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All Encompassing Patents

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the are-dept-lines-patented dept.

Patents 283

SpicyMcHaggas writes "Looks like another bogus lawsuit over an incredibly broad patent on something that already exists. StarChamber, an online strategy and collectible card game seems to be one of the infringing factors, along with a player ranking system on the site. The patent supposedly covers any sort of ranking system that indicates a player's proficiency in said game. This sort of practice is what deters would-be great games from making it into the gaming world."

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283 comments

d00t!~ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088262)

I claim this land in the name of d00t!~
I claim this land in the name of d00t!~

Re:d00t!~ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088294)

*sigh* I have become fp trolling scum... but d00t!~

Patents help. (1, Troll)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088264)

Sure, one bad patent, OK. But overall, we must admit, that patents generally are a good thing. This is just an exception to the rule.

Re:Patents help. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088314)

*we* admit no such thing. Software patents are a very bad thing. See Bruce Perins recent article on the subject.

Re:Patents help. (1)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088404)

Excuse me, I have not read anything written by ESR or Bruce Perens (I actually do not even want to read about these so called theoricians and why I should worship them).

I'd like you to tell me the reason why a company could not patent something really innovative ?

For example, let's say Xerox had patented all of their software works, wouldn't it have been legitimate ?

I may have read thousands of times that "Apple [supposedly] infringed their ``intellectual property``" (Which Acorn also did by sending experts to teh PARC before issuing RiscOS^WArthur)

So, my point is : why patent should not describe a "digital process" to handle immaterial data ?

Re:Patents help. (3, Insightful)

saden1 (581102) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088589)

If Xerox had its way anything and everything that has to do with OCR would be theirs. Ideas and innovation don't appear out of thin air, they come from other ideas and innovations so why should exclusivity be granted?

Re:Patents help. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088326)

Sure, one bad patent, OK. But overall, we must admit, that patents generally are a good thing. This is just an exception to the rule.

Yeah, long live software patents. They rock.

Re:Patents help. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088328)

Yeah, but it's getting increasingly obvious that the system 1) has gaping holes, and 2) said gaping holes are being increasingly exploited by non-creative, non-productive individuals. The people who exploit these loopholes really contribute nothing; they are mostly parasitic and have little to no ability of their own.

* Note: I'm talking about people like PanIP, etc. who obviously do not plan on creating anything useful except a business around patent litigation.

Re:Patents help. (4, Insightful)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088391)

Sure, one bad patent, OK. But overall, we must admit, that patents generally are a good thing.

the problem isn't patents but what can be patented. you can patent, say, a rocket ship design but the core concept of setting fire to fuel to create force shouldn't be patentable.

maybe i should just patent f=ma and retire rich...

Re:Patents help. (2, Informative)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088479)

EU patent law is going to be much more specific.

You basically can't patent something that's just "process on the internet". You have to invent a software method that's truly original (like say a new method of indexing/compressing).

Re:Patents help. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088600)

Software Patents are BAD for everyone, except the few groups in society who profit from them (big companies, lawyers, patent offices, the state, etc.

See the FFII [ffii.org] website for the complete story.

regards,

Walden.

omgomgomgomgomg ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088266)

I cannot believe I can finally patent this first post !

Re:omgomgomgomgomg ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088280)

You'd be better off trying to patent FAILING IT.

Re:omgomgomgomgomg ! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088325)

come one, do not be such an asshat, I almost made it (#8088266 vs #8088262), so, if like the fucktard the story is about I patented approximative practices, I'd be as rich as you are a shithead.

Re:omgomgomgomgomg ! (-1, Offtopic)

fleener (140714) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088397)

The composition of my head contains no traces of feces, nor am I financially wealthy. Do a little bit of research before posting, you silly little man. Your argument fails on all points.

Re:omgomgomgomgomg ! (-1, Offtopic)

mo^ (150717) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088406)

Wow, bet you are also the knobhead who tries to make "rabbit ears" with your fingers behind peoples heads in photographs.

I can only assume from your dire need to be noticed by total strangers that you have a very small penis and an even smaller brain.

Dont worry though, your life expectancy is only around 75 years. But if you really wanna be noticed i can help construct a showstopping suicide for you.

would be my pleasure

Re:omgomgomgomgomg ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088430)

important note to the others fucktards who answered the parent :
YHBT
YHL
FOAD

Re:omgomgomgomgomg ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088399)

Howard Dean has too much prior art.

Proficiency? (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088268)

Like arcade game high scores? Wouldn't that be prior art, or is there something more specific about this patent?

Re:Proficiency? (3, Interesting)

haystor (102186) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088414)

I was playing MegaWars III online in the early 80's on Compuserve. There were definite rankings there.

Does anyone know if MegaWars still exists in any format?

Re:Proficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088483)

Or like Elite for the BBC Micro in the early 1980s, where you were ranked one of Harmless, Mostly Harmless, .. Dangerous, Deadly, Elite?

Re:Proficiency? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088499)

No, this guy is patenting ranking/scores on the internet from multiplayer games that are played on the internet.

Remember, if you add on the internet to the end of any existing idea, it's suddenly a completely new idea!

For instance . . . do your taxes -- ON THE INTERNET!
read a book . . . ON THE INTERNET!
send a letter . . . ON THE INTERNET!

Obvious (5, Insightful)

Popageorgio (723756) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088277)

When did patent holders forget that one cannot patent an "obvious or pre-existing" idea?

Re:Obvious (5, Insightful)

redcaboodle (622288) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088368)

When did patent holders forget that one cannot patent an "obvious or pre-existing" idea?
They didn`t. But they know the Patent Office forgets it all too often.
Or, to be precice. They know that the Patent Office has neither the manpower nor the machinepower to check all sources of prior art and therefor is liable to overlook the bleeding obvious.

Patent craziness... (3, Informative)

BJZQ8 (644168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088281)

It all gets back to lawyers...who are bored. Perhaps if we gave them shovels and told them to make a hole, they would have less time to create frivolous lawsuits. Seriously, though, it might be time to expand the definitions of barratry, and start prosecuting people...although then you end up having lawsuits about lawsuits...

Re:Patent craziness... (4, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088374)

It all gets back to lawyers...who are bored.

Usually people like to blame the lawyers, and there are ambulance-chasers who are worthy of blame. But the lawyer's job is to represent the client as aggressively as the law allows. If I were facing a legal situation, I would certainly expect no less from my lawyer. I remember an injury lawyer's TV ad from Boston: "Other lawyers call me an S.O.B., but I'm your S.O.B.".

If a person wants to take advantage of a legal loophole, why blame the lawyer? Why not blame the law (for being bad), the legislators (for not fixing it) or the person (for unethically exploiting it)?

Re:Patent craziness... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088488)

I know, i know, flame bait. But I'm biting it:

If a person wants to take advantage of a legal loophole, why blame the lawyer? Why not blame the law (for being bad), the legislators (for not fixing it) or the person (for unethically exploiting it)?

If you leave your door unlocked and I go in your house and steal your money, why blame me ? Why not blame *you* (for leaving the door unlocked), the police (for not catching me in the act) or the capitalist system (for making money such an important thing in order to get stuff you want) ?

Re:Patent craziness... (1)

Fiveeight (610936) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088498)

The lawyer's job is to settle the problem and get your desired outcome, or as close to that as possible. That might mean a macho chest-beating legal display, but sometimes that's just counterproductive. Get aggressive enough and people will turn around and fight you rather than trying to compromise and save face and money all around.

See SCO or your local feuding neighbours for good examples of what aggressive legal threats/action can earn you.

Frivolous McDonald's lawsuit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088471)

"It all gets back to lawyers...who are bored. Perhaps if we gave them shovels and told them to make a hole, they would have less time to create frivolous lawsuits"

Yeah, ya never known when they might file frivolous lawsuits against companies because someone spills hot coffee on themself.

Re:Frivolous McDonald's lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088512)

because someone spills hot coffee on themself.

Please don't answer this troll. We've heard it all before.

Mcdonald troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088535)

Next time, bother to read the facts. Troll. McDonald's was serving boiling coffee, and previously had 700 die from it.

Re:Patent craziness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088493)

Perhaps if we gave them shovels and told them to make a hole

Preferably six foot deep, six foot long and two foot wide.

Re:Patent craziness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088562)

You're right - there are two big things killing IT in America, and this is one of them.

The other thing is all encompassing greed that dictates that no one should pay 65k a year of a tech person when some half starved Indian will do it for a fifth of the cost.

This is why this bullshit is killing IT.

First, it makes it impossible to develop a product or a service in the US without first hiring a team of lawyers, to make sure that some scumbag didn't hold the patent on "Electronic Information Retrieval Devices" aka "Everything and anything that a computer can be used for, including paperweights and door stops".

Second, it is discouraging HIGH SCHOOL KIDS and COLLEGE KIDS from pursuing degrees in tech. They (rightfully so) see no future in it. Why spend years learning skills in order to get "right-sized" when your're 30? Or scarier yet, 40?

So, these two trends stop Entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness to work for big business in the tech field.

These patents represent a huge barrier to entry to the small business person who wishes to gain entry to the field. As does the myriad of paperwork and forms and what involved in rendering services as an independent consultant. Everything is designed to keep the individual out of the field, unless that individual is represented by some collective.

This is going to kill the US economy. The only thing that is keeping the majority of midlevel management working today is paperwork processes not yet automated. Once those jobs are destroyed, there will be no midlevel anything, just entry level and executive. Everything else will be shipped off to India, Pakistan or China and Russia.

How will the economy survive if there is no place for middle class people to earn a middle class wage?

Thanks Carly. You're a real class-A bitch. I hope you die starving in an alley - a victim of your own outsourcing. Let's see who buys digicams and printers and computers when we have 60% unemployment.

Considering the Patent Content (5, Interesting)

j0keralpha (713423) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088282)

" For example, claim 92 of the '560 Patent covers the playing of a game over a communication network, such as the Internet, where multiple instances of a game are transmitted over the Internet between multiple players and a gaming website and some of these instances may overlap in time. Also, users' rankings may be transmitted from the gaming website to the users, where the rankings are indicative of the users' proficiency in playing the game for which the users' ranks are being displayed, and where the rankings are updated. "

If Im reading this right, they should be suing WoTC, Blizzard, and, well, everybody... Problem is this guy isnt dumb enough to go after somebody who can fight back... Wonder what the chances of getting the EFF or someone similair involved is...

MOD PARENT DOWN! Stole my comment!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088370)

I guess it's flattering to be greeted by your own words when you click on a story, but it doesn't change the fact that this person, j0keralpha, completely plagiarized what I wrote a few months back on another patent story.

I wish I could prove this, but I can't list any comments beyond my last 24. Honestly, why would I accuse someone I don't know of plagiarism if it weren't true?

Shame on you, Mr. j0keralpha...

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN! Stole my comment!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088448)

Sure, I believe you anonymous coward making unsubstantiated claim.

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN! Stole my comment!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088480)

Its kinda funny, cause ive seen this exact post six times already today... (the mod parent down one) someone's scripting... shame on you mr. Anonymous Coward

Re:Considering the Patent Content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088520)

Funny thing about this is that I recall playing Scrabble and other such "door games" on BBSes back in the 1980's that were "multiplayer" and ranked scores online for all to see. It wasn't over the "internet" but close enough.

It seems that, even in the worst case scenerio, this guy would be laughed out of any court because he has failed to protect his patent for the last 15 years.

Hmm... (3, Informative)

mgcsinc (681597) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088292)

"This sort of practice is what deters would-be great games from making it into the gaming world."

You make this claim as if this is something that has been looming over the gaming industry for years, but frankly, it's not, and chances are there is tons of prior art to boot. Let's all remember that the USPTO's job is to deal with paperwork, not to deal with prior art; that's what the courts are for.

Re:Hmm... (4, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088435)

The USPTO does consider its job to include dealing with prior art. It just doesn't do a very good job of it.

The courts are a crummy way to deal with prior art: its expensive, and judges aren't trained in technology. Patent examiners are. A patent examiner generally has a college degree in the field to which he (or she) is assigned.

I don't see an easy solution. Properly investigating prior art takes a really long time. Dealing with the vast mass of paperwork applicants file takes a really long time. I can just see the lawyer for this applicant badgering the bejeezus out of this patent examiner. Or maybe he just rubber-stamped the top of the pile and went home.

Patent examiners are like teachers: we expect them to do what should be incredibly valuable work, then pay them badly and overwork them. That's never an excuse for doing a bad job, but what doesn't excuse an individual should come as no surprise for the group.

Sounds like the lastest excuse for Duke Nukem... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088450)

Duke Nukem Forever, we really wanted to release it, but this patent on ranking systems got us in the shorts.

Re:Hmm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088464)

> You make this claim as if this is something that has been looming over the gaming industry for years,
> but frankly, it's not, and chances are there is tons of prior art to boot. Let's all remember that
> the USPTO's job is to deal with paperwork, not to deal with prior art; that's what the courts are for.

So.. they deal with paperwork only...
Then I wonder..
1. Why is there a fee of more then a few dollar?
2. Why does it take them so absurdly long to handle a request?

Wither they do more then paperwork, or they are incredibly inefficient.

Besides, the court system is not there to deal with every possible problem, it is there to deal with problems that cannot eb resolved in a normal way. The following checks should really eb part of the process or the patent office is simply failing to do a proper job:

- Check on if the patent would be obvious to experts in the field. This is simple, you ASK EXPERTS IN THE FIELD.
- Check for prior art, also simple, again, you ask experts in the field.
- Check for being specific, a patent should describe a specific invention, not an entire field, and should never ever apply to an entire field because if it does it will definitely hinder others from inventing, and as a result work against the explicit purpose of having a patent system.

I don't care about political bs as to why the patent office works as it does now, I simply conclude that it fails to do its job, and as it seems, fails to even define its job properly.

Remember, the patent system has a purpose, and components that no longer help that should be fixed or be taken out, the patent office is a good candidate for that.

Al Gore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088295)

If Al Gore had patented the Internet instead of inventing it, he'd be in much better shape.

Why, he might be rich enough to buy himself the Presidency. Worked for Steve Forbes, didn't it?

Al Gore FACTS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088321)

If you stop listening to Rush, you will learn that Gore never said he invented the Internet. He said he created it. There IS a big difference. Not only did he say it, but it is true: there would be no Internet if not for this visionary man's pioneering efforts.

Re:Al Gore FACTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088481)

visionary pioneering efforts? He was a senator voting to spend other people's money!

Geez, we did it long ago... (4, Interesting)

nsxdavid (254126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088297)

I have yet to read the patents themselves... just the supposed letter. But we were doing this with CyberStrike in the early 80's, AirWarrior and BattleTech Online even earlier than CS. If it has to be a web site in play, rather than an online service (such as GEnie), then I imagine AirWarrior would qualify as Prior Art, no? It was on the web before CS and did the whole ranking thing too. Need to go see the application date of the patent(s) now.

I of course, must reserve judgement until I study the actual patents in question. It always hurts to do this, they are written to obfuscate. As a side note to the whole patent mess, I think plain english contract law concepts should be adopted for patent descriptions.

Re:Geez, we did it long ago... (1)

Thavius (640045) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088382)

It's really a shame that you can't proactively challenge patents. Maybe you can, I don't know. It would seem to save people time, money, and would make this all go away.

On that note, I'm going to start my patent search for "A patent covering actions over things that do stuff."

MOD PARENT DOWN! Stole my comment!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088405)

I guess it's flattering to be greeted by your own words when you click on a story, but it doesn't change the fact that this person, nsxdavid, completely plagiarized what I wrote a few months back on another patent story.

I wish I could prove this, but I can't list any comments beyond my last 24. Honestly, why would I accuse someone I don't know of plagiarism if it weren't true?

Shame on you, Mr. nsxdavid ...

a ranking system... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088303)

Like slashdot karma?

Last post? (4, Funny)

kinnell (607819) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088305)

The patent supposedly covers any sort of ranking system that indicates a player's proficiency in said game.

Sounds like slashdot could be in the line of fire.

Re:Last post? (4, Funny)

CaptainAlbert (162776) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088319)

> Sounds like slashdot could be in the line of fire.

Karma: Classified (mostly affected by frivolous lawsuits)

Ranking systems patent (5, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088309)

So, if there is a patent on numerical ranking systems for games, I say we defrost Ted Williams and sue his .400-hitting ass .... err, head.

In SOVIET RUSSIA... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088316)

...oh I couldn't think of anything.

Moderators, I command to you moderate this post off topic.

Hmmmm... (4, Insightful)

jmays (450770) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088318)

"This sort of practice is what deters would-be great games from making it into the gaming world."

Actually, I don't think it does. Can someone name a game that hasn't been made due to broad patent that patents something pre-existing?

Re:Hmmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088463)

How can you name a game that doesn't exist?

Re:Hmmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088484)

Doom 3

Re:Hmmmm... (2, Insightful)

forkboy (8644) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088473)

Come on now, if it hasn't been made, how would we know it's name?

Re:Hmmmm... (1)

jmays (450770) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088565)

If I can't make a game because of a broad dumbass patent for a pre-existing idea ... don't you think I would fight it and therefore get it publicized ... say ... on Slashdot, maybe?

Re:Hmmmm... (1)

balloonhead (589759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088518)

Can someone name a game that hasn't been made

How precisely are we to name something that doesn't exist?

Stop fucking with my head, bro.

Re:Hmmmm... (1)

jmays (450770) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088592)

Game companies don't just stop production due to a lame pantent that is broad and based on a pre-existing idea. They continue to make the game.

How about this... Can someone name a game that had started to be produced and was stopped due to a broad patent based on a pre-existing idea?

And in unrelated news... (4, Funny)

jbottz (708060) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088332)

In supposedly unrelated news, Slashdot has done away with the Karma system for ranking members of its online community.

Oh come ON (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088340)

How can you "patent" something so blindingly, mind-numbingly obvious as a rating.... A patent has to be 'non-obvious to an expert in the field' or words to that effect.

I believe about 2000 years ago, the olympic athletes were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals......

Simon

Re:Oh come ON (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088420)

But the internet was not in the same shape back then as it is today.. the MD5 checks on smoke signals was not very reliable.

Case's Ladder (4, Interesting)

nodwick (716348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088348)

Wouldn't Case's Ladder [casesladder.com] be considered prior art? From the patent info:
Inventors: Goldberg; Sheldon F. (3360 E. Serene, Henderson, NV 89014); Antwerp; John Van (Springdale, MD)
Assignee: Goldberg; Sheldon F. (Henderson, NV)
Appl. No.: 759895
Filed: December 3, 1996
I remember playing Red Alert using Case's Ladder back in mid-1996, which seems like a pretty clear case of a ranking system for a multiplayer game. Of course, if you leave the online-game context and move into the wider arena of general games/sports, ladders have been around long before that.

Re:Case's Ladder (2, Informative)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088436)

You did read the article, didn't you? That "prior art" is from the same people who are suing.
We represent Mr. Sheldon Goldberg with respect to the above-identified patents, collectively referred to as "the Goldberg Patents." It has come to our attention that starchamber.net, an Internet-based service provided by Nayantara Studios, infringes the Goldberg Patents.
I could find prior art for ranking players on games over communications networks from the mid-to-late seventies.

Re:Case's Ladder (1)

Gldm (600518) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088580)

Case actually started the ladder sometime in 1994 I believe, I remember playing C&C on it back when I had a kali serial number in the 11,000 range. I'll have to try and ICQ Case and see if he's heard about this, because I checked and the ladder is still in operation over at igl.net and casesladder.com. However I think his system is copyrighted, not patented. The ladder as a company was incorporated in 1996, and I know it was operating quite awhile before that.

If I find out any more info from Case I'll post a reply here.

Great News! (5, Interesting)

fleener (140714) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088350)

The Patent Office is hiring patent examiners [uspto.gov] in the Computer Science Field. We've seen the hard, comprehensive work of patent examiners profiled on Slashdot many times. Don't pass up this opportunity to join the U.S. Government Team. You too could be the subject of a future /. post!

From the job post, uh oh... (1)

1000101 (584896) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088474)

Looks like the US patent office might be infringing on this patent:

"For CTAP and ICTAP, well qualified means that the applicant is eligible, qualified, and clearly exceeds qualification requirements for the position as demonstrated by either: (1) Meeting selective and qualify ranking factor levels as specified by the agency; or (2).."

Re:From the job post, uh oh... (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088533)

I believe the phrase "Biting the hand that feeds you" would come into play. I don't expect the clown will prosecute them...

Re:Great News! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088536)

Cool, I'm going to patent using strings of 8 bit 1's and 0's to produce 255 combination "byte's" of data so it can be viewed in a standard format on most PC's (this hasn't been done yet has it?). Then we can finally do away with having to use those pesky punch card thingy's...

Patent Office (1)

firstadopter.com (745257) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088355)

Who do they have in the patent office that is approving these things? Kind of sad that government workers that get paid nothing have some much power.

Why go after Starchamber... (5, Insightful)

nsxdavid (254126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088357)

Some may wonder why they would go after Starchamber (I guess some relatively obscure online game) rather than, say, the EverQuests of the world. But this is the basic strategy of patent sniping: Go after really small guys who cannot and will not fight. Get them to license. Even do a deal where you trade licenses so it's zero-cost. The reason: If you have people already licensing your IP, then you give credibility to your claim. Weight.

Next step, move up the food chain. Keep trying to get more licenses so you are armored when it comes time to go after the big boys.

Secondly, you don't want to go after someone with obvious prior art. :)

My understanding is the patents are specific to casino games. Not sure why they went after Starchamber in particular.

yeah... (1)

herrvinny (698679) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088371)

Eklypz
StarChamber Initiate
Joined: Jan 16, 2004
Posts: 2
Posted: Sat Jan 24, 2004 8:48 pm
Post subject:
Post it to slashdot. Maybe some one there can help ya
Back to top


yeah! But seriously, This has got to be one of the stupidest patents ever issued. Why not go after Microsoft's Zone.com or AOL's game area? I know I used to play Harpoon Online and Air Warrior on AOL, (many years ago, mind you) and they had player rankings.

Ruining it for everyone (5, Interesting)

The I Shing (700142) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088434)

Back when the web was really taking off, and everyone was talking about how liberating it was, and how empowering it was for small companies and individuals, I had in the back of my mind that somehow someone would come along and just ruin it.

I naturally assumed that it would be large corporations that would find a way to squeeze everything off the web that wasn't run by large corporations, but now I think that it's the patent trolls and the spammers that are going to slow the expansion and development of the web and other internet services to a crawl. No-one other than the big boys can do anything on the web without having to worry about someone popping up and saying, "Ah, hold it right there, I own the whole concept of what it is you're trying to do," and even the large corporations are being stung by this trend.

Oh, and BTW, according to youmaybenext.com, PanIP has been sending threatening notices to more small businesses, despite (or because of) the fact that their (his) e-commerce patent is currently being re-examined.

patent mayhem (0)

dkode (517172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088440)

I think i will patent letters of the alphabet next, therefore every website on the internet is infringing on my patent and I want 10 billion dollars.

who wants to be my lawyer, i may have to beat them off with a stick

Stop Bugging Me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088441)

Hasn't anyone sued u.s. patent office already? They are the guilty ones here.

Wow, I agree with you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088445)

I usually despise the typical /. anti-patent, anti-trademark, anti-IP, anti-individual, Communist attitude, but it really is getting ridiculous now. Its all about shameless greed.

These "way, way too broad" type patents need to never be granted in the first place.

Live in the EU? Don't just complain, take action! (5, Informative)

Sanity (1431) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088455)

Over the next few months we in the EU have the opportunity to prevent the counter-productive dogma of software patents from inhibiting European software developer's ability to innovate and compete freely, but it won't be an easy fight and we need everyone that cares about this issue in the EU to contact their political representatives NOW!

For more information please look here [ffii.org].

I am doing my part [slashdot.org] - are you?

This is just wrong. (0, Interesting)

Frank White (515786) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088469)

I know I'll probably get modded down for this, but what happens to the world when so many corporations own patents on so many intangible things that a corporate dynasty like IBM can bring anyone in the world to their knees financially?

Even foreign governments.

Intellectual property in all of its various forms is being abused by the corporate world - both friends and foes of Linux and otherwise. The madness is the laws supporting this behavior continue to pass, bypassing the individual and wholeheartedly supporting the corporation.

Isn't the government supposed to be working for us? Aren't our rights supposed to be first and foremost in their minds? There is a balance to be maintained, and our rights are not unlimited, but more and more across the entire globe the individual is lost.

Not to be funny but has anyone considered the implications of all these recent intellectual property rights and how it seems more and more that we're being pushed into the draconian future of Johnny Mnemonic and Shadowrun? The only way you get information is to steal it. The only way for another corporation to get information is to hire you to steal it.

I grow more and more distressed at the world my son will grow up in, the conditions he will consider normal, the laws he will break just by trying to think.

The Pit and AutoDuel (3, Informative)

Shiftlock (587371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088476)

What about The Pit and AutoDuel? I remember using the ol' 1200 baud modem to login and play these games... both of which had player rankings which were posted and transmitted from the central computer (website) to my personal computer.

Definitely before the "Internet". What year was this patent registered? It mentions the "net" as an example of game data transmission.


Never made it to the top of The Pit... but I'm not bitter (damn you Sheriff of Nottingham!!)

Perfect Prior Art? (5, Interesting)

adroovius (734622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088491)

I might know the perfect prior art to get this one stopped. The US Chess Federation (and international chess organizations too, I think) have kept rankings of players for decades. Newbies generally start out at 1000, and Grand Masters might get well over 2000. (I made it up to about the 1500 level). The rankings are based on the results of games between ranked players. Beating somebody improves your rating and losing to somebody lowers your rating - how much you increase or decrease your rating depends on the difference in ratings. Also, many rated games were performed over the ancient predecessor of the internet - the postal system.

Re:Perfect Prior Art? (1)

kirkjobsluder (520465) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088572)

Well that, and if the issue centers on electronic transmission, how long have ICC and chess-by-email been around?

Not just games, banner ads and other stuff too (4, Insightful)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088510)

From the artile:

Additionally, many of the claims of the Goldberg Patents are not limited to games. For example, some claims of the Goldberg Patents are broadly directed to network-based persentations, i.e. changing advertising such as pop-up advertising or rotating banners, in connection with network services

With that being the case, why didn't they go after the pop-up spammers first?

/sarcasm

What exactly do you get when you get a licence ?. (1)

openmtl (586918) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088519)

Curious as to exactly what code, software or sample do you get when you license a patent e.g, which lines of code do you get when you get a license that covers e.g. claim 92 ?.

Without an actual implementation in the flesh then hasn't a fundamental issue with patents been missed i.e. it has to have a working implementation at the time of filing.

This is what stops perpetual motion machines, time travel and other nonsensical patent attempts. Hell I'd be more than happy if someone got a patent on a perpetual motion machine as it certainly wouldn't have any prior art.

Re:What exactly do you get when you get a licence (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088553)

You get permission to use the method. Business methods are patentable, which is what, on the surface, it appears was being pursued. Obviousness and prior art and perhaps extreme vaguery ought to invalidate much of the claims, I think.

RTFP, then have a lawyer do the same (1)

originalhack (142366) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088528)

First, IANAL.

So far, I just read the claims for 5823879.

That one, at least, has only 2 really independent claims. One that is limited to card games, the second to advertising.

Go carefully claim by claim through the patents (you can skip all the nice pictures and go straight to the claims). If a claim starts with "a method as claimed in claim 18" and claim 18 does not apply, neither does the one that references it.

Bet me there won't be a follow-up story... (1)

Ath (643782) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088543)

...when the patent is ruled invalid.

Another story of how the sky is falling. It's not. That stupid patent hasn't deterred any "would-be great games from making it into the gaming world."

Stupid patents will happen. Some people on Slashdot currently get bent out of shape when they hear about a stupid patent, usually connecting it with the out of control lawyers. Well, guess what? It wasn't a lawyer who decided to apply for such a stupid patent. It was some jackass who thought they could capitalize on something. And they won't capitalize on anything.

As for anyone sued for infringement, it's the cost of doing business overall in a complicated world.

You aren't going to solve it or stop it from happening, so just move along. There's nothing to see here.

More weight?? (1)

attobyte (20206) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088552)

So can they sue the little guy so the have to settle which will give them more weight against a bigger player. I mean they have a slew to pick from, all the mmorpg's could be sued with this BS.

Don't ask me, I do think its funny they chose them instead of Sony or Mythic.

New slashdot slogan.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088559)

I propose we change the slogan to "Lawsuits for Nerds. Lawsuits that don't matter."

Who should I blame for wasting my time like this...the people filing the lawsuits or the editors for posting this shit?

Flame on.

typos in a legal notice? (1)

drew (2081) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088581)

For example, some claims of the Goldberg Patents are broadly directed to network-based persentations, i.e. changing advertising such as pop-up advertising or rotating banners...

did the lawyer sending the notice make that typo, or was the letter just transcribed wrong? i'm not sure i would pay a whole lot of attention to a lawyer who screwed up something that basic.

ROFL! (1)

Vthornheart (745224) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088604)

"For example, claim 92 of the '560 Patent covers the playing of a game over a communication network, such as the Internet, where multiple instances of a game are transmitted over the Internet between multiple players and a gaming website and some of these instances may overlap in time. Also, users' rankings may be transmitted from the gaming website to the users, where the rankings are indicative of the users' proficiency in playing the game for which the users' ranks are being displayed, and where the rankings are updated."

ROFL! I just thought I would include this juicy little quote from the letter. Apparently, these people decided that, for all intents and purposes, they not only patented the concept of the High Score, but Internet gaming itself!

Patent everything! (1)

EvilOpie (534946) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088616)

You know, at this point in time the patent system is in such sorry shape that if I was considering inventing anything, I'd patent it. Even if it already had a patent out for it. Chances are you'd get it, it seems like. Even if you use it as more of a cover-your-ass thing instead of trying to take on other companies with it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you invent something you get it patented immediately, so that if you get sued for your item, you can turn around and show that you have a patent on it too. Now in a dream world this would be nice because if you got sued for a patent violation, you could countersue over the issue too. Then since you would both be under the gun for patent violations, the system would see how screwed up it was and reform itself so that it would work like it was supposed to.

But in reality, the person with deeper pockets would most likely win the lawyer battle. But it would be amusing to watch people countersuing each other over something when they both have patents over the same thing. How would you prove who is in the wrong, when both sides have valid patents?

Ah well, just something I've been thinking about lately. But you can bet if I ever came up with something I would patent it just to make sure that the law was on my side if someone ever tried to sue me over something I created. How else are you going to defend yourself these days?
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