Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st May 2012 23:47 UTC
Legal "He's one of 10 reverse-engineers working full time for a stealthy company funded by some of the biggest names in technology: Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Sony, and Ericsson. Called the Rockstar Consortium, the 32-person outfit has a single-minded mission: It examines successful products, like routers and smartphones, and it tries to find proof that these products infringe on a portfolio of over 4,000 technology patents once owned by one of the world's largest telecommunications companies. When a Rockstar engineer uncovers evidence of infringement, the company documents it, contacts the manufacturer, and demands licensing fees for the patents in question. The demand is backed by the implicit threat of a patent lawsuit in federal court." And then people wonder why I call Apple and Microsoft patent trolls. These are the people destroying this industry, with Apple, Microsoft, RIM, etc. money. Sickeningly low.
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...
by Hiev on Tue 22nd May 2012 01:01 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

And alternative head title:

How the U.S. Patent Office sold its sould to the devil.

Reply Score: 3

RE: ...
by zima on Mon 28th May 2012 23:44 UTC in reply to "..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Well IIRC it was made, few years back, a public institution that's... also obliged to make a direct profit (vs. just overall societal benefit, normally the point of such institutions). Pretty frakked up.

Reply Score: 2

I am a Apple fanboy...
by thavith_osn on Tue 22nd May 2012 03:00 UTC
thavith_osn
Member since:
2005-07-11

...but if this is true, then that is indeed sickeningly low!

An obvious infringement, fine, but otherwise...

I really hope for patent reform. Put them back to how they were intended.

The law was originally guidelines with common sense built in, but sadly lawyers live in the "no common sense" world which is destroying us as a society, bit by bit, all in the name of money...

The sad fact is, Apple and M$ get hit by many lawsuits themselves, so it's a vicious circle. Someone needs to stand up and say, enough is enough. That person needs to be someone in the law who can actually make a difference.

Reply Score: 4

RE: I am a Apple fanboy...
by Radio on Tue 22nd May 2012 06:24 UTC in reply to "I am a Apple fanboy..."
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

The really damning quote comes as soon as the fourth paragraph:

“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.”


Edit: correction: this is only the first damning quote. There is worse.

And when you think that none of the money they recoup by suing infringers will be used to develop anything (the usual "excuse" for the patent system), it makes me puke...

Reply Score: 5

kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

And then people wonder why I call Apple and Microsoft patent trolls.


Because those people claim that they abused a patent once. A patent. ONCE.

Reply Score: 2

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

You are referring to me, but I didn't say that. I asked if a company, just any fictional company, abused a patent once, does that make them a patent troll (for live).

And before you start insulting me again or start screaming that I'm pro-patents because I have an iPhone: I am not.

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

You are referring to me, but I didn't say that. I asked if a company, just any fictional company, abused a patent once, does that make them a patent troll (for live).


Which is irrelevant, since Thom referred to Microsoft and Apple and a few others, who have probably abused a lot more than just one patent.

Unless you want to argue that 1 patent abuse is equal to 100* patent abuses...

* For example.

Edited 2012-05-22 05:12 UTC

Reply Score: 4

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Where do I mention Apple? If I extend the quote:

If a company abuses a patent once Thom and you label them a patent troll, I don't. I'd say they abused a patent once.

I said "if a company abuses a patent once", not "if Apple abuses a patent once" or even "Apple abused a patent once".

Edit: Ah, you quickly edited your reply which originally said:

No joke:
http://www.osnews.com/thread?518394

""I'd say they abused a patent once."

Edited 2012-05-22 05:16 UTC

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Where do I mention Apple? If I extend the quote:

If a company abuses a patent once Thom and you label them a patent troll, I don't. I'd say they abused a patent once.

I said "if a company abuses a patent once", not "if Apple abuses a patent once" or even "Apple abused a patent once".

Edit: Ah, you quickly edited your reply which originally said:

No joke:
http://www.osnews.com/thread?518394

""I'd say they abused a patent once."


It was irrelevant to the original discussion. Your subsequent rewriting of history has nothing to do with the original statement made by Thom in which Microsoft and Apple and a few others were mentioned explicitly.

Maybe if you understood what you were replying to originally, then maybe you would have made a better point...

Reply Score: 3

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

The discussion took a turn in to the realms of what defines a patent troll.

I did NOT state that Apple only once abused a patent. That's what you accuse me of and that's not what happened. You know it didn't and that's why you quickly changed your reply. You didn't just edit it, you completely changed it.

Don't give me that crap about it not being relevant.

If you want to take cheap shots at people at least make sure you do it honestly.

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I did NOT state that Apple only once abused a patent. That's what you accuse me of and that's not what happened. You know it didn't and that's why you quickly changed your reply. You didn't just edit it, you completely changed it.


I completely changed it because I realized you wouldn't understand my point unless I spelt it out completely, and it seems you still don't.

Here's the run-down:

Thom made some statement about Microsoft, Apple and a few others about them being patent trolls.

You came up with some reply that they are not trolls, because if a company abused a patent once, they are "a company that abused a patent once".

However, the context was already set by Thom that the companies in question were the ones mentioned. Therefore, your reply about a hypothetical company abusing a patent once does no apply to the very real companies that do exist and have abused more than one patent.

Your rhetorical example is irrelevant because we never were talking about hypothetical companies.

By continuing to claim relevance, you are implying that either the mentioned companies only abused one patent, or that their patent abuse is no worse than one patent one time. You did not say it. But you may as well have said it.

Reply Score: 6

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

You did not say it.


There.

Reply Score: 1

How stupid were Google
by Tony Swash on Tue 22nd May 2012 10:18 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

I remember thinking at the time of the Nortel auction just how stupid Google seemed to be, how utterly inept, how frankly juvenile their senior management team seemed to be.

Consider the context at the time of the auction. Google was very openly and aggressively attacking the business models of some of the largest tech companies around by using their near monopoly of browser ad income to offer free alternatives to products upon which those large tech company's growth, revenues and possibly their survival depended. Google is of course free to do that, it's their prerogative. That's just business. But it's mind numbingly stupid not to think that that those large tech companies you are deliberately attacking through your offering of free products are not going to fight back. Big companies fight back against competitors all the time, and I thought it would have been blindingly obvious that those companies would fight back even more aggressively if an another company was not attempting to sell a competing product but was rather giving way the competing product for free in what was a clear strategy of destroying the business models of others.

Again I repeat: Google are free to do what they did. But in the real world there will be consequences. And one consequence was going to be a prolonged IP legal war. That war was underway at the time of the Nortel auction and everybody in the industry knew what was going on, what the scale of the IP wars were and what was at stake.

This is where Google's stunning stupidity comes in play. First they utterly fuck up the bidding process through the absurd and juvenile prank of using math constants to set their bidding offers. Are these people children? And then, when it is clear that a big consortium of the big tech players is coming together in a consortium that is almost certain to win, Google rejects an invitation to join the consortium!

In what universe did that strategic decision make sense? Play to win by all means but if defeat looms adjust your game plan to damage limitation. Or die.

So Google get's shut out of the Nortel consortium. The other big players (MS, Sony, Apple, RIM) are sitting happily inside it. Now comes the reckoning. Business is a Darwinian game, there are no guarantees of survival (just ask Nokia). Become a predator on the businesses of others by all means, it happens all the time, but for god sake don't pretend that everybody else is playing dirty when all they doing is playing to win.

The mobile device revolution is already surpassing the PC revolution in scale and economics. Vast fortunes are at stake. The shape of the global tech industry for the next decade or so is being determined now. There will be no mercy, only those with a laser like focus can survive. Being stupid really won't help. And whining about the consequences of being stupid is deeply unseemly.


“The quickest way to end a war is to lose it.” George Orwell

Reply Score: 2

RE: How stupid were Google
by kwan_e on Tue 22nd May 2012 14:14 UTC in reply to "How stupid were Google"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

In what universe did that strategic decision make sense? Play to win by all means but if defeat looms adjust your game plan to damage limitation. Or die.


http://www.taoism.net/living/2004/200408.htm

Reply Score: 2

RE: How stupid were Google
by cyrilleberger on Wed 23rd May 2012 06:28 UTC in reply to "How stupid were Google"
cyrilleberger Member since:
2006-02-01

First they utterly fuck up the bidding process through the absurd and juvenile prank of using math constants to set their bidding offers. Are these people children? And then, when it is clear that a big consortium of the big tech players is coming together in a consortium that is almost certain to win, Google rejects an invitation to join the consortium!

In what universe did that strategic decision make sense?


From this it seems you see two reasons for google stupidity:
1) bidding with mathematical constants
2) they did not join the winning consortium

For 1), it makes me wonder if you ever bid on something of significant value (like a house, unlike some ebay thing). Since it was an English style auction (ie bidding until everyone folds and the highest bidder get the prize), the main principle is that you set a maximum price you are willing to pay (for Google it was around 4 billions $), and you bid random numbers until you win or your ceiling is reached. Whether it is 3B$ or 3.14B$ does not makes any difference, except that it was a good opportunity for google to make some buzz, at no cost.

As for 2), Google's motto is "Don't (openly) do evil", sure they do pretty crazy stuff (ie log wifi data, violate privacy settings...) but it *never* appears to come from the company management. From the very beginning it appeared that the consortium was all about trolling other companies to get money out of the patents portfolio, quiet obviously, Google considered it to be evil, and did not want to be associated with it. Whether it is a good decision or not remains to be seen.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: How stupid were Google
by Tony Swash on Wed 23rd May 2012 11:52 UTC in reply to "RE: How stupid were Google"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

"First they utterly fuck up the bidding process through the absurd and juvenile prank of using math constants to set their bidding offers. Are these people children? And then, when it is clear that a big consortium of the big tech players is coming together in a consortium that is almost certain to win, Google rejects an invitation to join the consortium!

In what universe did that strategic decision make sense?


From this it seems you see two reasons for google stupidity:
1) bidding with mathematical constants
2) they did not join the winning consortium

For 1), it makes me wonder if you ever bid on something of significant value (like a house, unlike some ebay thing). Since it was an English style auction (ie bidding until everyone folds and the highest bidder get the prize), the main principle is that you set a maximum price you are willing to pay (for Google it was around 4 billions $), and you bid random numbers until you win or your ceiling is reached. Whether it is 3B$ or 3.14B$ does not makes any difference, except that it was a good opportunity for google to make some buzz, at no cost.

As for 2), Google's motto is "Don't (openly) do evil", sure they do pretty crazy stuff (ie log wifi data, violate privacy settings...) but it *never* appears to come from the company management. From the very beginning it appeared that the consortium was all about trolling other companies to get money out of the patents portfolio, quiet obviously, Google considered it to be evil, and did not want to be associated with it. Whether it is a good decision or not remains to be seen.
"


I admire your confidence in Google's ethics. Mostly in this particular fiasco (like the much larger Android fiasco) I just see a not very well run company saturated with a pervasive and naive sense of entitlement stumbling into ill condsidered adventures. Nothing you say contradicts my point, for a very large tech company Google acted with breathtaking nonchalance and stupidity. They deserve everything they get.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: How stupid were Google
by kwan_e on Wed 23rd May 2012 12:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: How stupid were Google"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I just see a not very well run company saturated with a pervasive and naive sense of entitlement stumbling into ill condsidered adventures. Nothing you say contradicts my point, for a very large tech company Google acted with breathtaking nonchalance and stupidity. They deserve everything they get.


On the other hand, if it was Apple in Google's position, you would be praising them for having some devious secret plan and played to lose in their infinite wisdom.

You think of your conclusion first, then you pick the point of view that suits your conclusion. Face it. You're a hack.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: How stupid were Google
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 23rd May 2012 12:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: How stupid were Google"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Right. A company that took a decade to become one of the biggest companies in the world, one of the most loved, trusted, and respected the world over, with more users than probably any other technology company out there, is "not well run". And sure, the most successful mobile operating system of all time - by a long shot - is a "fiasco".

Once, you were just an Apple enthusiast. These days, you're bordering on total nuttiness. You must be following Gruber pretty closely.

Edited 2012-05-23 12:28 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: How stupid were Google
by cyrilleberger on Wed 23rd May 2012 12:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: How stupid were Google"
cyrilleberger Member since:
2006-02-01

I admire your confidence in Google's ethics.


For the record, I have no confidence in Google's ethics, and the only information I give them is my search queries. And I do not believe that part of the management was not involved in one way or an other in Google's misbehaviour. However, it is clear that the leader of the company make their best to publicly appear clean, and that is why they would never associate themselves openly to a patent troll.

(And I agree with Thom, you might dislike Android, you might think it is a rip-off of iOS, but calling the most used smartphone OS a fiasco is very very far fetched, by that standard, I have no idea what the word success would mean).

Reply Score: 2

Thom´s outrage is not genuine
by porcel on Tue 22nd May 2012 13:00 UTC
porcel
Member since:
2006-01-28

This is not an attack on you as a person, so please don´t perceive it as such, but I do value honesty and integrity and here's what I don´t get Thom.

You will post an article full of outrage such as this one and in the next one, you will say something along the lines of Windows 7 is my prefered desktop choice.

If you are truly outraged, how can you go on supporting companies that by your definition and using your own words have sickening practices?

You are supposed to be a smart tech writer and I have a hard time believing that you could not use something like Kubuntu 12.04 productively. But as long as your deeds do not match your words, forgive me if I take your ongoing outrage with a pinch of salt.

Here´s to hoping that you do see the irony of what you are doing. And no, you cannot on the one hand buy products from companies that are clear patent trolls (windows 7, windows phone) and on the other hand, claim to have any kind of moral ground on which to stand and criticize these companies.

So what is it?

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm a hypocrite.

Plain and simple. I'm just a regular consumer with a limited supply of money, so I must make choices. I can't earn my income without Windows 7 and Office, so I don't have much choice there. I'm not sure how it would help anyone if I sat here using something like Kubuntu, without making any money, meaning no OSNews.

It's all about trade-offs. Do I make money and not starve, or do I not buy Windows 7, something that will have absolutely zero effect on anything ever? I never claimed to be perfect, holier-than-thou, or some sort of guiding light in the world of technology (you know, like some unnamed other, way more popular, technology bloggers). I'm a hypocrite and inconsistent, and I change my mind regularly in light of new evidence.

I'm almost like a real person. I'm sure you often lambast the state of something in the world too without taking action. Like, ever been to Africa to feed the hungry? Did you go to New Orleans to help the victims of the hurricane when you were blaming FEMA?

Edited 2012-05-22 13:09 UTC

Reply Score: 3

andydread Member since:
2009-02-02

I really like Thom's stance on this stuff but I have to agree with the other poster. I quit using Microsoft, Apple, and Sony products because of their practices in the marketplace and will not give them one hard earned dollar until they change their ways. I am still able to make money just fine with Ubuntu and Libre Office. I have setup Ubuntu for several companies and they are using Libre Office just fine and are making money just fine in fact they have seen profits increase as their IT expenditures decrease as a result of not using MS products. If MS office is your preference then so bit it but seriously? in this day and time Libre Office does just about as much as MS office for everyday tasks.

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

In my line of work, there is no alternative but Microsoft Office. Even Office:Mac creates problems. Libre Office is fine for internal work, but I have a gazillion clients and they send me documents that are insanely complex. Since OpenOffice still can't open a Word table without messing up (hyperbole), I'm not going to risk losing clients because I send them fcuked up documents.

Edited 2012-05-22 16:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Rugxulo Member since:
2007-10-09

I'm a hypocrite.


Thom, you often get a lot of (unjustified, IMHO) complaints, but I wouldn't call you a hypocrite. You're just normal! I.e., average, flawed, human like the rest of us. That much should be obvious, but some people seem to forget.

Reply Score: 1

porcel Member since:
2006-01-28

Thanks for the honest answer. I do understand that these choices are hard in the real world.

For what is worth, I set up a friend who is also a translator such as yourself with Kubuntu and Office 2007, using Cross-Over office.

Depending on other translation aids you may or may not use, that might be a workable solution.

We all make compromises, but should not lose sight of our aspirations and where the real problem lies. In light of this, I can concede that you would use Office or even Windows if there is no other way for you to make a living, but why in God´s name buy a Windows phone?

A closer reading of your post reveals that it remains nearly impossible to interoperate with Microsoft Document Formats in a realible manner, which is part of the reason why Microsoft made its XML formats so convoluted and dependent on prior Microsoft office formats. Isn´t that kind of a sad state of affairs in the XXI century?

As far as Katrina, I now live in Spain, but I happen to have been in the US when katrina kit and helped set up community centers running LTSP to help people get online and connect with family members as well as coordinate recovery and rescue efforts, so one of your given examples did not apply to me, but yes there are areas of my life where I could also be far more consistent.

Edited 2012-05-23 07:12 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Public service
by kwan_e on Tue 22nd May 2012 23:42 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

Here's an idea:

Rockstar Consortium should be made to examine patent applications for prior art. A company like Google* should do a deal: "we'll pay you double what RIMSAppleSonyEricsson pays you to find prior art that invalidates their patents".

* I say Google because I honestly can't think of another company who would attempt to be nice to us peasants. And that is a sad state of the world.

Edited 2012-05-22 23:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Public service
by cyrilleberger on Wed 23rd May 2012 06:33 UTC in reply to "Public service"
cyrilleberger Member since:
2006-02-01

Rockstar Consortium should be made to examine patent applications for prior art. A company like Google* should do a deal: "we'll pay you double what RIMSAppleSonyEricsson pays you to find prior art that invalidates their patents".


Rockstar is not paid by RIMSAppleSonyEricssonMicrosoft, actually they are supposed to pay them with the money they collect, so I am not sure who this WhiteKnightGoogle would pays to find prior art... Besides, as far as I know there is no way you can invalidate a patent until you are sued for infringement (which kind of sucks).

* I say Google because I honestly can't think of another company who would attempt to be nice to us peasants. And that is a sad state of the world.


I will break your dreams right here, Google is as much willing to screw you the peasant as any other company in the world. And there is plenty of proof of that already.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Public service
by kwan_e on Wed 23rd May 2012 07:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Public service"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"* I say Google because I honestly can't think of another company who would attempt to be nice to us peasants. And that is a sad state of the world.


I will break your dreams right here, Google is as much willing to screw you the peasant as any other company in the world. And there is plenty of proof of that already.
"

Yes, and that is why I said, and I bolded, "And that is a sad state of the world". Only one company, and it's Google, of all companies.

Reply Score: 2