Patent battles

I have been following news around patents lately. I have followed what happens on patent field because I am an inventor that has made some patents and being referenced on some other. The patent situation seem to be quite insane right now, especially on smartphone field.

I can agree the comment Patent law is a very imperfect tool for establishing moral culpability I saw in Linux Magazine. Whether you favor patents or not, it is important to face the fact that patent law is a construct of the business world. Patents protect opportunities for patent holders and restrict opportunities for others. What engineers need to know about patents article tells that most engineers know what a patent is broadly; for example, a bundle of rights related to an invention.

Patents are considered by many parties as vitally important to protecting intellectual property. Plenty of creativity occurs within the technology industry, and without patents, executives say they could never justify spending fortunes on new products. And academics say that some aspects of the patent system, like protections for pharmaceuticals, often function smoothly. It’s clearly demonstrably true that wielding patents to stop people copying protected methods obliges them to come up with new methods of their own. This is why patents are so widely supported by inventors, industry and governments. It’s an irreplaceable component of industrial organisation that produces and propagates invention. In April 2012, in its report on Intellectual Property, the US Patent Office (USPTO) concluded that the entire US economy relies on some form of IP, because virtually every industry either produces or uses it.

Patents have become a technology industry battleground as mobile-phone, tablet and computer makers try to lure consumers with constant improvements to their video and sound. Smartphones have become the focal point for lawsuits and licensing talks because the market is so huge, it is growing so quickly and cutting-edge technology is used in them. There Are 250,000 Active Patents That Impact Smartphones; Representing One In Six Active Patents Today. And this is for for an industry that is certainly less than 1% of US GDP. It definitely appears that there’s something of a “bubble” going on around smartphone patents. The explosive growth of the smartphone market means mobile patents are particularly valuable these days. Major players are increasingly going to court with one another over alleged infringements. It also makes for an astounding minefield for anyone new who wants to enter the space, especially if you don’t have a massive war chest to license or fight in court.

Patents have been a very important tool on industrial era to protect companies. Many people argue that the nation’s patent rules, intended for a mechanical world, are inadequate in today’s digital marketplace. Nowadays patents seem to be especially on on the software side especially old-fashioned and even harming economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently published a working paper calling for the abolition of patents, saying they do more harm than good. Import bans over patents cause ‘substantial harm,’ FTC says.

Unlike patents for new drug formulas, patents on software often effectively grant ownership of concepts, rather than tangible creations. Today, the patent office routinely approves patents that describe vague algorithms or business methods, without patent examiners demanding specifics about how those calculations occur or how the software operates. The patent office has a reputation for being overworked, understaffed and plagued by employee turnover, and employees concede that some of their work is subjective. As a result, some patents are so broad that they allow patent holders to claim sweeping ownership of seemingly unrelated products built by others. And it happens more and more often. Yes, the system is frequently gamed, it generates avoidable costs, it’s unnecessarily complex, and it creates many absurdities. There Are Too Many Patents In America.

Recent research supports view that patent troll activity is rising — costing America a fortune in wasted legal fees and lost jobs. Patent trolls are a plague. And they are every day armed with more and more patents. ‘Patent trolls’ cost other US bodies $29bn last year, says study. And this figure does not include indirect costs to the defendants’ businesses such as diversion of resources, delays in new products, and loss of market share. Direct costs are large relative to total spending on [research and development], which totalled $247bn in 2009, implying that NPE patent assertations effectively impose a significant tax on investment in innovation. Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Calls For Governments To End Patent Wars. The problems with the current system are so pervasive, that many companies say, that the courts, lawmakers and Silicon Valley must find their own fixes.

In the smartphone industry alone, according to a Stanford University analysis, as much as $20 billion was spent on patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years — an amount equal to eight Mars rover missions. Last year spending by Apple and Google on patent lawsuits and unusually big-dollar patent purchases exceeded spending on research and development of new products, according to public filings. Apple’s CEO thinks that patent system is broken in a fundamental way. It allows companies to exploit standards-essential patents — patents that must be licensed in order for products to function according to accepted industry standards. The Patent Wars: Infographic confirms that everyone in the tech world is way too sue-happy.

Apple vs. Samsung patent verdict was a lot of talked about event lately. Apple-Samsung trial has clarified that patents are the “lifeblood of business” and putting powerful short-term legal protections under inventions is overwhelmingly more convincing than any mooted alternative. Apple v. Samsung case highlights money to be made from patent litigation. Linux Magazine editor is amazed at how little all the “authorities” seem to know. Is there a lesson in all this? A huge team of lawyers billing US$ 200 to US$ 800 per hour erected weeks of elegant arguments and a jury thought about the whole thing for 21 hours and 37 minutes. The 109 pages of jury instructions contained 700 questions, which means that jury reached consensus on one point approximately every 33 seconds.

The Apple v. Samsung case really ought to shame the industry. It let a jury, also known as “people off the street”, decide on liability and damages amounts and kept a lot of lawyers in alligator skin shoes. And while it is probably the lawyers that benefited the most from the whole ordeal, no one else is. And I’m not convinced that any of these patents are actually valid. Of course, Samsung argued that Apple also copied, which is no doubt true, but just because Apple got away with it doesn’t make it okay. Apple and Samsung would be better off — and their consumers would be better served — if the tech giants took their epic patent battle out of the courtroom and into the marketplace. The best thing about the case is that it has exposed just how awful the patent situation has become in the US.

A new patent case has just started. Microsoft v Google judge could shape the world in new patent punchup because that could finally tell tech companies how much a standards-essential patent is worth is about to kick off in the US. Microsoft filed a lawsuit in 2010 that challenges Google-owned Motorola over the its use of standards-essential patents (SEP) in court cases. Microsoft and Apple have tried to argue that Samsung and Motorola shouldn’t be allowed to use their SEP in court cases. Both European and US authorities have also been investigating whether any firm should be allowed to get the law involved in SEP but haven’t come to any conclusions yet. Motorola has tried to get 2.25 per cent per device out of Apple and Microsoft. The patents this case is are related to for example to H.264 video coding. Redmond is accusing Motorola of violating its responsibilities to standards organisations to license the patents at fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory rates (FRAND).


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Database of patent licence terms could help resolve FRAND disputes, says expert
    Well that seems, er, fair and reasonable

    Making the terms on which patents are licensed available for public scrutiny could help businesses, courts and regulators determine if the terms of other patent agreements are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND), an expert in valuing intellectual property (IP) has said.

    Dr Roya Ghafele, director of Oxfirst, told that a database of patent licensing agreements would be a useful resource for patent holders and patent licensees alike to refer to to determine whether their licensing rates are appropriate.

    Ghafele said that in the property market buyers have easy access to data on the price of nearby properties and can use that information to compare whether the house they wish to buy is being marketed at too high a price.

    She said, though, that there is no such “transparent discovery of prices” in the world of IP, meaning that businesses can often have “no idea what level patents are being traded at”. The lack of “comparables” at their disposal means there can be uncertainty over whether patent licence rates are cheap or expensive, she said.

    Making data from other patent licensing agreements accessible would help resolve this

    Ghafele said: “A database is a good way to get things started. Ultimately, though, whether licence terms are FRAND would need to be decided on a case-by-case basis.”

    “The database can give you some more data points – economists struggle with doing economic models if they do not have the data,” Ghafele said. “But there is more than just the data. There is a need to understand how the market and competition is behaving and how the market will evolve in future.”

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Susan Decker / Bloomberg:
    Nvidia settles patent dispute with Samsung hours before ITC ruling, avoiding possible ban on imports

    Nvidia Settles With Samsung Over Graphics-Processing Chips

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Apple, AT&T, Verizon named in $7bn VoIP patent claim
    Patent-holding firm alleges two violations

    A company is suing Apple, AT&T and Verizon for a combined total of $7bn over claims that they violated its voice-over-IP patents.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Caltech sues Apple for Wi-Fi patent infringement

    The California Institute of Technology has filed a lawsuit against Apple, citing infringements on Wi-Fi technology patents.

    Apple, Caltech alleges, has been using Wi-Fi technology it oughtn’t. In a suit filed with the US District Court for the Central District of California, the university claims that Apple has infringed four of its patents for improved data transmission rates and performance over Wi-Fi.

    These patents were awarded between 2006 and 2012, and cover technology implemented in the most recent 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards. As MacRumors reports, a number of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch devices incorporate this technology.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Patent Infringement Cases Just Got Easier

    In a decision with significant impact for engineers, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that will make it easier to seek enhanced damages in cases of patent infringement.

    In October 2015, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in a pair of consolidated cases, Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics and Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer, Inc. to consider the question of the proper standard for awarding enhanced damages in patent cases.

    Patent infringement occurs where a defendant has made, used, sold, offered to sell, or imported an infringing invention.

    The decision means that potential infringers must tread more carefully when their competitors have patents. Companies that are aware of relevant patents should give careful consideration to those patents before they make or sell a product that may infringe, particularly if they are aware of specific allegations that the product does in fact infringe. If the company decides to proceed with making and selling the product, it should ensure that it documents its good-faith basis to do so.

    A good faith basis could include performing a noninfringement analysis to confirm that the product does not infringe any known patents, or redesigning the product to ensure it does not infringe. Companies can also analyze the validity of the patent. Evidence that the company reasonably believes the patent in not infringed and/or is invalid will help with a defense against any later attempts by the patent owner to seek enhanced damages.

    seeking the advice of an attorney early in the process is advisable.

    Conversely, patent owners intending to seek enhanced damages should notify infringers of the patent and of the acts of infringement. This will prevent alleged infringers from claiming ignorance of the patent

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Juro Osawa / Wall Street Journal:
    Huawei invests heavily in R&D and patents to challenge Samsung and Apple at home and overseas; source says Apple is paying royalties for some of Huawei’s IP

    China Smartphone Makers Snap Up Patents in Fight for Market Dominance
    Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and others buy patents to challenge to Apple and Samsung

    China’s smartphone makers increasingly are turning to patents as ammunition as they try to reel in global leaders Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

    Chinese technology giants from Huawei Technologies Co. to ZTE Corp. and Lenovo Group Ltd. are acquiring patents through licensing deals, acquisitions and hefty spending on research and development—moves that could signal more legal challenges for Apple and Samsung not just in China, but overseas as well.

    Huawei, which has an ambitious goal of becoming the world’s top smartphone maker in five years, sued Samsung in the U.S. last month, claiming the South Korean company violated 11 of its mobile patents.

    Last year, Huawei, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker and the leader in the telecommunications-equipment market, was the largest filer of international patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which makes it easier for companies to file patents in multiple countries, according to the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization. Huawei was followed by U.S. chip maker Qualcomm Inc. and China’s ZTE.

    Patents are also playing a role in the harsher mobile landscape Apple and Samsung are navigating in China, where regulators increasingly insist that foreign companies play by Beijing’s rules.

    “We are going to see a lot more Chinese companies filing patents outside China, and more deals and lawsuits involving patents and technologies,” said Benjamin Bai, a partner at Allen & Overy LLP in Shanghai who advises Chinese companies on international intellectual-property strategies.

    A single smartphone can involve thousands of patents. The issues are so complex and thorny that Apple and Samsung have been locked in patent litigation around the world since 2011 as they battle for market dominance.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Patent trolls, innovation and Brexit: What the FT won’t tell you
    Inventors beware: the EU’s opening the floodgates.

    In 2017, the EU is going to open the Unified Patent Court. This court will make it much easier for patent trolls and corporations in the US – armed with dodgy patent applications and IP attorneys – to reach into the UK and strangle your startup at birth. Think about it.

    Last week the Financial Times reported )that two-thirds of patent cases in the US are now brought by “patent trolls”. In the last five years this has cost US startups more than $20bn in VC investment.

    Patent trolls don’t innovate or build anything, but specialise in suing legitimate innovative businesses. This activity is primarily enabled by the US’s massively dysfunctional patent system, a system that will rubber-stamp patent applications often with minimal vetting – resulting in a system choked with applications ranging from the spurious to the wildly ludicrous. Patent trolls then tour the world, armed with these “patents”, extorting money out of honest innovators and engineers.

    Although patent trolling is now increasing rapidly in Germany, Professor James Bessen of Boston University School of Law says that it is not currently a major problem in the UK – where fewer software patents and a “loser pays” litigation costs regime are real disincentives for that sort of “opportunistic behaviour”.

    However, the EU’s new Unified Patent Court will, according a German law expert, “increase patent trolling in Europe” and open the UK up to patent trolling because “a judgment from the UPC will … cover the territory of all participating member states… This significantly increases the business risk.”

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Inventor Waits 43 Years for Another Chance to Shock Tech

    Forty-three years is too long even for Gilbert P. Hyatt, the dogged inventor who once shocked the computer industry and got rich.

    Hyatt said he’s been waiting that long for a U.S. ruling on whether his electronic signal to control machinery should be granted a patent. The patent-approval process takes 28.3 months on average. His idea for liquid crystal displays? That’s been sitting in the Patent and Trademark Office for 35 years.

    The Las Vegas-based inventor, who turns 76 in March, filed a lawsuit in January demanding action on what may be the oldest pending U.S. patent applications.

    Even Hyatt said he’s not sure whether he would replicate the shock of getting a patent in 1990 on a “single chip integrated circuit computer architecture,” a ruling that effectively gave him a financial claim to most microprocessors, the digital backbone of every personal computer in the world.

    Because the filings are so old, they fall under a law that keeps them confidential

    All Hyatt would say is that he is fighting to get acknowledgment for his work on what he calls “square wave machine control.”

    It took Hyatt 20 years to get his 1990 microprocessor patent. He filed the application around the same period as the two still pending.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Joff Wild / IAM:
    After licensing deals with Cisco and others, Blackberry enters new phase of patent monetization, sues business communications company Avaya

    Blackberry enters second phase of its patent monetisation push with Texas suit against Avaya

    Blackberry seems to be entering a new phase of its patent monetisation programme with the initiation of litigation against Avaya in the Northern District of Texas. In a suit, which was filed on 27th July, Blackberry alleges that the Santa Clara-based company has infringed eight of its US patents relating to various mobile communications technologies. They are numbers 9143801, 8964849, 8116739, 8886212, 8688439, 7440561, 8554218 and 737296, which were originally filed as applications at the USPTO between 1998 and 2011.

    The move comes just over a year since Blackberry announced itself as a major player in the monetisation space with an agreement signed with Cisco, in which the Canadian company not only secured a cross-licensing deal but also “a license fee from Cisco”. Another royalty-bearing deal was done with an unnamed company around the same time. Since then, the company has also signed two more deals with Canon and International Game Technology, both of which look to contain a royalties element to them; while in January it emerged that late last year Blackberry had sold a portfolio of patents to investment firm Centerbridge Partners for as much as $50 million.

    Blackberry CEO John Chen has made clear that he sees the company’s patent assets as a key element in his plans. “We have today about 44,000 patents.”

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Spectacular Technicolor licensing performance shows that the monetisation market is far from dead

    At times, it might seem as if building a patent licensing business is a thankless task: the environment often looks so anti-patent that it becomes hard to see just where deals are going to come from. In those moments of doom and gloom, though, it is worth remembering that plenty of agreements are still being made and that there are a number of patent owners who are doing very well out of them. Take Technicolor, for example.

    Alongside a rise in revenues from the operating business these showed a spectacular increase in income from licensing outside of its MPEG LA activities – with H1 income of €100 million in 2015 becoming €158 million this year.

    There is no great secret to creating a successful patent licensing programme: you need high-quality assets that underpin coveted technologies, managed by people who understand the markets they operate in intimately and know how to construct attractive deals. At the margins, where there is uncertainty about eligibility and enforceability, things undoubtedly get a lot trickier; but that is not where most licensors operate.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    After $4.8 billion core business sale to Verizon, Yahoo! CEO seeks to flush out patent buyers

    Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer held out the possibility of the company becoming one of the largest non-practising entities in the world on a conference call with analysts yesterday. Her comments came shortly after it was confirmed that Verizon was buying the fallen internet giant’s core business for $4.83 billion.

    While that deal will involve the bulk of Yahoo!’s traditional business, it does not involve the Excalibur patent portfolio, a stockpile of around 2,700 assets that the company has spun out into a separate vehicle to be sold separately. The expectation has long been that they would go to an industry buyer

    Speculation has been mounting about Yahoo!’s IP assets ever since the company confirmed that it was placing its core business up for sale.

    Companies Considering Purchase of Yahoo! Excalibur Patent Portfolio Face Major Risk

    New TurboPatent® Report Shows 44 Percent of Excalibur Portfolio Patents May Be Invalid, Unenforceable, or Have No Market Value; Google, Microsoft, IBM Among Those Most Frequently Citing Yahoo! IP

    “Approximately 30 percent of the average patent portfolio of large corporations is worthless — these patents are either invalid, outdated, severely flawed or unrelated to the corporation’s business, and they add nothing to the market value of either the portfolio or the corporation,” commented Larry M. Goldstein, a noted U.S. patent attorney and author of “True Patent Value: Defining Quality in Patents and Patent Portfolios” and “Litigation Proof Patents: Avoiding the Most Common Patent Mistakes.”

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jon Russell / TechCrunch:
    Qualcomm signs patent licensing deals with Oppo and Vivo, China’s top two fastest-growing phone makers

    Qualcomm’s busy year in China continues with news that it has agreed to patent licensing deals with two of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone companies: Oppo and Vivo.

    U.S. chip firm Qualcomm was hit with a near-$1 billion fine for anti-trust violations in 2015, and since then it has gone on a licensing spree to link deals with Chinese OEMs en masse. Today, it added Vivo to the list after it announced a similar arrangement with Oppo last week.

    According to IDC, Oppo sat fourth in the mobile industry with 6.6 percent of global smartphone sales in Q2 2016 after shipping 22.6 million units. Vivo ranked fifth with 16.4 million units shipped, or 4.8 percent marketshare.

    Together, these new deals mark more than half a dozen new agreements in China since December last year. Other recent Qualcomm licensees in the country include Hisense, Yulong and Lenovo. In total, Qualcomm claims to have deals with more than 200 Chinese companies, that number doesn’t only include OEMs.

    Beyond securing deals, Qualcomm is also laying down the law with those in China who won’t comply.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Battle inside patent office:

    Fallout from Euro Patent Office meltdown reaches Dutch parliament
    King Battistelli, of course, remains unrepentant

    The extraordinary meltdown at the European Patent Office (EPO) has started to draw political attention, with the Dutch parliament planning a debate on the organization and its ongoing problems.

    Socialist member of the Netherlands Parliament, MP Sharon Gesthuizen, received strong backing to her request for the debate following the dismissal of a key EPO staff member earlier this month by EPO president Benoit Battistelli, and a majority of MPs have now supported the motion.

    As a result, the Dutch government is expected to draw up a formal response about the EPO and its view on recent events.

    The EPO’s main satellite office in The Hague was also the scene of a recent protest where over 300 EPO staff gathered to protest Battistelli’s behavior.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Euro Patent office staff call again for King Battistelli regicide
    While sacked union leader asks for documents to be released

    The central staff committee at the European Patent Office (EPO) has asked again for the organization’s Administrative Council to take action against its president Benoit Battistelli, citing the dismissal of the secretary of its staff union as the final straw.

    “We are skeptical about the real motives behind the dismissal of yet another elected staff representative and union official,”

    “We are also very concerned that four more staff representatives and/or union officials are (allegedly) going to be targeted soon with investigations that may lead to further disciplinary procedures.”

    As a result of Battistelli’s actions, the EPO “remains in a state of social turmoil and perceived lawlessness that risks compromising irremediably the reputation and continued existence of our Organisation,” the letter argues, adding that the council “has to take action: this can no longer be delayed.”

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    China breaks patent application record

    China-based inventors applied for a record-setting number of patents last year.
    The country accounted for more than a million submissions, according to an annual report by the World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo). It said the figure was “extraordinary”.
    Many of the filings were for innovations in telecoms, computing, semiconductors and medical tech.
    Beijing had urged companies to boost the number of such applications.

    But some experts have cast doubt as to whether it signifies that the country is truly more inventive than others, since most of China’s filings were done locally.

    A total of 2.9 million patent applications were filed worldwide in 2015, according to Wipo, marking a 7.8% rise on the previous year.
    China can lay claim to driving most of that growth. Its domestic patent office – the Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (Sipo) – received a record 1,101,864 filings.
    That was more than its Japanese, South Korean and US equivalents combined.

    But Chinese inventors were more reticent about seeking patent rights abroad.
    According to Wipo, they filed just 42,154 applications outside their borders – Huawei and ZTE, two smartphone and telecoms equipment-makers, led the way.

    By comparison US-based inventors sought more than five times that figure. And Japan, Germany and France also outnumbered the Asian giant.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Weighing China’s 1.1 Million Patents

    U.S. innovators should not misconstrue the higher absolute number of patents filed in China in 2015 to imply anything about the strength of U.S. innovation or the U.S, IP marketplace.

    The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced this week that global patent applications rose to 2.9 million in 2015, up 7.8% from 2014. The announcement was punctuated by the fact that the Chinese patent office received 1,101,864 patent applications in 2015, making it the first national patent office to cross the one million application mark in a single year.

    China received almost as many applications as the next three patent offices combined — the U.S. (589,410), Japan (318,721) and the Republic of Korea (213,694). While the WIPO attempted to link the surge in patent filings with the increase in world economic activity and innovation, one should be cautious in drawing any conclusions as to the state of Chinese innovation vis-à-vis the US — or any other country for that matter — based on relative trends in patent filings alone.

    The circumstances surrounding the increase in Chinese patent filings are unique

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Scotus Apple v. Samsung Ruling, Just the FAQs

    With its decision in the Apple v. Samsung case, the Supreme Court made a narrow ruling on the issue of how to value damages in cases of products like smartphones made up of many components.

    In a nutshell, the Supreme Court decided one point in the longstanding dispute between Apple and Samsung1, and sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings. That question, and other details of the case, are addressed in the FAQ

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Juli Clover / MacRumors:
    Apple accuses Nokia of collusion with patent trolls in anti-trust lawsuit; Nokia sues Apple for 32 patent infringements, claims Apple declined licensing deals

    Nokia Sues Apple for Patent Infringement in Germany and the U.S. Following Licensing Disagreement [Updated]

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nokia Hits Apple With Patent Suits

    Nokia Oy (Espoo, Finland), a former mobile phone market leader, has filed complaints in 11 countries in Asia, Europe and North America, claiming that Apple products infringe some 40 patents.

    Nokia said that mobile phone and computer company Apple did license some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011 but since then has declined subsequent requests from Nokia.

    The patents in suit cover a variety of technologies including display, user interface, software, antenna, chipsets and video coding. In 2011 Nokia was a significant player in the mobile business but since then has exited the market but retained its intellectual property.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Korea Fines Q’comm Nearly $1B
    Regulator charges unfair patent licensing

    The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) fined Qualcomm 1.03 trillion won (nearly US$1 billion), charging unfair patent licensing practices. Qualcomm said it will appeal what it called “an unprecedented and insupportable decision relating to licensing practices that have been in existence in Korea and worldwide for decades.”

    The fine is the largest ever levied by the South Korean agency

    Specifically, Qualcomm “coerced mobile phone makers to sign unfair license agreements by linking the chipset supply with patent license contracts, using its market position as a leveraging tool,”

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Joe Mullin / Ars Technica:
    Review of appeals court decisions from 2016 that benefited software patent holders and set the bar for software patents after Supreme Court’s Alice decision

    These three 2016 cases gave new life to software patents
    It’s harder, but not impossible, for owners of software patents to win cases.

    Enfish LLC v. Microsoft

    McRO v. Bandai Namco Games America

    Amdocs v. Openet Telecom

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Steve Brachmann /
    IBM granted record 8,088 patents in 2016 by the US Patent and Trademark Office, more than any other company and its 24th straight year at the top of the list

    IBM achieves record number of U.S. patents in 2016, 24th straight year of patent dominance

    Today, IBM announced that, yet again, it stands supreme in the U.S. patent world, earning the most grants from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office during 2016 and claiming the top spot among private entities for the 24th year in a row. IBM earned a total of 8,088 U.S. patents last year at a rate of 22 patents per day, besting its next closest tech rival by more than 2,500 U.S. patents and becoming the first company to receive more than 8,000 U.S. patents in one year.

    “Leading the world in innovation for 24 years in a row is a result of IBM’s unmatched commitment to innovation and R&D – reflected in this year’s new U.S. patent record,”

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Federal Trade Commission:
    FTC sues Qualcomm over anticompetitive tactics in monopolizing baseband processor market, says firm elevated patent royalties for vendors using competing chips — Company’s sales and licensing practices hamper Qualcomm’s competitors and threaten innovation in mobile communications, according to FTC

    FTC Charges Qualcomm With Monopolizing Key Semiconductor Device Used in Cell Phones

    Company’s sales and licensing practices hamper Qualcomm’s competitors and threaten innovation in mobile communications, according to FTC

    Qualcomm also holds patents that it has declared essential to industry standards that enable cellular connectivity. These standards were adopted by standard-setting organizations for the telecommunications industry, which include Qualcomm and many of its competitors. In exchange for having their patented technologies included in the standards, participants typically commit to license their patents on what are known as fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory, or “FRAND,” terms.

    According to the complaint, by threatening to disrupt cell phone manufacturers’ supply of baseband processors, Qualcomm obtains elevated royalties and other license terms for its standard-essential patents that manufacturers would otherwise reject.

    The FTC has charged Qualcomm with violating the FTC Act. The complaint alleges that Qualcomm:

    - Maintains a “no license, no chips” policy under which it will supply its baseband processors only on the condition that cell phone manufacturers agree to Qualcomm’s preferred license terms.

    - Refuses to license standard-essential patents to competitors.

    - Extracted exclusivity from Apple in exchange for reduced patent royalties

    The FTC is seeking a court order to undo and prevent Qualcomm’s unfair methods of competition in violation of the FTC Act.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Qualcomm responds to FTC charge, says will contest complaint and that it has not withheld or threatened to withhold chip supply — The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a complaint today against Qualcomm in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mary Jo Foley / ZDNet:
    Microsoft debuts Azure IP Advantage, a new program to provide customers with access to 10K Microsoft patents to help fight “baseless patent lawsuits” — Microsoft’s new Azure IP Advantage program is providing Microsoft cloud users with access to 10,000 Microsoft patents to help them fight ‘baseless patent lawsuits.’

    Microsoft to aid Azure customers in taking on patent trolls

    Microsoft’s new Azure IP Advantage program is providing Microsoft cloud users with access to 10,000 Microsoft patents to help them fight ‘baseless patent lawsuits.’

    Microsoft is introducing a new program called Azure IP Advantage, which it is touting as a way to protect users against “intellectual property risks in the cloud.”

    The company plans to make 10,000 Microsoft patents available to Azure customers to help them defend themselves against “baseless patent lawsuits,” in Microsoft officials’ words. And if the company ever transfers a patent to a non-practicing entity, that patent cannot be asserted against the customer. (This is called a “springing license,” in Microsoft’s description of the program.)

    Microsoft already offers uncapped indemnification coverage to its cloud customers. With the new Azure IP plan, it also will cover any open source technology powering Azure services, such as Azure HD Insight, which is built on top of Hadoop.months, according to officials.

    For the “patent pick,” users must have Azure usage of $1,000 per month over the past three months; have not filed a patent infringement lawsuit against another Azure customer for their Azure workloads in the last two years; and show evidence of a current patent litigation that occurred after February 8, 2017. “Legal transactional costs apply,” according to the fine print.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IBM Gets a Patent On ‘Out-of-Office’ Email Messages — In 2017—-in-2017

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued IBM a — what the Electronic Frontier Foundation calls — “stupefyingly mundane” patent on e-mail technology. U.S. Patent No. 9,547,842, “Out-of-office electronic mail messaging system” was filed in 2010 and granted about six weeks ago. Ars Technica reports:
    The “invention” represented in the ’842 patent is starkly at odds with the real history of technology, accessible in this case via a basic Google search. EFF lawyer Daniel Nazer, who wrote about the ’842 patent in this month’s “Stupid Patent of the Month” blog post, points to an article on a Microsoft publicity page that talks about quirky out-of-office e-mail culture dating back to the 1980s

    IBM gets a patent on “out-of-office” e-mail messages—in 2017
    The US Patent Office sees no history, hears no history—unless it’s in patents.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is bringing light to what it calls a “stupefyingly mundane” patent on e-mail technology, given not to a patent troll hiding in a small office but to one of the world’s largest technology corporations.

    IBM lawyers wrangled with the US Patent and Trademark Office for years over their bizarre and alarming alternative history, in which IBM invented out-of-office e-mail—in 2010. US Patent No. 9,547,842, “Out-of-office electronic mail messaging system” was filed in 2010 and granted about six weeks ago.

    IBM offers one feature that’s even arguably not decades old: the ability to notify those writing to the out-of-office user some days before the set vacation dates begin. This feature, similar to “sending a postcard, not from a vacation, but to let someone know you will go on a vacation,” is a “trivial change to existing systems,” Nazer points out. But patent lawyers have long been able to add trivial features to well-known technology in order to get software patent grants.

    Nazer goes on to identify some major mistakes made during the examination process.

    “[T]he examiner considered only patents and patent applications,” notes Nazer. The office “never considered any of the many, many, existing real-world systems that pre-dated IBM’s application.”

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    LG sues US smartphone maker BLU over patent infringement
    LG Electronics has sued US smartphone maker BLU for allegedly infringing five of its LTE patents.

    LG Electronics has filed a lawsuit against US smartphone maker BLU for alleged patent infringement.

    The South Korean tech giant said BLU infringed five of its LTE standard patents. Since last year, it sent notices informing BLU of its infringement without reply, the company said.

    LG filed the damages suit against the US firm to the district court of Delaware. It also sent a request to the US’s International Trade Commission (ITC) to halt BLU smartphone sales.

    The preliminary judgment will likely come out in the first half of next year and the final one in the second half.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ina Fried / Axios:
    Qualcomm responds to Apple suit over patent licensing and files countersuit including charge of limiting performance of Qualcomm modem chips in iPhone 7 — Qualcomm formally responded to a lawsuit from Apple on Monday, rejecting the iPhone maker’s claims and launching its own countersuit.

    Qualcomm fires back at Apple suit, seeks damages of its own

    Qualcomm formally responded to a lawsuit from Apple on Monday, rejecting the iPhone maker’s claims and launching its own countersuit.

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Frederic Lardinois / TechCrunch:
    Google and Intertrust debut PatentShield, which takes equity in return for helping startups defend against patent litigation by using their large IP portfolios

    Google’s and Intertrust’s new PatentShield helps startups fight patent litigation in return for equity

    Google and Intertrust today announced the launch of PatentShield, a new program that aims to help defend startups from patent litigation — in return for a stake in those companies.

    The basic idea here is to give startups that join the program ownership of a selection of patents from Google’s and Intertrust’s portfolio that they can then use as a deterrent against potential patent litigation from established players in their fields. Google is seeding the program with a selection of its own patents and Intertrust, which itself has built up a patent portfolio around media streaming, IoT, security and other areas, will also give these startups access to some of its own patents and its intellectual property team.

    If a startup gets sued, it can then choose patents from the PatentShield portfolio to defend itself by countersuing its opponents.

    “The program extends the array of initiatives Google has developed to help reduce frivolous litigation in the technology space,” said Allen Lo, Google’s Deputy General Counsel for patents in today’s announcement.

    Google, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM and others also teamed up last year to create a new marketplace for buying and selling patents.

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Anya George Tharakan / Reuters:
    Qualcomm lowers revenue and profit forecasts for the current quarter as Apple withholds royalty payments until the legal dispute between companies is resolved — Qualcomm Inc slashed its current-quarter profit and revenue forecasts on Friday, amid an escalating legal battle between the chipmaker and Apple Inc.

    Qualcomm warns of profit hit as Apple battle intensifies

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Trolling the patent trolls

    Patent lawsuits against tech companies are fairly common, and most companies will simply settle with their opponents rather than fund an expensive, lengthy legal defense.

    But when a firm called Blackbird Technologies sued Cloudflare (and Fastly, a cloud platform) for patent infringement last month over a 1998 patent that involves proxy system error messages, Cloudflare decided to fight back. The content delivery network is launching Project Jengo, a bounty program that aims to invalidate all of the 70-plus patents Blackbird owns.

    Project Jengo is offering a $50,000 bounty for research into “prior art,” or uses of the technology covered in the patents that show the technology was widely used before the patent was filed. Evidence of prior art can be used to undermine a patent infringement claim.

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “Relevant agreement for both” – Nokia and Apple agree their long-haired dispute

    Nokia and Apple have long argued for patents and their use. The companies now report that they have agreed on patent licenses and waive all claims.

    “This agreement is significant for both Nokia and Apple. Our relationship with Apple is changing the trial of the parties to the business partners who work together for the benefit of its customers,” said Nokia’s Chief Legal Officer Maria Varsellona release.

    According to the agreement, Nokia will provide Apple with certain network infrastructure products and services. The companies will also explore future opportunities for cooperation in digital healthcare projects.


  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    In printer cartridge case, US Supreme Court curbs patent-holders’ power to block resale of items — Ruling is blow to printer companies, pharmaceutical industry — Patent rights end once company sells product, Roberts says — The U.S. Supreme Court said companies give up their patent rights …

    U.S. Supreme Court Curbs Patent-Holder Power to Block Resale

    The U.S. Supreme Court said companies give up their patent rights when they sell an item, in a ruling that puts new limits on businesses’ ability to prevent their products from being resold at a discount.

    The ruling is a defeat for Lexmark International Inc., which was trying to stop refurbished versions of its printer cartridges from undercutting its U.S. sales. It’s also a blow to companies like HP Inc. and Canon Inc. that sell their printers for a relatively low cost with the idea that they will recoup money on sales of replacement cartridges. The decision was 8-0 in some respects and 7-1 in others.

    Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said sellers give up their patent rights even when the purchaser agrees not to resell the product to anyone else. He said that rule applies regardless of whether the sale happens domestically or overseas.

    “Extending the patent rights beyond the first sale would clog the channels of commerce, with little benefit from the extra control that the patentees retain,” Roberts wrote.

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Embroiled in Patent Conflicts, Qualcomm Loses Wireless Executive to Apple

    In January, Apple opened a lawsuit against Qualcomm for charging excessive patent royalties on the cellular modems Apple puts in smartphones. On Tuesday, a vice president of engineering who played a major role in Qualcomm’s modem business said that he had been hired by Apple.

    Esin Terzioglu, who had overseen Qualcomm’s baseband processors for the last eight years, announced on his LinkedIn page that he taken a job as wireless SoC lead at Apple. He recently led the engineering team that Qualcomm’s modems to 10 nanometers, down from the 14 nanometer technology that until last year was state-of-the-art.

    In a LinkedIn post that has since been removed, Terzioglu said that it was time “to move on to my next adventure.” He added: “It has been my honor and privilege to have worked with so many talented and dedicated individuals at Qualcomm.”

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Supreme Court Just Handed Consumers and Small Tech Companies a Big Win

    In what legal scholars are already calling a precedent-setting ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court handed consumers and tech companies a big win on Tuesday in a hackles-raising, pulse-pounding case about the juiciest of judicial issues: patent law.

    The case, called Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc., hinged on the question of how much control companies maintain over their products after they sell them, both domestically and abroad. It bubbled up to the highest court in the land about a year ago after Lexmark, a Chinese-owned printer company headquartered in Kentucky, sued Impression, a West Virginia-based “remanufacturer” company that refilled and resold Lexmark ink cartridges both in the U.S. and abroad.

    The Supreme Court decided 7-1 in favor of Impression on both counts, ruling that once a company has sold a product, it can’t dictate how the product is used—meaning that consumers have free rein to refurbish, repair, or resell items they’ve lawfully bought. “The purchaser and all subsequent owners are free to use or resell the product just like any other item of personal property, without fear of an infringement lawsuit,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority opinion. The court also found that this so-called “first sale” doctrine—which holds that companies forfeit their patent rights once they sell a specific product to a consumer—applies to purchases made outside U.S. territory.

    “An authorized sale outside the United States, just as one within the United States, exhausts all rights under the Patent Act,” the majority opinion went on to say.

    The decision is a boon for consumers, the New York Times wrote late Tuesday, because it protects those who repair or resell products from being sued for patent infringement. In loosening corporate giants’ iron grip on the products they make, it may also inject greater competition into resale markets, giving consumers a wider array of purchase options and bringing down prices.

    By targeting the pillars of Lexmark’s patent-hawkish business model, the Impression case predictably polarized the private sector, Ars Technica reported Wednesday. Smaller, more user-friendly outfits like Vizio, Dell, Intel, LG Electronics, HTC, Western Digital, and Costco Wholesale supported Impression while corporate giants including Qualcomm, IBM, Nokia, and Dolby—along with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies—backed Lexmark.

    Supreme Court overturns Lexmark’s patent win on used printer cartridges
    Since the 17th century, restricting resale has been “against Trade and Traffique.”

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tony Romm / Recode:
    Sources: ex-Google exec Michelle Lee has unexpectedly resigned as head of USPTO, after Amazon, Facebook, Google, others asked Trump to renominate her in April — Michelle Lee, seen as an ally to the tech industry, was expected to stick around at USPTO. — The leader of the U.S. government’s …

    The U.S. government’s patent chief has just resigned
    Michelle Lee, seen as an ally to the tech industry, was expected to stick around at USPTO.

    The leader of the U.S. government’s leading patent agency, Michelle Lee, has unexpectedly resigned from her post, according to multiple sources familiar with her plans.

    Lee, a former lawyer for Google, took over the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office during the Obama administration, and many in the tech industry — which publicly supported her work — believed that President Donald Trump would renominate her to the critical government post.

    But Lee instead informed the Commerce Department that she would be stepping down from the position.

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel May Sue M’soft over Emulation

    In a recent blog, Intel suggests it may sue Microsoft over plans to run Windows 10 on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon with x86 emulation.

    Intel published a recent blog on its x86 that on the surface celebrates “nearly four decades of consistent investment and improvement.” But the text, attributed to Intel’s general counsel and an Intel fellow, includes a much more important and potentially market-shifting message on competition and the legality of emulation.

    The blog details the advances in the x86 instruction set since Intel released the 8086 processor in 1978. It describes everything from MMX for multimedia to AVX-512, part of the upcoming Skylake-X architecture and more. Nearly every one of these advances has evolved the computing ecosystem unlike any company has been able to do in the same time frame.

    “enforcement actions have been unnecessary in recent years because other companies have respected Intel’s intellectual property rights.”

    Here’s where it gets interesting:

    However, there have been reports that some companies may try to emulate Intel’s proprietary x86 ISA without Intel’s authorization. Emulation is not a new technology, and Transmeta was notably the last company to claim to have produced a compatible x86 processor using emulation (“code morphing”) techniques. Intel enforced patents relating to SIMD instruction set enhancements against Transmeta’s x86 implementation even though it used emulation.

    X86: Approaching 40 and Still Going Strong
    Nearly Four Decades of Consistent Investment and Improvement

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Book Review: The Art Of The Patent

    In bringing suitable illustrations to our articles, we Hackaday scribes use a variety of sources that offer images featuring permissive licences. Among the usual free image libraries there is one particularly rich source, the line drawings contained within the huge archives of patents granted by the various countries around the world. These are the illustrations used as part of the patent itself to describe the working of the patent being claimed.

    If you spend a while browsing old patents through a search engine such as Google Patents, you can quickly become engrossed in these beautiful images of inventions past.

    It seems we here at Hackaday are not alone in sharing a fascination with these images, for a US patent agent, [Kevin Prince], wrote a fascinating exploration of the medium in his book, The Art of the Patent.

    He starts by examining patent drawings as an art form rather than as an exercise in technical drawing. The book examines why drawings are needed at all in a patent, by presenting the textual descriptions of a couple of ubiquitous inventions and asking the reader to guess what they might be.

    Finally we are then introduced to the design patent, protecting the appearance of something rather than its theory of operation. Yet again some famous and instantly recognisable examples are used as illustration. These represent the most heavily protected commercial design properties on the market, and no effort has been spared to present their tiniest detail in their patents.

    Within the patent archive lies a historical record of the defining inventions that have created our modern world. From [Eli Whitney]’s cotton gin of 1794 to an Apple iPod Mini from 2007

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tim Bradshaw / Financial Times:
    Qualcomm asks US ITC to ban imports of certain iPhone models using Intel components due to infringement of 6 patents that it claims are not standard-essential — Chipmaker claims infringement by some models and seeks ‘cease and desist’ order

    Qualcomm calls for iPhone ban as Apple patent case intensifies
    Chipmaker claims infringement by some models and seeks ‘cease and desist’ order

    Qualcomm is asking a US agency to ban the import of certain iPhone models that it alleges infringed on its latest patents, escalating its legal battle with Apple.

    The maker of Snapdragon processors and wireless modems claims the iPhone infringes on up to six patents, covering recent developments in smartphone performance, efficiency and power management.

    Qualcomm has also sued four top iPhone manufacturers for breach of contract after Apple choked off its royalty payments that are usually paid through the suppliers.

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mark Harris / Wired:
    Space Data, which is suing Alphabet over patents and trade secret theft, got USPTO to cancel key Project Loon balloon control patent claims last month

    The Lawsuit That Could Pop Alphabet’s Project Loon Balloons

    Last summer, a small company called Space Data sued Alphabet’s ‘moonshot’ X division. At issue was its effort to deliver internet access to remote areas by balloon, known as Project Loon.

    At first, not much happened. Space Data alleged patent infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of contract related to a failed acquisition bid in 2008. But last month, Space Data pulled off something big: It convinced the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel most of one of Project Loon’s foundational patents, and say that Space Data came up with the idea first. Loon’s patent for changing a balloon’s direction by adjusting its altitude—a core feature of both systems—is now legally back in Space Data’s hands.

    For Alphabet, the outcome is an unfortunate first. It has never before had any of its 36,000 patents change hands because of “interference,” the term for when a patent describes the same invention as an earlier filing from another company.

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Steven Musil / CNET:
    Intel files a public statement with ITC accusing Qualcomm of anticompetitive practices in Qualcomm vs Apple case

    Intel accuses Qualcomm of trying to kill mobile chip competition

    Intel says Qualcomm’s patent spat with Apple is really about quashing competition from Intel.

    Intel has jumped into the fray surrounding the Apple-Qualcomm patent spat by accusing the world’s biggest maker of mobile phone chips of trying to use the courts to snuff out competition.

    The chip giant made the allegation late Thursday in a public statement (PDF) to US International Trade Commission. The commission had requested the statement as part of its investigation into Qualcomm’s accusation that Apple’s iPhones of infringe six of Qualcomm’s mobile patents.

    Specifically, Intel said, the case is about quashing competition from Intel, which described itself as “Qualcomm’s only remaining competitor” in the market for chips for cellular phones.

  42. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mikey Campbell / AppleInsider:
    Wisconsin judge orders Apple pay $506M to University of Wisconsin-Madison for patent infringement of A7, A8, A8X system-on-chip CPU designs; Apple to appeal — A U.S. district court judge on Monday ruled Apple must pay $506 million in damages for infringing on a microprocessor technology IP owned …

    Wisconsin court orders Apple pay $506M for infringing on WARF patent

    By Mikey Campbell
    Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 06:22 pm PT (09:22 pm ET)

    A U.S. district court judge on Monday ruled Apple must pay $506 million in damages for infringing on a microprocessor technology IP owned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s patent licensing body, adding $272 million to an initial $234 decision reached almost two years ago.

  43. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Stipe / Nokiamob:
    As part of patent settlement, Nokia received upfront cash payment of €1.7B from Apple, Finnish company discloses during the earnings call

    #Apple agreed to pay one-time up-front €1.7 billion to #Nokia for patents *UPDATED*

    In today’s financial results, Nokia mentioned that it had increased cash inflow thanks to an “up-front cash payment of approximately EUR 1.7 billion, part of which was recognized in the second quarter 2017 results.” When Nokia announced back in May that it settled all litigation with Apple, they also said that they will update its capital structure optimization program, as one reader pointed out, which means Apple agreed to pay a big one-time amount.

    We contacted Nokia to confirm if the “up-front cash payment of €1.7 billion ($2 billion) (of which a part was recognized in Q2 results)” is from Apple, and Nokia’s PR team confirmed that and invited us to join the investor webcast at 2pm CEST here for more details.

  44. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Apple Under Investigation by ITC
    Qualcomm complaint to be heard in U.S.

    The U.S. International Trade Commission said it will investigate Apple following allegations by Qualcomm that the iPhone maker is violating six of its non-standards-essential patents. The review is the latest move in an escalating legal battle between the world’s largest cellular chip vendor and one of its largest customers.

    Qualcomm submitted to the ITC on July 7 a request to stop Apple from importing iPhone 7 handsets and other products infringing patents related to “envelope tracking, voltage shifter circuitry, flashless boot, power management circuitry, enhanced carrier aggregation, and graphics processing.”

    The Qualcomm patents at issue are:

    No. 8,633,936
    No. 8,698,558
    No. 8,487,658
    No. 8,838,949
    No. 9,535,490 and
    No. 9,608,675

    Qualcomm also filed suit against Apple over the same six patents in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. It also sued Apple for patent infringement in Germany.

  45. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nokia’s tough mobile network counterpart, Chinese Huawei has quickly added its patenting. This year, the company has been granted almost double the number of patents in the United States compared to Nokia.

    In recent years, Huawei has drastically increased its investment in research and product development. Last year its R & D expenditure was about ten billion euros, while Nokia’s figure was 4.9 billion.

    The patents granted to Huawe go hand in hand with the company’s growth in research spending. This year, US Patent Office USPTO has issued 1073 patents to the company. Nokia has acquired 652 and the third major mobile network company Ericsson 1114 patent.

    The number of patents in Nokia and Ericsson has remained at the same level in recent years, but Huawei’s patents have doubled in two years.


  46. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Red Hat pledges patent protection for 99 per cent of FOSS-ware
    Company has trove of 2,000 patents and won’t enforce any of them if you licence right

    Red Hat says it has amassed over 2,000 patents and won’t enforce them if the technologies they describe are used in properly-licensed open source software.

    The company’s made more or less the same offer since the year 2002, when it first made a “Patent Promise” in order to “to discourage patent aggression in free and open source software.” In 2002 the company didn’t own many patents and claimed its non-enforcement promise covered per cent of open source software.

    The Promise was revised in order to reflect the company’s growing patent trove and to spruce up the language it uses to make it more relevant.

    The revised promise “applies to all software meeting the free software or open source definitions of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) or the Open Source Initiative (OSI)”. That verbiage translates into any software licensed on terms the OSI approves on this list, or which meet the Initiative’s definition of open source

    The Promise itself kicks off with “To the extent a party makes, uses, sells, offers to sell, imports, or otherwise transfers Covered FOSS, Red Hat agrees not to use such actions as a basis for enforcing its patents against the party”.

    It’s not a blank cheque. Hardware isn’t covered and Red Hat is at pains to point out that “Our Promise is not an assurance that Red Hat’s patents are enforceable or that practicing Red Hat’s patented inventions does not infringe others’ patents or other intellectual property.”

    But the company says 99 per cent of FOSS software should be covered by the Promise.

  47. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook U-turn: React, other libraries freed from unloved patent license
    Hybrid BSD pact will be replaced by MIT deal for some projects

    Faced with growing dissatisfaction about licensing requirements for some of its open-source projects, Facebook today said it will move React, Jest, Flow, and Immutable.js under the MIT license next week.

    “We’re relicensing these projects because React is the foundation of a broad ecosystem of open source software for the web, and we don’t want to hold back forward progress for nontechnical reasons,” said Facebook engineering director Adam Wolff in a blog post on Friday.

    Wolff said while Facebook continues to believe its BSD + Patents license has benefits, “we acknowledge that we failed to decisively convince this community.”

    Relicensing React, Jest, Flow, and Immutable.js

    Next week, we are going to relicense our open source projects React, Jest, Flow, and Immutable.js under the MIT license. We’re relicensing these projects because React is the foundation of a broad ecosystem of open source software for the web, and we don’t want to hold back forward progress for nontechnical reasons.

  48. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Patent Licensing Is Too Opaque

    Someone needs to shine a light on the tech industry’s practices with patent royalties, but the latest EU effort takes the wrong angle.

    The patent system is too opaque for many reasons. For example, it’s an incredible challenge for patent examiners to determine prior art given the breadth, depth and fragmented nature of the existing pools of granted patents around the world.

    On the other side of the patent business, companies are free to negotiate whatever deals they wish when licensing their portfolios. Because licensing is conducted in strict secrecy, small groups of experts determine the market value of patents and keep that information to themselves.

    The EU has a long history of being proactive in patent and antitrust matters. By contrast the U.S. generally takes a more laissez faire stance, letting the market set standards while the courts settle individual disputes.

    I think there’s a better idea somewhere in the middle.


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