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Bluetooth Lawsuit

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the sue-everyone dept.

Patents 87

Krish writes "The Seattle Times reports that a local Washington state group is suing cellphone makers for patent infringement on bluetooth devices. Research conducted by a University of Washington undergraduate more than a decade ago has become the subject of a lawsuit filed against some of the largest cellphone manufacturers in the world. The suit claims that consumer electronics giant Matsushita and its Panasonic unit, as well as Samsung and Nokia, are infringing on four patents sold under the 'Bluetooth' name."

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how stupid are these people?! (5, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454238)

I think there should be a certain time limit set on patent infringement cases called "the dumbass period" where after that time has passed, you're a complete dumbass for just realizing the patent infringement then and your case is automatically thrown out. Unless he was stuck in a desert island for the last couple years and just got rescued, he or the group or whatever should stop this pathetic attempt at scamming some money from companies.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17454288)

If it's a legitimate complaint and the companies ARE infringing on the patents then how is it scamming?

Re:how stupid are these people?! (5, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454362)

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THE LAST COUPLE YEARS?! They wait until the company is huge and has tons of money THEN sue them because they can make the most money off it, aka scamming. DUH, dozens of people have tried to get away with that. Remember Ebay's buy it now option? Oh yeah, I'm sure they just realized Ebay was using it like 4 years later. More like they waited and waited saying "they're not quite rich enough yet" then sued them. It's only a matter of time before someone jumps up and says "Hey, I patented a technique for waiting until an infringing company is rich then suing them" and gets all the scammers' money.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17454788)

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

scam [skam] noun, verb, scammed, scamming.
noun 1. a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, esp. for making a quick profit; swindle.
verb (used with object) 2. to cheat or defraud with a scam.

There's no fraud going on here. As strange as it may seem, it's not the patent owner's fault if the infringer didn't do their research and the patent owner either didn't know or didn't bother to sue until significantly after the infringement happened.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (2, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454828)

oh that is such a fraudlent scheme to make a quick profit. It's one thing to realize some small company on the other side of the country is using a rare technology that you invented and patented but it's another to live in the US, have studied and made breakthroughs in the technology, and then not know for years that cell phones used blinking lights for bluetooth. You'd have to have never watched TV, never seen anyone use a cell phone for that, never own a cell phone yourself, never go to a place where the sell cell phones, and never used a lot of the internet. So as soon as being in a coma and desert islands are ruled out, the person ignored it on purpose until now.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (0, Troll)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454976)

The grandparent is correct. This is ordinary, lawful behavior, not "scamming", since the financial history and current success of the defendants is irrelevant. If that's allowed to have anything to do with it, then something's very wrong.

I daresay you'd file a suit yourself if you held a patent that you knew several cellphone manufacturers were infringing. Most people can easily justify something like that.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (2, Interesting)

WgT2 (591074) | more than 7 years ago | (#17457798)

What the nay-sayers above fail to realize is this:

are infringing on four patents sold under the "Bluetooth" name. (emphasis mine)

Meaning: the patents have been there and these companies, knowingly or not, have created products that infringe on the patents and have called it "Bluetooth". Whether it falls under the "Bluetooth" standard or not, these patents, they feel, apply to their chips.

Also, should they have read the article, they might have realized that licensing has been sought, and gained, with other companies and that this lawsuit would somewhat be wasting time if they haven't already sought such licensing with the companies they are currently suing. (INAL, but I would think the courts would require 'reasonable' pursuit of resolution prior to bring a lawsuit).

latches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17455420)

It's not called scamming, but it may in fact cost them the case [converium.com] . Sure a patent is valid for 20 years, but waiting a long time to enforce it could lose your rights to it early under US law [taint.org] .

Re:how stupid are these people?! (5, Insightful)

modecx (130548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455818)

This is not fraud as the GP asserts, this is true. However, I think this deal closely mirrors an extortion scheme, as do many other patent cases. Here we have an IEEE standard that is supported by entire industries, and the firm holding the universities' patents has decided to wait nearly a decade after devices using "their" technology have proliferated around the world, with shipments in the millions. You don't think they could have brought this little snag up a little sooner? Face it, they were waiting for the phenomenon to snowball, just so they could do precisely what they're trying to do now--trying to rake in the millions, with little to no effort spent on actually developing a product--which is a difficult and risky venture.

The fact this sort of bullying is legal does not make it right. In this field, one would need a fleet of patent lawyers to determine if one's invention is unique and non-obvious, and even then, chances are that your lawyer armada isn't exactly right on everything, because patents are purposefully written to obfuscate their meanings and expand their scope. In this way, the system that was designed to promote development of useful technologies has been hobbled by its own virtues. It *should* be illegal to intimidate people with torpedo tactics like this. They're exploiting the system, and the acceptance of these practices have fucked the system over.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (1)

kibbylow (257730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458004)

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THE LAST COUPLE YEARS?! They wait until the company is huge and has tons of money THEN sue them because...

I don't really understand this kind of reaction. Everyone needs to keep in mind that this is the first news that WE are hearing. Before a lawsuit even happens there are possibly YEARS of negotiations. It usually goes something like this:

1 - Patent holder is granted the patent
2 - years pass, patent infringer starts using the patented technology
3 - years pass, patent holder finds out someone is infringing on his patent and contacts the infringer to negotiate some kind of deal
4 - patent infringer tells the holder to go to hell
5 - after a few years of back and forth, patent holder sues the infringer

There is. Its called LACHES! (4, Informative)

RITMaloney (928883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454780)

There is. Its called LACHES!

http://www.converium.com/2103.asp [converium.com]

Re:There is. Its called LACHES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17455314)

Laches is not a hard and fast rule, but it does set the time period at six years. Since the patent referenced elsewhere was granted in 2003, they actually had another 2 years to file before laches became an issue -- and that's assuming that they were manufacturing at the time the patent was issued.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17455308)

But you make more money after people have shipped millions of infringing devices ;) Why do you think suits take so long to surface?

Re:how stupid are these people?! (3, Informative)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455436)

I tend to agree with that assessment. In this case, however, it's not the Bluetooth protocol that's infringing, it's the hardware implementation (i.e. the chips) that are apparently infringing. Realizing that said chips were infringing your patents would probably be a non-trivial thing to discover. From the article:

He said a number of the Bluetooth chipset manufacturers appeared to be infringing on the patent. One company, Irvine, Calif.-based Broadcom, agreed to license the technology. Another company CSR of Cambridge, United Kingdom, did not, Reagh said.

The second company, CSR, sells their chips to the cell phone makers who are being sued.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17456858)

Excellent point. Discovering infringement of patents that cover integrated circuit internals is EXTREMELY difficult.

Decapping an IC properly and analyzing the internal circuitry is extremely expensive and time consuming. I wouldn't be surprised if they had spent 2-3 years simply determining whether the chips infringed or not. Of course, by that time the chips would be replaced with new models and UW would have to either:
a) Prove the new chips were designed similarly to the old ones
b) Seek only damages for past products sold and not licensing/royalties for future products

Re:how stupid are these people?! (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459174)

Excellent point. Discovering infringement of patents that cover integrated circuit internals is EXTREMELY difficult.

Decapping an IC properly and analyzing the internal circuitry is extremely expensive and time consuming. I wouldn't be surprised if they had spent 2-3 years simply determining whether the chips infringed or not. Of course, by that time the chips would be replaced with new models and UW would have to either:
a) Prove the new chips were designed similarly to the old ones
b) Seek only damages for past products sold and not licensing/royalties for future products


c) Sue for past damages and seek discovery of current IC design as a reasonable recourse, since it can be shown they infringed in the past, and therefor might currently be infringing.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17463518)

Good point.

Still, an expensive and time-consuming process to start.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17457606)

Dumb question: Why are the cell phone makers sued and not the company that actually sells the infringing chips to them?

Re:how stupid are these people?! (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17460150)

I believe it is because the chip makers do not have a "presence" in the USA, where the patent is enforceable. As the cell phone makers do have a "presence", they can be sued.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17466360)

Is this why MS threatens the possbility of end users being sued for IP infringement in Linux - Linux is "made elsewhere" (ie eg Europe) where patents aren't enforceable (yet) and as such MS cousldn't go after the makers?

Re:how stupid are these people?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17488390)

Well, usually the patents are valid also worldwide. It's just that in the USA market
the judy usually gives much better money in court from the patents than in other areas of the world.

statute of limitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17455510)

there is a "dumbass period." it's also known as the statute of limitations.

I think (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17457028)

the descendants of the king of Denmark should sue because they are using his name without permission. LOL.... I wish I was a judge sometimes, so I could clean up the docket that has all of these stupid lawsuits pending.....

Re:how stupid are these people?! (1)

sideswipe76 (689578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17457526)

I am not sure if it's actually written into law, but routinely that very concept is brought up in court and the grounds that the patent holder has failed to enforce his rights and has thus forfeit them. I mean, it's not like bluetooth on a cell phone is a secret. It's advertised and sold on almost every phone by almost every provider.

Re:how stupid are these people?! (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17457548)

He said a number of the Bluetooth chipset manufacturers appeared to be infringing on the patent. One company, Irvine, Calif.-based Broadcom, agreed to license the technology. Another company CSR of Cambridge, United Kingdom, did not, Reagh said.

Matsushita, Samsung and Nokia are some of CSR's largest customers, said WRF attorney Steven Lisa. Instead of suing CSR, he said the organization decided to act against the handset makers because the chipset manufacturer may not know which chips are headed to the United States, where the patent is enforceable, but the device-maker would.


So they HAVE been enforcing the patent. And a US based chip manufaturer (Broadcom, a anme most of us are familiar with) DID license from them (IANAL but I think this gives them a leg to stand on). However a UK based one did not (After all, the patent is only valid in the US, and I am willing to be the same patent is held by some one else outside of the us).

So the question is:
Can you sell imported items that violate a patent in the US, but are covered by some one elses in the UK (do we have any sort of trade agreements that cover things like this?).

Go Cougers! (-1, Offtopic)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454246)

I bet the money extracted from this will be spent on sports.

Re:Go Cougers! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17454378)

The UW is the Huskies.

Re:Go Cougers! (2, Informative)

ReverendRyan (582497) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454384)

You've confused UW [wikipedia.org] and WSU [wikipedia.org] . University of Washington is where Pine was developed and the student in TFA studied. Washington State University ('wazzu') is where the drinking and sports occur.

Re:Go Cougers! (0, Offtopic)

nxtr (813179) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454618)

The parent is obviously drunk. Someone needs to call child services.

Re:Go Cougers! (0, Offtopic)

jt2377 (933506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454818)

Go blackmail! b.s. is flying out of that school.

Re:Go Cougers! (0, Offtopic)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454986)

I love the way you spelled your subject... You obviously Coug'd it...

Re:Go Cougars! (0, Offtopic)

dgbrownnt (1012901) | more than 7 years ago | (#17456266)

That's why I prefer the Ducks. Only one vowel, less chance of messing it up :-P

Re:Go Cougers! (1, Offtopic)

supersat (639745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455046)

Actually, the athletics department is self-supporting. They don't receive any money from tuition, royalties, etc.

The University policy on IP revenue is here [washington.edu] , but after administrative expenses are deducted, it basically boils down to 1/3rd going to the inventor, 1/3rd going to the department the inventor works in, and 1/3rd goes into University-wide research funds.

the patent (5, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454268)

the article was kind of vague. this [google.com] is the patent in question. Personally, it seems kind of obvious, but that's how it goes.

Re:the patent (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454488)

Really? Because this patent has its:

Filing date: Oct 27, 2001
Issue date: Oct 7, 2003
How can bluetooth infringe this patent when it was out in the late 90's iirc

Re:the patent (2, Insightful)

chillax137 (612431) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454630)

They are not filing suit against Bluetooth. UW is filing suit against chipmakers that are using the Bluetooth protocol. There is something in the design of these chips (created by third parties) that they are claiming is violating their patent.

UW !Suing Bluetooth or chipmakers.... (2, Informative)

kanani (882288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455232)

actually, from TFA they are suing the handset makers, not the chipset manufacturers. "Matsushita, Samsung and Nokia are some of CSR's largest customers, said WRF attorney Steven Lisa. Instead of suing CSR, he said the organization decided to act against the handset makers because the chipset manufacturer may not know which chips are headed to the United States, where the patent is enforceable, but the device-maker would."

Re:the patent (4, Informative)

Hirsto (601188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455238)

The patent you linked to is a "continuation in part" of patent 6427068 which is a divisional patent of 5937341. This original patent was filed Sept. 13 1996 and granted Aug. 10 1999. The original patent was also titled "Simplified high frequency tuner and tuning methods" which appears to show a very low cost method tuning/conversion/image rejection and digital signal recovery. The DSP techniques described (modified type III Hilbert transform pair) seem to be where the action is but most of what is described appears to be very similar to what I studied in my undergrad Communication Theory coursework 20 years ago on quadrature systems. If they can prove that Blue Tooth infringes on the claims of the 1999 patent and that their patent is valid then they are "in the money". Their patent is probably good as Broadcom has already licensed the patent to avoid damages. Nokia, Samsung and Matsushita probably have big targets on their backs now as their bluetooth vendor refused to license.

Re:the patent (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17456888)

I would need to read the patent more to comment on it, but while the individual techniques are all well-known, the architecture of the whole receiver seems to be what this covers.

To me it looks like a very narrow patent, it would be extremely difficult to prove that an IC used this particular architecture, and would be reasonably easy to work around I think.

Sort of like how no one can patent a wheel (prior art) or a tire (prior art), but Goodyear could patent a specific tread pattern or novel method of manufacturing tires. A perfectly valid patent, but not as valid as having a broad patent on the wheel.

Re:the patent (1)

Xanius (955737) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458328)

That's exactly the groups point though. The article points out that it's easy to do it in a non-infringing way or get the chips from broadcom. Since the companies wouldn't do either of those they are filing a suit.

Not "Bluetooth" (1)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466704)

The university didn't patent bluetooth per se, but a certain way of doing something. Maybe it was the particular design of the radio antenna on a chip, which may be able to be done several ways. All bluetooth devices don't necessarily infringe on the patent.

And if you follow Microsoft's thinking, they could go after any company that has bought any bluetooth hardware, not just the manufacturers or distributors.

Re:the patent (1)

Coffee.RF (1024145) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454930)

I would agree that it seems a little obvious, but have to admit, it's really good work for a student... The article mentions 4 patents, it would be interesting to know the other three.

Are you sure? (1)

Reemi (142518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455720)

From the link:

Patent number: 6631256
Filing date: Oct 27, 2001
Issue date: Oct 7, 2003

Oct 27, 2001 is more than a decade ago? I'd suspect this is not the patent being discussed.

We're probably talking about a few of the older ones (didn't read them, only a quick search on the authors name)

6,631,256 Simplified high frequency tuner and tuning method
6,427,068 Simplified high frequency tuner and tuning method
6,069,913 Method and apparatus for determining an identifying bit sequence in a radio frequency waveform
6,052,748 Analog reconstruction of asynchronously sampled signals from a digital signal processor
5,937,341 Simplified high frequency tuner and tuning method
5,926,513 Receiver with analog and digital channel selectivity

Re:the patent (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459060)

Isn't claim 1 of that patent superheterodyning, with the slight addition (also not novel) that you can choose the upper image or the lower image?

What patent does it infringe on (1)

rminsk (831757) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454282)

The article is a bit light on details. The only mention I can find is "The patents trace back to Ed Suominen, a student who was studying radio design at the University of Washington before receiving a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1995." What specific invention did the cellphone manufacturers infringe on? Why did they wait so long to file suit?

Suominen's patents (1)

XNormal (8617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455550)

Here are Suominen's patents [google.com] on Google Patents. The relevant WU patent seems to be 6,631,256: Simplified high frequency tuner and tuning method.

It's a design for an image-rejecting mixer with low intermediate frequency. It's not specific to bluetooth but the type of RF tricks used in this patent are important for building a receiver on a silicon chip while minimizing the number of external analog components.

congrats citizens of Washington (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17454308)

Your tax dollars hard at work!!

Timing of Patent (1)

ThePopeLayton (868042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454326)

It is interesting to note; however, that the discussed patent was filed AFTER the blue tooth protocol was established and decided upon.

Re:Timing of Patent (5, Interesting)

ThePopeLayton (868042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454368)

The patent was filed in 2001 and granted in 2003, however, bluetooth [wikipedia.org] was developed in 1994 and formally announced in 1998. It seems kind of backwards to me that someone would try to patent technology that has been circulating for a few years, let alone that someone would grant said patent.

Re:Timing of Patent (4, Informative)

Utopia (149375) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454666)

Bluetooth is a protocol it doesn't describe the hardware implementation.
The said patent seems to be hardware related.

Re:Timing of Patent (1)

Lonath (249354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454756)

Bluetooth is a protocol it doesn't describe the hardware implementation.
The said patent seems to be hardware related


But isn't the old pro-software patent argument that hardware=software? So once you've described it in any way, that would count as prior art for hardware or software or anything in between?

Re:Timing of Patent (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17456376)

Not unless the software modelled the task using the same mechanism as the hardware, which is unlikely. The fact that two things do the same thing is not necessarily patent-infringing, only that they do it in the same way.

The patent appears to be on hardware mechanisms which would be useful in making a Bluetooth component. As far as I can tell these mechanisms are not required for a compliant Bluetooth implementation, they just help make a good implementation. The claim seems to be that a chip provider used by the companies being sued is using these patented hardware mechanisms without licensing them, not that all Bluetooth implementations are infringing. Seems strange they're not going straight to the chip manufacturer though.

Re:Timing of Patent (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454700)

Bluetooth is a fairly loose protocol in a lot of ways. It's conceivable that certain implementations of Bluetooth could infringe on patents. In fact, the article supports this:

"You can find a way to do it [use Bluetooth] that doesn't infringe on the patents, or you can buy it from Broadcom. That's why WRF is not going to sit back and let it go without it being addressed," Lisa said. Seems obvious that a specific implementation of Bluetooth could infringe on patents filed after the Bluetooth standard was created.

Re:Timing of Patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17455076)

That's because USPTO is so backlogged they only have time to read the abstract part of an application before they grant it.

Re:Timing of Patent (2, Informative)

supersat (639745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455114)

If you look at the first page of the 2003 patent, it says that the patent is a continuation of another [google.com] (filed in 1999), which is a division from an application filed in 1996, which became this patent [google.com] . So, they started the ball rolling in 1996. The details make my eyes glaze over, so I'm not sure how different the patents are, but on the surface, they appear to be based on the same research. It's possible that the patent system moves to slowly that it wasn't until 2003 that the research was fully covered.

Check the dates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17455664)

Patent asked '98 granted '99.

Hardware designed '94 released '98.

So, even if you take it that the date to use is the grant/release date, the hardware was out before the patent was granted (and maybe a year before).

So we still have the question: how can a patent released after the hardware implementing it be infringed by that hardware?

Re:Timing of Patent (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459892)

Simple. They have not patented Bluetooth or anything related to the protocol itself, but have patented a specific way of designing an RF receiver.

That specific way is not specified in the Bluetooth protocol.

Also, this patent isn't limited in any way to Bluetooth only. It can be applied to any RF receiver that is designed in a similar way for any protocol.

Likewise, a Bluetooth chipset manufacturer can choose a receiver architecture that doesn't infringe on this patent. It just may suffer from reduced performance or increased cost. I haven't had time to read the details of the patent, but from what I've seen and other have said, the patent is on a method of implementing an RF receiver in silicon that reduces the number of external analog components needed (and hence the cost) without a significant negative impact on performance.

Whoever submitted the article was an idiot. There is nothing Bluetooth-specific about these patents, and you can't sell a patent under a brand name.

You can sell (or give) ownership of a patent to another entity
You can license the right to use the patent to another entity

Stupid Patents (1)

Fooker (656693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454346)

God i hate all these people who have the most simple, easy to come to conclusion implimentation patents. It just pisses me off big time that company's patent this stuff and then cry wolf when someone else comes to the same conclusion on their own. It's just someone wanting to make money and nothing more.

Re:Stupid Patents (2, Insightful)

rainwater (530678) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454380)

These patents in question are certainly not simple. Perhaps you should try reading them? Whether or not they infringe is a different story.

Re:Stupid Patents (2, Insightful)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454774)

When you say "not simple" do you mean "written in dense legalese which would be useless for recreating the 'invention'" or "an invention that is not stupidly obvious"?

Just wondering; seemed kinda vague :]

Re:Stupid Patents (1)

Fooker (656693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455338)

This case isn't the perfect example of something "simple", but it's what prompted me to say something about it. I just hate it when someone patents a "technique" or something that is something that everone, given they are looking for a way to do something, would come up with pretty easily on their own. Much like these damn bio-tech company's and schools that are doing gene research who are getting patents on gene sequences that naturally occure in the human body. How the hell can they patent that stuff? Just becuase you were the first to map it doesn't give you the right to stop someone else from using that sequence for something in some sorta cure for something else.

Re:Stupid Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17456282)

Why are all modern patents are virtually impossible to read? Apparently the patent office only accepts patents in a type of ciphertext that must be encoded from plain English by an encryption device called a "lawyer". Normal humans then require another "lawyer" to get the plaintext back. Unfortunately the cost of a CPU second of a lawyer is very high, making reading and writing patents prohibitively expensive.

Isn't the invention supposed to be patently obvious? If you need a lawyer to understand something, it's stretching the definition a bit.

Re:Stupid Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17455750)

'Company's' suggests belonging. You wanted 'companies'.

bluetooth is an IP minefield anyway (0)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454394)

The whole spec that is bluetooth is basically an IP disaster as it is anyway. Even proper hardware [enrii.com] isn't immune from the dreaded "license error of death".

Re:bluetooth is an IP minefield anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17454994)

you are wrong. That's a common bluetooth *windows* driver being broken. bluez rocks.

Why do they suck so much? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455216)

The Windows Bluetooth drivers definitely do seem to be an absolute disaster, at least as far as the WIDCOMM ones are concerned. AFAIK, the problem arises because the WIDCOMM driver (which is made by someone other than the hardware manufacturer -- the HW mfrs. just toss it in as an alternative to rolling their own) use the hardware ID of the BT device as part of license enforcement. But a lot of cheap BT devices seem to have zeroed-out hardware IDs, plus the driver doesn't seem to be too good about realizing when you've moved the same BT dongle from one computer to the other, or replaced an old one with a new one, etc., and generally it causes no end of grief.

But the question that I immediately start wondering is: "why is everyone using these WIDCOMM drivers?" It seems like they suck royally. But Microsoft has a separate BT stack, I believe, and obviously Apple has one as well (since I have a dongle plugged into my G5 which works perfectly). And if I'm not mistaken, somewhere in Linux there must be a Bluetooth stack that's GPL. (Actually a quick Google seems to turn up three distinct Linux BT stacks.) So it seems pretty clear that the WIDCOMM stack is inferior. Why are people tolerating it? And why are the manufacturers paying WIDCOMM for something that's otherwise free? (Are the Linux BT stacks patent-encumbered a la LAME, and have to be built up from source or something?)

You'd think Microsoft would step in here and produce a software stack that doesn't suck, because from where I'm sitting, it looks like a major point to MacOS for "just working" again. (And possibly to Linux too, but I've never tried using Bluetooth there.) Allowing people to produce shoddy, cut-rate products makes the platform look bad, and Windows isn't so big as to be immune from the cumulative effects of a million crummy devices.

Re:Why do they suck so much? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455920)

``So it seems pretty clear that the WIDCOMM stack is inferior. Why are people tolerating it? And why are the manufacturers paying WIDCOMM for something that's otherwise free?''

Well, these are the same people that use Windows. You could ask the same questions about that...

reminds me of qualcomm (4, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454412)

If I recall, the US govt paid Qualcomm over 100 million dollars to do R&D on RF technology for military communications. Then just as the technology started to become developed in the market, they patented the shit out of everything to do with CDMA. I always thought that was sort of unfair, after all my tax money paid for that R&D, and even if it didn't - it seemed like there was incentive was already out and that it was going to be invented anyhow,

Re:reminds me of qualcomm (4, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 7 years ago | (#17455172)

If I recall, the US govt paid Qualcomm over 100 million dollars to do R&D on RF technology for military communications.

If Qualcomm did the R&D work as part of an open bid contract to develop a product or provide service to the government AND the product or service was indeed provided on time and per the terms of the agreement then I am not against Qualcomm profiting from their work on the contract in future dealings. However, if this money was given as a grant or the product or service was NOT delivered as per the terms of the agreement then Qualcomm has some explaining to do.

Then just as the technology started to become developed in the market, they patented the shit out of everything to do with CDMA.

If the entire arrangement was above board (which it probably was not) then there is no problem with this, especially if Qualcomm had language in the contract stating that they had the right to patent any technology that came out of the research (probably in return for granting a perpetual license to the government). However, I am generally against funding research projects with public money (there are too many projects that would want funding) and especially when the project could feasibly be funded with private investment. This is the reason why I voted AGAINST the stem cell research bonds here in California. If the investors feel so poorly about an opportunity that they do not want to risk their own money then why should the public be forced to take that risk? It is also the case, as you have already said, that if the risk DOES pay off then the public gets screwed out of their rightful return on the investment. The same thing goes for airline bailouts and most other forms of corporate charity. If the taxpayers do not share in the rewards then why should we share in the pain when these business ventures fail?

I always thought that was sort of unfair, after all my tax money paid for that R&D, and even if it didn't - it seemed like there was incentive was already out and that it was going to be invented anyhow.

It is unfair and if something is really that worthwhile then there usually is enough incentive already out there for private investment to develop it. The few projects that are left (i.e. stem cell research, farm products research, and other bogus or risky projects funded by taxpayers) are usually lemons or very risky (junk bond type investments with high risks and long payoff horizons) and the public gets stuck holding the bag.

Re:reminds me of qualcomm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17457474)

Yup, lets cut all pie in the sky R&D. The corps already don't do it, so lets stop the gov too.

People like you are why we've screwed ourselves bad in research for the past two decades, and continue to be screwed. Lets coast on what we have! The empire will always remain the strongest!

Yeah right.

Re:reminds me of qualcomm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17457482)

This is the reason why I voted AGAINST the stem cell research bonds here in California. If the investors feel so poorly about an opportunity that they do not want to risk their own money then why should the public be forced to take that risk?

Because some things (including quality of life) should not have a price. Companies exist to make money, and that's all there is to it. Some research fields should be protected from capitalism because a lack of profitability does not mean a lack of virtuousness.

Re:reminds me of qualcomm (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 7 years ago | (#17461534)

Because some things (including quality of life) should not have a price.

This is a common sentiment among the left and it sounds good during an election year (i.e. won't somebody please think of the children?), but it is not grounded in the reality of a world with limited resources and competing priorities. The chance that any individual citizen will ultimately benefit from stem cell research, for example, is so small relative to the cost of the research and the probability that the research will not turn up anything substantially useful, at least in the short term, that most rational people (i.e. people who think with their head when it comes to the spending of their money) would elect not to fund the research at this time. The expectation of a return on their investment given the amount of risk and the expense is simply too low and we would be happier spending our limited resources on other priorities.

Companies exist to make money, and that's all there is to it.

I agree no question about that...

Some research fields should be protected from capitalism because a lack of profitability does not mean a lack of virtuousness.

The problem lies in the fact that taxes (i.e. public funds) are not discretionary and one is compelled to pay them, ostensibly to provide for a limited number of necessary public goods (i.e. justice system, national defense, and basic infrastructure). It is the height of arrogance for the intellectual elites on the left to claim that they know best how to spend MY money, which is essentially what they are doing by advocating increased government spending for everything and increased taxes to pay for it. If you believe that the research is so virtuous then why not spend a greater portion of your own money funding it (i.e. invest in companies which do stem cell research or start your own)? I am a firm believer in the economic theories of Friedrich Hayek [wikipedia.org] , Milton Friedman [wikipedia.org] , and the Chicago School [wikipedia.org] or to put it more simply...markets work and governments don't. So you spend your money how you wish and I will decided how I ought to be spending mine.

Not going to sit back? (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454440)

From the article-
"You can find a way to do it [use Bluetooth] that doesn't infringe on the patents, or you can buy it from Broadcom. That's why WRF is not going to sit back and let it go without it being addressed," Lisa said.

That's "not going to sit back" in the exact same sense that I'm not going to sit back and post to a slashdot non-story, trashed, and listening to cricket at 4:30 in the morning.

Harald 1 would be disappointed (0)

vought (160908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454598)

Perhapshe would ask: "Can't we all just get along?"

Waiter! (0, Offtopic)

mikerm19 (809641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454612)

I also would like a piece of that pie. Oh, and with some whipped cream. Thanks.

Re:Waiter! (0, Offtopic)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17457226)

And a pony! I want a pony!

Written by Seattle Times Technology Reporter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17454668)

The suit claims that consumer electronics giant Matsushita and its Panasonic unit, as well as Samsung and Nokia, are infringing on four patents sold under the "Bluetooth" name.

The patents were sold under the Bluetooth name? That is gibberish. Either the Seattle Times Technology Reporter does not know her subject matter, or she is illiterate.

A lot more info here (0)

SQLz (564901) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454882)

Re:A lot more info here (1)

Doobian Coedifier (316239) | more than 7 years ago | (#17492670)

You mean here [wikipedia.org] .

When will they learn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17454896)

Suing industry giants for standard implementation goes nowhere fast! Examples: SCO vs. IBM, Rambus vs. RAM Manufacturers.

Oh! when will they learn? Probably never, the size of those monetary damages clouds all reason.

Re:When will they learn? (1)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17456702)

Suing industry giants for standard implementation goes nowhere fast! Examples: SCO vs. IBM, Rambus vs. RAM Manufacturers.

Oh! when will they learn? Probably never, the size of those monetary damages clouds all reason.
Ah well, that nowhere fast is what the legal industry would call 'manna from heaven', those cases did/do last years. And when they are asked to give legal advice, they say "You're bound to win, just pay us by the day"

monetary damages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17454938)

I'd ask for 1.7 trillion dollars, just to piss off RIAA

Prior Art = Star Trek (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17455068)

What about Spock and Uhura with that dumb thing in their ear?

Looks like 60s Hippie Bluetooth to me.

trao7l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17455836)

BSDm's filesystem ~280MB MPEG off of performing.' Even WASTE OF BITS AND in ruatio of 5 to anyone that thinks completely before developers bulk of the FreeBSD

Hey...That was my idea...I swear! (1)

jennarose023 (947540) | more than 7 years ago | (#17456382)

I was thinking about creating bluetooth devices years ago...they must have read my mind! That's it...I'm calling my lawyer!

Here's the patents for review (1)

Patent-Monkey (1036772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458984)

WRF highlights [wrfseattle.org] four patents (seen here: 1 [patentmonkey.com] , 2 [patentmonkey.com] , 3 [patentmonkey.com] , 4 [patentmonkey.com] ) on their technology website dating back to 1996 covering a range of rf technology advances. They all cover building inventions on "...a useful device and method for receiving and tuning RF signals, with quadrature mixing to a near baseband passband performed in continuous-time and image rejection and translation to baseband performed in discrete-time. The device may also be adapted to transmit RF signals if desired."
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