The Patent Game

  • Posted: 25 June 2011 01:04 AM #31

    madmaxroi - 24 June 2011 05:55 PM
    FalKirk - 23 June 2011 04:20 AM
    mbeauch - 23 June 2011 01:25 AM

    I say “release the hounds”. :-D

    This speaks to the lawyer in me in a very real and profoundly disturbing way.

    Oh, what the hell! Sue them all, damn it, sue them ALL!

    Fal, how does it speak to you as a recovering lawyer? smile

    Same.

    Studying law is a lot like studying philosophy. Your mind is going to be pretty messed up for the rest of your life.

         
  • Posted: 25 June 2011 07:55 AM #32

    It’s not possible to systematize patent revenue, because that would require every patent to be fully tested in the courts for validity and every product to be evaluated in a repeatable fashion against every patent to determine the correct revenue. There would be an explosion of patent litigation so huge it couldn’t be processed even if every human being became a full time lawyer. No, patents are destined to remain a backstop legal defence against slavish copying of innovation or research, that damages the inventor.

    But legal action is not pretty. I believe SJ learned his lesson with Microsoft, and is not actually interested in defending Apple patents, UNLESS another company slavishly copies what Apple has done, restricting Apple’s ability to profit from differentiation through innovation. And they have copied iPhone and iPad slavishly. Hence the litigation. Look how everyone scoffed at the absence of keyboard on the iPhone. Yet now, for some reason, they’ve realised for themselves that a keyboard isn’t necessary. (And don’t tell me about the LG Prada - it was a fashion accessory rushed to market to beat iPhone, never a viable smartphone)

         
  • Posted: 03 August 2011 08:55 PM #33

    Google takes shots at Apple and Microsoft in Android patent tirade

    In (a) post, David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Google, said Android devices are selling incredibly well around the world but its success had produced ?a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.?

    First, it seems to me that Google is not the sole target of patent lawsuits. A whole lot of companies are suing a whole lot of other companies. See here.

    I don’t recall Google coming to Apple’s assistance when they Apple was being sued for patent infringement.

    Second, “bogus” patents? I think the courts, not Google, gets to determine that.

    Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other?s throats, so when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what?s going on,? Drummond wrote.

    Yeah, you have to wonder if they are banding together to protect their patents and their intellectual property from a shameless patent thief - like Google.

    ?Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.?

    TRANSLATION: Instead of competing by building new features or devices that we can then steal again for our next generation of products, they are fighting fair and using the courts just the way patent law was designed to punish usurpers like us. Damn!

    Google said the sale of Nortel?s patent portfolio to Apple, Microsoft, RIM and others was a major blow to its competitiveness…

    ...because, of course, Google was hoping to keep on using those stolen patents for free.

    Drummond finished the tirade by saying Google was looking at ways to preserve Android, including encouraging the U.S. Department of Justice to license patents on fair terms and probe Microsoft and Apple for anti-competitive practices.

    Apparently, Drummond did not consider the possibility of preserving Android by creating and using technology that wasn’t already patented by others.

    ?We?re also looking at other ways to reduce the anti-competitive threats against Android by strengthening our own patent portfolio,? Drummond wrote. ?Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices ? and fewer choices for their next phone.?

    With regard to Google doing the exact same thing that they are criticizing others for doing Drummond clarified Googles’ position: “Remember, it’s anti-competitive when ‘they’ do it, but it’s creating choice when we do it.”

         
  • Posted: 03 August 2011 09:36 PM #34

    John Gruber’s take:

    David Drummond, Google senior vice president and chief legal officer, ?When Patents Attack Android?:

    But Android?s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.

    They?re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell?s old patents (the ?CPTN? group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel?s old patents (the ?Rockstar? group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn?t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Mobile; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.

    So if Google had acquired the rights to these patents, that would have been OK. But when others acquired them, it?s a ?hostile, organized campaign?. It?s OK for Google to undermine Microsoft?s for-pay OS licensing business by giving Android away for free, but it?s not OK for Microsoft to undermine Google?s attempts to give away for free an OS that violates patents belonging to Microsoft?

    This anti-competitive strategy is also escalating the cost of patents way beyond what they?re really worth. Microsoft and Apple?s winning $4.5 billion for Nortel?s patent portfolio was nearly five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion. Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means ? which means these deals are likely to draw regulatory scrutiny, and this patent bubble will pop.

    First, the ?estimate? of $1 billion was partially set by Google itself.

    Then when the auction actually started, it?s OK for Google to bid over $3.14 billion, but when Apple and Microsoft bid $4.5 billion, that?s ?way beyond what they?re really worth?. And if these patents are ?bogus?, why was Google willing to pay anything for them, let alone pi billion dollars?

    No one other than Nathan Myhrvold and his cronies sees the U.S. patent system as functioning properly, but Google?s hypocrisy here is absurd. Google isn?t arguing against a handful of never-should-have-been-issued software patents. They?re not arguing against patent trolls like Myhrvold and his shell companies like Lodsys ? companies that have no products of their own, no actual inventions, just patents for ideas for products. They?re effectively arguing against the idea of the patent system itself, simply because Android violates a bunch of patents held by Google?s competitors. It?s not ?patents? that are attacking Android. It?s competing companies whose patents Google has violated ? and whose business Android undermines ? who are attacking Android.

    Google supporters claim that Google only wants to use patents defensively. But what exactly does Google need to defend against, if not actual patents Android actually violates?

    How is Google?s argument here different than simply demanding that Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, et al should simply sit back and let Google do whatever it wants with Android, regardless of the patents they hold? And, let?s not forget, give Android away for free.

         
  • Posted: 03 August 2011 11:06 PM #35

    Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith tweeted Wednesday evening: “Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.”

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/08/google-publicly-accuses-apple-microsoft-oracle-of-patent-bullying.ars

         
  • Posted: 03 August 2011 11:19 PM #36

    Sounds to me that Google is throwing a temper tantrum.  The children are in charge and can’t get their. way.

    Maybe Android really has become a cash drain problem for them which threatens to get out of hand.  I wonder if Samsung and HTC have threatened to sue Google for supplying them with a faulty product, one that relies on stolen technology?

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    Posted: 04 August 2011 01:04 AM #37

    Google just need to STFU.

    It’s the most immature whining I have ever seen from a fortune 500 company. Its even worse than Adobes Flash rant.

    Hey Google! man up, and pay your fair share of patent infringement costs, or stop shipping Android if you dont want to/cant pay.

    I’m sure if apple got a hold of the google search algorithim and released a search engine based on it, that google would be suing them to oblivion. Can you imagine under that scenario if apple then came out and publically accused google of “stifling innovation” with their “bogus” patent claims?

    [ Edited: 04 August 2011 01:06 AM by Burgess ]

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    Posted: 04 August 2011 01:33 AM #38

    From Daring Fireball:

    Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith, on Twitter:

    Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.

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  • Posted: 04 August 2011 01:44 AM #39

    Google is clearly trying to win a public relations war here. None of this will have any influence in the courts so they must be seeking public and then political support.

    But I don’t think they are going to win this one. Sometimes it is very difficult to clearly refute an argument. Get a good slogan and push it relentlessly and its simplicity and emotional appeal may easily win out over the better thought out, more rational argument.

    But I don’t think Google has a public relations case here. They are going for the anti-patent angle which is extremely popular. But their hypocrisy is blatant. They bid on the very patents that they now claim are evil. Makes them sound like sore losers. They claim that Apple is litigating instead of innovating. But if you follow their argument to its logical conclusion then no patent should be enforced. How convenient for the someone who is being accused of infringing on the patents of others. They claim that there is a conspiracy to get them. But all the evidence indicates exactly the opposite. Each plaintiff seems to be attacking Google at a different time for a different reason. Rather than looking like they the litigants ganging up against poor little Google, it’s beginning to look like Google’s disregard for patents and intellectual property is attracting lawsuits in droves.

    There’s lots of talk (mostly by Google) that the anti-trust department is investigating these matters. Hmmmmm. Not so sure about that. The government vetted all the participants in the Nortel auction, approved all the participants and approved the bidding process. More importantly, are they really going to let Apple and the other buy the patents - for 4.5 billion dollars no less - and then tell them that they can’t use them? I’m thinking that even the United States government is not that dumb.

    We’ll have to wait and see how the public reacts to all this. So far, the blogasphere has mostly just been reporting the news. I’ve seen a couple opinions but I haven’t seen anything that was both strongly worded and well-thought out that supported Google’s position. I get the feeling that most feel that Google is being disingenuous and self-serving in this matter and the rest simply want to stay neutral. That’s a defeat for Google. If they want to sway political opinion via public opinion, they need a very positive response from the press. Neutral or ambivalent is not going to cut it.

         
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    Posted: 04 August 2011 04:39 AM #40

    To “Don’t Be Evil” I would also add:  “Don’t Be Stupid”.

    I’m no Microsoft fan but Brad Smith’s tweet was priceless.  IMHO, Google’s gone from being a carefree innovative idealist (well, that was the persona, anyway) to a pseudo-open-advocating agenda-driven crybaby that rants when someone else wins fair and square - or when it looks like those parties suing it have decent-looking reasons for doing so.

    I certainly didn’t want Google to turn out this way.  Google has an excellent search product, Apple and Google were great partners in the iPhone beginnings and heck, MS apparently wanted to partner up with Google on the Nortel patents.  Well, if this is the true Google, at least we know sooner than later.

    [ Edited: 04 August 2011 04:43 AM by Mav ]

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    Posted: 04 August 2011 04:48 AM #41

    Found via Engadget:  E-mail proof of an attempted co-op between MS and Google?  It gets more interesting by the hour!

    http://twitter.com/#!/fxshaw/status/98932077327691776/photo/1

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    Posted: 04 August 2011 09:58 AM #42

    FalKirk - 04 August 2011 04:44 AM

    Google is clearly trying to win a public relations war here. None of this will have any influence in the courts so they must be seeking public and then political support.

    But I don’t think they are going to win this one. Sometimes it is very difficult to clearly refute an argument. Get a good slogan and push it relentlessly and its simplicity and emotional appeal may easily win out over the better thought out, more rational argument.

    But I don’t think Google has a public relations case here. They are going for the anti-patent angle which is extremely popular. But their hypocrisy is blatant. They bid on the very patents that they now claim are evil. Makes them sound like sore losers. They claim that Apple is litigating instead of innovating. But if you follow their argument to its logical conclusion then no patent should be enforced. How convenient for the someone who is being accused of infringing on the patents of others. They claim that there is a conspiracy to get them. But all the evidence indicates exactly the opposite. Each plaintiff seems to be attacking Google at a different time for a different reason. Rather than looking like they the litigants ganging up against poor little Google, it’s beginning to look like Google’s disregard for patents and intellectual property is attracting lawsuits in droves.

    There’s lots of talk (mostly by Google) that the anti-trust department is investigating these matters. Hmmmmm. Not so sure about that. The government vetted all the participants in the Nortel auction, approved all the participants and approved the bidding process. More importantly, are they really going to let Apple and the other buy the patents - for 4.5 billion dollars no less - and then tell them that they can’t use them? I’m thinking that even the United States government is not that dumb.

    We’ll have to wait and see how the public reacts to all this. So far, the blogasphere has mostly just been reporting the news. I’ve seen a couple opinions but I haven’t seen anything that was both strongly worded and well-thought out that supported Google’s position. I get the feeling that most feel that Google is being disingenuous and self-serving in this matter and the rest simply want to stay neutral. That’s a defeat for Google. If they want to sway political opinion via public opinion, they need a very positive response from the press. Neutral or ambivalent is not going to cut it.

    Just to clarify none of the suits brought by Apple have anything to do with the nortel patents.  The nortel patents of interest to Apple would be those related to the 3G & 4G technologies and will most like be used to lower the royalties Apple must pay to use LTE in their smartphones and iPads.  About 10% of the Wholesale cost of a smartphone is due to having to pay royalties to the likes of Qualcomm, Nokia, & IDCC.  Apple will now become part of the pool of essential patent holders for 4G and most likely will cross license those patents as part of the 4G standard using FRAND rates or cross licensing.  The multitouch and other patents which Apple is litigating were created as part of bring the touch screen interface to the iPhone and have been copied by all the cell phone manufactures making capacitance touch screen cell phones.  Apple has always said they will go after folks who copied their design and this whole stifling innovation shtick that google is contriving is utter BS.  Originally Android in the US did not include multitouch but overseas it did.  Google obviously knew they would be in violation of Apple’s patents but chose to proceed anyways.  The court process is now catching up with Google and they realize as the process moves along that their prospects of getting away with the theft of IP are unlikely so they are trying to win the case in the court of public opinion

         
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    Posted: 04 August 2011 04:14 PM #43

    Funny rant fireballed because of Gruber.

    Brian S. Hall, ?Google Are Pussies?:

    If you have a monopoly business and generate monopoly profits and take those monopoly profits to another industry and gave away what your competitors (must) charge for, which led you to quickly capture the dominant market share, would you?

    ?whine like a bitch?

    FIREBALLED: http://fireballed.org/linked/2011/08/04/google/

         
  • Posted: 04 August 2011 06:47 PM #44

    Perhaps if Google charged OEMs for Android, they could afford to pay the Java etc license fee and develop/patent original IP in order to indemnify their OEMs?  But then, they may need to staff/fund and run it like a “traditional” software business…I know, I know, it is a crazy idea…

         
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    Posted: 04 August 2011 08:49 PM #45

    iphoned - 04 August 2011 09:47 PM

    Perhaps if Google charged OEMs for Android, they could afford to pay the Java etc license fee and develop/patent original IP in order to indemnify their OEMs?  But then, they may need to staff/fund and run it like a “traditional” software business…I know, I know, it is a crazy idea…

    I don’t think Apple is after licensing fees, for the multi-touch patents so if the manufacture doesn’t have an advantage over Apple then they will not be selling their devices until they remove the feature and you can bet Apple has enough cash to continue the law suits for each and every iPhone patent.  The patent war is both offense and defense so folks like Microsoft are safe because they have such a huge stock of patents that your only realistic option is cross liscencing.  IMO the Samsung case is the most interesting since they have a ton of patents but they were also the most blatant copiers. I was at a movie the other day and my wife watched a commercial for the Galaxy Tab and she thought it was an iPad commercial.  When non technical people have trouble distinguishing the two we know they are have very similar designs and Apple is going after Samsung for just that reason.  Your largest subcomponent partner decides to compete head to head with you using an OS which copies many of your advanced UI features and then basically copies the look and feel of your design and your just suppose to sit by and watch because google says so and oh by the way Eric Schmidt sat on the Apple board as Apple was planning their entry into the phone business .  Talk about back stabbing your partners.  Google will get the full rath of SJ these are just the opening shots in the war