Bonum Certa Men Certa

US Patent Trolls Epidemic and Microsoft/Intellectual Ventures' Latest Contribution to That

'Managing' the competition using software patents...

Bill and Nathan



Summary: Some of the latest developments in the United States, where the number of lawsuits is high, potency of software patents is on the decline (at the courts at least), and Microsoft too explores the potential of patent extortion, just like patent trolls (shown above are Bill and Nathan, two close friends from Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures, respectively, although there are strong connections and clear financial overlap)

"Out of the 47 patent lawsuits filed today, 37 were filed by patent trolls," said United 4 Patent Reform (that makes it 79% of lawsuits). No doubt it's a big issue, but how many of these were using software patents, which the USPTO loves so much in spite of court rulings?



"That's a lot of lawsuits and it doesn't even count any of the secret settlements, which not only patent trolls are reaching with their victims but also companies like Microsoft sign as a form of covert attack on Linux."Is the patent bubble bursting or is this just premature optimism? According to the patent maximalists from IAM, who have a patents review for 2015 (composed by patent lawyers) and some Asian angle (sanitised as usual): "The number of patent litigation cases in the US dropped dramatically in the first three months of this year, reaching levels not seen since 2011 – the year when the America Invents Act was signed into law. A total of 947 new patent lawsuits were filed between January and March, according to data from Unified Patents, down from 1,554 in the fourth quarter of 2015. That is the lowest number since the third quarter of 2011 when 924 new cases were filed."

That's a lot of lawsuits and it doesn't even count any of the secret settlements, which not only patent trolls are reaching with their victims but also companies like Microsoft sign as a form of covert attack on Linux. Incidentally, new potential patent attacks from Microsoft against Linux have been brought to our attention a couple of hours ago. Having destroyed Yahoo, Microsoft now wants its patents (just like Novell with CPTN). Not too long ago an article from BI, citing News Corp. (more of a tabloid in this case), claimed: "The report said that companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce, and LinkedIn have been closely following Yahoo's sales process because they realize the intrinsic value of the company's massive patent portfolio, which includes 6,000 intellectual properties in the field of mobile, data, and advertising technology."

We already saw how Microsoft weaponised MOSAID (since then renamed to Conversant, an IAM sponsor) using Nokia's patents, after Microsoft had hijacked Nokia. This too was an attack on Linux, e.g. in Android and ChromeOS form (distribution).

"Having destroyed Yahoo, Microsoft now wants its patents (just like Novell with CPTN)."As we noted a bunch of days ago, the Supreme People’s Court of China is increasingly concerned about what goes on in the patent litigation space (China is about as lenient as the US when it comes to patent examination) and MIP has just written a new report about it. Writing about PTAB, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board which is invalidating a lot of software patents these days, MIP says that it is "likely help to reduce the rate of institution of trials" and that the "USPTO dropping a proposed pilot programme" (the USPTO is an obstacle to any form of change that jeopardises near-zero quality control).

It sure looks as though right now the US remains too ripe a platform for patent trolls and extortion because of software patents, ease of litigation (including preferential venue/court selection), and various other factors that we covered here before. According to this new report a "Jacksonville tax software company thwarts patent infringement lawsuit," but that comes at a high cost. To quote: "A Jacksonville tax preparation software company has emerged victorious in a lawsuit that claimed it violated another company’s patents for computerized tax preparation.

"The lawsuit was filed in February 2015 by Aatrix Software Inc. based in Grand Forks, N.D., against Greenshades Software Inc. claiming the Jacksonville firm infringed on two patents. Those patents essentially covered filings to the Internal Revenue Service for payroll taxes."

"We already saw how Microsoft weaponised MOSAID (since then renamed to Conversant, an IAM sponsor) using Nokia’s patents, after Microsoft had hijacked Nokia."So it had to pay patent lawyers for a whole year because of two software patents which were invalid (bogus) all along, owing to USPTO incompetence (if not institutional corruption). How many firms can even afford to do this? Many would just settle to dodge the legal fees, which certainly serve nobody except lawyers (at both sides, plaintiff and defendant alike).

In other news about patents, the Intellectual Ventures-connected Rovi is suing Comcast and patent maximalists indicate that it's filed, as usual "in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division. In the complaint filed, which is quite detailed and very long (174 pages), Rovi is asking for a preliminary injunction, a finding that Comcast’s infringement is willful and deliberate, a finding that the case is exception and attorneys fees are appropriate, as well as damages for the infringement."

"Europe already has patent trolls (Joff Wild denies that they exist). IAM probably wants more of them because they pay IAM."Take this with a barrel of salt because it comes from the propaganda site of Quinn (pro-software patents spin), who now accuses courts of doing an improper job because they follow SCOTUS (Quinn, like Kappos, thinks he knows better than the Justices, and they both get paid for this shameless spin).

Going back to IAM, it turns out that Ericsson's shell game with patent trolls is getting harder to follow as the shell is renamed for the third time (Ericsson's patents becoming Openwave, then Unwired Planet, now something else). To quote IAM (which as usual neglects to say what Unwired Planet really is): "Speaking to IAM after the most recent UK decision, Teksler gave no hint that the firm’s position would soon change so dramatically. In quotes not included in the blog piece published on 29th March, he stated that he was looking forward to a further UK trial slated for October that would focus on how Unwired Planet reached its FRAND licensing rates. “We are hopeful that the court will confirm our approach and provide a much needed FRAND licensing framework for the industry,” he told IAM editor Joff Wild. Whether that trial now goes ahead remains to be seen." Europe already has patent trolls (Joff Wild denies that they exist). IAM probably wants more of them because they pay IAM.

Recent Techrights' Posts

[Meme] 'Secure' Boot in a Nutshell
Ask Microsoft if it is "safe" to boot Linux
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: Targeting Guest Writers (Intimidation)
Some high-profile people have told me that the serial defamer is a "monster" (their word), so why would Neil Brown wish to help him?
 
Links 28/05/2024: Tensions in East Asia, UK Mandatory National Service
Links for the day
Gemini Links 28/05/2024: NetCrawl and Living in Lagrange
Links for the day
Guardian Digital, Inc (linuxsecurity.com) Handed Over Its Web Site to Chatbots That Generate SEO Garbage
They need to be called out on it
statCounter Sees Microsoft Windows at Below 1% in American Samoa
Not even 1%!
Windows Down to 60% of Guam's Desktops/Laptops and Down to a Quarter Overall
No wonder Microsoft is panicking
Today in UEFI 'Secure' Boot Debates (the Frog is Already Boiling and Melting)
Over at LQ today
[Meme] A "Modern" Web's Message in a Bottle
So-called 'security'
Brittany Day: Still Chatbot Slinging, Producing Fake 'Articles' About "Linux"
random garbage produced (and censored) by Microsoft
Almost 4k Gemini Capsules, 5th Anniversary Only Weeks Away
The Web will continue to deteriorate
Microsoft: $1 Million a Day for Contempt of Court Orders (Justice Department)
Microsoft behaves as if it's 100% exempt from laws
Catbodia? In Cambodia, Microsoft's Windows Fell to All-Time Low of Less Than a Quarter.
Cambodia is leaving Microsoft behind
[Meme] Deadnaming
Guess who uses a name that was deprecated well over a decade ago?
New Press Report Explains Microsoft Severance and Quiet (Undisclosed) Layoffs
Some people will call this "loophole", whereas others will opine that it is outright illegal (but kept secret to circumvent scrutiny)
Global South is Android/Linux (Windows Era Has Come to an End Already)
I've decided to take a quick glance at South American trends for all operating systems
[Meme] Unified Patent Troll
Unified Patent Court remains illegal and unconstitutional
The European Patent Office is Sinking
Officials (or national delegates) at the European Patent Organisation have long been warned about this (by staff representatives from the European Patent Office), but they ignored the warnings
Summer in the Air
We have a good pace going on owing to health, positivity, inertia and good software tools
GNU/Linux Activity in Belize
From an economic point of view, Microsoft needn't worry about Belize, but when it comes to preserving the Windows monopoly/monoculture Belize matters
Links 28/05/2024: Back to MP3, NVIDIA Sued by Authors
Links for the day
Gemini Links 28/05/2024: Bad Beach and TLS
Links for the day
Microsoft Windows Fell From 100% to Just 7.5% in Sierra Leone
Based on statCounter
In Benin, Microsoft's Windows Fell Below 10%, GNU/Linux Surged to 6% or Higher on Desktops/Laptops
That's nearly 7% - a lot higher than the average in Africa
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 27, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, May 27, 2024
Delayed Series About Dr. Richard Stallman
A lot of the attacks on him boil down to petty things
[Meme] Elephant in the Asian Room
With ChromeOS included GNU/Linux is at 6% across Asia
GNU/Linux in Bangladesh Up From 0.5% to Over 4% (Windows Slid From 95% to 18%)
Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely-populated countries
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: Targeting Several Webhosts (in Collaboration and Conjunction With Mentally-Ill Flunkies)
Every attempt to nuke the current hosting failed, but it's still worth noting
Links 27/05/2024: One Month Left for ICQ, More Openwashing Highlighted
Links for the day
Gemini Links 27/05/2024: Back to GNU/Linux, Librem 5 Assessed
Links for the day
StatCounter (or statCounter) Has Mostly Recovered From a Day's Downtime (Malfunction)
Some of the material we've published based on the statCounter datasets truly annoys Microsofters
Google: We Don't Have Source Diversity, But We Have Chatbot Spew in Place of Sources (and It's Not Even Accurate)
Search engines and news search never looked this bad...
[Meme] Security is Not a Failure to Boot (or Illusion of Security Due to 'Unknown' System)
Red Hat is largely responsible for this mess
What is Secure Boot?
Security means the user feels safe and secure - i.e. confident that the machine would continue to work following a reboot or a system upgrade (or kernel upgrade)
StatCounter (or statCounter) Has Been Broken for Nearly 24 Hours. Who Benefits? Microsoft.
StatCounter is broken right now and has been broken for nearly 24 hours already
Links 27/05/2024: Chatbots Generate Hateful Output, TPM Performance Scrutinised
Links for the day
David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) Realises What He Should Have Decades Ago
seeing that DHH is moving away from Apple is kind of a big deal
Reinvigorating the Voice of GNU/Linux Users (Not Companies Whose Chiefs Don't Even Use GNU/Linux!)
Scott Ruecker has just announced his return
"Tech" in the Context of Even Bigger Issues
"Tech" (or technology) activism is important; but there's a bigger picture
A Decade of In-Depth Coverage of Corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO)
The world needs transparency and sunlight
Hopefully Not Sunset for StatCounter
We hope that StatCounter will be back soon.
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 26, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, May 26, 2024
Links 27/05/2024: Self-Publishing, Patent Monopolies, and Armed Conflicts
Links for the day
Gemini Links 27/05/2024: Tethering Connection and PFAs
Links for the day
Imagine Canada Enabling Rapists to Harass Their (Rape) Victims
This analogy is applicable because abusers are empowered against the abused
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: Targeting My Old "Tweets"
This was basically an act of vandalism no better and no worse than UEFI restricted boot
Links 26/05/2024: Google 'Search' Morphing Into Disinformation Factory, Discussion of Maze of the Prison Industrial Complex
Links for the day
In the Pacific (Mostly Islands Around Oceania) GNU/Linux Grew a Lot
Microsoft cannot compete fairly
A Toast to Tux Machines
Food ready for the party, no photos yet...
IBM/Red Hat Failing to Meet Its WARN Obligations in NC (STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA), or Perhaps It's Constantly Delaying the Layoffs
IBM isn't named even once
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 25, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, May 25, 2024
GNU/Linux in Greenland
The sharp increases for GNU/Linux started last summer
The Sheer Absurdity of the EPO's Career System Explained by EPO Staff
"Staff representation has previously pointed this out to management, and the career system has been the reason for several industrial actions and litigation cases initiated by SUEPO."
[Meme] Productivity Champ Nellie Simon: It Takes Me 3+ Weeks to Write 6 Paragraphs
Congrats to Nellie Simon!
It Took EPO Management 3+ Weeks to Respond to a Letter About an Urgent Problem (Defunding of EPO Staff)
The funny thing about it is that Nellie Simon expects examiners to work day and night (which is illegal) while she herself takes 3+ weeks to write a 1-page letter
Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) in The Hague Taking Action to Rectify Cuts to Families of Workers
they "are active in challenging this measure via the legal system"