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Cisco Patents the Triple Play

kdawson posted about 8 years ago | from the there-goes-the-old-ball-game dept.


Aditi.Tuteja writes, "Cisco was recently granted a patent on a 'system and method for providing integrated voice, video and data to customer premises over a single network.' Sound a lot like 'triple play?' Yes it is. The patent, which was filed back in 2000, describes a system that would allow consumers to receive all of their home services through one service provider instead of two or three. The patent's wording seems broad enough to cover nearly all existing implementations of triple play, and some are worried that Cisco will try to wield the newly granted patent against such providers as AT&T and Comcast. If such a thing were to happen, progress on AT&T's Project Lightspeed could slow even more."

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First post (0, Offtopic)

chawly (750383) | about 8 years ago | (#16433121)

And for the first time too !

Re:First post (0)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 years ago | (#16433185)

You should patent that.

negros... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433149)

will sink if they try to swim.

Prior art... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 8 years ago | (#16433159)

Anyone? Anyone?

Re:Prior art... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433217)

I seem to recall having the "triple play" from Knology back in AL or GA before 2000.... Guess folks should start hoping that all those pack-rat geeks kept their cable bills....

Re:Prior art... (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | about 8 years ago | (#16434585)

I don't think this patent would be covered by typical prior-art triple-play services. Nor do I think it will slow implementation of triple-play.

I think the claims are fairly narrow. In particular, as part of the system, an operator must use "interdiction" to keep customers from having access to paid channels such as HBO. The body of the patent implies that interdiction is done in the routers themselves. In other words, Cisco is building routers that can block channels based on an up-stream subscription database. "Encryption" is mentioned as another technique, which is probably the one other providers have used. With encryption, TV channels are broadcast to everyone, but only subscribers receive the keys to decrypt them. So, Cisco has a method that reduces broadcast bandwidth a small amount. Whoop-de-dooo.

Routers with "interdiction" might be patentable by itself, but the claims are further narrowed: the patent only applies if you are offering triple-play service. I guess someone else invented routers with "interdiction" before. Don't get confused when you see all that triple-play wording in the claims. It narrows the claims, rather than broadening them.

I patented prior art! (2, Funny)

vlad_petric (94134) | about 8 years ago | (#16433279)

So quick, gimme 10$

Re:I patented prior art! (1)

Duhavid (677874) | about 8 years ago | (#16433531)

I patented patenting prior art, just hand that over here.

And that.

And the other thing.

And those, over there.

I'll be back for more later.

I got yer prior art right here... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433479)

Re:I got yer prior art right here... (2, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 8 years ago | (#16433699)

That's cool, that's a start, but it doesn't detail a
  • service provider
hosting these services. That's what Cisco's patent is for.

Re:Prior art... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433701)

In Central America, long ago a local cable TV company called Amnet has had the motto: "One world, one cable" (Un solo mundo, un solo cable)

Long ago they have offered TV and internet. Nobody has to "think" that it will work for phone, but the local state telco monopoly forbids that.


There probably is... (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about 8 years ago | (#16433715), who you gonna get with enough cash to buy a lawyer and challenge it?

It's a shame, but that's how it works.

Of course there is prior art... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433819)

... Sprint offered a service called ION in the late 90s that provided these services bundled over copper. It turned out to be the greatest single failure in the history of the company, by some estimates ultimately costing the company nearly $1.5B

So yeah, there's prior art for the 3x play.

Re:Prior art... (1)

isaac (2852) | about 8 years ago | (#16434253)

RCN has provided "triple-play" voice, data, and cable tv service in a handful of big US cities since, what, 1997?

Whether this is prior art certainly depends on the claims actually in the patent and the details of RCN's implementation, but I know they were around well before 2000.


Not in a million years (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 years ago | (#16433165)

Will Cisco try to use the patent to stymie AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, etc.

What Cisco will do is force them to pay an arm and a leg in licensing costs, because Cisco rightly figured out (in advance) that the 'triple play' is where things are heading.

Cisco deserves a retroactive +1 Insightful mod

Re:Not in a million years (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433209)

BUT, for customers (e.g. AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon) who use Cisco equipment, the licensing fees will be waived...

Re:Not in a million years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433397)

Verizon's IPTV network is almost 100% Juniper equipment and Comcast's core is mostly Juniper... Cisco won't be using this patent to extract more money out of their customers ... they'll use it to FUD the competition.

Re:Not in a million years (5, Insightful)

Spasmodeus (940657) | about 8 years ago | (#16433275)


Who *didn't* think we were going to get all our services over one wire once digital bandwidth became great enough?

It's all just data. They might as well have patented a "novel method" for sending HTTP, FTP and SMTP data over the same wire.

Re:Not in a million years (4, Funny)

wish bot (265150) | about 8 years ago | (#16433511)

HTTP, FTP, and SMTP down one wire?!

Jesus - no one told me I didn't need to get all these tubes.

Re:Not in a million years (1)

pipingguy (566974) | about 8 years ago | (#16434519)

no one told me I didn't need to get all these tubes.

Just use piping instead like I do - tubes have thinner walls, so stuff leaks out.

Re:Not in a million years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433533)

Exactly. It might have been insightful in 1950, but this is pretty basic stuff once you know what computers and networks are.

Is big business just a big tangled mess of IP co-extortion these days? I don't see how anyone can operate in this patent environment without succumbing to ridiculous patent claims, and counter-claiming to make up the loss.

Re:Not in a million years (4, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | about 8 years ago | (#16433281)

Generally speaking, in business when you figure out in advance where the market is heading, you get a head start on all of your competitors putting yourself in a much better position to take advantage of the change. You do not, however, generally get to tax all transactions. I knew that online purchasing was going to take off years ago. Does that mean that I deserve to get paid once everyone else figured this out too?

Cisco figured this out ahead of time and positioned their product line to take advantage of the burgeoning communications infrastructure market. They deserve the financial success they've seen from this shrewd business accumen. They don't, however, deserve 5 dollars of every 50 I send to Comcast simply because they realized the obvious first.

Re:Not in a million years (1)

LoadWB (592248) | about 8 years ago | (#16433525)

But did they? I remember all this BS was promised to us back in the 80's. Who was conjecturing it then?

Re:Not in a million years (3, Interesting)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 8 years ago | (#16433465)

Yes, it was an insightful move, but not one that deserves a 17 year revenue stream. The US PTO deserves a -1 Redundant.

Re:Not in a million years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16434037)

Not to be nit-pickey, but that would be a 20-year monopoly. The triple play will be in the public domain in 2020.

Re:Not in a million years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433503)

because Cisco rightly figured out (in advance) that the 'triple play' is where things are heading.

Which is of course exactly what patents were intened for.

Re:Not in a million years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433589)

"Cisco deserves a retroactive +1 Insightful mod"

Hmm... I'd give them a -1 Redundant myself. This was barely insightful 30 years ago, let alone in 2000.

Re:Not in a million years (1)

Aditi.Tuteja (1004231) | about 8 years ago | (#16433785)

Maybe this is a good patent, but we can surely debate on this one. I mean that it's not nearly as broad as the statement makes it out to be. Cisco's main claim to innovation here is the dynamic access lists that affect routing of multicast traffic based on individual customers' subscriptions. That's pretty broad, but it's nowhere near a blanket patent on triple-play in general. To the extent that anyone has to worry about the patent, it's not Comcast or AT&T. It would be Nortel and Extreme and other network equipment vendors who are probably already looking at offering the same capabilities in future products.

Re:Not in a million years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16434203)

I don't want yer stinkin' triple-play.
I want my phone to work when my ISP has a catastrophic failure.
I want to watch re-runs on TV when the phone lines are down.

Serendipitously, the MOTD at the bottom of this page says:
"Chicken Little only has to be right once."

All your cash are belong to us (0, Offtopic)

davidwr (791652) | about 8 years ago | (#16433171)

And tonight, on NBC:
All your cash are belong to us

Voice: "All your cash are belong to us"

File->open url:
<title>All your cash are belong to us</title>

Well I patent... (0, Redundant)

neozenkai (984151) | about 8 years ago | (#16433195)

... the patenting of general ideas. Now, everyone who patents ideas must pay me a royalty. Make the check payable to xxxxxxxxx thanks.

Sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433231)

I already have a patent on non-cash payment transactions. Using checks will cost you.

Re:Sorry (1)

students (763488) | about 8 years ago | (#16433293)

Well I patent the patenting of general ideas. Now, everyone who patents ideas must pay me a royalty. Make the check payable to xxxxxxxxx thanks

I already have a patent on non-cash payment transactions. Using checks will cost you.

And I have a patent on government granted licences that only allow a single entity to sell a particular technology. You will pay me a modest license fee every time you enforce your patent.

Re:Well I patent... (1)

NevDull (170554) | about 8 years ago | (#16433327)

Your patent rejected due to the countless evidences of prior art.

Re:Well I patent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433371)

sorry to say i was just granted a patent for the letter e... so you now owe me 17 times. come on, payup!


Re:Well I patent... (1)

Wooloomooloo (902011) | about 8 years ago | (#16433575)

I wonder if someone has already tried to patent "a novel method for exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide between a gaseous and a liquid medium through an alveolar membrane using passive diffusion".

Re:Well I patent... (1)

Shados (741919) | about 8 years ago | (#16433651)

Worse is, unless one has a bit of a clue about biology, this actualy sounds like a valid thing. Imagine the news if someone actualy did succeed in fooling the patent office to pass that one.

Triple Play question (0)

eskayp (597995) | about 8 years ago | (#16433213)

For knowledgeable /.ers ( aren't we all! )
Possible workaround?
Instead of 3 concurrent streams, what about a single datastream.
Converter box or software separates the single datastream back into the 3 (or more) original feeds.
Needlessly complex and proprietary?
Another anticompetitive result of our moronic patent system?
Rhetorical question/answer format patent holder?
The Rumsfeld.

Re:Triple Play question (5, Informative)

KillerCow (213458) | about 8 years ago | (#16433721)

Instead of 3 concurrent streams, what about a single datastream.

We call that the network layer.

Converter box or software separates the single datastream back into the 3 (or more) original feeds.

And that would be the transport layer.

Cisco = Scientific Atlanta (4, Informative)

LoadStar (532607) | about 8 years ago | (#16433219)

The reason Cisco is patenting this is because they now own Scientific-Atlanta, who are one of a few companies that provide the infrastructure that make it possible for Time Warner, Comcast, et. al. to offer "triple play" or "all in one" or whatever brand name your particular cable operator uses for the combination. If Cisco were to sue someone for using this, it wouldn't be the cable operators - it'd be Motorola or whomever, their competitors who also offer a similar infrastructure.

I'm not exactly sure why the author of the article thinks that they'd sue the cable operators, many of whom use the Scientific-Atlanta technology in question... perhaps he wasn't aware of the link between Cisco and Sci-Atl.. which leads me to question his authority to even speak on the topic in the first place.

Re:Cisco = Scientific Atlanta (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 years ago | (#16433263)

Honest question: Does using Cisco/Scientific-Atlanta equipment automagically license the companies to use that patent?

It seems to me that anyone without a patent license could build equipment capable of doing data/voice/video... but the end user couldn't use all three features without a license.

Or did I miss something?

Re:Cisco = Scientific Atlanta (4, Insightful)

supersat (639745) | about 8 years ago | (#16433387)

The reason Cisco is patenting this is because they now own Scientific-Atlanta ... except the patent was applied for in 2000, and the acquisition of Scientific-Atlanta was only announced in late 2005.

Re:Cisco = Scientific Atlanta (4, Interesting)

xigxag (167441) | about 8 years ago | (#16433747)

In addition, it appears that the patent was thought up by techs at a company gobbled up by Cisco, not a homegrown invention.

A couple of things:

1) This appears to be a rather detailed and well-thought out patent. Although the "triple play" concept may seem obvious in hindsight, the implementation of it, converting everything into a single protocol, is not necesarily the only way to go, and seems as worthy of being patented as most other inventions that have received the imprimatur of the USPTO throughout the years.

2) Since, as I said, their implementation is not necessarily the only way to handle multiple types of data, a competing company could get around licensing by simply keeping the protocols separate. Cable wiring and fiber are obviously fat enough to multiplex various datastreams at once, hence instead of converting at the source, one might be able to avoid the Cisco tax by overlaying the various incompatible networks on top of each other and let the set top boxes sort things out at the receiving end. Chances are, though, that if that's worth doing at all, someone's patented it already.

Re:Cisco = Scientific Atlanta (1)

voidptr (609) | about 8 years ago | (#16433523)

As someone else said, the SA aquisition came later.

What's more important is that Cisco owns the entire backend technology for the system too. They sell the routers, the DSL and Cable headends, the media converters for IPTV, and the call manager hardware to do 300,000 subscriber VOIP and convert it to SS7 for the phone network. It all works together as one integrated technology for the service provider. Comcast, TWC, and Verizon buy all of the above by the truckload.

This is their play to keep Juniper, Nortel, and Tekelec away from an integrated service provider solution.

Re:Cisco = Scientific Atlanta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16434265)

I don't know the situation in the US, but here in Europe there are more and more service providers who dump Cisco for other manufacturers at the first opportunity.

Re:Cisco = Scientific Atlanta (1)

Duhavid (677874) | about 8 years ago | (#16433553)

According to the header, the patent was filed in 2000,
Cisco bought SA earlier this year. []

Re:Cisco = Scientific Atlanta = weak acquisition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433741)

Cisco bought Scientific Atlanta, but they didn't get as much as you think. Primarily, they bought a set top box company. They don't have an access product. Cisco, 5 years ago "end-of-lifed" their entire DSL product line, which proved that Cisco didn't want to compete in the access equipment market. I don't see how they are going to compete with companies like Calix, Occam, Alcatel, Adtran, Allied Telesyn, Zhone, and at least a 1/2 dozen other "triple play" manufacturers.
Voice, video and data is out there, and Cisco isn't offering products that compete. They might have a good grip on the GigE switch and router market, but there are other players. GigE video feeds for IPTV are all over the place. Service providers are, at this moment, making plans to get away from ATM based networks and moving to pure Ethernet. Soon, VLANs will carry voice, video, and data from your homes to voice softswitches, IPTV multicast video servers, and internet backbone routers.

As for "prior art" go back in time and look at the idea behind ATM. ATM was set up to haul voice, video, and data. The idea was to put an ATM port in every PC, provision UBR, ABR, CBR services for various needs, and use one single connection for a "triple play."

I doubt Cisco's patent will hold water... but who is going to fight it? Cisco can tie this up in court for decades. If you think Blackberry was painful, this could be more so.

Re:Cisco = Scientific Atlanta (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | about 8 years ago | (#16433821)

If Cisco were to sue someone for using this, it wouldn't be the cable operators - it'd be Motorola or whomever, their competitors who also offer a similar infrastructure.

By 2000 a company called Next Level Communications(then part owned, now completely owned by Motorola) was selling this technology (or at least something similar, here is a random link to the company description [] ) I doubt Cisco would have much luck defending this patent if they went after Moto.


Gillette Mach3 meet Schick Quattro!! (3, Funny)

bughouse26 (975570) | about 8 years ago | (#16433235)

I call dibbs on creating a patent for opening 4 simultaneous TCP/IP sockets!

To quote the Onion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433295)

Re:Gillette Mach3 meet Schick Quattro!! (3, Funny)

KillerCow (213458) | about 8 years ago | (#16433731)

I call dibbs on creating a patent for opening 4 simultaneous TCP/IP sockets!

Sure thing dude, but I just filed for doing it with one click.

Ohhhhhh. You got served!

Hmmm (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 8 years ago | (#16433239)

Cisco, a company I don't like, would use this against AT&T or comcast. Two other companies I don't like.

I fail to see the problem here.

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

Hemogoblin (982564) | about 8 years ago | (#16433939)

You'll realize there's a problem when they pass the cost onto you, the consumer.

This is complete and utter bull - suck it Cisco! (-1, Flamebait)

Trifthen (40989) | about 8 years ago | (#16433251)

Seriously, this is fucking bogus. What the fuck is wrong with these assholes? Oh shit, there's a company offering multiple services over a medium that's been around for over 40 years, obviously nobody ever thought of this before! It's sure a good fucking thing a wire carrying an electrical signal is so hard to comprehend! Why, heaven forbid filthy thieves like Comcast get away with using internet packets for their intended purpose! Jesus, thank you Cisco for saving us all! Hey Cisco, I have a patent for you: a method of providing multiple services (smell, sound, bass) from a single orifice (my ass), better send me a fucking check now, or I'll sue! Cock suckers.

(Yes, I'm drunk. Thank you Chicago for having approximately 50,000 bars per capita. Yes, this is an example kids, don't post drunk!)

Re:This is complete and utter bull - suck it Cisco (2, Informative)

aiken_d (127097) | about 8 years ago | (#16433683)

Indeed, a warning to us all.

If you read the actual patent, you would see that it is a patent on a specific implementation of using dynamic access lists at upstream routers to block multicast content from particular subscribers or subnetworks.

It is not a business process patent. It is not a patent on triple play, though it clearly covers one particular implementation of triple play using multicast and upstream filtering. But there are plenty of other ways to skin this cat.


Don't look for a big fight. (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | about 8 years ago | (#16433283)

Think about it: Cisco going after their biggest customers-- Verizon, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Comcast, TW/Brighthouse?

Nope. Not going to happen. And therefore, despite the fact that this patent needs to be thrown out on its ass, it's useless to even have the first tiny tort sent. It's a nihilistic sort of patent to start with....

Well.. (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about 8 years ago | (#16433287)

It's all really single play isn't it? 0s and 1s. Whichever marketing (or engineer, you never know) guy came up with this idea should be hanged on the spot.

From a non-American (2, Funny)

BSDevil (301159) | about 8 years ago | (#16433289)

What the fuck is triple-play?

Re:From a non-American (1)

Trifthen (40989) | about 8 years ago | (#16433345)

I'm not really sure, but I think it involves your mom.

(Seriously, it's offering voice, TV and internet from the same service. Completely lame patent and all that jazz.)

Re:From a non-American (2, Funny)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | about 8 years ago | (#16433377)

It's a baseball term. There are 3 outs in an inning. Let's say there are 2 men on base and 1 batter. Well, the batter then hits a long pop fly ball that's caught, but since the other 2 guys are leading off, they have to tag up first before stealing the bases. If the team can tag the bases before the runners can get back to them, you'll have a "triple-play" off of one pitch. Don't you cricket folks have something like that?

Re:From a non-American (1, Offtopic)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | about 8 years ago | (#16433427)

Don't you cricket folks have something like that?


For a start, there are only two batters on the field at any one time, so a double play is the most you could ever get.

And second, once you get one person out the ball is dead and you can't go for a second out.

Re:From a non-American (1)

strider44 (650833) | about 8 years ago | (#16434343)

A hattrick (yes that term is originally from Cricket), though I'm sure a cricketing hattrick is much rarer. According to wikipedia [] there's been just 36 of them in the recorded history of international test cricket.

Re:From a non-American (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433751)

Why Triple Play [] is a pricing game on The Price is Right!

Re:From a non-American (1)

locokamil (850008) | about 8 years ago | (#16434215)

Seriously. You ask-- on a forum full of geek nerds who are reading Slashdot on a Friday night-- what "triple play" is.

You deserve every single bad ménage a trois joke you get. :)

That said, it refers to a service that provides phone, cable and broadband internet over the same pipe.

Dammit. A tube joke. I can't shake them... sorry.

Re:From a non-American (1)

mikeydb (880405) | about 8 years ago | (#16434389)

We get two pipes from our cable co (i'm in the UK) one cable for tv and internet, another cable for the telephone. Arguably all the signals get here some of the way via one pipe but it had to be joined together at some point and it get's split up eventually, I think that relies upon multiplexing and demultiplexing, either by frequency division or time division, not a new idea even in the year 2000..

Re:From a non-American (1)

pipingguy (566974) | about 8 years ago | (#16434579)

It's a typical sports-oriented marketing term that the advertisers and buzzword junkies are so fond of. "ICUP" (internet, cable, usenet, phone) service does not sound nearly as exciting or sexy.

Of course, the Brits, if they ever get this, will make up some cutesy-sounding shorthand for it. Something like "pee-pee", probably.

Re:From a non-American (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16434593)

Well, NTL in the UK have been offering this for ages... they have a service which includes mobile phones as well, but seeing as how that doesn't come down the same pipe I guess it doesn't count as four-play :)

But no, they don't have a snappy name for it like you do over there.

Networks don't transport voice or video--only data (5, Insightful)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about 8 years ago | (#16433333)

The absurdity of this patent is mind boggling. All a network does is move data. Voice and video may be encoded as data, but this has absolutely nothing to do with the network.

Why don't I just patent moving web pages over networks. Or, moving mp3s over networks. (Now there's an idea for the RIAA...) Just how obvious does something need to be for the folks at the patent office? Moving DATA over a NETWORK? How novel...

This just goes to show that everything should be encrypted. Only then can fairness, and the end-end nature of the Internet be restored. As soon as the ISP's can peek at your data, you may as well bend over.

Re:Networks don't transport voice or video--only d (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | about 8 years ago | (#16433545)

The bottom line is ultimtely, the Triple-Play should dissolve anyway since once enough people go VOIP, there's absolutely no reason to pay for POTS termination, a service provider, or anything. By that time, someone will have simplified the asterisk implementation enough to not only put it on a WRT54GS (already done) but also make it simple to configure (not so far off).. Anyway, sooner or later, there will be no point in paying a provider for telephone service. I can't wait for POTS to die a horrible death (though hopefully not before uber-reliable internet)

Joke's on them... (3, Interesting)

psiogen (262130) | about 8 years ago | (#16433337)

I just patented a scheme whereby a company abusively patents anything it can possibly think of in order to squeeze money out of nothing! Pay up, Cisco!

RCN does this (3, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 8 years ago | (#16433353)

They offer $90.00 a month for 10mbps DSL, VOIP phone and HD/Digital cable.
Sweet deal, but here in SF they seem to be quite spotty as to what buildings have it.. to the point of being a joke.
But I'm just bitter because the building across the street has it and my lofts I live in doesn't.
Instead I have Earthlink DSL which gives me 8mbps and VOIP phone for $70.
So I guess 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

strategic patent - not intended for direct use (2, Interesting)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | about 8 years ago | (#16433393)

This sounds to me like a patent Cisco would use as leverage, not for direct revenue. (insert company here) could be swayed to buy products or license other patents from Cisco, to avoid being called on the carpet with respect to their 'triple-play' offerings. Maybe now we'll see (if we don't already) telcos and cable ISPs using Cisco hardware exclusively (paid for by the customer, of course, but mandated by the ISP at Cisco's behest)..that would be a huge financial win for Cisco, and would probably be the path of least resistance for the ISPs.

Triple play? (5, Funny)

JFMulder (59706) | about 8 years ago | (#16433409)

I prefer to call it "Ménage à trois". :)

My head asplode (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 8 years ago | (#16433445)

I seem to recall using webcams and the like in 2000 over the interweb. Granted webcam != broadcast TV but the principle is the same just the scale is different.

How the hell isn't this patent just blatantly invalid? /me hides in Canada...


This is where the patent office fails (2, Interesting)

WillRobinson (159226) | about 8 years ago | (#16433449)

I believe its ok to have a patent on an idea, only if the language is specific to the actual item, to the minute detail. Language such as "standard protocol, such as TCP/IP" is not. Thats similar to having a patent on popping popcorn using heat.

Re:This is where the patent office fails (1)

cronius (813431) | about 8 years ago | (#16434649)

I believe its ok to have a patent on an idea, only if the language is specific to the actual item, to the minute detail.

But why though? I'm not trying to flamebait, but why should someone be allowed to own an idea, ie one of my thoughts, just because they thought that thought before me?

I sit quietly in my office and think of a system where video, tv and phone goes over the same wire conveniently for the user. I start a business to sell this, but I'm slapped in the face with a patent violation because "well, somebody thought about that before you," so eventhough you've never heard about this other company before they actually "own" my idea.

You're saying it has to be specific, perhaps to prevent these coincidenses from happening, but what if it does happen? We thought of the same thing, why is the other guy entitled to "own" my idea just because he came up with it first?

What justifies this? (Again, not trying to flamebait, just curious.)

Old prior art (3, Informative)

stox (131684) | about 8 years ago | (#16433451)

Isn't this exactly was promised by ISDN in the early 1980's? Somehow, it never got past step #1, ie. 2B+D. The plan was, once it caught on, things would scale up as the end user was able to consume bandwidth. 95B+D anybody? Oh, never mind, AT&T's patents for ISDN have probably all expired. If we take the same idea, and color it pink, the PTO will gladly patent it for us.

This is insanity. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 8 years ago | (#16433497)

Considering how inept the patent office seems to be I think I'm going to patent the act of looking at the sky. While I'm at it I think I'll patent the act of defecation too.

Ehh (2, Funny)

otacon (445694) | about 8 years ago | (#16433609)

I for one welcome our new triple play overlords

Why? (1)

mr_zorg (259994) | about 8 years ago | (#16433655)

Why on Earth would Cisco go after AT&T and Comcast? Cisco makes hardware. They are not an ISP or cable provider. AT&T and Comcast are providers, but they do not make hardware. It seems more likely that Cisco would go after competing hardware vendors. This may well have an impact on AT&T and Comcast, but only in the sense that they may be forced to use Cisco hardware if they want to continue offering such services.

Add smell and you win!!! (2, Funny)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 8 years ago | (#16433681)

I'm going to patent the process of providing voice, video, data, and scents. Bingo!, I trump your patent.

Re:Add smell and you win!!! (1)

skingers6894 (816110) | about 8 years ago | (#16433735)

Actually scents over IP would indeed be novel and worthy of a patent - not sure about the other 3 though, I think that's been done before!

Editors screw up again... (1)

NewToNix (668737) | about 8 years ago | (#16433687)

Surely that was 'Triple Pay' that Cisco figures they just got the patent for.

Screw patents - ignore them at every opportunity - future generations will hold you in high regard for it.

Re:Editors screw up again... (1)

Aditi.Tuteja (1004231) | about 8 years ago | (#16433763)

Cisco is not claiming a patent on the mere idea of triple play services. The patent covers a specific implementation ("method") of offering triple play services, which is an implementation that nobody is using as yet (probably because the Cisco hardware hasn't been released yet).

You know, patents aren't about inventions anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16433723)

They are about people saying "I got dibs!"

Cisco patents Triple Play? (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | about 8 years ago | (#16433765)

Man, I bet Major League Baseball is going to be pissed about this.

Erm... (1)

tehSpork (1000190) | about 8 years ago | (#16433801)

I think Cisco just should have labeled their patent 'The Internet' and been done with it.

Fortunately for Ted Stephens I didn't see any mention of tubes in there, so his fictional reality is outside the bounds of this patent and thus safe from the likes of Cisco. :)

Going after TXU (and Google)? (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 8 years ago | (#16433883)

TXU Electric Delivery, the largest electric company in Texas, plans on offering broadband over power lines to over 70% of its grid. TXU's partner in this venture is Current Communications Group...which has Google as an investor.

more info here []

Service speeds and pricing details haven't been released, but Current said the network will have enough capacity to offer customers a "triple play" package, which would include telephony, TV service and high-speed Internet access. Users will be able to access the high-speed broadband network by plugging a device into an electrical outlet in the wall.


I've got to patent this QUICK!! (1)

monkeySauce (562927) | about 8 years ago | (#16433941)

I call my idea '3/2 play'. Basically it is a system of delivering three services by load balancing all the required traffic over two lines. It is best employed when you can't deliver all three services over one line because that has been patented. (I'll license you for half the cost!)

Oh, and this is not to be confused with my existing patent for '3 on 2 play'; a method for making pornos involving three chicks, two guys, a trampoline and 1.5 tons of peanut butter.

Cisco is way the hell out of date.. (2, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | about 8 years ago | (#16434039)

AIM, Yahoo, and MSN offred this *WAY* before the patent in question. Cisco is a bunch of fucking fools for even trying to follow up with this, as I've been doing this since 1998. Two years too fucking late, boys. You got a problem with it, then deal with this expert witness in court, who has no shame in shutting you down for your ignorance and greed. Dunno about the rest of the /. crowd, but I won't stand for this one.

And to add fuel to the fire... (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 8 years ago | (#16434057)

Cisco's contact us link is inexplicably slow/down suddenly (it took ten minutes to even get the page to load.) C'mon, you cowards, start owning up to your own foul play, or get the hell off our internet. Nothing is worse than when we wish to contact you and you have your mail server slashdotted, especially since you're supposd to be the network KING OF THE WORLD. That reeks of incompetence more than anything else, and at this time, it's only driving me, and maybe many of us, away from your services. Enjoy the nice bit of rational logic, while you hide in fear from the backlash of the tech/IT community.


The focus of this article is just wrong. (1)

j741 (788258) | about 8 years ago | (#16434151)

Cisco manufacture most of the routers and other infrastructure elements which are required for a service provider (Like AT&T, etc.) to be able to make money. Cisco obviously wants the lion's share of this lucrative infrastructure market. To suggest they may take legal action against a provider who would be a potentially lucrative client is simply a foolish notion. If they forcefully stop the service providers from providing specific services, then they won't be able to sell them infrastructure equipment capable of supporting the service.

To put it simply, Cisco would loose customer's and would loose money if they pursued this unlikely course of legal action.

Project Lightspeed could slow down "even more?" (1)

Chas (5144) | about 8 years ago | (#16434173)

As it is, Lightspeed's momentum is nearing that of molecules in an absolute-zero environment.

Prior art, august 2000 (1)

derekb (262726) | about 8 years ago | (#16434185)

I worked for iMagicTV in partnership with Newbridge networks (remember them?) in the 'frontier days' of ITPV in 1999 and 2000.

I read through the patent, there is a lot of prior art for this.

In June 2000 I was at Supercom in Atlanta and was involved in at least 6 booths who were publically selling this same 'System and method for providing integrated voice, video and data to customer premises over a single network ' solution. There were several public trials underway by the time this patent was filed.

This is not a tough one to defeat - this is just some wise-ass at Cisco getting his patent compensation cheque.

And what a vague patent - it looks like it would cover any form of Internet broadcasting.

Re:Prior art, august 2000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16434631) []

"Alliant Telecom of Canada decided in the early '90s to transform themselves from a traditional telephone company into a multimedia service company. They could see that revenues from fixed-line telephone and other narrowband services were falling under the dual pressures of commoditization and competition from other carriers and mobile operators. Alliant launched its first new service offering in 1996: high-speed Internet ccess utilizing its all-digital, all-fiber network. Then in 2000, Alliant was the first company in North America to launch a commercial interactive digital TV service over the same telephone connection as the Internet and voice service."

Since it was offered in 2000, I presume the work to create this was done prior to 2000.

AFAIK BT and Mercury were doing work before this.

Cisco might be doing it in a way that is unique or different though (I haven't read the patent).

Trivial in nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16434261)

Can you realy patent a trivial in nature "invension" ?

Like: UDP + bandwithlimitations ?

beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16434439)

i just patented walking to the toilet and shitting into it, now make me rich!

Implications for cellular / wireless networks? (1)

drelectro (873500) | about 8 years ago | (#16434575)

Doesn't a 3G mobile network also provide:-

A method for providing integrated voice, video, and data content in an integrated service offering to one or more customer premises includes receiving television programming from a programming source, receiving data from a data network, and receiving telephone communications from a telephone network

Editorial fearmongering? (1)

entendre entendre (977799) | about 8 years ago | (#16434617)

The story says: "Cisco was recently granted a patent on a system and method for [triple play]." Note that's a system and method, not all systems and methods.

The headline says: "Cisco patents the triple play."

There's a world of difference between those two claims. It's like saying General Motors has patented "the automobile" because they've been granted a patent on a specific manufacturing technique. If Cisco's patent is as broad as TFA implies, it won't be enforceable. If it's not, it won't be relevant.

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