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DVD-by-Mail Services Cleared In Patent Troll Case

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the in-the-mail-system-no-one-knows-you're-a-dog dept.

The Courts 73

eldavojohn writes "Media Queue holds the rights to patent 7389243 which is simply a patent on the notification system (like e-mail) to users of changes in the status of their DVD rental queues. Of course, they filed suit in a random place against Netflix, Blockbuster and everyone else sending e-mail updates about DVD-by-Mail services. It was later moved to California and was dismissed last week. In related news on the ailing patent system, the USPTO unveiled a new plan to reduce backlog in its system by offering pending patents special examiner status if the holder abandons another co-pending unexamined application."

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Idea is not protected under US law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30364658)

I thought ideas are not protected under US law. You cannot patent ideas, but you can patent designs.

Re:Idea is not protected under US law. (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364838)

So the submit a flowchart demonstrating the algorithm as part of the filing.

Re:Idea is not protected under US law. (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364912)

Don't even think about it. Patent troll Ltd holds a patent on "method and apparatus of generating flowcharts".

Re:Idea is not protected under US law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30366002)

Native Americans hold a patent on the production and use of arrows in North America.

Re:Idea is not protected under US law. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368190)

Yea, but we can buy that patent for some shiny beads.

Re:Idea is not protected under US law. (1)

tuxgeek (872962) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368834)

Excuse me ???
Correction: We already bought that patent for some shiny beads
As an incentive we also got Manhattan island in the deal

Re:Idea is not protected under US law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30374638)

Yes, but someone must holds the business patent on "method of exploiting the patent system by filing or obtaining broadly worded patents that may be argued to apply to methods or algorithms in common use and seeking enforcement through the procedure of a specifically chosen jurisdiction to compel settlement"?

Common sense? (1, Insightful)

X.25 (255792) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364668)

It is incredible that we have laws for everything, but judges are seemingly not allowed to simply use common sense.

Re:Common sense? (2, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364700)

Define common sense.

The problem with USPTO new proposal is probably going to be more patent applications. People are going to submit two, and then cancel the second one, suddenly giving special status to the other one. If you are a patent troll, then it is worth the risk.

Re:Common sense? (1)

X.25 (255792) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364742)

Define common sense.

That is the whole point. Common sense can not be defined, and it can't be put into laws and regulations.

Common sense would be judge saying "Get lost" when case like this even comes to the court.

Re:Common sense? (3, Insightful)

Manax (41161) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365336)

You are being simplistic. Just because you don't understand any of the details behind a case, doesn't mean the case is really "obvious".

It's easy to only have a couple of details of a case, and come to a snap decision, and claim that it's "obvious" and groan about how if only someone would apply "common sense"...

Reality is often more complicated. Case in point. Woman burns herself with coffee from McD. If you only have that information, maybe you blame the woman, but it turns out there are more details that escape the 7 word summary. Turns out the coffee was kept near boiling, turns out McD corporate policy was to keep it much cooler (but still hot), turns out they had multiple complaints regarding the temperature but ignored them... To be fair, I haven't looked into that case in detail, but it should be clear that it's possible that there is more to the case than the summary.

And there are plenty of situations where, once the judge hears a complaint, he tells one of the parties to "get lost". If they don't, then perhaps there is something more to it... Oh, and it seems like the judge did exactly that in this case.

Re:Common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30366376)

I remember hearing a guest lecture from a lawyer one time about the MD coffee lady. He tried to make a similar point to you, that it may be more complicated beneath the simply (and potentially misleading) summary. Interested, I researched it in more detail and discovered that there really wasn't much more to it. She really was just an idiot who poured a cup of coffee on herself and thought she could get money for it. My point being, sometimes the simplest path is the best (or most accurate).

Re:Common sense? (1)

Manax (41161) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367078)

Fine, I won't argue the specifics of that case, but the point is, which I think still stands, is that you don't know whether or not there are more details without investigation. If there are none, then of course one can come to a simple conclusion because there isn't anything else to consider, but if a judge spends time on it... maybe there is more to it that they are at least considering.

Sometimes the simplest path happens to be correct, but it's more coincidence than good practice...

Re:Common sense? (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367420)

You can argue specifics of the case, but to me common sense tells me coffee is hot, and you should take care when handling hot liquids. I don't know all the details of the case either, or whether or not it had merit (but my gut tells me getting a burn is not worth millions of dollars unless you can prove that much actual damages) but was merely commenting on the "common sense" angle.

Re:Common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367592)

The coffee was kept at 160 degrees iirc. MUCH too hot. Manager had been warned REPEATEDLY about the problem. If I spill hot coffee on myself I would expect to get burned. I would NOT expect my clothes to melt nor to get blisters from said burns.

I despise frivolous lawsuits as much as anyone else, but in this case there was much more to it.

Re:Common sense? (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367810)

I agree some sort of compensation should have been awarded due to negligence, but millions of dollars? How is that not frivolous? They should have paid her medical bills, cleaning bills, and paid for any work time missed. Justifying millions of dollars for "emotional stress" or however the lawyer defined it is just plain insanity, and a demonstration of a legal system that is not fair.
The funny thing is, there have been other cases where people have assaulted others with hot liquids, intentionally trying to harm them, and the victim was not awarded millions of dollars in those cases. Why should an accident, that was at least partially the victims fault, be awarded such monetary compensation?

Re:Common sense? (1)

agrippa_cash (590103) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370208)

The amount was chosen because it was McDonalds coffee sales for a day (or week or something). It wasn't to compensate the woman, but to punish McD for perceived uncivil behavior. Think the Pinto writ small (pint size you might say. Because , see the cups...)

Re:Common sense? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370966)

Well to be fair IIRC the coffee was so damned hot it melted the clothes around her crotch and pretty much completely cooked her vulva. That kind of reconstructive surgery ain't cheap, and even after getting it done it is never gonna work like before.

It would be similar to a company causing a situation where you get your dick obliterated and then having them say "oh well, hey they can make you a new one out of your thigh!" which of course they can, but all those tiny nerve endings simply can't be replicated. So while I usually go for 'stupid you" in most of these cases there was no reason to keep the coffee at boiling temps. Not only is it not good for the customer, but frankly it kills the flavor and makes for some truly shitty coffee.

Re:Common sense? (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367888)

If the hot coffee isn't melting the styrofoam cup, it's not melting anyone's clothes.

Re:Common sense? (1)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369744)

If the hot coffee isn't melting the styrofoam cup, it's not melting anyone's clothes.

I wear chocolate panties for the ladies.

Re:Common sense? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370418)

Skin has the same melting point as polyester?

PET has a melting point of 260 C, FYI.

Re:Common sense? (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30383718)

I never said it did (skin having same melting point as polyester).

And 260C is pretty far away from 100C hot coffee. I think you're just reinforcing my point.

Re:Common sense? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387328)

What is your point?

FYI, liquids at 190 degrees F (the temperature of the coffee) take 2-7 seconds to cause full-depth (3rd degree) skin burns. Good luck getting those clothes off quick enough to avoid painful skin grafts and reconstructive surgery.

Re:Common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368740)

I'll argue them!

You'll note... she originally only wanted money to cover the burn treatment. So, she wasn't gold-digging.

Yes, coffee is hot. At 180 degrees, this coffee was REALLY hot. Putting it in her crotch was a damn dumb thing to do.

There were 700+ reports in 10ish years about coffee burns, a significant number of those with settlements. Sooo, McD's would rather settle lawsuits than serve cooler coffee. (insert Pinto joke here)

So, we have 2 dumb entities here. I reckon this is moot.

Since McD's didn't want to pay the woman's skin grafts bills, they decided to go to court. Comparative Negligence was used, and rightly so. Given the history of the coffee incidents, they knew the coffee would do this. Courts had already decided this.

Now, before you go arguing that it is the woman's fault for spilling it on herself... if you sell a product, you better make sure you don't contribute... in this case, more 700 times. You can still have negligence even if the other person is dumb. I would bet you'll see similar lawsuits on skillsaws and tablesaws.

Re:Common sense? (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368918)

700 times out of the millions of cups of coffee McDonalds has served over the years is hardly a lot of cases. And even if she wasn't originally gold digging, she ended up being a gold digger. Sorry, but no amount of "stress" caused by getting a second degree burn that you are partially responsible for (McDonalds didn't spill it on her, she spilled it on her) is worth millions of dollars. And like you said, McDonalds would rather settle lawsuits than serve cooler coffee, so really what was the end result of this case? Absolutely zero. One could argue that a huge settlement like this would have to force McDonalds to comply to serving coffee at certain temperatures, but in reality the amount of money they make on selling coffee, they could afford to pay a few of these cases off every year and still be in the black. McDonalds can still serve coffee at whatever temp they want to, and there is no guarantee this will not happen again. The only real result is that a whiner got a big settlement. Justice has been served!

Re:Common sense? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370368)

No. I too have researched this, and I’d like to see the research you did.

From what I saw, it was evident that (a) the coffee was kept dangerously hot, and McDonalds knew this; (b) the reason for the extreme temperature was to make the coffee odour stronger, because coffee drinkers who smell coffee will tend to want some and (c) at the temperature that the coffee was served, it was capable of causing third-degree burns in three seconds.

If you don’t think that’s dangerously hot, try getting your pants off in under three seconds. Bonus points if you do it while buckled into your vehicle in the drive-through lane.

Yes, the lady was stupid to put the coffee between her legs and then dump it on herself, but that doesn’t exonerate McDonalds for knowingly serving dangerously hot coffee. Also, she was NOT driving the car, nor was it even in motion when the accident occurred.

Some relevant citations:

The smell (and therefore the taste) of coffee depends heavily on the oils containing aromatic compounds that are dissolved out of the beans during the brewing process. Brewing temperature should be close to 200 F [93 C] to dissolve them effectively, but without causing the premature breakdown of these delicate molecules. Coffee smells and tastes best when these aromatic compounds evaporate from the surface of the coffee as it is being drunk. Compounds vital to flavor have boiling points in the range of 150–160 F [66–71 C], and the beverage therefore tastes best when it is this hot and the aromatics vaporize as it is being drunk.[1] [findlaw.com]

and,

During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700 claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992. Some claims involved third-degree burns substantially similar to Liebecks. This history documented McDonalds’ knowledge about the extent and nature of this hazard.

McDonalds also said during discovery that, based on a consultants advice, it held its coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees fahrenheit to maintain optimum taste. He admitted that he had not evaluated the safety ramifications at this temperature. Other establishments sell coffee at substantially lower temperatures, and coffee served at home is generally 135 to 140 degrees.

Further, McDonalds’ quality assurance manager testified that the company actively enforces a requirement that coffee be held in the pot at 185 degrees, plus or minus five degrees. He also testified that a burn hazard exists with any food substance served at 140 degrees or above, and that McDonalds coffee, at the temperature at which it was poured into styrofoam cups, was not fit for consumption because it would burn the mouth and throat. The quality assurance manager admitted that burns would occur, but testified that McDonalds had no intention of reducing the “holding temperature” of its coffee.

Plaintiffs’ expert, a scholar in thermodynamics applied to human skin burns, testified that liquids, at 180 degrees, will cause a full thickness [3rd degree] burn to human skin in two to seven seconds. Other testimony showed that as the temperature decreases toward 155 degrees, the extent of the burn relative to that temperature decreases exponentially. Thus, if Liebeck’s spill had involved coffee at 155 degrees, the liquid would have cooled and given her time to avoid a serious burn.[2] [lectlaw.com]

Re:Common sense? (4, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364784)

If you RTFA, it appears they are only applying this to outstanding patent applications filed before October 1, 2009.

Re:Common sense? (4, Funny)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364810)

RTFA? Thats just crazy talk!

Re:Common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30365700)

I never RTFA because I thought RTFA was patented....

Re:Common sense? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366852)

TFA is under copyright, there's no patent on R that I am aware of.

Re:Common sense? (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365316)

FTFA.
Use 2 seconds of this "common sense" that every one is complaining that no one uses.

Yes, the patent system is horrible currently, that doesn't mean that the people in charge are TOTAL morons and wouldn't think of this idea.

Re:Common sense? (1)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366580)

True, but ...

"The procedure is being temporarily implemented and will only be effective until February 28, 2010. Upon review, the Office may extend the procedure in time or may extend the set of applicants that will be able to file for special status under the procedure."

Just vague enough to allow the possibility of another round of this procedure. It could just mean they retain the option to extend the Feb 28 filing deadline. Or, it could mean that they extend the Oct 1 cutoff, the possibility of which does give incentive for multi-filing. I'm guessing they are intentionally vague, wanting to discourage abuse of this policy, yet keeping their future options open.

Re:Common sense? (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364826)

Of course you missed the next part, refile the patent that was pulled, perhaps with a minor change.

Re:Common sense? (1)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364858)

What makes you think having the "special status" is going to be any better then regular status? This is the patent office we are talking about.

Re:Common sense? (1)

Joutsa (267330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364786)

Allowing judges to use common sense is not really different from allowing them make arbitrary decisions based on their gut feeling, prejudice, bribes, etc.

Re:Common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30364880)

which they do anyway

Re:Common sense? (2, Informative)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364870)

The legal system constrains judges by design.

If you give them too much leeway they might abuse it, not enough leeway and they are forced to do nonsensical things (insert favorite mandatory minimum story here).

The legal system has been trying to find the right balance for a long time, the system we have in English speaking countries is a bastardized mongrel that has been evolving since the Norman Conquest.

Re:Common sense? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371950)

I think part of the problem is that to be a judge you have to work your way up through the sharktank of lawyerdom first, where your primary obligation is to go for your client by every trick in the book that isn't unethical or illegal.

Boom, suddenly you are a custodian of justice itself. Big change. Almost like if the worlds best boxers were suddenly hired as referees at the Golden Gloves.

Maybe if we hired judges that were trained AS JUDGES instead of career lawyers we might have some sense.

Re:Common sense? (1)

timothyf (615594) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373122)

I dunno, I'd personally think that having judges that know all the tricks is a good thing. Why would they have any reason to favor a lawyer who tried to pull those tricks on them?

Re:Common sense? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371860)

You would think that smart juries would be a good thing.

Yet for some reason BOTH sides want them dumb.

Which just goes to show you the courtroom is just a dignified arena.

special status means more work, not less (0, Redundant)

Xiph (723935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364682)

special status just means that people will file extra co-patents, so their existing patents can get special examiner status.
It might cost a little bit more, but to some companies, that will probably be peanuts, compared to the value of "special examiner"-status.

of course, more patent claims = more money for them, and since they can discard the co-pending patent, it means more money for a tiny bit of work.

Re:special status means more work, not less (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30364762)

This only applies to things filed before October 1st, 2009. RTFA.

Re:special status means more work, not less (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368736)

This only applies to things filed before October 1st, 2009. RTFA.

Doesn't matter. If you filed one good patent, you are screwed. You cannot get special treatment. If you filed 100 bad patents, then you now have 50 with special status that will have to get processed before the poor guy that filed his one good one.

Re:special status means more work, not less (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364774)

Yeah it seems like it will only really help the patent writers (who will get to charge double for each patent idea they write up) and, hence, the companies with fat enough wallets to spend twice as much on the patent process. The losers will be anyone trying to get a patent on a budget. Yay, progress!

Re:special status means more work, not less (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365004)

A very tiny bit of work. Just file the exact same patent twice, then drop the second one. It's not like USPTO Inc. will check, or care, as long as they make more money out of it.

Random Place? (0, Offtopic)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364688)

So eastern Oklahoma is random and CA is "real?" I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV but seriously, you're an insensitive clod. Just kidding. Heh.

Re:Random Place? (2, Insightful)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364888)

Since they didn't file in east Texas which is the patent troll mecca any other place would be random.

Re:Random Place? (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365772)

"Down in Texas where I come from, we just go out and get a man and string him up."

Re:Random Place? (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365096)

Yes infact.

Unless there is a tech company somewhere in sight of the relevant courthouse, then it is a fantasy juridiction that has no relation to any of the actual parties. If the relevant judge were acting with any sort of maturity he would tell both parties to get lost and find a venue that has some relation to either of them.

Whereas California or Delaware actually represent places where (tech) companies are incorporated or actually do business.

Re:Random Place? (2, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365118)

Media Queue is an Oklahoma LLC.

Re:Random Place? (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365260)

Whereas California or Delaware actually represent places where (tech) companies are incorporated or actually do business.

Blockbuster and Netflix don't do business in Oklahoma? That's news to me.

Re:Random Place? (3, Interesting)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365426)

The thing about patent law is almost every district court in the country has personal jurisdiction over the parties. You can be sued anywhere you have normal business activity. General Jurisdiction [wikipedia.org]

Re:Random Place? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365686)

...except that is rather thin and any mature federal judge should acknowledge it as such.

They should be less petty and self centered and everyone else should expect better of them.

Re:Random Place? (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365830)

If you don't want to subject yourself to courts of a state, don't do business within that state.

Re:Random Place? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369262)

The thing about patent law is almost every district court in the country has personal jurisdiction over the parties.

The question of whether a district court has jurisdiction is different than the question of whether the district is the most appropriate venue.

Re:Random Place? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369216)

If the relevant judge were acting with any sort of maturity he would tell both parties to get lost and find a venue that has some relation to either of them.

Well, I think the mature way would, actually, be to the follow the law and, if one of the parties sought a change of venue to a more appropriate place, grant it. Which, you know, is exactly what the judge did here.

But apparently, to some people, "maturity" involves unprofessional and capricious conduct.

Reducing backlog (0)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364910)

offering pending patents special examiner status if the holder abandons another co-pending unexamined application.

So I need to file for two patents, then abandon one of them. Even if this kind of solution did result in less backlog, it trades quality for throughput. It is the same kind of bureaucratic solution that Baltimore city does with court cases. They are years behind, so if you offer to plead guilty they process you faster. Which results in people pleading guilty because the waiting is worse than the sentence. That gets the system unjammed, but at the expense of justice, which is the entire purpose.

Silly patent holder (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365522)

Everyone knows that if you're going to try to enforce your ridiculous patent, you don't file suit in your own jurisdiction or the defendants jurisdication. Real patent trolls file in the Eastern District of Texas. Had they done that, they would have gotten their settlement.

Re:Silly patent holder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30366968)

Silly Patent Holder? Naaah? Stupid, brain-dead, tech-illiterate twat of a patent office official for allowing such a blatantly restrictive (and frankly dubious) patent in the first place.

So russotto your take on this is that NO-ONE (not just the alleged patent infringers in this case) should be allowed to use a pre-existing art (email) to inform their customers of updates to their queue (or any other) status? And Texas courts would uphold this? For God's sake GROW UP. An original patent is NULL & VOID when shown to violate PRIOR ART! That's the way ALL patent & trademark law works not just in the US where it is rapidly becoming a joke where every man and his dog is attempting to patent stuff that is patently (pun intended) NOT patentable under "prior art" rules.

This problem of course is not new. Edison is hailed as the creator and patentor of the lightbulb - BULLCRAP! Joseph Swan was the original inventor & patentor, and Edison was successfully sued & FORCED to make Swan a partner in Edison's company as recompense for violating Swan's patent. Incidentally it is also held that Edison probably stole the basic tech from both Swan and american William Sawyer who also had prior art.

The problem today as then as now, is that 99.999% of judges (everywhere not just US ones) are so tech-illiterate it's disgraceful. I bet you could count on the fingers of 1 hand how many judges worldwide hold any kind of formal technical qualification. Yet they are expected to pass (sensible) judgement on such issues which are far less about the law as about understanding what are basic & fundamental operations vs complex processes?

Sheesh!

Re:Silly patent holder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367122)

Wow, way to misunderstand someone's post. Nowhere did russotto say he encouraged the behavior, he was just mentioning what every Slashdot reader should already know, that all patent trolls file in the same court district in East Texas because it is very patent troll friendly. If the patent holders in this case had filed there, then the case would not have been moved to California, and it could have resulted in the patent trolls winning a settlement or the patent case.

You are way too snarky and infer way too much (incorrectly) from someone's post that is just pointing out this fact.

Re:Silly patent holder (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369248)

Everyone knows that if you're going to try to enforce your ridiculous patent, you don't file suit in your own jurisdiction or the defendants jurisdication. Real patent trolls file in the Eastern District of Texas. Had they done that, they would have gotten their settlement.

Well, its worth noting that the judge before which the case was being heard up until that same judge granted Netflix's motion for a change of venue to the Northern District of California issued an order that "the Rules of Practice for Patent Cases promulgated by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas shall be employed and adopted for use in this case."

Re:Silly patent holder (1)

abartlett_219 (600259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369330)

Everyone knows that if you're going to try to enforce your ridiculous patent, you don't file suit in your own jurisdiction or the defendants jurisdication. Real patent trolls file in the Eastern District of Texas. Had they done that, they would have gotten their settlement.

Exactly. File in E.D. of Texas, where nothing any tech company would care to touch is (a bunch of woods all within 3 hours of Houston, Dallas, or Shreveport, LA so no real reason for field offices/etc there). While Texas has lots of tech firms in the DFW, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston metros (the major cities of the 3 other court districts), the ED is pretty much a no man's land. If they had to file in say the West District in Austin or the North District in Dallas, they'd be screwed as the pool of jurors won't go along with their silly ideas like they do in Lufkin (their court of choice) or Texarkana. From what I've been reading however, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has been smacking the hands of the ED judges a bit more on patent cases, especially on change of venue requests.

USPTO is a joke (2, Insightful)

thelonious (233200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367050)

Half of the things they allow as patents are in my opinion common sense applications of technology that should not be limited in it's usage. A patent for updating customers via email notification that DVD order status has changed? Brings to mind Microsoft's patent on displaying images based on file creation date or some other such 'duh' idea. The fact that companies can get these patents just seems utterly ridiculous. Wasn't Amazon at one time in a patent dispute over their 'one click buying' which essentially meant storing your shopping cart and account info via a cookie and giving you a button to click to process an order. The kind of things that if you sat a web developer fresh out of dropping out of college down they would slap together as a solution. And now these obvious things are off limits to people without a patent? I thought obvious technology was not supposed to be patentable? It seems that when talking about IT type patents they use this idea of an average man to determine if it is 'obvious' technology. And when you take an average of people inside and outside the IT business you end up with someone that doesn't even know what a cookie is.

Am I the only one that thinks it has gotten beyond ridiculous?

Re:USPTO is a joke (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371538)

...you end up with someone that doesn't even know what a cookie is.

Nonsense! Everyone knows what a cookie is!

My favorite is a nice, soft chocolate chip right out of the oven.

comment on subject of headline (0, Offtopic)

AnonymousPinhead (1695214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367772)

I hate copyright but this is worse DVD-by-Mail Services Cleared In Patent "Troll" Case. It seems that ignorant word is used for everything. Just go gets your websters out and use a more accurate word. When Fox or Cnn use it, then you should use it. Untill troll gets put in websters with the meaning you want it to mean, please stop using it, Its ignorant, kiddie and even when your in the hood with true oG's youll never hear it, Ive never heard a brother call someone a troll. "Fact" the brotha is even more gangsta than you. The troll word is not gangsta or brothas would use it and even if you called someone a troll, they would laugh and make fun of you to the extent you would never hear the end of it. Even brotha's think the word is ignorant, whats it gonna take for you to think the same. You all even use it in ways urban dictionary doesnt even define, for all you people who do post it to urban dictionary and see how many people think its popular that way. I look at urban dictionary all the time and look up definitions of diffrent worlds theres some endless humor there, my favorite word there its funny but actually doing that to a woman while shes doing that would only end a bad way, heres one bad way ending up with no penis because she bite it off, go ahead if you must. if any of you actually have even witnessed sex to begin withis doubtfull. But theres hope for you its called prostitution, dont go for a knockout while in this mission, chances are shes a cop, just to let you know, Where im from i know all the hookers who are, why you may ask. not because i pay hookers, not because i like cops, this is simple they felt i knew something about something and decided to take me in custody not "arrest" me, but threaten me if i didnt say what they wanted to hear, The threats didnt work ok it got worse lets bring in more detectives 12 all together, like that was supposed to scare me or anything, i didnt even have information is the funny part. but they incisted i did, i dont know how they decided this, but they were convinced, oh it got worse the brass knucks came out, i knew if they hit me with them, it would make me a hell of alot of money and i told them this, so they put them up, i personally dont care if they beat the crap out of me it wouldnt of helped them, i indeed didnt know nothing. They finally gave up, ok i said this my neibors are gonna think im a bad person i will hear that i am, this is what i want you to do and if you dont do this i will take you to court for making them think so. For every house that could of seen this you will knock on there door if there not home you will come back at a later time and talk to them, i want to be there btw, then there like where not going to do this ok i said ill see you in court and i want a copy of that paper you been writing on and a copy of how long ive been here, and also that you put me in the back of your cop car and made me a prisioner for nothing that i done or knew nothing about. All them neibors are witnesses and were i live they talk, word gets around. They didnt think that was a good idea for that to happen so they listen, i made them say this, we made a mistake and had no right to put him in the back of the squad care like that in this way we were unfair and the time we questioned i made them use my name btw, for something he nothing to do with or knew nothing about. They didnt like doing this but i was there with every neibor they had to knock on the door of. I Enjoyed this its was pure amusement. One neibor was currious of coarse and ask me how in the hell i got them to do that, simply i threaten them, if they didnt i would proceed the mater to court and i wanted a copy of the paper they wrote on and the time i been there, which was like 5 hours, not a enjoyable time, they even denied me to go to the bathroom when i know i didnt do nothing i said fine arrest me and went anyway, boy that pissed them off, Then they sit me in a stressfull place, that was funny i simply got up and sit were i wanted to, that pissed them off more and i knew they couldnt do shit because i didnt do nothing. So i sit were i wanted to it took probably 2 hours before they questioned me, i got tired of sitting there and got up and ask them whats taking them so long and he said there busy and im like if he dont get un busy within 5 minutes ill leave, there like you cant do that, im like sure i can ive made a effort for him to question me and its my time meaning he better make it snappy, ive not done a crime nor do i know about one,why im hear beats the hell out of me, but im curious so ill give him 5 minutes, since its my time anyway and ive done more than enough for him to talk to me. They knew i was serious and that i was as i proved several times. ok after 2 minutes the detective gets me and hes polite btw sorry for your wait, im like maybe he thought he wasted his time. not the case after 2 hours of drilling. and me answeing i dont know what your talking about nor do i have any idea, and i dont know how it is even possible for me to know in the first place. they continued bringing the heat on, didnt scare me because i had no clue and im like what do you want me to say and btw i will not lie if know its a lie. so they said that, i said till you can prove thats fact i will not say it if you can i will but all in all ill say i didnt witness it, they finally gave up. They thought this was over after they appologized but i got them into more shit than they could of imagined, just buy telling someone in my family how i was treated, who were more important than they where and my word is all it took, it was my papaw,he was in the DEA i told him exactly what they done, he knows me when im lieing he has a way, he never questioned me, he says im pissed off over this and alot will be done over it and you will know about it, ill make sure they get chewed out very well i mean my god you told them to take a lie detectors test even those can be wrong, you volunteered off the get go, that in alone is someothing someone the had a clue what they were talking about would do and dont have to do, and a guilty person wont give them the right to do that or someone who knew something definatly wouldnt,unless they knew they could pass it with no problem and you have to be good at that and know how to do it, he said i know what it takes i can do it everytime it takes alotmore than you can imagine and the ability to do it after your trained is something you have to have a talent for and yes dea agents get arrested just like everyone else because they have to blend in and even the local law enforcement doesnt even know who they are or what they do, to one thats on a important mission has to do the same everybody else does to get the info needed, basically they dont care about the little guy but the big guy and to get to him and him to trust you you have to be doing illegal activities to, thats the only way you got to look like him be like him, everything and you dont just make the sting at anytime at a good time and the right time, its scary i know this papaw told me how it works. and the line of buisness he was in he's dead now not by his profession but by natural causes but i guess him getting shot 6 times without a bullet proof vest didnt help matters at all, why without a bullet proof vest because you go into the field wearing one of them there gonna know what you are, instant giveaway. I ask him of him getting shot was because they found out who he was, he said no. he said in the field your life is in danger at all areas, because its money and that itself is dangerous. I dont have to worry about pappaw getting a bad name over this once again he's dead. but i remember as a kid for papaw leaving for aslong as 3 years my dad couldnt tell me why but he knew, all he could say is your pappaw has a very important job, that requires him to be gone. He loves you more than anything, he said you dont have the average pappaw that is why you cant spend the weekends ever weekend with him, but when he was at home i did spend those weekends with him, i allways ask pappaw why do you allway have a gun around or on you, all he said is protection and where he lived would not show you he had money but the opposite, i only found out how much money he had when he died and it was tons, i guess with that amount of money and the house he would have with it people would question his job, he didnt let that be done. Ive allways wondered this did he ever get to enjoy his money or was he just happy for what he was doing, ill never know the answer

Re:comment on subject of headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370472)

Holy fucking wall-of-text, batman!

wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30372882)

huh? english, please?

This is dumb (0, Redundant)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367906)

From the summary: "the USPTO unveiled a new plan to reduce backlog in its system by offering pending patents special examiner status if the holder abandons another co-pending unexamined application."

Dumb!

They're basically saying, if you want your patent examined fast, submit some other "dummy" patent applications that you can then abandon as needed to get special status. They don't understand that telling people to submit more patent applications if they want faster service will result in more work, not less??

Re:This is dumb (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371844)

Yeah, and if you hurry now you can submit that dummy application before the 10/1/2009 deadline!

Oh wait...

Sounds like USPTO offering special pricing... (0, Redundant)

misnohmer (1636461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369846)

So if I want special status, I file my patent together with a dummy patent I know will never clear, drop the dummy patent to get special status for the primary one. It would have been so much simpler to say "pay double for special status" and "get a refund credit for any patent you don't care about".

Re:Sounds like USPTO offering special pricing... (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371880)

How are you going to go back in time and submit your dummy app before the October 1, 2009 cutoff date though?

I think there's a flaw in your plan...

aww man... (0)

vuffi_raa (1089583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30369942)

I was all ready to file a patent for offering pending patents special examiner status if the holder abandons another co-pending unexamined application
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