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Judge Invalidates 13 Motorola Patent Claims Against Microsoft

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the lucky-number dept.

Google 109

walterbyrd writes "Microsoft scored a victory against Google-owned Motorola Mobility this week after a judge scrapped 13 of the latter party's patent claims in a years-long dispute over H.264-related royalties. Waged in U.S. and German courts, the battle involves three patents (7,310,374, 7,310,375, and 7,310,376) that Motorola licenses to Microsoft for several products, including the Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone. PJ is commenting on the case over at Groklaw.net."

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109 comments

Christ... (4, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848663)

This is good. No, it's bad. No, its good. Wait, no, it's bad. Is Apple involved? It's bad. No it's good⦠Jesus, who the fuck knows. As a fanboi, what the fuck am I to do?

Re:Christ... (2)

Derekloffin (741455) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848681)

Maybe this is what makes a man go neutral...

Re:Christ... (4, Funny)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848823)

Lawful or chaotic neutral? We are still lost.

Re:Christ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42848975)

True Neutral, the hardest thing to be, obviously. It's the one alignment combination that is impossible to play to an extreme in any direction; a real pain in the ass. Anyone ever try it?

Re:Christ... (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856565)

Concerning our comment, I have no strong opinion one way or the other. (It looks like "neutrality" is apathy in transparent disguise.)

Re:Christ... (2)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849631)

For me, it was love of gold. Although others say I was born with a heart full of neutrality.

Re:Christ... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year and a half ago | (#42853317)

Maybe this is what makes a man go neutral...

Neutral or metro-sexual?

Re:Christ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42848691)

chock it up to mostly good and call it a night.

Re:Christ... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42848803)

For Apple, and the rest of the corporate world, it's bad news, because it seems it's getting harder and harder to use patents as weapons. For all the huffing and puffing, most corporations discover their arsenal of patents, is nothing more than paper nukes.

For the consumers (and lawyers involved), it's a very very good thing. Please continue.

No, that's good news for corporations (4, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848827)

For Apple, and the rest of the corporate world, it's bad news, because it seems it's getting harder and harder to use patents as weapons.

For Apple it's great news.

No Apple lawsuit has had any real effect to date. The biggest one is a not negligible 1 billion dollar payout by Samsung - but that's not even certain yet.

So by with all these patents folding like a house of cards, it saves Apple a lot of money that would otherwise go to "fruitless" lawsuits.

Basically corporations (not just Apple) kind of have to sue to protect patents. It''s like a legal reflex. With that need removed, they will spend less on litigation.

Apple (and other companies) have done just fine competing in a world where companies are making using of technologies patented by the other side. So the weak patents being thrown out will have no impact.

Re:No, that's good news for corporations (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849123)

For Apple, and the rest of the corporate world, it's bad news, because it seems it's getting harder and harder to use patents as weapons.

For Apple it's great news.

No Apple lawsuit has had any real effect to date. The biggest one is a not negligible 1 billion dollar payout by Samsung - but that's not even certain yet.

So by with all these patents folding like a house of cards, it saves Apple a lot of money that would otherwise go to "fruitless" lawsuits.

Basically corporations (not just Apple) kind of have to sue to protect patents. It''s like a legal reflex. With that need removed, they will spend less on litigation.

Apple (and other companies) have done just fine competing in a world where companies are making using of technologies patented by the other side. So the weak patents being thrown out will have no impact.

Congratulations, you have somehow managed to make a lawsuit between Microsoft and Google be mostly about Apple. At least you stopped short of trying to explain why Apple patenting 'rounded rectangles' is bad but Google suing people for violating a patent on 'encoding and decoding stuff on a computer' is good like a diehard fanboy would have.

Re:No, that's good news for corporations (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849159)

That's nice.

If you'd check parent poster's history (damn, if you'd even care to read the parent post), you'd see he's very much pro-Apple, but - hey, those mindless Google fanboys always be defending Google, eh, unlike us, quiet and shy Apple fans! And someone even modded you up, for shame.

By the way, I very much agree with GP's sentiment - the more judges get tired of this patently bullshit and slap the companies silly for dragging it on, the better it'll be for competition climate. Out of the courtrooms and back to drawing boards to the lot of them.

Re:No, that's good news for corporations (2)

mitzampt (2002856) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849201)

Yeah but besides that, why did this piece of thread (didn't mean it, honestly) get to be about Apple anyway? Does this world have only three tech giants? And why do we perpetuate that illusion? Shouldn't it derail to something a little more interesting such as impact on small players on the market? Innovators? Anyone?

Re:No, that's good news for corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849501)

That's nice.

If you'd check parent poster's history (damn, if you'd even care to read the parent post), you'd see he's very much pro-Apple, but - hey, those mindless Google fanboys always be defending Google, eh, unlike us, quiet and shy Apple fans! And someone even modded you up, for shame.

By the way, I very much agree with GP's sentiment - the more judges get tired of this patently bullshit and slap the companies silly for dragging it on, the better it'll be for competition climate. Out of the courtrooms and back to drawing boards to the lot of them.

I don't really care about Apple fanboys, Google fanboys or fandroids anymore. I am just sick and tired of Apple haters dragging that company into every single thread on this forum even if the topic is completely unrelated to Apple just so they can start yet another Apple/patent/lawsuit flamewar.

Re:Christ... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849457)

For Apple, and the rest of the corporate world, it's bad news, because it seems it's getting harder and harder to use patents as weapons. For all the huffing and puffing, most corporations discover their arsenal of patents, is nothing more than paper nukes.

For the consumers (and lawyers involved), it's a very very good thing. Please continue.

Paper tiger seeks paper nukes. Paper rattling ...

It may be a win for the corporate world. (1)

hessian (467078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849499)

For Apple, and the rest of the corporate world, it's bad news, because it seems it's getting harder and harder to use patents as weapons.

I think this could have a positive effect including for the corporate world. The end of patents-as-weapons will make it easier to introduce new products without getting sued, and mean companies spending less time in expensive courtroom battles.

If I want to introduce the next iPod or Xbox 360 or just about anything, someone out there has a patent that covers something on it, from simple stuff like "the power button flashes twice when the power goes on" to the inner workings. Having less patent power could be a good thing.

Then again, I'm not sure that's what this case is about. The patents themselves were found to be improperly constructed at trial. Thus, this case deals with those patents alone, although I like your spin on it :)

Re:Christ... (2)

ewibble (1655195) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850501)

If stupid patents fall:
For Corporates its good news, they just don't know it, they can just get on with making products.
For small players its good, they can just get on with making products.
For consumers its good, they can get better products. Why don't we have a standard video format that plays on all browsers (patents).
The only people it is bad for, are patent lawyers.

Re:Christ... (1)

bartoku (922448) | about a year and a half ago | (#42852063)

If [any] patents fall:

FTFY

Re:Christ... (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848903)

Having read the judgement, I'd say it is good news regardless of the parties involved. Basically it is a patent on encoding and decoding video "on a computer", which doesn't describe how you might actually go about doing the encoding or decoding.

Re:Christ... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849319)

It was a pretty good bet that a video patent violation claim would not stick to Microsoft since they not only license H.263 and H.264 but also contributed 39 (just on H.264) patents to the consortium.

The claim was essentially that MPEG-LA didn't cover its ass with the many hundreds of patents it had collected on each, which is doubtful when one of the only motives that MPEG-LA used when determining the standard was that the methods used be patented and contributed to the consortium.

Re:Christ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849529)

The MPEG-LA do not provide absolute patent protection if you take a license from them, only protection from the patents in their pool. The MPEG-LA have never claimed that the patent pools under their pervue are exhaustive.
Nobody is required to contribute patents to the MPEG-LA, and some - especially NPEs - have apparently chosen not to.

Re:Christ... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851149)

Entirely true. Furthermore, MPEG-LA doesn't have exclusive rights to the patents -- you can track down all the individual patents and license them yourself. MPEG-LA is just a way to save time.

However, when you license from the MPEG-LA patent pool, you also agree to grant back any of your H.264 essential patents back to the pool at pool rates. Google signed that license agreement prior to buying Motorola, which puts Motorola's H.264 patents in the pool. (Google tried to claim otherwise.)

Re:Christ... (1)

rwreed (470734) | about a year and a half ago | (#42853133)

doesn't describe how you might actually go about doing the encoding or decoding.

In his order, Judge Robart specifically points out that the patent describes how to do the encoding but not the decoding.

Re:Christ... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849431)

In these cases I just tend to root for the Fuck Software Patents side.

Re:Christ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42850223)

It's all about perspective.
When a criminal shots innocent people in the street, it's bad.
When a policeman shots the criminal, it's good.
And they both shot people!

It's OK for Google to kill as many of these patent trolls and unfair players as possible: namely Apple, Microsoft, and so on.
Or at least win so many cases that they create a pat situation in the market: either reform patent law or nobody will be able to sell anything.

Google is the victim in this patent war (the same for Samsung), and they are just fighting back.

A humble suggestion to tech companies: (5, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848689)

Just a simple plan to help you survive these times of financial strife.

1. Stop wasting money on lawyers.
2. Start making quality products.
3. ??? (actually you can skip this step)
4. profit.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848731)

when everyone is poking everyone else with sharp sticks, the one who stops poking gets skewered. The war was started by patent trolls but they inevitably dragged everyone into it.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (4, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848911)

The way to end that war is to take away the sharp sticks from everyone involved.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849057)

How're you going to do that? They've got sharp sticks!

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (3, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849279)

It's a government-uttered spell which makes the sticks sharp. If the government utters the counter-spell, the sticks stop being sharp.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849311)

AC-130U?

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (1, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849329)

The war was started by Apple. I wouldn't classify them as a patent troll.. just a patent abuser. Prior to Apple there was an understanding that everyone in the mobile business was guilty of patent infringement so nobody should press the issue. Then Apple came along and pressed anyways...

Now Apple is involved in something like 60% of the patent lawsuits. There were some mobile patent disputes before Apple got involved, but it was never two manufacturers duking it out.. it was always patent holding companies (the trolls) vs a manufacturer.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850423)

I saw the title, I saw the summary. Google failing to enforce patent claims on Microsoft. And my first thought was, this is Slashdot: how long before some idiot claims this is Apple's fault.

So I clicked. And at the time of writing it was the 6th comment in the list.

Slashdot, you may disappoint regularly. But you are at least predictable.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848753)

1a. Stop wasting money on patent based acquisitions.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849093)

That was one of the things I noticed ten odd years ago. As manufacturing has been outsourced and companies mostly rent buildings rather than buy, companies don't have a lot of tangible value left on the books. Patents are 'paper' that you can assign some value. Some in some way these cross licensing deals are a way of pretending that the companies have some hard assets.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849305)

That was one of the things I noticed ten odd years ago. As manufacturing has been outsourced and companies mostly rent buildings rather than buy, companies don't have a lot of tangible value left on the books. Patents are 'paper' that you can assign some value. Some in some way these cross licensing deals are a way of pretending that the companies have some hard assets.

[citation needed]

Companies don't generally own the buildings they're in and intellectual property has been a part of the value of a company forever. Patents have been getting issued for hundreds of years, in many western countries (if not also eastern ones) since long before the existence of the USPTO. Per W'pedia, as if that's a reliable source, patents have existed for well over 2000 years.

As for buildings, one example right off the top of my head is the Sears Tower. Sears doesn't own it though they did fund and commission the construction, they have since relinquished name rights, and it's now called Willis Tower. Companies don't own the property they use because it's cheaper to lease, and it offers them flexibility. A large company physically tied to a locale is doing its owners/shareholders a disservice by potentially harming the company if it becomes more profitable for the company to be located elsewhere, and they're unable to sell the property. They face tremendous opportunity cost and could be saddled with an asset they can't use if that situation arises. An exception to this is companies that will never have to move. Like Disneyland, for example, or the company that operates structures or equipment that never moves. If the Panama Canal were operated by a private company... (is it? I don't know and can't be bothered to look it up, because it's immaterial to the point,) there would be no concern about the company being able to move because the canal itself isn't going anywhere.

A manufacturing place is simply a building where things that make things and the people who operate them work. If it becomes more profitable ultimately to be elsewhere, they move. If they own the land, that asset becomes a liability because it represents cash they have sunk into something, but can no longer utilize. To illustrate this, consider a department store in a small town, Cityville. The population grows, some elements become more affluent, and start to move to suburbs as they develop. A department store, let's call it Kear's and Robart, Inc., owns the plot of land its store is sitting on.

The suburbs become home to the wealthy near Cityville, such as Walnut Grove, Maple Park, Birch Creek, Whispering Willows, etc. Cityville property values plummet, and it becomes home to the poor, it becomes crime-ridden, and nobody goes there who can afford to go elsewhere, and no one with a car shops there because they don't want bums begging them for money, stealing their wheels, or robbing them at gunpoint in the parking lot. They don't want to be car-jacked on the way to or from what was once a premier shopping outlet. It's a crying shame, but people now shop at upscale places miles, or dozens of miles from the former hub, at Wegamart, or Dealco, etc. Owning a piece of land they can't sell is a stone around their necks, because they invested money buying it and are now unable to sell. That money might as well be lost. Unless the city center is revitalized, and someone cleans up (read as "evicts") all the bums, the meth heads, crack addicts, religious wackos with their little shrines around parking lot oil stains that look just like Jesus or Mary or some other fictional character from their favorite dark-age dogshit fantasy novel, the land would be virtually worthless, and would tie up capital they would need to finance the move and lease a better building elsewhere.

Most companies know this, and that's why they lease. They may sign very long leases, looking far forward, but at the end of the day, being tied to a place when they don't need to be is a liability. Shareholders and the like even know this, and it probably reduces the value of a company if they know they have that weakness. It has NOTHING to do with outsourcing. Most companies that have outsourced have moved the manufacturing operations, etc., to somewhere else. This is only different from a domestic move in that the place they moved to was another country. The headquarters generally stays here because the rich assholes running the company don't want to live in some benighted shithole like where all their stuff is going to be made by people who can afford to (and be happy to) survive on a fraction what they had to pay here.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851189)

Spent my mod points but you deserve some.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (5, Interesting)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849181)

1a. Stop wasting money on patent based acquisitions.

This entire war was started by Apple and Microsoft setting out to block other companies from exactly the strategy the grandparent post proposed and who were exactly failing to buy patents. Microsoft's stupid FAT patents; Apple's stupid "rounded corners" design patents; patents on obvious gestures in a user interface. The companies which were trying the strategy of "just give the consumer what they want" were being sued to hell. The lawyers were making it very clear that if you attempt to opt out of the patents protection racket then their friends, the judges, will make you pay more than you can afford.

At one point, it looked as if Microsoft might honestly have frightened the device manufacturers away from Android. Spineless companies like HTC rolled over and let Microsoft tickle their tummy. Only after Google started acquiring large patent portfolios did some of those manufacturer's get a bit of guts. HTC, on the other hand, will likely never recover.

If you look at the history of this, it's very clear that Google is only succeeding by buying their way through the US legal system. It's very hard then to argue that their investment in "patent based acquisitions" was a waste of money. Just like a certain level of bribery is the cost of doing business in Russia and your people may die if you don't pay it, in the corrupt US justice system you have to be seen to be paying your protection money to the patent barons.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (4, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849363)

HTC's problems werent from Microsoft.. HTC was the target of the opening salvo of mobile patent lawsuits, initiated by Apple.

When the first wave of the mobile lawsuit armageddon geared up, the three companies distinctly absent from either end of these lawsuits were Google, Palm, and Microsoft (citation [nytimes.com] .)

To accuse Microsoft of being somehow a big offender is ignoring the history of these battles. Patent lawsuits wasn't how Microsoft operated, and to a large extent still isn't because nearly every lawsuit that targets Microsoft or is initiated by Microsoft ends in a (cross)licensing deal rather than a judgment and that includes Microsoft taking the short end of it (ex: licensing from Acacia Research.)

I do understand that Microsoft is one of the only companies that have gone after Linux, and its probably unforgivable, but that doesnt make them one of the big offenders in mobile patent lawsuits. Making that claim just doesnt hold up to reality.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (1, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849527)

HTC's problems werent from Microsoft.. HTC was the target of the opening salvo of mobile patent lawsuits, initiated by Apple.

N.B. I'm not saying that Microsoft's patent attacks directly went against HTC. HTC's poblems seem to be largely from redirecting R&D in the direction Windows Phone. Have a look at exactly when the competitiveness of their phones went down and it's exactly the time when they must have been directing a large effort to porting Windows to their hardware. What I'm saying is that it was partnering with Microsoft that damaged HTC. That at least partly will have

When the first wave of the mobile lawsuit armageddon geared up, the three companies distinctly absent from either end of these lawsuits were Google, Palm, and Microsoft (citation [nytimes.com] .)

A long time ago Microsoft even opposed patents. That attitude, however changed much earlier than people realise. Please remember that Microsoft v. TomTom [wikipedia.org] took place in 2009 noticably before Apple started suing HTC.

To accuse Microsoft of being somehow a big offender is ignoring the history of these battles. Patent lawsuits wasn't how Microsoft operated, and to a large extent still isn't because nearly every lawsuit that targets Microsoft or is initiated by Microsoft ends in a (cross)licensing deal rather than a judgment and that includes Microsoft taking the short end of it (ex: licensing from Acacia Research.)

Microsoft has repeatedly spun off or supported companies like intellectual vendors which are archetypal patent trolls. Microsoft funded SCO in several direct and indirect ways (see groklaw.net for details) and it doesn't seem to be a coincidence that soon after Microsoft funding SCO started talking of patents. Microsoft claimed in 2007 [cnn.com] that "Linux violated 235 of their patents" and it took years to prove that they were lying. They are circumspect; they do attempt to do most of their patent extortion behind NDAs. However that does not make things better. The opposite in fact. Microsoft is trying to use patents to set up a system where it alone has control of all software. Companies like Google which stand up to this should be seen as heroic.

I do understand that Microsoft is one of the only companies that have gone after Linux, and its probably unforgivable, but that doesnt make them one of the big offenders in mobile patent lawsuits. Making that claim just doesnt hold up to reality.

Microsoft extorted more from Android vendors than they charged for Windows 7 [osnews.com] . Most of this action was done under NDA and it wasn't until Barnes & Noble exposed this [groklaw.net] that it was clear how outrageous and ridiculous Microsoft's patent claims that they managed to get away with elsewhere are. Even then, Barnes & Noble were forced into selling off part of their E-reader business to Microsoft and investigating windows for tablets. Where Apple is a street punk, Microsoft is a mafia don. You hear more noise from Apple's legal action than Microsofts simply because the level of intimidation is lower and so people are more likely to stand up to them.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (0)

jobdrb (920458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851619)

Good Answer

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856259)

Yeah; it's interesting that this has already attracted multiple negative mods ("overrated / troll") even though it's a quite careful and well linked comment. I guess we know exactly what Microsoft doesn't want people noticing.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850377)

Microsoft will never let lawsuits go to trial if they can help it. They surely love those NDAs that help seal the deal. Barnes and Noble made a pretty big stink about it, and with it, offered good reasons to believe that Microsoft was one of the biggest offenders.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855425)

I can buy a car, spend within my means and get a car.

I can waste money on a car by spending outside of my means and get a really flashy car.

They paid way too much for Moto Mobility. 12 billion? Sheesh. Ouch.

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42848915)

Heres another plan.

a) The engineers did not stop developing products simply because there was a court case
b) If someone steals your ideas that you spent millions on developing then your only option is to take then to court
c) ???? is the part where you actually understand sod all and that is why you are not the one making money
d) Other people are making lots of profit in spite of the legal bills

A naive idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849025)

You have perhaps overlooked the fact that plenty of companies would love to 1. Stop wasting money on lawyers, and 2... make quality products.

However, OTHER companies would rather use lawyers to steal from their betters, like Apple for instance, whose MO since forever has been to steal other people's ideas, polish the hell out of them, then pretend the ideas were theirs to begin with, and sue anyone for using an idea that wasn't ever actually theirs. They did it with the Macintosh interface, the mouse, the metaphor for data that is the desktop icon, all the way to and I'm sure they'll continue well past the "slide to unlock" nonsense and rounded rectangles...

Thanks to the insanity, almost 50 cents of every dollar you spend on any of your technology goes to the parasite of the modern age, lawyers. Companies now have to pay armies of the goddamned cocksucking motherfuckers for it even to be possible to produce anything or operate in this indescribably legally hostile environment. It's amazing that anything gets made anymore, given how sue-happy everyone has gotten. They're basically vampires, and they're feeding on us all. Am I the only one who sees this and is sick and fucking tired of it?

Re:A humble suggestion to tech companies: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42850237)

That's what Google does.
But it fails at 4., because patent trolls like Apple or Microsoft prevent it from making profit of their own inventions and products with silly patents.
So Google fights back.

IMO: poor suggestions (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851871)

1. Stop wasting money on lawyers.

Wasting? Are you kidding? Apple's investment in scam lawsuits have paid off tremendously for Apple.

2. Start making quality products.

Apple already does.

3. ??? (actually you can skip this step)
4. profit.

Apple does profit - huge profits, unheard of profits. What's $100 million a quarter in legal fees, if you making about $15 billion a quarter in pure profits?

www.pnarp.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42848697)

www.pnarp.com

Shocking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42848699)

A Seattle judge rules for Microsoft. How shocking! This will be appealed elsewhere and decided by a judge that hasn't accepted contributions from Microsoft.

Re:Shocking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42848719)

and the appeal will be upheld by a judge that accepted contributions from Google

Bullshit Headline Again (5, Informative)

mdm42 (244204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848789)

The patents were *not* invalidated.

Some claims within the patents were invalidated.

Go RTFA.

Re:Bullshit Headline Again (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848811)

Thank you, this bit keeps getting skimmed over.

Re:Bullshit Headline Again (2)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849035)

Yes, I actually read the first few paragraphs of the very Groklaw article that the summary links and it contradicts in big bold letters that headline/summary of the article.

Do people who submit even read the articles they link? or do they just make up random titles and submit random URLs in the hope that if they do it enough at least some of the stories will appear at least somewhat plausible, even if wrong?

Re:Bullshit Headline Again (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849117)

The headline clearly states "invalidates patent claims", so how come the headline is bullshit?

Go RTFH(eadline).

A Judge did? (3, Insightful)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848791)

If a Judge (not a Jury) can invalidate Patent claims (are they THAT skilled in the science of these things?) then what the heck's the Patent Office for?
Is there any point in lodging a complaint to the Patent Office, when a Judge appears to be able to do it quicker, and knows the parties involved?
So in future, don't waste time with going the usual route, just get a Judge to decide on complex matters, and then the Patent Office, now with more time on it's hands, can start ruling in criminal trials.
What a mess.

Re:A Judge did? (0)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848801)

Though the line from that article; "On the flip side, Robart said that Microsoft has provided substantial evidence from technical journals and dictionaries to prove, for instance, that some of Motorola's technologies amount to general purpose devices that are indistinguishable from the general purpose computer." Are interesting, as if that was applied fairly to everything, then most of the other Patent lawsuits going on atm would be thrown out too. This is all crazy, really seems to be random on what Judge you get on if you're going to win/lose the case as they all interpret things so differently (at least it appears that way to me). Do they come into the court room with their mind made up before hand?

Re:A Judge did? (2)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848971)

The patent office has the judgement of a drunk 12 yr old today. Also once a patent is granted they almost never invalidate it. Whether by demand or in general. There are still perpetual motion "" machines with patents. Also, do you really think it would be a criminal court judge presiding? Obvious troll is obvious.

Re:A Judge did? (1)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850587)

While I agree with your point in general, perpetual motion machines are not an example of the patent office's failings.
The patent office's job is to determine if something is new and novel, substantially different from anything previously invented, and not overly broad in scope. Their job is not to determine if something works as claimed. A patent on something that doesn't, and can't, work, doesn't harm any real inventors. A patent on something that someone else has already done, or on something obvious, or so broad as to net things completely unrelated to what is patented, THOSE hurt real inventors. But I don't want them evaluating every thing as to whether or not it actually works, because they would likely reject many truly novel inventions based solely on the grounds that they haven't seen it work before, so assume your implementation can't.

And for those that will reply saying that the patent office doesn't currently do any of what I said, I agree with you, that doesn't change the fact that it is their job, it only proves that they aren't currently doing their job.

Re:A Judge did? (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851253)

I was just saying they dont even invalidate patents used as a vehicle for multi-million dollar fraud schemes. Perpmot machines being a very common example. But the failure to even see prior art as relevance is the big problem.

Re:A Judge did? (1)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851381)

It's not the patent office's fault if people think patents mean something is legit. And I would say that invalidating all those patents would put exactly zero dent in those fraud schemes.
Fixing human stupidity is far outside the scope of the patent office.

Prior art is a problem, broad and vague patents are an even bigger problem. Honestly, I believe "patents" are the problem, but I know that this view is not widely held (despite much research to support it)

Re: A Judge did? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42848963)

What's the Patent office for? They're the hands that turn the crank that lowers the bar that tilts the landscape into the slippery slope this whole mess has become. It's a very important, and hands on, role.

Re:A Judge did? (2)

theVarangian (1948970) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849229)

If a Judge (not a Jury) can invalidate Patent claims (are they THAT skilled in the science of these things?) then what the heck's the Patent Office for? Is there any point in lodging a complaint to the Patent Office, when a Judge appears to be able to do it quicker, and knows the parties involved? So in future, don't waste time with going the usual route, just get a Judge to decide on complex matters, and then the Patent Office, now with more time on it's hands, can start ruling in criminal trials. What a mess.

The summary said US and German courts. German courts haven't had juries since the Emminger reform of 1924, there was an attempt to reinstate juries in 1925 but it was unsuccessful since the verdicts of juries were widely considered to be inconsistent and sometimes downright unjust. Since then German courts have used a mixture of professional judges and lay judges which is a very old German tradition. The lay judges are chosen from the citizenry. People excluded from being chosen as lay judges are those under 30 years old and those who are very high government officials, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, policemen, ministers, priests, or have lived in the community less than one year. I think you also have to be a German citizen but with all the pan-european treaties in force these days I'm not sure. I also vaguely remember reading somewhere that in cases like this lay judges either can be can be impartial experts or such experts are appointed to assist the court. The plaintiff and defendant are of course free to introduce expert witnesses of their own.

Godwin? (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849639)

Is there some sort of timeline that correlates Hitler' rise to power with changes in the German judicial system? Seem I recall reading he gained power more through legal maneuvering than anything else. To a judge the law is interpreted as the law, to person the law is intepreted as "to how will this effect me?".

Re:A Judge did? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849923)

what the heck's the Patent Office for?

It is there to tax people for being clever, like the lottery is there to tax people for being foolish. What is Google for? (RTFM)

Re:A Judge did? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42850053)

The judiciary is a branch of government. The patent office is not.

The former implements and applies the law. The latter does clerical duty.

The former resolves disputes. The latter just files claims.

As a result, if there is a dispute regarding a claim which has been filed by a clerk then a branch of government has a say in the subject, not the clerk.

Is this hard for you to understand?

Matters of law vs. matters of fact (2)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850089)

If a Judge (not a Jury) can invalidate Patent claims (are they THAT skilled in the science of these things?) then what the heck's the Patent Office for?

The Patent Office doesn't make law or decide legal issues - they decide factual ones. The patents in this case were not invalidated as obvious or anticipated by some prior art, which would be a matter of fact. Instead, the judge determined that 35 U.S.C. 112(2) requires disclosure of an algorithm when claims utilize the means-plus-function format of 35 U.S.C. 112(6). That's a matter of law. In other words, the "science of these things" is the science of jurisprudence, not the science of video encoding.

Or, short version: the Patent Office applied the law as it was properly understood at the time. The judge has now said, "no, that's not the proper law, it's this instead."

Microsoft undoing their own patents? (5, Interesting)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year and a half ago | (#42848845)

Microsoft is arguing that as a 'means plus function' patent, it isn't specific enough because it doesn't specifically give an algorithm. Surely if this goes through it will invalidate the vast majority of software patents?

Re:Microsoft undoing their own patents? (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849189)

Yeah, that's what I'm reading from this, though as said elsewhere, this is some claims in the patents were invalidated, but I'm wondering then can Moto re-apply with more detail? But yeah, does this mean anyone without a full listing of the algorithm (which is most 'with a computer/on the internet' patent these days) has a chance to have parts made invalid? Can of Worms.

Re:Microsoft undoing their own patents? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849975)

Yeah, that's what I'm reading from this, though as said elsewhere, this is some claims in the patents were invalidated, but I'm wondering then can Moto re-apply with more detail? But yeah, does this mean anyone without a full listing of the algorithm (which is most 'with a computer/on the internet' patent these days) has a chance to have parts made invalid? Can of Worms.

That could be difficult, because they were suing Microsoft for infringing their patent, so presumably they would know now what Microsoft has implemented and can't really claim they invented it _afterwards_. And it's not about the algorithm, it is about stating clearly what is actually invented, so that someone else can reproduce it. Any ordinary programmer should be able to take a precise spec and turn it into an algorithm or actual code.

Re:Microsoft undoing their own patents? (2)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850161)

Yeah, that's what I'm reading from this, though as said elsewhere, this is some claims in the patents were invalidated, but I'm wondering then can Moto re-apply with more detail? But yeah, does this mean anyone without a full listing of the algorithm (which is most 'with a computer/on the internet' patent these days) has a chance to have parts made invalid?

(i) Yes, but only those claims that invoke means-plus-function limitations under 35 U.S.C. 112(6). System claims, method claims, and Beauregard claims would still be valid;

(ii) And no, most "with a computer/on the internet" patents* do include a "full listing of the algorithm". They aren't required to include source code, or even pseudocode, but rather, as the judge notes:

The specification can express the algorithm “in any understandable terms including as a mathematical formula, in prose, or as a flow chart, or in any other manner that provides sufficient structure.” Finisar Corp. v. DirecTV Grp., Inc., 523 F.3d 1323, 1340 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (internal citation omitted).

And honestly, it's pretty rare that a software related patent doesn't include a flow chart these days. Consider the beloved Amazon one-click patent [google.com] - it has 5 flow charts, starting at figure 3. The fact that these three patents (really one patent and two continuations with the same specification and figures) didn't include a flow chart is an anomaly, not the norm.

*there are no "with a computer/on the internet" patents. People on Slashdot may characterize them that way, but there are no patents that include a claim of "A method, comprising: [known process], on the internet." The mere addition of the limitation "on the internet" can't be the key to patentability, because the internet is known. As a combination of two known pieces of prior art, it would be invalid under KSR. Instead, you'll always find that there's some additional element in the claim that is not involved in the off-line operation.

I believe this FUD got started because someone saw a dependent claim that said, "The method of claim 1, wherein the network is the internet," and suddenly thought that that was the key to patentability of the entire patent. Not true. It's really just a doctrine called claim differentiation. Patent claims are like Venn Diagrams, where dependent claims are bubbles within the large bubble of the independent claim from which they depend. So, if claim 1 says a network, and claim 2 says the network is the internet, then claim 1 must include other networks including LANs and VPNs as well as the internet. But that's it - claim 1, which never explicitly mentions the internet, must still be patentable on its own.

Re:Microsoft undoing their own patents? (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849269)

Microsoft is arguing that as a 'means plus function' patent, it isn't specific enough because it doesn't specifically give an algorithm. Surely if this goes through it will invalidate the vast majority of software patents?

It's not really about an algorithm per se. It's about specifying precisely what the algorithm is going to achieve. "Pick some block using some algorithm" isn't specific enough. "Pick some block using the following algorith: blablabla" is. "Pick some block by choosing among all blocks with distance less than 5 units the one that minimises the prediction error defined by the formula xxx" is specific enough, even if the implementor has to find their own algorithm.

Re:Microsoft undoing their own patents? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849367)

OMG someone on slashdot that understands the scope of patents. Unreal.

Trouble on screen for all who write software. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42848877)

Software patents are so problematic because if you expose your essential algorithm which uses code blocks then all someone has to do is code to it with different variable names.

It is the same problem as why technology stagnated during the times before the renaissance and then industrial revolution, methods were kept secret by guilds.

We are placing far too much monetary value upon "the intellectual property of software" and if too much software is granted "a Royal Monopoly" like status. Because that status can then be horded we are headed for a technological dark age.

Who can blame the Chinese for employing industrial espionage when much of the technology they seek to achieve is being bartered by those who would squirrel it away in medieval style corporate guilds.

Queen Elizabeth the First at the end of her reign had the foresight to abolish the monopolies, we are reversing the trend and it will eventually cause stagnation and strife in the advancement of technology if left unchecked to run amok. The same as the imaginary mortgage security products market did to us all.

We either open up the patent system and let the best engineers and manufactures win or have a bunch of coders at desks trading ideas for imaginary devices in a ponzi scheme of so called intellectual property rights for products and services.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849047)

Software patents are so problematic because if you expose your essential algorithm which uses code blocks then all someone has to do is code to it with different variable names.

No that's copyright that covers variable names, and you'd have to do a lot more than just change variable names to make it an original work. Patents will cover the algorithm itself regardless of variable names or even implementation language.

It is the same problem as why technology stagnated during the times before the renaissance and then industrial revolution, methods were kept secret by guilds. ... too much software is granted "a Royal Monopoly" like status. Because that status can then be horded we are headed for a technological dark age.

What a load of bullshit. It was patents that opened up the guild secrets, by allowing guilds to make inventions known without competitors being able to take advantage of that. It's the lack of patent enforcement in China and the lack of software patents in most of the world that is keeping software like Google's locked up in the cloud. What's their current search algorithm? What AI breakthroughs do they secret away? We may never know because the inventions they value the most they don't even patent, they can't be used against them.

Parent post makes no sense. If you work on closed-source code and you are against software patents then you are pro-guild, pro-dark ages.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (1)

JazzXP (770338) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849071)

Wish I had mod points to mod this up. I was about to write the same thing.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849143)

You're delusional.

Go read some of them software patents allowed by enlightend, anti-guild USPTO. They don't contain any specifics of algorithm, they speak in language as general as possible to catch as many possible "infringements". They don't reduce the work for someone reimplementing patented software.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849157)

You're delusional.

Go read some of them software patents allowed by enlightend, anti-guild USPTO. They don't contain any specifics of algorithm, they speak in language as general as possible to catch as many possible "infringements". They don't reduce the work for someone reimplementing patented software.

Then UPSTO is allowing crap patents, which means we need to fix UPSTO.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849211)

No. You just can't have good software patents, they'll be either too specific to protect anything or too generic to describe anything useful.

There's too many ways to implement every part of algorithm.

Is my implementation different enough if you used an AVL tree and I use a red-black tree?

Is my idea enough of improvement to grant me a new patent if your algorithm used a linear time look up and I thought up a method of hashing, saving lots of time and electricity?

If your patent speaks about single process querying multiple data sources and updating multiple areas of display, what if I say that mine has multiple processes querying data sources, multiple processes rendering data and a scheduler process to bind them together?

Right now scales lean to the "too generic" side, but I really doubt there's middle ground.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849473)

This is essentially true. If a software patent was required to have sample code implementing (thus making more precise) the patent claims, it would be exposed as a mathematical operation and one that is completely independent of the hardware. It becomes a method patent which, guess what, has been practically negated by Bilski.

There actually is no middle ground. Software patents exist now because they have gotten away from hiding the truth for so long. And after watching so many court battles over technology issues (and especially software technology issues) it has become quite evident that ignorance is the weapon most often wielded in these cases.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849609)

If software is just math then machines are just physics (and so math). Just like you can't patent salt you can't patent base-2, but there's always a middle ground for useful and non-obvious inventions.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849719)

And economics is just math, and chemistry is just consequence of physics (and so math), and biology is consequence of chemistry (and so physics (and so math)). Too bad all that being very applied math forces you to work with formulas shoved on you, instead of letting you make up elegant formulas you want to, so you have to patent constructions obeing those formulas instead of formulas themselves.

But you're right, Newton should have totally be able to patent that (m1 * m2)/(r*r) thingy.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849743)

(Oh, and I'm not saying anything about patentability of economics, chemistry or biology here)

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850195)

This is essentially true. If a software patent was required to have sample code implementing (thus making more precise) the patent claims, it would be exposed as a mathematical operation and one that is completely independent of the hardware. It becomes a method patent which, guess what, has been practically negated by Bilski.

Method patents haven't been "practically negated by Bilski." In fact, the Supreme Court explicitly said in Bilski that software and business methods were patentable, provided they were not merely abstract ideas. For example, a claim that recites software executed by hardware is not "a mathematical operation" any more than a machine with a mathematical gear ratio is "a mathematical operation" - or rather, both are executing mathematical operations, but are not merely mathematical operations.

Yes, all software is math and alone, without being tied to machine or otherwise non-abstract, is unpatentable. However, math executed by a machine is patentable because, no matter how much you hate software patents, you can't simply ignore half of the patent claim in order to declare it invalid.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849147)

Queen Elizabeth the First at the end of her reign had the foresight to abolish the monopolies, we are reversing the trend and it will eventually cause stagnation and strife in the advancement of technology if left unchecked to run amok. The same as the imaginary mortgage security products market did to us all.

The East India Company, chartered by Elizabeth I, given a monopoly of trade with all islands and places between the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits of Magellan.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849245)

Software patents are so problematic because if you expose your essential algorithm which uses code blocks then all someone has to do is code to it with different variable names.

WTF? Are you on drugs? That's what patents are all about: You _publish_ the invention, so that others _can_ replicate it, and then they have to pay you license fees if they use it. They can also replicate it, _improve_ it and get their own patents. Making it possible for others to reproduce it is the _purpose_ of the patent.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849325)

That might be the purpose, but it doesn't necessarily work that way in real life.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849381)

Indeed. The thing to keep in mind is that originally patents did not cover the stuff inside products but instead the methods of making products. The idea was that a company could get a time-limited exclusive right to use a specific manufacturing improvement (efficiency, etc) if they made that improvement public knowledge.

Its still optional, and in fact some companies specifically do not patent some of their manufacturing techniques in order to keep them a secret (so called "trade secrets") .. Intel is in fact one such company that purposely does not patent everything in order to keep some things secret. They patent enough of their techniques to block other companies from using the same process, but they dont actually confirm the precise methodology they use.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849939)

Since when did patents ever legitimately cover algorithms in the first place?

The idea that 'doing it on a computer' is enough to get a patent is ridiculous. The computer is a general purpose calculating device that applies to any known practical algorithm. IT IS OBVIOUS to put your algorithm on a computer.

Software patents are intrinsically unpatentable. End of story.

The argument that allowing patents on algorithms benefits society is a fail also. Patents are a contract between inventor and government that grants a limited right to prevent others from practicing an technique in exchange for revealing the details of the implementation.

Since anyone with a reasonable toolkit can monitor code execution the contract is completely one sided. We get nothing. They get a monopoly.

Re:Trouble on screen for all who write software. (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850181)

Since when did patents ever legitimately cover algorithms in the first place?

The idea that 'doing it on a computer' is enough to get a patent is ridiculous. The computer is a general purpose calculating device that applies to any known practical algorithm. IT IS OBVIOUS to put your algorithm on a computer.

Agreed, but that's not what we're talking about here. You specified "known" algorithms. H.264 encoding wasn't a "known" algorithm prior to 2001, even without a computer.

Invalid patent claims, not invalid patents (2)

kbdd (823155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849371)

The title sounds a little sensational, but the reality is less so. Please read PJ's post at Groklaw. Patents are good, just some claims in them were dismissed.

Microsoft had already agreed to license the patents, so the real fight was over the RAND rate for those, and the possible penalties for willful infringement. Seems like that part is mostly over.

Re:Invalid patent claims, not invalid patents (1)

kbdd (823155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849477)

Commenting on my own post: "Patents are good" is meant in the context of this case. For my opinion about software patents in general, see http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/en/m/intro/index.html [nosoftwarepatents.com]

Why not invalidate Apple patents? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849377)

Why not invalidate Apple patents? At least once, dear judge.

Re:Why not invalidate Apple patents? (1)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850635)

As much as I would LOVE them to do this... I'm not sure how a judge is supposed to invalidate the patent of a company that wasn't even involved in the lawsuit?

Please get the headline right!? (4, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849461)

I consider Groklaw to be an extremely reliable source of fact, insight and opinion. The patents are NOT invalidated, but the claims cited within are. It's a software patent, after all.

Re:Please get the headline right!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42850373)

I consider Groklaw to be an extremely reliable source of fact, insight and opinion

Then you need to get out of the bubble. Groklaw takes the side of whoever is more FOSS.
They seriously argue that it is a bad thing that Apple can use it's patents to get injunctions against Samsung and that it is also bad that Motorola can't use it's standards essential patents (that they agreed to licence at a FRAND rate and reneged) to get injunctions against Microsoft.

Re:Please get the headline right!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857361)

Someone sounds like a loser... Been on the receiving end of a lawsuit and lost, have you?

There are different kinds of patents.

Also, it's "its" and not "it's" in your text.

Yet again -- slashdot gets in wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849539)

This is from the PJ Comments link:

Update: Attorney Matt Rizzolo at The Essential Patent Blog explains what this might mean for the future and what it does not mean (and provides some background here):
Given the fact that Microsoft has already committed to the court that it will take a license to these patents as part of Motorola’s entire H.264 portfolio, and that Judge Robart already issued an order preventing Motorola from seeking injunctive relief on these patents, the only thing this ruling might prevent is enhanced damages for willful infringement (in the event the litigation even got to that point). It’s also possible that Judge Robart could take his invalidity finding into account as he determines the RAND rate for Motorola’s H.264-essential portfolio, on the theory that invalid claims may reduce the value of any given patent — but it’s worth pointing out that this ruling does not invalidate any of these patents in whole, but only in part (a handful of means plus function claims in each) . It’s hard to imagine his RAND-setting opinion getting down to that granular level, but I guess we will just have to wait for Judge Robart’s upcoming RAND ruling to find out.

Microsoft *BOUGHT* a victory... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42850425)

Judge to be unseated and disbarred shortly after finding $0.37 of M$ money in his coat-pocket.

In all seriousness though, it will never stand. Prejudicial judge rolling over playing good doggy for Microsoft. On appeal we'll find that they're all perfectly valid - as valid as any and all patents owned by Microsoft.

Oddly enough, my captcha was Circus ..

What is scary .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851031)

is the shear number of patents that are constantly invalidated. It shows how broken our patent office has become. The reason is that we are hiring individuals that were born outside of America (or the west for that matter). Few of them have any real knowledge about the past. In addition, add to that the fact that many of them are weak technically, and well, you see what is going to happen, is happening.

It is long past time for US to fix our patent system. It was broken back in the 80s when reagan came in and 'fixed' things. Time to restore it to being an honest system.
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