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07.02.17

Microsoft’s Troll Intellectual Ventures, via Dominion Harbor, Goes Patent-Trolling in China

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 9:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Remember that, according to press reports, Intellectual Ventures operates through literally thousands of entities

Dominion Harbor Group's Twitter account

Summary: The patent assault on the market, funded directly and indirectly by Microsoft and Bill Gates, will target companies that typically use Android or other Linux-based operating systems

FIVE DAYS ago, in response to Arnt Karlsen in a public mailing list, Bruce Perens (of Debian and Open Source Definition fame) wrote: “If you’d like to help with software patents, that would be nice, as none of the organizations that purportedly support Linux do. Linux Foundation is an [GPL] infringer’s club. Open Invention Network protects patents from Linux, not the other way around.”

“Linux Foundation is an [GPL] infringer’s club. Open Invention Network protects patents from Linux, not the other way around.”
      –Bruce Perens
Yes, very few entities and people out there actively fight against software patents. There are certainly too few companies that do this; Red Hat is actively pursuing software patents (including developers of systemd) and the debate is mostly off the headlines and out of the mainstream.

Not too long ago we wrote about Microsoft and Bill Gates growing their direct role in the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures (IV). We said we would keep an eye on it, so we have and it didn’t take long for us to find this Microsoft-connected patent troll making its move — in the form of Dominion Harbor. As a pro-trolls site put it the other day, they now go after companies in China:

Dominion Harbor scored the Kodak portfolio in Intellectual Ventures’ biggest known divestment to date, back in February. The 4,000 or so total patents changed hands in a $525 million deal back in 2012, which was financed by a coalition of tech companies including Chinese giant Huawei, which received a licence to the portfolio in the process. That leaves plenty of potential customers in the market. Pridham told IAM in February that Asian smartphone manufacturers represented a major opportunity for the portfolio, which includes a wide range of imaging and camera technologies.

Expect them to demand ‘protection’ money from all sorts of GNU/Linux and Android vendors (or initiate legal action).

“Expect them to demand ‘protection’ money from all sorts of GNU/Linux and Android vendors (or initiate legal action).”Another recent bit of news (only 3 days old) noted that the CTO of this Microsoft-connected patent troll had left. To quote the relevant part, “deversus, an Austin-based background checking software company, added John Leonard as director of product development. Leonard, who is co-inventor of four software patents, was most recently CTO at Dominion-Harbor Group in Dallas. He was also the co-founder of IdealAsset, which was acquired by Dominion-Harbor Group.”

Dominion Harbor is closely connected to Intellectual Ventures, which is headed (and was created) by Microsoft’s CTO and a close friend of Bill Gates.

“Dominion Harbor is closely connected to Intellectual Ventures, which is headed (and was created) by Microsoft’s CTO and a close friend of Bill Gates.”In other news, PTAB’s invalidation of patents from this troll is now being challenged by CAFC — the same court that previously served a legal blow to the troll (having taken away its cluster of software patents, alleging these were in violation of the First Amendment). “In a short opinion,” as Patently-O put it, “the Federal Circuit has rejected a PTAB IPR determination finding IV’s patent invalid and has remanded for reconsideration of the case. U.S. Patent No. 7,382,771. Because the patent at issue here was filed prior to March 2013, the pre-AIA first-to-invent rules apply.”

They say pre-AIA, but does that matter if judged on the basis of patent scope? Moreover, as we shall show in our next post, AIA itself is under attack right now, partly funded by and supported by Microsoft.

06.24.17

Microsoft and Bill Gates Become More Actively Involved in Their Biggest Patent Troll (and World’s Biggest Troll), Intellectual Ventures

Posted in Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Never forget the insidious strategy of Microsoft and SCO

Microsoft SCO
See Lawrence R. Goldfarb (Wikipedia)

Summary: The world’s largest patent troll, which reportedly operates (litigates) through literally thousands of shells, has received yet more financial aid from Microsoft and Bill Gates

TECHRIGHTS has been covering Intellectual Ventures (IV) for a decade. The coverage wasn’t in vain because nowadays this troll routinely targets companies that distribute GNU/Linux, just as we speculated and warned a long time ago. What does Microsoft have to do with it? It’s Microsoft and Bill Gates that this troll came from and it’s Microsoft and Bill Gates who are served by it. We gave a lot of examples over the years. As we pointed out in a dozen articles earlier this year [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12], Microsoft now relies on trolls that target rival platforms, e.g. AWS customers. Microsoft’s trolls may not be doing too well (IV, for example, fails financially), so a couple of years after Microsoft’s latest cash infusion to it comes another cash infusion from Bill Gates.

“It’s Microsoft and Bill Gates that this troll came from and it’s Microsoft and Bill Gates who are served by it.”Found via Bastian Best is this new ‘report’ from the Gates Foundation-funded Seattle Times, telling us that the so-called ‘philanthropist’ is giving money to the world’s most notorious patent troll, an occasional Gates Foundation business partner. See “Intellectual Ventures spinoff Pivotal raises $17M from Bill Gates, others” and recall the past role of Gates (at personal and professional capacity) in this one particular patent troll.

Basically, Bill Gates continues to subsidise the world’s largest patent trolls, who actively attack GNU/Linux. Microsoft too paid this troll a couple of years back. The flow of cash in that direction is quite telling. Now watch this very recent report from IAM, a friend of IV and of Microsoft. It turns out that this patent proxy and massive patent troll won’t have much left to it but Bill Gates’ close friend Nathan Myhrvold, a bully since his days at Microsoft (we published some internal E-mails from him to highlight his ruthlessness, temper, and sheer arrogance). He, like his friend and neighbour Bill, believes he’s a master of the universe. God complex…

“Basically, Bill Gates continues to subsidise the world’s largest patent trolls, who actively attack GNU/Linux.”To quote IAM: “A new structure will now see a team of executives reporting into co-founder and CEO Nathan Myhrvold with Brown’s former administrative duties spread among them. The new leadership team will comprise CFO Larry Froeber, chief people officer Nicole Grogan, new GC Janet Smith (previously chief counsel for corporate affairs), Cory Van Arsdale who moves from being senior VP for global licensing to chief revenue officer and Mathan Ganesan who is taking over as head of the Invention Investment Fund (IIF). Ganesan will move from the firm’s Dublin office to its Bellevue HQ. They will be joined in the senior leadership team by Maurizio Vecchione, head of the Global Good and Research team, and Casey Tegreene who leads the Invention Science Fund.”

A longtime Microsoft propagandist, Todd Bishop, did this puff pieces for Microsoft’s biggest troll only a short while ago. It’s not an article but more of a placement. To quote a portion: “Adriane Brown is president and chief operating officer of Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue, Wash.-based intellectual property and tech company best known for its giant patent portfolio and big ideas from its co-founder, former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold.”

“It turns out that this patent proxy and massive patent troll won’t have much left to it but Bill Gates’ close friend Nathan Myhrvold, a bully since his days at Microsoft (we published some internal E-mails from him to highlight his ruthlessness, temper, and sheer arrogance).”Where is the news? Where is the substance? Decades later Bishop continues to act more like a courier of Microsoft agenda.

It must be frustrating to these people that software patents are dying in the US. Intellectual Ventures was famously stopped by PTAB some months ago and IAM is still unhappy about it. To quote this new “International report” from IAM: “Intellectual Ventures owns two patents directed to methods of selecting appropriate bandwidth for wireless communications systems. Ericsson and Google sought to invalidate certain claims in the patents through three inter partes review proceedings before the PTAB.”

Intellectual Ventures has used such patents to go after rivals of Microsoft.

“Microsoft did not change; only the marketing/PR changed.”Regarding the above, a few weeks ago Mozilla entertained the idea — supported by CAFC — that software patents are in violation of free speech rights. It cited that same/prior Intellectual Ventures case: “The debate over the First Amendment and boundaries of patent protection became a hot topic for discussion after Circuit Judge Haldane Mayer issued his 2016 opinion in Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Symantec Corporation.”

We certainly hope that readers of ours will keep an eye on Intellectual Ventures and inform us when new lawsuits are filed. This troll is so deep in Microsoft’s pockets that it’s inevitable Microsoft will continue to use it as a proxy against rivals. Microsoft did not change; only the marketing/PR changed.

05.27.17

Patent Dangers to Linux and Android: Qualcomm, Apple, and Nokia

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, GNU/Linux, Patents, Samsung at 6:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The prevailing problem which is companies with mountains of patents going after OEMs, using a bulk of infringement accusations, and demanding ‘protection’ money

IN the US, Qualcomm has just made a move to stop Apple, which already stopped paying Qualcomm and is leading somewhat of a rebellion against Qualcomm (under trouble in multiple continents).

In Korea, Qualcomm is in troubled waters too. Korean companies like Samsung are also affected, so the actions against Qualcomm are bipartisan from the iOS/Android perspective. Qualcomm upsets everyone.

Days ago, according to this, “Apple had a deadline for responding to Samsung’s mid-March petition for writ of certiorari” (request for Supreme Court review) in the second California Apple v. Samsung case, which had received very significant support from software and Internet companies, non-governmental organizations and law professors.”

Apple’s patent war on Samsung seems to have become a distraction as meanwhile, in the past few years, Huawei became the largest Android OEM. That used to be Nokia, which is now preoccupied with patents and has just settled with Apple again. The Finnish media wrote that “Nokia and Apple settle intellectual property {sic} lawsuits, become partners” (they mean patents). It happened just a few days ago:

Finnish communications giant Nokia and US tech behemoth Apple announced on Tuesday that they have settled all of their litigation and signed a patent license and a business cooperation agreement.

As noted here, “Apple and Nokia announced a settlement today after only about 5 months of litigation. Apple v. Samsung has been going for more than 6 yrs…”

What a waste of time and energy. Only lawyers profit from these battles.

As noted in this article, we don’t know who pays and how much, but we can only guess that Nokia is paid by Apple, for it has more patents in this area and reports were always suggestive of a demand from Nokia (for a number of years):

The companies said today they have settled all outstanding litigation and agreed to a patent license. While exact financial terms are confidential, Apple will be making an up-front cash payment to Nokia, followed by additional payments over the course of the agreement.

Microsoft has already spread Nokia’s patents to patent trolls, scattering these in a way that harms Android. It’s problematic for many reasons and we mostly care about the effect on GNU/Linux.

05.14.17

OIN is Still a Distraction Unless We Want GNU/Linux to Coexist With Software Patents (Rather Than Eliminate Those)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, OIN, Patents at 2:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Open Invention Network (OIN): the ‘solution’ of companies that love (to exploit) GNU/Linux and also love software patents

Animals

Summary: Another wave of media coverage by/for the Open Invention Network (OIN) necessitates a reminder of what OIN stands for and why it is not tackling the biggest problems which Free/Open Source software (FOSS) faces

THE notion that OIN can “protect” GNU/Linux from software patents may be a convenient one, but OIN never opposed software patents and it rarely offered any substantiative protection. With the USPTO de-emphasising patents on software (in no way owing to OIN) we might find some reprieve. With PTAB eliminating many such patents (already granted by the USPTO) we might feel safer.

“OIN is, in our assessment, somewhat of a distraction.”The latest OIN PR, however, has managed to entice at least a couple of GNU/Linux-centric writers. OIN is, in our assessment, somewhat of a distraction. It’s not at all useful against patent trolls and it never opposes software patents. It’s actually supportive of FOSS and software patents at same time, as contradictory as that concept can be (FOSS and software patents are inherently incompatible). SJVN wrote ‘for’ OIN that “everyone and their uncle — yes, even Microsoft– use Linux and open-source. A decade ago, Linux was under attack by SCO for imaginary copyright violations, and then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was claiming that Linux violated more than 200 of Microsoft’s patents. So Open Invention Network (OIN) patent consortium was formed to defend Linux against intellectual property (IP) attacks. The stakes may not be so high today, but Linux and open-source software is still under attack from patent trolls and other attackers. That’s where the Open Invention Network (OIN) steps up by expanding its patent non-aggression coverage through an update to its definition of the Linux System.”

Well, notice that they never even mention GNU. It’s not a coincidence, it’s intentional. They certainly know all about GNU, but the brand “Linux” represents a friendlier (to them) philosophy. Published around the same time by Christine Hall was the following article, suggestive of a media outreach by OIN. It says: [via]

On Thursday, the Linux System got a lot larger. This is good news, and means that anyone using Linux and other other software often used with it, can sleep better nights, knowing that the Open Invention Network (OIN) is now watching their back on the patent front more than ever.

That’s what OIN does. It seeks to protect enterprise Linux and open source users against patent infringement claims, which is seen as open source’s greatest intellectual property vulnerability. It does so primarily with an ever growing portfolio of patents it offers to license free-of-charge to any person or organization that agrees to not enforce its own patents against core components of Linux and other key open source projects, which it calls the “Linux System.” It’s a carrot and stick approach, using a lot of carrot and going easy with the stick.

OIN is well-meaning (in its own mind), but it won’t tackle software patents and patent trolls that use them. As Benjamin Henrion put it, it’s “useless against trolls. But that’s not in the PR.” (press release).

“It claims to be trying to thwart sales of patents that would later be used to sue GNU/Linux vendors, but rarely have we seen a real example of that (they claimed this only once, more than half a decade ago).”We, ourselves, stopped engaging with OIN. It proved to be a waste of time, especially when we spent a long time communicating online with patent trolls who had approached us, then trying to get OIN involved (it was toothless and uninterested).

Right now, just to use a new example, the Microsoft-connected Acacia (Microsoft connections and history of suing GNU/Linux vendors) gets mentioned for former executives netting ZTE patents. “ZTE [is] revealed as vendor of Chinese patents sold to NPE set up by ex-Acacia executives,” says the headline and here is the relevant part from IAM (trolls’ proponent):

Longhorn – founded last year by former Acacia Research executives Christian Dubuc and Khaled Fekih-Romdhane – announced back in February that its Ox Mobile subsidiary had acquired “assets related to 4G/LTE with worldwide coverage, as well as Chinese assets related to smartphone implementation” from an unnamed Chinese company.

What could OIN possibly do here? Nothing. It claims to be trying to thwart sales of patents that would later be used to sue GNU/Linux vendors, but rarely have we seen a real example of that (they claimed this only once, more than half a decade ago). OIN can, at times, look like a placebo. It gives an illusion of safety and thus false comfort.

“It’s the ‘solution’ as envisioned by companies like IBM, which (as we shall show later today) spearhead a big push for software patents everywhere.”To clarify, OIN are not the “bad guys”; far from it…

OIN just isn’t the solution to our problems. It’s the ‘solution’ as envisioned by companies like IBM, which (as we shall show later today) spearhead a big push for software patents everywhere. If OIN took some concrete action, e.g. submitting an amicus brief against software patents or sending a letter against IBM’s latest plot — a ludicrous concept as OIN virtually came from IBM — we would possibly change our minds and reconsider this position.

Having just visited the front page of OIN’s Web site, it now seems abundantly clear that they collaborate with IAM (even pay IAM), proponents of software patents, patent trolls, and patent maximalism. If OIN tries to make itself look even worse, then it’s certainly doing a fine job.

05.07.17

Revisionism About Microsoft Software Patent Deals Implicating GNU/Linux

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 3:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When legal threats against companies that distribute Free/Libre open source software are framed as diplomacy

Historical revisionism
Reference: Historical revisionism

Summary: Sites of the patent microcosm are still rewriting history and distorting the record of Microsoft’s patent aggression against Free/Libre open source software — aggression that continues to present and gets disguised using euphemisms

THE relationship between Microsoft and Toyota goes back to the years before Toyota moved from Windows to Linux (or Android) and as covered here earlier this year, Microsoft compelled Toyota to pay a sum of money for patents pertaining to file systems, operating systems, UIs and so on. In other words, Microsoft — still proclaiming that it “loves Linux” — attacks Linux with patents. It’s taxing and preying on Linux, using worthless patents that are likely not eligible but leveraged in bulk in order to make legal defence too expensive.

As always, Microsoft relies on media allies to distort what is happening and paint blackmail as some kind of amicable agreement. IAM, for example, is once again grooming Microsoft with its patent extortion — essentially patent racketeering tactics against Linux. IAM seems to be doing this every month if not every week, perhaps hoping that repetition of lies will somehow make them stick. Here is the latest example, which also drags Xiaomi into it:

No one who reads this blog needs reminding how that turned out, but Microsoft’s recent deal making also shows how parts of the industry are becoming more collaborative. Earlier this year the windows giant announced a new patent agreement with Toyota which was the first for its new auto licensing programme. Toyota North America’s Frederick Mau insisted that the deal was about than just a licence; instead, it was “one more step in a collaboration with Microsoft to create better vehicles for our customers”, he said.

That deal was also another example of the IP value creation pivot the software pioneer has made, with a move away from a royalty based approach to licensing. “It has only been in the last few yeas that I have been involved in true win-win deals for both sides,” Minhas stated, offering the 2016 deal with Xiaomi as a leading examples of the change in Microsoft’s approach.

This is hogwash. Not just the part about Toyota but also Xiaomi, which needed to pay Microsoft for patents because it uses Linux (or Android). Days later IAM also published Ben Husband’s self-promotional puff piece for Carpmaels & Ransford LLP, a British law firm that said:

Microsoft recently announced a new patent licensing agreement with Toyota that includes broad coverage for connected car technologies. This is unsurprising, since the nature of connected car technology means that technology companies, with their enormous experience in developing communications, software and data-processing technologies, are ideally placed to work with established car companies ‒ the collaboration and licensing opportunities would be substantial.

But software patents are no longer a thing; and besides, did Microsoft threaten to drag them into the court (like it did Samsung a few years ago)?

What we have above are some examples of the ‘softening’ of Microsoft’s image at the hands of patent maximalists who love to see ‘protection’ money, litigation, and generally a whole lot of aggression. That’s what they profit from.

Where does GNU/Linux stand in all this? It stands to lose.

04.22.17

Intellectual Discovery and Microsoft Feed Patent Trolls Like Intellectual Ventures Which Then Strategically Attack Rivals

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 2:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Still unleashing trolls like Intellectual Ventures at competitors that are actually successful at selling products

A bat

Summary: Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)

PATENT trolls are not just a nuisance. Sometimes they are intermediaries. For instance, Ericsson used a patent troll in order to sue in London and it won earlier this month. Microsoft does something similar and they both go after devices that run Linux, albeit they attack these not directly. They want the ‘protection’ money without all the negative publicity this entails (brand erosion).

“They want the ‘protection’ money without all the negative publicity this entails (brand erosion).”IAM has published this blog post about “Intellectual Discovery” [sic; twice even, for both words], revealing that it feeds trolls that litigate in the Eastern District of Texas. To quote: “Document Security Systems (DSS) has filed lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas alleging infringement of LED-related patents acquired from Intellectual Discovery. The assertion campaign – and its eventual outcome – could represent a major test not just for the embattled publicly traded IP company (PIPCO) model, but also for sovereign patent funds (SPFs) and third-party IP litigation funding at a time when pure-play patent monetisation has become riskier than ever before.”

Not too long ago we wrote that “Bascom Research is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lexington Technology Group, which announced its merger with Document Security Systems…”

“Microsoft would be too hypocritical to join Apple in complaints about Qualcomm (which does similar things to Microsoft on the patent front), so its meddling in complaints appear to have adopted a very familiar intermediary.”Bascom became better known for a CAFC case involving software patents (in their favour) — the very thing that CAFC usually bins straight away.

Microsoft would be too hypocritical to join Apple in complaints about Qualcomm (which does similar things to Microsoft on the patent front), so its meddling in complaints appear to have adopted a very familiar intermediary. William New covered this at IP Watch and Florian Müller had beaten him to it with this post based on a quick tipoff. To quote: “I just received–and wanted to immediately share–an open letter addressed by major automotive and information and communications technology companies to President Donald J. Trump, urging him to shield the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) from political interference that could derail the ongoing antitrust litigation in the Northern District of California against Qualcomm (this post continues below the document)…”

“Nokia is commercially if not medically/clinically dead, but Microsoft ended up scattering the company’s patents into the hands of patent trolls that Microsoft is able to control.”Worth noting are the non-corporate entities in there. Notice that Microsoft’s AstroTurfing front ACT is in there too. This is a bunch of patent thugs who now devise patent trolls as a weapon against GNU/Linux and Free/libre software, as we explained this month and last month [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. They have, for example, passed Nokia‘s patents to patent trolls like MOSAID (renamed since, after a lot of negative publicity) and today we learn that the Acacia lawsuit which we mentioned here the other day (Friday) utilises a bunch of patents from Nokia in fact! As Joe Mullin put it, the Microsoft-connected Acacia “uses ex-Nokia patents to sue Apple, phone carriers…” (that’s the headline).

The largest publicly traded patent-assertion company, Acacia Research, has launched a new lawsuit (PDF) against Apple and all the major cell phone carriers.

Cellular Communications Equipment, LLC, a unit of Acacia, has sued Apple, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The company says that the five industry giants infringe four patents related to basic cell phone technologies. All four patents originated at Nokia, which has been sharing its patents in so-called “patent privateering” arrangements for some years now.

[...]

Another company using Nokia patents, MobileMedia Ideas, won a $3 million jury verdict last year. Nokia did a major deal with another patent-licensing company, Pendrell, in 2013.

Just witness the degree of corruption and recall what Microsoft entryism inside Nokia has caused (we have a lot more to say about it in the future). Nokia is commercially if not medically/clinically dead, but Microsoft ended up scattering the company’s patents into the hands of patent trolls that Microsoft is able to control. Quite a clever strategy… if you want to be evil.

04.17.17

How I Learned that Skype is a Spy Campaign (My Personal Story) — by Yuval Levental

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guest post by Yuval Levental as part of the Skype is Spy Campaign

Skype

Summary: Skype is now tracking serial numbers, too

I first discovered Linux when I was 13 years old, and was amazed by it. I really enjoyed the freedom, security, and customizability. I only used Microsoft Windows when I didn’t have an alternative.

“I felt like they were watching my actions, and reading more about this issue confirmed my thoughts.”Last year, when I bought the current laptop I am using, it came with Windows 10 installed on it. I figured I would partition the hard drive in half and install Linux on one half, to see which operating system I would use the most. As it turned out, I would use Linux almost all the time without any extra effort. There was one exception, and that was Skype, which I used to video chat with some people on. However, one day, I tried changing my password, but that didn’t work. I even tried uninstalling and reinstalling Skype a few times, and for some reason that still didn’t work.

Many hours later, I found that changing the assigned virtual serial number finally let me log in to Skype. However, the hassle was immense, and I was shocked that Skype would be tracking my serial number. I felt like they were watching my actions, and reading more about this issue confirmed my thoughts.

This was the last time I ever used Windows 10 for personal use. Shortly after, I decided to finally fully switch to Linux. I hope that many people in the future will also switch to Linux, as Linux is far more advanced and potentially user-friendly than it was even just a few years ago. There is no better time than now to switch to Linux.

04.11.17

PAX Means Peace, But It’s Making Peace With Software Patents Rather Than Destroy Them

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, OIN, Patents at 6:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Whether it’s called “PAX” or “SuperPAX”, it does not solve the issue but merely exacerbates the patent thicket problem

Jeremy Paxman
Jeremy Paxman

Summary: One last take on the whole “PAX” brouhaha, which is far from a solution to problems we’re all facing in the software world

THE announcement of “PAX” made a lot of headlines/press last week, e.g. in the financial press1. Well, Android-centric sites covered that quite a lot and to a lesser degree GNU/Linux-centric sites did too (like SJVN2). We wrote several articles about that, e.g. [1, 2]. We believe that as long as the USPTO grants software patents there is room for things like “PAX”, but they are not a solution to the underlying problem, which is the patents themselves (on software).

“We believe that as long as the USPTO grants software patents there is room for things like “PAX”, but they are not a solution to the underlying problem, which is the patents themselves (on software).”Jeff Roberts‏, a writer whom we respect for his firm grasp of these issues, published the article “Google-Backed Patent Network LOT Adds Cisco, Slack” and separately added: “Patent folks: Google-backed LOT adds Slack & Cisco to its non-aggression pact. (how long till @IBM joins too?)”

Well, IBM has already fed some patents into Android OEMs for defensive purposes (at great cost). It would not be shocking if it joined “PAX” sooner or later, even if it has OIN. Maybe there will even be some bridging between OIN and “PAX”, as one defends GNU/Linux (not just the kernel anymore) and another Android, which uses the Linux kernel and some Free software projects that are covered by OIN.

“Well, IBM has already fed some patents into Android OEMs for defensive purposes (at great cost).”“Collective shields don’t work against trolls,” Benjamin Henrion rightly reminded them. This is why we prefer different approaches. We don’t think that patent pools, even if advertised as “defensive”, will ever lead to eradication of deprecation of software patents.
_______

1 Google Creates Community License to Unify Android Makers (GOOG, MSFT)

Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google (GOOG) is attempting to create peace in patent litigation.

The Mountain View company launched Android Networked Cross-License or PAX (Latin for Peace), a community license between manufacturers of Android devices that makes their collective patents available to each other minus royalties. “ We call it a community license because all members grant licenses to one another on a royalty-free basis, thereby promoting patent peace within the Android ecosystem,” the company wrote in a blogpost. (See also: Patents Are Assets, So Learn How To Value Them).

Signatories to the patent license include prominent makes of Android phones, such as the likes of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd (SSNLF) and HTC. Collectively, they hold more than 230,000 patents. According to Google, the agreement “materially reduces patent risk.” In other words, this means that members will not sue each other for using Android-related patents in their devices.

2 PAX: Android patent protection consortium formed

OIN was formed in 2005 when Linux was under legal siege from SCO for imaginary copyright violations and then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed Linux violated over 200 Microsoft patents. So, IBM, Sony, Phillips, Red Hat, and Novell formed Open Invention Network (OIN) to defend Linux against IP attacks. Since then, many major companies have joined OIN from both inside the technology business, such as Google and manufacturing companies like Damiler.

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