Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th May 2010 12:40 UTC
Legal All the way back in 2007 (The Year Gilmore Girls ended), a company called IP Innovation sued Red Hat and Novell over a patent related to the concept of virtual desktops. It seems like common sense hasn't been drained entirely from the US justice system, since yesterday, the courts declared said patent invalid.
Order by: Score:
Nice to see
by Adurbe on Tue 4th May 2010 12:51 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

Its good to see that the courts can get these things right, this company made no innovation of its own, instead they bought that 'idea' of of Xerox.

If Xerox had sued to defend their own 'creation', I might have had more sympathy...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nice to see - quota is filled
by jabbotts on Tue 4th May 2010 12:59 UTC in reply to "Nice to see"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

My fear is that they've completed the 2010 quota for rational decisions and will now return to the normal US legal level of clear thought for the remainder of the year.

Reply Score: 10

vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

My fear is that they've completed the 2010 quota for rational decisions and will now return to the normal US legal level of clear thought for the remainder of the year.

Oh, that's sooo nasty of you. But I love it.


No, no one comments on the 2007 reference to the ending of Gilmore Girls?

Well, not much to say... although such an association would have (probably) never come to my mind.

Look at that patent for instance:
http://www.wikipatents.com/US-Patent-7028023/linked-list
It has been granted in 2006, and it's about patenting linked lists! The USPTO gave it a pass. I wouldn't be surprised to find multiple duplicate patents if I had time to review all this crap they call inventions.
I don't believe the court takes the USPTO seriously at this point.

Patenting linked lists... I am so baffled I don't even know what to think. Linked lists. Are we talking about the data structure that Donald Knuth wrote pages about in TAOCP?
But the biggest concerns I can think of right now are 1- what the USPTO thinks of itself after such blunders and 2- what the American people think of the USPTO.

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Patenting linked lists... I am so baffled I don't even know what to think. Linked lists. Are we talking about the data structure that Donald Knuth wrote pages about in TAOCP?
But the biggest concerns I can think of right now are 1- what the USPTO thinks of itself after such blunders and 2- what the American people think of the USPTO.


Company A submits an "invention" of linked lists for a patent application, claiming it is innovative and original.

Clerk at USPTO has never heard of linked lists.

USPTO takes company A's money, and awards them a patent.

Company A sues company B, C, D, E & F for billions.

Company B, C, D, E & F point out prior art from 1955-56 by Allen Newell, Cliff Shaw and Herbert Simon at RAND Corporation, and in Donald Knuth's work, TAOCP. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linked_list

Case is thrown out of court. Company A's patent is invalidated.

Huge WOFTAM.

I'm blowed if I can see the point of it all.

Edited 2010-05-05 09:52 UTC

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Q: "I'm blowed if I can see the point of it all."

A: "USPTO takes company A's money,"

Reply Score: 4

spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

Company A has deep pockets and many connections in the legal field.
Company B has 3 busy employees, and owes a lot of money to the bank. Company B has invested all the money from family and friends to put up a product that would threaten company A profit margin.
Company B counts on the revenue that their product will bring to pay back its debts and develop new stuff that would further steal market from company A.
Company A sues company B over frivolous patents it know full well will be invalidated in the end.
Judge orders company B to stop selling its product while investigation on alleged patent infringement is ongoing.
Investigations takes 3 f--king long years before judge finally decides that the patent is invalid. Something everybody knew since the start but the legal system had to "investigate", go to higher court and all the usual legal bullshit.
In the mean time, Company B has gone bankrupt. The bank has sold all of its assets and the product from 3 years ago is obsolete.
Company A wins.

2nd option

Company A is a patent troll with deep pockets.
Company B is small but starting to be successful and win money.
Company A: I want 10% of your revenues now, or I sue.
Company B: You can't win, your patent is shit.
Company A: Wanna bet? Look at what happened to company C... What will your customer think about you? and some more FUD.
Company B: OK then but you will only get 5%.
Company A: 8%!
Company B: 7.5%!
Company A: deal! win!

I can see some other scenarios where Company A wins if they are not as stupid as the patent troll that goes after Red Hat and Novell (seriously, what did they think?)

Edited 2010-05-05 12:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

steogede2 Member since:
2007-08-17

The linked list patent in question isn't a simple linked list. It is patent for a linked list with two or more pointers where each item is pointed at two or more times - so that the list can simultaneously ordered in two or more orders.

Yes, its bullshit and trivial - i.e. if you are set the problem of maintaining two sort orders with a single linked list, I can't see a more obvious way to do it. However, it got me to thinking, is there any prior art? I imagine there probably is somewhere, but unless someone can find it, the only way to invalidate it is to show that it is obvious - the whole system relies on that subject measure. It's obvious to me and you, but what about a judge whose never created an algorithm in his life?

It also got me to thinking about what a waste of time the whole patent system is. Say you come up with a good idea that you think is original - you search for existing patents and prior art and find none, and file your own patent. You get some VCs behind you and start getting, five years later you're just about to start turning a profit when somebody undercuts you using your patented invention. Turns out they have prior art and there is nothing you can do.

Software patents aren't just stupid because they make software development a minefield, always having to make sure that you aren't infringing. The are stupid because they offer a false sense of security - you may have a field full of mines, ready to destroy your competition, then again they might all be duff.

How do you check that there is no prior art in closed source software world? Reverse engineer every piece of software that you think might contain prior art (probably against their EULA)? The same could be said for regular patents too, I imagine - but at least with a mechanical object, it is typically straightforward to see how it works. Another issue with closed source software, how easy is it to identify infringement, let alone prove that infringement?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Nice to see
by Manish on Tue 4th May 2010 14:48 UTC in reply to "Nice to see"
Manish Member since:
2009-12-18

The patent system needs some reform. The rule should be when you get the patent, you need to release a product within 6 months which uses this patent. If you discontinue your product and none of your product uses this patent, you stand at a chance to lose your patent within 3 months if you don't roll out another product which uses this patent.

I think somewhat similar policies can be helpful to kill Patent Trolls.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice to see
by TechGeek on Tue 4th May 2010 15:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice to see"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

I think the best way to fix the problem is to ban the sale of copyrights and patents. They should belong to the creator for as long as they exist. This would protect all creators, authors, artists, etc, while stopping a lot of abuse. Creators could license the work to, say a publisher for printing, but they could never sell the full rights.

Its sounds a bit unfair initially. But think about it like this. Creators don't actually own the material once they share it with other people. It belongs to the public at that point. We just give the creators a limited monopoly on using said creation. If it were truly theirs, the creation would never revert to the public domain.

Reply Score: 8

RE[3]: Nice to see
by Tuishimi on Tue 4th May 2010 15:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice to see"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Could it be willed? Say a man creates something an it turns out to be fairly lucrative and wants his children to benefit from it when he dies...

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nice to see
by darknexus on Tue 4th May 2010 16:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice to see"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Could it be willed? Say a man creates something an it turns out to be fairly lucrative and wants his children to benefit from it when he dies...

What, give avaricious family members yet another reason to plot the death of their relatives?

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Nice to see
by Tuishimi on Tue 4th May 2010 16:48 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nice to see"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Good point. My son has been staring at my back lately. At least I think he has. Whenever I turn to catch him he is looking away.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nice to see
by r_a_trip on Tue 4th May 2010 19:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice to see"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Could it be willed? Say a man creates something an it turns out to be fairly lucrative and wants his children to benefit from it when he dies...

No absolutely not! If I die my relatives get what an average wage slave can gather during his life and my employer will not keep paying wages post mortem to my relatives.

Creative protection should lapse within a lifetime. Not the crazy system we have now.

It is absolutely ludicrous that someone with a copyright can get filthy rich of his copyrights and then give his children and grand children another seventy years to milk the same copyrights after his death and get the aforementioned fortune as well. No other field has this kind of everlasting money scheme.

You want a limited monopoly? Get of your ass and produce till you die and no royalty surfing far after your flesh has become plant fertilizer.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Nice to see
by Tuishimi on Tue 4th May 2010 19:36 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nice to see"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

So if I come up with an idea that becomes quite popular I and my offspring should not reap the benefits? No. Don't think so. An idea is a man's work. I agree there should be some sort of limitations but I think they should be graduated.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Nice to see
by TechGeek on Tue 4th May 2010 19:41 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Nice to see"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

Well, I think even in the original terms of copyright, there was a minimum time frame for collecting royalties. But that should be set up through your estate. So even then it really is transferring ownership, its just your not alive any more to collect. But our society isn't really interested in fair, only whats in it for "me".

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Nice to see
by Tuishimi on Tue 4th May 2010 20:01 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Nice to see"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

There has to be some sort of compromise I should think.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Nice to see
by darknexus on Wed 5th May 2010 13:43 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Nice to see"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

So if I come up with an idea that becomes quite popular I and my offspring should not reap the benefits? No. Don't think so. An idea is a man's work. I agree there should be some sort of limitations but I think they should be graduated.

Here's the thing in this situation. *You* came up with the idea, not your offspring. You should be able to reap the rewards, yes, and you can will to your offspring however much of that you wish. But your offspring, who did not create the idea, should absolutely not be able to reap rewards, on their own, of an idea they themselves had nothing to do with. They don't deserve a monopoly on the idea, perhaps you did but they do not. We're not talking about sales of property, we're talking about limited monopolies on ideas. It's one thing if you create something and your offspring continue to keep a business selling whatever it is. They deserve their income from their own continuing business. But they should never be able to sit back and profit from royalties of your idea once you're gone. While you're alive, give them however much of it you want, that's your own business.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Nice to see
by spiderman on Wed 5th May 2010 14:10 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Nice to see"
spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_the_Rights_of_Man_and_o...
"Men are born and remain free and equal in rights"

In other words, your descendants should not be granted any more rights than any other man at birth.

Edited 2010-05-05 14:12 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Nice to see
by Tuishimi on Wed 5th May 2010 14:50 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Nice to see"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

I guess I just don't agree. But I understand what you are saying.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Nice to see
by evangs on Tue 4th May 2010 20:31 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nice to see"
evangs Member since:
2005-07-07

If I build a house, can I leave it to my offspring when I die?
If I paint a picture, can I leave it to my offspring when I die?
Yet if I write a song, a book, or any one of these new fangled "intellectual property" things they should go into the public domain when I die?

Unless you're going for a complete reform of inheritance law, what you're advocating has some rather glaring discrepancies. That way, everything you own enters the public domain when you die and you can leave nothing to your heirs.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Nice to see
by JLF65 on Tue 4th May 2010 21:19 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Nice to see"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

If I build a house, can I leave it to my offspring when I die?
If I paint a picture, can I leave it to my offspring when I die?
Yet if I write a song, a book, or any one of these new fangled "intellectual property" things they should go into the public domain when I die?

Unless you're going for a complete reform of inheritance law, what you're advocating has some rather glaring discrepancies. That way, everything you own enters the public domain when you die and you can leave nothing to your heirs.


You're making the usual incorrect comparison between tangible items of limited availability and intangible items of unlimited availability.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Nice to see
by Lanadapter on Tue 4th May 2010 21:25 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Nice to see"
Lanadapter Member since:
2009-10-01

The difference is that it's a monopoly and not property being discussed here.

Having restrictions on whether on not you can make your own copies of (insert thing here) is unjust and should only be for very limited times, not life plus seventy years.

Reply Score: 2

Hopes
by SlackerJack on Tue 4th May 2010 13:07 UTC
SlackerJack
Member since:
2005-11-12

I hope this sends a message out to you know who and such patent trolls, that Linux and Open Source software cannot be bossed about.

Reply Score: 2

Prior art? That's it?
by spiderman on Tue 4th May 2010 13:15 UTC
spiderman
Member since:
2008-10-23

What about "Obvious"? Has the patent office ever considered anything obvious? Why was it even necessary to find prior art for this one seriously?

patent trolls are pure poison, and do not belong in a functioning and well-lubricated modern capitalist economy

Where have you been in the last 3 decades? Patent trolls are the whole point of any modern capitalist economy!

Edited 2010-05-04 13:19 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Prior art? That's it?
by lemur2 on Tue 4th May 2010 13:31 UTC in reply to "Prior art? That's it?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

What about "Obvious"? Has the patent office ever considered anything obvious? Why was it even necessary to find prior art for this one seriously?


Although a patent must be both non-obvious and original, "obvious" is difficult to prove objectively. Almost everything seems obvious after it has been explained, and the USPTO originally believed this "invention" was not obvious (at least to the USPTO) at the time.

"Prior art" is much easier to demonstrate objectively. "This product, which pre-dates the patent application by X years, uses exactly the same methods that are claimed as original by the patent". If that can be shown to be true, the rules are that original patent is deemed invalid.

The best two defences against patent attack are:
(1) Show that there was already another instance of the invention when the patent was applied for ... with objective evidence to show it is the same invention. This defeats the patent by virtue of the patented invention not being original, and

(2) Show that your product does not actually use the same method to achieve a similar result as the patented method. This defeats the patent by virtue of the patented invention not actually being used by the attacked product/device.

These are the best defences because they can be objectively demonstrated. "Obviousness" is more difficult to objectively demonstrate.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Prior art? That's it?
by spiderman on Tue 4th May 2010 14:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Prior art? That's it?"
spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

Almost everything seems obvious after it has been explained, and the USPTO originally believed this "invention" was not obvious (at least to the USPTO) at the time.

The problem is that the US patent office is run by incompetent people who don't believe anything about obviousness of "inventions" since they don't even understand what they are about. They just give a pass to anything that is submitted. They have never filtered anything as obvious AFAIK.
I'm not exaggerating things. This is the sad plain truth.
Look at that patent for instance:
http://www.wikipatents.com/US-Patent-7028023/linked-list
It has been granted in 2006, and it's about patenting linked lists. The USPTO gave it a pass. I wouldn't be surprised to find multiple duplicate patents if I had time to review all this crap they call inventions.
I don't believe the court takes the USPTO seriously at this point.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Prior art? That's it?
by Tuishimi on Tue 4th May 2010 15:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Prior art? That's it?"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Holy Moly! How can you patent a data structure?!!??

I need a drink.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Prior art? That's it?
by Tuishimi on Tue 4th May 2010 15:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Prior art? That's it?"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

That so upset me I just wrote the president/vice president, my two senators and my representative. For the love of Pete.

They need to reorganize have a pool of resources for every major field that can intelligently review incoming patents. Sort of like a wiki, but perhaps choose the people a little more carefully.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Prior art? That's it?
by jackastor on Tue 4th May 2010 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Prior art? That's it?"
jackastor Member since:
2009-05-05
RE[4]: Prior art? That's it?
by big_gie on Tue 4th May 2010 23:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Prior art? That's it?"
big_gie Member since:
2006-01-04


Yeah, you could find plenty of prior art for this... April fool have been there for a long time ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Prior art? That's it?
by spiderman on Tue 4th May 2010 14:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Prior art? That's it?"
spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

"Obviousness" is more difficult to objectively demonstrate.

So let them prove it is not obvious! Innocent until proven guilty

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Prior art? That's it?
by Cody Evans on Tue 4th May 2010 14:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Prior art? That's it?"
Cody Evans Member since:
2009-08-14

That changed years ago, all cases involving "intellectual property" are guilty until proven innocent...

Reply Score: 6

RE: Prior art? That's it?
by karl on Wed 5th May 2010 09:44 UTC in reply to "Prior art? That's it?"
karl Member since:
2005-07-06

yep, you hit the nail on the head.

But the head of that nail is not particularly capitalistic. The parasites that manifest in capitalism have certain characteristics-in other systems the parasites have different characteristics, of which some are likely far more preferable.

Thom, like many other need to learn something very simple and very fundamental.

All systems have parasites. Systems without parasites only exist in theory or as dead systems.

If you have a problem with the parasites of a system one must change the system. This will not eliminate the parasites, rather it will eliminate the particular types of parasites that exist within that type of system. Some types of parasites are far preferable to other types. But there will always be parasites.

Remember, from the point of view of the million of parasites in your system(your body), you are the parasite ;) .

When you identify something and determine that it shouldn't exist, you must first ask what is it in the current system that necessitates their existence. Then once one understands the role in the system that the parasite plays, one can begin to evaluate whether another configuration(ie. another type of system) with it's inherit parasites may be preferable to the current state of affairs. This reasoning does not imply that one should not try to change things, on the contrary it helps us to design systems where we can account for and be responsible for the types of parasites given life by the new system.

For every economy there is a negative economy of that which is not counted. The sum of these economies is never 0. The existence of negative economy is not justified by that which we count, and likewise that which we count(value, hold dearly, etc.) is not justified by that which we do not count(ignore, oversee etc)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by psycroptic
by psycroptic on Tue 4th May 2010 14:41 UTC
psycroptic
Member since:
2009-01-19

as good as this is, it is of course disappointing that it took 3 years and a lawsuit from third parties to make the USPO retroactively realize that this was bullshit. if they didn't catch this one when it happened, how many other invalid patents are out there?

seriously fuck software patents

Reply Score: 2

2007
by jo3lr0ck5 on Tue 4th May 2010 16:11 UTC
jo3lr0ck5
Member since:
2010-03-17

No, no one comments on the 2007 reference to the ending of Gilmore Girls? Well I will...lol...I need some Rory in my life!

Reply Score: 2

RE: 2007
by Tuishimi on Tue 4th May 2010 16:23 UTC in reply to "2007"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

I was pretending it wasn't there.

Reply Score: 5

Community input to this case
by lemur2 on Wed 5th May 2010 01:21 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

For any who are interested, I think this is the place where community members worked together to identify prior art for defense against this particular patent attack.

http://www.post-issue.org/patent/5072412/prior_art/list

Reply Score: 3

How to fix the patent system
by lego on Wed 5th May 2010 11:25 UTC
lego
Member since:
2008-03-25

My thought is that if you really want to be rid of this system of patents, you should stop electing lawyers as presidents.

Reply Score: 2

Good News
by SoftwarePatent on Wed 5th May 2010 14:05 UTC
SoftwarePatent
Member since:
2010-05-05

This is great news for Red Hat. Successfully defending against software patent infringement claims is stressful and expensive. This is even better news for all of us that depend on linux.

Software Attorney at GuardYourSoftware.com

Reply Score: 1

Software Patents
by ano69 on Thu 6th May 2010 09:55 UTC
ano69
Member since:
2006-07-07

Another example of the very , very bad idea of having a system for patenting software.

U.S. tried in last decade to shift from innovating / manufacturing world leader to "intellectual property license issuer of the world" (including media content). Just sell the rights, no efforts, almost pure profit.

But it won't work that way, and the current crisis proves that shifting the mfg. to China has bad consequences.

If U.S. doesn't reform their patent system (esp. regarding the software patents), they will further go down that way -- patent trolls, endless suing (which drains companies out of cash to defend itself), and this is obviously not the way to bring the economy up and regain the innovation crown.

I hope that U.S. will fail to impose the rotten patent system and other "measures" (ACTA, DMCA) to other countries.

Reply Score: 1