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British Telecom Claims Patents on VOIP Session Initiation Protocol

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the assuredly-not-bogus dept.

Communications 116

An anonymous reader writes with bad news for operators of SIP gateways. From the article: "VoIP-to-PSTN termination providers and SIP vendors will be watching their inboxes for a lawyer's letter from BT, which has kicked off a licensing program levying a fee on the industry, based on a list of 99 patents .. The British incumbent is offering to allow third parties to use the Session Initiation Protocol under a license agreement... BT is requesting either $US50,000 or a combination of 0.3 percent of future revenue from affected products, plus 0.3 percent of the last six months' sales for products as 'past damages.' It's kindly offering a discount for customers that pay up within six weeks of receiving a BT letter of demand, and there's a premium to $US60,000 and 0.36 percent of revenue for those who hold out."

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Brits (2, Funny)

clickson (2887959) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600353)

Geth them!

Re:Brits (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600735)

They would have to enforce this in the US as in the UK I believe you cannot yet patent software. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patents_under_United_Kingdom_patent_law

Re:Brits (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601251)

Why? The US Congress will gladly roll over and support them. Every single man and woman in the US Congress, as well as the White House completely supports this kind of BS.

If they did not, they would pass a bill that invalidates all software patents and make software not patentable.

who cares (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600365)

BT is just another failed Tory privatisation, retarding and overcharging for UK telecoms ever since. Its only redeeming feature is that it is set up by regulatory-captured Ofcom to be the less awful alternative to Murdoch and Branson's brands.

Ah, the true nature of competition where there is natural monopoly.

Re:who cares (4, Insightful)

timftbf (48204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600517)

Actually, much of the BT set-up makes a whole lot of sense.

There *is* a natural monopoly in putting copper (or glass) in the ground or on poles, and the part of BT that does this is a distinct entity.

The parts of BT that sell everything from residential phone lines to corporate GigE circuits have to buy from the infrastructure part of BT on *exactly* the same terms as any other telecoms service provider. It's about as much of a level playing field as you're ever going to get...

Re:who cares (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600603)

is a distinct entity.

This makes me laugh. Openreach is part of BT and operates in the interests of BT shareholders - where these shares also convey ownership of the retail arm. No amount of handwaving by Ofcom, which essentially behaves as BT pleases, is going to enable this system to be any fairer.

Also, "competing bill-printing services" - as with the privatisation of electricity and gas - is a joke. At least the privatisation of water companies was honest, in that there are no alternatives, because, well, there is still only one water pipe to your house.

The original solution worked just fine: a single company provides not just the physical infrastructure, but also the bill-printing services. That company, e.g. British Gas per the Gas Acts, happened to be owned by the people with a requirement to operate at least break-even over a particular accounting period (e.g. 2 years for BG). Now it's just about middlemen and other leeches (e.g. here the patent trolling arm of BT and the lawyers working on its behalf) taking their slice of the pie without needing to be productive.

more than "competing bill-printing services" (1)

Chirs (87576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601073)

The last mile to the house is a natural monopoly. Once you get to some sort of switching station then you could have real competition with physical hardware from different competing ISPs colocated in the same offices and using separate upstream bandwidth. That's more than just "competing bill-printing services".

I have no idea if this is what they do in the UK, but it's *possible*.

Re:more than "competing bill-printing services" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601165)

This is done in some of the bigger exchanges - local loop unbundling. But it does require that competing ISPs install their own kit etc. In rural exchanges it's not possible due to size of exchange and not having enough room in there for anything else, or simply down to economics of scale - it's not worth it for ISPs to spend cash on kit for those subscriber counts.

So no, for much of the UK, it's a monopoly all the way down. BT own most of the backhaul networks (via Openreach) and the vast majority of last miles.

Re:more than "competing bill-printing services" (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601399)

We have this in that the cabinets and cables are owned by the infrastructure company and leased out to whoever wants it. Competing ISPs can also install their kit in the exchanges and use the cables to the homes. Competing ISPs can also install their own cables (eg fibre) to the homes as well (but this tends to be very expensive).

The UK telecom situation is rather good, prices are cheap enough and service good enough to make our American cousins cry... just like our mobile ISPs.

Re:who cares (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601121)

As a past employee it's interesting to see how much red tape between branches of the company there is. The regulation means that BT isn't allowed an advantage compared to their competitors. That means you're frequently banned knowledge/access that would be extremely useful to your job, because an external entity wouldn't have that knowledge. It gets even more ridiculous if you're working for two different departments at the same time, because often it means for two related projects you have to develop one pretending you have zero knowledge of the other.

Yes the shareholders are the same so they're all operating to the benefit of the same people, but there's still plenty of distinction made.

Re:who cares (1)

Cederic (9623) | about a year and a half ago | (#43602303)

The regulation means that BT isn't allowed an advantage compared to their competitors.

The regulations had to be changed because BT was exploiting their monopoly position to fuck over their competitors.

Disclaimer: I may have once worked for a Telco

Actually. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601089)

The ground all belongs to everyone, since nobody owned it thousands of years ago, and so nobody owns it, or everybody does. As a result BT owes me rent.

Re:Actually. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601353)

The ground all belongs to everyone, since nobody owned it thousands of years ago, and so nobody owns it, or everybody does. As a result BT owes me rent.

Then it's up to you to enforce your claim to "rent", and up to you to use force or threat of force to backup your claim. Ownership of anything comes down to who has the ability and/or desire to take it and keep it. Governments take care of this function for us most of the time.

Re:who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600663)

If BT hadn't gone private then what?

Re:who cares (3, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600797)

BT is just another failed Tory privatisation,

It's a success compared to what the old public BT used to be like. Most privatisations have been disasterous, this one was already a disaster, so it's not been too bad.

Re:who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600801)

How can it have failed? The make more money than the decrepit state run BT by a huge margin and pay billions in tax. They build most of the fibre infrastructure in the UK and allow any other company to provide services on them at cost.

You sound like a left twat that chooses to forget the how the labour party left the country in the gutter after unions took control. Perhaps you're took young to remember the trash sitting in the streets for weeks, the constant strikes, the dead bodies, the failing businesses that couldn't compete with other markets due to the strangle hold on the work force downing tools ever other week.

The government is still a major shareholder in BT, but you're too dim to see what benefit that has to the country.

If you don't like BT, use another service company, someone shit like the tax dodging Virgin outfit perhaps?

Re:who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600911)

Oooh lucky there are never any dead bodies in the UK these days since we all started to live forever after 1979.

Re:who cares (3, Informative)

sa1lnr (669048) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601103)

Excuse me, but before it was sold off BT was making about £3 billion a years gross profit.

Re:who cares (1)

Cederic (9623) | about a year and a half ago | (#43602257)

the less awful alternative

The problem is that the two you named actually realise that they have customers and attempt to cater to them. Sure, customer service from one is pitiful and the politics of the other reprehensible, but BT act as though you should feel privileged to use their network and do their utmost to fuck over companies that actually try and help their customers.

I hate BT.

Patents ought to be like Trademarks (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600371)

If you fail to vigorously defend your patent equally and uniformly against all known cases of infringement from the day you file, you lose the patent. Period.

Re:Patents ought to be like Trademarks (4, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600483)

Because we don't have enough slavering mindless patent attacks in the courts right now?

You're trying to raise the bar on keeping patents, I'm sure. A noble goal. But the people who want to keep their patents will happily crank out their litigation tempo if that's what it takes.

Your proposal is full of blowback. The solution is worse than the problem.

Just say it out loud: Abolish software patents.

Re:Patents ought to be like Trademarks (-1, Troll)

Concern (819622) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601173)

Just say it out loud: Abolish software patents.

+1

Re:Patents ought to be like Trademarks (0)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600685)

No. Patents are not trademarks. You don't lose a patent by not defending it. You lose it if it expires, independently on how much you defend it or not. Trademarks in turn are owned for eternity, if you defend them rigorously.

Re:Patents ought to be like Trademarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600767)

Read the Title... the OP said Patent OUGHT to be like Trademark not that it IS like trademark.

Re:Patents ought to be like Trademarks (0)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600885)

It still doesn't make sense. Imagine patents owned for eternity. Nearly every gasoline engine in the world would owe patent fees to the estate of James Pickard (all the others would owe fees to the Felix Wankel estate). Siemens would get a fee on every dynamo-eletric generator in the world, and everytime you write something down with a pen, you have to pay Faber-Castell.

Re:Patents ought to be like Trademarks (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601145)

Not that part, the use it or lose it part. Patent trolling in general. I mean, BT just now figured out they can mangle the wording of a patent to apply it to something that's been in use for over a decade.

Re:Patents ought to be like Trademarks (1, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600819)

No.

Patents ought to be like Trademarks

It's a statement of opinion of how the author wishes things to be not how he believes they are.

um.. no (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600381)

Time for the rest of the t-com industry to join forces against the use of Atomics!

Re:um.. no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600837)

Too bad the Brits already screwed over their potential source of Fremen allies.

Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600391)

All ITSPs then should ditch SIP for PSTN trunking and move to support IAX2. A much simpler protocol and it goes through NAT like a knife through butter.

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (3, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600467)

All ITSPs then should ditch SIP for PSTN trunking and move to support IAX2.

That would be to presume none of these patents implicate IAX2. After all, they're not claiming a patent on SIP, they're claiming patents on what SIP does. Providers would want to be sure IAX2 is not going to be found to be infringing before making the effort to migrate.

What would be better would be concerted work on having as many of these patents invalidated as possible. Hopefully the remaining ones can then be worked around.

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (2)

Splab (574204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600553)

Try pointing out that the UK is part of EU and so far, software patents aren't valid?

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (4, Insightful)

Cassini2 (956052) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600803)

Somehow, i suspect British Telecom was smart enough to get the US version of this patent, and software patents are fair game in the US.

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (2)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601027)

Somehow, i suspect British Telecom was smart enough to get the US version of this patent, and software patents are fair game in the US.

Once again (from an embarrassed American), apologies for that...

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (2)

odigity (266563) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601899)

Stop that!

You didn't personally create the patent system, and it doesn't even seem like you agree with it, so why apologize for it?

Bugs the crap out of me when people say "we" with regards to/ apologize on behalf of the actions taken by the government that claims ownership of you.

You are an individual. They are a network of thugs. Stop identifying with them, and stop collectivizing all individuals who live within these imaginary lines called the U S of A.

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (1)

Cederic (9623) | about a year and a half ago | (#43602329)

Yeah, but he's part of the society that elected the sociopaths that passed the stupid laws. He also hasn't used his second amendment rights to remove the 'network of thugs' (to use your term).

In other words, he's culpable. An apology is the least he can offer.

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43603465)

Uh, the patent system was legislated long before anyone still alive was conceived so that's crap.

Also, you are perfectly capable of coming over here and shooting up congress yourself if that is what you are suggesting, so that's crap too.

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43603683)

Once again (from an embarrassed American), apologies for that...

Stop that!

You didn't personally create the patent system, and it doesn't even seem like you agree with it, so why apologize for it?

Be still my child. "JeezUS" is here. The people need a sacrificial lamb. Let we who have not been touched by the sins of Intellectual Property suffer for the Original sins of those who have. In this way we may stand as a lasting reminder that those great founding fathers who came before us were flawed in that they trusted the majority of voters to not be apathetic idiots, and at least a portion of congress to not be corrupt.

May our sacrifice of honor and faith in the systems that rule us be as a bacon of truth in the darkness of pre-morning to all other nerds who seek the good news that ye need not toil under the yolk of Artificially Scarce Ideas. Cast off your pointers and rejoice in the infinite sea of everylasting bits! Do not be sad or angry; Accept our martyrdom joyously for through it we achieve holy geek cred and secure our place at the right hand of dogs.

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (2)

sydsavage (453743) | about a year and a half ago | (#43603833)

Mmm. Bacon of truth. <drool>

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (1)

digitig (1056110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600869)

And I'll expect that BT will point out that these aren't software patents.

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (1)

Splab (574204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601143)

Really? The SIP servers I'm running are purely done in software; but after posting that I realized that they are targeting american companies, not European, so guess it's a non issue (for most people).

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (1)

digitig (1056110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601429)

The implementation might be in software, but the article says that the patents relate to the protocol, not the implementation of the protocol.

ah, so it's *math* (1)

Chirs (87576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43602805)

Being able to patent a communications protocol is actually worse than being able to patent a specific implementation of that protocol.

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600659)

they're not claiming a patent on SIP, they're claiming patents on what SIP does

And since SIP was developed from c. 1994-1999, they're just about to bump up against the 20 year window.

A few petty lawyers here have the power to disrupt a global industry. I'm continually astonished that there's anybody who can't see that the system is fundamentally flawed.

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601853)

IAX2 is a relevant protocol these days?

Re:Everyone should switch to IAX2 then... (1)

tomwish (2499164) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601407)

All ITSPs then should ditch SIP for PSTN trunking and move to support IAX2. A much simpler protocol and it goes through NAT like a knife through butter.

The issue with IAX2 is that currently you are limited to Asterisk and its forks. I currently have Sonus and sansay products in my network and IAX2 is not an option. I agree that IAX2 is great for nat but have not seen any studies on high volume/high CPS. I peak during the day at 6k cps and 150k channels. You would have to get the big vendors to buy in and they never agree on anything.

Has anyone patented ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600395)

The "Patent Extortion Letter Protocol"?

Protocols are APIs.

http://www.zdnet.com/oracle-vs-google-one-claim-that-should-not-stand-3040155046/

Re:Has anyone patented ... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600597)

The "Patent Extortion Letter Protocol"?

Unfortunately you don't have to look far to find prior art

No more Gotcha! patent suits (5, Insightful)

raju1kabir (251972) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600489)

There needs to be some sort of "horse has left the barn" exemption to patent enforceability. If a patent holder sits quietly and watches while an industry develops around something they believe to be infringing, it's not reasonable to allow them to wait until billions of dollars are at stake and then suddenly show up with a demand for payment.

That's not at all in the spirit of patent law. The purpose was to allow the patent holder the ability to exploit their own invention, not to allow them to sit on their asses doing nothing and then exploit everyone else's work.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600581)

I think patents should work the other way around. I don't think they are entirely evil like many people here, just very badly abused.

Anyone making something can publish what they plan to make in some central place and patent holders have one month to complain it infringes their patent. It would be a significant cost to the patent holder to examine everything but it's not like they are getting no benefit.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600615)

That's not at all in the spirit of patent law. The purpose was

"The purpose was" is now irrelevant. The patent law now serves the interests of those who own the government just as they wish it to be.

c.f. "You said they'd be left at the city under my supervision! "

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (1)

sacrilicious (316896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601255)

"The purpose was" is now irrelevant. The patent law now serves the interests of those who own the government just as they wish it to be.

Stating the purpose is hugely relevant in terms of educating many who do not know. You're correct to state that that patent law is currently abused in ways directly contrary to the motivations of its creators. You're very incorrect to imply that educating people about this travesty is meaningless.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601705)

You're very incorrect to imply that educating people about this travesty is meaningless.

History is always valuable. But if anybody thinks the current government(s) is/are going back to the way it was, then they haven't been paying attention to history.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600639)

That's the claimed purpose in the U.S., not everywhere. And regardless, that's not really what patents are for. Patents are for burdening competitors to your own advantage.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (4, Interesting)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600719)

This is what is also known as a "submarine patent"

It lurks under the water while adoption builds.
Later on, the "submarine patent" surfaces and sues everyone.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600973)

Later on, the "submarine patent" surfaces and sues everyone.

Have they sued anyone? Or are they just asking people to license a patent that they legally own?

A company has an obligation to look at the technology they use in their products and do a patent search to see if they are infringing on existing technology owned by someone else.

Simply because BT had not until now chosen to require or ask for licensing doesn't give other people a free ride for ever. The onus is on YOU to do due diligence with your products that you market for profit, YOU bare the responsibility to properly license that which you do not own.

Re: No more Gotcha! patent suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601373)

No they don't and in fact doing so represents a huge danger in the form of tripple damages. Thats why I only read the patents specifically brought to my attention due to possible infringment or conflict with my own fillings.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about a year and a half ago | (#43603149)

This is what is also known as a "submarine patent"

It lurks under the water while adoption builds. Later on, the "submarine patent" surfaces and sues everyone.

As usual, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] states it well:

A submarine patent is a patent whose issuance and publication are intentionally delayed by the applicant for a long time, such as several years.[1][2][3] This strategy requires a patent system where, first, patent applications are not published, and, second, patent term is measured from grant date, not from priority/filing date. In the United States, patent applications filed before November 2000 were not published and remained secret until they were granted. Analogous to a submarine, therefore, submarine patents could stay "under water" for long periods until they "emerged" and surprised the relevant market.

Unless these are patents that had been filed 15 years ago and were finally granted just now, they are not submarine patents.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (4, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600721)

There needs to be some sort of "horse has left the barn" exemption to patent enforceability. If a patent holder sits quietly and watches while an industry develops around something they believe to be infringing, it's not reasonable to allow them to wait until billions of dollars are at stake and then suddenly show up with a demand for payment.

That's not at all in the spirit of patent law. The purpose was to allow the patent holder the ability to exploit their own invention, not to allow them to sit on their asses doing nothing and then exploit everyone else's work.

Yeah... some sort of "you intentionally waited too long to enforce your rights, and as a result, the infringers are in an unreasonably worse position now than they would've been had you acted at little faster" rule. Or like you say, the "horse has left the barn, so why bother latching it up". We could even call it the laches [wikipedia.org] rule.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601091)

I like your style.

Captcha: approval. No lie.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601545)

Yeah... some sort of "you intentionally waited too long to enforce your rights, and as a result, the infringers are in an unreasonably worse position now than they would've been had you acted at little faster" rule. Or like you say, the "horse has left the barn, so why bother latching it up". We could even call it the laches [wikipedia.org] rule.

If BT's patents are valid and applicable, the patent violations are an ongoing tort that is repeated until the violator stops selling the infringing product. They don't appear to be claiming for the alleged historic violations - only for the alleged violations in the last six months. I doubt six months would be considered an unreasonable delay.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year and a half ago | (#43602619)

We could even call it the laches [wikipedia.org] rule.

Nice! I've heard of laches before but didn't know what it meant. I will leave this page more knowledgeable than when I arrived. Thanks!

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43603839)

I'll do you one better. Just shorten patent duration to 5 years. Oh you waited too long, your submarine sank... Oh, that's not long enough? Well, it is for the majority so get to innovating faster and deal with it.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600751)

It's called laches. Look it up.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (4, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600859)

This is about British Telecom. They've probably only just heard of VOIP.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year and a half ago | (#43602061)

They do actually offer their own VOIP service, which charges the same rates for calls as their POTS service.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43603169)

Their internal network has run over IP for some time, POTS nowadays is simply the main entry point into their system. They offer SIP as well as TDM interconnects for carriers.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43603457)

They've done this for quite a long time.
2003?
It used to be called 'broadband phone', and came with a SIP capable box with an ethernet plug.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43603567)

This is about British Telecom. They've probably only just heard of VOIP.

They heard about it years ago, but decided it was probably just a fad that would go away... like electricity.

No more spirit! patent suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601005)

How does one legally codify "spirit"?

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601291)

Do you have any factual basis for thinking that in this case BT did in fact sit and wait, as opposed to attempting to negotiate in private before resorting to the courts?

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | about a year and a half ago | (#43603233)

I do not have any concrete proof of the nonexistence of such an attempt. Like all attempts to prove a negative, I must rely in large part on the lack of evidence that an attempt has occurred. I've been involved with VoIP for over 10 years and never heard of such a thing. Nor does the article mention it. Nor do any of the other discussions of the topic.

Re:No more Gotcha! patent suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43602955)

In the US there is a Doctrine of Laches under which if a patent holder does not enforce their patent within 6 years they are deemed to have given up their rights to collect license fees.

Also there is a strong requirement from standards organizations that members should disclose IPR and if they fail to make such disclosures then either the standard can be revoked (not practical in this case) or the US State Department or equivalent can revoke their right to enforce the patent. The US State Department can only really do this with regard to US patents and the enforcement of patents against US companies.

It is clear that BT were well aware that many companies were using SIP and hence they need to explain why they waited so long before asserting any patents.

I got... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600491)

...99 patents, but SIP ain't one.

meh (1)

Digital_Wonderbread (2812185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600619)

All this bickering about session initialization is a non-starter. C'mon, I had to retrieve my password for this terrible joke.

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600667)

I tried the veal. That was shit too ;)

Good luck with that (1)

mvar (1386987) | about a year and a half ago | (#43600673)

One must wonder if BT is willing to force the ISPs that already have a SIP trunk with them, to sign this deal. Or maybe that's where they're aiming at.. Either way good luck with this stupidness

Definition of Protocol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600841)

A "protocol" is simply a language construct. Anyone with proper IT training would not allow SIP to be patented in the first place as it is simply an agreement to arrange bits in predefined fields and communicate with networked peers in a consistant manner. This can only be the work of lawyers.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601197)

As others have posted, software patents aren't valid in the UK, so they're likely suing based on a US patent.

Luckily not affected (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43600779)

I work for a VoIP provider, based in a UK and have several direct SIP links to BT - so they know we use it! The irony is they can't charge us these license fees because currently the law in the UK prevents them.

Oh bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601007)

You didn't invent SIP. And you don't own a claim on it either. You are completely full of shit.

Nothing more than a greedy money grab at a NON unique idea in the first place.

In fact... Enough of this shit. Execute him. For being a douche and wasting everyones time. We all have things to do.

FSF Implementation (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601025)

Sir,

We select the 0.3 percent of revenue payment option. We have enclosed a check for $0.00 to cover all past and future expected revenue.

Signed, The FreeTards

Re:FSF Implementation (2)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year and a half ago | (#43602003)

Sir,

We select the 0.3 percent of revenue payment option. We have enclosed a check for $0.00 to cover all past and future expected revenue.

Signed, The FreeTards

I can only hope you sent it postage due.

Re:FSF Implementation (2)

Shimbo (100005) | about a year and a half ago | (#43602305)

Dear FreeTards,

You missed the 'greater of' part. That will be $50 000 you owe us.

BT.

PATENTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601047)

Protecting the innovators* since 1624.

*) Read: "Screwing the innovators for profit"

Declared patent coverage in RFC 3261? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601065)

I don't see BT's name associated with RFC 3261. When you work in an IETF Internet Standards Track working group, you're meant to declare any patent encumbrances that you may possess over the subject matter. That allows potential users to avoid it like the plague.

I'm all ready to dump SIP ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601111)

... and develop an all new protocol. At this point, it won't even need PSTN capability since we are moving away from that.

Re:I'm all ready to dump SIP ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43602153)

And I will bet money this is exactly what it is about... They are losing PSTN customers at a rate of knots, so they are now trying desperately to find another revenue stream.

Re:I'm all ready to dump SIP ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43603115)

Please do! Once you get the new protocol to 100 billion dollars a year business, I'll announce my patents on it.

another way incumbents hinder progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601159)

If you dominate a mature industry (including have a monopoly), and you see disruption on the horizon, this shows one of your few defenses.
Ordinarily, disruption works because the newcomers use business models that you can't replicate, largely because you have specialized so
effectively. What you can do, however, is bring your considerable resources to bear in developing or collecting patents. Then you can use
those patents against the new competitors, even if you can never, or intend to never, use them yourself. Verizon may have done this against Vonage.

All US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43601675)

Note that these are all US patent applications: software is not usually patentable in the United Kingdom.

This is your problem, US. Do the sensible thing: abolish software patents.

Interesting, they did not (it appears) disclose interests to RFC3261, and should reasonably have known to do so. There is a potential argument there, maybe (leaving aside whether any of the patents are valid or whether any of the claims actually read on SIP, which is another question entirely).

Prior Art: MMUSIC (5, Informative)

anwaya (574190) | about a year and a half ago | (#43601759)

The IETF MMUSIC (Multiparty Multimedia Session Control) Working Group started working on Session Protocols [ietf.org] in 1993.

Initial Internet drafts for a Session Invitation Protocol and a Simple Conference Invitation Protocol were prepared in 1996, and merged to a single first draft of SIP by December 1996 (slide 10 [columbia.edu] ), with further drafts (2-12) leading up to the publication of RFC 2543 in March of 1999 (slides 11-13, ibid.).

I don't see anything that says BT had a hand in anything to do with SIP up to 1996. More than half the patents BT claims (Exhibit C [btplc.com] ) were filed after RFC 2543 was published.

I hope this information is a useful starting point for some SIP vendor.

Re:Prior Art: MMUSIC (4, Informative)

scubamage (727538) | about a year and a half ago | (#43603021)

I work on Voice R&D/Product Engineering for a major MSO (not going to list the name here), and we had to go through discovery for these lawsuits already. The most annoying thing is we actually have several people from the RFC working group working here, so it is... salty to say the least. But I will say, they're going after companies on the fortune 500 so you can bet that the whole history will be poured over by legions of lawyers. If the little SIP vendors are smart and able, they'll try their very best to delay until some of the big lawsuits are finished.

These scumbags claimed to own 'hyperlinks' (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43602407)

BT (British Telecom) is a monumentally corrupt British company that filters back vast amounts of money into the pockets of British politicians. It was, and effectively still is, the POTS monopoly in the UK (curiously excluding one small region of Britain for historic reasons. While BT was a legal monopoly, Britain had some of the highest phone charges, and least choice in end-user equipment options, in the First World. Swimming in cash like all Britain's utility monopolies, BT would invest in laughably bad R+D projects, given the world atrocities like Prestel, a service so bad it made the original AOL like like the current Internet.

Prestel is significant because, of course, it became the basis of BT claiming it owned 'hyperlinks', and that everything on the Internet owed them royalties. A billion pieces of prior art sank that claim in a hurricane of hilarity. In Britain, the BBC would always tell the sheeple that EVERYTHING had been invented in Britain, and that the British version was, of course, the best. You will still get dummies here defending the work of BT, for instance. Monopolies do APPEAR to have dabbled in a lot of key technology areas, but this is entirely a consequence of obscenely large pools of cash being available with no accountability. Of course some of this money sloshes into 'pet projects' of managers with an interest in technology.

Interestingly, the putrid Prestel died not because it was so crap (which it most certainly was), but because unlike Mintel, the French equivalent, Prestel was a 'walled garden' where almost every form of potential content was deemed 'controversial', and thus banned. The irony is that years later, after privatisation, BT would make new fortunes from the criminal gangs who ran the so-called 'sex-lines'.

Britain largely has the dense urban populations that would easily benefit from the same digital cable technology one sees rolled out in Singapore and South Korea. Brits have an unending appetite for technology. Sadly, the hyper-corrupt BT, and a bunch of even worse TV cable companies, control the cabled communications infrastructure in the UK. The cable infrastructure is only ungraded when the UK government decides to roll out more sophisticated citizen surveillance projects- the cameras and under-road tire RFID trackers that make Britain more '1984' than Orwell would ever dared to have imagined.

BT has a portfolio of patents that you might understand by considering the same from IBM. BT had a finger in an incredible number of pies, none of which it 'cooked', but all of which it corruptly claims inventors rights over. Lots of things do get invented in Britain, but vanishingly few of these came from BT. BT's claims always have the form "we implemented an idea already in existence but not widely used, so we now own that idea".

Annoying. (1)

scubamage (727538) | about a year and a half ago | (#43602981)

This whole thing is messed up. I work in voice for a major MSO, and we had to go through a bunch of fact finding and discovery for the BT lawsuit. The thing that is really annoying is that SIP, to my knowledge, is not the result of BT's work. It's the result of the IETF RFC process. That'd be like me jumping up and saying I have the patent on TCP/IP.

Wait ... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43603383)

Wasn't it BT who a little over a decade ago decided it held the patent on hyperlinks and started threatening to patent troll the whole Internet?

IETF protocol standard? (1)

josepha48 (13953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43603685)

WTF: SIP is an IETF standard, so these people should not be holding any patents, otherwise it is another useless standard. It would be like if http protocol was patented and they required you to pay to implement it.

Maybe we should... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43603761)

...all start paying royalties to Dr Evil when we use the question mark, That would make everybody happy.

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