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10.05.18

Microsoft Uses LOT Network to Spread Lies and Promote Its Protection Racket

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 2:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An aggregator (DPA) or a vision so shallow that even Microsoft can enlist

LOT Network: A WHOLE LOT OF SOFTWARE PATENTS

Summary: A Red Hat- and Google-centric aggregator of software patents adds Microsoft as a member even though Microsoft continues to arm and fund patent trolls; the main/net effect of this move appears to be promotion of “Azure IP Advantage” (protection from Microsoft’s trolls as long as one pays Microsoft monthly fees)

THE COMPANY of endless lies is at it again, having leveraged many US patents (software patents wrongly granted by the USPTO) against GNU/Linux.

“Microsoft loves Linux” is a lie. And now Microsoft wants us to think that Microsoft battles patent trolls. This too is a Microsoft lie, albeit one that corporate media is happy to play along with, e.g. with headlines such as “Microsoft joins the LOT Network to help fight patent trolls” (a lie, the latter part in particular).

Deducted from fact-checking is the abundant evidence which is widely available, such as Microsoft’s patent troll Intellectual Ventures, which is the world’s largest. We wrote about it as recently as yesterday. The dedicated Microsoft propaganda sites (these sites’ names give that away) promote the same fiction that Microsoft is against patent trolls. Just don’t let facts get in the way…

There’s also this batch of hours-old headlines about patents Microsoft can and possibly will use against Android OEMs [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft loves its patents and it actively uses them for litigation and shakedown purposes.

So what explains this lunacy we saw yesterday evening in the media? This press release [1, 2] from Microsoft started it. It is a lie because Microsoft actively contributes to patent trolls and their attacks, but the title of the press release says Microsoft wants to “Protect its Community Against Patent Troll Attacks” (whose patent trolls and which community?).

It didn’t take long for Red Hat to play along with this publicity stunt that misleads. Remember that Red Hat hires managers from Microsoft (it’s well documented), so Red Hat will defend its shareholders rather than the Free software community. Red Hat is also still applying for software patents while propping up LOT Network, which is not the solution at all. This is what Red Hat said about its beloved LOT Network:

We are excited to see Microsoft – a top 10 recipient of U.S. patents – announce today it is joining the LOT Network (LOT), a company we helped form. Since 2014, Red Hat and other top companies around the world have come to recognize LOT as an innovative response to patent assertion entities (PAEs). Microsoft is a welcome addition to LOT’s almost 300 members, which together hold more than one million patent assets.

[...]

Red Hat is committed to LOT’s mission and to broadening its reach. We believe that LOT is a significant tool in weakening the threat that PAEs pose to operating companies, including those that distribute free and open source software. We are pleased Microsoft has joined our ranks, and look forward to working with them to expand the reach of LOT.

As we explained a few months back, LOT Network had become somewhat of a joke because it is a proponent of software patents. It’s like its purpose is to protect software patents from the community’s scrutiny rather than protect the community from software patents. It is, in that regard, somewhat similar to OIN. Earlier this week [1, 2] we showed that Microsoft’s patent trolls are still attacking Microsoft’s rivals in new lawsuits, so how can the company pretend to have changed its strategy? Erich Andersen (Microsoft) says they’re “helping to lead the way toward addressing the patent troll problem” (but Microsoft actively contributes to this problem!) and yet LWN framed it as follows: “Microsoft has announced that it has joined the LOT Network, which is an organization set up to help thwart patent trolls by licensing any member’s patents to all members if they end up in the hands of a troll.”

But Microsoft itself does exactly that, e.g. passing Nokia‘s patents to this troll in bulk. Microsoft’s site, which LWN cites for its “facts”, says this:

We are pleased to announce that Microsoft is joining the LOT Network, a growing, non-profit community of companies that is helping to lead the way toward addressing the patent troll problem, an issue that impacts businesses of all sizes.

Microsoft has seen this problem firsthand. We’ve faced hundreds of meritless patent assertions and lawsuits over the years, and we want to do more to help others dealing with this issue. In most cases, the opportunists behind these assertions were not involved in the research and development of the ideas that came to be embodied in patents. Many do not even understand the technical concepts described in them. In the most extreme cases, we’ve seen mass mailings and campaigns to extract value from small businesses who are not equipped to understand patents. Although these problems are less acute in the US today than in the past, in part because of changes in the law, the challenge persists for many businesses. Entrepreneur magazine cited a recent study showing that 40 percent of small companies involved in patent litigation reported “significant operational impact” from those suits, which some described as a “death knell.”

It then mentions Microsoft’s protection racket [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21], known as “Azure IP Advantage” (same as the scheme Microsoft set up with Novell). There’s ‘special’ protection from trolls only for those who host with Azure. It’s like GNU/Linux users need to reach a patent settlement with Microsoft, paid in several installments (Azure subscription). With a host like Amazon/AWS one risks patent lawsuits, albeit not from Microsoft directly.

Mary Jo Foley, a career Microsoft booster (for well over a decade), perpetuates Microsoft’s misleading claims and promotes their extortion racket, which Andersen introduces as follows:

This also means we are continuing on the path we started with the introduction of the Azure IP Advantage program in 2017. As part of that program, Microsoft said that it would defend and indemnify developers against claims of intellectual property infringement even if the service powering Azure was built on open source. We also said that if we transferred a patent to a company in the business of asserting patents, then Azure customers would get a license for free. Our LOT membership expands this pledge to other companies in the LOT network.

So they’re basically saying, “host everything in Azure (even GNU/Linux) and you’ll be safer from trolls” (“even the trolls that we’re funding and arming”). This is, for the most part, just a marketing opportunity for Microsoft. It also helps distort the record, e.g. on Microsoft’s major role in sponsoring and giving patents to patent trolls. How long before Jim Zemlin congratulates Microsoft?

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.

09.02.18

Cryptocurrency Patents Are Bogus (Abstract) Patents and Red Hat Ought to Quit Pursuing Blockchain (Software) Patents

Posted in America, Patents, Red Hat at 10:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘patent-printing’ machine just carries on printing

Cryptocurrency printing

Summary: With cryptocurrencies and with blockchains receiving a lot of buzz we’re also seeing patents being granted on them, never mind if such patents are clearly abstract and thus not patent-eligible

THE fact that when one says things like "blockchain" we're supposed to be astounded and impressed (and grant a patent) is deeply problematic. The USPTO certainly knows that these are abstract patents, but it grants these anyway. CryptoSlate (one among many sites that are cryptocurrencies-centric) reveals yet another cryptocurrencies patent; those are actually being granted, not just pursued (with an application). Bogus software patents are still being granted by the Office and there’s no sufficient public scrutiny.

There have been many articles like this one from Helen Partz about Bank of America’s “blockchain” patent applications and awards. Why don’t people point out that Section 101 would likely void these? Maybe they just don’t know about Section 101…

Here’s the more disturbing thing: Red Hat has become part of this problem. Cloud Pro and a few other publications mentioned that last week. Red Hat does not combat software patents (not anymore); Instead, Red Hat has become part of the problem and it is nowadays patenting “blockchain” stuff. It has been a long time since we saw Red Hat doing anything against software patents. Here’s one article among several on this subject:

Red Hat is reportedly considering using blockchain to track customer use of its cloud service in real time.

A patent filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office explains how the company would track transactions on its platforms to bill customers based on their usage. Because records in a blockchain can’t be changed, the data could be more accurate than using other methods.

“The examples record, in a blockchain, a billing rules transaction that identifies usage rules for one or more software instance types for a timeframe. Authorised transactions that identify software instances that have been authorised to execute during the timeframe are also recorded in the blockchain,” the filing explained.

How can Red Hat not see that it’s emboldening the USPTO to grant software patents?

Harish Pillay from Red Hat told me: “You are completely missing the point. It is a defensive patent needed to be done because the USPTO is broken.”

I responded with: “Who would that supposedly defend against and how?”

He never replied. So I assume he realised that this was going nowhere; not only do these Red Hat patents pose a considerable risk in case of a takeover (which is likely in the distant future); they also don’t counter-balance anything, certainly not when trolls confront Red Hat (which isn’t so unusual).

06.01.18

Three Years After Openwashing Its Patents Panasonic Gives These Patents to Patent Trolls

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 1:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A reminder of how worthless and futile patent pledges can be in practice

Panasonic

Summary: Panasonic has begun feeding large patent trolls and a Microsoft-connected law firm frames the victims of Microsoft’s patent trolls as the principal threat, not the trolls themselves

REMEMBER Novell’s promises regarding patents? Well, Microsoft has those patents now (they’re under CPTN). What about Red Hat, which claims to have established a patent “standstill” with Microsoft?

“Basically, all those patent pledges or promises are worthless; they’re a way of keeping one’s cake while eating it in the back room.”Well, Red Hat is still pursuing actual software patents at the USPTO. What does that tell us about Red Hat? Truth be told, the only way to ensure these patents don’t pose a danger is to altogether eliminate them, not make some pledges (mere words on paper that can be thrown away in case of a takeover, even if not especially a hostile takeover). Basically, all those patent pledges or promises are worthless; they’re a way of keeping one’s cake while eating it in the back room. They reserve the right to pass such patents around.

Not too long ago Panasonic was openwashing its patents. We were highly sceptical of Panasonic at the time and very critical of all the media which repeated the claims from Panasonic. It turns out that we were right because Panasonic finally gives a lot of these to patent trolls. Re-armament by Canada’s truly massive patent troll WiLAN has just been reported in this press release; the patents are handed over to a subsidiary (proxy) of the troll:

Wi-LAN Inc. (“WiLAN”), a Quarterhill Inc.(“Quarterhill”) company (TSX: QTRH) (NASDAQ: QTRH), today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Security Video Camera Systems, Inc., has acquired a portfolio of patents from Panasonic Corporation (“Panasonic”). The portfolio contains 34 patent families comprising 96 patents worldwide. The acquisition was made under WiLAN’s partnership program which features the sharing of revenues generated from a licensing program.

We wrote about Wi-LAN last month; Canada needs to get these thugs under control.

Meanwhile, as per this Microsoft-connected firm (Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. is the firm of Microsoft’s former patent chief), “Cloud Cybersecurity Solutions Under Siege From Patents, Again: Cybersecurity Companies Protect Customers From Malicious Attacks, But Can They Protect Themselves?”

Jonathan Barnard writes (at the very end):

Regardless of the outcome in this case, the question still remains–while companies like Symantec and Trend Micro continue to protect their customers from malicious cloud-based cyber-attacks, can they protect themselves from the continued onslaught of competitor-based lawsuits? Trend Micro may have an “easier” time protecting its cybersecurity solutions and IP as it’s currently only facing patent infringement litigation on one front from CUPP. The task may prove more difficult for cybersecurity giant Symantec however, since in addition to playing defense in a patent infringement lawsuit against Finjan, it’s also playing offense by enforcing several of its own web security, threat prevention, and antivirus patents against other cybersecurity competitors like Zscaler.

Funny how this Microsoft-connected firm neglects to mention the Microsoft-funded patent troll Finjan (in the same space, security) until the very end. They make some of the victims of this troll (i.e. companies that actually make something) seem like the biggest risk. Isn’t that an odd reversal? A self-serving one for sure…

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.

04.26.17

PatentShield is Not the Solution and It Won’t Protect Google/Android From Patent Trolls Like Microsoft’s

Posted in America, Google, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The problem is the underlying software patents and trolls

PatentShield

Summary: A new initiative called “PatentShield” is launched, but it’s yet another one of those many initiatives (Peer-to-Patent and the likes of it, LOT Network, OIN, PAX etc.) that serve to distract from the real and much simpler solutions

FIGHTING patents with patents is a worthless exercise of endless war and sometimes just reckless stockpiling which accomplishes nothing at all. We wrote about this in relation to Red Hat 8 years ago.

“This is why Microsoft loves using trolls as satellites, including Intellectual Ventures, which has thousands of satellites of its own and is controlled by Microsoft.”A decade or more ago, around 2005, Red Hat helped fight against software patents at the EPO, but later on both Red Hat and Google started accumulating software patents of their own, falsely arguing that they need these for “defence”. Acacia, a patent troll with Microsoft connections, repeatedly disproved them. One cannot sue trolls; there’s nothing to sue over. This is why Microsoft loves using trolls as satellites, including Intellectual Ventures, which has thousands of satellites of its own and is controlled by Microsoft.

“There is a lot of hype this morning about PatentShield, which wrongly assumes that what we need to shield us from patent attacks are more patents.”Not too long ago Google bragged about something called “PAX” (or Pax, i.e. peace), which we criticised several times. It doesn’t really help address the underlying problems. It tackles neither trolls nor software patents. See this latest new example where the buzzword “AI” gets used as a loophole for post-Alice software patent grants. There were two puff pieces about it this morning [1, 2], the latter of which says: “A new patent for “whole brain” systems for autonomous robotic control has been issued by the U.S. Patent Office to Neurala, the software company that invented The Neurala Brain, a deep learning neural networks platform. This new invention will enable AI to function more like a human brain because it integrates multiple brain areas.”

I have personally developed programs in this area (machine learning, autonomous vehicles etc.) and it’s abundantly clear that it’s all about software.

“What PatentShield is likely to accomplish is little but distraction from the real solutions (which Google isn’t genuinely interested in).”There is a lot of hype this morning about PatentShield, which wrongly assumes that what we need to shield us from patent attacks are more patents. We found quite a few articles early this morning [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], accompanying several copies of the press release (there was clearly a large, well-coordinated effort to get the word out, including paid press releases and probably PR agencies). No doubt there are many more articles on the way and almost none will go beyond repeating quotes from the press release (and those who paid for these, or their PR agents).

For those who think that PatentShield is a sort of “Eureka moment” or some brilliant thing “to Defend Startups from Patent Litigation” (as the headline of the press release claims) we have a good offer; land on the Moon and on Mars!

“Microsoft, for instance, habitually sends out trolls to attack its competition.”What PatentShield is likely to accomplish is little but distraction from the real solutions (which Google isn’t genuinely interested in). Meanwhile, MOSAID (now known as Conversant) gears up for more litigation. IAM has just been writing about this Microsoft-fed patent troll that pays IAM too. “According to USPTO data,” IAM wrote yesterday, “Conversant was assigned 29 US patent assets by Seoul-based semiconductor foundry Dongbu HiTek and its affiliate Dongbu Electronics in a transfer executed at the end of last year. The patents appear to relate to CMOS image sensor technology.”

It’s not hard to imagine what will happen next. The industry is already suffering from trolls abundance (there is a new site called “Don’t Bully My Business”) and Conversant/MOSAID is just one of many. Microsoft, for instance, habitually sends out trolls to attack its competition. It’s a convenient loophole. Microsoft is like Qualcomm in that sense and regarding the FTC (critic of PAEs in its recent report) which we wrote about some days ago, IAM says this:

The FTC’s case against Qualcomm was filed amid the dying embers of the Obama White House and accused the chipmaker of anti-competitive practices in the supply of its baseband processors and in its patent licensing. But the move was not without controversy. In a 2-1 decision in favour of bringing the suit, Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen wrote a strongly worded dissent in which she claimed the court action was “based on a flawed legal theory”. Trump has appointed Ohlhausen the acting FTC chairman as the administration searches for a permanent appointee and, should the new head share her sentiments, the government’s support of the suit against Qualcomm may become lukewarm at best. The letter is a clear attempt to try to ensure that doesn’t happen.

We very much doubt that a corporations’ government — be it Obama’s or Trump’s — will tackle the underlying issues. So far it has been mostly SCOTUS which contributed to progress with decisions like Alice and hopefully TC Heartland some time soon.

The bottom line is, small trolls and ‘institutionalised’ trolls continue to prey on the system, both directly and indirectly. PatentShield is more like a PR ploy of Google and Intertrust; it won’t actually help victims of trolling. Ignore and move on.

06.28.16

Today’s Media Coverage Says Microsoft Loves Linux, But Today Microsoft Extorted Linux Using Software Patents Again

Posted in Microsoft, Red Hat at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Relying on mass deception using the media while blackmailing companies behind closed doors

BP loves puppies

Summary: Luna Mobile has just been extorted by Microsoft (using dubious software patents, as usual) for using Android/Linux, but Microsoft-influenced media carries on spreading the lie that “Microsoft loves Linux”

RED HAT’S own event has just been hijacked by Microsoft again (see articles below along with the comments) and Microsoft used Red Hat’s platform to call its proprietary (Open Core) platform “Open Source”, to say it “loves Linux” (the infamous old lie), and so on. On the other hand, Microsoft’s own booster Mary Jo Foley says that “Microsoft signs Android patent-licensing deal with Luna Mobile”. She insists that “Microsoft has signed an Android patent deal with Luna Mobile, even though its announcement of the arrangement never mentions the word ‘Android’.”

Yes, so much for love. It must love all that ‘protection money’ it is silently amassing.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Red Hat Delivers More Secure Containers with New Scanning Capability [Ed: helping Microsoft’s parasite]
  2. Microsoft unveils .NET Core 1.0, extends partnership with Red Hat [Ed: Red Hat is so focused on meeting short-term profit goals that it forgot Microsoft's past]
  3. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Unveils .NET Core 1.0 Availability
  4. Microsoft Releases Open Source .NET Core 1.0 For Linux, Windows, And macOS [Ed: Another reminder that’s needed here is that open core is not open source]
  5. Microsoft Announces Open .NET Core 1.0 at Red Hat Summit [Ed: stealing Red Hat's thunder at its own event]
  6. Microsoft releases cross-platform .NET Core 1.0 at Linux event [Ed: How Microsoft turns Linux events into its own. Microsoft love love love… if they keep saying it often enough, preferably with “Linux” in headlines, then maybe fools will believe it.]
  7. Microsoft starts proving its Linux love [Ed: As big a lie as it gets; when will it stop taunting Linux with patents then?]
  8. Microsoft announces open-source Language Server Protocol
  9. Microsoft’s Open Source .NET Core Project Hits v1.0, Gets General Availability
  10. Microsoft launches Net Core 1.0 for Linux, OS X and Windows
  11. Microsoft’s open sourcing of .NET hits a major milestone
  12. Microsoft Proves Its Love For Linux With Net Core Software, Open Source And Ready To Go [Ed: People don't want Microsoft love. They just want Microsoft to start obeying the law.]
  13. Codenvy, Microsoft and Red Hat Collaborate on a Protocol for Sharing Programming Language Guidance
  14. Microsoft further embraces open source with cross-platform version of .Net Framework
  15. MapR, Microsoft make announcements at Hadoop and Red Hat summits
  16. Microsoft brings .NET Core to MacOS and Linux
  17. Microsoft launches its cross-platform .Net Core
  18. Microsoft announces general availability of .NET Core and ASP.NET Core 1.0
  19. Latest Microsoft Mechanics video shows Red Hat Linux running on Azure [Ed: Does anyone really believe (literally) Microsoft loves Linux ? All I see is Microsoft boosters and ghostwriters claiming such people exist.]
  20. Microsoft announces .NET Core 1.0 for Linux, MacOS and Windows
  21. Announcing .NET Core 1.0
  22. Microsoft finally introduces ASP.NET Core 1.0, supported inherently by Red Hat
  23. .NET Core 1.0 Released

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