Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

USPTO Rejects Many of Oracle's Android Claims

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the get-outta-here-with-that-nonsense dept.

Android 154

sfcrazy writes "In yet another setback for Oracle, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected 17 of 21 claims associated with one of the patents in Java that Oracle asserted Google had violated with Android. Groklaw reports, 'In the reexamination of U.S. Patent 6192476 the USPTO has issued an office action in which it rejects 17 of the patent's 21 claims.'"

cancel ×

154 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Software Patent Rejections (5, Insightful)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541326)

17 down, tens to hundreds of thousands to go.

Re:Software Patent Rejections (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541776)

It's not 17 of 21 patents, it's 17 of 21 claims on a single patent. That means still less than 1 patent rejected in this case.

Re:Software Patent Rejections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541860)

Oh, no... If ONE of the crucial dependent claims dies, then the WHOLE thing dies. With 17 being invalidated, the odds are strong that a critical one died.

Re:Software Patent Rejections (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541934)

Can anyone tell whether those 4 remaining claims were independent claims or dependent claims? The dependent claims aren't worth much if the independent claims on which they depend are rendered invalid.

Re:Software Patent Rejections (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542212)

According to one poster on Groklaw, no dependent claims remain. The surviving claims are 8, 9, 17, and 18, which depend on 7, 8, 15, and 16 respectively. I haven't verified this.

Re:Software Patent Rejections (2)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542258)

First, IANAL.

The surviving claims are 8, 9, 17, and 18, which read as follows [google.com] :

8. The method of claim 7, wherein:

        the method further includes the step of setting a flag associated with said first routine to indicate that said first routine is privileged; and
        the step of determining that said next routine is said first routine includes determining that a flag associated with said next routine indicates said next routine is privileged.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the step of setting said flag associated with said first routine includes setting a flag in a frame in said calling hierarchy associated with said thread.

17. The computer readable medium of claim 16, wherein:

        the computer readable medium further comprises one or more instructions for performing the step of setting a flag associated with said first routine to indicate that said first routine is privileged; and
        the step of determining that said next routine is said first routine includes determining that a flag associated with said next routine indicates said next routine is privileged.

18. The computer readable medium of claim 17, wherein the step of setting said flag associated with said first routine includes setting a flag in a frame in said calling hierarchy associated with said thread.

My understanding is that all four of these claims are dependent claims, but I'll leave it for others more knowledgeable in patent law to comment.

Re:Software Patent Rejections (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36543190)

Wow, flags! Who would ever think to use those?

Re:Software Patent Rejections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36543384)

First, IANAL.

I'm such a childish person that I laugh at this every time.

Re:Software Patent Rejections (3, Insightful)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542150)

Correction: 46 down, 122 to go [groklaw.net] .

There's seven patents in question, with a total of 168 claims being made. 17 of those claims from one patent were just rejected. Two other patents were also examined with claims rejected. Groklow projects that a total of about 48 claims will survive after all is said and done. After that, the question is how many of those 48 are independent claims.

Surprising statistic: over 90% of claims are rejected when reexamined. Really?!?

The oracle is never wrong! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541360)

USPTO (who the heck is that? What kind of fucked up sadistic mom would name her son "USPTO"?) is going to be punished by the gods, probably eaten by snakes or something, for disssing the Oracle. Stupid, men are so stupid!

Re:The oracle is never wrong! (1)

Sylak (1611137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542548)

He'll just suffer Agamemnon's fate and be murdered by his wife and Lieutenant after a triumphant homecoming.

Re:The oracle is never wrong! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36543290)

Yeah exactly, just like Homer Simpson was killed by Bart because of the thing with Lysa!

Let's see Florian Muller spin this ... (2)

dc29A (636871) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541426)

Let's see Florian Muller spin this ...

Re:Let's see Florian Muller spin this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541618)

Let's see Florian Muller spin this ...

What's to spin? Look at the number of patents still standing. 17 of 21 of ONE Patent. Another way to look at is 122 of 168 claims were asserted and survive (72%).

Re:Let's see Florian Muller spin this ... (1)

eyecorporations (1401035) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541716)

I applaud you for at least attempting to RTFA. But you didn't read it well enough.

In the three cases where an office action has issued the stats are 66 claims, 16 claims not subject to reexam, 50 claims subject to reexam, 46 claims rejected, and 20 claims surviving

20 claims surviving out of 66 is more like 30%.

Re:Let's see Florian Muller spin this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541806)

Yes, only 30% of the claims are surviving closer scrutiny. Yes, it's likely that that number would remain approximately constant if all the claims were examined. However (and IANAL, so I don't know if this is possible, or why it would happen), the easiest way to get the 102 other claims through is to not have the patent office re-examine them.

Re:Let's see Florian Muller spin this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542282)

You guys really have the biggest boner for Florian Muller, don't you?

Because Oracle Suxors Of Course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541442)

This Is Why We Can Never Have Anything Good Around Here.

3... 2.... 1... (0)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541454)

Cue Florian trying to spin this with more blatant lies and misinformation!

Re:3... 2.... 1... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541580)

He has to eat too. Florian, Rush, Beck and the rest of the professional trolls have to make a living just like everyone else.

Re:3... 2.... 1... (3, Funny)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541724)

That makes correcting the flaws in humanity they represent relatively easy. Take away their food.

Liability (3, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541460)

It looks like costly mistakes were made by the USPTO. In a fair world, the original patent examiners should be held personally liable for all of Google's legal fees in this matter. That lesson would most likely make them take a little more care to properly evaluate the next bogus patent application that crosses their desks, before millions of dollars of unnecessary costs are created.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541532)

please tell me where i can find these people willing to work for negative millions of dollars, I would like to hire them.

Re:Liability (4, Interesting)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541538)

If patent examiners would be "liable" then you can as well ask that judges should be ...

What I mean is: if people working for any government agency would be liable (and not the agency or the government) then all those agencies would come to a grinding halt.

Or even more likely no one would want to work for them ...

Re:Liability (3, Insightful)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541646)

The correct answer is that the organization should absorb the costs and have internal disciplinary rules to penalize or terminate the employees in question. This is what any organization would do if they took the problem seriously.

Re:Liability (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541742)

Correct, but in this case, does 'the organization' operate at a profit? I think they operate at a loss, which means the taxpayer will be covering the costs.

Re:Liability (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541892)

Correct, but in this case, does 'the organization' operate at a profit? I think they operate at a loss, which means the taxpayer will be covering the costs.

The taxpayer *should* cover the costs, since the taxpayers created this out-of-control system of government-granted entitlements in the first place, and they keep reelecting politicians who protect it.

If the government built a dam above your house, and then it ruptured, would it be fair to make you eat the costs of your destroyed property? Of course not. The taxpayers would be expected to foot the bill for the mistake. Maybe next time they'd take care to elect a government that provided better oversight.

Re:Liability (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542654)

The taxpayer *should* cover the costs, since the taxpayers created this out-of-control system of government-granted entitlements in the first place, and they keep reelecting politicians who protect it.

Of those taxpayers, many may well have opposed both the entitlements and the politicians responsible; they shouldn't be punished simply for being in the minority. Responsibility for the consequences lies exclusively with those whose actions contributed to the damage.

Re:Liability (1)

TemporalBeing (803363) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542918)

Correct, but in this case, does 'the organization' operate at a profit? I think they operate at a loss, which means the taxpayer will be covering the costs.

The taxpayer *should* cover the costs, since the taxpayers created this out-of-control system of government-granted entitlements in the first place, and they keep reelecting politicians who protect it.

If the government built a dam above your house, and then it ruptured, would it be fair to make you eat the costs of your destroyed property? Of course not. The taxpayers would be expected to foot the bill for the mistake. Maybe next time they'd take care to elect a government that provided better oversight.

Agreed. Government should bear the costs for failures in the systems it operates, e.g. picking up the fees and reimbursing awards related to invalidated patents/patent claims. That should be part of the budget in the US PTO; only then will Congress get the picture and probably solve the real problem.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541676)

If patent examiners would be "liable" then you can as well ask that judges should be ...

What I mean is: if people working for any government agency would be liable (and not the agency or the government) then all those agencies would come to a grinding halt.

Or even more likely no one would want to work for them ...

REMINDER: This is Slashdot. The GP most likely actually DOES support grinding the government to a complete halt and making it unreasonably inconvenient to work in a government agency, with the ultimate goal being the complete eradication of said government, no matter the costs, means, or long-term consequences.

Proceed with this in mind and simply accept that this is how these people think, and you'll get out without stress-related aneurysms.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541688)

Did your post get cut off? Because I'm still looking for the negative parts here. Everyone else seems to have personal responsibility.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541744)

The part where the entire world stops because no one wants to work for any sort of government or judiciary position? Are you stupid or just sleepy?

Re:Liability (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541736)

What I mean is: if people working for any government agency would be liable (and not the agency or the government) then all those agencies would come to a grinding halt.

Or even more likely no one would want to work for them ...

A plan with no drawbacks!

I want to see the military have to hold a bake sale and all that.

Re:Liability (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541834)

Yes, like the days before the abomination that is income tax. I think they were called bond sales though.

Re:I want to see the military hold a bake sale (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542342)

The Cake is a Weapon!

Personal liability already applies (2)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541750)

If a government employee directs a contractor to do work outside of the scope of their contract, the government still has to pay for it. The government then, in turn, bills the employee for the total cost of the work so ordered. There is no limit that I know of to how far the government will bill their employee for the damage; if they cost the government 2500 man hours at the rate of $200/hour, the employee has to reimburse the government to the tune of $500k.

Every year, a handful of government employees find out the hard way that the government still has some accountability here. Yet the system works just fine.

Re:Liability (1)

Plugh (27537) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542512)

Easier solution: get the government out of it, so that multiple private agencies could compete, both for the registration of their novel ideas, and for adjudication where a party claims damages.

Monopolies generally suck. Governments, by definition, create monopolies of every product or service they touch.

And yes, thinking like this will eventually make you an anarcocapitalist [freekeene.com]

Re:Liability (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36543402)

Easier solution: get the government out of it, so that multiple private agencies could compete, both for the registration of their novel ideas, and for adjudication where a party claims damages.

Right. So who has standing to adjudicate a dispute? Who figures that out? A government? So there you are, right back to that abhorrent concept. Oh, I get it, you want the government to shield a private company so it can make some money out of this..... Hey, works for ICANN [slashdot.org] , I suppose it could work for Mr. Wu's Superior Patent Filing Company. But. But. I filed my patent application with GoDaddy Patents. They don't recognize Mr. Wu. Now what do I do? Hire another lawyer?

Go read something other than Ms. Rand for a change.

Re:Liability (1)

Plugh (27537) | more than 3 years ago | (#36543584)

No, as I stated, I'm an anarocapitalist. There's no need to rely on a monopoly government. The question "who has standing" depends on the rules of the specific arbitration organization you're dealing with.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541550)

It looks like costly mistakes were made by the USPTO. In a fair world, the original patent examiners should be held personally liable for all of Google's legal fees in this matter. That lesson would most likely make them take a little more care to properly evaluate the next bogus patent application that crosses their desks, before millions of dollars of unnecessary costs are created.

Yes, just like the original coder that wrote the bug that resulted in a vulnerability should be held personally responsible for all of the costs associated with patching it and fixing any damage done by exploits.

or perhaps you see what is wrong with your statement now?

Re:Liability (5, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541592)

"Personally liable"? What kind of asshole are you? If it's truly an individual examiner's fault, maybe hold them personally accountable, such as a bad mark on their annual performance evaluation. But extracting financial restitution for multi-million dollar damages between two major corporations, from some mid-level technician doing what they thought was their job, is not reasonable. Hyperbole does not help the discourse.

Re:Liability (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541632)

Why not? Doctors are held personally liable for their mistakes. This kind of mistake costs real people at real businesses millions of dollars. Some are even driven out of existence, with careers and life savings destroyed in the process. Why should they suffer?

If nobody will work under those conditions, let the USPTO buy malpractice insurance for their examiners. When the premiums go through the roof on an individual who keeps screwing up, then the patent office will have a good incentive to fire him.

Re:Liability (3, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541760)

Doctors get paid a lot more money. Doctors are virtually forced to buy insurance to cover those liabilities, too.

If we made the patent examiners individually liable, they would have to also buy insurance, which would mean we'd have to pay them more to cover it. In the end, it doesn't help -us-. It just costs us money.

Re:Liability (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541908)

Real bargain in my eyes compared to all the court costs and wasted time with companies fighting each other rather than competing to producing new and better products. In a fight like this nobody wins but the lawyers. Pay the PTO examiners $500k Pay them $1M, attract the best and brightest possible. Allow a PTO examiner to build a team of researchers with their income, or do it 100% themselves. Hold them accountable for their work. I don't think it's too much to ask.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542364)

Do you know how many examiners are needed just to do the footwork of examining all the applications submitted to the USPTO? If you paid them 1M each, the USPTO would very quickly go bankrupt and no patents would be issued. Genius idea.

Re:Liability (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542636)

Pay the PTO examiners $500k Pay them $1M, attract the best and brightest possible.

Since these guys are paid with our taxes I assume you are willing to pay double the amount of income tax to cover this massive pay hike?

Re:Liability (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541924)

Please read at least the first 50 words of a post before posting replies. Thx.

Re:Liability (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36543444)

You do realize that physician malpractice does little to stop bad doctors. I would definitely NOT use this as an analogy. Medical Malpractice is really just a bad outcomes lottery - something bad happens to you, you might get some money. More often than not, the lawyers are the only ones leaving the scene pleased with themselves.....

Re:Liability (0)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541914)

When the premiums go through the roof on an individual who keeps screwing up, then the patent office will have a good incentive to fire him.

Why? It is just taxpayers money. There is always more where that came from.
No, I don't really beleive that, but many government workers seem to operate as if they do.

Re:Liability (5, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542264)

Why not? Doctors are held personally liable for their mistakes.

Hahahahah seriously, you believe that?

Preface: my wife is a doctor.

My wife never even SEEs her malpractice insurance bill, the group she works for pays it. Second, assuming they kill a man, intentionally, and its proven in court, the absolute WORST thing that happens to them ... they can't practice medicine again ... IN THAT STATE, they just go somewhere else. Insurance pays the bill. They get boarded in the new state, and go one continuing to be a shitty doctor. Maybe they can't practice in California, because they bother to look at things like that, but thats just California, no body else does (well, no body else where you'd actually want to live, North Dakota and those states might, never bothered looking). The feds really don't give a flying fuck, the state boards are the ones that pull licenses.

Doctors are no more liable than I am if you shoot your wife. They are supposed to be, but theory and reality are entirely different in most cases, especially this one.

Doctors are even less liable than drivers. Drivers of cars are required to have insurance as well, but you're a lot more likely to go to jail for doing something stupid in a car than any doctor.

I've seen doctors get their license revoked for being complete scumbags in our state, literally move their office 2 blocks down the street, to the other side of the state line, and open up for business a week later. We're talking about a doctor who prescribed drugs at levels that were unacceptable to any other doctor, gave out pain pills like there was no tomorrow (I know people who have signed prescription pads from the guy so they could refill themselves.), put people on long term IV antibiotics and destroy their bodies in various ways, and flat out lie about all of it, with video and audio taped evidence ...

The ONLY, and I do mean ONLY reason he lost his license? The BlueCross and BlueShield were tired of paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient every month. Not because of all the bad shit he was doing, not because he was hurting people, but because the insurance company of patients didn't want to pay anymore.

The idea that doctors are liable is about as funny as the idea that politicians are liable for what they do.

Re:Liability (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542338)

Sounds like a brilliant way to make more money for attorneys.

Re:Liability (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542896)

Why not? Doctors are held personally liable for their mistakes.

No, they aren't.

They are held personally responsible for failing to practice at the "level at which an ordinary, prudent professional having the same training and experience in good standing in a same or similar community would practice under the same or similar circumstances" (not the average professional of those descriptions, but essentially the minimum level at which an 'ordinary, prudent' professional would operate.)

The vast majority of all medical mistakes don't reach the level. Just like most patent mistakes don't involve failing below the standard of an ordinary, prudent professional with the same training and experience in good standing within the community of patent examiners under the same or similar conditions.

So extending professional malpractice liability of the kind that applies in the medical (or legal, etc.) profession to patent examiners would probably not imply liability for the kind of "errors" at issue here, which are fairly endemic to the patent system and not the result of unusual personal failures.

Re:Liability (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541706)

Why not? In many countries, Washington Accord [wikipedia.org] qualified engineers are held personally liable for their mistakes, just like doctors (and therefore carry liability insurance).

If patents are so gosh-darn important, I don't see why we employ "mid-level technicians" to review them.

Re:Liability (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541778)

Why not? In many countries, Washington Accord [wikipedia.org] qualified engineers are held personally liable for their mistakes, just like doctors (and therefore carry liability insurance).

If patents are so gosh-darn important, I don't see why we employ "mid-level technicians" to review them.

For the same reasons we pay teachers, cops and firefighters crap salaries, perhaps?

Re:Liability (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542008)

The difference is when qualified engineers (PEs) make mistakes, people might die. That's why only qualified engineers can sign off on specifications and the path to qualification is not easy. The last time I checked it took at least 5 years and a fairly stringent test for an engineer to get their professional license. That's after they get their degree.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542180)

Yeah so?

If the patent for a cure to a wide spread disease was incorrectly handled, millions of people might die.

Re:Liability (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542410)

That's a specious argument. You are citing a hypothetical while there are past examples of engineering mistakes. Also people might die if a bus driver is distracted by a pretty female with a short skirt. Let's ban all short skirts or make sure all bus drivers are asexual.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36543484)

I know how to spin it...
Corporations are people according to the Supreme Court, so when a bad patent kills a company that examiner is guilty of murder!
HA!

Exactly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542146)

The business of government is 100% at fault when the business of government issues a bogus patent. It was the executives in the business of government that designed and implemented patent law, not the little guy they hired to do the dirty work.

Re:Liability (2)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541596)

In a fair world, the original patent examiners should be held personally liable for all of Google's legal fees in this matter.

Yeah, that will fix the patent process for sure. Implement that rule and you will have exactly zero patents issued moving forward.

There is no way a patent examiner will have perfect knowledge, and having an expectation that they will is not reasonable. There is nothing "fair" about your concept.

Re:Liability (2)

fnj (64210) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541670)

Yeah, that will fix the patent process for sure. Implement that rule and you will have exactly zero patents issued moving forward.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Re:Liability (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541858)

Depends on your perspective.

If you are someone who creates new things, the inability to patent and protect your invention greatly reduces the incentive to continue your work, bringing your invention to market and likely employing others.

If you are someone who lives off of the ideas of others, cannot comprehend that patents protect the small guys just as they do the mega-corporations, and are bitter that some get ahead while you do not, then by all means, shut inventors down and kill the economic benefit they provide.

* Full disclosure - I have several patents issued, several pending, and run a small business that would not be possible if we could not patent the things we innovate.

Re:Liability (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541986)

What if you're someone who creates new things, then has them forcefully confiscated by a troll wielding a bunch of invalid patents that you can't afford to contest? That's a bigger injustice than anything you have presented.

Just like they say about criminal cases, it would be better to have 100 valid patents rejected than for the patent office to approve a single invalid patent.

Re:Liability (2)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542662)

Until we see you here next week whining about how your valid patent was rejected and now you can't commercialize your idea.

When you make the game completely fair, you reduce it to the least common denominator (usually much lower than what you thought it would be), such that no one wants to play anymore. Your proposed cure is worse than the disease.

Re:Liability (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36543056)

It's hard to see how the software patent situation could possibly get any worse than it is.

Many more people have been bankrupted and/or put out of work than people like you have been helped by software patents. I'm sorry, but if you were to lose your government entitlement, it would be a small price to pay to restore sanity to the software industry.

The software industry was a thriving field long before the courts legislated software patents into existence from the bench. They're just not necessary.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36543240)

Please stop making emotional arguments. Your first sentence alone carries evidence of three separate crimes against logic (an ad hominem, a contradictio in termini and a non-sequitur).

Then you go off on a tangent railing against "fair" play, without seemingly bothering to explain what's fair and what's not, sprinkled with some FUD about "lowering standards". You do not seem to realize that we have yet to see the first filing for truly patentable subject matter when it comes to software.

Re:Liability (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541734)

Yeah, that will fix the patent process for sure. Implement [personal liability] and you will have exactly zero patents issued moving forward.

Sarcasm fail. Personal liability would indeed go a long way towards fixing the process.

Do doctors cease to practice because they are liable for their mistakes?

They do not. They take out insurance, and they do a better job.

Re:Liability (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541948)

Doesn't this insurance and the constant barrage of lawsuits contribute to the astronomical cost of health-care in the US?

Re:Liability (2)

Dunega (901960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542576)

Yes, but we'll ignore that while we're doing some irrational patent bashing.

Re:Liability (2)

LibRT (1966204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542056)

Actually, they often do, when the insurance rates for a particular specialty become prohibitively high. And fewer people go into that particular specialty too. As an example, there was a significant shortage of ob/gyns until various states passed tort reform (which limits damages and in the process reduces insurance premiums): https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Obstetrics_and_gynaecology#Recent_shortage_in_US [wikimedia.org]

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541770)

Yeah, that will fix the patent process for sure. Implement that rule and you will have exactly zero patents issued moving forward.

Then, indeed, the process is fixed.

Require originality bonds instead (3, Insightful)

gregor-e (136142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541796)

Liability would never work. The USPTO should require all applicants to post a bond of, say, $10,000 per claim that guarantees the originality of each claim. Then there would be a period of testing time during which a team of challengers who are knowledgeable in the field would be given the opportunity to come up with an invention to satisfy the claims made. If any of the ideas they come up with is substantially similar to the invention in the application, then the challengers get the bounty for whatever claims they invalidated. If the claim challengers don't come up with a substantially similar invention, then the spark of originality is proved, the applicant is refunded their bond(s) and the patent is granted.

Google FUD (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541620)

Alternatively, you could say, "USPTO accepts 9 of 14 claims on one patent in the case." Why is this article looking at a single patent and not all? Smells like FUD.

Re:Google FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541782)

Err... because it's an ongoing process?

Re:Google FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541932)

Alternatively, you could say, "USPTO accepts 9 of 14 claims on one patent in the case."

You lack reading comprehension. Maybe you would feel more at home at digg or the inquirer.

So far, there have been three patents on which the USPTO has concluded its reexamination. They are 5966702, 6192476, and 7426720. Of those three patents, 16 claims were not subject to reexamination (for reasons unknown to me, somebody fill me in?). Of the remaining 50 claims, 46 were rejected.

From scanning the table in TFA, I can see not a single patent that has 9 claims surviving. And of the one patent that contains 14 claims, all 14 are still standing. So stop pulling numbers out of your *ss.

Re:Google FUD (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542674)

What idiot modded this up?

Read the Groklaw link. Four claims survived the reexamination process, none of which (I believe, but IANAL) are independent claims and are pretty much worthless.

Previously, one other patent was effectively invalidated in a similar fashion, and another one had just one independent claim survive. And they're not even done reexamining the patents yet!

Lastly, you apparently have no clue what FUD is. What fear? What uncertainty? What doubt? Read what others have said about this case (for example, that the damages could be astronomical and that Google could lose Android), and then you'll know what FUD is.

90 % of claims rejected (1)

sclark46 (969374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541622)

What is really staggering is that under re-examination 90% of claims are rejected based on academic research on the issue. This means 9 out of 10 claims in patents aren't valid.

Re:90 % of claims rejected (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541762)

Conclusion incorrect. Perhaps you should re-take your stats class.

Re:90 % of claims rejected (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541880)

Eh, it's not the OP's math. That was the number spun on Groklaw's site. While it's technically correct the way it's worded on Groklaw makes it sound better than it actually is. Contrary to popular belief, Groklaw, while an awesome resource on our side, it isn't entirely unbiased.

Re:90 % of claims rejected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542120)

Conclusion incorrect. Perhaps you should re-take your stats class.

I don't get it. My English teacher taught me that 90% in maths == 9 out of 10 in English, and my stats teacher has asserted that that would be true for most naturally occurring instances of 9 and 10, given a non-biased sampling of the pool. Could you elaborate?

Re:90 % of claims rejected (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541812)

That's only for the claims that were subject to reexamination. Of the 66 total claims from three patents so far for which stats were released, 16 claims were not subject to reexamination. Now, 46 out of the 50 that were reexamined were rejected which gives us about 92%. However, of the original 66, 20 still stand so it's more like 66%. Still, it's better than 10% or 0...

Re:90 % of claims rejected (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541950)

That alone ought to sound warning bells to even those who support the patenting system that it really is broken.

All that money spent, and most of it wasted on nothing (literally nothing).
Bad enough for huge companies that fund their own full time patenting departments. Even worse for small startups that can barely afford one or two patents.

So much for patents protecting innovation. I'm not considering patenting my innovations. I honestly don't see the point.

Re:90 % of claims rejected (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542764)

Considering how valuable patents are to companies, I'd think something with such a high failure rate would be much more of a "toxic asset" than any sort of mortgage product.

Then again, maybe the value of a patent is more psychological (i.e. FUD) than tangible anyway. Just don't let that patent go to court, or it might lose all value.

Re:90 % of claims rejected (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542020)

No, because a re-exam is only performed when a requestor first shows that there is a "substantial new question of patentability". In other words, there is a selection bias that causes claims only to be re-examined when it is likely that at least some of them will be rejected. If a potential infringer can't dig up any prior art, they won't request a re-exam (or it won't be granted based on whatever bogus prior art they submit).

Re:90 % of claims rejected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542234)

What is really staggering is that under re-examination 90% of claims are rejected based on academic research on the issue. This means
9 out of 10 claims in patents aren't valid.

Logical Fallacy. 100% of all patent claims are NOT re-examined. They only re-examine the ones that people complain aren't valid.

Re:90 % of claims rejected (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542578)

Bonus points to the person who can name the logical fallacy demonstrated in the parent post.

Re:90 % of claims rejected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542774)

Bonus points to the person who can name the logical fallacy demonstrated in the parent post.

It's not a logical fallacy if you don't know that a reexamination requires justifiable cause.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541764)

At least in Europe we don't have such nonsense. Mathematic methods and computer programs are simply not patentable inventions.

A few porcupine quills removed (1)

buckhead_buddy (186384) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541848)

It only takes one claim on one patent to become a significant and expensive problem.

Oracle may have had some of it's ability to negotiate for an out of court settlement shot down, but I don't see why this is a win for Google. Fewer claims remain but still the same number of patents in dispute.

Beyond "it's not a loss", can a nice slashdotter enlighten me what this really means?

Re:A few porcupine quills removed (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542906)

Well, it's more complex than that, once you include the distinction between independent and dependent claims. The independent claims are those with "teeth," so to speak. Of three patents that have had claims rejected, only one has an independent claim left.

Once the reexamination is complete, Oracle still has to prove that Google infringed on the remaining claims. The fewer claims that survive, the harder it will be to prove infringement. Out of court settlement becomes more likely, too.

Even if, in the end, there's only one patent with one independent claim that remains, and Google is found to have infringed on that patent, I would say that's a much better situation than seven patents with hundreds of claims to have infringed.

So, yes, this is a win for Google.

Here there be Monsters! (1)

slashdotard (835129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542024)

Patenting software is a tremendous gamble, given the vast and ever-increasing amount of prior art that exists. There is far too much prior art for anyone to be aware of it all. But patent applicants forge on, sometimes rewording claims to obscure the fact that they are obvious or prior art but never giving up on the dream to see their name on an official US government patent and dreaming of all the millions and millions they'll make from the resulting monopoly, only to find their claims rejected and often whole patents voided on reexamination.

Software should not be patentable. Among other reasons, this is a field fraught with traps and pitfalls that even the most experienced cannot help but fall into. Also, it is so risky that patent insurance, if at all available, costs far more than the patent is worth.

Re:Here there be Monsters! (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542362)

Also, it is so risky that patent insurance, if at all available, costs far more than the patent is worth.

This is true of all forms of insurance, regardless of what its form.

Insurance providers aren't in business to lose money.

Auto insurance is a great example, most drivers claim very little over their lifetime yet pay tremendous amounts. Within 15-20 years of driving, you'll have paid the insurance companies more than your insurance is worth at maximum payout in almost every case. And under no circumstances will you EVER get maximum payout.

Oracle (1)

jschmitz (607083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542280)

Somehow manages to make even Microsoft look cool.............

What damages has Oracle suffered? (1)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542306)

Sun/Oracle gives java away for free. Even if Google has infringed a patent, how has that resulted in any loss of money to Oracle?

Re:What damages has Oracle suffered? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542392)

Sun/Oracle gives java away for free. Even if Google has infringed a patent, how has that resulted in any loss of money to Oracle?

Java for mobile devices has always required a paid license. (not free, never was and still isn't)

Re:What damages has Oracle suffered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542864)

The obvious would be licensing fees of the untold handsets that oracle wants a pinch of.

Re:What damages has Oracle suffered? (2)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36543254)

Java for mobile devices. Please try to keep up.

Re:What damages has Oracle suffered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36543312)

Because Google has managed to successfully get Java working on mobiles ... something that Sun/Oracle hasn't managed in over 10 years or trying ...

Re:What damages has Oracle suffered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36543316)

doesn't matter. a patent is an exclusive right to manufacture/produce/implement the patented technique/thing. it is a legislated temporary monopoly. The damages are, assuming you wanted to make something covered by our patent, what would you have been willing to pay if you had asked for a license in advance? Well then, you owe us AT LEAST that much since you didn't actually ask or negotiate, you just made it anyhow.

17/21 (2)

Que914 (1042204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542386)

Am I the only one who's thinking that someone needs to be asking some senior management at the USPTO about that 80% failure rate?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?