Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th May 2011 16:15 UTC, submitted by john
Legal This is certainly worth a meagre +1 in my book: patent troll Lodsys has actually taken the time to answer some of the concerns on the web regarding its legal threats to several small-time iOS developers. There's some interesting stuff in there.
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RE: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 16:59 UTC in reply to "Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo
Member since:
2007-03-07

They are still scumbags for wanting to charge for something as obvious as an in-application upgrade BUTTON.


You do realize, there is a lot of technology behind that button right? Surely you are not so naive to to think that if you add a button to your application and label it "Upgrade" that you automatically get upgrade functionality provided by magic unicorns and rainbows? Obviously, someone had to create the technology that allows the upgrading to happen. And that's what the patent is about... They did not patent an upgrade button.

Edited 2011-05-16 17:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by Calipso on Mon 16th May 2011 17:17 in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
Calipso Member since:
2007-03-13

The technology behind the button is written by the individual programmer. Unless of course somehow every implementation of an Upgrade button is using the actual code that these guys wrote. Highly doubt it though.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by malxau on Mon 16th May 2011 19:20 in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
malxau Member since:
2005-12-04

Unless of course somehow every implementation of an Upgrade button is using the actual code that these guys wrote. Highly doubt it though.


This is a patent lawsuit. Who implemented the idea is not relevant, the patent covers the idea itself. If upheld, Lodsys have a monopoly on use of the idea covered by the patent.

(Not saying that's a good thing.)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by looncraz on Mon 16th May 2011 18:38 in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24


U.S. Patent 5999908

Customer-based product design module.


This patent deals with a product which phones-home due to certain events. The patent covers stored user alerts, stored user data, recognition of triggers, then sending that data back to a server so someone can look at it to help the client.

Any application which can phone home information about the user, user statistics, or error reports will violate this patent.

It was filed Sep 19, 1997.

I believe prior art exists in the server market by I.B.M..


U.S. Patent # 7222078

Methods and Systems for Gathering Information from Unites of A Commodity Across a Network.


This patent is generically worded it is hard to make sense of it. Basically, it is an in-application survey.

Patent filed 12/10/2003. I have prior art in this category with the yellowTAB Zeta Updater and the registration application [neither publicly used]. Feb-Apr, 2002.

The patent naturally makes it sound more advanced than it is. But it is nothing more than a survey process spread out into action points with flow diagrams.

The other patents are just as stupid and obvious.

The wording and the actual patent filing are all to which Abelow may law claim.

I may take it upon myself to challenge these patents, but I'm pretty broke & lazy, so that'll probably never transpire.

--The loon

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by JAlexoid on Tue 17th May 2011 04:44 in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

You know that there is a whole battalion of lawyers that transformed that IBM patent into the lawyerspeak that makes sure that it passes the USPTO.
The initial patent document is very clear and understandable, but the final document after N number of lawyers going over it becomes what gets submitted and granted.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by Alfman on Mon 16th May 2011 18:53 in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

pantheraleo,

"You do realize, there is a lot of technology behind that button right? ... Obviously, someone had to create the technology that allows the upgrading to happen. And that's what the patent is about... They did not patent an upgrade button."

The steps required to upgrade a piece of software are much more trivial than you make them out to be.

Launch upgrade process.
Download newest version.
Verify integrity.
Uninstall old version.
Copy/extract new binaries.
Register/configure new settings.
Viola, done.

Sure, individual apps have differing installation steps, but it's ludicrous to claim that developers could not figure out the steps to upgrading their own software without the help of Lodsys patents - even back in 1999.

Their contribution is 100% useless. As with all patent trolls, their goal is to tax software developers, not protect their own products.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 19:16 in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

The steps required to upgrade a piece of software are much more trivial than you make them out to be.


You are assuming a very primitive upgrade process that simply replaces the entire application with a new version. That of course, requires downloading the entire application again even for minor bug fixes. What if the application is large? What if there are custom modules installed? Your primitive upgrade process would blow away all of the custom modules. What if compatibility with existing modules needs to be determined? Your process ignores that as well, and might leave the application broken after the upgrade because some existing modules are not compatible. I'm assuming an upgrade process that is modular, that needs to determine what parts of the application need to be upgraded, can resolve any compatibility issues, and can download only the updates needed rather than replacing the entire application.

I'm not saying I agree with the patent. I don't. But the steps you describe are a very primitive upgrade process that amounts to nothing more than deleting the old version and installing the new version type operation. That's now how most software is updated these days.

Edited 2011-05-16 19:24 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by BluenoseJake on Mon 16th May 2011 20:39 in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

You really call all those steps trivial? A 7 step process? Really?

I don't agree with this patent at all, but at the same time, it is not a trivial process, that process would be hundreds, if not thousands of lines of code, just the first one "Launch upgrade process" could entail almost anything.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by snorkel2 on Mon 16th May 2011 19:26 in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
snorkel2 Member since:
2007-03-06

Actually, there is not that much to the code behind a button like that and it can be implemented in a multitude of ways, some very simple and some a bit more complex. It can be as simple as returning a code that unlocks part of the program. It doesn't have to download or install anything, though it could do that as well. There are tons and tons of desktop shareware application developers who also have a upgrade button.

The thing is when this guy came up with this idea it was not even possible to do so as the internet was in it's infancy. I highly doubt he had anything that worked, he just patented a idea with the hopes that someday the technology would allow the creation of such a idea.

It just goes to show how messed up software patents are.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by eantoranz on Mon 16th May 2011 20:14 in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
eantoranz Member since:
2005-12-18

That is precisely the problem. You don't have to really "invent" the technology to perform the update. You just have to "think" of it and put it on paper and send it to the USPTO and pray that the person who gets it for revision be a bit clueless on the obviousness of the idea and thinks it's "original", which is quite different. And that's sick... because then the people who don't actually do something productive (like sitting down to actually program how to make the upgrade button work) but sits down to _think of something_ (and just that) will be the ones who will make a profit. See the difference? One person _thinks_ of the idea while the other one _does/makes_ things out of it... and which one gets to collect from the idea? Sick, sick, sick.

Edited 2011-05-16 20:17 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 20:21 in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

One person _thinks_ of the idea while the other one _does/makes_ things out of it... and which one gets to collect from the idea? Sick, sick, sick.


Isn't that how business works in general though? Some guy has a good idea, but lacks the ability to actually create it. He starts his own company, hires people who do have the ability to create the idea, and he makes most of the money.

It's rarely the people who do most of the work that get most of the money. Unless you happen to be the guy that comes up with the idea, and implements it yourself. And unless you are self-employed, or own your own business, that's usually not happening.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by Alfman on Mon 16th May 2011 21:32 in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

eantoranz,

"That is precisely the problem. You don't have to really "invent" the technology to perform the update. You just have to "think" of it and put it on paper"

Yes, although it is only part of the problem with patents.

Sometimes the invention is trivial, but the invention solves a problem which didn't really exist in the past.

To give an illustration (feel free to mock it, but try not to miss the point):

One day flying cars may become common, which introduces a number of new problems, one of which could be that mugs in cup holders will spill all over the place in turbulence or steep angles.

I could get a patent for all cup holder designs which holds mugs inplace and keeps them upright. Any manufacturer wanting cup holders would need to pay royalties on the idea.

Or, perhaps I could invent the idea of more robust door locks while moving and in the air (as an extension of child-locks today) to prevent people from falling out of cars at altitude.

Or, I can invent an under-car camera system for landing. This would likely get very dirty during highway travel, so I'd also invent a wiper for it.

These inventions are not obvious today because no one has needed to solve these problems today. When we hit the point in time when the problems become real, then these solutions will also be dead obvious to everybody with the problem.

Is there benefit in granting patents for obvious solutions to non-obvious problems?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by tmrepository on Tue 17th May 2011 05:25 in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
tmrepository Member since:
2011-05-17

That's why it's called INTELLECTUAL property! The idea is the most important part of any invention; without it, it's just an old idea with a clock on it.

It's wonderfully shortsighted when people say "I could have thought of that", but the fact is, they didn't.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by tmrepository on Tue 17th May 2011 05:28 in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
tmrepository Member since:
2011-05-17

There's a reason they call it INTELLECTUAL property. The idea is the most valuable part of an invention. As many have already stated, implementation can be done many ways, but that doesn't change the underlying idea.

Plenty of people say "I could have thought of that", but the truth is, they didn't. Somebody else did.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by molnarcs on Mon 16th May 2011 22:53 in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

"They are still scumbags for wanting to charge for something as obvious as an in-application upgrade BUTTON.


You do realize, there is a lot of technology behind that button right? Surely you are not so naive to to think that if you add a button to your application and label it "Upgrade" that you automatically get upgrade functionality provided by magic unicorns and rainbows? Obviously, someone had to create the technology that allows the upgrading to happen. And that's what the patent is about... They did not patent an upgrade button.
"

You mean code? Yes, a few lines, which are, of course, protected by copyright laws. The issue here is software patents, which are generally a bad idea, but this one is obnoxious being so obvious as it is. Or do you seriously believe that without the hard work of Dan Abelow we wouldn't have in-app software update buttons? You can't possibly say that with a straight face... It is more likely that 99.99% of programmers who actually created the technology in individual products (think hundreds of thousands if not millions of apps) never heard the name and had no idea the patent even existed. That's the problem.

Edited 2011-05-16 22:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 23:35 in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

The issue here is software patents, which are generally a bad idea, but this one is obnoxious being so obvious as it is. Or do you seriously believe that without the hard work of Dan Abelow we wouldn't have in-app software update buttons?


You obviously haven't been reading my comments completely because I have mentioned multiple times that I don't think he has a legitimate patent claim. I only said that upgrade systems are often far more complex than "a button with a few lines of code" behind it.

Software patents in general are not a bad idea. Generic software patents are.

For example, if I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on R&D to develop a super-efficient database algorithm that is blazingly faster than anything that currently exists at retrieving results, I should be able to patent that specific algorithm. But I should not be able to patent "Database retrieval algorithms that go faster". Nor should I be able to patent a generalized idea such as "If you make the algorithm simpler from a machine instruction standpoint, it will go faster" (which is usually true). In the first case, you are perfectly free to come up with your own fast database algorithm. It might even be faster than mine. But you just can't use my specific algorithm without paying me royalties, which will help cover my R&D expense.

The problem with not allowing any software patents, is that it will remove the incentive to spend money on R&D. If I spend hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars to come up with a super-efficient algorithm, and then all of the other companies can just rip off that algorithm, I can't compete. They will be able to undercut me in price because they didn't have the R&D expenses. They just let me do all the work, spend all the money, and then took the results of my work and used it in their own product. It's only fair that they pay me to help cover my R&D expenses.

Edited 2011-05-16 23:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2