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12.23.17

Ericsson and Microsoft-Led Nokia Crush Companies That Make Phones With Linux, BlackBerry Becomes Litigation Firm

Posted in Apple, Asia, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 2:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia used to make phones, now it’s just doing Microsoft's 'Jihad' in the dark (back room)

Nokia light

Summary: With an abundance of software patents which target ‘apps’ or designs of phones, companies that no longer make phones (or barely sell any) go preying on those who do, Huawei being one of the latest victims (it will hereon pay Nokia ‘protection’ money)

THE MOBILE industry is no fun. It’s not fun anymore. Not for developers anyway. Too many patents, too many lawsuits, too many threats of lawsuits. Over the years we wrote about ‘censorship’ of many so-called ‘apps’ using mere threats of patent litigation; some software developers just pack up and run away. They stop distributing their software due to software patents and aggressive entities (not always patent trolls). A lot of these stories are untold because telling them out in public can lead to retaliation; it’s no secret that patent extortion is often accompanied by/laced with some kind of ‘gag orders’; the same goes for NDAs as it goes for ‘silence money’. Sometimes one party is forced to congratulate the extortionist with a press release (as part of the settlement). It ain’t pretty. I heard stories. Some people phone me. I can’t quite tell all the stories I’ve heard; not without omitting names (people’s and firms’), which would render articles pretty vague and thus worthless.

“Sometimes one party is forced to congratulate the extortionist with a press release (as part of the settlement).”A few days ago the FFII’s President caught this couple of tweets [1, 2] from Matt Larson‏, who is quite knowledgeable in this area. The article is restricted in terms of access, but the gist goes like this: “Judge Selna’s TCL-Ericsson FRAND patent licensing decision is out. Slashes Ericsson’s offered rates, awards $16M for TCL unlicensed sales from 2007-2015. Notes available on @TheTerminal [...] Decision covers Ericsson’s portfolio of patents deemed essential to 2G, 3G, 4G standards. Wild divergence from last week’s $75 million jury verdict for TCL’s infringement of a single Ericsson patent.”

You read that tight. One single patent, $75,000,000 in a jury verdict. There’s also no way around such patents (in standards). One must pay to ‘play’. Where does that leave small and vulnerable companies?

As we have shown here many times before, Ericsson and its various proxies worldwide (it uses several trolls) are running after a lot of companies, demanding ‘protection’ money from several directions at once. It’s patent stacking and it has even come to London. Now that Microsoft has turned Nokia into a patent troll (which typically preys on Linux and Android), we are seeing similar strategies from Nokia. So one ends up paying lots of money to a Swedish company and a Finnish company which barely make any phones anymore. Ain’t that just lovely?

“Mind the date on the press release. Nokia did it last Christmas as well (against Apple); it does the trolling just before or during Christmas in order to dodge negative publicity.”“Nokia-planP is happening,” the FFII’s President wrote the other day, “they have morphed in a patent troll going after Huawei now…”

“PlanP” is a domain name he once registered (it was part of an Internet-wide joke at the time) and the P stands for “patents”. What he (Benjamin Henrion of Belgium) is alluding to is this press release nobody bothers writing about. Mind the date on the press release. Nokia did it last Christmas as well (against Apple); it does the trolling just before or during Christmas in order to dodge negative publicity. Nokia’s press release (control of narrative, as part of the settlement) says this:

While details of the license agreement remain confidential, Nokia will follow its existing practices for disclosing patent licensing revenue in its quarterly financial reports and expects that revenue for the agreement will begin to be recognized in the fourth quarter of 2017, including an element of non-recurring catch-up revenue, with additional revenues expected during the term of the agreement.

From the above it’s implied that Huawei, one of the world’s largest Android OEMs (and also one of China’s largest companies), will pay Nokia ‘protection’ money. Microsoft long pursued this kind of ‘protection’ money from Huawei, but it never quite got it. The media wrote about several years ago. Huawei was one of the very few companies that stood up to Microsoft, but a Microsoft-infiltrated Nokia has just managed to put a ‘tax’ on Android at Huawei. Bad day for Linux enthusiasts (the few who actually noticed this).

Expect Microsoft and its proxies to never rest until they tax all Android OEMs, extracting billions of dollars from them (per annum) without lifting a finger! It will be done from numerous directions simultaneously, hence patent stacking. It’s a legal term, but it’s a potentially illegal practice.

“Expect Microsoft and its proxies to never rest until they tax all Android OEMs, extracting billions of dollars from them (per annum) without lifting a finger!”According to some other news, including this Interview with George Brostoff (SensibleVision), more legal action may be on the way. “OnePlus Could Be Sued For Face Unlock Patent Infringement,” said this headline this weekend and days prior to it there was a lot more coverage [1, 2, 3]. Since then (Thursday/Friday) more reports like these have emerged (almost a dozen, primarily in Android or Indian sites) and it certainly looks like SensibleVision will be choking/trolling Linux/Android. Where does this end? These are software patents. A “face unlock feature” is so basic a concept (pertaining to computer vision, which is software too) that courts are likely to reject a patent on it. So who does SensibleVision want to go after? Little OnePlus. Not a large company like Huawei…

“BlackBerry’s strategy is to shake down real companies that really sell something. It’s a shakedown (some would say “trolling”) strategy. Just like Microsoft, Nokia, and Ericsson.”Speaking of large companies, BlackBerry was a large player before it turned into somewhat of a patent troll. According to Indian media (still active around Christmas time), BlackBerry made $50,000,000 from threatening to sue companies. “Revenue from intellectual property and licensing surged 67 percent to $50 million,” it says. “A jump in that category had provided an unexpected boost to second-quarter earnings…”

BlackBerry used to have a turnover of tens of billions, so how much of a ‘victory’ is this? Does BlackBerry envision itself as a litigation firm? As Forbes put it 2 days ago (in the headline) “IP Licensing Drive BlackBerry’s Q3″.

So they too are a parasite now. BlackBerry’s strategy is to shake down real companies that really sell something. It’s a shakedown (some would say “trolling”) strategy. Just like Microsoft, Nokia, and Ericsson.

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