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04.07.18

Microsoft — Like BlackBerry — is Nowadays a Patent Extortion Company, So Ignore the ‘Shared Innovation Initiative’ Nonsense

Posted in America, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 12:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Steve Jobs threatened to sue me, too. [and also] Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. They’d flown in over a weekend to meet with Scott McNealy. [...] Bill skipped the small talk, and went straight to the point, “Microsoft owns the office productivity market, and our patents read all over OpenOffice.” [...] Bill was delivering a slightly more sophisticated variant of the threat Steve had made, but he had a different solution in mind. “We’re happy to get you under license.” That was code for “We’ll go away if you pay us a royalty for every download” – the digital version of a protection racket.”

Jonathan I. Schwartz, Sun

Summary: The action recently taken by BlackBerry against Snap may in fact be a ‘proper’ lawsuit; as for Microsoft, it’s trying to hide the fact that it’s an aggressive patent-wielding operation by misusing words like “shared” and “innovation”

A COUPLE of days ago we wrote about BlackBerry's latest legal action, capitalising on patents granted by the USPTO a long time ago.

“Well, jury trials typically involve nontechnical people and would thus be easier for BlackBerry to win.”This is not a major lawsuit (at least not yet); it’s a complaint which is being described as follows: “The one-time smartphone king continued its efforts to cash in on its patent portfolio Tuesday when it filed a complaint [PDF] in the Central California US District Court accusing Snap of stealing its patented designs for the layout, alert, and messaging functions within mobile apps. [...] BlackBerry claims that it has been trying to strike a license deal with Snap for more than a year but, with talks breaking down, it now has to resort to a lawsuit and request for a jury trial.”

Well, jury trials typically involve nontechnical people and would thus be easier for BlackBerry to win.

“BlackBerry claims that it has been trying to strike a license deal with Snap for more than a year…”
      –The Register
With headlines like “BlackBerry sues Snapchat over alleged patent violation” or “BlackBerry sues Snapchat for infringing on its patented messaging technology” in Indian media, there’s no mistaking that for a lawsuit (some articles fell short of framing it like that). “According to The Verge,” says one article, “the 71-page complaint accused Snap of infringing six patents, including map improvements for mobile devices, advertising techniques and user interface improvements for mobile devices.”

“So basically, if someone mentions Microsoft’s “Shared Innovation Initiative” be sure to point out that it’s merely a publicity stunt, hailed for the most part by Microsoft boosters.”This was originally reported by Bloomberg, which The Verge very quickly cited on the matter. And speaking of Bloomberg, its writer Susan Decker, along with Linux-hostile writers like Liam Tung (CBS), were quick to promote a new Microsoft publicity stunt [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], joining many Microsoft propaganda sites (no pretense about these sites’ motivation, even based on the domain names alone) in citing Microsoft’s Brad Smith, soon to be parroted by patent extremists like Richard Lloyd and someone who was — by his own admission — paid by Microsoft until 2013-2014. He actually wrote a book on their lobbying for software patents, but he has been a lot gentler on them since they paid him. Yesterday he said:

I interpret yesterday’s announcement of the Shared Innovation Innovative as an indication of Microsoft continuing to modify its approach to intellectual property. It’s still far from advocating the abolition of software patents, but it appears to be trying hard to be part of the sharing economy in some other ways.

This does not mention that Microsoft uses patent trolls to attack rivals while collecting ‘protection’ money. It also does not mention Microsoft’s persistent lobbying for software patents. So basically, if someone mentions Microsoft’s “Shared Innovation Initiative” be sure to point out that it’s merely a publicity stunt, hailed for the most part by Microsoft boosters.

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