01.21.12

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Regulators Paranoid About Android, Miss the Real Issue

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 11:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Developments on the patents front and how they affect the Linux-powered Android platform

THERE is usually danger that proprietary software vendors will hijack the voice of FOSS ones. The infiltration which we previously mentioned is further promoted by Microsoft-friendly circles. It is a true danger when FOSS is being hijacked (and Microsoft lobbyists, for example, call themselves “FOSS patents”).

There has been a campaign designed to derail Google’s acquisition of patents that would defend Android. Microsoft lobbyists participated in this campaign. According to this update from Bloomberg:

Regulatory reviews mean the purchase by Google is likely to be completed in 2012, Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility said in November. Google plans to use Motorola Mobility’s more than 17,000 patents to protect supporters of its Android software in licensing and legal disputes with rivals such as Apple Inc. (AAPL) — and also move into the hardware business.

More here:

European Union regulators restarted their antitrust review of plans by Google Inc., the biggest maker of smartphone software, to buy Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.

The European Commission set a new deadline of Feb. 13 to rule on the deal. It stopped the review on Dec. 6 to seek more information from the companies.

Where were the regulators when Microsoft extorted a lot of companies using patents. With more patents on software being granted, the regulators are missing the point. The one new example says:

EliteForm’s PowerTracker uses patent-pending algorithms and the latest in 3D computer vision to track the movement of athletes during strength exercises without the use of wired attachments.

Patents on algorithms? That is not allowed in Europe.

To quote more from Bloomberg:

The number of patents in litigation between Apple Inc. (AAPL) and a Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI) unit was narrowed by a judge who invalidated two of them, said Apple didn’t infringe a third and found that issues with five others required a trial.

Apple is losing its case against Motorola and new patents from its patent worship sites suggest that monopolies on Siri are coming:

That application, published this morning by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and picked up by Patently Apple, details an “Intelligent Automated Assistant.” The filing, dated January 2011, comes some nine months after Apple’s acquisition of Siri the company, and includes numerous diagrams of the software in use.

Sadly for Apple, on the Android side there are also many patents that can be used defensively and Ericsson/Sony is among those with an arsenal (the Microsoft lobbyist tries to spin it against Android). Moreover, Larry Ellison’s attack on Android is failing again:

The parties in Oracle v. Google have been busy debating whether or not Oracle should be allowed to submit yet a third expert damages report, after the judge found the first two were ridiculous. He didn’t accept the way Oracle came up with such huge damages numbers, the very ones that made headlines when the case was new.

And more remarks from Mr. Pogson can be found here.

A few days ago we wrote about the patent allegations/charges from Oracle allegedly being conceded and here is more on that:

In a surprise detail, Oracle also claimed that Sun Microsystems was looking to get into the smartphone game. Oracle wrote, “Sun had plans and the means to use that intellectual property to develop a smartphone platform that would have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues. These plans were undermined by Google’s release of an incompatible Android for free.”

Oracle’s claim that Sun was looking to develop a smartphone operating system is an interesting one given that the firm’s Java Mobile Edition was hardly setting the world alight when Apple’s IOS came out, let alone Google’s Android. It will be interesting to see what, if any, evidence Oracle has to back up this statement.

The Oracle versus Google Android battle has stalled twice over arguments about the amount of damages. Whether Oracle’s latest ploy will result in any of its patent claims being put in front of a jury is unclear at this point.

If true, then it marks a small victory for Android, but the Microsoft lobbyists try to spin as it bad news.

In other news, Microsoft might pay Alcatel soon:

A jury awarded Alcatel-Lucent $70 million after Microsoft was found to have stolen a Day patent in its Outlook software.

More here;

Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), Microsoft Patent-Infringement Case Dismissed

Alcatel-Lucent (ALU)’s patent-infringement lawsuit against Microsoft Corp., (MSFT) the world’s largest maker of software, was dismissed by a federal judge after both companies asked to end the case.

U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff granted the joint motion to end all claims in the suit with each side agreeing to bear its own costs, according to a filing Jan. 17 in San Diego. No information was given on a possible settlement of the dispute.

In July, a jury awarded Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent $70 million in damages. Huff reduced the award to $26.3 million on Nov. 10.

Alcatel-Lucent sued over technology in Redmond, Washington- based Microsoft’s Outlook program and two other applications.

The case is Lucent Technologies Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 07-02000, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

And more here:

Alcatel-Lucent’s patent infringement lawsuit against Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest maker of software, was dismissed by a federal judge after both companies asked to end the case.

U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff granted the joint motion to ends all claims in the suit with each side agreeing to bear its own costs, according to a filing yesterday in San Diego. No information was given on a possible settlement of the dispute.

Microsoft was probably required to pay. Maybe it will also learn a lesson about the patent system, one lawsuit at the time (I have purchased an Alcatel phone for this reason), then withdraw from its anti-Linux blackmail. And speaking of Microsoft, its racist side (deleting black people) is arguably resurfacing again in a patent:

Microsoft faces accusations of potential racism related to its patent for a new pedestrian-friendly map application.

To be fair, geography/demography and race are not the same thing. Microsoft gets flak nonetheless, for a patent so stupid that its existence alone is offensive to human civilisation.

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