01.04.12

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Starting 2012 With Patent Extortion and Litigation

Posted in GNU/Linux, Patents at 3:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New year 2012

Summary: News from Tuxera in Asia, the unitary patent in Europe, and SCOracle in the United States

THE patents business is booming as more companies choose litigation rather than production.

After Microsoft’s attack on TomTom we find Tuxera, the company which puts a Microsoft tax on Linux, expanding in the East.

André Rebentisch from the FFII expresses concerns about expansion of patents in Europe. “European patents,” he quotes, are “granted from all the participating Member States with the same set of claims should benefit from unitary effect.” We did a series about the unitary patent at the end of last month [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and we shall resume this soon.

Here is Groklaw‘s update on Oracle’s case against Android:

When we last visited the parties on the issue of evidence of patent marking, the parties had reached agreement with respect to process but not timetable. (See, More Arguments with Respect to the Cockburn Damages Report) The parties have now reached agreement on the timetable, and it appears a further concession by Oracle that trial is not imminent.

The patent system is further ridiculed at Groklaw. This is a good example:

Every once in a while (okay, actually way more often than most of us would care to think about) a patent issues that gives one pause. One reading of the patent may suggest a plausible, worthwhile invention that is well-intentioned. But a second reading of the same patent invites a far more concerned reaction.

Such is the case with U.S. Patent No. 8,078,492 recently issued to IBM. The title of the ’492 patent is “Providing Consumers With Incentives For Healthy Eating Habits,” but when does a system move from merely a personal incentive for which one can opt in to a system that may be imposed by the government or an employer? Do either have the right to enforce a particular diet with sanctions?

Groklaw rarely mentions IBM in a negative light, but maybe it should. The patent system turned from a publication opportunity for innovators to a monopolisation opportunity for few giants that hoard the market and invoke turbulence/storm/fear/terror to discourage new entrants. The public as a whole suffers from this.

2012 will be another year of litigation because the patents bubble is expanding. Companies fail to sell products in a stagnant market, so they try to exclude or extort their competition instead. The cost of ligation trickles down to customers.

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