04.19.10

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Patents Roundup: Microsoft Paid a Patent Troll for Patents (Maybe in Vain); Google and Yahoo Sue Xerox

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Patents at 9:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xerox Alto

Photo of the Xerox Alto, taken by Martin Pittenauer

Summary: Anascape, a patent troll, loses its case against Nintendo (Microsoft gave up early); Xerox is countersued by Google and Yahoo for patent infringement

SEVERAL months ago we wrote about Nintendo being hit with a lawsuit similar to Microsoft’s. Anascape, which is a patent troll, alleged that both companies had violated its patent. Microsoft paid up to settle, whereas Nintendo fought against the troll and won. From last week’s news we have:

i.Nintendo wins appeal against patent infringement claim

ii.Nintendo Wins Controller Patent Appeal

iii. Nintendo’s Court Case Saves $21 Million Controller Costs

A few years ago, a company called Anascape took Nintendo and Microsoft to court in a case regarding a US patent and that, in Nintendo’s case, related to patented technology used in a variety of controllers. Microsoft settled out of court. Nintendo appealed the ruling handed down against it, along with a fine of $21 million.

iv. Nintendo beats Wii patent infringement rap

Nintendo has claimed victory in its long-running legal battle with Anascape after the US Court of Appeals said it did not infringe a patent held by the little-known intellectual property owner.

Here is the relation to Microsoft again:

Microsoft settled out of court but Nintendo chose to fight on and was hit with a damages bill amounting to $21 million for infringing upon one of the company’s patents with its Wii Classic, Wavebird, and GameCube controllers. At the time, many believed Nintendo had made the wrong decision, as settling out of court would surely have been cheaper. However, two years on, Nintendo has had that ruling overturned in the Federal Circuit Court.

Microsoft is not in a position to whine about such patent trolls because Microsoft breeds the world's biggest patent troll. Microsoft itself engages in patent racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

According to legal sites, the USPTO is preparing to improve the appeals process and the ITC becomes intolerant (or less tolerant) of patent trolls.

Patent trolls beware. You won’t win a case at the International Trade Commission if the only thing you do with your patent is sue people for infringing it.

That’s not a domestic industry.

This is not enough to deter patent trolls like Acacia, which needn’t rely on the ITC because they are well funded and have patience. Additionally, the patent problem involves patent trolls and patent hoarders alike, just not the majority that’s in the middle (SMBs). Xerox, for example, is a the company that gives Acacia all sort of patents, which are later being used against GNU/Linux. Xerox also sued Google and Yahoo back in February, only to be sued by Google and Yahoo this month. [via]

Google Inc, its YouTube video service, and Yahoo Inc on Thursday filed counterclaims against Xerox Corp in a lawsuit accusing them of infringing the document management company’s patents on Internet searches.

We’ve hardly ever seen Google suing with patents. Now we do.

What is the benefit to science when patent trolls attack companies with actual products or two companies with products are attacking one another? The biggest winners here are patent lawyers.

“Hey, Steve, just because you broke into Xerox’s store before I did and took the TV doesn’t mean I can’t go in later and steal the stereo.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

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