08.05.12

Gemini version available ♊︎

Patent Trolls and Their Favourite Weapon, Software Patents, Could Face Death

Posted in EFF, Law, Patents at 10:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rep. Peter DeFazio and Rep. Jason Chaffetz give us Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (“SHIELD”) Act

Shield

Summary: An existential threat to the #1 foe of Free (as in freedom-respecting) software

THE EFF, which fights against software patents this year (targeting the whole lot, not busting them one at a time), is excited to see a bill that’s intended to stop software patents or at least make a start by flagging them as distinct. As news spreads about this bill in almost every technology site we learn that the target is “[p]eople who sue technology companies over patents when they’re really only trying to win big settlements [and] have earned themselves a nickname: patent trolls.

“Unlike the fake ‘reform’, this one is real, but Glyn Moody won’t believe it until it’s passed, he states.”“Thanks to the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes Act, or SHIELD Act, their days may be numbered.

“The SHIELD Act would require anybody who files a lawsuit related to a computer hardware or software patent to pay his or her opponent’s legal bills if a court finds the lawsuit “did not have a reasonable likelihood of succeeding.”

“Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio introduced the bill in the House to protect innovators from superfluous lawsuits.”

Unlike the fake ‘reform’, this one is real, but Glyn Moody won’t believe it until it’s passed, he states. The EFF’s words are “Can You Believe It? Legislation that Would Actually Help Fix the Patent System” (link).

To quote: “Finally, a moment of sanity. Today, Rep. Peter DeFazio, along with co-sponsor Rep. Jason Chaffetz, introduced legislation (HR 6245) in the House of Representatives that would actually help make the patent system work better for innovators and innovation, and make life more difficult for patent trolls.

“Well, if we wish to impede Microsoft proxies, then this bill can make an enormous contribution.”“We have written time and again about just how broken the system is and how, thus far, the courts and Congress have failed to fix it. Which makes us even more excited about the new bill, the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (“SHEILD”) Act. The idea behind the SHIELD Act is simple: if you sue someone, you better have a reasonable and good-faith belief that you are entitled to relief. In other words, a plaintiff needs to believe that a defendant actually infringes a valid patent before it sues. If it doesn’t, that plaintiff could be on the hook for the costs of litigation and for the winning party’s attorneys’ fees (which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases).

“Fee shifting, often called “loser pays,” is not a new idea. It’s long existed in copyright law, for instance, allowing a court to award a winning party costs and fees in certain cases. In patent litigation, this type of provision would help tilt the playing field slightly more in favor of the good guys. To understand, think about the patent troll business model: making broad claims of infringement based on patents of questionable validity is the troll’s favorite move. It’s no wonder that many defendants choose to pay up rather than take the time, energy, and especially the money to fight in court. Fee shifting would empower innovators to fight back, while discourging trolls from threatening lawsuits to start.

“Trying to understand the recent patent licensing deal between Microsoft and Amdocs is like watching a poker tournament, where you never know whether players are bluffing or if they have pat hands. In this case, it appears that Microsoft is bluffing when it comes to Linux. An inspection of the facts, as they are known, indicates the “Linux licensing” element of the story is only more Microsoft FUD–with Amdocs being a willing participant.

“This isn’t the story of an underdog being pressured by the Redmond giant into paying a bounty on some patents Microsoft claims are being infringed upon by Linux servers in Amdocs’s data centers. In fact, it appears as if Linux licensing isn’t really a part of this deal at all.”

“Lodsys got some patents from IV (Intellectual Ventures).”The OIN, in the mean time, is growing a team behind a portfolio of software patents (latest statement), perhaps refusing to accept that abolishing patent trolls and software patents is an achievable goal. Timothy B. Lee, one of the leading people in the fight against software patents, has this to say: “A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives attempts to deter frivolous patent litigation by forcing unsuccessful patent plaintiffs to cover defendants’ legal costs. Introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act is limited to patents related to computer hardware and software.

“”Patent trolls don’t create new technology and they don’t create American jobs,” DeFazio said in a news release. “They pad their pockets by buying patents on products they didn’t create and then suing the innovators who did the hard work and created the product.”

“While DeFazio portrays the SHIELD Act as anti-troll legislation, its provisions don’t seem to be limited to non-practicing entities. Any plantiff who a court finds “did not have a reasonable likelihood of succeeding” could be on the hook for his opponent’s legal bills, regardless of whether the plaintiff is using the technology in question.”

Mark Webbink keeps track of one such troll with Microsoft connections and a case against Android developers. To quote: “Lodsys has been hit with another declaratory judgment action, this one by Creative Mobile, O.U., an Estonian company, filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. (Complaint [PDF; Text]) There is nothing particularly new about this complaint when compared to earlier declaratory judgment actions filed against Lodsys other than the fact that it provides a useful synopsis of where the case stands. [See paragraphs 17 through 51]

“With so many suits in play it will be impractical to follow all of them, but that really shouldn’t be necessary anyway. There are three critical parts that merit our attention: (1) the pending reexaminations before the USPTO; (2) the intervention by Apple; and (3) the declaratory judgment action by Oracle with its attendant invalidity contentions.”

Lodsys got some patents from IV (Intellectual Ventures).

Well, if we wish to impede Microsoft proxies, then this bill can make an enormous contribution. To quote one of the better reports: “The bill is limited to patents that cover hardware or software for computers and other IT systems. It defines a software patent as a patent that covers “any process that could be implemented in a computer regardless of whether a computer is specifically mentioned in the patent.” This also includes systems that can be programmed to perform such a process. The bill expressly omits the highly controversial question of whether “computer-implemented inventions” should be patentable at all, stating that it does not aim to amend the substantive patent law.”

Excellent stuff!

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.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Audio: Mark Shuttleworth Targeted Young Males and With Sexy Pictures

    The Web is rotting away, old links become broken links within months or years, so I’ve decided to encode a 3-minute segment of the whole as Ogg



  2. What a Difference Half a Decade Makes (When Linux Foundation is 'Having Fun')

    Media shaming campaigns may have taken their toll on the founder of Linux, who is now bossed by someone who rejects Linux and is married to a Microsoft booster. Like Richard Stallman under FSF guidance (and conditions for return, mostly for fear of further media assaults and attack dogs), he has become a more publicity-shy and private person. The Linux Foundation has in effect reduced the founder of what it’s called after (Linux) into a weekly release manager and mascot, whose brand it is gradually diluting/cheapening.



  3. Links 15/05/2022: GNU libiconv 1.17

    Links for the day



  4. [Meme] Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) Cannot Be Reconciled With the Law

    Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC)? Impossible. But Team UPC counts on an endless torrent of fake news managing to convince you (and more importantly politicians) otherwise.



  5. Even Team Battistelli is Sometimes Admitting -- Out in Public! -- That Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Neither Legal Nor Desirable

    Daniel X. Thomas and other people who are “too old to punish” (consequences to their career profoundly minimised owing to seniority) are among those who push back against the Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court (UPC); any sane person — not a career-climbing litigation zealot — can identify the pertinent facts and realise that what’s going on here is an injustice of unprecedented proportions in the patent discipline



  6. [Meme] Common Sense at EPO

    The European examiners who deal with patents prefer a system that works for science, for Europe, not for foreign megacorporations that amass millions of low-quality patents and weaponise these to discourage competition



  7. Patent Granting at the EPO Has Collapsed by 24% Owing to Much-Needed Industrial Action

    Seeing that the EPO’s management routinely violates the law and even the very legal basis of the EPO’s existence (it is a monopoly in Europe; no body has the authority to compete against it), the EPO’s examiners have embarked on a ‘Work-to-Rule’ campaign — working in compliance with the rules as defined 49 years ago and revised over the decades — and the European Patent Convention (EPC) takes priority over unlawful demands from middle and upper management; this is proving highly effective so far and it will carry on until demands are met, i.e. until the law is obeyed and staff is treated with respect/dignity



  8. [Meme] Milan is a Suburb in London

    As long as Italy is not the UK and London means London “proper” (not the French town called London) the UPCA is invalid and no matter how much Team UPC (and its puppets in EPO management) may plead, this whole system is bound to implode



  9. The Latest Propaganda Tactics of Team UPC: Pretending Unified Patent Court Already Exists and Unitary Patents Are Default When If Fact None Even Exists

    8 years ago Benoît Battistelli said that the UPC was imminent; now, after 4 years of António Campinos, it’s still not here and Team UPC speculators say it won’t happen this year, either; just like the EPO constantly lies (both to the public and to its very own staff) Team UPC continues to lie to itself (self-delusion) and to us; both also routinely break the law, engage in deliberate violations of longstanding conventions, and scrap constitutions, which in turn becomes a breaking point for the EU’s credibility and the legal profession



  10. Links 15/05/2022: More Azure Shutdowns and Windows Security Blunders Aplenty

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 14, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 14, 2022



  12. Links 15/05/2022: Pika Backup 0.4

    Links for the day



  13. Changes in the Site and the Capsule

    A 10-minute explanation of what we've been up to lately and what's changing; hopefully I'll have a lot more free time in months to come and we'll be able to produce about a dozen posts per day



  14. Links 14/05/2022: Alt Linux 10.0 Released

    Links for the day



  15. Links 14/05/2022: Builder GTK 4 Porting and Raspberry Pi Matrix Dashboard

    Links for the day



  16. Elon Musk is Right About Twitter Faking Its Importance and Using Doctored, Manipulated 'Stats' (or Bots) to Boost Valuation Based on Lies

    Today’s empirical proof that Twitter is totally faking its relevance and reach/influence, based on “Analytics” of my long-inactive account; the SEC will once again — quite likely as usual — let Musk get away with it, killing a company for personal gain as a temporary shareholder who amassed a ton of free publicity (he paid nothing at all and sent the company into a death spiral, pretty much in the same way Microsoft and Icahn did Yahoo! or Microsoft and Elop did Nokia)



  17. Who Brings Home the Bacon (Revenue), Sheela or James (Jim)?

    Sheela (yes, wife of the nontechnical Linux Foundation chief, who equates Microsoft critics with people who kick puppies) has a history working with several companies that are closely connected to Microsoft (not just Bakkt); can that be reconciled as not a conflict of interest?



  18. The 'Original' Linus Torvalds on Self-Hosting

    The fast-aging founder of Linux spoke as shown above (2005); so much has changed since then…



  19. IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 13, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, May 13, 2022



  20. Links 13/05/2022: NetworkManager 1.38 and Pseudo-Security

    Links for the day



  21. Links 13/05/2022: GCC 12 Becoming Default Compiler in Tumbleweed

    Links for the day



  22. Links 13/05/2022: End of 'About BSD'

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 12, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 12, 2022



  24. Links 12/05/2022: AlmaLinux OS 8.6 and LibreOffice 7.2.7

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] Yes, Minister, Yes!

    We’re meant to think that patents — not sharing — are going to save the world



  26. Central Staff Committee of the EPO Reminds the EPO's Management, Yet Again, That It is Breaking Laws

    Sinking quality of European Patents, plus a Patent Granting Process that is not compliant with the law, quite likely mean the EPO drives straight into a wall; the Central Staff Committee is still trying to save the institution, but management is uncaring and unresponsive (these people typically serve a term and leave, so they couldn’t care less about the long-term viability of their employer)



  27. Formalities Officers Team Managers at the European Patent Office Consider Stepping Down

    Formalities Officers Team Managers at Europe's second-largest institution face a growing list of issues; some are even "considering stepping down," according to internal documents



  28. Links 11/05/2022: KDE Gear 22.04.1 and EuroLinux 8.6

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 11, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 11, 2022



  30. SPAMnil Appears to be Buying Fake Views in YouTube (to Embellish a Failing Channel)

    It seems like SPAMnil is ordering clickbots or similar to boost the “views” of his videos (by a factor of 10 or more, as before); I’ve gathered what I believe to be more than sufficient evidence of that (the above uses the Wayback Machine to make a point) and this is not about a channel's failure but an ethical breach, a liability for the Linux Foundation that likes to brag with false numbers in order to sell PR services


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