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's Online Spectator Patent

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the watch-and-learn dept.

118

Next Generation reports on Microsoft's 5000th patent: an online spectator mode for competitive games. From the article: "The system will allow online viewers who are not involved in actual gameplay to view game highlights and instant replays, as well as let them control camera perspectives. A statement from Microsoft also describes 'A portal such as a Web site to access spectator-related services such as schedules and information on multiple games and events as well as the number of spectators and participants in each. The portal allows the spectator to find the most popular games to watch, preview the action, and then connect to the desired game or event.'"

cancel ×

118 comments

XBox port of HLTV? (5, Insightful)

christian.elliott (892060) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869401)

I see no one at Microsoft has every played CounterStrike. This idea just sounds like an XBox port of HLTV [hltv.org] . If this patent is only for the XBox version of this system, power to them, they should have control over this. However, if this is an attempt to get the PC Patent for this same idea, they may have another thing coming.

Re:XBox port of HLTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14869705)

this is not insightful. it isn't that no one at microsoft has ever played counterstrike. it's that no one at the patent office has played counterstrike. get it right, buddy!

Re:XBox port of HLTV? (1)

skreeech (221390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871038)

Rocket Arena 2 observer cam predates CS and I am sure something else predates that.

Re:XBox port of HLTV? (1)

fluor2 (242824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869709)

By the way, HLTV.org IS NOT AN OFFICIAL HLTV-SITE! HLTV is owned by Valve Software

Re:XBox port of HLTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14869817)

Are you nuts?

If the patent applied only to Xbox, they would be charging or suing thier own third party developers for using it. This would serve only to drive off developers.

However, if Nintendo or Sony (and thier developers) try to do it, then they can show they have a patent on the method for a console system. Esentially terrorizing and delaying the competition with legal wrangling over trival features.

Defensive Patent (3, Interesting)

tokabola (771071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870970)

I'm certainly no MS fan, but this sounds like another one of their defensive patents. MS has thousands of patents like this that they don't enforce, and don't really plan to. All they are probably doing is making sure someone else doesn't patent the idea and shut them out. Many big companies do this, including IBM.

Re:Defensive Patent (1, Insightful)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871337)

Thanks for saving me the trouble of pointing this out. It's mostly to stop an RIM-type situation.

But don't expect this to stop the slash-herd from making dozens of +5 insightful comments about M$ being evil.

Re:Defensive Patent (2, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872939)

You mean like the file system patents they rediscovered recently and started charging fees for? Or other patents they basically lincense in a way that everyone except opensource can use it (Office XML)?

Re:XBox port of HLTV? (2, Informative)

ville (29367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869926)

Game called Air Warrior allowed people to spectate on-board others' planes. I can't recall the years but I played it on Amiga over the internet so it must have been early '90s.


I've no idea how long it had the ability to do so before I started playing. Anyway you didn't participate in the game while you were an observer. Guess that could serve as prior art to this nonsense.

// ville

Re:XBox port of HLTV? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873060)

There was some robot deathmatch mod for Unreal Tournament where observers could set off traps located throughout the arena.

Re:XBox port of HLTV? (1)

lengau (817416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870061)

BZ Flag has also offered this for years, although it only came after Counter Strike offered this, but it's rather obvious that Microsoft did NOT invent this in any way.

Re:XBox port of HLTV? (1)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870171)

HLTV doesn't really seem to apply here - it looks like Microsoft isn't so much patenting the spectating concept and patenting the idea of making a portal that centralizes a bunch of different spectating concepts. It's still a bullshit patent, but of a different source.

Re:XBox port of HLTV? (2, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870827)

It's still a bullshit patent, but of a different source.

And as usual the idea isn't to come up with a bulletproof patent, but rather to raise the cost of entry for smaller players. Vivendi would have no problem taking this down if they wanted to. Popcap (or similar) wouldn't even try.

Re:XBox port of HLTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873262)

well the counterstrike is that you can only watch in realtime if you are playing the game.

This allows you to view the game live or recorded even if you are not playing inside the game.

So you could be a person in the crowd watching a boxing match for example and watch the entire
game without being involved in the game and you can watch at any angle live or recorded.

This does not happen in CounterStrike.

Done before? (5, Interesting)

evilNomad (807119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869402)

Hm, I could have sworn that HLTV, done by Valve does just this, and that it has been out for the past 5 years.. And not only that, then i also happen to run the biggest portal for HLTV doing exactly what Microsoft wants their portal to do.. I wonder if my 4 year old portal is now patented, and i should be paying royalties to Microsoft.. Good thing I live in Europe I guess :-)

Re:Done before? (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869546)

I'm pretty sure other games have had this functionality before too....this is bullsh*t. Hopefully some "prior art" creators will be contacting the patent office real soon...

Re:Done before? (2, Informative)

steelfood (895457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872359)

Total Annihilation (9/1997) had a watcher mode. A mod by the swedes allowed multiplayer games to be recorded and replayed.

Re:Done before? (3, Informative)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869755)

For those who had no damn clue what HLTV was: linky [cs-extreme.net] :)

Re:Done before? (2, Informative)

Bluey (27101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869871)

I could have sworn that HLTV, done by Valve does just this, and that it has been out for the past 5 years

hltv.org was registered back in April of 2002. Perhaps it was around in some other form prior to moving to its own domain.

I wonder if my 4 year old portal is now patented, and i should be paying royalties to Microsoft

Considering Microsoft filed for the patent back in August of 2001, anything's possible.

Re:Done before? (1)

evilNomad (807119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869898)

HLTV.org is my site yes, but it is merely a portal, HLTV was completed by Valve back in June 2001 where I saw the first demos of it.. HLTV.org has nothing to do with the development of HLTV (Sadly).. :)

Re:Done before? (2, Funny)

Perseid (660451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870372)

Man, at first I thought that said "I wonder if my 4 year old is now patented."

I wouldn't be surprised...

Re:Done before? (1)

kenpachi101 (959405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870454)

sounds like microsoft is just trying to make money by suing anyone who breaks the terms of the patent

Re:Done before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871270)

Good thing for MS that its now first to file and not first to invent when granting patents. Maybe Valve will now even get sued for infringement!

Re:Done before? (2, Informative)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871929)

Quake 2 did this.

Yep, another live one (3, Insightful)

Daysaway (916732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869421)

Yeah, because nobody has ever done that before *cough* Unreal Tournament *cough*.

from TFA "Microsoft's goal is to file 3,000 patents per year."

Amazing. Do they have some sort of Patent Counter in the shape of a dollar sign sitting in a Redmond office building, slowly filling with the blood of lesser companies who are being forced to compensate Microsoft when they use what was once an innovative feature, now solely under Bills control?

At the end of the year, when they are around 2900 patents, what will they resort to in order to fulfill their goal? How does this sound, "Microsoft patents interactive software." I mean, that hasn't been done yet, right?

Re:Yep, another live one (5, Informative)

freshman_a (136603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869435)


Yeah, because nobody has ever done that before *cough* Unreal Tournament *cough*.

True, but Quake 1 had it even before that. Way before 2001, which was when MS filed for this patent.

Re:Yep, another live one (2, Informative)

spikestabber (644578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869469)

UT came out in 1999.

Re:Yep, another live one (1)

Daysaway (916732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869517)

Right, but UnrealTV was a mod, not included in the original game. I believe it came out around 2001 as well.

Re:Yep, another live one (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869640)

I believe it was a Mod for Quake as well (Clanring IIRC), though that was out in either 96 or 97. Unless my memory is totally hosed. It could be. I can't remember now if it was a mod or not.

Re:Yep, another live one (1)

OldSoldier (168889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869824)

Yea, that's the real issue... what was out there before MS filed for their patent, not what's out there before MS was awarded the patent. Prior art is art prior to the filing, not prior to it being awarded. For the sake of discussion, let's call art inbetween filing and awarding "intervening art".

I would hope that the preponderance of "intervening art" would help prove how obvious the idea is and invalidate the patent that way. But as other posters have said... given the way the current patent/legal system works... that would require a court challenge to the patent.

Re:Yep, another live one (1)

Sans Virtue (830324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869505)

I plan on patenting the process of digitally combining primary colors of various percentages to create new and improved colors. Every webpage, every texture, anything on a computer will have to be straight Red, Blue or Yellow or else you will pay me! Muwahahaha

Re:Yep, another live one (1)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869809)

anything on a computer will have to be straight Red, Blue or Yellow

in that case, i pattent Green! ha!

Re:Yep, another live one (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870383)

Yeah, well I have Cyan and Magenta - enjoy printing without those.

Blizzard Games? (1)

Erioll (229536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869543)

When did Blizzard start allowing spectators to their games? It wasn't always in Starcraft, but I THINK that was added later, and I KNOW it's in WC3.

Re:Blizzard Games? (1)

HybridJeff (717521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870840)

Hell, go to Korea and they even televise the games (Starcraft in particular, although they probabally show other games too).

Right motivation, wrong goal... (4, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869784)

from TFA "Microsoft's goal is to file 3,000 patents per year."

I'd rather have them fix 3,000 bugs per year.

Re:Right motivation, wrong goal... (0, Offtopic)

dougmc (70836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869901)

I'd rather have them fix 3,000 bugs per year.
Clever, but they probably fix over 100x that many bugs per year.

Sure, Microsoft software may have a repuation for being buggy, and it may even be deserved (or it may not -- I'm not getting into that here.) But considering just how many software packages they put out (Microsoft does far more than Windows and Office) even fixing millions of bugs/year wouldn't surprise me. And as for 3,000 bugs, I'm guessing that even one relatively simple Xbox game may have that many bugs created and then fixed in it's development cycle.

Also keep in mind that most bugs are very minor. This error message has a word mispelled? Bug. The documentation doesn't explain how to do something very well? Bug. For every critical bug that you hear about in the news, there's likely to be hundreds or thousands of minor bugs that are getting fixed that you never hear about, many of which are fixed before the product ever goes to market.

Now, perhaps you meant `3000 serious bugs', but the serious ones usually are fixed, but perhaps not as quickly as people would prefer ...

Re:Right motivation, wrong goal... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870575)

Okay, I want to know how the fuck someone's *PREFERENCE* got modded informative. Mods, this is insightful or interesting, *NOT* informative.

Re:Right motivation, wrong goal... (2, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871653)

As a compromise they will patent 3,000 bugs per year.

-

-1 Obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14869439)

I thought patent law wasn't supposed to protect the totally obvious? I mean, seriously, you can just combine existing video game/TV listing features and patent it? Why not add "... on a flatscreen TV" and call it patent #5001?

Ricockulous.

Microsoft's 5000th patent? (4, Funny)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869522)

Golly... If my calculations are correct, Microsoft will have patented every idea possible by the year 2030.

On the bright side, all possible ideas will be public domain by 2047.

Re:Microsoft's 5000th patent? (0, Flamebait)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869544)

"On the bright side, all possible ideas will be public domain by 2047."

Not if our wonderful U.S. government keeps extending the length of patents.

Re:Microsoft's 5000th patent? (2, Informative)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869720)

swing and a miss..... patents length is not being extended, copyright is...

Re:Microsoft's 5000th patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14869805)

You need to check your glasses. Patent length was extended from 17 to 20 years in 1995. And since it's being done to copyright, and has been done to patents, I don't think it's so out of the question to assume that some corporate lobbist will soon try to extend patent lengths again. So yeah, the GP post hit a homerun. (I know this is slashdot, but you really need to stop making stupid remarks like "swign and a miss"...it's not the "in" thing, man)

Re:Microsoft's 5000th patent? (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869859)

OMG they extended a limited amount of patents for three years not even retroactively...

WOW!

idiot

Re:Microsoft's 5000th patent? (1)

gunner2028 (922634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870355)

Actually, the 20 years is currently from the time of filing whereas the previous time limit of 17 years was from issuance. The new system was made in an attempt to prevent submarine patents that would languish in the patent office for years due to procedural maneuvering on the part of the applicant. Typically, these applicants would then wait until the invention was being used by the public to then comply with the necessary rules to have the patent issue. These types of maneuvers greatly extended the 'effective' life of the patent.

Anti-patent and proud of it (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869534)

My father told me never write down anything you don't want anyone else to take and use as their own.

I hold to that belief today. Everything useful to me as a trade secret stays in my head.

Patents were intended to protect the desire to invent. The slippery slope of using government to protect anything rears its ugly head here, and it is obvious that patent laws can not work -- they'll always be corrupted, slowly buy surely, over the years. Rather than try to use "men with guns" to protect inventors, how about we level the playing field and require people to actually create items and find a way to market them before they're knocked off?

Patents are counter-freedom in every way. If you have an idea, make something. Sell that something. If someone finds a better way to make that something, then take their changes and make THOSE better. That's competition.

Poo on you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14869678)

And if you die? Your "trade secrets" go with you. Why not patent your ideas and leave a nice legacy for your children to profit from? Selfish jerk!

(Besides, ever heard the saying "great minds think alike"? best to patent or produce your ideas ASAP than to sit on them and then whine "hey I thought of that!")

Re:Poo on you (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869819)

Not everybody has the tons of money to pay a lawyer to make sense of all the patent filing fees to patent every good idea they have.

Re:Poo on you (2, Insightful)

Peyna (14792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869971)

Ever heard of Coca-Cola? They've been incredibly successful using trade secrets to protect their most important IP: their formulas. If they had patented it, they would have lost the exclusive rights to it already.

Trade secret protection lasts indefinitely, but cannot be exploited in the same way patent protection can.

Re:Poo on you (2, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870592)

Ever heard of Coca-Cola? They've been incredibly successful using trade secrets to protect their most important IP: their formulas.

Good God, you don't seriously believe that, do you?

Coca-Cola's formula is worthless. If you produced a product that was identical down to the last molecule (either by acquiring their formula somehow, or simply by buying Coke and rebranding it), you would sell no better than any of the myriad other fizzy brown sugar waters, and I would be able to produce thousands of witnesses willing to stand up in court and swear on everything they hold sacred that "real" Coke tasted better than your perfect clone.

The only things the Coca-Cola company has that it needs to protect are its trademarks. The myth of the irreproducible formula is just a facet of the brand; it's the brand, and the brand alone, that turns their fizzy water into something the masses actually want to buy.

mod this shit down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14869711)

You are a idiot; keeping an idea in your head does _not_ prevent it from being patented.

Re:Anti-patent and proud of it (4, Insightful)

theJML (911853) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869783)

Yeah, that's a good idea... I did that too... unfortunatley now there are two things I'm missing out on:

Income from these ideas
Proof that I ever had such ideas first

Re:Anti-patent and proud of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873180)

I wish people were willing to pay me for my ideas. Unfortunantly they want software, not software concepts. Also, I have found that every time I think up something new, a little bit of research shows that something of the kind has been implemented. People holding software patents are rarely the ones that had the idea first. They are the ones that are closer to the law than your average inventor/developer...

Re:Anti-patent and proud of it (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870025)

"I hold to that belief today. Everything useful to me as a trade secret stays in my head. "

And were you to suddenly die, every brilliant idea you've had would be lost to humanity until someone else thought it up. That's not a net (+).

Re:Anti-patent and proud of it (2, Interesting)

Jon Luckey (7563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870186)

Rather than try to use "men with guns" to protect inventors, how about we level the playing field and require people to actually create items and find a way to market them before they're knocked off?



Of course "men with guns" are not only involved with just patents, but with other types of IP laws as well. So if "men with guns involved" means somethings needs to be done away with that means:

  • No Patents. as per your speculation.
  • No Copyrights. Feel free to copy those bits. $20 Mil to make a movie. With just the help a friend at the development lab, anyone can undercut your price without the megabucks investment
  • No Trademarks. Worked hard on your brand? Tought dookie. Someone else can call thier product the same thing and milk your reputation. Its not that they are counterfiting, because there is no such thing. They just like the name. Or they can claim its a now a generic term. Who is to stop them? Men with guns?

Re:Anti-patent and proud of it (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870396)

I write and publish, but I don't accept copyright protections. Why? Because my words increase my worth as one individual to another. This is important.

As for trademarks, I don't see why protections are needed. If a company makes a good product, they need to make individual agreements with other individuals that want to sell their product. In the end, the retailer is the one making sure you get the product you want. Sure, someone could knock off Coca-Cola's logo and product, and some retailers might accept the new product for sale. In reality, though, the companies that offer the consumer the best product for the best price are the ones that would win out, so if Coke can't provide this quality of service, let someone else do it. I do think it is a bit odd that people pay $2 for a bottle of Coke's labeled water, but they do so out of desiring a consistent standard water. Nothing prevents retailers and Coke from entering agreements to sell the right product.

Ending copyright won't stop movies from being made -- instead, movie companies would likely enter into agreements with distribution companies (movie theaters) to protect their investment until the investment was paid off. They might also release proprietary formats to the retail market, or they might offer additional features to make it worth your while to buy the official version. In the long run, art will always survive, and the best content creators will find a way to make money without needed "men with guns" to back up their profit.

Re:Anti-patent and proud of it (1)

Retroneous (879615) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871198)

"Because my words increase my worth as one individual to another."

Ya think?

People pay $2 for water made by Coca-Cola because they're IDIOTS that want to look good. Perrier? Hell no, I'm cool so I'll buy DASANI. So Coca-Cola produce it, market it, sell it for a high price and people buy it...what a bunch of pricks those Coca-Cola people are. Gee, God forbid I ever come up with any ideas that people will willingly pay over the odds for. I'd hate myself for selling it to them. Oh wait, no...I'd market it heavily and rake in the dough.

Re:Anti-patent and proud of it (2, Insightful)

jollyjl (959632) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870916)

Not many people knows who Philo Farnsworth is. He invented the television, among other things. RCA violated his patent, he sued, but ran out of money. The best idea for an invention, code or otherwise, is to make the thing so complicated that nobody would be willing to figure it out, so if they wanted the goods, they would have to pay up. Or if the idea is not patentable, generate enough buzz, like cocacola, as mentioned.

Won't work (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871420)

Not many people knows who Philo Farnsworth is. He invented the television, among other things. RCA violated his patent, he sued, but ran out of money. The best idea for an invention, code or otherwise, is to make the thing so complicated that nobody would be willing to figure it out, so if they wanted the goods, they would have to pay up. Or if the idea is not patentable, generate enough buzz, like cocacola, as mentioned.

As an engineering major I can tell that this is a really bad idea for anything but computer programs or and anything that runs them (ie microcontrollers). First of all making ideas more complicated involves a decrease in reliability due to an increase in parts. No one in their right minds is going to pay for that. Anything mechanical can be taken apart and reverse engineered. Anything electronic can have the same done to it if someone is really that determined to. No marks on an IC?? No problem take it apart and use a microscope to find out whichone it is. Obviously Philo Farnsworth is related to him:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professor_Hubert_Farn sworth [wikipedia.org]

Prior art? (1)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869595)

Yahoo Games [yahoo.com] might have prior on this one (in addition to many, many others..), unless I missed something?

Re:Prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14869651)

Starcraft as well?

id Software (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869629)

I wonder what the guys at id [idsoftware.com] have to say about this...

Patent Protections (3, Interesting)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869632)

Patent Protection of an invention is a two-part process. Step One: File for and receive a patent. Step Two: Defend the patent in court. Both pieces are essential.

This won't stand up in court. It used to be that the most challenging part of invention protection was receiving a patent. Once you had a patent, most federal courts would uphold the defensibility of the invention.

Today, the patent office has pushed the responsiblity of invention defense to the federal court system. The statistics bear our that many, many more patents are being awarded, with much higher percentages of success. On the other hand, Federal Courts are siding with patent holders much less than they used to. The system is not necessarily broken, it only means that a patent is worth less and easier to obtain than it used to be.

 

No, the system IS broken. (4, Insightful)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869719)

I must disagree; the patent system IS broken if it results in the granting of large numbers of invalid patents. The USPTO admits that this is the case, and even admits that their examiners are subject to perverse incentives to let stuff through (though they don't explicitly admit the perversity of this.)

Defending against a bogus patent in court is WAY beyond the means of most mortals; justice overpriced is justice denied. Preventing worthless patents in the first place is the way the system is intended to work, and getting it back there is, alas, the only real solution to the present idiot situation.

Re:No, the system IS broken. (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870350)

It's very easy and, in my mind, a little simplistic to point to some ridiculous patents and imply that the system is therefore broken. As I mentioned, the patent SYSTEM has always and will always require the patent-holder to defend his patent in a court. A patent is not protection against infringement, it's a piece of paper. The old slogan is "if you don't need to defend your patent in court, you never needed it in the first place."

Almost all the error is based on one misconception-- that the patent system protected/protects the little guy. It does not, and never did. Any major company could come along and crush a small patent holder, either by engineering around it, or simply going to market in direct contradiction to the patent. Any well publicized cases you've heard of (if you've heard of any) where the little guy won are exceptions, not the rule. Read the story of Robert Kearns to learn a little bit about the "good old days" some folks seem to think existed where it was hard to obtain a patent. It ruined his life and bankrupted him, even though he eventually won the case. Nothing has changed since then.

I'm not trying to be an apologist here for the way things are or were, but I would hope that folks would be more thoughtful than to let some journalist pull out the old "dog-bites-man" card and fool everyone.
 

Re:No, the system IS broken. (1)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872492)

You make a good and valid point; the little guy seldom prevails in litigation. Money has always been a powerful ally in patent litigation; often it is more important than the validity of the patent. (I remember reading an engineering magazine from the 1970s with a cartoon of a fellow on the street selling pencils beneath a sign reading, "Tried to defend my patent.")

As I see it, the real issue isn't big guys vs small guys, but a massive and growing number of trivial patents that must be fought in court when they never should have been granted. Patent trolls and litigation ambulance chasers are clearly getting worse, and the phenomenon really does call into question whether the patent system is doing its job of fostering innovation...

Re:No, the system IS broken. (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872109)

There's two things fighting the good fight against the patent system (well, at least as far as I can tell):

1) Open source software. Once an implementation of a proprietary system is out there, the genie is really out of the bottle.

2) The Internet. Means that anything created as a result of 1) can instantly be spread around the globe.

I have personally been battling a small part of the patent system recently. I've been looking for software to help me transcode video in batches. I've looked a huge variety of commercial systems, ranging in price from $50 to $20,000 (YA RLY). None of them really suit my needs.

There are, however, countless open source tools (eg, ffmpeg) that will do what I want, or at the very least allow me to build a system that exactly meets my needs. Unfortunately, it seems that most of these software packages include patented code that they don't have the required licences for (eg, no licensing from the MPEG-LA consortium/cartel/whatever).

Because I need to use this stuff for business purposes, I don't know what my liability is if I'm using software that might technically be illegal in my country. So I'm forced to use second rate commercial software that doesn't do what I want, is awkward and cumbersome, will probably stop getting supported in the immediate future - and that I have to pay for the priviledge of using.

patent defense is expensive (4, Insightful)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869815)

Defending yourself against a patent claim is expensive. Considering that you don't have to even be making any money to violate a patent, that already means the patent system is not setup to do what it was intended to do, hence, broken.

Add to that the ridiculous patents being awarded today, and we are completely fucked by this shit.

Re:Patent Protections (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14869958)

The system is not necessarily broken

It is certainly not working as intended. If I bought a stove and when I set it to 350F to bake some cookies, it reduced my cookies to ash and melted the sheet too, I'd call it broken.

As for the rest, the only people benefitting now are the lawyers and the IP infringement insurance salesmen.

Who doesn't have this? (1)

tengennewseditor (949731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869726)

Hell, I've done that. And I think that makes this patent fail by the criteria of "obviousness."

Re:Who doesn't have this? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870379)

The chess game at Yahoo Games is the first that came to mind for me. And I know that has been awhile for long.

Legitimate Via Bungie? (3, Interesting)

Bloodmoon1 (604793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869798)

The oldest example I can think of (about 10 years old, give or take a year or two) off the top of my head of this is the Myth games (at least Myth 2, and I think the first one had it as well), which actually did the spectator mode (and pretty much everything else) surprisingly well. You could control the cameras, save the replays, everything this patent sounds like it covers.

Since Myth was a creation of Bungie, who got bought out by MS some time ago, I think, as loathe as I am to admit it, that MS might actually have a legitimate claim to this patent. Well, as legitimate as any software patent can be, anyway.

Re:Legitimate Via Bungie? (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869886)

Even so, isn't there a time limit, from the first time you do something, until you can patent it, ie doing something, and then patenting it 10 years later isn't going to fly ..

Publish and Patents Perish with a Poof (2, Informative)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872374)

Basically, if anyone (the inventor included) publishes the "invention" before the patent is applied for, it becomes "prior art" and is forever excluded from patent protection.

Of course, this is the USPTO we're talking about here; they'll apparently issue a patent on ANYTHING if one is persistent enough...

Re:Legitimate Via Bungie? (2, Insightful)

tricorn (199664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870100)

Haven't looked at the patent yet, so I don't know exactly what they're claiming, but I wrote an on-line spectator mode for the PLATO game Empire in around 1981. It allowed for changing view (by choosing which ship to follow), and also recorded the game for later playback (in 5 minute increments). The earliest game I still have recorded that I know about is from 1984.

I would think that any enhancements to the basic concept (such as moveable cameras, looking at stats, live replaying as opposed to waiting until the game is over, ability to choose from multiple games) are all obvious, and the methods for doing so are essentially trivial. We didn't do those mods because we cranked it out as a modification to the original game in a very short time, there wasn't a huge audience for it, it wasn't a 3-D shooter, etc. Given a 3-D multi-player shooter, doing all of those things would be obvious, probably even "patently obvious".

Now, if the patent is on some particularly clever method of implementing such a spectator mode, say one that reduces network bandwidth or server load or improves the viewing of the game in some way, I'm all for that (if it truly is innovative, clever, and useful). If it is a patent on the IDEA of a spectator mode, I don't see how it can stand.

Re:Legitimate Via Bungie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873151)

Well, I developed a game that could do that in 1980. Thanks for letting me know about the patent infringement, and I'll see you in court.

In other (unsurprising) news (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14869832)

Nobody on slashdot has bothered to read beyond the summary information of the patent, which doesn't describe what the actual patent covers (the description merely covers the subject areas, so that those searching for prior art can find relevent patents).

bah (1)

Intangion (816356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869856)

anyone played starcraft? halflife? QUAKE?

all these games allowed this

is invention just not important to the process anymore?
this patent is not original, not non-obvious, not new, ... i mean you could find prior art going back at least a decade in 1 quick google search

woo! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14869870)

absolute retardation ftw!

Toilet cam .... prior art (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869874)

I think the WPS 'toilet cam' (hoax that it was) probably counts as prior art from the early '90s

OMFG (1, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869939)

There is SO MUCH prior art that this can't be considered a serious patent.

An even better idea! (4, Funny)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869943)

Wouldn't it be even cooler if people could spectate on games like Counter-strike and the Quake series. How about allowing different spectating camera angles e.g.: follow player and free flying. They could even place a small top-down map in the corner to show the players position relative to enemies and teammates!

Hope no-one has thought of this already else prior art might invalidate any patents.

Re:An even better idea! (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871576)

It would be even cooler....

on the internet.

-

Interesting milestone (3, Informative)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869959)

That would be the first patent I ever read about that I myself held prior art to. Not that it makes much difference.

Power to the PowerPC processor! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14870003)

Hi! I just wanted to take the time to mention that the Xbox360 uses crappy Macintosh processors (or at least, the kind of processor Macs used to use).

    Now Macs run on Intel processors. Which are CRAP compared to AMD processors.

    Any by the way... When are console developers going to realize that it's better to have high detail, non anti-aliased textures at a high frame rate then anti-aliased medium textures at a lower frame rate? Or even worse, high detail anti-aliased textures at a TERRIBLE frame rate (King Kong, Xbox360)!

    I was very impressed with the Xbox version of King Kong. The graphics were very good. I played the Xbox360 version at a Target and was horrified. The detail wasn't even as good as I had expected and the frame rate was unplayable to me. When King Kong would swing his arm around, the frame rate went to shit. The Xbox version did this too, but it did good for it's specs in all around frame rate for the level of detail it has. There's no excuse for a next gen system failing to provide a sweep of high frame rates for it's launch titles.

    Seriously. Why does King Kong run like crap on the Xbox360? WHY?! The detail wasn't even THAT good! It's because of the stupid anti-aliasing. And don't even give me any crap about the detail looking bad because it wasn't an HDTV. You should see the Xbox version of King Kong. And even better, the MK: Shaolin Monks demo of The Suffering 2. That demo... WOW! It has VASTLY higher detail than the gold copy of The Suffering 2 for Xbox. It ran like shit, but the detail was absolutely amazing.

    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Re:Power to the PowerPC processor! (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870399)

Maybe your tv just wasn't big enough :)

Prior art goes back to the 80's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14870267)

The game 'Netrek' circa late 80's had spectator slots where observer could follow the game. They could view scores, stats, messages, etc. They could also change camera angles by following a player or staying locked into a specific location.

Of course, prior art no longer matters.

prior art (1)

bonezed (187343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870456)

got tribes tv?

i can remember many an evening of watching an awesome game of 32 player tribes2

Re:prior art (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870719)

I think the only bad thing about T2TV was that you couldn't look at everything at once.
 
And the only thing better than T2TV was playing in the game.

No matter how much prior art we claim (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870473)

If we don't pass it on to the USPTO, nothing will change.

I claim prior art in describing this in a story I wrote in 1980 while at Simon Fraser University, in The GOT club magazine.

You'll find copies in the Library of Congress and the Canadian version thereof.

The Rocky Prior Art Horror Show (3, Funny)

rewinn (647614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870561)

"... In another dimension
With voyeuristic intention
Well secluded, I see all ..."

It's astounding .... MS got prior art'd by the Time Warp [rockymusic.org] ... Again!

Definitely not new (1)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870722)

Maybe they've got a new way of doing it, but I know that online Go servers (and presumably chess servers as well) allow people to observe on-going games.

Copywrighting one of my ideas (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870825)

Say you have a 12 player Warcraft game going. Add a 13th that streams to 11 observers and another observer node indefinately. You could have a game as ping intensive as Street Fighter 2 and have infinate observers.

Re:Copywrighting one of my ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872102)

QuakeTV did this over 8 years ago.

Prior Art? (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14870899)

A statement from Microsoft also describes 'A portal such as a Web site to access spectator-related services such as schedules and information on multiple games and events as well as the number of spectators and participants in each. The portal allows the spectator to find the most popular games to watch, preview the action, and then connect to the desired game or event.'"

I can already do any and all of these things via any of the numerous online poker sites I visit.

hltv, quake tv (for q2), ut. (2, Informative)

schwal (836247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871233)

jesus, if there isnt prior art for this, i dont know what it is. proof the uspto needs an overhaul.

Prior Artwork (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871913)

If I'm not mistaken, Microsoft's patent request should get rejected, as NCSoft already has done this in Guild Wars.

Micro$oft as usual... (1)

smokes2345 (959661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872174)

This is not a new idea for microsoft, to take the idea of another and try to make it their own. The idea behind windows itself was not Gates' own. Microsoft hasn't had an original idea in years, and probably will never have another one. Microsoft (like our own US government) has become overgrown and bloated. The XBox 360 is nothing more than an original xbox with a mod chip and updated hardware, most of its features (besides the obvious ones) have been the idea of the makers of XBMC (Xbox Media Center). Most of it's "new" online features have been the idea of the makers of the Avalaunch Dashboard (with the ability to update the core, skins, and other applications from the web). This is typically on par with everything esle M$ has ever done, no suprises.

Re:Micro$oft as usual... (1)

Dark_Lord_Prime (899914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872704)

As far as I'm aware, neither Bill nor MS has EVER had an original idea. MS-DOS wasn't even his work.
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...