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Patent Infringement Suit Includes Linking URLs In an Email

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the also-claims-ownership-of-using-words-in-a-sentence dept.

Patents 124

An anonymous reader points out a report at Groklaw about another new lawsuit from patent firm Intellectual Ventures against Motorola Mobility (they have an earlier patent suit against Motorola underway already). The suit seeks damages from alleged infringement of seven patents, most of which involve wireless communications and Motorola's use of Android. One of the patents, US5790793, is "A method and system for sending and receiving Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) in electronic mail over the Internet." Intellectual Ventures' complaint (PDF) says Motorola product that implement MMS violate this patent. PJ at Groklaw thinks this is another patent attack on Android: "And guess where IV got these patents? Not directly from the USPTO. I'll give you a big hint. Some of them, from what I'm seeing, are from working companies. Don't they call that privateering, when active companies outsource their patents to trolls to do their dirty work? Why yes. Yes, they do. Can you guess one company in this picture? Someone helping Microsoft in its anti-competitive attack on Android and Linux, you say? Yes, one of the companies that seems to have transferred two patents to IV for its holy quest is Nokia, Microsoft's 'partner in crime', as I like to think of them. I know. You are shocked, shocked to know that patents are being used anti-competitively in a court of law."

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124 comments

1995, damnit. (3, Interesting)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about a year ago | (#44072423)

I was doing this in 1995. I think it's safe to say there's prior art. And it's mine. I'm such an artiste!

Re:1995, damnit. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072471)

But did you archive any copies of your e-mail from then that include URLs? That's the key.

Re:1995, damnit. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072555)

I'm sure the NSA archived some.

Re:1995, damnit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072517)

I was doing this in 1995. I think it's safe to say there's prior art. And it's mine. I'm such an artiste!

Ah, yes, but was it... ON A COMPUTER?!??!?1 Huh? HUH? Yeah, I thought not. Pay up now, THIEF!

Re:1995, damnit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072569)

Not to mention... TOUCHSCREEN

Re:1995, damnit. (1)

Creepy (93888) | about a year ago | (#44072831)

You need to prove you did it before April of 1995 though (the filing date). I have to wonder if the patent is valid though - they had ample opportunity to sue Netscape by now, and they were using embedded html in email in the mid-to-late 1990s. I seem to recall if a company sits on their hands until the technology is ubiquitous, their patent claims usually get thrown out.

Re:1995, damnit. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44072981)

I'm pretty sure I have proof I did it earlier than 1995, but the proof is probably on 9 track reel-to-reel tape.

Re:1995, damnit. (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44073671)

I have a proof that I have prior art, butt there's not enough room in this margin to show my proof.

Re:1995, damnit. (3, Informative)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#44074027)

This was a thing in NextStep back in the late 1980s - early 1990s, I believe. It did not link to WWW, because that had not been created yet, but did link to items anywhere in the Andrew filesystem, which used the same link format - that format was adapted by Berners-Lee when he created WorldWideWeb. An Andrew file location looked like //some.dns.domain//some/path/to/file. It also opened up other applications, including FTP, image viewers, sound files, etc. and an email in NextMail looked a _lot_ like an early web page. Lee's work was really a pretty logical extension of NextStep applications.

Re:1995, damnit. (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44073037)

I seem to recall if a company sits on their hands until the technology is ubiquitous, their patent claims usually get thrown out.

Nope. You are thinking of trademarks, which have to be enforced to remain valid. Patents have no such "use it or lose it" provision.

Re:1995, damnit. (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44073467)

I might have actual emails dating all the way back to at least 94. I know we were sending URLs back and forth then for new sites of interest. But why would I need that when URLs, or URIs, specific purpose was to be able to transmit link information and email's primary purpose was to transmit information? What will they patent next - cars picking up people from point A and dropping off at point B?

Re:1995, damnit. (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about a year ago | (#44073695)

I reckon anyone at university at that time would have been doing so. Sure, they were probably gopher URLs, but it is still a URL.

Patent trolls vs. spammers (5, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44072445)

Does that mean we can sic the patent trolls on the spammers? Hold on, lemme get some popcorn!

Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (5, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#44072501)

The courts have already ruled that taking something existing and "doing it over the internet" isn't patentable. By extension, taking a URL that could be sent on a printed letter and "doing it over the internet" isn't patentable.

That said, the patent isn't actually about sending URLs in an e-mail, it's about automatically displaying destination content of a URL in the e-mail itself. For example, how gmail has an option to replace any YouTube URLs with the actual YouTube video in the e-mail. While that also doesn't sound patentable to me, I can't point out precedence like I can with the "doing it over the internet" patents.

How long have live previews been on Mac OSX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072593)

And, IIRC, e16 had live preview. And did Win98 have them too?

They are done by using URLs processed through an application.

Re:How long have live previews been on Mac OSX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072725)

The patent was filed in 1995. So not sure if NeXT did it. Can not really think of anything that auto filled in at that time. The bw would have been sucky for it...

Re:How long have live previews been on Mac OSX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072947)

2013-1995=18 years - why do we care?

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072609)

The abstract seems to indicate that it covers both the live preview circumstance and the click to go to content circumstance.

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (3, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#44072763)

The first Mozilla browser did it already. Instead of linking to an image (which would then open in an external viewer), it displayed the image inline.

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#44073363)

The patent is from 1995, and Netscape only created the Mozilla project in 1998, so I'm not sure how that would be relevant?

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#44073373)

The browser from Netscape was always called Mozilla.

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#44073533)

As far as I can tell, Netscape didn't include an e-mail client until 1997, which is still after the patent was filed. While I'm not sure it makes it patentable, a browser rendering HTML markup on a web-page isn't the same thing as an e-mail client replacing URLs with content in plain-text messages.

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44073597)

I mis-remember using Netscape Navigator then. "Mozilla" was a code name, and part of the UA string, but it isn't what the browser was called.

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (1)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#44073435)

He meant "Mosaic", not Mozilla. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NCSA_Mosaic [wikipedia.org]

Mosaic was the first browser to display images inline.

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#44073509)

Mosaic did not, to my knowledge, support sending and receiving e-mail messages, nor did it support displaying images inline plain (non-html) text.

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (2)

Eristone (146133) | about a year ago | (#44074315)

Quarterdeck's mail client did though if memory serves and was released for Windows 3.11 in early 1995/late 1994. I'll have to see if I still have my install disks and see what was supported...

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44073691)

Can I patent using a URL "on a computer over the internet"?

I'll bet nobody thought of using it that way before me!

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#44074051)

There's definitely prior art for that - I mentioned in another reply that NextMail had this capability - a NextMail (or, really, any document) could have an audio, video, spreadsheet or any other type of object embedded in it. NextMail really looked like what the web was soon to become.

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (1)

termigator (595635) | about a year ago | (#44074495)

Did NextMail auto-fetch such objects? Most mail clients that received messages that contain external references would prompt the user before fetching (due to security concerns). The patent claims that such retrieval is automatic. If NextMail did auto-fetch externally referenced content without prompting, and did such capabilities prior to the patent date, then you have a candidate for proving prior art. It will also help to find announcements and communication that showed the software was known about at a time prior to the patent date.

Re:Annoying, but courts have already ruled on this (2)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#44075359)

Yes. This was before security and the general level of bogosity was a big deal. The first Internet worm [wikipedia.org] appeared in 1988, the same year the NeXT machine was introduced. Ahh, the good old days ...

In point of fact, Tim Berners-Lee's "World Wide Web" program was inspired by and built on the NeXTstation, taking advantage of the combination of Unix underneath topped by object-based systems with transparent network access. Almost any application could incorporate objects from any other application, so the Webster's Dictionary had both audio and video clips in it, and spreadsheets could also have media of any type attached to a cell. (Lotus had a really cool object-based extension of spreadsheets - I forget its name. It took a while to get past the old assumptions, but once you did it was great. It died with the NeXT.)

I worked as product manage on a product called PaperSight, which was a network based document management system - any document of any type could have annotations that overlaid the document, and both voice and video notes attached to any point on the document. It was better then than anything I've seen since, and it's been 20 years. Even the Mac OSX today isn't really as capable and clean as NeXTstep was back then.

Now, now. (1)

intellitech (1912116) | about a year ago | (#44072535)

You are shocked, shocked to know that patents are being used anti-competitively in a court of law.

Don't you tell me what to think now, too.

The Spirit of the law is taking an awful beating (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44072537)

Technical aspects are being used to commit the sort of large scale larceny mobsters never dreamed up while threatening a shop keeper for a protection racket.

It's all turning into legalized extortion.

Re:The Spirit of the law is taking an awful beatin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072711)

The spirit of the law committed suicide.

Re:The Spirit of the law is taking an awful beatin (1)

TheAmazingChestaro (2942643) | about a year ago | (#44073091)

The ghost of the spirit of the law is now haunting the patent office, waiting on the Mystery Van to trap it and do the big reveal to show that it's actually...

Re:The Spirit of the law is taking an awful beatin (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44075031)

The ghost of the spirit of the law is now haunting the patent office, waiting on the Mystery Van to trap it and do the big reveal to show that it's actually...

...Howard Hughes!!

Bill Gates is being abusive, again. (4, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about a year ago | (#44073407)

"... large scale larceny..."

That larceny is being done by Bill Gates, along with his partner, Nathan Myhrvold. Bill Gates owns stock in Intellectual Ventures. [intellectualventures.com] He is a somewhat silent partner.

Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold wrote a really, really poor book together, The Road Ahead. [wikipedia.org] People bought the book thinking it would have useful information. But it seems as though several editors must have examined the book very carefully to make sure it had nothing of value. In my opinion, it was fraud, a way of stealing from people who bought the book because they assumed they would learn something.

Quote from the Wikipedia page:

The New York Times review called the book "bland and tepid" and reading "as if it had been vetted by a committee of Microsoft executives"; it is "little more than a positioning document, sold in book form with accompanying CD-ROM and designed mainly to advance the interests of the Microsoft Corporation."

It appears to me that Bill Gates is using "philanthropy" to find ways to make more money. He discovers difficulties people have, asks for ideas for technology to fix those difficulties, and then turns those ideas into money-making projects for Intellectual Ventures.

To read more about how they use business to do what many regard as evil, read the August 21, 2012 article, Inside Intellectual Ventures, the most hated company in tech. [cnet.com]

Welp... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072605)

...go stop spam then.

sarcasm does not become you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072615)

sarcasm does not become you... you need some more practice, try listening to Rush Limbaugh for a while and refine that sarcasm to something with more of an edge to it.

Difficulty in proving prior art (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072619)

Those involved in fighting the patent are looking to invalidate via prior art. One claim of special interest is the auto-fetch of data as stated in one of the claims. The amusing thing is that such a capability raises security concerns, so even older software would likely not do such thing, making it difficult to find prior art that performed such a function.

Due to the dates in question, you are also dealing with the following obstacles: software in environments (e.g unix) that today's people do not understand (e.g command-line/batch), software that is no longer in use, developers of old software that still exist and can be found, and/or a verifiable paper/digital trail to establish dates when specific functionality was available.

BTW, the patent claims is not specific to URLs, but anything that specifies the location of some resource. Hence, older, non-URL-based methods that were implemented can be used to establish prior art.

P.S. Posting as AC since I may have some involvement with the case.

Re:Difficulty in proving prior art (1)

suutar (1860506) | about a year ago | (#44072817)

IANAL, but it looks like '' would hit claims 1-2, 4-6, 8, 10-11, 13-15, and 17, so you may want to look at NCSA Mosaic.

Re:Difficulty in proving prior art (1)

suutar (1860506) | about a year ago | (#44072827)

html ate my baby! Let's try again: <html><body><img src="http://yadda/dir/file.gif"></body></html>

Re:Difficulty in proving prior art (1)

Grond (15515) | about a year ago | (#44073361)

you may want to look at NCSA Mosaic

The patent specifically discusses Mosaic as it existed at the time, as well as Netscape, Cello, and Lynx. It claims that none of them were capable of accomplishing the claimed invention, and neither were any then-existing email programs. Say what you will about Intellectual Ventures, but the people behind it aren't stupid. I don't think they would sue a company the size of Google (the owners of Motorola Mobility) without making sure the patent is pretty solid.

Re:Difficulty in proving prior art (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#44073395)

One simply does not need a "solid" patent in this day and age.

All kinds of nonsense gets past patent examiners and they are the smartest people in the whole process. The audience just gets dumber from there as you go to judges and then finally to lay juries.

Re:Difficulty in proving prior art (1)

termigator (595635) | about a year ago | (#44074543)

I would venture that IV is ignorant about the community at the time and the type of software that was in use, especially prior to the birth of the Web. It is highly probable there was software in use prior to the Web that can be used as prior art. The challenge is in finding it and then showing that the software was in use by the community. The digital archive of things before the web is pretty sparse, making the search task more challenging. Many folks are ignorant of the types of communities that existed prior to the web, and ignorant of the software that was in use. Maybe it is time to start pinging the greybeards.

Re:Difficulty in proving prior art (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44072923)

Xanadu probably fits the bill. In particular, transclusion.

A browser's handling of the IMG tag.

Re:Difficulty in proving prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44073475)

Perhaps a 1950's juke box with remote heads.

Someone sitting a a table could put money in the remote and select a song.
      The request (message including reference to which song to play)
              went from the remote (1st computer)
                to the main box (2nd computer)
                to play (decoded without operator intervention).

The 'computers' were electro-mechanical machines, but still there's an argument that claim 1 reads on 1950's technology.

Perhaps once you remove 'on a computer' (and 'on a network'?) as the excuse for uniqueness, there isn't much there.

Re:Difficulty in proving prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44074023)

so isn't a web/HTML page a form of content with embedded URLs which a browser parses and 'automatically' retrieves that which the URL points to and displays it? So then an HTML browser is guilty of infringing on the patent. But, there's prior art there to invalidate too.

Re:Difficulty in proving prior art (2)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#44074085)

I've already said this twice in other replies, but here's another - NextMail had this capability in the late 1980s - early 1990s, including links to files on other hosts anywhere in the world (on the internet) using the Andrew file system.

Re:Difficulty in proving prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44075317)

I vaguely remember xrn (the old x based news reader) did this for news groups. It would download the uuencoded images from mutliple usenet posts and download it to your local directory. You had to view it yourself, but that is just one step away from this beast.

I Patent useing the letter E in a URL (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44072671)

I Patent useing the letter E in a URL cost $0.0005 per use

Re:I Patent useing the letter E in a URL (2)

coinreturn (617535) | about a year ago | (#44072701)

I Patent useing the letter E in a URL cost $0.0005 per use

Although E is extremely common in written English, you might prefer O - as in .com, .org, .gov

Re:I Patent useing the letter E in a URL (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#44072809)

I'll take t, w, and the character "/" while we're at it.

All I ask for is a "." (3, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44072855)

Pat, I'd like to solve the puzzle.

Re:I Patent useing the letter E in a URL (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44072897)

Put me down for the letter H

Re:I Patent useing the letter E in a URL (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44072935)

shotgun on ".". Can't have sentences or domains without periods.

Re:I Patent useing the letter E in a URL (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about a year ago | (#44074087)

shotgun on ".". Can't have sentences or domains without periods.

When did that happen?

Re:I Patent useing the letter E in a URL (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44074395)

Unless we all agree to exclusively shout or ask questions or use unfinished sentences, I'd say there's still a lot of revenue potential.

Re:I Patent useing the letter E in a URL (1)

JazzLad (935151) | about a year ago | (#44072979)

Especially when you consider two of the most visited pages have 3 each (including their .com)

Re:I Patent useing the letter E in a URL (1)

JazzLad (935151) | about a year ago | (#44073019)

Oh, crap, I've got 4! ;)

Nathan Myhrvold and associates, /. celebrities (5, Informative)

arielCo (995647) | about a year ago | (#44072681)

Re:Nathan Myhrvold and associates, /. celebrities (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year ago | (#44072767)

We can nuke then from orbit? Please?

Re:Nathan Myhrvold and associates, /. celebrities (2)

arielCo (995647) | about a year ago | (#44072861)

I fear that ten more will sprout in their place. They need to be prevented from breathing (i.e. suing without producing).

Re:Nathan Myhrvold and associates, /. celebrities (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44072997)

...or the business equivalent, purchase and dismantle.

Re:Nathan Myhrvold and associates, /. celebrities (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44073353)

It's the use of the shell companies that suggests scurrilous behavior on their part, making it difficult to track things to real people, or the actual real people rather than 10 layers of janitors acting as CEO figureheads of paper-only companies.

Gaming the system may be legal, but is scurrilous.

Patent not as broad as summary claims (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072693)

The patent in the article is much more narrow than just sending a URL through an email. A key concept mentioned in the patent is that the email (plaintext or html) contains an URL in some form, and the MUA is recognizing the URL, retrieving the resource and displaying the resource, instead of the actual content of the mail. This is first mentioned in claim 1

"decoding said message by the computer at the second location by retrieving data from the predetermined location, automatically by a single application, without requiring user interaction, into the computer at the second location."

and expanded on in claim 5

"A method according to claim 4, wherein said decoding step automatically retrieves the data from the predetermined location when a user decodes the message without the user requesting the retrieval of the data corresponding to the URL."

Claim 4 clarifies that the data found at the target of the URL is not included within the email

"A method according to claim 1, wherein: said reference to a predetermined location is a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and said step of creating creates the message without including data corresponding to the predetermined resource referenced by the URL."

Also claim 7 narrows down the type of data found at the target of the URL.

"A method according to claim 1, wherein said step of creating creates the message so that the reference to a predetermined location corresponds to at least one of company information, a catalog, new product information, a manual, a correction to the manual, an order, complaint information, and a questionnaire."

While titles of patents might be very broad, the content often isn't, and it's not helpful to the patent debate to pretend every single (software) patent out there is a glaringly obvious thing. The described process certainly was not obvious in 1995, in particular the automatic retrieval of the URL target and displaying it instead of the email, turning the email into a simple reference transmission.

Re:Patent not as broad as summary claims (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072749)

Doesn't Facebook do this when you send a URL through a message or post it to a timeline? I'm not sayin' others didn't come first, just one example that happens to be from an application that a lot of people send "messages" through.

Re:Patent not as broad as summary claims (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44072795)

Can you say obvious?

It was obvious in 1995 that a user might want to see a url they were sent.

Re: Patent not as broad as summary claims (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44073437)

You don't sound like you were around in 1995. Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20.

Re:Patent not as broad as summary claims (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#44074099)

NextMail - part of NextStep, 1989.

Re:Patent not as broad as summary claims (1)

sela (32566) | about a year ago | (#44074231)

I believe W3C's Agora could be used as a prior art. Agora was a browser/server combination that allowed users to surf the web via email. It was developed for people with email access but without direct access to the web. The client side browser would send a URL request by email, and the server returned the content of that URL. The same servers could be accessed directly by email, without using the Agora client. There was also W3Gate, which was similar to the Agora server.

Re:Patent not as broad as summary claims (1)

sela (32566) | about a year ago | (#44074363)

And this document, from 1994, describes similar services as well:

this [google.com]

Re:Patent not as broad as summary claims (1)

termigator (595635) | about a year ago | (#44074567)

The patent in the article is much more narrow than just sending a URL through an email. A key concept mentioned in the patent is that the email (plaintext or html) contains an URL in some form

The term "URL" is not used in claim 1. Basically, anything that specifies a location of a resource, so limiting yourself to a URL-only based mindset will make it hard to find any prior art before the patent date.

Specific method != title (4, Interesting)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about a year ago | (#44072697)

It seems that slashdotters think that the title of a patent IS the patent. For any patent title "A method for doing X," it does not mean that any method for doing X is covered by the patent. The patent describes the specific method of doing X. Now, sometimes the specific method is still totally obvious, not novel, and/or has plenty of prior art. But just because the title says "Method and system to create, transmit, receive and process information, including an address to further information" does not mean or imply that it covers every method for doing so.

Now that said, based on the abstract this is still likely a bullshit patent, I'm just sayin' don't assume so based only on the title because there are plenty of legit, novel patents that are titled in this manner. Of course, this is still just based on the abstract, I'm not gonna read the whole patent.

Abstract
A method and system for sending and receiving Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) in electronic mail over the Internet. An electronic mail document containing a URL may have several different types. If the message type indicates a URL, when the received URL type document is read or browsed using a multimedia Internet browser, the URL is looked up so that the information corresponding to the URL is displayed without necessarily displaying any portion of the received message. If the received document is of the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) type, the document may be displayed and a user may "click" on the URL to look up the information corresponding to the URL. If the received document is of the text type, the text may be converted to the HTML format and the HTML format document displayed so that a user may "click" on the URL in order to look up the information corresponding to the URL without the need to type in the URL address.

Re:Specific method != title (5, Interesting)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#44072851)

It seems that slashdotters think that the title of a patent IS the patent. For any patent title "A method for doing X," it does not mean that any method for doing X is covered by the patent. The patent describes the specific method of doing X. Now, sometimes the specific method is still totally obvious, not novel, and/or has plenty of prior art. But just because the title says "Method and system to create, transmit, receive and process information, including an address to further information" does not mean or imply that it covers every method for doing so.

The problem is not so much that the non-experts here assume that the patent covers all methods for doing X; the problem is that the patent trolls and their attorneys will pretend that the patent does so, threaten small companies using any other method of doing X, and ultimately, perhaps, try to confuse a jury between the patented method and some other method by focusing on the result rather than the method.

So, although the patent does not actually cover all methods of doing X, it is actually reasonable to assume that is exactly what the trolls are claiming.

Re:Specific method != title (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44074133)

we've seen Microsoft use bullshit patents to threaten companies and lots and lots of them caved. All of those who caved have been companies which had other license agreements with Microsoft so you know there was some tit-for-tat threats going on too. But the companies which fought Microsoft's bogus claims( thinking Barnes and Nobel ) ended up getting millions from Microsoft to drop the case and ended up licensing something from them. I think Linspire did the same back when they were fighting the Windows trademark validity when they were called Lindows. Lindows got millions from Microsoft to stop but was required to change their name(Linspire) and also got some license deal for some Microsoft codecs.

Microsoft is good at paying companies who fight them but making sure they sign license agreements which results in Microsoft knowing exactly how many units are being moved. This reminds me of the SCO UNIX / Xenix stuff where ancient unused Xenix code was resulting in Microsoft getting paid cents per unit shipped so it was monetarily worthless to Microsoft but Microsoft fought terminating the contract/license all the way up to and after a court case was filed.

They are buggers are then not?

Re:Specific method != title (1)

termigator (595635) | about a year ago | (#44074595)

IANAL, but I believe the Abstract plays no real role legally. It is the claims mentioned in the patent that matter, and many times, they are much broader than what is summarized in the patent. For example, people keep mentioning URLs, but it you look at the claims, some claims (like 1) do not mention URL, so the patent is much broader. However, because it is not restricted to URLs, it opens up the patent to be invalidated by software that preexisted the Web, but performed the actions stated in the claims.

Intellectual Vultures (4, Insightful)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#44072739)

Everyone at IV with their own office needs to be lined up and gut shot.
.
.
.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Re:Intellectual Vultures (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072797)

Everyone at IV with their own office needs to be lined up and gut shot.
.
.
.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Now, now. I'm a fan of capital punishment for murders and child molesters, but I think life in prison without parol or so in prison would be a more appropriate punishment in this case and might even serve as a deterrent for the future. And I'm not being metaphorical and I don't think life in prison is excessive in this case. Patent trolls do significant damage to the economy. A worse economy means less money is available for lifesaving services, such as medical care, traffic safety, etc. So, while indirect, the actions of these asshats can cause death.

Re: Intellectual Vultures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44073487)

Except they get free food and board for life, in what sick world is that justice? Have them check in with a parole officer every morning, for their daily punch to the dick - then off to highway cleanup duty. Win-win-justice.

Re: Intellectual Vultures (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44074451)

Except they get free food and board for life, in what sick world is that justice? Have them check in with a parole officer every morning, for their daily punch to the dick - then off to highway cleanup duty. Win-win-justice.

As someone who has done a bit of time in a high-security prison, you have to understand that even the food is a form of punishment. And to call it "board" is a way to describe the mattress in a very literal manner. Mix in the violence, the politics and the standovers, and life is a pretty nasty thing. As punishment, it's much worse than a death sentence. The latter is to protect society, the former is punitive.

Although parole is pretty hard (I have years of it ahead of me) I haven't had to avoid any major fights, nor do I have to be constantly aware of what's going on around me (there's a distinct lack of people being stabbed in the kidneys because they owe a pouch of tobacco on the outside).

And there is very little relation between justice and the law.

Re:Intellectual Vultures (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44072951)

Can't we just give the individual lawyers stupid patents, put them in a ring and say "Whoever wins the most patent litigations between you gets more patents!"?

Re:Intellectual Vultures (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#44073415)

No. We need to go old school. We need a War of the Roses style execution for traitors...

Hang them.
Take them down and disembowel them.
Drag them through the streets.
Then draw and quarter them.

They may have not had potable water but they had a certain sense of style.

Re:Intellectual Vultures (1)

Samizdata (1093963) | about a year ago | (#44073521)

After giving me their wallets. NOT metaphorically speaking.

Not really shocked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072751)

"You are shocked, shocked to know that patents are being used anti-competitively in a court of law."
Well, not really since that is the whole idea behind patents. DUH! That is why they exist in the first place. Thrown in a "frivolent", "unjust" or "claimless" in there and you might have something.

Hyperbole much... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44072755)

You are shocked, shocked to know that patents are being used anti-competitively in a court of law.

I know you're all about the moral outrage etc, but, given what Patents ARE, and why they were created, and what their purpose is, isn't "being used anti-competitively in a court of law" (or at least, the threat of that) the only thing that you can actually do with one?

-AC

I'll say it (0)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#44073065)

Fuck this fucking fuck

Claim 1 (4, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#44073081)

This is the actual material being contested:

1. A method of communicating between computers, comprising the steps of:
creating a message at a first computer, said message including a reference to a predetermined location;
transmitting, by the first computer, said message to a second location; and
receiving said message by a computer at the second location;
decoding said message by the computer at the second location by retrieving data from the predetermined location, automatically by a single application, without requiring user interaction, into the computer at the second location.

So actually this looks like a dandy malware vector. Send an email with a link; the receiver then downloads the content from the link without human intervention.

I'd be upset if my email client was doing this.

Re:Claim 1 (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44073225)

So, can we sue IV if our computers start automatically loading this malware?

Re:Claim 1 (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year ago | (#44073785)

Unfortunately no. Just because you come up with an idea or otherwise "own" the idea doesn't mean you are responsible for the idea unless the patent owner also executed the idea which had the detrimental effect on you. I think the gun lobby has tried to make that clear that they aren't generally responsible if their gun is used to commit a crime.

Re:Claim 1 (1)

Grond (15515) | about a year ago | (#44073389)

A lot of email clients do that. They call it downloading images referenced in HTML-formatted email.

Re:Claim 1 (1)

termigator (595635) | about a year ago | (#44074605)

But such email clients came after the patent date, so cannot be used as prior art.

Re:Claim 1 (1)

tmorehen (2731547) | about a year ago | (#44073433)

Isn't this also the way that updates occur? It also reminds me of the "push" services that were all the rage 10 or 15 years ago.

Re:Claim 1 (1)

termigator (595635) | about a year ago | (#44074399)

Agree that it something an email client should never do, but I figure it may be something that a proxy service may due to for mobile customers to reduce network bandwidth. For example, the proxy service can pre-fetch the data referenced from a page (or email), and for some of the data, like images, reduce the size of the data before the actual content is delivered to the mobile device. The term "message" can be very generic, so although the focus is on email-based programs, it could apply to other contexts.

Fuck this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44073119)

... and all stupid laws... come and get me, I am waiting morons!

_|_

The obvious fix is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44073349)

to cease allowing software patents.

gnn.com patent reference (1)

atom1c (2868995) | about a year ago | (#44073771)

Nobody's using the gnn.com domain (expires next year), and the patent makes reference to it. I wonder if we can claim that domain, publish stuff that contradicts its references in the patent, then sue the patent holders for violating the information published in the first place.

Claiming First Use! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44074389)

Show me the date of the patent and, I'll show you a personal email with a hyperlink in it that predates it.
This is what happens when the USPTO tries to be expert at everything (and nothing).

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