Groklaw has uncovered a curious, but perhaps not surprising, connection between Acacia, the patent troll behind the Linux desktop patent lawsuit against Red Hat and Novell, and BayStar, SCO's sugardaddy (with Microsoft behind its support for SCO). Incest runs amok in the patent trolling world.Guess who has Acacia Research, the parent of IP Innovation, now suing Red Hat and Novell over alleged patent infringement, in their portfolio, or at least demonstrably did in 2006? Baystar [PDF]. What a small world. Who'd think that the very same Baystar, whose Lawrence Goldfarb told the court in the SCO v. … Read more
A panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected most of Amazon.com's 1-Click online purchasing system patent claims because of evidence that another patent predated this one.
In its decision, dated September 26, the three-judge panel reversed an earlier decision approving the patent claims and remanded it back to the patent examiner.
Amazon's 1-Click system allows account holders to make a purchase with a single mouse click. The patent was granted in 1998, and Amazon went to court the following year to block Barnes & Noble from using a similar one-click checkout system. The … Read more
Stacey at Hyperic has an excellent post parsing research from recent Nobel Prize winners, Leonid Hurwicz, Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson. Digging into their research, she uncovers the following analog to open source:...when discoveries are "sequential" (so that each successive invention builds in an essential way on its predecessors) patent protection is not as useful for encouraging innovation as in a static setting. Indeed, society and even inventors themselves may be better off without such protection. Furthermore, an inventor's prospective profit may actually be enhanced by competition and imitation.… Read more
Acacia/IP Innovation has gone on the record as saying that it's not trying to kill open source: it just wants to suck anyone and everyone dry of cash, regardless of license. I don't know about you, but I feel strangely comforted. :-)
Acacia says:IP Innovation is not attempting to inject itself in the ongoing philosophical debate of whether products or services which utilize open source are subject to the same intellectual property laws/behaviors as non-open source offerings. Acacia and its subsidiaries do not philosophically differentiate any company, but rather seek to consistently and fairly monetize … Read more
Mark Radcliffe hints at something that I hope isn't true: that open source's growth might make it a prime candidate for patent trolls. This is one of the primary things that has bothered me about the IP Innovation lawsuit against Red Hat and Novell, two Linux desktop companies:
There is no Linux desktop market, and comparatively little in the bank accounts of both companies. Why sue penny pinchers when you can instead sue the sugar daddy?
Still, Mark writes:… Read more
Suddenly all those discussions about the discordant ways of open-source software and patent law have become a lot less abstract.
Companies called IP Innovation and Technology Licensing Corporation sued Red Hat and Novell on Tuesday, claiming the top Linux sellers' software products infringe U.S. patent 5,072,412, "User interface with multiple workspaces for sharing display system objects," and two identically named patents. The suit (PDF), in the U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas, seeks damages and a permanent injunction prohibiting any further infringement.
Red Hat spokeswoman Leigh Day said Friday only that the company is … Read more
Thinking more about all those darned coincidences in the IP Innovation lawsuit launched against Red Hat and Novell recently over the Linux desktop, I decided to list them out:One or more former Microsoft licensing execs join Acacia or one or its companies; Ballmer makes his most recent statement regarding Red Hat; Almost the same day, Red Hat (and presumbably Novell) receive notice of the alleged infringement from IP Innovation (Acacia); Before either company has a chance to consider the letter and respond, IP Innovation files its lawsuit in Texas;… Read more
Sometimes you just have to sing. I read Groklaw's report on a new lawsuit launched by IP Innovation (subsidiary of Acacia) against Novell and Red Hat over Linux desktop infringements of its "a User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects" patent and just wanted to break out into Stephen Sondheim:
Isn't it rich? Isn't it queer? Losing my timing this late In my career? And where are the clowns? Quick, send in the clowns. Don't bother - they're here.
Why clowns? Well, the more Groklaw digs into this, the more it looks like the ultimate patent troll/clown, Microsoft, may be behind this all. Some might say that Ballmer always sings on cue, and surely his commentary about Red Hat last week may be coincidence or simply poor timing, but Monsieur le Troll must be smiling, regardless.
Groklaw writes:… Read more
Vonage has asked a federal appeals court to revisit its recent decision to uphold most of a patent infringement ruling in a case it lost to Verizon Communications.
The Internet phone company characterized the request for a rehearing as the "next logical step" in the litigation process and in "moving our business forward."
The struggling firm also continues to "explore all legal options available to put the Verizon litigation to rest," Chief Legal Officer Sharon O'Leary said in a statement Wednesday.
Could that mean another out-of-court settlement is on the horizon? Earlier this … Read more
It's almost time for another patent and intellectual property auction from Ocean Tomo, and the gem in the catalog this time is a patent on a poker game.
Invented by Anthony Cabot, the game, informally called Multiway Poker, involves dealing 25 cards facedown in a 5x5 array. You then make hands out of the rows. In all, there are 12 hands in each deal: five vertical rows, five horizontal rows and two diagonal ones. There are a ton of variations, but the most common is draw poker.
The patent, No. 7,007,953, has an expected value of $75,… Read more