Microsoft, Skype Patent Case: Big Target
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User Rank: Apprentice
5/15/2013 | 6:33:18 PM
re: Microsoft, Skype Patent Case: Big Target
While not a Microsoft fan, I will definately be pulling for them in this case. These patent trolls are a scurge that needs to be exterminated. The company I work for had to pay a license fee to one of these trolls because we have a product that electronically captures dates. Yes, that is how broad their patent is! If you go to their website all they list is their patents and who they forces to buy licenses to avoid a more expensive lawsuit.
I think I could patent the idea to "transfer water through pipes" and become a mega-millionaire considering how bad the USPTO has become.
Lawrence Harris
Lawrence Harris,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 6:07:02 PM
re: Microsoft, Skype Patent Case: Big Target
What is a microprocessor? That's a completely specious definition. If I use a 'mainframe' to do the job it's not an infringement? My laptop is many times more powerful than the mainframes I grew up with so is it's processor truly defined as a microprocessor or something else. To me a microprocessor today is something akin to a PIC or a TI340 or such that I might use to run blinky lights on my Christmas tree. If they can provide an algorithm that efficiently produces a secure well performing link using an 'microprocessor' and can show that indeed Skype is using that algorithm then .. maybe ... The mention of hardware in the claim is vacuous and probably makes the claim invalid however a lot of money can be made trying and that is the problem of today's patent system. Patents should cover hardware and copyright software.
Michael Endler
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
5/7/2013 | 5:59:07 PM
re: Microsoft, Skype Patent Case: Big Target
Thanks for the comment, Terabyte Net (and for some of your tablet/ PC comments over the last few weeks-- I haven't had a chance to reply to all of them, but I appreciate the contributions you've added to the conversations).

Yeah, I find it troubling that so many "everyone thinks of that" ideas are awarded patents. Market success is almost always driven by execution, not by so-broad-they-include-everything concepts. When we value the product that executes best, everyone wins; businesses work harder to make the best product, and consumers benefit from the competition. When we value "whoever filed a vague idea first," it stops others from innovating and allows the patent-holder to sit back and grow fat while contributing nothing of value.

To be fair, Berman insisted that though the complaints are broadly-worded, CopyTele's IP nonetheless describes specific and patent-worthy technologies. Berman said CopyTele is prepared to go to court if it needs to, and
several sources (Seeking Alpha, for example), praise him as a leading
patent attorney. So I guess we'll see what Microsoft does. When I contacted them for this story, they issued a predictable reply: "No comment."

But I concur with your general sentiment; so many companies get bullied into settling just to avoid court costs, I wouldn't mind seeing a major player (assuming the circumstances warrant it) pulverize a patent troll. But some of the trolling is, as President Obama stated, essentially extortion. It stinks that some litigants settle merit-less cases just because the threat of court costs are so high. I did a few interviews last year for a patent story that we didn't end up doing, and literally every lawyer or law professor with whom I spoke was critical of the current system.

I'm also pretty suspicious of the notion that patent enforcement firms are helpful to small businesses. Sure, in theory, they can help a little guy stand up to a thieving big guy. But the Internet Age has meant, among other things, that having a great idea is enough to start a something big. If patent trolling isn't reigned in, that won't be the case; you'll need not only a great idea but also a ton of money for lawyers. To me, that sounds like a system that mostly reinforces existing power structures.
User Rank: Ninja
5/7/2013 | 5:49:23 PM
re: Microsoft, Skype Patent Case: Big Target
This company is total definition of a patent troll, they try and spin this as their expertise. That vague general patent is nonsense. I agree with first post Microsoft needs to grind them into dust, not just throw them a few million to go away. Berman and these other clowns need a real job.
Terabyte Net
Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 5:23:12 PM
re: Microsoft, Skype Patent Case: Big Target
This patent is one that needs tossed for being a "duh, everyone would think of that" patent and therefore invalid. I hope these guys find that suing Microsoft with BILLIONS of $ in the bank wasn't in their best interest. I also hope MS doesn't just give them a few million to make them go away because then they'll just be emboldened to sue other companies. It's time for judges to start using common sense and tossing stupid claims out to the curb.

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