Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Accused of Violating Patents, Microsoft-Bred Patent Trolls Abound

“Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio.”

--Marshall Phelps



Under greater pressure and increased scrutiny, some hope that Microsoft will return to its senses and call the whole software patents charade off. Might the following news serve as a reminder?

Lawyer: Xbox violated patent



Microsoft Corp. violated a patent to produce its Xbox video game player, a lawyer for Alcatel-Lucent SA told a federal jury.


Microsoft has been sued by the struggling Alcatel-Lucent for quite a few things already. It just comes to show just how much intersection there is in development and why software patents are moot.

Also curious is the following little headsup from Andy Updegrove, who only days ago wrote about a patent troll arriving from Microsoft's breeding ground [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Here is what he wrote:

Department of Strange Bedfellows: What do Mark Lemley, Stanford Law School Professor and patent reform advocate, and Nathan Myrhvold, former Microsoft CTO and president of Intellectual Ventures, a patent aggregator (another name rhymes with Skoll!) have in common? Apparently, a proposal to publicly register patent licensing terms, to accomplish a variety of purposes. Details are below.


This is the paper he was referring to. Snippet from the absract lies beneath. It's like a primer for patent trolls.

How to Make a Patent Market



[...]

The result? Willing licensors and licensees can't find each other. Patent auctions often fizzle, because without a thick market - one with an array of buyers and sellers bidding on price - no one can know whether they are getting a steal or being had. When parties do license patents, the prices are (to the extent we can tell) all over the map. And the rest of the world has no idea what those prices are. This in turn means that courts lack adequate benchmarks to determine a 'reasonable royalty'...


That would be RAND, which Microsoft hopes to use as a tool for banning or destroying Free software. There is more than one such 'litigation firm' to keep an eye on due to its connections to Microsoft. Another one is Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], which could serve as a proxy.

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