Microsoft's Intense Lobbying Works: Goodlatte To Drop Plan To Allow For Faster Review Of Bad Software Patents

from the bad-patents-live-on dept

Last week, we wrote about Microsoft’s intense, and somewhat dishonest, lobbying to try to remove one aspect of proposed patent reform: the covered business methods program, which would have allowed approved technology patents to get reviewed by the Patent Office much more quickly. It was based on Senator Chuck Schumer’s plan, which enabled the same feature for patents related to financial services. Many have seen that Schumer’s effort was somewhat successful in stopping bad financial services patents, and so it makes sense to do the same thing for software as well. In fact, it makes more sense, since so many patent lawsuits and patent troll shakedowns involve software-related patents.

There’s simply no legitimate reason to be against covered business method reviews unless you have a lot of really bad patents. Microsoft, along with Qualcomm, IBM, Apple and a few others, really lobbied hard against allowing this expansion — while tons of startups and entrepreneurs (the people who actually are hit with bogus patent lawsuits all the time — lobbied hard for it. Guess who won? Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who introduced the patent reform bill in the House, is now about to strip this provision from his bill.

So, if you’re an entrepreneur killed by bogus patent lawsuits from giant legacy players, thank Microsoft.

Oh, and to the PR guy from Microsoft who sent me a laughable email trying to argue that Microsoft is supportive of patent reform and that my post was unfair because I didn’t mention that: next time stay on topic. Yes, Microsoft supports some forms of patent reform. Just the kind that stops trolls from hitting it directly. What it doesn’t support is the kind of patent reform that would stop Microsoft’s all too common practice of shaking down all sorts of innovators and entrepreneurs with crazy patent licensing demands from its bundle of patents. No, Microsoft isn’t a patent troll, but it is a patent bully with a lot of bad patents, which apparently it’s scared that real innovators might invalidate a lot of those patents under a covered business method review.

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Companies: microsoft

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Comments on “Microsoft's Intense Lobbying Works: Goodlatte To Drop Plan To Allow For Faster Review Of Bad Software Patents”

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No one said that trolls should be defined as “not bringing anything to the table”.

On the contrary, that is a very common, if not the generally accepted, definition of patent troll. The euphemism for it is “non practicing entity”, meaning an organization that doesn’t actually do business, but just asserts patents.

Shmerl says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

While it’s a common meaning, it’s not formal, so using it in broader sense is not a problem if things are clear from the context. In this case no one would think that MS doesn’t produce anything – they are well known. When things aren’t clear, you are right, using troll would lead others to think of it first in the narrow sense, as a non producing PAE. So using patent racketeer would be more precise for the broader meaning in general case.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Shoot the Lobbyists, metaphorically

Excise patents, copyright, and trademark (at least to the extent that it might involve anything beyond a confusing mark used in commerce) from the system and that will invalidate patent trolls, copyright trolls, ne’er do wells who want to make good on their 15 seconds of fame, patent lawyers, patent suits, copyright lawyers, copyright suits, trademark suits that even 9 black robed morons in a hurry could not mistake, the cost of patent suits (corporate money with no place to go but R&D?*), the cost of copyright suits (originators or first to market capitalize on existing, learn for the future) TPP and all its ilk de-canonized, building on existing allowed again, start-ups freed to innovate, creators freed to mix, match, re-interperate without censorious connotations, allow for freely attributing without recompense, a whole bunch of the Federal Statues and a couple of departments deleted (think of the savings) and experience the boost from the economy, worldwide, when it takes effect. Metaphorically

Pardon my use of commas, as more complex punctuation is beyond my current ken.
* Yeah right!

Gerald Robinson (profile) says:

Re: Shoot the Lobbyists, metaphorically

I disagree as this approach is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The situation is easily fixed; disallow business method and software patents. (I am aware of only two software patents which were legitimate, the rest are only thinly disguised business methods which mention “computer, browser, etc.” to obfuscate their purpose.)

As for copyright this,d.aWc is a good start. There should also be penalties for copy fraud (claiming copyright for public domain material, claiming copyrights fasley, ?), as well as elimination of statutory damages.

Bob Webster (profile) says:

How things change.

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. I feel certain that some large company will patent some obvious thing related to interface, object orientation, algorithm, application extension or other crucial technique. If we assume this company has no need of any of our patents then the have a 17-year right to take as much of our profits as they want.”
Bill Gates, 1991

anonymouse says:


I think every silicon valley business should start lobbying in great numbers, or even join together and pay the amounts Microsoft is paying and more to ensure copyright laws are purchased for the interest of the consumer not the big business entities.
Imagine if they could get Amazon and Google and thousands of other large internet entities to join force to lobby,using their customer base to put pressure on lawmakers, they could completely rule the lawmakers and pay them enough to stop MS and APL and others from winning every time there is competition to buy a law change in the US.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Why is Microsoft Called out in the subject line?

Because they were the absolute driving force behind this. While others were along for the ride, this was the clause that Microsoft put its muscle behind killing.

Last week’s article on their bogus front group, in which only companies very very close to Microsoft signed on to a letter, should put any questions to rest about that.

Anonymous Coward says:

One holds a patent. TD, maybe OK, but almost certainly invalid. Assert that patent. Scum of he earth bully.

One holds a trademark. TD, maybe OK, but probably unnecessary and almost certainly no creating a likelihood of confusion in the real world. Assert that trademark. Scum of the earth bully.

One holds a copyright. TD, maybe OK, but having one kinda sucks because you likely used things others had created before. Assert that copyright. A culture killing, scum of the earth bully.

Perhaps it is just me, but there seems to be a trend here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Has TD ever commended the issuance of any patent? Not that I have ever seen.

Has TD ever stated that an invention described and claimed in a patent is most certainly new (Section 102), useful Section 101), and nonobvious(Section 103)? Not that I have ever seen.

Has TD ever expressed an opinion that a TM was not subject to its “moron in a hurry” rule? Perhaps it has because my recollection is not infallible, but I recall no such instance.

Has TD ever spoken approvingly of an author claiming copyright on a specific work, and then excoriating an infringer and stating that the infringer is getting his/her/its just desserts? If so, I must have missed that headline news.

Bottom line…this site is so anti patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, unfair competition, etc. that in these areas of law one can draw the impression that TD openly advocates their consignment to the trash can.

The comment to which this is directed is so odiferous that is spans from “sea to shining sea”.

Gerald Robinson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m puzzled by this comment. As I remember from the above Anonymous Coward was the one advocating the complete removal of all patent, TM and copyrights, was I wrong?

As for critiques of given patents most of us are not qualified to do so and apparently neither are the patent examiners. The only two patents I am familiar enough to comment on that are legitimate are Lempel Ziv and GIF. The rest of the software patents make vague too broad clams and are simply means of disguising business methods BS or concepts which are not patentable.

As foe copyright TD is not anti but for reform and fixing obvious abuses like the WB DMCA copyfraud.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

About all of your “Has TD ever…” questions, my answer is why would TD do any of those things? All of those things are either not newsworthy, interesting, or within the perview of TD.

this site is so anti patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, unfair competition, etc. that in these areas of law one can draw the impression that TD openly advocates their consignment to the trash can.

Only if you ignore the numerous times when Mike has overtly stated that he thinks there is a positive role to be played by all of those things.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Oh look, there is a “bad” patent, just like every other patent that has ever been issued.”

It is one thing to express an objective fact based opinion on a particular patent, and quite another to then take that specific instance and launch off into a tirade against all patents in general.

staff (user link) says:

more dissembling by Masnick

‘Goodlatte To Drop Plan To Allow For Faster Review Of Bad Software Patents’

large infringers definition of ‘bad sfw patents’: those used to sue us

Just because they call it “reform” doesn’t mean it is.

“patent reform”…America Invents Act, vers 1.0, 2.0, 3.0…

?This is not a patent reform bill? Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) complained, despite other democrats praising the overhaul. ?This is a big corporation patent giveaway that tramples on the right of small inventors.?

Senator Cantwell is right. All these bills do is legalize theft. Just because they call it ?reform? doesn?t mean it is. The paid puppets of banks, huge multinationals, and China continue to brain wash and bankrupt America.

They should have called these bills the America STOPS Inventing Act or ASIA, because that?s where they?re sending all our jobs.

The patent bill (vers 1, 2, 3, etc) is nothing less than another monumental federal giveaway for banks, huge multinationals, and China and an off shoring job killing nightmare for America. Even the leading patent expert in China has stated the bill will help them steal our inventions. Congress passed it and Obama signed it. Who are they working for??

Patent reform is a fraud on America. Congress and Obama are both to blame. This bill will not do what they claim it will. What it will do is help large multinational corporations maintain their monopolies by robbing and destroying their small entity and startup competitors (so it will do exactly what the large multinationals paid for) and with them the jobs they would have created. They have already damaged the US patent system so that property rights are teetering on lawlessness. This bill will only make it harder and more expensive for small firms to get and enforce their patents. Without patents we cant get funded. In this way large firms are able to play king of the hill and keep their small competitors from reaching the top as they have. Yet small entities create the lion’s share of new jobs. According to recent studies by the Kauffman Foundation and economists at the U.S. Census Bureau, ?startups aren?t everything when it comes to job growth. They?re the only thing.? Meanwhile, the large multinationals ship more and more jobs overseas. This bill is a wholesale destroyer of US jobs. Those wishing to help fight this bill should contact us as below.

Small entities and inventors have been given far too little voice on this bill when one considers that they rely far more heavily on the patent system than do large firms who can control their markets by their size alone. The smaller the firm, the more they rely on patents -especially startups and individual inventors. Congress and Obama tinkering with patent law while gagging inventors is like a surgeon operating before examining the patient.

Those wishing to help fight big business giveaways and set America on a course for sustainable prosperity, not large corporation lobbied poverty, should contact us as below and join the fight as we are building a network of inventors and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to restore property rights for all patent owners -large and small.

Please see for a different/opposing view on patent reform.

Ren? says:

Be proud

I suppose a lot of US citizens respond here. I think you should be proud of companies like Microsoft. Together with Apple they really are close to world domination of teh USA. Isn’t that what all Americans want?
So what if there are little companies in the margin who are defeted by the system and/or big Companies? They should have done their home work first and make a good risk assessment before challenging the big guys.

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