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IBM Calls for Patent Reform

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the level-playing-field dept.

Patents 292

daria42 writes "IBM has called for tighter regulation of patents and a review of intellectual property ownership issues in collaborative software development. The company is one of the largest patent-holders in the United States. IBM executive Jim Stallings said examining patents for prior art should not only be the job of the patent office but that the wider community should be involved. Stallings also called on the industry to stop what he calls "bad behaviour" by companies who either seek patents for unoriginal work or collect and hoard patents."

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What I like about IBM ... (4, Interesting)

foobsr (693224) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199246)

... is that "they" have quite a wide scope of view.

Presumably a prerequisite for "culture" in general.

CC.

uhhh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199249)

FRSIT PTS0

No time to evaluate patents (5, Insightful)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199257)

It seems IBM's argument is that there are way too many patent applications being submitted to accurate evaluate them. Their solution:

IBM's antidote to the problem is to increase the scope of the investigation into 'prior art' associated with software patents. Stallings believes that sort of undertaking is something the academic community, volunteers and others are willing to help in.

Something obviously must be done to fix this problem but I'm not sure how the proposed system would work. As soon as "volunteers" have the ability to submit prior art challenges to patent applications, you'll likely see as many or more prior art challenges than patent applications. Who's going to evaluate the prior art challenges AND the patent applications then?

Re:No time to evaluate patents (5, Funny)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199279)

They should have a Slashdot-like moderation system.

Prior art submissions would be like comments, and volunteers with good karma could check prior art submission. And then you have meta-moderation.

Of course, any patent dupes would be noticed in the first 5 minutes, with 6 different posts.

Re:No time to evaluate patents (4, Funny)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199300)

That would also mean any patent filed by Microsoft would quickly become "-1 Troll"...

=Smidge=

Re:No time to evaluate patents (5, Funny)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199309)

More like -1, Redundant.

I'm more worried about Roland's patent submissions.

Re:No time to evaluate patents (0)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199432)

That would also mean any patent filed by Microsoft would quickly become "-1 Troll"... Are you trying to say that that would be a bad thing?

Re:No time to evaluate patents (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199305)

omg, i hope the trolls dont get involved.

"Patent #234833672. Method for stretching anu..........."

(censored for those eating lunch)

Re:No time to evaluate patents (5, Funny)

peterprior (319967) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199371)

That's a great idea! Quick, patent it!

Re:No time to evaluate patents (5, Funny)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199421)

Patent an unoriginal idea which seeks to eliminate the patenting of unoriginal ideas?

Jim Stallings, is that you?

Re:No time to evaluate patents (1, Funny)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199594)

first patent...

Re:No time to evaluate patents (3, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199301)

Simple. Be done with patents alltogether. Businesses have proved they can't use them properly anyways so the real harm here is that the smaller companies... MAY STAND A CHANCE....

Tom

Re:No time to evaluate patents (1)

DenDave (700621) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199314)

and in other news.. The EU parliament shows leniency to the council on the issue of Patent directive.... [geeknet.nl]

Re:No time to evaluate patents (5, Insightful)

metricmusic (766303) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199325)

True but if the findings of the community giving overwelming evidence that the patent should not be granted then the Patent Office will have a open and shut case, saving them time.

The patent office should be doing the searc finding for prior art themselve but since they are inundated with applications they dont have the time to do it thoroughly. Allowing the community to do this job would cut down on the number of silly applications allowing the patent office more time to evaluate the more deserving applications

Re:No time to evaluate patents (3, Insightful)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199649)

I think they overestimate the willingness of people to donate their time to prior art searches. Like any other government agency, the patent office is a buearacracy, and most people will become very frustrated with whatever process is used for reviews.

Re:No time to evaluate patents (3, Insightful)

rdc_uk (792215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199327)

Evaluating a submitted prior-art claim is actually quite a shot & simple process:

Does the prior-art quoted really exist?

Is it really "prior"?

If Yes & Yes; kill patent, if not; don't.

Since submissions would need to consist of evidence of the 2 things to be verified, the work is really minimal; a quick check for false evidence.

Re:No time to evaluate patents (4, Insightful)

bmw (115903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199367)

You're mostly right but there's a bit more to the process than that. Not every idea out there should be patented at all so it is important that someone look at the supposed invention itself and determine what kind of merit it has. Of course, a search for prior art _first_ could certainly kill a lot of frivolous patents before they wasted any extra time.

The patent applicant should rebut (4, Interesting)

putaro (235078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199349)

Prior art challenges can go back to the applicant who can then put together a rebuttal. They want the patent, let them do the work. Also, more money will go to the patent lawyers, so this proposal is sure to be adopted!

Re:The patent applicant should rebut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199758)

They want the patent, let them do the work
Exactly - they want an idea to be proprietaty (private). If they are trying to "privatise" what is allready in the public knowledge they are trying to steal that idea from everybody else.
So just collect the patent application without prior art research (fire 99% USPTO staff and save some budget money) and when somebody will chalende the patent and win, punish the applicant badly. They will think twice before sending a new application.

Re:No time to evaluate patents (5, Interesting)

lmnfrs (829146) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199360)

You're right about the flood of prior art challenges that would come up, but in many cases it wouldn't be hard to see which patents needed closer examination. In the public patent review system, there could be a choice: patent is 'new' or 'prior art exists'. Then if the patent office sees that 80% of the reponses say 'prior art exists' that tips them off that the patent is widely believed to be invalid and probably should be investigated.
What about idiots and others who wrongly affect the ratio of new:exists? A simple account system could be created. You need an account to comment on the validity of a patent, and if a person is discovered to repeatedly be wrong about the final decisions they could be given warnings, then their accounts could be disabled, for some time period or permanently.. That's another discussion though.

Academics may have a conflict of interest (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199448)

Most of them have been pressured into filing patent applications instead of just writing papers. Run a uspto query on your favorite researcher and see. It seems to have kicked off about two years ago so you see the most of the stuff show up in the published applications search. A lot of them seem to be based on papers written and published before the application. I wonder how they pull that off. Earlier provisional patent applications perhaps?

I myself keep a file of patents I think are interesting for one reason or another. Usually it's patents I think are on prior art. There a couple of issues here. One is that it's extremely difficult to read a patent. They're not the most clear technical explanations sometimes. This makes it a problem in proving that it is actually prior art and not just some minor enhancement or some special case. But that same vagueness lets patent owners sue anybody and everybody for patent infringement. Sure, you could eventually prevail but not everybody has the resources to defend themselves. I think we need to shift the burden of proof somewhat. Perhaps create a patent status that allows a challenges to be filed. The patent would remain valid but extra steps would have to be taken before anyone tried to enforce the patent. This could be abused by patent challengers but you could take care of it by requiring a bond of of sorts. Individuals can't afford this but the the EFF or IBM could.

Re:No time to evaluate patents (1)

AlanS2002 (580378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199501)

The workers who evaluate the patent applications. Would slow the time taken to grant a patent down to snails crawl. Perhaps a better solution would be to abolish patents all together. Given that every man stands on the advances of others, trying to claim something as uniquely yours is fraudulent and can not be empirically justified.

Re:No time to evaluate patents (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199543)

This is a VERY good point. A company that I worked for ran into problems, for example, where we were applying for a patent on a truly unique and innovative process. The problem was tha the examiners didn't understand it well enough to distinguish it from other patents that seemed, to them, to establish prior art. In the end, they relented under the weight of our responses from PHDs who disagreed with them, but that means that someone who should NOT have gotten the patent probably would too.

Now, if the prior art "volunteers" are carefully selected for specific areas of expertise, then this might work. There are precidents for this (e.g. public defenders, who are often regular lawyers with a normal practice, being paid only enough to cover minimal expenses).

Re:No time to evaluate patents (1)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199679)

Something obviously must be done to fix this problem but I'm not sure how the proposed system would work. As soon as "volunteers" have the ability to submit prior art challenges to patent applications, you'll likely see as many or more prior art challenges than patent applications.
Not only that, but this places yet another extra burden on the economy and the public. Keep in mind that the public and the economy is supposed to profit from the patent system. His proposal is only useful if the combined costs of time and money spent on finding all this prior art by the public and the negative effects of the monopolies of the patents which do get granted, are offset by the positive effects of the patents (possible stimulation of investments in innovation).

If he is seriously suggesting that the public should voluntarily bear these extra examination costs, I hope he has some pretty good evidence that it is actually worth it (as opposed to the public just voluntarily helping IBM to get rid of a few nasty patent parasites, so they can focus better on patent farming other companies).

IBM is helping (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199268)

By making their patent on patent reform available for a small fee.

Re:IBM is helping (4, Insightful)

LaCosaNostradamus (630659) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199633)

Makes you wonder, doesn't it? I speculate that IBM -- long used to being the patent holder of record -- is finding out that the very patent sytem that it took advantage of by "patent app bombing" is coming back upon them. They may be doing too much cross- or outright-licensing with other patent holders. (I'm sure IBM expects people to license patents from TEHM, not the other way around.) And I also speculate that IBM is finding out the overhead costs of patent investigation are rising, since the approval system is a rubber-stamp machine that doesn't adequately evaluate patent validity.

I have few illusions that IBM is doing this latest protest out of the goodness of their tiny, shriveled, black hearts.

Actual research by the patent office? (4, Insightful)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199272)

Prior art research open to the community would dramatically reduce the number of ridiculous patents [slashdot.org] granted.

And what about going back to the good ol' days when you had to provide a basic working implementation of your potentially patented thingie, instead of just having an idea [slashdot.org] of what may work in the future?

Re:Actual research by the patent office? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199354)

Because building a model may be prohibitively expensive. What if you had a great idea on how to improve a satellite? Are you really going to be able to afford a satellite to show a basic working implementation? Or how about the subsequent launch into orbit?

Re:Actual research by the patent office? (4, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199437)

Because building a model may be prohibitively expensive. What if you had a great idea on how to improve a satellite? Are you really going to be able to afford a satellite to show a basic working implementation? Or how about the subsequent launch into orbit?
If you're not going to spend any money, what costs do you have to recover from creating the invention?

I don't see this as a major problem. The point about patents is that they're there to encourage people to invest the time and money into making something new and real. What you're proposing - giving monopolies to people who will not spend the money - actually discourages innovation as it prevents or makes more expensive the doing of the real work to make something theoretical a reality.

Re:Actual research by the patent office? (4, Interesting)

jonwil (467024) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199537)

For cases like that where building a model may be cost-prohibitive (or unfesable for other reasons), require a blueprint or something. Even if you cant actually afford to build the new thing you have invented and want to patent, if you dont at least have some kind of blueprints, schematics or designs then you probobly shouldnt get the patent.
At minumum, such a proposal would mean that you are showing the patent exact steps to build/make whatever it is you want to patent.

For software patents, they should require that actual runnable code implementing what it is you want to patent be submitted to the patent office.

For example, if you have created a new compression algorithim for video data, you have to show something that can compress and uncompress video with your new codec. I would even go so far as to suggest that perhapst this "reference implementation" of the patented item should go on file with the patent. (although whether that is fesable would depend on what it is that has been "invented" and what the working example is/does).

If the patent makes claims over things that the submitted code doesnt implemented, the patent should be rejected (or the claims that arent present in the code should be rejected)

This requirement would not be overly harsh to those who dont have lots of money since (unlike the cost to demonstrate a new kind of sattelite or whatever), the cost to produce a working prototype implementation of a new software thing you want to patent is not huge.

Re:Actual research by the patent office? (2, Informative)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199704)

You create a model of the improvement, not the entire satellite. Just enough to demonstrate that it will work. How can you show that your idea is novel if you do not even show that it works?

Hello kettle... (5, Funny)

ph4s3 (634087) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199273)

Hello, kettle. This is pot. You're black.

Re:Hello kettle... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199292)

hehehe exactly. Largest patent owner in the world thinks there should be reform...

So ... what ... big companies shouldn't file OVER 10 PATENTS A DAY?

Tom

Re:Hello kettle... (4, Insightful)

bmw (115903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199304)

Largest patent owner in the world thinks there should be reform...

This is EXACTLY what we need to happen. These are the types of companies that actually have the ability to change things. The fact that they happen to hold a lot of patents themselves and still want reform just adds more weight to the argument that the current system is fscked.

Patent Office Runs Like a Business! (0)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199381)

If the United States Patent Office is going to run itself like a business then I say that IBM, holding the most patents, should get the most votes. They've got the hardware to file the whole damn thing too.

1. IBM now owns the patent office.
2. IBM open-sources entire patent catalog.
3. ?????
4. Profit!

Re:Patent Office Runs Like a Business! (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199412)

Just do a credit system?

A patent means someone has to mention your name but doesn't pay you money.

E.g.

Intel Inside (tm) [Using technology from blah]

You'd still have the problem of frivolous patents but at least you don't have to pay to use them.

Which takes away the incentive for "patent farms" e.g. companies who only exist to horde patents.

And in the end the inventors still get credit which boosts their mindshare [e.g. free advertising].

Tom

Re:Patent Office Runs Like a Business! (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199438)

But that doesn't fix the problem that patents were invented to solve - that sometimes, creating something new just plain takes a lot of time, effort and money, and that if the risk of not being able to make that money back is too great, people/companies simply won't do it.

The problem isn't with patents, it's with granting them for frivolous claims.

Re:Patent Office Runs Like a Business! (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199500)

But even if it's a legit patent the licensing can be stiffling on it's own. All you do is murder innovation.

What's more likely? Finding a good use for MPEG technology or single handling inventing your own patent-free codec that works and meets market deadlines? 1$ per chip that uses MPEG is a bit excessive if the chip is meant to sell for cheap in volume.

Tom

Re:Patent Office Runs Like a Business! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199613)

But that doesn't fix the problem that patents were invented to solve - that sometimes, creating something new just plain takes a lot of time, effort and money, and that if the risk of not being able to make that money back is too great, people/companies simply won't do it.

Please identify the time in human history at which (a) patents were not permitted and (b) this had a negative effect on development.

What, there wasn't one? Why then, your argument is no more than "patents are essential because we need them", which is what's called "circular reasoning".

Re:Patent Office Runs Like a Business! (3, Interesting)

bmw (115903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199416)

Don't forget what IBM is. They're still a business and businesses exist to do one thing: Make money. Just because they've become a knight in shining armor for the open source community doesn't mean that they aren't still acting for their own benefit. It just so happens that they saw a way to both benefit and help the community. There was a time when IBM was not such a friendly entity in the community and there's no guarantee things won't change again. In fact, it's just the opposite. Change is inevitable so don't put too much faith in IBM always acting benevolently.

good for the goose no good for the gander? (3, Insightful)

nothings (597917) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199632)

People seem to be focussing on the "patents are too easy" part of IBMs argument and ignoring the "collecting and hoarding" part of them. That part is clearly just mercenary (money-driven) on IBMs part. Here's the goose-and-gander deal:

  • If IBM has a patent on something you want to do, and you have patents, you arrange a cross-licensing deal. They're happy because they get to use your patents, you're happy because you get to use their patents.
  • If IBM has a patent on something you want to do, and you don't have patents, you license the patent from them. They're happy because they get money, you're kinda happy because you got to use their patents.
  • If you have a patent on something IBM wants to do, and you don't need IBM's patents, IBM is annoyed and will look for some way to justify not having to license your patents.

Now, I agree with IBM, patent-hoarders that don't have products and just rape people who need patent licensing suck. But I think that's not evidence of the badness of patent-hoarders; it's evidence of the badness of patents. IBM can rape you just as bad if you don't have any patents to license back to them. Patents are a profit center, though, so you won't hear IBM advocating toasting them entirely. Instead, IBM is going to a crazy space where their intellectual property isn't even exactly property anymore--you presumably can't sell it to just anybody (e.g. a hoarder, or at least, you won't sell it to them since it's worthless to them).

IMO, the biggest problem, as always, is the focus on prior art instead of insisting on a fairly high obviousness barrier (or a low barrier for accepting re-invention as not being covered by a patent).

Re:Patent Office Runs Like a Business! (4, Insightful)

ites (600337) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199657)

IBM's position on patents is not arbitrary.

They do a lot of research, so hold many patents, in software and other domains. I'd say that most of these patents are well-researched and original, and even if we don't like software patents, IBM's are generally the least obnoxious.

They sponsor a fair amount of open source, through the Apache Foundation. Sure, this could stop tomorrow.

But, they have started to rely on open source as the basis for many of their lucrative services. IBM has really aimed at ending their own software development and replacing much of the expensive and risky software research by much cheaper and more efficient open source.

And who is most threatened by all this open source? It's Microsoft, who has also been the only significant competitor to IBM in the last two decades.

Microsoft is desperately collecting patents because it can see no other weapon or strategy to stop the open source revolution. IBM sees what Microsoft is doing - trying to collect patents that will harm open source projects.

So IBM is (a) protecting its own investment in patents, by preparing arguments why the entire software patent scheme should not be scrapped, and (b) aiming a warning shot at Microsoft and other patent freaks to behave, or they will be the target of non-trivial lawsuits.

IBM wants, finally, to make its patents open for open source, which it feels creates significant value for its own branded services, while preventing commercial competitors from using them.

This is not a random strategy, and it's unlikely to change over the next 20 years. If anything, expect IBM to defend open source use of patents, while trying to keep software patents "clean" so that it has the most weaponry against competitors like Microsoft.

Re:Patent Office Runs Like a Business! (3, Insightful)

slittle (4150) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199662)

Exactly.

1) Open Source programmers don't give much thought to patents. They even actively avoid them, so any violations are purely accidental, not from "contamination" or some shit.

Now, since embracing Open Source, IBM is now in a bit of a pickle, since they're in a prime position to get sued over these patents. A tighter patent system means IBM is free(r) to engage in open source without the same level of risk.

2) IBM is a big research organisation; they're into real patents. The kinds that other companies want to licence, not the kinds those lesser companies get sued for after accidentally reinventing the same thing.

IBM's business is all Signal, and filtering out the Noise is just good business for them.

Re:Patent Office Runs Like a Business! (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199736)

It just so happens that they saw a way to both benefit (themselves) and help the community
It's worth pointing out that their involvement also makes them part of the community. Sure they have their own agenda and motivations but so does every community member. As long as they have a stake in Linux and other Open Source technologies then that will benefit the rest of the community.

Re:Hello kettle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199512)

Let's see them put their money where their mouth is. Then we can talk. Until then I say: Go hogwild with patent applications. If it's legal, do it, morals be damned. Only then will the true face of "intellectual property" reveal itself to the masses.

Re:Hello kettle... (3, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199317)

Maybe, if your such a big company and actively have researchers doing things, then maybe, just maybe those 10 patents are actually justified.

They are wanting to rid the world of rediculous patents, not totally shutdown the patening process.

Re:Hello kettle... (3, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199333)

Have you performed a patent search in the last 15 years? ...

People patent basically anything. I'd be surprised to learn that LibTomCrypt didn't violate at least a half dozen patents. Heck the kernel probably violates a good dozen or more.

Companies like MSFT and IBM patent every itty-bitty thing they do in the hopes of using it to crush competition. Oh, we put the chip on at an angle, must patent that because it will give us a 0.00001% market boost!! yes!!!

Tom

Re:Hello kettle... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199355)

Companies like MSFT and IBM patent every itty-bitty thing they do

Can you give a specific example of IBM doing this? And don't forget that you can't count the 500 patents IBM gave up voluntarily recently.

Re:Hello kettle... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199387)

Apple has a patent on how to implement matrix transposition in hardware...

I'm currently at work so I can't spend too much time doing patent searches [not related to job anyways] but do yourself a favour and just do a quick search for like

"software AND process AND implementation"

Some patents I just found

# 6,877,036

and

# 6,877,161

The latter sounds awfully alot like how position independent code works...

Tom

Re:Hello kettle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199446)

Apple isn't IBM. The patents you mention by number weren't filed by IBM.

Somebody was calling IBM hypocritical, and you said companies like IBM & Microsoft patent trivial things. That's why I asked specifically regarding IBM.

Re:Hello kettle... (1)

marcop (205587) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199593)

Patent 6,865,371. It's extremly generic. It basically describes a state machine for a wireless network. Put a wireless link for RS232 and you voilate this patent.

Re:Hello kettle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199635)

Are state machines usually used in this way (genuinely curious)?

I don't think that application of an existing concept like state machines to a new area is necessarily obvious or non-novel. For example, I'd consider the leap from genetic algorithms to genetic programming by using FSMs as chromosomes to be novel and worthy of a patent (when it was first invented).

Re:Hello kettle... (1)

bmw (115903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199392)

Companies like MSFT and IBM patent every itty-bitty thing they do in the hopes of using it to crush competition.

You're certainly correct that large companies like Microsoft and IBM patent anything and everything they can but the reason for this is usually less malicious than you think. Most of the time these companies try to attain so many patents as a defense mechanism. The hope is that by holding enough patents they will be able to deter other companies from using their patents against them out of fear of retaliation. It's a situation very much like what we saw during the Cold War with nuclear weapons, though obviously much less serious.

Re:Hello kettle... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199420)

Largely I ignore patents alltogether when I'm writing software. My logic being ... if *I* wrote it, it must be common knowledge. ;-)

But the sheer number of patents just renders them useless and the only ones to turn a profit are patent farms and lawyers..

Tom

Re:Hello kettle... (1)

LaCosaNostradamus (630659) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199661)

Basically that sounds like Linus Torvalds' strategy. If he remains ignorant of patented work, he cannot be dinged for that x3 penalty for intentional patent infringement.

Re:Hello kettle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199531)

Defensive patents are a myth. Large firms like IBM have enough "real" patents to defend themselves. They don't need to patent mundane stuff unless it's used as a minefield for the competition, which in my book does not count as defense.

Re:Hello kettle... (1)

bmw (115903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199631)

Who said anything about patenting only mundane stuff? Patents are defensive by nature. That's why they exist. They allow potential inventors some security when investing time and money to create something. How anxious would you be to invent something if you knew that all your hard work was just going to be stolen by someone else?

My point was simply that they aren't patenting everything they can in order to go on the offensive and actively take down other companies just because they can. For the most part, companies like this gather patents in order to protect their work.

IBM, the RNC is on the phone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199406)

The Republicans want their hypocrisy back.

Re:Hello kettle... (-1, Offtopic)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199608)

Hello kettle, this is pot. Dude, I'm SO wasted.

Yes, it's stupid, but I bet you laughed.

Big Blue takes the middle path (4, Insightful)

bmw (115903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199283)

"There are others who believe that no software patents are valid," he added. We certainly don't believe in that, because we have many thousands of software patents and customers trust us to be the true owners of those, so we believe it is somewhere in the middle that is appropriate for laws to govern behaviour around patents."

It's nice to see a large company choosing the middle path. Patents aren't entirely a bad thing (although I would rather do away with them altogether than keep the current system) and as with most arguments there are certainly two or more legitimate sides to this. One thing is for sure, we definitely need better review of patents and it certainly seems to me that they are right about the community being willing to help find prior art.

Re:Big Blue takes the middle path (5, Insightful)

MrRTFM (740877) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199335)

Yes, IBM is trying really hard to be 'the nice guy' this last decade - this is a good thing.

But let's not forget that they also make billions (this is also a good thing). I think they realise the whole is going to end up in a mexican standoff - a lot of companies having stupid patents for stupid components of an application, and all it will take is one rogue company / individual with a critical patent who doesnt want to play ball, to cause some serious problems.

We would probably all love to see silly software patents abolished or even limited for 12 months or something.

Re:Big Blue takes the middle path (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199607)

The blue chips are starting to realize that there is the potential of a stealth bomb which can't be defused with reciprocal licensing. The companies which are actually manufacturing and trading things are at a deadly disadvantage compared to pure intellectual property shops. If you don't build anything, you don't need a license. If you thought that Microsoft, IBM et al are bad news patent-wise, watch until SCO-like lawyer-run patent hoarders without real products turn the market upside down.

Re:Big Blue takes the middle path (2, Insightful)

AlanS2002 (580378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199652)

"Patents aren't entirely a bad thing (although I would rather do away with them altogether than keep the current system) and as with most arguments there are certainly two or more legitimate sides to this."

The only arguments that can be proffered for patents are fallacious ones. Such as the timeless "incentive for invention". Under such an idea the Wheel would of never been invented because no one could profit from it with the idea being open to others to implement. We however know that the wheel was invented, in spite of the fact that there was not patent regime present.
Another great argument is that it individuals/companies should be able to profit from their work (like they don't already profit through the adoption and said method which allows productivity to rise). This view completely ignores the very real possibility of the same idea being thought up by two or more individuals/companies in parallel with no influence from each other. A great example of this is again the Wheel, which historians have discovered to have been invented in 4 different continents roughly in parallel with no contact with each other (transportation was a bit crude back then, given that they had only just discovered the wheel and all).
Imagine if patents had existed back then and the richest of the inventors had patented the Wheel. One can only imagine the degree of backwardness that most of the world would be experiencing today as a result.
So in short there is no non fallacious defence of patents.

No answers to Questions to USPTO On-Line (4, Interesting)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199297)

On February 24, 2005 [blogspot.com] I tried to pose some questions to USPTO [uspto.gov] On-Line chat for Independent Inventors today, however the digichat java applet does not appear work with any combination of Linux Galeon/Mozilla/Firefox jdk1.5.0/j2re1.4.2_07 or MacOSX Firefox/Safari. Here is what I tried to ask:

I understand that the discovery of prior art and the evaluation of the obviousness of an invention are difficult tasks for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patent application examiners to perform. The percentage of patents being overturned under the scrutiny of the courts leads me to believe that the process is not quite as accurate as could be desired. In a few recent cases the existence of publicly accessible digital content has played a part in disclosing prior art. The public, technical and scientific communities use of Internet has to a large extent replaced printed media such as journals for the public disclosure of new ideas. To what extent does the current USPTO patent application examination process take into account public accessible website content? Do the patent examiners currently use Internet search engines such as Google ( http://www.google.com [google.com] ) to locate instances of prior art? Is the changeable and unverifiable nature of some digital content a barrier to its being cited as prior art in the patent application examination process?

The USPTO patent application examiners task could be made more reliable if the examiners could consult one or more public online registries that document cases of prior art and public discoveries. The online registries could provide a means for the public to retroactively point to cases of preexisting prior art for pending patent applications and a means to proactively document publicly known ideas and concepts. Although websites and digitally stored content in general is changeable, individual entries and changes in an online registry could be legally authenticated by means of digital timestamping ( http://www.rsasecurity.com/rsalabs/node.asp?id=234 7 [rsasecurity.com] ). An online registry could be hosted by the USPTO as an adjunct to the existing online public patent and patent pending databases. The USPTO could also publicly recognize other individual registries hosted by third parties such as a commercial entity or a non-profit community similar to Wikipedia ( http://www.wikipedia.org/ [wikipedia.org] ). An individual adding an entry to such a publicly online registry does not involve granting that individual any form of monopoly, therefore the action need not have any artificial barrier involving fees or payments. Would the existence of digitally timestamped public content overcome any objections by the USPTO to its citing as prior art? Has the USPTO any plans to add some form of publicly accessible feedback mechanism to the patent application process?

It has been nine years since the USPTO updated the Guidelines for Computer-Related Inventions ( http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/hearings/soft ware/analysis/computer.html [uspto.gov] ). Since that time has the USPTO undertaken, commissioned or evaluated any studies on the effects that granting software related patents has had on the progress of science, useful arts and the software industry in general? If no such study has been performed or evaluated, why not? Can the USPTO point to any instances where the granting of software related patents has been an actual benefit to the progress of science, useful arts and the software industry in general? In a similar vein, can the USPTO point to any instances where the granting of business method related patents has been an actual benefit to the progress of science, useful arts and industry in general?

isn't IBM the king of patents? (3, Interesting)

bardothodal (864753) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199298)

I thought IBM had more patents than any other entity. What does it say when the wlfe complains the hen house is too wide open?

Re:isn't IBM the king of patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199368)

Probably that the hens are using those holes to toss grenades at the wolves.

Re:isn't IBM the king of patents? (2, Interesting)

krishn_dev (781739) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199373)

Yes, but you have to look at their contribution to the computing world as well.

IBM is, for sure, one of the best organizations striving for excellent quality hardware and software . Their contribution comes through highly professional and research oriented team (unlike MS). They indeed have invented loads of things. Just google a bit and u get their achievemnets and contributions.

Calling IBM wolf is not correct because of the same reason. (I might have agreed if u use this for MS, who was trying to patent IPV6, some time ago).

Re:isn't IBM the king of patents? (5, Insightful)

guardian alpha (869711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199390)

The very fact that IBM does indeed have a ton of patents, yet still wants tighter reviews over patenting procedures and improvements over the current guidelines means that they are even looking towards their own current patents.

It would be one thing for a company without patents to scream "The patent system is screwed!!! fix it!", leaving everyone calling that company a whiner.

But it another thing when a company with tons of patents says the exact same thing, even if the reformation change can hurt them. This means they are willing to take losses of their own for the benefit of the patent process.

Re:isn't IBM the king of patents? (3, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199591)

Also (AFAIK), IBM tends not to file patents if they dont think they will hold up in court. And they dont do nasty tricks (like submarine patents). Plus, they did just give a whole bunch of patents (microprocessor and chipset related I think) to the Open Source community. And remember that IBM is not just a software company (they do make computers, microprocessors and other stuff too) and that IBMs patents cover those areas as well as their software development.

On the other hand, some (like Microsoft) patent anything and everything just because the patent system is so screwed up that they can.

By far the biggest supporters of the current stuffed system would have to be Microsoft (who are tyring to find something they can use to bring down Open Source Software like the Linux kernel, Apache, GCC etc that wont get them in anti-trust hot-water) and Sun (who want too let people mess with Solaris so that sun can get a better operating system out of it but who dont want all the "good bits" or "patented bits" ending up in projects like the Linux Kernel)

Re:isn't IBM the king of patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199651)

But it another thing when a company with tons of patents says the exact same thing, even if the reformation change can hurt them. This means they are willing to take losses of their own for the benefit of the patent process.

I wouldn't go as far as IBM is doing this for moral or ethical reasons, nor do I believe they are putting their own neck on the line for justice's sake. They just don't want some guy to patent a water bucket and get slapped with a lawsuit for not paying for the rights to use the water cooler. They don't want someone to patent the fucking wheel and sue them for any piece of mechanical equipment that could be based on the wheel.

The current patent system is fucked. They don't want to get fucked.

Karma whoring at its best (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199306)

I work for IBM.

Mod me up!

Re:Karma whoring at its best (0, Offtopic)

Red_Harvest (260868) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199586)

Me too!

Open Letter to all patent lawyers including IBM's (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199307)

To: All pro-software patent lawyers inc. IBM's and Carl Oppedahl [slashdot.org]

Dear Patent Lawyers,

Could you please justify by reply in moderate detail the supposed net benefit to society (rather than just to corporations) of software patents explaining why you think that extending the patent system to cover software is not harmful both to society and to freedom of expression given the case of an open-source software developer who, as a result of
  • working unpaid on his/her project as a hobby
  • giving his/her inventions away freely for the benefit of society ,
  • i.e. without any project income,
  • without any corporate project sponsor to pay legal fees,
  • without sufficient personal savings or income to pay for even a brief consultation with a "cheap" patent lawyer, and
  • without a patent lawyer prepared to work pro bono,

is threatened with a patent lawsuit by a corporation demanding he/she removes the allegedly infringing software from the project's website, leaving the impoverished developer with no real choice but to comply with the demand and close the project?

One recent unresolved case, which is not unique, is that of the German mathematician and open-source software developer Helmut Dersch who had no financial choice but to remove his software from his project website. He had no money to pay for a patent application at the time of his own inventions, which pre-date the patent application of the IPX company , to to pay for a lawyer to challenge the company which threatened him with the prospect of a lawsuit.

Here [ffii.org] is a summary of the case history.

I hope you will take the time to reply at moderate length for the sake of explaining to the open-source developer community why software patents are not a threat to completely unfunded open-source projects.

Thank you for reading this. If you are a patent lawyer, please mention that fact in your reply here.

Last posted here [slashdot.org] without a reply from any patent lawyers reading slashdot.

Please copy and re-post this message in all available forums until at least one patent lawyer has the courtesy to write a thorough reply.

IBM Linux? (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199310)

IBM is really doing the industry a good job by actually sticking their own neck in regards to leadership, checks and ballances.

So, when can we expect an IBM flavor of Linux? IBM knows how to market software and has had experience with OS2 Warp. Now they just need their own destro to go along with their support of open source software.

Re:IBM Linux? (2, Insightful)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199329)

> IBM knows how to market software ROFLMAO! Warp is a perfect example that IBM doesn't (or at least didn't) have any clue about how to market software.

Re:IBM Linux? (1)

krishn_dev (781739) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199516)

Hmmm.... agree that IBM screwed up OS2.... Also agree that IBM screwed up when time came to launch 386 (and Compaq jumped on the opportunity). Also...microchannel...also...

IBM did great job in 60's to 80's. The company could bring revenues (and thus loads of resources) to make sure the computing industry progresses by leaps.

Linux is not the taste of IBM marketing style. Linux has much to gain from IBM, but nothing in marketing, for sure.

Related article (5, Interesting)

whovian (107062) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199345)

Yesterday's New York Times had a related article [nytimes.com] (do not pass Go, sell your soul). One of the points was that IBM is sharing some of its patents so that others may build on them. Collaboration is more economically efficient (ie. profitable) in the global business-space.

Let me get this straight... (3, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199374)

The company that patented [blogs.com] "first come first serve" wants to reform the patent system?! What, did they finally run out of blatantly obvious ideas? Or is Microsoft gaining ground in patenting [slashdot.org] such ideas, which scares IBM somehow? Or is it the Japanese who are catching [ffii.org] up?

Yes, you got this straight... (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199518)

The company that patented "first come first serve" wants to reform the patent system?! What, did they finally run out of blatantly obvious ideas?

...and maybe they realized "Gee, this is a really fucked up system when we have to run around patenting every variation of the obvious so noone else will and sue us over it? IBM hss countless patents, but they have been using them to protect their own innovations. IBM isn't afraid of other big companies since they can probably find a bunch of patents they mutually infringe on. I rhink they're seeing a system which is so out of hand, that all companies that work with innovation are suffering. Including, but not limited to themselves.

Kjella

Re:Yes, you got this straight... (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199573)

I hope you're right. I hope that IBM has sincerely decided the system isn't working and will lead to a disaster. But I can't help but IBM has an ulterior motive.

Here's the problem (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199395)

Here's the problem. In order to patent something, it must be either something completely new, or a novel enhancement on something that already exists. The problem that exists, is that companies can simply take something that already exists, and add "On The Internet" to it. We as tech savvy people see this as a big copp out, and think these patents of bogus. Well, it becomes really hard to figure out when doing X on the internet really is novel, while doing Y on the internet is not. If taking one thing and adding "On The Internet" is a valid patent, then taking any thing and adding "On The Internet" should work.

Re:Here's the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199502)

...taking any thing and adding "On The Internet" should work.
Sex. :)

Key phrase is "in conjuction with" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12199570)

I was going to write a program that combinatorially combined terms with that phrase to generate these claims, either for disclosure or filing patents if you like.

Examples would be "cold nuclear fusion device in conjection with various shaped enclosures", or "antigravity device in conjunction with a vehicular assembly for transportation purposes". You wouldn't have to have invented cold nuclear fusion or anti-gravity to have a piece of the licensing pie.

Re:Here's the problem (2, Funny)

the pickle (261584) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199731)

Clearly those in favour of "On the Internet" patents are also "enhancement smokers."

"Ever look at the back of a $20 bill?"
...
"Ever look at the back of a $20 bill...ON THE INTERNET?"

p

Concerned parties (2, Interesting)

galdur (829400) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199440)

Part of the brokenness stems from the fact that concerned parties (e.g. Open Source developers) may not have vested interests or be aware until after the patent has been granted and the owning company goes after those developers.

Shouldn't the patent office be involve and look at claims of prior art from defendants in patent cases, especially when the claims haven't been tested before?

What IBM's proposing is more akin to a polling architecture and I think it sounds rather inefficient.

Best of all, throw software patents away.

Interesting insights by "innocent IBM"... ;-/ (4, Informative)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199445)

Of course, "poor old IBM" has a history of its own in "hoarding" software patents, as well as enforcing them [forbes.com] in ways that infuriate even top industry attorneys and the most fervent pro-patent advocates - cf. already Heckel, Debunking the Software Patent Myths, Communications of the ACM, June 1992, Vol.35, No.6, p.130.

It's good to see how the taste of their own medicine in cases such as the SCO litigation finally seems to lead IBM back to their initial stance of speaking out against software patents - from one of the world's largest patent holders, the obligation to "use or lose IP" as in trademark law is quite a remarkable one.

yes, IBM has lots of patents...BUT (5, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199454)

Whereas the patent portfolio for Amazon is filled with things like "one click shopping" or whatever, IBM has always done *EXTENSIVE* research. They make chips, and have a gambit of patents associated with them. They even work on things like teleportation [ibm.com] for crying out loud. Yes - like "beam me up, Scott" type teleportation.

No - IBM isn't Dell, a company that has never come up with anything new and does little else other than figure out the cheapest way to produce something. IBM isn't even a Microsoft, a company based entirely off taking someone else's ideas and implimenting them in proprietary ways (a compnay whose only real contribution is getting platforms and applications to work together well). Instead, IBM is very very heavily research-based. IMO, it's perfectly valid for IBM to have a vast # of patents, considering how much research it does. Dollar per research dollar, I'm willing to be it doesn't have all that many more per year than anyone else - they just put more dollars into it.

With that in mind - suggesting they're the pot calling the kettle black is a bit of a stretch. They've got a lot of patent experience sure (there's a nice soft word for it, eh?) but back to that dollar per research dollar thing...

If Cornell and Harvard got together and tried to get higher education to be more affordable for all Americans, would their intent be questioned simply because they're a couple of the more expensive schools? I pay $30k a year for my wife to go to vet school at Cornell. It's very painful. Cornell knows it, and is sympathetic to a degree...I know they would have loved to have seen Clinton's promised education costs reforms.

Same bit. IBM does a lot of research, gets a lot of patents. Simply because they have a lot of patents doesn't invalidate their opinion that there is abuse of the patent system.

Re:yes, IBM has lots of patents...BUT (1)

dfjghsk (850954) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199754)

yes, IBM does do a lot of research, and many of their patents are rightly deserved.. but the pot is definitely calling the kettle black.

Half of the patents granted to IBM are software patents [nytimes.com]
They are lobbying the EU FOR software patents [66.102.7.104]

They have patented such novel invention like:
Caps lock notification [newsforge.com] (granted 2004)
And Web page templates [slashdot.org] (submitted 1998)

Face it.. as much as you want to praise IBM.. they are a company, and are just doing what's in their best interest -- including patenting some ridiculous crap.

They are on the right track, IBM that is.. (1, Flamebait)

ghostrocket (468232) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199491)

First I worked for IBM for 5 years before I offshored myself to europe... Yes I did it to myself.. Southern EU

I know that IBM is on the right track. I know and have seen what bad software/ hardware patents can do. It stifles ideas and makes many inovatutions second-guessed and sometimes not implemented at all. If the patent office opens up and looks broader at the possibility of work done then we can be more competive and forwarded thinking/moving in general. Seeking patents for work that is not right, but done all the time. I give IBM support in this by saying; this is what is needed to be done before it is too late.

Yet another PR stunt by IBM (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199505)

I have a little trouble with IBM's stand on this in terms of motivation. What business edge would this give to them?

Their not-so-low profile thier sponsorship of open source stuff, releasing all of their patents to OSS projects and their professed patent protection (that was IBM right?) leads me to think they are attempting to woo certain crowds. These same crowds who are a bit fearful of patent issues with OSS perhaps?

Maybe they are truly pushing for an OSS marketplace... for IBM, it would tend to make a great deal of sense since they are primarily a service oriented business now. They still have products to sell, but mostly, it's the service agreements that make their bread and butter. If they get everyone thinking that way, it would put a serious hurt on people who sell software as a product.

Generally, I am inclined to agree with this perspective on things -- what slashdotter wouldn't I suppose? But if they are willing to divest themselves of thier patent practices, I wonder what else they have in mind to follow-up on this? After all, it is "patent trading" that often keeps big businesses from tearing at each others throats with patent litigation every 5 minutes. It has been generally accepted practice not to question or try each others' patents as they will be exposed to the light and probably die from exposure. This serves only to keep the little guy from growing though...

well anyway... any guesses what IBM will follow with next?

IBM is Similar to Microsoft (3, Informative)

CnCg (875089) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199544)

IBM was stifleing competition and innovation before Bill Gates was even born. They had a stranglehold on the mainframe market and instead of pushing forward they held back key improvements and locked down contracts with service contracts that punished someone for buying a competitor. All this resulted in Amdahl leaveing and forming a competitor to force innovation from IBM through competition.

Somehow this doesn't fit (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199556)

The company is one of the largest patent-holders in the United States.

Stallings also called on the industry to stop what he calls "bad behaviour" by companies who either seek patents for unoriginal work or collect and hoard patents.

So, Mr. Stallings, what is IBM doing? I remember the infamous IBM progress bar patent. This claim is not any better than Acacia's claims, or Forgent claims.

If you want to complain about the absurd patent system, you're welcome. But for it to be *credible*, better get rid of some trivial patents. IBM should have tons of these.

Re:Somehow this doesn't fit (4, Insightful)

Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199724)

Why? IBM plays by the current rules of the game BUT IBM also wants the rules to change. There is nothing two-faced there. In fact I believe this is the only way they can really go here: If some IBM big shots decided to one-sidedly start 'playing fair', they'd probably be sued by their stock holders.

Comment Period Needed (4, Insightful)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199580)

Yeah, there really needs to be a public comment period for patents before they are granted, but I think that the patent office is more interested in collecting fees than being correct.

My solution (2, Interesting)

Virtex (2914) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199639)

Reforming the patent system should be something that requires less work from everyone involved. My solution is to limit the number of patents a company or individual may own. Set it to something low -- say 5 patents -- and anyone who has more than that must pick the 5 they want to keep and give up the rest. When a patent is given up, it becomes public domain and cannot be patented again. If a company wants to patent something new, but is already maxed out on their patents, they must choose one of their existing patents to give up before patenting the new idea. This would force companies to only patent their best ideas, and would prevent them from hoarding patents.

Smart move for IBM, in the long run... (4, Insightful)

csoto (220540) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199669)

IBM spends billions on R&D every year. They are one of the companies that actually invents the things it patents. Gerstner finished what Akers started - heavy investment in R&D. Only Gerstner was able to turn that into a royalties payoff. Now just about every chip manufactured today employs IBM-invented technologies. So, they're in a much better position to follow Gerstner's mantra - "it doesn't matter who's box the customer uses, as long as IBM gets paid."

Patent abuse tends to dilute IBM's position as a R&D-to-royalties focused technology company. They are simply protecting their position. I suspect other R&D-heavies (HP, GE, etc.) will back this, if they're smart.

Patent Office Milking System Patent (2, Insightful)

galdur (829400) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199682)


Subject: A service for which a P.O. can milk both patent holder and alleged patent infringer.

A method by which a alleged patent infringer can apply to the Patent Office for patent invalidation, pursuant to disbursement of a modest application fee for said invalidation application.

Why only sell weapons to one side when you can sell to both?

One prior-art filter could be Wiki and Google. (3, Interesting)

olddotter (638430) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199685)

Frankly I wouldn't be suprised if that alone wouldn't regect 70% of applications.

patent system change (4, Interesting)

iive (721743) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199714)

Well the patent system does need a change.
I was wondering what do you think about such change:

Only an limited number of patents to be granted every year. Let's say 500 patents.

This way only really important inventions (not innovations) will be honored with `limited goverment granted monopoly`. The patent office will throw faster the obvious and broad patents, and will have more time to focus on the really good candidates.

As a side effect the less probability of granting patent will discourage the firms to fill as many patents as possible.

The really good thing is that there will be an limited number of patents that could be checked more easy (e.g. only 10'000 valid patents at any time)

The only question is what to do with already granted patents. I think that limiting their life would be good idea. For example cutting to half the rest of their life would be an good option. So if patent is just issued it will have 10 years, but if it would have 4 more years left, it will last only for 2.

An IP Lawyers empirical defence of patents (4, Funny)

AlanS2002 (580378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12199722)

Ladies and gentlemen of the supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider: (pulling down a diagram of Chewie) this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk, but Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now, think about that. That does not make sense! (jury looks shocked)

Why would a Wookiee -- an eight foot tall Wookiee -- want to live on Endor with a bunch of two foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense!

But more importantly, you have to ask yourself: what does that have to do with this case? (calmly) Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense!

Look at me, I'm a lawyer defending a major record company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca. Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense. None of this makes sense.

And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberating and conjugating the Emancipation Proclamation... does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense.

If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.
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