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Burst.com Sues Apple Over Patent Infringement

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the never-saw-it-coming dept.

212

AWhiteFlame writes "Techdirt is reporting that Burst.com has filed a lawsuit against Apple for Patent Infringement. From the article, 'Burst.com is known for having patented a method for moving large pieces of content online at faster speeds [...] Last year, they approached Apple, suggesting that the company pay it 2% of iTunes' revenue. Apple then went on the offensive in January, proactively asking a judge to either invalidate Burst's patents or declare that Apple wasn't infringing. Just to make the litigation circle complete, after a few months of trying to reach a middle settlement ground, Burst has now gone ahead and sued Apple on its own.'"

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summary (4, Interesting)

seanadams.com (463190) | about 8 years ago | (#15146953)

I ran their slide show [slashdot.org] through my Vulturecapitalese-to-English translator and discovered that the inventions they're claiming are software algorithms as follows:


1) vanilla load balancing
2) automatically resuming a download
3) playing a download while the entire file is saved to disk (regardless of how much is actually viewed?)
4) caching downloads (and/or partial downloads) on disk instead of asking the server again


I can't bring myself to actually read the patents since my Patentlawyerese-to-English translator is broken but they have a list of them here (pdf) [burst.com] .


So some speculator pooled together the [cough]bullshit[/cough] IP of several defunct startups and hopes to sue everybody.

Re:summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15146959)

3) playing a download while the entire file is saved to disk (regardless of how much is actually viewed?)
4) caching downloads (and/or partial downloads) on disk instead of asking the server again


That whirring noise is the (optimal) motion of the read/write heads suspended above Donald Knuth, who is spinning in his grave.

Oh, wait... he's not even dead yet. That's some patent they've got there.

Fucking idiots.

Re:summary (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 8 years ago | (#15146963)

That sounds about right. From the looks of it, nothing Burst is doing is any different than what Apple has done via Quicktime(caching/buffering) & Akamai(load balancing) for years now.

The sad part is that Burst has already one once against Microsoft, that'll weigh heavily on Apple going in to this.

Re:summary (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15146999)

Problem is, Burst did it years BEFORE Quicktime, Akaimi or anyone else. What is obvious now wasn't back then. Do your research. Look at the filing dates of those patents.

Sometimes patent trolls arent patent trolls, they are the little guys that the uber-corporations like to step on. Apple has become as bad as Microsoft in the mentality that patents are bad... errrr... except when they are ours, then they're good. Hypocrisy anyone?

When did Apple become as nasty as Microsoft? And when did ALL patents become bad? Sure the system needs repair, but you can't ignore it totally. Most people havent a clue how the system works. YOU, for example, assumed these patents must be BS because they are obvious to you, right now, in 2006. Thats not how the system works. Learn what the patent system is before you critcize it.

Without patents, there would be no small inventors, as the big corps could steal others innovations whenever they feel like it. Oh wait, they already do that. Apple is not immune. Go invent something, patent it, and in four years after we all think (after 5 mins of thought) that it was obvious and you cry that GM stole it, we'll call you a whiner and patent troll. See ya then.

Re:summary (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147018)

Without patents, there would be no small inventors

What natural right do you have to prevent someone from doing something obvious, just because you thought of it first? Answer: none.

So you can take your moral arguments and... go patent them, or something, because they're certainly novel and non-obvious.

Re:summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147032)

... [snip useless drivel]... because they're certainly novel and non-obvious.

And that's why you arent a patent attorney nor an inventor. Cause you saying these patents are obvious holds about as much weight you saying as an observer in a criminal trial "yeah I skimmed the evidence and I can tell he's guilty".

Enjoy your tiny I-know-it-all-cause-I-had-my sound-bite's-worth-of-reading world.

Re:summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147081)

And that's why you arent a patent attorney nor an inventor

If you're running a Windows box, then it's very safe to say you're running code I've written. Right now.

What have you done for the world lately... besides cause legal grief for productive engineers?

Re:summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147097)

Sorry, but I'm not using calc.exe right now.

Re:summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15148212)

Wow. You designed the Blue Screen of Death!?!?! Can I get a signed and numbered print? That would be sweet. You did that in MSPaint, didn't you?

Re:summary (2, Informative)

John Straffin (902430) | about 8 years ago | (#15147699)

Once upon a time, just about everything we see as being "obvious" today wasn't obvious at all, except to one person. Why shouldn't that one person, if they also had the foresight to patent their idea, be rewarded?

Re:summary (1, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 8 years ago | (#15147855)

I sincerely doubt that's true. And if it is, then what of it? If one person thinks "You know, I can look for a specific number in a list of numbers by going through each item in the list until I find it", and then someone else has the same idea a year later, without knowing what the first person did, then why, exactly, should the first person be able to stop the second, or force them to pay royalties, or some other crap?

Just because you did it first doesn't mean it wasn't going to happen anyway, a million times over, all independently.

Re:summary (5, Insightful)

localman (111171) | about 8 years ago | (#15147191)

the big corps could steal others innovations whenever they feel like it. Oh wait, they already do that

And there you've nailed the real problem with patents: they don't do what they were intended. They don't protect the little guy at all. The little guy inventors always get reamed anyways because just about any verdict can be purchased with enough money. Patents just make it easier for the rich corporations that are on equal financial footing to hammer each other in court, see RIM, etc.

The philosophy of patents makes sense: provide a way to reward invention and help recoup the cost of research and development. I don't see modern patents doing this at all. Most inventors are not actually rewarded (the company they work for is) and research is usually distributed across different competing companies and then the patent holder sues whoever comes out on top.

It's just a mess. A messy mess.

I have a meeting with the USPTO this on Wednesday, and I have no idea what to say that could have any positive effect.

Cheers.

Re:summary (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | about 8 years ago | (#15148069)

The philosophy of patents makes sense: provide a way to reward invention and help recoup the cost of research and development. I don't see modern patents doing this at all. Most inventors are not actually rewarded (the company they work for is) and research is usually distributed across different competing companies and then the patent holder sues whoever comes out on top.

Does anyone force these people to go work at these companies? Is there anything stopping them from taking out a 2nd mortgage and trying to do it themselves? They work at these companies by choice. They get a certain degree of security and safety from it, and the company gets to reap the rewards, if any. Perhaps instead there is an mindset problem?

Reduce the Patent Length!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15148106)

How about reducing the patent time from 17 years to something more reasonable? (2 Years? 5 Years?) 17 years in the current marketplace is forever. In 17 years the underlying technology will be replaced...

Re:summary (3, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | about 8 years ago | (#15147369)

"Problem is, Burst did it years BEFORE Quicktime, Akaimi or anyone else."

And lots of other people did it before Burst. Caching and loadbalancing are intrinsic to the field of network services.

"And when did ALL patents become bad?"

At approximately the same time that any coercive government backed monopoly became bad.

"Without patents, there would be no small inventors,"

That is utter bullshit. If we needed a system specifically encouraging small inventors, we'd put a system specifically encouraging small inventors in place. Like attribution rights and incentives, where the government would pay out a stipend for a specific invention, or something similar. It's trivial to create a system much better suited to harnessing the innovative talent, because almost _any_ system would be superior to monopoly rights.

Monopoly rights serve only those who can use capital and legal clout as leverage, most notably those who already have money and relations to power, and they're solidly stacked against anyone else.

Re:summary (4, Informative)

Gorshkov (932507) | about 8 years ago | (#15147623)

Problem is, Burst did it years BEFORE Quicktime, Akaimi or anyone else. What is obvious now wasn't back then. Do your research. Look at the filing dates of those patents.

Do YOUR research.
Resuming downloads? FTP
Load Balancing? Pretty well any large-scale internet router, database management system, web server, or any of a large number of system software packages, and most modern operating system network subsystems.
Play while spooling? Not a whole hellova lot different from double-buffering, except you're writing it to disk instead of an in-memory structure.

How a patent like that got granted in the first place is absolutly beyond me. If I can come up with reasonable (thought not necessarily *legally* acceptable) examples like that off the top of my head at 7AM after having been up all night WITHOUT doing any research, you're gonna have a very hard time convincing me that the patents should have been granted in the first place.

Re:summary (3, Insightful)

SpectralDesign (921309) | about 8 years ago | (#15147668)

resume a download...

I think Z-modem was around before Akami, Quicktime, etc.... no?

And isn't there some little detail about protecting a patent or lose it? Or is that only a copyright thing? I get so confused in all this IP quicksand....

Re:summary (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147871)

That's not a patent or a copyright thing. It's a trademark thing.

zmodem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147688)

1) vanilla load balancing
2) automatically resuming a download
3) playing a download while the entire file is saved to disk (regardless of how much is actually viewed?)
4) caching downloads (and/or partial downloads) on disk instead of asking the server again

----

since zmodem did 2 of these before shitbag incorporated, does that mean that zmodem can sue them?

Software Patents (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | about 8 years ago | (#15147782)

Okay, can anyone explain why software has 2 forms of Intellectual Property protection? What other "invention" has both copyright and patents? If every single program is just a series of algorithms, built on top of digital logic circuits. What is the invention, the computer or the software? If it's the software, why does it need copyright if it's every single new piece of code is possibly patentable, and if not probably infringinging something somewhere?

Re:summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15148254)

"When did Apple become as nasty as Microsoft?"

When Woz left, I think. They've just lacked the power to demonstrate it as often as Microsoft has.

Re:summary (5, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | about 8 years ago | (#15147080)

The sad part is that Burst has already one once against Microsoft

Maybe this time they'll get to two twice.
 

Re:summary (4, Interesting)

tm2b (42473) | about 8 years ago | (#15147111)

The sad part is that Burst has already one once against Microsoft, that'll weigh heavily on Apple going in to this.
Sigh. I'm still waiting for that (-1, WRONG WRONG WRONG) moderation tag that Slashdot needs so badly...

Burst.com has not "one" (sic) once against Microsoft in any legal sense, Microsoft settled. [pcworld.com] Such a settlement does not set any legal expectation to "weigh heavily on Apple," all it does is imply that Microsoft's lawyers thought that Burst.com had a strong case.

Even that isn't directly comparable, because the suit against Microsoft included antitrust claims that aren't applicable against Apple, since (regardless of complaints /.ers might make of Apple's dominance with the iTMS) there is no legal finding of fact that Apple is a monopoly.

Re:summary (1)

jcr (53032) | about 8 years ago | (#15147206)

all it does is imply that Microsoft's lawyers thought that Burst.com had a strong case.

It implies nothing of the kind. Companies with deep pockets routinely cave to shakedown attempts just to get them out of their hair.

-jcr

Oblig. Simpsons Quote (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | about 8 years ago | (#15147394)

Bill Gates: Your Internet ad was brought to my attention, but I can't figure out what, if anything, Compuglobalhypermeganet does, so rather than risk competing with you, I've decided simply to buy you out.

Homer: I reluctantly accept your proposal!

Bill Gates: Well everyone always does. Buy 'em out, boys!
      [Gates' lackeys trash the room.]

Homer: Hey, what the hell's going on!

Bill Gates: Oh, I didn't get rich by writing a lot of checks!

Re:summary (1)

nagora (177841) | about 8 years ago | (#15147447)

Companies with deep pockets routinely cave to shakedown attempts just to get them out of their hair.

As mixed-metaphors go, that was one of the best.

TWW

Re:summary (1)

phy_si_kal (729421) | about 8 years ago | (#15147489)

This may be a strategy for MS. In the settlement, they agreed to pay $60M if the money is spent taking legal actions against MS competitors.

Cringely thinks Apple will lose (4, Interesting)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 8 years ago | (#15146996)

For whatever it's worth, back in January Cringely [pbs.org] wrote that Burst does have something worthwhile:

The reason Apple changed its MacWorld announcements at the last minute was because the company sued little Burst.com a few days before, trying to invalidate the Burst patents. But since Apple sued Burst, Burst shares have gone UP by 30 percent. The market is rarely wrong. Suing Burst was an enormous mistake for Apple, casting a pall on their video strategy and potentially costing the company strategic alliances with networks and movie studios. Apple realizes this now and is struggling internally to find a way to change course and put a positive spin on the course correction. Apple will lose and Burst will win, and Apple won't be able to afford to wait for the courts to decide anything, since time is critical in staking out Internet video turf. I predict that Apple will eventually take a license from Burst, that is UNLESS SOME OTHER COMPANY (Google? Real? Yahoo?) doesn't snatch up Burst first.

Here's something I've noticed lately: Big companies believe in patents as long as they are talking about THEIR patents. Because Burst is three guys in an office in Santa Rosa, companies like Microsoft and Apple tend not to take them seriously. They forget that Burst spent 21 years and $66 million developing that IP, and the company has code that is still better than anything else on the market -- code not even Microsoft has seen. Unless someone buys the company first, Burst is going to win this and eventually license the world. They are in the right, for one thing, and in practical terms they now have as much money for legal bills as any of their opponents. Apple can't win this one.

Re:Cringely thinks Apple will lose (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | about 8 years ago | (#15147091)

Burst shares have gone UP by 30 percent. The market is rarely wrong.

Looks like someone was asleep during the internet bubble.

Re:Cringely thinks Apple will lose (4, Insightful)

jasonditz (597385) | about 8 years ago | (#15147099)

Or for that matter, the SCO lawsuit... the stock skyrocketed after they sued IBM... how'd that work out?

Re:Cringely thinks Apple will lose (1)

hackstraw (262471) | about 8 years ago | (#15147631)

Or for that matter, the SCO lawsuit... the stock skyrocketed after they sued IBM... how'd that work out?

Just ask the litigious bastards themselves.

Re:Cringely thinks Apple will lose (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 8 years ago | (#15147927)

how'd that work out?

Probably pretty good for those who shorted it at $20.

Too bad I wasn't one of those people...

Re:Cringely thinks Apple will lose (1)

msormune (808119) | about 8 years ago | (#15147765)

No, the market was right, because it was set out to make money. In doing so they screwed the people and companies who invested in the market, providing the money.

Re:Cringely thinks Apple will lose (1)

hpcanswers (960441) | about 8 years ago | (#15147189)

The market is rarely wrong.

Yeah, like all those bonds traders a few weeks ago who were under the impression that the Treasury was going to release less-than-stellar employment numbers.

Cringley: wrong bold assertion, right facts. (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 8 years ago | (#15147315)

and the company has code that is still better than anything else on the market -- code not even Microsoft has seen.

Uh if the code is so super secret where how does Cringley know it's superior? And if the code is so much superior to everyones elses including Apple, then obviously apple must not be infringing much since their code is so allegedly sub par. Cringley wants it both ways.

If this IP is so dramatically enabling and un obvious then apple's quicktime should also be vastly superior to microsofts viewer and it's not. (it's more polished and seemless, but does not have any earthshaking superiority in gapless playback or compression--(with the exception of the new data formats)).

If the IP is so obvious that everyone has it, then one might argue it's also not a worthwhile patent either.

If it's actually secret then no one has copied it at a high level implmentation.

They forget that Burst spent 21 years and $66 million developing that IP

21 real years? or 21 man years? either way, if the claims are true they had plenty of time to get this to market ahead of apple and MS so how can they argue they were injured by unfair competition.

It looks to me that the success of itunes is built on a lot more than some sort of streaming technology. So maybe they should get some royalties on the actual product they were competing against, quicktime, and not on the applicaitons it was put too. If apple had built itunes on top of a transport layer based on Windows Media player under the hood it would still function the same.

Now all that being said it's not impossible that apple did go ahead and knowing filtch methods and put them in quick time. Take for example, Stacker going into windows/DOS. I don't think Stacker technology really had anything to do with the success, short or long term, of windows. Still it was proven MS stole the technology. So maybe Apple is also capable of stealing someone elses IP. But the damages out to reflect the harm done. Stacker probably could have made a pile of money in the short term selling their code but would they deserve an ongoing percentage of MS gross sales???

These guys may deserve something if it can be shown their prior art was first, patented, and the methods actually infringed. (remember patents are supposed to be strictly for methods of implementing the actions of an idea not the idea itself. e.g You cant patent the idea of swinging but you can patent a specific method of propelling yourself.) But these guys are being one-click greedy on the scale of NTP.

Here's something I've noticed lately: Big companies believe in patents as long as they are talking about THEIR patents

Finally, cringley has his head up his ass there. As general rule big companies DON'T use their patents as weapons. They use them as defense and act on the tiniest fraction of their portfolio. Witness IBM which patents everything and sues infrequently. They whip those out when people sue them to turn it into a case of mutually assured destruction: if the plaintiff chooses to persue they could well end up paying IBMs court costs for their infrindgment of IBM counter-patents. The same is true of Apple. Cases like Windows Mouse Pointer Look and feel suit against MS and the Rotary dial suits against MP3 Players are the exception not the rule.

Re:Cringley: wrong bold assertion, right facts. (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 8 years ago | (#15147343)

In some ways, the lawsuit against Microsoft exonerates Apple. The reason Burst won it's lawsuit against MS was because they had engaged in negotiations with MS and revealed their technology secrets to MS. And because MS's subsequent behaviour convinced the jury MS had negiotated in bad faith as a means of stealing the IP.

I think we can be pretty sure that 1) MS would not have shared this with APPLE. 2) the MS was doing this to gain a competative advantage in streaming over the fairly well established quicktime standard at the time.

Thus if Apple copied Burst technology it was at a very high conceptual level, because they woul dnot have had access to the methods like MS did. And arguably, what made Bursts techinology valuable at the time was as a response to Apple's prior art, not because it was such a world-beating technology. That is, if quicktime had not existied MS would not have felt pressured to acquire Busts technology with any alacrity but woul dhave just developed their own.

Re:Cringely thinks Apple will lose (1)

Cobblepop (738291) | about 8 years ago | (#15147351)

Yes, but can you an article claiming that Cringely is does have something worthwhile? Didn't think so!

Re:summary (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | about 8 years ago | (#15147002)

I'm trying to get the government patent browsing page (http://www1.uspto.gov/web/patents/patog/week08/OG /patent.htm [uspto.gov] )to work, but so far Safari and Firefox seem to be barfing. Anyone have any luck looking up these patents with IE?

4,963,995; 5,995,705; 5,057,932 and 5,164,839 (you probably don't want the commas)

Re:summary (5, Insightful)

frilledren (671593) | about 8 years ago | (#15147288)

I read through their patents, and it was all too familiar since I had to wade through legalese for 2 biophysics patents I have. I don't know what any of their other ppt presentations or tea leaves claim, but the patents are based on the ability to:
Record audio/video to solid state device (RAM, optical disk, tape (yikes!), etc.) Transmit said media over telecommunications devices, especially using compression. Receive media over telecommunications services. This technology is especially designed for vhs duplication using a single tape deck, and intermediately storing the information on solid state devices.
read them if you like:
http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=P TO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch- bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=4,963,995 .PN.&OS=PN/4,963,995&RS=PN/4,963,995 [uspto.gov]

http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=P TO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch- bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=5,995,705 .PN.&OS=PN/5,995,705&RS=PN/5,995,705 [uspto.gov]
Ok, so that covers, hmmm, most things in my office and home- which generally, means that the patent is probably excessively broad (IANAL), but that's typically how they're written- so you could sue anyone anywhere. Since it seems so broad, I imagine that there is a good chance of finding some 'prior art' (somebody who did it before and made the information public, public knowledge=not patentable), such as technology to transmit pictures from scientific and military satelites, which both seem like they fit the above points. Furthermore, the technology seems like an obvious combination of existing technologies, in which case apple may be able to really fight them.

Some might say that big companies profit off the technology of little ones like burst, but I honestly despise non-existent technology being patented, as it removes a lot of the motivation for another company to independently develop it, market it, bring to the consumers, just so someone else can say that he or she told the USPTO about it 16 years ago and scoop up 1 hundred million or so, but I guess IP portfolio companies just wait for a company to succeed and then flip through their holdings to see what they can sue them for. Big tech companies are different, as they almost all infringe on each others patents but have a more unspoken standoff relationship of not suing whenever possible, so as to prevent eternal litigation. Small companies are problematic in this, as they might have no marketed technology, yet own patents, so they rarely infringe and are not part of the 'mutual destruction' standoff. Something about a suit driven company turns my stomach.

An idea does not equal a technology, and I wish the USPTO were more stringent in the applications (only recently was a functional example of a 'Warp Drive' required for that applicant). I know that the USPTO accepts ideas alone, and need not be at all functional, but at some point this is a real obstacle for innovation. Fraunhoffer's MP3 technology was viable and not just an idea for compressing audio (and making cymbals sound crappy). Both of my patents are for developed and published techniques. If I have the idea for non-hallucinogenic chewing gum that lets you travel through time, but someone else actually makes it, my hat's off to that dude.

How does that relate to iTunes? (1)

TCQuad (537187) | about 8 years ago | (#15148250)

3) playing a download while the entire file is saved to disk (regardless of how much is actually viewed?)
4) caching downloads (and/or partial downloads) on disk instead of asking the server again


So, why are they asking for a cut of iTMS? iTMS doesn't allow for the playing of songs or movies during download (the files are grayed out, probably due to DRM issues). And, if you've ever had a video download hang or crash, you'd know that the option for retrieving incomplete downloads involves first connecting to the iTMS. So neither 3 nor 4 actually apply to the business model they want to take money from.

Yawn... (2, Insightful)

CarnivorousCoder (872609) | about 8 years ago | (#15146955)

Another company gets sued. Happens every day, and it's getting old. Can we wait an just post news when XYZ Corporation actually loses a lawsuit?

Re:Yawn... (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | about 8 years ago | (#15147534)

Interestingly the root of evil is US broken patent law. This is an internationally recognised fact. The cases are just effects.

What's different in the Us is the lack of an organisation such as FFII [ffii.org] which puts pressure on parliament and proposes solutions to solve the mess. US citizens prefer to leave Us patent reform to Ms lobbyists and the pharmaceutical industry. And then we also see some usual suspects EFF action and numerous eloquent commentators -- not the right approach to get impact and solve the damn problems.

The funny part of it is that you will hardly get a company to donate 1 Million to these civil society organisations of software developers which enables them to solve the mess (sure they would be able to with less lobbying money). But they will pay 56 million$ for settlements with the EVIL GUY (tm) which funds the US patent enforcement industry. And they will pay millions to unsound clueless lobbyists for "more and better protection" of "intellectual property".

US Companies just pay the prize for their good business relationships with the community of patent attorneys and lawyers.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15146957)

I hate to burst their bubble, but it looks like the apple of their patent portfolio's eye may soon be plucked.

Someone kill me.

I wish I had a patent on Bullshit (5, Funny)

ThatsNotFunny (775189) | about 8 years ago | (#15146967)

because I'd be a bajillionaire.

Re:I wish I had a patent on Bullshit (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147162)

because I'd be a bajillionaire.

Send a wad of cash to the patent office. They'll patent your bullshit, and then you'll have a polished turd you can throw at somebody.

Re:I wish I had a patent on Bullshit (3, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | about 8 years ago | (#15147320)

Well, I've read somewhere a guesstimate that humans learned to speak properly about 40000 years ago. That should mean the prior art is at least 39999 years old.

Re:I wish I had a patent on Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147464)

Hey You!

did you forget this is slashdot and posting a random comment and not RTFA is all part of the /. culture.

My head just burst.com

who needs f*ckedcompany.com (2, Funny)

Frag-A-Muffin (5490) | about 8 years ago | (#15146971)

f*ckedcompany.com [fuckedcompany.com] is going to list itself soon if this keeps up! All we have to do is look at which companies are suing large money making companies over stupidity patents and you know that companies is going to sink soon! :) Just look at the track record: Rambus? NTP? SCO? I know they're not completely gone yet, but they sure seem headed that way. I'm sure there are more, but they don't come to mind at the moment. It always seems like it's a company's last ditch effort to remain relevant. Sue your way back to profitability. :)

Re:who needs f*ckedcompany.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147585)

why do you bother censoring the text when the uncensored name is in the anchor tag you used?

saw that coming.... (0, Flamebait)

protich (961854) | about 8 years ago | (#15146981)

Hot/profitable product = Lawsuit That is American way of sharing the pie.

Re:saw that coming.... (2, Funny)

RelliK (4466) | about 8 years ago | (#15146993)

It's a nice music store you've got. It would be unfortunate if anything should happen to it...

Re:saw that coming.... (2, Interesting)

merreborn (853723) | about 8 years ago | (#15147012)

"Hot/profitable product = Lawsuit. That is American way of sharing the pie."

From each according to his ability. To each according to his ability to litigate.

Only in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15146991)

From the article, 'Burst.com is known for having patented a method for moving large pieces of content online at faster speeds [...]
aaahhh ... there's nothing like software patent, just sit back and let the lawyers cash in.

Apple should just give it to them (0)

SashaM (520334) | about 8 years ago | (#15147000)

Boy will they be upset when they find out Apple doesn't make any money on iTunes. Might set a bad precedent for future endeavors though.

Re:Apple should just give it to them (2)

Thnikkaman (818752) | about 8 years ago | (#15147026)

But the settlement wants revenue from the iTMS, not profit, and Apple has lots of that.

Re:Apple should just give it to them (1)

7Prime (871679) | about 8 years ago | (#15147125)

Actually, no, Apple doesn't make much, if anything off of iTMS. about 95% of their revenue goes to the record labels, and the other little bit goes into upkeep on the service. They basically break even with iTMS, but the iPod is where all the money is made. That is why all companies who have sued apple over an iTunes related issue, have sued them for a piece of the pie in iPod sales, which is really screwed up, though slightly understandable in a twisted sorta way.

Re:Apple should just give it to them (1)

Thnikkaman (818752) | about 8 years ago | (#15147131)

Read my comment again. I said revenue, not profit. It doesn't matter where the revenue goes, it's still considered revenue. And Burst wants a piece of the revenue, not a piece of the profits.

Re:Apple should just give it to them (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 8 years ago | (#15147146)

which would mean 2% of 5 cents since they cant count the 95 cents since that doesnt actually go to Apple, it goes directly to the record labels.

Thus for every 100 songs, they will have made 1 dollar, thus if you go retroactivly becomes 1 million dollars for a patten from a company that doesnt exist anymore beyond 3 guys in a office with a phone because they where forced out of the market at the end of the dot com bubble.

Re:Apple should just give it to them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147323)

I don't think you quite understand what revenue is...

Re:Apple should just give it to them (2, Informative)

Foerstner (931398) | about 8 years ago | (#15147116)

Apple's been making a "small profit" on the iTunes music store for quite some time now. It comes up at every quarterly conference call [appleinsider.com] , and the answer has been the same since about 2004.

Burst Vs Microsoft?! (5, Insightful)

MacTechnic (40042) | about 8 years ago | (#15147025)

It is a little ironic to look at how Microsoft initially started the litigation spree for Burst by settling for $60M which makes a litigation warchest for Burst to pursue Microsoft's major competitors in multimedia distribution, i.e. Apple Computer & Akamai.

It's kinda like how Microsoft initially bought a license from SCO several years ago, and then watched as SCO attempted to IP-attack the Linux community, again a upstart competetitor for Microsoft for Server Operating systems.

Is there a pattern emerging here, where Microsoft throws in the towel against a lowly firm IP software patents, which indirectly supports Microsoft's ultimate goals. The old adage: The enemy of my enemy is my friend!

Re:Burst Vs Microsoft?! (5, Interesting)

calciphus (968890) | about 8 years ago | (#15147074)

It seems like Microsoft looks at a little company that DOES have some chance of winning a case, and rather than fighting it and letting some court assign a big fat award to them, just pays them off early on, when $60M seems like a big number. Burst can't sue Microsoft again, but since so much of the industry is built off of borrowed technology and ideas, they have just as valid a claim against Apple - which has a much bigger stake in the market - and is much less willing to settle. Take them to court, let the judge think that "Apple has profited illegally off of their IP" and get a big fat settlement. But where to pay for such a long, drawn-out lawsuit? Microsoft's early-on pittance.

I don't think Microsoft is nefariously "funding" the IP vultures, I think they just realized that they could get away a lot cheaper by settling early on and not having to deal with it. Most people never even heard about the MS v. Burst - but you can bet Burst will whip up a shitstorm about Apple stealing their IP and thus owing the success and health of their company's only profitable sector to Burst's crackpot IP. Apple will look bad, shares will suffer, and then Apple will settle...for more than the 2% Burst originally asked...to make it all go away.

Has anyone patented "Pulling an NTP" yet? I mean, prior art and nontriviality no longer seem to determine patentability, so someone out there with the time and money to exploit the patent system should.

Re:Burst Vs Microsoft?! (2, Interesting)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | about 8 years ago | (#15147092)

And for people without the need for tinfoil hats, Microsoft has the kind of money it is easier to just pay off the trolls and not have to worry about any legality or further troll attempts...

Apple should have done the same...

If you look at MS's patent practices, they didn't started pushing through a ton of their work for patents until the last few years, after they started getting sued for crap that they had been using or even created years ago.

Hell, they left FAT wide open for 20 years, and FAT32 wide open for 10 years. So the little guys start sticking to the big companies and MS says, wait, we aren't going to just let our technology sit out there and let some other company try to use a patent to take it from us.

Funny though, you see Apple suing companies more than Microsoft over stupid little crap all the time, and Apple has ripped off a lot of companies along the way, heck Win98 Active Desktop/Konfabulator anyone?

Any of these companes that litigate over CRAP for small CRAP gains needs to be boycotted.

MS's patents so far have been defensive, Apple's patents so far have been used for both defense and offense, making them part of the slime corporations.

If MS starts suing over their patents instead only using them to defend themselves, they will also go on my list of scum sucking corporations.

I think there is a place for patents, but in the US we have a patent system that is outdated and ran by NON technical people, so just wording a technology with clever words gets a new patent, even though it has been in use for 20 years. This is so wrong.

There needs to be a larger threshold for patents and software technology, like specific code. There also needs to be reform about in use technologies that 'bleed' into to or existing patents.

Look at GIF 10 years ago, not only was it a bit silly, but the market impact could have been devastating. If you have a patent and allow the market to use it for a certain amount of time without ONCE protecting it before it because a standard, then you should lose your freaking patent. PERIOD.

Ok, as I said there is a place for patents, but the bar for truly innovation needs to be higher. Inventing a way to do something that truly was never done before is worthy, inventing a variation of something that is obvious to the technical minded and has been used by others for years in various ways is not.

People were downloading, and resuming downloads 30 years ago, yet we see another patent saying this company invented it. WTF.

But I still don't blame MS for just paying off the little trolls, when it could not only be more money to litigate, but with the bad press they are already battling, somethings are just easier to go away and not have to worry about...

Besides this type of Money to Microsoft is like me spending $45 to get my oil is changed. It isn't that I can't change it myself, just not worth my time...

Re:Burst Vs Microsoft?! (4, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 8 years ago | (#15147104)

heck Win98 Active Desktop/Konfabulator anyone
which was ripped off of Apple System 6, Konfabulator even willingly admitted they based their idea off the older System 6 apps program. Microsoft of course rips everything off of Apple (cough Vista Cough)

Your sig & your moderation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147350)

Hmm.. Are you lying?.. ;P

Re:Burst Vs Microsoft?! (0, Offtopic)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | about 8 years ago | (#15147825)

heck Win98 Active Desktop/Konfabulator anyone
which was ripped off of Apple System 6, Konfabulator even willingly admitted they based their idea off the older System 6 apps program. Microsoft of course rips everything off of Apple (cough Vista Cough)


Wow you sure know your history better than I do. I had NO idea that Apple System 6 had a HTML based Widget technology on the desktop... Especially since HTML didn't exist for 4 years after System 6 was released. So tell me, when did Apple start predicting the future and innovating based on things that didn't exist yet?

The System Applets are NOT desktop components that pull live information from the Internet and can be constructed with an image and a few likes of DHTML. Do you know ANYTHING about what you even take time to post on?

Microsoft of course rips everything off of Apple (cough Vista Cough)

Wow, once again you are right. The vector based composer, and the new 2D/3D object model API that even includes programmable collision detection for UI controls is an EXACT rip off of OSX. Oh wait, these are things OSX will NOT do... Hmm...

Maybe you are confused, maybe you meant Win2k or WindowsXP, oh but wait, the OSX Display Composer didn't get the same features until 10.2 of OSX.

Let me make this really clear for people that don't want to spend TWO minutes reading the articles at wikipedia.com.

Vista's display system and OSX are as different as OSX and Windows 3.1.

Here lets try to show the equal technologies.

GDI/GDI32 in Windows = Display Postscript/Quartz circa OSX 10.0 and 10.1.

GDI+ in Windows 2000 and WindowsXP = Quartz Extreme (with the exception of using GPU textures for the display composition.) Basically meaning OSX just uses the extra RAM through the AGP bus of the Video card for drawing the display. What they both do is use the Video Card's 2D functions for vector processing, and BOTH require the applications to manage the Vector rendering and Paint messages and redrawing of surfaces.

GDI+ in Windows 2000 is feature EQUAL to the Quartz Display system in OSX, and I know Mac users hate to hear this, but go look it up.

Quartz Extreme's only edge over the current GDI+ in Windows (Since 1999) is that it speeds up some of the display operations by using the GPU RAM, but this is only for the final end of the composer, which is just for holding a Bitmap, no 3D UI acceleration, no Vector acceleration from the 3D portion of the GPU, nothing else.

The next in carnation from Apple is Quartz 2D Extreme, but even though Apple tries to bill this as using the GPU for accelerating 2D vector drawing, it doesn't like people would expect. Compare it to Windows2000 or WindowsXP using the NON-3D acceleration features built into video cards that increase display speed. These acceleration features have been in Windows and Video cards used on the PC since the IBM 8514 and ATI Vantage days back in the early 1990s, they are NOT 3D acceleration features.

Now why this history lesson is important.

Vista uses a new Display Composer, and what makes it UNIQUE to ANY Composer for ANY OS made to date is that it is a round trip full Vector level Composer. I.E. The Composer handles 2D and 3D display, redraws, and painting without having to go back to the application, as the new Windows Composer actually store the display information from the applications in both Vector and Bitmap formats, just as the Application had drawn them, instead of just converting the display data all to Bitmaps like OSX and Windows2K/WinXP both do.

This gives the OS the ability to FULLY offset 2D and 3D drawing functions to the 3D portion of the GPU if the Video card supports it, and for Video cards that don't, it software renders them.

So the OS in Vista can actually round trip understand and manage a true XPS/XAML/WPF interface from an application without having to have the application 'compose' the interface to a bitmap.

This is why in OSX, when you do the Genie effect, it is a BITMAP of the application Window that is being animated. In Vista in theory, the Genie effect or comperable in Vista processes the image through the composer and retains all Vector and High Resolution Bitamp information.

People get so off track when trying to understand what is happening with OSX, Win2K, WinXP and now Vista.

Vista also does many other things in the WPF API that just do not exist in a display language API, like not only displaying complex images in high resolution but only understanding animiation and all the application has to do is tell Vista that this Object is Rotating, and Vista handles and RETAINS this animation information in the COMPOSER.

There are also tons of enhancements in Video memory Virtualization and other concepts that won't mean much to users 'at first' but they will get a better experience. These enhancements are also important to developers, as the applications that can be 'easily' built are amazing, you can almost do game level 3D interfaces if you want by only writing some XML/XAML code and plug this into a few lines of CS or VB or whatever your development language is.

So is Vista copying OSX? I don't think so, why would Microsoft want to go back to Windows 2000 technology?

Quartz and Display PDF sound exciting and high resolution, but what people have missed is that Windows and MOST OSes have had this technology for long time. Even Windows 3.1 had GDI and GDI32 in WinNT back in 1992. GDI is an EQUIVALENT display API technology to Quartz and Display PDF even. (Although to be fair, it is more like Display Postscript from that timeframe.) (GDI+ - the new version in Win2k and WinXP are more like Display Postscript/PDF as it exists in OSX, as more advanced fill functions and anti-aliasing are available.)

Stop and think for a second, do you think Windows developers are UNABLE to create EMF/WMF (the file formats from GDI+) and use these technologies in applications like illustrator or Freehand? How do you think Windows developers display Vector data if there was not a GDI engine in Windows.

Sure OSX got an UPDATED Display system called Quartz, but that also doesn't mean a Vector based Display system didn't also exist in Apple System 9 and back, it was called QuickDraw, it just wasn't as advanced as Quartz.

Here is a section from Wikipedia on Quartz, and it is pretty accurate...

Quartz is the marketing name of the graphics layer of the Mac OS X operating system. Quartz is part of the Core Graphics framework. Quartz directly supports Aqua by displaying two-dimensional graphics to create the user interface, including on-the-fly rendering and anti-aliasing. Text can be rendered with sub-pixel precision but graphics are limited to more traditional anti-aliasing, which is optional although the default mode of operation.

Now here is the blurb from Wikipedia on GDI+
With the introduction of Windows XP, GDI was deprecated in favor of its successor, the C++ based GDI+ subsystem. GDI+ is a "next generation" 2D graphics environment, adding advanced features such as alpha blending, gradient shading, more complex path management, intrinsic support for modern graphics-file formats like JPEG and PNG (which were conspicuously absent in GDI), and general support for composition of affine transformations in the 2D view pipeline. Use of these features is apparent in Windows XP's user interface, and their presence in the basic graphics layer greatly simplifies implementations of vector-graphics systems such as Flash or SVG. The GDI+ dynamic library can be shipped with an application and used under older versions of Windows.

The Microsoft .NET class library provides a managed interface for GDI+ via the System.Drawing namespace.

GDI+ is similar (in purpose and structure) to Apple's Quartz 2D subsystem, and the open-source libart and Cairo libraries.


Do you notice, they are basically the same thing.

So now that we took a history technical lesson, people will ask, "Well then why does OSX have more effects and 'pretties' than WinXP?"

It is an easy question, Apple has better graphic designers, PERIOD.

But as for capabilities, WinXP and OSX are equals for technologies to display images. Both OSX and WinXP use bitmaps for all Window Elements, Controls, UI Elements, Icons, etc...

But I do agree, OSX is prettier than WinXP most of the time.

PS I hope my responses at the begining of this post are taken in fun, as they are not a personal attack, but my odd sense of humor in play.

Re:Burst Vs Microsoft?! (2, Informative)

sh00z (206503) | about 8 years ago | (#15148123)

Wow you sure know your history better than I do. I had NO idea that Apple System 6 had a HTML based Widget technology on the desktop... Especially since HTML didn't exist for 4 years after System 6 was released. So tell me, when did Apple start predicting the future and innovating based on things that didn't exist yet?
I rather think he does know his history better than you do. Hypertext (the 'H' in HTML) was inspired by Apple's Hypercard software [w3.org] . Tim Berners Lee's innovation, of course, was to place everything out on the Internet. So, yes, System 6 had the equivalent of HTML-based widgets on the desktop. I was using Hypercard in 1987 to animate Excel charts.

Re:Burst Vs Microsoft?! (3, Funny)

saddino (183491) | about 8 years ago | (#15148185)

Wow you sure know your history better than I do. I had NO idea that Apple System 6 had a HTML based Widget technology on the desktop...

LOL. By your own argument you admit that Dashboard ("HTML based Widget technology") is NOT a ripoff of Konfabulator ("XML based Widget technology"). So, which one is it?

Re:Burst Vs Microsoft?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147138)

well said.

Re:Burst Vs Microsoft?! (1)

FluffyArmada (715337) | about 8 years ago | (#15147731)

Please... I really don't think Apple copied konfabulator. I know they copy stuff, but please don't use that as an argument. I'm not trying to be sarcastic or rude, but I think Desk Accessories came first. :)
Desk Accessories [wikipedia.org]

Re:Burst Vs Microsoft?! (1)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | about 8 years ago | (#15147898)

I really don't think Apple copied konfabulator. I know they copy stuff, but please don't use that as an argument.

But sadly they did, and both Konfabulator and Apple are copies of ideas that started on Win98.

Here is what was different, Win98 introduced something called Active Desktop (not a wonderful idea, but it worked.) What this did was allow you to take any web page or design any type of Web page or 'gadget' that was LIVE to the internet, and would update the weather or time or news and display them on your desktop.

The two key things here are:
Any type of Web Page technology (HTML, DHTML, JAVA, whatever) that is easy to use to create 'gadgets' that displayed on the desktop.
Live Gadgets that were fully internet aware, and could even run from the internet.

The Konfabulator widgets also use this simple concept, with the except they add in blended backgrounds to the gadgets, which wasn't easily possible in Win98.

And sadly, Apple copied Konfabulator, in fact too close of a copy even, instead of buying them out, which would have been more ethical.

Re:Burst Vs Microsoft?! (1)

Keeper (56691) | about 8 years ago | (#15147326)

At the time, I seem to recall everyone posting here thinking that Microsoft was going to get their ass kicked in the court trial because emails deleted due to corporate data retention rules were, well, deleted. Apparently Microsoft agreed because they settled.

Now, given that this is Slashdot afterall, the story you hear is "Microsoft gave Burst money so they could sue Apple."

Gotta love the twists and turns of the "everything Microsoft does or doesn't do is evil" reasoning.

Re:Burst Vs Microsoft?! (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 8 years ago | (#15147542)

I think they paid $60 M and tipped their lawyers "You know, that Apple.. Anyway, nevermind".. :)

Not worthy of a patent (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 8 years ago | (#15147056)

I went and read some of their docs and went through their technology presentation. What their incredible solutions is: redundant server setup with a separate distributor server that "tells" the client software which of the servers is least loaded, and buffering of video (or what they call it is faster-than-realtime "bursting" and "caching"). That's it.

They have their right to offer their products on the market, but there's totally nothing worthy of patenting and licensing there, so no wonder both Microsoft and Apple turned them down.

This is the sad story of a company with an actual product that turned into a patent troll, simply since being a patent troll pays better.

Re:Not worthy of a patent (2, Funny)

protich (961854) | about 8 years ago | (#15147086)

M$ is in-love with the technology. In fact they "donated" $60M for such inovative technology.

Re:Not worthy of a patent (1)

hackstraw (262471) | about 8 years ago | (#15147642)

What their incredible solutions is: redundant server setup with a separate distributor server that "tells" the client software which of the servers is least loaded, and buffering of video

But load balancing and buffering is new, right?

I mean, look for yourself and go and download one of their excellent products, and just pay for it already:

http://burst.com/new/promo/main.htm [burst.com]

Re:Not worthy of a patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147721)

While I was thinking the exact same thing at first, check out one of the first few threads on this story, which reiterates how old this patent is. Maybe it's obvious to us now in 2006, since that's "just how things are always done," but you probably have to look at whether it was an obvious step to take then.

Upon further thought, it's not so clear these guys are just trolling.

I don't mean to troll... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147082)

But can someone, ANYONE tell me why this is interesting? I'm a freaking apple fanboy and can't find anything of interest in this story.

Better than NTP though... (4, Interesting)

Btarlinian (922732) | about 8 years ago | (#15147101)

It may seem like Burst.com is simply another NTP or patent troll, but I don't think that's really true. They actually did have a product but were driven out of the market by MS and WMP

And while their technologies may seem obvious now, they may not have been so obvious when they patented them. In fact, during the tech bubble, many though Burst would be another hot company. In fact, they argue that they were driven out of business because windows media player purposely was built to be incompatible with their technology (this is second hand information not verified by me.)

I'm not sure if Burst.com actually deserves to have these patents or win these lawsuits, but it definitely seems more justified than NTP in suing MS and now Apple

Re:Better than NTP though... NOT (2, Insightful)

sreekotay (955693) | about 8 years ago | (#15147988)

No, this is exactly the problem with the system being date and prior art obsessed - patents are supposed to be about INNOVATION, not discovery (i.e. Einstein, not Columbus).

Burst may have been the first to suggest those ideas, but mostly because they were (among) the first to LOOK at those problems - that does NOT make it novel Intellectual Property. When *everyone* else looked at the same problems, they arrive at (basically) the same solutions.
--
graphicallyspeaking [kotay.com]

Lawsuit mushroom clouds rise over remains of USA's (5, Interesting)

NZheretic (23872) | about 8 years ago | (#15147127)

Lawsuit mushroom clouds rise over the remains of USA's Tech industries.

The USA will fall behind because ever more intellectual property will be locked up behind a multitude of corporations and individuals effectively ruled by lawyers who are more interested in earning legal fees rather than bothering to actually manufacture anything.

Other Governments and Europe's bureaucracies will not hesitate to forcibly acquire the necessary intellectual property needed get things done for large projects

Other countries and even Europe's parliament will also not hesitate to adopt more liberal intellectual property structures if you demonstrate [wiki.ffii.de] that doing so will better benefit their economies as a whole, instead of just a few major corporations.

The USA administration and even more myopic major corporations will continue to let more and more manufacturing, service industry and development to be off-shored resulting in importing permanent poverty into the USA.

You want to see the future of the USA? Visit the remnants of Detroit motor city works, Ye Mighty, and despair

Now you know what it's like to be British (1)

kt0157 (830611) | about 8 years ago | (#15147260)

>You want to see the future of the USA? Visit the remnants of Detroit motor city works, Ye Mighty, and despair

It's tragic when you lose an empire, isn't it? The Brits used to rule a quarter of the globe and now.. Let's hope the US decline can be managed as peacefully. Somehow, though, I fear there is going to be a lot of thrashing about militarily and people are going to get hurt.

K.

Re:Now you know what it's like to be British (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147354)

The Brits used to rule a quarter of the globe and now.. Let's hope the US decline can be managed as peacefully.

Peacefully? You do remember that when Britain pulled out of India, millions of people died as Pakistan and Bangladesh split off?

Re:Now you know what it's like to be British (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147407)

Well compared to the death throes of the other empires it was relatively peaceful. Anyway, they chose to split off - no one forced them to.

Re:Now you know what it's like to be British (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147872)

But they were brown people.

Re:Lawsuit mushroom clouds rise over remains of US (2, Funny)

ocelotbob (173602) | about 8 years ago | (#15147371)

You mean the detroit with $1.64 billion in construction projects going on right now? [mortcrim.com] . You fail to understand the American nature to adapt and change. Detroit was wounded, seriously, but is recovering. The US economy as a whole is similarly reactive and resiliant. We're not some pissy little island dependent on resources, we've adapted once and we can do it again.

Re:Lawsuit mushroom clouds rise over remains of US (1, Offtopic)

nagora (177841) | about 8 years ago | (#15147428)

We're not some pissy little island dependent on resources

Tell that to Iraq.

TWW

This is good, piss off the big companies some more (3, Insightful)

Nice2Cats (557310) | about 8 years ago | (#15147188)

This is a good thing: Every time some little company pisses off some big player like Microsoft, IBM or Apple with some inane patent thing, it pushes the big companies (and their army of Washington lobbyists) one step closer to realizing just how screwed up the American patent system is. Of course it would help if the people in Congress had a clue, but every little bit helps.

Re:This is good, piss off the big companies some m (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 8 years ago | (#15147557)

Yeah, unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Companies like IBM and Microsoft [for instance] are proud of their patent portfolios and even have hall of fames for people with the most patents. They patent every incremental improvement to any process they perform just as a means to screw over any possible competitor.

Tom

software patents (3, Insightful)

sentientbrendan (316150) | about 8 years ago | (#15147278)

The way I see it is that there are currently just too many patentables in computer software. Some reform is needed, such as not allowing companies to patent "operation X, which is old, *applied to* market Y which is new" type patents, which are the real stupid ones. However, the majority of annoying patents like this will go away, because such a mass of prior art will exist, that you can be pretty much guaranteed that someone will have done something like it before unless it is truly inventive. That's not to say that bad patents won't be granted, but it will become pretty easy to get lawsuits like this dismissed with a little research.

Does anyone else see this optimistic view of the future? Am I just naive?

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15147567)

If this were a patent squatter company then you would think that they would hoard all that cash that MSFT gave them in the settlement. They didn't and infact gave most of it away to their shareholders as a special dividend. You wanna know the yield? 45.45 %! The reason why MSFT settled is because they didn't want to have to fork out billions to BURST. I expect apple to come to the same conclusion.

MSFT almost put this company out of business. They went from hundreds of staff to just 2 staff, over the course of their patent litigation suit against MSFT. This company ain't no SCO.

Cringely on Burst (1)

qazwart (261667) | about 8 years ago | (#15147754)

Cringely wrote about Microsoft vs. Burst back in June 2002 and August 2003. This provides some background on Burst and their lawsuit against Apple:

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20020620. html>
http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20030821. html>
http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20030828. html>

Also some "Cringely vs. Microsoft" discussions:

Microsoft responds to Cringely:
http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interes ting-people/200309/msg00116.html>

Cringely responds to Microsoft's response:
http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interes ting-people/200309/msg00123.html>

More Burst Heresay... (1)

brindle (8241) | about 8 years ago | (#15148084)

In 2001 I worked with a software engineer that had just left Burst.com after they shut down. He had put his entire 401k (~$200k) into the company in exchange for interest (stock) in the company. As I recall, he said that Burst was working with Microsoft and they were going to use Burst's streaming media technology. Microsoft, in the end, decided not to go with Burst and implmented their own streaming media technology.

I do recall that he said that they had some great technology. Too bad it took so long to sort this out. I doubt this guy ever will get back the money he put into Burst.

-b
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