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U.S. Bans Some Cellphones For Patent Reasons

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the keeping-them-honest dept.

Communications 173

runner_one writes "According to the New York Times, A federal agency has banned imports of new cellphones made with Qualcomm semiconductors because the chips violate a patent held by Broadcom. The International Trade Commission said today that the import ban would not apply to mobile phone models that were imported on or before June 7." Update: 06/08 13:05 GMT by KD : Glenn Fleishman notes that Apple's iPhone will be allowed into the country, since it doesn't use any 3G chips. He adds that Apple "might have the most advanced smartphone on the market unless President Bush or his trade representative overturn the ruling (which they have the power to do)."

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why to do trade (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434555)

That fine i'm pretty sure some other countries will take them cheap phones!

LOL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435159)

LOL NIGGERS

Message to Qualcomm. (4, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434557)

Play with patent fire and you're going to get burned. Remember Qualcomm suing Nokia? [qualcomm.com] , Qualcomm suing GTE Wireless [qualcomm.com] , Qualcomm suing Maxim [qualcomm.com] , Qualcomm suing Motorolla [qualcomm.com] , Qualcomm suing Ericsson [qualcomm.com] , Qualcomm suing Broadcom [qualcomm.com] ?

Everytime a large corporation loses a big case like this, I feel we're a step closer to sane patent reform. Hopefully someone will win a patent against Broadcomm next.

US Patent office should pay compensation (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19434641)

Every time they issue a patent that's later invalidated, they should pay compensation for issuing the patent.

The problem here, has and always will be the over willingness of the patent office to issue patents when the invention preexists but is not documented publicly, or where it's a minor increment of an existing variation. It's in the law that they have to test for obviousness and prior art, but they so narrowly define those terms as to remove the tests.

The free market will fix it, make them pay for their mistakes just like every other professional body.

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (5, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434693)

"The free market will fix it..."

How exactly does the free market go about fixing limited duration government granted monopolies (a.k.a. patents)?

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19434811)

It will give USPTO an incentive to thoroughly check their patents before issuing them, to avoid the penalty. As the next step, I'd introduce the right for any professional body to issue patents in their own field. Again they would only be able to issue them in exchange for covering their liability for bad choices. Each body would determine HOW it checks for prior art and obviousness, competing choices would result in a better solution. I'd let patent agencies die, and their patents become unenforceable, if too many of their patents are voided.

If no professional body is prepared to take the risk of issuing patents in a particular field, then it's because that field can never reliably determine whether the patent should be issued, and is better off without patents.

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19434977)

In Soviet Russia patents work for you?

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (1)

DarkVader (121278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436393)

I'm not sure if you're just trolling, but the concept of a patent is the antithesis of a free market. Where there is a patent, there can be no free market, because there is a government-granted monopoly.

So asking a free market to fix patents is insane. A free market by definition can have no patents.

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (2, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436579)

He's obviously suggesting that there is a value to patents, so long as there are consequences for issuing bad patents. Perhaps his use of the term "free market" is unfortunate, however his point stands.

If there were penalties for issuing patents which are later invalidated, we'd see the USPTO put more effort into researching the patents they receive, rejection of overly broad patents, and probably eventually start seeing fewer patents requested in general. Then truly innovative inventions would receive patent protection, and every Microsoft, Broadcom, and Qualcomm wouldn't issue patents on every tiny thing they do in an effort to protect their research.

It seems to me like you're acting more like the troll, pedantically focusing on one single term that the poster got wrong rather than reading his post and understanding his point. You're like the guy who points out the fact that someone misuses the word 'infer' and uses that to try to tear down the entire argument.

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (3, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435325)

From what I understand, intellectual property is the only US export that is making a reasonable profit at the moment, so it makes sense that the rules would be tightened to ensure the saleability of products with currently approved patents and discriminate against those that are in breach of those patents.

Like it or not, patents are a mainstay of the US economy. It may be several years before things in the computing industry start to stabilise and such controls become less necessary or seem less daft, but if they did nothing and let patents be flouted the situation would become untenable.

It would be nice perhaps, at least in thought experiment terms if patents weren't an issue, but that's nieve. Patents are here to stay, and the only way a business can currently ensure a profit from their research.

Scurrilous patent claims are another issue, one that needs a solution. I speculate that patents which are held purely to extort money will eventually become so easily invalidated that their use in this manner will become a thing of the past.

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436129)

Like it or not, patents are a mainstay of the US economy.

      So, uhhh, how many years before the US economy expires?

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (2, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435403)

How exactly does the free market go about fixing limited duration government granted monopolies (a.k.a. patents)?

Umm, isn't it obvious?

Alternative methods to accomplish the same goal have been used as patent work-arounds from the earliest days. If not for someone working-around the Wright Brother's patents, jets would be using "wing warping" instead of "flaps."

Besides that, the free market constantly lobbies the government... if they get bit by broad patents enough times, they'll put their efforts towards ending that.

And finally, if numerous companies go out of business, the patent office will no longer be over-loaded...

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435929)

Besides that, the free market constantly lobbies the government... if they get bit by broad patents enough times, they'll put their efforts towards ending that.

And finally, if numerous companies go out of business, the patent office will no longer be over-loaded...


Two major flaws with your argument. One, you are treating the "free market" as if it were one monolithic organization with a single obejctive. The reality is that each and every company within the free market will feel differently about patents, depending on which ones they each own. Second, you treat businesses as if they are a finite resource. If enough go out of business, according to you, there won't be an overload at the patent office. Again, reality is vastly different from your ideal here, in that companies are constantly being created and going out of business. In order for your worldview to play out, there will need to be a moratorium on the creation of new businesses.

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (5, Informative)

mr3038 (121693) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436031)

How exactly does the free market go about fixing limited duration government granted monopolies (a.k.a. patents)?
Alternative methods to accomplish the same goal have been used as patent work-arounds from the earliest days. If not for someone working-around the Wright Brother's patents, jets would be using "wing warping" instead of "flaps."

Yes, that is a work-around. Notice, however, that the whole patent system was originally created to help sharing of information, namely inventions. If you made an invention and made it publicly available, in return the government granted you a limited monopoly.

Nowadays, this has twisted into reality where government grants you a monopoly and you absolute do not share your "invention". Instead, you use your monopoly to prevent related innovation by others. The government grants you (limited) monopoly and in return you share a piece of document that, more often than not, shares zero information about the real invention you possibly did. In case of software, the only thing that really could describe your invention correctly would be the source code. However, that is not required to get a software patent. That's where the problem is - you can get a patent to protect your invention without disclosing that very same invention.

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436587)

I think we should go back to the old system where you have to submit a working model of whatever you are trying to patent. For big or expensive things we might make an exception where you can pay to have the patent office come to you. You are absolutely right - patents sometimes don't really disclose as much as they should.

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (2, Interesting)

Lumbergh (1053438) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436473)

If not for someone working-around the Wright Brother's patents, jets would be using "wing warping" instead of "flaps."
I hate to nitpick, but wing warping in a biplane controls the roll of the aircraft. Flaps provide additional lift and reduce the stall speed of an aircraft. The word you were looking for was "aileron". See: Wing Warping [wikipedia.org] vs. Aileron [wikipedia.org] vs. Flaps [wikipedia.org] .

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (1)

Thrip (994947) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435611)

How exactly does the free market go about fixing limited duration government granted monopolies (a.k.a. patents)?
We buy a better government?

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436381)

"The free market will fix it..."

How exactly does the free market go about fixing limited duration government granted monopolies (a.k.a. patents)?
The free market is the god of capitalism.
It will fix everything, and if it doesn't, god works on his divine plan in mysterious ways.

try living in the UK. (3, Informative)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435203)

a recent ruling in the uk [out-law.com] stated that compensation should be paid on a patent that's been granted even if that patent is subsequently found to be invalid.

Now that sucks

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435753)

Every time they issue a patent that's later invalidated, they should pay compensation for issuing the patent.


Oh, no. I've got a better idea. Every patent that gets invalidated should result in not only the USPTO paying a fine, but the company that was issued the patent should have to pay a massive fine as well for wasting everybody's time.

How quickly do you think patent trolls will suddenly start disappearing if this occured?

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (1)

Frizzle Fry (149026) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436613)

he company that was issued the patent should have to pay a massive fine. How quickly do you think patent trolls will suddenly start disappearing if this occured?
By "patent trolls", you mean the large companies that have the money to hire tons of patent lawyers and win these court cases? In that case, no I don't see them disappearing. Your new system--where filing patents to protect your inventions can lead to people taking you to court and trying to get tons of money out of you for having a patent they don't like--will only hurt the small inventors that patents are supposed to protect. They won't be able to take the risk that that Microsoft or whoever will take them to court for filing a patent and try to extort massive fines out of them.

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (4, Informative)

general_re (8883) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435915)

Every time they issue a patent that's later invalidated, they should pay compensation for issuing the patent.

The problem here, has and always will be the over willingness of the patent office to issue patents when the invention preexists but is not documented publicly, or where it's a minor increment of an existing variation. It's in the law that they have to test for obviousness and prior art, but they so narrowly define those terms as to remove the tests.

The free market will fix it, make them pay for their mistakes just like every other professional body.
I don't know what's more disturbing - the fact that you're this amazingly naive, or the fact that at least one other person out there found this tripe anything but naive. The "free market" will dissuade the USPTO from granting bad patents, will it? And how, pray tell, will it do that when the Patent Office has a legal monopoly on the granting of patents? It's not like there's any competition for them to fear, where you can go to some other agency to get a patent when you're unhappy with the way they grant patents.

And then, even better, "we" are supposed to punish "them" when "they" fuck up, by fining them. Except that, as a government agency, the USPTO always has access to the biggest ATM in the universe, the American taxpayer. So what you're really proposing is that *I* pay a fine every time the Patent Office fucks up - "we" get to punish ourselves for bad patents. Which is a proposal where I expect most people's reaction will be "are you out of your fucking mind?"

The only possible solution is to change the laws governing the USPTO if you're unhappy with the way things are currently going. I'm as laissez-faire as the next guy, but there is no "free market" solution to the problem of overbroad or poorly thought-out patents, unless you scrap the whole system. And the odds of that are basically nil, so you're back to changing the laws in order to bring about different outcomes.

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436615)

That's what I thought when I read the parent's comment... how will fining a government agency work? It also creates an avenue for corruption. If I get an evil patent clerk on my side, I might be able to get all sorts of nonsense approved. Later, when the stuff starts getting invalidated, it's me and the clerk's pay-day.

Re:US Patent office should pay compensation (2, Insightful)

msouth (10321) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436647)

The free market will fix it, make them pay for their mistakes just like every other professional body.


When the patent system is abused, it's not a free market. The people attacking the current abusive patent practices a trying to restore the free market.

Re:Message to Qualcomm. (2, Informative)

TacoBellGrande (701502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434735)

Disclaimer: I work for Qualcomm. I'm not going to pretend I'm happy with everything we do in terms of patents, but its par for the course in this very patent-rich field. But your facts are in some cases wrong. GTE sued us, and the Nokia, Motorola, and Broadcom lawsuits were counter-suits.

Re:Message to Qualcomm. (4, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434937)

Disclaimer: I used to work in the field (not for qualcom) and I am extremely happy no longer to.

Anyone working in the field is well aware of the phenomenon known as "visit from Qualcomm" legal department. In fact, it is a most common question asked when discussing a financial plan or investment in a wireless related SMB: "And have you had a visit from Qualcom yet?".

It is essentially the same tactic as used by IBM in the early 90-es with their PC-based patents. You are left to develop something, start a business and hopla two chaps in black suits show up with a list of patents which you have supposedly infringed. GTE, Nokia, Motorola, Broadcom were simply big enough to tell these chaps to f*** off, and fight it out. Frankly, I can bet that every single one of them fired the legal salvo after a visit from Pan Legalicus Qualcommi. In fact, in Nokia's case it is known to be so as it has happened as a result of Qualcom violating its obligations to license standardised intellectual property on non-discriminatory terms.

One sided summary (5, Interesting)

Magnus Pym (237274) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435745)

Qualcomm has been aggressive in promoting their patent rights. But to say
that they are unique in this field is completely ignoring one side of the story.

Every try to make something in the GSM/UMTS space? You will have about a dozen companies
approach you with their hands out. Nokia, Qualcomm, Ericcson, Motorola, Lucent, Samsung
and several others. CDMA royalties are about 5%, almost all paid to Qualcomm. GSM/UMTS
royalties sum up to about 18%. The only difference is that if you are one of the big guys,
you "cross-license" your patents so that you don't end up actually paying anything. If you
are a new entrant... well, you are out of luck.

What is pissing off the Nokias, Ericcsons and Broadcomms of the world is that in the CDMA space,
they have no patents at all. None. That is because they fought CDMA every step of the way until Qualcomm
demonstrated conclusively that it is a commercially practical technology. Then they
turned around and tried to claim it as their own, and tried to co-opt it by applying it with minor
modifications to the UMTS space.

Actually, I am amazed that Broadcomm is getting away with this. Their sum total of contributions to
the wireless space is close to zero. They have done some work in the wireline world in the early
years, but they have contributed zip, zilch, nada in the development of wireless IP. They are not
even a name in the industry. HOwever, it is possible that they have purchased some IPR of late.

I am quite happy to see cracks in the patent edifice as a whole, but making Qualcomm the villain in
this is not correct. Qualcomm laid many of the foundations for modern wireless communications technology;
Qualcomm corporate R&D is about as close as you can get to how Bell Labs used to be.
Lots of Qualcomm's IPR consists of non-trivial, non-obvious, fundamental contributions to communications
theory. Most other wireless companies, in particular Nokia, Motorola, Ericcson etc have done nothing
fundamental in the past 15 years. They are product companies whose forte consists of taking old technologies
and packaging them in crowd-pleasing form factors, or (in the case of Ericcson), maintaining relationships
with behemoth carriers.

Magnus

Re:One sided summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19436083)

In this particular case, this patent is a complete joke. I worked in the industry when this all went down, and everyone was told to make changes to their code on each chip. We had to change 8 lines of code if I remember correctly. When we saw what code violated the patent, we laughed. We laughed even harder when we saw the change required. Trust me, this patent is of the "obvious" nature.

Folks like Qualcomm and Nokia actually have patents worth a damn in the wireless market. Many that actually took some time to come up with. Broadcomm is a joke.

Re:One sided summary (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436621)

Of course that is just it. These are NOT software patents. Even RMS doesn't have a problem with hardware patents. To me Broadcomm seems more the villain here. Qualcomm did most eh work in CDMA and now the rest of the world is trying to catch up. Yea this is a mess but I wish people wouldn't lump all patents together.

Re:Message to Qualcomm. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435287)

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If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If the name "Clarus" means nothing to you, GTFO.

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Re:Message to Qualcomm. (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435987)

Why does Apple hate DRM on audio, but not on Software or Video?

In reference to your above cited signature, Apple doesn't have DRM on their software. When's the last time you had to enter a code to use OS X, or do some sort of stupid activation? Video is a different matter.

Re:Message to Qualcomm. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19436625)

Mac OS X is locked to Macs, even where Mac hardware and PC hardware barely differs. Apple uses Trusted Computing to implement this, with major components of Mac OS X encrypted.

Re:Message to Qualcomm. (2, Informative)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436627)

Ever tried to install OS X on a non-Apple computer?

No, you don't have to do activation, but they use DRM to restrict installs of OS X to their own iron.

Personal use? (1, Interesting)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434563)

I am wondering how this might effect travelers arriving in the US with such a phone. I would imagine only a vanishingly small minority would have any idea what semiconductors powered their phone. It would certainly be a shock to arrive and have your phone confiscated.

Re:Personal use? (3, Informative)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434567)

I believe the issue is with import to sell, not importing the phone for your personal use in business/vacation (and bringing it back home with you).

Grump

Re:Personal use? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434765)

Given how US immigration has become over the last few years, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they started applying this to personal phones.

Re:Personal use? (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434887)

I find yours a well reasoned statement with much supporting evidence, prior acts, and perfect understanding of RTFA.

Re:Personal use? (2, Funny)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435155)

He probably meant customs, not immigration and here is some supporting evidence in the form of a quote from an interview with Ewan Mcgregor (I have heard a few other actors sharing similar experiences on other talk shows):
  • Kirsty : Did you come to people's attention after you did rainspotting?
  • Ewan : In the states, yeah, that changed things yeah.
  • Kirsty : Still look back on that and think it was a great performance?
  • Ewan : It was fantastic, I was quite pleased with myself in it , yeah. Best shoot, smoothest experience, best actors, best crew it was fantastic. Around that time at Chicago airport going to do ER, US customs asked what I was doing and I explained that he might have seen me in Trainspotting, sent over to Red immigration zone and stripped off. 'But I'm an actor for christs sake!, I'm not really a heroin addict!'

Yep, Ewan go and tell that to US customs. Same for "I am not really bringing that phone for resale".

Re:Personal use? (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435179)

Yeah you know, because a for all we know made up or random immigration check is totally the same thing as having a phone confiscated. But you two are probably right--I'm sure the memo went out to every customs inspector to start examining every cellphone for certain models of qualcomm chipsets. Totally.

Re:Personal use? (2, Funny)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435777)

Maybe a terrorist has hidden a lithium-ion battery in the phone.
They're explosive [wikipedia.org] you know. ^_^

Re:Personal use? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436707)

Because it's really unusual to find celebrities with drugs.

or worse, (1)

jon287 (977520) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434595)

being prompty arrested for violating the dmc-whatever.

Re:or worse, (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435295)

D'you mean Daryl Lovelace [wikipedia.org] ?
Cos' violating him won't get you arrested, you'd just be in for a right rap in the face.

Re:Personal use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19434763)

I'm no lawyer, but I'd advise people to stick to mobile phones based on the Ericsson Mobile Platform [wikipedia.org] for safety. Prison is not a very nice place, especially if you're the sort of person who buys the latest slimline HSDPA [wikipedia.org] feature phone.

Re:Personal use? (3, Insightful)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434957)

Don't worry too much, if the authorities are going to arrest people just because they have bought something that in one way or another violates an IP, they should just declare the whole Earth as a prison. For all I know my travelling mug could be violating some.

Re:Personal use? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435139)

I think this is all a continuation of the Fly Naked programme. Passengers leave all clothes and personal effects at departing airport in a pay-per-hour rented locker, and simply purchase replacements from approved airport shops at the other end.

Re:Personal use? (1)

indifferent children (842621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435875)

they should just declare the whole Earth as a prison.

Just because Denmark's a prison?

Re:Personal use? (1, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435481)

I doubt it'll make that big a difference. Most phones outside of the US are GSM, with a small proportion of those being UMTS. Qualcomm makes some UMTS chips, but doesn't have the same kind of marketshare with them as it does with CDMA2000 chipsets. To the best of my knowledge, there are no basic 2G GSM phones with Qualcomm chipsets. And UMTS phones from outside the US generally don't support the frequencies used within the US for 3G, making bringing an expensive UMTS phone to the US more trouble than it's worth (you'll get basic GSM only, and then probably only on 1900MHz.)

Unless you're from one of the few places in the world that still uses CDMA2000, you're most likely to bring a phone into the US that is GSM only, and Qualcomm free.

Re:Personal use? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436067)

It would certainly be a shock to arrive and have your phone confiscated.

      After being given dirty looks by the immigration officer, asked many personal and even rude questions, being fingerprinted and photographed, and generally made to feel like a terrorist, I suspect having your phone confiscated is the least of a tourist's worries when coming to the US. In fact, you rather expect it at some point.

      I avoid the US nowadays.

Re:Personal use? (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436661)

Everyone claims this, yet I've entered the US about five times in the last ten years, and gone through the green card process (which is supposedly notorious), and in that time I've never met a single immigration officer who was in any way unhelpful, rude, or overly invasive in his or her questioning. (In fact, the guy who did the green card interview was positively pleasant, and I've kept the two letters I received from the INS, one from him, one their "standard form letter", which were absolutely beautiful.)

Am I just very lucky, or is the stereotype overblown?

what phones use this? (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434625)

Maybe I'm just on the left side of the bell curve, but what technology exactly is effected by this ruling? What phones use these chips? I haven't seen very many qualcomm phones so I assume others are using their chips...

Re:what phones use this? (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434683)

According to the article it covers 25% of all imported mobile phones and the patent is about a technology that saves battery power when you're outside of wireless range.

I'm kinda curious as to how obvious a technology can still be and get patented. Power saving features on wireless chips seems like something any engineer set on the task would be able to come up with.

Re:what phones use this? (1)

halo1982 (679554) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434719)

I'm kinda curious as to how obvious a technology can still be and get patented.

It's the US...you can patent anything. We're the country that let someone sue Microsoft over a patent that somehow covered MP3s, and they won (I think it was even filed in 2000 or 1999, so there was a ton of prior art...jesus).
"A system for warming your testicles with a laptop computer"

Re:what phones use this? (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434787)

Let's patent the algorithm converting binary to hex and back :P

Re:what phones use this? (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434753)

Oh come on. "Non-obvious" doesn't mean the idea, it means the implementations. Until rediculous things like business method patents and such came along, a patent was always about _how_ you did something, not what you were doing. I can't patent "a car that flys!" but I can patent that nice anti-grav engine that makes my flying car go. So yes, its obvious we want to save power on wireless chips, but if you come up with some cool and unique way of doing it, then you get a patent so you can profit on your idea.

Re:what phones use this? (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434781)

I don't know what the patented way to do it is but the obvious way would just to be checking if you can find the wireless network and if you can't shut down the wireless chip for an interval (user option?) and then power up to do another check.

Or you could divide the chip into two parts where one only checks for the presence of the wireless network and activates the other part to actually use it.

or both.

If the patent covers this isn't it an too obvious of an implementation to patent since that's what anyone would come up with if asked to solve that problem?

Re:what phones use this? (2, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434871)

You mean someone actually makes phones that don't do this. This is not just obvious, I would sack an engineer working for me that failed to design this in. We were doing this with pagers in the 1980's.

I think a few USPTO people should go to Guano bay for not doing their duty.

Re:what phones use this? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435439)

I Guano Bay somewhere near Las Vegas?

I've heard that there is some bat country near Vegas...

Re:what phones use this? (2, Insightful)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435351)

So yes, its obvious we want to save power on wireless chips, but if you come up with some cool and unique way of doing it, then you get a patent so you can profit on your idea.
And exactly how is it suddenly impossible to profit from an idea without obtaining a patent first? Whatever happened to first-to-market, brand recognition and good, old-fashioned competition?

If you need a state-protected monopoly to turn a profit, maybe your invention wasn't so damned good after all...

Re:what phones use this? (2, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435463)

Here's a hypothetical situation:

Company A spends 5 million dollars researching how to design and manufacture widgets. They release it into the market. Company B then buy one of the first run, spends 100,000 dollars reverse engineering it, and sells it for 25% of the price Company A offers. Company A now goes out of business.

It's really not that hard to understand, unless you're on Slashdot, where everything someone else came up with is obvious and stupid, but only once they've come up with it.

Re:what phones use this? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435537)

If your process can be replicated for $100,000 it isn't *worth* 5 million dollars, it *cost* 5 million dollars.

Just like if I drive to the store to buy a carton of milk. To the store the milk is worth $2 or whatever. But it cost me that + gas + wear on car + time. Say a store springs up closer to my house, I spend less time/wear/gas to get there. Did they cheat the first company? Suppose the first company had a patent on "putting a store in a neighbourhood," would that be a violation?

Tom

Re:what phones use this? (1)

Jaidan (1077513) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436103)

The process doesn't have to be replicated, just the product. This isn't applicable to all fields as some fields the development rate is so great, or the cost of reverse engineering makes it not reasonable to do. However the parent claims we should do away with patents altogether...

Some products takes years and lots of money to develop, but once they are developed they may be easy to replicate. Materials, machinery, objects all may be very easy to replicate if you have an original to copy. So you seem to imply that because a product may be cheaply duplicated that it isn't novel enough to deserve protection. I argue that things that are difficult to do the first time, then easy to duplicate once it's been done, are the most deserving and needing of patent protection.

An example:
  • Company A starts up with 10 million dollars. Spends 3 years and 6 million dollars designing a specialised airfoil for use in high speed high altitude travel.
  • We'll assume that this R&D produced novel and distinct materials, shapes, etc. That company A would justly be awarded a patent on. But we live in a world without patents. So company a spends the remaining 4 million dollars on machinery to make airfoils.
  • Company B starts out with 10 million dollars also. Spends $100,000 and buys an original of the airfoil. Hires a couple material science engineers, and aeronautical engineers, and they examine the product. Since the airfoil is in front of them they know what shape to make it, will quickly know how to make the material (since they only have to focus on duplicating the example material), etc. So for some small cost they have now duplicated the airfoil. Maybe they spend $500,000 duplicating the airfoil. They now spend the remaining 9.4 million on machinery to make airfoils.
  • Economies of scale says that Company B with more than twice the machinery most likely they will be able to produce more airfoils cheaper than Company A. Company A loses it's bids to produce the product since it can't do so as cheap as Company B.

No this is not a perfect example. It's a greatly simplified example to show the reasons we need patents. It's not meant as a straw man it's meant to illustrate the necessity of patents. Does a patent have bad side effects...yes. Is their problems with the current patent system...yes.

Re:what phones use this? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436697)

That is just dumb.
Yes R&D costs a lot It can take a long time to find an inexpensive to manufacture solution to a problem. That R&D needs to be paid for and that what patents do.

Re:what phones use this? (1)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435607)

In the semiconductor industry, it is quite difficult to copy functionality from your competitors chips. They have a long development cycle, and frequent process changes. If you wait for your competitor to do all the innovation, your chips will lag behind theirs severely.

In this case, both Company A and Company B probably developed the same technology independently. I doubt Qualcom knowingly copied a patented function from a Broadcom chip. In all likelihood, the function was relatively obvious. Both teams of engineers came up with similar solutions independently.

Re:what phones use this? (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435917)

What's apparently hard to understand is that you are indeed stating a purely hypothetical situation, basically unrelated to the real world. That is not how it works. It's how it is supposed to work, though, so I can understand your confusion, especially since a lot of patent attorneys pay a lot of money to maintain that mythos.

First of all, there's enough examples of things being invented simultaneously by several different inventors to make the basic premise of the patent system suspicious from a fairness standpoint. Should first-to-file or first-to-invent be applied (the US and EU use differing principles here)? What of Company C that's an hour late, after having spent 5 million researching the design and manufacture of said widgets? Your message to them is "Go out of business, you late 'tards!".

How about the reason for the patents in the first place, the disclosure of the invention? This is, after all, the reason why the society gives the inventor his monopoly, in exchange for full disclosure. Have you tried reading a patent lately? They are filled with fluffy gibberish, on purpose, so a) any foreign inventors from, say China or another country with less than stellar reputation in the patent respect field can't just rip it off and b) so they can be interpreted as broadly as possible, to be used as ammunition in any possible upcoming disputes (here's a timely example: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/06/08/12 11203 [slashdot.org] There's plenty more where that came from).

So basically, the society gives out a useless monopoly in exchange for getting slower innovation and richer attorneys. Doesn't sound like a good deal to me.

Re:what phones use this? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436021)

Company A now goes out of business.

      Why?

      This is the whole point - Company B isn't going to reverse engineer the widget and set up its own manufacturing facility overnight. Company A has all that time to establish itself as the brand leader and the ORIGINAL. If company B can afford to sell the widget for 25% less and still turn a profit, I'm sure company A can make money too. They don't suddenly go out of business - unless they're complacent. But complacency isn't company B's fault now, is it?

Re:what phones use this? (1)

Jaidan (1077513) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435499)

Patents have been around in the U.S. as long as the U.S. has. They are a very important part of the market. They are meant to protect the first inventor of an idea, to promote creativity. Company X might have great thinkers and engineers so they come up with this great way of doing something, but lack the manufacturing infrastructure to produce a product, or can only do so in limited expensive quantities. However company Y isn't so hot on the thinking part, but have a great manufacturing infrastructure. Company X goes to company Y and licences their patented tech. This is extremely important else, only large companies could have even a fighting chance to survive.

So to counter your claim more directly. Competition is great, without patents we'd have less competition as only large companies with both the thinks and manufacturing infrastructure will survive. Brand recognition is great....for large companies. First-To-Market is helpful...however when company X makes their product and it costs a ton for them to make then company Y reverse engineers the product and due to economies of scale is able to manufacture it cheaper they will put company X's product to shame quickly.

Patents are meant to foster creativity, and protect the ideas of companies that take time/money to develop from being stolen by the first person to lay their hands on it. Patent abuse is a problem today, patents themselves are a important cornerstone in our market. The patent process needs to be revamped to prevent the abuse that's taking place today, however with the much overused phrase: "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater".

Re:what phones use this? (2, Interesting)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435811)

The patent process needs to be revamped to prevent the abuse that's taking place today
Sounds great, in theory. But how do you propose to make this happen, without introducing too large barriers to enter, too short duration of patents or too expensive/slow patent verification processes?

Patents try to solve an unsolvable problem today in that they need to be short in duration to minimize the chilling effects, but long to earn their owners cash; broad to be applicable, but narrow to avoid carpet bombing; easy to understand to be of use for others and patent examiners, but obfuscated to prevent information leakage to countries with no patent system and we need a cheap, fast AND thorough patent examination process. Ain't gonna happen.

Enough studies indicate that the only ones actually benefiting from patents in real life (outside purely hypothetical situations like the other replicant gave) are patent attorneys that I'm willing to give it a try without them. Just let the current ones expire and stop granting new ones. We already see less and less patent applications from real entrepreneurs and innovators and more and more applications from patent hoarders so this step should be a no-brainer. Patents do not work like they are supposed to. I'm unsure as to if they ever actually did. For instance, it has been suggested that they delayed the industrial revolution several decades, until James Watt's steam engine patent expired. http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:bSn6RfryVEgJ:ww w.micheleboldrin.com/research/aim/anew01.pdf [66.102.9.104]

Hell, just look at Switzerland and the Netherlands a hundred years ago - for a period of over 50 years, neither country had a patent system and they flourished. Many large corporations were founded there at the time; Unilever, Syngenta, Philips and Nestlé.

"The two countries relied for their growth not upon exclusive rights but upon high educational standards and technical ability." http://www.guardian.co.uk/globalisation/story/0,73 69,665969,00.html [guardian.co.uk]

Re:what phones use this? (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436339)

Could you please provide links to all these studies that show the only ones benefiting are attorneys?

Thanks

Re:what phones use this? (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436431)

Of course. Here's a starter list:

Basalla, G., The Evolution of Technology, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press,1988.
Canadian Intellectual Property Office, A Guide to Patents, Ottawa, Publications Centre Communications Branch, Industry Canada, 1994.
Carter, H.D., If You Want to Invent, New York, The Vanguard Press, 1939.
Cohen, W., R.R. Nelson and J. P. Walsh, Protecting their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not), Working Paper 7552, Cambridge, National Bureau of Economic Research (available at http://www.nber.org/papers/w7552 [nber.org] ), 2000.
De Gregori, T.R., A Theory of Technology: Continuity and Change in Human Development, Ames, Iowa State University Press, 1985.
Desrochers, P., De l'influence d'une ville diversifiée sur la combinaison de techniques: Typologie et analyse de processus, Ph.D. dissertation (Geography), Université de Montréal, 2000.
Hounshell, D., From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984.
Kinsella, N.S., Is Intellectual Property Legitimate? , Paper presented at the Austrian Scholars Conference 6, Auburn, Alabama, March 25, 2000.
Mazzolini, R. and R.R. Nelson, The Benefits and Costs of Strong Patent Protection: A Contribution to the Current Debate , Research Policy 27 (3), p. 273-284, 1998.
Petroski, H., The Evolution of Useful Thing, New York, Random House, 1992.
Rosegger, G., The Economics of Production and Innovation: An Industrial Perspective, Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1986.
Scherer, F.M., Comment on R.E. Evenson International Invention: Implications for Technology Market Analysis , In Zvi Griliches, ed. R&D, Patents, and Productivity, Chicago, University of Chicago and National Bureau of Economic Research, p. 123-126, 1987.

Let me know when you want more.

Re:what phones use this? (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436519)

OK, so that wasn't really fair. :-)

Here's the executive summary: http://www.quebecoislibre.org/000902-3.htm [quebecoislibre.org]

Some more references:
http://wiki.ffii.org/Martin041109En [ffii.org]
http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/15_2/15_2_1.pdf [mises.org]
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/05/21/business/wh o.php [iht.com]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/globalisation/story/0,73 69,665969,00.html [guardian.co.uk]
http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/again st.htm [dklevine.com]
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20020805/newman200207 25 [thenation.com]
http://www.economist.com/printedition/displaystory .cfm?story_id=5014990 [economist.com]

"Within the past five or six years, economists in particular have started to question the USPTO's practices, finding little correlation, if any, between patent proliferation and invention. Economists have identified many situations in which patents actually retard the introduction of new products. "
http://members.forbes.com/asap/2002/0624/044.html [forbes.com]

Re:what phones use this? (1)

Jaidan (1077513) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436477)

Sounds great, in theory. But how do you propose to make this happen, without introducing too large barriers to enter, too short duration of patents or too expensive/slow patent verification processes?

This is such a silly argument it's not even funny. Of course I don't propose to solve all the problems with the current system. That will most likely be the work of a large group of people specializing in that particular field.

Patents try to solve an unsolvable problem today in that they need to be short in duration to minimize the chilling effects, but long to earn their owners cash; broad to be applicable, but narrow to avoid carpet bombing; easy to understand to be of use for others and patent examiners, but obfuscated to prevent information leakage to countries with no patent system and we need a cheap, fast AND thorough patent examination process. Ain't gonna happenn

It's of course not going to be an easy task. However the results are more than worthwhile. And none of the problems you list are unable to be solved imo. The patent system needs to be better designed, and it will take some serious innovation to fix it, but a means to provide for a limited monopoly will overall lead to greater innovation.

For instance, it has been suggested that they delayed the industrial revolution several decades, until James Watt's steam engine patent expired. http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:bSn6RfryVEgJ:ww w.micheleboldrin.com/research/aim/anew01.pdf [66.102.9.104]

Their are issues with patents. Complacency and sitting on patents to prevent competition of an alternative product are major issues that will have to be dealt with. Not, once again, unsolvable imo. Some of the largest innovations may when patented provide a slowing effect, which you list a good example of. However patent protection has shown throughout history to provide a motivation for overall greater innovation.

Hell, just look at Switzerland and the Netherlands a hundred years ago - for a period of over 50 years, neither country had a patent system and they flourished. Many large corporations were founded there at the time; Unilever, Syngenta, Philips and Nestlé.

Come on now, your first and last arguments are horrible scapegoats for what in the middle where at least decent points (if true). You listed 4 companies, 3 of which are production companies working in fields that will have little to no patents. Worse, since they are specialized in producing the products rather then inventing them, they would benefit from an environment where innovations are not protected and they can just steal them as they wish.

Lastly I'd love to see some links to those patent lawyer studies.

Re:what phones use this? (1)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436487)

I just had an idea. It sounds great, which probably means it's awful.

If the duration of a patent is 20 years for a single individual, why not state that the 20 years applies to all people involved in the project, but must be divided amongst them? If a five-man team at a university develops something, give them four years. If a division of a company with 25 people directly involved in a project create some new tech, give them just shy of a year. Include the management that directly oversaw the project, and anyone that attached their names to the patent - if they're really that valuable to the project, then they should be named.

Patent inventions are so miniscule these days that they really shouldn't be active more than a couple of years anyway, but this allows the "little man" the flexibility he needs to compete with the big companies.

Also, make patents non-transferable. You can't suddenly say "I didn't invent that, he did, go pay him." You can license your patent to someone (exclusively if you feel the need to do so) and let him do something with it, but the ability to innovate should not be taken away.

Re:what phones use this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435321)

Power saving features on wireless chips seems like something any engineer set on the task would be able to come up with.

This applies to every single patent I have seen in the field (software) I am familier with. They are just solutions to a particular problem, normal output from engineering work. No doubt work was involved, but what else do you pay engineers for?

Re:what phones use this? (3, Informative)

halo1982 (679554) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434701)

Generally every CDMA phone with the exception of older Nokias. So that means nearly everything from Sprint and Verizon...also, this includes W-CDMA/HSDPA phones as well (think Cingular 3G). Every Samsung, Sanyo, LG...it's a lot of fuckin phones, man.

If you have a Sprint phone chances are you've seen a "Digital by Qualcomm" logo/sticker somewhere on it. (The exception being the Treos)

Re:what phones use this? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19434867)

If you have a Sprint phone chances are you've seen a "Digital by Qualcomm" logo/sticker somewhere on it.

Interestingly, some phones based on the Ericsson chipset have this sticker too. I heard this was due to some patent lawsuit. So "Digital by Qualcomm" means "uses technologies that Qualcomm patented", not necessarily that the hardware or software was developed by them.

Re:what phones use this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19434721)

Qualcomm is the king of CDMA from what I understand. If it's a CDMA phone, it probably has a qualcomm transciever microcontroller.

Re:what phones use this? (1)

ryanmoore (139890) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434771)

In the U.S., this mostly covers phones using CDMA technology. The biggest CDMA carriers in the U.S. are Sprint PCS and Verizon. But there are others. It's all phones used by those carriers (Samsung, Sanyo, LG, etc.)

Re:what phones use this? (3, Informative)

Phil John (576633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434773)

A few HTC Smart Phones use Qualcomm Chips IIRC. The new HTC Kaiser [pdadb.net] (slide out keyboard w/flip up screen, GPS, WM 6) has a Qualcomm Chip core powering it, doing the GPS and also Graphics, so unless this is overturned people in the states are going to miss out on a funky little device.

ITC press release (5, Informative)

Takichi (1053302) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434767)

You can get a better idea of what happened if you read the International Trade Commission's press release [usitc.gov] . At the bottom of the page is a little background information to get a sense of what happened prior to their decision.

It says that it found a violation on U.S. Patent No. 6,714,983. Here's the link to the patent [google.com] .

One thing to note is that the ITC investigates and makes recommendations to congress and the president. It's not actually a court of law or policy making body. So I think this from the article:

A federal agency has banned imports of new cellphones made with Qualcomm semiconductors
isn't really true. Especially when later in the article it states that the government has 60 days to approve or overturn the order made by the ITC.

Re:ITC press release (2, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434849)

Wow, me that's completely uneducated in wireless chip design put forward the exact idea that is patented there o.O

Seriously they've patented everything that can use a battery and reduces power usage by modifying the frequency of scanning for access ports. And then they further patented the ability to shut down unneeded parts of a wireless chip.

Unless I'm reading the patent wrong which I hope I am.

TRIPing over your competitors .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435551)

"A pritable data terminal includes at least two communication transeivers having different operating charactrtistics, one for conducting data communications on a wired sub-network and one for conducting data communications on a wireless subnetwork"

So basically they patented all wired and wireless networks. Isn't just a case of a US company using legislation to impede competitors entry into the market. The whole TRIPS [groklaw.net] thing being designed so any future non-US telecom company will have to pay a tithe to Washington just to sell their own technology. Pax Americana rules everywhere.

was Re:ITC press release

Once again, patent system blocks progress (4, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434873)

Did Qualcomm employees actually read Broadcom's patent and use the helpful diagrams to build the phone chips? I rather suspect not - this is another example of independent discovery. I understand that the patent law doesn't allow that as a defense, as it's hard to prove that someone didn't read the publicly available patent. But the fact that it happens over and over again just shows that the current system blocks progress of art and science rather than encouraging it. We have to start only allowing patents that are judged non-obvious by leading experts in the area.

Independent discovery of what, exactly (1)

jbb1003 (514899) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434923)

I just read the abstract (I know, bad form on slashdot...). Admittedly it's only the abstract, but it sounds remarkably like an abstraction layer.

Re:Once again, patent system blocks progress (1)

jb.cancer (905806) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435223)

We have to start only allowing patents that are judged non-obvious by leading experts in the area.
the problem with such an approach is the well-known phenomenon "oh, it's so obvious once you see it!". how do you deal with that now.

Re:Once again, patent system blocks progress (2, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435433)

But it's even more complicated than that. It's a "if I had to work on the problem, that's the first thing I would try."

For example, [in recent news...] the Amazon 1-click patent. Since I'm not running a webshop I didn't try to declare that idea as my own. But I think that if I were running a shop I would want to investigate what's the fastest way to get someone to order something and on with their life. I'd probably come up with a 1-click idea too. It just makes sense. The website already knows who you are, where you live, etc. So why would it make sense to fill out a complete order form when you want to buy something?

In this case, because I'm not an "e-shop" owner I didn't think of it. But it would obvious to anyone in the field. I should also like to point out that many people "trade teams" quite often. when I was at AMD it wasn't uncommon to have relatively higher up people from all over shuffle around (e.g. intel to AMD, amd to intel, HP to amd, amd to IBM, etc...). You don't think these people bring ideas in their heads with them?

While I don't know the exact details of the patents, I'd be surprised if they were anything groundbreaking.

Tom

Re:Once again, patent system blocks progress (4, Interesting)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435645)

There's also the new (pending?) revisions from SCOTUS on the "obviousness" clause that changes the meaning (I hope) to "if the new 'invention' is simply a combination of existing components that does what you would expect by combining those components, it doesn't count as a patentable invention."

One-click shouldn't be a patent, because it simply chains together existing components in a way that results in the simple sums of functionality. There is nothing "new" there.

A patent on a chip that simply sums together signal detection with wake-up logic to save batteries should also not be patentable, because both of those technologies have been around for a long time.

It's only when the sum of components does not simply result in an obvious function that a patent should be granted. My test would be something like: strip the patent application of the description of what it does and the submitter and give it to a group of engineers in that field. If that small group can't determine what the invention is supposed to do within, say, 8 hours (or some other 'reasonable' time frame), then it can get a patent. Otherwise, no patent.

The problem is that people are now using combinations of preexisting ideas as patents when they shouldn't be allowed. I wouldn't even grant a patent on the optical mouse, because it's an "obvious" combination of an optical motion sensor and a computer pointing device. Now, I might patent something related to how the optical motion sensor works, but only so long as it's not simply a combination of existing components.

Re:Once again, patent system blocks progress (2, Interesting)

OakLEE (91103) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435835)

But the fact that [independent discovery] happens over and over again just shows that the current system blocks progress of art and science rather than encouraging it.

Really? How does discovering something again lead to progress? I could re-invent the wheel, or prove that 2+2=4 for independently, but neither would advance the fields of engineering or mathematics. Prohibiting independent discovery is not so much the issue, as dealing with the infringing use. It is the potential prohibition of the infringing use that threatens to hamper the progress of the arts and sciences, not the mere fact that it was rediscovered.

Perhaps the best solution here would be do adopt a mandatory licensing scheme similar to the one used for copyrighted musical works. The only catch here would be determining what a proper royalty would be. Patented inventions are inherently more hard to value then music because their value often comes from their combination with other inventions (patented or unpatented). Songs on the other hand are singular items. This is the biggest problem a mandatory licensing regime faces.

We have to start only allowing patents that are judged non-obvious by leading experts in the area.

No, lawyers would have a field day with this standard. How do we determine who a "leading expert" is? If it is a question of fact, it goes to the jury, which will result in unpredictable and inconsistent outcomes; i.e., a craps shoot. Try explaining to your average person on the street why theoretical physicist A's interpretation of M-Theory is more correct then theoretical physicist B's interpretation. Alternatively if it is a question of law, the judge decides, this leads to huge legal battles (and costs) as the lawyers argue over A vs. B , and arguably will not produce better or more coherent outcomes then a jury. Patent litigation is already the most expensive form of litigation to pursue, increasing the complexity of litigation helps no one.

broadcom (2, Interesting)

DavoMan (759653) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435071)

What is it with Broadcom? This sounds like the same kinda rubbish that is stopping my wireless from working natively in Linux.

Re:broadcom (4, Interesting)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435767)

Why did this get rated troll? In all seriousness, Broadcom refuses to write drivers or help or anything to get their wireless cards working natively in Linux. They do not care. Currently the best way to get the BCM43xx chipsets working is to use bcm43xx-fwcutter, but that of course violates patents because it uses the actual firmware of the wireless card to work.

Re:broadcom (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435905)

Why did this get rated troll?

      You must be new here. 90% of interesting or useful comments receive a Troll, Flamebait or Offtopic mod. This has been the case for the past year or so. But don't worry. The INTELLIGENT readers on slashdot read all comments, at -1, anyway.

Re:broadcom (1)

someone300 (891284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436673)

You made me think of something. With physics and maths (e.g. software), and the general vagueness of patents, I'd propose that with certain rather essential to future development technologies, and ones involving interoperability standards, a patent can cover all physically or mathematically possible implementations of executing a particular idea. Same with pharmacuticals and stuff.

Now say Microsoft decide to patent something like this, say, develop a wireless standard and make it ubiquitous, licensing it to people for a few years so it becomes ingrained. Afterwards, they could refuse to renew the license to Apple or Linux users or distributors, then Linux and OS X would have to violate the patent in order to compete or else fail.

Sounds unfair.

patenting use of old algs to new problems is naff (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435115)

After skimming the patent [google.com] I'm failing to see the IP. Claim 1 basically describes a linking of attempt rate to success rate... and isn't that like the exponential backoff of ethernet? The fact that they then tie this to turning on and off a periphial (the power hungry transmitter) is the kind of optimization that laptop driver authors have been doing of years... so while prior art in the field of mobile phones may be thin on the ground there are examples all over the place.

The primary and secondary examiner are listed... has anyone found an online resource that provides ranks or rates these guys? Some googling turns up proposals for community participation in the patent review process but nothing like a 'hot or not' site for examiners :)

Another reason to use Nokia phones (0, Offtopic)

glomph (2644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435467)

Oh, sorry this is slashdot. Time for an iPhone!

Can you hear me now???

fros8t pist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19435517)

If you an5werEd just yet, but I'm a fact: FreeBSD If you do not By BSDI who sell

No big deal (0, Redundant)

sauge (930823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435897)

US market: 300 million people

Asian market: 2,000 million people

I postulate the US of the future will be a technological backwater in the coming years with it's trade policies and legal foolishness.

If it is to hard to sell in the US, so what... there is a whole new up and coming world out there (ironically fueled by US economic suicide.)

Re:No big deal (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19435927)

there is a whole new up and coming world out there (ironically fueled by US economic suicide.)

      I didn't expect it to happen in my lifetime, but carry on. There's a reason why emerging market funds are leading the way nowadays.

Re:No big deal (2, Informative)

jratcliffe (208809) | more than 7 years ago | (#19436121)

Asia is large and growing rapidly, but a huge portion of that growth is driven by sales to the US market - remember that the US economy is more than five times the size of the Chinese economy, and nearly twice the size of the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean economies combined. Loss of access to the US market would be a huge lose/lose for both Asian economies AND the US.
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