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05.19.18

Microsoft Attacks the Vulnerable Using Software Patents in Order to Maintain Fear and Give the Perception of Microsoft ‘Safety’

Posted in Corel, Microsoft, Patents at 5:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

While Microsoft sells ‘protection’ from itself and its patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17]

Microsoft and trolls

Summary: The latest patent lawsuits from Microsoft and its patent trolls (which it financially backs); these are aimed at feeble and vulnerable rivals of Microsoft

THE whole ‘new’ Microsoft delusion clearly fails to impress/charm actual GNU/Linux geeks. They aren’t buying any of it (example from today [1, 2]). Microsoft’s patent attacks on GNU/Linux are being brought up as well. Based on US patent office records, in addition to Microsoft boosting sites, the gold rush for patents carries on and Microsoft has been busy attacking rivals using patents. Yes, this is the ‘new’ Microsoft — same as the ‘old’ Microsoft. It’s using patents on GUIs — a subject we shall cover later this weekend in relation to Apple — to go after competitors. A guest post by Sarah Burstein, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, was published some days ago to remark about the underlying patents:

Microsoft accused Corel of infringing five utility patents and four design patents. The four design patents all claimed designs for particular elements of the Microsoft Office graphical user interface (GUI).

[...]

Corel initially denied infringing these design patents but, early last year, it amended its answer to admit infringement and dismiss most of its defenses, stating that, “to properly develop and prove out those defenses will simply cost more than the damages could rationally be in this case.” By the time of trial, the only remaining issues were damages, whether Corel had pre-suit notice of three of the design patents, and willfulness.

In its Rule 50 motions, Corel argued that Microsoft was not entitled to recover its “total profits” under 35 U.S.C. § 289 because Corel had not applied the patented designs to any articles of manufacture.

We recently wrote quite a few articles about it. It’s almost only one site that has been covering that (Law 360); somehow all the “tech” press doesn’t seem to mind. Last weekend we argued that maybe that just doesn’t fit the “Microsoft loves Linux” narrative they constantly foist if not impose on readers. Notice how, in order to win cases more easily, Microsoft targets relatively poor and weak companies, especially at times of trouble, e.g. TomTom; the last thing Microsoft wants is a lengthy legal battle that sees Microsoft’s patents invalidated.

“…the last thing Microsoft wants is a lengthy legal battle that sees Microsoft’s patents invalidated.”Meanwhile — while Microsoft sues rivals like Corel using lousy patents — the patent trolls of Microsoft also attack Microsoft's rivals, who struggle in court because some software patent survived back in January. In Finjan, Inc. v SonicWall, Inc. (according to Docket Navigator):

The court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s [Finjan] willful infringement claims for failing to sufficiently allege egregious conduct through defendant’s licensing negotiations.

Remember that Finjan is financially backed by Microsoft and it has gone after pretty much all of Microsoft’s competitors in the security space. Of course it doesn’t go after Microsoft; the same goes for Nokia, whose latest words and actions we shall cover separately later this weekend.

02.15.18

In Microsoft’s Lawsuit Against Corel the Only Winner is the Lawyers

Posted in Corel, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 1:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Also in the news today: The Last Of The MPEG-2 Patents Have Expired

MPEG MP3 Player

Summary: The outcome of the old Microsoft v Corel lawsuit reaffirms a trend; companies with deep pockets harass their competitors, knowing that the legal bills are more cumbersome to the defendants; there’s a similar example today in Cisco v Arista Networks

THE Microsoft/Corel affairs have been covered here for over a decade. We have an entire category dedicated to that (mostly history, antitrust, and patent litigation).

“Microsoft — being the patent thug that it is — bullied Corel, possibly hoping to bury this former ‘ally’ once and for all.”Several days ago, in connection to Microsoft’s lawsuit, we saw a couple of updates, one from Law 360 and another from Watchtroll (there’s probably a lot more out there by now). It’s about software patents from the USPTO. Microsoft — being the patent thug that it is — bullied Corel, possibly hoping to bury this former ‘ally’ once and for all.

As Law 360 put it:

A California federal jury declined Microsoft’s request for more than $1 million and awarded it just $278,000 Tuesday in a suit over Corel Corp.’s infringement of patents related to its Office software, finding Corel had willfully infringed nine patents but hadn’t learned of the infringement until Microsoft sued.

Watchtroll said:

Microsoft argued that Corel willfully infringed the ’828, ’036, ’237, ’140, ’532, and ’865 patents. The asserted Microsoft patents are directed to graphic user interfaces used in Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office. Microsoft asserted that it has given its interfaces, including menus and toolbars, a distinctive look and feel, which Corel copied into the accused products, including WordPerfect X7. WordPerfect X7 even includes an option to use the product in the “Microsoft Word mode.”

It’s hardly a win for Microsoft. But it’s even more of a loss for Corel, whose pockets aren’t as deep as Microsoft’s. As one person put it, “$MSFT probably paid $5M in attorney’s fees and other expenses to get that $280K award.”

“It’s hardly a win for Microsoft. But it’s even more of a loss for Corel, whose pockets aren’t as deep as Microsoft’s.”So, in effect, Microsoft loses the case and only lawyers won. Corel is the party which suffers more because the legal fees are greater in relative terms.

What we see here is a large company crushing a small one in court; it has become so typical. Over the past couple of years we wrote a lot about Cisco’s patent battles against Arista Networks. These battles profoundly rattled the latter’s stock in spite of its innocence. ITC imposed sanctions in spite of PTAB’s ruling and today we learn that the “Fed. Cir. Affirmed PTAB’s Invalidation of a Cisco Patent Asserted Against Arista Networks: https://dlbjbjzgnk95t.cloudfront.net/1012000/1012522/cisco%20brief.pdf …”

“Will ITC officials (quite frankly as usual) facilitate the much larger company’s bullying of a smaller rival that’s formally deemed innocent?”It remains to be seen what happens next; will ITC honour this now, for a change? Will ITC officials (quite frankly as usual) facilitate the much larger company’s bullying of a smaller rival that’s formally deemed innocent?

Last but not least, let’s ask ourselves who benefits the most from such SLAPP-esque actions which use patents rather than the classic copyright SLAPP (like Playboy’s lawsuit against BoingBoing — a lawsuit which has just been thrown out, albeit at great expense to BoingBoing, a relatively cash-strapped site which needed to hire lawyers).

10.19.17

Microsoft’s Software Patents Aggression in Court (Corel Again)

Posted in Corel, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s tendency to not only abuse the competition but also to destroy it with patent lawsuits as seen in Corel’s case

THE Corel section of our site has not been updated for a very long time. The wiki page was last updated 8 years ago.

If the company is still around, then it’s certainly not doing much, but its legal case apparently persists and it’s not just about antitrust. Remember Microsoft’s abuses against Corel back in the 1990s and how Microsoft derailed Corel’s GNU/Linux business?

The patent case, as it turns out, is still going on. As usual, the lawyers get paid for this and it devours the company’s budget. Bonnie Eslinger has just published “Corel Says Microsoft Expert Overestimated Patent Damages” at Law360 (mostly behind paywall). To quote:

Corel Corp. asked a California federal judge Wednesday to nix some damages estimates proposed by Microsoft Corp. in its suit over infringement of nine software patents, saying one estimate overstates how much it would have cost Corel to design its home office software in a noninfringing way.

Wednesday’s decision comes as the tech rivals head toward a February trial date over damages related to infringement of Microsoft’s patents, which Corel admitted to in an amended answer to Microsoft’s complaint.

Remember that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer threatened Sun over OpenOffice, demanding payment per download (for patents). Microsoft has always been aggressive with patents, even well before the Novell deal. Do not think for a moment that Microsoft has profoundly changed.

06.12.16

Samsung’s Patent Cases Matter to Design Patents (Scope), to Android, and by Extension to GNU/Linux

Posted in Apple, Corel, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 5:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samsung has the power to put an end to a controversial type of patents that are similar to software patents

Gates
Slide to unlock: novel or medieval?

Summary: A couple of new developments in Apple’s dispute about the ‘design’ of Samsung’s Android phones, which emulate extremely old concepts in digital form

WE are definitely not friends of Samsung (never have been), but some of its patent cases in recent years (especially against Microsoft and Apple) have had profound implications/impact.

“How on Earth were such patents granted in the first place?”Here is Professor Mark Lemley sharing his “brief for 50 IP professors on design patent damages in the Samsung v. Apple Supreme Court case” (local copy to ensure it endures the test of time). This is one of several such cases that involve Apple and Samsung. Florian Müller wrote that this is about as absurd as Microsoft’s patent bullying “over tiny arrow”. To quote the relevant part: “This is one of the patents Microsoft is presently asserting against Corel. Last summer I reported on Corel drawing first blood by suing Microsoft over a bunch of preview-related patents. A few months later, Microsoft retaliated with the assertion of six utility patents and four design patents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation named one of Microsoft’s design patents-in-suit the “stupid patent of the month” of December 2015 because it merely covered the design of a slider. But that patent isn’t nearly as bad as U.S. Design Patent No. D550,237, which practically just covers a tiny arrow positioned in the lower right corner of a rectangle. If you look at the drawings, particularly this one, note that the dotted lines mark the parts that aren’t claimed. What’s really claimed is just a rectangle with another rectangle inside and that tiny graphical arrow in the bottom right corner.”

“This sounds good on the surface, but unless the SCOTUS Justices rule on this, the perceived legitimacy of design patents may persist.”How on Earth were such patents granted in the first place? It’s not surprising that USPTO patent quality has declined so badly and so quickly and there are new patent quality studies regarding the USPTO. Will any similar studies look closely at EPO patent quality as well?

According to an Apple advocacy site, patents on design might not reach SCOTUS after all. This is bad news to all who hoped that SCOTUS would put en end to design patents once and for all.”Samsung Electronics welcomes support for overturning U.S. court ruling in Apple case,” said this new article, which along with others said “Justice Department Urges High Court Overturn Award to Apple Over Samsung Smartphones”. This sounds good on the surface, but unless the SCOTUS Justices rule on this, the perceived legitimacy of design patents may persist. As Müller put it: “Reading all amicus briefs in Samsung v. Apple (design patent damages). Momentum behind call for reasonableness is very impressive.” It looks very likely that if the SCOTUS rules on this, it will help demolish many design patents by extension, in the same way that Alice at SCOTUS put an end to many software patents in the United States. “A federal appeals court awarded about $500 million in damages to Apple for design patent infringement,” recalled one article, demonstrating just how much money can be at stake due to one single patent. “Design patent owners shouldn’t get 100% of the profits when only 1% of the product infringes, EFF tells court,” according to the EFF’s Twitter account and accompanying blog post that says: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked the U.S. Supreme Court today to reverse a ruling that required Samsung to pay Apple all the profits it earned from smartphones that infringed three basic design patents owned by the iPhone maker.

“Apple is the aggressor, whereas Samsung — like Google — is hardly ever initiating patent lawsuits.”“The $399-million damage award against Samsung, upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the Apple v. Samsung patent lawsuit, should be thrown out, EFF told the court in an amicus brief filed today with Public Knowledge and The R Street Institute. Forcing defendants to give up 100% of their profits for infringing designs that may only marginally contribute to a product’s overall look and functionality will encourage frivolous lawsuits and lead to excessive damage awards that will raise prices for consumers and deter innovation.”

Don’t fall for the corporate media’s narrative of Apple as the victim even when software patents are to blame. Apple is the aggressor, whereas Samsung — like Google — is hardly ever initiating patent lawsuits. We hope that Samsung will take this all the way up to the Supreme Court (more expensive to Samsung but collectively beneficial to all) and eventually win. The net effect might be the end of many design patents in the US. Those patents so often threaten GNU/Linux or Android products, as we have repeatedly shown here over the years. Will Samsung do a public service here?

12.31.15

Microsoft’s Latest Patent Aggression Comes Under Fire From the EFF, Former GNU/Linux Company the Patent’s Target

Posted in Corel, Courtroom, EFF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘new’ Microsoft…

Satya Ballmer
Satya Ballmer: different face, same strategy/policy

Summary: Microsoft continues its vicious patent war on anything resembling competition (however small), even the competition against which Microsoft previously committed competition abuses/crimes (subject of court cases) in order to attain total monopoly

MICROSOFT, which is connected to many patent trolls (including Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest), is still busy suing companies. Microsoft has a long history of patent aggression, including patent litigation against Linux (not just threats thereof). As longtime readers of this site may know, this and only this was the raison d’être of this Web site.

“…since winning a case for infringement of design patents can lead to a damage analysis based on “lost profits,” which can theoretically lead to a patent owner getting all of a defendant’s profits.”
      –Joe Mullin
As we noted the other day, referring to the original from the EFF, Microsoft is now attacking a company that once dominated word processing. Microsoft allegedly engaged in competition crimes against this company, leading to decades of expensive litigation. This company also pioneered some important GNU/Linux efforts until Microsoft shut these down with a mysterious deal (which we wrote about on several occasions around 2007). Well, Microsoft is now trying to drive this company into bankruptcy, using patents.

What’s the name of this company? Corel. We have a whole category about Corel (with 51 articles, as well as leaked court documents). History is important here and it’s imperative that people properly study Corel to truly grasp how severe this situation really is.

Microsoft is now attacking Corel with what the EFF calls “Stupid Patent of the Month”. As noted by one good journalist (Joe Mullin), “it’s serious ammo, since winning a case for infringement of design patents can lead to a damage analysis based on “lost profits,” which can theoretically lead to a patent owner getting all of a defendant’s profits.”

“Remember the company called Novell? Yes, that company that pretty much vanished half a decade ago and whose patent/special deal with Microsoft (SUSE) will expire tomorrow (there are no signs of renewal or continuation).”In other words, expect layoffs, liquidation, bankruptcy, etc. Legal fees aren’t low, either. Remember the company called Novell? Yes, that company that pretty much vanished half a decade ago and whose patent/special deal with Microsoft (SUSE) will expire tomorrow (there are no signs of renewal or continuation). Other than the name being similar, Novell and Corel have a lot in common because both competed against Microsoft until signing some infamous deals with Microsoft, leading to their demise, as well as the demise of their ongoing court cases against Microsoft (for competition abuses/crimes). When Novell imploded Microsoft grabbed its patents. Sweet deal for Microsoft. Novell is virtually gone (devoured by another company) and its patents are in CPTN, which is a ‘conglomerate’ pool of Linux and Android foes such as Oracle and Apple.

“Microsoft is now using patents primarily against Android, which the company is at war against (don’t believe the pretenses and the “loves Linux” baloney).”We quite liked how Glyn Moody framed the situation in his article “If Microsoft Wins Its ‘Stupid Patent Of The Month’ Lawsuit, Expect A Plague Of Trolls To Move Into Design Patents”.

As if Microsoft itself is not somewhat of a massive troll itself (we wrote a lot about this before). Just look what the company has been doing with patents this past decade. “The recent Techdirt article about Microsoft’s design patent on a slider,” Moody wrote, “understandably focused on the absurdity of companies being forced to hand over all of the profits that derive from a product if it is found to have infringed on someone else’s design patent even in just a tiny portion of that product. But there’s another angle worth mentioning here that picks up on something Techdirt has written about several times before: the rise and threat of patent thickets. Back in 2012, it was estimated that 250,000 active patents impacted smartphones. That makes it impossible to build devices without licensing large numbers of patents, and even then, it’s likely that claims of infringement will still be brought.”

Microsoft is now using patents primarily against Android, which the company is at war against (don’t believe the pretenses and the "loves Linux" baloney).

“The EPO’s lawyers who currently deal with my case were also recently seen working from the same side as Microsoft on the patent front, based on Reuters.”Here is another new article about Microsoft’s “Stupid Patent of the Month”. “The design patent,” says Softpedia, “numbered D554,140, basically states that Microsoft is the owner of the slider you can see in the photo attached to the article. This is the very same slider that the company uses in its Office productivity suite to allow users to zoom in or out of documents, but it has also been implemented in a wide variety of Microsoft and non-Microsoft products.”

But when patent examiners are pressured to issue patents in bulk and/or do a rushed job (as in the EPO for example, with Microsoft being on the high-priority list), no wonder such nonsense gets granted, leaving European courts to sort out the mess at a huge expense to the defendants. It is worth noting again that only articles of mine which mentioned Microsoft were even the target of threatening legal letters from the EPO’s lawyers, which gives room for speculation. The EPO’s lawyers who currently deal with my case were also recently seen working from the same side as Microsoft on the patent front, based on Reuters.

04.21.10

Xandros Shows Death by Microsoft

Posted in Corel, Deals, Debian, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Scalix, Xandros at 4:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Agent of death

Summary: “It should be widely known by now. No matter why, when and where, join MS and you will be dead.” –Abe

Richard Hillesley has just published “The lost world of the Xandros desktop,” which is an article that looks at Xandros’ past and present. To quote some bits from this long article:

The latest release of the Xandros Linux desktop edition was in June 2006, which is several lifetimes in the history of Linux. Is this the end of the line for the Xandros desktop?

[...]

The ‘patent covenant’ with Microsoft has had a detrimental effect on Xandros’ ongoing relationships with the Linux user and developer communities. Ostensibly the purpose of the deal with Microsoft was to license protocols to enable Xandros’ BridgeWays and Scalix products to work with Microsoft networks.

Actually, Scalix came later. Xandros bought Scalix in July 2007 (July 9th to be precise), whereas Xandros sold out to Microsoft on June 4th.

We have found some new comments on the subject, including one in Tux Machines:

Xandros propaganda for smartphones ? giving up on netbooks ?

Netbooks were born for children. But had a future for enterprise applications because of HDTV(broadcasting news or training film) 16:9 video format(DVD player format). So, Asus sold more XP(sp3). But for individuals, dual boot with Ubuntu maybe a choice, until Firefox shot itself in the foot(not flash9 compatible).

In the comment titled “Join MS”, Abe from Linux Today writes:

Those who forget history are bound to repeat it.

It should be widely known by now. No matter why, when and where, join MS and you will be dead.

Those who ignore the warnings can’t blame but themselves.

We have a detailed list of companies that lost their GNU/Linux focus after signing Microsoft deals. Xandros of one of those companies. It’s "Microsoft's touch of death".

“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”

Be’s CEO Jean-Louis Gassée

02.27.10

Novell News Summary – Part III: Pulse, Brainshare 2010, Proprietary Products, SCO, Virtualisation, and Security

Posted in Corel, Courtroom, Mail, NetWare, Novell, SCO, Security, Virtualisation, VMware, Xen at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ruby mountains

Summary: As indicated in the title, this is a collection of many news items spanning many subjects

NOVELL’S biggest news this time around is its financial report, but we will cover that separately. Here are some news clippings about Novell’s proprietary (or otherwise non-SUSE) side of business.

Read the rest of this entry »

11.28.09

Novell News Summary – Part III: WordPerfect Changes Hands Again, SCO Case Updates, and More

Posted in Corel, Finance, Identity Management, Mail, Novell, Office Suites, SCO at 8:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Grand Canyon

Summary: Novell’s legal, proprietary, and increasingly SaaS-based business as defined by the past week’s news

IT may seem repetitive, but this week too saw no major announcements from Novell.

Read the rest of this entry »

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