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Morfik Patents AJAX Compiler

Hemos posted about 7 years ago | from the i-am-patenting-newspaper-delivery-as-well dept.

Patents 181

MikeyTheK writes "It appears that under the radar, the USPTO granted Morfik a patent for the "System and method for synthesizing object-oriented high-level code into browser-side javascript". Reading further, it appears that they have patented the compiling of high-level languages into AJAX apps. The high-level languages include "Ada, C, C++, C#, COBOL, ColdFusion, Common Lisp, Delphi, Fortran, Java, Object Pascal, SmallTalk, Visual Basic, and Visual Basic.NET". It would appear that the application date is September, 2005."

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181 comments

My First Thought (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 7 years ago | (#18573309)

My first thought was, "Is Google Web Toolkit [google.com] prior art or infringement?" After a bit of looking around, it seems this patent was filed on September 5, 2006 while GWT 1.0 was released in May 2006. Sorry Morfik, but your patent is invalid. (Thank God, too. This patent appears to be overreaching and far too broad. It could prevent an entire industry from developing.)

All I can say is: where was your due diligence, Morfik? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to spend time and money on filing a patent that will be useless to you after it's granted. The best they could do is scare a few Open Source projects into submission. Anyone with a vested interest in the technology is going to do the due diligence that Morfik didn't, and take the matter to court.

The only "out" they have available is to show evidence that they disclosed the inner workings of their JST product prior to GWT being released. In which case they might have protection from the "one year to file" rule. Maybe. Or maybe they're just trying to carry out this threat [ajaxian.com] in a laughably oversimplified fashion. (They're lawyers must be telling them it won't work?) Go figure.

For those who are unaware of what GWT is, it's basically a toolkit that takes Java programs and converts them down to Javascript. By coding Java to the GWT toolkit*, you gain all the benefits of the Java compiler and type checking without sacrificing the ability to deploy on browsers that do not have Java installed. I'd rather code in Javascript myself, but it has its place. :)

Missing footer (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 7 years ago | (#18573341)

* From the redudant department of redundancy.

AJAX (1)

Yr0 (224662) | about 7 years ago | (#18573913)

Bleach or A Foriegign Folltball team.

None of your Coding Please. Scrub that executable til' it bleeds! WASH HARDER!

Re:Missing footer (-1, Redundant)

crunch_ca (972937) | about 7 years ago | (#18574425)

Hmmm...

I'd always heard it called the department of redundancy department when I heard about it. I guess there can't be enough of those departments, I guess.

  • The department of redundancy department
  • The redundant department of redundancy
  • The department of redunant redundancy
  • The redundancy department of redundancy
Obligatory Python:

H: Why did you come in here then? M: I wanted to complain. H: Oh no, that's next door. It's being-hit-on-the-head lessons in here. M: What a stupid concept.
Note to moderators. Please flag this comment as redudant.

Re:My First Thought (5, Informative)

MikeyTheK (873329) | about 7 years ago | (#18573421)

Unfortunately I didn't put "Pay attention to [0001]" in the article submission, which reads "This application relates to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/714,285 filed on Sep. 6, 2005 entitled SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SYNTHESIZING OBJECT-ORIENTED CODE INTO BROWSER-SIDE JAVASCRIPT."

That's 2005, not 2006.

Re:My First Thought (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 7 years ago | (#18573567)

And the plot thickens. I'm trying to pull that patent right now. But my question is, if that patent covers the same technology, why does Morfik need this patent?

Re:My First Thought (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 7 years ago | (#18573759)

Did I ever mention that I HATE the patent search system?

In any case, I managed to pull the patent. (Search in published applications for application #20070055964) It looks like this is the exact same patent, just in different forms. (One an application while the other is the issued? Could someone who knows more about the filing process chime in here?) In which case, Morfik may have a valid patent. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Re:My First Thought (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 7 years ago | (#18573919)

Dur... Nevermind. I'm just confusing myself. I found the same patent that the article linked to. I can't find the previous filing in the system anywhere (did I mention I hate the USPTO's search engine?), but it does appear that this filing is just an update to the previous one.

Re:My First Thought (1)

Changer2002 (577488) | about 7 years ago | (#18573949)

A provisional application is a temporary application that lets you preserve the filing date, so the 2005 date is the correct priority date for the patent. The non-provisional application won't contain any new matter from the provisional. The patent application you found is most likely just the published non-provisional application that resulted in the patent.

Basically, the 2005 date is the correct one when determining prior art.

Re:My First Thought (4, Informative)

petard (117521) | about 7 years ago | (#18573605)

GWT would still be prior art. Google used it to build gmail, which launched in early 2004.

Re:My First Thought (1)

SaDan (81097) | about 7 years ago | (#18574213)

A company I used to work for had AJAX capabilities in most of their products as far back as 2000. This patent is completely worthless.

Re:My First Thought (1)

ChadAmberg (460099) | about 7 years ago | (#18575279)

I myself wrote an "AJAX" enabled website in 2001. Using Lotus Notes! Well, the Domino stuff at least. A popup page would appear on a web page form, to look users. The Javascript would make calls to the Domino backend pulling XML version of the address book. You'd have your typical go back and go forward buttons, all working without reloading the page.

However, is that what this patent is for? I manually built the javascript for this. The patent seems to be for down-compiling high level code like C# into javascript. So it doesn't seem anything AJAX is bad, only an AJAX "compiler."

yaccety yacc (5, Interesting)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | about 7 years ago | (#18574259)

For all the handwaving and buzzwords in the application, it converts code written in language foo into language bar. That's a compiler. Now if they want to patent (copyright's possibly more appropriate?) their specific individual implementation of a compiler, then let them get on with it. If they want to patent compilers as a concept they can stuff it and I don't think they have a hope.

Re:My First Thought (1)

EsabaCZ (921190) | about 7 years ago | (#18574637)

Actually there is no pentaly for not performing "due diligence." If they file a for a patent and recieve it for something that is already "patented" then they are guility of patent infringment (Not a hudge problem-happens allot). However, if they perform "due diligence," find an existing patent and patent it anyway, then they can be charged with "Willful patent infringment" (Much worse). Because of this most corporations tell their associates to never research prior patents and just to patent new findings.

Re:My First Thought (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 7 years ago | (#18574741)

Surely there's a point where failure to perform due diligence is itself an offense? I mean, come on; anyone in IT could tell them (and could have told them in 2005) that there's a ton of prior art. If I patent "a method of preserving food by keeping it cold" and try to excuse my stupidity by saying that I guess I just didn't do enough research to learn about the prior existence of something called a "refrigerator," would anyone buy it?

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18574971)

No, they didn't. GMail was built all on their own. GWT is a company they bought and open-sourced.

Their kitchen sink demo [google.com] looks superficially like GMail, which may contribute to the confusion, but this is probably just to demonstrate that you could build a GMail-like app with it. If you look at what is generated, it's completely different: GMail uses frames, doesn't load a .js file from the server, etc.

(That's not to say that this patent makes any sense; we've been building X-to-Y compilers for decades, and have prior art out the wazoo.)

That's an easy let out isn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18573473)

"where was your due diligence, Morfik? "

That's an easy let out for the patent office isn't it? It's the patent office that's avoiding checking the prior art and obviousness clauses of patent law. i.e. its the patent office that won't do it's f***ing job.

This fast track patent is just a trick to legally not do their work and pass the blame to someone else. But the patent office created the current mess and they should fix it.

Re:That's an easy let out isn't it? (1)

Pollardito (781263) | about 7 years ago | (#18573917)

hasn't the person applying for the patent always been obligated to share any information they have about possible prior art?

Re:My First Thought (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 7 years ago | (#18573687)

All I can say is: where was your due diligence, Morfik?
What is the legal penalty for failing to exercise due diligence?

Re:My First Thought (1)

mdielmann (514750) | about 7 years ago | (#18573813)

It could prevent an entire industry from developing.
And how do you know a system to promote innovation is broken? When people start worrying about the above when it's used. I really do wish the patent system could be useful for something other than as a vehicle to initiate lawsuits.

Criminal Penalties for Frivolous Applications (1)

parvenu74 (310712) | about 7 years ago | (#18574083)

It seems like every time we hear about a patent application on Slashdot it's usually followed up with lots of evidence of prior art, be it Google's Web Toolkit or something else. The US Patent and Trademark office doesn't have the manpower or expertise to thoroughly research every patent submission which seems to embolden schmucks to patent things they shouldn't or couldn't if there were competent safeguards in place. That being the case, let's "slsashdot" Congress with petitions to enact penalties ranging from administrative fees for honest mistakes to criminal charges -- and jail time for egregious offenders -- for frivolous applications in cases where someone is clearly in the wrong in filing for a patent. As long as there is no possibility of punishment to deter a flood of patents in the hopes of suing for royalties, this crap is only going to get worse.

Re:My First Thought (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18574093)

My first thought was that this is an APPLICATION! NOT an issued patent. It says so on the first line of text. /.ers need to use their eyes and brain before their fingers.

A good place to start using their eyes would be http://www.patentbarbri.com/ [patentbarbri.com] to buy the patent bar review course.
You do not have to be an attorney to become a patent agent, you only need an Bachelor of Science from an accredited university. Read the application for here for more details: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/oed/exa mregist.htm [uspto.gov]

I did it (with only a BS in Comp Eng) so can you, and then we can all have intellegent conversations instead of FUD. And we can file Section 1900 Protests (learn more in the review course)

Mods in the future please refuse submissions of patent related stories unless the submitter includes his Patent Agent registration number in the submission (but don't post that on /.)

Re:My First Thought (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 7 years ago | (#18575079)

My first thought was that this is an APPLICATION! NOT an issued patent. It says so on the first line of text. /.ers need to use their eyes and brain before their fingers.

Analogous to: "Your mother hasn't been convicted, only charged with witchcraft. So chill out!"

One might argue that the general public is the "customer", but the patent office sees itself as beholden to applicants, not the American public at large. The office receives no money from the federal government anymore and has to meet all its expenses now through patent fees. A patent application nets them $380 from their "customer". If approved, they end up with $3000. Since then there has been an explosion of patents. Managers there are telling examiners to approve anything they don't understand.

Compuware's Uniface: +1, Helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18574137)

is here [uspto.gov].

Regards,
Kilgore Trout

Re:My First Thought (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#18574599)

Sorry but I can beat that prior art. How about RATFOR , pas2c, and the first version of C++?
All where preprocessors that translated one high-level language into another.

Re:My First Thought (1)

aldousd666 (640240) | about 7 years ago | (#18574667)

Wasn't AjaxPro.net released before the original patent was filed? Even if it wasn't RELEASED before that it was likely in some tangible form somewhere before that date... I think that it wasn't likely the first one either, but just as an example, there is probably a ton of prior art.

Re:My First Thought (1)

aldousd666 (640240) | about 7 years ago | (#18574785)

I'd also like to point out that I'm commenting on this as if it were an Application not a granted patent. I don't think that they can buy the farm on this compiliation procedure in general, but they might have a particular way of doing it that they will get the grant for.. I'm not a patent attorney so I don't know what sort of legal angle they're actually going for here.. If they're trying to say they invented the ajax from high level language compiler, then they'll likely lose that one, or it will be overturned if it does become granted. If they are going for one particular way of doing it, then they might get what they want, and may actually deserve it. Lighten up folks.

you screwed grammar again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18575035)

>(They're lawyers must be telling them it won't work?)

They are obviously not lawyers, and their lawyers must be bad too. Just like your grammar.

Well, if this keeps people from making C into JS (5, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | about 7 years ago | (#18573313)

Then maybe the patents aren't such a bad thing.

Could some explain to me why Javascript Java (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 7 years ago | (#18575053)

If one is going to compile code to an "executable" form, in this case java script, why does it actually matter what form it is. Why not compile it to java?

Trying to answer my own questions the relevant issues are:
1) is the size of the javascript smaller or larger?
2) is java faster or slower for sophisticated operations?

I don't actually know which will be true. While normally i'd expect java to be faster than an interpered language, it's not so obvious for code sent across the web. While simple things like loops will be faster in Java, maybe more sophistcated operations like spawning a new web page will be faster in javascript. Javascript can for example embed a very sophisticated operation--for example "sort"-- into just as few characters, and it will execute at the speed of optimized c-code native to the platform. Javabyte code must encode the whole sort and will execute at the speed of the java interpreter.

3) perhaps the virtue of compileing to javascript is that it's nominally easier for humans to modify
4) is java not as cross platform portable these days compared to java script?
5) are their functions in javascript not available to java?

Re:Could some explain to me why Javascript Java (1)

dubl-u (51156) | about 7 years ago | (#18575447)

If one is going to compile code to an "executable" form, in this case java script, why does it actually matter what form it is. Why not compile it to java?

Because every browser has a roughly adequate JavaScript interpreter that is integrated with page rendering.

Like most compilers, things like GWT adapt programmer brains to the execution environment.

Economic Model (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | about 7 years ago | (#18573321)

  1. Patent obvious method
  2. Sue Microsoft for Atlas AJAX library
  3. ???
  4. Profit!

Re:Economic Model (2, Informative)

anomalous cohort (704239) | about 7 years ago | (#18574065)

The MSFT technology [asp.net] that the poster is referring to used to be marketed as Atlas but no longer. It is not in violation of this patent because it does not compile server side code into client side java script. Instead, it provides a lot of web controls that use AJAX instead of the traditional ASP.NET form post to interact with the server.

Re:Economic Model (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | about 7 years ago | (#18574291)

That's true, but doesn't Visual Studio have some methods of automatically creating Javascript calls to public server side functions? If so it's likely that Visual Studio is infringing on this patent, in a similar way to Google Web Toolkit mentioned above. This patent is potentially very broad-reaching.

Don't even think it. (3, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | about 7 years ago | (#18573323)

I swear, I will set fire to the first bastard to reply to this article with "dur dur... I'm going to patent blank"!

Re:Don't even think it. (1)

eln (21727) | about 7 years ago | (#18573701)

dur dur...I'm going to patent setting people on fire for replying to this article with "dur dur...I'm going to patent blank"!

HA! Follow through with your threat and I'll sue your ass!

Turing tarpit (1)

bcmm (768152) | about 7 years ago | (#18573345)

Of course it is technically possible to do anything in Javascript. But can this technology do any task which is actually complex enough that it wouldn't be easier to just port it manually, at anything like reasonable speed?

Re:Turing tarpit (2, Informative)

TheTempest (99802) | about 7 years ago | (#18573543)

GWT does it and very well indeed. I've cross-compiled MD5 hash code to javascript and it works fine. I'd rather not port that manually since I already have perfectly good Java code for it.

Re:Turing tarpit (1)

csplinter (734017) | about 7 years ago | (#18573679)

Can you make a self modifying javascript application? I don't think it's possible.

Re:Turing tarpit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18573779)

Can you make a self modifying javascript application?

1. Yes.
2. "Self-modifying" is an implementation detail, not part of the task (at least for code that's intended to be useful, rather than written as an exercise). It doesn't allow you to "do" anything that you can't do other ways.

Re:Turing tarpit (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 7 years ago | (#18573825)

Can you make a self modifying javascript application?

Yes. [w3.org] Next question?

Re:Turing tarpit (2, Funny)

W33B (901545) | about 7 years ago | (#18574279)

time travel?

Turing Completeness? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18573435)

Shouldn't any technology like this be immediately unpatentable? All this does is translate code in one Turing-complete language to another. Since this transformation is mathematically proven to be possible for all Turing-complete languages, this is merely an algorithm and should be unpatentable...

(I know, they'd approve a patent on cheese if you worded it as "a method for transforming milk and bacteria into edible food product.")

Re:Turing Completeness? (2, Informative)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 7 years ago | (#18574031)

this is merely an algorithm and should be unpatentable...

If it's an algorithm, it's been firmly established legally that it is patentable. It transforms a computer from a "general purpose device" into a "specific invention". Any lawyer will tell you this. Patents are granted for algorithms all the time and they cannot be challenged on that basis.

If you write a book, you transform hundreds of sheets of blank pages into a device for keeping you absorbed for a few hours, but they won't let you patent that for some reason having nothing to do with "prior art" since there is no prior art if you're the first to write a book with the given plot, premise, or subject. I can claim copyright no matter what I write (as long as I don't plagiarize) but if I'm the first to come up with a book about a superhero who gets his superpowers only when he smokes pot (so running out of money is like "kryptonite"), you'd think I'd be able to get a patent on all books involving serial killers who have to smoke quickly in phone booths to save people. But nooooooo, they'll let you schmucks rewrite my book.

Re:Turing Completeness? (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | about 7 years ago | (#18574217)

f it's an algorithm, it's been firmly established legally that it is patentable.
Thing is, it's not any particular algorithm. It's overly broad. You can't patent an overly general description of an algorithm, e.g. "a mathematical computation that takes in an integer and returns one or more integers as output". I think translating one of any number of languages into another, even a specific target language like JS, is overly broad.

Re:Turing Completeness? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18574241)

If it cannot be denied on the basis of being an algorithm, surely it can be denied on the basis of obviousness.

Re:Turing Completeness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18574815)

mod parent up! It's like they patented compiling from one source language to some target language!

Morfik Patents *Buzzword* Compiler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18573467)

I just love it when crap lines up like that...

So I have to make up buzzwords like "AJAX" to get patents for existing technologies like Javascript?

I really love those buzzfolks who hide behind words instead competency and their impact on the combined human intelligence.

goo4t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18573531)

recent Sys Adminp myself. This isn't

NOT A PATENT (5, Informative)

thebdj (768618) | about 7 years ago | (#18573563)

There is not a patent here. This is a published application. Filed in 2006, not 2005, with priority to 2005 through a provisional application, which almost gives it the same level of priority as if it were file in 2005. Someone wake me up WHEN this gets issued and not when it is just an application that quite possibly hasn't even been viewed yet. (USPTO has almost a 3 yr backlog in some arts.)

Re:NOT A PATENT (0, Troll)

fayd (143105) | about 7 years ago | (#18574175)

How can there be a 3 year backlog if all they do is stamp "approve" on the thing.

That's either got to be the cushiest job on the planet (BREAK TIME! Smoke'em if you've got em) .. or the most asinine (Translate the application into Urdu, reverse every other word, perform the ritual two hour tiki-dance, ...)

Re:NOT A PATENT (1)

Shadowlore (10860) | about 7 years ago | (#18574739)

The point to be fighting this application is PRIOR to it becoming a patent. Are you saying you'd rather not hear about these until it's much harder? I'd rather we know about these before they are approved and can still be fought much easier.

It doesn't matter (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18573583)

They missed the most important language of all Prolog. It's all good everyone writes in Prolog any way...

What does that mean for AJAX then ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 7 years ago | (#18573737)

What will the reflection of that patent or whatever is going to be on ajax ?

ColdFusion? (2, Insightful)

bigblackcar (1072018) | about 7 years ago | (#18573893)

Since when is ColdFusion a high-level language? Just because they use it in MySpace?

Re:ColdFusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18574161)

Since it was rewritten from C++ into Java? Since it was compiled into bytecode?

Re:ColdFusion? (1)

TypeC (975677) | about 7 years ago | (#18574409)

Since when is ColdFusion a high-level language? Just because they use it in MySpace?
Dunno, perhaps because it compiles to Java, can actually be written OO-ish (objects, etc), can directly call or be called from java, and can genenerate JS as well. Have you ever done CF?

Compiler definition (2, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | about 7 years ago | (#18573925)

The definition of a compiler seems to differ from person to person, but the best one is something that reads a stream of input, converts it into a richer internal representation (usually a tree but it doesn't have to be), and writes out a different stream based on this internal representation.

Even here in 2007, some people still seem to think the only thing that can be called a compiler is something that takes source code and emits binary code, but that's just one specific special case. The same basic principles that GCC uses will be used by PovRAY to compile its scene language into an image, ignoring the raytracing part. (That is, setting up the internal representation of the scene is just like a compiler.) Compiling C# into IL uses the same basic techniques. Defining anything that uses standard compiler techniques as a compiler is the motivation for my preferred definition.

Given the long history of compilers, and the sheer profusion of them, I really don't think that compilers ought to be patentable anymore. Compiling Java into Javascript isn't a novel idea, it's "just" some engineering by somebody who understands compilers. (Which the recent "Wasabi" uproar over Joel on Software's posting proved is not all that many people, but still, it's simple once you see the tricks.) The only even remotely tricky part of such a compilation is if there's no easy way to get the syntax tree directly from the language parser, and that's still just engineering. There's definitely plenty of copyrightable stuff in such a compiler, but it'd take something very, very novel for it to be patentable.

(Note I'm writing this message as if I weren't entirely against software patents, which I am, at length [jerf.org]. This is written from the putative point of view of the patent system; even then, compilers generally aren't that novel an idea. Saying "with a compiler!" is up there with "on the internet!" for novelty.)

Re:Compiler definition (2, Insightful)

Tim Browse (9263) | about 7 years ago | (#18574267)

Compiling Java into Javascript isn't a novel idea, it's "just" some engineering by somebody who understands compilers.

Indeed, but sadly not many programmers do understand compilers. (And even fewer understand linkers.)

Other examples are CFront (the first C++ compiler) which just compiled C++ into straight C, which was then compiled by an existing C compiler, and the first Modula-3 compiler, which also just compiled to raw C.

I myself have written a compiler that took a scripting language in our game editor, compiled it to C, linked the C code into a DLL, loaded the DLL into the game editor, and ran the code all in a single UI step (in the late 90s - and I figured these techniques were pretty old hat at the time).

Like you say, deciding to compile to Javascript is hardly a new and fantastic innovation.

What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18574013)

A method to compile a web application programmed in a high-level language into browser-side JavaScript comprising: reading at least one source file comprising the high-level language; parsing the at least one source file to generate a semantic map to provide a structured representation of information contained in the at least one source file; and emitting browser-side JavaScript from the semantic map, the JavaScript being produced by walking over nodes of the semantic map.

Sorry, compilers and code translators have been around for a long time. Look at claim 2, aren't comments generally removed from program source code when generating an AST? There's nothing novel in the first 5 claims, claim 6 is obvious and the remainder are just silly. I'm offended these guys had the gaul to even file this.

Ruby on Rails?? (1)

beldraen (94534) | about 7 years ago | (#18574179)

Isn't this part of the basic framework of Ruby on Rails? I call "high-level" commands which "translate" to AJAX functionality. Rails has been around since 2004. Not to mention the obvious, but how is creating a framework that encapsulates another system's behavior new in any sense.. Yeah, yeah, I know.. I suppose the following is a patented, "new" idea:

<%= observe_field(:person_search,
:frequency => 1,
:update => :output,
:with=> "'search='+escape(value)",
:url => { :action => :search_changed })
%>

FIRSt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18574195)

you can. When the A B`SD box that give BSD credit recruitment, but

April Fool's! (2, Funny)

enharmonix (988983) | about 7 years ago | (#18574289)

Yeah, haha, Hemos, you almost had me! OMG PONIES!!!1!! Very clever April Fool's joke! And for the USPTO to be in on it... Wow. Best one yet!

...wait a tic, it's April 2nd... WTF?

GPL3 ecosystem (1)

MarkWatson (189759) | about 7 years ago | (#18574333)

This is yet another argument for creating a large "ecosystem" of valuable GPL3 code: lock vendors who abuse patents out of this ecosystem. Companies can still keep their intellectual property to themselves: private and proprietary data used with GPL3 code.

As a consultant, I always try to sell my customers on going open source, if it makes sense for their situation. Open source == cost savings.

Slashdot Just DOES NOT GET Patents (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18574513)

For as smart as the people on Slashdot are, it continually surprises me to see just how bad people are missing the boat in terms of what a patent application such as this means. Seriously, discussion here might be elevated from ridiculous to meaningful if everybody would just keep in mind the following things:

1. The title of a patent does not describe the scope of what the patent will cover. In this example, they are not trying to patent every single "System and method for synthesizing object-oriented high-level code into browser-side javascript." They are trying to patent *one particular, specific system and method* for doing so. That is a big friggin difference. If you read the patent claims, you will see what the patent is actually covering. Summary: People on Slashdot inappropriately freak out when they see a patent title that looks broad and they really ought to know better by now.

2. This is a patent APPLICATION!!! Not an issued patent. When people try to get a patent, they make the claims incredibly broad at first. And then the examiner will make them narrow the claims as they negotiate what the patent actually will cover. In this example, I am going to hazard a guess that the examiner will probably make them throw out claims 1 through 4. And the examiner might let their broadest claim be claim 5. The people trying to get this patent KNOW that this is what will happen during this process--it is how things are done! I am astounded that the people on Slashdot have not picked up on this yet. Summary: Just because a patent application has incredibly broad claims, that does not mean 1) that the patent will issue that way, or 2) that the people applying for the application realize that what they are in their application claiming is too broad.

Get with it, people! I hope that reading this may take the discussion here from "Patents suxkzorz!!" to "Well, claim 1 looks way to broad because of $somePriorArt . . . but the method described in claim 5 . . . hmmm, I don't know that I've ever heard of anything that does it that way exactly."

Here's to hoping, anyway!

Re:Slashdot Just DOES NOT GET Patents (1)

ajakk (29927) | about 7 years ago | (#18574861)

Somebody please mod this up. Slashmods are TERRIBLE about pushing patent stories that are false. I would bet that approximately 75% of all stories regarding patents on Slashdot are materially wrong. If the guys at /. want a primer on patent law, feel free to email me and I would be more than happy to teach them a thing or two.

Re:Slashdot Just DOES NOT GET Patents (2, Insightful)

Jaqenn (996058) | about 7 years ago | (#18575249)

If the guys at /. want a primer on patent law, feel free to email me and I would be more than happy to teach them a thing or two.
I'm interested. But why do you want to distribute via email instead of just posting? It's just as hard to type as an email as to type as a comment.

Difference Between Application/Priority Date (4, Informative)

blckbllr (242654) | about 7 years ago | (#18574567)

In this case, the application was filed September 5, 2006. Thus, the application filing date is September 5, 2006. However, the application claims priority to a provisional application [uspto.gov] filed September 6, 2005. Thus, the application has a priority date of September 6, 2005. This difference is important for 35 U.S.C. 102(e) [uspto.gov] purposes.

Under 35 U.S.C. 102(e), a prior filed U.S. patent or application can be used as "prior art" against a currently filed application. As an example, suppose Application A was filed on March 1, 2006 that discloses each and every limitation of claim 1 of the current application. Application A could then be used under 35 U.S.C. 102(e) as "prior art" to reject claim 1 because it has an earlier filing date (application date) than the current application. However, the Applicant of the current application could then rely on the priority date of the provisional application, which is September 6, 2005, to overcome the rejection. In this case, the Examiner would then have to go back to the provisional application to which the current application claims priority, and determine, whether, in fact, the provisional application discloses the subject-matter claimed by claim 1. As an additional comment to 35 U.S.C. 102(e), I briefly add that it is common for an Examiner to reject a claim in view of a reference that qualifies as "prior art" under 35 U.S.C. 102(e), where the reference is used with other art under 35 U.S.C. 103(a) [uspto.gov].

Hence, there is a difference between filing dates and priority dates, and these two dates need not always be the same. So, to say that these application has a filing date of September 5, 2006 would be correct, but then to say that this application has a priority date of September 6, 2005 would also be correct.

The opinion expressed herein does not represent the views of any government or private organization.

Time to Modernize.... (2, Funny)

truckaxle (883149) | about 7 years ago | (#18574579)

The high-level languages include "Ada, C, C++, C#, COBOL, ColdFusion, Common Lisp, Delphi, Fortran, Java, Object Pascal, SmallTalk, Visual Basic, and Visual Basic.NET".


I guess now I am forced to to port all of my FORTRAN AJAX apps over to Perl :)

Eat, Drink and be merry! (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 7 years ago | (#18574721)

"System and method for synthesizing object-oriented high-level code into browser-side javascript"

I suck at english, I really don't "get" what they're patenting here, a code translator or something ? Code your webpage in "MorfikLang++" and it will automagically translate into Javascript, so you can do double the debugging plus pay licensing/royalties for something everyone else has been doing natively for a couple years :P

I don't see this as affecting AJAX at all. AJAX is just a catchphrase that seems to group any functionality that doesn't result in a page reload, hopefully involving meaningful data exchange with the server. Hell, lots of people falsely believe that prototype.js == AJAX.

Besides, if they were really trying to patent AJAX, don't you think Google would play musical court chairs with them until little miss Morfik runs out of seed money ? The system is broken, that's for sure, but it's broken in favor of whoever has more money. Who the hell has more money than Google and MS ? (Bad Boy) Noooooooobody!

Re:Eat, Drink and be merry! (1)

lisaparratt (752068) | about 7 years ago | (#18575179)

No, a translator that takes a completely unmodified VB/C/etc. program, and turns it into a finished, complete, debugged webpage, as easily as typing "make".

It'll be a real license to print money for whoever implements it, and now these talentless hacks get their cut for doing SFA.

Technical merit (1)

piprog (933048) | about 7 years ago | (#18574809)

Related to prior art: there were already discussions about this subject when the GWT v.s. Morfik case emerged a few months back. The Morfik toolkit itself is in development for over six years now (at least) so one should seek evidence prior 2000, I suppose. And AFAIS Morfik's patent involves not only the fact of "translation" ("what") but also the method (the "how") that they call JST (JavaScript Synthesis Technology). I will be looking into the Morfik patent from this technical perspective and through the looking glass of a convert Morfik developer, as soon as I can at piBlog (http://www.pannonrex.com/blog [pannonrex.com]).

This isn't under the radar. Been known about. (2, Informative)

Thomas Charron (1485) | about 7 years ago | (#18574853)

This article is so 2006. :-)

http://blogs.zdnet.com/web2explorer/?p=196 [zdnet.com] explains the patent back in 2006. No, Morfik didn't copy it. They even hypothetically showed it to Google before GWT was released.

Re:This isn't under the radar. Been known about. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18575083)

I think it is more than hypothetical about showing to Google. "Morfik is tight-lipped about GWT, as they are apparently still under NDA obligations." http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/morfik_ajax_p latform.php/ [readwriteweb.com]. So I would read this as saying Google contacted Morfik and signed an NDA with them sometime in 2005 to look at what they were doing before they released GWT in 2006.

This was already being done in 2001 (2)

xutopia (469129) | about 7 years ago | (#18575003)

I worked for b-process.com in 2001 and we implemented exactly this in Java. I also have done similar stuff in PHP since then. It's nothing new.

Only damaging themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18575059)

The patent might make it through the USPTO. I doubt it will hold up in court vs Google or Microsoft.

Regardless, as a potential developer of Morfik-based applications, I have just crossed them off my list. I avoid dealing with companies that compete through the courtroom (with obvious patents) rather than on their product's merits.
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