Patently great work.

Last month was a great month for K-intellectual property. So nice to get such good news to brighten up dull, damp, dreary March days.

But we’ve had other great months IP-wise of late too…

In September of last year, for the second year in a row we were included in the Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators listing, making us the first – and only – Russian company to get onto this meticulously researched list of the world’s 100 most innovative organizations! Hurray!

A few details about this top-100: Every year the independent U.S. company Clarivate Analytics chooses its most innovational companies in the world based on the quality of their patent portfolios. In particular, Clarivate selects its top-100 based on the following four criteria:

  1. How successful a company is with its patent applications in actually being granted patents;
  2. How global a company’s innovations are;
  3. How often a company’s patents are cited elsewhere (in applications of other IT companies); and
  4. The total number of patents a company has.

This year eight IT players made the list: Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Symantec, Tencent and us! Nice to be rubbing shoulders with such worthy contemporaries!

Now for an update to the numbers of our IP team, who never cease to amaze with their hard work and successful results: Our patent practice was established back in 2005; since then our patent portfolio has grown from 0 to 930+ patents obtained in Russia, the U.S., Europe, China and Japan! Besides, we have more than 500 patent applications pending; we’ve won nine court cases, two are ongoing, and we’ve lost none!

In short, we continue to fight – and beat – patent trolls. Trolls – take note!

That’s all for today folks. See you again tomorrow!…

More good news from the IP frontline.

I couldn’t help but notice the buzz our latest patent news had gotten about our patent lawyers’ amazing win :). So I’m excited to keep the ball rolling with news of another bombshell victory just a few days later…

We reign victorious in a very important patent lawsuit again! This time against Uniloc (the same Uniloc that managed to snake $388 mln from Microsoft). You should know they sued us over the same patent in 2018, but we came out on top.

Recently, during the negotiation process of yet another patent infringement lawsuit filed by Uniloc, we received a message from the company’s representatives that they’re tired of fighting and ready to end this. Meaning: they’re ready to drop the suit if we are. Of course we were, only without the red tape and within the hour. So we drafted a joint statement on the spot for ‘dismissal with prejudice’, which is a final judgement meaning the case is not subject to further action.

Now to get down to brass tacks…

According to Uniloc, the software license and settings management software used in our My Kaspersky license manager was ‘stepping on the toes’ of other patents. My Kaspersky is a web service to remotely renew subscriptions, launch scans, get product reports, and do all sorts of other useful stuff.

Below is a list of the patents containing descriptions of configurable settings for authorized users. The general idea is that a user with several devices who configures their settings on one can then open the product on another and the settings are already saved. All of these patents (with a priority date of 1998) were acquired from IBM. They had 31 respondents, including Akamai, SAP (represented by subsidiary Concur Technologies), Oracle (represented by subsidiary Netsuite), Ubisoft, Tencent (represented by subsidiary Riot Games), and Zendesk.

US6324578
US7069293
US6510466
US6728766

Expert analysis put our potential damages at $7 million, assuming a claim amount of $90 million.

This was a long-haul case starting back in 2016, but it was temporarily put on hold because the patents in one of the claims processes started before us were invalidated. A year later, the United States District Court of Texas confirmed the invalidation of two patents: `766 and `466, but upheld `578 and `293. Regardless, this was still a win for us, even if we were only involved indirectly. It’s important to understand that when patents ‘survive’ the court of appeals, trolls start doubling down on respondents. However, Uniloc withdrew its claims against us, all the while continuing litigation against other companies. This court of appeals decision was one of three key points on our path to victory. We also helped other companies getting sued to formulate their arguments, as we held a stake in their verdicts as well.

The second major point was our case, which Uniloc was already well acquainted with. We had to keep it ironclad to hold up against all their pressure.

And third was an eight-hour face-to-face mediation with the Uniloc team.

Note that Uniloc revoked its claims exactly one week after GBAS closed its case against us. That just goes to show that our reputation as an uncompromising destroyer of dubious patent practice proceeds us. And I couldn’t be happier!

By the way, this was just one of three lawsuits we’ve been tangled up in against Uniloc, all of which ended in our favor — 3:0.

Our overall patent lawsuit score is 9:0 (not counting pre-trial dismissed claims).

1:0 IPAT v Kaspersky
2:0 IPAT v Digital River (indemnity)
3:0 Lodsys v Kaspersky
4:0 Device Security v Kaspersky
5:0 Wetro Lan v Kaspersky
6:0 Uniloc (1) v Kaspersky
7:0 GBAS v Kaspersky
8:0 Uniloc (3) v Kaspersky
9:0 Uniloc (2) v Kaspersky (the lawsuit I’m writing about here).

So there you have it. Don’t bother wasting your time or money.

Flickr photostream

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Last week’s good vs. bad news

The good news last week? Well, I went to Chelyabinsk – that’s the first piece of good news. Okay. I need to keep score here. The referee blows the whistle. Game on. 1:0…

Our lineup of patent lawyers now takes to the field. They bring good news, too. We’ve won yet another patent infringement lawsuit in the States! I won’t waste time explaining; I’ll just quote our report from the frontline: “One more major lawsuit is added to our list of victories! Case closed – not a cent to pay out!”

What was the claim all about?

In a nutshell, Greater Boston Authentication Solutions (GBAS) didn’t like the operating principle of our Activation 2.0 technology, which allows a trial version to be upgraded to a full version by validating a ticket that contains various information. GBAS deemed that Activation 2.0 infringed on their patents: US5982892US6567793 and US7346583.

// I’ve intentionally added the links to their patents in case anyone is curious.

These patents, born back in 1997, describe a software activation technology that uses a digital signature. It’s all relatively straightforward: the developer creates a digital signature from received data and transfers it to the product. The product, using a built-in public key, validates the signature to see if it matches the user’s details and decides whether access should be given.

This is what it looks like at Kaspersky:

Read on…

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Mathematics – the queen of sciences.

Hi all!

There will be two topics today: 1) where to go to study; and 2) a brain teaser – how can you obtain all the numbers from 0 to 100 using the digits 1, 4, 0, and 9. Let’s start with number one.

1) I often get asked: “What sort of education should my kid get? Which subjects are likely to be in demand in the future?”

I do not pretend to be an all-knowing visionary, but I have absolutely no doubt about the answer to this one: teach your kids mathematics! It’s the most fundamental, most indispensable and the greatest of all the sciences. Learning it opens the door to lots of different and wonderful professions. Good mathematicians can then become anything they want, including a perfectly successful humanities major (there are numerous areas where mathematics is applied in humanities, and this number will only keep growing).

Or, to look at it another way, I can safely say I’ve never heard of a humanities student becoming a successful mathematician… It’s just unheard of. Looking back at my life, I think that if it hadn’t been for the Kolmogorov Physics and Mathematics Boarding School (aka AESC MSU), many things in my life may have turned out very differently.

The school maintained very high standards – our brains were permanently going into overdrive. We had classes six days a week, several different math disciplines, advanced physics classes with lab sessions, plus all the other classes as per the regular school curriculum. Despite the heavy academic workload, we had a very happy and interesting time at school. A childhood imbued with physics and mathematics…

That’s why I was very glad when last year, as part of the Mathematical Vertical project, an experimental Grade 7 class was opened in Moscow school 1409. It is the first building block in the foundation of that Mathematical Vertical that has the same name as my company – MVK for short.

Year 7 became year 8, and will then become year 9, and, in cooperation with the school, we will draft a new class or two each year. That way, the desired vertical will be constructed: there will be the specialized classes 7, 8 and 9, then, after such serious preparation, there will be the engineering classes for years 10 and 11. The graduate students will then be able to enter the best technological universities. And then the kids will come to work for us! (said with a sly squint while rubbing my hands) :) And everyone’s a winner! Well, everyone except the cybercriminals of course :)

The Mathematical Vertical project was designed by the Moscow Department of Education as a necessary upgrade of the entire system of teaching math in years 7-9 – a radically new model. If, in a couple of years, it proves to be successful, it will become the benchmark for the entire country. Meanwhile, we are acting as an ally and partner for School 1409 in the implementation of the project. Kaspersky employees are taking an active part in the educational process, teaching the Information Security course to the MVK class and to interested students from the year 10 and 11 engineering classes.

Picture by Anastasia Shayakhmetova, Class 8M

Last Friday, I finally had time to visit the school and talk to the students under our patronage, giving them some math problems and steering them onto the true, highly interesting, albeit complicated, path and revealing a mass of opportunities. In short, I told them why they need to study hard and then work hard.

I’ve actually visited the school a couple of times before, and was pleasantly surprised. Many universities would love to have the sort of teaching equipment they have: apart from hundreds of computers, dozens of interactive whiteboards and robotics sets, the engineering and medical classes are equipped with a 3D printer, a 3D scanner, an atomic molecular microscope and other technological miracles. Back in my day, the equipment was usually limited to desks, chairs and a blackboard :)

I was pleased with my visit: the kids’ eyes were shining with enthusiasm, they asked interesting questions, and they promised to solve the tasks I set! I’ll check the next time I visit.

2) This is the main problem I set them:

You are given the digits 1, 4, 0, 9. Use the math knowledge you have received in school, namely the basic arithmetic operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing), plus raising to a power, extracting a root and factorial, to obtain all the numbers from zero to 100. You can glue numbers together and rearrange them in any order you want. For example:

0 = 0*149. Or, in a more crafty way: = 0! – 149
10 = 10 * ( √9- √4 )

You cannot turn numbers upside down, i.e., you cannot make a 6 from a 9 by turning it upside down. However, you can make a 6 from a 9 using a square root and a factorial:

6 = (√9)!

UPD1: You can use the digits just once (this is somewhat obvious, otherwise “1+1+…+1+0*49” to make any natural number).

UPD2: it’s not permitted to round numbers. Otherwise, that would be simply cheating with roots and factorials.

I wonder if all numbers from 0 to 100 can be derived from such actions. If not – what other knowledge from the school mathematics course needs to be added to the conditions?

Biometrics. Lord of the ring!

It’s now perfectly normal to unlock your phone or computer with a fingerprint – nobody would bat an eyelid. In fact, more and more biometric data is being collected, whether it be facial, voice or iris recognition. This type of authentication appears to be very reliable because every human’s physical and behavioral features are unique. However, very few think of where all that data is stored and how it’s protected. What if somebody gains access to it?

According to our experts, in Q3 2019 alone, 37% of computers used to store and process biometric data faced the risk of a malware infection at least once. Of these, more than 5% were infected with spyware. The main sources of infection were the internet, removable media such as flash drives, and email clients.

When your password is leaked, it’s annoying, but it’s easy to change it. But what do you do if cybercriminals get access to your fingerprints? You don’t have a spare set of fingers! We’ve given the problem some thought … and come up with a solution! :)

In early December in Milan, together with Swedish designer Benjamin Waye, we presented a unique prototype ring used for authentication.

Read on…

Reaping the fruits.

The year is coming to a close, and it’s only natural to sum up the various results of the last 12 months. So here’s a triple whammy of good news:

1) Our business security solution won the Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice in the Endpoint Security Solutions category for the third consecutive year. This year, it scored 4.6 points out of five, based on 1,747 reviews from real users. Gartner Peer Insights is an independent platform where corporate customers can leave positive or negative feedback on the products they use and give them scores. Customer’s Choice is ranked based on the scores vendors receive from users, taking into account both the quality and quantity of feedback. Gartner ensures there are no bots or cheats. We’re constantly improving our products and refining our features. And winning the Gartner rating for the third consecutive year is the best proof that users see it and appreciate it.

Read on…

Cybernews: If Aramco had our Antidrone…; and honeypots to make IoT malware stop!

Hi folks!

Recently there was a Cyber News from the Dark Side item of oh-my-Gulf proportions. You’ll no doubt have heard about it as it was all over the news for days just recently. It was the drone attack on Saudi Aramco that took out millions of barrels of crude per day and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

Alas, I’m afraid this is only the beginning. Remember those drones bringing Heathrow – or was it Gatwick? – to a standstill a while back? Well this is just a natural progression. There’ll be more, for sure. In Saudi, the Houthis claimed responsibility, but both Saudi and the US blame Iran; Iran denies responsibility. In short – same old saber-rattling in the Middle East. But that’s not what I want to talk about here – that’s geopolitics, which we don’t do, remember? ) No, what I want to talk about is that, as the finger-pointing continues, in the meantime we’ve come up with a solution to stop drone attacks like this one on Aramco. Soooo, ladies and gents, I hereby introduce to the world… our new Antidrone!

So how does it work?

The device works out the coordinates of a moving object, a neural network determines whether it’s a drone, and if it is, blocks the connection between it and its remote controller. As a result the drone either returns back to where it was launched, or it lands below where it is up in the sky when intercepted. The system can be stationary, or mobile – e.g., for installation on a motor vehicle.

The main focus of our antidrone is protection of critically important infrastructure, airports, industrial objects, and other property. The Saudi Aramco incident highlighted how urgently necessary such technology is in preventing similar cases, and it’s only going to become more so: in 2018 the world market for drones was estimated at $14 billion; by 2024 it’s forecast to be $43 billion!

Clearly the market for protection against maliciously-minded drones is going to grow too – fast. However, at the moment, our Antidrone is the only one on the Russian market that can detect objects by video using neural networks, and the first in the world to use laser scanning for tracking down the location of drones.

Read on…

Guess which company made the ‘Top-100 Global Innovators’!

Hi folks!

Regular readers of my blog will know how I occasionally write about some of our less noticeable – but no less important – business successes: those related to our patents and how they help us fight – incredibly – not just cyber-evil, but also patent trolls who do nothing but hinder technological progress.

I said ‘success’. Well here’s out latest: we’ve become the first Russian company to enter the Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators! Hurray!

Read on…

Please move forward – by one year!

Konichiwa folks!

October 4 has caught up with me again – suddenly, I’m 54 years old! Goodness!

It was as if leading Russian business daily Kommersant knew my b-day was coming up – including me in their 1000 Best Russian Managers – 2019 listing [Russian language]. Nice! Thank you: that was my first birthday present! Am much obliged.

Even nicer was seeing a full four K-bosses in the Top-100/Top-50 rankings in the same newspaper in their respective lines of work:

Hurray! Well done all of you! This just shows: we’re moving in the right direction.

// And I’ve been shown the financial results of our Japanese office for the first three quarters of the year. Very pleasing they are too. Hurray again! That’s another perfect present for me. Thank you! Kanpai!

The St. Petersburg International Forum – despite problems, still awesome.

Hi folks!

As mentioned in my previous post, I was up early down in Sochi after the long toasts the night before, and heading to the airport. Next stop – St. Petersburg; specifically – its International Economic Forum, which I was attending for the first time.

For nearly a quarter of a century SPIEF has been impressing with its scale and the caliber of its participants. Official figures state the number of those taking part this year at more than 19,000 – coming from 145 countries of the world. And that includes CEOs of multinationals, and ministers and presidents of countries – all toing and froing and hobnobbing and speaking up on stages, often with their deputies and press services not far away.

So. SPIEF. Herewith, the plusses:

It’s really convenient: in a short time it’s possible give a presentation in among other heavyweight speakers, give a slew of interviews, and meet and chew the fat with whomever you need to or want to – all under one roof and within two or three days. Indeed, this is the whole reason for forums such as these. Also – St. Pete isn’t far for me, plus it’s always a pleasure having a stroll up and down Nevsky. In short – the plusses are very substantial plusses.

Now – the minuses:

The traffic jams! Not that this is the forum’s fault, but still. From our hotel in Pushkin on the outskirts of the city to the ExpoForum Center it’s just a seven-kilometer drive (and you totally miss out downtown!), but every morning we were more than an hour getting there! First, because they reduced the width of the normally three-lane highway to just one lane; second, because the security checks at the entrance to the complex took so long; third, apparently, because there was a complete and utter – catastrophic – absence of any public transportation serving the event. Organizers: I hope you’re reading. In three words: ‘GET A GRIP’! Don’t let such basic logistics matters spoil an otherwise excellent event!

Wait – there are more minuses!…

The signage and guidance around the ExpoForum Center was idiotic. We twice ended up walking around in circles in trying to follow the signs to get from point A to point B – which were a mere 100 meters apart! Next, the line at lunch was so absurdly long I gave up waiting and went hungry. I don’t have time to waste like that! I’m sure the other participants don’t either. So, what, bring sandwiches next time? Looks like it, given such progressive organization of the catering arrangements.

Read on: The St. Petersburg International Forum – despite problems, still awesome.