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Cellphones Android Microsoft Patents

ZTE Joins Long List of Android Device-Makers Licensing Microsoft Patents 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the invested-in-android's-success dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In its continuing march toward locking up deals with every major Android and Chrome device maker, Microsoft announced on Tuesday a patent-licensing agreement with Chinese manufacturer ZTE. This follows a similar deal last week with the parent company of Foxconn. Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez said, 'Much of the current litigation in the so called 'smartphone patent wars' could be avoided if companies were willing to recognize the value of others’ creations in a way that is fair. At Microsoft, experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street, and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights. This is why we have paid others more than $4 billion over the last decade to secure intellectual property rights for the products we provide our customers.'"
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ZTE Joins Long List of Android Device-Makers Licensing Microsoft Patents

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  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @04:58PM (#43540435)

    Rent seeking is the new innovation at Microsoft.

    Someone needs to stand up to these folks. Let's see these patents tossed out.

    • by Tough Love (215404) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @06:27PM (#43541239)

      Rent seeking is the new innovation at Microsoft.

      You're being too kind. It's protection money.

    • I like it how the /. crowd assumes that behemoth companies like Samsung and Foxconn would just pay protection racket to MS instead of fighting in court if they thought Microsoft were full of shit. But don't you worry Google (via Motorola) are standing up. IANAL but if I interpret the news pieces I am reading correctly it is not going very well for them even though they paid 12 billion for Motorola patents.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:01PM (#43540479)

    "Look, you can licence our patents, or we can sue you. It really doesn't matter if you're using our patents or not, well tie you up in court for YEARS. Your choice..."

  • by Severus Snape (2376318) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:03PM (#43540499)
    "Much of the current litigation in the so called 'smartphone patent wars' could be avoided if companies were willing to recognize the value of others’ creations in a way that is fair." Most of the Android licensing deals have been based around FAT32, which has been around since Win95. What sort of credible value of that technology remains in 2013? Absolutely none.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:21PM (#43540655) Homepage

      The specific patent is for creating 8.3 file names from long file names. Linux works around it by simply not creating 8.3 file names, which seems to be more or less compatible with Windows which is presumably the goal here too.

      Those patents will expire soon. Maybe ZTE figured it would be easier to just wait them out and pay a little bit than it would be to fight them.

      • It's just not compatible with Windows 3.1/DOS 7 (?) and under, since 95 introduced long filenames.

      • by icebike (68054)

        The specific patent is for creating 8.3 file names from long file names.

        You are a bit behind the times.
        FAT/Fat16 patents have already expired.
        Fat32 will fairly soon.
        But ExFAT will be around for a long time, and you can bet when speeds or card sizes improve there will be another file system patent locking you in for another few consecutive lifetimes.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What sort of credible value of that technology remains in 2013? Absolutely none.

      Enough that every solid-state memory card comes pre-formatted thusly. Why not ext2? Or even NTFS? Because they aren't guaranteed to be readable EVERYWHERE.

    • by icebike (68054)

      Most of the Android licensing deals have been based around FAT32, which has been around since Win95. What sort of credible value of that technology remains in 2013? Absolutely none.

      Much but not all.

      Microsoft bought/brewed up MTP because FAT32 was expiring. Many smartphones use MTP to avoid having to put a true samba server or ftp server in the phones. There are also a few patents dealing with trivial user interface functionality.

      With bigger MicroSD cards the phones also run afoul of the SD Association [sdcard.org] of which Microsoft is a member, and many other members are merely Microsoft sock puppets since Microsoft managed to get their proprietary file system declared the standard for MicroSD c

    • by the_B0fh (208483)

      Then don't use fat32. Simple.

  • List of patents? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:03PM (#43540501)

    Is the list of patents being licensed available or is this just more bullshit, like when they claimed Linux violated their patents and refused to say which ones?

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      It's not even relevant. If they won't show which ones they're threatening with they should be charged with extortion.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        All these companies signing "secret" agreements with one another are colluding (and perhaps even forming a cartel) such that no one can enter the market without paying them. This has the direct result of setting a base line price below which *all* products in the market cannot be manufactured.

  • by Richy_T (111409)

    They didn't get rich by writing a lot of checks!

  • by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:07PM (#43540523)

    Eventually, they're actually going to have to tell Motorola/Google (and everyone else) exactly what the patents are...

    • by bogaboga (793279)

      Eventually, they're actually going to have to tell Motorola/Google (and everyone else) exactly what the patents are..

      I can't wait! But haven't they done so already by suing Motorola [wsj.com]?

      • by c (8461)

        I can't wait! But haven't they done so already by suing Motorola?

        Well, you'd think, but I'm not sure. For a company that talks about how others are stealing their innovation, Microsoft seems pretty reluctant to tackle Google head-on over their supposed Android patent violations. And these periodic one-sided "Android maker licensed our stuff" announcements...

        I can't quite put my finger on it, but I just get the feeling that Microsoft doesn't really hold the cards they're telling people they have.

        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          Based on the ones that were exposed when they screwed up dealing with B&N, the patents are pretty worthless.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:29PM (#43540715)

    For anyone curious, these are the 4 patents that Microsoft has been wielding like a club. Note: I've shortened it to list the basic claims below. Microsoft claims are repetitive legalize and go on and on repeating the same drivel over and over. Notice they are saying that they hold sole claim to the concepts of scheduling meetings, sending and receiving messages on a cellular network, storing file names in a file system, and pressing buttons. It would be laughable if they weren't successfully litigating the crap out of the entire Android industry. It's the dying screams of a company that no longer matters that has stopped innovating and wants someone else's success for themselves. Very sad and pathetic really. The truth is they could sue Apple, IBM or anyone else that even manufactures PCs out of existence with these patents if they wanted, they're so broad and there's so much prior art it's not even funny. The fact that they courts are upholding them is scary.

    U.S. Patent No. 6,370,566 on "generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device" On May 18, 2012, the ITC ordered a U.S. import ban against Motorola's Android-based devices that infringe this Microsoft patent.

    Claims: The present invention includes a mobile device which provides the user with the ability to schedule a meeting request from the mobile device itself. The mobile device creates an object representative of the meeting request and assigns the object a global identification number which uniquely identifies the object to other devices which encounter the object. In this way, other devices which encounter the meeting request are capable of identifying it as a unique meeting request in order to alleviate the problem of duplicate meeting request transmissions. In accordance with another preferred feature of the present invention, an electronic mail application or calendar application on the mobile device obtains a fully qualified electronic mail address for the potential attendees from an abridged address book or directory stored on the mobile device itself. This alleviates problems associated with the storage capacity of the mobile device. In accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention, the mobile device creates the meeting object and the electronic mail meeting request object using a set of properties which are supported by a plurality of PIMs that may receive the objects. This provides compatibility with an increased number of devices which are likely to encounter the objects. In accordance with yet another preferred feature of the present invention, localizers implement a plurality of templates on the mobile device which are used in formatting the properties of the objects associated with the meeting request. A data stream representative of the meeting request is parsed by the mobile device and placed in pre-defined fields in the appropriate templates so that the text viewed by the user of the mobile device more closely conforms to local convention. In addition, time zone information is also included in one embodiment.

    ===

    EP1304891 on "communicating multi-part messages between cellular devices using a standardized interface" On May 24, 2012, the Munich I Regional Court granted Microsoft an injunction over this patent against Motorola's Android-based devices. This was the first Microsoft v. Google decision ever. It came down only days after Google completed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility. The ruling is already being enforced in Germany.

    Claims: A method for facilitating an application sending multiple short messages fragments, the method for use in a cellular network that facilitates the transmission of messages between cellular computing devices, the messages being multi-part messages that consist of multiple short message fragments of limited size: [either compressed, encrypted or wrapped in XML.]

    ===

    EP0618540 on a "common name space for long and short filenames" On July 27, the Mannheim Regional Court granted Microsoft a German patent injunction against Go

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "ability to schedule a meeting request from the mobile device itself."

      I don't schedule meetings - I don't participate in any kind of shared calendar. Can I have a rebate for my smartphone then?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "EP0618540 on a "common name space for long and short filenames" On July 27, the Mannheim Regional Court granted Microsoft a German patent injunction against Google's Motorola Mobility over this file system patent. It decided the infringement question in Microsoft's favor and did not find Google's invalidity arguments strong enough to order a stay."

      This is used for the FAT32 filesystem, presumably. This patent dates from 1994. It's been 19 years. Thankfully it will finally expire in another year. I'll c

      • by Kaenneth (82978)

        At least we can still look forward to Patents that expire, unlike Copyrights.

      • There is still exFAT. Which is increasingly going to be a problem as removable storage is getting too large for FAT32.

  • The problem with these patent agreements with Microsoft is that the details are kept confidential. No one but Microsoft knows what the patents cover, the conditions or fees, and which patents Microsoft is licensing in return--which is more likely to be the case. Microsoft releases these puerile press releases announcing something that probably happens in the business world on a daily basis, yet only they feel the need to do this. I have my doubts that these agreements are as one-sided as Microsoft brags,
  • Has antitrust action ever been taken by the DOJ against a corporation on the grounds of patent abuse or the amount of intellectual property that a company claimed? Would there be any valid basis in the law for such an action? I imagine that the sheer size of Standard Oil, and the sheer size of its assets involved with oil production must have been a factor in the decision to have it broken up. Could such a situation ever arise with patents, since we seem to have entered an age when the largest tech companie
  • It is well known in the industry Microsoft likes to place artificial barriers to competitors. They either subside proxies to create precedents and vicious battles (hello SCO), or are eager to deal with patent trolls because they have deep pockets, and thus create precedents and problem for others.
  • by TrueSpeed (576528) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @12:49AM (#43543325)

    These are the list of frivolous, prior art ridden patents Microsoft used to try and extort money from Barnes and Noble. When the trial was about to go to court a magical partnership was established between Microsoft and Barnes & Noble and the lawsuit was dropped. It's a pity more companies don't stand up to these patent trolls.

    Microsoft vs.Barnes and Noble

    5778372
    6339780
    5889522
    6891551
    6957233

    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5778372.html [freepatentsonline.com]
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6339780.html [freepatentsonline.com]
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5889522.html [freepatentsonline.com]
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6891551.html [freepatentsonline.com]
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6957233.html [freepatentsonline.com]

    U.S. Patent No. 5778372 Remote retrieval and display management of electronic document with incorporated images. A browser remotely retrieves electronic documents from a remote computer network for viewing by a user. For enhancing responsiveness, the browser initially displays an electronic document without a background image so that the electronic document is initially displayed more quickly. The browser also prioritizes downloading of embedded images of the document by their incorporation in the currently visible portion of the electronic document. Further, the browser dynamically creates additional connections for retrieving resources incorporated into the electronic document from the remote computer network.

    U.S. Patent No. 6339780 Loading status in a hypermedia browser having a limited available display area. Described herein is a portable computer having a limited display area. An Internet or other hypermedia browser executes on the portable computer to load and display content in a content viewing area. During times when the browser is loading content, the browser displays a temporary, animated graphic element over the content viewing area. The graphic element is removed after the content is loaded, allowing unobstructed viewing of the loaded content.

    U.S. Patent No. 5889522 System Provided Child Window Controls. New varieties of child window controls are provided as system resources that application programs may exploit. The preferred embodiment of the present invention provides a dynamic link library (DLL) for implementing the new child window controls as part of an operating system. The new child window controls include a header bar control for providing header bars in application programs. The new controls also include a hot key control that allows a user to view and edit hot key combinations. The new controls further include a tab control for establishing tabs that differentiate amongst pages in user interfaces provided by application programs. An image list data type is defined and functions are provided for manipulating the image list data type. Image lists include multiple like-sized images that are stored efficiently in a single bitmap.

    U.S. Patent No. 6891551 Selection Handles in Editing Electronic Documents. A computer system and method for highlighting and selecting elements of electronic documents is disclosed. In one embodiment, a selection area identifies an initial selection of data, and one or more selection handles appear on the selection area to allow dynamic resizing of the selection area to select a larger or smaller portion of data or number of items.

    U.S. Patent No. 6957233 Method and Apparatus for Capturing and Rendering Annotations for Non-Modifiable Electronic Content. A system and method for capturing annotations for a non-modifiable document is disclosed. Once it is determined that an annotation is to be created, the system determines the file position of the selected object. The file position of the selected object is stored along with the created annotation in another file or a non-read only po

    • by Bigby (659157)

      U.S. Patent No. 6339780 Loading status in a hypermedia browser having a limited available display area. Described herein is a portable computer having a limited display area. An Internet or other hypermedia browser executes on the portable computer to load and display content in a content viewing area. During times when the browser is loading content, the browser displays a temporary, animated graphic element over the content viewing area. The graphic element is removed after the content is loaded, allowing unobstructed viewing of the loaded content.

      I've read a few patents, but this one takes the cake. They essentially patented not just the Internet equivalent to their own Windows startup screen, but the electronic equivalent to curtains at the Theater; and the TV equivalent to the opening sequence/song.

  • Formalizing the act once referred to as Brinksmanship into a recognized, legitimate business practice (i.e, threatening to sue but never, ever showing any real proof).

    USPTO: GRANTED

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