×

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!

Patent Troll Targets Samsung and RIM With Emoticon Button Patent

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the can't-live-without-a-:)-button dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 44

eldavojohn writes "Apparently the Samsung and Apple patent hoedown has received some uninvited guests that wish to troll with the big trolls — all over a built-in button for an emoticon. According to Varia Holdings (don't bother googling, you won't find anyone trying to license their patents to you) 'by asserting [its European] emoticon patent against Apple, Samsung has recognized the value of the type of invention embodied in [Varia's] '731 Patent.' And, thusly, Varia feels this provides grounds to sue Samsung and RIM. Techdirt provides commentary on the obviousness of said patent while raking the USPTO examiner over the coals (although, curiously, gives Samsung a free pass)."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

44 comments

I patent the first post! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39407141)

Aw yeah it feels good!

Re:I patent the first post! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39407151)

And I sue you over it! Your first post is just like my second post.

Let's abuse the patent system !! (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409229)

Since the patent system has been abused, let's encourage this abuse to the very extreme ---

I hope that someone can patent the emoticon for someone suffering from constipation

I hope that someone can patent the emoticon for bull defecating

I also hope that someone can patent the emoticon for someone stuck a cellphone up their buttock

Re:I patent the first post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39407585)

Thank the maker we have wits like you to make that joke for the millionth time.

Re:I patent the first post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39408513)

I didn't know Anonymous Coward was an Apple alias. When did this happen?

Possibly less emoticons? (4, Funny)

megamaster_74 (1804340) | more than 2 years ago | (#39407157)

If this mean less emoticons then I'm all for it.

Re:Possibly less emoticons? (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39407213)

I would like patent trolls if they did something positive for our culture. Patenting emoticons is a good start, but maybe they could have a paypal donation button or kickstarter goal to patent a button for "begs the question" and "couldn't care less" and "irregardless" and um, like, um, like using the like word like every like three seconds. I'd throw some bucks into a kickstarter for that.

Re:Possibly less emoticons? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39407251)

While they're at it, they can patent Duckfaces, Planking and Tebowing. I would donate to that.

Re:Possibly less emoticons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39407361)

Tebowing? Man, just when I thought hipsters couldn't possibly get any more idiotic.

Re:Possibly less emoticons? (1, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39407255)

Don't you mean "could care less"?

Re:Possibly less emoticons? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39407291)

No, he did not. Let me spell it out for you: "I could not care less [than I do now [if I tried]]." Now please STFU. Thanks!

Re:Possibly less emoticons? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39407373)

Yes, he did. He's specifically calling out idiots who say "I could care less"...now you STFU

Re:Possibly less emoticons? (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409715)

I though "I could care less" about this thread, but after consideration it turns out I couldn't.

Re:Possibly less emoticons? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413623)

The GGP was referring to various illiteracies and illogicals one hears and even reads daily like "should of". In that respect the poster you responded to was correct. When you say "I could care less" you are saying that you care at least a little bit, but if you couldn't care less you don't care at all.

Those things actually amuse me. What annoys me is when an illiteracy (or perhaps aliteracy) changes the meaning of a sentence, like saying "loose their cash" when "lose" is meant.

Re:Possibly less emoticons? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39407273)

If this mean less emoticons then I'm all for it.

Can I get an amen?

Never mind. Slashdot doesn't support UTF-8. We'll have to settle for A-U+2642 [fileformat.info].

Re:Possibly less emoticons? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39407313)

:D :) ;) :| :(

haha why dont you suck on that, faget. :O (======8

haha, faget.

8======D ((

faget.

Re:Possibly less emoticons? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39407491)

It just means you will now have to replace emoticons with little images of the same object to avoid getting sued, complicating the programming and text transfer.

However, will Walmart now sue us for using a happy-face Jpeg? :-(

found "One-click emoticon" prior art (3, Interesting)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39407243)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1-Click/ [wikipedia.org]

And Neither should have gotten a patent.

It's almost as if UPSTO examiners have "lobbyists", too?

Re:found "One-click emoticon" prior art (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39407393)

First to patent, it is becoming blatantly obvious that a performance based for profit USPTO, does not give a crap. Their only check now, is it patented, no, approve the patent. Straight up coprruption of the patent system by the US government, establishing a system where the US profits by the most indefensible patents.

First patent fee, then based up approval of bogus patent, guaranteed legal challenges. All those legal attacks and defences to be fought at in US courts, by US lawyers, bleeding foreign corporations dry spending hundreds of millions of dollars upon blatant in your face corporate driven corruption of US government agencies.

It is obvious that US patent lawyers have got deeply involved in how the USPTO, managed and run, in how patents are approved and basically guaranteed a muli-million dollar patent litigation industry.

It is pretty obvious that the US administration is the one that needs to be hauled into court and held financially accountable, penalties and damages, resulting from bad patent approvals.

Re:found "One-click emoticon" prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39407493)

United States Patent Troll Office

what about the children? (4, Funny)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39407323)

Dear judges and patent people,

We all know children love emoticons, if this patent stands than children might not be able to use 1 click emoticons anymore. Please think of the children and revoke this patent. (how come the 'think of the children' argument never uses it's powers for good?)

Heavily Slanted Bias (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39407347)

I sense that someone REALLY hates patent trolls.

Re:Heavily Slanted Bias (3, Insightful)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39407437)

I sense that someone REALLY hates patent trolls.

Yeah, it's probably a lot more biased than it needs to be.

But as for hating patent trolIs, are there many people who actually like them? Obviously some lawyers because it keeps them employed, but other than that? And is there anyone who tries to make a case that they are somehow beneficial to society? (serious questions BTW. I've never heard any argument in support of this practice)

Allow Me to Not Even Pretend to Be Unbiased (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39407685)

Yeah, it's probably a lot more biased than it needs to be.

Thanks, sometimes I wonder if anyone ever notices my efforts.

But as for hating patent trolIs, are there many people who actually like them? Obviously some lawyers because it keeps them employed, but other than that?

Well, that's a tough question. I would imagine that they like themselves but not other patent trolls but I can't be sure if they hate themselves. Perhaps we should investigate if the rate of suicide is higher in patent trolls? On a more serious note, there is one odd person that likes patents: nationalists. Whether you be a member of the US government or just a good ole fashion rah rah USA nutjob, there is a growing intellectual war between the United States and China. Sure, other countries like Japan get a lot of patents but patent trolls translate to "innovation" when it comes to number of patents and, let's face it, it's patent trolls that file for the most patents without actually building anything or licensing anything. I guess you could argue that they hurt the economy when small businesses get blindsided by these lawsuits but they always target the deepest coffers which usually seem to be happy to cough up and settle out of court. I can't think of anyone else really that benefits from this -- even the courtrooms in East Texas are clogged with shitty patent cases while trying to take care of real problems among the local people.

And is there anyone who tries to make a case that they are somehow beneficial to society? (serious questions BTW. I've never heard any argument in support of this practice)

Well, your question could be answered by This American Life's Episode 441 [thisamericanlife.org] but there's a key problem. First, in that podcast, Intellectual Ventures argues that they help inventors protect their IP by suing the shit out of everyone that tries to implement anything remotely like the patents in question. And they also claim that they constantly license patents to people without involving a painful legal battle. However, as the TAL team asks for a happy license customer, IV can only give them one name of someone whose patent they license. And, gosh darn it, wouldn't you know it, as they tried to contact this individual it turned out that Intellectual Ventures was going around suing people and gathering out of court settlements in the name of that patent without the right to. And IV's response to this? Us normal people don't know what the hell we're talking about [techdirt.com].

So there you go, sorry for the bias in my submission and this post but, well, when it warrants it I'm not afraid to call horseshit horseshit.

prior art, restrictive patent, not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39407667)

C'mon people - MSN, messgenger, ICQ, web forums, etc. ALL have had buttons for panels from which where you could select and pick emoticons. This is not something new in the last 20 years, just someone has sat down and written a patent for their custom user control. Nor is there any mention as to what is the infringing
products with comparisons to prove their point?

If I read this patent correctly, it is restrictive. First, the emoticon selection must be in a 4x3 icon display. Buttons (called keys) must be pressed to move and select. If I read it right, they should be fine with a 2x3 display on a touch interface.

Maybe it's time to say that programs are already protected in one form - copyright - and doesn't need another...

Comic book guy would not approve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39407721)

There's no emoticon for what I'm feeling...

Prior arts in every IM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39408057)

There are like thousands of prior arts in almost every Instant Messenger released much before 2007 when this retarded patent was filled by a very silly person.

Re:Prior arts in every IM (2)

Epimer (1337967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39408469)

This is going to get lost as a reply to an AC, but whatever:

1) the filing date of that patent isn't 2007, it's 2005.

2) the patent in the linked article is a continuation of US6987991, and hence inherits its filing date, which is 17th August 2001.

That is the date at which novelty and obviousness is to be assessed. I'm not commenting on whether or not that was a common feature in 2001 (I have no idea!), just pointing out the error.

Re:Prior arts in every IM (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409315)

Ok then. Lets try 1985. I am sure there is some DOS era terminal program that implemented some sort of menued multikey. Graphical onscreen keyboards certainly go back that far.

Re:Prior arts in every IM (1)

Epimer (1337967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39411093)

Whether there is or not is pretty much irrelevant, because the patent in the OP isn't claiming anything near as broad as menued multikeys generally, or graphical onscreen keyboards generally.

Scope is determined by what is in the claims, read in the context of the description. When construed in that manner, it's pretty narrow in scope.

Re:Prior arts in every IM (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415569)

The patent is trivial.

It doesn't matter what the scope is.

I might have implemented that in the 80s and forgotten about it.

Trivial things simply don't rate giving the "inventor" the means to screw around with the rest of the industry and stifle innovation for the next 17 years. That's not what patents are for.

Re:Prior arts in every IM (1)

Epimer (1337967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416299)

The scope is crucial.

The inventor may only screw around the rest of the industry and stifle innovation within the breadth of the patent's claims (as read within the context of the description).

Hence, an arguably trivial patent which is very narrow in scope is pretty much only damaging to the reputation of the patent system which granted it, because the protection conferred isn't anywhere near broad enough to cause a genuine nuisance to anyone.

Wildseed (4, Interesting)

cliffjumper222 (229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39408219)

I worked with Wildseed - they were a good bunch of folks with a decent idea - a phone targeted at kids that you could swap the outside and it'd change the UI. They planned to sell different branded shells for pop groups, etc. that would effectively re-theme the phone you had completely. The phone itself was really funky, with a slight boomerang shape, and the keyboard was at the top with the screen below. (You can see a diagram here http://www.freepatentsonline.com/D0470135-0-large.jpg). The phone also had an LED strip on the top of the phone that enabled you to sky-write messages to others by waving the phone. I also remember they had a cool FM radio channel sharing feature, where you could quickly tell your mates to check out a station. All in all, they had a tonne of ideas and they did in fact manage to sell a few phones, but ultimately, it died and AOL bought them.
The patent looks good to me. Very solid, and narrow. It's for a hardware button on the phone that enables you to quickly enter emoticons. Unless someone can point to a phone that did that before, then I don't see any prior art. As for obviousness, that's a very low bar. If no one had done it before (for emoticons) then why would it be obvious?
The problem I see here is that the good intended patent, to protect a start-up's business ended up in a troll haus.

Cliff

Re:Wildseed (2)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 2 years ago | (#39408587)

If no one had done it before (for emoticons) then why would it be obvious?

Because noone cared for the extra key before? If someone asks me "how can I design something, say, an input function, on the phone that will quickly write an emoticon in the message they're typing" then an extra key would be *pretty* obvious. Hence, it fails the "obvious" test.

This whole patent was stupid to start with, and now it's been weaponized. Great going.

Relevant article of other person who this happened too: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2012/03/opinion-baio-yahoo-patent-lie/ [wired.com]

Re:Wildseed (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409111)

If it's only for a hardware button then which BlackBerry do they claim infringes? BBM has a emoticon button, but it's software. Software emoticon buttons have been around for nearly as long as emoticons. Adding 'on a cell phone' does not make it novel.

Re:Wildseed (1)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409403)

If no one had done it before (for emoticons) then why would it be obvious?

Perhaps obviousness should be scrapped for a better condition like "obvious once you've stated the problem you're solving" or something that rules out patents that are simple enough that their title is the answer (e.g. "one-click").

Re:Wildseed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409451)

I can see an argument for copyright here, but is this really a non-obviouse invention? Like the aeroplane or the internal combustion engine? I really don't think so.

Sigh (3, Interesting)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 2 years ago | (#39408829)

Samsung "gets a free pass" because they used their patents the "right" way and used it as a defensive deterrent against other lawsuits. When Apple sued them, they sued back as a means of increasing their leverage in a legal battle. Samsung wasn't out simply trolling with the patent, as this company seems to be.

Interesting (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410003)

My old Samsung feature phone did *exactly* what is claimed in this patent. Including details like selecting the emoticon using the 3x4 button grid on the phone. It came out around 2005 when this patent was filed. I'm sure it wasn't Samsungs first phone to have that feature either.

common sense revolts at the idea (1)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410061)

Obvious things are obvious.

Request: I need a way to quickly enter a specific character on the screen. Obvious solution: Make a button.

There's plenty of prior art: Japanese fonts look like a bunch of emoticons to me. Japanese keyboard is full of emoticon buttons. DONE.

woo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39416987)

the trolls are getting more and more desperate, aren't they?

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...