Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patent Trolls Network-1 and Microsoft-Connected Finjan and Intellectual Ventures in the News Again

"Apple has agreed to pay $25 million to settle a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Network-1 Technologies, which was suing over a patent from 1999 that basically just describes a simple file system function." (Source: Apple pays $25 million in settlement with patent troll)

Summary: Microsoft's extensive network of patent trolls and parasites as seen in this week's (mostly yesterday's) news -- a network Microsoft habitually sics on its competition -- and a reminder of the menace known as Network-1 (article on the right, excerpt above)

THE plague of patent trolls (especially in the US) is not a solved issue. Sure, things are getting a little better, but there are many US patents (still being granted by the USPTO) which can potentially be used by trolls at any time. There needn't even be litigation; sometimes blackmail/extortion is enough for these trolls to extract 'protection' money, as is most often the case (it's impossible to tell just how many times it happens, maybe a hundred thousand times per year).



"There needn’t even be litigation; sometimes blackmail/extortion is enough for these trolls to extract ‘protection’ money, as is most often the case (it’s impossible to tell just how many times it happens, maybe a hundred thousand times per year)."Finjan, a Microsoft-connected patent troll, has been very active recently. It bragged about new lawsuits early in the month and did it again later. So several times so far this month (even in August when everyone is away), Finjan filed lawsuits, bragging about it in paid press releases. How many unknown firms out there paid 'protection' money to this malicious troll? Yesterday, Watchtroll showed its true face by lobbying for this troll or at least justifying this behaviour. This kind of support for trolls is why we call that site Watchtroll. At least it's consistent in its defense of trolls. Remember that Finjan is little more than a patent litigation/shakedown firm (that's where money comes from). Maybe it had some real products in the past, but that's not where money comes from these days.

"So for the past 14 years it has been little more than a patent troll."The same goes for Network-1. Yesterday, Seeking Alpha published this very long and promotional article about Network-1, basically recommending it. Calling a troll (MPE) a "Patent Company" (even in the headline) is misleading. Here is some background: "Network-1 discontinued its software product offering in December 2002. In November 2003 Network-1 commenced a new business consisting of the acquisition, development, licensing and protection of its intellectual property which currently consists of a portfolio of telecommunications and data networking patents. In February 2004, the Company initiated its licensing efforts relating to its patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,218,930) covering the remote delivery of power over Ethernet cables (the "Remote Power Patent")."

So for the past 14 years it has been little more than a patent troll. "There was a 2,000% rise in the stock after the business model switch," the article says. "But to be fair, it was from 2003, when the dot bomb had flattened the stock to near zero. As security software peddler, its results were consistently pathetic, typically losing over five times its sales in loss from continuing operations."

"So what we have here is a classic transition from production to trolling."The patents are here to stay for years to come. To quote: "How these court cases turn out is very topsy-turvy and a constant battle against the expiration of the patents. The Remote Power Patent that currently has a yearly revenue stream coming to NTIP from Cisco and others expires in 2020. But expirations don't necessarily mean no revenue. For example, there is the case of the Mirror Worlds patents. In 2013, NTIP bought some patents from this company that Apple was infringing on."

The troll is now busy buying some new 'ammunition', too: "Otherwise known as the Cox patents, they were "12 issued patents that relate to identifying or tagging uploaded media content and taking business actions based on the identification" as the website puts it. In 2013, Network-1 bought the patents and is filing for more based on the original patents. In 2014, it began proceedings against Google, specifically against its subsidiary, YouTube, alleging it uses this technology without a license. One has to wonder how many more are using it. In June 2016, the Patent Trial and Appeals Board upheld the patentability of 119 of the 129 claims. Another objection raised by YouTube, Covered Business Method, was reviewed and ruled in favor of Network-1 in October 2016."

"We quite frankly hope that parasites' cheerleading sites like IAM will go away."So what we have here is a classic transition from production to trolling.

Contrast this with a new (hours old) article about another Microsoft-connected patent troll, Intellectual Ventures. It starts by noting the connection to Microsoft:

Founded in 2000, Intellectual Ventures "has earned a special brand of hatred in the business world as the ultimate patent troll. It doesn't delay your flight like United, buffer your movie stream like Comcast, or shellac your shrimp with oil like BP. Rather, it hoards ideas." It "goes around to companies and says: 'Hey, you want to protect yourself from lawsuits? We own tons of patents. Make a deal with us. Our patents will not only cover everything you're doing in your business, no one will dare sue you." "It then wields this intellectual-property portfolio—the world's largest—like a weapon. Companies can either pay up or face a lawsuit."

Co-founders Nathan Myhrvold and Edward Jung "formerly served in high-level positions at Microsoft. Peter Detkin also played a key management role in developing Intellectual Ventures. In one of patent law's great ironies, Detkin coined the derogatory term 'patent troll' during his tenure" as the vice president and assistant general counsel at Intel. Myhrvold, who was once "the 'chief gastronomic officer' of Zagat Survey, the company that publishes the eponymous restaurant guides," is "the kind of guy the press loves to profile."


Notice the mention there of Peter Detkin (from Intel)? Well, citing IAM (the voice of patent trolls and friend of Intellectual Ventures), hours ago Benjamin Henrion recalled "Peter Detkin: BTW, I still have the original troll that was the inspiration (the doll, not Ray Niro) in my office" (Ray Niro is dead now and his company is defunct).

"These are patent firms, not real firms that just happen to have patents."We quite frankly hope that parasites' cheerleading sites like IAM will go away. They perpetuate the trolling epidemic and yesterday IAM published an analysis of Sandoz Inc v Amgen, basically in the form of a firm's paid puff piece (self promotion). They just want as much patent damage as possible and they are funded by those who profit from the damage. These are patent firms, not real firms that just happen to have patents. Here is a new press release in which Code is bragging about patents (in a paid press release) rather than actual products. It's really quite the elegant symptom of companies gone wrong/rogue, like its neighbour Novell about a decade ago. All they become is a big pile of patents.

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