Gemini version available ♊︎

Patent Trolls Thrive in the United States, Europe Can Keep Them Away

Posted in Patents at 9:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Patent trolls in the news and some quick remarks about them

THE patent realists, those who actually produce something other than lawsuits, carry on talking about the issues.

Pieter Hintjens, the former president of the FFII, says that “[f]f you naively define “innovation” as “making better products, cheaper”, you’ve not grasped the first thing about patents.” Patents are about preventing features from being included and raising costs, too. He adds that “[t]o understand how patents “help innovation” it helps to redefine “innovation” as “making money from patent claims”.” Later he quotes himself as saying that “[p]atents [are] a legislative parasite that consumes the industrial base, and replaces it with cartels and trolls.” [original]

According to this new article, the trolls epidemic is very real in Texas. To quote the opening paragraph of the story: “The small town of Marshall (population: less than 25,000) in the east Texas part of the Piney Woods forest – famous for wild hog hunting – is the self-proclaimed “Pottery Capital of the World”. More recently, however, it has become best known for lawsuits brought by “patent trolls” – companies that apply for or buy up catch-all patents (often from companies forced to liquidate their assets), hunt down other companies with patents that may have a degree of crossover with theirs – and then sue.

“There are office blocks with hundreds of these firms registered in Marshall, home of the US district court for the eastern district of Texas, which has a particularly favourable regime for patent trolls.

“Previously, many personal injury litigation cases were brought in east Texas but a reform of Texas tort law in 2003 put an end to that, leading to the boom in intellectual property (IP) litigation – and the slogan bandied about by lawyers: “From PI to IP”.”

This has largely been facilitated by a broken system that permits racketeering from the likes of supertroll Intellectual Ventures and Interval (both with strong Microsoft connections), whose claims are routinely analysed here and elsewhere. Here is the latest about Interval:

The reexaminations of the four Interval Licensing patents continue to move forward with the USPTO examiner issuing a second Action Closing Prosecution, this one on the ’682 patent. In this instance the examiner has now confirmed the sole remaining challenged independent claim (two were confirmed at the time the Non-Final Action was issued) and all of the original 13 dependent claims that were challenged. In addition, the examiner has accepted 20 of the 24 dependent claims added by the patent holder during this reexamination. In other words, this reexamination looks like it will result in the complete affirmation of this patent.

According to the FFII’s president, things are not getting any better as “Ericsson to turn into a patent troll” as well.

“Any company or manufacturer will need an agreement with Ericsson,” to quote this new report which also says:

Ericsson AB, the world’s largest maker of mobile-phone networks, aims to increase revenue from its more than 27,000 patents as devices from toys to energy meters get wireless access, its chief executive officer said.

“By 2015 two thirds of all consumer electronics devices will have some sort of connectivity,” Hans Vestberg said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Stockholm. “Any company or manufacturer that wants to get in there will need an agreement with Ericsson.”

Ericsson, which helped develop the global system for mobile communications that enables handsets to latch onto networks from London to Jakarta, holds the industry’s largest portfolio of wireless communication patents. Generating more revenue from rights would help smooth out fluctuations in network orders.

Here is another bit of news about patent trolls going after Yelp and Groupon:

On November 7, a little known company called Mobile Commerce Framework (MCF) sued both Groupon and Yelp for patent infringement. Groupon, of recent IPO fame, sells coupons for use at local shops, restaurants, even doctors’ offices. Yelp has become something of a democratized Zagat guide, providing information and reviews of local establishments across the U.S. MCF, a vague enterprise based in California, appears to be a patent troll, or in politically correct terms, a patent-holding entity that does not produce any products. MCF alleges in its respective Groupon and Yelp complaints that both of the young, internet-based companies infringed upon Patent Number 7,693,752, owned by MCF. While patent wars among technology developers is nothing new, what is of particular interest in these cases is the breadth of the patent itself and the mobile device industry at large.

This is of course happening in the US, where patent trolls are very commonplace. The FFII’s president warns that the same might happen in Europe if the multinationals and/or patent lawyers get their way. To quote:

EU patent is an example where adoption where EU shows it will do everything possible to boost growth of trolls

There is a formal document linked there. They usually prefer to say “boost the economy” or something along those lines.

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    November 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm



    Pieter Hintjens, the former president of the FFII, says that “[f]f you naively define “innovation” as “making better products, cheaper”, you’ve not grasped the first thing about patents.” Patents are about preventing features from being included and raising costs, too.

    Linux and Gnome and KDE and most things open source are also protected. I cannot use them as I wish – I must follow the guidelines they set up (or break the law).

    Are you OK with that?

    I am. I am also OK if Company X makes a software or creates an innovative method of solving a problem for them to protect that as they wish – with limits.

    You set limits. I set limits. These limits are, of course, somewhat arbitrary – and you pretend your view on it is the only one. It is absurd.

    With that said, if you can show a company actually misusing patents then do so. I certainly would not support that. But mostly you just whine.

DecorWhat Else is New

  1. The Demonisation and Stereotyping of Coders Not Working for Big Corporations (or 'The System')

    The war on encrypted communication (or secure communications) carries on despite a lack of evidence that encryption stands in the way of crime investigations (most criminals use none of it)

  2. On the 'Peak Hacker' Series

    Hacker culture, unlike Ludditism, is ultimately a movement for justice, for equality, and for human rights through personal and collective emancipation; Dr. Farnell has done a good job explaining where we stand and his splendid series has come to a close

  3. Links 23/1/2022: First RC of Linux 5.17 and Sway 1.7 Released

    Links for the day

  4. Peak Code — Part III: After Code

    "Surveillance perimeters, smart TVs (Telescreens built to Orwell's original blueprint) watched over our living rooms. Mandatory smart everything kept us 'trustless'. Safe search, safe thoughts. We withdrew. Inside, we went quietly mad."

  5. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 22, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 22, 2022

  6. Links 23/1/2022: MongoDB 5.2, BuddyPress 10.0.0, and GNU Parallel 20220122

    Links for the day

  7. A Parade of Fake News About the UPC Does Not Change the General Consensus or the Simple Facts

    European Patents (EPs) from the EPO are granted in violation of the EPC; Courts are now targeted by António Campinos and the minions he associates with (mostly parasitic litigation firms and monopolists), for they want puppets for “judges” and for invalid patents to be magically rendered “valid” and “enforceable”

  8. Welcome to 2022: Intentional Lies Are 'Benefits' and 'Alternative Facts'

    A crooks-run EPO, together with the patent litigation cabal that we’ve dubbed ‘Team UPC’ (it has nothing to do with science or with innovation), is spreading tons of misinformation; the lies are designed to make the law-breaking seem OK, knowing that Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are practically above the law, so perjury as well as gross violations of the EPC and constitutions won’t scare them (prosecution as deterrence just isn’t there, which is another inherent problem with the UPC)

  9. From Software Eating the World to the Pentagon Eating All the Software

    “Software is eating the world,” according to Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape), but the Empire Strikes Back (not the movie, the actual empire) by hijacking all code by proxy, via Microsoft, just as it grabbed a lot of the world’s communications via Skype, bypassing the world's many national telecoms; coders need to fight back rather than participate in racist (imperial) shams such as GitHub

  10. Links 22/1/2022: Skrooge 2.27.0 and Ray-Tracing Stuff

    Links for the day

  11. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 21, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 21, 2022

  12. Peak Code — Part II: Lost Source

    "Debian and Mozilla played along. They were made “Yeoman Freeholders” in return for rewriting their charters to “work closely with the new Ministry in the interests of all stakeholders” – or some-such vacuous spout… because no one remembers… after that it started."

  13. Links 22/1/2022: Ubuntu MATE 21.10 for GPD Pocket 3, MINISFORUM Preloads GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  14. Computer Users Should be Operators, But Instead They're Being Operated by Vendors and Governments

    Computers have been turned into hostile black boxes (unlike Blackbox) that distrust the person who purchased them; moreover, from a legislative point of view, encryption (i.e. computer security) is perceived and treated by governments like a threat instead of something imperative — a necessity for society’s empowerment (privacy is about control and people in positions of unjust power want total and complete control)

  15. Peak Code — Part I: Before the Wars

    Article/series by Dr. Andy Farnell: "in the period between 1960 and 2060 people had mistaken what they called "The Internet" for a communications system, when it had in fact been an Ideal and a Battleground all along - the site of the 100 years info-war."

  16. Links 21/1/2022: RISC-V Development Board and Rust 1.58.1

    Links for the day

  17. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 20, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 20, 2022

  18. Gemini Lets You Control the Presentation Layer to Suit Your Own Needs

    In Gemini (or the Web as seen through Gemini clients such as Kristall) the user comes first; it's not sites/capsules that tell the user how pages are presented/rendered, as they decide only on structural/semantic aspects

  19. The Future of Techrights

    Futures are difficult to predict, but our general vision for the years ahead revolves around more community involvement and less (none or decreased) reliance on third parties, especially monopolistic corporations, mostly because they oppress the population via the network and via electronic devices

  20. [Meme] UPC for CJEU

    When you do illegal things and knowingly break the law to get started with a “legal” system you know it’ll end up in tears… or the CJEU

  21. Links 20/1/2022: 'Pluton' Pushback and Red Hat Satellite 6.10.2

    Links for the day

  22. The Web is a Corporate Misinformation/Disinformation Platform, Biased Against Communities, Facts, and Science

    Misinformation/disinformation in so-called 'news' sites is a pandemic which spreads; in the process, the founder of GNU/Linux gets defamed and GNU/Linux itself is described as the problem, not the solution to the actual problems

  23. Links 20/1/2022: McKinsey Openwashing and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day

  24. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 19, 2022

  25. Links 20/1/2022: Linuxfx 11.1 WxDesktop 11.0.3 and FreeIPMI 1.6.9 Released

    Links for the day

  26. Links 19/1/2022: XWayland 22.1 RC1 and OnlyOffice 7.0 Release

    Links for the day

  27. Links 19/1/2022: ArchLabs 2022.01.18 and KDE's 15-Minute Bug Initiative

    Links for the day

  28. When Twitter Protects Abusers and Abuse (and Twitter's Sponsors)

    Twitter is an out-of-control censorship machine and it should be treated accordingly even by those who merely "read" or "follow" Twitter accounts; Twitter is a filter, not a news/media platform or even means of communication

  29. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 18, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 18, 2022

  30. Links 19/1/2022: Wine 7.x Era Begins and Istio 1.12.2 is Out

    Links for the day

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