Samsung has the power to put an end to a controversial type of patents that are similar to software patents
Slide to unlock: novel or medieval?
Summary: A couple of new developments in Apple’s dispute about the ‘design’ of Samsung’s Android phones, which emulate extremely old concepts in digital form
WE are definitely not friends of Samsung (never have been), but some of its patent cases in recent years (especially against Microsoft and Apple) have had profound implications/impact.
“How on Earth were such patents granted in the first place?”Here is Professor Mark Lemley sharing his “brief for 50 IP professors on design patent damages in the Samsung v. Apple Supreme Court case” (local copy to ensure it endures the test of time). This is one of several such cases that involve Apple and Samsung. Florian Müller wrote that this is about as absurd as Microsoft’s patent bullying “over tiny arrow”. To quote the relevant part: “This is one of the patents Microsoft is presently asserting against Corel. Last summer I reported on Corel drawing first blood by suing Microsoft over a bunch of preview-related patents. A few months later, Microsoft retaliated with the assertion of six utility patents and four design patents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation named one of Microsoft’s design patents-in-suit the “stupid patent of the month” of December 2015 because it merely covered the design of a slider. But that patent isn’t nearly as bad as U.S. Design Patent No. D550,237, which practically just covers a tiny arrow positioned in the lower right corner of a rectangle. If you look at the drawings, particularly this one, note that the dotted lines mark the parts that aren’t claimed. What’s really claimed is just a rectangle with another rectangle inside and that tiny graphical arrow in the bottom right corner.”
“This sounds good on the surface, but unless the SCOTUS Justices rule on this, the perceived legitimacy of design patents may persist.”How on Earth were such patents granted in the first place? It’s not surprising that USPTO patent quality has declined so badly and so quickly and there are new patent quality studies regarding the USPTO. Will any similar studies look closely at EPO patent quality as well?
According to an Apple advocacy site, patents on design might not reach SCOTUS after all. This is bad news to all who hoped that SCOTUS would put en end to design patents once and for all.”Samsung Electronics welcomes support for overturning U.S. court ruling in Apple case,” said this new article, which along with others said “Justice Department Urges High Court Overturn Award to Apple Over Samsung Smartphones”. This sounds good on the surface, but unless the SCOTUS Justices rule on this, the perceived legitimacy of design patents may persist. As Müller put it: “Reading all amicus briefs in Samsung v. Apple (design patent damages). Momentum behind call for reasonableness is very impressive.” It looks very likely that if the SCOTUS rules on this, it will help demolish many design patents by extension, in the same way that Alice at SCOTUS put an end to many software patents in the United States. “A federal appeals court awarded about $500 million in damages to Apple for design patent infringement,” recalled one article, demonstrating just how much money can be at stake due to one single patent. “Design patent owners shouldn’t get 100% of the profits when only 1% of the product infringes, EFF tells court,” according to the EFF’s Twitter account and accompanying blog post that says: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked the U.S. Supreme Court today to reverse a ruling that required Samsung to pay Apple all the profits it earned from smartphones that infringed three basic design patents owned by the iPhone maker.
“Apple is the aggressor, whereas Samsung — like Google — is hardly ever initiating patent lawsuits.”“The $399-million damage award against Samsung, upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the Apple v. Samsung patent lawsuit, should be thrown out, EFF told the court in an amicus brief filed today with Public Knowledge and The R Street Institute. Forcing defendants to give up 100% of their profits for infringing designs that may only marginally contribute to a product’s overall look and functionality will encourage frivolous lawsuits and lead to excessive damage awards that will raise prices for consumers and deter innovation.”
Don’t fall for the corporate media’s narrative of Apple as the victim even when software patents are to blame. Apple is the aggressor, whereas Samsung — like Google — is hardly ever initiating patent lawsuits. We hope that Samsung will take this all the way up to the Supreme Court (more expensive to Samsung but collectively beneficial to all) and eventually win. The net effect might be the end of many design patents in the US. Those patents so often threaten GNU/Linux or Android products, as we have repeatedly shown here over the years. Will Samsung do a public service here? █
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And the buyer will be looking for ‘return on investment’, i.e. payment of an amount of money even greater
Yahoo! Blog from Sunnyvale, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Generic license (caption added by us, with Ballmer’s words)
Summary: Yahoo is permitting ‘weaponisation’ of its patents — many of which are software patents — by effectively putting them on sale to the highest bidder/s
THE previous post dealt with the disturbing trend of patents passage from large companies (usually in rapid decline) to merciless trolls. This past week we saw many reports about Yahoo, which Microsoft had effectively demolished, putting its patents on sale. This decent article by Joe Mullin said: “News of the patent sale came late yesterday, not long after it was reported that Verizon is submitting a $3 billion bid for Yahoo’s core Internet business. The sale of the core Web business will include about 500 US patents and more than 600 pending applications, separate from the larger group going in the standalone patent sale.”
“This past week we saw many reports about Yahoo, which Microsoft had effectively demolished, putting its patents on sale.”As Florian Müller noted, Google might be the victim/target, not the purchaser, due to “antitrust concerns” and one person wrote about it: “A Yahoo auction of an important and relevant 1990’s trove of ~3,000 search, advertising and ecommerce patents implicating Google’s proliferating lines of business, may be tempting for Google to bid on and buy, but it should be obvious given the above evidence that Google will either show self restraint and not try, or antitrust authorities will be challenged with the proverbial taunting red cape in front of a bull, to charge Google with antitrust violations.”
Patent trolls must be salivating because “Yahoo [is] trying to raise an extra billion dollars from its patent portfolio” and CNET gave this lower valuation (than the above) of a billion dollars. To quote: “The web pioneer hopes to raise $1 billion with sale of about 3,000 patents, including some for core search technology, sources tell The Wall Street Journal.”
The main report that everyone initially linked to came from News Corp. and it’s likely to have upset quite a few parties. Yahoo engineers were upset about their patents being ‘weaponised’ (they wrote about this online after Microsoft killed Yahoo as a search contender) and Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer suspects that “Yahoo is feeding the patent trolls. What could possibly go wrong?”
“We shall soon know what Microsoft’s interference in Yahoo has ultimately led to other than the shutdown of many Yahoo services that would otherwise compete against Microsoft’s.”The estimate, based on this report, is an imminent sale for over $3 billion. B-I wrote about the paywalled article: “The WSJ reported on Monday that Verizon has placed a $3 billion bid for Yahoo’s core business, which includes its search and email services.”
We shall soon know what Microsoft’s interference in Yahoo has ultimately led to other than the shutdown of many Yahoo services that would otherwise compete against Microsoft’s. Remember CPTN? █
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From an EPO announcement…
Summary: A timely reminder that reliance on services from Google may come at the expense of anonymity and Google has a strong relationship with the EPO
FOR a number of years we have warned that EPO criticism from Google-owned (and Google-operated) platforms like Blogspot or Gmail may be a tad risky. It isn’t much of a problem for those who do this under their real name, as Catarina Holtz has just done (she does not have much to lose). The relatively high-profile Catarina Holtz (not to be confused with Alexander Holtz, the SUEPO lawyer) cannot be punished anymore, so she spoke her mind out this weekend.
One response to her said: “Awareness of the ECHR is high, hence our disbelief when VP1 said that the EPO complies with it – with a straight face, in his own language, but with a very nervous sip from a glass. Clearly, the EPO cannot, whatever it says, comply with the ECHR because this is unverifiable, and it is not subject to it. That’s the important part. In fact, Battistelli’s claim that he can do what he likes is absolutely true – and he did, showing the world precisely why the Convention was instituted in the first place.
“The relatively high-profile Catarina Holtz (not to be confused with Alexander Holtz, the SUEPO lawyer) cannot be punished anymore, so she spoke her mind out this weekend.”“But what is interesting is that most of the AC members, certainly the UK’s, are subject to the ECHR and are expected to comply with it in all of their actions on behalf of their respective governments. Why they do not (at least publicly) is a puzzle. But what EPO employee would dare take their AC member to court? It would only be a matter of days before they had no standing, by reason of summary dismissal.”
Also responding to Holtz was this comment that said: “I think that the original assumption was that the EPO would be managed with integrity and competence, under the active supervision of the Administrative Council.”
“The EPO has already gotten crazy enough to ban the site (it blocked IP Kat for a day and stopped because of the outcry and negative press), so why not send letters to Google?”Another person, anonymous as usual, said: “Obviously anonymous at 23:00 has not read the results of the staff survey where 0% staff (meaning not even the management) trusts Battistelli. Staff is afraid, under a lot of stress and pressure. 10% are even in psychological distress. If anonymous works at the EPO, then he does not seem to care about rights, ethics and fairness. Sounds quite like management talk to me. EPO staff were never and are certainly not lazy. They work hard and well – at least they try their best under the current situation. And they are continuously told that they achieved a lot but should produce x% more (x being 6, 10 or more…). Their efforts to maintain quality and service to the public need to be acknowledged. The SUEPO and staff rep also deserve to be praised for their work in this awful situation.”
Some EPO staff is still feeding a likely troll (or management AstroTurfing) [1, 2], but that’s not the point. The point we wish to make is that many people leave comments anonymously at IP Kat and risk is associated with Google, not with IP Kat writers. The EPO has already gotten crazy enough to ban the site (it blocked IP Kat for a day and stopped because of the outcry and negative press), so why not send letters to Google? Either threatening letters or love letters…
To use the words of a reader: “When you view a patent document in the EPO’s Espacenet service, you will be offered the possibility to obtain an automatic translation.
“Remember that Gmail and Blogspot are owned by Google.”“Guess who provides the translation…
“Guess who engineered the deal with the translation provider…”
A hint to the answer is included at the top of this post.
“Conclusion,” our reader said, is that “there is a quid pro quo between the EPO and Google.
“Here’s a purely hypothetical question: how would Google react should they get one day a phone call from the EPO Securitate requesting certain information, and hinting at unspecified consequences in case of non-cooperation?”
–Anonymous“The terms of the deal aren’t public” [1, 2] (warning:
Remember that Gmail and Blogspot are owned by Google. We mentioned this issue before. CRG/IU (Control Risks and the Investigative Unit it collaborates with) gained access to Google’s Gmail material in the past in order to press/bolster an indictment (we are not sure how exactly) and Blogspot has a history of giving away IDs of users once pressured, e.g. by a court.
“Here’s a purely hypothetical question,” our reader added: “how would Google react should they get one day a phone call from the EPO Securitate requesting certain information, and hinting at unspecified consequences in case of non-cooperation?”
Microsoft too operates a translation service and it is already extremely close to the EPO (see links below). █
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Not your grandfather’s patent system and not your grandfather’s IBM…
Creating virtual wealth. Remember Bill Gates ranting about the patent system when he was younger and Microsoft was a lot smaller. Now he makes billions out of various patents, including Monsanto’s, and he pays virtually no tax.
Summary: Persistent lobbying and a surrender of fast-growing companies to the system which was deformed so as to offer protectionism to the super-rich take their toll and distort the very essence that motivated patent systems in the first place
ACCORDING TO this dubious new chart from IAM, it’s not IBM but Google that supposedly leads based on some patent criteria. This is not a cause for celebration but a cause for alarm as over half a decade ago Google was somewhat of a patents antagonist and I spoke to relatively high-level managers at Google about it. Basically, Google erroneously made the choice to waste time and effort on patenting rather than fight an unjust system that had increasingly ganged up against Google.
In some sense, Google has become greedy and sort of defected. It is now actively pursuing patents on software (including patents on driving — something for which I developed an Android app with help from someone who worked at Google) and no wonder Google does nothing against software patents anymore. That would be hypocritical.
Now, the usual defense (not just from Google) might be that Google never attacks using patents unless attacked first, but then again, that’s just what happens in companies when they’re on the way up (ascent). As things begin to turn sour/bitter, as is already the case at IBM, the non-technical managers are turning aggressive and even attacking with any software patents at their disposal. They see patent aggression as a sort of ‘insurance policy’ or a Plan B. Microsoft, as we noted in our previous post, only began doing this a decade ago (to present), around the same time of Windows Vista and the Novell deal.
“If Google starts to nosedive (no company lasts forever, not even with government subsidies) sooner than the expiry (lifetime) of these patents, then there’s potential of selling/auctioning patents to patent trolls or attacking directly, as infamously IBM does.”Manny Schecter, who is in charge of patents at IBM, does not hide the company’s real intentions, lobbying for software patents, and even the lobbyists (people like David Kappos, who came from IBM). He’s quite reckless from a marketing point of view. “We should neither deny that the patent system promotes innovation overall and that abuse of it should be properly curbed,” he wrote the other day at Twitter. What about the patent abuse by IBM (Schecter’s department), which uses software patents against small companies? What does that tell us about OIN?
The FFII’s President responded to Schecter with “”promotes innovation” should be replaced by “promotes litigation”. Innovation cannot exist without any quantification.” As I put it across to both, the patent system was created to incentivise dissemination (publication), not to provide a litigation sledgehammer for billionaires to whack inventors.
Sadly, Google is now part of this whole ‘patent cartel’, as one might be tempted to call it. Google is not aggressive (at least not yet), but time will tell what happens with these patents. If Google starts to nosedive (no company lasts forever, not even with government subsidies) sooner than the expiry (lifetime) of these patents, then there’s potential of selling/auctioning patents to patent trolls or attacking directly, as infamously IBM does. █
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Reputation laundering with sound bites like the ‘new Microsoft’
Summary: A look at the reality behind today’s Microsoft and what proponents of Microsoft (often connected to the company) want us to believe
THE aggressive company which is widely hated/loathed (and deserves this hatred, which is well earned based on its actions) just can’t help doing evil. Those who try hard to convince themselves that Microsoft has changed must not have noticed that the management is virtually the same and the company continues to operate like a death squad, attempting to prematurely destroy anything which resembles potent competition, based on suspicion alone.
“Those who try hard to convince themselves that Microsoft has changed must not have noticed that the management is virtually the same and the company continues to operate like a death squad, attempting to prematurely destroy anything which resembles potent competition, based on suspicion alone.”Several years ago we explained what Microsoft was hoping to achieve when it took over Skype (soon thereafter to enter NSA’s PRISM, right after Microsoft which was the first in the whole programme and had already provided back doors to the NSA for over a decade). Recently we saw Skype support for GNU/Linux (which was handed over to Microsoft) gradually being withdrawn and this new thread in Reddit says that “Microsoft is lobbying the Indian government to link peoples’ National IDs with their Skype calling” (no source to verify this with).
Microsoft has turned Windows into something as privacy-hostile as Skype itself, if not a lot worse. With Skype, for example, Microsoft spies on people’s private conversations and even follows links; in Vista 10 Microsoft has a keylogger, which spies on everything (even password typing) in real time. Vista 10 should be made illegal, as it is clearly malicious software and should be treated as such. Ironically enough, Microsoft is almost trying to make it impossible not to use Vista 10 and despite that, as Vista 10 infection rates are increasing, very few people actually use this ‘free’ (so-called ‘bargain’) piece of malware. As one report put it, “Windows 10: less than 15 per cent of those who can upgrade have bothered” and “The big question is whether Microsoft will hit the 20 per cent mark by the time the free offer is over.”
“Microsoft has turned Windows into something as privacy-hostile as Skype itself, if not a lot worse.”This is a disastrous result given the way Microsoft fooled and bamboozled people into installing it, even using malware tactics. According to some reports, Microsoft has just made it virtually impossible not to use this malware (one must supply an ‘upgrade’ date) and anyone who still thinks there’s a ‘new Microsoft’ must be either very gullible or bribed.
This new article, “Microsoft Meets Open Source,” is based on a Big Lie. It is not hard to see that Microsoft is attacking FOSS (Open Source), but this site is doing too many sponsored ‘articles’ (advertisements) these days, such as this one (see disclosure). We expect a lot of the usual Microsoft apologists to pretend Microsoft is fine and dandy and indeed, looking at the company’s boosters, we see exactly what’s expected. Microsoft Peter, for instance, continues to attack FOSS using Oracle’s lies. As iophk put it, “now Microsoft has spoken” (alluding to Peter, who very often relays the company’s positions) and given Microsoft’s propaganda sites’ effort to ‘Linuxwash’ SQL Server (also openwashing it, referring to Microsoft’s own employees/mouthpieces), we identify the old strategy which is to associate SQL Server (among other such pieces of proprietary software) with FOSS.
“We expect a lot of the usual Microsoft apologists to pretend Microsoft is fine and dandy and indeed, looking at the company’s boosters, we see exactly what’s expected.”Don’t fall for it. Some people do, but others have been falling for it for a number of years. Sam Dean, who works for a media company that has been receiving Microsoft money to embed propaganda within the articles (and got caught), is still promoting Microsoft proprietary software and repeats the Big Lie, starting with: “According to more and more people, Microsoft may have finally, truly warmed up to Linux and open source. CEO Satya Nadella (shown) has been much in the news for his comments on how he “loves Linux” and he has noted that much of the Azure cloud platform is Linux-based.”
That’s nonsense. It’s a media strategy which we explained before. What is the ‘real Microsoft’, which one might call the ‘new Microsoft’? It’s hardly any better than a patent troll. As Richi Jennings put it the other day in his IDG headline, “Xiaomi feeds Microsoft patent troll — pays patent toll” (Jennings quotes various comments about it).
“What is the ‘real Microsoft’, which one might call the ‘new Microsoft’? It’s hardly any better than a patent troll.”This article quotes Mary Jo Foley (a longtime Microsoft mouthpiece) as saying: “Microsoft is both continuing to collect patent royalties from Android [and defending] antitrust charges in China. … Some outlets are saying Xiaomi “bought” these patents [not] licensed them.”
We wrote about this the other day, noting that this came from Microsoft -- not Xiaomi -- and Xiaomi paid Microsoft for patents. Here is what the patent propagandists have said over at IAM: “Whichever way you look at it, the deal between Microsoft and Xiaomi which was announced earlier this week has to go down as one of the most significant of the year so far. There are the terms of the deal itself – Xiaomi gets 1,500 patents from the software giant’s global portfolio, Microsoft gets Office and Skype pre-installed on Xiaomi’s Android phones and tablets and the two sides put in place a cross-licence (which it’s probably safe to say is more valuable to the Chinese company).”
“What kind of drug does one have to take to believe Microsoft is a friend?”IAM, which is funded by patent trolls, has always been so Microsoft-friendly that it makes one wonder. Even its Web site, unusually enough, is Windows-powered (in 2016!) and another new article about Xiaomi says that “Xiaomi absorbs patent fund operator Zhigu as it re-shuffles IP team”. This too mentions the Microsoft extortion: “Yesterday, this blog covered a major deal between Xiaomi and Microsoft that saw the Chinese company acquire 1,500 patents along with a cross-licence. While the financial details are unknown, the fact that Xiaomi is now likely among the top 200 or so holders of US patents has to be seen as a coup for the smartphone startup. It also comes just three months after some big changes to its relatively young IP function.”
The bottom line is, Microsoft spreads malware, it spreads it forcibly, it lies about its proprietary software being “open” and it goes after the “open” rivals (such as Android) using software patents. What kind of drug does one have to take to believe Microsoft is a friend? █
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Summary: Microsoft reminds us that it is still engaging in patent extortion by signing yet another patent settlement deal which requires surrendering to Microsoft
JUST over a month ago Microsoft officials made it clear that the patent war against Android was still on. Now it’s confirmed by actions.
Today’s post is reactionary, as usual, and it will be about Microsoft extortion. We shall provide some background information to help explain why European regulators should put Microsoft on trial instead of taking Microsoft’s lobbying in Europe seriously, imposing fines on Google and acting as Google watchdogs.
Microsoft’s patent extortion against companies in China isn’t entirely new. Remember what it did to ZTE 3 years ago. Chinese authorities got visibly irritated by Microsoft’s patent shakedown and released a previously-secret list of patents Microsoft uses to extort companies in China, compelling them to obey Microsoft’s demands so as to avert costly litigation. Xiaomi is the latest victim, but to Microsoft the high-prized deal would be with Huawei, which is a growing force and dominant OEM in the Android domain. Huawei, based on reports we mentioned in past years, doesn’t surrender.
“Xiaomi is the latest victim, but to Microsoft the high-prized deal would be with Huawei, which is a growing force and dominant OEM in the Android domain.”More patent extortion from Microsoft serves to remind us that there is no strategic change at Microsoft. Microsoft cannot coexist with Linux and leave it alone/live in peace; it cannot help itself, it’s a scorpion (riding on a tortoise/turtle as per the famous parable) and it just keeps pinching that which it’s exploiting for a free ride (Android in this case) while relying on regulators — through lobbying — to prevent defensive reaction from Google. Horacio Gutierrez may be gone, but nothing substantial happened or changed. Don’t believe for a second that just because Microsoft’s patent Mafia don has left it somehow means the extortion strategy stopped. Microsoft never rescinded or withdrew this, except on April 1st (as a prank).
For those who are not sure what Microsoft is doing here, how it misleads the media, and what it means in practical terms, see this article about Acer. The above is repetition of the same strategy. They are putting lipstick on a pig again.
“This has nothing to do with access to services, it’s just how they dress up patent extortion and the coercion which comes with it.”In short, Microsoft tells Xiaomi, “do what we say or we’ll sue you with patents.” In other words, Microsoft threatens litigation and gives a “get out” clause (make Android become just a Microsoft platform). Having just killed Windows on mobile, this is all Microsoft has left. It uses blackmail tactics to impose its malware/spyware on potentially billions of phones. The ‘official’ announcement says this:
Microsoft Corp. and Xiaomi Inc. have expanded their global partnership to provide innovative user experiences on mobile devices. As part of the agreement, Xiaomi will ship Microsoft Office and Skype on Xiaomi Android smartphones and tablets. As a result, tens of millions of consumers and business customers in China, India and around the world will have new ways to work, collaborate and communicate. The companies’ new collaboration also includes a cross-license and patent transfer agreement.
Don’t be misled by “cross-license and patent transfer agreement.” It’s a settlement basically. The FFII’s President responded to this as follows: “Microsoft is the biggest patent troll.”
This has nothing to do with access to services, it’s just how they dress up patent extortion and the coercion which comes with it. And they tell us Microsoft “loves Linux”… does anybody still believe that? Not even Microsoft’s marketing staff should be gullible enough to believe it. █
Update: Based on updates given to relatively high-profile reporters (and those who updated their puff pieces accordingly), Microsoft managed to get ‘protection’ money too, albeit not in the traditional form. Xiaomi has just been pressured to have paid (unless it just wanted to pay) Microsoft for useless patents; this is either a novel way to disguise another case of blackmail against Linux or part of Xiaomi’s patent hoarding efforts. Either way, it’s starting to become apparent that Xiaomi paid Microsoft, one way or another (the amount is not known). “The Wall Street Journal reports that Xiaomi will purchase 1,500 patents from Microsoft as part of the deal,” says one writer, citing an article that says “Xiaomi Corp. has agreed to purchase around 1,500 patents” (the term “agreed to purchase” suggests that it came from Microsoft, not from Xiaomi).
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This increasingly globalised system is not for the “small guy”
Summary: Multinational corporations bring together their shared interests and steer the increasingly-inseparable patent systems according to their needs and goals, but has anyone even noticed?
For anyone who still thinks that patents are designed to protect the small guy/gal and/or his/her small company/ies… well, maybe this was true a long time ago. The USPTO moved in a bad direction quite some time ago and the EPO, led by Battistelli and his goons, trots in the same direction, notably (but not only) with the UPC. People’s rights and people’s wealth are under constant attack so that corporations’ power and wealth can increase and make way to greater dominance in an increasingly globalised world (overcoming environmental regulations, bypassing minimum wage laws, diminishing working conditions and so on). Just see what I.S.D.S. is all about when assessing the real motivation of TPP or TTIP (not just the forces behind them, those who prefer secrecy due to fear of public reaction). It’s class war, that’s what it boils down to.
Earlier this month and a month ago we wrote about Creative’s attempt to ban a lot of Android devices (at import level). TechDirt finally wrote about it just before the weekend:
It wasn’t enough that Creative Labs/Creative Technology spent March 24th suing almost every big name in the cell phone business for patent infringement. These lawsuits, all filed in the East Texas patent troll playground, asserted the same thing: that any smartphone containing a music app (which is every smartphone produced) violates the patent it was granted in 2005 to use in conjunction with its mp3 players. “Venue is proper” because smartphones are sold in Texas, even if the plaintiffs are located in California and Singapore, respectively.
That wasn’t all Creative Technology did. It also filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission seeking to block the import of smartphones from manufacturers like Sony, LG, BlackBerry, Samsung, etc. under the theory that every imported phone contains patent-infringing software. The ITC has opened an investigation of Creative’s allegations, which will at least hold off any potential import blocks until it reaches a decision. The ITC’s summary of Creative’s patent claims clearly shows how broad the patent’s potential coverage is — and (inadvertently) why it should be invalidated.
Google has decided it’s not going to wait around for the ITC or east Texas courts to come to the wrong conclusions. It’s gone on the offensive, seeking declaratory judgment that it does not violate Creative’s broad patent. Every company sued by Creative on March 24th sells Android phones that contain Google’s “Play Music” app. On behalf of its customers (and its own Motorola Mobility, which was also sued), Google wants Creative’s BS patent’s power neutered.
We already remarked on Creative’s real ‘business’ at present. This isn’t a case of David v. Goliath but more like Troll v. Google. This troll has an old brand and recognised name (in technology circles), so it’s easy to lose sight of what’s happening here. MPEG-LA operates similarly on behalf of giants like Microsoft and Apple.
“This troll has an old brand and recognised name (in technology circles), so it’s easy to lose sight of what’s happening here.”Incidentally, and probably without direct correlation to the above, some days ago the patent lawyers’ sites began floating ‘news’ about IP3 (new name, not a new thing), e.g. [1, 2]. The latter said: “This blog recently covered Google’s Patent Purchase Program, here and here. Google basically offered to consider purchasing submitted patents. The Program is back, but this time expanded with a new group of players under the title, “IP3 by Allied Security Trust.”
We wrote about this before, but it has just been expanded and rebranded (or renamed, to put it more politely). Here is what IAM (patent maximalist) wrote: “In many ways IP3, the new patent selling platform backed by the likes of Google, Apple, Ford, Microsoft and IBM that was announced on Wednesday, is a product of its time. It’s hard to imagine, say five years ago, Google and Apple jumping into bed together on anything patent-related – or for companies in very different industries pooling resources in the way they have for IP3. But today is different: with the smartphone wars almost at an end and everyone talking about convergence, IP3 reflects the more cooperative, partnership-based approach to IP strategy that a growing number of operating companies insist is their new ethos.”
“They just want more mega-corporations to coalesce and use their collective power for protectionism and a sort of cross-licensing with extra edge (battling small plaintiffs which target the well-funded cabal).”Notice the size of the backers and mind who they target with IP3. Is this the fairy tale which the patent systems’ biggest proponents try to tell us about when they defend further scope expansion and sharp increases in the number of patents? As if the more patents we have, the more ‘lone inventors’ are ‘protected’? Consider the cost of application, renewal, litigation, etc. It’s very prohibitive. Here goes IAM again, in its initial report about this: “A group of major patent-owning companies – Google, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Ford, Cisco and Facebook among them – have banded together to form the Industry Patent Purchase Program – or IP3 – providing patent owners with a streamlined way of selling their IP. The new initiative has been developed in conjunction with AST which will play the central role in administering the project. In effect it is the second iteration of Google’s Patent Purchase Promotion, which the search giant launched last summer and which saw it buy up a number of patents in a price range of $3,000 to $250,000.”
Can I join too? I have no patents, but I too would like this special/magical ‘protection’. The press release about IP3 is a big load of nonsense which is “Calling All Patent Owners”, so people like myself are obviously excluded. They just want more mega-corporations to coalesce and use their collective power for protectionism and a sort of cross-licensing with extra edge (battling small plaintiffs which target the well-funded cabal). What kind of arsenals are they pooling together?
“What all the above stories have in common is that they show patent empowerment by large corporations, their consortia, their trolls (or ‘pools’ like MPEG-LA) and at whose expense?”Speaking of Google, which is the key company in IP3, see the new article “Tech and Auto Firms Join Google-Led Patent Purchase Program” and recall what we recently wrote about the hoard of software patents on driving (not a new concept). Watch how Google is now stockpiling driving patents, as reported last week by dozens of publications, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4] (very limited list as an exhaustive one would be vast).
Google, unlike IBM, never suffered massive layoffs (not yet anyway), but would it become a patent aggressor like IBM recently became (using software patents)? Every company collapses sooner or later. No company exists for an eternity. See what happened to Nokia‘s mobile patents (Microsoft instructed Nokia to give these to Google-hostile trolls).
“This is highly regressive and it corrodes the spirit of the so-called ‘intellectual property’ system we are told to respect.”Dr. Glyn Moody has this new article about a patent we mentioned the other day. It shows just how far IBM’s patent lust has gone. To quote Moody: “Stories about copying turn up a lot on Techdirt. That’s largely as a consequence of two factors. First, because the Internet is a copying machine — it works by repeatedly copying bits as they move around the globe — and the more it permeates today’s world, the more it places copying at the heart of modern life. Secondly, it’s because the copyright industries hate unauthorized copies of material — which explains why they have come to hate the Internet. It also explains why they spend so much of their time lobbying for ever-more punitive laws to stop that copying. And even though they have been successful in bringing in highly-damaging laws — of which the DMCA is probably the most pernicious — they have failed to stop the unauthorized copies. [...] We’ve already seen Microsoft’s Protected Media Path for video, a “feature” that was introduced with Windows Vista; it’s easy to imagine something a little more active that matches the material you want to view or listen to against a database of permissions before displaying or playing it. And how about a keyboard that checks text as you type it for possible copyright infringements and for URLs that have been blocked by copyright holders? There is a popular belief that the computer in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” was named “HAL” after IBM, by replacing each letter in the company name with its predecessor. That’s apocryphal, but with this latest patent application IBM is certainly moving squarely into HAL territory. ”
Yeah, some ‘innovation’…
And we all surely benefit, right?
From patent aggressor IBM, according to this new IAM report, a notorious character moved to Rovi (another patent aggressor) and now he lands inside HEVC Advance, which is a patent troll [1, 2] (IAM dares not say this term, so it would say only “PAE” or “pool”). Remember who is behind HEVC Advance. No ‘lone inventors’ at all. To quote IAM: “Technicolor – previously known as Thomson – has long been a leading media and entertainment business with a strong R&D focus, and has one of Europe’s biggest technology and patent licensing operations – first developed under the leadership of IP Hall of Famer Béatrix de Russé. In 2013, Boris Teksler was brought in to lead the company’s technology operation, with a remit that included IP; and when Teksler departed in June 2015 he was replaced by Stéphane Rougeot, who has now also left the company. As if that was not enough, for much of 2014 and early 2015, the Technicolor board was involved in a bitter dispute about the company’s future direction with shareholder Vector Capital. That has now been settled.”
What all the above stories have in common is that they show patent empowerment by large corporations, their consortia, their trolls (or ‘pools’ like MPEG-LA) and at whose expense? The same mythical character which the patent system was presumably created to protect. This is highly regressive and it corrodes the spirit of the so-called ‘intellectual property’ system we are told to respect. █
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Publicado en GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 11:17 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Las patentes de software atacan de nuevo
“La creencia no es sustitúto de la aritmética.”
Sumario: Batállas legales que largamente envuelven a Android (y por extensión Linux) son notados en los medios esta semana porque hay una solicitud para su prohibición (interdicto)
Hay una creciénte tendencia en economías que están yendo para abajo porque crecimiénto infinito es imposible y los monopolistas luchan para compensar sus pérdidas y sobreponérse a nuevas fronteras. A las compañías que alguna vez produciéron productos asombrósos no les queda nada pero patentes, así que recurren a chantáje de patentes y tratan de escurrir a otras compañías de sus ganancias. Observen como, en medio de grandes despidos, IBM esta atacándo compañías legítimas usando patentes de software en estos días, ganándose títulos como “el Más Grande Troll de Patentes del Mundo”. IBM se considera una victicma y dijo: “IBM, una reliquia de las firmas tecnológicas del siglo 20, ha recurrido a usurpar la propiedad intelectual de las compañías nacidas este milenio.” ¿Puede alguién confíar IBM con la OIN más? IBM no es un aliado creíble, es un animal encorralado asustado de no emplear un medio millón de personas como solía. ‘Pobrecito’ IBM…
No sólo compañíás que pretendes ser todo por Linux hacen esto. Una de estas compañíás es Creative, de la que hablamos el otro dia. Como un nuevo artículo lo puso, “Creative se levanta de los muertos para tratar de destruir a Android” y para citar:
¿Recuerdas Creative? En la década de 2000, la empresa tuvo su gran periodo, ya que sus reproductores de MP3 Zen fueron los anti-sistema alternativo al iPod. En estos días, la empresa con sede en Singapur en su mayoría hace auriculares para juegos y altavoces de la computadora – nada que ver con los teléfonos inteligentes, en otras palabras. Pero gracias a una denuncia presentada en contra de todos los fabricantes de teléfonos Android grande, Creative ha declarado la guerra a Android en silencio.
La queja presentada contra un quién es quién de los teléfonos inteligentes Android: Samsung, LG, HTC, Blackberry, Sony, ZTE, Lenovo y Motorola. El tema en cuestión es reproductores de música: todos los teléfonos tienen ellos, y Creative tiene una patente que piensa está siendo violada. En concreto, todos los teléfonos son capaces de “reproducción de archivos multimedia almacenados seleccionados por un usuario desde una visualización jerárquica.”
Android Police escribió que “Creative Quiere Prohibir a la Mayoría de Telefonos Android Phones de los EE.UU por una Supuesta Infracción de Patentes” y para citar unos párrafos:
Creative no es un nombre que se oye tan a menudo en la electrónica de consumo en estos días. La firma con sede en Singapur es conocida por la fabricación de productos de audio, incluyendo la línea de Zen de reproductores multimedia. Creative ha presentado una queja ante la Comisión Internacional de Comercio (ITC), alegando que, básicamente, todos los fabricantes de teléfonos Android está infringiendo sus patentes de Zen al mostrar su música. Se quiere que todos sean prohibidos, pero lo que realmente quiere es el dinero.
La queja se dirige a ZTE, Sony, Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Motorola, HTC y BlackBerry. La cuestión es cómo todo el mundo ve a las canciones y álbumes en un sistema de menú jerárquico muestra, que dice que es un invento suyo. Se fue detrás de Apple por lo mismo hace una década y, finalmente, consiguió un acuerdo de $ 100 millones. Si el CCI está de acuerdo con Creative, que podría conducir a la prohibición de dispositivos infractores, lo que sería una gran cantidad de teléfonos.
Ahora recuérden a Microsoft, un ¿ socio de Creative? No hay un cese al fuego a su chantaje de patentes como reporto hace poco. La parte de Google en Motorola teléfonos móviles viene a la mente, vean este nuevo reportaje que demuestra que Microsoft todavía esta atacándo a Linux/Android con patentes de software (mientras al mismo tiempo afirma “amar a Linux). Para citar a Reuters (reporte corto): “La patente de Microsoft Corp en camino para mostra que un web brows todavíá esta subiéndo contenido no es inválida, una corte de apelaciónes de los EE.UU dijo este Martes en vista del desafío de Motorola Mobility y Google Inc.
“Un panel de tres jueces de la Corte de Apelaciones de EE.UU. para el Circuito Federal falló a favor de Microsoft y sus abogados Klarquist Sparkman, la afirmación de un fallo de la Patente de EE.UU. Oficina de Marcas y que se negó a cancelar una parte clave de la patente. El panel no se dio por razones de su decisión, que se produjo dos días después de los argumentos orales en el caso.”
Por lo que Microsoft está todavía acosándo a Motorola y Google (es decir, Android) y al mismo tiempo dice que “ama a Linux”. Tiene sentido, ¿verdad? Mandatos no sólo buscados por Creative (recurrir a la ITC como lo hizo Microsoft hace cerca de una década con el fin de bloquear un rival al este de Asia); Es probable que sólo estrategia de crecimiento en Estados Unidos, a juzgar por estos nuevos artículos escritos por bufetes de abogados de Canadá y Brasil [1, 2] para ser incluído en IAM principios de esta semana.
“ITC investigará a Samsung y Sony por reclamos de patentes” dice otro nuevo titular. ¿Quién se beneficia de esto? Para citar:
La Comisión de Comercio Internacional (ITC ) ha dicho que va a iniciar una investigación sobre fabricantes de teléfonos inteligentes como Sony, Samsung, ZTE y LG por la presunta violación de patentes.
En un comunicado en su página web, la ITC dijo que su investigación se centraría en “dispositivos electrónicos portátiles con la capacidad de reproducir archivos multimedia almacenados”.
Lenovo, Motorola, HTC y BlackBerry pueden destinarse también en la investigación.
La investigación de la sección 337 se basa en una denuncia presentada por Creative Technology con sede en Singapur y Creative Labs, con sede en Milpitas, California, en Marzo.
Creative solía ser amable en la década de 1990, pero ahora es notoria por su acoso a Linux (hay conexiones con Microsoft e Intel). Además de esta controvertida medida de Creative nos hemos enterado que el propio troll de patentes de Ericsson que todavía está activo en el Reino Unido y al parecer permanecera en la Corte de Patentes del Reino Unido en lugar de la Corte de Apelación Competitiva , basado en el informe de ayer, que dice: “Para cualquier persona se mantenga al tanto, la disputa de patentes de mamut en Unwired Planet v Huawei y Samsung continúa a lo largo de un trueno a paso. La última decisión del Tribunal de Patentes de la saga abordó la cuestión de si los problemas de competencia – posiblemente la parte más jugosa del caso – podrían ser transferidos a la Competencia Appeal Tribunal (CAT)? A finales de abril, el Sr. Justicia Birss respondió a esta cuestión, la decisión de que las cuestiones deben permanecer en la División de la Cancillería  EWHC 958 (Pat).”
Permanecemos completamente comprometidos con el rastreo meticulóso de estas amenazas al Free software, incluyendo Android, ya que las patentes de software no son compatibles con el Free software como Linux. Cuando estas patentes comienza a sobrepasar las fronteras Europeas nos damos cuenta que la enfermedad se esta esparciéndo en vez de ser contenida (e.g. debido a Alice en los EE.UU). Hay mucho en riesto.
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