11.04.17

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The Patent Trolls’ Lobby Advocates More and More Patent Lawsuits (Litigation ‘Industry’ Profits)

Posted in America, Apple, Europe, Patents at 11:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gene Quinn

Summary: Trolls’ ‘front groups’ such as IAM and Watchtroll would have us believe that without patent Armageddon we’ll be worse off, but the very opposite is true

Patent radicals want an ‘industry’ of patents and lawsuits rather than actual products. It’s quite revealing what agenda they’re pursuing. The other day Watchtroll put a slant on a controversial FOSS licence. It is appalling. The patent trolls’ lobby (Watchtroll is a key part of it) shows very poor taste. Actual production/development they now dub “efficient infringement” and they ask: “What kind of lawsuits did Facebook find to be frivolous ones? Well, pretty much any lawsuit including a claim for patent infringement…”

“The patent trolls’ lobby (Watchtroll is a key part of it) shows very poor taste. Actual production/development they now dub “efficient infringement”…”As if lawsuits, by definition, are a desirable thing. They’re not. They’re a last resort and better off avoided in the area of software (except when copyrights are involved and differences cannot be settled amicably). On another day Watchtroll published this piece titled “Patent-Based Financings: Unlocking Licensing Revenues While Mitigating IP Monetization Risks” (a pile of nonsensical euphemisms from Michael Gulliford, Fatih Ozluturk , Salomon Kamalodine and Michael Guzman). They say “[p]atent monetization has become nearly impossible for middle-market technology companies without engaging in some level of legal action.”

Well, legal actions too — especially in the area of software — turn out to be a waste of time, money, and productivity.

“As if lawsuits, by definition, are a desirable thing. They’re not.”What else have they got? Snap/quick injunctions? Blackmail by financial sanctions?

TiVo, which uses patents for embargo wars through the International [sic] Trade Commission (ITC), has just managed to get “licensing” deals with a bunch of large firms. As Fierce Cable put it a few days ago:

TiVo said that it has signed patent-licensing agreements with AT&T, Liberty Global and Sony for Sony’s PlayStation Vue service. However, the company’s patent-licensing battle with Comcast remains ongoing, though TiVo executives said they expect the International Trade Commission (ITC) to issue a definitive ruling on the issue by Thursday of next week.

[...]

Nonetheless, TiVo’s Carson said yesterday that the company remains hopeful that the ITC will issue a final ruling that would require Comcast to become a TiVo licensee. “We remain hopeful that the ITC will affirm the key aspects from the initial determination, including the exclusion order barring Comcast from importing infringing products,” he said.

So basically, they use the threats of embargo to extract money. The EPO is pursuing something similar with the UPC. Boards (as in appeal boards) are being marginalised and costly litigation is seen as the only way forward. To quote a new comment regarding the Boards:

In older days, in Germany, equivalents were considered under the heading novelty. At least in EPO practice, equivalents are excluded when it comes to novelty. And that is why we have a coherent set of case law from the Boards.

I dare think of the consequences if this would not be any longer the case. Then the all set of decisions of the BA on novelty, priority, added matter would become obsolete.

Where would we end with the certainty presently found in the case law of the Boards being put aside?

Now that the Boards have been set aside (in Haar) we can expect the likes of TiVo to proceed to litigation with low-quality (and sometimes software) patents. Will embargo attempts come? We are already seeing it in Germany. Trolls’ activity is soaring there.

We have already named other firms that are doing what TiVo likes to do. Recently, Qualcomm and Cisco did that. Apple and Arista were their targets of embargo, respectively. Who benefits from such embargoes? Certainly not the public. Apple, for its own part, has done things similarly to Qualcomm. This Web site which exists only to glorify and adore Apple’s patents (which are typically nonsense) shows some of Apple’s latest stockpiling. Who will Apple target next (as sales of its key products gradually diminish)?

“Who will Apple target next (as sales of its key products gradually diminish)?”We remain worried that the influence of the US patent microcosm is spreading to Europe (our previous post was a reminder of that). Here in Europe software patents are already being granted by the EPO; they just get framed as “hardware”. It’s not a new trick. “CrossLayer™ technology enables software and hardware ecosystems to be deployed on-site at the building,” this press release said a few days ago. They also use buzzwords like “cloud” (in the headline) and they basically brag about a patent application. That’s the sole purpose of this press release.

Sooner or later, if granted a patent in Europe, they could become another TiVo, i.e. a serial litigator.

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