Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft is Suing Android/Google/Motorola Again, This Time Through Intellectual Ventures (Updated)

Nathan Myhrvold



Summary: Intellectual Ventures moves into the public arena in attacking Linux/Android

The pyramid scheme and racketeering operation known as Intellectual Ventures should really be dealt with as though it's a criminal operation, but in the age of corporate power and war on dissent do not expect Obama to do anything. He is too busy talking about small trolls [1, 2, 3] and we sure hope he'll crack down on this massive one that came from Bill Gates and Microsoft. Groklaw reveals that this trolls is now going directly -- not indirectly as before -- after the leading Linux-based operating system. We saw that coming. To quote:



This one is brought by Intellectual Ventures against Motorola in Florida. Here's the complaint [PDF]. They are already suing Motorola in Delaware. Why not just add them to the Delaware case, if it needs shoring up? Maybe because this way, they get two tries at the golden ring on this merry-go-round, and if Google tries to consolidate the cases, they have to pay lawyers for that extra work, and if the effort fails, they have to pay two teams of lawyers to go to two different states to protect Motorola. Lawyers do know how to be annoying if they want to be. If the goal is to sue someone, like Google, let's just say, until they scream Uncle and pay up, they might just do so. Not that Google ever does. It has a fabulous record of success in patent defense, and they have done it repeatedly even without counterclaims, so in that sense, part of the benefit expected from using a troll to go after Google is probably lost.


This is probably a case we'll hear a lot more about. Troll Tracker, a site whose author I occasionally speak to, did some work to expose this troll and its author now says: "This is why the idea of a place to track troll activity is a good one. There’s lots of information to track, but one of the first things is demand letter information. Let’s build a picture of what these guys look like before they show themselves to the public via an actual lawsuit. Yeah, I know. They hide behind shell companies. Well, guess what? I happen to know a few folks with mad data mining skillz who can prove up the data behind the scenes. Cross reference locations, patents asserted, law firms used to send the shakedown letter, etc. and use a little heat mapping and investigative skills to triangulate who these people are and who they’re going after and how to best mitigate against the threat. It will take time, and it will take patent demand letter data."

It would be valuable to have the list of ~2,000 shell companies of Intellectual Ventures.

Meanwhile, over in Germany, the patents debate gets heated, with software patents facing the possibility of complete ban. FSFE plays a commendable role in this and it means that Europe as a whole may stay resistant to patent trolls, for now. Remember that the patent trolls's weapon of choice is software patents; it has been shown statistically.

Update: Guess where Intellectual Ventures' patents came from. They came from Microsoft Nokia, says this report. It's all becoming rather obvious now. We also learn from this news that Nokia might soon officially become part of Microsoft. Well, it's already in Microsoft's hands, just like Yahoo, and when it comes to acquisition by Microsoft, we heard it before (Microsoft had considered doing that in the past. iophk, however, calls it "pump -n- dump".

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