Summary: Patent ‘radicals’ and ‘extremists’ — those to whom patents are needed solely for the purpose of profit from bureaucracy — fight hard against patent quality and in the process they harm everyone, including individual customers
THE USPTO is under attack from the patent microcosm. They are still working overtime to chase away Director Lee, now basing claims that she is on her way out on some article about something else. At the same time they also keep bullying the Indian patent office because it disallows software patents and, as mentioned here before, since Japan is getting tougher on patents, the patent microcosm is not happy about it either. The patent system in Japan is improving (better quality) and right now IAM (the trolls’ think tank) bemoans it and says: “Continuing a trend manifested over the past decade, the number of patent applications submitted to the Japan Patent Office (JPO) fell again in 2016, as businesses reappraise the role that Japanese assets play in their IP portfolios. However, the decrease was significantly smaller than in previous years – suggesting that filing rates may be levelling out, for now.”
“Fundamental ideas are being patented and companies that produce and sell a lot of things are being preyed on (at the expense of customers).”Why is this happening? Because the patent microcosm wants legal chaos. It profits from that. Companies like Samsung, for example, are being sued by all sorts of trolls and extorted by Microsoft. “A jury found for Rembrandt and awarded $15.7 million in damages,” Patently-O writes this week about a case against Samsung. “On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed on infringement and validity – but rejected the lower court’s finding that the patent had been properly marked.”
In addition, Samsung is being attacked by Apple in several different patent lawsuits, using truly dubious patents that we wrote about before. Apple has some truly awful patents that make the USPTO look worse (and the same goes for the EPO under Battistelli). As one good article noted the other day, the notorious “rubber banding” patent is back in action:
Apple went all-out in its patent assault on Samsung beginning in 2012, when Steve Jobs’ promised “thermonuclear war” against Android became a reality. The patents used by the Cupertino device maker weren’t just challenged in court, though. Various parties have challenged Apple’s most important patents at the US Patent and Trademark Office, as well.
On Friday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an opinion (PDF) about an “ex parte reexam,” filed against Apple’s patent by an anonymous party. The reexam claimed that one of the patents upholding Apple’s big win against Samsung, US Patent No. 7,844,915, never should have been issued at all. The ’915 patent was described in a general way as the “pinch to zoom” patent, but its claims describe a way of distinguishing between one-touch and two-touch operations.
These sorts of ridiculous patent cases serve to illustrate the depth of the problem. Fundamental ideas are being patented and companies that produce and sell a lot of things are being preyed on (at the expense of customers). India, Japan and the US under Lee have basically done the right thing; that’s why they’re constantly under attack by the patent microcosm, whereas a lot of this same microcosm seems perfectly happy with Battistelli turning the EPO into the world's laughing stock. █
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All the ‘great’ things that patent maximalism (insatiable appetite for more and more patents) has given society
Summary: An excess of patents and their overutilisation for purposes other than innovation (or dissemination of knowledge) means that society has much to lose, sometimes more than there is to gain
THE FOLLOWING potpourri of news spans a period of about 2 weeks. It hasn’t quite fit into or blended with our usual themes of coverage, but the pertinent developments are noteworthy, at least in brief.
Trolls of Microsoft
In his recent article (behind paywall until recently), entitled “Software patents in the cloud,” LWN’s Jonathan Corbet missed the full picture and failed to recognise that Azure and patents are a toxic mix similar to the Novell deal (2006), as we explained here a dozen times before, e.g. in [1, 2]. The closest he got to it is this part:
While Microsoft claims that it doesn’t normally transfer patents to trolls, this offering could be said to create a sort of moral hazard for the company. If a patent or two were to, somehow, end up in the hands of a troll that started asserting them widely, any customer thinking of leaving Azure would have to weigh the increased risk of attack that would result from such a move.
Microsoft is already passing patents to trolls — those which it can tame/control. We gave many examples. It’s imperative that people familiarise themselves with what Microsoft is up to now. It’s as nefarious as ever.
“Microsoft is already passing patents to trolls — those which it can tame/control.”This other new article totally missed the point of what Microsoft is really doing here. Microsoft is extorting legitimate companies. It’s essentially attacking Linux-powered products using patents, but the article’s headline uses words like “share patents”. Hilarious or outrageous?
Age of Embargo
When you cannot compete, as the saying goes, cheat. Or just embargo the competition. Manging IP will tell you how to do it in this event that it’s organising. To quote: “Speakers on an International Trade Commission panel at Manging IP’s recent US Patent Forum analysed recent notable cases such as February’s Organik Kimya Federal Circuit decision and gave best practices on enforcing an exclusion order” (“exclusion order” is another euphemism among many for embargo/sanction/injunction).
“When you cannot compete, as the saying goes, cheat.”There is a new example of this in the news. It was covered a week ago by American and British media [1, 2] (see background about this case, the Arista case, in older articles of ours).
To quote The Register:
Arista has been cleared by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to start shipping modified products to the United States again.
Arista sought the right to do so because of its long-running litigation with Cisco, which believes Arista has pinched its intellectual property.
So the company was threatened with embargo until it hobbled/ruined its own products. Cui bono?
“So the company was threatened with embargo until it hobbled/ruined its own products.”Just envision a UPC-imposed embargo if the EPO gets its way…
The reforms at the USPTO may already be saving lives. PTAB recently took on a patent from Novartis and here is the latest on this from Patently-O:
This post follows-up on my recent essay on Novartis v. Torrent Pharma. If you recall, that decision by Judge Chen affirmed an IPR trial decision cancelling the claims of the Novartis patent as obvious.
FDA Approval: Moving back to the facts of Novartis, the patentee argued that its commercial success was based upon “Gilenya being the first commercially-available solid oral multiple sclerosis treatment.” Although that statement is true, the court found the commercial-availability focus misplaced for a non-obviousness argument.
MedCo v Mylan
Recently, Patently-O also covered MedCo v Mylan. Here is the key portion (in our humble assessment): “To spell out the results here. The appellate court reversed the district court’s decision based upon its revised claim construction. The claims require “batches” of the active ingredient that “have a maximum impurity level.” The court construed that term to require a consistent process for making all the batches, and then looked to the specification to note that the patentee intended to use an “efficient mixing” process as that consistent process since that was the type of process described in the specification; And then finally zeroed-in on the the “efficient mixing” process and required that it follow the particulars of “example 5” of the patent since that was the only detailed example given of efficient mixing. With that narrowed claim construction, non infringement was easy.”
Tax Evasion With Patents
Recently, wrote this Twitter user about the “Patent Box Regime”, this article in British media explained how it “enables UK companies to elect for a lower tax rate for profits earned from patented inventions…”
“Another facility for tax evasion, this time disguised as “innovation”?”We wrote a great deal about Patent Boxes, essentially yet another tax-dodging routine which sheds negative light on patents in general. To quote from the article itself: “The patent box regime enables UK companies to elect for a lower tax rate for profits earned from patented inventions and certain other intellectual property rights. The tax rate is being phased in but will be 10% by 1 April 2017.”
Who said there’s no future for the British economy after the Brexit disaster? Another facility for tax evasion, this time disguised as “innovation”? Another way to entice/incentivise businesses to come? If they bother at all…
“Sometimes patents are “good” in the sense that they discourage companies from doing malicious things (that are patented).”Mitek pursued a software patent on surveillance and it recently got it [1, 2]. So is someone going to be sued next? Well, in a sense we certainly hope so as the practice of such pervasive surveillance needs to be limited if not altogether eliminated. Sometimes patents are “good” in the sense that they discourage companies from doing malicious things (that are patented).
“Should Patent Law Be a First Amendment Issue?”
“The reality is, the public debate about patents is being perturbed; it’s not dominated by people who are affected by patents but by people who made patents (and patents alone) their livelihood.”There is an upcoming debate in Stanford in which Professor Lemley and others will participate. It’s about how software patents harm free speech, according to CAFC. Not only moderate voices will participate in this debate but also software patents proponents (not engineers but law firms) like Robert Sachs. “I’ll be speaking next week on Section 101 and the First Amendment,” he wrote. Why not focus on what programmers and engineers have to say? Why are they so often excluded from such debates? Who else might be at this debate? Radicals like Watchtroll? Who now protects a patent bully, as usual?
The reality is, the public debate about patents is being perturbed; it’s not dominated by people who are affected by patents but by people who made patents (and patents alone) their livelihood. It’s like letting arms manufacturers take charge of foreign policy. █
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Patent practitioners in the US are frogs in hot (if not boiling) water
Summary: A Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision against software patents, combined with a chopping block of software patents (whose efficiency is still increasing), is causing trolls and their facilitators (like patent law firms) to resort to dirty tricks and attempt to reshape the system to better suit them, averting irrelevancy
IMAGINE being a patent law firm in the US right now. It’s tough. Litigation figures have sunk, software patents are harder to get, and even if one gets them the courts will typically throw these away. This means that not many people even pursue such patents anymore. We constantly hear new stories about patent trolls that close shop and occasionally about legal firms which are centered around patents closing shop or being absorbed (i.e. their staff finding some new employer).
“We constantly hear new stories about patent trolls that close shop and occasionally about legal firms which are centered around patents closing shop or being absorbed (i.e. their staff finding some new employer).”Things aren’t going to improve for this occupation, which is nothing but a tax on everything (including so-called ‘innovation’). Understandably, the people associated with this pseudo ‘industry’ are fighting back and we need to watch what they are up to as they habitually attempt nefarious things, including an appalling witch-hunt against the head of the US patent office (Director Lee).
We don’t really know when SCOTUS is expected to deliver a determination on Impression v Lexmark (there is no deadline or expected date, but estimates can be made by those intimately familiar with such pertinent cases). What we do know, however, is that the case may have ramifications for software, too. As one site put it the other day, in the words of a legal firm that cited Alice as an example:
The Supreme Court noted several times that Impression was seeking a significant expansion of the existing scope of the exhaustion doctrine. Justice Kennedy asked Pincus why the exhaustion doctrine had not been codified in the 1952 patent statute and whether the failure to codify the doctrine suggested that the court should be “cautious” in “extending” the doctrine’s reach. Justice Alito noted that the “Federal Circuit’s rule on this is 25 years old” and Justice Sotomayor observed that Impression’s position on the question of foreign sales raised “serious issues” and “negative consequences”. Pincus acknowledged that Impression’s position could have such consequences, but observed that the Supreme Court has disrupted the settled expectations of patentees before to “get…the law right”, citing the Alice decision as an example.
Yesterday, in spite of the holiday, Watchtroll advocated getting rid of Alice again, by calling software patents “Computer Related Inventions” and trying to work around Alice. His allies (e.g. IBM’s patent chief and that ilk of patent bullies) recently tried again to undermine PTAB, having lobbied endlessly for negative action. Days ago IBM’s patent chief wrote that it’s “[g]reat that #USPTO will review and consider reform of PTAB #patent proceedings, bad that it took 5 years to happen…”
“They just want to crush Alice, crush PTAB which enforces it efficiently, and basically bring back software patents, which made America Not Great but a hub of patent trolls.”As we noted here the other day, it seems like an effort to appease the software patents lobbyists — something to which other patent radicals are now contributing. “Speakers discussed PTAB issues of interest,” Manging IP wrote the other day, “and other hot topics at Managing IP’s US Patent Forums, includ[ed] estoppel, a reawakening of APA issues at the Federal Circuit, the upcoming en banc rehearing of Wifi One v Broadcom, stay success rates, best strategies for using experts before the Board, and life sciences’ better survival rate in final written decisions”
All of the above is intended to shape PTAB to better suit the patent microcosm rather than the real industry and the public. The USPTO ought not surrender to them. They just want to crush Alice, crush PTAB which enforces it efficiently, and basically bring back software patents, which made America Not Great but a hub of patent trolls. █
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The ‘Michelle Lee‘ effect? Or the Alice effect? Either way, Microsoft’s proxy strategy is at risk.
See Lawrence R. Goldfarb (Wikipedia)
Summary: The weakening of software patents in the US means that a bunch of patents-wielding patent bullies/trolls have their business up in flames
IAM might soon lose some of its funding sources, namely patent trolls like Microsoft-armed, Nokia-fed bullies. They are simply not doing well. This might leave IAM growingly dependent on sucking Battistelli’s udder for EPO favours and money. Either way, IAM too is unable to deny the trend.
In the rare occasions when trolls get their way (even in London, right next to IAM, as covered here before), IAM celebrates disproportionately. Being the trolls’ voice, IAM is citing/quoting selectively all sorts of patent predators, then calls patent trolls in the UK the “decision of the decade” (right there in the jubilant headline). As we noted some days ago, IAM had been writing about this almost every day recently (sometimes more than once a day). IAM is cheering for the trolls! These are trolls working on behalf of a larger company, Ericsson in this case. This sets precedence in the UK — one that trolls would certainly be emboldened by.
“These are trolls working on behalf of a larger company, Ericsson in this case.”Like Ericsson, Microsoft increasingly turns to trolls for coercion against competitors. Microsoft has the world’s largest patent troll at its disposal, with literally thousands of satellites around it (to help mask the route back to Microsoft et al) and the original troll is finally dying, albeit it’s spreading its patents to smaller trolls, much like a cluster bomb wherein munitions are patents. Microsoft is already building a business model around that, as we explained earlier this year [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. It attacks legitimate companies that actually manage to sell things; these companies are attacked not just via trolls but also directly sometimes. As Patently-O points out, Intellectual Ventures may have gotten itself reputation so bad that it stops operating on its own and just spreads the weapons to other entities. Patently-O is linking to IAM as its source, for IAM is a longtime friend of Intellectual Ventures.
“Patently-O is linking to IAM as its source, for IAM is a longtime friend of Intellectual Ventures.”IAM, in the meantime, is revealing that yet another Microsoft-connected proxy/troll (which already attacked GNU/Linux vendors on numerous occasions; details in our Wiki) is collapsing. It tries to soften the blow by framing it as something that affects only Asia but inevitably says:
Acacia Research appears to have significantly restructured its Asia-Pacific business, with the departure of its most senior executive in the region and the possible closure of its Tokyo office.
Remember what happened to Creative in Singapore? (collapse of this trolling strategy and departure of the man behind it a few months ago)
Well, Tanya Moore, who worked for two patent aggressors that habitually blackmail their rivals using patents (Microsoft and IBM), has decided to join Sonos — another audio-centric company which wants to do the same as Creative, in spite of the failure of Creative’s strategy. As IAM put it:
Sonos has hired former senior IBM and Microsoft IP executive Tanya Moore to be its first chief licensing officer as the audio company looks to bolster its efforts in IP value creation. The business is a relative minnow in patent terms – according to Google patents the company has a little over 200 US patent applications and grants – but owns what Moore views as a critical portfolio for wireless home audio systems.
So expect it to at least attempt to troll all sorts of companies that merely connect audio devices over the Internet — not a novel concept at all, albeit enough for some examiners to allow a patent on (the “over the Internet” patenting pattern).
The bottom line is, we are seeing more and more patent trolls that struggle and completely collapse, including the very first (or original) patent troll. The few which still emerge are hardly successful. █
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Good news and real progress for everyone except the litigation lobby that endlessly attacks her and attempts to oust her
Those who are making money from human suffering (death, being sued into bankruptcy etc.) suffer a setback
Summary: Michelle Lee, the Director of the world’s leading patent office, shows a positive legacy, but at what cost considering the predators who took over and occupied this system for their endless profit (like the “Military-Industrial Complex” which Dwight Eisenhower warned about 56 years ago) that necessitates legal mayhem?
THE USPTO, unlike the EPO (see our latest article), is improving patent quality, as part of a long-needed reform which harms nobody and helps everyone except patent radicals.
“Putting aside the courts, PTAB is invalidating patents at record levels (higher rates than courts)…”Litigation is declining (lawsuits over patents) and even sites of patent maximalists acknowledge this trend by stating (last night) that “district court filing lagging previous years” and “[f]irst-quarter patent infringement lawsuit filing in US courts was essentially the same as 2016’s first quarter [far below the prior year].”
Putting aside the courts, PTAB is invalidating patents at record levels (higher rates than courts), rather than facilitating abusive litigation (instead undermining it or thwarting it before it can even happen at great cost/expense to the accused/defendant). It’s working out pretty well as it not only invalidates a lot of patents but also reduces confidence in many patents like these (to the point where fewer people would bother risking a lot by initiating litigation at district courts).
“Lives will be saved as a result and millionaires who are shareholders will have to worry just a little about their already-fat earnings, which depend on people dying (or almost dying and going bankrupt to avoid death).”“Generics Successful at Invalidating Novartis Gilenya Patent,” said this headline from yesterday, courtesy of a PTAB foe. To quote: “At the conclusion of its Inter Partes Review (IPR) Trial, the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) found all claims of Novartis U.S. Patent No. 8,324,283 invalid as obvious. The PTAB had allowed Novartis to include substitute claims as well, but found those also unpatentable as obvious. On appeal here, the Federal Circuit affirms.”
Lives will be saved as a result and millionaires who are shareholders will have to worry just a little about their already-fat earnings, which depend on people dying (or almost dying and going bankrupt to avoid death).
Be aware and rest assured that the patent maximalists will fight back and try to reverse all the above, as it makes them obsolete.
“These events are business-oriented and steered by what Florian Müller called last week “patent extremists and fundamentalists,” saying that they “continue to get their way.” Unless we stand in their way…”Here, for example, we have new promotion by Annsley Merelle Ward from the Litigation Lobby/Team UPC. She pretends that the Fordham IP conference is something to be celebrated (by litigation zealots it is). It’s acting as a think tank sponsored by patent bullies like Microsoft; yes, Microsoft is a speaker again (“Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond”). Remember that Fordham IP promoted software patents in Europe, it does UPC lobbying, and it gives a platform to software patents lobbyists such as David Kappos (sponsored by Microsoft, IBM and other patent bullies). It’s no better than those UPC lobbyists’ events, which are supported by the EPO’s management and sponsored by its PR agency.
These events are business-oriented and steered by what Florian Müller called last week “patent extremists and fundamentalists,” saying that they “continue to get their way.” Unless we stand in their way… █
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Value comes from scarcity, not overabundance (or a ‘paper economy’)
Summary: The ludicrous notion that an economy will become more competitive/attractive because of a large pile of overestimated papers is challenged by a series of bubbles which benefit nobody and eventually implode
A DECADE ago when we wrote about CSIR it was a top filer in India's patent office. CSIR has since then more or less imploded, as covered here before [1, 2], essentially acknowledging that it had wasted public money on a worthless patent bubble.
CSIR’s sheer failure has just become the subject of yesterday’s article from Dr. Glyn Moody, a mathematician-turned-journalist who writes:
Last December, we wrote about China reaching a rather questionable milestone: filing one million patents in a single year. As Techdirt has pointed out repeatedly, more patents do not equate to more innovation, so simply filing huge numbers of patents means very little in itself. The government of India has just found this out the hard way. As The Hindu reports, CSIR-Tech, the commercialization arm of India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has had to shut down its operations.
As a reminder, very recently the US Chamber of Commerce tried hard to shame India into patent maximalism. It seems clear, however, that the US Chamber of Commerce (a corporate lobby, not a federal thing, sometimes known as CoC) is pressuring every country to grant a lot more patents, including the United States itself!
As IP Watch puts it today, CoC is now shaming the USPTO, in an effort to manipulate it:
The signers argued that the USPTO is not dependent on taxpayer funding, and that the patent fees which it collects in fact provide a source of revenue to the federal government.
The letter also raises concern that the hiring freeze will cause the US to fall behind other countries in granting patents. The letter states that the USPTO has fallen from #1 to #10 in its ranking by the US Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center, and that China’s patent office is issuing patents faster than the United States.
So what? China issues a lot of lousy patents on everything under the Sun and it’s already becoming a litigation hub, which helps nobody except law firms. This use of “China” for propaganda purposes was recently seen quite a lot within the camp of software patents lobbyists [1, 2] and was last mentioned this morning.
The problem with patent maximalism or overpatenting is that it creates perceived value out of thin air and the only ones who profit from that are homeopaths-like ‘wizards’ who wish us to genuinely believe something becomes “innovative” only as soon as some patent gets granted. It doesn’t work that way. █
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If radical sites like Watchtroll hate PTAB so much, then it means PTAB must be doing something right
Summary: PTAB’s growth, which has accelerated so far this year, serves to invalidate more patents which were erroneously granted and — as expectedly as can be — the patent maximalists are losing their minds
EARLIER TODAY, PTAB watcher Michael Loney published some new figures, stating in his summary that the “Patent Trial and Appeal Board petition filing in the first three months of 2017 was the largest quarterly filing figure ever.”
“Why does the patent microcosm think it’s suitable/ethical for a parasitic element to give instructions to judges who govern the system?”Earlier this year something similar was shown and therefore the patent ‘industry’ tries to slow PTAB down. PTAB scares them because it makes them obsolete!
Earlier today we wrote about law firms that essentially or in effect pay for "access" to PTAB judges — something which Managing IP seems to be facilitating/soliciting. Why does the patent microcosm think it’s suitable/ethical for a parasitic element to give instructions to judges who govern the system?
“PTAB proponents are typically honest businesses, whereas PTAB opponents are the patent microcosm and abusive elements whom they service.”Earlier today, Mr. Loney (based in New York, unlike Managing IP) wrote about the latest lobbying opportunity, quoting (outside the paywall): “Speakers at a recent Managing IP event called for the PTAB to give more precedential opinions to reduce inconsistencies between different panels, and identified gaps that the Board should address”
There seems to be a campaign to weaken/defang PTAB, along with a malicious campaign to oust the Director of the USPTO, as we last noted this morning. This is the kind of nonsense that is being promoted by IBM and its ilk (people like David Kappos and the IBM-led IPO task force). Today we saw this article of a person from the Antonin Scalia Law School, in which he calls PTAB “death squad” and opponents of patent maximalism “junk science”. It was promoted by IBM’s patent chief, who isn’t even shy to endorse radical elements like patent trolls, serial patent bullies and those whom they fund to wage their battles for personal gain at the expense of those who actually produce things (Watchtroll included). Here is a portion from this article, pinned at the lobbyists’ press:
Making matters even worse, Ms. Johnson applauds the innovation-killing administrative tribunal known as the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB). The PTAB is rightly criticized as an out of control bureaucracy destroying patents at an alarming rate. One former federal judge called the PTAB a “death squad,” and the head of the PTAB cheerfully embraced this designation.
The real victims are the individuals, universities, startups and small businesses — the sources of new innovation in this country — that are undercapitalized and cannot afford the prohibitively high costs in court and the PTAB of defending their productive labors against pirates (especially when these pirates are well-funded and large corporations).
What a horrible inversion of narratives. In reality, the above are those hurt the most by software patents and those most in need of PTAB.
Each time we spot PTAB haters it merely serves to reinforce the idea that PTAB does the right thing. PTAB proponents are typically honest businesses, whereas PTAB opponents are the patent microcosm and abusive elements whom they service. Thankfully, at least for the time being, PTAB is growing. Efforts to destabilise/disrupt this status quo, however, are ongoing and are very visible. We track these efforts very closely and report in order to thwart these. █
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Related: Battistelli’s European Patent Office Broadens FTI Consulting Contract to Undermine the Media, Wastes Millions of Euros
Summary: Now that patent trolls are spreading to Europe and the EPO promotes the trolls-friendly UPC we cannot turn a blind eye to the role played by IAM, a de facto voice not just of patent trolls but also Benoît Battistelli [1, 2]
THE Director of the USPTO, who is under attack from the patent microcosm including IAM (they try to oust her by spreading false rumours and fake scandals), did a decent job curtailing patent trolls — so much so that the world’s largest patent troll (Intellectual Ventures, or IV for short) is collapsing and the firm of the original patent troll is now defunct.
One can be sure that sites like IAM will sob for the trolls and attack those who stop the trolls. IAM exists for this purpose (not just to lie for Battistelli, whose PR firm supplies IAM with money of EPO stakeholders). Here is yet another new puff piece from IAM — a puff piece that happens to reveal that IAM was speaking to the horrible troll Nathan Myhrvold (the world’s most notorious patent troll). That says a lot about IAM. Here are some key parts:
It was making a bet on the long-term importance of innovation and IP, a fair wager in an economy where companies derived more and more value from their intangible assets. In 2006 IV founder Nathan Myhrvold described IP to IAM as “the fate of the US economy”, pointing out that the two were inextricably linked. “In 10 years patents will be even more important than they are now,” he said.
IV is not about to disappear — as this blog pointed out on Tuesday, continuing to focus on its own innovation efforts through its labs and possible spin out companies makes a lot of sense; while from an assertion point of view, it is in many ways becoming a far more potent force, seeding its IP into a wide range of licensing vehicles as well as focusing on its own efforts. If the decision to pull out of the market was driven by investors, you have to wonder just how happy, in the long term, those backers are going to be with the prospect of more IV assets being litigated in court.
As we pointed out here before, IV has literally thousands of satellite firms (for litigation by proxy) and it is passing patents to them. Microsoft, one must remember, holds the strings to IV. Bill Gates is very close to Nathan Myhrvold, who came from Microsoft, and Microsoft supplies money to IV.
Not only Microsoft is operating via trolls like IV. Ericsson too is doing this and as we pointed out last week, Ericsson’s patent trolls officially became a ‘thing’ in Europe (earlier this month). Now it’s done in the US, Germany, and even in the UK, as the following new analysis points out:
This case began in 2014 when Unwired Planet, a U.S.-based patent assertion entity, sued Google, Samsung and Huawei for infringement under six UK patents (corresponding actions were filed in Germany). Unwired Planet claimed that five of the asserted patents, which it acquired from Ericsson in 2013 as part of a portfolio comprising approximately 2000 patents, were essential to the 2G, 3G and 4G wireless telecommunications standards developed under the auspices of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Because Ericsson participated in development of the standards at ETSI, any patents shown to be SEPs would necessarily be encumbered by Ericsson’s FRAND commitment to ETSI.
WiLAN, a Canadian troll whose function is similar to that of Unwired Planet, is now alleged/accused (by IAM) of having connections to Samsung.
According to court documents seen by IAM, Polaris Innovations – the WiLAN-controlled entity which holds the Qimonda patents – originally filed suit against Kingston Technology, a US manufacturer of data storage devices, in February 2016. Polaris alleged infringement of six of its patents relating to dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) technology by numerous Kingston products.
Polaris IP (not Polaris Innovations) was mentioned one decade ago by Patent Troll Tracker (who was unmasked by Ray Niro before he died). We don’t know if there is a connection, but the other firms actually produce something.
We are sad but not surprised to see IAM continuing its malicious agenda of promoting patent trolls. For the EPO’s President to brag about IAM, the de facto voice of patent aggression and trolls, says quite a lot about today’s leadership of the EPO with its UPC ambitions. As someone told us just over an hour ago, under the UPC “one kind of applicants who will continue to apply en masse are the patent trolls.” No wonder IAM spreads fake news to promote the UPC. █
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