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04.19.18

Microsoft’s Lobbying for FRAND Pays Off as Microsoft-Connected Patent Troll Conversant (Formerly MOSAID) Goes After Android OEMs in Europe

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, RAND, Samsung at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Royalty stacking until free/libre platforms become very expensive

Coin stacking

Summary: The FRAND (or SEP) lobby seems to have caused a lot of monopolistic patent lawsuits; this mostly affects Linux-powered platforms such as Android, Tizen and webOS and there are new legal actions from Microsoft-connected patent trolls

EARLIER THIS week we wrote a couple of short articles that alluded to Samsung’s small victory over Huawei. For those who don’t know, Huawei is a highly government (or regime) connected entity, more so than a corporation as is known in Western democracies. Huawei nowadays uses patents in an effort to embargo the competition, but that hasn’t been particularly successful outside China (where government connections help). The Asian giants almost always use Android; this includes Huawei and Samsung, which also has the Linux-based Tizen (LG has the Linux-based webOS). As one site put it yesterday:

Back in January, we updated you on the Huawei vs. Samsung patent infringement lawsuit. The big news was that a Chinese court found in favor of Huawei in that dispute.

The patent infringement had to do with Samsung using Huawei’s cellular technology and software patents in various Samsung devices, without paying Huawei the necessary licensing fees. Samsung denied any wrongdoing (as usual), but the court said that Huawei’s patents were indeed infringed upon, and Samsung would have to pay a fine and halt Chinese production and sales of the infringing devices.

Docket Navigator also wrote about Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. et al v Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. et al, showing that the US patent system/law suddenly becomes friendlier (to engineers, not lawyers) than China’s. To quote:

The court granted defendant Samsung’s motion for an antisuit injunction prohibiting plaintiff Huawei from enforcing injunction orders issued by a Chinese court and found that the Chinese injunction orders would frustrate domestic policies.

Boasting a new Samsung patent that we criticised the other day, this one new article says, “Samsung May Use Top Notch in Their Future Phones, New Patent Spotted in China” (so Samsung remains in China in the long run).

LG has already been driven out of China, or least partially. Patent lawsuits accomplished that.

As for Samsung, as we said and showed some days ago, it’s a top target for patent trolls. PACid, for example, is a patent troll whose latest action (against Samsung) belatedly got the attention of Watchtroll.

What we’ve only just noticed (this morning) is this update about MOSAID (now known as “Conversant”) with its litigation campaign in Europe. This Microsoft-connected (and Microsoft-armed) patent troll is still actively harassing companies with litigation in London. It’s nowadays going after Huawei and ZTE. To quote:

Does the English Court have jurisdiction to grant relief in the form of a global FRAND licence in relation to a claim for infringement of UK patents, where UK sales account for only 1% or less of worldwide sales on which royalties are claimed? This was the subject of the decision of Carr J. in the Patents Court on Monday in Conversant Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L v Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, ZTE Corporation and Ors [2018] EWHC 808 (Pat). The answer – on the facts of this case as explained below – was “yes”.

[...]

Conversant commenced proceedings in July 2017, claiming that the Defendants were infringing 4 EP(UK) patents, and sought a determination of FRAND terms for its global SEP portfolio. Conversant’s global portfolio of patents includes SEPS in over 40 countries.

[...]

It was common ground that Art 24(4) (validity of IP rights) and 27 (court first seised) of the Recast Brussels Regulation would require the English Court to declare of its own motion that it had no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon cases concerning the validity of (non-UK) European patents. The Court also assumed that the English Court had no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon cases in which the dispute concerned validity of non-European patents. The Defendants however maintained that Conversant’s claims are in substance claims for infringement of foreign patents – which therefore depend on the validity of foreign patents, which the English Court has no jurisdiction over.

Although Huawei did not formally challenge jurisdiction in Unwired Planet [2017] EWHC 711 (Pat), it did rely upon some jurisdictional arguments to support its argument that a global licence was not FRAND, including that a worldwide FRAND determination in the English Court would undermine existing infringement and validity proceedings in Germany. Carr J. referred to the “simple” and “compelling” analysis of the judge in that case, where it was held that the Brussels Regulation and CJEU case law has nothing to do with what the terms of a FRAND licence should be.

What’s noteworthy about the case is: 1) it’s happening in Europe and 2) there’s a Microsoft connection. Microsoft was never able to blackmail Huawei over its Linux use, but later it managed to do this through Nokia, which also passed (at Microsoft’s instructions) patents to MOSAID (the same troll as above, owing to a rename/rebrand).

Microsoft might think it’s pretty clever by telling us that it “loves Linux” or “uses Linux”. But we’re not stupid enough to not see where patents come from.

04.16.18

With Liars Like These…

Posted in Deception, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 6:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: “EPI Makes No Protest When the AC Connives With Battistelli to Trash the Rule of Law”

Margot Fröhlinger for UPC

Summary: The European Patent Office continues to lie about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) amongst other things, still revealing its reluctance to say anything which is truthful or work to repair the damage caused by Benoît Battistelli

The European Patent Office (EPO) composed not one but two ‘news’ items today, probably for the first time in two weeks (minus one day). As expected, there’s plenty to correct there. There’s also this new tweet inviting people to “[j]oin the first ever EPO Life Sciences Seminar held in Seattle, US on 17-18 May.”

Yes, EPO events now take place in another continent! In Microsoft’s back yard. Microsoft receives special treatment, so maybe the E in EPO stands not for “European”. Either way, looking at what the EPO wrote today, the first item was about the epi connections (warning: epo.org link). We wish to remind readers of the DG5 (Raimund Lutz)-epi connection; Antonius Tangena helped Željko Topić’s appointment. Tangena is apparently no longer there:

EPO President Benoît Battistelli joined Francis Leyder, President of the Institute of Professional Representatives before the EPO (epi) and Christian Cardona, the Maltese Minister for Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, to celebrate the epi’s 40th anniversary.

Valletta is a welcoming place for the likes of Battistelli because there’s plenty of corruption there and journalists who expose such corruption get assassinated, sometimes even blown up in their car (local policemen then publicly celebrate this).

The second item is about an event that was noted last week because EPO executives now associate themselves with ACTA pusher/lobbyist Paul Rübig [1, 2] in an effort to push the patently false claim that EPO cares for SMEs. They had the audacity to push/promote such lies as formal ‘news’ (warning: epo.org link). It is worth noting that EPO management is nowadays interjecting lies from Margot Fröhlinger for the sake of the UPC (her entire career/role), falsely representing SMEs (they oppose UPC), then Slawomir Tokarski. The EPO is a chronic liar like the worst administrations and mind the part about Fröhlinger:

The European Patent Office has presented its report on SMEs and Patents at an event last week hosted by Paul Rübig MEP, First Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel (STOA). The breakfast debate was co-organised by SME Europe and the EPO.

[...]

Principal Director for Unitary Patent, European and International Legal Affairs Margot Fröhlinger, set out in her presentation how the planned Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court will help overcome the fragmentation in the European patent system, also for the benefit of SMEs. According to her, the new system may be expected to be operational early 2019.

[...]

Mr Slawomir Tokarski, Director of Innovation at DG GROW, also presented the European Commission’s IPR package adopted last year and stressed the cost savings expected from the Unitary Patent.

So the EPO basically keeps lying in public. The UPC is now being portrayed as “for SMEs” — the very opposite of what’s true. The Unitary Patent is dead, so what Fröhlinger is doing boils down to pure marketing. She is Battistelli’s liar for hire. Other UPC critics have noticed and noted the same thing.

04.10.18

Microsoft’s Extortion Racket Against GNU/Linux Carries on, Both Directly and Indirectly (via Patent Trolls)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trolls' harbour

Summary: An outline of Microsoft’s patent activities and the activities of its satellites, which pass around patents and sue Microsoft’s rivals through obscure trolls (set up solely for the purpose of these lawsuits)

THE world’s biggest troll feeder is Microsoft, which not only feeds (in the investment sense) Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll that in turn feeds (with patents) Dominion Harbor. Dominion Harbor is suing a lot of companies through subsidiaries. Microsoft also fed (in the investment sense) Finjan, one of the most vocal patent trolls, which is also publicly traded (they had a meeting with shareholders a week ago, discussing their blackmail plans). This post will cover all these trolls and their feeders, assuring readers that Microsoft “loves Linux” as much as the Greek like Turks.

“When the thugs from Microsoft’s ‘IP’ subsidiary accuse an OEM of patent infringement they throw hundreds of patents at them in order to ensure they cannot challenge them all individually (or it would be vastly more expensive than just settling). This is racketeering.”Yesterday we saw this Apple patents propaganda site saying that “Microsoft Wins a Patent for a Possible Surface Branded Folding Smartphone with Sophisticated Camera System & more” (more gimmicks).

Putting aside the fact that there’s prior art all over this, what would be the purpose given that Microsoft barely sells anything in this space? When the thugs from Microsoft’s ‘IP’ subsidiary accuse an OEM of patent infringement they throw hundreds of patents at them in order to ensure they cannot challenge them all individually (or it would be vastly more expensive than just settling). This is racketeering. It’s also a deterrence against legal challenges to dubious patents.

Here’s what the latest patent is about:

Supply chain rumors had circulated back in December 2016 (one and two) that there were 3 to 5 tech companies working on smartphones that were foldable. The names of Apple, Google and Microsoft kept popping up. Samsung has the largest number of patents on foldable, bendable and scrollable smartphones on record to date with Apple having a number of foldable and bendable patents on record as well. One of Apple’s patent figures from a folding smartphone patent is presented below.

With patents like these, Microsoft can go after Apple, Google and Samsung (no cross-licensing) and demand a ‘share’ of revenue from GNU/Linux devices. Microsoft not only can do it; this is exactly what Microsoft already does. This is why Microsoft is stockpiling patents.

“Yes, Microsoft is still pursuing software patents.”“Microsoft beats [US]PTO rejections for their patent application,” one patent maximalist wrote yesterday, “but PTAB adds gratuitous invitation to Examiner to issue a NEW 101 rejection in footnote: “the Examiner may wish to review the claims for compliance under 35 U.S.C. § 101 in light of Alice”…”

Yes, Microsoft is still pursuing software patents. It also lobbies for them. Another new example says that “Thomson Reuters beats PTO on 6 different counts, but still cant get patent because of, course, bizarro application of eligibility of 101 rules…”

“Bear all this in mind whenever Microsoft claims that it has changed.”Nothing bizarre (or “bizarro”) about it. But the patent maximalist is connected to trolls and is looking for a quick buck. The main troll this “bizarro” patent maximalist is connected to is Dominion Harbor, which is connected to Microsoft through Intellectual Ventures. In fact, Intellectual Ventures recently passed yet another bundle of patents to Dominion Harbor.

Robert Jain from Unified Patents wrote just less than 24 hours ago about progress they make disarming this very malicious patent troll (hiding behind “Blue Sky Networks” as a proxy). To quote Jain:

On April 9, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 8,265,691 owned and asserted by Blue Sky Networks, LLC, a Dominion Harbor subsidiary and well-known NPE. The ’691 patent, directed to enhanced wireless handsets operating in a direct handset-to-handset communication mode, was asserted in multiple litigations against such companies as Toyota, Best Buy, MediaTek, Lenovo, BLU, Huawei, and Roche Diabetes Care.

Also about 24 hours ago we saw Carbon Black, which has been subjected to lawsuits from another Microsoft troll, choosing to give up, based on a press release issued by the troll [1, 2]. Yes, Microsoft’s patent troll Finjan has just successfully blackmailed another competitor (to Microsoft) using shoddy software patents and endless bullying.

Bear all this in mind whenever Microsoft claims that it has changed.

04.07.18

Microsoft — Like BlackBerry — is Nowadays a Patent Extortion Company, So Ignore the ‘Shared Innovation Initiative’ Nonsense

Posted in America, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 12:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Steve Jobs threatened to sue me, too. [and also] Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. They’d flown in over a weekend to meet with Scott McNealy. [...] Bill skipped the small talk, and went straight to the point, “Microsoft owns the office productivity market, and our patents read all over OpenOffice.” [...] Bill was delivering a slightly more sophisticated variant of the threat Steve had made, but he had a different solution in mind. “We’re happy to get you under license.” That was code for “We’ll go away if you pay us a royalty for every download” – the digital version of a protection racket.”

Jonathan I. Schwartz, Sun

Summary: The action recently taken by BlackBerry against Snap may in fact be a ‘proper’ lawsuit; as for Microsoft, it’s trying to hide the fact that it’s an aggressive patent-wielding operation by misusing words like “shared” and “innovation”

A COUPLE of days ago we wrote about BlackBerry's latest legal action, capitalising on patents granted by the USPTO a long time ago.

“Well, jury trials typically involve nontechnical people and would thus be easier for BlackBerry to win.”This is not a major lawsuit (at least not yet); it’s a complaint which is being described as follows: “The one-time smartphone king continued its efforts to cash in on its patent portfolio Tuesday when it filed a complaint [PDF] in the Central California US District Court accusing Snap of stealing its patented designs for the layout, alert, and messaging functions within mobile apps. [...] BlackBerry claims that it has been trying to strike a license deal with Snap for more than a year but, with talks breaking down, it now has to resort to a lawsuit and request for a jury trial.”

Well, jury trials typically involve nontechnical people and would thus be easier for BlackBerry to win.

“BlackBerry claims that it has been trying to strike a license deal with Snap for more than a year…”
      –The Register
With headlines like “BlackBerry sues Snapchat over alleged patent violation” or “BlackBerry sues Snapchat for infringing on its patented messaging technology” in Indian media, there’s no mistaking that for a lawsuit (some articles fell short of framing it like that). “According to The Verge,” says one article, “the 71-page complaint accused Snap of infringing six patents, including map improvements for mobile devices, advertising techniques and user interface improvements for mobile devices.”

“So basically, if someone mentions Microsoft’s “Shared Innovation Initiative” be sure to point out that it’s merely a publicity stunt, hailed for the most part by Microsoft boosters.”This was originally reported by Bloomberg, which The Verge very quickly cited on the matter. And speaking of Bloomberg, its writer Susan Decker, along with Linux-hostile writers like Liam Tung (CBS), were quick to promote a new Microsoft publicity stunt [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], joining many Microsoft propaganda sites (no pretense about these sites’ motivation, even based on the domain names alone) in citing Microsoft’s Brad Smith, soon to be parroted by patent extremists like Richard Lloyd and someone who was — by his own admission — paid by Microsoft until 2013-2014. He actually wrote a book on their lobbying for software patents, but he has been a lot gentler on them since they paid him. Yesterday he said:

I interpret yesterday’s announcement of the Shared Innovation Innovative as an indication of Microsoft continuing to modify its approach to intellectual property. It’s still far from advocating the abolition of software patents, but it appears to be trying hard to be part of the sharing economy in some other ways.

This does not mention that Microsoft uses patent trolls to attack rivals while collecting ‘protection’ money. It also does not mention Microsoft’s persistent lobbying for software patents. So basically, if someone mentions Microsoft’s “Shared Innovation Initiative” be sure to point out that it’s merely a publicity stunt, hailed for the most part by Microsoft boosters.

04.01.18

Patents Roundup: Abject Lack of Proper Patent Justice and Updates From Microsoft’s Patent Trolls and Patent Strategist

Posted in America, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘“Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio” —Marshall Phelps

Ex-Sun chief dishes dirt on Gates, Jobs
Reference: Ex-Sun chief dishes dirt on Gates, Jobs

Summary: A rundown/roundup of some of the interesting cases and stories, which generally help highlight the wrongs in a system that ought to be improved if its real goal is justice and legitimacy rather than coercion, protectionism, and sometimes racketeering

THERE are legal cases or stories that merit a mention but not a whole article/post. There are thousands of ongoing patent lawsuits in the US (with thousands more being filed each year), hundreds of thousands patents granted by the USPTO annually, and many stories of patent extortion (outside the courts). The ratio between patent extortion (shakedown) and patent lawsuits is difficult to estimate because the former is covert; estimates, however, say that there are several times more of the former than the latter. Below we take stock of some minor posts, stories, summaries, and observations.

Word Limits

“The ratio between patent extortion (shakedown) and patent lawsuits is difficult to estimate because the former is covert; estimates, however, say that there are several times more of the former than the latter.”When the patent courts get overwhelmed by piles of spurious papers (with little substance or relevance) they often feel compelled to act differently. Is this another lawyers’ trick? Maybe. But according to this, there are word limits in briefs now (as some briefs as not brief anymore).

To quote:

One problem with the Court’s approach here is that it made no determination as to whether the incorporation-by-reference was problematic in this situation. In particular, Federal Rule Appellate Procedure 28(i) permits incorporation by reference in consolidated cases involving multiple appellants or appellees.

Concision matters because one side often uses disproportionate amounts of paper to ‘out-pocket’ the other side, in essence using financial muscle to gain legal leverage. This is wrong. Then there’s the option of endlessly appealing decisions to bankrupt the other side if not put sufficient economic pressure for that side to surrender.

“Concision matters because one side often uses disproportionate amounts of paper to ‘out-pocket’ the other side, in essence using financial muscle to gain legal leverage.”Remember that for justice to be served it must not discriminate based on finances. In practice, however, it almost always does. Money buys legal outcomes not just legislation.

Ex Parte Reexamination

Putting the non-English legalese aside (another way for lawyers to deter people from representing themselves), let’s look at Parallax Group International, LLC v Incstores LLC — a case by a company which we mentioned here 15 times before. Here’s some more non-English legalese: “The court sua sponte stayed plaintiff’s patent infringement action pending ex parte reexamination to conserve judicial resources.”

“Remember that for justice to be served it must not discriminate based on finances.”Sua sponte is just a lawyer’s way of saying “on its own motion,” which means that Parallax needs to wait. We previously remarked on all those nonsensical words/phrases, like inter partes review, ex parte reexamination, sua sponte and estoppel.

No, these lawyers don’t speak Latin or anything, they just try to make life more complicated for clients so that they get hired again and again. Maybe some of them try to impress with pseudo-multilingual skills (which rarely exist).

PTAB

Speaking of inter partes reviews, which is just a ‘fancy’ way of saying petition to reassess/review a granted patent after an applicant secured the grant, Michael Loney said a few days ago that “PTAB institutes first derivation trial” and to quote:

After more than 50 petitions, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has instituted a derivation trial for the first time, challenging a patent for a spacer frame used in insulated glass windows

The Patent Trial & Appeal Board has instituted trial to a derivation petition for the first time, in Andersen Corporation v. GED Integrated Solutions (DER2017-00007).

The rather misleading term “derivation trial” is what the Office defines here. It’s worth noting that 50 petitions had been filed before action was actually taken!

Patent Trolls

Aggressors and patent trolls have gotten ever so desperate to bypass TC Heartland (last year’s decision by SCOTUS) and drag patent lawsuits to trolls-friendly courts (or districts, or district courts). In Peerless Network, Inc. v Blitz Telecom Consulting, LLC et al, according to Docket Navigator, “[t]he court granted defendants’ alternative motion to transfer for improper venue because defendants did not have a regular and established place of business in the district.”

“Under a faithful reading of the statute,” the court said, “the Court must conclude that whatever a ‘place of business’ is, it is not a shelf.”

“No, these lawyers don’t speak Latin or anything, they just try to make life more complicated for clients so that they get hired again and again.”How many more ‘artistic’ interpretations will be attempted so as to bypass TC Heartland? It almost never works.

Microsoft’s Patent Troll

Microsoft’s patent troll Finjan will “Host a Shareholder Update on April 5, 2018,” it says in a new press release. That’s 4 days from now. What will be discussed? Who to sue next? Will Microsoft help bankroll the litigation? Or say who to ‘punish’ next? Will people who pay ‘protection’ money to Microsoft find themselves protected from this troll?

And in related news, Forbes has given a blog to Marshall Phelps, who is responsible for Microsoft’s and IBM’s patent aggression strategies. Forbes also gave blogs to literal patent trolls from Dominion Harbor, which says a lot about Forbes. In his latest post Phelps says: “Everybody knows that strong patents help decide the winners and losers of business competition — which is why companies applied for roughly 600,000 of them last year (though only half that number were granted)…”

“…Forbes has given a blog to Marshall Phelps, who is responsible for Microsoft’s and IBM’s patent aggression strategies.”The person who is responsible for patent bullying at two of the largest and most aggressive ‘patent companies’ says it “help[s] decide the winners and losers of business competition,” so maybe he should also join a large military contractor and explain how dropping lots of bombs “help[s] decide the winners and losers” of wars… since he evidently lacks any sense of morality.

$235 Million Verdict

The latest reminder that actually reading patents, i.e. making an infringement willful, can be very extremely expensive? Here it is:

Following a jury verdict of willful induced infringement of plaintiffs’ congestive heart failure treatment patent and damages of $235 million, the court granted defendant’s renewed motion for judgment of noninfringement as a matter of law because substantial evidence did not support the jury’s finding that defendant induced doctors to infringe

Large firms such as Microsoft openly say that they intentionally ignore patents of other companies for this reason. Does that not defeat the whole purpose of a patent system then? The whole basis or premise of this system was that it would help disseminate if not preserve human knowledge.

Somaltus LLC v The Noco Company, Inc

As always, whenever there’s patent mess only lawyers will profit. They’re guaranteed to win financially (even if they lose a case). It’s therefore in their best interest to make things messy and keep them that way. “Following plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal,” shows this new example, “the court denied defendant’s motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because plaintiff’s litigation positions were not unreasonable.”

“As always, whenever there’s patent mess only lawyers will profit.”Whoever pays the fees, that won’t matter to the lawyers. It only matters to the companies they represent (at both ends). Maybe that can help more companies rethink the role of the status quo and whether it suits them or not. If not, maybe they should support reformist actions from the EFF, CCIA, HTIA (High Tech Inventors Alliance) and the likes of these. PTAB helps a lot already and it’s not hard to show support for it. Recently, our support of PTAB earned us threats of legal action. We’ll write about it later this week.

03.27.18

More Litigation Ventures of Intellectual Ventures (Microsoft’s Patent Troll) Stopped by Unified Patents

Posted in Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recently on Unified Patents:

Summary: The latest news about Microsoft’s biggest and most vicious patent troll; OIN also reappears in the media, albeit it’s no solution to patent trolls

TEN years ago we indexed articles about Intellectual Ventures, having written about it for almost a dozen years. Intellectual Ventures isn’t just another patent troll because 1) it’s the world’s largest; 2) it’s operating through literally thousands of shells; 3) it originates in Microsoft and 4) it is still being funded by Microsoft, even when Microsoft keeps saying that it “loves Linux.”

A few days ago we wrote about Intellectual Ventures suing another Microsoft competitor (using ridiculous software patents that were granted by the USPTO). This is the type of thing which usually goes on behind closed doors and only when there’s no resolution behind closed doors the public finds out about it (lawsuits are public).

Thanks to Unified Patents, this Microsoft patent troll has just lost another patent — a patent it used to extort a lot of companies with, as named by Robert Jain in this post from yesterday:

On March 26, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board issued a final written decision in Unified Patents Inc. v. Intellectual Ventures I, LLC, IPR2016-01643 invalidating all challenged claims of U.S. Patent 6,775,745 owned and asserted by Intellectual Ventures I, LLC, a well-known NPE. The ’745 Patent, directed to a hybrid data caching mechanism, has been asserted in multiple litigations against several companies including EMC (Dell), Lenovo and NetApp. At the time of this decision, the litigation against these companies remains pending.

The lawsuits can soon be dropped hopefully; but there may be room for appeal (to CAFC). How many more victims will there be in the meantime and how can anyone carry on pretending that Microsoft has changed? It funded this troll as recently as about 2 years ago. Microsoft’s main man in this troll seized even more executive power in it.

Where are GNU/Linux vendors amid all this? Paid sufficiently by Microsoft for silence on the matter?

OIN can barely do anything against patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures. It claims to be trying to take over patents before they fall into the hands of trolls, but examples of that are extremely limited. OIN’s CEO, whom I spoke to on the phone a few times (for a long time), is the feature of this new article, published yesterday under the headline “Keep the IoT Free (Patent Battles Not Welcome)” in IoT Journal. To quote:

As the next wave of internet usage, the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform industries and provide new opportunities for technological advances. The IoT can be viewed as a means to connect objects, machines and humans in large-scale communication networks. Gartner estimates that there will be 20.4 billion IoT-connected components worldwide by 2020, and more than half of major new business systems and processes will include a IoT component.

Furthermore, according to a 2017 Boston Consulting Group report, the market for IoT products and services is expected to reach $267 billion by 2020. The report predicts that by 2020, 50 percent of all IoT spending will be driven by discrete manufacturing, transportation, logistics and utilities—critical areas of businesses and community infrastructure.

[...]

While it has experienced nearly exponential growth, the successful adoption and use of open-source by banking networks, mobile phone manufacturers, telecom networks, smart cars, cloud computing and blockchain platforms, among numerous others, was not a foregone conclusion. In 2003, there was an IP-based attack on Linux, the most prevalent open-source software project.

While the claims underlying the litigation ultimately were found to be without merit in the court proceeding, it was a wake-up call to several IP-savvy companies as to the potential negative impact of patent aggression on the growth of Linux and open source software projects. IBM, Red Hat and SUSE (then Novell) coordinated an effort with Sony, Philips and NEC to conceptualize and implement a solution designed to create a patent no-fly zone around the core of Linux.

This isn’t really what they do. They actively defend software patents from scrutiny (from GNU/Linux users) rather than defend GNU/Linux from software patents, to borrow an analogy from Bruce Perens.

03.25.18

Multiple Microsoft-Funded Patent Trolls Are Attacking Microsoft’s Rivals Inside and Outside the Courtrooms

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 9:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…While Microsoft offers ‘protection’ (only to those who pay Microsoft and do not compete)

Protection racket
Reference: Protection racket

Summary: Protection rackets of Microsoft continue uninterrupted, with actors that compete with Microsoft finding themselves being sued by patent trolls that are funded and backed by Microsoft; it’s not even hard to show the financial links and the relational connections

A FEW days ago we wrote about Microsoft-connected patent trolls like Finjan, Intellectual Ventures, and Dominion Harbor, which is connected to Intellectual Ventures. It is important to highlight these things because Microsoft’s “Azure IP Advantage” sells people ‘protection’ from such trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]. It’s how Microsoft hopes to entice everyone to pay Microsoft some monthly ‘rents’ (in exchange for perceived safety from frivolous lawsuits).

Two days ago there were reports about Pivotal Software filing for IPO, taking stock of its patents, e.g. “118 U.S. patents and 73 pending. The company says it has filed for a $100 million IPO, but this is just a placeholder that is subject to change. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are serving as lead underwriters.”

Read the article and notice the Microsoft connection there. Pivotal is financially indebted to Microsoft. This is a bad sign.

On the same day it was announced in a press release [1, 2] from a Microsoft-funded patent troll Finjan (see our Finjan timeline for some more background going a decade back) that it attacks Microsoft’s rivals with software patents yet again. From their press release:

Finjan Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FNJN), a cybersecurity company, today announced that — after two years of good faith efforts to resolve a patent dispute with Carbon Black, Inc. (“Carbon Black”) — its subsidiary Finjan, Inc. (“Finjan”) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Carbon Black, a Delaware company with headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, and offices in Palo Alto, California, in the U.S. Northern District of California.

This is far from the first time and new financial analysis [1, 2] suggests that the firm hopes for resurgence only by means of lawsuits and extortion. Now that this Microsoft patent troll has filed another lawsuit (announced two days ago) we expect to see more of them. They’re emboldened by a court decision from January — one that we wrote a lot about.

A pro-PTAB and anti-trolls group, HTIA, has just cited an article from 3.5 years ago (by James Bessen) and added: “The number of firms sued by #patent #Trolls grew nine-fold over the last decade; such that now a majority of #patent lawsuits are filed by trolls.”

This is good for Microsoft and its trolls, which hope that in spite of § 101 they can just intimidate all of Microsoft’s rivals — including GNU/Linux companies — and cause them to suffer.

Microsoft’s largest patent troll Intellectual Ventures has attacked Microsoft’s rival that Finjan had attacked months ago (and won against back in January). But this troll just loses. Again! Once again at the Federal Circuit. To quote this new analysis by Michael Borella:

As such, the Federal Circuit concluded that the District Court did not err in finding the ’533 patent invalid under § 101. And as an aside, anyone who thinks that backing up their data is an abstract concept should keep that in mind when their primary computer is lost, stolen, or crashes.

In this particular case § 101 saved Symantec (and not for the first time, even against this particular troll). But Symantec is being forced to pay a lot of money to another Microsoft troll, Finjan Holdings.

Microsoft is still playing a very dirty game here and if it believes that it can detach itself from trolls that it’s actively funding, then it’s underestimating observers’ ability to connect the dots.

03.22.18

Aggressive New Activities of Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls: Finjan, Intellectual Ventures, and Dominion Harbor

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trolls' harbour

Summary: The extensive group of Microsoft-connected patent trolls is still very much active; Microsoft funds them, arms them, and gives them instructions while offering people ‘protection’ from them (if and only if they choose Azure)

THE paid-for lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” is pretty pervasive. The Linux Foundation too helps promote/relay/disseminate this lie, more so (or more frequently) after Microsoft paid the Foundation half a million dollars with possibility/likelihood of annual renewal (provided the Foundation does what Microsoft wants). It should be noted that the Foundation pays roughly that same amount/sum of money to Linus Torvalds every year and his ‘boss’, Jim Zemlin, earns even more money than him (and he keeps repeating Microsoft’s lies, for his job is not technical; it’s just to keep this money coming). If Microsoft was to leave the Foundation, that would cost the Foundation more than Zemlin’s salary (north of $600,000 per annum). The Foundation is pretty tight when it comes to money as its expenses (as of 2015) account for about 90% of the money which comes in. This is all in the public domain.

“It’s a form of entryism or what’s better/epically known as “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE).”The Foundation will never mention Microsoft’s patent aggression and Microsoft is nowadays clever enough to not attack Linux directly but via patent trolls, from which Microsoft offers ‘protection’ (provided you pay Microsoft monthly ‘protection’ fees, in the form of Azure subscriptions, accompanied by Microsoft’s “Azure IP Advantage”, as we explained in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]). As grotesque as that may be, that’s where we are today. It’s a form of entryism or what’s better/epically known as “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE).

The USPTO is not granting software patents as often as before (because of Alice); but those which it granted over the past couple of decades are still around and trolls rarely need to have these tested in a court of law. They engage in extortion rather than legal battles (settlement with the bully is often a lot cheaper than a legal challenge).

Techrights has spent the past 12 years tracking trolls that are connected to Microsoft; they’re connected in the sense that Microsoft funds them, arms them, and gives them instructions. We wrote about many hundreds of examples to that effect.

Techrights has spent the past 12 years tracking trolls that are connected to Microsoft; they’re connected in the sense that Microsoft funds them, arms them, and gives them instructions.”Trolls would find it hard if they actually had to assert patents in courts, first of all because of Alice and secondly because of TC Heartland. So a lot of their activity we never hear about; it’s done behind closed doors and secrecy is part of the deal. The press will never cover that (it cannot) and it’s estimated that approximately two-thirds of patent aggression never becomes public knowledge. At all. Citing TC Heartland LLC v Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, another patent case is forced to move out of a hostile court. “The court granted counterclaim defendants’ motion to dismiss for improper venue because defendants lacked a regular and established place of business in the district and ancillary venue did not apply,” the Docket Navigator wrote yesterday.

This may be good in cases where actual lawsuits get filed, but it’s of no solace to those who are victims of extortion. Microsoft still engages in extortion, but it’s rarely done directly; Microsoft relies on publicly-traded trolls like Finjan, which engages in patent extortion against almost every Microsoft rival in the security space. If they don’t pay, Finjan will then sue (using software patents). Microsoft is very much complicit in this extortion because for a very long time Microsoft has been a backer (over a decade).

“Trolls would find it hard if they actually had to assert patents in courts, first of all because of Alice and secondly because of TC Heartland.”The patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), which is also close to Microsoft (they still use Windows to run their site and regularly speak to Microsoft veterans), is cheering for this patent troll. IAM euphemistically calls it “NPE” and yesterday it wrote: “Finjan shares jumped yesterday on the news that the company had received the $65 million settlement payout from Symantec following the truce between the two businesses announced at the end of February. That sum, which is one of the largest received in settlement by an NPE in years, might increase in the coming years by a further $45 million. The settlement was announced after what can only be described as an epic litigation tussle between Finjan and Symantec business Blue Coat with two court cases, including a visit to the Federal Circuit, and a deluge of IPRs.”

Using this payment from Symantec Finjan will now go bullying yet more companies that compete against Microsoft. This troll is emboldened.

There are other Microsoft-connected patent trolls that are active. IAM has just written two articles about Dropbox [1, 2], noting that it takes patents from Microsoft’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures. “Since 2012,” it says, “Dropbox has not only kick-started its own patent generation programme, USPTO records show, but has also been on something of a buying spree, featuring transfers from the likes of IBM, Sony and Intellectual Ventures.”

“Microsoft is very much complicit in this extortion because for a very long time Microsoft has been a backer (over a decade).”Finjan too got patents from IBM last year. As for Intellectual Ventures, it had passed literally thousands of patents to a patent troll called Dominion Harbor. Intellectual Ventures is known to have several thousands of satellites/proxies, as reported more than half a decade ago in corporate media. They even go 'hunting' for victims in China. Recently (just earlier this month) this troll received yet more patents from Intellectual Ventures, which had received additional financial support from Microsoft even a couple of years back (the connection there is still very strong and after some resignations it became even stronger).

Yesterday we saw David Pridham from Dominion Harbor (now run by this man-child, who is a chronic liar that not only defames me but has also defamed others) saying that “Google [...] publicly criticizes patents (especially software patents)” (no, it’s not against software patents in general).

“Using this payment from Symantec Finjan will now go bullying yet more companies that compete against Microsoft.”His hatred of firms such as Google is quite a giveaway; the same goes for other staff of this patent troll (whom we observe online).

According to this new press release [1, 2] from RPX, Dominion Harbor — known to be connected to Microsoft patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures — is suing again. Here are the details:

Monument Peak Ventures, LLC (MPV) has filed its first US lawsuits over patents acquired from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) as part of the former Kodak portfolio transferred to the Dominion Harbor Enterprises, LLC (DHE) affiliate in February 2017. The new complaints accuse Victor Hasselblad of infringing four of those patents and GoPro and SZ DJI Technology of infringing different sets of five, with two patents asserted across all three suits. The patents generally relate to various aspects of photography, with the post-processing software of GoPro (GoPro Studio Software), Hasselblad (Phocus) and SZ DJI (CineLight), as well as certain GoPro cameras and certain features of SZ DJI’s drone products, accused of infringement. In May 2017, MPV issued a press release announcing a licensing partnership with Swedish IP brokerage and consulting firm Parallel North IP AB as part of a “comprehensive global plan to commercialize” the Kodak portfolio.

So these are the patents that Dominion Harbor got from Intellectual Ventures.

“So these are the patents that Dominion Harbor got from Intellectual Ventures.”We don’t expect the Linux Foundation to ever (again) speak against software patents because many of the sponsors are in favour of them. We certainly don’t expect the Foundation to berate Microsoft for arming and funding the above patent trolls (there are more of them). But at the end of the day, should we really care about what this foundation says? It’s not a GNU/Linux advocacy group but a trade group which just happens to be the steward of Torvalds’ trademark.

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