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Ericsson and Microsoft-Led Nokia Crush Companies That Make Phones With Linux, BlackBerry Becomes Litigation Firm

Posted in Apple, Asia, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 2:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia used to make phones, now it’s just doing Microsoft's 'Jihad' in the dark (back room)

Nokia light

Summary: With an abundance of software patents which target ‘apps’ or designs of phones, companies that no longer make phones (or barely sell any) go preying on those who do, Huawei being one of the latest victims (it will hereon pay Nokia ‘protection’ money)

THE MOBILE industry is no fun. It’s not fun anymore. Not for developers anyway. Too many patents, too many lawsuits, too many threats of lawsuits. Over the years we wrote about ‘censorship’ of many so-called ‘apps’ using mere threats of patent litigation; some software developers just pack up and run away. They stop distributing their software due to software patents and aggressive entities (not always patent trolls). A lot of these stories are untold because telling them out in public can lead to retaliation; it’s no secret that patent extortion is often accompanied by/laced with some kind of ‘gag orders’; the same goes for NDAs as it goes for ‘silence money’. Sometimes one party is forced to congratulate the extortionist with a press release (as part of the settlement). It ain’t pretty. I heard stories. Some people phone me. I can’t quite tell all the stories I’ve heard; not without omitting names (people’s and firms’), which would render articles pretty vague and thus worthless.

“Sometimes one party is forced to congratulate the extortionist with a press release (as part of the settlement).”A few days ago the FFII’s President caught this couple of tweets [1, 2] from Matt Larson‏, who is quite knowledgeable in this area. The article is restricted in terms of access, but the gist goes like this: “Judge Selna’s TCL-Ericsson FRAND patent licensing decision is out. Slashes Ericsson’s offered rates, awards $16M for TCL unlicensed sales from 2007-2015. Notes available on @TheTerminal [...] Decision covers Ericsson’s portfolio of patents deemed essential to 2G, 3G, 4G standards. Wild divergence from last week’s $75 million jury verdict for TCL’s infringement of a single Ericsson patent.”

You read that tight. One single patent, $75,000,000 in a jury verdict. There’s also no way around such patents (in standards). One must pay to ‘play’. Where does that leave small and vulnerable companies?

As we have shown here many times before, Ericsson and its various proxies worldwide (it uses several trolls) are running after a lot of companies, demanding ‘protection’ money from several directions at once. It’s patent stacking and it has even come to London. Now that Microsoft has turned Nokia into a patent troll (which typically preys on Linux and Android), we are seeing similar strategies from Nokia. So one ends up paying lots of money to a Swedish company and a Finnish company which barely make any phones anymore. Ain’t that just lovely?

“Mind the date on the press release. Nokia did it last Christmas as well (against Apple); it does the trolling just before or during Christmas in order to dodge negative publicity.”“Nokia-planP is happening,” the FFII’s President wrote the other day, “they have morphed in a patent troll going after Huawei now…”

“PlanP” is a domain name he once registered (it was part of an Internet-wide joke at the time) and the P stands for “patents”. What he (Benjamin Henrion of Belgium) is alluding to is this press release nobody bothers writing about. Mind the date on the press release. Nokia did it last Christmas as well (against Apple); it does the trolling just before or during Christmas in order to dodge negative publicity. Nokia’s press release (control of narrative, as part of the settlement) says this:

While details of the license agreement remain confidential, Nokia will follow its existing practices for disclosing patent licensing revenue in its quarterly financial reports and expects that revenue for the agreement will begin to be recognized in the fourth quarter of 2017, including an element of non-recurring catch-up revenue, with additional revenues expected during the term of the agreement.

From the above it’s implied that Huawei, one of the world’s largest Android OEMs (and also one of China’s largest companies), will pay Nokia ‘protection’ money. Microsoft long pursued this kind of ‘protection’ money from Huawei, but it never quite got it. The media wrote about several years ago. Huawei was one of the very few companies that stood up to Microsoft, but a Microsoft-infiltrated Nokia has just managed to put a ‘tax’ on Android at Huawei. Bad day for Linux enthusiasts (the few who actually noticed this).

Expect Microsoft and its proxies to never rest until they tax all Android OEMs, extracting billions of dollars from them (per annum) without lifting a finger! It will be done from numerous directions simultaneously, hence patent stacking. It’s a legal term, but it’s a potentially illegal practice.

“Expect Microsoft and its proxies to never rest until they tax all Android OEMs, extracting billions of dollars from them (per annum) without lifting a finger!”According to some other news, including this Interview with George Brostoff (SensibleVision), more legal action may be on the way. “OnePlus Could Be Sued For Face Unlock Patent Infringement,” said this headline this weekend and days prior to it there was a lot more coverage [1, 2, 3]. Since then (Thursday/Friday) more reports like these have emerged (almost a dozen, primarily in Android or Indian sites) and it certainly looks like SensibleVision will be choking/trolling Linux/Android. Where does this end? These are software patents. A “face unlock feature” is so basic a concept (pertaining to computer vision, which is software too) that courts are likely to reject a patent on it. So who does SensibleVision want to go after? Little OnePlus. Not a large company like Huawei…

“BlackBerry’s strategy is to shake down real companies that really sell something. It’s a shakedown (some would say “trolling”) strategy. Just like Microsoft, Nokia, and Ericsson.”Speaking of large companies, BlackBerry was a large player before it turned into somewhat of a patent troll. According to Indian media (still active around Christmas time), BlackBerry made $50,000,000 from threatening to sue companies. “Revenue from intellectual property and licensing surged 67 percent to $50 million,” it says. “A jump in that category had provided an unexpected boost to second-quarter earnings…”

BlackBerry used to have a turnover of tens of billions, so how much of a ‘victory’ is this? Does BlackBerry envision itself as a litigation firm? As Forbes put it 2 days ago (in the headline) “IP Licensing Drive BlackBerry’s Q3″.

So they too are a parasite now. BlackBerry’s strategy is to shake down real companies that really sell something. It’s a shakedown (some would say “trolling”) strategy. Just like Microsoft, Nokia, and Ericsson.


Companies Like Apple and ​Microsoft Benefit the Most From Patents as It’s a System of Protectionism

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 1:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An inventors paper
Original paper [PDF}

Summary: By conflating inventors with patent holders, or perpetuating the myth that patents are all about innovation rather than protectionism, various sites maintain a status quo of monopoly or oligopoly

THE other day we saw IAM distorting some new study for its own purposes (IAM promotes patent trolls and so-called ‘monetisation’). We responded to that. Patents and inventions are not the same. Kevin Drum from Mother Jones (pseudo-progressive site) has just done the same. The underlying message (or take-home message) is that the patent system is a system for (and by) rich people. It’s no secret (or taboo subject). Many people frankly admit and accept that patents are a rich people’s game of protectionism and not about innovation at all. Sometimes it does just ‘happen’ to encourage some innovation (depending on the domain/discipline), but that’s not why patents exist these days, putting aside the genesis of this whole system. To quote Drum:

Over at the Equality of Opportunity Project, a team of researchers has written a new paper that tries to explain some of the root sources of innovation. In particular, what kinds of kids are likely to become inventors? The researchers study this by looking at patent applications and then linking the names with a tax database in order to tease out the demographics of children who grow up to become inventors. I’m not 100 percent convinced that patent applications are a good way of measuring innovation, but it’s a start.

I had a quick glance at this paper last week. It’s very long. It certainly seems like many people distort it for their own purposes/agenda/lobbying. The EPO is nowadays ‘buying’ studies (i.e. corrupting academia) for its lobbying.

For an actual understanding of what’s in that study, may we suggest people read the original rather than rely on the patent trolls’ lobby or neoliberals such as Drum?

“The EPO is nowadays ‘buying’ studies (i.e. corrupting academia) for its lobbying.”Look at this week’s news. Apple fan/advocacy sites mentioned new Apple patents several days ago and again yesterday (December 19th). Lots of prior art here. These are not Apple ‘inventions’ [sic] at all! Just another load of hot air and hype. This is so typical. The same is true for Microsoft, which pursued patents on a dual-screen foldable tablet — something I saw many years ago [1, 2, 3, 4]. Why are these patents being granted? Are the examiners at the USPTO eager to please a “frequent customer”? It doesn’t take more than a couple of Web searches to find prior art. But then again, as we said at the start, those patents aren’t granted for innovation but for protectionism. It’s for rich people. Or countries like Switzerland where the relative cost of patents is low.


PTAB Haters Fail to Guard Bogus Patents, But They Still Try

Posted in America, Apple, Courtroom, Patents at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Utilised in Fixing the US Patent System and the Patent Microcosm Loses Its Mind

Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC
The latest in Oil States (Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC), which is very unlikely to stop PTAB but rather reinforce PTAB based on the above oral hearings

Summary: Three Affiliated Tribes probably won’t enjoy sovereign immunity from PTAB, Dennis Crouch won’t manage to slow down PTAB, and patent litigation will stagnate as bad patents perish before they even land in a lawsuit

THE USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has come under various attacks from the patent microcosm. We’ve lost count of the number of attempts to discredit or extinguish PTAB, but the Three Affiliated Tribes "scam" is one that we wrote about quite recently. Sovereign immunity loopholes are being closed by Federal courts and politicians. Seeing all this, Apple now takes aim at patents which were asserted against Apple. The PTAB bashers from IAM explain this as follows:

The debate over the use of sovereign immunity to protect patents from post-issuance reviews at the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has taken another turn. Late last week Apple filed an IPR against a patent held by MEC Resources, an entity owned by the Native American Three Affiliated Tribes, which had previously filed an infringement suit against the iPhone maker in a California district court.

Sovereign immunity as an IPR defence has become one of the patent stories of the year. It was used first (successfully) by several state universities and more recently has been claimed by a number of tribes including the Saint Regis Mohawk, who have taken on patents owned by pharma company Allergan and tech entity SRC Labs.

Allergan has been embroiled in a number of disputes with generics businesses over patents relating to its blockbuster drug Restasis and has been targeted in numerous IPRs filed by generics manufacturer Mylan. The patents assigned to the Saint Regis tribe from SRC have since been asserted in separate lawsuits against Microsoft and Amazon.

MEC Resources and Mohawk/Allergan will both fail to guard these patents (at least from scrutiny). It’s becoming crystal clear that it’s all just a ploy, as a Federal judge put it (“scam” is a more common term than “ploy” and the judge called it a “ sham”, which sounded similar to “scam”).

“MEC Resources and Mohawk/Allergan will both fail to guard these patents (at least from scrutiny).”Irrespective of one’s feelings about Apple, the patent case above is one where we ought to support Apple’s side as it also shields PTAB.

Incidentally, last night Dennis Crouch revisited PTAB in his PTAB-bashing blog. He now bashes PTAB for not giving the right of appeal. To quote:

While the inter partes review (IPR) was ongoing Ariosa/Roche filed a set of three ex parte reexamination requests and the PTO determined that they collectively raised 18 substantial new questions of patentability. However, after siding with the patentee in the IPR, the PTAB also terminated the three pending reexaminations – finding that Ariosa had delayed unreasonably in filing the reexam requests and that the petitions were duplicative of the IPR. This was apparently the first time that the PTAB had ever collaterally terminated an ex parte reexamination. (Remember here, that reexaminations are handled by examiners not by the Board).


PTAB has the right decision here (I think), but I continue to struggle with the no-appeal result. The argument for no right to appeal here is two-fold: (1) in an IPR only the final written decision can be appealable, and the decision here was separate from that paper; (2) A third-party has no right to appeal dismissal of an ex parte reexamination. What we don’t know is which of these (if either), the Federal Circuit would adopt.

This seems like Crouch's old pattern of trying to slow PTAB down by making the whole process more expensive and cumbersome. Shaming tactics along with Watchtroll. ‘Scholarly’ lobbying… soliciting briefs, too.

“The bottom line is, many more legal disputes are now being ‘settled’ (resolved) without pricey legal proceedings.”PTAB fees have already been raised, potentially accounting for a relative decrease in IPR filings. Does Crouch want them over-encumbered/preoccupied with appeals too? Probably. He also pressured Federal judges to issue written decisions for possibly thousands of PTAB appeals. Easy for him to say, having never written a legal decision; it takes a great deal of time and scales badly/poorly when it comes to the volume of IPRs. He knows that. He has an agenda…

The bottom line is, many more legal disputes are now being ‘settled’ (resolved) without pricey legal proceedings. PTAB typically invalidates low-quality patents before they even reach the courtroom. This is a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s a feature for actual companies, but it’s a “bug” for the litigation ‘industry’. To them (the latter), litigation is just a “product” to be sold. But it’s not a market, it’s a parasite. It’s not an industry but a nuisance. Watch yesterday’s press release which said “growth of the global litigation services market can be attributed to the rise in investments in R&D and for filing patents by organizations in the automotive, FMCG, pharmaceutical, and healthcare sectors.”

“Wanda publicly brags about getting software patents that are null and void (most likely) after Alice.”They say “litigation services market” as if it’s now a real “market”. Ask Crouch about it. Maybe he has actual investments in this “market”, not just amicable relations with that “market”.

And speaking of low-quality patents, see this press release from yesterday [1, 2]. Wanda publicly brags about getting software patents that are null and void (most likely) after Alice. It reads like a a couple of algorithms, one for “Searching of Stationary Datasets” and another for “Detecting Activities and Anomalies in Time Series Data” (they just sneak in words like “Apparatus” to make it appear less abstract than it really is). Worry not, PTAB is very quick to throw away such patents even if they somehow slipped through to the USPTO‘s database.


Qualcomm, BlackBerry and Nokia Are Being Reduced to Mere Patent Trolls Without Any Products, Only Patents

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Patents at 5:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: A roundup of legal action in the domain of mobile phones and other mobile devices; a growing wave of patent-assertion activity is observed, led by companies that no longer make any devices (they do patent licensing instead)

THE world of mobile devices is rife with surveillance and patents. A lot of hardware patents are still valid because of the age of such devices. As for software patents, many of these exist too. They may not be valid, but some got granted and are due to be tested properly in a court.

“The world of mobile devices is rife with surveillance and patents.”Qualcomm is a bully with hardware patents and software patents. Qualcomm hardly makes anything and it is so financially dependent on patent ‘protection’ money that it’s willing to do this [1, 2] to Apple. “The dispute between Apple and Qualcomm over patents is part of a wide-ranging legal war between the two companies.”

“The other two cases are civil patent infringement lawsuits,” says the report. We’ve written about this dispute many times before. But it’s not just Qualcomm that’s playing this game. Nokia too is running out of market share and all it seems interested in right now is ‘protection’ money (e.g. from Apple and now BlackBerry).

“Don’t forget that BlackBerry too is increasingly turning to litigation (and/or threat thereof) to grab any money it can before the patents expire and the company declares its seemingly inevitable bankruptcy.”BlackBerry is going down fast. Its revenue completely collapsed in just a few years and after 3 decades (the company is a lot older than people care to realise) it looks like the end is nigh.

“BlackBerry to pay Nokia $137 million in payment dispute,” a very recent report said. To quote: “Canada’s BlackBerry has been ordered to pay Nokia $137 million by an international court in a payment dispute, but the Canadian company said it would continue to pursue a separate claim over patent infringement.”

“What good are patents when exploited by a company that no longer creates anything?”Don’t forget that BlackBerry too is increasingly turning to litigation (and/or threat thereof) to grab any money it can before the patents expire and the company declares its seemingly inevitable bankruptcy.

If patents were supposed to spur innovation in this area, how come news is dominated by calls for embargo, extortion and so on? What good are patents when exploited by a company that no longer creates anything? Or barely anything. What is the societal benefit?


BlackBerry Cannot Sell Phones and Apple Looks Like the Next BlackBerry (a Pile of Patents)

Posted in Apple, Google, Patents at 3:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just in time for pie/cake day


Summary: The lifecycle of mobile giants seems to typically end in patent shakedown, as Apple loses its business to Android just like Nokia and BlackBerry lost it to Apple

THIS past autumn we started a Wiki page about BlackBerry because BlackBerry made it clear that it had become somewhat of a parasite; some in the mainstream media go as far as alleging that BlackBerry is still operating in “troll” mode — something which is only likely to exacerbate in years to come.

When BlackBerry adopted Android we were hoping it would move away from patent aggression and/or passage of patents to dubious entities. BlackBerry’s patent strategist is now out (maybe he got kicked out), but his legacy remains. Based on this days-old press release and early coverage from a BlackBerry news site, there’s another patent deal that smells familiar (similar to previous deals):

BlackBerry continues to sign new patent licensing deals and the latest to be announced is a strategic licensing agreement with Teletry. As part of the agreement between Teletry and BlackBerry, Teletry will have the right to sublicense a broad range of BlackBerry patents to a majority of global smartphone manufacturers.

Based on later coverage from broader scope news sites (e.g. [1, 2]), “BlackBerry has entered into a strategic patent licensing deal with Teletry. As per the agreement, Teletry can sub-license a host of BlackBerry patents to global smartphone manufacturers. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed yet.”

One can imagine that BlackBerry will receive a modest bucket of money and many of the patents in question cover software. BlackBerry has got almost nothing left but patents; other companies too have nothing better to tell/talk about with their shareholders (bragging about patents in one’s press releases).

It’s not only sad; it’s very dangerous because BlackBerry’s patents are likely to be passed in bulk to some trolls some time in the near future. Nokia is already doing this.

Two months ago we said that Apple is the next BlackBerry because they follow similar trajectories. Wait and watch what happens in the coming decade or so.

When it comes to patent news, Apple is currently mentioned in relation to the ITC action against it. Well, don’t expect ITC to ever embargo anything from Apple (Apple is American like the ITC), but nonetheless the prospect is worth entertaining. Here is how an Apple advocacy site put it four days ago:

The U.S. International Trade Commission has declared that it has launched an investigation of many of Apple’s present and past products that use Screen Sharing and AirPlay Mirroring, after complaints from a company and its licensing subsidiary that develops cross-platform remote access solutions.

Soon thereafter even the bigger publishers wrote about it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], mostly based on reports like this one from Reuters:

The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Tuesday it had launched an investigation into allegations of patent infringement by Apple Inc on various devices.

That sounds like BlackBerry under a decade ago. When BlackBerry had huge turnover many patent trolls and small firms were hounding it for a share of the profits. Now it’s Apple, but as Apple diminishes it will become less attractive a target and quickly become a targetter, i.e. a dying company whose last remaining ‘asset’ is a ‘warchest’ of ‘innovation’ to ‘monetise’ (to use the bizarre terminology of the patent ‘industry’).


Apple v Samsung Dominates the News, But Samsung Has Just Taken on MPEG-LA Using PTAB Inter Partes Reviews

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 9:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bin of Software Patents

Summary: Samsung is attempting to trash multimedia patents (HEVC), which are essentially software patents, but the media is focused on the Supreme Court’s refusal to revisit software patents in Apple v Samsung

THE MPEG patent cartel is a subject we wrote many articles about, especially around 2010. It’s not only a barrier to Free/libre Open Source software but to every small company. It’s a thicket of software patents which miraculously took hold even in countries that had already banned such patents. Korea is one of those countries and it seems as though Samsung is finally fed up with this cartel. As IAM put it this week, “Samsung targets fellow pool member’s HEVC patents as dispute escalates” and here are the details (with the obligatory pro-trolls bias/slant):

A fight between Samsung Electronics and a fellow member of MPEG LA’s HEVC patent pool escalated late last month as the Korean tech giant launched four inter partes reviews (IPR) against patents owned by Ibex PT Holdings. All of the patents targeted by Samsung are a part of the HEVC pool, which relates to video compression technology used in 4K HDTV and other video formats.

Samsung brought two IPRs against Ibex late last year, both of which were denied institution, but significantly ramped up its fight in October filing two reviews at the start of the month followed by the more recent quartet of filings. The company has brought a total of eight IPRs against three patents owned by its fellow HEVC pool member.

It is very unusual for pool members to target each other’s IP in this way. The standard practice is for each licensor in a pool to receive licences to all of the patents owned by the other pool members so they don’t pose an assertion risk. Therefore moving to invalidate another pool member’s IP suggests that Samsung is frustrated that Ibex continues to receive a slice of revenues on patents that the Korean company clearly feels shouldn’t have been granted in the first place.

These four inter partes reviews will help demonstrate the value of PTAB, which we shall cover separately (lots happening there this week). Can these SEPs (standard-essential patents) be tackled once and for all? There are probably too many pertinent patents in there for that to be achievable, but one can help. Pretty much all of these patents would be software patents, which Alice renders invalid.

Speaking of SEPs, ITC has been getting involved, according to IAM which wrote:

You just don’t get injunctions in cases relating to standard essential patents in the US, do you? Absolutely not, in almost all circumstances. However, during a presentation at last week’s IPBC Asia in Tokyo, Vinson & Elkins partner John Fuisz drew delegates’ attention to a recent initial determination in an ITC case that might lead to that changing. In the Matter of Certain Magnetic Data Storage Tapes and Cartridges Containing Same – involving Japanese companies Sony and Fujifilm – has opened the door to the possibility, in some circumstances, of SEP owners being able to use the commission as a forum through which to obtain injunctive relief.

SEP injunctions (embargoes) — more so than SEPs themselves — are seriously unjust. But these are the sorts of things IAM likes to promote, even in its events in Asia (like the above). That’s all about agenda and it’s pretty clear whose. Sadly, a lot of media that covers patent matters is just marketing and lobbying. Here’s a new example of a fake article, an advertisement disguised as “news” for a firm that represents patent trolls (Fish & Richardson).

In other news about Samsung, there’s yet more coverage about Apple v Samsung (we wrote about it over the weekend) and people aren’t happy about the Supreme Court denying intervention. We’ve received some long E-mails after our article about it, which basically argued that the only positive thing is Alice remaining in tact (without risk of challenge).

“Apart from the slide-to-unlock patent,” said Indian press, “the case also involved the quick links patent, which covered software that automatically turned information like a phone number into an accessible link.”

Software patents.

Florian Müller wrote a relatively short post about this. The half-full glass:

Samsung made a lot of headway with respect to design patent damages, and will get a new trial. In that context, the Supreme Court had granted a cert petition by Samsung and overruled the Federal Circuit. The Supreme Court might have been particularly hesitant to hear yet another Apple v. Samsung case.

In the meantime Apple has been sued for alleged patent violations again (not software). We don’t suppose Apple intends to start any other (new) case against Android any time soon. Since the death of Steve Jobs not much new has happened on that front.

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” ~Steve Jobs


The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Lets Apple Have Its Way and Refuses to Reassess Design and Software Patents

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 7:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If Apple had a monopoly on apples, it would strive to ‘own’ peaches, too

Some peaces

Summary: In another ongoing case implicating Samsung and Apple the Justices who inadvertently lay the ground for patent law refuse to intervene

Samsung and Apple have several concurrent legal disputes which can wind up with SCOTUS eliminating entire families of patents. As it turns out, however, this case just wasn’t to be. SCOTUS refuses to deal with this case which is involving design patents. There was a good aspect to it in 2014 (software patents), namely that of perpetuating Alice rather than overriding it in any way. As The Register‘s Andrew Silver put it yesterday evening:

Samsung seems to have trouble accepting reality when it comes to a long-running patent spat with Apple.

The US Supreme Court today declined to hear another appeal of a May 2014 verdict awarding Apple $119.6m for Samsung’s alleged infringement of software patents including “quick links”, Reuters reports.

An eight-person jury first sided with Apple in May 2014.


Samsung decided to take its case to the Supreme Court, arguing that there were procedural issues. Evidently the justices disagree.

Ars Technica‘s Mullin has already covered this too, recalling that patents on “smartphone autocorrect and “slide to unlock” were invalid in light of prior art.”

But this one is about design patents, not software patents. And the focus is the level of ‘damages’:

News today concerns the second verdict. In 2016, the $120 million verdict was thrown out entirely by a panel of judges on the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears all patent appeals. The judges said that patents on Apple features like smartphone autocorrect and “slide to unlock” were invalid in light of prior art.


The infringed patents in this case include US Patent Nos. 8,046,721 (slide-to-unlock), 8,074,172 (word correction), and 5,946,647 (quick links). The ’647 “quick links” patent, which describes a process for turning structures such as addresses and phone numbers into easily clickable links, accounted for nearly $100 million of the damages award.


As for that first verdict, it has gone up and down through appeals courts many times, significantly lowering the damages figure in the process. Right now, it’s getting lined up for another jury trial to reconsider $399 million in damages. The US Supreme Court said that the method used to calculate damages on design patents, the biggest part of the verdict, was improper.

This case does not concern software directly; still, we were hoping that design patents too would be challenged. These patents are an overkill when copyright and trademark laws already cover designs to a certain — and likely sufficient — degree.


The Patent Trolls’ Lobby Advocates More and More Patent Lawsuits (Litigation ‘Industry’ Profits)

Posted in America, Apple, Europe, Patents at 11:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gene Quinn

Summary: Trolls’ ‘front groups’ such as IAM and Watchtroll would have us believe that without patent Armageddon we’ll be worse off, but the very opposite is true

Patent radicals want an ‘industry’ of patents and lawsuits rather than actual products. It’s quite revealing what agenda they’re pursuing. The other day Watchtroll put a slant on a controversial FOSS licence. It is appalling. The patent trolls’ lobby (Watchtroll is a key part of it) shows very poor taste. Actual production/development they now dub “efficient infringement” and they ask: “What kind of lawsuits did Facebook find to be frivolous ones? Well, pretty much any lawsuit including a claim for patent infringement…”

“The patent trolls’ lobby (Watchtroll is a key part of it) shows very poor taste. Actual production/development they now dub “efficient infringement”…”As if lawsuits, by definition, are a desirable thing. They’re not. They’re a last resort and better off avoided in the area of software (except when copyrights are involved and differences cannot be settled amicably). On another day Watchtroll published this piece titled “Patent-Based Financings: Unlocking Licensing Revenues While Mitigating IP Monetization Risks” (a pile of nonsensical euphemisms from Michael Gulliford, Fatih Ozluturk , Salomon Kamalodine and Michael Guzman). They say “[p]atent monetization has become nearly impossible for middle-market technology companies without engaging in some level of legal action.”

Well, legal actions too — especially in the area of software — turn out to be a waste of time, money, and productivity.

“As if lawsuits, by definition, are a desirable thing. They’re not.”What else have they got? Snap/quick injunctions? Blackmail by financial sanctions?

TiVo, which uses patents for embargo wars through the International [sic] Trade Commission (ITC), has just managed to get “licensing” deals with a bunch of large firms. As Fierce Cable put it a few days ago:

TiVo said that it has signed patent-licensing agreements with AT&T, Liberty Global and Sony for Sony’s PlayStation Vue service. However, the company’s patent-licensing battle with Comcast remains ongoing, though TiVo executives said they expect the International Trade Commission (ITC) to issue a definitive ruling on the issue by Thursday of next week.


Nonetheless, TiVo’s Carson said yesterday that the company remains hopeful that the ITC will issue a final ruling that would require Comcast to become a TiVo licensee. “We remain hopeful that the ITC will affirm the key aspects from the initial determination, including the exclusion order barring Comcast from importing infringing products,” he said.

So basically, they use the threats of embargo to extract money. The EPO is pursuing something similar with the UPC. Boards (as in appeal boards) are being marginalised and costly litigation is seen as the only way forward. To quote a new comment regarding the Boards:

In older days, in Germany, equivalents were considered under the heading novelty. At least in EPO practice, equivalents are excluded when it comes to novelty. And that is why we have a coherent set of case law from the Boards.

I dare think of the consequences if this would not be any longer the case. Then the all set of decisions of the BA on novelty, priority, added matter would become obsolete.

Where would we end with the certainty presently found in the case law of the Boards being put aside?

Now that the Boards have been set aside (in Haar) we can expect the likes of TiVo to proceed to litigation with low-quality (and sometimes software) patents. Will embargo attempts come? We are already seeing it in Germany. Trolls’ activity is soaring there.

We have already named other firms that are doing what TiVo likes to do. Recently, Qualcomm and Cisco did that. Apple and Arista were their targets of embargo, respectively. Who benefits from such embargoes? Certainly not the public. Apple, for its own part, has done things similarly to Qualcomm. This Web site which exists only to glorify and adore Apple’s patents (which are typically nonsense) shows some of Apple’s latest stockpiling. Who will Apple target next (as sales of its key products gradually diminish)?

“Who will Apple target next (as sales of its key products gradually diminish)?”We remain worried that the influence of the US patent microcosm is spreading to Europe (our previous post was a reminder of that). Here in Europe software patents are already being granted by the EPO; they just get framed as “hardware”. It’s not a new trick. “CrossLayer™ technology enables software and hardware ecosystems to be deployed on-site at the building,” this press release said a few days ago. They also use buzzwords like “cloud” (in the headline) and they basically brag about a patent application. That’s the sole purpose of this press release.

Sooner or later, if granted a patent in Europe, they could become another TiVo, i.e. a serial litigator.

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