EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.03.08

Microsoft Storms India with Patents, by Proxy

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 7:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Intellectual property is the next software.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft patent troll

Microsoft may be breaking the law in India, as we have already pointed out before, but more importantly, its surrogate Nathan Myhrvold with his shell company seem to resort to patent-mining in a land which makes software more of a commodity.

It’s a desperate yet somewhat successful attempt to digitally monopolise in a country that potentially suffered the most from such type of suppression, brought about in a colonialist fashion, so in light of the patent deform in the country [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] Indians are urged to react.

The ‘meat’ of the claims comes from this article. It reveals that Nathan Myhrvold’s deals are kept secret not just in the United States. It’s akin to those secret patent extortions by Microsoft, for the use of GNU/Linux.

New Delhi: Individual inventors and research organizations here may find their patents turning liquid with the imminent entry of Intellectual Ventures Llc., a controversial company that owns an estimated 20,000 patents and is in the market for as many more as it can lay its hands on.

The company has already entered into agreements to buy patents from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and is close to signing an agreement with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, India’s largest research and development organization, said a person familiar with the developments who did not want to be named.

Software patents protest in India

There is some more detailed commentary in this subsequent article.

Intellectual Ventures is moving into India says a report published this weekend. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Livemint Lounge, IV has signed deals to acquire patents from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, IIT in Bombay, while it is close to signing an agreement with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

What the report does not say is whether this is a deal for Indian patents, for US patents or for patents internationally. My guess is that there is going to have to be a pretty substantial international element. On that front, it is worth noting that CSIR is by far the biggest Indian filer of international patent applications, filing over 350 in the US alone between 2005 and 2007.

These patently-absurd escapades of IV have made it exceptionally unpopular and it shows.

Brian Kahin draws the parallel between the financial/real-estate “bubble” with the still-expanding “bubble” in patents. As Brian suggests, combine that bubble with a Ponzi scheme (Intellectual Ventures) and you might have a real perversion.”

This is not about a peaceful collection of patents. First comes the mining, later comes the extortion.

Millionaire Nathan Myhrvold, renowned in the computer industry as a Renaissance man, has a less lofty message for tech companies these days: Pay up.

Over the past few years, the former Microsoft Corp. executive has quietly amassed a trove of 20,000-plus patents and patent applications related to everything from lasers to computer chips. He now ranks among the world’s largest patent-holders — and is using that clout to press tech giants to sign some of the costliest patent-licensing deals ever negotiated.

Since Microsoft already rattles its saber, this isn’t something to be overlooked entirely. Digital Majority has found this page where Microsoft’s intentions, as confirmed by those 'ally analysts' it had ammassed, are clear for all to see. It’s incompatible with Free software and it’s no accident.

As a result of our investment in innovation, Microsoft has created a large, diverse portfolio of intellectual property (IP) that is now available for licensing. This portfolio includes source code, schemas, protocols, and documentation as well as associated copyrights, trademarks, patents and trade secrets. Our policy is to license this IP under commercially reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms.

The following post, “Software Patents and Microsoft,” explains why (and how) geographies matter a lot.

The US (and Australian) more liberal position on patents for software has traditionally differed from the UK where software patents are related to thought processes, which are not patentable. The Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) has allowed companies to patent computer programs if they can demonstrate some sort of innovative technical effect. This may for example be something like increased memory access.

The case law of the EPO Boards of Appeal is not binding on the EPO member states and different national courts acting on different cases may take a different view of patentability. The position on software patents in the UK has been recently considered by the High Court and UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).

We will soon unleash another post that reviews the state of the patents systems in Europe and Australia. There’s unrest and there are evident problems.

As pointed out earlier today, Bruce Perens has at least temporarily joined the cause of fighting software patents and here are some portions from his latest article, which explains patents in the context of open source software.

Jacobsen’s case against Katzer is ongoing, although this most important appeal is completed. He has not yet convinced the judge that Katzer lied on his patent application, but what if he does? There has been no criminal prosecution of anyone for lying (“perjury”) on a patent application since 1974, when the patent office eliminated its enforcement department.

Contrast that to what the defendant in a suit brought by the holder of a bogus patent faces: between $3 and $5 million dollars in legal fees per case. Without the beneficent legal team that came to Jacobsen’s aid, winning such a case is so expensive that it’s really losing.

The current system of software patents in the United States makes it too easy for the Katzers of the world to come after others for big bucks, even when there is significant doubt regarding the validity of their own patents. The poor defendants have to spend millions just to prove that the patent being pursued against them isn’t valid, bankrupting themselves in the process.

The patent holders have little prospect of punishment when they game the system. That’s a system with no sign of balance. We need to restore justice to the patent system, and we also need to take a good look at the motivation for software patents, which many economists and others feel do more to hurt innovation than to promote it.

Microsoft is not the only foe here, but it’s the one which is poised to lose the most. Shielding the existing patent laws is very important where software patents are verboten.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft's Patent Allies LG and Sony Agree to Put Microsoft Inside Android

    LG and Sony (of Rockstar Consortium) follow Samsung and Dell in Microsoft's campaign to turn Android into 'Microsoft Android' using patents-induced pressure/leverage



  2. Yet Another Major Security Deficiency in UEFI

    UEFI is inherently insecure, more so than the alternatives which it strives to replace, including Free/libre ones



  3. Links 27/5/2015: Fedora 22 is Out, Mandriva Liquidated

    Links for the day



  4. Patent Scope at the EPO is Totally Out of Control, UPC Will Make Things Worse

    A look at the practical issues with the EPO, where patent scope and litigation scope have been vastly extended so as to benefit multinational corporations and possibly patent trolls



  5. Links 26/5/2015: Reviews of Kubuntu 15.04, Linux 4.1 RC5

    Links for the day



  6. Süddeutsche Zeitung Says Talking Helps While EPO Management Back-stabs Other Side of the Table

    German media gives the impression that there is peace and harmony now that Benoît Battistelli and his circle of power speaks to staff, but nothing is said about simultaneous (albeit covert) attacks against that staff



  7. Large Corporations Call the Shots in US Patent Reform

    A reminder of where we stand on the issue of patent 'reform' in the US and who is controlling or shaping it



  8. Microsoft Puts Proprietary Windows and Hyper-V Inside the Free Software-Centric OpenStack

    OpenStack, which celebrates rapid growth in this month's event in Canada, is facing a proprietarisation threat from Microsoft



  9. Microsoft's Secret Lobbying, Bullying, and the Long History of Blackmailing Politicians Around the World

    British media covers Microsoft's abuse in the UK, but there are many similar incidents, and not just in the UK



  10. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Benoît Battistelli and Four EPO Suicides

    German press article from April 2015 (with translations)



  11. Links 24/5/2015: CrossOver 14.1.3, NTFS-3G Vulnerability

    Links for the day



  12. Links 23/5/2015: Fedora 22 to May 26th, Netflix in SteamOS

    Links for the day



  13. The Patents Production 'Industry' (Patent Lawyers) Still Fights Hard to Salvage Software Patents

    A review of recent writings about software patents and patents on business methods in the United States, demonstrating that patent lawyers have gotten very vocal and sneaky (trying to evade the rules)



  14. Patents as a Marketing Strategy: USPTO Now Part of the Advertising Industry

    The existence of publicity patents, or patents whose sole purpose is to advertise some products, serves to discredit the US patent office, which was originally set up to promote science and technology



  15. Microsoft Blackmails and Extorts British Politicians Over Open Standards and Free Software-Leaning Policies

    Microsoft's digital imperialism in the UK getting defended using blackmail, reminding a lot of Brits that Microsoft is just as evil as ever before



  16. Microsoft Gives Another Bug a Name, This Time Logjam™

    The Microsoft crowd is good only at marketing, even when it comes to small bugs in software



  17. Links 22/5/2015: Fedora 22 Final Release is Near, Canonical IPO Considered

    Links for the day



  18. More Utter Shame Unveiled at Battistelli's EPO: Intimidation Tactics With Help From 'Control Risks'

    The unaccountable thugs who run the EPO have hired London-based spooks to help silence their opposition and their critics



  19. GNU/Linux Still Under Attack From Apple and Microsoft, Patents Remain the Weapon of Choice

    A timely reminder of the importance of patent matters, for they are being used to eliminate the zero-cost advantage of Free/libre software and make it more proprietary, privacy-infringing, and user-hostile (as a result of blackmail)



  20. Gartner Group and NASSCOM: Will Lie for FUD, on Behalf of Microsoft and Proprietary Software

    Some of the latest arguments against Free/libre software turn out to be arriving from couriers of Microsoft and its agenda



  21. Windows is a Franchise in Demise, Don't Believe the Hype

    Ongoing propaganda about Vista 10, 'cloud', and other buzzwords or brands are put in perspective



  22. Links 21/5/2015: Fedora 22 RC2, CERN Chooses OpenStack

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft is Again Showing Its Hatred of Free/Open Source Software by Lobbying the Indian Government to Drop a Rational National Policy

    Microsoft decides to attack Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in India, where the corporate media is very much complicit in misleading the public



  24. Links 20/5/2015: Containers, OpenStack, and EXT4 Corruption

    Links for the day



  25. The PATENT Act, Distraction of Trolls, and Lobbying for Software Patents by Protectionists

    Only large corporations and their lawyers are able to formally change the US patent system through public officials and politicians, despite recent rulings from very high courts



  26. Corporate Media and Friends of Microsoft Are Still Lying About the Cost of Vista 10

    In a desperate effort to beat operating systems that are Free (libre) and free (gratis), such as GNU/Linux or Android, Microsoft shores up the illusion of 'free' (gratis) Windows



  27. Links 19/5/2015: Linux 4.1 RC4, Thunderbird 31.7.0, OpenStack Event

    Links for the day



  28. Links 18/5/2015: Russia Chooses Jolla, Many New Distro Releases, Meizu Devices

    Links for the day



  29. Even Converting an Image to Greyscale is Now a Patent

    Simple mathematics becoming patented as Fujifilm claims 'ownership' of photographic conversion to greyscale



  30. Grooming of the World's Biggest Patent Troll, Nathan Myhrvold of Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures

    UCLA and Microsoft-linked media are framing big thugs as heroes, doing a great disservice to both academia and journalism


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts