08.22.17

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News About Patents Dominated by Patent Trolls/Aggressors, Their Press Releases, and Sympathisers

Posted in Apple, Deception, Patents at 6:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A collection of news items from yesterday, demonstrating just to what degree the narrative of patent trolls (or aggressors) is being spread by paying for distribution

THE USPTO has been granted far too many patents (by lowering quality) — patents that are mostly used by trolls to shake down companies and sometimes sue them (only then do such patent disputes become publicly visible). Thankfully, US courts are not tolerating these patents and PTAB, moreover, leaps to the rescue quite often, reducing the incentive to even approach a company with patent claims (with or without a lawsuit being filed).

BigbellyOver at Watchtroll (a couple of days ago), the so-called “patent market” (the term used in the headline) is said to be “depressed”. They are speaking for patent aggressors and parasites, so the word “market” is inadeuate here (trolls have no market, they prey on the market). The actual, real market is thriving, but the patent ‘industry’ is being made obsolete. Trolls and their lawyers are seeing decline in ‘business’ and as we noted earlier this year, some legal firms appear to be shutting down (which is a good thing). The same is true for trolls.

Yesterday we saw the notorious patent troll VirnetX publishing this press release [1, 2], which means it literally paid for some hogwash. We rarely see even a single press release from patent trolls, but now that it gets its way with shakedown it’s paying to pretend that it’s gentle and amicable rather than a bunch of bullies. “Patent Standstill Agreement” they call it. Sounds more like secret settlement. The term was recently used by Red Hat and Microsoft in relation to a secret deal.

Another new piece of hogwash came from Bigbelly — a company which we named earlier this summer. It is just suing lots of companies using patents; What a garbage ‘company’ it must be, not only dealing with trash (literally) but also patenting software and pursuing legal actions all around the world. Yesterday’s statement said that the “same complaint filed against Ecube Labs Co. Ltd. (South Korea), and similar complaints filed in the German Court against EconX Waste Solutions B.V. (Netherlands) and German Ecotec GMBH are in the process of being served.”

“Being served…”

What? A gourmet meal?

Speaking of Germany/Europe, trolls and parasites are coming there too. Trolling activity is up sharply and Florian Müller, a German software developer known for his activism against software patents, is rightly concerned about this. Yesterday he published another article about Qualcomm, a company which became just a serial patent aggressor. Well, we last wrote a long article about it after Qualcomm’s aggression had expanded to Europe. Here is the latest:

Qualcomm has to defend itself against the Federal Trade Commission in the Northern District of California, where Judge Lucy H. Koh has so far been great for the mobile device industry, and against Apple in the Southern District of California, where Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel held a hearing on Friday. Apart from case management orders scheduling a March 22, 2018 claim construction hearing and a September 28, 2018 final pretrial conference for the non-patent claims, all I know about the hearing is what I found on the Twitter feeds of Law.com’s Scott Graham and MLex’s Mike Swift.

It’s unsurprising that, according to these two reporters, Judge Curiel will consolidate Apple v. Qualcomm with Qualcomm’s lawsuit against four Apple contract manufacturers (who in turn invited Apple to join, which Apple appeared happy to do), and that Qualcomm appears unlikely to obtain a preliminary injunction requiring those contract manufacturers to resume their royalty payments. The overlap between those cases is gigantic, and seeking a preliminary injunction for the purpose of collecting payments is–let’s try to understate how hard it is–a long shot.

I would like to comment on a couple of other things I read about the hearing. The first one is that Evan Chesler, Qualcomm’s counsel and chairman of the Cravath firm, told Judge Curiel the 18 patents Apple claims are invalid and not infringed were just a “drop in the bucket” and adjucating them wouldn’t put the parties any closer to a settlement.

This case might go on for a while. We have said right from the beginning that we hope Apple will win because such an outcome would be favourable to Linux/Android as well. Qualcomm has become little more than a patent parasite; some would go as far as labeling it a “troll”.

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