Bonum Certa Men Certa

Why Paul Allen (Interval Patent Troll) Targets Companies That Do Not Cross-license With (or Pay) Microsoft

Longbow targets



Summary: A patchy pattern is spotted by Techrights -- a pattern wherein companies that are trolled for big cash by Microsoft's co-founder are actually not paying Microsoft for patents

PAUL ALLEN'S case against (almost) the whole industry is an important subject which we will watch closely. Allen is not alone among Microsoft executives who become well-funded patent trolls. Other examples include Nathan Myhrvold and Bill Gates.



Allen's professional transformation into a patent troll has already produced at least one cartoon. "Paul Allen will not be able to attack Microsoft or anyone else with agreements due to his prior contracts with Microsoft so it's basically off limits," explained to us Oiaohm last night (morning time in Australia where he lives).

"[W]hile this is perhaps true," argued FurnaceBoy from Canada, "it should not head off some examination of the incestuous intertwined strategies here."

FurnaceBoy then spells out three letters: "S. C. O."

This is a discussion that came about since one of our readers posted the following comment yesterday, pointing out that (almost) none of the companies which Allen sued cross-licenses with Microsoft and they are all US-based, i.e. susceptible to software patents. The commenter says:

“Paul Allen will not be able to attack Microsoft or anyone else with agreements due to his prior contracts with Microsoft so it's basically off limits”
      --Oiaohm
"IBM have a deal, and it is not sued by Allen. Oracle has a deal because Sun had. Samsung has Microsoft deal.... HP too (they are even managed by Microsofties). VMware is managed by Microsofties, but I don't think it has a patent deal, Red Hat is protected by the OIN and probably Allen don't have a patent that might hit them. Canonical too, and it is too small fish... and Canonical helps Microsoft with Mono.

"HTC has Microsoft deal....

"I think there is some other common denominator we are missing. He didn't sue exactly every Microsoft competitor that is not paying privilege to Microsoft. What else those companies have in common? Maybe the fact they are all into Cloud Computing. Maybe they all use FOSS in some part of their infrastructure, or they depend on Microsoft and still use some competing technology."

Based on another new post from a pro-Linux site ("Apple and open source forced to team up"):

Microsoft is in violation of these patents just the same as the companies that Paul Allen is suing. Interestingly he has not chosen to sue the company that he helped to build. Most of his targets are companies that use open source technology with Apple being one of the few exceptions.


Speaking of Apple, it carries on suing Linux and patenting more and more things (this time stack circuits [1, 2]).

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) asks, "What does Paul Allen think he's doing!? Besides keeping patent lawyers employed & trying to make a few more billions?"

David Postman, a spokesman for Allen, said that Interval Research was a "groundbreaking contributor" to the development of the commercial Internet and that the patents are fundamental to the ways leading e-commerce and search companies continue to operate." I say this is nonsense.

I am not a lawyer, but I have used the Web almost since day one and I was using the Internet for more than a decade before the Web ever showed up. I've read these patents and they all scream prior art to me.

I think the patents that Oracle is using against Google are weak, but with our fouled up patent legal system in the U.S. they may hold up. I can't imagine Allen's patents holding up.

That aside, I don't understand why Allen is launching these patent attacks.

[...]

But, as to what Allen is doing ... I don't have a clue. Again, he has more riches than many countries. Microsoft surely didn't want him to do it.

I think Microsoft will be the ones closest to him to suffer. If I were a multi-billion-dollar company, I'd be tempted to use my own patent arsenal on the source of Allen's wealth: Microsoft. Surely he doesn't want that. No one in big business, except patent trolls, would.


TechDirt believes (or thinks out loud) that "Paul Allen's Patent Madness [May Be] Really An Attempt To Show The Madness Of Patents" and "[o]ne of the Allen patent has 129 claims," points out Jan Wildeboer (Red Hat), who shows this software patent. The abstract starts as follows:

The invention facilitates and enhances review of a body of information (that can be represented by a set of audio data, video data, text data or some combination of the three), enabling the body of information to be quickly reviewed to obtain an overview of the content of the body of information and allowing flexibility in the manner in which the body of information is reviewed.


Microsoft Florian, a .NET developer and defender of Microsoft's patent aggression, has been confronting Wildeboer over at Twitter. "He [Florian] supports patent Microsoft patent troll on his blog, that is smoking gun," writes gnufreex. Anyway, here is the exchange from Twitter:

[16:33] [Notice] -TRT to #techrights- [jwildeboer] Once we fought side by side against #swpat, but now it seems Florian has moved to the dark side. http://is.gd/eLFzN

[16:33] [Notice] -TRT to #techrights- [fosspatents [Microsoft Florian]] @jwildeboer No dark side. Those defendants want same patent system as plaintiff, and it's important to interpret eBay vs. MercExchange.

[16:33] [Notice] -TRT to #techrights- [jwildeboer] @FOSSpatents Allen has enough money already, your arument he is looking for "recognition" iis #fail. Why didn't he sue MSFT?

[16:33] [Notice] -TRT to #techrights- [fosspatents] @jwildeboer I connected recognition to not wanting to be called a troll. Re. Microsoft, I don't know. Maybe they did a license deal?

Separately, Wildeboer shows that Patent WatchTroll, a patent lawyer and thus an aggressive proponent of software patents, validates Paul Allen's status as a patent troll. Patent WatchTroll says that "it seems to me that Mr. Allen is attempting to enter the deep, dark world of patent trolls" and "[i]f I were one of the defendants I would file a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim" (the full post can be found here). It also says: [via Wildeboer]

[C]olor me cynical about Interval Research’s decision to sue all major tech players other than Microsoft, the company that Allen co-founded with Gates.


When even a patent lawyer who is strongly for software patents calls Allen a "patent troll" (or refers to him as such), then who could possibly dispute this other than peripheral Microsoft PR bots such as Ed Bought [sic]?

Comments

Recent Techrights' Posts

What the End of Journalism Looks Like
All on the same day
Links 01/03/2024: Microsoft 'Retiring' More Services and Raspberry Pi Celebrates 3rd Birthday (Launched on February 29th, 2012)
Links for the day
Women's Empowerment
Sponsored by Bill Gates
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: Speed Bumps and Analog Stuff
Links for the day
[Meme] Those Greedy EPO Examiners
Says the litigation industry, charging 300 euros an hour per attorney
EPO Discriminates Against Families of Its Own Workers, the Union Explains Legal Basis Upon Which It's Likely Illegal and Must be Challenged
To the Council, the EPO boasts about its wealth (seeking to impress by how much breaking the law "pays off")
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 29, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, February 29, 2024
Links 01/03/2024: Misuse of Surveillance Against UK-Based Journalism, EPO Conflict Now in the Media
Links for the day
Taking a Break From Paid Promotion of the Illegal, Unconstitutional Kangaroo Court for Patents (UPC)
JUVE returns to its 'roots'?
FSFE admits losing funds from bequest by insulting and ignoring Fellowship representative
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gemini Links 29/02/2024: Raspberry Pi Incus Cluster and Aya 0.5.0 Coming Soon
Links for the day
Links 29/02/2024: Layoffs at Apple, Expedia, and Electronic Arts
Links for the day
Gemini Links 29/02/2024: Web Enshittification and Firefox user-agents
Links for the day
Spiked Piece/Censoreed Piece: 'Microsoft Copilot is a gimmick', says top CIO
Issues relate to connectivity and cost
Enrico Zini, Mattia Rizzolo, Plagiarism & Debian
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] Clergy of GNU/Linux (Corporations Like IBM)
Volunteers as powerless "followers" of companies that "harvest" their labour
There Will Be Lots More Apple Layoffs (Already Years in the Making)
The corporate media still tries to shape the narrative to prevent panic or delay market hysteria
Latest SUEPO (Staff Union of EPO) Report For The Hague Reveals EPO Does Not Obey Court Orders, Refuses to Allow Workers to Freely Talk to One Another
working in a place where communication itself is restricted
[Meme] The Oppression Will Continue Until EPO 'Quality' Improves
wonder why EPO morale is so low?
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 28, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Outreachy, GSoC-mentors & Debian-Private may soon become public records in federal court
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 28/02/2024: Many War Updates and Censorship
Links for the day
Gemini Links 28/02/2024: Social Control Media Notifications and Gemini Protocol Extended
Links for the day
Links 28/02/2024: Microsoft the Plagiarist is Projecting, Food Sector Adopts Surge Pricing
Links for the day
Helping Microsoft 'Hijack' Developers (to Make Them Work for Microsoft, Not the Competition)
VS Code is proprietary spyware of Microsoft. Jack Wallen keeps promoting its use.
Gemini Links 28/02/2024: Groupthink and the 'Problem' With Linux
Links for the day
Android Rising (Windows Down to All-Time Lows, Internationally)
This month was a bloodbath for Microsoft
HexChat Looks for Successors to Keep IRC Growing
IRC is far from dead
[Meme] Just Make Him Happy
Y U no produce more monopolies?
End of a Long February
top 10 posts
[Meme] The EPO's Relationship With Patent Examiners
Nobody is "safe"
New Pension Scheme (NPS) at the European Patent Office Explained at the General Assembly
Investing in the future, or...
Donald Trump & FSFE Matthias Kirschner election denial
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 27, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, February 27, 2024