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Paul Allen Amends Lawsuit Against Facebook, Apple

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the gunning-for-the-top dept.

Patents 129

itwbennett writes "A Federal judge dismissed Paul Allen's initial patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, Facebook, Google and others earlier this month because it was too vague and gave Allen until Dec. 28 to file an amendment providing more details of his claims. His lawyers responded with a 35-page document filed late Tuesday. The amendment details features of the defendants' websites that are alleged to infringe on the patents and also includes a last-minute amendment that targets Google's Android mobile operating system in a move that could spell trouble for phone manufacturers and app developers."

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In this first post I say (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698970)

I doubt Android users are trembling. 1) the thing has already been dismissed once, we'll see if the "new detail" is enough, and 2) it already has Oracle coming after it in its mad dash to monetize Java.

Re:In this first post I say (1)

HelloKitty2 (1585373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699248)

If only google implemented Java instead of some incompatible clone, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Re:In this first post I say (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699398)

They would still be getting sued. Oracle has patents on java on mobile devices.

Re:In this first post I say (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699450)

Yes but they inherited a patent covenant with anyone who fully implements the Java spec.

That said, they could probably try to find some technicality to say Google broke it. Hell, it was probably designed with that built in.

Re:In this first post I say (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699872)

Wouldn't estoppel (if that is the correct term) apply? Isn't Java available under the GPL, and aren't others allowed to modify and redistribute GPL code as much as they see fit?

Re:In this first post I say (4, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700044)

Probably.
Google does not call their language "Java" and with GPL V2, copyright issues are moot
With GPL v3, Patents are moot as well.

Oracle has no case but they must press on or be sued by their own stockholders.

Re:In this first post I say (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702208)

That would then still apply. Dalvik code would have to be GPL, but I thought it was already. Since you can reuse GPL code all you like for anything else GPL.

Yet, they are still suing.

Re:In this first post I say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34700850)

Why do people care that Android is not Java? Apple's phones don't use Java either and nobody objects to that. Why is it such a terrible thing that Google's not-Java, never-claimed-to-be-Java phone platform uses the familiar Java language syntax and some of the familiar Java APIs, while avoiding the less well-designed Java APIs and those parts of Java that are difficult to make run efficiently on a phone?

I mean, it would be bad if Android claimed to be Java and was then subtly incompatible, or if the unique Android APIs claimed to be part of the Java standard library. You know, like Microsoft's old Java that got them sued. But Android doesn't do that, and indeed makes a big deal of how it uses a unique runtime and unique APIs.

Re:In this first post I say (1)

Rysc (136391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701614)

If Google had used Java it would have had to use the crippled "Java Mobile Edition" and not the full suite. It is precisely because Google used the full suite as the basis for their language, and not the mobile subset, that Oracle has any problem with them at all.

Talk about a vague patent... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699050)

If, as TFA indicates, the same patent can be violated by iTunes and a spam filter, then it seems pretty likely that the patent is trying to assert a claim over an *idea* and not a specific invention. Can you imagine the impact if Henry Ford had been able to patent "thing with wheels on it and a motor"?

Re:Talk about a vague patent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699150)

Had it been today, he probably could have. There are thousands of patents that are broad enough to bear that comparison, as far as I can tell at least.

Re:Talk about a vague patent... (5, Informative)

kmcarr (1185785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699474)

No, he probably would not have. He fought and defeated the Selden patent, which was just this sort of troll patent.

http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aacarsseldona.htm [about.com]

Re:Talk about a vague patent... (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699708)

wow pretty impressive similarity. Question is with modern courts would selton have lost, and actually if I recall correctly ford's big contribution wasn't the automobile itself, but the manufacturing process. If ford wanted to patent troll, he would have to do so with the assembly line, Back then even the most determined and foolhearty troll wouldn't have believed in patenting an idea like that, These days, I wouldn't put it past anyone.

prior art and related phenomena... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700840)

These days, I wouldn't put it past anyone.

Well, we can't depend on a court to display intelligence. All it can decide is who has the best lawyer. From TFA: For example, as demonstrated by Exhibit 24, when a user receives a new Google Voice message, the Android Operating System and Google Voice software display a notification in the status bar screen for a short period of time.

This seems so damn similar to the decades-old biff, it's not funny.

It's about time patent offices and laws were closed down for good. They no longer serve any useful purpose as far as innovation is concerned (their original function), merely serving to enrich the lawyers who persist in acting like sharks.

Re:Talk about a vague patent... (1)

d6 (1944790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700164)

Perhaps the first patent troll? probably not, but an interesting read that sent me off looking for more info on Selden

thanks for that link.

Re:Talk about a vague patent... (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699598)

Can you imagine the impact if Henry Ford had been able to patent "thing with wheels on it and a motor"?

Nope - Prior art! This might be news to Americans, but Henry Ford didn't invent the car.

Re:Talk about a vague patent... (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699630)

Can you imagine the impact if Henry Ford had been able to patent "thing with wheels on it and a motor"?

Nope - Prior art! This might be news to Americans, but Henry Ford didn't invent the car.

Or, indeed, the train.

Re:Talk about a vague patent... (3, Interesting)

finarfinjge (612748) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699668)

Henry Ford refused to pay George Seldon royalties for his patent for a "Road Engine". Up to that time, every car manufacturer in the United States paid Seldon a royalty. Seldon would today be called a patent troll. The only reason Ford won in court was the vehicle patented by Seldon did not function when finally built according to the idea that Seldon had patented. Had Seldon patented a "Thing with wheels on it and an engine" Ford probably would have lost.

Cheers

JE

Re:Talk about a vague patent... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700264)

Can you imagine the impact if Henry Ford had been able to patent "thing with wheels on it and a motor"?

That right there explains why 'on the internet' is patentable. It doesn't broaden patents, it narrows them.

Re:Talk about a vague patent... (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700290)

More early patent trolling [centennialofflight.gov] . A form of eminent domain is needed as long as people keep trying to claim that we're dealing with real property here. And the states should have a right to tax it as such as long as it can be held privately with restricted access.

Re:Talk about a vague patent... (1)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702536)

As long as it doesn't move, no problem, I have the patent on "mechanical thingies that move" - and I'm not afraid to sue to protect my IP.

If I had a $1 for every patent troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699070)

Somebody needs to fix our broken patent system. There seems to be more trolling than anything else these days with the whole purpose of patents being abused for proffit. With any luck this patent(s) will be made invalid.

I like how this guy waits until all companies involved are doing awesomely well before filing suit.

Re:If I had a $1 for every patent troll (4, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699110)

Patents that don't have a specific invention attached to them should be invalid. Ideas aren't supposed to be patentable, specific inventions are...

Re:If I had a $1 for every patent troll (0)

finarfinjge (612748) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699564)

Ideas aren't supposed to be patentable, specific inventions are...

Patents are words on paper. They are nothing more and nothing less than ideas. Specific inventions are manifestations of ideas. It is the idea that is patented, not the thing.

This patent was filed in 1996. This means it will expire in 2016. At that time, it will go into the public domain and be available for all to use as they see fit, free of charge. This is, in my opinion, superior to copyright. Copyright lasts forever (practically, if not literally). If Allen had copyright, rather than patent, the protection would last much longer. (An American law expert can confirm whether patent expiration timing starts from time of filing or time of grant).

Re:If I had a $1 for every patent troll (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700152)

This patent was filed in 1996. This means it will expire in 2016. At that time, it will go into the public domain and be available for all to use as they see fit, free of charge. This is, in my opinion, superior to copyright. Copyright lasts forever (practically, if not literally). If Allen had copyright, rather than patent, the protection would last much longer. (An American law expert can confirm whether patent expiration timing starts from time of filing or time of grant)

Nonsense. You can have copyright protection on whatever you post here for eternity, I still have the freedom to post what _I_ write and you can do nothing about it. Copyright gives the copyright holder protection from theft, but it doesn't give them any power over anyone else's creation. Patents, on the other hand, stop others from doing the same thing independently.

That's why we complain about _stupid_ patents like these here, because they stop or try to stop people from doing things that are trivial. You will find very little complaints about patents for things that are actually new and innovative and that others wouldn't produce themselves easily.

Re:If I had a $1 for every patent troll (1)

grolschie (610666) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702020)

...Copyright gives the copyright holder protection from theft, ...

Really? I should probably copyright my house and contents then, rather than paying for insurance. ;-)

Re:If I had a $1 for every patent troll (1)

zeroshade (1801584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701616)

Uhm, a patent is supposed to be directions on how to implement an idea. The specific implementation (creation of the invention) is what is patented, not the idea itself.

At least, that's how it's supposed to work......too bad no one actually cares about the rules....

Re:If I had a $1 for every patent troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699752)

Yeah, all kinds of things would be better if people didn't try to game the system, and if the spirit of the law was routinely and intelligently enforced.

Oh well, welcome to the real world.

Groklaw (5, Informative)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699088)

Has been covering this one. Allen's Interval has patented things that absolutely everyone has been using for decades, if not longer, and this may just help with the fight against software patents generally, as virtually no one is untouched -- he's only sued less the half the relevant world so far -- big media is a possible target for some of his claims as well. GoodLuckWithThat, they are even feared by lawmakers. Let's hope they go all out so this stupid mess can be ended. Here's the groklaw current link. [groklaw.net]

Re:Groklaw (2)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699532)

So you think this is a determined effort to actually bring down the patent system by trolling it to death?

I hope so because the thought of Paul Allen seriously suing for a patent on web surfing makes me want to cry.

Re:Groklaw (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699684)

Sadly, that's not the case. Allen's company Interval Licensing exists for the sole purpose of "inventing" stuff, i.e. getting a bunch of people together (there's one very famous SF writer doing part-time work for this firm, I forgot his name though) to brainstorm up this "one step beyond the immediately obvious" crap, patent it, then licence and/or sue. And the company knows that despite the fact that some of this stuff shouldn't be patentable even under the broken patent system, they know that they can still make money by threatening with litigation, getting companies to settle or buy a license.

In the case of these particularly ridiculous patents, the last thing Paul and his company want is a court decision. They want the other companies to pony up in an out of court deal.

Re:Groklaw (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699982)

No, I don't think it's on purpose (though one could hope) -- but I think that may be the result of this if they push it hard enough. At some point it becomes a kind of national issue, when a troll comes out of the woodwork and basically says "all your work for the last couple decades is mine".

At some point the powers that be can't let it happen even if technically/legally it's true in some odd way. Think of the implied surprise wealth transfer by legal force this implies if taken to the limit -- bigger than most whole large companies (including MS).

As we say in stock trading, bears do well, bulls do well, pigs get slaughtered. Whether PA and interval are seriously trying to own the internet or not, it sure looks like waking the system up and pointing some serious flaws in it, which one could hope lead to improvements. Maybe a vain hope, dunno.

Re:Groklaw (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700734)

To make a non car analogy to what you are saying. It's like Paul Allen is Worf trying to clear his father's name and the Court, who is like the Klingon High Council, convinces him to accept his father's guilt because the criminal's (Google, MS, Apple, Facebook, et al), who are like Duras, family has become so powerful that exposing his crimes now would cause great political upheaval in the empire.

Yeah, I can kinda see that except Worf in this case is evil.

Re:Groklaw (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699912)

I'm surprised that Paul Allen had the balls to sue AOL over this. After all AOL, Prodigy, and Compuserve were giving people hyperlinked images and sound before the world wide web was a household name and definitely before Gore cosponsored a bill that gave consumer access to the internet in '92 with the Information and Infrastructure Act.

Re:Groklaw (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699950)

List of parties being sued:
  • AOL
  • Apple
  • eBay
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Netflix
  • Office Depot
  • OfficeMax
  • Staples
  • Yahoo
  • YouTube

He's not suing the entire world but he's suing some pretty big players. Players that have the money and wherewithall to see this to the bitter end.

The details of the suit:

  • 507: Categorize and correlate information before segmenting and presenting it to a user. Basically any display like Yahoo! News that separates out categories. All parties sued.
  • 652: Present information to the user in a non-distracting way from the user's primary interaction. AOL Message pop-ups from the taskbar, Apple widgets, Google gadgets, Yahoo gadgets.
  • 314: Present information to the user in a non-distracting way from the user's primary interaction. Similar to 652 but a tad more interactive. Covers all IM and talk clients.
  • 682: Indicating to the user that a particular online content is of interest. Covers the "other items that might interest you" feature of many, many websites.

Looking at this patents, all of them are very generic ideas and not anything that should be patentable.

Re:Groklaw (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700366)

Perhaps the Nazgul will do us a favor and sweep down upon this company, rending it to pieces and providing warning through the broken skulls to anyone foolish enough to do such a thing again.

Oh, and if they fail there's always Apple's lawyers too.

Re:Groklaw (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700370)

The one thing that makes me sad about this list is that SCO isn't somehow included.

Why is Amazon missing from the list then? (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700540)

652 Patent

Then Amazon should be on the list. '...other people who purchased yyy also bought xxx'.
I wonder why they aren't on the list?
Perhaps Mr Allen is a shareholder in Amazon inc?

Re:Groklaw (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701090)

I have a pocket watch hanging beside my monitor to "present information to the user in a non-distracting way from the user's primary interaction." Once Allen has finished with the biggies, he'll eventually work his way down to me. I've been doing that since 1992 or so. Bring it!

Re:Groklaw (3, Interesting)

smallfries (601545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701962)

652 in particular seems like a weird one. The patent was filed in '96 and Windows gained the taskbar in '95 with widgets that display notifications. It's not even as if the windows taskbar was the first to do this, but it is a mainstream application that meets the specific claims that are being cited a year before the patent was filed.

Re:Groklaw (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702514)

Here's a toast to Mr. Allen's health, which may depend on there being no significant Russian or Sicilian investors in any of the following firms:

        * AOL
        * Apple
        * eBay
        * Facebook
        * Google
        * Netflix
        * Office Depot
        * OfficeMax
        * Staples
        * Yahoo
        * YouTube

Note that I do not mean to imply any judgment regarding Russian or Sicilian business practices in saying this.

Re:Groklaw (1)

GeoSanDiego (703197) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702598)

Uh Oh. My local supermarket is going to be upset when they realize they have violated this patent. Right there in the cereal aisle: Grouping healthy cereals together, kids cereals together, etc.

Re:Groklaw (1)

KnownIssues (1612961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701144)

It seems to me, in a country where law is based on precedent and more money buying better lawyers, a winning strategy would be to sue the least wealthy of the offenders, who don't have the financial resources to defend themselves, and then sue bigger and bigger offenders, using your now established precedent to help win.

What's next... (0)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699136)

A patent on shaving one's head?

There are two types of patenters (3, Interesting)

kaptink (699820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699178)

There are two types of patenters. The first patents invetions he or she built or designed to stop others from copying it. The second patents vague ideas that do not tie to any invention or product with the goal of suing anyone who might possibly be seen as infringing. Otherwise known as a Patent Troll.

This guy appears to be the latter. Given he is a Microsofty doesnt help him either.

Re:There are two types of patenters (-1, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit332 (1966804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699472)

there is only one type of idiot... kaptink appears to be just that.

what about corporate employees given cash bonuses for patents regardless of content? what about lawyers acting in good faith to protect inventor acquaintances?

keep painting your tiny world in black and white.

you're an idiot.

Re:There are two types of patenters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699664)

> what about lawyers acting in good faith

Please, do continue!

Re:There are two types of patenters (-1, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit333 (1966806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699768)

you deny the potential for a lawyer to act in good faith? perhaps a lawyer assisting his daughter while pillaging everyone else.

in the world of logical extremism where kaptink chooses to spew their ignorance, the potential for contradiction is in itself a contradiction.

please, cower some more, feeb. attempt to further your prejudicial stereotypes while taking no responsibility for yourself or your ideals.

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

you're completely pathetic.

Re:There are two types of patenters (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700788)

Two words...

Try Decaff

Re:There are two types of patenters (-1, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit334 (1966808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700892)

did your mother name you "ArhcAngel"? why do you cower behind a chosen pseudonym? what are you afraid of?

you're completely pathetic.

Re:There are two types of patenters (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701324)

Add Lithium, Xanax, and Prozac to the Decaff.

Re:There are two types of patenters (0)

MichaelKristopeit333 (1966806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701624)

are you licensed to prescribe medication? do you only attempt to alter the psyche of individuals who point out your ignorant hypocrisy, or do you free willingly suggest others drug themselves without prejudice?

cower some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:There are two types of patenters (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701796)

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Re:There are two types of patenters (0)

MichaelKristopeit338 (1967530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701928)

who is "I"? you're exactly what you've claimed to be: NOTHING.

cower some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:There are two types of patenters (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702050)

I think someone is running a bot on /.

Re:There are two types of patenters (0)

MichaelKristopeit340 (1967534) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702204)

how many more times today will you insist to demonstrate yourself to be incorrect while taking no responsibility for your statments?

you're an ignorant hypocrite.

cower some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:There are two types of patenters (0)

MichaelKristopeit340 (1967534) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702830)

prescribing medication without a license is a felony in every state, while also being a felony on the federal level in the jurisdiction of the DEA.

cower some more, feeb.

you're more than completely pathetic. you're a felon.

JUSTICE WILL FIND YOU.

Re:There are two types of patenters (1)

zeroshade (1801584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701658)

Hurrah! The troll!Bot is back! :)

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

you're completely pathetic.

BOOO!!! I wanted new material! You dissapoint me!

Re:There are two types of patenters (1)

MichaelKristopeit337 (1967528) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701792)

ur mum's face dissapoint me!

cower behind your chosen pseudonym some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:There are two types of patenters (1)

zeroshade (1801584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701894)

Take last thing I said and turn it around: check!

Make comment about having a pseudonym: Check!

Use canned line "you're completely pathetic.": check!

Come up with something new and different or contribute meaningfully to the conversation:

Seems you're missing something =)

Re:There are two types of patenters (1)

MichaelKristopeit339 (1967532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702008)

continue to cowardly post ignorant hypocrisy while claiming no responsibility, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:There are two types of patenters (0)

MichaelKristopeit334 (1966808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699816)

the truth = flamebait.

ignorant marketeers pushing their prejudicial stereotypes = interesting.

slashdot = stagnated

Re:There are two types of patenters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34701618)

the truth = flamebait.

I'm pretty sure you got moderated flamebait for personally attacking kaptink and calling him an idiot. Whether kaptink is or is not an idiot had nothing to do with the moderation.

ignorant marketeers pushing their prejudicial stereotypes = interesting.

Just because you disagree with someone doesn't (shouldn't) mean their opinion is invalid or uninteresting.

slashdot = stagnated

I prefer to think of it as the moderation system at work keeping discussions civil.

Posting anonymously so as to not undo my moderating--and no, I didn't mod your comment flamebait.

Re:There are two types of patenters (0)

MichaelKristopeit336 (1967526) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701708)

demonstrably provable ignorance = interesting.

such proof of ignorance = flamebait.

i am forced to think of it as exactly what it is. slashdot = stagnated.

cower some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:There are two types of patenters (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699570)

Wrong. There is another type. Companies who patent ideas they are using to keep patent trolls from patenting it later and suing them. These are "defensive" patents.

Patents and not so easy to classify (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699986)

And then there is the startup / entrepreneur who gets patents for their new products, but through normal commerce their startup or new product fails. However, they still have their patent, and others may be moving successfully in the space they innovated. In that case, the entrepreneur is forced, due to shareholder obligations, to pursue any participants in their space for patent infringement, successful or not. If the management team does not pursue legal recourse in light of their successful patent but failed product, the management team can be kicked out and sued by the shareholders for a failure of corporate governance and misuse of invested funds.

Re:There are two types of patenters (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700996)

Wrong. There is another type. Companies who patent ideas they are using to keep patent trolls from patenting it later and suing them. These are "defensive" patents.

The problem with excusing such behavior is that those companies have a tendency to go out of business and get bought by patent trolls, and because they were the first company with the idea... you get the idea. Or the board decides the CEO isn't making enough money and replaces him/her with someone more litigious, who fires all the engineers, hires a dozen lawyers, and turns the company into a patent troll.

I don't care how big the company is; deliberately vague patents are inexcusable.

Re:There are two types of patenters (2)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700112)

Err, those are the same thing. If I get a patent on an idea, which is what software patents are, then I can sue anyone infringing. Copying and infringing are the same thing.

The problem is that we are using 17th century solutions (patents) for modern problems. Its laughable that we even take these things seriously. Sadly, its 100% legal to patent "one click shopping" and other concepts. Software patents are too vague by their nature. Patents are old fashioned and make no sense in a modern economy. Perhaps someday our leaders will understand this.

Re:There are two types of patenters (1)

Rysc (136391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701860)

Err, those are the same thing

No, they're not.

If I make something and then get a patent on some or all of it, that's legitimate. If I don't make anything but one day say "You know what would be cool? Buying things on the internet but, like, you don't have to fill out a whole form, you only have to click once!" and then patenting it, then later suing online merchants who actually do this.

Overly broad patents based on real products are also problematic, too, of course.

Go Allen! (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699290)

And another example of how terribly broken the US patent system is. Maybe this time things will change. Until then I support every patent troll out there.

Don't be naive... (1)

injustus (1429537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699296)

He clearly wants to loose.

Re:Don't be naive... (0)

shking (125052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699486)

...to loose the hounds upon the peasants? ...Toulouse-Lautrec?

I suspect that your spelling is a touch loose [reference.com] . I think you meant "lose [reference.com] ".

Re:Don't be naive... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700026)

...to loose the hounds upon the peasants? ...Toulouse-Lautrec?
I suspect that your spelling is a touch loose [reference.com]. I think you meant "lose [reference.com]".

I think he _meant_ loose. From my dictionary:
"Loose" verb [ trans. ]
set free; release : the hounds have been loosed.
untie; unfasten : the ropes were loosed.
relax (one's grip) : he loosed his grip suddenly.

What facebook should do (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699330)

is to cancel all accounts from Paul Allen's family and anyone working at his company, and send them an email saying that they are not allowed to have a new account until this patent case is solved.
I'm pretty sure that if this guy has a daughter, and she cannot have a Facebook account, Mark Zuckerberg will be able to hear the screams from his own house.

Re:What facebook should do (1)

TechNit (448230) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700646)

is to cancel all accounts from Paul Allen's family and anyone working at his company, and send them an email saying that they are not allowed to have a new account until this patent case is solved. I'm pretty sure that if this guy has a daughter, and she cannot have a Facebook account, Mark Zuckerberg will be able to hear the screams from his own house.

Well now, that is a DAMN GOOD IDEA!!! The wailing will be relentless!! Bummer is - PA has never married....... For this to work PA himself needs to feel the pain.

Paul Allen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699338)

Seriously! Doesnt this guy have something better to do.

They say that the Internet... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699340)

is the Wild West.

It's not the Wild West until you can take people like Paul Allen and shoot 'em, like in a Sergio Leone movie.

--
BMO

Vagueware Patents (2)

Krazy Kanuck (1612777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699342)

From TFA:

The relevant patent is US Patent No. 6,034,652 on an "attention manager for occupying the peripheral attention of a person in the vicinity of a display device".

I pretty sure you could apply this definition to TVs, Dashboards (Cars, Planes, etc), Phones, Planes, Toasters, Tickers (Banks, ESPN, Weather Channel, Ads), Operating Systems (Windows Sidebar), Signs (Street, Construction, Hwy Advisory), and on and on.

So good luck with that. I'm still waiting for someone to patent storing data in a binary format.

Re:Vagueware Patents (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699506)

Why the narrow definition? I already own the patent on "storing, manipulating and using data in any form whatsoever", My lawyer is just checking whether I can file a posthumous lawsuit against Gutenberg.

Re:Vagueware Patents (1)

Krazy Kanuck (1612777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699914)

Which is why I'd make a lousy patent troll.

Re:Vagueware Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699934)

When I read your comment I actually thought it was a joke comment at first.

prior art? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699582)

wait..."peripheral attention"?

didn't both AOL and ICQ back in the late 90's use those annoying flashing taskbar icons when there was a new unread message?

Re:prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34700002)

This patent was filed in 1996.

Re:prior art? (1)

timelorde (7880) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700004)

The AOL Instant Messenger software infringes by displaying information including, e.g., email

The NextStep system on my desk has been doing this since at least 1991, which is before Interval Research was even founded. The Mail app icon changes whenever there's new mail available, in "an unobtrusive manner that does not distract the user from his primary interaction".

Oh, wait, I've got it configured so that it also plays a barking dog sound when the mail arrives - not quite unobtrusive.

I bet that's probably patented as well...

Re:prior art? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700298)

even more reason why I detest software patents

Paul Allen patents the Internet (2)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699610)

Corrected headline .. :)

Re:Paul Allen patents the Internet (2)

d6 (1944790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699674)

Al Gore is gonna be pissed...

Guilty of Apples to Apples comparison? (1)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699634)

Really, the defendants are guilty of "comparing related information" using a computer system. If data is not related then exactly what is the point of comparing it? If the patent was about how to compare Apples to Oranges then perhaps there might be something to it, but this patent fails all reasonable tests for validity. Mr Allen better be ready to pay all court costs for all the defendants legal fees, and there will be many.

Re:Guilty of Apples to Apples comparison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699888)

Mr Allen better be ready to pay all court costs for all the defendants legal fees, and there will be many.

Sadly, the lawyers win again.

prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699652)

several hundred years ago if you walked into a mens shop and said you wanted to buy a shirt or blouse or whatever they called them at the time the helpful clerk probably would have offered some cufflinks or a tie and suggested that maybe you would be interested in a suit as well. This is just another example of taking something people have been doing forever, adding "on the Internet" to it and suggesting that its an invention.

Absolute madness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699666)

As the rest of the world comes online we can't afford the massive amounts of time and money wasted on this nonsensical crap. USG needs to do something to fix this it is beyond insane.

AP (1)

Dgawld (1251898) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699680)

And, uh- PAUL ALLEN. I killed Paul Allen with an axe. In the face. His body is dissolving in a bathtub in Hell's Kitchen.

What is with Paul Allen? (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699690)

Of the two founders of MS he was FAR less of a jerk than Gates. What's up with him lately? All of a sudden I'm getting wave after wave of Evil (TM) vibes?

Re:What is with Paul Allen? (1)

Melted_Igloo (1482045) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699962)

They cant win by competing because Microsoft is a giant slow moving behemoth They already lost an anti-trust case in the past Patent trolling is their last desperate hope before they go extinct

Re:What is with Paul Allen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34700006)

I am wondering whether his money was the original hidden support and impetus behind SCO's lawsuit against the world....

Re:What is with Paul Allen? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700226)

Since Bill has slowed his evil down to a trickle Paul sees the opportunity to catch up.

Re:What is with Paul Allen? (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700514)

The fish always rots from head on down. Gates and Allen set by example the odious behavior that MS prizes. Allen was no less a jerk than Gates, just presented a more polished persona to the press.

Is it ever gonna be enough? (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701218)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Allen [wikipedia.org]
"Paul Gardner Allen (born January 21, 1953) is an American investor and philanthropist who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates and is one of the wealthiest people in the world with a personal wealth of US$12.7 billion as of 2010."

Reminds me of this song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRtd8ArvH_s [youtube.com]

Al Gore should sue Paul Allen (1)

RealityThreek (534082) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701258)

.. since he actually invented the internet. (The lawsuit involves 300 patents Allen claims were pivotal to the development of the internet).

Paul Allen's Downfall as a Human (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702294)

Paul Allen has gone from being moderately useful to technology (a single unified Windows platform) to becoming an absolute pariah to the average user. If he just went away now quietly 99% of the world wouldn't miss him for a moment.
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