10.07.17

Patent Trolls to Watch Out For: ZiiLabs, VLSI Technology LLC, and AlphaCap Ventures

Posted in Patents at 4:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Eagles watching the circling vultures

Eagle

Summary: Roundup of news about patent trolls which actively pursue ‘protection’ money and are already filing lawsuits in the US

IN an effort to keep abreast of broad and potentially complex networks of trolls we habitually document who does what and where (or who for). Many trolls simply act as proxies or satellites for another entity. Some change names. We strive to keep these things documented and sites that are friendly to trolls often drop hints about what goes on (because they try to promote or help the trolls, not expose them). One such site is IAM, which is close to Intellectual Ventures, a Microsoft-connected troll with literally thousands of proxies.

The other day IAM wrote about RPX and ZiiLabs, a trolling proxy of Creative. We mentioned it before, as far back as 5 years, then again last year and earlier this year. We also wrote many articles about Creative. Like other companies that thrived/peaked back in the 1990s and then faltered, their patents approach their expiry date so they try hard to make the most out of these, i.e. litigation.

Singapore continues to yield patent trolls such as Creative — a cause for concern in an otherwise strong economy. Here’s the latest:

Back in July, RPX announced a deal with ZiiLabs – a subsidiary of Singapore’s Creative Technology – which halted US patent infringement litigation against seven defendants, at least some of whom are members of the aggregation service. As part of the agreement, ZiiLabs assigned an unspecified number of patent rights to RPX.

At the time, this blog speculated on just what the bounds of the deal were, and how much room it would leave ZiiLabs to continue to monetise the patent portfolio it acquired as part of a 2002 buyout of chip designer 3DLabs. A new lawsuit filed in the district court in Delaware against Nvidia answers some of those questions. And it seems to suggest that ZiiLabs and parent Creative are set to remain Southeast Asia’s key patent player.

As we pointed out earlier this year, Creative is now targeting Android OEMs. It’s a real menace. Creative barely sells anything anymore and its patents have become nothing but a burden/yoke on society.

There’s another IAM blog post, this one about VLSI Technology LLC (which, as the name suggests, is likely just a troll). Fortress was mentioned here at the end of last month and it seems to be behind this troll. To quote:

Earlier this week a patent infringement lawsuit was filed against Intel in district court in Northern California by a company called VLSI Technology LLC. The chip giant stands accused of infringing eight VLSI patents which relate to semiconductor and microprocessor technology and all of which originated with NXP Semiconductors or Freescale Semiconductor (which was bought by NXP in 2015).

According to the court filing VLSI owns a portfolio of 160 US and foreign patents which cover “a wide variety of technologies, including integrated circuit technology”. It appears to take its name from a Silicon Valley business that was set up in the early 1980s and was ultimately acquired by Philips in 1999. A check of the USPTO assignment database shows that the company acquired the patents in a series of transactions dating back to August 2016.

So producing companies like Freescale or NXP end up looking like a Qualcomm and nothing good will come out of it. It’s just a bunch of trolls looking for a quick buck.

The EFF, in the meantime, ousts a new case study about Alice and patent trolls. The death of software patents is nowadays celebrated by the EFF and here they reveal another troll which relies on these. “Generic patents for “crowdfunding” invalidated,” it wrote, “and a startup saved, thanks to Alice v. CLS Bank.”

It turns out that this troll went after just about everyone conceivable:

David S. Rose is a serial entrepreneur turned angel investor. He’s the founder and CEO of Gust, a company that connects startups with investors around the world. David has been in crowdfunding circles for as long as crowdfunding has existed, so imagine his surprise when a company claiming to own patents on crowdfunding demanded payment from Gust in order to keep doing business.

“It was ridiculous,” David says. “They were trying to claim a patent on the concept of online equity funding.” AlphaCap Ventures’ suite of patents—Nos. 7,848,976, 7,908,208, and 8,433,630—cover routine ideas like a website having profile pages for each of its users, applied to the worlds of venture capital and crowdfunding. “They sued the ten leading players in the industry,” David says. “AngelList, Kickstarter, all of them.” AlphaCap sued in the notoriously patent-owner-friendly Eastern District of Texas, despite the fact that AlphaCap was based in California and Gust in New York. As is often the case with patent trolls, AlphaCap appeared most interested in getting defendants to settle as quickly as possible.

Up until now AlphaCap has managed to maintain a relatively low profile although we mentioned it at the start of the year after it had lost in the Eastern District of Texas.

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

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2017/10/07/ziilabs-vlsi-technology-and-alphacap/

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. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 22, 2021



  2. Links 22/4/2021: virt-viewer 10.0, PipeWire 0.3.26, LibreELEC (Matrix) 10.0 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  3. Links 22/4/2021: Ubuntu Release, KDE Gear 21.04, GNU/Linux on MacBooks

    Links for the day



  4. GNU/Linux Turns 38 This Year, But the (Partly) Microsoft-Led Linux Foundation Wants You to Think It's Only 30 and a Good Friend of Microsoft

    What the Linux Foundation calls “Linux” (as its PR staff members refer to it in their new press release) is 38 years old, not 30. “Open Source” as a term did not formally exist yet, so this latest waffle makes no sense at all (the press release keeps mentioning a term that’s designed to attack and replace the original). But it’s part of a broader pattern of deception, attacking software freedom and pretending GNU never existed. Did money corrupt everything and is it too late to salvage truth, let alone freedom?



  5. Richard Stallman on Paid Smear Campaigns

    Dr. Richard Stallman on people who lie about him online (4 years after the older campaign of hate and distortion and half a decade before the current one, coordinated by groups funded by monopolies that dislike GPL)



  6. Links 22/4/2021: Grafana Goes for AGPLv3, Godot 3.3 Released, Mesa 21.0.3 Available

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 21, 2021



  8. Behind the Curtains of Cheap and Cheesy PR the EPO is a Machine of Oppression (Against Its Very Own Staff), Tribunal to Rule on Strike Busting

    The laughable regime of Campinos is a naked emperor with nothing but diplomatic immunity (almost not a single member of staff trusts the President) and the PR strategic front is becoming worse than pathetic; it's like the place is run by infantile career-climbing sociopaths with no qualifications, trying to weaponise a sea of money against staff, inquisitive media, and states (by bribing them or hiring lawyers to intimidate/bankrupt them); while the EPO still swims in money its reputation drowns too quickly to ever resurface, recover



  9. Links 21/4/2021: University of Minnesota Blacklisted Over Defects, Red Hat Satellite 6.9 is Out

    Links for the day



  10. Links 21/4/2021: VirtualBox 6.1.20, GCC 11.1 Release Candidate, Nginx 1.20.0

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 20, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, April 20, 2021



  12. Some People Who Asked to Be Removed From the Slanderous Hate Letter Against the FSF Are Still Being Denied Removal (But Not All)

    I am aware of some people (evidence is in the public domain for all to see) who asked to be removed from the hate list; their requests have not yet been processed, or simply denied. Maybe they should ask again. There are silent and selective changes.



  13. Overt Abuse and Mischaracterisations by Bully de Blanc

    The campaign to ruin the FSF and silence its founder, Richard M. Stallman (RMS), goes months prior to the hate letter set up by Bully de Blanc, her boss, and the Microsoft-sponsored OSI; they just attack the licence (GPL/copyleft) and they try to redefine things for the corporations which fund them



  14. According to StatCounter, This Month GNU/Linux Market Share on Desktops/Laptops Exceeded 2% (Based on Sites They Monitor)

    StatCounter does not monitor everything and not every machine connects to the Web, but in relative terms, based on the chart above, no doubt GNU/Linux continues growing relative to other operating systems (chart plotted based on the latest raw data, rendered in LibreOffice Calc)



  15. At the EPO, Lawlessness Has Become “a New Normal”

    Without as much as a real consultation with those who are impacted (by the EPO's gross infringements) the management of the EPO rushes ahead again, enjoying zero oversight, no legal review, and no accountability or scrutiny of any kind



  16. Links 20/4/2021: Tails 4.18 and Mark Surman in Mozilla's Board of Directors

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft as a Censorship Machine Working to Undermine Free Software and Code Sharing (Also Sharing in General)

    Microsoft is, as usual, a tool of destruction rather than creation; it seems to be better at ruining things and censoring things, notably things that compete against Microsoft or pose a threat to Microsoft's business model (and close partners, such as RIAA)



  18. Phoronix Needs to Exercise Caution and Stay Vigilant/Careful of Microsoft

    Taking note or lessons from the blunder of Raspberry Pi (back in February), Phoronix should be careful of Microsoft 'freebies' as they're never free and there are strings attached, destined to alienate longtime supporters



  19. IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 19, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, April 19, 2021



  20. Links 20/4/2021: EasyOS Dunfell 2.7.1, Phoronix Takes Microsoft 'Freebies', Microsoft Trying to Steal Credit for Linux on Mars

    Links for the day



  21. Richard Stallman on How UPC is a Trojan Horse for Software Patents in Europe

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, offers his analysis of the Unitary Patent (or UPC) and what it means for software patents in Europe now that the EPO increases its influence over continental law



  22. Technology Can Make Life Worse, Even in the Public Sector, Not Just the Private Sector

    There are growing concerns — increasingly justified concerns as a matter of fact — that customer service is universally going away and “COVID” has become the impenetrable shield or a cover in the face of facts, laws, and basic rights



  23. Links 19/4/2021: LibreSSL 3.3.2, OpenSSH 8.6, Firefox 88

    Links for the day



  24. Time to Move to Gemini, Wherever/Whenever Possible, as the World Wide Web is a Burden on Everybody

    A 30-minute rant about what the Web has become and the promise of gemini:// (designed to simplify everything, enable self-hosting, preserve privacy, and empower communities rather than military-connected monopolies)



  25. The Number of Signatures in the Anti-FSF Petition is Decreasing, Not Increasing

    A reader has notified Techrights that belatedly, perhaps where people’s job is at risk (we’ve heard of stories and situations wherein the employer’s view and a worker’s view diverge), the GNOME Foundation/OSI did in fact remove some people from the hate letter they had set up for their monopolistic sponsors. We do, however, still see some names in there of people who asked to be removed, so it must be a very selective process. They don’t want to lose face, so they must have made it very difficult to revoke one’s name. Exceptional circumstances? We have checked to confirm, based on the available archives, and indeed that number decreased since 10 days ago, whereas 6,415 people have thus far signed the support letter (it's still growing), so we’ve just re-plotted the chart.



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, April 18, 2021



  27. How Many People Developed GNU (Maybe Hundreds) in the 1980s

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains how code was managed and contributed in the early days of GNU



  28. Links 19/4/2021: Linux 5.12 RC8, GNU Poke 1.2, EndeavourOS 2021.04

    Links for the day



  29. Proprietary Software (BT Hub) Has Ruined My Whole Day

    While we did have some plans to publish long articles, those plans were curtailed or at least delayed due to the fact our sole device at home not to be controlled by us (a so-called 'Smart' Hub from BT) decided to break itself and by doing so bring productivity to a standstill (that firmware update, silently installed without notice or any form of consent, managed to screw with the local network)



  30. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, April 17, 2021


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