The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Ericsson, Verizon, and others are joining together to buy up patents to prevent the patents being used against them by patent trolls. The group, called the Allied Security Trust, is a bit like the open-source friendly Open Invention Network, but appears to have more cash at its disposal.The new Allied Security Trust aims to buy patents that others might use to bring infringement claims against its members. Companies will pay roughly $250,000 to join the group and will each put about $5 million into escrow with the organization, … Read more
Google is part of a group of tech heavyweights going on the offensive against the threat of patent-infringement lawsuits, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Sunday evening.
The group, which calls itself the Allied Security Trust, plans to buy up key intellectual property before it is obtained by parties that might use it against them, the newspaper reported. Joining Google in the group are Verizon Communications, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, and Hewlett-Packard, among others.
Each company will pay about $250,000 to join and then put about $5 million into escrow for future patent purchases, the newspaper reported, … Read more
No, it's not Steve Ballmer pounding the podium in favor of open source, but apparently Microsoft's field is being told to play nice.
At least, that's the sense I get from the comments made by a Microsoft representative at a recent open-source conference:
"We should have done it earlier," said Abet Dela Cruz, Microsoft Philippines platform strategy manager, narrating Monday's panel discussion at the Cebu summit....
"It took IBM about 10 years to be at this stage and it is only now that Microsoft is going in the same direction...Open Source is a broad worldwide phenomenon....[O]verall we see it (open source) as a long standing movement that will continue."
Yes, you should have (done it earlier), Microsoft. But there is still time to do it right. The first step will be to invite open-source application and infrastructure developers, commercial and otherwise, onto your platform without requiring them to sign up to patent pledges. Treat the open-source world with the same respect that you expect. We don't (knowingly) violate your patents, just as I'm sure you don't knowingly violate anyone else's.… Read more
Some of the news today was surprising, but some not so surprising. Here goes:Don Marti makes a smart but flawed (in my view) suggestion that appeasing patent trolls with a settlement may be the way to go, rather than fighting them off. I see his point, but the problem is that if everyone does this, patent trolls will proliferate. Do we really need to encourage them to have offspring? Firefox has apparently boosted its market share at the expense of Safari and Internet Explorer according to Net Applications. Net Applications also says, however, that it may have overcounted. Watch … Read more
While much of the industry lives in fear of a patent troll rearing its ugly head, Cognex has decided to take on trolls like Lemelson and Acacia, and has been spanking them on a regular basis.
As PJ at Groklaw notes, it's far too early to throw up our hands in despair at the dreaded patent trolls:Imagine if [Cognex] had, instead, thrown up his hands, assumed there was no hope, said the patent system was a joke, the system totally corrupt, etc. and just paid for a license he knew, and as he later proved, he didn't … Read more
Finally, I can call myself an inventor.
I've been inventing things for almost 20 years now, but Montalvo Systems was the first company I worked for that took intellectual property seriously. (That was no coincidence; it was also the first company I worked for where I helped develop the intellectual-property strategy.)
During my years at Montalvo, I came up with quite a few ideas and participated in brainstorming sessions that yielded more ideas. Most of these sessions were limited to Montalvo's own people, but there was one person I brought in to help us as a consultant--Don Alpert, who was the principal architect of Intel's Pentium processor and, possibly less significantly, a member of the editorial board at Microprocessor Report.
Working with three of us from Montalvo--myself and chief architects Greg Favor and Peter Song--Don took the lead in preparing a set of related patent applications describing a new way to design microprocessors.
The first patent from this set was… Read more
Red Hat announced on Wednesday that it has reached a settlement with Firestar Software and DataTern over a patent infringement lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed two years ago in a U.S. District Court in Texas, centered on Firestar's patent for linking object-oriented software with relational databases.
Firestar, in its lawsuit, had alleged that JBoss, which Red Hat had acquired, violated its patent with the JBoss Hibernate 3.0 object-relational mapping tool for Java. Hibernate 3.0 had an open license.
Under the settlement, whose financial terms were not disclosed, all software distributed under Red Hat's brands and predecessor … Read more
Software vendors of the world, take note: Red Hat has just demonstrated a truly open-source friendly way to tackle patent lawsuits. In settling a patent lawsuit with DataTern and Amphion Innovations PLC, Red Hat protected its short-term interests in the JBoss software. But it also went much further.
Unlike other patent deals (Read: Every single one that Microsoft has signed), which try to create a walled garden of protection for the signing parties, Red Hat opted to go much broader:"Typically when a company settles a patent lawsuit, it focuses on getting safety for itself," said Rob Tiller, … Read more
The U.S. Supreme Court handed a big victory to Quanta Computer on Monday when it held that the doctrine of patent exhaustion barred LG Electronics' claims against it.
In doing so, the Supreme Court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's previous decision that patent exhaustion did not apply to method claims and extended that doctrine to licenses for products that "substantially embod[y] a patent." This case is likely to substantially change the playing field for patentees seeking to monetize their patents in a vertical industry value chain.… Read more
Six technology titans are banding together to jointly license patents that cover WiMax in an effort to prevent costly royalty rates that might deter adoption of the wireless technology, according to a report Sunday on the Wall Street Journal 's Web site.
Cisco Systems, Intel Corp., Samsung, Sprint Nextel, Alcatel-Lucent, and Clearwire, plan Monday to announce the creation of the organization--to be called the Open Patent Alliance--the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the groups plans.
WiMax is a wireless broadband standard that has been touted as a breakthrough for cheap high-speed Internet access. Its backers claim that WiMax can … Read more