Why so many patent suits nowadays, and why MS doesn't name its patents - Linux

This is a discussion on Why so many patent suits nowadays, and why MS doesn't name its patents - Linux ; I haven't kept up with patent law over the last few years. I recently had occasion to do some work with patent lawyers, and took advantage of that to ask them interesting questions about the state of patent law. They ...

+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Why so many patent suits nowadays, and why MS doesn't name its patents

  1. Why so many patent suits nowadays, and why MS doesn't name its patents

    I haven't kept up with patent law over the last few years. I recently
    had occasion to do some work with patent lawyers, and took advantage of
    that to ask them interesting questions about the state of patent law.

    They told me something I hadn't realized, which goes a long way toward
    explaining why there seem to be so many more patent suits now than there
    were a few years ago, and might also be a factor in why MS is not naming
    the patents that they allege are being infringed by some free software.

    Suppose you are company X, and you have a patent on something. You
    notice company Y seems to be using your patented technology. You are
    perfectly willing to license the patent to Y, at a rate that both of
    you would find fair and reasonable. So what do you do?

    The obvious answer is contact Y, tell them you have a patent that you
    think might be of interest to them (you don't use the "infringe"
    word), and tell them the patent number. Then they could look at it,
    decide that it might be something they should get a license to, and then
    you negotiate, and everyone is happy.

    Well, that is how it SHOULD be. However, a few years ago, there was a
    change to the options available to Y. Y can now, if they want, when
    they get that notice that you think they might need to license your
    patent, they can go file a lawsuit against you, asking for a declaratory
    judgement that (1) they do not infringe the patent, or (2) the patent is
    not valid, or (3) both.

    Generally, X does not want this to happen, because it lets Y choose the
    venue for the suit. So, what X does nowadays is this: file a patent
    infringement suit against Y, and THEN contact Y, and tell them that the
    lawsuit is just a formality, and that what X really wants is a friendly
    negotiation over licensing the patent. That way, if X and Y are not
    able to negotiate a license, and it actually goes to trial, it will be
    in a venue selected by X.

    Net result: the filing of a lawsuit is now the first contact, rather
    than the last resort after failed negotiation.

    This also could be one factor as to why MS is not naming their patents
    and not naming specific alleged infringers--they don't want to invite a
    DJ suit in, say, Redhat's or Novell's backyards.

    (This change in law seems like a bad idea to me. I'm going to have to
    find out how it came about and see what the reason was. But in general,
    anything that discourages parties from working things out for themselves
    before getting the courts involved seems like a bad thing to me).

  2. this forum is not about Linux ..

    Tim Smith wrote:

    > I..


    This forum is not about Linux. It's vicious Microsoft FUD. Don't bother
    posting if you are a Linux person and don't believe a word you read here.

  3. Re: Why so many patent suits nowadays, and why MS doesn't name its patents

    * Tim Smith fired off this tart reply:

    > I haven't kept up with patent law over the last few years. I recently
    > had occasion to do some work with patent lawyers, and took advantage of
    > that to ask them interesting questions about the state of patent law.
    >
    > They told me something I hadn't realized, which goes a long way toward
    > explaining why there seem to be so many more patent suits now than there
    > were a few years ago, ...
    >
    > . . .
    >
    > Net result: the filing of a lawsuit is now the first contact, rather
    > than the last resort after failed negotiation.


    An interesting post, Tim. Thanks!

    (I see Doug already has a pre-emptive post in place, so maybe he won't
    bother accusing me of giving you a reach-around simply because I
    treated you cordially.)

    I've never understood why you can see all these similar physical
    products marked with patent symbols, yet there isn't much litigation,
    yet the situation is so different in the software arena.

    Makes you wonder if lawyers and lawmakers are really as logical as one
    would expect.

    --
    Tux rox!

  4. Re: Why so many patent suits nowadays, and why MS doesn't name its patents

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    Tim Smith wrote:

    > This also could be one factor as to why MS is not naming their patents
    > and not naming specific alleged infringers--they don't want to invite
    > a DJ suit in, say, Redhat's or Novell's backyards.


    Or, which I consider more likely, they have nothing substantial (because
    all software patents are essentially bogus), and they won't risk
    actually naming any of them because it would immediately destroy their
    bluff. Basically, FUD is worth much more to them, and if they ever
    *did* sue, they would be ground into dust by IBM counter-suits.

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
    Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

    iD8DBQFHQIivd1ZThqotgfgRAuaLAJ9fhXQhKVZ5D4/rffvOj+rFIj/rNQCgsvtd
    4o9b/E2e4iknO6Gc0TQ2YWg=
    =bBjq
    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
    --
    PeKaJe

    But alas, all you have is invective, and the logical equivalent of monkeys
    flinging crap. -- Jim Richardson responding to DFS in COLA

  5. Re: Why so many patent suits nowadays, and why MS doesn't name its patents

    Tim Smith wrote:

    > I haven't kept up with patent law over the last few years. I recently
    > had occasion to do some work with patent lawyers, and took advantage of
    > that to ask them interesting questions about the state of patent law.
    >
    > They told me something I hadn't realized, which goes a long way toward
    > explaining why there seem to be so many more patent suits now than there
    > were a few years ago, and might also be a factor in why MS is not naming
    > the patents that they allege are being infringed by some free software.
    >
    > Suppose you are company X, and you have a patent on something. You
    > notice company Y seems to be using your patented technology. You are
    > perfectly willing to license the patent to Y, at a rate that both of
    > you would find fair and reasonable. So what do you do?
    >
    > The obvious answer is contact Y, tell them you have a patent that you
    > think might be of interest to them (you don't use the "infringe"
    > word), and tell them the patent number. Then they could look at it,
    > decide that it might be something they should get a license to, and then
    > you negotiate, and everyone is happy.
    >
    > Well, that is how it SHOULD be. However, a few years ago, there was a
    > change to the options available to Y. Y can now, if they want, when
    > they get that notice that you think they might need to license your
    > patent, they can go file a lawsuit against you, asking for a declaratory
    > judgement that (1) they do not infringe the patent, or (2) the patent is
    > not valid, or (3) both.
    >
    > Generally, X does not want this to happen, because it lets Y choose the
    > venue for the suit. So, what X does nowadays is this: file a patent
    > infringement suit against Y, and THEN contact Y, and tell them that the
    > lawsuit is just a formality, and that what X really wants is a friendly
    > negotiation over licensing the patent. That way, if X and Y are not
    > able to negotiate a license, and it actually goes to trial, it will be
    > in a venue selected by X.
    >
    > Net result: the filing of a lawsuit is now the first contact, rather
    > than the last resort after failed negotiation.
    >
    > This also could be one factor as to why MS is not naming their patents
    > and not naming specific alleged infringers--they don't want to invite a
    > DJ suit in, say, Redhat's or Novell's backyards.
    >
    > (This change in law seems like a bad idea to me. I'm going to have to
    > find out how it came about and see what the reason was. But in general,
    > anything that discourages parties from working things out for themselves
    > before getting the courts involved seems like a bad thing to me).



    I think a move to any such practice in the EU would back fire instantly.

    The courts are not there as an instrument to terrorize victims of
    litigatious companies into submission.

    By tradition, you would have to prove that you tried your utmost
    best to resolve all issues through negotiation before
    involving the courts, and that you have exhausted all the
    possibilities and that is why you are now before the courts.




  6. Re: Why so many patent suits nowadays, and why MS doesn't name its patents

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    On Sun, 18 Nov 2007 16:27:23 -0000,
    Tim Smith wrote:
    > I haven't kept up with patent law over the last few years. I recently
    > had occasion to do some work with patent lawyers, and took advantage of
    > that to ask them interesting questions about the state of patent law.
    >
    > They told me something I hadn't realized, which goes a long way toward
    > explaining why there seem to be so many more patent suits now than there
    > were a few years ago, and might also be a factor in why MS is not naming
    > the patents that they allege are being infringed by some free software.
    >
    > Suppose you are company X, and you have a patent on something. You
    > notice company Y seems to be using your patented technology. You are
    > perfectly willing to license the patent to Y, at a rate that both of
    > you would find fair and reasonable. So what do you do?
    >
    > The obvious answer is contact Y, tell them you have a patent that you
    > think might be of interest to them (you don't use the "infringe"
    > word), and tell them the patent number. Then they could look at it,
    > decide that it might be something they should get a license to, and then
    > you negotiate, and everyone is happy.
    >
    > Well, that is how it SHOULD be. However, a few years ago, there was a
    > change to the options available to Y. Y can now, if they want, when
    > they get that notice that you think they might need to license your
    > patent, they can go file a lawsuit against you, asking for a declaratory
    > judgement that (1) they do not infringe the patent, or (2) the patent is
    > not valid, or (3) both.
    >
    > Generally, X does not want this to happen, because it lets Y choose the
    > venue for the suit. So, what X does nowadays is this: file a patent
    > infringement suit against Y, and THEN contact Y, and tell them that the
    > lawsuit is just a formality, and that what X really wants is a friendly
    > negotiation over licensing the patent. That way, if X and Y are not
    > able to negotiate a license, and it actually goes to trial, it will be
    > in a venue selected by X.
    >
    > Net result: the filing of a lawsuit is now the first contact, rather
    > than the last resort after failed negotiation.
    >
    > This also could be one factor as to why MS is not naming their patents
    > and not naming specific alleged infringers--they don't want to invite a
    > DJ suit in, say, Redhat's or Novell's backyards.
    >
    > (This change in law seems like a bad idea to me. I'm going to have to
    > find out how it came about and see what the reason was. But in general,
    > anything that discourages parties from working things out for themselves
    > before getting the courts involved seems like a bad thing to me).



    Except you are leaving out one rather important fact.

    MS hasn't filed any such initial suit. So your whole post is not
    relevant in this case. If MS were to file suit, you'd have a point re:
    MS claims that RH et al are violating MS IP.


    I agree that it's a bad change, that it's much better for things to be
    worked out amicably. But then, I also think the older state of affairs
    was bad as well.

    (you are also leaving out another option that the allegedly offending
    company has, to say "Bring it on buddy" Which is what folks like RH
    have done. So far, MS has yet to fish or cut bait.)


    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
    Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

    iD8DBQFHQMXud90bcYOAWPYRAikSAJ4tOKVKpsfhqdvqOLfj0j O27PVz1QCgmxHg
    1nHU+sbYnH14gMMQtwKPp3M=
    =pb3p
    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

    --
    Jim Richardson http://www.eskimo.com/~warlock
    Don't get mad, get Linux

  7. Re: Why so many patent suits nowadays, and why MS doesn't name its patents

    * Jim Richardson fired off this tart reply:
    > -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    > Hash: SHA1
    >
    > On Sun, 18 Nov 2007 21:15:05 -0000,
    > Tim Smith wrote:
    >>
    >> The courts should be a last resort in disputes, but with closed source,
    >> they are the first.

    >
    > Agreed, but why is it that MS has failed to follow up with their "Linux
    > infringes our IP" claims?


    Maybe its that they would have to take on a large number of entities,
    including at least one rather large one (IBM) more than capable of
    fighting back.

    Meanwhile, while the dinosaurs battle it out, the Free-Software mammals
    keep on breeding. I mean, "breading".

    --
    Tux rox!

+ Reply to Thread