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Facebook Sued By Rembrandt IP For Two Patent Violations

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the paint-me-a-picture dept.

Patents 105

An anonymous reader writes "Ars is reporting that the patent-holding company, along with the heirs of Dutch programmer, Joannes Jozef Everardus Van Der Meer (deceased 2004), have filed suit against Facebook for violating two patents relating to social media web sites. The two patents in question were filed for back in 1998, a full four years before Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg first entered university at Harvard. Among the claims made in the lawsuit is that Facebook's "Like" button violates one of Van Der Meer's patents. Facebook even cited one of Van Der Meer's patents in one of their own filings later on. The suit seeks unspecified damages."

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105 comments

Can we kill software patents now? (5, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850947)

Please. I hate Facebook as much as the next guy, but this is just ridiculous.

Re:Can we kill software patents now? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851411)

Not until Zuck goes down. Then, we can talk about software patents. Yes, we all have a dog in this fight.

Re:Can we kill software patents now? (0)

Boomerang Fish (205215) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851645)

please, fuck Facebook, then patents, that's all I ask...

--
I Drank what?

Re:Can we kill software patents now? (0)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851811)

Not until Zuck goes down. Then, we can talk about software patents. Yes, we all have a dog in this fight.

Yeah.. I have to admit my desire to see Facebook take one in the rear despite my disdain for software patents.

Re:Can we kill software patents now? (2)

Pseudonym (62607) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856021)

Not until Zuck goes down. Then, we can talk about software patents. Yes, we all have a dog in this fight.

There's also a line of argument that since Zuck has all teh moneys at the moment, he currently has the responsibility to provide cover fire for the rest of us. In a few years' time, someone else will be passed the frivolous lawsuit patch pumpkin.

When will this stop? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42850949)

I patented the process to think. Everyone in the world owes me compensation.

Re:When will this stop? (5, Funny)

minkie (814488) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850993)

I patented the process to think.

Near as I can tell, very few people are actually violating your patent.

Re:When will this stop? (5, Funny)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851039)

The more you think about it, the more it costs you...

Re:When will this stop? (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851677)

The more you think about it, the more it costs you...

Arguably the best patent comment ever.

Re:When will this stop? (2)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42854971)

I refuse to take the credit; mine was a snarky reply to the actual best patent comment ever - the one which succintly makes it clear to anyone that in this age of fab-less production and freedom of information, patents are just stupid and almost completely stifle real progress, whilst feeding the fatcats (shareholders) who own and gamble on this world - unless it's *their* innovation, of course!

Re:When will this stop? (1)

Jahf (21968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851101)

Pretty sure I can pull up some prior art dating back from before the patent system.

Re:When will this stop? (3, Insightful)

harperska (1376103) | about a year and a half ago | (#42852267)

Thankfully, we are now a first-to-file system, so we don't have to bother with pesky details like prior art dating back to the dawn of civilization.

Re:When will this stop? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42854881)

Prior art still restricts patentability in the first to file system. Unless you are in the one year 'grace period' where your disclosure is protected.

Re:When will this stop? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42858769)

Ugh. For a site supposedly full of intelligent people, please can we stop repeating this nonsense? Two parties invent something, party A just before party B. Under first-to-invent, if party B files the patent, they can go through all of the expense of filing and then party A can come along and say 'actually, here's my lab record which shows that we invented that first, we'll take that patent.' Under first-to-file, party A can come along and say 'actually, here's my lab record which shows that we invented that first. It's prior art, so we'll invalidate that patent'. The latter is the only sane way of implementing a patent system, because if two people invent the same thing at approximately the same time then there is no social benefit to giving either of them a patent. It doesn't mean that you can patent things that have existing prior art: that's a completely orthogonal bug in your patent system.

Re:When will this stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42860679)

Do you have a link to this site you're talking about? It sounds like a cools place to discuss technology and related issues.

Re:When will this stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42853257)

I patented the process to think.

Near as I can tell, very few people are actually violating your patent.

In a patent suit, it's not about the claim, it's about how far the claim can be stretched.

Re:When will this stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857569)

I'm not good with words, do you have an image to illustrate this?

Re:When will this stop? (1)

youn (1516637) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851027)

not me, at least according to a few people :p

Re:When will this stop? (1)

meerling (1487879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851363)

Plato and Aristotle just to name two of the Great Thinkers. :)

Re:When will this stop? (1)

morcego (260031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851439)

I patented the process to think. Everyone in the world owes me compensation.

That would only be true if people were using it. All evidence is contrary to that assertion, so you get nothing.

Re:When will this stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42852269)

ps -ef | grep think | grep -v grep | xargs kill

Unspecified damages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42850999)

Wow. You can seriously put down on a lawsuit you want "unspecified damages"?

"Yeah, we'll decide how much we want after you tell us if we won or not. If we win, we'll take your entire company and the next eight startups we think look good. If we lose, we'll just have asked for a pittance and make you look like selfish bastards for not giving us what we needed to survive. So, take your time deciding and all."

Re:Unspecified damages? (3, Informative)

penix1 (722987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851595)

No, it is unspecified because they left the award amount up to the court. It happens on every suit I have seen. "We ask for relief as the court deems equitable."

If I yell "FOURTH!"... (1)

lvxferre (2470098) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851005)

...will somebody sue me for patent violation due to previous art in "first", "second" and "third"?

Lawyers ... habitual liars as usual ... (5, Informative)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851007)

"The way the patent laws work, and have worked for 200 years, is that when someone else uses it—whether intentionally or unintentionally—they owe a reasonable royalty," said Melsheimer. "It's not necessarily a function of bad intent or malicious planning. The notion that the original inventor didn't succeed in commercializing the invention is, legally speaking, not relevant.""

Patents are absolute monopolies which allow any and all royalty rates ... reason doesn't enter into it.

Re:Lawyers ... habitual liars as usual ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851259)

reason does enter FRAND [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Lawyers ... habitual liars as usual ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851761)

reason does enter FRAND [wikipedia.org] .

Not into the patents as such - FRAND is an agreement the patent holder accepts in order to get the patented tech included in a standard

Re:Lawyers ... habitual liars as usual ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42852189)

Or maybe you don't understand the system. Infringement can be both intentional and unintentional, that is true. Intent is not a factor beyond excess damages, so that is true. Commercialization is not legally relevant.. that is true. So what exactly is the lie?

They are not absolute monopolies either, they are a right to exclude others from property. Beyond that they are civil only, and carry damages proportionate to the infringements.

You just need to get educated about your legal system.

... but not this time (3, Interesting)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42852247)

"The way the patent laws work, and have worked for 200 years, is that when someone else uses it—whether intentionally or unintentionally—they owe a reasonable royalty," said Melsheimer. "It's not necessarily a function of bad intent or malicious planning. The notion that the original inventor didn't succeed in commercializing the invention is, legally speaking, not relevant.""

Patents are absolute monopolies which allow any and all royalty rates ... reason doesn't enter into it.

Not so. Patents are absolute monopolies that can be used either for injunctive relief, which allows no royalties by definition because the infringer is no longer allowed to continue infringing; or for monetary damages, which allows a "reasonable royalty". In other words, you can either get 0 royalties and have an absolute monopoly, or you can get a reasonable royalty and no monopoly. You simply cannot have "any and all royalty rates," like 100% of revenue or infinite dollars per unit or whatnot. Check out 35 USC 284.

Re:... but not this time (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42852883)

"Upon finding for the claimant the court shall award the claimant damages adequate to compensate for the infringement, but in no event less than a reasonable royalty for the use made of the invention by the infringer, together with interest and costs as fixed by the court. "

The actual royalty rates you have to pay to use a patent officially are not limited to reasonable ones.

This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overnight (3, Insightful)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851015)

Simple... If Facebook has the guts to do it. Turn all of Facebook off. That's right, just a blank page to Facebook.com and make all FB powered comments show one thing :

Dear Facebook user : We're currently being threatened with litigation by Rembrandt Social Media (link to their site for extra lulz). As of this moment we're unable to serve Facebook until this matter is resolved. Please contact your local congress person regarding the unfairness of this blah... blah... blah...

Do that worldwide.

Facebook will lose a day's revenue, and my-oh-my, will that get everyeone's attention. And before someone asserts that they're just protecting their IP... um... no. Not only do "copyright holding" companies fly against the very face of the very spirit of copyright protection -- that is to give innovators of a concept and creation to profit from that creation -- these guys don't invent anything, don't produce anything, don't contribute anything to society. It's the copyright equivalent of cybersquatting.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851091)

We don't need this. It is a waste of time. What we need is a contact congress about eliminating software patents. All sites need to come down. Not just facebook.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851153)

Hm, too risky. You forget, Facebook users aren't what I would call "active". The little twats on Twitter, maybe, but Facebook? They'd twitch a bit for a day or so, but they wouldn't say a damn thing to anyone that matters. If it goes too long, they'd quickly drift away. Advertisers and marketers wouldn't panic; hell, they've been saying that Facebook advertising isn't getting them much to begin with. The big brands would just write it off the same way they wrote off Second Life (remember that brief period in internet history?).

The most likely outcome is that Facebook would die or at least be seriously crippled. And the patent troll would WIN . Then they'd set their sights on something you cared about, since Facebook fell so easily.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42852225)

"Hm, too risky. You forget, Facebook users aren't what I would call "active". The little twats on Twitter, maybe, but Facebook? They'd twitch a bit for a day or so, but they wouldn't say a damn thing to anyone that matters. If it goes too long, they'd quickly drift away. Advertisers and marketers wouldn't panic; hell, ... "

              Hm, too risky. You forget, Slashdot users aren't what I would call "active". The little twats on Twitter, maybe, but Slashdot? They'd twitch a bit for a day or so, but they wouldn't say a damn thing to anyone that matters. If it goes too long, they'd quickly drift away. Advertisers and marketers wouldn't panic; hell, ...

      Fixed that for you.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (1)

517714 (762276) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851205)

Facebook should really show 'em and shut down permanently!

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851413)

I would press 'like' button if I had one.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42852387)

Finally, someone that feels the same way I do. Failbook is for fucktards and those fucktards will go ape-shit crazy without their daily Failbook fix. Maybe it will be too late for Failbook and Rembrandt IP will be able to shut Failbook down with their lawsuit. GOODBYE FAILBOOK!!!!!!!!!!! ROFLMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (1)

XaXXon (202882) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851217)

You don't remember what happened to myspace very well, do you?

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (1)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851579)

I sure do. But Facebook is no MySpace. Their biggest mistake was staying static once getting to the top, whereas Facebook kept adding features, improving the systems in the backend and front. There are numerous games/apps that spread like wildfire. They were always actively trying to court companies into promoting through the platform and making it easier (read:harder) to share content without their direct cooperation and blessing.

They may be unscrupulous with regard to their cattle, but one thing FB never was, was complacent.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851231)

I wish facebook had the balls to do that. but they are a publicly traded company. so a board would probably have to approve that decision. they probably wouldnt because they correctly realize that after a day of people not using facebook, some people would just stop caring about it. on the other hand it could have a streisand effect as well. it would be on every news channel in the world.

i thought google should have done that when the chinese blocked them, for not blocking objectionable content. but google caved, and from a business perspective it was a good call to cave, since baidu or some other company would have stepped in. the difference there is nobody in china would have heard about it.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851243)

without facebook running so they can look up their congressman's facebook page, 90% of US facebook users wouldn't have a fucking clue what to do. they'll just go twit about how facebook is 'sooo lame' then find somewhere else to post pictures of their bathroom mirrors.

i'm not a fan of patents like this, but i'm kinda rooting for facebook to lose big here -- kinda like how a red sox fan roots against the yankees.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (1, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851425)

> Turn all of Facebook off.

And nothing of value is lost.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851441)

They could do that, but patents are more beneficial than harmful for large corporations. Once they reach their position, patents insure they don't need to compete.

What Facebook can, and will do to these little morons, is either counter-sue and sue them for years now, bankrupting them with legal fees.

The damages aren't specified for a very simple reason. They don't expect to win any. Ever. They expect Facebook to settle, which they will.

Facebook is important, but not Google-like important. They already had problems a few days ago, doing it again will mark them unreliable, and they still need years before their monopoly is even a little bit solidified.
The fallout from that particular event isn't visible yet, but I expect it will have some interesting, long term effects.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851783)

"What Facebook can, and will do to these little morons"

Underestimating your enemy is one sure way to get your ass kicked. Or, the reverse of that, overestimating yourself. I don't think "morons" run these patent holding companies. There are an awful lot of derogatory terms that might apply to them, but "morons" isn't one of them.

"either counter-sue and sue them for years now, bankrupting them with legal fees."

Sue? On what grounds? You're proposing frivolous suits, based on nothing, as a suitable counter weapon against a suit that *just might have some merit? How long until a judge figures that tactic out, and lashes out at Facebook, as well as all of Facebook's attorneys?

* I say "might have some merit", merely as a possibility. On the face of it, it sorta kinda looks like Facebook may have ripped off someone else's idea. But, that is only based on reading TFA, which seems little more than a PR statement from Rembrandt. I'd have to see more to even speculate whether Rembrandt has a case or not.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851901)

So in addition to be knowledgeable in your domain, you must be an expert as a sales man and lawyer? Are you implying it should be illegal to outsource work you are not good at, which includes licensing your patents to others?

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42852321)

Sure but that's like suggesting Micro$oft try to kill Windoze, they certainly could but they have no intention to. Failbook is a HUEG megacorp with patents of its own. And those sure come handy when it suffocates any startup that threatens its existence. This is just cost of doing business.

Couldn't have happened to nicer company.

Re:This can copyright malarkey can be fixed overni (1)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856961)

Simple... If Facebook has the guts to do it. Turn all of Facebook off.

The problem is that all the facebooks or Google's of this world, has patents them-self and are part of the problem. They could the thing they do in a hear beat (and it isn't the first time that I see this mentioned) but they would cut in their own skin.

Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (2)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851045)

Can someone explain why it's reasonable to have patents and copyrights continue to exist after the original author is dead?

I really never understood that.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851113)

You realise that if IP rights terminated with their death you are creating the perverse incentive to have copyright holders and inventors of patented inventions assassinated.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (3, Insightful)

Jack9 (11421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851173)

> creating the perverse incentive to have copyright holders and inventors of patented inventions assassinated.

The incentives to kill people always exists for parties who can leverage the death in a myriad of ways. This wouldn't be perverse or special in any way.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851455)

It's cheaper to hire a hit-man than to fight a patent suit...

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851653)

And copyright protections and patents are better deterrents to that than laws against murder?

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851853)

The real trick is, to assassinate them after they've completed most/all of the development but before they file their copyright/patent forms..less reason then for the authorities to investigate their unfortunate deaths in oh so typical lab accidents, etc.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year and a half ago | (#42853495)

You realise that if IP rights terminated with their death you are creating the perverse incentive to have copyright holders and inventors of patented inventions assassinated.

You realise that if IP rights terminated with their death you are creating the perverse incentive to have copyright holders and inventors of patented inventions assassinated.

Yes, that would be TOTALLY different from corporation assassinating them to have rights transferred so it can profit.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851117)

He is not dead, he just moved onto the "Intertance " phases of life in the form of a "Fund" or "Holding Entity"

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

godrik (1287354) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851131)

Think of the children^Wshare holders!

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851159)

Ask Walt Disney. He was a force behind the current Life+75 years change.

Ofcourse, he made his fortune animating stories that were out of copyright.

So....

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851507)

Ask Walt Disney. He was a force behind the current Life+75 years change.

Ofcourse, he made his fortune animating stories that were out of copyright.

So....

The Copyright Extension Act that extended the term to 50 years (75 for "anonymous works) was passed in 1976, the . Walt Disney himself died in 1966, so I don't think you can blame him for getting the extension passed any more than you can blame Thomas Edison for anything G.E. does today.

The Copyright Term Extension Act (widely called The Mickey Mouse Protection Act) wasn't passed until 1998, more than 20 years after Disney's death.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851167)

Would you prefer corporate hit men bumping off young inventors to protect their company's standing?

What I don't understand is how patent trolling promotes anything. Nor how life+decades are limited times.

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851681)

Corporations already routinely use things created by individuals and smaller companies regardless of copyright or patent. As long as their legal team has tens of billions of dollars behind it they can outspend you 100:1, they're pretty comfortable with the fact that they can litigate you until your bankrupt and then buy your patents or copyrights or just buy your whole company. Patents and copyrights do not really protect small inventors.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851227)

Can someone explain why it's reasonable to have patents and copyrights continue to exist after the original author is dead?

Imagine that you create something and then die the next day. You and your heirs will never get any reward for your creation. Now imagine that you die and, instead of passing your house and posessions to your heirs, the government takes it all. Ultimately, ownership of anything (physical or intellectual) is possible only because laws allow you to own it.

The real problem with copyright is not that they continue to exist after the author is dead, but that the terms are far too long. Patents are not too long, but are granted for things that are obvious and not inventive.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (3, Insightful)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851697)

I don't believe heirs should get any reward for your invention.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851859)

That's only logically consistent if you believe in 100% estate taxes. Even then, your heirs would get the benefit of the money you make from your invention during your life. It seems rather arbitrary to decide to end that because you die, not to mention that for extremely valuable inventions it gives incentive to others to have you die.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42852471)

I can sell a patent to someone - the price should be the Present Value (PV) of the patent's expected future cash flows (from licensing or increased profits afforded by the patent's covered features). That patent is worth real money today. I own it, it's mine, it's worth something. Just like cash in my pocket.

So when I die, why would the patent and its associated future cash flow not go to my heirs (just like that cash in my pocket)? Or, equivalently, the executor of my estate could sell the patent (for a price equal to its PV) and give the proceeds to my heirs. You would prevent that from happening precisely why?

If you don't believe heirs should get any reward for your invention, then I guess you think they shouldn't get anything you have from your other hard work - 100% estate taxes. If you really think this, then I trust your will tells your executor to sell all your assets and give all the proceeds to the United States Treasury. Does it?

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (2)

Teun (17872) | about a year and a half ago | (#42853593)

You're clearly not thinking of the children!

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857765)

I don't believe heirs should get any reward for your invention.

So why should they inherit your money and property either?

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851947)

Imagine that you create something and then die the next day. You and your heirs will never get any reward for your creation. Now imagine that you die and, instead of passing your house and posessions to your heirs, the government takes it all.

while i understand the situation presented, i keep thinking of:

Bart: Uh, say, are you guys crooks?
Fat Tony: Bart, is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?
Bart: No.
Fat Tony: Well, suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?
Bart: Uh uh.
Fat Tony: And, what if your family don't like bread? They like... cigarettes?
Bart: I guess that's okay.
Fat Tony: Now, what if instead of giving them away, you sold them at a price that was practically giving them away. Would that be a crime, Bart?
Bart: Hell, no.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

Warhawke (1312723) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851271)

The idea is that copyright is supposed to benefit the life of the heirs as well as the author, else a 70-something year-old might not have as much incentive to create if he only expects to get a couple years revenue off of it. I'd prefer a system of a flat number of years, like copyright once was and patents still are. 28 was reasonable, 28+28 is acceptable. Life + 70 is overkill. 14 years on patents wouldn't be bad if 1) software patents were actually drawn up by people who knew what the fuck they were doing [the good software patents never become an issue], or 2) software patents didn't last for more than a couple years.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851337)

Parasites need to make a living too.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851371)

Copyrights and Patents are two very different things. They get clumped together under IP Law, but I know IP lawyers who focus only on Copyright (and usually trademarks) and then just patents. Often the folks who deal with patents have engineering or scientific undergraduate degrees. They are two very different beasts as patents have a term of 17 years in the US and that doesn't matter if you are a company of individual or trust/estate. It's 17 years. Problem has become business process patents. Those were a bad idea and should be stripped from the USC. Patents should only be things manufacturing processes and machines. Things like "1-click" ordering should be covered by copyright (see below)

Copyright depends on a couple factors. If you are a company that copyrights a work that used to cover a 30 year period. Individuals the copyright existed for the duration of you life +50 years. The idea being you write the Greatest Novel of your Generation. Doesn't get published until after your death, allows your direct decedents the ability to capitalize on it. And that was fair enough. Now the problem is that +50 years has turned into +70 or +90. I've really not had to deal with that in the past few years so I lost track.

I think what needs to happen is we need to have categorizations of copyright. Software copyright lasts 10 years. Books can be lifetime + 25 years. Music published and released by you, lifetime + 25 years. Music produced and published by a company: 25 years then it's public domain.

IP does not exist (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42852133)

Stop falling for the propaganda (aka P.R.) there is no such thing as I.P. it was created to fool people into merging all concepts into 1 generic term for the benefit of the industry. In addition, it is called Property when it is not property or even tangible!

Also they put forward this myth people have fallen for that only big powerful interests can create anything of value. Music and art always existed and these laws did not exist during most of human of civilization. Inventions also happened without them; it is a mistake to assume the boom starting with the industrial revolution was due to patents because more people were educated, there was more investment, and more supporting technology to build upon. Government and Institutions did most the invention and science and they still do the majority of it today.

In fact, in our religious drive to privatize everything we have private corps funding our research institutions (and that is done largely for the patents.) It is possible secrets would be lost without patents and corporate spying would be huge (it is already) as well as much lower investment (one can argue for a moderate use of patents) -- but perhaps we would go back to our history and fund research again?? Public research does not waste as much time on Erection pills... There is a lot of good science that is underfunded while resources are put into consumer products people don't need. This new system makes research and education expensive or prohibited - its one thing to re-invent the wheel because of secrets and quite another to be FORBIDDEN because somebody "owns" an idea. Institutions used to SHARE science and now they censor it because their corporate sponsors don't want any patents going to the competition... plus the academic publishers must prop up their old DEAD businesses.

Re:IP does not exist (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857051)

Stop falling for the propaganda (aka P.R.) there is no such thing as I.P. it was created to fool people into merging all concepts into 1 generic term for the benefit of the industry. In addition, it is called Property when it is not property or even tangible!

Don't be circular in your definition. It is called "property" because it is something you own. In the case of copyright, you own the right to copy, and in patent you own the right to use the process. Just because you don't like the name doesn't mean it shouldn't be used.

Re:IP does not exist (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857785)

there is no such thing as I.P.

There is no such thing as property either. It only means something because there are laws and conventions in a civilised society that allow it to exist.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851399)

Maybe so that people don't get assassinated?

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851405)

Suppose I am a 65 year old writer.

If I work, say for a movie studio my creations will be worth substantially less to the studio than a younger author if the copyrights expire at my death.

This will make it hard for me to get a job or otherwise sell my works.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851741)

A movie studio can make a billion dollars off of a movie in five years. Your objection would seem to point to copyright terms being too long in general rather than them being too short.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42852265)

A movie studio can make a billion dollars off of a movie in five years. Your objection would seem to point to copyright terms being too long in general rather than them being too short.

No, his objection points to the term needing to exist after the inventor or author's death, to protect older inventors and authors. That the term is too long overall is a different argument. You could have a 5 year term, but that doesn't help the author who dies the day after publishing if it doesn't extend past his or her death.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42852537)

That the term is too long overall is not a separate argument.

If you're concerned that older writers are unfairly disadvantaged because younger writers could sell the authority to use their creations for decades, then the solution seems obvious: Reduce the younger writers' ability to sell the authority to use their creations.

I am going to die at some point. I have no intention of leaving an heir. When I die, the idea that authority over the things I have created would somehow be held by some private individual instead of being available for the common good is not only not desirable to me, but I see it as really detrimental, and despicable that someone might hope to gain from my work by denying it to others.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42853341)

That the term is too long overall is not a separate argument.

If you're concerned that older writers are unfairly disadvantaged because younger writers could sell the authority to use their creations for decades, then the solution seems obvious: Reduce the younger writers' ability to sell the authority to use their creations.

I am going to die at some point. I have no intention of leaving an heir. When I die, the idea that authority over the things I have created would somehow be held by some private individual instead of being available for the common good is not only not desirable to me, but I see it as really detrimental, and despicable that someone might hope to gain from my work by denying it to others.

Ah, but fortunately, we live in a representative democracy, and not in a "my situation is different than everybody else's, but nonetheless, the laws should be written specifically for me" dictatorship. I have no plans for kids either, but am not so selfish that I believe that people who do want kids should be impaired in their ability to pass on an inheritance. After all, I realize that I too had parents and inherited from them. Perhaps this does not apply in your case?

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42854075)

You're adorable.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851409)

I don't know the original intention, but it seems to me that it does make sense when an invention is designed under a contract that passes ownership of it directly to the inventor's employer. I believe that is rather common and in that situation it would be strange to tie the patent's effectiveness to the life of the inventor.

Patents are 20 years or so only. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851809)

Not sure where you are getting your info, but patents have limited time frames unlike copyright:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/nyc-england-brace-feet-snow-18444937
>A patent is not a right to practise or use the invention.[17] Rather, a patent provides the right to exclude others[17] from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention for the term of the patent, which is usually 20 years from the filing date[4]

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

rwyoder (759998) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851843)

Can someone explain why it's reasonable to have patents and copyrights continue to exist after the original author is dead?

I really never understood that.

Hey! zombies deserve the right to be rewarded for their innovations!

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851975)

Can someone explain why it's reasonable to have patents and copyrights continue to exist after the original author is dead?

I really never understood that.

Uh, so their heirs can take over?

A very similiar case: why it is reasonable that money, stock portfolios and other paper property remains when the owner dies?

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42852593)

You have to have "life + 25" or some such to allow corporations to negotiate expensive contracts with the patent or copyright holder and not be afraid that if they step in front of a bus tomorrow, the entire contract becomes worthless.

Same goes for sale (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#42853237)

Selling patents or the patents belonging to your employer is just as silly. It is "intellectual property". Either you keep it for yourself or you share it. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year and a half ago | (#42853577)

The question is already answered by others, my question would be how the hell this company from a country where software patents are legally impossible has a leg to stand on?

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

countach (534280) | about a year and a half ago | (#42854217)

I guess for the same reason people can inherit stuff. Why should your kids or wife be rich, just because you were rich? You can make that argument sure. I guess if you work hard for something, you have the right to leave it to your family. Of course, this is a separate argument to whether patents should exist in the first place.

Re:Can someone explain why it's reasonable... (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857029)

It becomes an interesting situation. If I write a book, then give someone else the copyright, does the copyright still end when I die? If not then the older one gets, the quicker one should sign away their rights.
But why should someone else benefit as soon as I die? If I want to provide for my children, and I'm a cabinet maker, I can make a bunch of cabinets and give to my children, so they can sell after I die. But if I'm an author, and I finish the story the day before I die, my children (or wife) are out of luck? If that is the case, perhaps I just won't bother writing the story, or letting it get out.

Cue the *corporate* sympathizers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851099)

Whether or not you agree or disagree with the validation of the guy's patent is irrelevant because you aren't a patent examiner, nor do you work for the patent office. Everyone queuing up to bitch about patents, this situation is exactly why we need a protection system.

I haven't inspected the patents in question, but for the sake of debate, I'm going with the assumption that both online social networks and the 'like' button were novel in 1998, with probably no prior art. Having stated that, I'd like to hear from the other side why the Van Der Meer patents in question deserve invalidation, or why Facebook Inc deserves a free pass on paying royalties on the patents?

Because "like" is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851799)

why the Van Der Meer patents in question deserve invalidation, or why Facebook Inc deserves a free pass on paying royalties on the patents?

Because the concept of "like" has been obvious for hundreds of thousands of years in homo sapiens, and probably earlier. Implementing "like" on the Internet does not make an old obvious thing novel. This was not an invention, and in addition to the patent being invalidated, the USPTO examiner should be tarred and feathered.

Patent should only cover realised ideas. (3, Interesting)

fufufang (2603203) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851181)

I think patent should only cover ideas that are implemented. Under the current system, if you patent some ideas that cannot be implemented now, you essentially stop people in the future from implementing them, until your patent expires. This stifles innovation.

Re:Patent should only cover realised ideas. (2)

Warhawke (1312723) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851313)

To obtain a patent, you need to be able to reduce it to a practicable description, meaning that you do have to show exactly how the patented device works with enough particularity to make it functional right now. Future patents aren't granted. The idea behind it is that if you figure out how to do it but don't actually do it, you've told other people how to do it by posting the patent, and therefore you deserve royalties from that (which means that implementation isn't stymied, it's just expensive). In practice, what we've done is encourage the development of patent trolls given the free transfer of patent rights like property. This could either be fixed by limiting transfers of patent rights or by requiring a modicum percentage of active use and implementation. To require that you actually practice a patent is unfair, though, because I could not reasonably practice implementation of a novel and revolutionary ion space drive or nuclear reactor even if I could design and perfectly describe it on paper.

Re:Patent should only cover realised ideas. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855551)

To obtain a patent, you need to be able to reduce it to a practicable description, meaning that you do have to show exactly how the patented device works with enough particularity to make it functional right now. Future patents aren't granted. The idea behind it is that if you figure out how to do it but don't actually do it, you've told other people how to do it by posting the patent, and therefore you deserve royalties from that (which means that implementation isn't stymied, it's just expensive). In practice, what we've done is encourage the development of patent trolls given the free transfer of patent rights like property. This could either be fixed by limiting transfers of patent rights or by requiring a modicum percentage of active use and implementation. To require that you actually practice a patent is unfair, though, because I could not reasonably practice implementation of a novel and revolutionary ion space drive or nuclear reactor even if I could design and perfectly describe it on paper.

It used to work the way you describe, but not any more. Now reduction to practice is not required by the USPTO.

Re:Patent should only cover realised ideas. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851451)

The problem with your idea is that lots of patents are improvements on inventions owned by somebody else.

You can't implement them without violating their patent.

Alan Turing is spinning in his fucking grave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851345)

Although I would respect a patent for punch-you-in-the-face-over-IP.

Re:Alan Turing is spinning in his fucking grave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851431)

Top-spin or bottom-spin? BA DUM TSS!

Hurry up and violate my FTL patent (1)

Grashnak (1003791) | about a year and a half ago | (#42853371)

I have written a vague yet extensive theory of how one might use some technical means, as yet undefined, to make some sort of vehicle, also undefined, travel faster than the speed of light. I'm hoping someone will hurry up and violate it soon, as I could really use the money.

Crowdfunding patent litigation (1)

golodh (893453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856491)

Hey, I have an idea: lets all crowd-fund patent litigation cases.

It works as follows:

- anyone with a patent that looks monetizable starts a cheap one-off company.

- this company floats an IPO through a crowd-funding offer (see e.g. http://crowdfunding.com/ [crowdfunding.com] ) for, say, $250,000 in which the text of the patent in question is put online plus a target amount of money you propose to raise through licensing

- if the IPO succeeds in raising the money, $10,000 is used for administrative affairs and the rest goes towards legal costs. Everyone who puts in money becomes a shareholder.

- as the legal resources aren't too big, you avoid suing large companies but go after medium-sized ones that you can 'touch' for, say, a $10,000 prot ... errm .. license

- when (if) you gain the target amount, you take a shareholder vote: continue as before, upscale (go after bigger targets), or liquidate (the company liquidated, the proceeds paid out, and the patent returned to the original owner)

- the original patent owner can now crowd-fund a new cycle for the same patent

That would put a little oomph into patent-monetization, right? So what's not to like?

Oh, and picture this: in the IPO you can list a number of companies that you view as infringers and likely licensees (read: "a list of companies that you're going to sue", hehe! Anyone want to see Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, IBM, or anyone else get sued? Queue here and contribute $49.99 ! Risk-free!)

Pssstt ... know any politician you don't like? Anyone at all? Pesky troublesoume Liberal? Dumb clueless Wingnut? There must be some patent his/her campaign is violating. And no, that's not stifling the democratic process through gross abuse of the patent system; it's solely about ... errm ... "monetizing your valuable intellectual property" (remember that term, you must be able to reproduce it letter-perfect if grilled by a judge or in a senate hearing). Just think of the possibilities!

Err perhaps I should have patented this idea before publishing, you never know.

Alternative history (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857549)

I was mightily confused by the concept of Rembrandt suing Facebook. Weird timeline.
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