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02.27.18

East Asia — Mainland China in Particular — Already Becoming a Victim of Its Patent Policy as Software Patent Trolls Prey on Producing Companies

Posted in Asia, Patents at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Neither bad decisions nor term limits can stop ‘Pooh the Bear’

Pooh the Bear

Summary: The highly misguided patent policy (disregarding quality control) has so far led to a saturation of patent trolls and a lot of predation which already drives LG out of China and might soon cause other companies (maybe Samsung) to do the same; the ‘MPEG cartel’, whose Western patents are expiring, is going on a fishing expedition in China

As many concerned observers have warned for number of years (us included), China is becoming a haven for patent trolls. It has become friendly towards software patents and mass litigation (the EPO imitates this, whereas the USPTO goes in the opposite direction, which helps explain the surge of patent trolls in Europe — even before a UPC-like regime — and their demise in the US).

Some hours ago IAM said that large companies are becoming prime targets of Chinese patent trolls (IAM did not use the term “patent trolls” because it’s a denialist, paid by the ‘industry’ that stands to benefit from such denials). To quote:

Last November, IAM reported that Samsung Electronics, already locked in a high-stakes litigation battle with Huawei, was also facing multiple NPE suits in Chinese courts. One of the NPE plaintiffs was Shenzhen Dunjun Technology, and it was asserting a patent originally assigned to none other than Huawei. A search of Chinese court rulings reveals that this suit was not necessarily a one-off connected to the Samsung-Huawei dispute. Dunjun’s assertions go back several years, and include very large companies, both foreign and domestic.

According to an article published in the Chinese media, Dunjun is a licensing company set up in 2014, whose executive team includes former employees of Huawei, Foxconn and other technology companies with a major presence in the Shenzhen area. The assignments record shows that the company acquired several patents from Huawei during the summer of 2015. Beyond that transaction it is unclear whether Dunjun has any kind of ongoing relationship with Huawei.

This is the kind of thing which China possibly hopes will drive away foreign competitors. Perhaps that was all along the strategy of Pooh the Bear.

IAM is of course delighted; remember who IAM fronts for!

“A very positive step in China for Fraunhofer,” IAM wrote earlier about the MPEG-LA cabal getting revenue from China (we wrote about it this morning). Huawei has already come under attack from Microsoft-connected trolls and now this? “Via Licensing and Sisvel announced remarkably similar multi-generation SEP licensing programmes yesterday,” IAM added. “Press releases just 33 minutes apart… coincidence?”

Sisvel is a bully, not just an enforcer for trolls. Here’s the press release in question:

Via Licensing, the leading provider of intellectual property solutions, announced today that it is launching a new multi-generational licensing program for wireless technologies. The program offers one of the largest combined cellular standard-essential patent portfolios for licensing connected devices, including smartphones, tablet computers, connected motor vehicles and other IoT devices.

Via is Taiwanese and Via Licensing licences MPEG-2 AAC, MPEG-4 etc.

What’s interesting about all this is that acceptance of software patents in Asia seems to be having a ripple effect even at a time when many MPEG patents expire. Those were, without exception, software patents.

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