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08.29.17

Many Patents Are Being Passed to Android-Hostile Patent Trolls (by the Thousands) and Microsoft is in the Shadows

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 11:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shadow and trees

Summary: Some of the latest moves and actions (and auctions) which pose a danger to GNU/Linux in mobile devices in particular

THE daily (and sometimes bi-daily) links that we post here contain many news items about Android. It’s now dominant with nearly 90% of the mobile market. Android is based on Free/Libre Open Source software (AOSP) and contains Linux at the core, so it matters to us. We are not huge fans of Google, but having said that, Google is at least supporting Linux and not just posting promotional materials like leaflets with heart symbols on them. Microsoft actively attacks Linux in many ways (see recent examples in Munich and even patent lawsuits); Google does not.

“Microsoft actively attacks Linux in many ways (see recent examples in Munich and even patent lawsuits); Google does not.”Earlier today Benjamin Henrion pointed out that David Pridham, “CEO of the patent advisory [sic] Dominion Harbor Group,” now has a blog (even an attack on Google) over at Forbes. Dominion Harbor Group is a patent troll, not “patent advisory” or whatever euphemism they may choose. It’s also connected to Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll. So what we have here are anti-Google articles from a man who is connected to Microsoft’s patent troll. Ain’t that just too shallow? Is he going to sue Google next? He recently got a big load of patents from Intellectual Ventures [1, 2]. Such patents can never be used against Microsoft because Intellectual Ventures is deep in the pockets of Microsoft and Bill Gates (at a personal capacity, too).

“Telecom equipment giant Nokia is offloading more than 6,000 patents related to 4G, 5G, SDN, VR, and more in the wake of its recent merger deal with Alcatel-Lucent.”
      –WirelessWeek
A couple of days ago we also learned that after Microsoft ‘took over’ Nokia it is still passing patents to patent trolls which are likely to attack Microsoft’s rivals (even under Microsoft’s direct guidance). This is the latest:

Telecom equipment giant Nokia is offloading more than 6,000 patents related to 4G, 5G, SDN, VR, and more in the wake of its recent merger deal with Alcatel-Lucent.

According to a listing from transaction firm Aqua Licensing LLC, which was first spotted by Law360, Nokia is selling a portfolio containing 6,069 granted patents and 734 patent applications. The patents up for grabs come from patent families in six different technology categories, including Wireless; Services; IP and Networks; Access, Fixed, and Optical Networks; Hardware and Components; and User Experience, Mechanics, and Materials.

How many of these patents (many of which are likely bogus or ripoffs) are going to be used against Android OEMs? As we last showed earlier this year, Nokia is already shaking down some Android OEMs directly. So does Qualcomm, which has taken its battle to Europe in spite such battles being bad for business. The latest on Qualcomm is, they too acknowledged lack of merit in some of the claims:

In early July, Qualcomm brought an ITC complaint against Apple over six non-standard-essential patents (NEPs) related to efficient battery usage, seeking an import ban against iPhones with Intel (or other third-party chips) but not against devices that might include Qualcomm’s own chips.

A couple of weeks ago, the ITC instituted the investigation. As I wrote last month, it would have been unusual for the ITC not to investigate the complaint, despite the partly valid points raised in various public-interest statements.

But something unusual has happened now. On Friday, Qualcomm filed a motion (unopposed by Apple) for partial termination of the investigation by withdrawal of U.S. Patent No. 8,487,658 on a “compact and robust layout shifter design.”

What’s unusual here is not Qualcomm’s decision to drop a patent. I’m sure they’ll drop more as this investigation unfolds because that’s what the ITC expects complainants to do so it can keep its relatively ambitious timelines (Qualcomm’s motion makes reference to the normal course of business at the ITC, though the motion tends to portray a totally ordinary ITC timeline as something special, which it is not in my observation). What is strange and even pretty much unprecedented is the timing: two weeks into a just-launched investigation. In all other cases I’ve watched, with an exception I’ll discuss next, parties withdrew patents after significant procedural progress. At a minimum, parties would want to review the respondent’s non-infringement and/or invalidity arguments. Here, Qualcomm withdrew the patent without anything happening other than Qualcomm having changed its mind.

This case has a lot to do with Android because if Apple loses it, so will Android OEMs (some have already dissented).

As usual, when it comes to large companies like Microsoft, Nokia and Qualcomm (many thousands of patents), they just throw a whole bunch of patents of varying levels of quality to over-encumber the accused with legal fees. When this method targets Android OEMs (many small ones, unlike one large OEM known as Apple) the incentive to fight back or take things to court is very low. Sometimes Google jumps in to assist, but a lot of the time there are back room settlements. We can safely assume that this is part of Microsoft’s patent stacking strategy, so we cannot carry on pretending that Microsoft now “loves Linux”. It’s a colossal lie.

08.02.17

Growing Threat to Free/Libre Software From Software Patents: Apple, Microsoft and Nokia Charge Ahead

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 7:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We have warned about this for over 7 years (since the time when we made the cartoon below)

Patent stooges

Summary: The triplet of phone companies with dying ambitions (or declining market share) and just a big pile of patents is still a potent threat to the success of (GNU/)Linux-powered devices which now dominate the market

THE menace which is software patents has been more or less the basis for the existence of Techrights. We have done this for nearly 11 years.

“Even Android, which nobody can honestly claim to be a “failure”, is Free/Libre at its core (AOSP).”Yesterday, to our surprise, IAM put “the rise and rise of open source” on the cover (sort of). It’s in this introductory post’s headline and it says: “Another big change over the last decade has been open source software’s emergence as the primary underpinning of so many high-tech products.”

Even Android, which nobody can honestly claim to be a “failure”, is Free/Libre at its core (AOSP).

This probably alludes to this article by the publisher’s loudest pusher of software patents, Richard Lloyd. He wrote (outside the paywall): “Open source software has come to dominate the underlying infrastructure of much of the world’s technology. But with success have come the inevitable growing pains…”

“It’s no secret that software patents are probably the biggest barrier to Free/Libre (sometimes called “Open Source”) software.”Due to the paywall we can read no further, but we are pretty certain he is talking about patents (because it’s Lloyd, not just because it’s IAM).

It’s no secret that software patents are probably the biggest barrier to Free/Libre (sometimes called “Open Source”) software. I routinely chat about this with the founder of Free software, Richard Stallman (as I last did yesterday). But software patents are a profound threat to software development in general, not just Free software. That’s a very important point.

The matter of fact is, software patents are inherently incompatible with free distribution of software; in the case of proprietary software, this impacts pricing. Yesterday, a “New Podcast Series” was announced [1, 2] in a press release that said: “Shortly after Versata discovered Ford’s secretly-developed, copycat software, Ford raced to file a secret lawsuit in federal court. Ford sought a federal judge to recognize Ford’s copycat software as not infringing upon Versata’s software patents.”

“The matter of fact is, software patents are inherently incompatible with free distribution of software; in the case of proprietary software, this impacts pricing.”This is a case which we wrote about before. It’s about proprietary software and software patents. Just because something is proprietary software doesn’t mean a patent fight against it is in our interest; in fact, what we preferably want is to bring proprietary software vendors over to our side. Some of them already advocate Alice and openly oppose software patents.

Incidentally, earlier this week we said that software patents from Nokia are a threat to Android and GNU/Linux (a view which was reinforced by IAM the following day). The British technology publishers finally catch up with the news and sent to us by a reader this morning was another British article. The reader was quoting this passage: “It has not been a bad year for Nokia, despite appearances, and the firm has just welcomed a €1.7bn cash payment from Apple for some intellectual property {sic} hoo-hah.”

“As for Microsoft, its “Linux”-related patent deals with LG and Samsung go more than 10 years back.”See what Microsoft turned Nokia into? We were right all along about this.

Apple too continues to battle Android using patents. Yesterday, for example, Managing IP said: “The Northern District of California has ruled that the article of manufacture issue has not been waived in Samsung’s bid for a retrial of its design patents dispute with Apple. But Judge Koh deferred consideration of whether a new trial is necessary until further briefing”

This has gone on for half a decade. Going further back, Apple’s fight against HTC goes more than 7 years back. As for Microsoft, its “Linux”-related patent deals with LG and Samsung go more than 10 years back. It’s not hard to see the pattern and identify the main enemies.

07.31.17

Publisher Funded by Nokia’s and Microsoft’s Patent Trolls Expects More Attacks on Android OEMs

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Joff Wild USPTOSummary: IAM, which is known for its pro-patent trolls and Microsoft-leaning coverage, foresees more patent aggression (based on the Editor-in-Chief)

THE USPTO spent decades granting software patents. A lot of them are totally bunk, more so after Alice, but they continue to exist and they are used in bulk to shake down OEMs that distribute GNU/Linux. This was covered last night in light of Nokia’s actions, which are still prominent in the news (earlier today, e.g. [1, 2]). Nokia is adopting the Microsoft-led modus operandi which is overwhelming Android OEMs with patent fees, over-encumbering them with costs; in the patent profession/s this strategy is known as “patent stacking”.

“…in the patent profession/s this strategy is known as “patent stacking”.”Joff Wild, who runs IAM (it was funded in part by a patent troll that Microsoft had armed with Nokia’s patents), wrote this morning that we should “expect more to follow,” i.e. the Microsoft-led Nokia will attack even more Android OEMs (it’s already “done” with Apple). Here is the eyebrow-raising part of Wild’s euphemisms-filled ‘masterpiece’:

But it was not just the Apple deal. Suri referred, too, to the recently concluded Xiaomi agreement: “We also closed a licensing deal with Xiaomi, a milestone win with a Chinese smartphone vendor, setting the stage for us to engage further with other vendors in the country.”

It’s all about patents and payments for patents. It’s a settlement. Hardly a win for Xiaomi, which was also extorted by Microsoft a year earlier.

Can anyone else feel the “love” Microsoft must have for Linux? Microsoft loves Linux like pythons love rats.

“It’s not too hard to see one major motivation for Microsoft’s de facto takeover of Nokia.”In the case of Nokia, billions of dollars are extracted from one OEM (Apple) just for patents. That can be the difference between life and death for some OEMs. A press release from today spoke of a patent settlement which included “one-time payment of $13 million…”

In the case of Nokia we’re talking about billions, not millions. It’s not too hard to see one major motivation for Microsoft’s de facto takeover of Nokia. As we’ve pointed out since 2011, it has a lot to do with patent stacking.

07.30.17

Microsoft’s (Patent) War on GNU/Linux Continues, But It’s Disguised Using Intermediaries

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 2:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft and trolls

Summary: A look at Microsoft’s latest manoeuvres that implant patent traps in Linux and have patents passed to patent aggressors, which in turn go after original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that distribute GNU/Linux

THE previous post was about companies that choose to use patents for pure aggression (even pro-actively). They typically use terms like “protection” or “defense”, but they are not the defendants. They’re the bullies. Such is the case with Microsoft, which leverages software patents (granted by the USPTO) against companies all around the world. Microsoft typically uses proxies to do the litigation (for fear it might otherwise damage the image of Microsoft). Almost every day we still see some gullible journalists who mindlessly repeat the “Microsoft loves Linux” jingle.

“Microsoft typically uses proxies to do the litigation (for fear it might otherwise damage the image of Microsoft).”Let something be very clear; Microsoft still attacks GNU/Linux with patents; pretty hard in fact. Silently, Microsoft uses patents to compel companies to pre-install Microsoft programs (even on operating systems such as Android) and sometimes — as the lawsuit against Samsung served to show — Microsoft takes the aggression public (outside the back room) by filing lawsuits and flinging a lot of weak patents at the defendant, in order to pressure towards quick (albeit ruinous) settlement.

Microsoft is not a reformed company; it’s actively taxing everything in an effort to raise costs (or “rents”) associated with production and distribution, even of mere software, i.e. no devices/hardware sold. See what Azure has become patents-wise [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Using various consortia (like those of the Linux Foundation), Microsoft also acts like a Trojan horse. It’s trying to add patents-encumbered ‘standards’ to all sorts of things. 3 days ago Tuxera resurfaced again, this time promoting a Microsoft patent trap (and tax) inside Linux with the promotional headline “Tuxera FAT+ File System for Embedded Systems is Compatible with FAT32, Faster, and Supports Files up to 16TB” (putting aside GPL issues, not just patent issues).

“Microsoft is not a reformed company; it’s actively taxing everything in an effort to raise costs (or “rents”) associated with production and distribution, even of mere software, i.e. no devices/hardware sold.”To make matters worse, a couple of days ago MOSAID resurfaced again in “Conversant” clothing (it changed its name after all the negative publicity) and this pro-patent trolls site put a happy face on it. A Microsoft-connected patent troll (which Microsoft passed Nokia patents to) comes to Europe and IAM seems satisfied. “The NPE has seen mixed results in its attempts to monetise the portfolio,” it wrote, “although recently it has notched up significant court victories in the US against LG and Apple. Despite those wins, filing this latest case in London shows that, like many patent owners that have become frustrated with the US courts, Conversant believes that in certain circumstances Europe offers a much more conducive climate for patent assertion.”

It means trolling, not “climate for patent assertion.” Disregard these euphemisms. As noted above, they also go after Android OEMs (not just the likes of Apple). They are doing this already. And in Europe! For those who missed it, Ericsson's troll is doing this as well in Europe. It has become a growing problem and potentially a massive headache for firms in Europe.

No company in Europe, however, has been a bigger ‘troll’ than Nokia, especially after Microsoft took charge. As we showed earlier this month, Nokia now targets Android OEMs with its patents.

“No company in Europe, however, has been a bigger ‘troll’ than Nokia, especially after Microsoft took charge.”Having already assigned, at the behest and request of Microsoft, some of its patents to the above patent troll, Nokia now goes further. “Microsoft Transfers 500 Nokia Design Patents To HMD Global,” said a report some days ago, but nobody else seems to have covered it. “None of the involved parties have yet issued a comment on the matter in any capacity,” the report said. So they pass 500 patents and nobody says a thing? I informed the Linux Foundation about it (2 days ago), but have heard nothing since.

Is Microsoft still using Nokia as a patent attack vector against Microsoft’s rivals?

Here are the details:

Microsoft transferred approximately 500 Nokia-related design patents to HMD Global Oy, according to the filings uncovered in the database of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The patent portfolio that the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant yielded to the Finnish tech company doesn’t represent the entirety of Microsoft’s remaining Nokia-related holdings, with the company’s mobile division still owning around 200 design patents that it originally acquired following its purchase of Nokia in mid-2014. It’s currently unclear whether the patents that have now changed hands were part of the original deal that saw Microsoft sell Nokia to the Foxconn-owned FIH Mobile for $350 million and HMD Global Oy being granted a license by Nokia to develop and sell new devices under its brand, or if the transfer was negotiated at a later date.

For those who view it as benign, mind the role of HMD after Microsoft essentially destroyed Nokia. It’s more like a licensor. Microsoft turned Nokia into a patent troll that attacks Microsoft’s rivals. It’s even in the news today. A few days ago a reader sent us this link, quoting the following passage:

The lawsuit, the second high-profile patent dispute between Apple and Nokia in the last decade, began last year when Nokia accused Apple of infringing on dozens of patents it owns, as well as patents owned by Nokia subsidiaries.

Yes, “Nokia subsidiaries.” The same old trick. Microsoft too has all sorts of subsidiaries that act like classic patent trolls.

“For those who view it as benign, mind the role of HMD after Microsoft essentially destroyed Nokia.”Tom Hochstatter‏, a patent professional, asked Unified Patents: “Is Nokia considered at troll? Nokia gets $2 billion from Apple $AAPL for #patent infringement…”

He linked to this article, but it’s all over the news today (even though it’s a Sunday), e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. This is about software patents too; they’re definitely in the mix. As one article put it, “Nokia alleged Apple of 32 patent infringements related to display, user interface, software, antenna, chip-set, and video encoding…”

“Microsoft too has all sorts of subsidiaries that act like classic patent trolls.”A lot of these are pure software.

When does Nokia sue or settle with Microsoft? Well, the answer here says it all really. Nokia and Microsoft are in this together.

Here is how AOL framed it 2 days ago:

After a quick fight, Apple and Nokia settled a patent lawsuit back in May. But the two companies didn’t comment on the value of this settlement. While terms of the deal are still undisclosed, Nokiamob first spotted that Nokia announced that it has received a $2 billion upfront cash payment from Apple (€1.7 billion).

[...]

It’s going to be interesting to look at Nokia’s upcoming quarterly earnings release to figure out how much Apple is paying for this agreement. But there’s one thing for sure — Nokia must be quite happy with this new revenue stream.

At whose expense?

“Android OEMs are already affected by this and some need to shell out money to avoid being sued.”Not only Apple is impacted.

Android OEMs are already affected by this and some need to shell out money to avoid being sued. BlackBerry, for that matter, is on a similar boat, except without Microsoft on it. BlackBerry too has become a patent parasite, suing companies in the Eastern District of Texas as it cannot sell enough products to survive. Some people evidently continue to worship BlackBerry’s patents. If only they knew what BlackBerry has truly become…

Our Wiki page about Nokia chronicled its various attacks on Android over the years; don’t be mistaken by the company’s new Android phones (or BlackBerry’s). They take advantage of Android (because there’s nothing else they can use; iOS is an Apple monopoly) while suing fellow Android OEMs.

“Microsoft — more so than Apple — does a lot of these patent battles via intermediaries and the mainstream media rarely bothers mentioning that. Instead it’s obsessing over “Microsoft loves Linux” and advertising proprietary Microsoft software as if it’s a “Linux” thing.”Suffice to say, what makes matters even worse is that Apple too sues Android OEMs. Florian Müller has the latest on the Samsung case. “The parties have until Tuesday to propose a briefing schedule, and a case management conference will be held on Wednesday,” he wrote this weekend. And in other noteworthy news, Apple is being sued again. “Florida company CustomPlay filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple today,” Mac Rumours said on Thursday, “claiming a Siri feature that allows fourth-generation Apple TV users to rewatch a portion of video with closed captioning copies its movie companion software.”

Timothy B. Lee seems to be back at Ars Technica and he wrote about it too. “It’s a problem everyone has had,” he said, when “you’re watching a movie and don’t catch a key bit of dialogue. In September 2015, Apple unveiled a new feature for Apple TV that solves the problem. Users can ask “what did she say?” and Siri will skip back 15 seconds and temporarily enable captions.”

Software patents again.

But the bottom line is, patents that oughtn’t even be valid (under Alice/Section 101) are actively used to elevate the price of products with GNU and/or Linux in them. Microsoft — more so than Apple — does a lot of these patent battles via intermediaries and the mainstream media rarely bothers mentioning that. Instead it’s obsessing over “Microsoft loves Linux” and advertising proprietary Microsoft software as if it's a "Linux" thing.

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

07.20.17

Microsoft is Googlebombing “Linux” This Week in Order to Sell Proprietary Software That Does Not Run on GNU/Linux (and While Blackmailing OEMs Over Linux)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Loves Linux” like python snakes love mice… or AT&T loves net neutrality

AT&T loves net neutrality

Summary: A reminder of the fact that Microsoft very much hates GNU/Linux, lobbies against it (e.g. in Munich), blackmails companies that distribute it (using software patents) and shares all data stored by its software through back doors (for access by the NSA and other Western spy agencies)

We really don’t want to write about those sorts of things, but the GNU/Linux/FOSS news feeds are getting stuffed with marketing of proprietary Microsoft software which neither runs on GNU/Linux (it runs on DrawBridge) nor is final (it’s just some RC). It’s all about promoting surveillance of database by the first company in the NSA’a PRISM programme, knowing darn well that Microsoft is particularly close to the NSA. Virtually every bit of software from Microsoft (even disk encryption) comes with back doors. That’s just how it’s meant to be.

“For those who still foolishly believe that Microsoft “loves Linux”, well… wake up. That’s as ludicrous as AT&T’s claims (last week, due to popular online action) that it supports net neutrality (while suing to undermine it).”Microsoft staff and MVPs have already been ‘thrown’ at me in Twitter in an (failed) attempt to refute what I was saying, but it’s clear that Microsoft is simply pulling strings in the media to sell the lies that it “loves Linux” and that proprietary databases from Microsoft are both acceptable and desirable. That’s pure ‘spam’ and it’s not as though there is a final product, either.

For those who still foolishly believe that Microsoft “loves Linux”, well… wake up. That’s as ludicrous as AT&T’s claims (last week, due to popular online action) that it supports net neutrality [1-3] (while suing to undermine it). Microsoft continues to use threats of patent lawsuits to compel OEMs to preinstall Microsoft (in exchange for money and ‘protection’). That’s how Microsoft even interjects its malware into a lot of Android devices and Nokia now helps Microsoft do this to Xiaomi. Pro-Microsoft sites like IAM twist it like this:

Comparatively, the synergies between Xiaomi and Microsoft was straightforward: Xiaomi can put Microsoft’s software in front of a lot of smartphone users. I put this idea to Lin, and he explained that where Xiaomi’s and Nokia’s business interests dovetail is in the cloud.

As we explained a year ago, it was a patent settlement in disguise when Microsoft did it. What we have here is a bully trying to convince its victim that obedience comes from “love” rather than fear or terror.

As for Microsoft FUD against GNU/Linux, it carries on as usual but Microsoft now prefers to ‘outsource’ it to companies such as Accenture and Black Duck. Clever ploy which works only if people don’t look far enough.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. AT&T is joining tomorrow’s net neutrality protest, but it hates the FCC’s net neutrality rules

    AT&T is hardly a fan of net neutrality, at least as most people understand it. The company has been accused by the FCC of violating open internet protections, and has forcefully lobbied against the current rules. It’s even joined in lawsuits to block them.

  2. AT&T joins net neutrality protest—despite suing to block neutrality rules

    AT&T says it is joining a big protest to save net neutrality—even though the company previously sued the US Federal Communications Commission in a failed attempt to get the commission’s rules thrown out.

    “Tomorrow, AT&T will join the ‘Day of Action’ for preserving and advancing an open Internet,” AT&T Senior Executive VP Bob Quinn wrote in a blog post this afternoon.

  3. AT&T Pretends To Love Net Neutrality, Joins Tomorrow’s Protest With A Straight Face

    You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger enemy of net neutrality than the fine folks at AT&T. The company has a history of all manner of anti-competitive assaults on the open and competitive internet, from blocking customer access to Apple FaceTime unless users subscribed to more expensive plans, to exempting its own content from arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps while penalizing streaming competitors. AT&T also played a starring role in ensuring the FCC’s 2010 net neutrality rules were flimsy garbage, and sued to overturn the agency’s tougher, 2015 rules.

07.05.17

The Microsoft Operandi: Linux-Centric Xiaomi Pays Post-Microsoft Entryism Nokia for Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xiaomi patent settlement

Summary: The passage around of patents still enables Microsoft to drive up the price of Free/libre operating systems, which are also under attack from European authorities owing to Microsoft’s heavy lobbying there

THE effective or de facto takeover by Microsoft has turned Nokia into little more than a patent troll (or feeder of patent trolls like MOSAID/Conversant), which often turns against companies that distribute Android/Linux, never companies that are Windows shops. This shouldn’t be so shocking; we’ve predicted this for years.

“…so Nokia does to Xiaomi what Microsoft did to it and we view that as a form of blackmail.”One year ago Microsoft basically settled with Xiaomi when Xiaomi agreed to buy (i.e. pay for) patents from Microsoft and now we see the same thing with Nokia, i.e. double-dipping. Much of the media (starting this morning) described this as a “patent deal”, a “collaboration” or “cross-licence”, but pay attention to the finer details. “Under the new business agreement, Xiaomi also acquired patent assets from Nokia,” it says. Just like with Microsoft; so Nokia does to Xiaomi what Microsoft did to it and we view that as a form of blackmail.

“A lot of the media conveniently neglects to mention Microsoft’s well-documented role in antitrust action against Android in Europe.”Did Nokia pressure Xiaomi for this? A payment was made, akin to a settlement, not a cross-licence. In other words, Xiaomi paid Nokia. Like it did with Microsoft…

We have since seen this development covered in lots more sites; it’s widely covered today in mainstream media and also patents-centric blogs/news sites.

“Nokia and Xiaomi ink patent and equipment deal, Xiaomi buys Nokia patents,” says this headline, emphasising the part about purchase of patents. Much of the rest was almost as shallow as press releases.

“Don’t underestimate the dirty patent tricks of Microsoft. The company still hates Linux and Android with a passion; it fights these hard using patents and using satellites which include Nokia and patent trolls it instructs Nokia to pass patents to.”As we noted here back in May, Apple and Nokia settled their dispute too and we guess it means that Apple agreed to pay Nokia (again).

Don’t lose sight of the fact that Nokia always goes after Microsoft competitors (same as Intellectual Ventures).

As for Apple, it is still going after Samsung, which was (at the time the lawsuits began) the dominant Android player/OEM. The latest on this was covered by Florian Müller the other day; he retweeted Matt Marcotte as saying: “Busy summer for Apple and Samsung then. The parties are now going to have to lobby the DoJ again. Groundhog day, sort of.” In his personal blog he wrote:

As the docket overview now indicates, the Supreme Court of the United States has decided to ask for the views of the Solicitor General of the United States on Samsung’s petition for writ of certiorari relating to the second California Apple v. Samsung case. To be precise, this CVSG (Call for Views of the Solicitor General) is a CVASG–currently there is an Acting Solicitor General, Jeffrey Wall.

This means the Supreme Court’s summer recess will be a busy period for the parties–and other stakeholders–as they will both be lobbying the Department of Justice.

Just last week, a Reuters story had the following headline: “RPT-U.S. Supreme Court and top patent court rarely see eye to eye” It is true that the relationship between the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit is, well, special. That Reuters article is about a rare case in which there was affirmance, but high-profile reversals, such as recently on patent exhaustion in the Lexmark case, are more common.

This is nice progress for Samsung. The likelihood of certiorari being granted has increased substantially.

If this case goes to SCOTUS, there will be a lot at stake for Android, which is reportedly (according to exclusive coverage from Reuters today) under antitrust attacks that Microsoft initiated against it, using all sorts of proxies several years ago. A lot of the media conveniently neglects to mention Microsoft’s well-documented role in antitrust action against Android in Europe. Revisionism by omission? We wrote dozens of articles on the subject over the years. Evidence is abundant. Groklaw covered this too.

Don’t underestimate the dirty patent tricks of Microsoft. The company still hates Linux and Android with a passion; it fights these hard using patents and using satellites which include Nokia and patent trolls it instructs Nokia to pass patents to.

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.

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