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09.07.18

IAM Media Engages in Trademark Violations While Trying to Misrepresent Free/Open Source Software in Relation to Software Patents

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 4:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The “I” in IAM stands for “Infringement” (apparently)

Summary: The site/group which is trying to lecture us all about “intellectual” “property” is itself failing to respect the relevant laws; to make matters worse, it’s liaising with groups of proprietary software vendors to mislead the public about the relationship between Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and patents, notably software patents

THIS post is about Battistelli’s friends at IAM, which habitually whitewashed EPO scandals and is generally promoting patent trolls’ interests. We’ll have a lot more to say about it this coming weekend.

This quick post is about something which happened earlier today.

The IAM account in Twitter said: “Can open source and patents coexist? That’s what experts from #OpenInventionNetwork, @Workday, @Uber and @RedHat will be discussing at Software IP on October 30 in San Francisco. Get your ticket here http://bit.ly/2QatL0l #SoftwareIP pic.twitter.com/OBUmBrBQqW”

Well, Red Hat is pursuing software patents but calls them "blockchains" amongst other thing; the rest of those in attendance are obviously misfits. Answering the question “Can open source and patents coexist,” of course they cannot, but OIN and the others want them to because they’re proprietary software companies and their front groups. They don’t care about Free software or freedom. They also perturb the meaning of Open Source to suit a primarily proprietary agenda.

IAM is a think tank of patent trolls, Microsoft’s patent trolls included. It also fronts for the patent microcosm, patent litigation ‘industry’ etc. They won’t allow people to use the “F word” (freedom). It didn’t take long for Simon Phipps (OSI President) to say: Interesting there’s no-one from OSI or FSF speaking.” He copies in the OSI and the FSF, the Free Software Foundation’s chief to be more specific or exact.

“By the way,” added an observer, “it got me thinking, isn’t this a case of trademark infringement of OSI’s Logo ? Doesn’t seem to fit those clear guidelines…”

That links to the OSI’s Web site.

Benjamin Henrion then joked that “the (R) has been removed at least.”

So now we know how IAM really feels about “intellectual” “property” (what it calls copyrights, trademarks and patents as though they’re all the same thing). Well, they have since then deleted this tweet, perhaps realising just how serious;y embarrassing this was; thankfully we made a copy and here is a copy of the image from their deleted tweet (the tweet’s text is quoted above):

IAM trademark

They make it seem as though “Open Source” is all giddy about patents. They did this before too. Why does the OSI even participate in anything with such a nefarious lobby group? That says a lot about OIN (nothing positive). We mentioned this before.

08.15.18

Open Invention Network (OIN) Member Companies Need to Become Unanimous in Opposition to Software Patents

Posted in Law, OIN, Patents at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OIN still going with the flow of millionaires and billionaires who fund it, not Free/libre software developers

Opposition

Summary: Opposition to abstract software patents, which even the SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit nowadays reject, would be strategically smart for OIN; but instead it issues a statement in support of a GPL compliance initiative

THE USPTO is still granting software patents, never mind if courts continue and persist in rejecting these. OIN still generally supports software patents, albeit shyly. It doesn’t talk about that ‘too’ much. Just look at the member companies of OIN, especially founding members; some of these companies actively pursue their own software patents and IBM is blackmailing companies with these.

“OIN still generally supports software patents, albeit shyly.”Yesterday OIN issued this press release [1, 2] under the title “Open Invention Network Member Companies Unanimous in Support of GPL Cooperation Commitment” and what’s odd about it is that they talk about software licences rather than patent licences. The GPL is dealing with copyright (mostly), albeit GPLv3 indirectly deals with patents too. So it’s interesting that OIN now talks about the GPL rather than patent policy. From the opening paragraph:

Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, announced today that its eight funding members – Google, IBM, Red Hat, SUSE, Sony, NEC, Philips, Toyota – have committed to rejecting abusive tactics in the enforcement of open source licenses by adopting the GPL Cooperation Commitment. The unanimous support of OIN’s funding members to this commitment reflects the strong belief that responsible compliance in open source licensing is important and that license enforcement in open source ecosystems comes with a cultural expectation that all parties will behave reasonably. OIN encourages each one of its over 2,500 licensees, as well as all participants in the open source community, to follow the example of the OIN funding members and adopt the GPL Cooperation Commitment.

Well, if you support GPL, dear OIN leadership, you will also push for abolishing software patents. As things stand at the moment, serial GPL infringer Microsoft uses software patents against OIN members. This malicious company is still pursuing such patents — abstract patents with which it is blackmailing companies. To give an example from yesterday’s news, Microsoft now uses/rides the “blockchain” hype [1, 2] to patent software. “To this end,” said one article, “Microsoft filed two patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office back in June last year. The report came to light Thursday via a report published by the Office. [...] A trusted execution environment could also be very crucial in the verification of blockchain transactions on a common network or platform. This is especially reliable in the environment where the various pre-authorized transactions must interact.”

“Maybe if OIN bothered putting its weight behind the movement to abolish such patents, there would be better legal certainty/security for “Open” things (OIN stands for “Open Invention Network” after all, so surely it should care).”This is so obviously software and our next post will deal with examiners failing to reject these sorts of patents. Maybe if OIN bothered putting its weight behind the movement to abolish such patents, there would be better legal certainty/security for “Open” things (OIN stands for “Open Invention Network” after all, so surely it should care).

05.31.18

The Open Invention Network (OIN) is Becoming an Even Greater Part of the Problem, Embracing Software Patents Through Hype

Posted in America, IBM, OIN, Patents at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seeking to maintain a ‘benign’ (its own) patent thicket rather than eliminate it

Broken wall

Summary: Companies led by IBM are shielding only themselves while pretending to be shields for others; in the process they perpetuate the patenting of software, even in the post-Alice era

EARLIER this month we wrote about LOT Network as a semi-pseudo solution to a real problem. LOT Network — like OIN — has no intention of ending software patents, which are being granted by the USPTO when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) isn’t watching. We’ll say more about PTAB in the weekend.

“Just look at IBM’s patenting activity in the space, including the Hyperledger effort it got the Linux Foundation to manage for it (the Linux Foundation too is absolutely worthless when it comes to combating software patents).”PTAB is generally helping the crackdown on software patents far more than all those groups which claim to defend Free/libre Open Source software from patents. PTAB is therefore under many attacks from patent extremists; TechDirt was having a go at Watchtroll less than a day ago, but Watchtroll is an easy target because that site is insane. What about OIN though? Maybe a lot of people still think it is noble and we used to think the same thing about a decade ago. But the Open Invention Network (OIN) continues to support sofrware patents in rather blatant a way (even after Alice), just like IBM. They’ve been reduced to acting like a worthless IBM front. Even their Free software-friendly staff/people recently left.

Case of point? Blockchain hype. Well, this whole hype is software, typically some distributed database, which is many of today’s databases anyway. Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP (a law firm) basically promotes these software patents that are worthless unless you’re a patent troll going after poor (i.e. defenseless) people/firms. Here is what it wrote this week:

10 Considerations for Blockchain patent applications

[...]

2. Open Source issues? Many blockchain projects are fully open source. Open source allows for quick development as the source code is accessible and editable by everyone. In contrast proprietary code is often developed internally, which may lead to slower code development. It is important to determine not only which part of your blockchain project utilizes open source code, but also the licenses (e.g. GPL, BSD, LGPL, etc.) and/or restrictions (e.g. patents, copyrights, etc.) associated with the open source code. These factors may prevent someone from obtaining a patent or even forcing a granted patent to be freely licensed. In the blockchain arms race it may be beneficial to not patent all or certain aspects of your algorithm in order to take advantage of certain open source benefits. However, patent protection is often still available under most open source licensing schemes.

3. Alice issues. Improvements in the blockchain processing operations are generally directed to how the computers work, and thus should avoid Alice rejections as being abstract. New uses of blockchains may face rejections if the new uses only require a network of standard computers performing standard computer functions without significantly more. Tactics to avoid Alice issues include including in the claims security aspects (e.g. encryption, hashing, digital signatures), networking aspects (e.g. consensus protocols, smart contract protocols), and focusing on any distributed ledger features instead of the transaction features. Limit business and financial terms in the description to avoid going to art unit 3600, which has the highest rate of Alice-based patent eligibility rejections. Argue that the claims solve a problem rooted in computer technology, citing DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com, 773 F. 3d 124 (Fed. Cir. 2014).

Well, these patents would likely be voided by Section 101/Alice, but only if the accused (or defendant) can afford a court battle or IPR at PTAB.

So does OIN oppose such patents? Not at all. Just look at IBM’s patenting activity in the space, including the Hyperledger effort it got the Linux Foundation to manage for it (the Linux Foundation too is absolutely worthless when it comes to combating software patents). Here’s what Keith Bergelt (OIN CEO) published a couple of days ago (sent to us by a reader yesterday). To quote:

Perhaps the greatest indication of blockchain’s value is the number of firms rushing to file DLT patents. While the core technology is open source and in the public domain, complementary and supplementary technologies are being patented and there has been a “land rush” to develop and secure DLT-related patents.

[...]

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 prevalent open source software project Linux.

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. The entity charged with administering this patent no-fly zone, the Open Invention Network (OIN), utilizes a free license to require participant companies to forebear litigation and cross-license patents in the core of Linux and adjacent open source software. In the 12 years since its formation, the organization has grown into the largest patent non-aggression community in history with an excess of 2,500 participant companies which own upwards of 2 million patents.

So they’re basically defending these patents from the likes of us (our criticism); they continue to hoard such patents instead of antagonising them. Therein lies the core strategy and spirit of OIN. It will never pursue a true, longterm solutions, just a ‘corporate’ version of FOSS, wherein few corporations lead the pack, possess tens of thousands of software patents, and tell the “sole” developers what they can and cannot implement. Some might argue that this was the purpose of patents all along; it’s a mechanism of control over one’s competition and potential new market entrants.

05.19.18

LOT Network is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Posted in Google, OIN, Patents at 9:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LOT Network's Ken Seddon

Summary: Another reminder that the “LOT” is a whole lot more than it claims to be and in effect a reinforcer of the status quo

THE idea that we need to fight patent injustice by hoarding more patents was always a laughable one. The IBM-led OIN, for example, had us believing that it would somehow tackle the issue by making patents “defensive” (that can never be; it’s just not how patents actually work).

There’s an old saying along the lines of, to understand what an organisation stands for just check who’s running it. At the EPO it would be Battistelli and at the USPTO Iancu, part of the patent microcosm.

“There’s an old saying along the lines of, to understand what an orgnisation stands for just check who’s running it.”The LOT Network charm offensive and puff pieces aren’t over yet. We’re seeing Susan Decker’s Bloomberg piece licensed and reposted even more than a week later; we responded to it a couple of times before and 3 days ago we saw Wayne Williams in Beta News issuing another belated LOT Network puff piece in which he said:

Ken Seddon is the CEO of the non-profit patent protection network LOT. The organization’s members include Google, Red Hat, Lenovo, Pega and other big players, as well as dozens of startups in areas such as transportation, blockchain, and software.

Startups are disproportionately impacted by patent trolls and we chatted with Ken about how a smart, assertive IP strategy can help protect their businesses.

“Startups”-themes nonsense is the typical thing we also hear from Battistelli’s EPO. It’s pure marketing, trying to quell dissent from those who suffer the most. LOT Network is led by Google, which has a massive number of patents; all the key members are large companies, not SMEs (the term typically favoured in Europe).

“LOT Network is no solution to software patenting; it merely perpetuates all the same problems.”Ken Seddon the famous scientist (with an OBE) died earlier this year. The above Seddon, however, “drafted over 300 patent applications while at Motorola and Intel, and managed all US patent prosecution at Intel,” according to his official biography (later today we’ll remark about Intel’s patent policy). He is also connected to IPO and AIPLA, two front groups of patent maximalists. They — like Intel — promote software patents. That tells us what LOT Network really boils down to. LOT Network is no solution to software patenting; it merely perpetuates all the same problems.

05.15.18

A Google-Centric and Google-Led Patent Pool Won’t Protect GNU/Linux But Merely ‘Normalise’ Software Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 8:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LOT Network: A WHOLE LOT OF SOFTWARE PATENTS

Summary: Patent pools, which are basically the wrong solution to a very clear problem, continue to expand and promote themselves; the real solution, however, is elimination of abstract patents, notably software patents

OIN is no longer the only ‘game’ in town. IBM is the foremost player in OIN and OIN is not against software patents (same as IBM). A key staff from OIN recently left to join the Conservancy, which is strongly against software patents.

“…perhaps, to use OIN’s explanation, it’s trying to prevent such patents from ending on the laps of patent trolls. Just perhaps… in which case, wouldn’t it be better to work toward these patents’ elimination (using Section 101)?”The Google-led, Red Hat-backed LOT Network is in some headlines these days. It’s described as “defensive”, as usual. It’s not new, it’s just making another ‘charm offensive’, this time with Lenovo in the mix. Engine recommends LOT Network, which was mentioned in the puff piece from Bloomberg (copied a lot by Indian media) the other day. Some more Indian media has licensed and published it since. What was it all about? Did the author liaise with LOT Network for a puff piece, knowing that she would soon see further coverage like this? We now see two sites that habitually write about EPO scandals perpetuating the myth of “free patents and membership”. There’s no such thing as “free” patents because patents are something being taken away to begin with, it’s not a “charity” to give it ‘back’. It’s a PR stunt of large firms with many patents which they refuse to bury. To quote WIPR:

Non-profit LOT Network has announced two new programmes to “enrich and protect the global start-up community”, in efforts to incentivise innovation and encourage responsible patent use.

LOT, which lists Google, Canon, and Dropbox as its members, announced its new programmes on Thursday, May 10.

Mike Lee, head of patents at Google, said: “We think the protections afforded by LOT should be available to established and start-up companies alike, and do not want cost to be a barrier to participation.”

The first scheme is the Patent Transfer Program, which will allow qualifying start-ups to receive three free patents from LOT. The second is the organisation’s plan to expand free membership to LOT to any operating company which has up to $25 million in annual revenue.

Here’s the other new article about it:

The LOT Network, a Google-led patent initiative that aims to combat so-called ‘patent trolls’, has announced a new extended free membership, available to any company having up to $25 million in annual revenue.

Alongside the new membership, the LOT Network is granting qualifying startups three free patents, provided they have a membership in the LOT Network.

The group said it believes that “startups fuel innovation” and has “committed to share patents provided by its members with startups to promote and fuel further innovation and encourage these startups to join the LOT Network.

The first 200 operating companies in the LOT Network with $500,000 to $25 million in annual revenue or $500,000 to $25 million in financing over the past 18 months are eligible to receive patent assets at no cost.

The problem is that rather than work towards elimination of software patents they sort of ‘normalise’ them. Meanwhile, as IAM noted yesterday, RPX hoards more such patents:

RPX has acquired a small portfolio of patents from former search behemoth Lycos, according to an assignment recorded late last week with the USPTO. In total, the defensive aggregator picked up 24 assets from the tech company which grew rapidly during the 1990s dotcom bubble before quickly being eclipsed by the likes of Google and seeing a massive fall in value. The deal assignment was executed last November but has only just shown up on the PTO assignment database.

Those Lycos patents are likely software patents which are about to expire (almost 20 years since the dotcom bubble burst). What will RPX do with these? It did not buy these just for vanity; perhaps, to use OIN’s explanation, it’s trying to prevent such patents from ending on the laps of patent trolls. Just perhaps… in which case, wouldn’t it be better to work toward these patents’ elimination (using Section 101)?

Companies like Red Hat and Google try to “add value” by compiling a patent “portfolio”; if or when they die or get sold to another company those patents can be used offensively; see Sun and Oracle. Patents are never defensive; that’s just not how patents work. To call them “defensive” is part of the PR stunt, which IBM did a lot of a decade or more ago.

05.14.18

It Doesn’t Take a Genius to See That Microsoft Still Attacks GNU/Linux With Patents to Make Billions of Dollars in ‘Protection’ Money

Posted in Microsoft, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 1:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Patent Trolls Roundup: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Microsoft Trolls, and the Eastern District of Texas

Moon as satellite
Microsoft is still attacking GNU/Linux, it’s just using what’s sometimes known as ‘satellite’ entities

Summary: Intellectual Ventures, Finjan, RPX, and other Microsoft-connected trolls cannot be countered by LOT Network and the likes of it (notably OIN); Microsoft continues to shrewdly distribute patents to trolls, offering ‘protection’ from them (for a fee) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16] and pressuring OEMs to bundle Microsoft 'apps' or risk retaliatory patent lawsuits

AS LONG as the USPTO continues to grant software patents and as long as already-granted US software patents are not expired (or voided by PTAB) Microsoft can carry on blackmailing the whole world. Microsoft isn’t alone in this; IBM, for example, does similar things. But this post will focus on Microsoft because it claims to “love Linux” and Microsoft-funded groups like the Linux Foundation (which nowadays pays even the marketing person, McPherson, more than it pays Linus Torvalds) repeated this lie as recently as Friday. It said “Microsoft Proves Linux Love” in the headline! Alluding to Microsoft fixing a trivial bug more than 3 decades late.

“…this post will focus on Microsoft because it claims to “love Linux” and Microsoft-funded groups like the Linux Foundation (which nowadays pays even the marketing person, McPherson, more than it pays Linus Torvalds) repeated this lie as recently as Friday.”Let’s start with Finjan, an Israeli patent troll which was backed financially by Microsoft and was (re)armed by IBM as recently as last year. Finjan basically does nothing but patent litigation. It’s hardly a promising business model after Alice and Oil States, but somehow they managed to defend one of their patents earlier this year at CAFC (a decision in January against Symantec). Several days ago Finjan “Announce[d] $10 Million Share Repurchase Program”. Signs of tough time and ‘damage control’, amid just lots of lawsuits and blackmail these days? Even former staff of theirs is turning against them. From the press release:

Finjan Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FNJN), a cybersecurity [sic] company [sic], today announced that the Company’s Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase program of Finjan’s outstanding common stock of up to $10 million.

Maybe Microsoft wishes to invest again? It’s well known that Microsoft is investing in a lot of patent trolls, including the world’s biggest. Irish media very recently revealed it had invested in the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, giving it a major lifeline. “Changes in personnel and strategy at Microsoft,” IAM noted yesterday, “along with a new patent climate in the US – spelled the end for IV’s final acquisitions fund.”

“It’s well known that Microsoft is investing in a lot of patent trolls, including the world’s biggest.”IAM, the rather prominent propaganda outlet of patent aggressors and trolls, merely entertained the ‘new’ Microsoft narrative — a fictional framing that many GNU/Linux proponents grew tired of. Joff Wild’s Windows site (with occasional pieces from Microsoft executives and former executives) ended up including spin about RPX as well. To quote yesterday’s column of his:

Last week we reported on a filing made by a Microsoft subsidiary in Ireland which provided details of a $136.5 million write down of an investment the company had made in Intellectual Ventures’ Invention Investment Fund 3 (IIF3). The filing also revealed that the software giant was by far the biggest investor in the fund – contributing over 70% of the cash that had been raised.

[...]

Meanwhile, what does this news tell us about Microsoft? While some of the usual blogging and Tweeting suspects have been talking about the write down as showing that the company is the facilitator of the world’s biggest patent troll, arming it with a view to going after competitors and everyone else to beat them down to a pulp – or words that effect, those that have actually bothered to follow developments at Redmond over recent years will see something different.

[...]

On top of that, of course, those changes to the US patent landscape also make the kind of defensive buying that IV sold as a significant benefit to its corporate investors much less of a pressing need. Don’t forget that Microsoft has also recently decided not to renew its membership of RPX.

The simple fact is that Microsoft no longer needs IV: its IP strategy has changed and it is less exposed to damaging patent assertions than it once was. When the fundamentals change so much for an investor that has a 70%+ stake in an entity of whatever kind, that entity is going to struggle to recover. That is exactly what has happened to IIF3.

Intellectual Ventures did not only depend on Microsoft; Bill Gates had been backing it too (it’s his personal friend, whose role in the firm recently grew further). Sure, Microsoft left RPX, but only after it gave a lot of money to RPX, which almost everyone seems to be leaving these days (it’s collapsing and it was recently sold to private hands for a ‘paper’/virtual price that was a joke: 555).

Based on Indian media, as of a few days ago, it sure sounds like RPX has just swallowed some more software patents. The Economic Times wrote:

Bangalore-headquartered Zeno Security Corporation has entered an agreement to sell its portfolio of network security patents to San Francisco based RPX Corporation. The terms of the agreement are undisclosed. The deal includes the sale of three issued US Patents, and one pending US Patent Application.

[...]

Transactions IP LLC brokered the deal between Zeno and RPX.

They don’t even name a price.

Going back to Microsoft, remember that Microsoft used software patents to sue a rival it had committed antitrust violations against (Corel). It nowadays tries to crush it completely using patent litigation. A few days ago Law 360 wrote about it:

Microsoft’s Win Reduced, Atty Fees Denied In Corel IP Spat

A California federal judge has reduced an award for Microsoft from a jury that found Corel willfully infringed its Office software patents, dropping the payout from $287,000 to $124,000, and declined to make Corel pay Microsoft’s attorneys’ fees, saying there was nothing exceptional about the case.

In a decision unsealed Thursday, U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila said that Corel Corp.’s willingness to stipulate to infringement and drop its invalidity defenses against Microsoft Corp. early in the case, in an effort to reduce costs, was “rare”…

Don’t believe in the ‘new’ Microsoft myth. The company is still suing, both directly and indirectly. The corporate media mostly turns a blind eye and the above case was mostly/only covered by Law 360, which is a niche site. Why aren’t technology news sites mentioning it? Does that not suit the “Microsoft loves Linux” narrative? Remember that Corel was a major player in the GNU/Linux scene before Microsoft undermined it (a decade ago we wrote many articles about what had happened).

“Those ‘free’ patents would be trouble when Red Hat is dead or sold (either of those is an inevitability, it’s just a matter of time).”Meanwhile, “Red Hat Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. are giving away free patents,” says the corporate media. This is not how patents work. Red Hat basically continues to actively pursue software patents and it means that Red Hat is part of the problem. The company and its patents can be taken over. Those ‘free’ patents would be trouble when Red Hat is dead or sold (either of those is an inevitability, it’s just a matter of time). Red Hat staff should simply refuse to apply for patents (some told us they have) because these patents expiry date will likely outlive the company itself. Where might these patents end up?

Here is Bloomberg’s Susan Decker with her report on Ira Blumberg and LOT Network — a report that has just been licensed and reposted by Indian media (Economic Times) [1, 2]. The relevant parts:

Red Hat Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. are giving away free patents to any startup that joins a group of more than 200 companies devoted to keeping its members and their patents out of court.

It’s a carrot to entice startup companies to join the LOT Network, a non-profit created by Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Canon Inc. four years ago to combat litigation by patent assertion companies, known derisively as “trolls,” that don’t make any products but seek royalties by challenging patents. By joining LOT, a company agrees that if they sell patents to such firms, all group members will have a free license to them.

“You’re binding yourself to the mast and saying ‘I’m not going to give in to the siren song of trolls,”’ said Ira Blumberg, vice president of intellectual property and litigation for Lenovo.

[...]

“It is difficult to get a sufficient number of companies to coalesce around a single solution that will address the problem,” McBride said. “There is a mesh of overlapping efforts and LOT is a significant player.”

It’s easy to attract larger companies, said Ken Seddon, chief executive officer of LOT, which stands for license on transfer. The group’s members collectively own some 1.1 million patents and patent applications worldwide. That provides immunity from a fraction of the patents in force worldwide — more than 347,000 were issued last year in the U.S. alone.

LOT Network does absolutely nothing about Microsoft and its trolls. Just like OIN, it seems to be a pact whose purpose is to protect software patents from critics (software developers) rather than protect developers from such patents. These are relatively weak, corporates-led attempts to appease technical people.

“Just like OIN, it seems to be a pact whose purpose is to protect software patents from critics (software developers) rather than protect developers from such patents.”Red Hat bragged that it pocketed a “patent standstill” with Microsoft, but how does that help developers who don’t work for Red Hat? It does not. Generally speaking, Microsoft has bought the silence it needed from many of its potential critics (Canonical, SUSE, Red Hat, the Linux Foundation, even OSI), so don’t expect them to lash out, file a complaint etc. It’s a “divide and rule” tactic and money helps Microsoft tremendously with this strategy.

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.

03.03.18

Just Months After Japan’s Giant Canon Joined a Patent Nonaggression Pact (OIN) It’s Filing Dozens of Patent Lawsuits

Posted in Asia, Courtroom, OIN, Patents at 3:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A lantern

Summary: The company better known as a victim of patent aggression is now approaching the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in pursuit of protection money if not injunctions

A FEW months ago Canon joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), but its USPTO-granted patents are still afloat and they are being used offensively, not defensively. To quote Law 360:

Canon filed three dozen suits Wednesday against companies in 15 federal jurisdictions along with a complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging that the companies are infringing patents that cover its printer toner cartridges.

Japan-based Canon Inc. hit Ink Technologies Printer Supplies LLC, Print After Print Inc., and Billiontree Technology USA Inc. in Ohio, Arizona, and California federal courts and 33 additional companies in various federal district courts with complaints alleging that the companies are infringing up to nine patents that cover its printer toner…

Canon was a victim of Microsoft's patent troll (in spite of paying ‘protection’ money to Microsoft) and it was one of the few firms the EPO discriminated for. Is Canon becoming what it fought?

“Holy cow,” one patent maximalist uttered. “Canon went ham yesterday filing new patent complaints.”

“Is Canon becoming what it fought?”“It is also very unJapanese,” IAM said, “at least traditionally – and very, very unCanon. It would be interesting to know whether this is all about preventing infringement or generating licensing income.”

“Litigation is a common response after strong assets do not sell,” said another person. “They’ve been selling to NPEs [trolls] for a while, without blowback, so…”

These patent trolls are living in a fantasy world. Many of these trolls cease operations and go ‘bankrupt’ nowadays (they’re not real businesses anyway).

“These patent trolls are living in a fantasy world.”“If that is the case,” IAM continues, “it’s a big turnaround as the top IP executives at Canon have always been very sceptical of the benefits of litigation-based monetisation. If Canon is doing it, then we can probably say Japan Inc as a whole is in the process of a big conversion.”

A couple of weeks earlier Bluefin bragged about pursuing another Japanese patent. JPO recently made headlines for softening its stance on patents. Does that explain why Canon ‘exported’ its patents to trolls? Is it that desperate?

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