Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Patents Android Google Microsoft Sony Apple

Microsoft, Apple and Others Launch Huge Patent Strike at Android 476

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
New submitter GODISNOWHERE writes "Nortel went bankrupt in 2009. In 2011, it held an auction for its massive patent portfolio. The winners of the auction were Apple, Microsoft, Sony, RIM, and others, who bought the patents for $4.5 billion as a consortium named Rockstar Bidco. At the time, many people speculated those patents would be used against Google, who bid separately but lost. It turns out they were right. Rockstar has filed eight lawsuits in federal court targeting Google and Android device manufacturers. 'The complaint (PDF) against Google involves six patents, all from the same patent "family." They're all titled "associative search engine," and list Richard Skillen and Prescott Livermore as inventors. The patents describe "an advertisement machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network. The oldest patent in the case is US Patent No. 6,098,065, with a filing date of 1997, one year before Google was founded. The newest patent in the suit was filed in 2007 and granted in 2011. The complaint tries to use the fact that Google bid for the patents as an extra point against the search giant.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft, Apple and Others Launch Huge Patent Strike at Android

Comments Filter:
  • by new death barbie (240326) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:52AM (#45299057)

    ... how is this a strike against Android?

  • by Revek (133289) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:53AM (#45299067) Homepage

    Sue the best.

  • wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:56AM (#45299091)

    Apple, Microsoft, and Sony (nobody cares about RIM), three of the biggest names in technology. Three of the most influential and powerful companies in the world. Three companies that have historically been in fierce competition with one another.

    And they had to gang up on Google.

    What does that say about how much they fear Google?

  • Anti-Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:56AM (#45299093)

    Apple, Microsoft, Sony, RIM, and others, who bought the patents for $4.5 billion as a consortium named Rockstar Bidco

    I presume it's not, but that should be illegal collusion and an anti-trust violation.

  • Re:Anti-Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bondsbw (888959) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:00AM (#45299121)

    Ironically, the result of buying patents is now they have a legal monopoly.

  • Patent hell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:02AM (#45299135) Homepage Journal

    Broken system. Too much politics, too much backstabbing, too much use of patents to tear down competitors instead of just arranging a reasonable fee.

    Abolish software and "business method" patents. They're not *things*, just ideas. They're not what patents were *created* to protect.

  • by mishehu (712452) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:04AM (#45299151)
    Those who can, innovate.

    Those who can't, litigate.

    Sorry, Apple, but the Woz was right when he explained concern over your company. And I've not really seen Microsoft innovate itself out of a paper bag in years... But that's ok, they'll make sure they're on the gravy train by attempting to collect royalties every Android device out there...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:07AM (#45299171)

    Google's own patent bank, while not as large as it's competitors, is not insubstantial. We're about to see a legal mess of historic proportions. Law firms are going to make insane amounts of money.

    Oh and consumers will be paying the bottom line, can't forget that.

  • Re:Anti-Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:13AM (#45299221)

    True. That's the problem with the term "intellectual property" - it's male bovine manure. It's a government granted monopoly, not property in any meaningful sense like a car or a shirt.

  • Re:wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:15AM (#45299247)

    In other words, it's their fault that they chose not to be part of an anti-competitive extortion scheme.

  • by jbolden (176878) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:16AM (#45299257) Homepage

    And I've not really seen Microsoft innovate itself out of a paper bag in years

    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/ [microsoft.com]

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:17AM (#45299259) Homepage

    I think it is safe to assume Google saw this coming. Which means they believe it will cost less than 4.4 billion to win (I assume their ability to serve ads, and android, both are not something they will willingly give up on).

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:17AM (#45299269)

    Which is so painfully obvious the phonebook is prior art.

    You go look under plumber and with the listing you see advertising.

  • Re:Anti-Trust (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:21AM (#45299297) Homepage Journal

    Prosecutors will charge old ladies playing bridge under RICO, but then again those old ladies don't pay protection^Wbribes^W^Wdonate to campaigns the way the big boys do.

  • by pegr (46683) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:21AM (#45299299) Homepage Journal

    No, I'd prefer an intelligent discourse of experts, perhaps moderated by a competent paralegal with years of experience researching such things.

    PJ, this post is for you. We NEED you. Please reconsider.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:22AM (#45299303)

    Google's own patent bank, while not as large as it's competitors, is not insubstantial. We're about to see a legal mess of historic proportions. Law firms are going to make insane amounts of money.

    Oh and consumers will be paying the bottom line, can't forget that.

    Government by the lawyers for the lawyers.

    That's what the US really has...

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:29AM (#45299375) Homepage Journal

    "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product."

    Jesus. Young Steve Jobs was pretty cool [youtube.com]. Old, dying Steve Jobs was just an asshole whom young Steve Jobs would have mocked.

  • Re:wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:30AM (#45299379)

    Humans naturally cooperate. Competition isn't a religious edict - it's just that we have a fucked up society where everyone at the bottom is told to compete while everyone at the top plays golf together.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:57AM (#45299705)

    all the important work was given to the standards bodies
    once you assign your patent to a standards body for inclusion in a standard you lose a lot of power over that patent
    all the technical work for wifi/LTE and other tech are now SEP patents which they have to license at the same rates to everyone

  • by tobiasly (524456) on Friday November 01, 2013 @10:04AM (#45299767) Homepage

    No, I'd prefer an intelligent discourse of experts, perhaps moderated by a competent paralegal with years of experience researching such things.

    PJ, this post is for you. We NEED you. Please reconsider.

    A thousand times this :( It's so sad that we don't have Groklaw to help sort this all out for us. Mr. Florian woke up with a massive hard-on this morning, spewing his usual hypocritical diatribe about how Google brought this all on themselves by not caving in the past. I can't stand the thought that he's the only "tech patent expert" who will be quoted in the news on all of this.

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday November 01, 2013 @10:09AM (#45299833)

    Which is so painfully obvious the phonebook is prior art.

    You go look under plumber and with the listing you see advertising.

    Painfully obvious in hindsight. Why was it patented before google came into existence?

    While I tend to agree with you in this case, if you want google to win the lawsuit you have to answer the above question satisfactorily.

    Imagine the Hammer was invented after patent laws. obvious in hindsight. simple. But eminently patentable as a method for driving with more force than banging it with a rock.

    here one prior art would be the yellow pages. But it lacked the force of a data base search. the search terms in the yellowpages were pre-formed. so less forceful.

    the fact that was not an obvious improvement is that at the time Google was formed, Yahoo was not a search engine per se. It was a curated set of pre-formed categories like a yellow pages.

    another prior art would be Alta Vista and Overture. They were packing the top of the search results list with advertiser's listings. so here we do have advertising using a data base.

    But at that time they were not using a user profile to make the listing adaptive. SO less force.

    Early google was simmilar but the ads were shifted to the right column not intermixed. Later on Google became adaptive.

    So in 1997 it's not yet obvious since others with the means to do so before google did not do so.

  • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday November 01, 2013 @10:09AM (#45299835)

    More money is spent on litigating patents than on creating the inventions. Wish I could find the link now, but the crossover was reached a number of years ago. So much for the idea that the purpose of patents is to foster innovation.

  • by zieroh (307208) on Friday November 01, 2013 @10:12AM (#45299859)

    I have long observed a trend among my fellow geeks -- being smart in one (or even several) areas -- to eventually come to the conclusion that they are experts in all areas, especially where they perceive logic to be involved.

    But please accept my polite suggestion that you don't know jack shit about prior art.

  • Re:wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArhcAngel (247594) on Friday November 01, 2013 @10:24AM (#45299985)

    Humans naturally cooperate. Competition isn't a religious edict - it's just that we have a fucked up society where everyone at the bottom is told to compete while everyone at the top plays golf together.

    Um...Humans naturally club each other to death in attempt to be dominant. Cooperation is a concept developed BY society to achieve a greater goal than an individual could on their own. Because Americans have lived in relative peace the last century many citizens believe peace is the norm but it is not. We have been very fortunate to live in such an age but now take it for granted.

  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Friday November 01, 2013 @11:03AM (#45300421)

    I really miss Groklaw days like this

  • Re:Anti-Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Friday November 01, 2013 @11:15AM (#45300531) Homepage

    Google has a virtual monopoly in search. Weakening Google's position in search would enhance not diminish competition.

    Weakening Google's position in search by providing something better would enhance competition. Weakening their position through bogus patent infringement claims is not competition; that's just dragging a more successful competitor down out of spite, to everyone's detriment. The whole point of competition, and the reason we generally try to encourage it, is that the best product wins. The goal is not simply to divide the market up as evenly as possible.

  • by dfghjk (711126) on Friday November 01, 2013 @12:27PM (#45301161)

    And in neither of these cases where the ideas being stolen original to Apple. What "nagged" Jobs was not the stealing, it was that it was not him doing the stealing. After all, iOS itself was mostly unoriginal theft from other smartphone makers.

    All this is is another example of Jobs' unbounded ego.

  • by chefmonkey (140671) on Friday November 01, 2013 @01:01PM (#45301549)

    Google's own patent bank doesn't matter, because Rockstar Consortium doesn't do anything other than undermine the very fabric of the tech industry for their own gain. They exist only to collect rent on innovation itself. FTFA: "'Pretty much anybody out there is infringing,' says John Veschi, Rockstar’s CEO. 'It would be hard for me to envision that there are high-tech companies out there that don’t use some of the patents in our portfolio.'"

    To spell it out more clearly, Google can't sue Rockstar over patent infringement, because Rockstar doesn't actually do anything that Google would have a patent on (unless Google owns some "Method and Process for Utterly Crippling the Tech Industry Using Patent Lawsuits" business process patent we don't know about).

    The timing couldn't be better. We finally have the first credible effort in U.S. Congress to re-evaluate how patents are handled (http://eshoo.house.gov/press-releases/eshoo-introduces-patent-litigation-reform-bill/), and couldn't have crafted a better supervillian than Rockstar if we tried. They even have a comically bombastic name to put a cherry on top of their already odious persona.

  • Re:Justia link (Score:4, Insightful)

    by akozakie (633875) on Friday November 01, 2013 @01:40PM (#45302025)

    Also, every word of the claim counts.

    This patent is a lot narrower than it seems. Notice the "fuzzy". Fuzzy logic is well defined and does have alternatives. Use any alternative solution in this step and you're not infringing.

  • by chefmonkey (140671) on Friday November 01, 2013 @01:44PM (#45302059)

    Also FTFA:

    And because it’s independent, it can antagonize its owners’ partners and customers in ways that its owner companies could not. “The principals have plausible deniability,” says Thomas Ewing, an attorney and intellectual property consultant. “They can say with a straight face: ‘They’re an independent company. We don’t control them.’ And there’s some truth to that.”

Are we running light with overbyte?

Working...