06.24.13

Gemini version available ♊︎

More Grooming of Patent Trolls in Slashdot

Posted in Patents at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Misinterpretations of the law, mixing completely disparate concepts, used by patent trolls to justify what they do in Slashdot

Slashdot is a weird beast. I recently re-subscribed just to get a taste of where it’s at after doing all the Microsoft PR [1, 2, 3, 4] (there is a bit less of that now). When it comes to patent news, Slashdot used to be good a decade ago, but recently it became a platform for grooming villains, aiding some ill patent agenda [1, 2]. It is not as though software patents are promoted, but sometimes it seems like trolls are. How truly baffling.

A decision made by CAFC last weeks helped validate some horrific software patent from Ultramercial, leading to rants such as this:

Patent Court Stands By Its Claim That Adding ‘On The Internet’ Can Make An Abstract Idea Patentable

We’ve been following the Ultramercial case quite closely over the past few years. If you’re not aware, this involved a company that more or less patented the idea of “you must watch this ad to get this content” (US Patent 7,346,545) and then sued pretty much everyone. Most of the companies it sued settled rather than fight (which happens all the time), including YouTube and Hulu, but one company, WildTangent, has continued the fight. Eventually, though, the case reached the Supreme Court with the key question being does taking an abstract idea like “watch this before getting that” and adding “on the internet” to it make it patentable? It’s well established that you can’t patent an abstract idea, but for some reason many seem to think that if you say “on the internet” it’s no longer abstract. The Supreme Court did not do a full hearing on the case, but asked the appeals court of the federal circuit (CAFC — known as the patent appeals court) to reconsider its original ruling in light of the Supreme Court’s
ruling in the Prometheus case, where it said that you can’t patent broad medical diagnostics. The rule there was that you “could not simply recite a law of nature and then add the instruction ‘apply the law.’” So, is the same true for “abstract idea” plus “on the internet”?

Therein lies a key problem. Software should not be patentable. There are those, however, who single out trolls as the culprit (culling out trolls is better than nothing), noting/highlighting for instance notorious entities like Intellectual Ventures with its 2,000 or so proxies. According to this report from Pamela Jones, the FTC might fail to challenge those most critical elements of abuse, unless they somehow manage to probe Bill Gates’ close friend, who is by far the biggest troll in the world. As Jones put it:

Now that we know that the FTC is interested in whether patent trolls’ business practices are hurting competition and is planning to investigate, I thought I’d point out something I found interesting in a recent motion for a protective order [PDF] by Intellectual Ventures’ CEO Nathan Myhrvold in a dispute with Lodsys, the patent troll trying to sue multiple companies and Apple app developers in two of the Lodsys litigations in Texas, Lodsys v. Brother International Corp. et al. and Lodsys v. Combay, Inc., et al.. The dispute is being handled separately, as Myhrvold v. Lodsys Inc et al, in Washington State, docketed as 2:13-mc-00088-RSL. The presiding judge is Robert S. Lasnik, hence the RSL in the docket line.

Myhrvold’s lawyer has filed a Declaration in Support, as well some exhibits [PDF], one of them under seal. Myhrvold’s trying to avoid a deposition by Lodsys, and the battle over it has been going on since last October.

From these documents, I learned that the patents Lodsys is using to sue everyone did indeed come from Intellectual Ventures, as we had heard, but there was a middle man, fellow patent troll Webvention LLC. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Webvention in the news going after multiple victims with goofy, broad-stroke patents it got from IV. Anyway, IV sold the patents Lodsys is using to Webvention first, and Webvention then sold them to Lodsys. Lodsys has some questions it would like Myhrvold to answer about all that.

He also allegedly had some conversations with Bill Gates that they’d like to ask him about, and there is an email to Gates and others at Microsoft dealing with “combinations” that they say came from Myhrvold’s email account that they are interested in asking him about. Finally, there is an IV license with Microsoft that Lodsys would like more information about.

Me, too, and I hope the FTC will feel the same. A subpoena from the FTC would be harder to avoid complying with than one from Lodsys.

This is interesting because it helps show the unique role of Microsoft in the trolls’ shell game. There are other notorious trolls out there (exposed time after time, many connected to Microsoft) and just like Myhrvold, this one too receives grooming from a long-lost ‘geek’ site. To quote the latest: “A few weeks ago you had the chance to ask James Logan, the founder of Personal Audio, about the business, the patents the company holds, and the lawsuits it has filed.” (Slashdot called for questions here)

iophk says: “It seems that /. [Slashdot] has wandered very far of the path it started out on. I wonder if that is part of the reason that Malda got forced out.”

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. Links 25/10/2021: EasyOS 3.1 and Bareflank 3.0

    Links for the day



  2. The Demolition of the EPO Was Made Possible With Assistance From Countries That Barely Have European Patents

    The legal basis of today's EPO has been crushed; a lot of this was made possible by countries with barely any stakes in the outcome



  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League - North Macedonia and Albania

    We continue to look at Benoît Battistelli‘s enablers at the EPO



  4. Links 24/10/2021: GPS Daemon (GPSD) Bug and Lots of Openwashing

    Links for the day



  5. Links 24/10/2021: XWayland 21.1.3 and Ubuntu Linux 22.04 LTS Daily Build

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 23, 2021



  7. Links 24/10/2021: Ceph Boss Sage Weil Resigns and Many GPL Enforcement Stories

    Links for the day



  8. GAFAM-Funded NPR Reports That Facebook Let Millions of People Like Trump Flout the So-called Rules. Not Just “a Few”.

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  9. Some Memes About What Croatia Means to the European Patent Office

    Before we proceed to other countries in the region, let’s not forget or let’s immortalise the role played by Croatia in the EPO (memes are memorable)



  10. Gangster Culture in the EPO

    The EPO‘s Administrative Council was gamed by a gangster from Croatia; today we start the segment of the series which deals with the Balkan region



  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”

    The EPO‘s circle of corruption in the Balkan region will be the focus of today’s (and upcoming) coverage, showing some of the controversial enablers of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, two deeply corrupt French officials who rapidly drive the Office into the ground for personal gain (at Europe’s expense!)



  12. Links 23/10/2021: FreeBSD 12.3 Beta, Wine 6.20, and NuTyX 21.10.0

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 22, 2021



  14. [Meme] [Teaser] Crime Express

    The series about Battistelli's "Strike Regulations" (20 parts thus far) culminates as the next station is the Balkan region



  15. Links 23/10/2021: Star Labs/StarLite, Ventoy 1.0.56

    Links for the day



  16. Gemini on Sourcehut and Further Expansion of Gemini Space

    Gemini protocol is becoming a widely adopted de facto standard for many who want to de-clutter the Internet by moving away from the World Wide Web and HTML (nowadays plagued by JavaScript, CSS, and many bloated frameworks that spy)



  17. Unlawful Regimes Even Hungary and Poland Would Envy

    There’s plenty of news reports about Polish and Hungarian heads of states violating human rights, but never can one find criticism of the EPO’s management doing the same (the mainstream avoids this subject altogether); today we examine how that area of Europe voted on the illegal "Strike Regulations" of Benoît Battistelli



  18. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group

    The EPO‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations” (which helped Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos illegally crush or repress EPO staff) were supported by only one among 4 Visegrád delegates



  19. [Meme] IBM Has Paid ZDNet to Troll the Community

    Over the past few weeks ZDNet has constantly published courses with the word "master" in their headlines (we caught several examples; a few are shown above); years ago this was common, also in relation to IBM itself; clearly IBM thinks that the word is racially sensitive and offensive only when it's not IBM using the word and nowadays IBM pays ZDNet — sometimes proxying through the Linux Foundation — to relay this self-contradictory message whose objective is to shame programmers, Free software communities etc. (through guilt they can leverage more power and resort to projection tactics, sometimes outright slander which distracts)



  20. [Meme] ILO Designed to Fail: EPO Presidents Cannot be Held Accountable If ILOAT Takes Almost a Decade to Issue a Simple Ruling

    The recent ILOAT ruling (a trivial no-brainer) inadvertently reminds one of the severe weaknesses of ILOAT; what good is a system of accountability that issues rulings on decisions that are barely relevant anymore (or too late to correct)?



  21. Links 22/10/2021: Trump's AGPL Violations and Chrome 95 Released

    Links for the day



  22. [Meme] How Corporate Monopolies Demonise Critics of Their Technically and Legally Problematic 'Products'

    When the technical substance of some criticism stands (defensible based upon evidence), and is increasingly difficult to refute based on facts, make up some fictional issue — a straw man argument — and then respond to that phony issue based on no facts at all



  23. Links 22/10/2021: Global Encryption Day

    Links for the day



  24. [Meme] Speaking the Same Language

    Language inside the EPO is misleading. Francophones Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos casually misuse the word “social”.



  25. António Campinos Thinks Salary Reductions Months Before He Leaves is “Exceptional Social Gesture”

    Just as Benoît Battistelli had a profound misunderstanding of the concept of “social democracy” his mate seems to completely misunderstand what a “social gesture” is (should have asked his father)



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 21, 2021



  27. Links 21/10/2021: MX Linux 21 and Git Contributors’ Summit in a Nutshell

    Links for the day



  28. [Meme] [Teaser] Miguel de Icaza on CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Our ongoing series, which is very long, will shed much-needed light on GitHub and its goals (the dark side is a lot darker than people care to realise)



  29. Gemini Protocol and Gemini Space Are Not a Niche; for Techrights, Gemini Means Half a Million Page Requests a Month

    Techrights on gemini:// has become very big and we’ll soon regenerate all the pages (about 37,500 of them) to improve clarity, consistency, and general integrity



  30. 'Satellite States' of EPO Autocrats

    Today we look more closely at how Baltic states were rendered 'voting fodder' by large European states, looking to rubber-stamp new and oppressive measures which disempower the masses


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