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An intrepid Register Hardware hack was this morning stopped from looking around MSI's stand at the consumer electronics show IFA, in Berlin. The uniformed gents he mistook for overly officious security guards were in fact German Customs officers investigating claims of patent infringement. MSI security MSI security Nothing to …

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Unhappy

Armed customs officers...

at trade shows?

On the off chance that there 'might' be a patent infringement (a civil matter, surely, even in Germany)?

Heavy handed or what.

All this 'patent' malarky is getting well out of hand.

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Anonymous Coward

Slightly on the dramatic side...

Much like in most countries, police are routinely armed with standard issue side-arms in Germany so the fact that it was an "armed" raid is actually quite non-controverial.

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Anonymous Coward

Could be fun at Infosec in London

if I made lots of anonymous complaints that all the encryption stuff fell under the definition of "munitions. Which it does in the US. If only the US authorities had jurisdiction over the UK.

Oh, hang on a minute...

Mines the one with the McKinnon name tag in.

But seriously, if every trade show is going to be raided at the behest of companies spoiling it for each other it makes them not worth going to, except to see saled droids squirm.

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Paris Hilton

Hot Babes With Handguns

The black stripe over her eyes just adds to the allure, wouldn't you say?

Paris. Because she'd look good with a Glock, too.

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Bargain

It actually makes patent fees seem quite reasonable, if you get your own private police force in the bargain.

Patent Infringement is much more dangerous than hoodies with knives, after all.

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Discount for being raided?

Perhaps, in future, Trade Show Organisers should offer discounts to exhibitors for being raided....

Or maybe for those that aren't - sort of implies they are not at the leading edge somehow...

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Coat

Great way to encourage...

... more technology shows to be held in your country. How effective! ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Talk about over-reacting

From the article it sounds like the customs guys have decided to go on the attack without any actual evidence of wrongdoing. That's not going to go down well with big business.

If I were an overseas exhibitor I'd be reconsidering attending any future German events. I suspect CEBIT is going to suffer.

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Good way of suppressing competitors !

Good ploy - suggest that your competitors are infringing your patents, Customs go in, keep out punters, take away kit. Even if the kit is later found to not infringe your patents, by the time it gets returned the show is over.

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Anonymous Coward

Great way to remove competition

Thats a great way to remove your competitors shiny new products from a trade show!

'Got nothing to show, worried your old products look bad?'

'Call us now and we can remove your competitors products - 999-PatentRaid.'

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Flame

trolls in action

it is amazing how parasite company who sole business model is to STEAL money (Sisvel) have enough resource to corrupt a whole country's custom....

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M
Happy

Excuse me,

What super powers do 'TEAM REGISTER' possess?

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Alert

What an embarrassment

Ever heard of letting the courts decide what is an infringement?

Instead we have these gestapo tactics.

History repeats itself over and over until we all vomit apparently.

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Flame

Sisvel

...are clearly a nasty piece of work.

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Tschüss

Sounds like they're doing their best to move the trade shows to other countries.

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Coat

Hmmm... suspicious

A spokesman for German Customs told us: "We've raided 69 companies today. We have seized equipment including flatscreen TVs, CD players, set-top boxes and MP3 players."..... and we're going to have a big ole party later with the drug enforcement unit, the blond customs agent will probably get her baps out as well.

gimme a break it's friday and I'm mere minutes away from going home... the one with a gun in the pocket ;) okay I'll stop now

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Pirate

And how many infringements did they find?

"Customs raids at trade shows are nothing new - in March several stands at monster show CeBit were raided by German police and customs. They were acting on complaints from patent firm Sisvel which suspected that its intellectual property, or that of its clients, had been infringed."

So these Sisvel boys seem to sick their attack dogs wherever they like, but the question is, how many infringements do they find?

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Sisvel on both occasions

If nothing is found, I hope they have the crime of "Wasting police time" on the statute books in Germany. At least the companies concerned should be able to sue for the German equivalent of "Defamation of character".

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Stop

Heavy Handed

It seems incredibly heavy handed to us in Blighty, but then I suppose the Germans don't shoot you for being slightly dusky.

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Black Helicopters

I really hope...

...that those companies that were raided and are found not to have infringed any patents sue Sisvel and the German government for everything they can. This kind of bad press sticks, and if the companies in question have done no wrong then an apology (which they probably wouldn't get) isn't enough.

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ian
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Achtung!

If you haff done notting wrong, you haff notting to fear.

Armed you say? Geeks are far more violent than I knew.

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Bronze badge

possible course of action?

organized pays fat compensation to raided companies and sues Sisvel for damages

patent holders, my ass

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Joke

Your name vill be added to ze list!

Don't tell him Pike!

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Flame

Protoplasm doesn't make good journalism

> From the article it sounds like the customs guys have decided to go on

> the attack without any actual evidence of wrongdoing. That's not going

> to go down well with big business.

It sounds like that because the wankers that pass of as journalists for the Reg didn't do their homework. Courts have issued 51 orders, based on 69 complaints. Customs is just doing the legwork, executing the 51 orders. But properly reporting that, or at least getting the figures right, would probably have meant that the protoplasm claiming to be a Reg journalist would have to do a tiny bit of research in his alcohol induced haze.

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Dead Vulture

And the solution?

Just call ahead and make sure you aren't breaching any patents.. Simple!

http://www.sisvel.com/EUregulation.asp

and also from their website "Besides, Sisvel is a member of AIRI, the Italian Association for the Industrial Research".

I bet they are..

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Sam

@ Neil Hoskins

"It seems incredibly heavy handed to us in Blighty, but then I suppose the Germans don't shoot you for being slightly dusky."

Last time I was in that dump (a good few years ago, Gott sei danke), the darkies were filtered into separate checking channels at the airport..

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Gates Horns

Was the first raid by Sisvel...

...resulted in a discovery of infringement? If not, the authorities should seriously consider heavily penalizing Sisvel should it tries to pull the same stunt.

Can you get anymore blunt about stiffling innovations?

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Alert

Jodphurs! Holy sh-t!

But where' the riding crop?

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Black Helicopters

Reaction?

Anyone notice the difference in reaction from these guys to being photographed with the reaction of Brit cops when they're photographed?

Black helo obviously.

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Anonymous Coward

RIAA

Is branching out and going world wide. First these groups bought the police in the USA, now Germany. Watch out UK. You are next

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Pirate

Confusing Civil and Criminal Law

Colour me confused here, but since when is it the business of the *government* to intercede in civil disputes, either with the police; the army; or any other government branch such as C&E?

I know this word is bandied around so often that its meaning has become diluted, but surely this is a very literal indication of the rise of fascism ... again.

Patent disputes begin and end with *civil* measures, and have zero to do with the government, so why are government enforcers raiding trade shows, like a gang of thugs sabotaging a competitors business? What has patents got to do with Export Duty or Dangerous Goods? Are patents being given the same consideration as *firearms* now?

Scary.

But then I suppose we could ask similar questions about why *our* government is interceding in the equally *civil* disputes involving alleged copyright infringements in the UK ... by mandating data retention laws ostensibly to counter terrorism, but *actually* in capitulation to the demands of MAFIAA® goons like the BPI.

The disease of Intellectual Monopoly fanaticism has spread completely out of control. Frankly, if it were up to me, I'd declare any and all attempts to assert "property" rights on such ethereal things as illegal ... not the other way round. The "IP" industry is nothing but a bunch of gangsters, in word and in deed, and it needs to be shut down. Now. But who is going to do it? Certainly not the bent politicians who are in the MAFIAA's® pockets. By the will of the people? Not likely, we'd need a measure of actual *democracy* for that to happen. AFAICT the "will of the people" has been cast aside completely, in exchange for the will (and money) of a bunch of gangsters.

I challenge the governments of the "civilised world" to disprove that theory.

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Flame

Show management should 86 Sisvel

If I were show management, I would be sending Sisvel to the door sans their exhibitor (and all other) badges and have the labor pool pack up their booth post haste; especially if there were no retail sales allowed at the show.

Any event that happens to be sponsored by them, as show management, I would claim credit for these "generous donations" as coming from an "anonymous sponsorship."

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Alert

the true question

is are the customs female officers issued the bullet-proof bra the reg reported earlier ?

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USA, Germany, UK..

Quick, everyone submit immigration papers to Russia. We'll all be safe there.

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E

Oohhh Errr!

That lady of the law in the second pic could search me for contraband!

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Silver badge
Coat

The 'whateverinfringement' patrol

<sarcasm>

Anyone been to sisvel's website? That company is an agent for other companies to 'protect and exploit' patents in the CE sector, so they are just doing their job, like MPAA and RIAA (which will surely learn from this). So hopefully we will be seeing Zoll and Bundesgrenzschutz (German version of the 'Feds': just so that you Register guys don't mistake them for playground supervisors...<g>) at concerts next, to confiscate instruments from the bands because they played a riff that 'the artist formerly known as 'the artist formerly known as Prince' once used.

Wow.

</sarcasm>

That the Zoll guys carry pistols is quite normal. In Germany you usually find all policeforce armed. Which, I think, is not all that bad, because there is a much higher resistance to shoot someone than to club, mace or taser him; also more persuasion to stop when told for the guy beeing chased, if he knows that he won't be out of range 6 feet away. I know policemen who haven't taken out their pistol other than in the shooting gallery for ten years. And that was Duisburg, not the exactly the quietest place.

BTW, @ 'Hot Babes With Handguns': probably not Glock, usually SIG Sauer or Heckler & Koch.

Mine is the heavy one with the tiles in it...

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Thumb Down

Sisvel should have to the the salaries of all 200 customs officers...

if nothing is found. As well as, any court costs and assumed loss of revenue that any of the companies affected can even suggest that they lost.

I am curious about what the laws in Germany are concerning copyright infringement. Is it a civil matter or a criminal matter?

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Boffin

The problem with the legal system.

Is that lawyers have far too much influence on it.

There's an English translation of the appropriate law here:

http://www.ip-firm.de/patentact.pdf

The criminal patent infringement stuff is in section 142, it's a little crazy and somewhat hard to read being translated legal speak.

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Anonymous Coward

Lovely patent mess

Is it time to move CeBit someplace else?

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Paris Hilton

Not wishing to tamper with a winning formula, but...

I think blacked-out-eyes customs lady would make a fantastic character for our regular Playmobil Friday cast. I reckon she'd be able to handle Optimus Prime with skill and flair.

Without wishing to make any sort of slight upon her character, but if there were a mutiny aboard the HMS Martina Navratilova, she would end up their new captain. Or nemesis.

Of course El-Reg readers will now leap forward to strike down my ideas as being so wrong. Just watch.

And can we have a Playmobil Friday icon too please? Although Paris is pretty close to being plastic.

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Black Helicopters

SSe anSSver iSS in SSer name

>>Neil Hoskins

It seems incredibly heavy handed to us in Blighty, but then I suppose the Germans don't shoot you for being slightly dusky.<<

But they do seem to have the same dubious regard to those in the electrical industries.

Any reason the company name is an anagram of Evil SS?

Krystalnacth 2?.

In the 1930'ss sse RAF vere adwertissing sser ssplendourss of sserwing in Iraq and bombing camel herderss; all sser vhile missssing sse point that Chermany vass getting ready for sseir holidayss in Francce oncce again.

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Black Helicopters

@Neil Hoskins

"It seems incredibly heavy handed to us in Blighty"

I think you'll find that customs in the UK can be equally heavy handed. The expression "law unto themselves" springs to mind.

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Rno
Black Helicopters

right move too

Sisvel seizes court. Court assesses case and decides to investigate. Customs carry out court order. Judicial process will follow its natural course.

Everything is fine, nothing to report.

If everyone is so unhappy, instead of complaining, why not act as grown up citizens and helping rewrite the law? Can't do because there is X factor on TV or Football season starting?

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Pirate

@Neil Hoskins

Our British Customs and Excise chums have the right to enter any premises in the UK, by force if needs be, without a warrant.... They are some of the nastiest bastards around. They can strip a car at the port and leave you to put it back together again.

"There's a half empty bottle of vodka at the back of this bus and until I know who it belongs to you're not going anywhere" - Dover Customs Thug.

True story, I was there with 12 others...

Oh, er, even though that was a few years ago I'm staying AC.

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Heavy handed German police?

How many taser related deaths were there in Germany this year? Or last year? Heck, the last five years?

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Anonymous Coward

@dervheid

Of course the customs agents were armed. Dont you know that everything anyone does thats even slightly wrong these days is due to terrorists.

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Black Helicopters

Perhaps a spelling error - Sisvel

I was noting the first thing that came to mind, at seeing the action and it came to reason that there may be a spelling error on the name Sisvel

Perhaps evilss would be more fitting.

Don't take it to seriously but this is what the encroachment to freedom to information looks like.

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Tom
Silver badge

Going to court too much trouble

And you need stuff like proof. Most Inconvenient when you are trying to extract money for a dodgy patent. Just another trick to make it easier to pay the extortion then fight.

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Stop

Corruption at work

Of course, all this is probably due to EU-level legislation against "teh piratez", enforced aggressively by the German authorities. Fat brown envelopes were presumably handed round at the European Commission to get that directive through, although some of the culprits are probably stupid enough to buy into the whole competitiveness argument about having companies buying up patents and "licensing" them being a pillar of the new economy of Europe.

I believe there's a political ideology based on getting branches of the government to act of behalf of corporate interests at the expense of those of the general public...

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Pirate

re: Heavy Handed

>It seems incredibly heavy handed to us in Blighty

clearly you have never delt with those b*****ds at the Inland Revenue

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