Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Feb 2012 23:40 UTC
Legal "We learned on January 31 that Barnes & Noble had suffered a major setback in a patent-infringement lawsuit filed against the company by Microsoft. That day, an administrative law judge at the International Trade Commission had tossed out the company's key defense, that Microsoft was engaging in 'patent misuse' as part of a larger scheme to 'kill Android'. Today the full opinion has been made public." Microsoft's protection racket might be legal, but that doesn't make it moral. It's based on software patents, and is thus, by definition, morally reprehensible and sleazy.
Order by: Score:
Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 16th Feb 2012 00:02 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

It's not really over yet: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20120209222500188

Very interesting part from there: (B&N talking about how MS trolls initially approached them about this):

“And what they basically told us was, it doesn’t matter if you have defenses, whether you don’t infringe, whether our patents are invalid, you’re going to need to take a license, because there’s no way that you can get out of our grasp, that we have so many patents that we could overwhelm you.”

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by shmerl
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 16th Feb 2012 00:11 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Nice e-reader business you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it.

Reply Score: 11

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by stabbyjones on Thu 16th Feb 2012 00:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNj1dXi-z0M

One thing i never thought of, are these agreements related only to the US?

So let's say I buy a new Galaxy Nexus in Australia does Samsung still have to pay MS?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by shmerl
by jabbotts on Thu 16th Feb 2012 14:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by shmerl"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

probably.. the agreements tend to be "per unit sold" not "per unit sold in xyz". I'd like to think it was only units sold in the US but I'm pretty sure part of my non-US purchase will be funnelled back into the MS legal team budget. Friggin parasite that MS is.

Nexus is a very nice phone; my only complaint so far is the lack of a removable SD slot.. boo google/samsung.. why you know give me removable SD slot on a device meant to have high flash read/write traffic! (Sadly, Android is currently the most flexible OS replacement for my beloved N900/Maemo.)

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid
Member since:
2009-05-19

I hope that Apple wins the case with this patent. Just so I could point to the ridiculousness of the application and stupidity of USPTO employees. If anyone thinks that the current system is just fine, they should read this patent!

http://www.google.com/patents/US8014760

"In one aspect of the invention, a computer-implemented method is disclosed for use in conjunction with a portable electronic device with a touch screen display. A list of items comprising missed telephone calls is displayed. Upon detecting user selection of an item in the list, contact information is displayed for a respective caller corresponding to the user selected item. The displayed contact information includes a plurality of contact objects that include a first contact object, comprising a telephone number object having a first telephone number associated with the missed telephone call, and a second contact object. Upon detecting user selection of the second contact object, a communication with the respective caller is initiated via a modality corresponding to the second contact object."

Reply Score: 2

boxy Member since:
2011-06-20

I hope that Apple wins the case with this patent. Just so I could point to the ridiculousness of the application and stupidity of USPTO employees. If anyone thinks that the current system is just fine, they should read this patent!

http://www.google.com/patents/US8014760


The more I read of this patent, the more I'm getting pissed off that it is indeed patentable. I just finished claim 8. There is nothing ground-breaking at all so far. All uses of 'portable electronic device' and 'touch screen display' are completely irrelevant sidebars that only serve to confuse patent approvers. Input is input whether through a touch interface, mouse, keyboard, temperature sensor, etc. A computer is a computer whether it be a portable electronic device (wtf is even the definition of 'portable'), desktop, laptop, netbook, gaming console, handheld gaming console, etc.

From what I've seen so far any object that implements, say, an IActuatable interface with a OnActuate method (or anything similar) and then performs the action that you would expect from said object, would be in violation of this patent.

For instance, the following code probably violates claim 2 of the patent and most likely I'd be labelled a no-good-dirty-IP-theif for daring to 'steal' from this oh-so-not-at-all-obvious-and-clearly-innovative claim (C#):

public interface IActuatable { void OnActuate(); }

public class EmailUIObject : UIObject, IActuatable
{
public string EmailAddress {get;set;}

// This is so brilliant it is patentable!
// The EmailUIObject, when actuated, will
// launch... wait for it... wait for it...
// an e-mail client! Shocked? So was I!
// I was so expected it to try to call the
// e-mail address or maybe make me copy
// and paste the e-mail address into a new,
// separately launched email client. This
// is right up there with 1-click as one of
// the most brilliant, non-obvious, and
// truly innovative (and therefore clearly
// patent worthy) ideas that I've ever seen.
public void OnActuate() { System.DefaultPrograms.EmailClient.Start( this.EmailAddress ); }
}

Reply Score: 5

Software patents as usual
by vaette on Thu 16th Feb 2012 12:36 UTC
vaette
Member since:
2008-08-09

Very sensationalistic headline that would have been better phrased as "Software patents continue to exist". Having opinions about isolated cases is not very useful, the whole system needs to be reformed. If anything if Microsoft had somehow lost it would just have confused an important issue; the future of software patents and their relation to innovation and new enterprise. Also I don't think morality much enters into this, the law is mostly working as intended in this case. Microsoft is after all leveraging a lot of patents like the FAT32 file name resolving stuff, which they did invent and which Motorola is using since Android uses FAT32. Additionally Microsoft can't really do anything else, they are required by law to do what is best for their shareholders. On the other side of the coin they also pay vast sums in patent licensing themselves, so Microsoft is hardly on the benefiting side in a broader perspective.

The problem is not the interpretation of the as written law, or any lack of morality in the actors. It is the actual letter and even intent of the law that is at fault here.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Software patents as usual
by shmerl on Thu 16th Feb 2012 15:13 UTC in reply to "Software patents as usual"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

I don't think morality much enters into this

I'd rephrase that - immorality enters into this. The worse the company is, the more it abuses the broken legal system.

It is the actual letter and even intent of the law that is at fault here.

Really? Wasn't the patent's law intent, and even letter directed to supporting new inventions? Where in the law do you find support for protection racket? No point in whitewashing Microsoft or any other patent troll. They can't dismiss their responsibility for acting immorally in this mess.

Edited 2012-02-16 15:16 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Software patents as usual
by Alfman on Thu 16th Feb 2012 16:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Software patents as usual"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

shmerl,

"I'd rephrase that - immorality enters into this. The worse the company is, the more it abuses the broken legal system."

Yep, however it's been a while since corporations have held themselves accountable to real moral standards. Some would even claim that any action can be justified regardless of morality so long as there are no laws banning it. This mentality simply does away with the inconvenience of morality. "Hey, it's not our fault that we screwed you, go blame 'your' laws". Meanwhile, they'll aggressively lobby for and sponsor these very same laws which they're blaming for their actions. Hypocrites the whole bunch.

"Really? Wasn't the patent's law intent, and even letter directed to supporting new inventions? Where in the law do you find support for protection racket? No point in whitewashing Microsoft or any other patent troll. They can't dismiss their responsibility for acting immorally in this mess."

It's painfully clear that patents aren't being used today as they were intended. Corps have hijacked them to transition to lawsuit-based business models rather than to innovate. Patents were never intended to monopolize abstract software concepts and to treat them as physical goods. The worst part is that they now feel entitled to keep using the patent system to control software despite the fact that this nonsense has riddled the software industry with ridiculous lawsuits and endless overhead with no benefit to the public whatsoever.

Edited 2012-02-16 16:56 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Software patents as usual
by TechGeek on Fri 17th Feb 2012 00:04 UTC in reply to "Software patents as usual"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

Actually fat32 is NOT one of the 5 patents that Microsoft is suing B&N over. Of the 5, Microsoft withdrew 2 and the other 3 are likely to be overturned on blatant prior art (45 pages of citations). That they were even able to get the patents in the first place just goes to show you that everyone lies when it comes to prior art.

Reply Score: 4

grosser generalizations available?
by boyrobot on Mon 20th Feb 2012 00:29 UTC
boyrobot
Member since:
2012-02-20

>> "It's based on software patents, and is thus, by definition, morally reprehensible and sleazy."

OMG, are we still in the Dark Ages about SW patents?

I'll tell you what's morally reprehensible. What's morally reprehensible is sitting on your keyster while someone else incurs all the R&D expenses, then you get off the couch, stroll in, and start copying his/her work with a breezy claim of "Your patent is immoral." What's also reprehensible is making bold claims about the delicate philosophical underpinnings of I.P. law without any backup. On someone's bandwagon, are you?

I'll grant you, some of the "business method" patents are pretty lame. But a patentless system? Much worse.

Permit me a guess? You read the hackneyed old article "Against Software Patents" by MIT's League for Programming Freedom, and the thrill of revolutionary fervor overwhelmed you as a way to impress folks at parties.

Reply Score: 1