Friday, December 30, 2005

MPEG as anticompetitive monopolistic patent pooling scheme

Iviewit technologies are currently being utilized by almost every major imaging and video application. These technologies have been at the heart of one of the most fascinating patent stories in the history of the United States and one of the most fascinating crimes ever attempted. The Iviewit story begins with invention by several inventors working to overcome limitations that were prevalent in early attempts at virtual imaging and low bandwidth video communications. The true inventors were Eliot I. Bernstein, James F. Armstrong, Jude Rosario, Zakirul Shirajee, Patti Daniels and Matthew Mink.

The first spark of invention was in finding a solution for imaging pixelation upon zoom in a low bandwidth environment and utilizing a low resolution file. In prior art, the user when zooming in virtual images was plagued by pixelation. The iviewit invention in scaled imaging solved for this pixel distortion when zooming in low bandwidth on low resolution, resulting in what is commonly found on digital cameras today and referred to as "digital zoom". The imaging invention, although discovered in this virtual reality domain has now penetrated every form of digital imaging technology both in hardware and software. The scaled inventions leading to new medical imaging devices, new camera applications, satellite imaging advancements and new zoom television sets as are now offered by Sony.

The second invention for scaled video and often referred to by video technologists and engineers worldwide as a "holy grail" discovery, was the key to unlocking full frame rate, full screen, low bandwidth video as is now found on almost every website worldwide. Scaled video is now embedded in every video player such as the Real Player, QuickTime and Microsoft players. Without this invention video on the Internet, other than postage sized grainy transmissions, would not be possible. This invention has since transformed the prior art on video content creation and distribution for all forms of video components (i.e. HDTV, Television, DVD, HDDVD) and on almost every digital video/imaging product from videocams, to medical applications, to satellite video and imaging.

The third invention combines scaled video and scaled imaging to form a unique platform of video that can be zoomed into without pixel distortion. The fourth invention was for a remote controlled camera and video applications whereby control of video and imaging inventions from a communication environment could be obtained.

Other inventions in digital sound, video and imaging were also discovered around these primary inventions. Patents were filed for the inventions with leading US law firms including Proskauer Rose LLP, Foley and Lardner, Blakely Sokoloff Zafman and Taylor and Meltzer Lippe Goldstein and Schlissel, as well as, leading international law firms around the world. Or so the shareholders of the companies, Iviewit, thought so.

Currently, the United States Patent & Trademark Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the are investigating charges that the law firms herein named have committed fraud against the United States Patent & Trademark Office through a series of fraudulent patent applications with attempt to steal the inventions from the inventors. Similarly, the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office (epi) are investigating similar charges of fraud committed by the international legal representatives involved. Multitudes of information regarding the inventions can be found at the iviewit website that in depth information regarding the investigations and other actions can be found.

The main culprit behind these thefts is the video body, self titled, MPEGLA, LLC and their subsequent license known as MPEG, attempting through a patent pooling scheme, similar to other pooling schemes that have historically been involved in anticompetitive and monopolistic practices. Prior strong arm tactics of patent pools and methods to illegally corner markets and steal inventions have been stopped via the Department of Justice efforts.

Section IV attempts to draw conclusions for antitrust enforcement from the history of patent pooling cases and the economic analysis. The economic analysis suggests that restrictive licensing terms should not necessarily raise competition concerns if patents are not substitutes for each other. However, the cases reveal that many unlawful patent pooling and cross-licensing arrangement were actually cartel agreements thinly disguised as patent licenses. Such shams should not escape antitrust condemnation even if the patents involved in the arrangement are not substitutes. Section IV notes that the social return from challenges to weak patents is much higher than the private return and ends with a recommendation that antitrust agencies become more proactive in this area."

Later similar concern is also raised;

"Other arrangements have been shams, in which firms agree to abide by restrictive licensing terms as a means to cartelize an industry. In cases such as U.S. Gypsum the patent was incidental to a larger purpose, which was to impose downstream restraints that eliminated competition."
Antitrust for Patent Pools:
A Century of Policy Evolution
Richard J.
October 3, 2002

In the Singer sewing US Supreme Court case, similar to the blocking of Iviewit technologies by MPEGLA, LLC, the U.S. Supreme Court summarized the central competitive issue as follows:

What is claimed here is that Singer engaged in a series of transactions with Gegauf and Vigorelli for an illegal purpose, i.e., to rid itself and Gegauf, together, perhaps, with Vigorelli, of infringements by their common competitors, the Japanese manufacturers. The Government claims that in this respect there were an identity of purpose among the parties and actions pursuant thereto that in law amount to a combination or conspiracy violative of the Sherman Act.

In the Iviewit case for example, the MPEG codec at the time before invention was incapable of producing a low bandwidth video that could produce a marketable video at internet speeds. The mathematical limitations at bandwidths from 28k-750k produced a horrific video that was not marketable, thus the search for the "holy grail" began for a method to transmit video in this medium that was full screen, full frame rate. Now the MPEGLA patent pool at the time before the Iviewit inventions was a very small pool with a very small number of patents in the pool and fewer licensees. The pool was begun by a former MIT student and lawyer, Kenneth Rubenstein, who likens himself to the gatekeeper of the pool with his self proclaimed title of patent evaluator for the pool.

The inventors of the technologies, seeing that they had found the grail invention, rushed to get the ideas patented and hired the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP. A slimy attorney from the firm, named Christopher Clarke Wheeler (recently arrested and convicted for Drunk Driving with Injury ~ Del Ray Beach, FL PD) said he would check if his firm had patent counsel. A few weeks later he returned and claimed that Kenneth Rubenstein was with the firm in New York and that he was involved in the MPEG patent pool. Wheeler claimed that with Rubenstein's blessing on the inventions, they would be included in the pools and Iviewit and its shareholders would derive royalties from the pool.

Somewhere though, on the way to the patent office, Rubenstein and his band of thieves, decided on a very complicated artifice to defraud the inventors and shareholders and steal the inventions for themselves. This blog will attempt to expose what these law firms have done in the attempt to steal the inventions and then to attempt to cover up their crimes through manipulation of the legal system that elevates to the highest court in this land. At the same time, these attorneys are under very real federal and international investigations for their crimes. The only way to escape prosecution will be to manipulate the justice department, the commerce department and the Supreme Court, if they fail, certain federal prison sentences await them.

This blog will cover the crimes and allow for others to post comments relating to their experiences with what appears a corrupt group of patent law firms that has found a way to steal inventions from inventors, disguised as trusted attorneys from leading law firms. Again, the meat of the story and much evidence can be found at where we welcome your comments and any help you may be able to give in bringing these criminals to justice.

1 comment:

patentgate said...

way of introduction, I am P. Stephen Lamont, th... By way of introduction, I am P. Stephen Lamont, the former CEO of Iviewit Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiaries, affiliates and related parties (collectively “Iviewit”), from 2001 to 2005, with more than a fifteen year track record as a multimedia technology and consumer electronics executive and holder of a J.D. in Intellectual Property Law, an M.B.A in Finance, and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, and I write in reply to “Mike” and
in support of Eliot I. Bernstein, the founder of Iviewit and the principal inventor of the technologies in question; I have been silent since my departure, but in this age of on-line blogs, I can be silent no more.

Moreover, and while grant it I was not a participant during the alleged
burying and purported theft of the technologies, I found myself leading a company in the midst of a cover up of the aforementioned depictions of frauds, deceits, and misrepresentations that run so wide and so deep that
it tears at the very fabric of what has become to be know as free commerce in this country, and, in the fact that it pertains to inventors rights, tears at the very fabric of the Constitution of the United States.

Furthermore, early in my tenure, rumors began swirling
around the company with finger pointing and all from Florida to Los Angeles wherein it catches the jet stream and arrived very soon in New York of alleged breaches of confidentiality pertaining to Iviewit technology, transfers of trade secrets, and, even in certain circumstances, the knowing and willful invention fraud by the outright switching of signature pages of patent filings by early patent counsels. Additionally, during my tenure, I was in possession of an executed patent
application pertaining to Iviewit’s core imaging technology with the inventors of Bernstein and Shirajee, when, out of thin air, and just prior to filing, such patent application witnesses the addition of a one Brian G. Utley (“Utley”) as an inventor, and an individual who could not have been farther from the heat of the inventive stage of the imaging technology.

Still further, and this is where I may depart from Mr. Bernstein and the Iviewit board (this is a democracy after all), I submit that at the first disclosures of the inventions, patent counsel, who had spent half a lifetime procuring technologies for the transmission of full screen, full frame rate video across a variety of transmission networks, and who during the Iviewit disclosures have been known to state “[I] missed that,” and
“[I] never thought of that,” and “[This] changes everything,” or words to those effects, were so fearful that Iviewit would partner with other proprietary technologies across the video value chain and wipe the carefully crafted patent pools off the face of the map, therefore, the Iviewit inventions HAD to be buried to preserve those pools.

That was the first step, with the second step, through the direct and indirect introductions of Iviewit, with executed NDA’s, to some five hundred potential licensees by colleagues of patent counsel, being the proliferation of Iviewit disclosures across a wide array of potential licensees and competitors (have you ever wondered why the free download of Windows Media Encoder defaults to a 320x240 frame size, the first
essential characteristic of the Iviewit video scaling technology that proceeds to innovate and enhance that frame size?).

Following along, we arrive at the point in the past when the Iviewit inventions had been buried and that everyone had begun to use it, when past management in the company and new patent counsel may have thought “Hey, okay, great, but now what’s in it for us,” that proceeded to a final step, and in addition to the intentional change of inventors with the
inclusion of Utley, the corporate shell game that involved multiple, unauthorized, similarly named corporate formations and unauthorized stock swaps and unauthorized asset transfers that resulted in the core patent applications assigned to an entity that may have only one shareholder, the limited liability partnership of the alleged perpetrating patent counsel,
perhaps, with a view towards resurrecting the backbone technologies at some future point.

Lastly, does it seem too far fetched when you include house break-ins, death threats, car bombings, and wrongful evictions? I further submit that I had been a victim as well where every file on my former Iviewit machines were changed from the original date of creation to on or about August 25,
2003, a time in which I was on a business trip in Florida to meet with the Boca Raton Police Department. Still too unbelievable? Then recall the browser wars, particularly the Internet Explorer/Microsoft/Spyglass/University of Illinois at Urbana battle, a situation I was very close to during my tenure at Thomson Multimedia S.A. (in IE click “Help” then “About IE” and read all about it), and you may agree that, as I had many times termed it, “invention stealing is the world’s second oldest profession,” only this time, as Jack Nicholson has termed it, “[They] f***** with the wrong marine.”

Finally, I wish I could have continued in the Iviewit battles, but
personal events took an unexpected turn in losing my 38 year old Midwestern gem to breast cancer in December 2003 and left with our then seventeen month old baby boy; I know Eliot will be there for an eternity slugging it out to make it up to Jenni and little Stephen.