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

12.18.08

Patents Roundup: Microsoft’s Intellectual ‘Welfare’, Litigation Rising, Abuse Beyond USPTO

Posted in America, Courtroom, Europe, Law, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 8:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft and Intellectual Monopolies

Some readers might still remember how Microsoft extorted a company, urging it to pay for intellectual monopolies. There were even threats of an embargo, which showed that Microsoft is a patent aggressor. Well, that’s resolved now, probably meaning that Microsoft will be paid for products it has nothing to do with. They essentially use patents as a welfare programme.

Microsoft and Primax Electronics Ltd. of Taiwan say they’ve reached a licensing deal over the Redmond company’s patented mouse technologies, resolving a complaint that Microsoft filed this summer with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

[...]

Separately, Microsoft yesterday settled a series of longstanding patent disputes with Alcatel-Lucent.

The Alcatel-Lucent tiff with Microsoft has gone on for quite some time [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and they seem to have just reached a secret settlement.

Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, and Alcatel-Lucent settled most of their patent litigation, officials of the two companies said Tuesday.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The agreement covers six lawsuits, including one that resulted in the largest patent verdict in U.S. history before it was thrown out by a judge. Microsoft will continue its appeal of a $368 million verdict it lost that swelled to $511.6 million in June, the companies said.

The companies have been fighting since 2002 when Lucent, then a standalone concern, began demanding royalties from Microsoft customers Gateway and Dell over features in the Microsoft Windows operating system. A federal jury in San Diego in one case awarded Alcatel $1.52 billion – the largest patent verdict ever – over digital music technology.

Patent Mess Getting Worse

TechDirt let its readers know that Stanford had created a valuable source that’s a database of patent litigation.

Over at Stanford, some law professors have been putting together a database of IP litigation from the past few years, called the Stanford IP Litigation Clearinghouse. The Law.com article claims that there are “surprising” facts already coming out of the database, but they don’t seem to be any different than what’s been known for a while (specifically, that the number of patent lawsuits has been relatively constant over the past few years).

Here is the article that looks at some numbers.

It’s not true that patent infringement suits are going through the roof — filings have held steady for eight years — but there are a whole lot more defendants out there looking for lawyers.

While many IP litigators have been busier in the past few years, the actual number of infringement suits has hovered between 2,300 and 2,800 a year. But in 2007, the number of defendants named in these cases jumped from around 6,000 in 2006 to 9,000 (see PDF chart; registration required).

That’s just one of the facts revealed by Stanford Law School’s Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse, a searchable online database unveiled Monday evening that tracks all patent cases since 2000. Offering hard statistics on trends, from how many suits have been filed to how plaintiffs fare in front of a particular judge, the clearinghouse is being greeted enthusiastically by lawyers.

So, all in all, it’s getting worse. Lawsuits are not a sign of success but a sign of unnecessary friction and distraction. Another new lawsuit has just hit eBay, which is part of the coalition to end software patents. [via Digital Majority]

Netcraft sued eBay and PayPal for infringement of its patents that cover an “internet billing method.” During claim construction, the Western District of Wisconsin found that the limitation of “providing a communications link through equipment of the third party” requires that an infringer “provid[e] customers with internet access.” Of course, eBay and PayPal do not provide internet access.

Here is a redundant lawsuit being dropped:

In July this year Hasbro set the legal dogs on Scrabulous, the popular Facebook-based Scrabble knock-off, saying it infringed on the intellectual property rights of the board game.

[...]

Scrabulous was later removed from Facebook, following a DMCA take-down order from Hasbro.

Europe

Software patents protest against EPO

Trademark laws can be abused too. We mentioned this one example the other day and it turns out that the EU won’t quite permit this. In fact, the push to end the pro-software patents lobbies in Europe persists as well, so intellectual monopolies as a whole are being challenged.

What will it be in the United Kingdom after Nokia/Symbian did its damage?

Following a recent legal appeal by mobile phone OS vendor (and now Nokia subsidiary), Symbian, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has just issued a practice note relating to software patentability that, according to patent attorneys, still does not bring the UK fully in line with Europe, in spite of a recent court case that suggested the IPO should change its previous practice.

We always have Nokia to blame, but had it not been Symbian, maybe it would be something or someone else.

What Lies Ahead

We wrote about “Linux Defenders” before, mostly to remark that it’s challenging players in the system rather than the system itself [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Here is some more coverage that we didn’t see before:

We ought to have the interview with OIN real soon now.

The monopolists and their cronies are devising a mechanism even worse than patents and copyrights to marginalise the masses and empower the MAFIAA monopolies. It’s an appalling case of people elected by the people (politicians) secretly meeting other rich people behind closed door to conspire against the very same people who voted for them. The ACTA is a crime against society, which is why it’s kept so low-profile [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]. It will remain under the wraps until it’s impossible to protest against it or reverse this crime.

“DRM is nearly always the result of a conspiracy of companies to restrict the technology available to the public. Such conspiracy should be a crime, and the executives responsible for it should be sentenced to prison.”

Richard Stallman

Fortunately, people are beginning to voice some concerns and express skepticism about the ACTA over at the Internet Governance Forum.

The third annual United Nations-led Internet Governance Forum in Hyderabad, India this month addressed a range of topics related to intellectual property rights and the free flow of information, and provided a venue for doubts about a closed-door international anti-counterfeiting treaty negotiation being led by the United States and Japan.

The proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) intended to align governments in their fights against illicit trade, might have the effect of stopping more positive developments in intellectual property law that emerged over the last year, warned Eddan Katz, international affairs director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Developments related to IP were presented in several workshops by the dynamic coalitions on access to knowledge and open standards. Once again IP issues did not make it to the main sessions of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and IP was not mentioned more than three or four times in the main sessions rather ephemerally, with the exception of ACTA.

Brazilian diplomat Everton Lucero in a main session warned against ACTA as a negative example of the contrary to what is seen as the major success model of the IGF: multi-stakeholder cooperation between governments, industry and civil society and also the so-called “enhanced cooperation.” “In fact [ACTA] is the worst example,” Lucero told Intellectual Property Watch.

Tell people about the ACTA. The media does not cover this because it’s controlled by the very same media companies that are committing this crime against the people.

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. Links 28/7/2014: New Linux RC, Plasma 5 Live in Kubuntu

    Links for the day



  2. Links 27/7/2014: KDE 4.14 Beta 3, KDE 4.14 Beta 3 Released

    Links for the day



  3. Apple and Microsoft Are Proprietary Software Companies and the Media Should Stop Openwashing Them

    New examples where proprietary software giants are characterised as FOSS-embracing and FOSS-friendly by gullible or dishonest 'journalists'



  4. Bloomberg's Microsoft Propaganda

    Bloomberg delivers 'damage control' and PR ahead of the layoffs announcement; Microsoft uses Nokia to hide it and Bloomberg helps Microsoft by radically modifying headlines



  5. Frequency of Browser Back Doors in Microsoft Windows is Doubling

    The vulnerabilities which Microsoft tells the NSA about (before these are patched) are significantly growing in terms of their numbers



  6. FUD Entities Entering the FOSS World

    Symantec enters the AllSeen Alliance and Sonatype is once again trying to claim great insecurity in FOSS due to software licensing



  7. Groklaw Back in the Wake of ODF in the UK?





  8. Links 26/7/2014: New Wine, Chromebooks Strong Sales

    Links for the day



  9. Links 25/7/2014: GOG With GNU/Linux, Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS

    Links for the day



  10. Links 24/7/2014: Oracle Linux 7; Fedora Delays

    Links for the day



  11. Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation's Lobbying for 'Common Core' (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

    Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation's lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption



  12. USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

    Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom



  13. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

    Only "Microsoft as the standard" is the 'standard' Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office's judgment reveals



  14. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  15. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  16. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  17. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  18. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  19. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  20. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  21. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  22. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  23. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert



  24. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  25. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  26. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  27. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft



  28. Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

    Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests



  29. Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

    Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers' words



  30. Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

    Links for the day


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