Microsoft is the sole leading sponsor this year (same as last year)
Summary: In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions
THE EPO is not interested in patent quality. Everyone knows it by now, both inside and outside the Office.
According to patent maximalists’ tweets from Fordham, “[i]n the EPO it is easier to get a method for diagnosis patent than in the US.”
“Bristows staff — the one who ‘took over’ IP Kat — was attending this echo chamber of the patent microcosm recently.”Well, CPIP treats patent quality as a nuisance (they ask for Alice to be undermined and software patents to be back to old glory). They do not treat quality as a desirable feature; they profit not from quality. The same goes for some firms that say the EPO more easily grants software patents than the USPTO these days. Bristows staff — the one who 'took over' IP Kat — was attending this echo chamber of the patent microcosm recently. She professed admiration for Microsoft’s chief patent bully and quoted (or paraphrased) a judge as saying that “everyone is equipped to deal with science.”
“Sorry to disappoint the Honorable judge,” said one of the comments, “but that is an absurd comment, demonstrating ignorance and delusion.” An earlier comment said: “No judges from the EPO Boards of appeal present?”
“At two levels, both technical and juridical, the EPO has been unhinged and is not totally out of control.”Of course not! That would be disruptive to the echo chamber.
The attack on the appeal boards has been (in our humble assessment) intended to help mask the sharp decline in patent quality and/or suppress criticism related to that. At two levels, both technical and juridical, the EPO has been unhinged and is not totally out of control. █
“A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select die panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can’t expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only “independent ISVs” on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed -just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the “real world.” Sounds marvellously independent doesn’t it? In feet, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands.”
–Microsoft, internal document
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Still unleashing trolls like Intellectual Ventures at competitors that are actually successful at selling products
Summary: Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)
PATENT trolls are not just a nuisance. Sometimes they are intermediaries. For instance, Ericsson used a patent troll in order to sue in London and it won earlier this month. Microsoft does something similar and they both go after devices that run Linux, albeit they attack these not directly. They want the ‘protection’ money without all the negative publicity this entails (brand erosion).
“They want the ‘protection’ money without all the negative publicity this entails (brand erosion).”IAM has published this blog post about “Intellectual Discovery” [sic; twice even, for both words], revealing that it feeds trolls that litigate in the Eastern District of Texas. To quote: “Document Security Systems (DSS) has filed lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas alleging infringement of LED-related patents acquired from Intellectual Discovery. The assertion campaign – and its eventual outcome – could represent a major test not just for the embattled publicly traded IP company (PIPCO) model, but also for sovereign patent funds (SPFs) and third-party IP litigation funding at a time when pure-play patent monetisation has become riskier than ever before.”
Not too long ago we wrote that “Bascom Research is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lexington Technology Group, which announced its merger with Document Security Systems…”
“Microsoft would be too hypocritical to join Apple in complaints about Qualcomm (which does similar things to Microsoft on the patent front), so its meddling in complaints appear to have adopted a very familiar intermediary.”Bascom became better known for a CAFC case involving software patents (in their favour) — the very thing that CAFC usually bins straight away.
Microsoft would be too hypocritical to join Apple in complaints about Qualcomm (which does similar things to Microsoft on the patent front), so its meddling in complaints appear to have adopted a very familiar intermediary. William New covered this at IP Watch and Florian Müller had beaten him to it with this post based on a quick tipoff. To quote: “I just received–and wanted to immediately share–an open letter addressed by major automotive and information and communications technology companies to President Donald J. Trump, urging him to shield the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) from political interference that could derail the ongoing antitrust litigation in the Northern District of California against Qualcomm (this post continues below the document)…”
“Nokia is commercially if not medically/clinically dead, but Microsoft ended up scattering the company’s patents into the hands of patent trolls that Microsoft is able to control.”Worth noting are the non-corporate entities in there. Notice that Microsoft’s AstroTurfing front ACT is in there too. This is a bunch of patent thugs who now devise patent trolls as a weapon against GNU/Linux and Free/libre software, as we explained this month and last month [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. They have, for example, passed Nokia‘s patents to patent trolls like MOSAID (renamed since, after a lot of negative publicity) and today we learn that the Acacia lawsuit which we mentioned here the other day (Friday) utilises a bunch of patents from Nokia in fact! As Joe Mullin put it, the Microsoft-connected Acacia “uses ex-Nokia patents to sue Apple, phone carriers…” (that’s the headline).
The largest publicly traded patent-assertion company, Acacia Research, has launched a new lawsuit (PDF) against Apple and all the major cell phone carriers.
Cellular Communications Equipment, LLC, a unit of Acacia, has sued Apple, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The company says that the five industry giants infringe four patents related to basic cell phone technologies. All four patents originated at Nokia, which has been sharing its patents in so-called “patent privateering” arrangements for some years now.
Another company using Nokia patents, MobileMedia Ideas, won a $3 million jury verdict last year. Nokia did a major deal with another patent-licensing company, Pendrell, in 2013.
Just witness the degree of corruption and recall what Microsoft entryism inside Nokia has caused (we have a lot more to say about it in the future). Nokia is commercially if not medically/clinically dead, but Microsoft ended up scattering the company’s patents into the hands of patent trolls that Microsoft is able to control. Quite a clever strategy… if you want to be evil. █
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Summary: Not just companies accused of patent infringement need the PTAB but also frequent accusers with deep pockets need the PTAB, based on some new figures and new developments
THE US has virtually excluded software patents, if not at the USPTO, then at least at the higher courts. Moreover, a lot of software patents are being eliminated outside the courts, owing to PTAB.
For those who used to make money from software patents, notably patent law firms, this trend may be an existential threat, so such firms just give bad advice almost every day. They interject themselves into news sites and give the impression that software patents are OK. The latest anti-Alice rant comes from the patent microcosm, as usual, and now it’s Patricia Martone who writes that the “Court declined to hold that all improvements in computer-related technology and all software patents are inherently abstract and can never pass the Step One test for patentable subject matter.”
“…a lot of software patents are being eliminated outside the courts, owing to PTAB.”The article is actually a bunch of tips for working around restrictions and patenting software. Don’t pursue these patents, however, as most such patents end up enriching nobody but patent lawyers. That is why they keep pretending that things are OK and they can work their way around Alice.
Curiously enough, as this new article points out, PTAB is at it again (squashing patents) and for a change it’s a patent aggressor behind the petition, along with a company it previously blackmailed with patents. Here is the key parts:
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit mostly affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruling that a patent challenged by technology companies ZTE and Microsoft is invalid.
IPR Licensing is the owner of the patent, US number 8,380,244, which describes and claims “dual mode” communications devices that can use cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
“For those who used to make money from software patents, notably patent law firms, this trend may be an existential threat, so such firms just give bad advice almost every day.”“How Facebook learned to love the PTAB,” IAM also wrote today, alluding to this news about all-time highs at PTAB, which even the pro-trolls sites bother to note. The author admits that patent reformers are succeeding but fails to identify patent trolls as such. “There has been much to pick over from the litigation data for the first quarter of this year,” he says. “There was the ongoing fall in the number of new cases which has dropped to levels not seen since 2011. There was also a notable spike in activity at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which according to analysis from Unified Patents made it the most active quarter ever with 561 reviews filed.”
“What’s noteworthy here is that PTAB comes handy even for patent maximalists; it serves justice faster than the courts and at a lower cost.”Notice how many of the patent holders are LLCs that are mostly likely patent trolls. To quote, “Facebook’s 21 reviews for Q1 were filed against five patent owners with three NPEs — Skky LLC, Sound View Innovations LLC and Windy City Innovations LLC — accounting for all but two according to data from Lex Machina. The company is in litigation with all five patent owners. This PTAB strategy has been seen before with Apple the leading exponent but as Facebook’s recent burst of activity shows, the social media business is a quick learner.”
Well, it shows that patent trolls are preying on such sites. Suffice to say, the patents in question would be software patents — something that Facebook too has been stockpiling and sometimes using for litigation purposes.
What’s noteworthy here is that PTAB comes handy even for patent maximalists; it serves justice faster than the courts and at a lower cost. █
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All the ‘great’ things that patent maximalism (insatiable appetite for more and more patents) has given society
Summary: An excess of patents and their overutilisation for purposes other than innovation (or dissemination of knowledge) means that society has much to lose, sometimes more than there is to gain
THE FOLLOWING potpourri of news spans a period of about 2 weeks. It hasn’t quite fit into or blended with our usual themes of coverage, but the pertinent developments are noteworthy, at least in brief.
Trolls of Microsoft
In his recent article (behind paywall until recently), entitled “Software patents in the cloud,” LWN’s Jonathan Corbet missed the full picture and failed to recognise that Azure and patents are a toxic mix similar to the Novell deal (2006), as we explained here a dozen times before, e.g. in [1, 2]. The closest he got to it is this part:
While Microsoft claims that it doesn’t normally transfer patents to trolls, this offering could be said to create a sort of moral hazard for the company. If a patent or two were to, somehow, end up in the hands of a troll that started asserting them widely, any customer thinking of leaving Azure would have to weigh the increased risk of attack that would result from such a move.
Microsoft is already passing patents to trolls — those which it can tame/control. We gave many examples. It’s imperative that people familiarise themselves with what Microsoft is up to now. It’s as nefarious as ever.
“Microsoft is already passing patents to trolls — those which it can tame/control.”This other new article totally missed the point of what Microsoft is really doing here. Microsoft is extorting legitimate companies. It’s essentially attacking Linux-powered products using patents, but the article’s headline uses words like “share patents”. Hilarious or outrageous?
Age of Embargo
When you cannot compete, as the saying goes, cheat. Or just embargo the competition. Manging IP will tell you how to do it in this event that it’s organising. To quote: “Speakers on an International Trade Commission panel at Manging IP’s recent US Patent Forum analysed recent notable cases such as February’s Organik Kimya Federal Circuit decision and gave best practices on enforcing an exclusion order” (“exclusion order” is another euphemism among many for embargo/sanction/injunction).
“When you cannot compete, as the saying goes, cheat.”There is a new example of this in the news. It was covered a week ago by American and British media [1, 2] (see background about this case, the Arista case, in older articles of ours).
To quote The Register:
Arista has been cleared by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to start shipping modified products to the United States again.
Arista sought the right to do so because of its long-running litigation with Cisco, which believes Arista has pinched its intellectual property.
So the company was threatened with embargo until it hobbled/ruined its own products. Cui bono?
“So the company was threatened with embargo until it hobbled/ruined its own products.”Just envision a UPC-imposed embargo if the EPO gets its way…
The reforms at the USPTO may already be saving lives. PTAB recently took on a patent from Novartis and here is the latest on this from Patently-O:
This post follows-up on my recent essay on Novartis v. Torrent Pharma. If you recall, that decision by Judge Chen affirmed an IPR trial decision cancelling the claims of the Novartis patent as obvious.
FDA Approval: Moving back to the facts of Novartis, the patentee argued that its commercial success was based upon “Gilenya being the first commercially-available solid oral multiple sclerosis treatment.” Although that statement is true, the court found the commercial-availability focus misplaced for a non-obviousness argument.
MedCo v Mylan
Recently, Patently-O also covered MedCo v Mylan. Here is the key portion (in our humble assessment): “To spell out the results here. The appellate court reversed the district court’s decision based upon its revised claim construction. The claims require “batches” of the active ingredient that “have a maximum impurity level.” The court construed that term to require a consistent process for making all the batches, and then looked to the specification to note that the patentee intended to use an “efficient mixing” process as that consistent process since that was the type of process described in the specification; And then finally zeroed-in on the the “efficient mixing” process and required that it follow the particulars of “example 5” of the patent since that was the only detailed example given of efficient mixing. With that narrowed claim construction, non infringement was easy.”
Tax Evasion With Patents
Recently, wrote this Twitter user about the “Patent Box Regime”, this article in British media explained how it “enables UK companies to elect for a lower tax rate for profits earned from patented inventions…”
“Another facility for tax evasion, this time disguised as “innovation”?”We wrote a great deal about Patent Boxes, essentially yet another tax-dodging routine which sheds negative light on patents in general. To quote from the article itself: “The patent box regime enables UK companies to elect for a lower tax rate for profits earned from patented inventions and certain other intellectual property rights. The tax rate is being phased in but will be 10% by 1 April 2017.”
Who said there’s no future for the British economy after the Brexit disaster? Another facility for tax evasion, this time disguised as “innovation”? Another way to entice/incentivise businesses to come? If they bother at all…
“Sometimes patents are “good” in the sense that they discourage companies from doing malicious things (that are patented).”Mitek pursued a software patent on surveillance and it recently got it [1, 2]. So is someone going to be sued next? Well, in a sense we certainly hope so as the practice of such pervasive surveillance needs to be limited if not altogether eliminated. Sometimes patents are “good” in the sense that they discourage companies from doing malicious things (that are patented).
“Should Patent Law Be a First Amendment Issue?”
“The reality is, the public debate about patents is being perturbed; it’s not dominated by people who are affected by patents but by people who made patents (and patents alone) their livelihood.”There is an upcoming debate in Stanford in which Professor Lemley and others will participate. It’s about how software patents harm free speech, according to CAFC. Not only moderate voices will participate in this debate but also software patents proponents (not engineers but law firms) like Robert Sachs. “I’ll be speaking next week on Section 101 and the First Amendment,” he wrote. Why not focus on what programmers and engineers have to say? Why are they so often excluded from such debates? Who else might be at this debate? Radicals like Watchtroll? Who now protects a patent bully, as usual?
The reality is, the public debate about patents is being perturbed; it’s not dominated by people who are affected by patents but by people who made patents (and patents alone) their livelihood. It’s like letting arms manufacturers take charge of foreign policy. █
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Guest post by Yuval Levental as part of the Skype is Spy Campaign
Summary: Skype is now tracking serial numbers, too
I first discovered Linux when I was 13 years old, and was amazed by it. I really enjoyed the freedom, security, and customizability. I only used Microsoft Windows when I didn’t have an alternative.
“I felt like they were watching my actions, and reading more about this issue confirmed my thoughts.”Last year, when I bought the current laptop I am using, it came with Windows 10 installed on it. I figured I would partition the hard drive in half and install Linux on one half, to see which operating system I would use the most. As it turned out, I would use Linux almost all the time without any extra effort. There was one exception, and that was Skype, which I used to video chat with some people on. However, one day, I tried changing my password, but that didn’t work. I even tried uninstalling and reinstalling Skype a few times, and for some reason that still didn’t work.
Many hours later, I found that changing the assigned virtual serial number finally let me log in to Skype. However, the hassle was immense, and I was shocked that Skype would be tracking my serial number. I felt like they were watching my actions, and reading more about this issue confirmed my thoughts.
This was the last time I ever used Windows 10 for personal use. Shortly after, I decided to finally fully switch to Linux. I hope that many people in the future will also switch to Linux, as Linux is far more advanced and potentially user-friendly than it was even just a few years ago. There is no better time than now to switch to Linux. █
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The ‘Michelle Lee‘ effect? Or the Alice effect? Either way, Microsoft’s proxy strategy is at risk.
See Lawrence R. Goldfarb (Wikipedia)
Summary: The weakening of software patents in the US means that a bunch of patents-wielding patent bullies/trolls have their business up in flames
IAM might soon lose some of its funding sources, namely patent trolls like Microsoft-armed, Nokia-fed bullies. They are simply not doing well. This might leave IAM growingly dependent on sucking Battistelli’s udder for EPO favours and money. Either way, IAM too is unable to deny the trend.
In the rare occasions when trolls get their way (even in London, right next to IAM, as covered here before), IAM celebrates disproportionately. Being the trolls’ voice, IAM is citing/quoting selectively all sorts of patent predators, then calls patent trolls in the UK the “decision of the decade” (right there in the jubilant headline). As we noted some days ago, IAM had been writing about this almost every day recently (sometimes more than once a day). IAM is cheering for the trolls! These are trolls working on behalf of a larger company, Ericsson in this case. This sets precedence in the UK — one that trolls would certainly be emboldened by.
“These are trolls working on behalf of a larger company, Ericsson in this case.”Like Ericsson, Microsoft increasingly turns to trolls for coercion against competitors. Microsoft has the world’s largest patent troll at its disposal, with literally thousands of satellites around it (to help mask the route back to Microsoft et al) and the original troll is finally dying, albeit it’s spreading its patents to smaller trolls, much like a cluster bomb wherein munitions are patents. Microsoft is already building a business model around that, as we explained earlier this year [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. It attacks legitimate companies that actually manage to sell things; these companies are attacked not just via trolls but also directly sometimes. As Patently-O points out, Intellectual Ventures may have gotten itself reputation so bad that it stops operating on its own and just spreads the weapons to other entities. Patently-O is linking to IAM as its source, for IAM is a longtime friend of Intellectual Ventures.
“Patently-O is linking to IAM as its source, for IAM is a longtime friend of Intellectual Ventures.”IAM, in the meantime, is revealing that yet another Microsoft-connected proxy/troll (which already attacked GNU/Linux vendors on numerous occasions; details in our Wiki) is collapsing. It tries to soften the blow by framing it as something that affects only Asia but inevitably says:
Acacia Research appears to have significantly restructured its Asia-Pacific business, with the departure of its most senior executive in the region and the possible closure of its Tokyo office.
Remember what happened to Creative in Singapore? (collapse of this trolling strategy and departure of the man behind it a few months ago)
Well, Tanya Moore, who worked for two patent aggressors that habitually blackmail their rivals using patents (Microsoft and IBM), has decided to join Sonos — another audio-centric company which wants to do the same as Creative, in spite of the failure of Creative’s strategy. As IAM put it:
Sonos has hired former senior IBM and Microsoft IP executive Tanya Moore to be its first chief licensing officer as the audio company looks to bolster its efforts in IP value creation. The business is a relative minnow in patent terms – according to Google patents the company has a little over 200 US patent applications and grants – but owns what Moore views as a critical portfolio for wireless home audio systems.
So expect it to at least attempt to troll all sorts of companies that merely connect audio devices over the Internet — not a novel concept at all, albeit enough for some examiners to allow a patent on (the “over the Internet” patenting pattern).
The bottom line is, we are seeing more and more patent trolls that struggle and completely collapse, including the very first (or original) patent troll. The few which still emerge are hardly successful. █
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A company stuck in the past with nothing but a pile of patents (like Nokia)
Summary: The days of Qualcomm’s cash cow (a bunch of standard essential patents) may be numbered, as US, EU and Korean authorities belatedly look at the company’s practices and Qualcomm already caves
Qualcomm’s de facto monopoly (in the patents sense), as we’ve covered here before [1, 2], means that people pay Qualcomm a lot of money even when they buy nothing from Qualcomm. In some sense, Qualcomm does in chipsets what Microsoft does in software. It demands ‘protection’ money from just about everyone and it also has patent trolls to help punish for ‘noncompliance’ with unreasonable demands.
“It demands ‘protection’ money from just about everyone and it also has patent trolls to help punish for ‘noncompliance’ with unreasonable demands.”Not too long ago Qualcomm came under fire from Apple, even though it had abused many other companies. Florian Müller had a peek at the latest documents and found Qualcomm claiming “credit for enabling Pokémon GO,” which is of course nonsense. To quote Müller:
As the number of pages (the original complaint was approx. 100 pages, now the answer and the counterclaims fill 140 pages) shows, this is a huge commercial litigation and threatens to turn into a battle of materiel. Both parties have enlisted multiple major law firms. The first surprise here is that Quinn Emanuel is among the three firms representing Qualcomm, given that Qualcomm’s filing (in paragraph 192 of the counterclaims part) accuses Samsung–another company QE is defending against Apple–of sharing (with Apple) “a common interest in diminishing Qualcomm’s ability to obtain fair value for its innovations” and trying “to avoid paying fair value for Qualcomm’s intellectual property and to impede Qualcomm’s licensing program.” I wonder how Samsung feels about its own lawyers not distancing themselves from such allegations…
Is Qualcomm trying to suck up to the Japanese and Korean regulators with this “Pokémon GO” fairy tale? As one Android-centric site put it, Qualcomm has “Big Trouble in Little Korea” and an Apple-centric site said that “[i]n a 134-page filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Qualcomm provides a point-by-point rundown of Apple’s January lawsuit, denying a total of 389 allegations.”
“Is Qualcomm trying to suck up to the Japanese and Korean regulators with this “Pokémon GO” fairy tale?”What we have here are two patent bullies fighting one another and it’s clear that only law firms are guaranteed to win, as usual (parasites can’t lose).
Qualcomm to Pay BlackBerry
Meanwhile, as emerged in the news last night [1, 2, 3], Qualcomm will need to shell out a lot of money. BlackBerry, which has itself become akin to a patent troll (both directly and indirectly), expects to receive nearly a billion dollars from Qualcomm. “BlackBerry awarded $815 million in arbitration case against Qualcomm,” says a headline one reader sent to us about it. Might Qualcomm need to refund even greater amounts of money to other firms?
Florian Müller published another article earlier today, having watched this case rather closely. “Qualcomm does not want European and Korean antitrust proceedings to impact its FTC litigation,” says the headline. Like Intel and Microsoft, Qualcomm has come under incredible scrutiny in several continents and the effect can be devastating to a company that depends so much on patents rather than actual products. To quote Müller:
Qualcomm, which would have us believe we couldn’t even play Pokémon GO if not for its wireless technologies, is fighting a global, multi-front war against regulators, industry players and consumers (who are piggybacking on the FTC case in Northern California).
On one of those fronts, BlackBerry just won an arbitration award over $815 million. Unfortunately, arbitration is opaque, so the legal basis for this is unclear, other than BlackBerry having claimed to have paid too much in license fees during an unspecified past period. The kind of wrongdoing here is totally unclear, and we also don’t know what an appeals court would have decided. Still, the $815 million award, which is final and binding, has made BlackBerry’s share price soar by 12%. For the Canadian company, it’s a huge amount of money. For Qualcomm, it’s also a very significant amount, but the bigger problem is that every independent finding of Qualcomm having overcharged someone makes it harder for Qualcomm to convince the courts of law and the court of public opinion that it’s just being bullied by the likes of Apple and Samsung and that all those antitrust enforcers have all just been misled by sore losers in the marketplace and by evil companies denying Qualcomm a fair compensation for its innovations.
This concern is real. A joint case management statement filed yesterday by the FTC and Qualcomm–”joint” in terms of being a single document despite virtually zero convergence on substantive questions–in the Northern District of California shows that Qualcomm is indeed concerned about how the various parallel proceedings could influence each other.
The above already mentions the news about BlackBerry, which is important. Is Qualcomm on the run from regulators?
Unfair and Unreasonable
“Apple’s challenge to Qualcomm is already having a positive impact, which is why we said we would support Apple right from the start (in this case alone).”So-called standard essential patents (SEPs) or RAND or FRAND are a subject we’ve covered here many times before. Last night IP Kat said that “It ha[d] been a busy couple of weeks for standard essential patents (SEPs)… and now we have the European Commission’s roadmap on SEPs.”
“FRAND is already in DSM,” Benjamin Henrion explained, “don´t know what is the status of this directive…”
Well, if SEPs like Qualcomm’s lose their legitimacy, the effects would be enormous and also impact software companies. In China, based on what IAM said earlier today, the subject of SEPs and patent trolls that wield them (like Ericsson in Europe) is being brought up and scrutinised. To quote:
We’ve seen a major patent pool introduce a new royalty rate structure aimed at enticing more developing-market implementers to get involved, the first foreign NPE officially enter China through a joint venture agreement, and Apple directly challenging the licensing terms Qualcomm agreed on with Chinese regulators. And, of course, the Beijing IP Court issued the country’s first SEP-based injunction against Sony.
Apple’s challenge to Qualcomm is already having a positive impact, which is why we said we would support Apple right from the start (in this case alone). Companies like Qualcomm offer far too little to society but more importantly, they set a dangerous precedent to be exploited by all sorts of other companies and harm productive companies. █
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Related: Battistelli’s European Patent Office Broadens FTI Consulting Contract to Undermine the Media, Wastes Millions of Euros
Summary: Now that patent trolls are spreading to Europe and the EPO promotes the trolls-friendly UPC we cannot turn a blind eye to the role played by IAM, a de facto voice not just of patent trolls but also Benoît Battistelli [1, 2]
THE Director of the USPTO, who is under attack from the patent microcosm including IAM (they try to oust her by spreading false rumours and fake scandals), did a decent job curtailing patent trolls — so much so that the world’s largest patent troll (Intellectual Ventures, or IV for short) is collapsing and the firm of the original patent troll is now defunct.
One can be sure that sites like IAM will sob for the trolls and attack those who stop the trolls. IAM exists for this purpose (not just to lie for Battistelli, whose PR firm supplies IAM with money of EPO stakeholders). Here is yet another new puff piece from IAM — a puff piece that happens to reveal that IAM was speaking to the horrible troll Nathan Myhrvold (the world’s most notorious patent troll). That says a lot about IAM. Here are some key parts:
It was making a bet on the long-term importance of innovation and IP, a fair wager in an economy where companies derived more and more value from their intangible assets. In 2006 IV founder Nathan Myhrvold described IP to IAM as “the fate of the US economy”, pointing out that the two were inextricably linked. “In 10 years patents will be even more important than they are now,” he said.
IV is not about to disappear — as this blog pointed out on Tuesday, continuing to focus on its own innovation efforts through its labs and possible spin out companies makes a lot of sense; while from an assertion point of view, it is in many ways becoming a far more potent force, seeding its IP into a wide range of licensing vehicles as well as focusing on its own efforts. If the decision to pull out of the market was driven by investors, you have to wonder just how happy, in the long term, those backers are going to be with the prospect of more IV assets being litigated in court.
As we pointed out here before, IV has literally thousands of satellite firms (for litigation by proxy) and it is passing patents to them. Microsoft, one must remember, holds the strings to IV. Bill Gates is very close to Nathan Myhrvold, who came from Microsoft, and Microsoft supplies money to IV.
Not only Microsoft is operating via trolls like IV. Ericsson too is doing this and as we pointed out last week, Ericsson’s patent trolls officially became a ‘thing’ in Europe (earlier this month). Now it’s done in the US, Germany, and even in the UK, as the following new analysis points out:
This case began in 2014 when Unwired Planet, a U.S.-based patent assertion entity, sued Google, Samsung and Huawei for infringement under six UK patents (corresponding actions were filed in Germany). Unwired Planet claimed that five of the asserted patents, which it acquired from Ericsson in 2013 as part of a portfolio comprising approximately 2000 patents, were essential to the 2G, 3G and 4G wireless telecommunications standards developed under the auspices of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Because Ericsson participated in development of the standards at ETSI, any patents shown to be SEPs would necessarily be encumbered by Ericsson’s FRAND commitment to ETSI.
WiLAN, a Canadian troll whose function is similar to that of Unwired Planet, is now alleged/accused (by IAM) of having connections to Samsung.
According to court documents seen by IAM, Polaris Innovations – the WiLAN-controlled entity which holds the Qimonda patents – originally filed suit against Kingston Technology, a US manufacturer of data storage devices, in February 2016. Polaris alleged infringement of six of its patents relating to dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) technology by numerous Kingston products.
Polaris IP (not Polaris Innovations) was mentioned one decade ago by Patent Troll Tracker (who was unmasked by Ray Niro before he died). We don’t know if there is a connection, but the other firms actually produce something.
We are sad but not surprised to see IAM continuing its malicious agenda of promoting patent trolls. For the EPO’s President to brag about IAM, the de facto voice of patent aggression and trolls, says quite a lot about today’s leadership of the EPO with its UPC ambitions. As someone told us just over an hour ago, under the UPC “one kind of applicants who will continue to apply en masse are the patent trolls.” No wonder IAM spreads fake news to promote the UPC. █
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