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

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

What Else is New


  1. 2018 Will be an Even Worse Year for Software Patents Because the US Supreme Court Shields Alice

    The latest picks (reviewed cases) of the Supreme Court of the United States signal another year with little or no hope for the software patents lobby; PTAB too is expected to endure after a record-breaking year, in which it invalidated a lot of software patents that had been erroneously granted



  2. Patent Trolls (Euphemised as “Public IP Companies”) Are Dying in the United States, But the Trouble Isn't Over

    The demise of various types of patent trolls, including publicly-traded trolls, is good news; but we take stock of the latest developments in order to better assess the remaining threat



  3. EPO Management and Team UPC Carry on Lying About Unified Patent Court, Sinking to New Lows in the Process

    At a loss for words over the loss of the Unitary Patent, Team UPC and Team Battistelli now blatantly lie and even get together with professional liars such as Watchtroll



  4. China Tightens Its Knot of Restrictive Rules and Patents

    Overzealous patent aggressors and patent trolls in China, in addition to an explosion in low-quality patents, may simply discourage companies from doing production/manufacturing there



  5. Microsoft's Patent Racket Has Just Been Broadened to Threaten GNU/Linux Users Who Don't Pay Microsoft 'Rents'

    Microsoft revisits its aggressive patent strategy which it failed to properly implement 12 years ago with Novell; it wants to 'collect' a patent tax on GNU/Linux and it uses patent trolls to make that easier



  6. EPO Scandals Played a Considerable Role in Sinking the Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    Today's press coverage about the UPC reinforces the idea that the EPO saga, culminating in despicable attacks on Patrick Corcoran (a judge), may doom the UPC once and for all (unless one believes Team UPC)



  7. J Nicholas Gross Thinks Professors Stop Being Professors If They're Not Patent Extremists Like Him

    The below-the-belt tactics of patent trolls and their allies show no signs of abatement and their tone reveals growing irritation and frustration (inability to sue and extort companies as easily as they used to)



  8. The US Supreme Court Has Just Denied Another Chance to Deal With a Case Similar to Alice (Potentially Impacting § 101)

    There is no sign that software patents will be rendered worthwhile any time in the near future, but proponents of software patents don't give up



  9. Litigation Roundup: Nintendo, TiVo, Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Philips, UMC

    The latest high-profile legal battles, spanning a growing number of nations and increasingly representing a political shift as well



  10. Roundup of Patent News From Canada, South America and Australia

    A few bits and pieces of news from around the world, serving to highlight patent trends in parts of the world where the patent offices haven't much international clout/impact



  11. Links 15/1/2018: Linux 4.15 RC8, Wine 3.0 RC6

    Links for the day



  12. PTAB is Being Demeaned, But Only by the Very Entities One Ought to Expect (Because They Hate Patent Justice/Quality)

    The latest rants/scorn against PTAB -- leaning on cases such as Wi-Fi One v Broadcom or entities like Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Apple etc. -- are all coming from firms and people who profit from low-quality patents



  13. If Ericsson and Its Patent Trolls (Like Avanci and Unwired Planet) Cannot Make It, the Patent Microcosm Will Perish

    The demise of patent-asserting/patent assertion business models (trolling or enforcement by proxy) may see front groups/media supportive of it diminishing as well; this appears to be happening already



  14. European Patent Office Causes Physical Harm to Employees, Then Fires Them

    Another one (among many) EPO documents about the alarming physical wellbeing of EPO employees and the management’s attitude towards the issue



  15. Battistelli Was Always (Right From the Start and Since Candidacy) All About Money

    “I have always admired creative people, inventors, those who, through their passion and their work, bring about scientific progress or artistic evolution. I was not blessed with such talent myself,” explained the EPO‘s President when pursuing his current job (for which he was barely qualified and probably not eligible because of his political work)



  16. “Under the Intergovernmental EPC System It is Difficult to Speak of a Functional Separation of Powers”

    An illustration of the glaring deficiency that now prevails and cannot be tolerated as long as the goal is to ensure democratic functionality; absence of the role of Separation of Powers (or Rule of Law) at the EPO is evident now that Battistelli not only controls the Council (using EPO budget) but also blatantly attacks the independence of the Boards of Appeal



  17. The Patent Microcosm Thinks It's Wonderful That IP3 is Selling Stupid Patents, Ignores Far More Important News

    IP3, which we've always considered to be nothing but a parasite, does what it does best and those who love stupid patents consider it to be some sort of victory



  18. Automotives, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 Among the Buzz Terms Used to Bypass Alice and the EPC Nowadays

    In order to make prior art search a lot harder and in order to make software patents look legitimate (even in various courtrooms) the patent microcosm and greedy patent offices embrace buzzwords



  19. Blockchain Becomes the Target Not Only of Financial Institutions With Software Patents But Also Trolls

    Blockchain software, which is growing in importance and has become ubiquitous in various domains other than finance, is perceived as an opportunity for disruption and also patent litigation; CNBC continues to publish puff pieces for Erich Spangenberg (amid stockpiling of such patents)



  20. EPC Foresaw the Administrative Council Overseeing the Patent Office, Jesper Kongstad Made It “Working Together”

    An old open letter from the EPO shows the famous moment when Jesper Kongstad and Battistelli came up with a plan to empower both, rendering the Administrative Council almost subservient to the Office (complete inversion of the desired topology)



  21. 2010: Blaming the Messenger (SUEPO) for Staff Unhappiness at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Tactics of SUEPO (EPO union) blaming go further back than Battistelli and can be found in the previous administration as well



  22. 2010: Deterioration of Working Conditions (e.g. Office Space) for EPO Staff

    Old EPO proposals which suggested the reduction of office space for EPO staff (among other things) — something which later happened to DG3, following the ‘exile’ to Haar



  23. Budget at the EPO Decided Before Consultation

    An old consultation meeting (GAC) at the EPO coincided with a meeting (MAC) which is perceived as ignoring the actual consultation — something which clearly should not be happening



  24. Less Than Half a Year in the Job, Battistelli Already Disobeys/Disregards Rulings From ILO's Tribunal

    As EPO President, Battistelli shows poor comprehension or lack of respect for the rule of law just months after taking the job



  25. Only Half a Year in the Job, Battistelli Breaks EPO Nomination Rules

    oing back to the dawn of the Battistelli era, irregularities appear very early on



  26. Patent Troll Finjan Manages to Defend a Patent (on Appeal) and the Trolls' Lobby is Loving It

    Blue Coat (now owned by Symantec) has attempted — and failed — to invalidate all of Finjan’s patents using Section 101/Alice; those who are in the business of trolling view that as particularly good news because the judgment came from Timothy Dyk and Todd Hughes (much younger and appointed a few years ago)



  27. Top Rank at USPTO Goes to the Biggest Patent Bully, IBM

    With 2017 figures coming to light (and to the mainstream/corporate media), we scrutinise what has received the most attention and why it's detrimental to the reputation of the US patent system



  28. Dr. Derk Visser's Book About the European Patent Convention (EPC) Explains What Battistelli Has Done

    With quality of European Patents (EPs) and of EPO staff in rapid decline if not a freefall, we look back at the best-selling book from Visser, who warned that the Council/Organisation and the Office would "have other priorities than the role of law" if the Boards don't enjoy true independence (which they no longer do)



  29. Late on a Friday is a Good Time to Spread Misinformation About Unified Patent Court (UPC) Without Being Challenged

    The new document from Winfried Tilmann et al (Team UPC) is being defended by Team UPC not only by publicly attacking UPC critics (like the complainant) but also blogs critical of the UPC



  30. The Patent Trolls' Lobby is Happy That Rep. Darrell Issa is Leaving Because He Fought Against Patent Trolls

    Darrell Issa, a man of patent reform in the United States, seems to be ending his political career and patent parasites are jubilant about it


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