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Halliburton Applies For Patent-Trolling Patent

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the meta-evil dept.

Patents 244

An anonymous reader writes "Halliburton, the company many folks know as Dick Cheney's previous employer, has apparently taken an interest in methods of patent trolling. In fact, according to Techdirt, the company has applied for a patent on patent trolling. Specifically, it's applied for a patent on the process of finding a company that protected an invention via trade secret, figuring out what that secret is, patenting it ... and then suing the original company. Hopefully, the patent office rejects this patent, because I somehow doubt that Halliburton is trying to get the patent as a way to block others from patent trolling."

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This (4, Funny)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708657)

This is hilarious on SOOO many levels. I don't even know who to root for in this story! Help me Slashdot, should I go for Hallburton, the Patent Office, the trolls?

Re:This (5, Interesting)

crypticedge (1335931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708719)

The first case i'd support Halliburton for. Think of it, they get this patent, and anyone who trolls patents are in violation.

Its a self obsoleting patent. Eventually they will bankrupt all the other trolls and have little left but hang up their hats.

Re:This (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25708897)

Text of claim 1 from the patent application

A method for a non-inventor first party to acquire and assert a patent property against a second party, the method including the first party performing the following acts:obtaining an equity interest in the patent property;writing a claim within the scope of the patent property, the claim being written to cover a product of the second party, where the product includes a secret aspect, the secret aspect including an unobservable aspect, where writing the claim includes performing research using a computer to convert the unobservable aspect to an observable aspect;filing the claim with a patent office;offering a license of the patent property to the second party after the patent property issues as a patent with the claim; andattempting to obtain a monetary settlement from the second party based on the assertion of infringement of the claim.

Re:This (0)

zapakh (1256518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709845)

... where writing the claim includes performing research using a computer to convert the unobservable aspect to an observable aspect...

Amazing. They've described reverse engineering, but thrown in those three magic words "using a computer" for good measure.

Re:This (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709327)

I'm hoping they will run around in circles until they turn into a puddle of butter...

Re:This (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709481)

I doubt it, more likely they'll just take a small piece of each settlement as a licensing fee.

But, it's not like nobody saw this one coming so I'd suspect that it'll get blocked on the grounds of the inherent obviousness of it.

Re:This (0, Redundant)

maharg (182366) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708739)

I thought of that before you ;o)

Re:This (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708751)

This makes me so mad I just wanna shoot someone in the face.

Re:This (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709429)

I already have a patent on angry face shooting, please do something else. I might sue you.

Re:This (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709505)

You cant sue if youre shot in the face ;)

Re:This (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709705)

Yeah, but I invented it an my secret lab in my evil underground lair, and you stole it, patented it and sued me.

So prepare to get sued by Halliburton for it! Oh, and if you live in another country with some resources... prepare to get invaded. :P

Re:This makes me so mad I want to shoot somebody (-1, Troll)

pcfixer (1391539) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709635)

LOL. Where would the world be without evil corporations? This is straight out of the movies people. Haliburton is the classic evil corporation and it is just comical. If you are looking for a nice company that truly does no evil find one that belongs to a community organization and actually has friends in it that are also not evil. My company, PC Fixer is just that kind of company. We care unlike the evil Dick Chaney. PC Fixer is the answer! Honest computer repair and service [lapcfixer.com] .

Re:This (4, Insightful)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708773)

Seriously hilarious. Though as long as it's not illegal, and it meets all the 102 requirements and is not obvious, it will probably be granted.

Maybe the best we can hope for (besides dying in our sleep) is that this kind of slap-in-the-face application can spur some of the much needed reform.

Need a better search function. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708909)

I'd disagree about the "not obvious" part.

I recall a LOT of posts here on Slashdot about "well I'm patenting patent trolling" or words to that effect every time a patent troll story comes up. Unfortunately I cannot find any at the moment.

Re:Need a better search function. (4, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709175)

It's not "patenting patent trolling" that needs to be non-obvious, it's the action they're trying to patent - "patent trolling". Patent trolling, although it may not have been obvious back when it became a major problem, is now so common as to be laughably obvious. Unfortunately, prior art exists everywhere.

Re:Need a better search function. (3, Funny)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709335)

You cannot find them because I send thousands of DMCA requests to slashdot to have them removed for infringing on the copyrighted document we had containing the patent idea.

Our lawyers will be contacting you shortly as well.

Re:This (4, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708977)

Though as long as it's not illegal, and it meets all the 102 requirements and is not obvious, it will probably be granted.

It may or may not be legal; the patent office and the courts have (finally) started to take a dim view of "business method" and other types of patents that circumvent the original intent of the patent system.

It is obvious, and there exists substantial prior art -- if not, people wouldn't have immediately had a ready-made phrase ("patent troll") to describe what the patent covers.

No doubt buried in the requirements is something that Halliburton hopes will make this bullshit business method patent different from all the other bullshit business method patents, but I'm actually hopeful that they'll get the smackdown they deserve.

Re:This (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709393)

Why? I'm hoping that they get this granted. It won't make the situation worse for anyone in the tech sector who is already experiencing this kind of crap. After all, having a patent on this process don't make it more legitimate... unless they're going to sue other patent trolls for violation.

Then, it is truly a thing of beauty, and should be widely applauded.

Re:This (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709617)

It sounds like you're assuming that Halliburton will indiscriminately go after anyone who violates their patent, thus making patent trolls everywhere tremble in fear. I don't think it will work out that way. What seems more likely is that they'll hold onto it, using it only against their competitors when it's to their advantage and having little effect on the world of patent trolling as a whole -- and meanwhile, setting yet another precedent for the granting of truly horrible patents. The best thing is for this and every other business method patent (and software patent, and patent on a naturally occurring gene, etc.) to be denied until people get the message that patents are intended to cover physical inventions, and nothing else.

Re:This (2, Insightful)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709647)

This will make nothing better.

> sue other patent trolls for violation

They aren't going to sue them, they are going to charge a licensing fee.

Sorry... (5, Funny)

Aix (218662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708689)

No, they can't do this because it violates MY patent on patenting patent trolling!

Re:Sorry... (5, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708767)

I was waiting for you to exercise because I have patented patenting patent trolling.

Re:Sorry... (2, Funny)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 5 years ago | (#25710113)

I was waiting for you to exercise

Keep waiting, this being /. he might never exercise.

Re:Sorry... (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708769)

And my patent on trolling patent trolling trolls?

Re:Sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709245)

No, they can't do this because it violates MY patent on patenting patent trolling!

Can I patent the patenting process or perhaps the patent office itself?

Re:Sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709587)

Did you pay the royalties demanded for my patent on Patenting?

Re:Sorry... (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709859)

I have patented metapatenting as a concept.

41% of all /. jokes are infringing

One-up (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#25710081)

I have patented the concept of patents and will soon be suing the Patent Office and everyone who holds a patent. You will all be hearing from my lawyer.

hmm... (4, Insightful)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708735)

...I would think that the very act of finding "prior art" (the very fact they found an invention) as described in this system would invalidate any patent attempt of the trade-secret...

Re:hmm... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708953)

You'd think so, but no.

Prior art is the absolute weakest blockade to patent trolling. It's the most logical, the most obvious, the most fair. Of course it gets knocked to shit.

Re:hmm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25708987)

It's not a trade secret if it's patented. Trade secrets are kept secret, while patents are public.

Re:hmm... (2, Insightful)

TTURabble (1164837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709255)

I thought the point of a trade secret was that it was something that could not be patented. Hence the need to keep it secret.

Re:hmm... (3, Insightful)

shimage (954282) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709579)

The patent system was created to encourage people (or companies) to reveal their trade secrets. That is, in return for fully documenting your idea, the USPTO will grant you a temporary (say, 20 year) monopoly on that idea. The point of a trade secret is that no one else knows what it is. If you want to own an idea for longer than 20 years or so, then you can't patent it. If, on the other hand, you don't think you can keep an idea secret for that long, it's best to patent it. Ergo, I'm not entirely sure what the patent system is good for. If your idea is not patentable in the first place, then I guess you can hide your method's mediocrity by claiming it's a "trade secret", although I was under the impression that this did not happen all that often. That said, I could easily be wrong.

Re:hmm... (1)

TTURabble (1164837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709991)

So either Halliburton wants to kill trade secrets by forcing everyone to patent their idea or risk having their idea patented behind their back...

or, they are patenting the method of stealing trade secrets so that they won't have to worry about patenting their own ideas anymore.

Re:hmm... (4, Insightful)

TheMCP (121589) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709419)

Moreover, their attempt to patent this procedure would seem to indicate that they were knowingly violating prior art, in fact intentionally doing so, which would seem to imply that they could be charged with fraud or something similar.

I'm surprised they filed this patent attempt, and that their lawyers let it happen - it's like saying "I would like explicit government recognition of my plans to violate the law to ensure that when I do so everyone will recognize exactly what I did."

Re:hmm... (2, Insightful)

Emb3rz (1210286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709573)

Prior art [wikipedia.org] is not something you can violate. It is not a statute, or a restriction, or a part of a patent.

From TLWA (4, Informative)

Emb3rz (1210286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709809)

Although patents normally go to the first inventor under a first-to-file system, an inventor who keeps the information secret or just does not publish generally loses the right to the patent and also does not establish prior art. Without prior art, a later inventor can get a valid patent on the same invention and then apply it against earlier inventor(s). All this is easily prevented simply by recognizing the invention and applying for a patent, or by publishing details of how to practice the invention, thus creating prior art.

Emphasis mine.

Secret inventions are not prior art (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709771)

...I would think that the very act of finding "prior art" (the very fact they found an invention) as described in this system would invalidate any patent attempt of the trade-secret...

Not if the prior art was secret - only public information counts.

One of the main objective of the patent system is to encourage publication of inventions through patents. This both protect the inventor's economic interest for a limited time, and makes it riskier to keep inventions secret.

I'm gonna apply for first post patent (3, Funny)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708737)

and sue the guy above me.

Re:I'm gonna apply for first post patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25708893)

Sir I must ask you to cease and desist this at once or I will be forced to sue upon copyright infringement of applying for a first post patent.

Re:I'm gonna apply for first post patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25708901)

the second post guy? Is the RIAA assessing you?

Re:I'm gonna apply for first post patent (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709123)

As long as it's not me you're suing!

Yeah! (1)

r2rknot (1102517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708761)

Go go frivolous patents to make the process even more difficult for non-corporate inventors!

Re:Yeah! (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708793)

In a way, this particular patent makes it easier, because patent trolls must now pay in order to troll...

Re:Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25710007)

make the process even more difficult for non-corporate inventors!

Honestly I am not sure why non-corporate inventors are even allowed to file. It must be due to some technicality, or maybe because it is trivially easy for an individual to incorporate. In any case, the notion that the patent system was ever put in place to protect "the little guy" is pure fiction.

Patents protect the large RnD investment made by large corporations, and that's it. The little guy can technically get a patent, but if he makes a dime off of what he patented he will immediately be sued for patent infringement anyway, and there is no way he can afford the long drawn-out legal battle that will ensue...ensuring that the "big" guy will win every time. This works out more-or-less the same way if he tries to sue a large corporation for infringing on his patent...unless he is independently wealthy he will just be background noise.

Like Radar Detecting (4, Funny)

Aix (218662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708821)

I'm reminded of something that happened to me a few years ago in a Circuit City or Sears or someplace. I was looking for a radar detector for my car. The salesman was trying to upsell and said "You know, cops can detect radar detectors now, so you should get this upgrade with a radar-detector detector." I said, "Why do I want a radar-detector detector? Obviously I want a radar-detector-detector detector." The salesguy did not appreciate my point. I ended up just buying my original level of detection.

Re:Like Radar Detecting (2, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708929)

No.
You want a radar detector detector detector detector so you're ready when the cops get enough money from tickets to upgrade to radar detector detector detectors.

And you got the analogy wrong.
It's about anti-missile missiles.

"But what if the reds develop anti-anti-missile missile missiles?"

Re:Like Radar Detecting (1)

undercanopy (565001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709621)

you missed a detector in each of your examples.

Re:Like Radar Detecting (4, Informative)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708993)

What's funny is that there actually are units with a radar-detector-detector detector circuit in them, in order to to protect against police units such as the Spectre III.

Re:Like Radar Detecting (5, Funny)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709277)

Of course, the police don't tell you about the Spectre IV, which has a radar-detector-detector-detector detector circuit in them.

Re:Like Radar Detecting (2, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#25710071)

You can always get the Detector^5, which comes in the very convenient form of a helmet constructed mainly of lightweight tinfoil.

Re:Like Radar Detecting (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709047)

I do similar to geek squad types who come rushing up hoping to get a sale. When they ask if they can help me, I simply reply that I'd like (whatever item I'm holding in my hands or looking at)this to be marked down to 50% of sticker price. when they just sort of stare at me, I mutter 'nevermind' as I'm walking away.

If you can do it with a straight face, they get pretty perplexed :-)

Nothing like teasing a junkyard dog from the other side of the fence!!

Re:Like Radar Detecting (2, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709231)

The sales guys at those places are rarely picked for technical knowledge, just their willingness to upsell anything, and try to get people excited about their products.

Case in point: I was looking at some Sony ultra-mini laptop with a ULV Intel chip in it, and I had one of the salesguys come up to me and try to tell me it has a Pentium 4 in it. And this is well after the Intel Core series was being shipped in volume.

I tell my family to not trust anything they say... they're trying to make a sale. The only way to get a good product is to do the research yourself, or talk to someone you actually trust.

Re:Like Radar Detecting (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709511)

Last time I went to best buy, the guys got pissed, because I ruined a sale for them. they were trying to sell a guy a laptop, and all sorts of new shiny cables to connect things, but I had to step in when they tried to sell him a UPS for his freaking laptop!

Re:Like Radar Detecting (0, Offtopic)

Synchis (191050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709375)

Ya know...

You could always just... drive the speed limit, and render the need for a Radar detector moot.

Just a thought... :)

Re:Like Radar Detecting (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709531)

They need to re-write the song...

I CAN'T (afford to) DRIVE (over) 55!!!!

hold out for the Quantum Radar jammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709711)

I'm still holding out for the 'Quantum Radar Jammer' device to be invented. With such a device the officer may very well catch you when you are speeding but then he will only be able to know either how fast you were going, or where you did it, but not both at the same time.

btw - I have a radar detector that is undetectable by the 'detector detectors', but you'd really have to be insane to try your luck anywhere that the radar detectors are illegal in the first place. For me it only helps if you can't turn it off and take it down in time when you are crossing lines of various jurisdictions.

Re:Like Radar Detecting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709877)

How about, you know, NOT speeding and putting everyone at risk in the first place??

I know, it is a novel concept to drive in accordance with the law. And before someone starts trolling about people driving too slowly, how is it not the same as people with radar detectors slamming on the brakes because there is an active radar around a corner?

Don't speed and go with the flow and you will not need a radar detector. There is a reason why they are illegal in many jurisdictions.

Fishy OT post (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709933)

Somehow that reminded me of the good old:

Wouldn't the sentence "I want to put a hyphen between the words Fish and And and And and Chips in my Fish-And-Chips sign" have been clearer if quotation marks had been placed before Fish, and between Fish and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and Chips, as well as after Chips?

Let Them Patent It (4, Interesting)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708871)

The methods of figuring out trade secrets are almost always illegal, and can be sued over.

Re:Let Them Patent It (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709387)

The methods of figuring out trade secrets are almost always illegal, and can be sued over.

Only if those methods involve illegal methods of corporate espionage. I was recently co-author of a patent for a product with a certain chemical formulation. Some details of the formulation & production were deliberately left out of the patent in order to retain trade secrets. But figuring out those secrets is easy enough by either 1) research or 2) espionage. The former is perfectly legal, but may involve large expenditure of resources - i.e., difficult enough that it might not be worth a company's time and money to re-create the R&D of the original patent.

So in a way, you can see that our current patent system tends to discourages inventors from complete disclosure and tends to incentivize corporate espionage.

Re:Let Them Patent It (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709657)

Please do go hang yourself. Failing to snap your neck and choking instead would be a bonus.

Re:Let Them Patent It (3, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709931)

Some details of the formulation & production were deliberately left out of the patent in order to retain trade secrets.

Then your patent should be invalidated for not disclosing sufficient information to allow a practicitioner skilled in the art to build the patented product.

Similarly, any patents produced via Halliburton's method should be invalidated on the basis of fraud -- if I figure out, through reverse-engineering, the trade secrets embodied in someone else's invention, I still haven't actually _invented_ them. It's not the same as a case of independent invention.

Re:Let Them Patent It (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709949)

The methods of figuring out trade secrets are almost always illegal, and can be sued over.

Not if only public information is used. This includes material in brochures, public performance specifications, and so forth.

These stratagies are common in R&D in many industries. You map the patent landscape, paying attention to your own portfolio of patents, products, and technologies and to the portfolios of your competitors. Your own product/technology roadmap is known, those of your competitors can be conjectured (with variations). Any future intersection which is patentable is a prime target area.

Patent being a dick. (3, Funny)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708899)

So basically halliburton is trying to patent being a dick... I think there's some prior art for that...
-Taylor

Re:Patent being a dick. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709181)

So basically halliburton is trying to patent being a dick... I think there's some prior art for that...

You mean Cheney?

In re Bilski (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708931)

This is a silly business-methods patent application that will certainly be rejected by the PTO after Bilski. And no, a trade secret certainly does not qualify as prior art in the US. Nor should it.

Re:In re Bilski (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709383)

Shhhh, I do not think anyone here is going to take notice of In re Bilski at this point. It seems that slashdot would have to actually do some investigation before posting patent stories if word ever got out that pure business method patents are now pretty much dead in the water.

Re:In re Bilski (1)

Ornedan (1093745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709775)

And no, a trade secret certainly does not qualify as prior art in the US. Nor should it.

Why? I think patents are wrong anyway, but letting someone shut down a competitor by getting a patent on whatever trade secret thing the competitor's doing? That's just evil.

Re:In re Bilski (2, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709797)

And no, a trade secret certainly does not qualify as prior art in the US. Nor should it.

Ahh, but I believe you are incorrect. The U.S. still uses a First to Invent method to establish the correct owner for a patent. The original inventor, who or who's company decided to keep the material secret, should have sufficient documentation to clearly establish him/herself as the first to invent. The fact that a patent was never sought should be irrelevant in this case; the idea was clearly reduced to practice by bringing a product to market based on it (as a trade secret). This would be especially apparent when the second "inventor" / patent troll actually just reverse engineered the original design, after the idea was in use in a commercially-available product or service.

Yes, the original inventor or company would lose their trade secret, since they would have to provide those original notes to prove that the troll was not the first. But the patent, if valid at all, would then be granted to the original inventor at the original company, not to the patent troll.

Let's assume, for just a second, that food recipes were patentable. Suppose Haliburton reverse engineered KFC's secret herbs and spices, patented them, and tried to sue KFC. It would be hard to argue that KFC had not reduced to practice their formula, having sold it for several decades, with the original invention and production process cleanly documented the entire time.

Since I'm not a patent attorney, and the original poster probably isn't either, would a patent attorney (in a very "this isn't legal advice" sort-of-way) like to provide better clarification?

So... (1)

angrytuna (599871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25708945)

from what I understand, it now works like this?:

Halliburton: We're suing you for violating our patent.
Random_company: How can that be your patent! We've had that as company trade secret for -
Halliburton (interrupts): and now we're suing you for discovering our patent troll, which could only be done by violating our patent on the discovery process for patent trolling.

There is prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709015)

" figuring out what that secret is, patenting it... and then suing the original company." This is what patent lawyers have been doing always.

Good to see a principled opinion (2, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709023)

because I somehow doubt that Halliburton is trying to get the patent as a way to block others from patent trolling.

Wouldn't it be nice to see a principled opinion for a change? An opposition to a bad idea regardless of who is proposing it and why?

I mean, if it were, uhm, the Red Cross, or the ACLU, or a some cooperative, trying to patent patent-trolling, we'd have no problems right? Because they would only use it for The Greater Good and would never sell it — not even if they went bankrupt and had to liquidate all their property (including the "imaginary" kind)?

Re:Good to see a principled opinion (2, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709299)

I'm not sure about the Red Cross or ACLU, although I trust each more than Halliburton.

Now if the EFF held this patent, I may actually sleep better.

Sound's good to me. (3, Interesting)

Jaywalk (94910) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709033)

I somehow doubt that Halliburton is trying to get the patent as a way to block others from patent trolling.

Actually, I'm not sure what else it could be used for. A patent on patent trolling can only be used against other patent trolls. If Halliburton wanted to be a patent troll, they wouldn't need a patent to do it. Besides, patent trolls typically don't have any other source of income that can be threatened by their "business", so Halliburton wouldn't really qualify.

Looks like someone's stab at a defensive patent to me.

Re:Sound's good to me. (1)

blankinthefill (665181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709401)

I disagree. What better way to patent troll than to remove all the competition, and steal everyone's patents yourself? Besides, larger companies have the resources to effectively fight patent trolls, and I don't think that the trolls go after them that much. Its small and mid-sized companies that have to watch out.

It's in the USPTO's best interest to grant it (3, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709083)

"Hopefully, the patent office rejects this patent, because I somehow doubt that Halliburton is trying to get the patent as a way to block others from patent trolling."

It's in the USPTO's best interest to grant this patent because their revenue is largely driven by trolls patenting prior art and mechanisms/methods which are obvious to those skilled in the trade/art/science.

Take DAC (digital analog converters) for example: radio was there, then someone came along and said "Zomg! I'm gonna patent using a DAC to send voice over the radio waves using digital" and "ZOMG! I'm gonna use a DAC to send ethernet over the radio!" and so forth. The DAC is a physical implementation and ought to have been given a patent, but the uses for which DACs are implemented are obvious to anyone skilled in the trade and ought to not be granted patents.

But, if the USPTO rejects such patents, where is their job security? Or, if their jobs would still be secure, why, not rubber stamping a patent would require actual WORK. They can't have that now, can they? Just rubber stamp the patent application and let the courts sort it out, letting the little guys go bankrupt in the process.

Re:It's in the USPTO's best interest to grant it (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709331)

Patent examiners, at least, have plenty of job security - as long as you're willing to work in DC on less than $70K/yr salary, they're willing to keep you. It appears that they optimize that number as low as possible while still finding warm bodies willing to sit in the chair.

That's it, I'm putting a stop to this! (0, Redundant)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709099)

I'm going to patent getting a patent on patent trolling.

So meta (1)

Sneftel (15416) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709105)

Shit! I'd been patent trolling like this for years, but it was a trade secret... now Halliburton's suing me!

mind blowing (1)

quibbs0 (803278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709157)

This whole concept just made my head do something funny inside.

Excerpt from patent (5, Funny)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709257)

What is claimed is:
  1. Being an asshole.
  2. Effectively wielding the trait in claim 1.
  3. Using the trait in claim 2 for the purpose of making money.
  4. Using the trait in claim 3 as a business weapon.
  5. Using the trait in claim 4 to pursue litigation against entities with desirable assets.
  6. Using the methods and techniques in claim 5 to transfer ownership of desirable assets from the prior owner to the new owner, the user of the trait in claim 4.
  7. Using appropriate legal contracts and agreements to ensure that the prior owner in claim 6 cannot publically disclose the use of the methods and techniques in claim 5 or the successful results therefrom in claim 6.
  8. ...
  9. Profit!

Null and void when applied to grown up companies.. (2, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709279)

If the company being targeted by this method has documented their trade secret, even if only internally, they can instantly shut down any infringement litigation by producing said documentation.

Of course, this "outs" their trade secret, but that's not usually fatally crippling.

Re:Null and void when applied to grown up companie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25710099)

the secret ingredient is... COUGH SYRUP.

Patent the Patent application process (2, Funny)

originalcyn1k (1174859) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709297)

Hopefully my new patent to patent the patent application process will be approved first, so I can sue Halliburton for applying for a patent with my patented process of submitting a patent application to the Patent Office. Otherwise, I can sign a deal with Halliburton to work both ends of the issue - I will sue any new patents when they are submitted, and Halliburton can clean out any patents already granted! IT CANNOT FAIL.

I don't think this is patentable (2, Insightful)

ValuJet (587148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709307)

This sounds like a process that could be done mentally, meaning it involves no technology of any kind. Just recently these types of patents were ruled to be unpatentable, so my guess is this is not a patentable process /IANAL

Probably a dumb question, but (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709373)

OK, so "it's applied for a patent on the process of finding a company that protected an invention via trade secret, figuring out what that secret is, patenting it... and then suing the original company"

IANAL, but does not the original invention invalidate the subsequent patent, as 'prior art'?

Re:Probably a dumb question, but (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709613)

"" IANAL, but does not the original invention invalidate the subsequent patent, as 'prior art'? ""

Well, IANAL either, but it seems to me that Trade Secrets enjoy a certain legal status that would kind of open the practitioner of this form of trolling to all sorts of litigation.

Of course, the REAL intent might be to set up a potentially long and expensive legal situation and profit from settlements to make it go away a-la RIAA/MPAA.

Re:Probably a dumb question, but (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709879)

Thanks for that - you're right that this form of 'attack is the best form of defense' patent bullshit is becoming prevelent. Shame.

Not sure how they'd money from that, tho. Did not work for SCO (hooray, the fuckers!) and does not seem to be working for the MAAFIA. No compensation for an outdated business model.

Patent maneovering of this kind only works when you've something to protect / negotiate - you need a chips to play at the big table...IBM vs. Microsoft? Let's settle. Does Halliburton having anything to negotiate?

No... (2)

db10 (740174) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709385)

This idea was invented by Shampoo!

Huh? (3, Insightful)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709391)

Well, IANAL, and in /. tradition I didn't RTFA, but what's the point of applying for patents in cases where you specifically know there's already prior art?

That's a rhetorical question - I don't even want to know the answer.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709875)

I was thinking of patenting the method of making a slashdot post while not being a lawyer and having not read the article.

xzibit approves (1)

jmazzi (869663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709483)

Yo Dawg, i heard you like trolling patents, so i patented trolling patents so you can troll while you troll

What about... (1)

Huggs (864763) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709537)

PRIOR ART!?

Dick Cheney's previous employer (1)

ivanmarsh (634711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709569)

Yeah "previous" sure.

at long last... (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709853)

We've discovered what "step 2: ???" is.

Not trolling (1)

Phleg (523632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709925)

This isn't patent trolling... this takes it to a whole new level. I suggest the term "patent griefing".

Are your patents belong to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25709941)

Years ago I patented the process of getting a patent and you all owe me money. Pay up!

Halliburton Going "Legit" (1)

twmcneil (942300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25709963)

In light of the election results, Halliburton has decided to go "legit". In today's episode the part of Moe Greene will be played by the USPTO.

Attn Haliburton: (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25710001)

Corporations are legal fictions intended to serve the public goood. Things just arn't working out between us, and so we're revoking your corporate charter and selling off all your physical assets and placing your intellectual property into the public domain. kthnxbai

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