03.27.18

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More Litigation Ventures of Intellectual Ventures (Microsoft’s Patent Troll) Stopped by Unified Patents

Posted in Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recently on Unified Patents:

Summary: The latest news about Microsoft’s biggest and most vicious patent troll; OIN also reappears in the media, albeit it’s no solution to patent trolls

TEN years ago we indexed articles about Intellectual Ventures, having written about it for almost a dozen years. Intellectual Ventures isn’t just another patent troll because 1) it’s the world’s largest; 2) it’s operating through literally thousands of shells; 3) it originates in Microsoft and 4) it is still being funded by Microsoft, even when Microsoft keeps saying that it “loves Linux.”

A few days ago we wrote about Intellectual Ventures suing another Microsoft competitor (using ridiculous software patents that were granted by the USPTO). This is the type of thing which usually goes on behind closed doors and only when there’s no resolution behind closed doors the public finds out about it (lawsuits are public).

Thanks to Unified Patents, this Microsoft patent troll has just lost another patent — a patent it used to extort a lot of companies with, as named by Robert Jain in this post from yesterday:

On March 26, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board issued a final written decision in Unified Patents Inc. v. Intellectual Ventures I, LLC, IPR2016-01643 invalidating all challenged claims of U.S. Patent 6,775,745 owned and asserted by Intellectual Ventures I, LLC, a well-known NPE. The ’745 Patent, directed to a hybrid data caching mechanism, has been asserted in multiple litigations against several companies including EMC (Dell), Lenovo and NetApp. At the time of this decision, the litigation against these companies remains pending.

The lawsuits can soon be dropped hopefully; but there may be room for appeal (to CAFC). How many more victims will there be in the meantime and how can anyone carry on pretending that Microsoft has changed? It funded this troll as recently as about 2 years ago. Microsoft’s main man in this troll seized even more executive power in it.

Where are GNU/Linux vendors amid all this? Paid sufficiently by Microsoft for silence on the matter?

OIN can barely do anything against patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures. It claims to be trying to take over patents before they fall into the hands of trolls, but examples of that are extremely limited. OIN’s CEO, whom I spoke to on the phone a few times (for a long time), is the feature of this new article, published yesterday under the headline “Keep the IoT Free (Patent Battles Not Welcome)” in IoT Journal. To quote:

As the next wave of internet usage, the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform industries and provide new opportunities for technological advances. The IoT can be viewed as a means to connect objects, machines and humans in large-scale communication networks. Gartner estimates that there will be 20.4 billion IoT-connected components worldwide by 2020, and more than half of major new business systems and processes will include a IoT component.

Furthermore, according to a 2017 Boston Consulting Group report, the market for IoT products and services is expected to reach $267 billion by 2020. The report predicts that by 2020, 50 percent of all IoT spending will be driven by discrete manufacturing, transportation, logistics and utilities—critical areas of businesses and community infrastructure.

[...]

While it has experienced nearly exponential growth, the successful adoption and use of open-source by banking networks, mobile phone manufacturers, telecom networks, smart cars, cloud computing and blockchain platforms, among numerous others, was not a foregone conclusion. In 2003, there was an IP-based attack on Linux, the most prevalent open-source software project.

While the claims underlying the litigation ultimately were found to be without merit in the court proceeding, it was a wake-up call to several IP-savvy companies as to the potential negative impact of patent aggression on the growth of Linux and open source software projects. IBM, Red Hat and SUSE (then Novell) coordinated an effort with Sony, Philips and NEC to conceptualize and implement a solution designed to create a patent no-fly zone around the core of Linux.

This isn’t really what they do. They actively defend software patents from scrutiny (from GNU/Linux users) rather than defend GNU/Linux from software patents, to borrow an analogy from Bruce Perens.

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