EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.03.18

Microsoft-Connected Trolls Like Finjan Are Still Blackmailing Companies That Compete With Microsoft

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Phil Hartstein
Phil Hartstein, CEO of Finjan (Photo credit: Courtesy), via Times of Israel

Summary: Finjan, a patent troll which pretends to be a legitimate company, continues to shake down legitimate companies for their cash and TC Heartland is currently the best available legal instrument for curtailing patent trolls (litigious tourism)

THERE IS a profound issue when the USPTO grants software patents (it doesn’t happen so much anymore) or allows mass reassignment of patents. One particular patent troll, Finjan which is Microsoft-connected and buys patents of other companies in order to bolster the trolling (Microsoft does plenty of that these days), successfully blackmails a real company right after Christmas and then it falsely frames it as “cross-licensing” (whilst hiding the sum paid as ‘protection’ money by the company, FireEye). It’s partly a publicity stunt we suppose; there are many ongoing cases which this troll initiated against similar companies and it wants those companies too to ‘settle’ (pay ‘protection’ money). From its press release:

Finjan Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:FNJN) and FireEye, Inc. (NASDAQ:FEYE) today announced they entered into Confidential Patent License Agreements on December 29, 2017, whereby the companies resolved all pending litigation matters and granted each other cross-licenses going forward.

Finjan is such a disgusting troll that even former staff/advisers link to Techrights and publicly berate Finjan (which previously paid them a salary). The press (as in mainstream media) barely covers this and the press release is so misleading that we suppose FireEye was forced to go along with it…

Microsoft does the same thing; it blackmails companies and then, as part of the settlement, it’s agreed that they will paint the whole thing as amicable. What a load of nonsense. Classic trolling!

What can be done to stop trolling? Well, it may be some time before they’re altogether eliminated. Some trolls are so large that they are publicly-traded. One such troll is InterDigital, which was mentioned here last year and most past years, e.g. [1, 2]. Andy Nguyen wrote a fiscal analysis of it, soon to be cited by another troll (Dominion Harbor). It happened just the other day (one troll bragging about another patent troll, InterDigital). Nguyen said:

I’ve put together a small checklist, which I believe provides a ballpark estimate of their financial health status.

Not a single word is said about what InterDigital actually does. It doesn’t really do anything. It’s a troll. It’s a litigation and patent aggression entity.

Anyway, help may be on the way. TC Heartland already limits the operating space of trolls. It restricts their movement. The Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA), according to this, already spins this trolls ‘killer’. As we noted on the last day of last year, the case 'kills' many trolls and they expect to discuss that a week from now:

The Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA) will be offering a program on “The Ramifications of TC Heartland and Recent Decisions About Venue in Patent Cases” on January 10, 2018 from 1:00 pm to 2:15 pm (EST) at the FCBA office in Washington, DC. Andew R. Sommer of Winston & Strawn LLP will moderate a panel consisting of Gregory A. Castanias of Jones Day, Douglas A. Cawley of McKool Smith, Tara D. Elliot of WilmerHale, Richard Rainey of Covington, and Jen Yokoyama, Senior Counsel, Apple Inc. The panel will explore the Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands and the Federal Circuit’s decisions in In re Cray and In re Micron and how these decisions are shifting the patent litigation landscape. The panel will also discuss the shift of cases out of Texas and the increase in filings in Delaware, and explore how practice before the district courts has changed in light of TC Heartland.

Notice how many of these represent trolls (e.g. McKool Smith). Expect this to be an echo chamber of trolls/troll apologists and foes of TC Heartland. Quite frankly as usual…

Then there are judges like Gilstrap, which is an utter disgrace to his occupation, not just because he’s pro-patent trolls and a patents maximalist but because he’s against justice itself (he famously disregards the law and even rulings from the Supreme Court because, according to him, what matters is that he just brings money for his district, which currently depends on attracting trolls). Suffice to say, Gilstrap ignores TC Heartland too and it got pretty serious last year. Politicians are berating Gilstrap and even scolding (calling him “reprehensible”).

According to this first post of the year from Patently-O, there are still attempts to identify and exploit ambiguity in TC Heartland:

I previously wrote about Judge Gilstrap’s decision in BigCommerce and the somewhat complex issue of venue in multi-district states. Even though BigCommerce is a Texas corporation, it argues that venue is improper in E.D.Tex. because the company HQ is in Austin (S.D.Tex.). Judge Gilstrap disagreed and now Mark Lemley and his team have filed a petition for writ of mandamus to the Federal Circuit.

[...]

The law of Stonite: In Stonite the Supreme Court was interpreting a prior version of 1400(b), but confirmed that “an inhabitant of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania” could not be sued for patent infringement in the “in the Western District of that State” without a “regular and established place of business” in that Western District. As I previously wrote, a major “problem with Stonite is its cryptic language and that the prior statute used the word ‘inhabitant’ instead of ‘resident.’”

We are still wishing and hoping that the patent system will have patents enforced only in districts that are relevant and only by entities which actually make something (other than litigation). Patents, after all, were justified as facilitators of innovation by information sharing, not as a tool of extortion used by opportunists who never invented anything (other than methods for squeezing patents for money, usually by threatening the most vulnerable).

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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 18/9/2018: Qt 5.12 Alpha , MAAS 2.5.0 Beta, PostgreSQL CoC

    Links for the day



  2. Today's European Patent Office (EPO) Works for Large, Foreign Pharmaceutical Companies in Pursuit of Patents on Nature, Life, and Essential/Basic Drugs

    The never-ending insanity which is patents on DNA/genome/genetics and all sorts of basic things that are put together like a recipe in a restaurant; patents are no longer covering actual machinery that accomplishes unique tasks in complicated ways, typically assembled from scratch by humans; some supposed 'inventions' are merely born into existence by the natural splitting of organisms or conception (e.g. pregnancy)



  3. The EPO Has Quit Pretending That It Cares About Patent Quality, All It Cares About is Quantity of Lawsuits

    A new interview with Roberta Romano-Götsch, as well as the EPO's promotion of software patents alongside CIPA (Team UPC), is an indication that the EPO has ceased caring about quality and hardly even pretends to care anymore



  4. Qualcomm's Escalating Patent Wars Have Already Caused Massive Buybacks (Loss of Reserves) and Loss of Massive Clients

    Qualcomm's multi-continental patent battles are an effort to 'shock and awe' everyone into its protection racket; but the unintended effect seems to be a move further and further away from 'Qualcomm territories'



  5. Links 17/9/2018: Torvalds Takes a Break, SQLite 3.25.0 Released

    Links for the day



  6. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Helps Prevent Frivolous Software Patent Lawsuits

    PTAB with its quality-improving inter partes reviews (IPRs) is enraging patent maximalists; but by looking to work around it or weaken it they will simply reduce the confidence associated with US patents



  7. Abstract Patents (Things One Can Do With Pen and Paper, Sometimes an Abacus) Are a Waste of Money as Courts Disregard Them

    A quick roundup of patents and lawsuits at the heart of which there's little or no substance; 35 U.S.C. § 101 renders these moot



  8. “Blockchain” Hype and “FinTech”-Like Buzzwords Usher in Software Patents Everywhere, Even Where Such Patents Are Obviously Bunk

    Not only the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) embraces the "blockchain" hype; business methods and algorithms are being granted patent 'protection' (exclusivity) which would likely be disputed by the courts (if that ever reaches the courts)



  9. Qualcomm's Patent Aggression Threatens Rationality of Patent Scope in Europe and Elsewhere

    Qualcomm's dependence on patent taxes (so-called 'royalties' associated with physical devices which it doesn't even make) highlights the dangers now known; the patent thicket has grown too "thick"



  10. Months After Oil States the Patent Maximalists Are Still Desperate to Crush PTAB in the Courts, Not Just in Congress and the Office

    Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) improve patent quality and are therefore a threat to those who profit from spurious feuding and litigation; they try anything they can to turn things around



  11. IAM, Watchtroll and the EPO Still Spread the Mentality of Patent Maximalism

    The misguided idea that the objective (overall) should be to grant as many monopolies as possible (to spur a lot of litigation) isn't being challenged in echo chamber 'events', set up and sponsored by think tanks and pressure groups of the litigation 'industry'



  12. Watchtroll and Other Proponents of Patent Trolls Are Trying to Change the Law Outside the Courts in Order to Bypass Patent Justice

    35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) voids almost every software patent — a reality that even the most zealous patent professionals have come to grips with and their way of tackling this ‘problem’ is legislative, albeit nowhere near successful (so far)



  13. Links 16/9/2018: Windows Plays 'Nice' Again, Elisa Music Player 0.3 Beta and Latte Dock 0.8.1

    Links for the day



  14. Slamming Courts and Judges Won't Help the Patent Maximalists; It Can Only Make Things Worse

    Acorda Therapeutics sees its stock price dropping 25% after finding out that its patent portfolio isn't solid, as affirmed by the Federal Circuitn(CAFC); the only way out of this mess is a pursuit of a vastly improved patent quality, thorough patent examination which then offers legal certainty



  15. Patent Trolls Are Still Active and Microsoft is Closely Connected to Many of Them

    A roundup of patent trolls' actions in the United States; Microsoft is connected to a notably high number of these



  16. Advancements in Automobile Technology Won't be Possible With Patent Maximalism

    Advancements in the development of vehicles are being discouraged by a thicket of patents as dumb (and likely invalid) as claims on algorithms and mere shapes



  17. Battistelli “Has Deeply Hurt the Whole Patent Profession, Examiners as Well as Agents” and Also the Image of France

    A French perspective regarding Battistelli's reign at the EPO, which has not really ended but manifests itself or 'metastasises' through colleagues of Battistelli (whom he chose) and another French President (whom he also chose)



  18. António Campinos Needs to Listen to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) et al to Salvage What's Left of Public Consent for the EPO

    Groups including Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Médecins du Monde (MdM) have attempted to explain to the EPO, with notoriously French-dominated leadership, that it’s a mistake to work for Gilead at the expense of the public; but António Campinos is just another patent maximalist



  19. The Max Planck Institute's Determination on UPC's (Unitary Patent) Demise is Only “Controversial” in the Eyes of Rabid Members of Team UPC

    Bristows keeps lying like Battistelli; that it calls a new paper "controversial" without providing any evidence of a controversy says a lot about Bristows LLP, both as a firm and the individuals who make up the firm (they would not be honest with their clients, either)



  20. Links 15/9/2018: Wine 3.16, Overwatch's GNU/Linux (Wine) 'Ban', New Fedora 28 Build, and Fedora 29 Beta Delay

    Links for the day



  21. Max Planck Institute Pours More Water on the Dying Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Max Planck Institute gives another sobering reality check for Team UPC to chew on; there's still no sign of any progress whatsoever for the UPC because even Team UPC appears to have given up and moved on



  22. EPO Seals Many Death Sentences With Acceptance of EP 2604620

    Very disappointing news as EP 2604620 withstands scrutiny, assuring that a lot of poor people will not receive much-needed, life-saving treatments



  23. Links 13/9/2018: Compiz Comeback, 'Life is Strange: Before the Storm'

    Links for the day



  24. Now We Have Patents on Rooms. Yes, Rooms!

    The shallow level of what nowadays constitutes "innovation" and merits getting a patent for a couple of decades



  25. EPO Granted a Controversial European Patent (Under Battistelli) Which May Literally Kill a Lot of People

    The EPO (together with CIPA) keeps promoting software patents; patents that are being granted by the EPO literally put lives at risk and have probably already cost a lot of lives



  26. Links 13/9/2018: Parrot 4.2.2, Sailfish OS Nurmonjoki, Eelo Beta

    Links for the day



  27. Patents on Life at the EPO Are a Symptom of Declining Patent Quality

    When even life and natural phenomena are deemed worthy of a private monopoly it seems clear that the sole goal has become patenting rather than advancement of science and technology; media that's controlled by the patent 'industry', however, fails to acknowledge this and plays along with privateers of nature



  28. Defending the World's Most Notorious Patent Trolls in an Effort to Smear the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is an Utterly Poor Strategy

    The 'case' for patent maximalism is very weak; those who spent years if not decades promoting patent maximalism have resorted to attacks on judges, to defense of trolls like Intellectual Ventures, defense of patent scams, and ridiculous attempts to call victims of patent trolls "trolls"



  29. The Belated Demise of Propaganda Sites of the Litigation 'Industry'

    Sites that promote the interests of Big Litigation (patent trolls, patent law firms etc.) are ebbing away; in the process they still mothball the facts and push propaganda instead



  30. Links 11/9/2018: OpenSSL 1.1.1, Alpine Linux 3.8.1, Copyright Fight in EU

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts