Bonum Certa Men Certa

Intellectual Abuse and The Sad State of the Patent System

Patent Trolls Challenged



Two stories have caught our attention in the past few days. Here is a classic example of trolling, which has fortunately gotten the EFF involved.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is challenging a bogus patent on Internet subdomains that has been used to threaten small businesses and innovators.


Even the European Union has just gotten involved in the fight against patent trolls. It accuses the already-abusive Rambus of "patent ambush".

European Union regulators have charged Rambus Inc. with antitrust abuse, alleging the memory chip designer demanded "unreasonable" royalties for its patents that were fraudulently set as industry standards.


Microsoft was caught doing similar things a few months ago (overcharging a company for unspecified patents). This did not received much media attention at the time.

Microsoft Confirms Its "Patent Troll" Status



Some months ago, Microsoft got sued over tilted mice, whose design was said to have been subjected to an obvious patent. Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled a new type of mouse, but it also got caught filing yet another obvious patent.

Microsoft just published a patent application for an adaptive heads-up user interface for automobiles. It covers, among other things, virtual fuzzy dice that appear to move with automobile movements.


Prior art makes this seem like a joke at best.

Microsoft insists it has many patents (never mind the quality) and it uses that argument against Linux. It seems afraid of boiling down to specific and given the low quality of patents, this is unsurprising.

Microsoft's anti-Linux patent strategy goes many years back [PDF]. The cited PDF shows a 'smoking gun' E-mail from Bill Gates, who is now filing patents himself. That is what the Seattle P-I discovered. Ironic his latest patent application is the following:

Playing the “anti-competitive” and “information monopoly” trump cards, the patent applicants argue...


Bill Gates denounces monopoly and anti-competitive practices? Wow.

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