Mosaic Collateral Asset Management — or M-CAM for short — has released a scathing analysis of Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) license-or-lawsuit campaign  against Android.
The advocacy group, which calls for “ethical use… of wisdom traditions [patents]”, comments:
It’s settled. We’ve figured out Microsoft’s costume for this year’s Halloween party: Ralphie’s pink bunny suit from A Christmas Story.
Given its licensing program – and recently, its agreement with Quanta, Amazon’s Kindle Fire manufacturer – why not? A look at Microsoft’s IP Licensing page tells us
the company “has entered into more than 700 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors
to access its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio.”
What a deranged marketing ploy. It’s like a creepy dude in an Easter bunny suit offering eggs, and them throwing them if the passerby refuses to take one.
They say that most companies license because merely out of lack of desire to try to clarify what exactly they violate or don’t violate and the validity of the patents involved. M-CAM writes:
And this strategy is working because, really, how many manufacturers are going to look through not only Microsoft’s 10,000 plus patents, but their own sizeable portfolios as well, just to determine which patents they may or may not be infringing? We doubt even Microsoft’s patent lawyers know what’s in their own portfolio, let alone what’s in their competitors’. (Of course, they could always enlist the help of their old CTO Nathan Myhrvold, since he seems to have a good grasp on searching through a 35,000 plus patent pool to find assertion gems.)
(Microsoft’s ex-CTO is co-founder of Intellectual Ventures, an infamous patent troll, which matains a host of shell companies with which to sue people.)
M-CAM reveals that International Business Machines, Inc. (IBM) seemingly holds the most Android related patents, though it thus-far hasn’t visibly tried to profiteer off the operating system. On the other hand, Microsoft sits in second place with over 2,300 patents that seemingly apply to Android.
The group warns that Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) — a new Android device maker — is at great risk as it has only 12 patents, far less than Microsoft’s past victims. But in the end it concludes that in reality everyone is at risk.
It comments on this and the recent ineffectual reform efforts, writing:
So should Amazon be worried? Sure. Should every company selling a product be worried? Sadly, a resounding yes. Until actual patent reform happens – oops, did we just say the latest patent reform bill did nothing to meaningfully improve the system? Yes, we did. – and until the “more is better” stockpiling mentality dissipates from both the overcrowded patent law field and the upper echelons of the corporate tech world, every company large enough to receive attention over its technology is a participant in this cold patent war.
Regardless of your feelings on the accuracy of this colorful analysis, one has to admit that it’s at least entertaining.
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