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04.10.18

Microsoft’s Extortion Racket Against GNU/Linux Carries on, Both Directly and Indirectly (via Patent Trolls)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trolls' harbour

Summary: An outline of Microsoft’s patent activities and the activities of its satellites, which pass around patents and sue Microsoft’s rivals through obscure trolls (set up solely for the purpose of these lawsuits)

THE world’s biggest troll feeder is Microsoft, which not only feeds (in the investment sense) Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll that in turn feeds (with patents) Dominion Harbor. Dominion Harbor is suing a lot of companies through subsidiaries. Microsoft also fed (in the investment sense) Finjan, one of the most vocal patent trolls, which is also publicly traded (they had a meeting with shareholders a week ago, discussing their blackmail plans). This post will cover all these trolls and their feeders, assuring readers that Microsoft “loves Linux” as much as the Greek like Turks.

“When the thugs from Microsoft’s ‘IP’ subsidiary accuse an OEM of patent infringement they throw hundreds of patents at them in order to ensure they cannot challenge them all individually (or it would be vastly more expensive than just settling). This is racketeering.”Yesterday we saw this Apple patents propaganda site saying that “Microsoft Wins a Patent for a Possible Surface Branded Folding Smartphone with Sophisticated Camera System & more” (more gimmicks).

Putting aside the fact that there’s prior art all over this, what would be the purpose given that Microsoft barely sells anything in this space? When the thugs from Microsoft’s ‘IP’ subsidiary accuse an OEM of patent infringement they throw hundreds of patents at them in order to ensure they cannot challenge them all individually (or it would be vastly more expensive than just settling). This is racketeering. It’s also a deterrence against legal challenges to dubious patents.

Here’s what the latest patent is about:

Supply chain rumors had circulated back in December 2016 (one and two) that there were 3 to 5 tech companies working on smartphones that were foldable. The names of Apple, Google and Microsoft kept popping up. Samsung has the largest number of patents on foldable, bendable and scrollable smartphones on record to date with Apple having a number of foldable and bendable patents on record as well. One of Apple’s patent figures from a folding smartphone patent is presented below.

With patents like these, Microsoft can go after Apple, Google and Samsung (no cross-licensing) and demand a ‘share’ of revenue from GNU/Linux devices. Microsoft not only can do it; this is exactly what Microsoft already does. This is why Microsoft is stockpiling patents.

“Yes, Microsoft is still pursuing software patents.”“Microsoft beats [US]PTO rejections for their patent application,” one patent maximalist wrote yesterday, “but PTAB adds gratuitous invitation to Examiner to issue a NEW 101 rejection in footnote: “the Examiner may wish to review the claims for compliance under 35 U.S.C. § 101 in light of Alice”…”

Yes, Microsoft is still pursuing software patents. It also lobbies for them. Another new example says that “Thomson Reuters beats PTO on 6 different counts, but still cant get patent because of, course, bizarro application of eligibility of 101 rules…”

“Bear all this in mind whenever Microsoft claims that it has changed.”Nothing bizarre (or “bizarro”) about it. But the patent maximalist is connected to trolls and is looking for a quick buck. The main troll this “bizarro” patent maximalist is connected to is Dominion Harbor, which is connected to Microsoft through Intellectual Ventures. In fact, Intellectual Ventures recently passed yet another bundle of patents to Dominion Harbor.

Robert Jain from Unified Patents wrote just less than 24 hours ago about progress they make disarming this very malicious patent troll (hiding behind “Blue Sky Networks” as a proxy). To quote Jain:

On April 9, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 8,265,691 owned and asserted by Blue Sky Networks, LLC, a Dominion Harbor subsidiary and well-known NPE. The ’691 patent, directed to enhanced wireless handsets operating in a direct handset-to-handset communication mode, was asserted in multiple litigations against such companies as Toyota, Best Buy, MediaTek, Lenovo, BLU, Huawei, and Roche Diabetes Care.

Also about 24 hours ago we saw Carbon Black, which has been subjected to lawsuits from another Microsoft troll, choosing to give up, based on a press release issued by the troll [1, 2]. Yes, Microsoft’s patent troll Finjan has just successfully blackmailed another competitor (to Microsoft) using shoddy software patents and endless bullying.

Bear all this in mind whenever Microsoft claims that it has changed.

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