Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Microsoft, Apple Sued Over Software Update Patent

CmdrTaco posted about 10 years ago | from the stupid-patent-hurt-the-big-guy-too dept.

Patents 532

mark_wilkins writes "Microsoft and Apple have been sued by Teleshuttle Technologies, LLC, alleging that their online software updating technology infringes a patent on providing online updates to software with a menuing system to permit the user to pick the updates. Apparently the work on which the patent is based supposedly goes back to 1990."

cancel ×

532 comments

Hey look, a story about Apple (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760432)

What are the odds of that on Slashdot. CmdrTaco has gone APPLE KRAZY!!!!

Re:Hey look, a story about Apple (-1, Offtopic)

FosterKanig (645454) | about 10 years ago | (#9760560)

Apple just announced the signing of 3 of the biggest Indie labels for the European iTMS.

This story should hit the front page within an hour.

Menuing system (5, Funny)

pjrc (134994) | about 10 years ago | (#9760443)

with a menuing system

At least we don't have to worry about "apt-get update" :-)

Re:Menuing system (2, Insightful)

T3kno (51315) | about 10 years ago | (#9760468)

Or emerge -vu world for us Gentoo freaks out there.

Re:Menuing system (4, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | about 10 years ago | (#9760567)

No, but RedHat's automatic update thing at least is almost certainly in violation...

Re:Menuing system (1)

stratjakt (596332) | about 10 years ago | (#9760609)

As is Linspores Click N run, IIRC.

Re:Menuing system (1)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | about 10 years ago | (#9760673)

That is somewhat different because it lets you install totally new software as well as updating. I haven't read the patent in its entirety yet though, so maybe that's covered.

Re:Menuing system (2, Informative)

AndyElf (23331) | about 10 years ago | (#9760697)

And so is RedCarpet, and so can be FireFox theme/extension updating...

Re:Menuing system (4, Interesting)

jb.hl.com (782137) | about 10 years ago | (#9760635)

No, but it could kick the shit out of aptitude, dselect, synaptic et al; maybe even Gentoo's porthole.

Re:Menuing system (4, Interesting)

smallfries (601545) | about 10 years ago | (#9760660)

This patent has to be struck down for being overly broad. It patents the entire idea of looking at information already on the local station and then downloading new stuff from a server. Surely USENET is prior art for this even though it wasn't specifically limited to software, and didn't automatically install the software.

ahahahaha! (-1, Redundant)

mrpuffypants (444598) | about 10 years ago | (#9760444)

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHhaha!

ahahahahaha! rofl! lol!

These patent lawers always know how to cheer me up!

Re:ahahahaha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760499)

These patent lawers always know how to cheer me up!

Which is odd because patent attorneys, like Guybrush Threepwood, are a humorless lot.

Re:ahahahaha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760522)

Lawyers don't sue people; clients sue people.

Lawyers don't award outrageous sums of money; juries (or judges) do.

Sweet. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760445)

I patent the internet.

SuSE, RedHat suded next (1)

ErrorBase (692520) | about 10 years ago | (#9760447)

or is that somehow different ?

Re:SuSE, RedHat sued next (1)

philbert26 (705644) | about 10 years ago | (#9760659)

MandrakeUpdate is also quite similar.

Isn't there something in patent law that says you have to sue in a timely manner? These things have been going for years.

Too old (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760448)

Damn that's old... guess there'll be no prior art.

Re:Too old (1)

MacGabhain (198888) | about 10 years ago | (#9760557)

Of course, the patent was FILED in April of 2000. I thought that's when art needed to be prior to. Meaning, of course, that the companies he's suing are prior art.

Re:Too old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760663)

Filed: April 20, 2000

Sieg Heil!

Gimme a billion dollars, I'm a genius, I swear. (5, Insightful)

The I Shing (700142) | about 10 years ago | (#9760452)

The link presented is what, a press release by the company doing the suing? That's a nice, unbiased viewpoint, there. I like how the "article" states "This move follows Microsoft's and Apple's delay in entering into licensing agreements with BTG on commercially reasonable terms." In other words, "we're suing them because they told us that we're full of crap and please get lost." I skimmed through the lengthy patent in question, and it's so insanely broad that I cannot imagine that it would survive a court battle with its claims intact. There's not one single mention of how any portion of the "technology" in question would actually do anything. It's just a description of how it would be used. It looks like someone patenting a type of car by claiming, "It has wheels, and it moves forward and backward and can be steered by a person or by some other type of steering control, give me a billion dollars right now, I'm a genius."

Re:Gimme a billion dollars, I'm a genius, I swear. (3, Funny)

einer (459199) | about 10 years ago | (#9760559)

"It has wheels, and it moves forward and backward and can be steered by a person or by some other type of steering control, give me a billion dollars right now, I'm a genius."

Are you mad? You've just revealed Step 2!

Re:Gimme a billion dollars, I'm a genius, I swear. (1)

MacGabhain (198888) | about 10 years ago | (#9760643)

There's not one single mention of how any portion of the "technology" in question would actually do anything.

That's because you don't patent the software technology itself -- you patent the business process for using the software. Yes, this means you can have a patent that covers use of software owned by someone else, and written by them long before your patent, so long as your use is "non-obvious and novel" or some such. The technology itself is irrelevant to the patent, as is the implementation or lack thereof.
Long standing patent office policy had been "We don't patent mere business processes". SCOTUS stepped in a while back (10 or 15 years, maybe) and said "Yes you will patent business processes, so long as they meet the standards of other patents.", giving the patent office an impossible workload and requiring that they patent bullshit.

Re:Gimme a billion dollars, I'm a genius, I swear. (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | about 10 years ago | (#9760679)

There's not one single mention of how any portion of the "technology" in question would actually do anything. It's just a description of how it would be used.

Pretty much describes 90% of the technology patents out there... And anyway, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Do you think Microsoft (on any other major corp.) would think twice about jumping all over someone for a patent like this that they held? Sure the whole thing stinks and it doesn't make it right just because they are suing The Evil Microsoft, but when you play in the corporate pool, you play by the corporate rules.

Re:Gimme a billion dollars, I'm a genius, I swear. (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | about 10 years ago | (#9760705)

Regards wheels; look at the Steering wheel. Henry Ford had a patent on that little device. the Stanley Brothers who at the time were marketing a car called "the Steamer" were SOL and went out of business.

Patent system is messed up (4, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | about 10 years ago | (#9760453)

There are too many holes and gaps in the patent system. Everything is so vague you can patent a flying car... just on a plastic model alone with some BS blueprints.

Re:Patent system is messed up (2, Interesting)

SmlFreshwaterBuffalo (608664) | about 10 years ago | (#9760523)

...just on a plastic model alone with some BS blueprints

Technically, I don't think you even need the model, just the blueprints. You basically have to give a good enough description that someone with a reasonable understanding of the technology could produce a working model.

Re:Patent system is messed up (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | about 10 years ago | (#9760676)

Is this true?

I remember reading of a patent granted for an "invisibility cloak" that would refract light around you so you couldnt be seen.

I highly doubt anyone on earth has a reasonable understanding of the "technology" which doesn't exist, and I'm damn sure noone could produce a working model.

One day in the future perhaps some brilliant technician will actually invent this device, only to be sued into oblivion by the patent holder.

The systems busted, which is sad, because the original intent of patents is, IMO, a good one.

don't even need that. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 10 years ago | (#9760677)

you just need to say something like:

"A vehicle which will transport passengers and cargo trough via a non-proprietary air. It includes steps for providing a distribution service that distributes people and cargo for a plurality of different destinations"

That's it, I own the flying car. All you bitches pay up.

pgffft (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760456)

pgffft

Say no to software patents! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760459)

I'm so sick of software patents!!! Stop it!!!

this is pathetic (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760461)

this is pathetic

eh? (-1, Redundant)

Aslan72 (647654) | about 10 years ago | (#9760467)

What rock have they been living under for the past 14 years that they've just now noticed this? Can we say 'SCO' boys and girls? --pete

Soooo (5, Insightful)

FrO (209915) | about 10 years ago | (#9760474)

What the hell are we supposed to do when this company seeks an injunction against Microsoft's Windows Update?

lots of people will be royally f*cked...

Re:Soooo (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 10 years ago | (#9760610)

(a) Cheer?

(b) Hope Microsoft wins?

(c) None of the above?

Personally, while I don't use Windows, I vote for (b).

Re:Soooo (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | about 10 years ago | (#9760720)

Definitely vote b). I've not read the patent (well, this *is* /.), but assuming that there's nothing OS-specific in it, this would apply to just about any GUIfied automatic update tool, including those that are increasingly featuring in applications. (Doesn't Eclipse have an option to check for updates at startup?)

Not only that, but RedHat at least has an equivalent tool to the Windows automatic updates tool, at least as far as I can tell from looking over a coworker's shoulder (I'm a Mandrake guy myself, when using Linux)

US Patent Office! (5, Funny)

cartzworth (709639) | about 10 years ago | (#9760477)

Where would you like to stifle innovation today?

Seems sudden... (1)

mblase (200735) | about 10 years ago | (#9760478)

...did they even try to sell the rights to the patent to either or both company, or just take them straight to court?

Either way, they must believe they have a really strong case to go up against two of the biggest cash reserves in the entire Western hemisphere at the same time.

RTFA (0, Troll)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | about 10 years ago | (#9760731)

Dude, if you would bother to RTFA then you would see that it clearly sez that they tried to approach both comapnies, and they pretty much said "you're full of shit get lost"

Also, had you bothered to RFTA, you could have read the patent which is clearly weak at best. This is another SCO who is about to die a slow, painful, fiery death.

wow (-1, Redundant)

dcstimm (556797) | about 10 years ago | (#9760481)

we really need to cool down on computer patents, they are really getting out of hand!

Here's the patent in question... (2, Informative)

Marshall Banana, Esq (791211) | about 10 years ago | (#9760484)

... in case you are interested [uspto.gov]

Re:Here's the patent in question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760652)

Informative? The link is in the article!

Re:Here's the patent in question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760661)

... in case you are interested

Um, yes. Isn't it already linked from the summary?

Re:Here's the patent in question... (1)

Oddly_Drac (625066) | about 10 years ago | (#9760707)

"The retriever tool uses the search tool and crawls across the Web, like a Web spider, to locate and retrieve desired or suitable content, based on defined criteria, in HTML format."

Well, it's nice and overbroad, as the above example shows. I'm wondering if it's a valid tactic to make the document so repetitive and boring that someone just rubberstamps it and sends it out.

Isn't there a defense of laches that protects against this?

Um, this is a decent patent (3, Interesting)

oldosadmin (759103) | about 10 years ago | (#9760488)

This patent looks in order. Early enough that there's a low likelyhood of prior art, and it pretty well covers any auto-updating system.

My only thought is that maybe we could kill it with the obviousness clause.

Re:Um, this is a decent patent (3, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | about 10 years ago | (#9760571)

Exactly. It's way too obvious.
This is like saying "I patent the act of getting a new muffler for my car by using an auto mechanic"

Re:Um, this is a decent patent (4, Insightful)

kisrael (134664) | about 10 years ago | (#9760579)

You're crazy.

No one would have EVER thought of doing updates over a network if these guys hadn't shown the way.

Just like I'm very grateful to the nice gentleman who explained I could mow the lawn with a kind of back and forth motion...I was on the verge of turning off my lawnmower, bringing it on my back to the other side, and then starting it up again.

Re:Um, this is a decent patent (1)

r00zky (622648) | about 10 years ago | (#9760615)

My thought is that we could better kill the whole patheti^H^H^H^Hent system.

Obvious-ness clause (1)

sczimme (603413) | about 10 years ago | (#9760628)


(Obviousity?)

At the time the patent was filed the idea probably was not as obvious as it seems to be now. In 1990 connectivity (and the resulting security issues) were present on a much smaller scale than they are today. (Note that I did not say the issues did not exist.)

Re:Um, this is a decent patent (2, Informative)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 10 years ago | (#9760638)

It's a rather complicated patent, with many claims, some dating to 1996, some dating to 2000. Untangling the applicability of prior art will be a difficult job.

Re:Um, this is a decent patent (2, Interesting)

Gorbag (176668) | about 10 years ago | (#9760666)

My only thought is that maybe we could kill it with the obviousness clause.
That's not very easy, you'd have to show it'd be obvious to the average practitioner at the time the first disclosure was made. Generally, that only happens if there are lots of similar examples so the innovative leap is very very small.

Re:Um, this is a decent patent (1)

oldosadmin (759103) | about 10 years ago | (#9760706)

That's not very easy, you'd have to show it'd be obvious to the average practitioner at the time the first disclosure was made. Generally, that only happens if there are lots of similar examples so the innovative leap is very very small.

Does updating my copy of Commander Keen when I was 4 count?

Re:Um, this is a decent patent (4, Interesting)

Brand X (162556) | about 10 years ago | (#9760717)

IMNAL, and I don't play one on TV, but...
Actually, the filing date is April, 2000... the 1996 filing that this is a continuance of doesn't mention any of the relevant claims, aside from the selection of updates (hello, anyone remember the pre-web info-mac archives?!), so the actual claims they are saying Apple and Microsoft violated were filed after the first beta versions of their respective update technologies shipped!!!
Sounds like someone got greedy...

Plural (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760496)

How many times can you place the word "plural", or its derivatives, into a summary...?

Go!

what we need... (0)

borgdows (599861) | about 10 years ago | (#9760507)

...is an update of the patent system!!

Re:what we need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760527)

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Re:what we need... (1)

ddriver (613483) | about 10 years ago | (#9760611)

But you for got that I have patented the idea of upgrading the patent system.

Patents and open source (4, Insightful)

Synn (6288) | about 10 years ago | (#9760511)

No doubt the "patent" also applies to various Linux distributions, but obviously they're not being sued because there's little money in them.

With all the hubub over software patents being a danger to open source software, you have to wonder whether or not they're a bigger danger to commercial companies. After all, if you're going to sue someone you're going to go after a company with money. Even better if they're public, as you might be able to extort them into settling behind the scenes since a lawsuit might hurt their share prices.

Re:Patents and open source (1)

BCW2 (168187) | about 10 years ago | (#9760599)

I suspect it will apply to RPM.

Re:Patents and open source (1)

liquidpele (663430) | about 10 years ago | (#9760606)

Sure, if the patent holders are after money, the big Corps get hit. However, if the big Corps have the patent, they can keep others form competing based on stupid patents like this one.
In the end, the patents hurt everyone in different ways.

I think this applies here... (3, Funny)

scoot241 (794509) | about 10 years ago | (#9760512)

"*Sneeze* Oh, I'm sorry... I'm allergic to bullshit." --Will Smith, "I, Robot"

Re:I think this applies here... (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | about 10 years ago | (#9760724)

I think that quote alone makes me want to see the movie. :) Now if I could just find a wealthy benefactor ...

Did they have a product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760519)

In other news, I have just patented a method
of "getting to work" by "driving a car".

Unless they built, advertised, and SOLD a
product which does what they claim, so that
other companies could buy it, why should they
have any rights at all to an idea which is
completely obvious?

Re:Did they have a product? (1)

ihistand (170799) | about 10 years ago | (#9760585)

Patents have nothing at all to do with products. Patents are granted on ideas, all you have to do is describe the idea and method, prove that you were the first to have it, and your patent is granted.

Re:Did they have a product? (1)

jyoull (512280) | about 10 years ago | (#9760641)

That's what patents do.

Now you're starting to catch on to the trap of patents over software and business practices... shortly, very shortly IMO, most innovation in computing will be pretty much boxed out by patents, and that which isn't may be restrained by pending legislation over P2P, DRM, etc...

Summary (5, Insightful)

Luveno (575425) | about 10 years ago | (#9760525)

Mundane Concept = Mundane Concept

Mundane Concept Online = Patent

They patented apt-get? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760528)

Sounds like apt-get blows them out of the water on prior art...

Shakespear was right (1, Informative)

BCW2 (168187) | about 10 years ago | (#9760532)

Lets kill all the lawyers, kill them tonight.

Just like every other tort or liability lawsuit, the lawyers on both side will get more money out of this than anyone else. Lawyers don't file suits about right and wrong, just about their bank accounts.

Re:Shakespear was right (1)

bert.cl (787057) | about 10 years ago | (#9760592)

Yeah, and my chef doesn't cook to keep me alive, he just cooks for his wallet.

I agree that lawyers do some crazy stuff, but if you're interested in the law, are smart enough and you want to make a living, why not become a lawyer. It's as good as a profession as any other. It might be the patent system that's a bit strange

Re:Shakespear was right (0, Troll)

BCW2 (168187) | about 10 years ago | (#9760646)

You make a strange comparison. How about a lawyer who made millions off shakey malpractice lawsuits and now worries about the cost of healthcare. Of course he now wants to be Vice President.

Re:Shakespear was right (1)

bert.cl (787057) | about 10 years ago | (#9760700)

Sorry if this is a strange comparison, it was the first one that came to my mind. I just wanted to point out that it's not the (entirely) the fault of the lawyers.

And a chef might as well poison me and then regret it afterwards. but let's not go there :)

Re:Shakespear was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760617)

Sorry I have already patented the mass killing of lawyers. Either kill them one at a time or we can discuss licensing or an outright sale.

This is a very recent patent--I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760538)

This patent wasn't issued till 2003.

Does this mean that if someone works on something years ago he can patent it now and make it retroactive, suing anyone who was using the technology even though it wasn't patented at the time they started using it?

Re:This is a very recent patent--I'm confused (1)

Lovedumplingx (245300) | about 10 years ago | (#9760573)

I believe if you look at the older patents that the most recent issue was in 2003, but it originally goes back to like '86 or something like that.

Prior Art - FORD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760542)

Stopping by for an oil change the Ford Dealer would inform me of a menu of Updates, most of which were required security updates (brakes / fan belt / etc).

So I think FORD owns the prior art rights to this one...

Great Side Effect, Lousy Idea (2, Insightful)

Dragonshed (206590) | about 10 years ago | (#9760549)

As much as I love to watch Microsoft feel financial pain, this is still yet another example of why software patents are a lousy idea. I shudder to think how much worse virus episodes would be if windowsupdate wasn't as convenient as it is.

WWIII (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760554)

I believe World War III will be triggered by fuqing patents.

Re:WWIII (3, Funny)

mrtroy (640746) | about 10 years ago | (#9760640)

I believe World War III will be triggered by fuqing patents.
If I recall correctly, WWI and WWII were both caused by patents. Sorry, theres prior art to your statement.

HOWEVER, just throw "online" in there. WWIII will be triggered by ONLINE patents --- new idea!

Blood sucking vultures (1)

gokeln (601584) | about 10 years ago | (#9760563)

BTG creates value by investing in intellectual property and technology development, and in early stage ventures. We realize value through technology licensing, patent assertion and sale of equity investments.

This company does nothing but suck the blood of companies that actually produce profitable products.

1. Brainstorm interesting ideas.
2. Patent them, or buy other interesting patents from others.
3. Wait on somebody to use the idea in the mass market.
4. Sue for profit.

These guys are what SCO aspires to be.

Re:Blood sucking vultures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760678)

BTG -- Blood Thirsty Goons???

Funny (1)

captain igor (657633) | about 10 years ago | (#9760564)

Now remember, submarine patents are only funny when used against big corporations!

Patented in 1990? (1)

Iesus_Christus (798052) | about 10 years ago | (#9760581)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't patents only have a term of 14 years, that can later be extended to 28? Windows Update has been around for a while. Were these guys just waiting for the perfect time to strike, seeing as their patent is due to expire soon? Perhaps they were just waiting until it seemed like they had a good chance of winning, or they would be most likely to get a settlement and not have to win in court.

only automatic updates covered? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 10 years ago | (#9760583)

All of their patents mention the client automatically querying the server to present a list of software to add to the client. So, I think the windows update site itself is not covered by the patent, but the automatic feature might be. I've only played with macs for a little bit ( I'm allergic to Apples) I know they have an automatic update, but do they also have something simular to MS's Windows update site?

Re:only automatic updates covered? (1)

LincolnQ (648660) | about 10 years ago | (#9760656)

Yah, it's a dialog with a bunch of updates listed with checkboxes, plus a "get them all" button. (I'm not sure exactly, I've only seen it once when I first got this machine, but it does that).

Apples have mutated their protein structure recently (they're now based on Unix) -- are you sure you're still allergic?

Hmm (1)

dcstimm (556797) | about 10 years ago | (#9760587)

maybe this is why microsoft is buying all these patents, so stuff like "SCO" and this doesnt happen to them..

end result (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760593)

I see two possible forks in the fate of this.

microsoft buys patent
microsoft sues Apple
microsoft sues Red Hat etc.

or

patent battsle with sco vs. everyone resolved ==> many years

patent battle with teleshuttle vs. microsoft resolved ==> 2 meetings with counsel

go figure.

this might stop some software patents (4, Interesting)

Facekhan (445017) | about 10 years ago | (#9760595)

Programming Language creators should include a provision in their license that forces programmers to use the copyright system and not the patent system with programs written in their language. In addition all software patent applications should require actual working code that is complex and novel enough to actually warrant a patent for the idea itself and not just a single expression of the idea as in copyright.

In the meantime congress should simply ban new software patents until the USPTO can be fixed.

how would this NOT apply.... (1)

zogger (617870) | about 10 years ago | (#9760604)

... to all the various linux and bsd "update"package installation types? Apt, RHN, portage, etc, etc.

Here's the quick abstract from the link:

United States Patent 6,557,054
Reisman April 29, 2003
Method and system for distributing updates by presenting directory of software available for user installation that is not already installed on user station

Abstract

A method for distributing information to a plurality of uncoordinated user stations each of which is configured for communications with a multiplicity of independently-operated servers via a non-proprietary network includes steps for providing a distribution service that distributes updates for a plurality of different products, and providing a transporter software component to each of the plurality of uncoordinated user stations, wherein the transporter software component at each user station automatically effects communication sessions with the distribution service via the non-proprietary network for the purpose of obtaining updates for each of at least a subset of the plurality of different products that are installed on that user station. Moreover, a user station, which includes a storage medium, a plurality of different products installed on the storage medium, and transporter software installed on the storage medium for automatically effectuating communication sessions with a distribution service via a non-proprietary network in order to obtain updates for each of the plurality of different products, and a distribution service that distributes updates for a plurality of different products to a plurality of uncoordinated user stations via a non-proprietary network, are also described.

Certainly looks like it to me. Think of the mirrors for updates as well. Looks like it would apply.

It's time to just END intangible patents, cease and desist, it's a bad idea. I'm serious, they never should have been allowed the first non tangible patent. This is not going to advance the arts and sciences any over the long term except for the lawyers and paperwork shufflers guild, as they enjoy the "science" of counting money and spend some of it on expensive fine "art" to hang on their walls. Everyone else it just costs. It has gotten past annoying, past ridiculous, now it's into the harmful range.

Filing date (1)

cameldrv (53081) | about 10 years ago | (#9760625)

This was filed in April of 2000. Windows update definitely precedes this date. I'm not an expert on patent law by any means, but can you really do this? That is, invent something and then patent it ten years later after infringing products have already come on the market?

Ridiculous (1)

mahoneyj (456369) | about 10 years ago | (#9760637)

People will sue for anything won't they? Lame.

how novel... (1)

SQLz (564901) | about 10 years ago | (#9760650)

A menuing system that loose you choose something? Wow, how novel.

I wish they would get rid of patents that merge two things that have already been invented. i.e., the fork with the fork on one side and knife on the other. Forks and knives have already been invented. Welding them together is not an invention.

Menus have existed for a long time, downloading software has existed for a long time. Using a menu to download software has existed since the 300baud BBSs I used to call.

Could someone explain this? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760655)

I really don't get it. I could see if the code was ripped off line for line, but if two different programs have the same effect, but get it with two different ways, shouldn't they be concidered two different pattents? As an anlogy, a record player, a CD player, and an mp3 player all have the same basic function, to play back audio recordings. But thy're all protected by different patents. If I invent a new way to play back sound recordings, I can't be sued by the mp3-player patent holders.

However, if I write a piece of software, and include a function that someone has already patented, even if I write my code from scratch, I can be sued?

Isn't this the same as patenting an idea? Isn't there something in the patent law against this? Am I Missing something?

Dick, he lives up to his name. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760657)

I've had the unfortunate experience of actually working with this asshole.

Personally, I think this guy should win the fucktard of the century award.

And I want to personally thank him for not warning me before slashdotting my network.

Yeah, I'm posting this anonymously on purpose, my boss would flip if he knew I was saying this about his 'valued' client.

what about xandros? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9760662)

XandrOS has a GUI frontend for apt-get, or maybe XandrOS just didn't have enough to leech from?

Still though, what'd happen if XandrOS (or any other small software company) got sued? The big guys such as Redhat and SuSE could fight it, what about the little guy?

Could you please be more abstract? (3, Interesting)

Dekar (754945) | about 10 years ago | (#9760668)

From the patent [uspto.gov] :

"A method for distributing information to a plurality of uncoordinated user stations each of which is configured for communications with a multiplicity of independently-operated servers via a non-proprietary network includes steps for providing a distribution service that distributes updates for a plurality of different products, and providing a transporter software component to each of the plurality of uncoordinated user stations, wherein the transporter software component at each user station automatically effects communication sessions with the distribution service via the non-proprietary network for the purpose of obtaining updates for each of at least a subset of the plurality of different products that are installed on that user station."

It sounds awfully complicated, and that's only the first sentence. They could probably claim they own pretty much every updating technology with that...

Seriously though, providing "updates to software with a menuing system to permit the user to pick the updates" has been in every system I used, and I don't believe that adding the word "online" in front of it makes it a new super-innovative technology.

Even if it's Microsoft, if they were to lose on this one, it would be a shame.

Work on the patent goes back to 1990? (1)

Coryoth (254751) | about 10 years ago | (#9760696)

Presuming that people here are linking to the right patent (and it looks like they are, the patent number matches that in the press release) it quite clearly gives the filing date as April 20, 2000. Does that mean they worked on it for 10 years, and got around to patenting it? Does that make a damn bit of difference with regard to prior art?

And then there are some wonderful bits of drivel in the summary, which pretty much screams "utter bullshit". Prime example is the following ...storage medium for automatically effectuating communication sessions with a distribution service...

This is just a two bit company (that can barely write) serving up half assed press releases claiming they own everything. That does sound familiar...

Jedidiah

"Non-proprietary?" (1)

cthrall (19889) | about 10 years ago | (#9760699)

From the patent:

> communications with a multiplicity of
> independently-operated servers via a
> non-proprietary network

Hmmm. Would you consider Mac/Windows Update "proprietary networks," or a proprietary protocol on a non-proprietary network (TCP)?

Patents for Dot-coms: Fool's Gold or Mother Lode? (1)

hoferbr (707935) | about 10 years ago | (#9760701)

Quoting the official [teleshuttle.com] site, about Richard Reisman (the "inventor"):
"This work draws on a decades of thinking about new media combined with diversified practical information technology and business experience - and on a visionary mind-set tempered by a sense for effectiveness honed by training in analytical methods for optimization. (see bio). Reisman also has a broad interest in the creative process and the business of innovation - and organized and moderated a symposium on "Patents for Dot-coms [teleshuttle.com] " for the MIT Enterprise Forum of NYC in April 2000."

And the title of the forum that Reisman moderated: "Fool's Gold or Mother Lode".

Hoist! (1)

twitter (104583) | about 10 years ago | (#9760711)

It could not have happened to two nicer companies. I hope Bill Gates and anyone else who ever used "fat line" patents, is thinking about their efforts to use patents as an anti-competitive weapon.

I wish I could patent complaining about patents (2, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | about 10 years ago | (#9760728)

I'd get an injunction against each and every one of you.

That's tough (2, Insightful)

flez (463418) | about 10 years ago | (#9760729)

While it seems that this Reisman guy may have been working on this technology since 1990, the patent wasn't filed until 2000.

So I think MS and Apple would just have to show they started using this tech before 1999 - i.e. it was public IP before the patent was filed.

Lesson: Patent early, patent often.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...