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Acacia Climbing the Food Chain

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the slithering-squelching-oozing dept.

Patents 162

superflex writes "CNet and others have articles today related to a story that appeared here a couple months ago regarding Acacia Media Technologies, who hold several U.S. and international patents that they claim give them exclusive rights to compressed digital media transmission technologies. The previous article, for the lazy among you, was an AskSlashdot about whether the askers' pr0n site should pay license fees to these guys. Seems that since then, they've moved on to some internet radio sites, and are actually getting fees out of them. Their claims haven't been challenged in court yet, but they appear very broad, possibly covering PPV on cable/satellite as well as internet-based streaming. One wonders if they might try going after one of the big boys soon."

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huh? (-1)

I Have a Hard (538104) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243490)

huh?

They won't go after the big boys until.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243491)

They've built up a history of legal victories. Then, one of the big boys will stand up for themselves, and fight them off in court.

Re:They won't go after the big boys until.. (4, Interesting)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243627)

The exciting world of legal precedent.

Perhaps the USPTO needs to establish a department to revoke/make recommendations for revokation of those patents that are overly broad and possibly other qualifications, too.

Re:They won't go after the big boys until.. (1)

Ninja Master Gara (602359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243755)

Seriously. Or else everyone will start patenting Teleportation, Time Travel etc "just in case" as a get rich quick scheme.

Re:They won't go after the big boys until.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243831)

If you do invent a time machine, you'll go back in time and patent it before them yourself. And, if you invent teleportation, you'll just teleport their lawyers into the middle of the ocean.

Re:They won't go after the big boys until.. (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243879)

Too late, Alex Chiu [timecube.com] will probably claim prior art.

Damn Lawyers (0, Troll)

froth (466330) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243501)

When are we going to shoot them all? Oh wait.. its probably against the law to say that. Guess I better go find my self a Lawyer.. wtf

Simple way to solve this (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243715)

Someone fax goatse.cx to their fax number!!! =)

Acacia Research Corporation
500 Newport Center Drive, 7th Floor
Newport Beach, California 92660
Phone: (949) 480-8300
Fax: (949) 480-8301
Email: info@acaciares.com

Then post it to them, then email it to them, then phone them up and say, imagine an old man, bending over and spreading his rotten arse-band for you to give him a tonsil inspection.

Who would have thought that Goatse.cx would, one day, represent all that is free in this world!

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243512)

first post

FP!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243530)

In Soviet Russia post firsts YOU!!!!

Prior art should be ... (4, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243533)

... what, about 100 years ago?

Morse? Nah, really. Probably not a strong argument for 'compression'.

Regardless, this is just one more of those 'communication should be free' fish in the barrel which someone ought to just tip over...

How about... (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243595)

anyone who wanted to save a few cents on a per letter charge transmission?

Re:Prior art should be ... (1)

Jondor (55589) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243666)

Wasn't morse-code basicly a huffman compression?

here [ic.ac.uk] it give 1952 as date of first mention.

No (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244168)

Huffman compression is an algorithm for converting fixed length charecter code to variable length charecter code.

Since ASCII natively uses all bits of a fixed length for every charecter one can compress it by writing "1" instead of a bunch of zeros followed by a 1.

Morse is natively variable length. Not the same thing at all.

KFG

Re:No (1)

Caoch93 (611965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244501)

Not to split hairs, but can't Huffman compression convers fixed length character code into a variable length code consisting of symbols from pretty much any set? Granted, I'm not overly knowledgable here, but most Huffman compression examples I see convert ASCII characters into variable length bit strings, so the symbols wouldn't be "character code" but a code made from bits. I'm asking because I don't want to have this matter confused, so there's no need to jump on me if I'm wrong. A polite correction is all it takes. ;)

Re:No (1)

Jondor (55589) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244523)

Hmm.. off course you're right since huffman was from 1952 and morse is older. My bad. But then again, morse was coded to get short codes for often used characters and Huffman is working on the same principle, assigning shorter codes for often repeated characters so there is definitly something they have in common..

What about cable TV? (1)

docricketts (532119) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244584)

OK, re-posting this chunk from Acacia's video compression patent for context's sake:
A system of distributing video and/or audio information employs digital signal processing to achieve high rates of data compression. The compressed and encoded audio and/or video information is sent over standard telephone, cable or satellite broadcast channels to a receiver specified by a subscriber of the service, preferably in less than real time, for later playback and optional recording on standard audio and/or video tape.
What about cable TV? Isn't that *exactly* what they do -- convert video to some signal they pass to subscribers over a cable? I don't know for sure how long cable TV has been around, but I do remember my parents subscribing to something called "On TV" way back in, like, 1981 or something. Anyone know when cable TV first hit the world? I'm pretty sure that's your prior art right there.

Amazing (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243537)

for the lazy among you

I not only feel informed, I feel insulted as well!

What images come from that headline (2)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244270)

Acacia Climbing the Food Chain

Am I the only one that had images of man-eating trees in my head? Or maybe they are just eating insects now?

interesting (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward +1 (645038) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243538)

IIRC, in the Soviet Union, YOU were required to make sure your products didn't infringe on anyone's patents. The Times, how they change.

Re:interesting (-1)

I Have a Hard (538104) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243577)

that was the lamest IN SOVIET RUSSIA jokes I've ever heard. I mean, it's like you aren't even trying.

jpeg over http (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243551)

I wish I had patented the idea of sending graphics over a higher level protocol by delivering an encapsulated bytestream.

I could be rich, rich, rich! Then I would have better things to do than sit around all day hacking, smoking crack and reading slashdot.

Frivolous lawsuits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243553)

We need to do something about lawyers and frivolous lawsuits. Remember when lawyers lied in court in order to get McDonald's to pay some oaf $$$$ because she herself spilled hot coffee?

The McDonalds frivilous suit was definitely a low point.

Imagine if lawyers refused to go to court to lie about frivolous suits and ludicrous "I invented the fork" patent and copyright claims.

Re:Frivolous lawsuits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243933)

Cue replies from ATLA sympathizers claiming that the Liebeck case was actually entirely justified, considering that McDonald's had previously had several hundred coffee-burn claims over the prior decade.... ... out of probably 10E+9 cups served. Shyeah, cry me a river.

McDonald's lawsuit was FRIVOLOUS, indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5244429)

They avoid the fact that McDonald's always said the coffee was hot. Yes, hot. That means something.

Making McDonald's pay for some clumsy oaf spilling coffee on herself is like making ladder companies pay when some Homer climbs too high and falls off. Wait... that happens too.

Re:Frivolous lawsuits (1)

ratamacue (593855) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244130)

You missed the boat. Lawyers only accept a case when they know the odds are in their favor. Who puts the odds in their favor? Government. Not law firms, not mega-corporations, not you or me, but government and government only.

The root of the problem is government. Eliminate the powers of government which make these ridiculous lawsuits profitable, and we eliminate the ridiculous lawsuits.

Good point!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5244481)

"The root of the problem is government."

You make a good point. People here also overlook the fact that the DMCA is also a problem of government, not corporations.

McD's coffee lawsuit wasn't frivolous (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244475)

Drinkable coffee is 140 degrees or cooler. McDonald's coffee was 180 degrees, enough to cause third-degree burning of skin. The lady who sued McDonald's initially sought only to recover her medical costs plus legal fees, a fraction of the half-million USD that the courts awarded her.

Read more facts about the McDonald's coffee lawsuit [lawandhelp.com] .

Sure it was frivolous. No merit at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5244580)

You overlook the obvious. McDonald's said it was hot. Hot means something in liquids. It is like with hot and cold water. It is part of toddler training to be careful around hot liquids.

McDonald's was not clumsy with the coffee. The lady was. If the McDonald's clerk had dumped coffee on her, maybe there would have been merit to the case. But they didn't; it was her fault. Her own action; the blame lay 100% with her. This is an excellent example of an utterly frivolous lawsuit.

The facts? Certainly NOT to be found on the web site you gave us, which is run by a business that makes lots of money by filing frivolous lawsuits to get blameless people to pay for the clumsiness of others. They should call themselves www.we-lie-in-court.com.

This can't be done (1)

amigaluvr (644269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243579)

In my opinion this can't be done. I believe copyright or patents on this belong to someone else, or are open.

Companies folding in to this scheme are working with Acacia I suspect. In so much as once a group of legal victories are obtained, this sets precedent

Once the precedent is set they can go after more valid targets. Except they are NOT VALID TARGETS as the patent is bunk.

Bunk? Does not matter with lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243600)

Patent is bunk? Get enough attorneys to tell lies in a courtroom, and then can create anything out of whole cloth.

Don't be mad (3, Interesting)

nochops (522181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243587)

Don't be mad at these guys.
I breifly looked over their claims at the USTPO, and it looks pretty valid to me.

So don't be mad at them for having the foresight to come up with this in 1991, and wanting to make some money.

If you're going to get mad, get mad at the USTPO for granting such broad stretching patents in the first place.

The system is in place for things like this to happen, and I really don't understand why people are continually surprised when this type of thing happens. It will continue to happen until the US government changes the way the patent process works.

That being said, it is pretty slimy to hold a patent for 12 years and just now start to enforce it, but again, our current patent system model encourages this behavior, so din't be surprised when it happens again.

On the other hand, if this never happened, Slashdot wouldn't be so busy.

Be mad at them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243630)

Yes, be mad at them. They are engaging in unwarranted harassment of people actually created something new WITHOUT copying Acacia or even being aware of their vaporous claims.

Re:Be mad at them (1)

torpor (458) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243803)

Ermm... sooo yeah. These so-called 'people' you mention. You say they 'created something new without copying Acacia' ... uh huh.

Please prove that your client did not ruthlessly steal my clients valuable technology and unscrupulously propagate it in an attempt to squash us out of the market.

Thank you. See you in court.

Re:Be mad at them (1)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243989)

Unfortunately that is how patent law works. If you develop a product or process at the same time as someone else (both doing original work), whoever patents it first owns it. No arguments. The person who patents it owns the idea outright and has the right to license it.

This sort of thing has happened before (the telephone comes to mind, but I don't remember Bell's comptetitor). Just because these people created something without copying it from Acacia, doesn't lessen the validity of their claim. Not to say that the patent itself is valid or not, but as long as it is deemed valid their claim holds.

Remeber, ignorance is not a defense (particularly in court).

Re:Be mad at them (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5244237)

Unfortunately that is how patent law works. If you develop a product or process at the same time as someone else (both doing original work), whoever patents it first owns it. No arguments. The person who patents it owns the idea outright and has the right to license it.

No, the problem is that software is seen as something that is different from everything else and thus can be patented even if there is prior art from the 'real world'. Just take an existing patent, add the claim 'using software' and you own a large market, say encryption, only streaming, whatever. It works like this:

Go shopping with two shopping carts and everything is fine. Display two shopping cart icons on your website, you will be sued. Create a coffee dispenser (You press the button, then insert coins and the coffee comes out). Everythings fine, obvious idea, no problem. But if you do this on a website (press button -> buy book), you will be infringing. Tell your friend the chords of Stairway to Heaven over the telephone, no problem. Stream a MIDI file over the same telephone line, you will be infringing.

Think about it.

Ask /.- Do Japanese chicks have squinty pussies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243850)

yeah I dunno it was just something I heard about on the internet. I mean, the world wide web. That's what they call it, right?

Re:Ask /.- Do Japanese chicks have squinty pussies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243973)

No, they have blurry pussies--you can tell from Japanese porn.

bullshit, be mad (2, Insightful)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243875)

A zillion other people/companies came up with the infringing stuff on their own, without even being aware of Acacia's existence, so why the fuck should they have to pay a company that didn't do a damn thing to help them?

That being said, it is pretty slimy to hold a patent for 12 years and just now start to enforce it

Exactly, be mad! :)

Patent Reform (2)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243907)

How the hell much longer is it going to be until we get patent reform?

It's pretty obvious to everyone that changes are necessary, but there's no movement to change things.

Re:bullshit, be mad (1)

ratamacue (593855) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244307)

A zillion other people/companies came up with the infringing stuff on their own, without even being aware of Acacia's existence, so why the fuck should they have to pay a company that didn't do a damn thing to help them?

The root of the problem is government, not the private organizations who attempt to use the powers of government to their advantage. Really, what else would you expect? In a market where a legalized initiation of force exists (a "non-free" market), the winning business will always be the one that acquires that force. Remove the force from the market, and the problem is solved.

Re:Don't be mad (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243883)

Sorry, I'm pissed at both of them. Using a legal loophole to do something immoral doesn't absolve them of responsibility. It's that simple.

Re:Don't be mad (2, Interesting)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243968)

Sounds like modems with compression or even Zmodem conflicts with a large part of their patent.

Re:Don't be mad (1)

ratamacue (593855) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243984)

If you're going to get mad, get mad at the USTPO for granting such broad stretching patents in the first place.

Exactly. Finally somebody who understands. Private corporations (and individuals) are only playing the game which is designed, implemented, and enforced by government. Eliminate the powers of government which make it happen, and the problem is solved.

On a related note, I often see people complaining about lobbyists and (in general) those who intend to use the force of government to their personal advantage. Again, the root of the problem here is government, not the private sector. Eliminate the powers of government that can be taken advantage of, and we eliminate the incentive for bribery.

Re:Don't be mad (1)

Cyno (85911) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244360)

This is great news. If they own a patent to compressed content delivery we can shut down the net and go back to the way things used to be. All this technology is way to difficult to learn how to use anyway. Perhaps being a luddite is the most logical perspective in this world to maintain some form of sanity.

if only we could send all lawyers to mars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243589)

but someone else has already patented it :(

NO ONLINE PATENTS! DOWN WITH LAWYERS!

I wouldn't say it is climging... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243602)

I once worked for them and according to the managment, they are actually losing ground in many respects.

Once they reached the "BORDER A-LA" (as I say), they were forced to slow down everything and gaze at the prospectus Uf luv [stileproject.com] .

The interesting thing about this is... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243608)

...there is none.

This article is every bit as boring and gay as Rob Maldas bachelorette party.

Re:The interesting thing about this is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243880)

MODERATORS

This is offtopic.

Calling Rob Malda boring and gay is not flamebait, nor troll. It could not possibly offend or anger anyone, or waste peoples time debating the point.

cell (4, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243626)

Digital cellular and PCS are covered by this patent as well. Wonder when Acacia will get to suing them -- and whether they'll be able to dig up examples of prior art.

Speaking of which, the telcos have been using digital compression for a very long time on their trunk lines; while it wasn't an algorithmic compression method, it did result in less total throughput needed. Would this be considered prior art?

What about the important stuff??? (4, Funny)

LordYUK (552359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243646)

Like a link to the "the askers' pr0n site"?!? huh? huh??

sheesh... =)

What happens if there's a successful lawsuit? (3, Interesting)

serano (544693) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243649)

If someone successfully sues them in court, do they have to pay back what they already collected from other companies?

Re:What happens if there's a successful lawsuit? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243692)

I dont think so.

The other companies bought licenses to something they may never have needed to license. They had the option to refuse and deal with whatever consequences there could have been.

did M$ have to pay me back for windows 95 (1)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243940)

after I realized that it was crap? Regretfully not.

I don't think that the court is deciding damages, but rather forcing the defendent to buy a license to manufacture the technology from the plaintiff or stop manufacturing it.

Slashdot celebrates Negro Month: Sammy Davis Jr. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243653)

Sammy Davis Jr.

On November 19, 1954, the career of Sammy Davis Jr. almost came to a sudden and tragic close. While driving to Los Angeles to record the title tune of the Universal International picture "Six Bridges to Cross", Sammy was the victim of an automobile smash-up and narrowly escaped death. He was so seriously injured that his left eye had to be removed. In spite of the terrible shock, Sammy rallied and went on with his work; he even insisted that he was the "luckiest guy in the world".

Since his accident, Sammy's courageous spirit and ever-growing talent have won him increasingly enthusiastic audiences. Let's hear it for Sammy Davis Jr. !

Celebrate Negro Month 2003 with Slashdot.

Economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243664)

How will the economy respond to internet taxes based on obvious patents?

It wouldn't respond well, but at least it may get some patent law changes. The public can actually understand that they have to pay more money. I'd say, from all the people who don't care about this issue, that it is *deserved*

Doesn't cover radio, infrared,WiFi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243670)

Their abstract refers to transmission over a couple of different landline technologies, and also satellite.

What of radio (which includes cellular and WiFi)? Is this mentioned elsewhere?

Re:Doesn't cover radio, infrared,WiFi (2, Informative)

superflex (318432) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243961)

Note that my submission states "internet radio", not radio in general. The CNet and Globe and Mail articles specifically cite RadioIO [radioio.com] , who, as mentioned in the first paragraph of both articles received patent violation notification from Acacia this week.

Also note that the abstract of the patent claim isn't the important part. The claims are. Refer to claim #35, "35. A receiving system as recited in claim 25, wherein the transceiver means receives the information via any one of telephone, ISDN, broadband ISDN, satellite, common carrier, computer channels, cable television systems, MAN, and microwave."

The only one of those that seemed a bit dodgy is to me was "Common Carrier", which is defined here [bldrdoc.gov] for your convenience, courtesy of the U.S. Federal Govt, Federal Standard 1037C [bldrdoc.gov] . Interpreting that definition in its broadest terms, there are a hell of a lot of transmission media that could fall under the claims of this patent.

Simple fix for patent laws (3, Interesting)

MetalShard (633009) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243673)

It seem like a simple fix for patents would be:

1. if you don't enforce the patent in the first year you lose it
2. whatever the terms you make for anyone using a patent are the terms everyone gets
3. you can never change the terms of use for a patent after they are established
4. you get a fixed amount of time to submit a patent with no extensions
5. have the patent office actually do a check for prior art before accepting the patent

Those few changes would stop companies from broadsiding us with patents, but allow things that really deserve patent to continue to get them.

Re:Simple fix for patent laws (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243928)

I don't necessarily disagree with you about reform but:

1. define enforce? someone else has to violate your patent claim in order for you to maintain it?
2. if patents exist, which I claim they shouldn't though they could be pragmatic if use correctly, the point is for the patent holder to have time to make money from it, a limited monopoly, if they choose to ally with certain companies so be it
3. see above
4. not sure what you're getting at here, I'm assuming duration extensions, which I agree with, but what is a fixed amount of time to submit?
5. they are supposed to be doing this, which is why it cost so much to get something patented


The whole thing pretty much stinks as is though.

Re:Simple fix for patent laws (1)

Synn (6288) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244024)

On #1 I think he wants it to be like trademark law.

If you don't enforce it, you lose it. Meaning with patents you can't just sit on a patent until your tech becomes really popular, then start strong arming like the Mafia for money.

Re:Simple fix for patent laws (1)

MetalShard (633009) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244131)

Exactly, and the filing is the same way which is why you should only have a fixed amount of time to file it. Some companies file for a patent and then keep filing for extentions for a very long time. Then wham finish the patent and start suing.

Re:Simple fix for patent laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5244116)

Also the patent is to be used in the said company's current products. If it is not there, then it is not a valid/worthwhile/useful patent.
This should kill off 95% of the blanket patents.

Time Machine (1, Funny)

hbean (144582) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243680)

Someone should build a time machine, go back, get a patient on making crappy broken operating systems, come back and sue mircosoft!

Time machine? Better pay me then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243770)

I filed the patent long ago for "machine to travel through time". Build one, and you gotta pay me!
(I also hold the patent for the warp drive, dream recorder, and antigrav skateboard. My heirs will become rich on the explorations of future Starfleets.)

Re:Time Machine (1)

PetWolverine (638111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244439)

What happens when someone takes your time machine back in time to invent a time machine before you did, patents it, comes back and sues you for infringement?? Huh? What then?

Moral of the story: If you don't want to be sued, don't invent a time machine.

Red Flags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243682)

Cases like this will draw attention to the way overly broad and obvious patents can disrupt legitimate* business without providing any benefit to the consumer or rewarding any genuine innovation. This should eventually lead to a change in the system. The question is, how long will it take?

*Yes, I know many people would not call porn sites "legitimate business" (perhaps not even internet radio stations) but I'm assuming other types of companies will soon be targeted.

Only the small... (1)

JulisJ (621186) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243725)

... companies will suffer. I don't think that they have the resources (reads $money$) to challenge an AOL or Microsoft. Wasn't there a similar claim about a patent for hyperlinks?? Does anyone know if the Patent Office is even looking into this??? Sounds like a lot of patents went through that are commonplace technologies on the web. Kinda like having a patent for an 'common building entry way' and suing everyone who has a door. Where were they three years ago during the dot-com age? Wouldn't they have made more money then collecting patent fees?

Sit back, enjoy and let them learn (2, Insightful)

KrunZ (247479) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243732)

If they succeed this can be a real eye-opener for the politicians. Patents on software is not an overall good idea for business.

I feel dirty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243734)

Did any of you feel dirty after watching the Geek Hip_Hop clip on Stileproject.com?

It's here (6MBs) [stileproject.com] . Now everything I read on slashdot reminds me of Geek Hip_Hop. Shameful! [stileproject.com]

A thought about patents (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243752)

If every company lost say, a million $ worth of patents, but in doing so gained access to billions of $ worth of patents - then that would be a net gain for everyone, wouldn't it?

Contrary to popular belief, I don't think patents are good for society. Necissity is the mother of all invention, not a patnet. It simply amazes me how stubbornly people refuse to consider that these crazy things are simply the philosophy of patnets being brought to their logical conclusion.

Re:A thought about patents (1)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244195)

"If every company lost say, a million $ worth of patents, but in doing so gained access to billions of $ worth of patents - then that would be a net gain for everyone, wouldn't it?"

In the short term, yes. In the long term, you've removed a lot of incentive for companies to spend money on research and development. They'd primarily be interested in improvements in manufacturing techniques (which can be kept as internal secrets) rather than improvements in product functionality (which can be copied from a competitor).

Their contact details - voice your opinion! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243767)

Acacia Research Corporation
500 Newport Center Drive, 7th Floor
Newport Beach, California 92660
Phone: (949) 480-8300
Fax: (949) 480-8301
Email: info@acaciares.com

I would argue in favour of mass sending of goatse.cx to every communication channel we have with them.

After all, that is a compressed digital transmission! (JPEG - no I didn't check, i just guessed!)

Patent on goatse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243794)

"Email: info@acaciares.com I would argue in favour of mass sending of goatse.cx to every communication channel we have with them."

Of course you would want that. You hold the patent on goatse and stand to make a LOT of money!

Re:Patent on goatse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5244017)

www.tubgirl.com is WAY worse than goatse.cx. Don't go there if you value your psyche.

Patent ? (3, Funny)

KoolDude (614134) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243771)


Thank god nobody patented what is shown in the pr0n videos. ;)

Oh wait, where's the Patent Office btw ?

Re:Patent ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243810)

Forget it, you wont get very far.

For one, you have to be able to demonstrate your ideas.

And I dont think your pet dog counts as a working prototype.

But whats wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243892)

With shoving it up your ass?

With all the goatse links you guys give I thought all you trolls wanted to have things inserted up your ass.

Re:Patent ? (1)

PetWolverine (638111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244502)

Sorry, but I don't think it would be too hard for someone to establish prior art on pretty much anything you might think of to patent in that area.

Patents -- bypass, counter, fight, or ignore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243802)

The very concept that the first person to apply for a patent on an idea somehow deserves to benefit from that idea more than anybody else is just utterly preposterous. I know the reasons given to justify that concept, but sorry, such attempts at justification don't make the concept any less preposterous.

There is nothing in sight as a remedy to this idiocy backed by force of law. Well, when the law is an ass you ignore it, as people do daily on a whole range of social issues. Despite not being on the radar of the man on the street, it looks to me like patent restrictions are ripe for being ignored, where they aren't bypassed, countered, undermined, ridiculed, and fought using all our creativity.

Suicide Girls (1)

Champaign (307086) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243825)

How did they deal with their Acacia demand?

Ranting (3, Interesting)

Dragon213 (604374) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243843)

Here's a brilliant idea for the government to chew on: Rescend all patents on electronics-based technology!
That way, we wouldn't have companies coming up with a Good Thing, patenting(sp?) it, then waiting until someone else starts making money off of it, then sueing them for all that they've gained!
I don't think I'm alone in saying that the way the US Patent Code works is extremely frelled up, and needs some MAJOR revisions NOW. I'm tired off all the sue-happy people and companies in US, but I guess that's the way a capitalistic democratic republic is supposed to work. I figure if we get rid of most of the big, monopolistic companies, and give more of the marketshare to the smaller, more diverse companies, maybe then we could start truly competing with Japan, Korea, et al. in the electronics marketplace.
And, as an added bonus, maybe then the politicians in the government will start to work for the betterment of the people, rather than whichever mega-corp hands them the most money that month.
Not trying to say that America is a bad country, because I'd rather live here than anywhere else, and the ideals of America are great. It's the people running the country that are corrupt and amoral. Get someone in the Presidentcy that truly doesn't care about money, and I'm pretty sure that we'd all see MAJOR changes in the way the government handles big corporations, and possibly giving fair taxation to everyone (you know....if you make more money, you pay more taxes, if you make ALOT more money, you pay less taxes?!?!? What the frell is up with that?????)

15 quid is all she asks for... (0, Troll)

soupforare (542403) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243878)

Everybody's got their vice

I want to have Bruce Dickenson's love child
Up the Irons

How far does this go? (2, Interesting)

Chocolate Teapot (639869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243908)

Technically, a digital camera uses compressed digital media transmission technologies to upload photos to your PC. Does this patent also cover this? How about FireWire interfaces on digital camcorders?

Re:How far does this go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5244160)

So is DVD, satellite TV, local digital TV, webcast, uuencoded pcitures, video codec and probably any digital video data stream.

Re:How far does this go? (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244169)

Exactly, they've apparently patented a concept that is blatantly obvious. This patent would NEVER have been granted if somebody with even a cursory knowledge of computers or even telephony had reviewed it. According to this patent, your digital cell phone even encroaches.

Much more on Acacia Research here (5, Interesting)

MarkRH (629597) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243910)

We wrote one of the earliest stories on Acacia Research here [extremetech.com] , complete with detailed royalty information, interviews with Acacia representatives, and exactly how the online porn industry planned to fight back. We also covered the Virgin Radio license agreement in this story [extremetech.com] .

Personally, I feel that there are a wealth of smaller companies that Acacia will be able to sue or otherwise persuade to license their technology. Virgin was also a significant win.

Moderate this one up please!... (1)

steppin_razor_LA (236684) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243995)

The articles at extremetech.com were very intersting.

Precedent (2, Insightful)

IanBevan (213109) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243982)

One wonders if they might try going after one of the big boys soon.

I would doubt they'll do that until one of the 'small boys' has taken them to court and a precedent has been set.

1. Get patent

2. do { threaten small_sites; } until (court_case_won and legal_precedent_set);

3. Profit from big boys!

they cant sue me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5243996)

My net connection runs over the protocol in rfc 1149 [ietf.org] .
Their claims are only on information sent over standard telephone, cable or satellite broadcast channels . INAL, but i think Avian Carriers are safe from them!

You've got to be kidding ... (5, Insightful)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 11 years ago | (#5243998)

Compressed audio and video transmission patented? In 1991 at that? Come on, that's like me patenting that you can wear shoes and socks at the same time. Digitally compressed video and audio existed LONG before these jokers. I mean CDs used PCM back in the mid-80s, and as for video, look here [jhu.edu] and here [bilkent.edu.tr] and about 20,000 more references on Google. This patenting of ideas that are just naive bundles of existing concepts just blows me away ... STOP THE INSANITY!

Re:You've got to be kidding ... (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244381)

This patenting of ideas that are just naive bundles of existing concepts just blows me away ... STOP THE INSANITY!

Excuse me, but I patented Insanity Stopping several years ago. If you'd like, I can provide you with some licensing agreement documents for your review...

Can someone pls hack the patent system? (0, Flamebait)

gilgamesh2001 (313066) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244020)

OK, ppl, this is insane. This is war.

You can't do one-click. You can't do shopping carts. You can't do streaming. You can't do SHIT!!!

I thought you couldn't patent an idea, only a specific implementation of that idea.

In any case, this is going to far.

Can some crackers out there massively fuck with the Patent system in the US, please?

Can you hack/crack in, kill everything digital, burn everything paper, so we can all start from square one?

Or, what about a massive DDOS on everything connected to the patent office? Or cracking into their computers/servers/database.

Someone, somewhere, white or black hat, has got to be able to do something to save us all from the fucking do-nothing-productive, make-nothing, sue-happy, blood-sucking, parasitic lawyers and companies out there.

FYI this is a rhetorical question meant for discussion of ethical consquences. I would never endorse breaking the law of the land you, dear reader, happen to live in!

Re:Can someone pls hack the patent system? (1)

IanBevan (213109) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244197)

You can't do SHIT!!!

Out of curiosity, did Crapper patent the toilet ?

Al Gore invented the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5244613)

The Thomas Crapper story is actually an urban legend. If he invented the toilet, then Al Gore "took the initiative in creating the Internet"

Extortion (-1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244054)

The first word that comes to mind when dealing with this is extortion. And it seems like the US Patent Office is an unwitting accomplice, thanks to its bad habit of giving overly broad patents.

Picking on small sites, porn, internet radio, that don't have enough money to go to court is definitely thuggery. Maybe someone should trout out the RICO act and make these guys disappear...

How 'bout a patent on SPAMming technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5244075)

Doesn't **anyone** have a patent on something that can stop the SPAMmers? Why do the patent holders always go after the useful parts of the web?

in the future , won't be intellectual property (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5244122)

Just like there isn't slavery now. +5 insightful for predicting the obvious and elegant future.

Why Oh Why! (1)

Quixadhal (45024) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244186)

Why didn't *I* think of filing for stupidly broad patents when I was in high-school? I could have then sat on my ASS and sued people to become rich. I could live off the hard work of others and contribute NOTHING back.

The sorrow of missed opportunities....

Maybe I can still file a patent on a method of organizing pending work so that it can be done in the most time-efficient manner possible (procrastination)!

Thank you USPTO! Thank you for validating the laziness of American Citizens. Proving once again that it's better to let others do the work, as long as you can take the credit.

Nasty business scheme... (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 11 years ago | (#5244549)

One wonders if they might try going after one of the big boys soon

Nope, I'm willing to bet their business strategy is to harass little people as long as they can, fattening up their checkbooks, and then selling out for a nice huge pile 'o cash to the the 'big boys'

Think about it, they make a lot of money setting precedents....then sell out to the 'big boy' who will pay them the most for the patent and process.
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