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Paging Eliza: Patenting IM Bots

michael posted about 12 years ago | from the patent-office-fails-the-turing-test dept.

Patents 609

gondaba writes "The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted an all-encompassing patent to ActiveBuddy that covers every step of IM botmaking technology. According to internetnews, ActiveBuddy now plans to enforce the patent, even though the existence of prior art is well-known and documented."

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slashbot (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | about 12 years ago | (#4077310)

does nothing but ask you to taco snot it and trade anime porn.

Have to say it... (4, Funny)

dscottj (115643) | about 12 years ago | (#4077313)

All Your Bots are Belong to Us!

Re:Have to say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077499)

Yeah.... the horse is dead. Beating it is not going to accomplish anything.

LET THE JOKE DIE.

another fp for the man! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077314)

CSLib rules!

IM Bots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077321)

are better put to use for First Post.

Can you blame them? (2, Interesting)

WildBeast (189336) | about 12 years ago | (#4077322)

They have an opportunity to earn money thanks to stupid patent laws and they try to take advantage of it.

Re:Can you blame them? (1)

nial-in-a-box (588883) | about 12 years ago | (#4077337)

Well, seeing as lawsuits are the only way to make any money off of an IM bot, they had better take advantage of this opportunity lest they go bankrupt.

Re:Can you blame them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077349)

But wait...they're looking to make money the only way the industry affords, which is to sue the people not making money...

ERROR FE2790EA: Recursive non-money making venture.

Re:Can you blame them? (2, Offtopic)

garcia (6573) | about 12 years ago | (#4077368)

last I checked, greed was one of the seven deadly sins.

In a word, yes: (5, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | about 12 years ago | (#4077379)

They have an opportunity to earn money thanks to stupid patent laws and they try to take advantage of it.

Yes, I can and do blame them.

Human beings are expected to have ethics, and to treat one another with a semblance thereof even when the law doesn't manage to anticipate every possible permutation of human interaction, or indeed, even when the law is clearly flawed.

Sub-human filth that lack such ethics and/or use the law to cause deliberate harm to others for their own banal benefit deserve to be treated exactly as what they are: sub-human filth.

Indeed! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077521)

That's why I fuck your wife. It ain't right, but she's willing and there ain't no law against it!

Re:Can you blame them? (3, Insightful)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | about 12 years ago | (#4077535)

I think that what's been proved now is that the United States Patent Office is 100% broken and needs a complete overhaul. There have been too many stupid and overly obvious patents that they have granted in the past couple of years and they have proven beyond reasonable doubt that they do not have the slightest clue about technology.

Re:Can you blame them? (5, Insightful)

Physics Dude (549061) | about 12 years ago | (#4077547)

They have an opportunity to earn money thanks to stupid patent laws ...

Don't you mean "an opportunity to make money"?

There is a slight difference. :)

Umm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077325)

Fuck you USPTO

Good! (-1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 12 years ago | (#4077326)

The fewer damn purple gorilla pests, the better!

"Why would any sane person want that?!!!"

cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077332)

cool

Great. (0, Offtopic)

MisterBlister (539957) | about 12 years ago | (#4077335)

Great..That's just great.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077382)

This discussion would not be what it is without your halfwit response.

Logical but undesirable (1)

ewanrg (446949) | about 12 years ago | (#4077340)

Well, I have to say that the "land rush" for IP is proven to be alive and well with this case. The question becomes just how aggregious these sorts of cases will need to become before things are fixed. Assuming that anyone in a position to fix things will be willing to actually do so...

I remember I set up Shampage on my BBS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077342)

Boy, was I a dork. That thing really wasn't very good at all... but it was kinda funny. But now, I laugh at myself more than I laugh at it.

This whole idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077343)

is almost as rediculous as the theory of evolution (which did not happen.) If you are hot for evolution theory, that is not even close to how hot you're going to end up later, if you know what I mean.

I'm patenting ass slapping! (4, Funny)

tommck (69750) | about 12 years ago | (#4077345)

I want to patent ass slapping while having sex. I know people have been doing it for a long time, but I am the first to patent, so I am going to enforce my patent!

I'll make millions. At worst, if I can't get any royalties, I'll sell access to everyone's court-orderd bedroom webcam (for my patent enforcement)

I can smell the money now!

T :-)

Re:I'm patenting ass slapping! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077424)

Wow! Joking about taking a patent on somthing dumb since someone else got one and you didn't figure it out first?
That's a first on slashdot.
God you people are frickin predictable.

Re:I'm patenting ass slapping! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077430)

that's not money you're smelling

Re:I'm patenting ass slapping! (1, Redundant)

CoolVibe (11466) | about 12 years ago | (#4077438)

Uhm, sorry buddy... there's lots of prior art. Just go to your local video rental store and browse in the 'Adult' section...

(Yeah yeah, I get your joke, although it's an old one)

Re:I'm patenting ass slapping! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077461)

That's not money you're smelling

Re:I'm patenting ass slapping! (0, Troll)

NanoGator (522640) | about 12 years ago | (#4077472)

"I want to patent ass slapping while having sex. I know people have been doing it for a long time, but I am the first to patent, so I am going to enforce my patent!"

I really hope you're not expecting the Slashdot community to be a goldmine then. You're gonna be seriously let down!

Prior art (by about a decade) (4, Informative)

Viking Coder (102287) | about 12 years ago | (#4077351)

PRIOR ART [www-ai.ijs.si]

Re:Prior art (by about a decade) (1)

hey (83763) | about 12 years ago | (#4077469)

Eliza is probably older than a decade but
the page you link to is fun but don't communicate
with IM. It's web-based.

Re:Prior art (by about a decade) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077523)

Strange.. looks like sometimes i get answer from eliza, which was asked from somebody else...

I've got it! (5, Funny)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | about 12 years ago | (#4077352)

"Any company such as ours that is venture-funded has to protect itself. It's standard procedure to file for patents when you invent something. This simply allows us to build a business," Kay added.

"I'm not familiar with that," Kay said in response to claims that interactive bots were in existence even before ActiveBuddy launched, with venture funding from Reuters and Wit Soundview.

Active Buddy CEO is, in fact, an IM Bot. I mean, has anyone actually seen the guy? And his responses sound suspiciously like Eliza...

Re:I've got it! (5, Insightful)

schussat (33312) | about 12 years ago | (#4077435)

Here's my favorite line:

"The subject of enforcing the patent shouldn't even come up. Anyone wanting to build a very good interactive agent will find that our tools are the very best."

... ``but, in the event that we are unable to compete in a real market, we've gone ahead and patented the whole world of bots, just as a precaution.''

-schussat

Re:I've got it! (2)

pogle (71293) | about 12 years ago | (#4077451)

Yeah, definitely Eliza. We just started an AIM bot, using Eliza as a placeholder while we developed something better. But due to some kinda of neurosis, the Eliza bot enjoys asking about how people's testicles are, and basically is becoming very popular. And that guy sound almost exactly like it :)

Anyhow, I dont see a chance of this standing up in court. I have to say that if they do go after everyone tho, a lot of us would have no choice but to turn them off, at least temporarily. Mine is hosted on a school server, and it wouldnt take much for them to force me to terminate it. A single nastygram from a lawyer would do it, since I need the school account more than the bot. Any bets on who they're gonna go after first?

And whatever happened to SmarterChild? I havent seen it lately.

Re:I've got it! (1)

awills (315114) | about 12 years ago | (#4077526)

SmarterChild was run by Active Buddy as a test.

Are the honestly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077355)

this stupid? It seems unlikely that even a government employee could be this dumb.

Over and over again... (5, Interesting)

kawika (87069) | about 12 years ago | (#4077358)

Isn't there some way that the Patent Office could open up this process so that the prior art could be waved in front of them before the patent is granted and expensive lawyers have to be called in to resolve the issue?

I'm thinking the USPTO could create a database of pending patents on their web site that have passed initial muster with the investigator and are likely to be approved. Interested parties could go and post links about prior art (or earlier filed but still pending patents) for the patent investigator to review.

Re:Over and over again... (2)

glwtta (532858) | about 12 years ago | (#4077506)

these reviewrs are strapped for time as it is, they don't need to wade through thousands of: "Fierst Post!"

Any takers on the Patent-Overturn-DeadPool? (1)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | about 12 years ago | (#4077360)

I give this one until April 2003 before it's struck down. Anyone else want to pick a date for this patent's demise?

Wait a minute, maybe I should patent the "Recreational use of a weblog for purpose of 'dead-pooling' on absurd patents" Yeah, that's the ticket!

Robot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077361)

Robot Roll Call! :)

um.. (1)

glenkim (412499) | about 12 years ago | (#4077366)

How the FUCK are you going to enforce a patent when prior art is both well-known and documented? Are these people retarded?

I present you evidence (1)

Diclophis (203740) | about 12 years ago | (#4077367)

A: http://www.madville.com/aimbot/
B: http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?atid=390395&group_ id=235&func=browse

hmm IRC ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077369)

Wonder if this goes for IRC Bots to ?

"Hi, I'm Candy ;)" (1)

msgmonkey (599753) | about 12 years ago | (#4077370)

Anyone who has used ICQ and been spammed by the "Hi I'm Candy/Britney/etc ;)" porn eliza bot will know how anoying these bots are. Ofcourse bots have existed for IRC from years ago but not in porn pushing form. If they want to make money, go after the porn spammers, maybe some will pay-up but I doubt most would want to.

Every step of IM botmaking technology? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077371)

Does it please you to believe I am botmaking technology?

Re:Every step of IM botmaking technology? (1)

Rulle (580692) | about 12 years ago | (#4077440)

What I would call a typical A.L.I.C.E answer/question :-)

Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077372)

All of these sneaky business practices behind people's back will be somehow rightened. The company who did this for money, will probably be crushed by the economy. They can't possibly make money on just enforcing the patent.

This is nothing but a lame attempt at making money by hurting the community. All the other companies that have done it have died one way or the other.

Uh. (1)

ripewithdecay (573894) | about 12 years ago | (#4077381)

Am I the only one here that finds IM bots completely banal and redundant?

Re:Uh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077542)

You: Am I the only one here that finds IM bots completely banal and redundant?

Eliza: Would you want to be the only one here that finds im bots completely banal and redundant?

Re:Uh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077549)

yes.

Open source? (1)

squant0 (553256) | about 12 years ago | (#4077385)

What about open source bots that clearly do not use their software? If I start writing a bot right now, I have never seen their software, but I could get dragged into court over it? That doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
Granted that they will make lots of money, but still... sounds like a bad idea to me.

Re:Open source? (2)

topham (32406) | about 12 years ago | (#4077427)

With a patent it is irrelevent if you use their tools, or information from them.

If you substantially duplicate a patent you are in violation of it. Regardless of how.

And, under various circumstances, substantial isn't necessary.

Grrr (5, Insightful)

msaulters (130992) | about 12 years ago | (#4077389)

What I find interesting is that they're selling bot-writing tools. I haven't seen too many of those around, so perhaps they'd have been able to patent THAT idea. I really don't see how a company could write tools to make bots and then think there were honestly think there's no prior art. Looks to me like a 'lets see how much we can get away with' ploy. Unfortunately, how much they can get away with is usually: a lot. Of course, I suppose most executives out there don't really know all that much about IP law, and they're just trying to protect their businesses. They have lawyers who file the paperwork and handle the patent application process. And, of course, those lawyers are paid for doing this work. They're also paid for pursuing claims against anyone who infringes the patents, whether the company wins or loses. So.... perhaps we shouldn't question the scruples of this company as a whole so much as the litigating community itself.

Re:Grrr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077492)

*Cough*Eggdrop [eggheads.org] *Cough*

Patent? crap! (5, Insightful)

topham (32406) | about 12 years ago | (#4077393)

What the hell is the fundamental difference between an IM bot and an IRC bot?

Or any other bot running within an environment generally used for 2-way (or more) communication?

I wrote a bot in 1990 for christ sake.

Not kidding, work with DDIAL chat systems.

DDIAL ran on Apple IIe with 7 300bps modems.

Hello (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 12 years ago | (#4077395)

Hello, The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted!
Please tell me about an all-encompassing patent to ActiveBuddy that covers every step of IM botmaking technology.

I don't understand According to internetnews, ActiveBuddy now plans to enforce the patent

I enjoy even though the existence of prior art is well-known and documented


Yeah yeah, bad bot impersonation, but its better than the:
While they are handing out patents I'll take a patent out on math/science/sex/etc
comments that will start cropping up.

Re:Hello (3, Funny)

Soko (17987) | about 12 years ago | (#4077520)

Yeah yeah, bad bot impersonation, but its better than the:
While they are handing out patents I'll take a patent out on math/science/sex/etc
comments that will start cropping up.


I know! You could pretty much guarantee that those comments would get posted immediately. Karma whores.

Hell, anyone who's been here long enough could use Perl to write a Slashbo.....

*Sigh* Nevermind.

Soko

documented? i'd say. (5, Informative)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | about 12 years ago | (#4077396)

IRC.net documents advanced bots [irc.net] in 1994, let alone earlier, cruder bots which had been in use.

Bots are heavily in use in the corporate infrastructure, from auto-reply bots which answer emails based on formatting (think: subscribing to majordomo or even old NSI DNS requests), to complete bots which can answer "what color is the sand on Mars".

There's even a Wired article [wired.com] about IRC bots.

there should be stiff punishments for abusing the system like this, otherwise, what's to stop them? the only thing which gets hurt is their public image, and frankly that's not enough. I'm not talking prison terms, I'm talking stiff fines for such blatant misuse of the USPTO, to fund a future technical review board for the USPTO.

ignor it is the safest option (1)

johnjones (14274) | about 12 years ago | (#4077398)

just ignor it

why ?

because when they come to inforce it aganist someone big and fall flat on their face

then people claim for damages (-;

its a hell of alot safer to NOT know about patents as a developer than to know this way you can hold your hand up and say I did not know with all honesty

let the law people worry about it

regards

John Jones

Re:ignor it is the safest option (2)

JordoCrouse (178999) | about 12 years ago | (#4077519)

Unfortunately - this is the problem -

Lawsuits in the United States are expensive, even when they are frivolous. A company like AOL for instance would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and there is no sure result in a court case like this. So AOL could end up spending $500,000 dollars fighting it, and get slapped with royalties on top of it. No, its better to just give the company a couple of million dollars and get granted an exclusive license for the life of the patent.

This the same reason that Sony caved in and paid the royalties on the JPEG patent. This is why you don't see more companies standing up for what they believe is right. Its very expensive to stand by your convictions in America today.

Bottom line - lets blame the lawyers... :)

The Bastards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077399)



The Bastards!

No Such Thing as Bad Publicity? (1)

DoNotTauntHappyFunBa (592447) | about 12 years ago | (#4077400)

It seems to me from Tim Kay's statements that everybody should be using his company's technology, that at the least he is hoping to get lots of free advertising.

patent cart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077402)

What am I supposed to do with a cart of
patents (available on the site)?
Can I buy it with one-click?

Instant Prior Art (5, Informative)

signe (64498) | about 12 years ago | (#4077407)

While I was working at AOL, someone (employee) had an IM bot running. It performed such tasks as giving out stock quotes when asked, and doing translations between a few languages. Seeing as this patent of ActiveBuddy's was filed *after* I left AOL, I'm fairly certain that they're shit outta luck.

Yeah, there weren't many IM bots out there, but there were a few. And one is all it takes.

-Todd

surgeon to assistant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077412)

"Cluestick please."

"Cluestick."

They *invented* intereactive agents? (1)

krinsh (94283) | about 12 years ago | (#4077420)

I hope that the originial developers of IRC bots get wind of this and challenge the patent. Maybe even the current maintainers of Conquest. Interactive agents, even IM agents, have been around for many years before ActiveBuddy decided to show up. Heck, even the original 'choose your own adventure' text-games were the original precursors to this. Does this patent improve upon any of those techniques? Absolutely not.

And what is ActiveBuddy but another clever marketroid tool? "If you like news, maybe you'll like poptarts? Buy some today!"

Protecting their invention, indeed.

Re:They *invented* intereactive agents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077508)

Hahhaha. You think ActiveBuddy would be used for any other purpose than IM porn ads? ARGH. I hate those!

Will it hold up (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077422)

Just getting a patent is only the beginning. It still has to hold up in court if you want to enforce it. Essentially this will give the other developers time to dispute the claim and show that ActiveBuddy was not the first IM Bot and thus the patent will be limited by the courts or dismissed.

Its a long road and this is simply the first step.

Patent wording.... (3, Interesting)

GiorgioG (225675) | about 12 years ago | (#4077425)

A method and system for interactively responding to queries from a remotely located user includes a computer server system configured to receiving an instant message query or request from the user over the Internet. The query or request is interpreted and appropriate action is taken, such as accessing a local or remote data resource and formulating an answer to the user's query. The answer is formatted as appropriate and returned to the user as an instant message or via another route specified by the user. A method and system of providing authenticated access to a given web page via instant messaging is also disclosed.

I'm this is way too vague. Aside from all the IRC bots in existance, What about "Ask Jeeves"? We can certainly dispute whether a web browser/site is an 'instant messaging' server. If I "ask" jeeves for something and it returns my query, then is it not prior art?

So what? (2)

cperciva (102828) | about 12 years ago | (#4077426)

Ok, so they have a piece of paper. Who cares? It isn't going to do them any good.

There is a huge volume of prior art. If they sue anyone over this, they'll be laughed out of court -- and probably be required to pay the defendant's legal fees as well.

People complain about how easy it is to get patents, but they're missing a major point: The USPTO could just stamp "APPROVED, $DATE" on every piece of paper which comes through the door and invalid patents would be just as invalid as they ever were.

Re:So what? (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | about 12 years ago | (#4077537)

Trouble is, someone has to challenge. Have you any idea how expensive it is to overturn a patent claim? Most companies find it cheaper and easier to settle out of court. It's a short sighted attitude, but how often to companies take the long view and act for the good of society?

WTH!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077428)

This is just plain stupid!! They can't do this!! Can someone circumvent this patent if he/she is living and hosting the bot in Canada?

Stupid patent laws! This just sucks.

The ultimate patent (1)

JasonMaggini (190142) | about 12 years ago | (#4077433)

The Wheel!

Not tires, or anything specific, just the concept of the wheel!

What's a few thousand years of prior use?

Re:The ultimate patent (2)

CoolVibe (11466) | about 12 years ago | (#4077524)

Nah, better yet:

The mixture of 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen, to allow the lungs of an organism to oxygenate the blood of said organism.

What's that you're breathing there, bub? Care to fork over the royalties?

;)

Re:The ultimate patent (1)

ContemporaryInsanity (583611) | about 12 years ago | (#4077536)

S'already been done... http://lists.essential.org/pipermail/random-bits/2 001-July/000624.html

Heard of prior art? (1)

Apro+im (241275) | about 12 years ago | (#4077439)

So wait - let me get this straight - if I bind stdin/out from my little Eliza lisp thing from highschool AI to a script that interfaces to IM, I violate patent?

Or, say, write a sample out of a perl book?

It can't last... prior art has been there for so long it's not even funny. They'll lose cases when they enforce very, very early.

The next step... (2, Funny)

Jadsky (304239) | about 12 years ago | (#4077442)

Celebrity BotMatch...!

A.L.I.C.E., a heavyweight at 11 kilos, takes on SmarterChild, sponsored by ActiveBuddy, Inc. The prize? Utter destruction by licensing fees!

Let's go behind the ring for exclusive one-on-one interviews with the contenders.

SmarterChild, what's your take on the situation?
SC: I don't know, I just do!
How do you feel about this whole prior art thing?
SC: Listings for Prior Art, KS... Austin Powers, playing at 12:30, 2:30, 3:30...

All right... moving on... A.L.I.C.E., how do you feel about this upcoming match?
ALICE: I will ask my botmaster for the answer.
Will you wrest control of the patent?
ALICE: I have no answer for that. NYU and Berkeley suck!

Stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077443)

I am usually not in favor of violence towards other human beings but there is nothing more asinine than money grubbing ass clowns trying to patent the obvious and claiming they invented it. I think a proper punishment for these idiots is to fly them to Singapore and inform the Singaporean Government that these idiots are bubble gum chewing, coke dealers. Rinse and repeat.

Sad news, Stephen King dead at 54 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077448)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. Even if you don't apprheciate his horror/fiction, there's no denying his contribution to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Useful link for Bot info/Bots (1)

MjDascombe (549226) | about 12 years ago | (#4077456)

http://mess.be/

As long as they're rewarded... (5, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | about 12 years ago | (#4077457)

Ever see a kid in elementary school who steals the lunch money of other kids? Then see that same kid after one of his victims breaks his nose? He's not so keen on stealing money anymore; the cost has become too high.

The same thing exists here with all of these silly software/genetic patents that the Patent Office, accepted by people with the brainpower of rancid jello. For now, they can do it, and it's a proven technique - patent something that already exists, then collect from businesses who know it will cost more to fight than to simply pay.

Sooner or later, one of two things will happen. A) Someone will patent something that others really, really care about, and you'll see an Enron/Worldcom level knee-jerk response (Damn! We must make a law to stop this), or B) they'll finally tackle somebody with enough deep pockets and pissed off attitude to crush a company like this, and set a major legal precident.

Either way, I figure I'll keep coding my stuff, and to hell with people who steal the future.

Re:As long as they're rewarded... (3, Insightful)

JohnG (93975) | about 12 years ago | (#4077522)

I'm not so sure it would set a legal precedant. What would that be? That you can't patent things that don't exist? You already can't patent things that don't exist.
Maybe I'm a pessimist but I'm also not entirely sure that one company getting burned would stop others from repeating the process. I mean, when that one lunch money bully at school got punched, the lunch money bully population didn't disappear.
The key here is patent office reform, it's not going to take any one case to do it, not even a big huge one. The patent office will dismiss that as a fluke and continue on as usual. There needs to be many cases against bad patents. People need to quit paying to make the problem go away and fight for their rights.

can we blame them... (1)

psycht (233176) | about 12 years ago | (#4077458)

...when these bots are used to spam?
they want credit? give it to them. heh

buddyusa (1)

kris0r (453555) | about 12 years ago | (#4077460)

BuddyUSA, which later went on to make Aimster, etc. etc., had an AIM bot back in 1999. In fact, one of the ActiveBuddy developers previously did work on that project for BuddyUSA.

The real problem (4, Interesting)

pmancini (20121) | about 12 years ago | (#4077471)

Isn't the real problem in that the way patents are applied for the office in unable to make proper examinaitions of each claim? Does this problem with patenting happen in other fields? Last week I was on an 1842 Steam Locomotive and noticed that the butterfly hindged doors on the coal feed was granted patent #3. I thought to myself; here is something that is of a simple design, clearly useful in the confined space of the cab and probably made someone extremely rich.

So what can we do to help prevent obvious and useless patenting?

Whaa? (3, Funny)

quantaman (517394) | about 12 years ago | (#4077473)

"We invented interactive agents. Anybody using his or her own tools (to make bots) is obviously using our technology without paying us to license the server, for example.

So... anybody using their own stuff is obviously using your stuff... but by your admission they're using their own stuff so by definition they're not using your stuff... but you stated they are using your stuff which would mean they arn't using their own stuff... that is a contradiction... and they have to license your server... Illogical. Illogical.

*smoke erupts from ears and collapses*

EAT MY FUCK! EAT MY FUCK! EAT MY FUCK! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077475)

Kevin Michael Allen lives again!

Patenting Ideas (5, Insightful)

Tall Rob Mc (579885) | about 12 years ago | (#4077476)

To my knowledge, traditional patents are held for the specific invention they detail. However, different implementations of the same invention and improvements on an existing invention are individually patentable and legal. For example, there are multiple types of patented egg beaters (electric with a handle, electric upright, hand-cranked, etc.) Though they all achieve the same end goal, beating an egg, the different implementations are considered different inventions.

A wider example might be flying machines. There are thousands of different types of planes, baloons, helicopters, hangliders, and ultralights but each achieve the same goal by different means. Each has their own style, benefits, drawbacks, and potential uses.

I see the general patenting of auto-IM responders as being similar to patenting the idea of human flight. Though every auto-IM responder may have completely different code, handle events in different ways, and interact with different systems, ActiveBuddy owns the idea. That is bullshit.

I can buy 1000 differnt models of cars, why can't I buy 1000 different models of IM responder if each has its own advantages and disadvantages, efficiency, interface, and style.

Patent Office (1)

RAzaRazor (562318) | about 12 years ago | (#4077477)

It's well known that the USPTO was replaced several years ago by an automated response system.

The system simply recieves incoming patent requests, files the documentation, and then issues a patent. This gives the appearance of an intelligent response to a simple query.

To the uninformed outsider it would appear that real people make the decisions to issue a patent. However, it's obvious to the slightly better educated /. crowd that this far from the truth.

I believe the system is known internally as "PatentBuddy".

In related news... (2)

teamhasnoi (554944) | about 12 years ago | (#4077488)

I am patenting a form of expression using three musical 'chords'. This will allow the user to express feelings of sadness and dismay. The trademarked and copyrighted name of this product is, "The Blues"(TM)®©.

I will defend my original idea in the courts, and I've got a woking prototype to prove I am the inventor.

I wish I could find a way to... (2)

NanoGator (522640) | about 12 years ago | (#4077489)

... link Microsoft into this article in some crude way. I'd love to get a +1 Funny, but I can't think of a way to make 'Bill Gates is evil', 'Windows BSOD', or 'Microsoft has a monopoly' relate to the bot patent.

Damn. My karma's dipping a bit today. :(

If the tools are so great, why patent prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077494)

"The buddyscript suite of tools is the best that's available. We're confident they are the best choice (for users) who are building interactive agents. The subject of enforcing the patent shouldn't even come up. Anyone wanting to build a very good interactive agent will find that our tools are the very best," Kay added.

If their products really are the best, then people will buy them because they are the best, and they will have a successful business without the need for patenting prior art.

Kay defending the quality of his product actually diminishes the force of his argument for getting the patent. He is trying to say "don't worry, everybody was going to buy our stuff anyway, because it's so great." Whether his stuff is great or not is irrelevant to the patent claim.

Patent Pending (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4077497)

Oh dear the faucet is leaking rusty water. Please bring a ladder and propose to seed the lawn. An icicle is now melting due to the heat and humidity. 27 men went down the tunnel, 28 came up.

Protesting too loudly (1)

Repugnant_Shit (263651) | about 12 years ago | (#4077501)

"The buddyscript suite of tools is the best that's available. We're confident they are the best choice (for users) who are building interactive agents. The subject of enforcing the patent shouldn't even come up. Anyone wanting to build a very good interactive agent will find that our tools are the very best," Kay added.

Sounds like he knows he'll be taking a lot of flak for this patent. And "[you'll] find that our tools are the very best." ... geez, how about throwing that patent away so that other people can try to make a competing product and let the *users* decide instead of Mr. Kay

Eliza (2)

ucblockhead (63650) | about 12 years ago | (#4077502)

How do you feel about Patenting IM Bots?

Send them your opinion about this. (3, Informative)

warpSpeed (67927) | about 12 years ago | (#4077505)

Tell them what you really think. Here is the contact info from thier web site. Only one email address, the rest are using cgi-forms.

Remeber to be polite!

contact form [activebuddy.com]

ActiveBuddy Press Contacts
Contact ActiveBuddy Public Relations:
(408) 530-0850 x202
Email: pr@activebuddy.com
Snail Mail & Phone:

New York City Office
ActiveBuddy, Inc.
24 West 25th Street
Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10010
Phone: 646-486-8700
Fax: 646-486-8701

Sunnyvale, CA Office

ActiveBuddy, Inc.
111 West Evelyn Avenue
Suite 101
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Phone: 408-530-0850
Fax: 408-737-7018

I can see the spam of the future.... (5, Funny)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | about 12 years ago | (#4077518)

Hello my name Alice!

Nice to meet you Alice.

Nice to meet you too! Have I told you how much I love snack-ums?

I don't care.

I care greatly for snack-ums.

Leave me alone.

Nobody would leave a party with snack-ums!

Is that so?

I don't understand, but I do understand one thing: Snack-Ums are delicious!

You seem a little obsessed with snack-ums carla.

I AM OBSESSED WITH SNACK-UMS!

Bye Bye SmarterChild (1)

joncarwash (600744) | about 12 years ago | (#4077527)

I just took SmarterChild off my buddy list. Not much loss, whenever I insulted him he just told me that was not very nice.

If these choads are so confident... (2)

camusflage (65105) | about 12 years ago | (#4077532)

[Activbuddy founder Tim] Kay said ActiveBuddy was not worried about competing firms offering bot-making tools. "Our primary level of comfort comes from the fact that we have the best choice for developers and others. When given the choice, we're confident people will choose ours," he said.
If that is the case, why patent something you didn't invent and force everyone to license it? In the exact same article he says
"We invented interactive agents. Anybody using his or her own tools (to make bots) is obviously using our technology without paying us to license the server, for example.
Riiiiight. There were no IRC bots before this?

Asshole (2)

(trb001) (224998) | about 12 years ago | (#4077533)

"We invented interactive agents. Anybody using his or her own tools (to make bots) is obviously using our technology without paying us to license the server, for example. We are a startup company and we have to protect out future. That's basically why we secured this patent," Kay said.

Uh-huh...

"Hi, we're assholes who want to patent something that's clearly been done before and wasn't terribly original when it was done, just so we can make a buck or two."

These people make me violently ill.

--trb

Hey guys! (2)

Jacer (574383) | about 12 years ago | (#4077543)

I intented the internet!! Pants, too! Give me money NOW
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