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Who Invented the Linux-Based Wireless Router?

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the depends-on-the-definition-of-'who' dept.

Patents 154

mtaht writes "I've just had the interesting experience of being deposed to talk about one of the first embedded, Linux-based, wireless routers. Our (free!) 1998 publication of how to make one predates patent #7035281, filed September 13, 2000, by someone else. Their patent was recently granted and is now being disputed in court, in part using our how-to as an example of prior art. The lawsuit continues; the case goes before a judge shortly, and a jury trial if necessary is scheduled for the spring. I find myself plagued with the question: So... who invented the embedded Linux based wireless router? What relevance does 'who' have, when there is such an enormous confluence of ideas from thousands of people? What constitutes invention, anyway?"

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154 comments

Finding useful prior art takes work (1, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988210)

Re:Finding useful prior art takes work (2, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989016)

Did you even read TF Summary? He is the prior art! He's just trying to figure out if there was someone there before him, or how to give credit to those pieces which were already built into the Linux code.

ok, I'll spell it out (5, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989554)

Yep. He's looking for prior art that pre-dates him, and he's asking how to prove and attribute prior art to someone.

For this, there are some real common mistakes to avoid:
* You have to find prior art for the claims, not the summary
* You have to find prior art for *all* the claims
* Good news is that acceptable forms of prior art include ads, manuals, magazine articles...

It's not rocket science, but a lot of news stories like this end up wasting people's energy because people contribute their knowledge without knowing these simple rules, and it's all or mostly useless.

As someone who's spent time scraping slashdot stories with 200+ comments for possible *useful* prior art, I can tell you that a lot of people don't know these basic rules.

Linus Torvalds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33988218)

That's who.

Re:Linus Torvalds (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989712)

I'm not even sure what this means. There were routers before Linux was even an apple in Linus's eye, running embedded operating systems. Why does the particular operating system even matter?

'cause its a WIRELESS router... (1)

mengel (13619) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990190)

And in the minds of the Patent Office that's somehow Really Different...

Re:'cause its a WIRELESS router... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990314)

Well, guys have been doing radio-based packet routing since at least the mid-90s (I knew a guy who worked on this for HAM radio). So that's a router hooked up to a radio pushing packets four or five years before someone dreamed up putting a wireless card inside a Linux box.

Fails obviousness flow chart. (4, Funny)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988280)

Does it have Linux on it? --no--> Install Linux. Is Linux installed? --no--> Modify Linux until you can install it. ----> Install Linux.

It's Linux. Installing it is always obvious.

Re:Fails obviousness flow chart. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989734)

Is Linux installed? --no--> Modify Linux until you can install it.

That can prove difficult if a device won't execute a kernel until it has verified the RSA-encrypted secure hash of the kernel. Have you updated your flowchart to account for methods that have become commonplace to "secure" appliances such as home routers and pocket-size computers?

What constitutes invention? (3, Insightful)

popo (107611) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988294)

Every new platform (almost by definition of the term "platform") allows it to be married to myriad other technologies. Unfortunately the USPTO does not seem to understand that each one of these secondary permutations does not (should not) constitute "invention".

But ultimately -- the answer, like most answers to legal questions, isn't a matter of who's right and who's wrong, or even "what is the truth?". The answer depends on who has the combination of legal-budget and willpower to pursue the patent.

Re:What constitutes invention? (3, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988590)

Every new platform (almost by definition of the term "platform") allows it to be married to myriad other technologies. Unfortunately the USPTO does not seem to understand that each one of these secondary permutations does not (should not) constitute "invention".

And, that's the problem with patenting some of these things. I fail to see how that patent should be allowed to stand.

Routers existed. Linux existed. Wireless existed. Hell, TFA sums it up very nicely:

My mental question remains. Did Greg, Everett and I really invent the embedded Linux based wireless router?

All we did, basically, was take code that already existed, compile a new driver, install a board, make a few cables, and prove such a box could stay running in a world where people trusted IOS. We're just the first people that bothered to plug in a wireless card into a junked PC, boot Linux off of a floppy, run wirelessly 13.1 miles and then publish how to make it work, in plain english, a howto a more general public, and even a patent lawyer, could understand.

Amusingly enough, our little howto hung off the far end of that wireless connection for years, dissipating electrons in the airwaves, for every one of the tens of thousands of hits we ultimately got. Everybody ate from our dogfood, in other words.

They didn't "invent" anything. They did do something new, and then they shared it like nice people. I just fail to see how putting together three existing technologies in what is a fairly logical configuration merits a patent.

I hope this patent gets dismissed. Of course, that would only be one of bazillions of patents which make no sense whatsoever.

Re:What constitutes invention? (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989530)

You don't seem to know what 'invent' means.

Re:What constitutes invention? (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989762)

You don't seem to know what 'invent' means.

Well, I don't know what the legal threshold for "inventing" is in this case. The guy who did 'invent' it isn't sure he actually invented anything. And he did it before the guy who patented it.

Built? Sure. Assembled? Fine. Extended someting? Absolutely. Invented? I honestly don't know.

Take any functionality that already existed on a computer in the late 90's, add "wirelessly" to it -- have you "invented" anything? Or extended something that was already well known? I would argue it's a (fairly) predictable application of existing tech -- wireless is just one in a long line of 802.* protocols; does going from 802.3 to 802.11 cause magic to happen?

They didn't invent the router. They didn't invent wireless networking. They just sorta smushed them together, and in a way that is consistent with how you might expect them to be used.

Did Jeff Bezos "invent" one-click purchases? Or did he basically take the well-known concept of "button" and apply it to the well-known concept of "purchase"? Many of us would argue that it's a stupid patent.

This is before the courts, and has to go through a jury trial. It might be a little premature to get all smug and say that you can definitively conclude that this was, in fact, an "invention" or not. If it was so easy, we wouldn't be reading the article and debating what exactly "invent" means in this case.

Re:What constitutes invention? (2, Insightful)

slinches (1540051) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989740)

They didn't "invent" anything. They did do something new, and then they shared it like nice people. I just fail to see how putting together three existing technologies in what is a fairly logical configuration merits a patent.

I'm not so sure it's that simple. Nearly every mechanical device invented has just been a combination of simple machines in different configurations. I think the distinction between invention and merely an alternative application is whether the item being patented provides a new capability or one that is significantly improved.

Using this case as a hypothetical example. If there were already wireless routers running a proprietary OS and the OS was just replaced with another that provided similar functionality, that would not (in my opinion) be an invention. If instead, there was no such thing as a wireless router at the time and they used Linux, an antenna and some existing computer hardware to create one, that would be a novel and patentable invention.

I don't know all of the details of the state of the art at the time or what the patent actually claims, but from what I do know, I don't think this patent falls clearly into either category.

Re:What constitutes invention? (2, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989844)

I'm not so sure it's that simple.

Nothing ever is, which is why we like to come to Slashdot to discuss it. ;-)

Nearly every mechanical device invented has just been a combination of simple machines in different configurations.

Yes, that's true. And I don't mean to say people never truly invent things because all machines can be reduced to the lever, wheel, ramp, or its other base components. I'm saying that sometimes when it's applied to software, one finds oneself looking at a patent that says "method for doing a well known task with a computer (or wirelessly, or over a network)". Have you "invented" something, or applied technology?

I don't know all of the details of the state of the art at the time or what the patent actually claims, but from what I do know, I don't think this patent falls clearly into either category.

Well, essentially the guy being discussed built this before the patent was filed for, and publicly told lots of other people how to do it.

So, if there was prior art, the patent is null and void. Or, did the guys with the patent actually create something which was non obvious?

Obviously, we here won't settle this conclusively. It's just sometimes difficult to sort out what actually constitutes an "invention" in some cases.

Re:What constitutes invention? (2, Interesting)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988600)

Woah, I just had this new idea for an invention: a Linux-based wireless router that has TWO power connections, instead of just one. I need to go patent this great, innovative idea right now.

Re:What constitutes invention? (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989216)

I don't know... I think you'll be infringing on my patent of a Linux-based wireless router that has X-number power connections and Y-number antennas.

Re:What constitutes invention? (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989498)

I'm sure you're infringing on my patent on a device that consumes electricity and sends or receives wireless signals.

Re:What constitutes invention? (1)

DamageLabs (980310) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988804)

The patent office does not care about your patent. Never did, and never will.
It just cares about the patent application, its form and fees. It is up to the patent applicator to enforce the patent and ensure there wasn't prior art.

If there was, the spent money on the patent and the lawyers is a waste, but it does not come out of the patent office pockets. Actually, everybody makes money in a situation like this, except for the patent applicator.

Re:What constitutes invention? (1)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989296)

Every new platform (almost by definition of the term "platform") allows it to be married to myriad other technologies. Unfortunately the USPTO does not seem to understand that each one of these secondary permutations does not (should not) constitute "invention".

But ultimately -- the answer, like most answers to legal questions, isn't a matter of who's right and who's wrong, or even "what is the truth?". The answer depends on who has the combination of legal-budget and willpower to pursue the patent.

I think the confusion stems from Ben Franklin who invented the "Franklin Stove" by marrying two cutting edge pieces of technology: a stove and a fucking door.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_stove [wikipedia.org]

Re:What constitutes invention? (2, Funny)

Hooya (518216) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990138)

> by marrying ... a stove and a fucking door.

If the stove didn't consent to the marriage it might be declared null and void. It might even constitute a criminal rape charge if the door had actually performed coitus as a "fucking door" is wont to do.

Didn't know Ben Franklin was kinky..

Re:What constitutes invention? (1)

gd1234 (1117333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989326)

We need to acknowledge that there are different levels of invention.
From minor enhancements to ground breaking innovations.
The patent system should be adapted to reflect this. 12 month patents for small innovations, 16 year patents for major breakthroughs.

Obviousness? (2, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988320)

Do they have to prove exact prior art, if they can prove that the differences between the prior art and the patent are obvious to a practitioner of the art?

A patent really should only cover non-obvious extensions of existing ideas. As the guy himself states, there was nothing in what he did that was particularly non-obvious to any person who did networking at the time, so it's silly that it should even be patentable, let alone an example of prior art. Rather, their effort just happened to occur at a point in time where wireless networking was just being introduced.

So why on earth should merely combining the words "embedded", "Linux", "wireless" and "router" make something patentable? These are not novel combinations that required a leap of creative insight, but rather extremely straightforward and obvious combinations.

Combining words (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988532)

So why on earth should merely combining the words "embedded", "Linux", "wireless" and "router" make something patentable?

Ah, but now that you have combined these words, you are infringing on my copyright to the phrase "embedded Linux wireless router"! I demand reparations for this flagrant misappropriation of my intellectual property!

(Sure, I'm being silly, but I'm also trying to point out the inherent ridiculousness of these attempts at "owning" ideas.)

Cheers,

Re:Obviousness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33988678)

I would agree. All too often we do direct ourselves to the wrong party though. The USPTO has continuously shown that they are too incompetent in this time to perform the responsibilities they have been given. The same could be said of most Federals nowadays.

Re:Obviousness? (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988838)

Exactly.

Imagine that chronologically white bread came first, and then sliced white bread, and then wheat bread. Well now someone has come along and patented sliced wheat bread. We already have wheat bread, and we already have sliced bread, isn't sliced wheat bread a logical next step?

We already had embedded linux devices, and linux wireless routers, why is combining these two things patentable?

Re:Obviousness? (2, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988920)

Do they have to prove exact prior art, if they can prove that the differences between the prior art and the patent are obvious to a practitioner of the art?

Proving obviousness requires showing that all of the elements of the claimed invention exist in the prior art or can be shown to be within the common sense or common creativity of one having ordinary skill in the art at the time. As you might imagine, there's a lot of subjectivity to the 'common sense or common creativity' part, but there must still be some rational explanation for why elements that can't be explicitly shown in the prior art would have fallen under common sense or creativity. The bottom line is that evidence must be presented. It's not enough to just have someone stand up and say "it's obvious."

So why on earth should merely combining the words "embedded", "Linux", "wireless" and "router" make something patentable? These are not novel combinations that required a leap of creative insight, but rather extremely straightforward and obvious combinations.

In this case it appears to have been a failure of the PTO to find the relevant prior art. The burden is on the Patent Office to demonstrate that an invention claimed in an application is not patentable, and the Patent Office is often not the best at searching non-patent literature (i.e., everything that isn't a patent or patent application), especially when the NPL is also not part of a regularly published scientific journal. This leads to a lot of open source projects falling below the Patent Office radar. As you can imagine, this is particularly problematic for patents that were examined before decent search engines like Google became available.

For example, the bulk of the examination in this case occurred between October 2001 and November 2003. Google had just started to take off at that time (the IPO wasn't until August 2004).

Re:Obviousness? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989768)

Is it me, or does the USPTO simply suck at finding prior art? I'm not saying it's their fault, I'm simply saying it's difficult for them to sift through huge amounts of data for each patent looking for the prior art that may invalidate said patent.

Re:Obviousness? (4, Interesting)

Grond (15515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989938)

Is it me, or does the USPTO simply suck at finding prior art? I'm not saying it's their fault, I'm simply saying it's difficult for them to sift through huge amounts of data for each patent looking for the prior art that may invalidate said patent.

There are several reasons for this. One reason is that most examiners are inexperienced. Right now something like 80% of examiners have been working for the PTO for less than 3 years [patentlyo.com]. Only about 7% have been working there for more than 10.

Another reason is that, particularly with regard to software and software-related inventions, the PTO has a hard time recruiting qualified examiners. A big reason for this is that examiners have to live in the Alexandria, VA area, which is about as far as you can get from the west coast IT industry.

I've also heard that examiners don't have the resources they need to do a proper search of the non-patent literature, but I don't have any hard data on that.

And, of course, sometimes patent applicants represent their invention one way during prosecution but then try to use it differently during litigation. For example, I believe Yahoo was sued or at least threatened for something to do with its maps website by a company that had a patent on using a computer to map...migratory birds. The claims appeared to read on Yahoo Maps, but it was quite apparent from the application as a whole that the invention was unrelated to anything Yahoo was doing. There's really not much the PTO can do about that.

Re:Obviousness? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990098)

Possible solutions:

1) The USPTO needs satellite offices in tech hotbeds. San Francisco/Palo Alto, Austin, etc. Bring them to Alexandria for training, but have them work collaboratively remotely.

2) Contract with Google to build an app that manages the patent application workflow. Have it crawl for data that may indicate prior art, etc.

Re:Obviousness? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990128)

I've also heard that examiners don't have the resources they need to do a proper search of the non-patent literature, but I don't have any hard data on that.

The patent office blocks google on their work computers?

Access to non-patent literature... (3, Interesting)

mengel (13619) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990368)

A while back, I signed onto the peer-to-patent website for awhile, and tried to add some prior art references. I tried to refer the patent examiners to a Communications of the ACM article from 20 years ago, and they said they didn't have access to that and I'd have to get them a PDF(!) Similarly they couldn't seem to come up with a copy of Karrels & McKusic et al. to see what was in 4.3BSD a quarter century ago. I mean, they ought to have a library, right? As a public service, I got an ACM membership again for a year so I could pull down the ACM article and give them a copy...

How are they going to recognize a rehash of old ideas if they don't even have the basic reference materials?

How to define "Obviousness"? (3, Interesting)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988944)

All ideas, novel or not, are combination of prior ideas. And are certainly expressed in combination of existing words and shapes.

The fundamental challenge for the patent office, and those who are against patents, is that criteria like obviousness, similarity (need to prove assimilation to prior arts,) creativeness, etc. are fundamentally subjective. One could claim Einstein's Theory of Relativity is trivial and obvious, after hearing the details of the Theory; yet it was Einstein, and not billions of people before him in human history, that nailed down the Theory.

I don't think non-subjective definitions of these terms exist. At the end, these come down to who can argue better on a case by case basis.

Re:How to define "Obviousness"? (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990026)

Of course those terms are subjective. But there is a very significant different between something like Relativity, that required (at the time) both a creative leap and connecting obscure mathematics with physical intuition, and combining several elements in a manner that is entirely within their design parameters.

In other words, I would agree that there are obviously many borderline cases that are questionable and need to be debated and argued. But I believe the Theory of Relativity unarguably required a creative leap. On I believe that taking existing router software that was already a core part of the Linux operating system, which already ran on embedded systems, and connecting it to a wireless networking card, which somebody had already written drivers for, contains no new *ideas* at all and therefore required no creative leap.

My point is that this isn't even the straightforward combination of existing ideas into a fundamentally new idea, which we could argue in terms of patentability - rather it is a straightforward combination of existing engineering elements into a system in essentially the way that the elements were intended to be used.

Re:Obviousness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33989888)

I am adding "LED" to my patent as we speak.

This is good! (4, Insightful)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988322)

Our submitter is doing the right thing here; testifying against a company that tried to patent an already freely available idea. No patent should be allowed to protect this device's software. The hardware is a separate issue. Thanks for doing the right thing!

Depends. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988340)

It depends on what they're claiming.

I don't have time to read TFA or TFP, but I'm guessing that their implementation does not fit entirely within your list of suggestions.

If they're claiming everything, they were probably wrong in the first place, since your description would have relied on a lot of stuff that was public knowledge anyway.

But most patents are overbroad and depend on prior patents and common knowledge. It will probably come down to a detail that nobody has included before.

Re:Depends. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988720)

Okay, now I've had time (I had to pee), and no, they're not the same thing. Some of the claims will succeed.

Though what's more interesting is that they call their software box "UNIX-derived".

Which may be a problem for Linus Torvalds...and a boon to SCO...

Re:Depends. (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989226)

"UNIX-derived".

Is that marketing speak, or part of the actual patent?

If it was part of the patent, I would think that it would violate the whole of it. Linux is not Unix Derived. Because it is not Linux Derived, it has no bearing on Linux or SCO other than it was someone saying something that was factually incorrect.

Re:Depends. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990016)

Is that marketing speak, or part of the actual patent?

The former. I read the first claim, which the lawsuit reproduces in full. It does not limit the scope to operating systems that implement APIs listed in the Single UNIX Specification.

devide by zero error (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988348)

was this story designed to create an infinite loop in readers brains or what?

Re:devide by zero error (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33988524)

Devide? It's spelled "divide." What the hell happened to English class in this country?

Re:devide by zero error (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988596)

The same thing as math, apparently.

Re:devide by zero error (2, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988740)

Both were cut from the curriculum to make room for Creationism and Bible Study.

Re:devide by zero error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33988848)

No. Our language skills began to erode when grammar and spelling were de-emphasized in favor of composition sometime around the 1980s. The irony is that now many people can hardly compose anything intelligible.

The Mother of all Patents ... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988394)

"A Method and Process of using Linux to do Stuff with Things."

World domination follows . . .

Re:The Mother of all Patents ... (5, Funny)

stokessd (89903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988540)

> World domination follows . . .

Except on the desktop... :D

Re:The Mother of all Patents ... (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989626)

> World domination follows . . .

Except on the desktop... :D

Embrace the server space, extend the server space to the cloud, extinguish the desktop.

Fireplug Computers (4, Informative)

rcpitt (711863) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988400)

Stuart Lynne and I were partners in Canada's first ISP, Wimsey.COM

After we sold that company - and the purchaser tanked, we started up Fireplug Computers Inc. doing Linux for embedded devices, including "Thin-Linux" which was specifically oriented to being a router. I ran a version of that on a 486 system until it finally died earlier this year.

We had wireless capabilities in this, with drivers for a couple of the then available wireless chips.

Fireplug was sold to Lineo Inc. in 1999 - and I'm fairly sure that Lineo did some work on Linux wireless too.

Who cares? (4, Funny)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988462)

I say we find everyone who submitted patent ideas before 2002 and buy them a drink.

Nothing's been more of a driver of IT support than those awful little boxes. Thanks for the job security guys!

How novel (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988474)

There were 802.11 networks serving whole cities by the late '90s. All you needed was a high gain dish and line-of-sight. These guys [cwx.net] were up and running in 1999. Every one of them had some form of *nix based "wireless router" setup. My own was FreeBSD, so clearly that has no relevance to a patent for something as brilliant as an integrated Linux wireless router.

Re:How novel (3, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988716)

My own was FreeBSD, so clearly that has no relevance to a patent for something as brilliant as an integrated Linux wireless router.

Actually, in the technical drawings they claim it to be a "Router CPU with UNIX derivative operating system" -- so, your FreeBSD would have violated this patent if it didn't exist before the patent was filed.

I still continue to be baffled by patents. They invented none of "embedded", "wireless", linux" or "router". Doing it for the first time is cool (and mad props to the guys who were doing this and might bust this patent), but assembling well known components to do a well known job, but in a brand new configuration is an application of technology, not an invention.

Linux Router Project of Course (5, Informative)

Diesel Dave (95048) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988476)

Certainly not the very first ever made, but likely the first mainsteam implementation that was available.

I had a 2U 386SX 16Mhz Workstation with full length ISA 900MHz WaveLAN card, that ran LRP off 3.5" 1.44MB.
Host name was 'Brain-Damage'. Some of the first LRP development was done on that back in 1997.

The boys over in Latvia that went on to form RouterBoard were doing much more then me with wireless but I'm not sure if it was with Linux at the time.

Dave

Re:Linux Router Project of Course (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988566)

Yeah, LRP was what came to my mind too. Ah, the good old days...

Re:Linux Router Project of Course (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989258)

Well, you've got me beat. Best I can offer is an NT4 Server based router circa 1998. However, I don't think I added a wireless card to it until about 2001. And then ditched the whole setup for a retail router and wireless bridge shortly thereafter. Problem is, I didn't document any of this. I was just another college dropout at the time, and if I could do it, it certainly ought to qualify as obvious to "one skilled in the art." However, I don't think the USPTO has any sense of that phrase whatsoever.

I recall undertaking various networking projects aroundt that time to improve my own understanding, including work on Linux, BSD, and Solaris. Can't remember too much of what I did, but I did a lot of stuff.

Re:Linux Router Project of Course (1)

altinos.com (919185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989582)

When I worked at Ford in 1995-1996 we were playing with wireless connections and UPS backups to move diagnostic PCs around a repair bay without tripping on wires. These diagnostic computers were already pretty old, 386 PCs running OS/2. I don't remember what the wireless routers ran though.

What constitutes invention, anyway? (2, Insightful)

MichaelKristopeit 12 (1916012) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988556)

whatever the judge at the highest level court that will hear your case says it is.

Re:What constitutes invention, anyway? (2, Insightful)

cm613 (1493893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989206)

If and only if you can afford to fight your way there. If not it is what the other guy, with the established business, says it is.

Re:What constitutes invention, anyway? (0, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit 89 (1927022) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989412)

you're an idiot. if you unable to have your case heard, then the judge couldn't hear your case. there is no if or only if... there is only an idiot attempting martyrdom.

if you're too ignorant to apply the law yourself, and instead require expensive counsel to support your case, because no counsel is willing to take your side on commission, even though you're claiming an "established business" is willing to fight for those same rights... you're an ignorant hypocrite.

Re:What constitutes invention, anyway? (2, Insightful)

cm613 (1493893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990188)

Thank you for your kind words. I can tell by the way your thoughts transform into free flowing words and by your condescending tone that you are most likely not an idiot like me and you have probably had an easy life.

I too am bitter for some of the things in this world. For example, patent law and corporate control of government policy, which are not mutually exclusive. I don't take it out on anyone I just throw out assertions on the way I see things on message boards such as this. I take it that you don't agree and that's okay with me, you are allowed your opinion.

I disagree with your argument about applying the law yourself. An independent inventor may not have the desire or the ability to apply law and spend time arguing in a courtroom. He or she may be more interested in building a business around something they invented or inventing other things. He or she may not be capable of decorum required in a court of law because they can't communicate without calling people names like idiot, ignorant or hypocrite. Established businesses, on the other hand, have legal departments that are paid to quash other businesses competing with them or else collect royalty from them. In this scenario, patent law is the instrument to make the rich richer and the keep the emergent down. That's the fundamental thing I don't like which lead me to make my comment.

I admit... (2, Funny)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988558)

I did it.

Re:I admit... (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989460)

I did it earlier. I remember doing it when I was young (the early to mid-90's) with a WaveLAN card. If I remember correctly, it had only 1 Mbit/s throughput or so (our coaxed LAN was very fast at ~8 Mbit/s) and was very susceptible to the newfangled "magnetron oven" being used by my mother. The card actually did not have Windows 95 drivers so we had to add the drivers in the DOS environment (config.sys & autoexec.bat) and use DR-WebSpyder instead of Internet Exploder.

Am I missing something? (2, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988630)

The patent in question seems to be for something specific and somewhat different from a regular ol' Linux wireless router, like we all use. Particulars from the patent text (all emphasis mine):

  • The device acts to provide connectivity between wireless backbone access points
  • It is a primary objective of the present invention to provide a piece of wireless equipment that can effectively connect a large WAN
  • Still another objective of the present invention is to provide wireless connections designed for outdoor use and flexible security

There are other particulars, but this seems more like something to provide large-scale outdoor wireless infrastructure than simple home routing. The diagrams also show little pictures of houses being served by multiple routers as described in the patent.

Re:Am I missing something? (2, Interesting)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988718)

Still another objective of the present invention is to provide wireless connections designed for outdoor use and flexible security

Tell me more about these weather-proof radio waves and where I can purchase one.

Re:Am I missing something? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33989400)

If you are familiar with the HowTo referenced in the article you'll know that they set up their wireless router(s) to provide connectivity to a location 13 miles away from a DSL uplink to the internet. As the article mentions, the HowTo was actually hosted on the far side of that link. Whether it was technically set up as a bridge or not I don't know, but it provided connectivity in an *outdoor* setting between two wireless endpoints, at least one of which was connected to a very large WAN (the internet.)

The patent may have been filed with other uses in mind - and a patent is generally filed to cover as many uses and ideas as possible - but it is being claimed to apply to the wireless routers we all use, in large part because they use all the same technologies (and I used early Linksys and D-Link wireless routers with antennas in 2002 to provide similar links. I wasn't anywhere near the first to do it, but I read the author's HowTo many times because of it.)

Re:Am I missing something? (2, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989426)

You just quoted excerpts from the summary of the invention. It goes through such drivel as explaining the OSI model and other known-in-the-art fluff intended to bog down the examiner. That text has no bearing on the validity of the patent. The claims are all that matter, with claim 1 being the most important. That claim doesn't cover any new ground and just mentions an obvious combination of networking components, packet routing, and an authentication mechanism as provided by the 802.11 standard.

Stupid Patent Office (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988660)

It's ridiculous that something like this could even be patented in the first place. Routers existed. Wireless existed. How obvious is a wireless router?

IEEE 802.11 (3, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988664)

How can someone get a patent on an obvious implementation of a new standard, in this case 802.11? I wonder if Anthony Spearman or Andrew Tompkins had any access or input into the standard? I wonder if they were part of the standards process but realized they couldn't patent the standard so the patented the implementation.

Claims in HTML (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988710)

a TIFF? Seriously?

via Patent Storm [patentstorm.us]:

Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A wireless provisioning device for use in public domain networks wherein the wireless provisioning device is accessible by a user of mobile computing devices, comprising:

a chassis;

at least one network card;

at least one wireless card;

at least one processor;

an operating system, the operating system operably configured in the chassis to control the at least one, network card, the at least one wireless card and the at least one processor, which are operatively coupled with the chassis;

a packet-switched interface capable of receiving a multiplicity of inbound framed packet-data to provide inbound packets and transmitting a multiplicity of outbound framed packet-data comprising outbound packets;

a channeling controller, coupled to the packet-switched interface that channels the inbound packets based on the inbound address information and constructs the outbound packets and channels the outbound packets with the outbound address information, the channeling controller capable of being effectively connected to at least one network via the operating system; and

an authenticator in operative communication with the operating system to allow authentication at the wireless provisioning device;

whereby the user of a mobile computing device connects to the wireless provisioning device without having to first access the Internet.

2. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the channeling controller routes the outbound packets.

3. The wireless provisioning device of claim 2, wherein the channeling controller routes the outbound packets.

4. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the channeling controller bridges the inbound packets.

5. The wireless provisioning device of claim 4, wherein the channeling controller bridges the outbound packets.

6. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the operating system of the wireless provisioning device is an open source UNIX based system.

7. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the wireless provisioning device further comprises a second processor.

8. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the wireless provisioning device further comprises a memory device and a storage device.

9. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the network card, the wireless cord, the processor, the operating system, the packet-switched interface, and the channel controller are operatively disposed within the chassis of the wireless provisioning device.

10. The wireless provision device of claim 9, wherein the authenticator is operatively disposed within the chassis of the wireless provisioning device.

11. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein bandwidth to individual user can be controlled by the wireless provisioning device operating system.

12. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the protocol type of an individual user con be controlled by the wireless provisioning device operating system.

13. A wireless provisioning device, comprising:

a chassis;

at least one network card;

at least one wireless card;

at least one processor;

a LINUX operating system, the operating system operably configured in the chassis to control the at least one network card, the at least one wireless card and the at least one processor;

a packet-switched interface capable of receiving a multiplicity of inbound framed packet-data to provide inbound packets and transmitting a multiplicity of outbound framed packet-data comprising outbound packets;

a channeling controller, coupled to the packet-switched interface that channels the inbound packets based on the inbound address information and that constructs the outbound packets and channels the outbound packets with the outbound address information, the channeling controller capable of being effectively connected to at least one network via the operating system.

14. A system for allowing users to securely access public domain area networks via mobile computing devices, comprising:

a plurality of wireless access points;

at least one wireless provisioning device for receiving, authenticating, transmitting, and directing data over a plurality of networks and capable of sustaining connectivity between the wireless access points and the wireless provisioning device, the wireless provisioning device comprising a chassis, at least one network card, at least one wireless card, at least one processor, and at least one operating system operably configured in the chassis and associated with at least one of the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless access point and a carrier structure and where the wireless provisioning device is capable of accommodating multiple connections back to the wireless access point without requiring rebooting before a new rooming member can be added to the system;

a carrier structure communicably positioned between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points by means of a secure connections; and

a security authentication protocol, initiated by the wireless provisioning device, capable of authenticating traffic as it passes through the carrier structure.

15. A system for allowing users to securely access public domain area networks via mobile computing devices, comprising:

a plurality of wireless access points;

at least one wireless provisioning device for receiving, authenticating, transmitting, and directing data over a plurality of networks and capable of sustaining connectivity between the wireless access points and the wireless provisioning device, the wireless provisioning device comprising a chassis, at least one network card, at least one wireless card, at least one processor, and at least one operating system operably configured in the chassis and associated with at least one of the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless access point and a carrier structure and where the wireless provisioning device is capable of accommodating multiple connections back to the wireless access point without requiring rebooting before a new rooming member can be added to the system, the wireless provisioning device further comprises a directory services member operatively connected to the operating system thereof, which is suitable for maintaining a database directory that stores MAC addresses and billing profiles for those in the system;

a carrier structure communicably positioned between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points by means of a secure connections; and

a security authentication protocol, initiated by the wireless provisioning device, capable of authenticating traffic as it posses through the carrier structure.

16. The system of claim 15, wherein the wireless provisioning device is capable of bridging.

17. The system of claim 16, wherein the wireless provisioning device is capable of routing.

18. The system of claim 15, wherein the carrier structure is a suitable antenna for providing bridging solutions that afford the user the ability to place wireless equipment in a wide area network.

19. The system of claim 15, wherein the security authentication protocol is a radius authentication protocol.

20. The system of claim 15, wherein the wireless provisioning device provides proxy service.

21. The system of claim 15, wherein the wireless provisioning device provides firewall service.

22. The system of claim 15, wherein the system comprises at least one antenna,

a plurality of wireless access points;

at least one wireless provisioning device for receiving, authenticating, transmitting, and directing data over a plurality of networks and capable of sustaining connectivity between the wireless access points and the wireless provisioning device, the wireless provisioning device comprising a chassis, at least one network card, at least one wireless card, at least one processor, and at least one operating system operably configured in the chassis and associated with at least one of the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless access point and a carrier structure and where the wireless provisioning device is capable of accommodating multiple connections back to the wireless access point without requiring rebooting before a new roaming member can be added to the system, the wireless provisioning device further comprises a directory services member operatively connected to the operating system thereof, which is suitable for maintaining a database directory that stores MAC addresses and billing profiles for those in the system;

a carrier structure communicably positioned between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points by means of a secure connections; and

a security authentication protocol, initiated by the wireless provisioning device, capable of authenticating traffic as it passes through the carrier structure.

23. The system of claim 22, wherein there is more than one antenna and the user is capable of logging on and sustain connectivity with the system while transitioning antennas.

24. The system of claim 22, wherein the user is capable of logging onto and sustaining connectivity with the system while transitioning access points.

25. The system of claim 15, wherein the operating system of the wireless provisioning device is an open source Unix base system.

26. A system, comprising:

a plurality of wireless access points;

at least one wireless provisioning device for receiving, transmitting, and directing data over a plurality of networks and capable of sustaining connectivity between the wireless access points and the wireless provisioning device, the wireless provisioning device comprising a chassis, at least one network card, at least one wireless card, at least one processor, and at least one operating system operably configured in the chassis and associated with at least one of the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless access point and a carrier structure and where the wireless provisioning device is capable of accommodating multiple connections back to the wireless access point without requiring rebooting before a new roaming member can be added to the system, the wireless provisioning device further comprises a directory services member operatively connected to the operating system thereof, which is suitable for maintaining a database directory that stores MAC addresses and billing profiles for those in the system;

a carrier structure communicably positioned between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points by means of a secure shell telnet connection; and

a security authentication protocol capable of authenticating traffic as it passes through the carrier structure.

27. A system for allowing users to securely access public domain area networks via mobile computing devices, comprising:

a plurality of wireless access points;

at least one wireless provisioning device for receiving, authenticating, transmitting, and directing data over a plurality of networks and capable of sustaining connectivity between the wireless access points and the wireless provisioning device, the wireless provisioning device comprising a chassis, at least one network card, at least one wireless card, at least one processor, and at least one operating system operably configured in the chassis and associated with at least one of the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless access point and a carrier structure and where the wireless provisioning device is capable of accommodating multiple connections back to the wireless access point without requiring rebooting before a new roaming member can be added to the system;

a 2.4 GHz antenna operatively coupled with the wireless provisioning device;

a carrier structure communicably positioned between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points by means of a secure connections; and

a security authentication protocol, initiated by the wireless provisioning device, capable of authenticating traffic as it posses through the carrier structure.

28. A system, comprising:

a plurality of wireless access points;

at least one wireless provisioning device for receiving, transmitting, and directing data over a plurality of networks and capable of sustaining connectivity between the wireless access points and the wireless provisioning device, the wireless provisioning device comprising a chassis, at least one network card, at least one wireless card, at least one processor, and at least one LINUX operating system operably configured in the chassis and associated with at least one of the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless access point and a carrier structure and where the wireless provisioning device is capable of accommodating multiple connections back to the wireless access point without requiring rebooting before a new roaming member can be added to the system, the wireless provisioning device further comprises a directory services member operatively connected to the operating system thereof, which is suitable for maintaining a database directory that stores MAC addresses and billing profiles for those in the system;

a carrier structure communicably positioned between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points for transmitting and receiving data between the wireless provisioning device and the plurality of wireless access points by means of a secure connections; and

a security authentication protocol capable of authenticating traffic as it passes through the carrier structure.

29. The wireless provisioning device of claim 28, wherein the network card, the wireless card, the processor, the operating system, the packet-switched interface, and the channel controller are operatively disposed within the chassis of the wireless provisioning device.

30. The wireless provision device of claim 29, wherein the authenticator is operatively disposed within the chassis of the wireless provisioning a device.

31. The wireless provisioning device of claim 28, wherein bandwidth to individual user can be controlled by the wireless provisioning device operating system.

32. The wireless provisioning device of claim 28, wherein the protocol type of an individual user can be controlled by the wireless provisioning device operating system.

Re:Claims in HTML (1)

wgibson (1345509) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990152)

So, basically, they describe an integrated outdoor Wireless Mesh router with per-user traffic shaping, running a Unix-like operating system. Even though I personally find applying per-user accounting and QoS in wireless mesh networks a natural and obvious extension, the fact that they do describe a form of throttling/shaping may make finding prior art a bit harder.

ReseauCitoyen.be (4, Interesting)

Scotch42 (1120577) | more than 3 years ago | (#33988742)

we did that at ReseauCitoyen.be several years ago. At that time there was nothing nor on the Internet nor elsewhere... We never claimed invention for that as this was obvious for us who where in the field... But we build some devices... We had some design published as public domain ones in hope to see them builded by corporations. And finally that was the case. So I can not understand that someone is now claiming a patent on such kind of ideas... PS: I'm not an english language native, so forgive some faults in my wording!

the right thing to do and the smart thing to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33988778)

Submitter: you're doing the right thing. Now, the smart thing would be getting paid off by the company doing the suing. If they have teams of lawyers, surely they have 30-40k for your consulting services?

Nice Job (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33988784)

Just an FYI. You just tainted your testimony. Anyone reasonably worth his/her salt as a lawyer looks online to watch discussion of it by witnesses. If there is enough "chatter" your testimony can be thrown into a very poor light. Remember, if you are an expert, why are you asking a bunch of internet board posters what you need to tell a judge?

MOD UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33989046)

This is exactly why one should keep their mouth shut until the case is over.

Re:Nice Job (4, Informative)

nickersonm (1646933) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989602)

He already gave his deposition in August. It seems that he is simply asking the question here because he is curious. IANAL and have no idea if that can affect the use of it in the future, though.

From the blog:

After giving my deposition, I've thought deeply about what happened in wireless and Linux from 1998 forward, and done a bit of independent research. I figure, maybe, by publishing what I know so far, more of the history and prior art behind the "embedding Linux in a wireless router" idea will come to light, and head off the second patent at the pass.

Also note that he's asking for different examples, not about the example that he is the source of.

Re:Nice Job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33989636)

Nice job making unfounded assumptions.

He DID NOT solicit the opinion of anyone. He stated that HE find HIMSELF plagued with specific questions, not that he needs anyone else to provide answers to them.

The fact that he finds the questions interesting, which he clearly states, and shares his interest and the information with others is not an issue.

If an "expert" tells you that he immediately has definite answers to those particular complex questions, without actually pondering them a bit first, he is a liar and-or an idiot.

Re:Nice Job (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989642)

Not necessarily. All he's asking is who was first. Once he knows that, he can search for specific documentation relevant to that fact. That documentation is what would be presented to the court/board/triumvirate/whatever at the patent office.

Re:Nice Job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33990234)

Yeah, you can't really claim to be impartial if you're asking Slashdot to help invalidate the patent you're being deposed on. He's clearly got his own axe to grind. This is now a waste of Cisco's money, they need another expert.

There are so many questions in the thread conflated with one another.

- The idea of invention (in the patent sense) in the U.S. is burdened with the problem of procedural vs. statistical fairness. I forget what the actual term for "statistical fairness" is, but the idea is due process results in fair outcomes when access to due process is equal. In other systems, even less than due process can result in a lot more fair outcomes if the rules are simple and access is cheaper.

- Patent law has evolved so that the system is supposed to be 'ideally' fair, and is filled with bright line rules and legal tests and doctrines out the wazoo to define fair. It takes millions to test it all through to its conclusion because of the due process loaded into in the system. It's like death penalty appeals - fair, but unbelievable overhead, much more expensive than incarceration.

- Inequitable conduct, only in the U.S. - if you lied, your patent goes down. Sounds good, but testing whether or not you lied takes millions.
- First to invent, only in the U.S. - if you were really first but somebody else filed first, you should get the patent. Sounds good, but testing whether you were first takes millions.
- Doctrine of Equivalents, mostly in the U.S. - if you didn't quite define your invention right, you might still be able to stop someone who is slightly different. Sounds good, but testing whether....

- A lot of the rules have evolved in sympathy for the garage inventor, the model Edison, frontier spirit, that bullshit. There is no need for a model, because putting it on paper is constructive reduction to practice - why should the inspired individual build it if I had a complete conception three years before I had the money to build it? First to invent survives because garage inventors may not make it to the patent office in time. Etc.

- In the hands of a jury, it becomes an emotional mess, because we all sympathize with the garage inventor, and every case is portrayed as the deep-pockets giant stealing from the little guy. That is how it is set up.

- Other countries are less fair, procedurally, and much more fair in the outcome (because the rules are interpreted with less overhead, far more people can actually afford to make it all the way to an imperfect, but nonetheless roughly fair result; and because common sense can enter the picture). Their patents are just as crappy, but with no jury, no presumption of validity, strict rules for process, and smart judges paid to see through bullshit, the outcomes make more sense.

- At this point, patent assertions don't deserve that much due process, because we don't actually all agree that they create the incentives they are supposed to create. And it isn't testable.

Re:Nice Job (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990434)

I don't think he's an expert witness; he's a witness of fact. He doesn't need to be impartial. Consider for example:

I saw the bastard; he's the one who did it; I saw him put the knife in her back, I was two feet away and I'll never forget the evil grin in his face.

This is effective testimony, but has no level of impartiality. You don't impeach such a witness by saying he's biased. You have to show he's either lying or confused.

Xircom invented the wireless router. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33988942)

Before there was a wi-fi standard Xircom invented and sold the first wireless router.

So the idea of using Linux as the embedded OS, should be a non-issue. If there is already a patented product doing this, and simply changing what software OS is used? So that prior patent should be used to invalidate this patent. I mean come on, adding the word Unix is the only thing the their patent application has. I have high hopes that this patent will be tossed.

Re:Xircom invented the wireless router. (1)

wgibson (1345509) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990216)

Toss in the concepts Mesh, Authentication, Per-user bandwidth, Integrated Services and you may be closer to what is claimed.

KA9Q NOS - circa 1985... (3, Informative)

Temkin (112574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989018)

The ampr.org domain dates to April 1988. Phil Karn's KA9Q NOS claims to date back to 1985. I know I established a routed connection from the east bay to Cupertino via a KA9Q "router" in San Jose using 1200 baud modems on 2m VHF radio around 1990 or 1991, and I was just repeating work that everyone else was doing.

Temkin

Everyone has their own definition (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989036)

I tend to prefer reserving the term "invention" for where the bulk of the work is totally new and "innovation" for where the bulk of the work is simply a refinement on something that already exists. (Under this definition, there is very little in the way of true invention, which is actually quite realistic. True inventors are extremely rare.)

However, these are not the legal definitions. In this situation, it is the legal definitions that matter, no matter how anyone else defines the terms or how rational or irrational the legal definitions may be. (Obviously, if my definitions were used, the patent system would not have moved past the four digit range.)

What constitutes invention, anyway? (2, Insightful)

cm613 (1493893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989068)

In our economy: Invention is the right to a revenue stream if you can afford patent law litigation.

"Invented"? LOL (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33989090)

Wow. So whoever is first to put an operating system on a computer gets to patent that? That somehow that combination is magical and to be serious again for a second "no one in the industry would have thought that doing such a thing would be obvious"? No, wrong, fail. Die software patents. Just die. I don't care if they are in Linux's favor or not. All of them need to die, and most or all "normal" patents too.

Decouple hardware+software as workaround (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33989310)

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Those companies providing hardware intended to run linux, can simply offer hardware only. Provide a bootstrap CD/USB key with software to install a linux derivate, and you have a nat workaround for patent trolls. An automatic download/(cross)compile software suite wouldn't be too hardto create.

AT&T WaveLan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33989922)

In 1998/1999 I was using AT&T WaveLAN connection over a 1/2 km distance connecting one Linux Box to a Linux router/firewall. I think that constitutes prior art and that was "old" technology at that time. Check the linux kernel drivers for pre-2000.

Read the F*ing claims! (1)

epa (752046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33990022)

It is only the claims that matter - the rest is normally irrelevant to anyone!

It is quite a narrow patent that seems to be looking to provide a spoof internet connection to wireless devices when the can connect to the claimed device but there is no available Internet connection.

I have no idea how anyone could possibly infringe this patent, given that the last-but-two and last-but-one clauses of claim 1 are virtually unintelligible. The later independent claims are even stranger and more obscure.

IAAL!

(But as a patent attorney in Europe, I think that the USPTO and US patent law is strangely weird and broken.)

How is this invetable at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33990324)

How does that qualify for invention at all. Routers are in general devices performing specific packet routing functions controlled by an embedded operating system. As long as this original design is followed the choice of operating system is no different that choosing the brand of capacitators. So how is this patentable or inventable at all?

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