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01.20.17

Watchtroll and His Swamp Still Blame Google (Where Michelle Lee Came From) for Improving and Gradually Fixing Aspects of the US Patent System

Posted in America, Google, Patents at 11:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One Watchtroll author showed his professionalism just moments ago (promoting that baseless conspiracy theory about Google and Kushner):

Paul Morinville on Google

Summary: Shooting the messengers (even wrongly associating yours truly with Google) in an effort to undermine patent reform when it is so desperately needed due to serious injustices

The news about Michelle Lee — truly good news which we mentioned here last night and again this afternoon — has made it into corporate media (e.g. [1, 2]) and more blogs that focus on patents, e.g. Watchtroll citing this latter article to state: “Some are speculating that a meeting between Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, and Jared Kushner, the influential son-in-law of President-Elect Trump, may be the reason why Lee will be asked to remain as head of the Patent Office.”

Remember that Watchtroll and his swamp like to blame Google for everything (they did some nasty pieces about it), if not insult Lee directly. They want us to believe that patent reform is the fault of Google and that Google is some kind of “pirate”. They would rather see corruption at the top (with rumours about Rader) as long as it serves their agenda. “I would expect significant shake-up in PTO Senior Staff in the coming months,” Patently-O wrote several days ago, but that didn’t quite happen as far as the Director was concerned. To quote:

Recognize that these transitions and traditions are subject to immediate adjustment by the incoming Trump Administration. I would expect significant shake-up in PTO Senior Staff in the coming months: General Counsel, regional PTO Directors, and perhaps Solicitor and PTAB Director. However, every president struggles through how to deal with career federal employees loyal to the efforts of the prior administration.

When we speak about patent corruption we speak about all sorts of things, ranging from nepotism to vastly worse thing. One issue that emerged some days ago in Patently-O was akin to privateering. “The Bayh-Dole Act,” explains this new post, “allows private entities to patent inventions developed through federal funding.”

Sometimes they even sell these to trolls, as we showed here before. “The [James Love-run] KEI filing,” the above notes, “is in the form of a letter to Inspector General of HHS (parent of NIH) asking for an investigation and action.”

For those who are not aware of what’s wrong with the above(not just privateering), basically it’s about enriching someone using public (taxpayers’) money and then letting that same someone get patents and tax the public (taxpayers) yet again. It is an incredibly huge injustice that ought to be tackled by the government. Another new example of privateering-like practices came from IP Watch just yesterday. To quote: “A range of civil society organisations have issued a public statement opposing the United States Army’s proposed grant of an exclusive licence on technology necessary to produce a Zika vaccine to French pharmaceutical company Sanofi. The letter cites concerns that the exclusive licence might violate US law and could lead to high priced medicines as consumers buy back taxpayer-funded research.”

Also see yesterday’s article “Why Patent Protection In The Drug Industry Is Out Of Control” (not exactly what it sounds like).

It sure sounds like more journalists and observers out there are starting to ‘get’ it. All these issues need to be tackled. Blaming “Google” for every bit of patent reform is immature — possibly infantile enough only for Watchtroll to actually do.

01.11.17

Gradual Collapse of Microsoft’s Extensive (and External) Patent Trolling Operations

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 7:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Horacio Gutierrez

Picture contributed by a reader in 2008

Summary: The President of Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC (patent troll) leaves and the founder of Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft’s largest peripheral patent troll, joins Sherpa Technology

TECHRIGHTS has been writing about Microsoft’s patent attacks on GNU/Linux for just over a decade. It was the primary focus of this Web site.

The head of Microsoft’s “IP licensing operation” (i.e. patent extortion), according to this new report, is leaving, only months after Horacio Gutierrez left. As a bit of background IAM says this:

A Microsoft veteran who joined the company back in 1998, Psyhogeos’s most recent position prior to taking over the IP monetisation reins was vice president of OEM licensing, where he held overall responsibility for Microsoft’s licensing and pricing arrangements with its original equipment manufacturer partners worldwide. In November 2013, Psyhogeos was appointed general manager and associate general counsel of IP licensing by then-head of IP Horacio Gutierrez (now general counsel at Spotify) as part of a reshuffle in the wake of chief patent counsel Bart Eppenauer’s move into private practice (which also saw Minhas take over the chief patent counsel role). The following year, Microsoft span patent monetisation activities out into a separate entity, Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC, with Psyhogeos as its president.

When IAM says “patent monetisation” it means patent trolling. IAM is funded by some patent trolls, so it’s inherently biased and always sympathetic towards trolls, not just towards Microsoft (the site is purely Microsoft-based and Microsoft is habitually quoted as an ‘expert’, especially Bart Eppenauer).

“Microsoft officials made it clear that the patent war against Android was still on.”“Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC,” as the above puts it, “with Psyhogeos as its president,” is basically Microsoft’s PURE patent troll, which has engaged in patent blackmail against OEMs that sell ChromeOS (GNU/Linux), Android (Linux), and more…

What does the above mean for Microsoft’s patent troll? We don’t know for sure yet, but even after Gutierrez had left the company Microsoft persisted in patent extortion against Linux. Microsoft officials made it clear that the patent war against Android was still on. It’s just 'dressed up' a little differently (face-saving PR tactics), as we last saw in the Xiaomi settlement.

But wait, there’s more

“Is Detkin seeing the writings on the wall? What/how about Nathan Myhrvold?”After massive layoffs and financial issues at Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft’s biggest and most vicious patent troll (which habitually attacks Linux and Android device makers) we now learn that its founder moves on. We mentioned this earlier this week, but MIP has some further details. To quote: “Advisory firm Sherpa Technology Group has appointed Peter Detkin as senior advisor. This coincides with Sherpa Technology Group’s rebrand from 3LP Advisors. Detkin is a founder of Intellectual Ventures and holds more than 40,000 patents. He will remain involved with the company. Before founding Intellectual Ventures, Detkin was a vice-president at Intel Corporation, where he oversaw Intel’s patent, licensing and litigation departments. “We have decided to rebrand ourselves as Sherpa Technology Group to emphasise our role as an experienced guide that enables our clients to reach the peak and achieve their ultimate objectives,” said Ralph Eckardt, managing partner of Sherpa Technology Group.”

The founder of world’s largest patent troll (Microsoft-connected) did not finally leave Intellectual Ventures, but with one foot out one might suppose he is gradually walking out, sort of. It remains to be seen just how much trouble Intellectual Ventures will have now that software patents are collapsing. A few months ago Intellectual Ventures lost a major case at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). Quite a few of its software patents got shot down by the judge, who extrapolated and clarified that software patents are a threat to free speech and are therefore in conflict with the pillars of US law. Is Detkin seeing the writings on the wall? What/how about Nathan Myhrvold?

01.10.17

Patent Maximalism on Display: Patent Aggressor IBM Celebrated in the Media

Posted in America, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When so-called ‘cross-licensing’ with patent purchases (the latest Microsoft method) is actually a disguise/cover for patent settlement after extortion [1, 2, 3, 4]

IBM Patents and Twitter

Summary: The patent lust at IBM, which is suing if not just shaking down companies using software patents, earns plenty of puff pieces from the corporate media

THE notion that the greater the number of patents, the better — a notion so ludicrous that also fails to recognise the raison d’être of patents — is quite a disease. Some people would have us believe that because China created a patents production line in SIPO it's actually at a position of advantage. It’s false and it’s rather infantile to repeat such claims.

One new article, seemingly from an author who is not a fan of software patents (see the short part about it), says today that:

The best ratios I found (i.e., most patents per person) were in very rich Bedford, adjoining Manchester, and almost-as-rich Hollis, adjoining Nashua. Each town had slightly more than 2.7 patents per 1,000 people.

[...]

So keep that in mind when you hear people pointing to patent numbers as a reflection of the braininess of a community, state or country or a company or industry. Take it with a grain of salt.

It’s often just a reflection of which companies are based around that area. But some towns take it out of context and equate patents with innovation or wisdom. The above article came just shortly after a heap of IBM puff pieces. IBM, as our readers are probably aware of by now, bets its future and the whole farm — so to speak — on being more like a patent troll (patent enforcement and shakedown). It has already done that to Twitter, a much smaller company, and it keeps doing that to other Internet companies. “IBM scores a record 8,000 patents in 2016,” enthusiastically screams this headline from Dean Takahashi (or his editor), who just repeated the ‘official’ story as follows:

IBM has proven it is once again dominant in earning patents, as it closed the year with 8,088 U.S. patents granted to its investors in 2016. That’s the 24th consecutive year that the company has earned the most patents of any company.

The second-ranked company, Samsung, had 5,518 U.S. patents granted. About 2,700 of IBM’s 2016 patents covered inventions related to artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and cloud computing. The patents covered a diverse range of technologies that also included cybersecurity and cognitive health.

We have compiled a list of nearly 20 ‘news’ articles [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17] about IBM claiming 8,000 so-called ‘inventions’ in a single year. Almost all these articles are from yesterday and they add no new information; they’re puff pieces void of any analysis. IBM got many of these patents probably by just calling old stuff “cloud” and “AI” (buzzwords). Is “AI” the new “on a machine”? And “cloud” the new “over the Internet”? When it comes to bamboozling patent examiners (so as to be granted software patents) there are all sorts of tricks, many of which boil down to semantics. IBM is nowadays firing a lot of employees, selling large portions of its physical products divisions to China (notably Lenovo). Is this the future of IBM then? Just ‘hiring’ patents, which it already uses to attack and extort far smaller companies? “Samsung Second & Google Fifth In 2016 Patent Race”, an Android news site said yesterday, so IBM isn’t alone among Linux-oriented firms when it comes to the patents gold rush. Samsung and Google, however, are not patent aggressors. Unlike the above IBM puff pieces, a writer in Fortune published “These Firms Won the Most Patents in 2016″ — a list that shows Microsoft falling down quite sharply. As a Microsoft propaganda site puts it, “Microsoft ranked 8th on the list of companies awarded with most patents in the US” (a lot lower than before).

Well, Microsoft is having issues. Software patents are getting more difficult to get, so it is not managing to keep up with patent filings. Financial issues are not helping either. In the coming years we expect IBM to become more and more like a patent troll whose actual products (if not jobs too) sailed away to China.

12.26.16

After Microsoft’s Notorious Intervention Nokia is Nothing But a Patent Troll Whose Patent Portfolio Needs to be Smashed

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia is now a de facto patent troll that just licenses the brand

Nokia logo with Apple

Summary: Nokia’s saber-rattling (and now lawsuits) against Apple are a worrying sign of what’s to come, impacting Android OEMs as well as Apple, which is why the post-Microsoft Nokia is dangerous

TAKING advantage of USPTO-granted patents (for the most part), Nokia started a patent war against Apple just before Christmas [1, 2] and many journalists/pundits were already on holiday, so they did not have a chance to comment. Maybe this was Nokia’s intention as the timing of the press release was at the very least suspicious. Few were even around to cover the followup action, for instance, this complaint that got covered by Matthias Verbergt who said “Nokia Corp. said Thursday [two days before Christmas] it has filed additional complaints against Apple Inc., alleging the iPhone maker has infringed 40 of its patents.” Florian Müller said “Nokia suing Apple over 40 patents in 11 countries” (yes eleven!).

“Nokia is a European company, so there is a concern here that US culture of litigation is spreading to Europe already (the UPC would make a trolling culture even more prevalent if it ever became a reality).”When Nokia/trolls pick on the industry of mobile phones everybody loses, not just Apple. Android too tends to be affected, sooner if not later (than Apple). Nokia is a European company, so there is a concern here that US culture of litigation is spreading to Europe already (the UPC would make a trolling culture even more prevalent if it ever became a reality).

Florian Müller told me that “during the Apple v. Nokia antitrust lawsuit in California” some interesting information is likely to surface. “With Conversant,” he explained, “formerly known as Mosaid, being one of the defendants, I guess MSFT’s involvement will be at issue and MSFT witnesses will be deposed.”

As a reminder, MOSAID received patents from Nokia, at Microsoft’s instruction. This may become very relevant a piece of evidence at a trial/antitrust probe.

“Android too tends to be affected, sooner if not later (than Apple).”“Nokia Is Playing With Fire With Its Patent Infringement Case Against Apple,” one report explained, and another said “Apple and Nokia Could Each Score Victories as Their Patent Battle Unfolds” (usually only the lawyers win in such scenarios). Android sites rightly treat this as Android news because if Apple loses, then expect Nokia to go after Android OEMs too. The latest developments were barely (if at all) covered by the media, probably just as Nokia had hoped. There are now several articles about this in English alone, but if it didn’t happen shortly before Christmas, we’d expect hundreds of reports if not thousands. Matt Levy wrote a poem about this and today (Boxing Day) Müller said that “Nokia’s litigation tactics and privateering ways are, without a doubt, vexatious. So I couldn’t disagree with Apple if it made the case that it’s just not reasonably acceptable for Apple to have to do “business as usual” with a Nokia subsidiary under the present circumstances.”

“Apple should invoke Alice,” Benjamin Henrion (FFII) wrote, “especially for H264 compression algorithms where captive patent courts still allows them…”

Henrion, a Belgian, is well aware of Nokia’s history of patent aggression — a subject we have been covering here since 2007. Take note of this news from Belgium that speaks of “85% tax deduction for qualifying income from patents, copyrighted software, breeders rights, orphan drugs and data or market exclusivity” (sounds like Patent Boxes, but not exactly the same).

“Henrion, a Belgian, is well aware of Nokia’s history of patent aggression — a subject we have been covering here since 2007.”Apple should definitely move to invalidate Nokia’s patents. All patents (there are 40 of them) should be susceptible to criticism, as examiners are not perfect and there are no flawless examinations. Incidentally, Patently-O has just written about “The “Right” to Challenge a Patent” in an antitrust context. “In his recent article,” it says, “Antitrust Economist (and lawyer) Erik Hovenkamp argues that the “right to challenge a patent” should also be an important consideration in antitrust analysis. Hovenkamp defines these “challenge rights” as “the (statutory) rights of third parties to challenge patents as invalid or uninfringed.” Antitrust comes into play when a license or settlement agreement includes challenge restraints that would contractually prevent the exercise of the challenge rights.”

Sounds very much applicable to the case above and as we have said from the very start, we hope that Apple will demolish those patents of Nokia, which might otherwise be asserted against Android OEMs (if this hasn’t been done in out-of-court settlements already).

12.21.16

Good Luck to Apple in Exposing the Network of Patent Trolls That is Connected to Microsoft, Nokia, Ericsson, BlackBerry and Other Failed Mobile Players

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 8:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When all else fails, throw patents at the competition (through trolls so as to avert counteraction)?

Nokia trolls
Image from BusinessKorea

Summary: With billions of dollars at stake (maybe over a trillion in the long run), the attempt to claw revenue using patents rather than actual sales has become complicated because of plurality of intermediaries, which Apple is trying to tackle with a new antitrust complaint

“In a major antitrust lawsuit Apple charged that Acacia is illegally breaking terms of patents acquired from Nokia,” according to The Street. This is pretty major news and definitely something that warrants a 2 AM article. Florian Müller has already produced a long blog post about it, accompanied by or coupled with the relevant documents.

“Readers can find details like a detailed history in our Wiki page about Acacia, including the hiring (by Acacia) of people from Microsoft and this troll’s repeated attacks on GNU/Linux.”As a reminder to our readers, Acacia is a Microsoft-connected troll. Readers can find details like a detailed history in our Wiki page about Acacia, including the hiring (by Acacia) of people from Microsoft and this troll’s repeated attacks on GNU/Linux.

“For a long time,” Müller wrote today, “I had hoped someone would finally do this. Last year I called out Nokia and others on their privateering ways, and it turned out that Nokia had industrialized the concept of privateering to a far greater extent than anyone else. My list of PAEs fed by Nokia contained all of the defendants in Apple’s antitrust suit–Acacia and Conversant (technically, Apple is also suing particular subsidiaries of those)–and more. That post prompted attempts by Ericsson and Nokia to explain away their privateering ways.”

Nokia‘s patents have also been passed to another anti-Linux/anti-Google troll called MOSAID (renamed “Conversant” since). These were, for a fact, passed at Microsoft’s instructions, as reported in the mainstream media at the time. There’s more on that in the Korean media. When it comes to patents, Nokia is still enslaved by or subservient to Microsoft.

“What does the future of dying mobile giants have in store then?”The full story isn’t just Apple hitting back at Nokia. “Breaking news,” Müller wrote later, “Nokia sues Apple in US and Europe over alleged patent infringement [] Venues: Eastern District of Texas, three German courts: Düsseldorf Mannheim Munich…”

Europe is a growing and increasingly attractive hub for patent parasites already, I’ve told Müller (who probably agreed). Germany and sometimes the UK (London) are favoured among those parasites (see Ericsson's troll choosing London for legal attacks — quite unprecedented a move for such an entity). “For the troll that Nokia is now,” Müller noted, “suing Apple in the ED of Texas is very appropriate. [] When Nokia was still making mobile devices, it had a predilection for the District of Delaware. Now: Eastern District of Texas. Times change…”

I told him that BlackBerry does the same thing now, having lost the market (to which Müller nodded with a retweet). We wrote about this earlier this week and earlier this year.

What does the future of dying mobile giants have in store then? Passage to trolls (the PAE type) that will tax everyone, everywhere? “Something big always seems to happen at Christmas in the patent market,” IAM wrote. “Remember the RPX Rockstar patents purchase a couple of years ago?”

Remember that IAM is partly funded by MOSAID/Conversant, i.e. part of the same ‘gang’. As for Rockstar, we wrote quite a few articles about it, e.g. [1, 2]. It’s like a front for Microsoft (Rockstar Consortium is a patent troll owned by Microsoft, Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony). As for RPX, it’s also a patent troll, with Microsoft having joined it 6 years ago.

“My list of PAEs fed by Nokia contained all of the defendants in Apple’s antitrust suit–Acacia and Conversant (technically, Apple is also suing particular subsidiaries of those)–and more.”
      –Florian Müller
Nina Milanov, an occasional EPO sceptic, told Müller, “I hope Apple sees it through. Every time you settle, to some extent the troll has won.”

True.

“Last time Nokia sued Apple in Germany,” Müller responded, “it was extremely lucky. Key patents have expired. Will be more interesting this time around.”

If Apple gets to the bottom of all these satellite proxies that are patent trolls, it will be a good service not just to Apple but also to Android/Linux. iOS and Android command the market and all that the losers can do right now is attempt to tax those two. Even Oracle is trying to accomplish that.

12.20.16

BlackBerry Calls off Phone Business, Becomes Full-Time Patent Troll, Files Even More Patent Lawsuits in Texas

Posted in Google, Patents at 10:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just like Microsoft’s modus operandi, being a malicious company whose phone business simply became “tax the Hell out of Android/Linux”

The IP Hawk on BlackBerry

Summary: Large companies, once their importance and leadership fade away, turn into nothing but a pile of patent lawsuits, as BlackBerry serves to show

THE USPTO or the US patent system as a whole (including courts) is quickly becoming more hostile towards patent trolls, but even a company as large as BlackBerry acts like a patent troll now, having just filed lawsuits once again in Texas (BlackBerry is Canadian). The company now doubles down on this misguided strategy. It should alienate a lot of BlackBerry loyalists.

Today, what the troll’s mouthpiece (IAM) calls “monetising its patents” (euphemism for shakedown and litigation; like Mafia “monetising” its firearms) is actually bad news for all. BlackBerry recently said it would stop making phones (just license the brand instead; see our daily links for press coverage about it) and it is now officially a patent troll (once the sales come to an end). Here is the spin from IAM:

BlackBerry has effectively completed its transition to a technology services and licensing-focused business model after signing a global brand and software deal with TCL. At the same time, BlackBerry patents are at the centre of a new litigation campaign that is kicking off in the United States.

Under the terms of an agreement announced last week, Canada’s BlackBerry will license its wireless device-relevant “security software and service suite, as well as related brand assets” to Huizhou-based TCL, which will “design, manufacture, sell and provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded mobile devices”.

The Finnish phones guru put it like this: “The Smartphone Bloodbath still continues its consolidation. Blackberry has just ended its run as a handset maker. They’ve signed their hardware rights to TCL of China. It covers all countries except India and a few neighbors like Bangladesh, where Blackberry had already sold those rights to local suppliers. And TCL, we know the brand as ‘Alcatel’ but the company is TCL and a couple of years ago they became the proud latest owner of Palm via HP.”

BlackBerry loves patents and also wants to participate in Android (while attacking it), much like Sony did. It is going after leading companies that sell Android, not just directly but also indirectly. “2 New patent cases filed in EDTX [Eastern District of Texas],” IP Hawk writes. “$BBRY BlackBerry patents. TnT IP looks like the entity asserting patents. Defendants are Huawei & LG…”

Huawei is the world’s largest Android OEM now, at least by some criteria. Not too long aso IP Hawk called BlackBerry "patent troll". And that’s coming from somewhat of a patents maximalist…

Benjamin Henrion told me about BlackBerry that “ironically, they were one of the first to be attacked with NTP back in 2006 [] and not even a mention of the term “troll” in the IAM article, no surprise here.” Well, they almost never say "troll" (except in scare quotes).

We actually foresaw this lethal strategy from BlackBerry several years back and wrote almost a dozen articles about it. The end result or the outcome for ordinary people would be more expensive phones everywhere and slightly richer patent lawyers in Texas.

12.19.16

Boris Teksler Jumps From Ericsson’s Patent Troll to Microsoft’s

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 5:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A ‘master’ troll, Boris Teksler

Boris Teksler
Credit: Japanese media

Summary: Leadership shuffled in ever-changing (morphing) patent satellites that typically prey on Linux/Android

EARLIER THIS MONTH we wrote about patent trolls of Microsoft and Ericsson “trying to tax everything, especially Linux devices.”

Watch who’s in the news again after a rename, which is a common practice among notorious patent trolls that are a front for someone else (usually a large company). It’s Ericsson’s patent troll that already operates in Europe (London) as well, thanks to the EPO which repeats the USPTO‘s errors.

IAM is writing about this patent troll that paid IAM (without disclosure in the article). This is the second time in about a month (without disclosure) and the latest blog post says that “former boss of Unwired Planet, Boris Teksler, has been appointed the new CEO of Conversant, in a move that sees the Candian NPE’s current head John Lindgren step down after more than nine years in charge.”

Conversant is the new name of MOSAID, which Microsoft passed many of Nokia‘s patents to. We also wrote a great deal about Unwired Planet, back when it was known as Openwave. “Openwave has changed its name to Unwired Planet,” as Wikipedia puts it.

Speaking of Linux-hostile trolls, IAM writes about more of them today. To quote one relevant part:

Whether it’s Microsoft’s link-up with Xiaomi or Huawei’s surprising partnership with InterDigital, licensing deals with value-added components were the major theme of 2016.

InterDigital is an anti-Android troll (we have many articles about that) and Xiaomi did not have a “link-up” with Microsoft. It was more like patent extortion, as we explained at the time.

The shell game of patent trolls is extremely important to keep abreast of. Names keep changing; the same goes for Microsoft front groups that lobby on patent law, e.g. Association for Competitive Technology, which goes (and went) by several other names (ATL or stuff with “App” and “FRAND” in it).

12.18.16

The USPTO Helps Large Businesses Crush Small Businesses

Posted in America, Google, Patents at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ignore the old and tired myth of large businesses ‘stealing’ ideas of the ‘little guy’…

“Small enterprises generally adopt a rather negative position towards the current increasing granting of patents for software and algorithms because they fear that these will hamper or eventually even impede their work (more than 85%).” —German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Study of the Innovation Performance of German Software Companies, 2006, p. 86

Summary: The US patent system helps discrimination against small businesses or family-owned businesses — a problem which is likely to exacerbate/deepen under the next administration

THE USPTO has long been run by people from big industry and big companies. Watch what David Kappos has turned into. It remains to be seen where Lee will go after her time at the Office (Trump will pursue her removal, with high level of certainty).

Timothy B. Lee, a critic of software patents for about a decade now, has this new article about Trump in which he says “Google [is] also advocating reforms to rein in low-quality software patents” (we wrote about this the other day). Here is the key part:

In recent years, Google and Microsoft have both been actively lobbying for patent reforms to rein in litigious patent trolls, with Google also advocating reforms to rein in low-quality software patents. Trump will not only choose a new director for the patent office, he will also have influence over patent reform legislation over the next four years.

What about the views of small companies? As many people have already pointed out, Trump seems to be giving his ears only to billionaires and companies that rake in billions. It’s oligarchy on steroids. And watch this truly terrible advice from a truly terrible news site that famously glorifies billionaires. Big corporations’ media is now misleading small businesses on software patents by saying:

Why Patents Should Be Part Of Every Startup’s Risk Mitigation Strategy

[...]

The debate over whether software should be patented goes back to the beginning of software, but a good example is looking back to when Microsoft was a young company with almost no patents. Now they are one of the most prolific patent filers.

Actually, to quote Microsoft’s chief at the time, “[i]f people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

Gates, who actually said that, complained that patents were harmful to small companies (like his at the time). Why pretend that, as Forbes put it, “Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, companies in industries that are seeing some of the most rapid innovation — like software and tech companies, particularly those focused on content delivery — often ignore the problem and don’t focus on future risk mitigation until they have a problem, and the result can be costly” (they actually cite Watchtroll!!!).

What they mean by “risk mitigation” is pursing patents of their own. What a terrible advice.

See this new article titled “The biggest threats to the free web” whose first section is “Software Patents”. To quote:

No one can own the web, but many companies are attempting to slice it up and own the very concepts that form the web. Software patents, unlike standard patents for inventions, do not actually involve the creation of tangible objects. Instead the U.S. patent office has handed out patents for ideas like the double-click or the use of a single button to make a purchase.

While the European Union has taken a more aggressive stance against software patents, the U.S. is now entangled in them with major companies like Google and Apple battling it out through proxy lawsuits. One firm, Eolas Technologies, claims to own the patent for the “interactive web” and threatens to undermine the very freedom of the web itself.

As history shows, and basically throughout the whole history of patents, the system was used as a mechanism of protectionism. Large companies used it to keep small companies from being able (or allowed) to compete. Why pretend that any of this has changed? And moreover, why on Earth cite propaganda from Watchtroll in an effort to urge small companies to hop on the patent bandwagon? It is widely known that for small companies to read patents only makes them more vulnerable (willfulness of infringement), patent applications make them poorer and enforcement of patents against trolls is impossible; enforcing patents against giants like IBM is worse than stupid because IBM can then retaliate with far more patents, so it’s not hard to see who this system really serves (by design, by persistent lobbying).

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