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Nintendo Defeats and Assumes Control of 'Patent Troll's' Portfolio After Victory

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the thank-you-IA-Labs,-but-our-patents-are-in-another-castle! dept.

Nintendo 87

the simurgh sends this news from Gamespot: "Nintendo has acquired the entire patent portfolio of now-defunct IA Labs following its victory in court, the Japanese gaming giant has announced. Nintendo obtained the patents during a sheriff's sale in Montgomery County, Maryland on Tuesday. IA Labs originally sued Nintendo for patent infringement in 2010, claiming the Mario maker's Wii controller and Wii Fit technology infringed on two separate IA Labs patents. Nintendo successfully defended itself as part of a court battle in 2012, also winning various fees related to the case. IA Labs appealed the ruling, but an appellate court sided with Nintendo in June 2013. At this point, IA Labs was ordered to pay Nintendo additional fees, and when the company failed to do so, a sheriff's sale was commenced."

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87 comments

not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nintendo (5, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about 7 months ago | (#45926399)

IA labs made actual products similar to wii-fit and met with Nintendo to discuss making Wii accessories using their technology at about the time the 3DS was to be released. IA then found out that Nintendo made the accessories themselves, apparently "stealing the ideas" that IA presented to them. So that's not what we'd normally call a patent troll.

It turns out that Nintendo had been developing the products before meeting with IA, and the court ruled that Nintendo didn't infringe the IA patents, so IA lost. It appears to me that IA was a bit too aggressive in defending their patents, but they didn't engage in the pattern of behavior normally associated with a troll.

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926453)

A thoughtful, informative, useful post. Thank you.

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926483)

You don't find many of these kind of posts anymore. Not a single offtopic mention of NSA, Snowden, Assange, Bitcoin, or how stupid one is if they support any political party. I know, they'll show up soon, but at least I can enjoy the moment before I hit the refresh button.

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (4, Funny)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#45926579)

ho snap! It's like when super mario defeated bowser! or like when an incredible wii mario kart team of snowden and assange took down NSA using bitcoin shells. Now mario needs to free tea party land from the evil clutches of the repub-demo mono-party! using linux!

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45928289)

ho snap! It's like when super mario defeated bowser! or like when an incredible wii mario kart team of snowden and assange took down NSA using bitcoin shells. Now mario needs to free tea party land from the evil clutches of the repub-demo mono-party! using linux!

you win the internet today

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926623)

Hmmm ... my slashdot RSS feed shows his post as:

not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nintendo ... though none of this was discovered by the nice people over at the NSA, who got their jobs via Dice.com. Their mothers should be so proud of them with their cute haircuts and nice teeth.

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (1)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 7 months ago | (#45926761)

You don't find many of these kind of posts anymore. Not a single offtopic mention of NSA, Snowden, Assange, Bitcoin, or how stupid one is if they support any political party. I know, they'll show up soon, but at least I can enjoy the moment before I hit the refresh button.

I've been hatching a theory, very loosely based on Godwin's Law, that any thread here that includes either NSA, Snowden, or Bitcoin ultimately will include the other two. The theory hasn't previously include Assange since we haven't heard much about him lately, but I'll consider incorporating him into it if need be.

I haven't seen much evidence that my theory is wrong, but these primary hot topics recently have achieved meta status wherein they get mentioned even if they are notable only for their absence. You did it, and now I'm doing it.

That doesn't exactly disprove the theory, but it does take a little of the zest out of it. So, let's all just try to find "legitimate" ways to drag NSA, Snowden, Bitcoin - and even Assange, if we must - into each and every conversation here. And please, no more cheating via the meta trick.

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 7 months ago | (#45927307)

You don't find many of these kind of posts anymore. Not a single offtopic mention of NSA, Snowden, Assange, Bitcoin, or how stupid one is if they support any political party. I know, they'll show up soon, but at least I can enjoy the moment before I hit the refresh button.

I've been hatching a theory, very loosely based on Godwin's Law, that any thread here that includes either NSA, Snowden, or Bitcoin ultimately will include the other two. The theory hasn't previously include Assange since we haven't heard much about him lately, but I'll consider incorporating him into it if need be.

In this case, your theory is rather prescient. I read somewhere that IA Labs was developing their WiFi controllers in cahoots with the NSA, providing secret back doors and monitoring capabilities for the NSA - so they could monitor and subtly control our gaming behaviors - and that Snowden leaked this information to Assange. Everyone involved was paid in Bitcoins.

Now that we know, this exploit can obviously be circumvented by wrapping the WiFi controllers in tin foil.

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45927767)

Assange and Snowden walked into a bar. They ordered a drink and asked if they could pay in Bitcoins "because the NSA". The bartender laughed at them for thinking Bitcoins were useful IRL.

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45950779)

I've been hatching a theory [..] that any thread here that includes either NSA, Snowden, or Bitcoin ultimately will include the other two.

Don't know about Bitcoin, but the fact that any article about Snowden will include mention of the NSA is about as coincidental or forced as the fact that any article about the Watergate Scandal or Deep Throat (the informant, not the porn film!) will include mention of Richard Nixon.

And given that the current state of the NSA and current views upon it can hardly escape association with the recent scandal, it's hardly any less probable that it'd work the other way round as well. Duh.

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#45928297)

Arduino!

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (1)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 7 months ago | (#45935015)

I think you're meant to be on www.hackaday.com

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (1)

BalthCat (2472732) | about 7 months ago | (#45938199)

Actually you didn't even get to post, because you saw those mentions AS YOU TYPED THEM OUT.

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 7 months ago | (#45927295)

More like:

A thoughtful, informative, useful post. Get lost. We don't need your kind around here.

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (0, Troll)

l2718 (514756) | about 7 months ago | (#45926469)

Labelling your opponents "trolls" will be the new corporate propaganda term, just like labeling copyright infringement "pirates".

Re: not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Nint (5, Informative)

Ignacio (1465) | about 7 months ago | (#45926511)

Except that Nintendo didn't do that. It was the writer of the "article" (which is really just an oversized text blurb) who used that word.

Wrong comparison (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 7 months ago | (#45929707)

"Labelling your opponents "trolls" will be the new corporate propaganda term, just like labeling copyright infringement "pirates"

Nice try, but wrong comparison. Let me tabulate the terms you're comparing for clarity:

copyright infringement (alleged crime) : pirate (accused)
patent infringement (alleged crime) : patent troll (accuser)

See? A "pirate" is the person or party accused of copyright infringment. A "patent troll" on the other hand is the person or party that accuses (somebody else) of patent infringement.

So a "pirate" is the alleged perpetrator of the copyright infringment, while the patent troll is the alleged "victim" of the patent infringement. You can't be called a patent troll if you don't use or abuse the legal system. A pirate on the other hand is presumed to be operating outside the legal system until he or she is brought to court.

Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926529)

Aren't patent trolls usually lawyers who buy up patent portfolios for the sole purpose of getting cash payoffs - hopefully an out of court setttlement.

Re:not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Ninte (4, Insightful)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 7 months ago | (#45926925)

IA labs made actual products similar to wii-fit and met with Nintendo to discuss making Wii accessories using their technology at about the time the 3DS was to be released. IA then found out that Nintendo made the accessories themselves, apparently "stealing the ideas" that IA presented to them. So that's not what we'd normally call a patent troll.

I agree. Based on this [gamespot.com] article, Interactive Labs held the original patents and made products based on those patents. iA Labs acquired the patents later, then sued Nintendo with them. I think this was actually a defensive measure by Interactive Labs.

On April 2(2010), IA Labs filed suit against Nintendo in the United States District Court of Maryland. The suit claims that Nintendo has willfully infringed upon IA Labs patents with Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus, and the Wii Balance Board, as well as the Wii Remote, Wii Nunchuk, Wii MotionPlus, Wii Wheel, and Wii Zapper. The company acquired the aforementioned patents in 2009 from Interaction Labs.

The fitness-technology company claims that the patents have been used in a number of products in the past. As detailed in the filing, Interaction Labs released the Kilowatt Sport and Exer-Station, both of which add a workout element to "any off-the-shelf video game on the PlayStation, Xbox, GameCube, or PC."

Both the patents and the products based on those patents were created by Interaction Labs. Interaction Labs held discussions with Nintendo in 2007 and 2008. iA Labs acquired the patents in 2009 and then sued Nintendo in 2010. iA Labs doesn't seem to have actually produced anything. One interesting thing to note is the following:

The suit also notes that then-Interaction Labs president and current IA Labs chief technology officer Greg Merril contacted Nintendo on a number of occasions in 2007 and 2008, through personal meetings and via e-mail. However, Merril's attempt to enter into a licensing agreement with Nintendo ultimately resulted in the publisher ceasing contact in late 2008.

One possibility is that iA Labs may have been spun off by Interactive Labs solely for the purpose of protecting the rest of Interactive Labs from an outcome like this.

Re:not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Ninte (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 7 months ago | (#45930901)

Meetings in 2007 and 2008 would have been after Nintendo released the Wii and Wii Fit, so I'm not sure how their timeline of infringement was supposed to work.

Re:not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Ninte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45927109)

agreed. this sounds like it could be a "Giant corp crushes small innovator" story with just a slight twist. This certainly doesn't seem like patent trolling, merely a patent law dispute.

Re: not exactly a troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45927365)

Thanks for the detailed clarification. Gives the article a completely different meaning, which would not be possible had the original author been honest.

Hey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45927825)

Did the court turn IA into Mario? ..cause they just got 1UP'd.

Re:not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Ninte (1)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#45928531)

Why did Nintendo want to buy patents that they didn't infringe?
Hadn't the just demonstrated in court that those patents were worthless?

1 product is non-infringing doesn't = worthless (3, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about 7 months ago | (#45929183)

Just because Nintendo's existing product didn't already infringe doesn't mean they are worthless. Perhaps Nintendo redesigned products specifically to avoid infringement. Perhaps they would like to make or license products that would infringe.

Suppose I invent a working time machine. Nintendo hasn't infringed that patent in the past. Does that make the time machine patent worthless?

Re:not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Ninte (1)

CaptQuark (2706165) | about 7 months ago | (#45930685)

Perhaps because Nintendo could buy the patents for almost nothing. If IA owes Nintendo 10 million and can't pay it, so they have a sheriff's sale to raise the money. Nintendo buys the patents for 7 million, get the money back as payment for the court judgement, and is still owed 3 million in case IA has any other assets.

~~

Does that mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45929501)

the slashdot editors will correct the flamebait story title now that you've made sense of the situation?

Re:not exactly a troll. IA made similar, met Ninte (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 7 months ago | (#45930897)

Wii came out in 2005 and Wii Fit came out in 2008, long before the 3DS was released. If this meeting happened about the 3DS release, then Nintendo had long since shipped the products IA ostensibly objected to.

re (0)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | about 7 months ago | (#45926533)

pwned.

Re:re (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 7 months ago | (#45926553)

... by the bad guyz

Re:re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926581)

Don't worry, Nintendo is doomed. They will soon be collapse under the weight of their constant failures and be bought by an actual successful company like Microsoft, Sony or Sega.

Re:re (4, Informative)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 7 months ago | (#45926613)

Don't worry, Nintendo is doomed. They will soon be collapse under the weight of their constant failures

Here's a list of their failures clustered at the top of the "best selling console" list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_game_consoles [wikipedia.org]

Re:re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926689)

Yeah... those 600m consoles sold in the last ~25 years... poor nintendo.

Re:re (0)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 7 months ago | (#45926861)

Um, if you sort by date, they are currently 3rd place out of 3 for major consoles. The only 'current' device they have on the list is the 3DS. Hope that can float them.

Re:re (3, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | about 7 months ago | (#45926933)

Um, if you sort by date, they are currently 3rd place out of 3 for major consoles.

Um, so you mean that, in the latest generation, selling 4.3 million versus Sony's 4.2 million and Microsoft's 3 million puts Nintendo in third place? Protip: they are only 3rd when you sort by date because the Wii U was released before the other 2 consoles.

Re:re (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 7 months ago | (#45928221)

Are you saying that Sony has sold as many PS4s in less than two months as Nintendo has sold WiiUs in over a year?

Re:re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45929391)

yes that's exactly what the fanboytard is saying. Good notice.

Re:re (4, Interesting)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 7 months ago | (#45926981)

It doesn't matter if they're first, second, or three hundredth. What matter is if they're profitable. Their 7.2 billion yen profit for 2013 says that yes, they are.

Vicious spiral (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 7 months ago | (#45927077)

It doesn't matter if they're first, second, or three hundredth.

It totally does matter. Developers aren't going to support three hundred platforms. They're going to do the two or three most popular ones. If you aren't one of those, nobody will buy your console because there's no games for it. Meaning that nobody develops for it. Rinse & repeat...

Re:Vicious spiral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45927593)

What developers? Nintendo makes the games for their system and if someone makes a game for Wii/WiiU then its just a bonus.

Re:Vicious spiral (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#45989731)

The economics doesn't change. The development cost is fixed, but to be profitable you need to spread that over as many sales as possible. The limit on those sales is the number of hardware units in use.

The only difference is that an external developer can walk away if they decide the game isn't worth the candle, whereas an internal team racks up losses for the manufacturer.

Re:Vicious spiral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45927963)

If you aren't one of those, nobody will buy your console because there's no games for it.

Quite sure Nintendo will fear that the developers of their most selling games will stop supporting them. Currently those are Mario, Zelda, Pikmin all developed by the same company (also make pokemon games) and interestingly only published on Nintendo consoles. That seems limiting but hey I'm sure you are right and Nintendo EAD will just walk away from Nintendo (awfully similar name, aught to get sued for trademark protection) and develop for the Xbox instead.

Re:Wrong (2)

bussdriver (620565) | about 7 months ago | (#45928337)

I knew somebody who worked at Activision/Blizzard for a decade. They can almost click and build for any platform they want. Big companies who target more than 1 platform can cheaply target any other platforms. The marketing department and backroom deals decide what happens; it is rarely technical; as you find out in the real world.

Small developers, that is a different story. Nintendo needs 3rd parties less than ANYBODY in the industry and for their whole history too. Small developers are not a critical portion for the big 3.

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45928865)

Small or large developers can both cheaply/simply port a game to another console, but only IF both consoles have similar architectures. For instance, this generation, both the PS4 and XboxOne use the x86-64 instruction set and have integrated APUs (both manufactured by AMD too). However, the Wii U uses a RISC architecture in their PowerPC CPU with a discrete AMD GPU.

Re:Vicious spiral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45931749)

The top 10 selling video games of all time contains 8 Nintendo exclusives. The top 20 contains 15. Of those 8/15 respectively, 100% are first party titles. Nintendo's historic lack of third party support clearly isn't that big of a problem.

7.2 billion yen sounds big, but... (1)

EmptyHead (684211) | about 6 months ago | (#45973763)

7.2 billion sounds like a big number, but at today's rate (1 USD = 104.7645 JPY) it amounts to $68,725,568.24. Good to be in the black, but barely so, given the scale of money we're talking about in the multi-billion dollar gaming console industry.

Re:re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926983)

Your unneeded enthusiasm to a company who made a significant awesome and exciting impact on my childhood and affordable for my parents to buy really annoys me. Your post has nothing to do with the thread. Stop being such a meanie.

Re:re (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 7 months ago | (#45926617)

I've long thought an Apple-Nintendo collaboration would be interesting...

Just start with Nintendo's classic game library for virtual console on iDevices, then use Apples designers on the next game console/AppleTV...

Re: re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926845)

Apple has clue zero how to build a console and they know it. Pippin?
If you say that in Cupertino the sky will dim for a moment and a shrieking wail will be heard for an instant then it will fade carried away by the chill wind.
They could use the casual disregard for cost that Apple has. This would prevent decisions like resitive touch and underpowered cpu/gpu combos.

Re: re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45936919)

Man, people like to be wrong. Nintendo makes money on consoles they sell and the subsequent software. They are actually profitable while companies like sony and microsoft(in their gaming divisions) are net losses. Sony showed how to piss away success with the ps3, and microsoft is trying to eat a loss to assert market dominance. Nintendo makes money, very happily, they don't need to throw that away like sony did.

Re:re (1)

tsa (15680) | about 7 months ago | (#45926621)

And what has this to do with the subject of this thread?

Re: re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926699)

I'm sorry when were Sega successful? And with Microsoft constantly losing market share you want to rethink that comment

Re:re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926711)

... or Sega.

lol, Nintendo already owns Sega.

Re:re (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 7 months ago | (#45938109)

Not yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens.

Re:re (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926811)

Since the release of Sony Playstation in 1994, Nintendo has sold 444m devices, Sony - 425m, Microsoft - 107m.

Considering that Nintendo was founded in 1889 and in their lifetime they have sold 662m consoles total, the last 20 years are quite the opposite of failure.

Patentmon (4, Funny)

lxs (131946) | about 7 months ago | (#45926649)

Gotta catch them all!

Re:Patentmon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45928017)

the ****mon thing isn't related to Nintendo/pokemon at all.. It's from Digimon, get your facts right.

Re:Patentmon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45928429)

Whoops forgot to take my meds again.
Ignore that last comment.

Fsck Nintendo (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926715)

I am sick of that company. Why won't they just die already. They are the least innovative company in the world. All they do is rehash the same crap year after year. They never created anything new in their life. Mario was just a ripoff of Pitfall. Zelda was just a ripoff of Atari Adventure.

All they do is steal other people's ideas and call it their own. Now, what's worse is that when a hard working company does all the hard work, Nintendo simply rips them off, sues them out of existence and steals their IP. Nintendo needs to die so we can go back to playing truly innovative games instead of the rehashed dreck that comes out of that IP stealing toy factory.

For all you Nintendo apologists who say that they save the video games, only the console market in America crashed and the PC market was just fine. Some PC maker would have come along and re-invented the wheel or a Japanese console would have become popular and made it's way to America. Video games were never in danger.

That's too bad (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 7 months ago | (#45926741)

The entire portfolio should have put into the public domain. That's the price that should be paid in these kinds of things.

Re:That's too bad (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 7 months ago | (#45926771)

The entire portfolio should have put into the public domain. That's the price that should be paid in these kinds of things.

To me that sounds entirely unreasonable. So could you explain your reasoning?

Re:That's too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45926883)

Because it's better for everyone and not one company who had nothing to do with them?

Re:That's too bad (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 months ago | (#45926887)

More patent trolling doesn't achieve the original goals of the patent system.

Re:That's too bad (2)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 7 months ago | (#45926917)

The entire portfolio should have put into the public domain. That's the price that should be paid in these kinds of things.

To me that sounds entirely unreasonable. So could you explain your reasoning?

I was going to just ignore the GP until I saw your post, and thought about it. I guess it goes like this:

A: Hey! You're infringing our patents and here's why!
B: Nuh-uh!
Judge: I concur; nuh-uh. Find in favor of B.
A: Curses!
Judge: A, all of the patents you were defending now belong to the peeples.
The Peeples: Sweet!

My guess is the GP is generally hostile to patents, maybe to all IP. His philosophy might be, "music wants to be free! (to live on my iPod)"

Re:That's too bad (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 7 months ago | (#45927661)

To me that sounds entirely unreasonable. So could you explain your reasoning?

I agree that the patents going to the public domain is a more appropriate outcome.

The constitutional authorization is

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.

Note, that SECURING TO CLAIMANTS AGAINST AUHTORS, or Securing to people the Authors owe money to is not part of the authorization.

Not only, does the patent fail to promote progress, but it actually impedes it --- if the inventor who owns the patent (1) Cannot get their royalties, when the company they pitched the invention to decides to steal it and re-create it themselves, and (2) When the inventor/innovator arbitrarily gets bad treatment in the courts --- due to the large company they are fighting against, being able to hire a lavish uber-expensive legal team, and the inventor's comparatively small available resources to litigate their case.

Re:That's too bad (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 7 months ago | (#45929939)

Yes, but nearly all of these arguments are pointless because:

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.

... is a Brain-Damage scale assumption. First, prove that securing exclusive rights to writings and discoveries can promote the progress of science and the useful arts. Since the old founding farts didn't do any damn experiment to test their belief first, a rational course of action would be to abolish these exclusive rights and find out. We can re-implement any ridiculous legal restrictions after we've ascertained whether we're actually helping or harming the economy of information and ideas. Other arguments are largely pointless since they're rooted in the same unevidenced drivel of that assumption. You'd be hard pressed to find scientists that disagree that It's irresponsible to run the world's economy based on untested hypotheses -- Yet the "scientists" and/or "engineers" betray their very craft as hypocrites who hold patents themselves. What strange hell is this?

Conversely, before anyone gets the retarding assumption that I hold any opinions based on "pointless and unevidenced drivel", I present the Automotive and Fashion industries which sell primarily on design and are very innovative and lucrative despite not having copyrights or design patents. A point of evidence in favor of the null hypothesis against the founders' assumption: Patents and copyright are not responsible for promoting progress of science and useful arts.

In other words: "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." - Albert Einstein

However, I would also point out that I don't agree with the absolutist notion in this quote's "no problem", just that this is applicable to problems in general. The wise typically avoid absolutist notions; There are usually exceptions, that's why we scientists test our beliefs before holding them: Even the wise respected ones can be utterly foolish at times.

Re:That's too bad (1)

Quila (201335) | about 7 months ago | (#45940131)

I present the Automotive and Fashion industries which sell primarily on design and are very innovative and lucrative despite not having copyrights or design patents

Car makers do get design patents, and make good business off of the copyright for their repair and parts manuals. And with the advent of computer-driven systems in cars, you bet those programs are copyrighted.

However, there was debate before the Constitution was ratified. Jefferson wanted no such artificial monopolies. Madison considered that a very light monopoly would be helpful, and that the people would prevent the monopolies from becoming abusive. Madison thought too much of the power of the people.

Re:That's too bad (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 7 months ago | (#45930249)

The entire portfolio should have put into the public domain. That's the price that should be paid in these kinds of things.

To me that sounds entirely unreasonable. So could you explain your reasoning?

He and many others are Nintendo wannabes... they want something for nothing.

Re:That's too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45927705)

Except it wasn't a patent troll, and someone trying to defend patents for products they were trying to actually bring to market. You already risk having to pay the opposing side's legal fees if you lose a patent case, losing all of your patents shouldn't be another risk too (unless like in this case you couldn't pay those legal fees...). Otherwise, you would have cases, where some maker of widgets sues a competitor for making the same widget, finding out that there was enough of a difference that the competitor wasn't infringing their legit patent, and then loses their patent.

Unless you are trying to argue no patent is legit, and then shouldn't try to come up with some half-assed way to cripple patents and just actually get rid of them...

Re:That's too bad (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 7 months ago | (#45928261)

The patents were owned by a company that was bringing products to market. The patents were then spun off into IA Labs, who promptly sued Nintendo using them, almost as if this were done by the parent company to isolate them from any backlash should the suit go badly.

Automatic invalidation (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 months ago | (#45926769)

If two "practitioners skilled in the art" come up with the same idea independently, it SHOULD automatically invalidate the patent. That is part of the patent language, is it not?

Re:Automatic invalidation (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 7 months ago | (#45926803)

If two "practitioners skilled in the art" come up with the same idea independently, it SHOULD automatically invalidate the patent. That is part of the patent language, is it not?

No. It isn't. First, you can't patent ideas. Second, inventions should be non-obvious. But if something is so non-obvious that nobody figures it out then it can't be patented, right? So it must be possible for one person to figure it out. And if one person can figure it out, then another might. Now if a dozen people "have a same idea", that might be an indication that it is obvious, but not with two.

Re:Automatic invalidation (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 months ago | (#45926913)

Sure you can patent ideas. Patents are so broad today and juries are so generous today that you can quite effectively patent an idea. Tivo is a great example of this. They claimed ownership of some prior art and built a device that was only relevant short a short period of time. That device and whatever legitimate inventions they may have had quickly became irrelevant.

Their "innovations" were rendered moot by the advance of technology before they engaged in the first related cases of patent trolling.

It's not supposed to be that way but that's true of the patent sytsem in general.

Re:Automatic invalidation (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 7 months ago | (#45941999)

In my opinion the threshold for patentability should be higher than average in the skill of the art. I mean, average ideas are unremarkable and shouldn't have special monopoly status. To get that special status you should have to come up with something truly clever, something an average-skilled practitioner couldn't come up with.

So if you take two average schlubs and they both come up with your idea, then in my opinion yeah that's not a valid patent.

But what the hell does my opinion matter? I know the legal threshold is quite a bit lower than that.

Re:Automatic invalidation (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 7 months ago | (#45927681)

If two "practitioners skilled in the art" come up with the same idea independently, it SHOULD automatically invalidate the patent. That is part of the patent language, is it not?

Nope. It's first to file, buddy. The patent might be invalid, but not because two people came up with it independently.

Re:Automatic invalidation (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 7 months ago | (#45928381)

"Not obvious to practicioners skilled in the art" means that people with adequate knowledge cannot duplicate your results with a trivial amount of work - at least not without getting lucky on a shortcut such as accidental discoveries.

Example of obvious patent (IMO): double data rate - separate logic operating on rising and falling clock edges already existed prior to DDR patents and for most intents and purposes, all DDR does is put both circuits inside a single IOB circuit, which requires close to zero effort aside from tighter timing tolerances but the semiconductor industry has been improving those anyway to increase clock rates so that part of research requirements is covered regardless of DDR.

Re:Automatic invalidation (1)

impossiblefork (978205) | about 7 months ago | (#45931443)

It would depend on how quickly the two came up with the idea and how much thought it required.

For example, going to the different field of mathematics/theoretical computer science, no one would say that Cook's theorem was obvious, but despite this it was almost simultaneously proven in the West by Cook and in the Soviet Union by Levin. I think that the right way to judge obviousness is to have it done by the patent examiners, although it might be hard for them to be 'skilled in the art' when examining patents in very specialized fields.

Love It! (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 7 months ago | (#45927039)

I love it when the patent trolls bite the dust. I'm singing the Queen song right now!

Re:Love It! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45927397)

Except in this case, Nintendo is the evil corporation. They stole IA Labs inventions and gamed the courts with their massive army of lawyers. IA went bankrupt, and Nintendo profits.

Re:Love It! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45933079)

No, Nintendo originally released in 2005, IA did not release any products, they were a patent troll who "bought" patents from IL, on the other hand IL did release products based on these patents, but not until 2007 and contacted Nintendo the same year, i.e. they accused Nintendo of infringing on products 2 years before they actually showed Nintendo the products. So evil patent trolls

The Quickening (1)

Ixtl (1022043) | about 7 months ago | (#45927141)

There can be only one!

@mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45927561)

not so bad. To the risk 7ooking even kOpenBSD wanker Theo already aware, *BSD It just 0wnz.', = 1400 NetBSD

Now what? (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 7 months ago | (#45927619)

I wonder what Nintendo is going to do with these patents they weren't infringing on in the first place (and thus should be null and void from their standpoint)... going after Sony or Microsoft that might be infringing on them with certain elements of Move or Kinect?

Re:Now what? (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 7 months ago | (#45930767)

I wonder what Nintendo is going to do with these patents they weren't infringing on in the first place (and thus should be null and void from their standpoint)

Unfortunately, Nintendo isn't the one who gets to decide if the patents are null and void. A court and frequently a jury does. Juries can be misled, judges can be biased. Any patent case is to some extent a gamble. Why gamble on someone else buying the patents and continuing the lawsuits and some judge/jury coming to a silly but legally binding decision that Nintendo infringed, when they can just buy up the patents themselves thus guaranteeing that they won't be used against them in the future?

Re:Now what? (1)

catprog (849688) | about 7 months ago | (#45937423)

And with their(IA) assets probably not enough to cover the judgment , Nintendo ends up with their money back anyway.

CSI (1)

Dabido (802599) | about 7 months ago | (#45936897)

I just hope Nintendo doesn't turn into ...

*removes glasses*

Super Mari-troll

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