meme] UPC's Pyrrhic Victory

    Contrary to what Team UPC says, what happened earlier today is hardly a breakthrough



  8. Many Thanks to Free Software, the Demise of Software Patents (in Europe and the US), and So Much More

    On a positive note we're heading into the end of November, one month before Boxing Day; we take stock of patent affairs that impact software developers



  9. Links 26/11/2020: PHP 8.0, Proxmox VE 6.3, UNIGINE 2.13

    Links for the day



  10. 29,000 Blog Posts and Recent Site Improvements

    Over 29,000 blog posts have been posted here, but more importantly we've made the site a lot more robust and resilient, accessible in more formats and protocols (while improving transparency, too)



  11. [Meme] Trump is Out. Now It's Time to Pressure the Biden Administration/Transition Team on Software Freedom Issues.

    The Biden transition is in motion and tentative appointments are underway, based on news reports (see our Daily Links); now is the time to put pressure, e.g. in the form of public backlash, to ensure it's not just another corporate presidency



  12. Boycott ZDNet Unless You Fancy Being Lied to

    ZDNet's Catalin Cimpanu continues to lead the way with misinformation and lies, basically doing whatever he was doing to land that job at ZDNet (after he had done the same elsewhere)



  13. The UPC and Unitary Patent Song

    On goes the UPC symphony, as the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is almost here, always coming "real soon!"



  14. Open Letter to the German Greens on UPC and Software Patents: Don’t Betray Your Voters and Your Promises, or You Will Regret it

    Dear Members of the German Greens in the Bundestag. By Benjamin HENRION.



  15. [Meme] One Step Away From Replacing Patent Examiners With 'Hey Hi' (AI)

    If it's not legal for 'Hey Hi' (AI) to get a patent, why should it be legal for patents to be granted by those who are invisible (and sometimes in de facto house arrest)?



  16. European Patent Office (EPO) Reduced to 'Justice Over the Telephone' and Decree by E-mail

    The EPO is trashing the EPC and everything that the Office was supposed to stand for, as it wrongly assumes demand for monopolies (typically from foreign corporations) comes before the rule of law and Europe's public interest



  17. Making Free Software Work for Users

    The latest reply to a non-developer concerned about software freedom; guest post by figosdev



  18. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 25, 2020



  19. Links 26/11/2020: AV Linux 2020.11.23 and Blender 2.91 Release

    Links for the day



  20. Links 25/11/2020: GamerOS and Biden Transition in Motion

    Links for the day



  21. An Orwellian December

    With December around the corner and states tightening the screws on the population (or employers on employees) at least we can look forward to spring



  22. The Non-Technical (or Lesser Technical) Software User That Wants Software Freedom

    Assuming that Free software should care about what users — not only developers — really want (and need) it’s important to understand how they view the current situation (with growing waves of corporate takeover and compromises, even expulsions)



  23. The European Patent Office Should be Run by Patent Examiners (Scientists), Not Politicians

    Europe would be better off (and patent quality much improved) had people with an actual grasp of science and reality were in charge of the EPO, not a money-chasing kakistocracy (which is what we have now)



  24. Member of the EPO's Boards of Appeal Explains Why VICOs (or ViCo/Video Conferences/Virtual 'Hearings') Are Not Suitable for Justice

    It's interesting to hear (or see/read) what people inside the EPO have to say about the "new normal" when they enjoy a certain level of anonymity (to avert retribution)



  25. Open Source Initiative (OSI) Co-founder Bruce Perens: Open Invention Network (OIN) is Protecting the Software Patent System From Reform and OSI Approves Faux 'Open' Licences (Openwashing)

    Richard Stallman was right about the OSI and the fake 'movement' that claims to have 'coined' the term "Open Source" (it wasn't a new term at all; it had been used in another context and the Free software community spoke of things like "Open Hardware" years earlier)



  26. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 24, 2020



  27. Making JavaScript Suck Less

    "Other than that, the first rule of JavaScript is: Do not use JavaScript. But this article is for people who break the first rule."



  28. Microsoft 'Moles' Inside WINE Project? WINE Should Bring Windows Users to GNU/Linux, Not the Other Way Around.

    The press release above (link omitted, it was pinned in several sites) is a cause for concern; after Microsoft infiltrated OSI and the Linux Foundation (both are now GitHub boosters, in effect diverting projects to Microsoft’s proprietary monopoly) it’ll be important to watch this space



  29. Links 25/11/2020: Raspberry Pi 400 With Touchscreens, Animation Framework in GTK/GNOME

    Links for the day



  30. [Meme] Things Will Get Amusing When/If EPO Proceedings Are Cancelled Due to Patent Trolls Suing the Platforms Using Software Patents (Granted by the EPO)

    The management of the EPO is so proud to be granting illegal software patents in Europe; this clear abuse of authority can come back to bite it in the rear


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