01.28.16

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Patents Roundup: Apple, Patent Trolls, Software Patents, East Texas, and Rick Frenkel (Best Known as Patent Troll Tracker)

Posted in America, Apple, Patents, Samsung at 7:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rick Frenkel
This recent photograph of Rick Frenkel (from Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng) shows or reminds us that Frenkel is still fighting patent trolls

Summary: Recent developments in the world of patent trolls, including the relation to Apple and Linux/Android, where (software) patent battles persist and have become a considerable factor

THE decline of Apple can be explained in all sorts of ways (Android/Linux had a lot to do with it). But what we’re particularly interested in is Apple’s nasty patent litigation strategy, which motivated our call for a boycott half a decade ago, some time after the seminal attacks (on a lesser-armed HTC). The EPO shares the blame here as it too facilitated some of these attacks by incorrectly granting patents which were only later found to be invalid.

The most vocal proponents of software patents have just reminds us that “Samsung is going to pay Apple approximately $546 million in damages as part of the ongoing patent infringement dispute between the two technology giants.”

“The EPO shares the blame here as it too facilitated some of these attacks by incorrectly granting patents which were only later found to be invalid.”This is about software patents. Apple is trying to use them not just to tax rival products but also ban these. But it’s a two-edged sword because Apple is being sued for a similar amount (half a billion dollars) by a patent troll. This time, as always, it’s software patents (patent trolls rarely use any other kind of patents). The infamous patent troll VirnetX wants jury to give it a half-billion dollars of Apple’s cash. There’s something poetic about it, given the above news. When patent trolls hit Apple, as this new article from Joe Mullin helps show, big damages are being claimed. “A trial has just kicked off in the patent hotspot of East Texas,” Mullin wrote, “and it’s a big one. VirnetX, a patent-holding company that says it owns wide-ranging rights to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), is facing off against Apple.

“VirnetX says that Apple’s VPN technology, as well as its FaceTime video-messaging, both infringe the company’s patents. A jury trial began today, and VirnetX seeks $532 million in damages.”

“This is about software patents. Apple is trying to use them not just to tax rival products but also ban these.”We have written a lot about VirnetX and about East Texas in the past. This is a great example of what software patents do for patent trolls.

Speaking of East Texas, it turns out that Patent Troll Tracker (Rick Frenkel) is busy there right now. He wrote a lot about Fish & Richardson PC, especially when the father of patent trolling, Mr. Niro, sued them (before Frenkel and his employer Cisco got sued). Recall what got Patent Troll Tracker in trouble (lots of articles about this here). Fish & Richardson had a lot to do with that, even if indirectly. Fish & Richardson is a firm that worked for multinationals such as Samsung and Nokia on patents. It now expresses love of the UPC (less than a day ago in lawyer’s media). Yesterday’s publication from them says: “The next big step for the UPC will be selection of judges. Approximately 1,300 persons have indicated an interest, including many highly qualified judges, attorneys-at-law and patent attorneys. The Preparatory Committee is expected to adopt a selection procedure at their meeting on February 24-25, 2016 and begin the process immediately thereafter.”

“It turns out that Patent Troll Tracker is still fighting patent trolls.”Fish & Richardson itself is a firm of patent lawyers, and one that represents clients who can bring a lot of income when a company such as Apple, for instance, let alone some small patent troll, takes advantage of the UPC for large-scale cross-border lawsuits. Bear this in mind; see who’s rooting for the UPC; it shows who would benefit from it. Nothing at all to do with European SMEs.

Interestingly enough, Joe Mullin has just published this piece about patent trolls that attacked Newegg and quickly regretted it. It turns out that Patent Troll Tracker is still fighting patent trolls. Defamation lawsuits from trolls did not stop him. To quote from the top: “Latham & Watkins partner Rick Frenkel, who represents Newegg in some of its patent cases. Frenkel and Cheng made a stop for BBQ and fried pies on a recent trip to the patent hotspot of East Texas.”

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