Summary: A roundup of posts about patent aggression and patent aggregation against mobile market players, Android in particular
Apple enjoys a marriage of convenience with governments and with other concentrations of power. Apple has been engaging in idealogical and political censorship for quite some time now. It is part of the company’s policy and philosophy. It’s about control. Apple is now censoring books, based on reports that won’t help Apple’s reputation at all.
Meanwhile, says the press amid a collapse in Apple's secret case against Android (there was an attempt to keep journalists out), Apple struggles to keep litigation going. “Unfortunately,” tells us one reader, the press is “quoting paid shill Mueller again.” He shows this allegation from anti-FOSS lobbyist Florian Müller. This lobbyist, or mass mailers for hire (Mr. Müller acts like a PR agent), is often being used as merely a mouthpiece of corporations that pay him for it, e.g. Oracle and Microsoft.
“Judge Lucy Koh has ruled on the Apple and Samsung motions, and the only thing finally decided so far is that Apple loses on its desire for an early case management conference on April 3,” says Pamela Jones, who adds: “Not so much these days for Apple, huh? The trouble with declaring that you intend thermonuclear destruction of a competitor is, they get to hit you back. And the fact that Apple now has to try to undo the USPTO’s devastating decision means that Apple indeed is not currently holding the winning hand with any certainty, despite any brave assertions that it will bounce back on the bounce back patent. On the other hand, the same is true for Apple’s “win” at the jury trial. It’s getting whittled back and whittled back, and it’s surely true that it ain’t over ’til it’s over in patent litigation, and that means after the final appeal is over. That’s why investing in litigation is for fools, in my view.”
Ask Nokia how it’s working out. After it had been abducted by Microsoft it started attacking Android with patents. Two years later Nokia is almost a dead company, a brand with only patents (some passed to trolls with Microsoft’s assistance) and a glorified past legacy. In a new essay by Joel Spolsky, who used to be a manager at Microsoft, the strategy mastered here is described as a protection racket. This is an apt description:
The Patent Protection Racket
The fastest growing industry in the US right now, even during this time of slow economic growth, is probably the patent troll protection racket industry. Lawsuits surrounding software patents have more than tripled since 1999.
It’s a great business model.
Step one: buy a software patent. There are millions of them, and they’re all quite vague and impossible to understand.
Step two: FedEx a carefully crafted letter to a few thousand small software companies, iPhone app developers, and Internet startups. This is where it gets a tiny bit tricky, because the recipients of the letter need to think that it’s a threat to sue if they don’t pay up, but in court, the letter has to look like an invitation to license some exciting new technology. In other words it has to be just on this side of extortion.
Step three: wait patiently while a few thousand small software companies call their lawyers, and learn that it’s probably better just to pay off the troll, because even beginning to fight the thing using the legal system is going to cost a million dollars.
Step four: Profit!
What does this sound like? Yes, it’s a textbook case of a protection racket. It is organized crime, plain and simple. It is an abuse of the legal system, an abuse of the patent system, and a moral affront.
Companies like Microsoft, Apple and Nokia increasingly rely on proxies which are patent trolls to do the damage in the mobile market. In a later post we’ll show how Nokia does the dirty laundry. █
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Apple pushed over the cliff
Summary: Apple’s crucial ammunition against Linux/Android gets thrown by the USPTO right into the garbage can
The news from the second-largest patent case against Android gets covered by Pamela Jones, whose articles about Samsung and Apple include in-depth legal analysis. Companies like Microsoft, Oracle and Sony [1, 2] also sue Android, but none has earned a ruling as favbourable as Apple’s (just over a billion dollars in damages). The USPTO has been forced to acknowledge failure to examine patent applications. The USPTO reaffirms invalidation of Apple patent in Samsung suit, says CBS. Apple’s patent should not have been granted in the first place, so the USPTO should be held responsible for a lot of damage to the industry, again. Here is Jones’ coverage of the news and some more from CBS tabloid ZDNet.
“Apple deserves go go out of business for its shameless business strategy.”Mr. Pogson calls it a case of rotten Apple, noting: “So Apple’s case is shrinking like a rotten apple. There’s just nothing left, at least nothing Samsung has to apologize or pay for. In fact, I would not be surprised to find Apple had to pay some of Samsung’s costs for frivolous action.”
Apple deserves go go out of business for its shameless business strategy. We can help that happen by boycotting Apple and urging others to do the same. I have already convinced many friends and even some small companies to do this.
Speaking of Apple, watch this lousy propaganda piece from the New York Times, to which Mike Masnick responds as follows:
Author Claims That If Apple And Microsoft Started Today They’d Fail Without Stronger Patent Protection
First of all, the number of patents filed is meaningless. You can file a ton of patents and it means absolutely nothing concerning innovation. First off, applications are different from granted patents. Second, and more importantly, patents show no relation to innovation. Third, when it comes to Chinese patents, the Chinese realized long ago that patents are merely a tool for protectionist tariff-like policies that can be enacted with less scrutiny or trade war issues and have acted accordingly. Basically, nothing in the paragraph above actually supports Fingleton’s argument.
Apple is not an innovative company, it is a marketing company and it managed to market or brand itself as “innovative”; in practice, it’s just a ripoffs company. It hardly manufactures anything. █
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“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”
Summary: More dumb patents from the company that made ripoffs successful
As Apple continues its attack on Android, starting with the HTC lawsuit, people who buy Apple are increasingly upset about patents like rounded rectangles being used offensively. Apple secrecy [1, 2] is a way to assure customers are not made aware of the company’s very ugly side. Here is an attempt to fight this secrecy. Apple’s abuses against Linux-based platforms go years back, before the HTC lawsuit, Apple’s “Steve Jobs Used Patents Like A Mob Boss: Threatened To Sue Palm Over Patents If It Poached Any Apple Employees,” to quote TechDirt, where Glyn Moody and others have been slamming patents lately. Here is another take on Apple patents that are crazy:
Creating that “leak-proof pipe” has long been the dream not only of media companies, but also of computer companies like Apple that hope to collaborate with and ultimately supplant them. A recent patent application, found through the French title Numerama, seeks to make videos uncopiable during playback by locking down the last section of the pipe — the part that connects the computer to the screen.
Apple cannot even get basic security right, yet it wants patents on the above? █
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Summary: Android, Google, and various related patent-centric news as seen by bloggers and reporters
Nokia has been attacking Linux-powered platforms after Microsoft took over, making it evident that patents were on the table. It is becoming more transparent now. Amid patent stacking with FRAND by the likes of Microsoft/Nokia and Apple we also see a lot of Galaxy S4 FUD (targeting by far the best selling Android phones series). Pranesh Prakash says “Samsung might be violating the GPL with it’s Galaxy 4″ based on this report, but it seems like an angle previously played up by Microsoft lobbyists. Now that Nokia won a patent case against Android we also see Microsoft allies acting lustily and trying to bring Google down, not just on the search front (a lot of the heat Google gets over privacy recently comes after orchestration by Microsoft allies).
Using the British equivalent of “jerkoffs”, Alan Lord slams Nokia when he writes: “#Nokia playing nasty with #swpats to try & invalidate the #Google / #MPEG-LA deal: Wankers… ”
Well, more people are calling for a Nokia boycott and some look for ways to defang Nokia:
It’s time to do a little prior art searching, don’t you think? Can you help?
Nokia just disclosed a list of patents that it claims VP8, the video compression format used by the WebM Project, infringes, and the way they filled in the form, the list looks as long and scary as it could possibly look, and just as the IETF was trying to reach consensus on VP8. But when you break the Nokia list down, country by country and then by patent, it’s not so impressive after all. As it turns out, there are just a few patents repeated over and over. I think it’s short enough that we can sensibly try to find prior art.
By the way, did you know that anyone, individual people I mean, can join the IETF mailing list and participate in the conversation? It’s free, and while individuals may have affiliations and most do, it’s not the kind of thing where companies or countries can dominate the way we watched happen in the OOXML affair, because unlike ISO or ITU, there are no national bodies to bribe influence, just individuals expressing their own opinions. The IETF is a completely open standards body. If you’d like to and feel you understand the technology, you can join the mailing list and contribute to the decision-making process. It works by consensus. No need to bring your wallet.
Don’t read on unless you are free to read patents, as usual.
Google said at an IETF conference the other day that sublicenses will be royalty-free, thanks to the agreement it just signed with MPEG LA, when up stands a Nokia representative to say MPEG LA isn’t the whole story and Nokia isn’t a member. Nokia believes it has patents that are infringed by VP8, and it’s not in the mood to license them. Here’s the video of the event. And here’s another talk at the same IETF conference, a slide talk on VP8-MTI by a Google guy. Notice the rude interruptions, by the way, if you are one of those who think Google is the evil one.
Here is one news report that we found about it:
Nokia said on Monday it is not prepared to license any of its patented technologies that might be essential to the VP8 video codec that is backed by Google.
Here is the latest Slashdot discussion about it. The discussion is titled “Free Software Camps Wading Into VP8 Patent Fight” and here is a notable essay. There’s more coming on this subject for sure.
Microsoft is meanwhile pushing pro-Microsoft and Android-hostile points of view in biased media circles. It’s more anti-Google FUD regarding codecs. Microsoft sued Motorola and sought action in the ITC, exploiting a Seattle court stacked with Microsoft boosters. Microsoft’s booster at the ‘Microsoft press’ (Kurt Mackie) covers the good news for Microsoft while — as usual — ignoring the rest. He says:
The case involves U.S. Patent No. 6,069,896, held by Motorola Mobility, a company that Google acquired in May. The patent specifies a peer-to-peer wireless invention, and it was the sole remaining complaint of five alleged infringements. The “final initial remand determination” by David P. Shaw, an administrative law judge acting on behalf of the ITC, was the result of an appeal.
We wrote about this case before. Microsoft is desperate,y trying to tax Google’s Android devices, using patents. MPEG has been one track. Motorola is merely defending itself by deterrence.
For those of us who just want to develop and buy products in peace without patent fees, here is an event to attend in the US:
If You’re An App Developer And Concerned About Patents (You Should Be), Here’s An Event For You
There are tons of app developers out there who are quickly discovering that there’s a major risk they face today: if your app gets even remotely popular, you’re a likely target for a bunch of patent trolls who are feeding off of the greater app developer ecosystem with incredibly broad patents for obvious concepts (even things like charging for your app). There’s a relatively new group called the App Developers Alliance that is putting on a series of patent summits across the US to discuss issues related to patents and app developers. I’ve had a few conversations with the folks putting these events together, and they look like they should be fantastic resources for those who can attend.
The Android ‘ecosystem’ of development has been hit hard by patent aggressors, not just trolls*. But some thing, such as de facto multimedia codecs, are universal and we must fight the likes of Nokia for trying to make life very expensive for everyone, even those just wishing to watch family videos. █
* Not much of that receives press coverage. Some apps just die or settle quietly.
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Summary: Professor Michael Risch talks about WebOS, responds to our criticism
There is a fascinating story about WebOS, the operating system built on Linux and optimised to work well on the Web, using some portable framework that is Web-compatible (a growing trend in SDKs). Apple’s devices are poor at Web browsing, so WebOS (now open source as we hoped but unfortunately patents-encumbered) and some platforms like Android, which now has Chrome, have had a huge potential for growth, mostly at Apple’s and Nokia’s expense. Android is well ahead of Apple in technical terms and “Samsung [is] Innovating Faster Than Apple” claims a minister. So anyway, after Apple threatened Palm with lawsuits [1, 2] we find out in Risch’s rant about the already-controversial SHIELD act that WebOS was derailed by Apple:
Consider Palm, which developed WebOS, and made stuff. Consider HP, which has spent billions of dollars in research and development. HP bought Palm, and made WebOS tablets. For various reasons, maybe in part due to patent claims from other tablet makers like Apple, HP decides to stop selling WebOS tablets. HP then decides to enforce Palm’s patents. Mind you, HP didn’t just buy the patents, it bought the company. And then it made stuff, it researched, it developed, and it has even licensed WebOS out to LG try to resurrect it for televisions. Is HP a troll now? It falls under the text of this act. I think that just cannot be right, and yet there it is, in black and white.
Pamela Jones wrote: “Apple did that? I didn’t know that. If so, then I spit in their general direction. I love WebOS, and Apple needs to cut it out. It can’t be the only tablet maker in the universe. The more they sue and threaten, the more determined I am never to buy anything from them again.”
Wired had Risch (prominent in the debate over patent trolls) as a guest in a debate full of lawyers whose opinions omit the obvious solution (here is
another recent example) and after our criticism of his suggestions he wrote to me to say: “Thanks for reading, even if you don’t agree. I’m glad to hear that I’m even slightly controversial, as I usually see myself as plain vanilla.
“I outside us was a bit surprised by your characterization of the op-ed, though. For one thing, I quote Stallman’s editorial. For another, my very first suggestion was: ” More patents should be rejected, and especially weak software patents. Limiting these should continue regardless of who – troll or product company – owns those patents.” I realize that this doesn’t go far enough for those who would abolish software patents, but it’s hardly a defense. Indeed, at least one person shared this sentiment as the takeaway from the op-ed on twitter. I actually had a lot more written about software patents, but they limited me to 1100 words, so anything not core to the primary argument got slashed – so it goes.”
I replied by saying that “I do believe that we need to end software patents as a whole.”
“I hear you,” he said, “I know a lot a people feel that way. Even though I disagree, at least that would be owner neutral!”
That’s why it’s a debate. Every debate has some factions on each side. Anup Malani, writing this paper about patents, says: “Counter-intuitively, we propose raising the stakes of patent litigation by providing enhanced rewards to victorious patent holders and imposing enhanced penalties on owners of patents that are invalidated at trial.” This is not the obvious solution, either. It evades the obvious fix which is related to scope, not legal action.
Stephen Ornes, a writer based in Nashville, Tennessee, wrote this article in the New Scientist yesterday. He opposes software patents on the ground that they are akin to patenting mathematics. To quote:
AT SOME point in their career every mathematician comes up against the question, is mathematics invented or discovered? The query makes some cranky. The answer doesn’t directly affect their work, after all, and the discussion often leads nowhere useful. Spending time debating the ultimate nature of mathematics takes away from actually doing it.
Some scholars take issue with the terms themselves. In his 2008 essay Mathematical Platonism and Its Opposites, Harvard University mathematician Barry Mazur called discovery and invention “those two too-brittle words”. One might be tempted to defuse the question altogether with a merger: perhaps maths involves inventing new relationships between things we have discovered.
It’s a metaphysical query, a nerdy way to ask whether or not some pre-existing truths underlie our existence. Here we bump up against theology. If mathematical ideas are discovered – the Platonist position – then a proof is a real-world encounter with an immortal truth. But then where, exactly, is this ethereal pool of truths? Did prime numbers exist before the big bang?
If, on the other hand, mathematics is invented, then proofs spring from human intelligence a bit like art or law. But then why do mathematicians across time and space always agree on what’s right and wrong?
The question about invention versus discovery flares up every few years, often in a different guise. The latest incarnation concerns something very down to earth: money. In this case, the discovery versus invention question has profound consequences. In fact, there may be no mathematical question with higher stakes. That’s because mathematics powers the algorithms that drive computer software, and software is big business, worth over $300 billion a year to the global economy.
If we start with the hypothesis that algorithms are reducible to maths — which they are — then it becomes apparent that the patent system is inherently broken in the scope sense. Talking about damages in litigation is not the point. We must identify and address root causes, not symptoms. █
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Some proprietary software giants are ganging up against Android/Linux
Summary: Some news of interest about patents and lawsuits that target Google and Android in particular
The patent war on Linux/Android, by far the leader of the mobile pack, is led by a bunch of proprietary software giants, one of which is Apple. Here is some interesting news that we overlooked earlier this month:
Apple Inc. (AAPL) urged a federal judge to dismiss a consumer lawsuit alleging the company maintains a monopoly over iPhone applications.
Attorneys who filed the suit in 2011 claim that a monopoly exists because an iPhone user who doesn’t want to pay what developers charge for applications available through Apple’s App Store can’t go anywhere else to buy them. Apple requires iPhone software developers to turn over 30 percent of what they charge for an application, increasing prices and excluding competitors from the iPhone “aftermarket” of applications, they claim.
Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) has doubled mobile-phone sales in the U.S. since 2008. As the company faces anti-dumping measures and a protracted court battle with Apple Inc. (AAPL), its U.S. lobbying bill is growing even faster.
Samsung boosted spending on lobbyists to $900,000 last year from $150,000 in 2011 as it tries to influence the federal government on issues ranging from intellectual-property infringement to telecommunications infrastructure, regulatory filings show. The company also hired Sony Corp. veteran Joel Wiginton to run a new government-relations office in Washington.
In other news, Microsoft too keeps up the pressure. Here is a report about it:
With that in mind, now take a look at the arguments Microsoft raises to try to rob Motorola of a jury trial. This litigation began as two cases. Microsoft started it by filing a breach of contract case in Seattle, this very one, #1823 [PDF], alleging that Motorola was breaching its contractual FRAND obligations by asking for too much for its patents. Then Motorola filed a defensive patent infringement action in Wisconsin, asking for a jury trial, and Microsoft answered with counterclaims that pretty much matched its breach of contract claims in Seattle. Then the two cases got consolidated. It’s actually a bit more complicated, but that’s the important part.
It wasn’t Motorola that wanted to consolidate in Seattle. It filed in Wisconsin after Microsoft filed in Seattle, so it was hoping against hope not to end up with everything being decided there. Nobody wants to go against Microsoft in its own backyard, I think we may assume. And watching this case unfold, I think you can see why. You can read the judge’s history of how it all happened in this order, #66 [PDF], which issued on May 31, 2011. In it, the judge notes that when Microsoft filed its answer to Motorola’s patent infringement claims, it filed more or less the same breach of contract issues as in its own contract case, and that’s why the judge in Wisconsin pushed them together into one case. And there they are.
Somewhere in that process of consolidation, Microsoft seems to think it has caught Motorola having dropped a stitch with respect to asking for a jury trial. Motorola wants a jury trial, and Microsoft doesn’t and Microsoft thinks it’s found a way to say it’s too late to ask for it now.
Google, in response to some of these dubious lawsuits, encourages companies to take action:
Google encourages companies to work together on patent licensing to stop patent trolls
Google has recently been taking a hard line on the US patent system, claiming that it over-rewards the work of coming up with an idea while taxing those who do the work of actually implementing it. The company also takes issue with excessive patent litigation from so-called “patent trolls,” and now Google is encouraging companies to work together to cross-license patents to help cut down on frivolous lawsuits. On a new site that Google launched today, the company outlines four different, royalty-free patent licensing agreements that it believes will help protect participants from patent trolls.
The royalty-free patent licensing, or elimination of patents, is imperative for the freedom of Free/libre software.
Here is evidence of Google’s hypocrisy when it comes to patents and here is a new article from Glyn Moody, who says that Microsoft is arming in alarming ways:
If Microsoft Shuts Down Google Maps In Germany, How Does That Benefit The Public?
As the claims make clear, it’s exactly what any half-way competent engineer would come up with given the task of providing certain kinds of information local to a geographical location. Moreover, it is of course implemented in software; given that Article 52 of the European Patent Convention explicitly excludes “programs for computers” from patentability, the fact that the EPO granted a patent here is an early example of how it circumvented that exclusion because a computer was used to run that software (well, doh.)
This is an example of rogue elements in the patent system.
Joe Mullin, a patent trolls expert, highlights this lawsuit over GUI, i.e. a software patent or design.
A patent appeals court has revived (PDF) one of the nation’s most controversial patent lawsuits—one that looked to be over in January 2012. Originally filed in 2007, Move, Inc. v. Real Estate Alliance Ltd. involves a patent that has become infamous in real estate circles: US Patent No. 5,032,989, issued to Mark Tornetta back in 1991. Tornetta and his lawyers say the patent covers just about any use of a real estate map online that has a “graphical interface” and “drill-down features.” Since online maps are ubiquitous in the real estate market, Tornetta and his lawyers believe they’re owed money by just about every real estate agent or service in the nation.
“It is a very broad-based patent,” said Louis Solomon, the attorney representing Tornetta. “We are seeking reasonable royalties that conservatively run into the hundreds of millions, plus interest. Given that the Federal Circuit has significantly expanded the liable parties, the damages will go up significantly.”
Litigation involving the ’989 patent began back in 1998 when inventor Mark Tornetta sued Microsoft, which at that time owned HomeAdvisor. Tornetta sued MapQuest that same year. Ultimately, he had to drop both lawsuits because he didn’t have the money to see the cases through.
Here is some new commentary about GUI patents in relation to Apple and Samsung:
The recent Apple v. Samsung litigation has consumed the media since August when a California Jury awarded Apple more than $1 billion for infringement. Of the three design patents involved in that judgment, one was for a graphical user interface (GUI). This landmark case is the first time that a U.S. court has considered infringement of a GUI design patent and may be just the tip of the iceberg beginning to emerge within the design patent landscape.
We are living in a time when everything from design to code — which copyrights already cover — are monopolised as concepts, not implementation. Google is rightly worried about it because everyone seems to be aiming at Android. Since Android is an Open Source project (whose head, Mr. Rubin, has just stopped down), it is not compatible with patents. The cartel of proprietary software companies is aware of it, hence the clear strategy that seeks to exploit FRAND and simply tax everything Android. It’s a case of patent stacking and it’s a collusion that should be ruled illegal. More people should speak out about it. █
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Summary: Apple continues to find that patent wars against Linux/Android are getting it nowhere
Apple’s hype machine is losing its momentum as technically superior devices come out and outsell Apple’s best-selling products. Those devices have Linux in them.
Apple has been impeding development of some of the world’s technically best phones, the Galaxy S series. “Apple and Samsung,” writes Pamela Jones, “at the judge’s request, have filed their joint status report [PDF] on the theme of whether the judge should stay Apple v. Samsung II until after the appeals court rules on Apple’s appeal of Apple v. Samsung I. It’s a joint report, filed together, but they agree on nothing. Samsung says they should wait; Apple says they shouldn’t. Apple says that the two cases are distinct, with Apple II involving none of the same patents and “virtually none” of the same Samsung products.”
I happen to know some Apple fans who turned into Galaxy S fans. I met one of them yesterday. Even some prominent Apple people, such as Woz and Guy Kawasaki, seem to be walking away from the “i” hype.
Apple may be under some patent attacks, but the scale of the attacks which come from Apple is much greater. Samsung, responding to Apple’s aggression, tried to block Apple in Japan:
Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) failed in a bid to block sales of Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPads and iPhones in Japan, the latest step in a global patent spat between the world’s two largest smartphone makers.
The Tokyo District Court rejected the request as Samsung hadn’t negotiated “sincerely” with Apple over licensing data- sending patents, Judge Ichiro Otaka said in a ruling today. The court also ruled that Samsung doesn’t have the right to seek damages from Apple.
According to another recent report, “touchscreen gesture patents that Apple has accused Samsung of infringing on are not eligible to be patented in the first place, according to Samsung’s Australian barrister Richard Cobden.”
This case or set of cases between Apple and Samsung may help determine how quickly Android grows. In a new paper from Lemley et al. it is being claimed that trial length in patent cases has no effect on the outcome, which may be good news for several defendants in Linux-related cases. Here are some more findings:
We conduct a comprehensive study of all patent trials over the past eleven years. We find that juries are more favorable to patentees than judges, that (to our surprise) the length of a trial has no effect on its outcome, and that there are surprisingly modest differences between patentee win rates in favored jurisdictions like Delaware and the Eastern District of Texas.
Apple is desperate to carry on with this battle that Steve Jobs advocated for whereas the current CEO, based on reports, actually opposed. It has been a long time since Apple started this clueless patent war and Apple is barely getting anywhere with it. Apple is just getting distracted and it slows down. The US press, CBS for example, keeps posing Apple propaganda in the form of biased, flawwd statistics. The authors, some of whom used to serve the Microsoft press, fail to stall Linux growth. The latest of the Galaxy S series, the S4, is to be officially announced this week. █
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Summary: Now that Microsoft controls Nokia and its patents portfolio there is more direct hostility towards Android, this time with action rather than just words and directly rather than through Microsoft/Nokia-armed trolls like MOSAID
Apple recently suffered a bit of a blow in the anti-Android litigation war, which a US judge too is eager to put constraints on. Android is growing very rapidly even in China; a vast place like Africa, where Nokia has long enjoyed some low-end devices domination, is now being penetrated by Android. Samsung Rex series is poised to take on Nokia in low-end segments according to this recent report, so we are hardly surprised to see Nokia joining Apple in the war against Samsung. Here is one article about it and another about Nokia, now led by one of Gates’ cronies (Gates is disappointed by Microsoft’s “mistake” and lack of innovation in mobile) making not a rational decision but an idealogical one, made by a mole who surrounded himself with more moles after he had infiltrated the company. Having, together with Microsoft’s involvement, armed patent trolls like MOSAID (we should boycott Nokia for this), Nokia is now showing yet more malice. To quote: “Nokia and Apple are competitors when it comes to moving hardware off the shelves, and the two companies even opposed each other in a patent trial in 2009 (ending in Apple settling with Nokia for an undisclosed sum). But Nokia has been vocal about supporting its patent rights recently, even discussing its decision to sell some of its intellectual property to patent-holding company Mosaid at the Federal Trade Commission in December.”
Here is an earlier report about it:
Apple vs. Samsung initially ended with a billion-dollar verdict in favor of Apple, but there have been plenty of wrinkles since. This week brought about another, as Nokia filed an amicus brief on behalf of Apple, Inc. in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In the brief filed Monday, Nokia asked the court to permit permanent injunctions on the sale of Samsung phones that were found to infringe Apple’s patents.
Post-trial proceedings haven’t been as kind to Apple after the company was awarded $1.05 billion in damages in August. US District Judge Lucy Koh nearly halved those damages in a ruling on Friday, and in December she denied Apple a permanent injunction against Samsung which would have barred the sale of Samsung phones found to be infringing.
We have long argued that Nokia, Apple, and Microsoft are very much aligned against Android. They engage in patent-stacking. According to this new report, Microsoft seems to have pretty much taken over the whole of Nokia already:
Nokia announced that it expects to receive more in support payments from Microsoft this year than it pays the software company for licensing its Windows Phone operating system. Nokia provided more details on the terms of the long-term cooperation in its SEC filing on 2012 results. The Finnish company said the support payments, which amounted to USD 250 million per quarter last year, will “slightly exceed” the minimum software royalties it pays Microsoft in 2013.
The matter of fact is, Microsoft pretty much abducted Nokia without ever paying for a takeover. And there has been massive regulatory failure to spot and counter that. What we have now is a patent cartel determined to destroy Android. Everyone should be concerned about it because everyone loses from it, except perhaps managers of the cartel. █
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