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Over and Over and Over (5, Insightful)

conner_bw (120497) | about 10 years ago | (#8710995)

Let's take it for a given that in the USA, most people know what the internet is and there is a strong possibly everyone who works in the patent office uses it.

Why then is the patent office so moronic when it comes to patenting ideas that are general knowledge?

Does anyone working in the patent office read this site? What are the qualifications that allow them to make glaring mistakes over and over again? Who's hiring them and why? Speak up and justify your job because frankly you guys and girls are being paid for nothing.

Re:Over and Over and Over (4, Interesting)

SirGeek (120712) | about 10 years ago | (#8711014)

The problem is that if it isn't patented already, then they can patent it. Screw any "prior art" that isn't in the patent database. That is the ONLY source of data that they use.

They can't fathom that someone wouldn't patent something even if it is totally trivial/common sense.

Re:Over and Over and Over (5, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | about 10 years ago | (#8711177)

Ah, but you miss an important point - USPTO grants patents because its also a source of income (and a pretty good one at that).

Its not their duty to make sure that its upheld - if its not, its _your_ problem - as an applicant.

However, within the limited scope of their resources (and intellect), they issue as many patents as they can simply because they can. If its a bad one, its going to be dragged to court at some point or the other and shot dead. If not, great, you have great IP on your hands.

Ofcourse, I can see the flaw in this that corporates can bully the less powerful - but hey! Thats corporate Amerika for you.

Re:Over and Over and Over (0)

sisco (763303) | about 10 years ago | (#8711209)

So can I patent the number 7? It's a good number. Plus, how many people can really avoid using it? Sure, you could represent it in different ways... 4+3, 2+5, 1+6, .0001+6.9999....
but that would get old quickly. And just think about how many times it is used!!

Besides which, I'm pretty sure that nobody else has patented the number 7 yet.

What about the English language? Anybody have a patent on that? I can just see it:

"Excuse me Mr. Director... you can't direct this movie in English unless you pay me first."

Let's get real. This is completely silly.

Re:Over and Over and Over (4, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | about 10 years ago | (#8711257)

If I'm not mistaken, its pretty darned hard to patent facts - the only exception I know of is the patenting of genome sequences.

One of the criteria for patents is that your invention should be new and non-obvious to someone who is skilled in that area - unfortunately, even a highschool kid can prove that 7 or 2+5 or even .0000e-34343 does not require skill, and is neither new nor non-obvious.

I'll quote from this site [womenip.com] -

You can not patent a scientific principle, an abstract theorem, an idea, a method of doing business, a computer program or a medical treatment.

The thing is that _even_ if you did get around patenting that stuff, you would not really stand a chance because just about everyone else will go ahead and use it. What are you going to do? Sue half the population of America for using 7?

Your case will simply be thrown out.

Patents are usually filed for credit and as a _defense_ - its unfortunate that shitty bastards like Ideaflood abuse the system. But there is nothing they can do, really.

When the whole world has adopted the system, and when they cannot prove with absolute certainty that they were the first to come up with the idea, their idea will be thrown out.

Let's get real. This is completely silly.

I never said it isn't - its just inevitable, thats all. And unfortunate too, ofcourse.

Tort reform! (yeah I'm overreacting) (2, Insightful)

Surazal (729) | about 10 years ago | (#8711029)

Ya know, up until I saw this I was against blanket tort reform (ya know, the price of overreaction and such).

Screw it. I'm overreacting.

However, some little rational side of me asks this question: Do patent laws really have this much teeth? Some evidence I've been seeing lately implies it may not...

Re:Tort reform! (yeah I'm overreacting) (2, Funny)

yintercept (517362) | about 10 years ago | (#8711121)

I just hope the merger and acquisition department at SCO is keeping tabs on these valuable garbage intellectual property firms. Imagine if SCO (the owners of linux), IdeaFlood (who owns subdomains), that group that owns the patent to hyperlinks, and all the rest of the garbage IP claims got together...why, they could sue the world. Think of the value of the stock of that company!!!!

Re:Over and Over and Over (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711094)

This reminds me of the time they let a guy patent the wheel in Australia.

Re:Over and Over and Over (5, Insightful)

Total_Wimp (564548) | about 10 years ago | (#8711117)

The problem with the patent office is the same problem we have: They can't be experts in everything.

The reason software patents makes me sick is because although I can keep track of whether or not I'm copying from anyone, I can't keep track of all the possibilities of all the patents I may someday be accused of violating.

The patent office itself has the same problem. They can tell if someone else patented the same thing (did they copy?) but they simply don't have resources to tell if some technical thing has ever occured before.

Sure, we all know about domains, but we're computer nerds. Most people in the patent office could probably not make that claim, just as they couldn't claim to be automobile designers or materials scientists.


Re:Over and Over and Over (4, Insightful)

conner_bw (120497) | about 10 years ago | (#8711191)

Most people in the patent office could probably not make that claim, just as they couldn't claim to be automobile designers or materials scientists.

So why are they allowed to make decisions that affect the very essence of these technologies?

To quote chief wiggum: government is powerless to protect you, not powerless to punish you.

In a society built around laws that punish those who dare break them... how can a department of government exist to creates rules prosecutable by law if it's workers are not experts in the domains that will potentially be liable for their work?

Re:Over and Over and Over (4, Insightful)

Xzzy (111297) | about 10 years ago | (#8711198)

> They can't be experts in everything.

I dunno. It seems anymore they aren't experts in ANYTHING. :)

One would like to think that with their 6,500 employees and 1.3 billion dollar budget (in 2003) there would be at least ONE person that actually reads the applications would have some basic awareness of the world and be able to react appropriately. Or hell, even ask a question.

6,500 people is simply too great a number for the entire organization to be so grossly ignorant. There has to be ONE person at least, right? :)

Re:Over and Over and Over (4, Funny)

Zerth (26112) | about 10 years ago | (#8711296)

Sure, actually there are several dozen people at the patent offices who are knowledgeable about most, if not all, of the subjects that are covered by these silly patents and each takes the time to read them when presented with them.

They're the janitorial staff and they giggle like mad every time they empty the wastepaper baskets.

Re:Over and Over and Over (2, Interesting)

Angry Pixie (673895) | about 10 years ago | (#8711301)

I posted earlier in the thread about the educational background of patent examiners. There are specific patent examiner posts that require education in the field the examiners are working on. For example, there are patent examiners that focus on biotechnology and organic chemistry. Others focus on electrical engineering and semiconductors. So, while patent clerks can't claim to be experts in all fields, they can claim to be automobile designers (mechanical engineers with some aerospace engineering knowledge) or material scientists. Someone in the patent office understands domains.

So I'm left wondering. I'm thinking that since the USPTO must get a lot of patent applications, the organization probably has a tendency to get overrun. If there aren't enough patent examiners who understand computer technologies, maybe a stack of related patent applications winds up on the desk of some patent examiner who knows mechanical engineering, or perhaps the junior level patent examiners don't really know how to approach the review process since they lack the real-world experience dealing with the technologies they're evaluating.

Ooh Ooh!! If there's not enough patent clerks, maybe the USPTO will outsource to India!

Qualifications to work at patent office (2)

Openstandards.net (614258) | about 10 years ago | (#8711175)

Due to the USPTO's current high demand to patent everything under the sun, they have been increasingly outsourcing their positions to Mayotte [cia.gov] , having a workforce that "fits the qualifications of our most rigid analysis positions", cites one top official. That same official said that due to some difficulties in getting the children in the country Internet access, however, they probably won't be able to surpass the 90% outsourcing objective they recently peaked at.

Re:Qualifications to work at patent office (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 10 years ago | (#8711217)

Being a patent clerk sounds like a really interesting job to me. Think about it...seeing all of those ideas passing across your desk.

Re:Over and Over and Over (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | about 10 years ago | (#8711186)

What I want to know is: what kind of moronic lawyers pick up cases like this? There's really no hope of winning something like this, all that will happen is there will be a long, drawn-out hearing and appeals process with people citing obvious prior art and the judge having a good laugh.

I know a lot of lawyers only get money if they win and occaisionally gamble on a big case in the hopes that statistics will keep their business going in the long run. But a case like this has no hope of making any money.

Personally, I think that lawyers need to have something of a deterrant to bringing up frivolous lawsuits (as happens so often in the US, from what I can tell). I'm sure there is a protocol for this in place, but it's obviously not working. Any ideas?

Re:Over and Over and Over (2, Insightful)

aweraw (557447) | about 10 years ago | (#8711240)

What I want to know is: what kind of moronic lawyers pick up cases like this?

Win or lose, they get paid... you don't have to be a good lawyer to get paid. Some lawyers find it hard to get a case at all, so they will jump through hoops on command if someone offers them enough money to do it.

maybe it's.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711238)

... the way things always operate in the D.istric of C.riminals -- bribery and/or blackmail. It just might be in a lot of cases like this, who knows? Low (or perceived low) pay, living in an expensive city, day after day of watching "ideas" somehow "making money" for other people.. who knows, just a thought I had, an immediate reaction.

As to the issue at hand of software patents, they make as much sense as patenting a book, ie, none. Copyright, OK, patents, no way.

Re:Over and Over and Over (1)

Angry Pixie (673895) | about 10 years ago | (#8711249)

Well, for one they are civil service employees who get there job assignments just after getting their frontal lobotomy. Maybe the USPTO is trying so hard to objectively review patent applications that it ends up ignoring common sense. Maybe, as you're alluding to, there may be some qualification issues.

I looked at some job listings at the USPTO office, and it looks okay. I'd prefer a little more professional experience for these guys, especially GS-11s and above, but I guess you don't go from famed celebrity computer engineer to patent examiner. http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ahrpa/ohr/jobs /jobs.htm [uspto.gov]

In one circumstance, to apply for a job as a patent examiner for biotechnology and organic chemistry, the applicant must have a four-year course of study leading to a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. The higher you go in rank (GS-7 and above), the academic requirements increment by one year graduate school experience in same or related field.

Vacancy Announcement for Patent Examiner (Biotechnology and Organic Chemistry) [uspto.gov]

The requirements are pretty similar with requirements for other jobs. So, based on this, I default back to my earlier statement about the frontal lobotomy.

Re:Over and Over and Over (1)

magores (208594) | about 10 years ago | (#8711263)

I have a friend that works for the government.

She's not at the Patent Office, but the rules at her Municipal Courts job just might apply for the Patent Office people (and this would be scary)...

No Internet access allowed.

Re:Over and Over and Over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711291)

the funny tidbit is, since noone can 'own' a domain, how can they lay claim to something like a subdomain? All domainnames are property, and remain such, of ICANN, or ICANNs selected registrars (for cctld's).

good thing they check patents a little better here in europe... or I'dd probably get some major headaches along the way

Fucking assholes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710999)

I just created like 20 subdomains today, they better not fuck with my host (like i'm gonna say who it is?!)

fucking assholes

Not exactly on topic... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711000)

Well, not at all, actually.

Www.Anti-slash.com bitches!

Reminds me of SCO. (1)

moberry (756963) | about 10 years ago | (#8711007)

"This is reminding me of the hyperlink patent from a couple years back." Also reminds me of thr SCO "snafu" that still isnt worked out.

Re:Reminds me of SCO. (2, Funny)

thefinite (563510) | about 10 years ago | (#8711161)

Do you mean the copyright SCO thing with which the US PTO is not involved at all?

Then, if it was just the common stupidity they shared here, yeah, I see the similarity.

Isn't that how DNS WORKS? (0, Redundant)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | about 10 years ago | (#8711016)

What am I missing here? Isn't DNS by definition hierarchical? What does their patent claim?

Re:Isn't that how DNS WORKS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711076)

Last I heard, that is how DNS works. But technically, shouldn't they go after ICANN and Network Solutions since ever .com is truly a subdomain from the root servers?

Re:Isn't that how DNS WORKS? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 years ago | (#8711103)

from reading a quick glance thru thier patten, it apears that they are pttening the use of subdomains for thepurpose of sorting email and thwarting junk spam. they state were a user email will use a name @singlar domain they use a plurality of domains.

i guess if you just own the domain and use the subs to distinguish servers yuo wouldn't be using thier patten? i think it sliped thru because of the emphasis on for sorting ans anti junk mailing.

Re:Isn't that how DNS WORKS? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 years ago | (#8711147)

well after looking futher into thier site,

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Pars er?Sect1=PT O2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/search-bool.html&r =1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=ptxt&s1=Brian.INZZ.&s2=Shust er.INZZ.&OS=IN/Brian+AND+IN/Shuster&RS=IN/Brian+AN D+IN/Shuster

looks like they have a patten on a dns server so maybe thats were it comes from.

Re:Isn't that how DNS WORKS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711305)

Why do people insist on putting spaces in hyperlinks?

Are you retarted? or is there something that I'm missing?

Re:Isn't that how DNS WORKS? (5, Funny)

LittleBigLui (304739) | about 10 years ago | (#8711163)

Oh my GOD! The patented DNS!

You Bastards!

I won't pay. No, no, no. Anyone got a complete /etc/hosts for me?

Patenting an RFC? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711019)

prior art = November 1987 [ohio-state.edu]

And in other news, tomorrow, I'm patenting the misspelling of referrer in electronic comunication.

Re:Patenting an RFC? (2, Funny)

Guru2Newbie (536637) | about 10 years ago | (#8711127)

And in other news, tomorrow, I'm patenting the misspelling of referrer in electronic comunication.

And I'll patent your "comunication" misspellings.

Re:Patenting an RFC? (2, Funny)

LMCBoy (185365) | about 10 years ago | (#8711180)

why...that's brilliant! Finally I can realize my dream of never again seeing the word "loose" written when "lose" is intended! By patenting it, I can simply charge a fee equal to my annoyance at the sight of that extra little o. Say, 50 grand per incident.

Re:Patenting an RFC? (2, Funny)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | about 10 years ago | (#8711202)

You can't patent a reeferer. I'm holding some prior art sparking away in my hand as I type this.

*Slow motion smoke cloud exhaled*

Re:Patenting an RFC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711218)

I would also like to cite Stat Quo, a music artist, who "been blowin' that chronic before ni99a met Dre." This refers to when he met "Dr. Dre" back in 1997.

Thomas Jefferson also reportedly enjoyed weed.

Lastly, Huggy Bear from Starsky & Hutch, who knows a lot about grass.

Re:Patenting an RFC? (4, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8711253)

That's prior art of a domain being specified. This patent is about automatically creating a subdomain for each user. The difference? I imagine they had to do some significant work to make their server do that at the time it was filed. Good patent? Eh I don't think so. But it doesn't shock me a whole lot that it was granted.

The real question is: Should patenting how a website works be allowed? Should you be able to patent using a bunch of features together for a spcific result? In the physical world, I can see that... but in the digital world, well that's a heck of a lot tougher to answer.

I remember a few years ago somebody told me that a company (RCA?) patented drawing a single character on a TV. That's right, if you made a TV that told you on-screen what channel you were on, you had to license it. It seems so ABSURD these days. Back then, though, they were the first to do it, and it was probably a rather tough situation to solve seeing as how they had to design circuits for it for the first time. I bet back then the general thought was "uhh... but TVs show characters if they're part of the broadcast!" It really did change how TVs work, though.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this topic. I can see the value in patents. I mean, if I do some grunt work that would benefit everybody, and have a patent to insure that I get paid for it, well it really makes me want to innovate. But, at the same time, if I want to go do something obvious and I step on somebody else's toes... well gee. That makes me NOT want to go into that market at all. Does 'fixing' the patent system create winners or losers?

Patent claims like this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711021)

Just piss me off. This is obviously nothing more than an attempt to get a bit of fast cash. It's just as bad as the person that deliberately slips on some ice outside a shopowners store and then sues them for millions due to physical anguish.

They can have this one. (5, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | about 10 years ago | (#8711023)


Re:They can have this one. (5, Funny)

nfras (313241) | about 10 years ago | (#8711166)

Did you realise that you could register a similar domain in the Cook Islands and have kiss.my.co.ck?

Re:They can have this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711266)

I'm going after you for trademark infringemeny (infringement even) because your hostname is too similar to my hostname: kiss.my.ass

Poof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711025)

There goes that plan for porkrinds.slashdot.org.


Just ridiculous... (5, Insightful)

bc90021 (43730) | about 10 years ago | (#8711028)

From the article:

"Business method patents that cover software programs weren't legal until a few years ago," Dicig says, "so there is no comprehensive way for the PTO to search for software and computer-related technology that's already been invented, other than that described in patents and published applications. For instance, if the patent office didn't know about WordPerfect 1, it could issue a patent on word processing because it has no way to know that word processing was already invented."

I'm sorry, but this is just a ridiculous argument. Firstly, the USPTO must use technology to some degree, so if someone visited "news.yahoo.com" two years before this patent was ever issued, they've got their prior art right there.

Secondly, what kind of organisation is restricted to only doing research with its own prior body of work? Can you imagine if every doctor in the country called the CDC when they saw their first flu patient? (Doctor: Quick! There's this new disease I've never seen before and it completely debilitates the patient!)

As I said, just ridiculous.

Re:Just ridiculous... (4, Insightful)

greenskyx (609089) | about 10 years ago | (#8711057)

Wouldn't www.yahoo.com actually be a subdomain or even gopher.yahoo.com or ftp.yahoo.com?

Re:Just ridiculous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711110)

and yahoo.com is merely a subdomain of com. com is a subdomain of . (ok that's a stretch)

Re:Just ridiculous... (2, Informative)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | about 10 years ago | (#8711136)

well, since .com and .org are considered "top level domains", it's possible that even just yahoo.com or slashdot.org could be considered subdomains.

Re:Just ridiculous... (4, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8711179)

"I'm sorry, but this is just a ridiculous argument. Firstly, the USPTO must use technology to some degree, so if someone visited "news.yahoo.com" two years before this patent was ever issued, they've got their prior art right there."

Not exactly the same. The patent is in the server automatically setting up subdomains for users as they sign up. News.yahoo.com is not a good example. However, if Slashdot was setup so that typing in NanoGator.Slashdot.Org brought up my stats list, well that'd be more like what the patent covers.

Did they do it first? I dunno. I doubt it. However, I can envision a situation where they wrote all the code to make that work, and some PHB saying "what the hell, just file a patent. If we get it, neat!" If nobody else did that before them, then I can see the USPTO allowing it.

Now, before you point your pitchfork at me, understand that I'm *not* saying it's right. I'm not saying they should be able to do it. I'm not saying it's legit, etc. I'm just saying I can see how it probably came about. This was probably something that was filed before the internet really took off.

The nice thing is that if they get too aggressive about it, there'll be a court smack-down. Personally, I wish there was a check and/or balance so that it didn't involve a nasty agressive court case to suss it all out. Small companies really can't get into this sort of mess. Either it should be tougher to get a patent, or there needs to be a way found that means the first patent case is not expensive for either side to get into unless... Well I dunno. Sorry I don't have all the answers heh.

Is Calvin Murphy a child molester? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711045)

That's just sick. It makes me sad.

Re:Is Calvin Murphy a child molester? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711109)

yep, he was givin' it to (and i heard getting it from!) his daughters for years... sick fucker.

Burn! (5, Funny)

JustinXB (756624) | about 10 years ago | (#8711058)

I just filed a patent for the process of patenting things.

I stand to gain millions. Invest in me now or fear my wrath when I have a laser death canon on the mooon!

Re:Burn! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711078)

I just filed a patent on sucking dick.

JustinXB now owes me $69 for each of the 42 dicks he sucked in the past week.

Re:Burn! (1)

JustinXB (756624) | about 10 years ago | (#8711096)

Okay, then I owe you $0.

Re:Burn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711114)

Aw, still a bit in the closet, are we?

It will feel much better to just admit your blatant homosexuality.

Re:Burn! (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | about 10 years ago | (#8711194)

Justin, since you have a high UID, I'll let you know a Slashdot maxim:

Don't feed the trolls.

Also, the 'patent the patent' ad infinitum has been played out long ago.

You might get some legs from patenting patent patenting, but I'm pretty sure that died a well earned death as well.

Good luck in your Slashdot career.

Re:Burn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711269)

Since you've been part of Slashdot for a while, here's another maxim: Submitted stories get rejected all the time. Scooping Slashdot isn't hard, especially for a prolific submitter.

Just keep hitting "refresh" on the Sci/Tech catagory in Google News, and submit whatever's interesting.

Oh, and my uid is 52384 [slashdot.org] .

Re:Burn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711255)

"Invest in me now or fear my wrath when I have a laser death canon on the mooon!"

Cease and Decist! I'm sorry, but you will have to license my laser death canon patent first.

The future of patents (5, Interesting)

Openstandards.net (614258) | about 10 years ago | (#8711070)

Does anyone see this rising to a boiling point anytime soon? When will people start lobbying for patent reform?

I've read comments on this subject from IBM, the largest patent holder in the world, indicating they might even endorse patent reform. Their stance has been that they use patents primarily as a defense, adding that until the system is fixed, they don't have much of a choice.

This is also putting a rush to patent everything, worse than a gold rush, not so much to profit like these annoying cases, but to build a defense, like IBM does. Only, as we all know, the little guy has little defense. Thus there is both a chill and imbalance on innovation today.

Is anyone lobbying congress for patent reform? I'd like to know what we can do.

Re:The future of patents (1)

metlin (258108) | about 10 years ago | (#8711219)

The way I see it, this is where Opensource comes in.

Patents are usually for very specific things - for example, while describing even a simple thing as a wire, you are expected to mention all alternative terminologies - copper, metal, fiber or any other alternative methods not covered here - you get the idea.

There are two ways around this mess -

1. Everyone breaks the patent
2. We find a way around it

What better way to do it than as a collective movement of Opensource folks? I'm sure that given any patent, and millions of eyes - workarounds can be found.

Else, if everyone goes ahead and uses the patent - its not really valid anymore - what are you going to do? Sue 10 million people spread across the world?

Not the best of solutions, but hey if the patents are ridiculous, this is just something like civil disobedience.

A shitty patent is like Prohibition - not letting everyone use a common place thing will end up in more mess than ever, and the patent will have to go - plain and simple.

Thats just my $0.02.

Civil disobedience? (1)

quinkin (601839) | about 10 years ago | (#8711259)

I think the crux of the matter here is that what ever action we may take, if it is out of step with the political climate, we will end up with siezed assetts and a roommate called "Bubba" (Your MY little puppy now, boy!).

I can't help but feel civil disobedience is the only way that the masses will be heard. The problem is that they know this and hence target the "easy game" of medium to small businesses - too much invested to take a stand, not enough to fight to the death...

To any /. reader, and most in the industry, it is obvious that patent reform is required. The problem is that the only groups powerful enough to bribe (sorry I mean lobby) politicians are those exact same groups interested in keeping the status quo. Isn't that right Disney, PanIP, SCOX??


Re:The future of patents (1)

skifreak87 (532830) | about 10 years ago | (#8711271)

The problem is this doesn't affect most people and most people have no knowledge of this whatsoever (most people do not read /.). The general public doesn't care because the general public has no knowledge of it and thus doesn't see the problem. Congress is not going to be concerned about something unless they personally care, the general public cares, whoever donates to their campaign cares. My question is, what can I do, caring about something the general public doesn't give a shit about, that isn't a key issue (I care more about the economy than patent reform) to sway my politician to look into something? Or is the answer (as I fear it is) nothing, until the NY Times prints some articles about it and it affects the general public.

Re:The future of patents (2, Insightful)

Famatra (669740) | about 10 years ago | (#8711284)

While you are cleaning up with patent reform, please don't forget copyright reform too: reduce the length and increase fair use please :).

The hardest part is finding egregious examples that will make people rally behind the reform effort. Right now patent and copyright law / reforms seem to just bore the general public, need to make it clear how they are being harmed.

uh? Patent office just screwed themselves. (4, Interesting)

teamhasnoi (554944) | about 10 years ago | (#8711072)

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=login&p_lang =english&p_d=trmk


Dummies. Isn't that like firemen practicing on their own house?

Re:uh? Patent office just screwed themselves. (1)

bc90021 (43730) | about 10 years ago | (#8711108)

Being part of the government, they're likely to be the first ones to pay the licensing fee, so as not to get sued.

6,270,409 - Method and apparatus for Gaming? (3, Informative)

strictnein (318940) | about 10 years ago | (#8711073)

Looking at the "patents" they have and I'm really confused. On their (or really Steven's) page they have listed a patent for: PATENT NO: US 6,270,409 - Method and apparatus for gaming [ideaflood.com]

If you actually look at the text of the patent though, it reads completely different and the patent number is also different. It is patent 6,304,788 and relates to a patent for "Method and apparatus for controlling medical monitoring devices over the internet".

And now that I look at it, the first patent link is incorrect too. The text states that it is patent #6,389,458 but it links to patent #6,687,746.


I think this guy is trying extortion, plain and simple.

Patent my ass (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711084)

I am patenting my ASS. I will be sending a photo of my ass to IdeaFlood with a cease-and-desist demanding they stop acting like asses or I will have to sue them for infringing on my patent.

Re:Patent my ass (2, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | about 10 years ago | (#8711100)

> I am patenting my ASS.

At this very instant I am reading this from the bathroom while infringing on your patent.

Sue me.

What are you doing (2)

KalvinB (205500) | about 10 years ago | (#8711165)

with that man's ass in the bathroom?

I don't think it's a lawsuit that's in order.


Re:Patent my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711215)

> I am patenting my ASS.

At this very instant I am reading this from the bathroom while infringing on your patent.

Sue me.

So.. I don't get it.. you are using his ass?

Re:Patent my ass (2)

nfras (313241) | about 10 years ago | (#8711258)

Ideaflood have already patented their asses, and enjoy having them infringed regularly.

Re:Patent my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711279)

oh man, I almost lost a lung there - ROTFLMFFO

Ideaflood = who? (4, Informative)

mybecq (131456) | about 10 years ago | (#8711092)

ideaflood.com [ideaflood.com] says:
Ideaflood, Inc. has more than 30 patents and patent applications,

many of which were filed before the US Patent and Trademark Office
began publishing patent applications, and cover many widely used and
easily recognizable technologies that make the internet possible and
profitable. Much of Ideaflood's intellectual property is just as
central to core internet functions, but operate behind-the-scenes on
network servers and other back-end hardware and software.

whois.net [whois.net] says:
Organization Name: IdeaFlood, Inc

Record Created on........ 1999-11-05

I say:
Phooey [reference.com] .

(PS. We're so big we don't even run our own nameservers!)

FUCK THE LAWYERS (4, Interesting)

the gnat (153162) | about 10 years ago | (#8711095)

Jesus, with people like the IP lawyer they quote at the end, it's a wonder there's any innovation left at all.

"Industries, especially in the information technology space, often develop more quickly than the applicable patents come to light."

Well, don't you think that this means it's a good time to reform the system? Doesn't the fact that innovation occurs so rapidly negate the value of a first-come-first-serve approach to granting patents?

"This can be a rude awakening for companies that have not already factored into their business plans the likelihood that someone will come knocking with a patent they may infringe."

IT companies should not have to operate in fear of frivolous lawsuits from greedy do-nothings. Quoth Bill Gates:
"If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today."

Forgive me if I'm taking this personally, but I'm starting my PhD in molecular biology (and doing significant amounts of software development at the same time), and at the rate the lawyers are moving in on my field, by the time I graduate I'll probably have to take out a patent license to publish my research.

http://yro.slashdot.org/ (4, Funny)

donnacha (161610) | about 10 years ago | (#8711099)

"Gee, that's an awful nice "yro" you got there. Be an awful shame if anything were to happen to it."

It's true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711138)

Modern business culture can be reduced to a cheap gangster flick:

Hand over the dough or I'll plug ya full of lead!

Except the lead in this case is lawsuits originating from frivolous patents...

Moronicity... (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | about 10 years ago | (#8711142)

I have a friend who expatried himself as he found a job as a patent examiner in Berlin.

Whenever he is bored, I send him a link to a slashdot US-patent story.

Let's say he's not bored for long...

Say What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711145)

This really has to be a joke. This is a general knowledge type deal. How can it be patented?

Oh, shit... (3, Insightful)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 10 years ago | (#8711149)

I've tolerated PanIP, I'm tolerating SCO (sort of - thanks, PJ), and now this subdomain thing. I'm running low on my tolerance lately and starting to wonder if some people/organizations need to have acceptable behavior beaten into them. You know, like not trying to steal everything in sight. Corporate kleptomania.

It sure isn't helping anything that what's *legal* varies from what's *ethical*. And then combine that with a clueless USPTO and a pile of ambulance-chasers...

Sorry, just had to vent it; I'm pissed.

Re:Oh, shit... (1)

LordK3nn3th (715352) | about 10 years ago | (#8711207)

You're such a softie. Death is the only viable alternative for them.

Re:Oh, shit... (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 10 years ago | (#8711223)

No, because death implies that they can't feel pain from the beatings anymore. And yes, shit like this makes me feel that mean.

Re:Oh, shit... (1)

LordK3nn3th (715352) | about 10 years ago | (#8711233)

How about slow, eternal torture?

And it's not mean. It's an altruistic love for humanity. These...things...which do this stuff aren't human, they are subhuman slime.

Somebody, please, SUE the patent office (3, Insightful)

Sebby (238625) | about 10 years ago | (#8711152)

To hell with their claims that they don't have enough resources. It's clear that they do not do the job they're paid for, and as such it causes this kind of crap that costs OTHERS to resolve their screw ups.

I think the PTO should be sued every time a patent that has caused problems becomes invalid after a court case. Then it might just give them an incentive to actually DO their job. Actually, I think the individual examiners should be held responsable; then they're really have an incentive to do it right!

furthermore... (3, Insightful)

Sebby (238625) | about 10 years ago | (#8711170)

As somone else stated, if these application were provided to the public for inspection, they'd have more than enough 'resources' to deal with the applications.

Open-Source Patent Examination anyone?

Somebody, please, SUsE them while you're at it too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711277)

Subject says it all.

Examples from the USPTO's Site: (4, Insightful)

kcb93x (562075) | about 10 years ago | (#8711157)


On the left side, under the 'Patents' column:
'Status' link: http://pair.uspto.gov/cgi-bin/final/home.pl

and under 'Trademarks':
'Status' link: http://tarr.uspto.gov/
'Search' link: http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=login&p_lang =english&p_d=trmk

So, how long have those been up? Does the USPTO understand what this patent means? It means that even the patent office is in violation of this patent, if it is valid.

Here's my license (2, Funny)

davmoo (63521) | about 10 years ago | (#8711181)

I own a server, and it has subdomains on it. In fact, I think I'll go create a few dozen more subdomains. And this is my personal and public invitation for Ideaflood to suck my big fat wingy-wang.

I've said it before (mostly about SCO) and I'll say it again...

Those who can, innovate.
Those who can't, litigate.

Ideaflood doesn't own that patent... (1, Funny)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | about 10 years ago | (#8711189)

There is no way that Ideaflood owns the patent on Subdomains. Remember, Al Gore invented the Internet [sethf.com] . He owns all the patents on these technologies, and I know for a fact, from extremely reliable sources, that he did not transfer ownership of these patents to Ideaflood. I have bulletproof evidence: Two people, who claim not to know each other, both told me the same thing one day.

That's right! (2, Funny)

obeythefist (719316) | about 10 years ago | (#8711214)

Back in my day, before these idealfoods people made subdomains, I had fun on all the websites on the internet. I used to go to gov, mil, com, edu and sometimes org.

An Actual Email I Just Sent To Them (2, Interesting)

Praedon (707326) | about 10 years ago | (#8711246)

Actual Email sent to steven@ideaflood.com :

The internet has had subdomains WAY BEFORE YOU FILED...

You have no case... just like SCO.. wait.. I bet you too
have linux running as your Server, dont you? Well if you
can think that you will win with this patent, then you
must think SCO has a case too.. better go get a license
from SCO before you get sued as well!

Also.. go ahead and try to sue me.. I need publicity..
I have all sorts of subdomains.. Lets see.. www. for
many of them, as well as irc. and main. and members.

Yep.. Im guilty of an idea you didn't even think of
yourself, and took someone elses idea, only because
no one put a patent in.. because they are not dumb
enough to actually try to patent an idea like that..

Its a service on the internet, not a new wave of

The End...

sigh, it's all about pron (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711290)

or any other 404 generating string.

some select quotes...
o The 458 patent is generally described as covering "exit traffic."
o hundreds of thousands of web sites (millions by some estimates) have adopted this technology
o generated several hundred million dollars in revenues
o Advertising applications...trade visitors with other web sites
o new offers once they have decided to exit an e-commerce site
o market segments, online casinos and adult entertainment
o site operator
o derive revenue...from just 50% of infringers across the sectors
o The content of this document is confidential

which explains the open posting of it on their website.

http://www.klixxx.com/stories/web/patentthenet.h tm l
http://www.business2.com/b2/web/articles/0,1786 3,5 13020,00.html
h ttp://archives.neohapsis.com/archives/ntbugtraq/2 003-q4/0282.html

Shuster, Brian Mark
Shuster, Gary Stephen

etc, etc, etc, rtfm, seek and ye shall find.
but ya know, who wouldn't like to be on the receiving end of a porno money stream...

yro.slashdot.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711294)

Pay up slashdot!
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