10.20.08

Patents Roundup: Microsoft’s Own Patent Trolls Subjugate Indians; New Evidence of Ill Systems

Posted in America, Asia, Courtroom, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 11:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Microsoft Subverts and Patents While Its Trolls Exploit India

IT IS already known, as confirmed by Microsoft itself, that Microsoft is investing in the world's largest patent troll, which is also its own creation. This patent troll recently invaded and subdued India while Microsoft was working to subvert the law and breaking it by attempting to sneak in software patents.

There was a good deal of responses and angry reactions to this development amongst Indian bloggers who are able to understand what Microsoft and the likes of it are attempting to do. Here is some more new information about it. [via Digital Majority]

So it was interesting to read a report that the biggest ands scariest one of them all, Intellectual Ventures, founded by the redoubtable Nathan Myhrvold, had come to India. Intellectual Ventures, according to the Wall Street Journal, has more than 20,000 patents and patent applications “related to everything from lasers to computer chips”. Myhrvold was the chief strategist and chief technology officer of Microsoft before he sent up Intellectual Ventures, an idea that he owes to Bill Gates. Microsoft had a huge patent liability problem with a seemingly endless line of people suing the company for infringement of their patents. It was then that Myhrvold came up with the idea of accumulating patents under one roof to manage them better. His rationale: it is more efficient for companies to deal with him than thousands of patent holders. The transaction costs alone make it worthwhile for companies to pay Intellectual Ventures its steep fees.

[...]

Intellectual Ventures debut here [in India] coincides with the news that CSIR is considering a move to transfer its patent lode to an independent holding company that will manage it professionally. The patents would be monetised in various ways, licensing being one option.

Indians have already taken it to the streets (photograph below) after persistent attempts by American companies to monopolise knowledge along with their close Indian allies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11].

Software patents protest in India

Slashdot reports that Microsoft has just patented something it never invented. The ‘inventors’ there appear to have no sense of shame.

On Tuesday, the USPTO awarded Microsoft a patent for the Automatic Censorship of Audio Data for Broadcast, an invention that addresses ‘producing censored speech that has been altered so that undesired words or phrases are either unintelligible or inaudible.’

This is what we once called "Innovation by Publicity."

Corruption

Software patents protest against EPO

Richard Stallman recently referred to EPO “corruption” which had led to street protests (pictured above), claiming that the system had been deliberately broken by those who seek only to maximalise profits. Corruption is just probably inherent in the patent system if the following new comment is correct.

Some judges of the CAFC are even patent attorneys. It is sure that those “specialized” judges have a serious biais in favour of patents. Some critics says that they even lowered the barriers of novelty, making easier to get patents.

This is also what a spanish expert said recently about the introduction of specialized patent courts in Spain.

So those patent judges have a bias towards the patentee, against the interests of the defendant.

Just like with the RIAA (alluded to in this post), there is appointment of judges that essentially constitute a puppet state. They serve their own interests, as well as — potentially — the interests of those who surround (or fund) them.

Historical Excavation of Knowledge

Software patents are no ‘fun’. They can truly waste one’s precious time, potentially years. To quote a tidbit from a recent confrontation:

“I would much rather spend my time and money and energy finding ways to make the Internet safer and better than bickering over patents.”

Dean Drako, Barracuda’s CEO

Here is a situation where digging up a 14-year-old newspaper column was necessary to trash a patent which was never supposed to be granted in the first place.

14-year-old newspaper column becomes prior art in patent litigation

[...]

GraniteGeek of the Nashua Telegraph illustrates how a newspaper article can become prior art in a patent litigation. It also illustrates (as does the Ciba-Geigy v. Alza case) that enablement standards for prior art can be looser than for patent applications.

How much money and labour was unnecessarily wasted here? Is this the best production model? This is innovation?? This is research and development???

The prior art maze must be immense. In light of Microsoft's slog against VMware [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], it is interesting to find out just for how long VMware has been accumulating patents.

VMware and Patent #6397242 Go Back About 10 Years

[...]

Nice catch by Andrew Dugdell: it’s about 10 years ago that Scott Devine, Edouard Bugnion and Mendel Rosenblum filed patent #6397242, “Virtualization system including a virtual machine monitor for a Computer with segmented Architecture”.

Now that Microsoft has an 'insider' as VMware's chief, it’s unlikely that there will be retaliation in court. The company was sort of hijacked away from its founding fathers

Europe

The patents-, copyrights- and monopolies-obsessed Charlie McCreevy [1, 2, 3] is seen bringing up the subject of the Community patent again. It’s a back door to software patents, so caution is required.

The French EU Presidency will close by December 31, 2008, and if no deal is struck until that day, most probably there will be no Community Patent for a long time to come. According to McCreevy, the stumbling blocks are the linguistic and translation requirements, and the setting and distribution of annual fees to maintain the patent. In his speech he stresses that significant progress has been made since April 2007, and then comes to his belief in technical solutions.

Benjamin Henrion, one of the activists from FFII, writes the following comment in response to what seems like a lawyers-dominated system, which decides ‘on behalf’ of software developers.

Dear Mr Horns, As I said to a pro-swpat guy at the recent patent conference organised by the French Presidency, I am still waiting for your clarifications or proposals for drawing a line from the patent community. FFII has proposed that the contribution to the knowledge has to be in the physical field (forces of nature), I heard patent guys laughing about it, but I am still waiting for their critics on paper because laughing is not convincing anybody.

This truly seems like a system dominated by goons who exploit its self-inflicted fragile state in order to make money. They essentially ‘tax’ scientists, for personal gain. Did the world not learn anything from the ongoing financial collapse?

Stop Software Patents

What is the logic behind possessing mathematics anyway? Or cheaply-transferable knowledge if not freely-transferable information? We saw some good reception of the talks from Eben Moglen (over the weekend at least), so here is another insightful one, for which we have produced an Ogg Theora version.

Ogg Theora

There are always those who strive to mix sand and water. They are determined to make it stick. Such is the nature of O’Reilly-type literature, which produces textbooks on intellectual monopolies and Free software (yes, actually combining these two almost-contradictory notions). Here is the latest review of this book where there’s a reference only to “open source”.

The topic of Intellectual Property and Open Source does have a wide ranging audience for itself. With the seeming explosion of software engineering applications driven by web and e-commerce, this maybe a good book for grasping the finer legal details. The primary focus of the legal terms in this book are with respect to the U.S. Legal framework and sometime with European variants.

The Bilski ruling is due pretty soon. IAM magazine, which is worried about the renewed backlash against intellectual monopolies, is trying to remain optimistic on behalf of unnecessary solicitors. But it’s hard.

And talking of business method patents, it struck me last night that one consequence of the current turmoil in the financial markets is that we will see far fewer of them in the future, whatever happens with Bilski. After all, financial institutions have been among the major players in the business method patent field as they seek to protect innovative investing strategies, risk models and the like. However, there are not as many of these institutions as there were a few months ago, while those that are left are much less likely to be looking for new and exciting ways to make money. Instead, they will be going back to basics. If this is the case, patenting is going to be the last thing on their minds.

The motion against software patents is still going strong and there are some new “Stop Software Patents” videos that are voluntarily produced by concerned YouTube users. Here are just a few among the many new additions:

Patent Trolls

A few days ago we wrote about Azure Networks, which is a classic patent troll. Here is some more information that reminds us of the fact that they file the lawsuits in he most typical of venues: Texas. They probably hope for a quick settlement, i.e. money for nothing (but extortion).

Azure Networks LLC vs. Nokia Inc.

Plaintiff Azure is a Texas limited liability company with its principal place of business in Longview.

Azure claims it owns the rights to U.S. Patent No. 6,981,158 entitled “Methods and Apparatus for Tracing Packets” issued on Dec. 27, 2005.

Also, Azure claims it is the owner by assignment of U.S. Patent No. 7,302,704 entitled “Excising Compromised Routers From an Ad-Hoc Network” issued on Nov. 27, 2007.

the more encouraging news comes from Law.com, which indicates relocation of lawsuits may now be possible, thus mitigating the troll problem somewhat.

Companies being sued for patent infringement just got a get-out-of-the-Eastern-District-of-Texas-rocket-docket-for-free card, thanks to an en banc ruling from the 5th Circuit.

In a split 10-7 decision, the panel on Friday issued a writ of mandamus ordering Eastern District Judge John Ward to transfer a product liability case against Volkswagen to Dallas, where the car crash in the underlying case took place.

The majority wrote that “the district court clearly abused its discretion and reached a patently erroneous result,” when it denied Volkswagen’s efforts to have the case moved. The car company argued that the proper venue should be the district where the crash took place.

Although the case — a family suing over design defects in the Volkswagen Golf after a fatal accident on a Dallas freeway — has nothing to do with patent law, the circuit’s decision will have big implications for the flood of patent infringement lawsuits regularly filed in what has come to be known as the country’s most plaintiff-friendly venue.

All in all, a lot is still happening. This whole debate is about removal of patent hurdles and legal obstacles. Keeping a close eye on software patents news is important these days, even to those who do not give a damn about legal stuff. Paying attention to the big picture is the only way to resolve this puzzle. If it gets political, so be it.

“Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won’t leave you alone.”

Richard Stallman

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2008/10/20/evidence-of-ill-system/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Techrights Statement on IRC

    Freenode needs to explain what the hell happened this week and why communities that make up the network weren't informed or consulted



  2. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, June 15, 2021



  3. Virtual Injustice -- Part 8: A Well-Connected 'IP' Maximalist

    The EPO‘s lobbying for European software patents goes all the way to the top, including António Campinos and his circle



  4. Links 16/6/2021: Alpine 3.14.0 and DXVK 1.9

    Links for the day



  5. Links 15/6/2021: Debian Installer Bullseye RC 2 and Zink Updates

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, June 14, 2021



  7. Virtual Injustice -- Part 7: Musical Chairs and Revolving Doors

    Cross pollination in Alicante and Munich serves to show that people aren't picked for their skills and experience; it's like a private club or a clique



  8. Hardly Shocking and Not At All Surprising That Thugs Who Run the EPO Hired External Thugs to Help Them Oppress Aggrieved Staff

    With the EPO's management flooding the bank accounts of aggressive law firms (at our expense) we need to ask serious questions about how such a "Mafia" (what EPO staff calls the management) managed to metastasise inside Europe's second-largest institution and how to remove this "Mafia" as soon as possible (some arrests too are well overdue)



  9. [Meme] There Are No Elections in Mafia-Type Regimes; It's About Family and Friends...

    With no real concept or notion of "elections" (the so-called 'mafia' members choose their successors and colleagues) the EPO's patent examiners clearly need outside intervention, e.g. inquest by the EU authorities (the EPC died and maybe the EPO too; it's unregulated and it grants false patents that harm Europe because the courts don't function, either)



  10. Today's Linux Standing for the Opposite of What Linux Users Stand for

    The so-called 'Linux' Foundation or the "Corporate Linux Foundation" is alienating many of the original users of GNU/Linux and it still insults their intelligence; it's rewriting history, it still distorts the objectives, and before we know Linux will perish and lose momentum because all the excitement associated with the brand will fizzle away



  11. Links 14/6/2021: Kdenlive 21.04.2 and Raspberry Pi 400 Support in Linux

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] EPO 'Lawfulness' as Crude Budget Wars

    A war of attrition against EPO staff won’t ensure justice is done; it’ll only increase the number of casualties and accomplish nothing good



  13. A Parade of 'Yes Men': EPO's Budget and Finance Committee as Rubber-stamper of the Dictatorship That Pays the Salary

    The lack of oversight at the EPO has long been apparent and it is becoming ever more problematic now that huge sums of money are passed by the EPO's management to law firms whose sole role is to fight against aggrieved EPO staff



  14. Links 14/6/2021: Linux 5.13 RC6, Psychonauts 2 for GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  15. Conveniently Conflating Vaccination With the Surveillance Business of IBM/Linux Foundation

    The way some media handles COVID-19 can be described as self-serving, especially Microsoft-connected sites looking to make “Linux” sound bad (or like property of Microsoft); the video above discusses this past weekend’s media coverage about “Linux”



  16. [Meme] Microsoft Stooping Down Low in Search of Vapourware With a Superficial Version Bump

    Instead of trying to actually fix its broken (and self-breaking) operating system Microsoft has decided to sell mythology and false promises, as usual



  17. [Meme] Illegal Location, Illegal Methods (Haar ViCo)

    EPC denial is more lethal than anything which the the EPO says may merit 'urgency' (as if having discussions about patents will save lives)



  18. The 'Fixer' of António Campinos Taints G1/21 (ViCo Hearing)

    The meeting which is set to resume at the start of next month includes the 'Fixer' of António Campinos; what sense of impartiality might one expect?



  19. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, June 13, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, June 13, 2021



  20. Virtual Injustice -- Part 6: Best Buddies With António

    Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and the Hungarian link of the EPO



  21. Classic: Old EPO Strike

    2008 EPO video, predating the Benoît Battistelli EPO regime



  22. Links 13/6/2021: Linux 5.14 Work, Lots of Patent News

    Links for the day



  23. Update on Gemini, IPFS, and IRC

    "The video which was supposed to be a few minutes long ended up taking a lot longer, but it does cover a broad range of topics that are relevant and very recent (based on recent developments)."



  24. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, June 12, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, June 12, 2021



  25. Virtual Injustice -- Part 5: Benoît's “Friends” in Budapest

    "Battistelli went to considerable lengths to secure the support of the Hungarian delegation."



  26. Links 13/6/2021: KDE Frameworks 5.83.0 and helloSystem 0.5

    Links for the day



  27. The Story of Techrights, in Banners...

    A look back at site banners from 2006-2021; they help illuminate or show our changing focus over the years



  28. With KDE Plasma 5.22 Having Just Been Released It's Time to Give KDE a Try (or Move to GNU/Linux, Leveraging the Best Features of Any Operating System Out There)

    A quick recommendation of KDE based on a reasonably recent (but not latest) build; there's this myth about KDE being difficult and flaky, but for a number of decades it has been the most advanced desktop (on any operating system) and its developers managed to hide the complexity while offering users all the power they may want/need



  29. Open Letter to the FSF About Taking Control of the FSF's (and GNU's) IRC Channels

    The FSF should have seized the opportunity, in light of self-harming IRC infighting (instability and unpredictability), to create its own IRC network and then help this new (or "GNU") network flourish



  30. EU Already Captured by -- and Lying for -- Corrupt EPO Officials, Team UPC, and Lobbyists of Multinational Corporations

    12 pages of lies; is the European Parliament reduced to a mere marionette of corrupt officials who run the EPO into the ground?


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts