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08.16.18

USPTO Craziness: Changing Rules to Punish PTAB Petitioners and Reward Microsoft for Corruption at ISO

Posted in America, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 7:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mr. Iancu and his colleagues do not appear to understand (or care) that they are rewarding Microsoft for epic corruption at ISO and elsewhere

No-OOXML

Summary: The US patent office proposes charging/imposing on applicants that are not customers of Microsoft a penalty; there’s also an overtly and blatantly malicious move whose purpose is to discourage petitions against wrongly-granted (by the USPTO) patents

THE previous post spoke about how the Federal Circuit rejects software patents, as does the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). An inter partes review (IPR) is almost guaranteed to thwart any software patent if it is applied to one (not a cheap process, but a lot more affordable than a court battle, which can only be initiated by patent holders).

“Iancu was a pick of the notoriously corrupt Trump, whose firm had previously worked for Trump. Coincidence?”It is no secret that Director Iancu wrote articles in support of software patents and software patents are not valid anymore, based on what the SCOTUS has decided. This means that the person whom Trump put in charge of the patent office in inherently is disagreement with patent courts. An untenable situation? Iancu was a pick of the notoriously corrupt Trump, whose firm had previously worked for Trump. Coincidence?

Either way, everything we have seen so far confirms our worst fears — that Iancu would work for the patent microcosm rather than for science and technology. The patent system was conceived to serve that latter group, not a bunch of lawyers, but things have changed since conception and nowadays the Office is adding yet more fees that make expensive lawyers a must to some. With prohibitive costs, too (maybe $200 per hour). Punishing poor companies, obviously.

Docket Navigator has been covering quite a few 35 U.S.C. § 285 cases/motions lately, with some being successful, i.e. when some troll or bully made bogus claims it was punished financially for it. Those are the courts doing so, not the Office. In Phigenix, Inc. v Genentech, Inc. (based on this latest Docket Report), the court ended up considering the argument regarding frivolous patent lawsuits. Will the court make it more expensive to the abuser? That remains to be seen. “Following summary judgment,” Docket Navigator wrote, “the court granted defendant’s motion to join plaintiff’s founder/inventor as a necessary party and pursue attorney fees against him under 35 U.S.C. § 285.”

Upcoming changes at the USPTO do not look promising however. For at least three reasons.

Firstly, the patent microcosm is being shielded from competition. “It is no secret to anyone in the industry; the unauthorized practice of law is rampant, and OED does nothing to stop it,” Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) said yesterday. Terms like “unauthorized practice of law” (used both in the body and headline of Watchtroll) imply that it’s illegal to represent oneself too. The patent and litigation ‘industries’ want a monopoly on this activity. A form of corruption surely? Consider Iancu’s professional background and how he might view this.

Secondly, this Trump appointee would have loved to abolish PTAB and destroy patent quality, but SCOTUS and CAFC are not allowing that to happen. He’ll still try though. He might even ignore Oil States and try to just price IPRs out of reach. Here’s what Kevin E. Noonan, a patent maximalist, wrote a couple of days ago

On August 8th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued revisions to its Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Guide (see “Trial Practice Guide Update”), first promulgated in 2012 as part of the Office’s implementation of inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and covered business methods review (CBM) proceedings established under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). As discussed in an accompanying memorandum from USPTO Director Iancu, this update is part of the Office’s plan to issue updates periodically, on section-by-section, rolling basis; the Director anticipates further future updates “to take into account feedback received from stakeholders, changes in controlling precedent or applicable regulations, or the further refinement of the Board’s practices over time.”

In addition to being a resource for petitioners and patent owners, the Guide has as its purpose “to encourage consistency of procedures among panels of the Board,” akin to the role of the MPEP with examiners. As with the practice of having “expanded panels” to promote consistency in decisions, this function further limits the extent to which APJ’s activities are consistent with an independent adjudicatory arm of the USPTO.

It’s just a pretext for price hikes, as Michael Loney noted in a couple of articles. The first one spoke of changes to the process:

AIA Trial Practice Guide changes attracting the most attention are patent owners getting sur-replies and the opportunity to present a brief sur-rebuttal at the oral hearing, giving them the final word in PTAB proceedings

That should not take long, should it?

Thirdly, and finally, there is the most ridiculous thing of all. The USPTO will apparently punish people for using non-Microsoft binary (OOXML) format. How is this not corruption at USPTO? Microsoft used corruption to impose OOXML on the world, now USPTO punishes those who use standards! OOXML is not really a standard; it has binary blobs in it and Microsoft bribed officials and delegates for it. Here are the details:

The USPTO is seeking across-the-board fee increases, as well as a new fee surcharge for filing in a non-DOCX format and an annual active patent practitioner fee

So they are making it more expensive yet again (25%) in an effort to suppress IPRs. Battistelli used the same tricks as Iancu. He kept raising the costs of appeals (against bogus patents) in an effort to reduce patent quality and hide all this.

Iancu’s proposed fee hikes for PTAB IPRs obviously harm small businesses the most. Who benefits? Microsoft. Who else benefits? Lawyers. But that pretty much sums up what this leadership became, even in direct defiance of US courts as high as the Supreme Court. We hope that these proposals will be imminently challenged.

08.14.18

Lockton Insurance Brokers Exploiting Patent Trolls to Sell Insurance to the Gullible

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Patents at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LocktonSummary: Demonstrating what some people have dubbed (and popularised as) “disaster capitalism”, Lockton now looks for opportunities to profit from patent trolls, in the form of “insurance” (the same thing Microsoft does [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20])

EARLIER THIS month (at the very start of it) Managing IP surprised us by speaking of “IP insurance”; there are actually companies out there that offer insurance from lawsuits over things that don’t even exist (unlike car accidents or natural disasters). We hadn’t quite seen this before. Then, only yesterday, San Francisco Business Times published this ‘article’ (more like an ad, ending with “Questions about patent infringement insurance for your company? Give us a call at 415-[redacted].”) and it was composed by Adam McDonough, “Executive Vice President, Lockton Insurance Brokers” (by his own words).

“They create threats and fears in order for them to sell their ‘solutions’.”So they’re now using/leveraging patent trolls for profit; they are selling the scam which is ‘insurance’ for patents. It’s similar but not identical to things like RPX, which nearly collapsed because patent trolls are on the demise/decline in the US. It’s a form of ‘protection’ money; they’re selling mercenaries in a village with the Mafia embedded in it; once the authorities weed out the trolls (the Mafia), demand for the mercenaries is no longer there.

The headline of the above article is “Patent insurance allows companies to focus on innovating, not competitors and trolls”; this is similar to Microsoft’s “IP Advantage”; Microsoft keeps feeding trolls while offering ‘protection’ from them.

If or when we spot more articles (ads) along those lines, we’ll surely point these out. It is ridiculous if not outrageous, and in some sense it’s an extension of a parasitic ‘industry’ akin to the one Black Duck is exploiting. They create threats and fears in order for them to sell their ‘solutions’.

08.12.18

Software Patents, Secured by ‘Smart’ and ‘Intelligent’ Tricks, Help Microsoft and Others Bypass Alice/Section 101

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Patents at 4:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Native American tribes (so-called ‘Indians’) are exploited by patent maximalists and India gets it right on software patents

Blue lagoon

Summary: A look at the use of fashionable trends and buzzwords to acquire and pass around dubious software patents, then attempting to guard these from much-needed post-Alice scrutiny

THE USPTO has limited somewhat the sorts of patents or number of patents it grants, partly owing to restrictions on abstract patents, which include software patents. This is the correct thing to do and software development powerhouses such as India got it right (there are almost no software patents in India).

Seeing the usual nonsense of LexOrbis (e.g. [1, 2]) the other day, we’re still meeting a familiar old pattern. Watch how Anil Kumar (LexOrbis) is promoting software patents under the guise of “mobile” (or “on a phone”). “In other words,” he said, “to be patent eligible, the mobile application should make the mobile device function in a certain way. The software code itself that achieves the function is not patent eligible. However, the functionality achieved by means of the software is patentable. On the other hand, the software code doing it can be protected under copyright.”

Copyright is the only thing software developers need and want. Looking at this other new article from India (one of a large bunch), it says that TCS wants to branch out a firm that “has more than 75 patents filed in the artificial intelligence (AI), machine-learning and intelligent-automation space..,”

These are abstract software patents that should not have been granted. India’s TCS somehow managed to get those. What would courts say? There is still lots of "AI" hype in patent boosting circles, trying to paint algorithms as “smart” or “intelligence” (“intelligent”) because of Section 101/Alice. Sometimes they mention “AI” in relation to prior art search (new example here; it’s the same old snake oil and this really does not deal with underlying understanding of antonyms etc.) and timetimes they basically allude to algorithms by calling them “AI” or “machine learning” or whatever.

Here is the patent trolls’ lobby (Timothy Au, IAM) writing about this in relation to Microsoft:

Microsoft and Alphabet currently own the most – and the highest quality – patents relating to machine learning, research commissioned by IAM has revealed. However, the data also shows that most companies are being outpaced by the technology’s rapid rate of development, and at this stage anyone could come from anywhere to claim a leadership position. Jointly produced by IP analytics platform PatentSight and ip-search, a commercial patent search service provider of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, the research provides a detailed look at the machine learning landscape from a patent perspective.

Those are software patents. I know because I worked in that area.

The patent trolls’ lobby (Richard Lloyd in this case) also wrote about Microsoft-connected patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures (IV) using more proxies, e.g. Dominion Harbor, when he said: “This blog has closely followed the patent divestments that Intellectual Ventures has undertaken since the firm stopped buying for its most recent fund and looked to slim down its giant portfolio. Many of those assets have ended up in the hands of some familiar hands, with Dominion Harbor picking up the lion’s share and others going to entities linked to serial patent monetiser Leigh Rothschild. However, two recent assignments (seen here and here) recorded with the USPTO show the range of acquirers that have been looking to pick up what IV has on offer.”

“IV assignments to Native American tribe shows just how far it is casting sales net,” says the headline, but American tribes provide no protection from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), so what’s the point? An inter partes review (IPR) can still be filed against such patents. Earlier today Patent Docs advertised an upcoming “Webinar on Sovereign Immunity before the PTAB,” so basically they have a webinar on something that does not exist. Great! What a waste of time and money.

The general trend we’re seeing here is an attempt to sneak software patents through the system and then avoid reassessment of such patents. In effect they dodge justice itself.

08.05.18

Understanding of Microsoft’s Patent Strategy Requires Scrutiny of the Patent Trolls It’s Connected to

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 10:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft nowadays sells its hosting as a ‘protection’ racket and it has euphemistically called it “Azure IP Advantage” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20]

Fox

Summary: As Microsoft’s strategy appears to be arming patent trolls and then selling ‘protection’ from them we must still keep abreast of the actions of Microsoft-connected trolls and especially their lawsuits (because these are visible)

THOSE who believe that Microsoft has left patent aggression behind simply don’t pay close enough attention. Look at some recent USPTO grants; days ago there were many reports about patents that Microsoft would likely leverage against Android, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Microsoft barely sells anything in this domain; Android dominates. There was also this patent application which reveals Microsoft’s surveillance ambitions (getting people’s blood pressure).

To better understand Microsoft’s patent strategy, however, one must look at the trolls it associates with (founding, arming, funding). There are quite a few such trolls and we have spent over a decade tracking those. It doesn’t take much research. A lot of the information is publicly available.

About two years ago GoPro was mentioned here in Microsoft’s Copyrights- and Patents-Based Attacks on GNU/Linux Carry on; we wrote that after Microsoft had targeted GoPro, whose products often incorporate Linux.

GoPro was mentioned again yesterday by Joseph Robinson, Robert Schaffer, and Steve Brachmann (Watchtroll). It’s about something which was covered days earlier in relation to the Federal Circuit, dealing with a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR):

GoPro petitioned for inter partes review of the ’954 and ’694 patents and challenged the patentability of the claims on obviousness grounds, relying on a 2009 GoPro sales catalog as prior art in each petition. The GoPro Catalog discloses a digital camera linked to a wireless viewfinder/controller that allows for a user to preview before recording.

The Board instituted both IPRs, and in its decisions to institute, the Board found that GoPro made a threshold showing that the GoPro Catalog is prior art. After the hearing, however, the Board found that the GoPro Catalog did not qualify as a prior art printed publication under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b), and because all the instituted grounds were based on the GoPro Catalog, the Board found that GoPro had not demonstrated that the challenged claims of the ’954 and ’694 patents were unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 103. GoPro appealed from these final written decisions to the Federal Circuit.

The name of the troll that goes after GoPro is Contour IP Holding, whose sole online presence is this case against GoPro. So the main question is, who’s behind it? We’ve never heard of it before. It’s worth checking whether Contour IP Holding just totally vanishes after a year or so. It would not be uncommon.

Speaking of shells, how about Interval Research Corporation, which is the creation of Microsoft’s co-founder? It’s a troll that recently re-emerged and Watchtroll has these details on how 35 U.S.C. § 101 dismantled nuisance litigation against AOL:

Recently, the Federal Circuit affirmed a judgment finding patent claims asserted by the patent owner, Interval Licensing, failed to recite patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. See Interval Licensing LLC v. AOL, Inc. (Fed. Cir. July 20, 2018) (Before Taranto, Plager, and Chen, J.) (Opinion for the court, Chen, J.) (Concurrence-in part, Dissent-in part, Plager, J.).

The patent related to an “attention manager” for a “display device,” which could make use of “unused capacity” by showing content in unused portions of the display. The “attention manager” could display secondary content in an area not covered with primary content, or when the “display device” was turned on, but not actively engaged by a user (e.g. a computer wallpaper).

Moving on to another Microsoft-connected lawsuit, there is this report about IPVALUE and Longitude Licensing. Remember that Seiko Epson’s patents are connected to Intellectual Ventures (IV), as we noted late last year. Lloyd’s and Wild’s colleague, Jacob Schindler, said this:

Recent USPTO records have revealed what looks like Seiko Epson’s largest ever patent divestment. The Japanese electronics firm transferred nearly 2,000 patents in total to entities linked with Longitude Licensing in a series of assignments stretching back to last December. The Dublin-based NPE was acquired by private equity two weeks ago and has since announced a partnership with IPVALUE. In all, there are three assignments from Seiko Epson listing Longitude Licensing as the correspondent. In December 2017 and last month, the Japanese firm transferred 68 and 87 US assets respectively to Advanced Interconnect Systems Limited (AISL).

As we’ve never heard of Advanced Interconnect Systems Limited before and it is only being mentioned on the Web by RPX we assume that it’s some kind of troll. “Advanced Interconnect Systems Limited was set up on Monday the 23rd of October 2017,” according to this, so it appears to be a shell based (or registered) in Ireland.

07.28.18

Microsoft’s Biggest Patent Troll Now Leverages the US ‘International’ Trade Commission (ITC) for Embargo Attempts

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 3:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The world

Summary: The latest reports about the supranatural court that works from the US and imposes US patent law worldwide serve to show that Intellectual Ventures too has its finger in the pie

THE USPTO has granted truly awful patents for a number of decades. The chart (graph) of the number of granted patents (over time) makes it abundantly clear. The problem is that low-quality patents won’t always be tested by a court and many lawsuits predate the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which uses inter partes reviews (IPRs) to invalidate US patents outside of courts, too.

“These people can and do assert control over foreign companies.”A dozen years ago Microsoft used patents to embargo a rival from East Asia, not from China but from Asia in general (although the production is often in mainland China, Microsoft’s production included). Microsoft filed a complaint at the ITC and managed to block the competition (in the area of computer mice). We covered that at the time.

ITC has since then made quite a few headlines and yesterday Docket Navigator wrote about it, which is rare (citing “LED Lighting Devices, LED Power Supplies, and Components Thereof, 337-TA-1081 (ITC July 24, 2018, Order) (Lord, ALJ)”). To quote: “The ALJ denied respondents’ motion for summary determination that complainants could not satisfy the economic prong of the domestic industry requirement because of their de minimis domestic investments.”

ALJ stands for Administrative Law Judge, which at the United States International Trade Commission is a high position. These people can and do assert control over foreign companies. Well, the ITC and its ability to impose embargoes is on the line again. Richard Lloyd from the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), a known cheerleader of Microsoft’s biggest patent troll, now speaks of efforts to embargo the rivals (of Microsoft, as usual) using the ALJs. To quote: “An International Trade Commission judge has called into question Intellectual Ventures’ ability to get an injunction against several car manufacturers and industry suppliers in what is a key case in the firm’s attempts to license much of the sector. A failure to get a favourable verdict from the ITC would come as a considerable blow to the broad assertion campaign that IV launched last year. In a hearing earlier this week, Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender suggested that IV had not done enough to satisfy the domestic industry requirement.”

This isn’t really about cars (there are many non-vehicular things inside cars these days). Another new article by Yury Kalish and Blaney Harper (Jones Day) has meanwhile emerged at Mondaq, the context for this case having been covered here dozens of times before. ITC basically continues to make products deliberately worse, ignoring judges at PTAB when they say the patents at hand are invalid. As Yury and Blaney put it a few days ago:

The underlying investigation between the Complainant, Cisco Systems, Inc. (Cisco) and Respondent, Arista Networks, Inc. (Arista) concluded in May 2017 when the ITC found that Arista, infringed two of Cisco’s patents – U.S. Patent Nos. 6,377,577 (“the ’577 patent”) and 7,224,668 (“the ’668 patent”). The ITC subsequently issued an LEO and a CDO against Arista.

[...]

Parties at the ITC should pay particular attention to the usefulness of redesigned products at the ITC. Respondents should look to incorporating a redesigned product into their case strategy early and Complainants should consider how to address any such redesigns, including how to effectively utilize modification and enforcement proceedings. As this case demonstrates, the ITC gives little deference to PTAB proceeding unless all appeals have been exhausted.

This has been truly incredible; the ITC’s ALJs basically assert that they are above all other courts and can simply disregard other courts’ rulings. What sort of justice is this? Embargo first, ask questions later? And now they even open their doors to Microsoft-connected patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures, whose patents are very often invalidated by the Federal Circuit? This is very wrong.

07.26.18

Microsoft Patent Trolls and IBM Against 35 U.S.C. § 101 and for Software Patents, Blackmail

Posted in America, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 12:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They hardly even manage to keep it a secret any longer

Telling secrets

Summary: With the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 gaining traction and with Section 101 limiting the scope of patents in the United States we now see increased lobbying and trolling by companies on the decline — companies whose last remaining ‘asset’ is a large pile of software patents

THE enforcement of software patents has become very hard in the US. Many no longer bother with it, so litigation numbers dropped sharply. This is a positive development; unless or except for those who make a living from litigation (patent trolls, lawyers and so on).

“Copyrights do a good enough job protecting one’s code from misuse.”Our latest post on trade secrets certainly was a celebration of the shift away from patents, at least for software. Copyrights do a good enough job protecting one’s code from misuse. Here is some mainstream media coverage about this trend:

Trade secrets claims are an increasingly common avenue companies are using to safeguard their intellectual property rights.

Trade secrets litigation has grown as the digital age has made sharing information quick and easy. In addition, the Defend Trade Secrets Act, passed in 2016, raised trade secrets from simply a state law claim to a federal one.

“Intellectual property holders are increasingly aware they have this tool in their arsenal,” Michael W. De Vries, with Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Los Angeles, told Bloomberg Law. De Vries has substantial experience representing clients in complex intellectual property disputes including patent litigation and litigation involving misappropriation of trade secrets.

We’ve already seen this law being used/leveraged in the context of software. One famous case concerns Sergey Aleynikov.

“Call these “AI” or “cloud” or “blockchain” or whatever, but these are still software patents and even holders of such patents know they’d be rendered invalid by courts (if brought into the context of litigation).”In the wake of Section 101 with Alice (SCOTUS) embodied in it we’re seeing a fall in success rates of software patent litigation. Call these “AI” or “cloud” or “blockchain” or whatever, but these are still software patents and even holders of such patents know they’d be rendered invalid by courts (if brought into the context of litigation). Here comes Stephen O’Neal (yesterday in a blockchain-oriented/cryptocurrency-centric site) ‘blockchain-washing’ a bunch of software patents. To quote:

Last week, news of at least three major players applying for blockchain-related patents emerged: Bank of America sought to legally protect its blockchain-based system allowing the external validation of data, Barclays filed two patent applications relating to the transfer of digital currency and blockchain data storage, while MasterCard’s application mentioned a form of a public blockchain-based method for linking assets between blockchain and fiat accounts.

As blockchain technology continues to be one of the most discussed things in 2018 and a subject for mass adoption, the number of crypto-related patents is steadily growing — and with patent trolls joining the game, a legal war over blockchain might occur in the future.

There are indeed “patent trolls joining the game,” but they too must know that those are software patents and therefore Alice is a threat to them. If they target (engage in extortion against) small companies, they will likely be able to avoid a legal battle. Other than that, they can hope and pray that Alice will just miraculously vanish. IBM lobbyists together with IPO have been working towards that for years; they have created a whole “task force” for this purpose, accompanying IBM’s massive war of patent aggression. IBM’s latest case of patent blackmail has been going public (due to a lawsuit). They do this to probably hundreds of firms behind closed doors and Bloomberg did a report about it last week, as did many other press outlets. Last week we saw IBM’s patent chief (Manny Schecter) associating with and contributing to Watchtroll again. Citing Watchtroll about Mayo/Section 101, he said: “The Court in Alice did not state what “something more” might be? Of course they didn’t. The Court declined to define “abstract” so how can one know what is significantly more than something as yet unidentified?”

“Algorithms are abstract,” I told him. Software patents “are therefore over [and IBM] needs to learn to deal with it and stop blackmailing the whole world.”

“It’s worth noting that both IBM and Microsoft not only attempt to leverage software patents for extortion; they also attempt to change the law to facilitate this massive (multi-billion) extortion racket.”As we noted here in the recent and distant past, Microsoft now pretends that it “loves Linux”, so Microsoft has ‘outsourced’ patent litigation against GNU/Linux to various patent trolls.

We’ve just noticed that there’s this Section 101 (35 U.S.C. § 101) case between Interval Licensing LLC and AOL (maybe the same “Interval” as Interval Research Corporation, the creation of Microsoft’s co-founder; according to Wikipedia they overlap). It’s a Federal Circuit (CAFC) case which Patent Docs covered earlier this week:

Interval Licensing brought an action against AOL and several other defendants in the Western District of Washington, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,034,652. In a previous ruling, all asserted claims of this patent were invalidated as being indefinite. At issue in this decision are claims 15-18, which were subsequently ruled invalid for failing to recite patent-eligibile subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

[...]

Applying step one of Alice, the Court quickly concluded that the claimed invention was directed to “providing information to a person without interfering with the person’s primary activity.” This, in and of itself, is an abstract idea according to the Court due to it being analogous to news tickers on television programs, for example. The Court also frowned upon the claim’s “broad, result-oriented” structure that “demands the production of a desired result (non-interfering display of two information sets) without any limitation on how to produce that result.”

So Alice stopped this Microsoft-connected troll, which previously also attacked Android. It’s worth noting that both IBM and Microsoft not only attempt to leverage software patents for extortion; they also attempt to change the law to facilitate this massive (multi-billion) extortion racket.

07.04.18

Microsoft’s Patent Troll Blackmails Yet Another Microsoft Rival and Continues to Engage in Shakedown Tactics

Posted in EFF, Microsoft, Patents at 11:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Extortion racket, funded by Microsoft

Microsoft and Finjan

Microsoft Finjan stake

Summary: After much bullying, which is always directed at Microsoft’s rivals, Trend Micro agrees to pay Microsoft’s Israeli patent troll, Finjan

RELYING on low-quality software patents, granted by the USPTO and sometimes purchased from IBM (because many of Finjan’s own patents get rejected/invalidated in courts), the Microsoft-backed patent troll Finjan Holdings blackmails yet another Microsoft rival, this time Trend Micro.

“Remember that Finjan does not do anything but litigation, hence it’s a patent troll.”As usual, this malicious troll issues a whitewashing statement about it (this is all they ever speak about to their so-called ‘shareholders’). We have found this press release in a lot of sites. The troll pays a lot of money to spread this message, which it believes can compel many companies to shell out ‘protection’ money rather than attempt to challenge its software patents.

Finjan Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FNJN), and its subsidiaries, Finjan, Inc. (“Finjan”), Finjan Mobile, Inc. (“Finjan Mobile”), and Finjan Blue, Inc. (“Finjan Blue”), a pioneer in cybersecurity technologies, and Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, today announced that they had entered into an on-going license arrangement.

Under this arrangement, both companies will benefit in a number of ways. Trend Micro gains access to Finjan’s broad cybersecurity patent portfolio, and Finjan will strengthen its leadership in embedded cybersecurity technologies and intellectual property through the transfer of select security-related patent assets from Trend Micro. Each party also gains more limited access to the other’s patent portfolio for a certain number of years.

Remember that Finjan does not do anything but litigation, hence it’s a patent troll. How does Microsoft explain financially backing this troll?

Finjan isn’t the only patent troll out there; but this one is large and connected to Microsoft, just like many others.

The EFF has just covered another example. The outcome of bogus patents and patent trolls that prey on the weak (without legal advisors) was explained as follows:

Foreign languages have been taught, and studied, for thousands of years. People who teach languages are the last folks that should be dealing with patent threat letters—but incredibly, that’s exactly what has happened to Mihalis Eleftheriou. Hodder and Stoughton, a large British publisher, has sent a letter to Eleftheriou claiming that it has rights to a patent that covers recorded language lessons, and demanding that he stop providing online courses.

Eleftheriou teaches a variety of online classes through his Language Transfer project. The courses are simple audio files uploaded to platforms like Soundcloud and YouTube. So you can imagine his surprise when he received a letter [PDF] from Hodder and Stoughton, saying that his project infringes a U.S. patent.

Patent trolls need to go away; they contribute absolutely nothing. For Microsoft to actively support many of them, including the world’s biggest, says a lot about the ‘new’ Microsoft.

07.02.18

Buzzwords and Hyped-Up Patent Cases (Like Berkheimer) Are Still Being Exploited to Promote Software Patents

Posted in America, Deception, Microsoft, Patents at 3:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent maximalists have turned it into a ‘branding’ match

Big branding

Summary: The attempts to overcome Alice and bypass Section 101 are becoming ever more desperate and dishonest; some law firms still bring up Berkheimer v HP and Aatrix Software v Green Shades (old decisions, virtually abandoned by now) and others carry on with “blockchains”, “AI” and so on (new varnish on same old software patents)

THE courts in the US no longer receive as much patent ‘action’ as before. This is fine, but the goal should be to depress if not altogether eliminate patent trolls, not legitimate patent lawsuits. The legitimate patent lawsuits are those in which patents asserted are justified, defensible, and used proportionally against few parties, not in a ‘fishing expedition’ style (trolls sometimes target literally thousands of cash-strapped startups for ‘protection’ money).

A few days ago Docket Navigator published this update on Finjan, Inc. v ESET, LLC. Finjan is Microsoft’s ‘proxy’ patent troll (see the Finjan timeline) and it’s still attacking most of Microsoft’s competitors with dubious software patents. This is the latest:

The court granted in part defendant’s motion to compel the production of billing records from plaintiff’s prosecution counsel because some discovery was relevant to defendant’s prosecution laches and inequitable conduct defenses.

An article by Cara Bayles soon revealed that a Microsoft-connected patent troll (Microsoft paid it a lot of money to settle) is going after Apple and failing. To quote:

A California federal judge on Thursday said he would strike a number of “bogus and conclusory” claims from a Uniloc USA Inc. patent infringement suit against Apple Inc., but also allow Uniloc to amend those allegations, saying he disagreed with Apple’s contention that it could not mount a defense against the allegations it says are too vague.

Why were these software patents granted in the first place? That’s the root of the problem.

“the goal should be to depress if not altogether eliminate patent trolls, not legitimate patent lawsuits.”We’ve spent the past week looking closely at some news (and news about software patents in particular).

The USPTO has just granted software patents again [1, 2] and what’s the excuse this time? When one uses buzzwords like “IIoT” to get software patents or even “Cryptocurrency”, can examiners still say no? Can they see past the hype? These are all bogus software patents, but China is perhaps the only large nation in the world which permits these abominations (in courts, too). Mind this new article, “Blockchain Promises to Revolutionize Creative and Intellectual Property Rights,” and remember that it’s just lots of hype and propaganda terms like “Intellectual Property Rights” (IPR, but not inter partes review). Remember that it’s also a loophole/trick for software patents.

“Why were these software patents granted in the first place? That’s the root of the problem.”Here comes Watchtroll with Berkheimer+Blockchain spin. Blockchain patents are just software and are thus bunk, they won’t be usable in courts. But Watchtroll simply uses sound bites; it ‘pulls a Berkheimer‘. So did the anonymous (and without disclosure) “Inventors Digest” a few days ago. Here is what it argued: “Sadly, until recently, nearly 80 percent of all patents challenged under the “abstract idea” argument have fallen prey to the courts’ decisions, generally by way of summary motion at the beginning of a case. This means that most plaintiffs filing suit against infringers were simply told to pack their bags very early in the process, denying their right to a day in court. As a result, with the prevalence of this new doctrine, there is little incentive for an operating company approached by a patent owner to negotiate a license in good faith; the odds of killing the patent(s) at stake are so high and the costs to do so are still very low compared to a full trial on the merits.”

Those who are still boosting Berkheimer and Aatrix in a coordinated effort to give an illusion of a software patents resurgence are lawyers and liars. There’s no such resurgence. These are just ‘sales’ tactics.

“Blockchain patents are just software and are thus bunk, they won’t be usable in courts.”Here comes the so-called “Berkheimer Effect” (like magic stardust): “Two decisions from the court in Berkheimer v. HP and in Aatrix Software v. Green Shades Software stated that deciding whether a patent may simply embody an “abstract idea” may also be a question of facts, not just one of law.”

No, these barely changed a thing. At all! They don’t even get brought up anymore (or very rarely). Going back to blockchains, here’s a new article hyping up “Blockchain-Related Patents” by name-dropping large and famous brand names like Walmart, MasterCard, IBM, and JPMorgan. To quote:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the US agency that issues patents to companies and investors, awarded several blockchain-related patents on Thursday. Some of the companies that saw their applications approved are IBM, JPMorgan, Walmart, Intel, and MasterCard among others.

What a waste of money; but these companies are likely to cross-license rather than sue, so these patents are unlikely to ever be questioned… bar an inter partes review (IPR) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

“It often seems like any algorithm just needs to be labeled “AI” in order for it to be celebrated as innovative and supposedly patent-eligible. That’s just what’s ‘fashionable’ nowadays.”If blockchains weren’t bad enough a loophole (they actually refer to something real; they’re not a mere buzzword, just hyped), here comes an article by Jeffrey H. Albright (Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP) about the buzzword “AI” and then Dr. Derek Lowe with “AI Will Not Threaten Pharma Patents – Not This Way” (this is about ‘AI’ in relation to examination, application and management). Everywhere one turns in the media these days it’s “AI this” and “AI that” (they just call everything “AI”, just as they did “cloud” and “smart”). And not in relation to patents but in patent maximalism sites we have “House Subcommittees Hold Hearing on Artificial Intelligence Challenges and Opportunities” and “How ARM Is Using Artificial Intelligence To Supercharge Its Patents” (the typical patent propaganda from Forbes).

It often seems like any algorithm just needs to be labeled “AI” in order for it to be celebrated as innovative and supposedly patent-eligible. That’s just what’s ‘fashionable’ nowadays.

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