Bonum Certa Men Certa

Ray Niro, Microsoft, and Other Patent Failures

Patent troll



AN IMPORTANT STORY that we mentioned on Boxing day is about a high-profile, yet outrageous, lawsuit that involves software patents and what some sources label "trolling". As correctly pointed out here:

If necessary, Google, Microsoft, and Apple will surely fight all of this tooth and nail. Whether even a smallish effort is necessary remains to be seen, however, since examples of prior art are abundant.


Prior art has already been identified.

In five minutes of searching, I found this mention in a book that Windows 98 offered an option to use image thumbnails in Explorer. Cygnus originally filed their patent on June 12, 1998, but Windows 98 was already in beta at that point -- I was testing it at that time -- and by that time Microsoft probably had the feature implemented. And I wonder, where did Microsoft get the idea for the feature? Was it really a totally original idea, or did they have some earlier example they were following?


Now, watch this:

The Niro firm is representing the patent holder – Cygnus Systems. An additional continuation is pending. The complaint can be found through Stanford's LexMachina Database.


Niro?

Over time, however, I have heard from many people in the industry that what they see coming at them by way of lawsuits is nothing more than harassing, and I would have to say if that is the definition of what a patent troll is then I can’t imagine how else Cygnus Systems could be properly characterized. The federal complaint filed by Raymond Niro in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona has absolutely no useful information in it and is hardly appropriate to put anyone on notice of what the plaintiff is claiming the defendants did wrong.


Is this Raymond Niro [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] by any chance?

Why yes it is. "Cygnus Systems has initiated a patent infringement law suit with Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro Partners against Microsoft, Google, and Apple Inc."

So, the father of a notorious methodology for abusing loopholes in the patent system could be a mastermind behind this mess. This lawsuit is also covered here and here.

Microsoft was among those who got sued, but it's no victim; far from it. Microsoft is seeking a patent on addictionware/drugware that restricts people's ability to own and control their computers, returning us all back to the age of mainframes when Gates and Allen unnecessary created problems.

Microsoft files pay-per-use PC patent



[...]

Microsoft's patent application does acknowledge that a per-use model of computing would probably increase the cost of ownership over the PC's lifetime. The company argues in its application, however, that "the payments can be deferred and the user can extend the useful life of the computer beyond that of the one-time purchase machine".

The document suggests that "both users and suppliers benefit from this new business model" because "the user is able to migrate the performance level of the computer as needs change over time, while the supplier can develop a revenue stream business that may actually have higher value than the one-time purchase model currently practiced".


This seems like a repetition of one of Microsoft's oddest patent stories, which we covered here before. They want to apply the same principles to access to documents [1, 2].

Intel, Microsoft's collusions partner, is helping Microsoft with this initiative by the way, especially in countries that are determined to move to GNU/Linux. This pair also collaborated on destruction of OLPC's mission, which was to help underprivileged children. Microsoft's vision is entirely different -- it's about artificial limitations and addiction as well.

Elsewhere in the news, which got published throughout the holidays, software patents strike again:

On Christmas Eve, South Korean game developer NCSoft received a lawsuit in its stocking from a Massachusetts firm that claims to hold an extremely broad patent for developing online virtual worlds.


We already know that the system is broken and, in order to make progress, companies with strong presence must push for a reform, but it's not happening just yet.

The tech giants in the Coalition for Patent Fairness are joined by a strange assortment of others, most notably prominent banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Wachovia, HSBC North America, Capital One and others. The reason for what appears to be a strange assortment of collaborators is the fact that tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Apple and others are facing what they characterize as a huge patent troll problem, and this so-called patent troll problem comes disproportionately from business method patents and software patents. So it is easy to see why the banks and tech giants have formed an alliance to go after these types of patents that impact technology, communication and software. The Coalition for Patent Fairness is waging an all out assault on those that invent in the high-tech areas that will define the future of the US economy.

[...]

The Coalition for Patent Fairness home page has a series of factoids in the bottom right corner. If you refresh the screen you will see several different factoids pop up, all with the objective of scaring those who read the information into believing that there is a patent troll problem and the technology and bank members of the Coalition are the victims and they are almost helpless to do anything. First, they are not helpless, they just choose to pursue bad strategies that are calculated to encourage patent troll lawsuits.


A solution may come nearer to an extent, ushered by the Bilski ruling [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14].

Experts believe that the Supreme Court is unlikely to accept review of the Bilski decision, leaving intact Bilski’s rule that to be patentable, computer software must meet a (nonstatutory, judicially-imposed) “machine or transformation” test.


It's not just business methods and software that make bad patents. There are ethical questions too when life is at stake. Glyn Moody possibly paraphrases Slated when he points out that:

There is currently a huge bun-fight going on at the WHO over who has the "rights" to "own" key genomic information about pandemic influenza viruses.

[...]

You would have thought that against the background of a financial system brought to its knees by blind greed, at least here at the World *Health* Organisation there would be a more, er, healthy and mature attitude to saving the world from a potentially even greater disaster. Apparently not....


Patents need to be reassessed not in terms of their financial impact alone but their impact on life too. Many patents are inherently unethical as they lead to deaths, primarily in the name of endless greed profit and reluctance to share vital information innovation.

"Since the birth of the Republic, the U.S. government has been in the business of handing out "exclusive rights" (a.k.a., monopolies) in order to "promote progress" or enable new markets of communication. Patents and copyrights accomplish the first goal; giving away slices of the airwaves serves the second. No one doubts that these monopolies are sometimes necessary to stimulate innovation. Hollywood could not survive without a copyright system; privately funded drug development won't happen without patents. But if history has taught us anything, it is that special interests—the Disneys and Pfizers of the world—have become very good at clambering for more and more monopoly rights. Copyrights last almost a century now, and patents regulate "anything under the sun that is made by man," as the Supreme Court has put it. This is the story of endless bloat, with each round of new monopolies met with a gluttonous demand for more."

--Lawrence Lessig



View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: patent court)

Recent Techrights' Posts

Washington's WARN Site/Portal (That Excludes Many Microsoft Layoffs) is Now Down for Many Hours, Microsoft Causes Major Outages and Incidents Worldwide (Even Deaths)
The mass layoffs (lots of them in Azure since 2020) probably worsen resilience and security some more
UEFI 'Secure Boot' Once Again Bricking PCs and Fake Security Models Are Perishing in Geminispace
Let's Encrypt has just fallen again
1901 Days in High-Security Prison (and 8 More Years in Severe Confinement) for the 'Crime' of Exposing War Crimes and Corruption
Julian Assange clip
Opensource.org = Microsoft Lobbying (Openwashing)
Here's the latest pair of blog posts
In Northern Mariana Islands, Where Julian Assange Pled Guilty 4 Weeks Ago, Windows Remains Second to Android, and GNU/Linux Still Grows in Oceania
It was the first month ever that statCounter saw more Web requests there from Android than from Windows
Good News About GNU/Linux, Geminispace, FSF, and Backlash Against Microsoft
here are a few quick takes
Backlash and Negative Press After Microsoft Tells Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) People to DIE
Follow-up stories
 
Links 19/07/2024: Microsoft Breaks Down and Amdocs Has 1,500-3,000 More Layoffs
Links for the day
[Meme] Conservative (and Fake) Nuclear Physicist Bill Gates
Didn't even graduate from college, media treats him like a world-renowned expert in nuclear energy
The Gemini Capsule of Tux Machines Turns 2 in Six Days
Many people actually use Gemini, some participate in it by creating their own capsule (or capsules)
GNU/Linux Rises to 4% in Saudi Arabia, Says statCounter, Windows Has Fallen to 11% (Android Exceeds 60%)
Microsoft might soon fall below 10% in KSA (Saudi Arabia)
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 18, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, July 18, 2024
GNU/Linux news for the past day
GNU/Linux news for the past day
If GitLab Gets Sold (Datadog and Google Named Among Potential Buyers), It'll Prove Our Point About GitLab
Beware the bait on the hook
Hot Summer: Microsoft Flirting With the "5% Windows" Club in Afghanistan
The share of Windows in Afghanistan has fallen to almost 5% (1 in 20 Web requests)
[Meme] Nothing Says "Independence Day" Like...
Firing DEI on Independence Day period
Links 18/07/2024: Hardware, Conflicts, and Gemini Leftovers
Links for the day
Links 18/07/2024: Retroactively Pseudonymised Litigant and Alberta’s Energy ‘War Room’
Links for the day
Gemini Links 18/07/2024: A Welcome to Gemini and Politics of Assassinations
Links for the day
Red Hat's Official Site Yesterday: Promoting 'Secure' Boot in Machines You Don't Own or Control Anyway
"To be clear, CentOS Linux no longer exist"
Fabian Gruenbichler & Debian: former GSoC student added to keyring
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 18/07/2024: ORG Complaint to ICO About Facebook, Korean Double Agent Unmasked
Links for the day
Joel Espy Klecker & Debian on Joe Biden's health and Donald Trump's assassination
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 17, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Links 18/07/2024: Hostname Pedantry and Retro Coding
Links for the day
Fedora Week of Diversity (FWD) 2024 Attracting 0.01% of the IBM Staff "Was a Success"
They expect volunteers (unpaid slaves) to do the PR for them...
African's Largest Population (Nigeria) Approaching 80% Android "Market Share" Amid Steady Monthly Increases While Microsoft Has Mass Layoffs in Nigeria
Microsoft- and Apple-sponsored Western (or English-speaking) media chooses to ignore that or treat it as irrelevant (a racist disposition in its own right)
[Meme] The Warlord's Catspaw
Thugs that troll us
Microsoft Misogyny Will be the Fall of Microsoft (Covering Up for Misogynists is a Huge Mistake and Highly Misguided Short-term Strategy)
Microsoft's undoing may in fact be its attitude towards women
Microsoft's Bing Falls to Fourth in the Europe/Asia-Based Turkey, Share Halved Since LLM Hype, Now Only 1% (Sometimes Less)
Turkey (Eurasia) is another example of Microsoft failing with LLM hype and just burning a lot of energy in vain (investment without returns)
Red Hat Keeps Behaving Like a Microsoft Reseller (for Proprietary Stuff!), Microsoft Employees as Authors in redhat.com
In some ways this reminds us of Novell
Links 17/07/2024: New Attacks on the Press, European Patents Squashed Even at Kangaroo Court (UPC)
Links for the day
Gemini Links 17/07/2024: Proponents of Censorship and New Arrivals at Gemini
Links for the day
Links 17/07/2024: School Budget Meltdown and Modern Cars as Tracking Nightmares
Links for the day
This Should Certainly be Illegal, But the Person Who Helped Microsoft Do This is Still Attacking the Critics of It
perhaps time for an "I told you so post"
Censorship as Signal of Opportunity for Reform
It remains sad and ironic that Wikileaks outsourced so much of its official communications to Twitter (now X)
[Meme] A Computer With an Extra Key on the Keyboard Isn't Everyone's Priority
(so your telling me meme)
The World Wide Web Has Been Rotting for Years (Quality, Accuracy, and Depth Consistently Decreasing)
In the past people said that the Web had both "good" and "bad" and that the good outweighed the bad
Comoros: Windows Plunges to Record Low of About 6% in Country of a Million People (in 2010 Windows Was 100%)
Many of these people earn a few dollars a day; they don't care for Microsoft's "Hey Hi PC" hype
Africa as an Important Reminder That Eradicating Microsoft Doesn't Go Far Enough
Ideally, if our top goal is bigger than "get rid of Microsoft", we need to teach people to choose and use devices that obey them, not GAFAM
Billions of Computers Run Linux and Many Use Debian (or a Derivative of It)
many devices never get updated or even communicate with the Net, so exhaustive tallies are infeasible
The Mail (MX) Server Survey for July 2024 Shows Microsoft Collapsing to Only 689 Servers or 0.17% of the Whole (It Used to be About 25%)
Microsoft became so insignificant and the most astounding thing is how the media deliberate ignores it or refuses to cover it
[Meme] Microsoft is Firing
Don't worry, Microsoft will have some new vapourware coming soon
More DEI (or Similar) Layoffs on the Way, According to Microsoft Team Leader
What happened shortly before Independence Day wasn't the end of it, apparently
Windows Down From 98.5% to 22.9% in Hungary
Android is up because more people buy smaller mobile devices than laptops
Microsoft Windows in Algeria: From 100% to Less Than 15%
Notice that not too long ago Windows was measured at 100%. Now? Not even 15%.
[Meme] Many Volunteers Now Realise the "Open" in "OpenSUSE" or "openSUSE" Was Labour-Mining
Back to coding, packaging and testing, slaves
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 16, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Microsoft Windows "Market Share" in New Zealand Plunges to 25%
Android rising
[Meme] Ein Factory
A choice between "masters" (or "master race") is a false choice that results in mass exploitation and ultimately eradication (when there's little left to exploit)
Links 17/07/2024: Open Source Initiative Lies and Dark Net Thoughts
Links for the day
SUSE Goes Aryan: You May Not Use the Germanic Brand Anymore (It's Monopolised by the Corporation)
Worse than grammar Nazis
Media Distorting Truth to Promote Ignorance
online media is rapidly collapsing
Gratis But Not Free as in Freedom: How Let's Encrypt is Dying in Geminispace
Let's Encrypt is somewhat of a dying breed where the misguided CA model is shunned