12.13.10

Red Hat Pushes for Patent Reform While Microsoft Patent Trolls Are Suing, Sometimes Losing

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ducklings

Summary: As expected, Microsoft offsprings (sometimes offshoots funded by Microsoft) go after Microsoft’s competitors using software patents while Linux leader Red Hat asks SCOTUS for help

FREE software faces some obstacles due to patent trolls, who statistically thrive in software patents. Microsoft recently got a deal with Acacia and ACCESS [1, 2, 3, 4], just around the same time that Red Hat signed an NDA with Acacia, as last mentioned in here (Spanish version also available).

In order to harm Free software Microsoft needs only to elevate its cost, which harms redistribution rights. The NDA with Red Hat is quite likely to have been such a case and given Microsoft’s connections with Acacia, this oughtn’t be ignored.

“Red Hat Joins Brief Filed with U.S. Supreme Court Opposing Expansion of Standard for Inducing Patent Infringement” says this new page adjacent to a press release which was followed by some press coverage:

Tuesday, Red Hat, Inc. (RHT), the world’s largest seller of linux software, said it has joined a writ filed with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking correction of the standard for abetting patent infringements.

[...]

Rob Tiller, Red Hat’s assistant general counsel for IP, said the problems of bad software patents is aggravated by the Federal Court’s decision.

More press coverage can be found in the press near Red Hat’s headquarters/centre of operation (which is reportedly going to move, maybe even outside the United States where software patents are out of control). “Red Hat joins battle against patent case at Supreme Court” says this headline.

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and several other technology firms have weighed into a Supreme Court battle over a lower court ruling that they believe “threatens to expand patent litigation.”

The “friend of the court” brief argues that parties with direct knowledge of a “specific patent at issue and covers the alleged infringing activity” are liable.

It is possible that after the i4i case escalating to a decision in SCOTUS there will no longer be a great threat to Red Hat’s business. There is also the Research Corp. v. Microsoft case which Patenly-O reports on:

There are three articulated exceptions to the scope of patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101: laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas. Research Corp. v. Microsoft places a high hurdle in front of challengers who seek to invalidate process patents on the third ground.

As we stressed last week, Microsoft is running out of viable products and it is increasingly becoming a patent troll in some areas of operation. Extensive use of patents is a symptom of dying companies and Nortel is the latest example of this. Previous examples were Sun and Novell. Even “Kodak becomes a patent troll” according to the FFII’s president’s interpretation of this article. We wrote about Kodak in the context of patents several times before [1, 2, 3, 4]. Companies turn to patents only when they lose. Watch Rambus getting called a “troll” for example:

PATENT TROLL Rambus has leveled a fresh complaint against its competitors.

For background also see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

It is important to remember that Microsoft need not sue its rivals for alleged patent violations directly. Microsoft is breeding major patent trolls, including Traul Allen with Interval, which allegedly got its lawsuit against the entire industry (except Microsoft) dismissed. [via]

Paul Allen’s patent infringement complaint against the world and its dog has been dismissed.

The court agreed with Google et al that it “lacks adequate factual detail to satisfy the dictates of Twombly and Iqbal” and also “fails to provide sufficient factual detail as suggested by Form 18″. The court doesn’t agree with Allen’s Interval Licensing that the two cases do not apply to patent complaints, but it doesn’t even need to go there: “The Court does not find it necessary to determine whether Form 18 is no longer adequate under Twombly and Iqbal because Plaintiff’s complaint fails to satisfy either the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Rule 8 or Form 18.”

Pamela Jones seems like the only person to have reached this conclusion, which Glyn Moody doubts due to insufficient evidence. Groklaw also said that SCO was over on many occasions since 2007, but when Jones said so she did not mean it in the technical sense. “Merry Troll Christmas, legal eagles,” she exclaims regarding the Traul Allen case. We shall wait and see if the corporate news can confirm this.

In other news, Slashdot’s summary says that Microsoft’s “World’s Largest Patent Troll Fires First Salvo”:

“Yesterday the biggest software patent troll of all finally woke from its slumbers: Intellectual Ventures filed patent infringement complaints in the US District Court of Delaware against companies in the software security, DRAM and Flash memory, and field-programmable gate array industries. Intellectual Ventures was co-founded by Microsoft’s former CTO Nathan Myhrvold, with others from Intel and a Seattle-based law firm.”

We wrote about it some days ago and so did Jones, who added: “What a surprise. Microsoft competitors getting knee capped.” It is now covered in very many sites, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. Well, ‘companies’ like that should not be allowed to exist in a sane system so “to Übertroll Intellectual Ventures,” writes Glyn Moody, “I say: bring it on”. He hopes they’ll show how broken the system really is:

This harping on “invention” and “innovation” is rather misleading. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t really invent anything for the purpose of commercialisation, manufacture or sale: it just comes up with ideas and applies for patents on them (or buys patents from others). Its business model is founded on amassing a huge collection of patents, and then getting companies to licence them – whether they want to or not – because their inventions are or may be “infringing” according to Intellectual Ventures.

It’s clear from this that the real invention is done by other companies who devise things they want to sell; IV, by contrast, thrives by exacting a tax on innovation done elsewhere. It can do that because of the flawed US patent system, which does not allow independent invention as a defence against allegations of infringement. That is, even though you provably didn’t “steal” another company’s idea, but came up with it on your own, if someone else patented it – or something similar enough – first you still have to pay for the “right” to use your own invention.

Of course, this is absurd: the whole premise of the patent system is that it should encourage as many people as possible to innovate, but this aspect actually punishes it, because it makes independent research vulnerable to this kind of penalty. That means companies will be less inclined to invest in research if they think there’s a chance they may get scooped in filing for the result – something that’s hard to tell in advance. Moreover, with the growth of ever-vaster patent thickets, it is increasingly difficult to come up with any new product that does not touch on one or more existing patents, especially when they are framed as vaguely as possible precisely for that purpose.

What makes Intellectual Ventures different from all the other patent trolls that live off others’ work is the scale of its operations. Nobody really knows the extent of its holdings, but the consensus is that we are talking about over 30,000 patents – an extraordinary number of government-granted intellectual monopolies.

[...]

I do so, because it could well be the coup de grace for the dysfunctional US patent edifice, already tottering. It would cause so many companies to turn against Intellectual Ventures, and rightly to blame the patent system that allows IV to exist, that real reform might at last be possible.

Facebook’s founder was reportedly hanging out with Intellectual Ventures’ founder whilst also buying extra patents from dead/dying companies and using software patents aggressively. Now that Facebook is being sued for patent infringement (again) it deserves no sympathy.

A little-known San Antonio software developer has filed a patent-infringement suit against social networking giant Facebook Inc.

Will Facebook turn to its buddy Nathan Myhrvold? Facebook is very close to Microsoft.

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/2010/12/13/microsoft-patent-trolls-attacking/

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. The Next Generation of Free Software (or Software Freedom) Activism, Tackling Newer Problems

    New challenges as labour rights and human rights are further eroded, thanks to 'high' 'tech' with its very 'innovative' 'features'



  2. Mass Litigation Over the Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP), Basically an Attack on All EPO Staff, Even EPO Pensioners

    “Importance of a binding and unambiguous erga omnes declaration” stressed by staff representatives of the EPO in a new letter to Benoît Battistelli‘s successor of choice, António Campinos, who has done nothing so far except attacking (or robbing) EPO staff, even EPO pensioners



  3. EPO 'Dialogue' With Staff Representatives is as Dead as 'Dialogue' With the Union

    “Yet another failure of social [sic] dialogue [sic] for Mr Campinos,” according to staff representatives, who rightly bemoan the Office president not giving a damn about staff; things quickly deteriorate in Europe’s second-largest institution, which does even worse things than granting loads of illegal European software patents (harming software producers and users alike)



  4. The FSF Needs to Reject OSI (and Open Source) Along With Much-Needed Rejection of the GNOME Foundation (Not the Same as the GNOME Project)

    Response to a good little speech (unscripted apparently) by Geoffrey Knauth, who explained his position on Open Source about a year ago



  5. Links 11/5/2021: Bodhi Linux 6.0, Coreboot 4.14, and DragonFly BSD 6.0

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 10, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, May 10, 2021



  7. Keynote by FSF President Geoff Knauth and Executive Director John Sullivan

    To quote the source: “FSF president Geoff Knauth became the president of the FSF in 2020, but has served on the FSF board of directors for over twenty years. FSF executive director John Sullivan started work with the FSF in 2003, and has never stopped since, with past roles including the FSF’s first Campaigns Manager and later the Manager of Operations.”



  8. Richard Stallman on Companies That Are “Only Pretending to be American Companies”

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, speaks about US politics being captured and dominated by large and multinational corporations in pursuit of just money and power



  9. Last Night's Talk by Richard Stallman About Software Freedom

    An inspiring new talk reminds many of us why loads of people continue to support the founder of the Free Software Movement



  10. Links 10/5/2021: Huawei's GNU/Linux Laptops and Kotlin 1.5.0

    Links for the day



  11. Richard Stallman on Writing rm, ls, and cp (Also Working on Bison)

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains what programs he developed in the eighties



  12. Raise the Roof

    Out comes the taxpayers’ subsidy, assured; with military the sky is the limit (and bailout guaranteed)



  13. Richard Stallman Replatformed 10 Hours From Now

    Link to the talk (when it goes live)



  14. [Meme] Bill Says, Bill Saves

    Bill Gates seems more likely to be indicted than to win a presidential election/term



  15. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 09, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 09, 2021



  16. According to the Wall Street Journal, Bill Gates’s Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein Caused the Bill-Melinda Divorce (While the Media Deflected to Dr. Stallman, Using a Phony 'Scandal')

    It’s becoming rather obvious that there’s real substance to accusations that Mr. Gates was in some sense enabling Jeffrey Epstein; while Gates-funded media told us that he was saving us from climate change and a pandemic (PR stunts for empathy and sympathy) Melinda worked really hard to distance herself from him, the father of her kids



  17. [Meme] Bill, What's Your Opinion?

    While it's ludicrous to insinuate that Mr. Gates somehow "started" COVID-19 he certainly "rode the wave" for reputation laundering purposes, profit, and distraction from scandals that precede the epidemic in China (and caused his marriage to break down)



  18. Links 10/5/2021: SystemRescueCD 8.03, KeePass 2.48 Released

    Links for the day



  19. How We Process and Upload Videos Hosted in Techrights

    With ffmpeg as the Swiss army knife (and various other utilities/programs ‘in between’) it’s possible to automate much of the pipeline associated with video production and self-hosting



  20. Richard Stallman's Free Software Speech in 2020 (FSF Turning 35)

    We've re-encoded (as WebM) the likely sole/only speech Richard Stallman gave about his movement last year; today seems like a suitable time to republish it because tomorrow a British university/group will replatform him (to use their term)



  21. The Chaos Theory

    Making GNU/Linux less stable and less predictable isn't good for GNU/Linux users; but it certainly helps sell Red Hat support contracts and vexation inside the community weakens Red Hat's competitors



  22. Gemini and Techrights: Still Growing in Gemini Space and Always Supporting/Loving the Protocol

    As we continue to expand in Gemini space (where our very large site became a very large and likely the largest capsule) it's worth explaining some of the overlooked merits of the protocol; unlike the World Wide Web (WWW) it does not impose things on the user/visitor, who is more or less in charge



  23. Links 9/5/2021: KDE Frameworks 5.82.0 Release and Patents Related to COVID Subjected to Waivers

    Links for the day



  24. Act More 'Professional' to Appease Mobs

    We should all think alike, dress alike, and like everybody (especially the business overlords)



  25. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 08, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 08, 2021



  26. Some Background on the Free Speech Society at the University of Buckingham, Where Richard Stallman is Being 'Replatformed'

    A private British university, the University of Buckingham, will 'host' (virtually) the most-defamed person in the Free software world; the Free Speech Society is only two years old and rationality for its existence is explained by its co-founder James Oliver



  27. Web Sites or News Sites Perish When Their Arguments Are Weak and/or Invalid

    "Just be honest!" is a simple motto for any site; but some sites sell out in pursuit of money or grandiosity, unlike us (we turned 14.5 years old on Friday)



  28. GNU/Linux Turns 38 (in 4 Months From Now)

    Contrary to what the Linux Foundation wants you to think, the operating system turns 38 later this year



  29. Richard Stallman: Steve Jobs Did Some Very Bad Things

    Dr. Richard Stallman told me about Steve Jobs that he had helped digitally imprison computer users



  30. GNU/Linux Founder Richard Stallman to Give a Talk at the University of Buckingham Tomorrow (Live Stream)

    Tomorrow it will be possible to watch this new talk live using Free software


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