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Google, Yahoo, Others Sued Over Solitaire Patent

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the patent-trolls dept.

Patents 163

An anonymous reader writes "Back in 2004, Slashdot posted about computer solitaire being patented. It was a ridiculous patent and made it onto the EFF's list of worst patents. However, not much had been heard about that patent until now. It turns out that the patent holder, Sheldon Goldberg, is now using that patent to sue a bunch of different online publications, including Digg, eBaum's World, the NY Times, Cnet and the Washington Post. He's also suing Google, Yahoo and AOL (why not?)."

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Dammit... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21921966)

Thats too stupid.

I DEMAND SOMEONE KILL HIM!

with a deck of cards.

Fucking jews (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922218)

thats a fucking jew for u. jews are the fucking shit of the earth

Why not microsoft? (3, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21921980)

Why don't they go after microsoft too? They've been distributing a computer solitaire game for many years in clear violation of this patent, and they have plenty of money to sue them for!

Re:Why not microsoft? (4, Informative)

quazee (816569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922162)

Most of the claims of that patent involve a networked version of a card game, where users play simultaneously with a "computer opponent".
Things such as advertising and scoreboards are mentioned as well.

So, the Windows Solitaire is less susceptible than a Web-based card game with advertising/leaderboard.

Re:Why not microsoft? (4, Insightful)

conlaw (983784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922648)

So, the Windows Solitaire is less susceptible than a Web-based card game with advertising/leaderboard.

If you go back to the original article, http://trolltracker.blogspot.com/2008/01/4-interesting-new-cases-from-last-2.html [blogspot.com] , you'll see that this guy also claims to have patented on-line game rankings, and pop-up advertising!

Re:Why not microsoft? (1, Funny)

tacocat (527354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923144)

His only mistake is that he didn't invent the Internet. Wait... That's been taken.

Re:Why not microsoft? (1)

badran (973386) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923932)

hmm he owns the pop-up, so why not sue sue sue... :p

Re:Why not microsoft? (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924552)

Cool. So my little online ranking for an online game I invented in '95 is Prior Art?

Re:Why not microsoft? (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924868)

Automated online game rankings go way back to the first textmode games offered by BBSs, ca. 1980ish.

But if someone wants to sue popup advertisers... hey, I'm all for it!!

I see your suit and raise you a monkey's uncle (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922334)

It has flair, in a non-gay way !!

Re:Why not microsoft? (4, Informative)

Zordak (123132) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922462)

Why don't they go after microsoft too? They've been distributing a computer solitaire game for many years in clear violation of this patent, and they have plenty of money to sue them for!

Because the claims don't read on a single-player card game. The claims positively recite multiple players. Taking a quick look at the claims, it looks like this is one of those instances of doing something well-known over a network. Given the Supreme Court's recent KSR decision, you could probably invalidate this by finding an instance of somebody doing the same thing not on a network.

I am a patent lawyer, but I don't represent you. This post should not be relied on by anyone for any reason. This post is my personal opinion, and is not endorsed by Jackson Walker LLP, its agents, or partners.

Re:Why not microsoft? (5, Funny)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922820)

Gotta love that multiplayer Solitaire.

Killer solitaire (3, Informative)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923172)

Despite the oxymoronic name, there does exist a fun multiplayer variant of Klondike solitaire. Each person plays their own deck and columns, but the stacks where you put cards in A-2-3-...-J-Q-K order are shared. Each ace starts a new stack, so there can be multiple partially complete stacks for each suit. The first player to get all of their cards out of their columns and onto any of the stacks wins. It's fast-paced and competitive.

Re:Killer solitaire (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923586)

Russian Bank?

Re:Killer solitaire (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924422)

Indeed. You can find a two-player VS. CPU version of this game on the Amiga as part of 'Serious Solitaire'. (They call it 'Patience Race', I think.)

Re:Why not microsoft? (1)

scruff the pup (1138581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924434)

nerts is a multiplayer card game that my family plays every xmas, we each have our own decks, all play at the same time, etc. it's pretty fun

Re:Why not microsoft? (1)

coolbox (1011563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924844)

Multiplayer Solitaire = Congressional Ethics

Re:Why not microsoft? (4, Insightful)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923762)

Because the claims don't read on a single-player card game.

But Hearts is a multiplayer, network card game.

The troll might not want to go after Microsoft with a patent filed in 2001 for a game that has been in Windows since '95. Might be a teensy bit difficult to prove priority, lack of obviousness etc.

If I was looking for prior art that is where I would probably start. But there are entire histories of networked computer games.

I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice. Although I am qualified to act as an expert witness I am not your expert witness. This post should not be relied on by anyone for any reason.

Re:Why not microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21924822)

Prior art would go back further than Windows 95. Win 3.0 and OS/2 2.0 both had solitaire games(though OS/2's had unlimited undo!). I assume earlier versions of Windows that a handful of people surely must have used at one point included solitaire as well.

Re:Why not microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21924974)

WFW 3.11 had Hearts actually, and I'm pretty sure earlier alpha/beta versions did too, since it was one of the major marketing points in the included WFW literature besides Exchange/Mail and Chat.

Re:Why not microsoft? (2, Interesting)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924966)

Although I am qualified to act as an expert witness I am not your expert witness.

What special criteria doe someone have to meet to be considered an expert witness?

Re:Why not microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21924090)

I am a patent lawyer, but I don't represent you. This post should not be relied on by anyone for any reason. This post is my personal opinion, and is not endorsed by Jackson Walker LLP, its agents, or partners.
No competent lawyer (no, this isn't a "no true Scotsman" fallacy) would bother adding a silly disclaimer like that - it conveys no information that's not already assumed by the reasonable person. Either you don't practice law, or.. oh wait, you said you were a patent lawyer. My bad.

Re:Why not microsoft? (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924704)

I am a patent lawyer, but [...]
No competent lawyer (no, this isn't a "no true Scotsman" fallacy) would bother adding a silly disclaimer like that - it conveys no information that's not already assumed by the reasonable person.
A reasonable person would assume that anyone talking about patent law on Slashdot was a patent lawyer?

Re:Why not microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21924838)

A reasonable person would assume that anyone talking about patent law on Slashdot was a patent lawyer?
Sigh, typical engineer response - analyse meaning in context rather than assuming English is like C++. "I am a patent lawyer" is not the "disclaimer" - the disclaimer is the crap about not being legal advice and not representing his company.

I quoted this preamble since, as is painfully obvious, the OP's claimed profession is relevant in understanding the motivation for my post.

If you're another lawyer come to rescue the first, may His Noodliness help us all.

Re:Why not microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21924678)

I am a patent lawyer, but I don't represent you. This post should not be relied on by anyone for any reason. This post is my personal opinion, and is not endorsed by Jackson Walker LLP, its agents, or partners.


That is either rather self-aggrandizing (wow, your post was so amazing it will now serve as the framework for everyone's actions in the digital realm), or a feeble, thinly-veiled attempt at publicity. If you're going to advertise, then by all means do so, but doing it in the form of a "disclaimer" is ridiculous.

Re:Why not microsoft? (1, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924762)

I am a patent lawyer, but I don't represent you. This post should not be relied on by anyone for any reason. This post is my personal opinion, and is not endorsed by Jackson Walker LLP, its agents, or partners.

No one would know the name of your silly little firm if you DIDN'T ADVERTISE IN YOUR SIG. If you're so concerned that you have to put this obnoxious disclaimer in your posts, then either drop the advertising or post anonymously and quit being a self-important wanker.

Re:Why not microsoft? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21924804)

I've just eaten a ham sandwich, but I don't represent you.

Re:Why not microsoft? (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924836)

I read the patent abstracts. It appears that what is being patented isn't the game, but rather the method of delivering *advertising* to the game interface.

[blink] How is this fundamentally different from what websites with games AND ad banners have been doing since at least 1996??

Welcome to Plato back in the 70s and 80s. (1)

kmahan (80459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924880)

Card games like these were implemented on Plato (University of Illinois educational system from the 70s/80s/90s) in the late 70s and 80s. They were called inter-terminal games. The terminals were all connected back to the mainframe. If you want to argue that the terminals were just display devices (512x512 plasma screens with keyboards and touch panels) there were also plenty games written for the PlatoV/IST/Viking terminals (later generation terminals that had 8080 or z80 procs in them that you could run downloaded code on).

Networked ranking systems have existed on Plato since shortly after the first inter-terminal games were written.

Patents like these are stupid because there is prior art available.

Re:Why not microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21923096)

Because if you don't have billions of billions of dollars, Microsoft will have ruined you before you see any chance of the case coming to an end in your favor.

Isn't this the best possible thing to happen? (5, Insightful)

Ochu (877326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922010)

We have a fly-by-night organisation, suing at least eight major companies, with a patent that is clearly a joke.
Our legal system works as much by precedent as by legislation.
When the NYT, CNet and Google fight this as hard as they are going to, this will set that precedent, and it will set it hard. It will make it that bit harder for frivolous patents to ever reach court, and might, just might, prompt a re-evaluation of the entire system.

Use it or lose it (5, Insightful)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922086)

I don't like the idea of owning ideas and other things that do not exist, but if we have to have a patent system, then I think there should be a "use it or lose it" element to the patent system. If you can prove that you are trying to make a product out of it, or have licensed it to someone who is trying to make a product out it, then you are allowed to approach the courts to try to have your patents enforced. Otherwise, all bets are off.

70% of patent actions are by people who stockpile patents but produce no products. These patent trolls are just leeches are should not be allowed to hinder real companies who actually make things.
 

cut 'em off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922220)

More than that, I think, patents need to be limited to a (relatively) short period of time. A maximum patent coverage term of, say, a couple of years would keep the positive outcome of incentivizing research investment, as the patent holder would still get to lock in customers, but it would block abuses such as those by patent trolls or, perhaps, an HIV vaccine inventor who wants to charge $1,000 a dose on a (semi-)perpetual basis.

Re:cut 'em off (4, Informative)

kanweg (771128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922302)

The term is limited, to a period of 20 years. As an incentive not to keep the patent in force for any longer than necessary (and to pay for the patent system and bring in some tax money), there is a renewal fee to be paid every year or in odd cases (US) every couple of years. The fee gets higher the longer you want to keep the patent in force.

Patent terms are way more reasonable than copyright terms. And for a patent you have to meet high standards (OK, in some countries they sometimes make a joke out of that) and it is quite costly. Now, compare that to copyright. It doesn't cost anything, doesn't require registration and lasts for all practical purposes forever.

As to the HIV issue you mention. Just about any patent law has an article allowing the government to step in and end the monopoly prematurely. This is not done for trivial reasons, but in case of say - a bird flue epidemic - a patentee cannot hold a country at ransom. Brazil did it recently when some drug company insisted on charging too much.

Bert

Re:cut 'em off (2, Informative)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922998)

The U. S. Congress has added an additional term of up to 5 years to the normal 20-year patent term for pharmaceutical patents. This is designed to prevent financial losses from the additional time it takes a pharmaceutical manufacturer to get a new drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration eating up a substantial portion of overall patent life.
    Overall, this may be fair. Concerns include whether the variable additional term awarded is sometimes not a close match for the time actually taken in a given case, what happens if the FDA takes over 5 years, and whether there are other industries deserving similar adjustments and not getting them.

Well, there goes my "World Peace" patent . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922236)

. . . I can't patent it, because it doesn't exist.

Aw, shucks.

Not a good idea... (5, Interesting)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922322)

Traditional patents does most damage when the patent holder release some poor and overpriced product only few can and will afford, basically holding back the benefits of the invention for the duration of the patent.

I believe induction cooking was delayed that way, because the holder of a key patent only used it in its own very exclusive brand, and refused to license it to cheaper brands with better distribution channels.

It is much better if the patent holder has no products of its own, and instead offers patents to everyone on RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.

Even better, of course, would be to do away with the patents.

Re:Not a good idea... (1)

forand (530402) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923404)

So most people don't seem to RTFA here but you do not appear to have read the post you are replying to. The parent to your post said that if they patent owner had licensed the patent or were bringing a product to market then they could keep the patent if not then all bets are off. So how is your comment relevant at all?

You are right (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923902)

I missed the license part. Not sure how the GGP proposal would help then, presumably the patent trolls will try to get people to license their patents as well (that is how they get money from them).

Re:You are right (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924828)

Not sure how the GGP proposal would help then, presumably the patent trolls will try to get people to license their patents as well (that is how they get money from them).
The thing about patent trolls is that they generally try to wait until people are already doing whatever their patent covers before they start trying to enforce it. If someone isn't already committed to the patented technology, they can just change their product to work round the patent; if they've been selling something that includes the patented technology for 10 years, they basically either have to license the patent on your terms or face an extended lawsuit that might lead to you being awarded massive damages.

If there was a requirement that a patent be in use or actively licensed to remain valid, this would not be an option: a patent troll couldn't suddenly try to enforce a patent after lying low for 10 years while the technology became popular. There might be unexpected downsides to this system as well, but on the face of it it does seem to provide a clear benefit.

Depends on the meaning of "use it". (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924260)

"Use it or lose it" doesn't mean "make it or lose it", it can also mean "actively promote or license it" as well.

Re:Use it or lose it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922428)

I'm afraid I have patented the idea of not liking the idea of owning ideas and/or things that may or may not exist.

Cough up sucker, paperworks in the ether.

Re:Use it or lose it (1)

TwelveInches (976724) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922754)

How would you prove that you trying to "use" it ? I imagine that RIMM and a lot of tech companies are sitting on a handful of patents, which may be quite legit in intent, that they couldn't decently prove they are using at the moment. Of course a charlatan would easily find a 100 ways to prove he was "using" it.

Re:Use it or lose it (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922894)

What about just putting heavy research into something? You know, spending months/years on a new type of...elevator, and then filing an 'I might use this' patent (with proof of actually having spent this time/effort). Patents aren't just there for temporary monopolies, they also exist to provide details on the invention.
Some people have genuinely good ideas, but don't have the capital to do anything with them without licensing them to someone else.

Re:Use it or lose it (1)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923122)

Well as I explained above, if you licence your patent to someone else and they try to make a product out of it, then you pass the test.

Re:Isn't this the best possible thing to happen? (1)

Jay L (74152) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922274)

I think you're right (IANAL though).

When you're suing the bad guys, you sue the most obvious ones first. And if you're lucky, they appeal and you win. Then it's binding predecent, not just influential.

THEN you go sue the less-obvious bad guys, because you've laid the groundwork.

It doesn't often happen in the reverse, but it sure could be helpful...

Re:Isn't this the best possible thing to happen? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922366)

We need a +1 wishful thinking.
I hope you are right, but this guy may well have a case in the current legal system

Re:Isn't this the best possible thing to happen? (1)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922546)

I agree to a large extent to your points; more examination is required to ensure that patents aren't useless.

The converse is making everything more difficult to patent (through whatever means) the effect this may have on individuals could also be huge. Joe Blow may invent something that could change the world, is new, unique, un-obvious and "should" qualify for a patent - now that patenting take a lot more resources he/she has a barrier to entry that organizations like google / yahoo! / etc can meet easily. Joe Blow may lose their desire to invent or bring that product to market if they can't "own" it. Reform is needed, but reform that still takes into account the little guy (who aren't all bad) is required.

Re:Isn't this the best possible thing to happen? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923238)

...just might, prompt a re-evaluation of the entire system.

And to prevent any chance of that happening, there will be a quick "settlement". This is why you are seeing a softening of the music industry over DRM. It's starting to provoke a relatively large number of people. Re-evaluation could bring about the "final solution", something that is desperately needed, but not about to happen in the case of all IP law. Man, attacking Solitaire! How could they? It's the only reason to have a computer. You can use a typewriter and an adding machine for all the important stuff.

Re:Isn't this the best possible thing to happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21923864)

> We have a fly-by-night organisation, suing at least eight major companies, with a patent that is clearly a joke.

Yeah, but you can bet he's serious about it. One of the linked articles said he's from Henderson, Nevada's 89074 (that's Green Valley Ranch/South's zipcode), which is like the Beverly/Hollywood Hills area in Nevada, only with its own executive airport and six lane freeway (the 215) that connects it into Las Vegas' famous Strip. While true enough, there are always a lot of "get rich quick" schemers and plotters who try to live above their means in any affluent area like that, not many have law degrees and even if they do, Nevada is a "money talks plastic walks" kind of place where they'll send you to jail if you even bounce a check. This sure sounds like a "get rich quick scheme", but you can bet that someone is paying this guy with deep pockets, or he is a fool who will quickly be living in the crawl-space under the 215 when the counterclaims come back from those massive companies he's attacking.

More info on the 89074/89123:
The "locals" place there Green Valley Station [gvrstyle.com] . On the 4th of July, even the "local" homeowner fireworks shows outdo Disney resorts (dozens of hour-long arial shows from one end of horizon to other). Lots of celebrities have second homes here, plus lots of famous athletes (race car drivers, tennis pros, etc.) The place also crawls with tech-people who commute to Silicon Valley and Southern California because there are no state taxes, it's under an hour flight and less than fifty bucks for a ticket, plus cheap real estate, lower cost of living and extremely high-speed DSL/cable/fiber everywhere. The local public library has the most complex tech books "donated" to it that you can imagine. Local Craig's postings ask for things like "I will pay $1000 cash to someone who can program a VoIP program for my Nokia N770 in 30 days." There's free WiFi surrounding the main metropolitan center The District [thedistrictatgvr.com] which is filled with coffee shops, bars and restaurants that also have free wifi (and a "pool on the roof", for real --lol). Places like zillow.com show it has high concentration of people with PHDs, etc. Could go on for hours. "Bet you'd live here if you could and be one of us."

Sierra online did this in 1989 (1)

Steve1952 (651150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924098)

Sierra online did a lot of this in 1989. It was called the The ImagiNation Network or the Sierra Network. You can see this in an article on Wiki at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ImagiNation_Network [wikipedia.org]

Since a few minutes of search can often break a bogus patent, I'd argue that the patent system itself is working OK.

Re:Sierra online did this in 1989 (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924886)

Since a few minutes of search can often break a bogus patent, I'd argue that the patent system itself is working OK.
I'd argue that a patent that can be shown to be bogus with just a few minutes of search should not have been issued in the first place. If the patent system was working OK, then the patent examiners would be doing those few minutes of search themselves, not rubber-stamping everything that lands on their desks and leaving it to the courts to determine what is and isn't bogus.

It's About Time! (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922016)

All these silly IP type patents flying about was sure to backfire at some stage.

Good, I hope this guy wins, and opens a venerable flood gate that forces everyone to have a good and hard look at how the whole software patent thing is administered.

maybe Congress will finally notice this nonsense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922018)

Will this finally be mainstream enough to reach newspapers and television so that lawmakers finally notice what is going on and do something about it?

Someone (outside the patent holder) must be profiting from this since it is allowed to go on and on... just like spam... I wonder if it's the lawyers...

MUD (5, Insightful)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922022)

One of the patents is for a method for playing games on a network. Network gaming systems have been around for as long as networks. For example, in 1977 there was a little game called MUD.

Obviousness in to the US patent office is of course different than the rest of humanity.

Re:MUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922842)

For example, in 1977 there was a little game called MUD.
Unless you mean Multi-User Dungen then a little genre called MUDs [wikipedia.org] else 1978.

semantitron hooooooooo!

Re:MUD (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924318)

And in 1984 or so (don't remember exactly) I worked for a company (long since defunct) that was working on online games, including solitaire. I suspect there is quite a bit of prior art around.

More Info. (1, Redundant)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922032)

Techdirt has more: details [techdirt.com] . To add to the conversation, it also asserts a "networked gaming system" but again that's pure bollocks as Quake and Doom before it obviously provide prior art even for that!

that's the genius (5, Funny)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922076)

that's the brilliant part of their invention i assume. adding a network part to a game you can only play alone. it's pure genius!

Re:that's the genius (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922310)

It's so other sad, bored lonely people can watch you loose at Solitare across the network. Next step will be a solitare MMO. Wonder if they patented that yet?

Re:that's the genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922538)

Then what do you think about Progress Quest? http://progressquest.com/ [progressquest.com]

Re:that's the genius (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923140)

apparently the network part is for calling home to reveal your biometrics and how long you take to complete each move, so that a helpful company representative can help you understand that privacy is dead.

Great (5, Funny)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922034)

My Clubs. Let me show you them.

Suing eBaum's? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922344)

And nothing of value was lost.

Re:Suing eBaum's? (2, Informative)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922540)

Nope, just the copies. :p

I Hereby Patent... (0, Redundant)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922048)

...Lawsuits for patent infringement.

Re:I Hereby Patent... (2, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922346)

Dude if there's anything on this planet that qualifies for prior art it's suing for patent infringement. They're the ambulance chasers of the tech world.

Re:I Hereby Patent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21923008)

Considering how many quality patents show up I honestly wouldn't be surprised if that patent actually got accepted. Of course once accepted you couldn't argue against it as that would violate the patent.

I want to patent the patent's registration (1)

zukinux (1094199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922100)

So I can sue all those bastards that patent nothing and earn millions on it.

Is it too late...... (5, Insightful)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922144)

To patent chess or checkers? How about tick tac toe? Yes it's a new use for it but you might as well say printing on ePaper requires a separate copyright since it was never copyrighted specifically for that purpose. There has to be a limit set on persuing these claims as well. You shouldn't be able to wait until lots of deep pockets are involved for multiple years to sue so you know the damages will be high. The absolute maxium should be 12 months since a product was released but they should be required to give notice the moment they are aware of the infringement. Solitare is like traditional folk music which can't be copyrighted. It's been around too long and simply doing a computer version isn't changing it enough to warrant a patent. The code would be patentable but not the game. If they were all stealing code then that's a different issue.

Re:Is it too late...... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922388)

Apparently, web-based version with a little twist nobody thought to implement before (there is a voice chat with web based chess and contextual ads! Yay!) could be patented.

Re:Is it too late...... My grandpa played Solitare (1)

Rasomonx (1213330) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922610)

You are talking right :-)

Re:Is it too late...... (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922620)

I hung around Groklaw for a while, so I found out about the legal idea of "laches". There are people over there who can explain it far better than I, but the general idea is that you can't let patent violations pile up until you can sue for scads and scads of damages. It would be difficult to argue that the patent holders were unaware of solitaire games on computers, and I haven't heard of them asking Microsoft et al. for money before, so I'd think laches would apply.

Of course, if this patent is upheld, they could offer expensive licensing arrangements for people who want to continue to offer solitaire games. Laches defends against inflated awards for damages, not basing your business around something that turns out to be patented, so you legally have to pay extortion money.

I actually rather like seeing patents like this hit the legal system. It increases the likelihood that the US will do something, and decreases the chances that other countries will adopt software patents.

As dumb as it seems... (3, Interesting)

notgm (1069012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922256)

As dumb as it seems, I cannot really be mad at anyone who actually gets to sue ebaums. I've never been a fan of the way he treats IP rights-holders.

Impossible (2, Informative)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922264)

As unlikely as it may seem, Microsoft could be a saviour in this case. If I remember correctly, its (rather good) implementation of patience solitaire has been in Windows since 1990. Far before the patent was issued. So there.

Re:Impossible (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922452)

I remember playing Solitaire on a (networked no less) BBC Microcomputer ... in 1987.

Re:Impossible (1)

allenw (33234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922526)

Computer versions of Solitaire pre-date the Windows versions. For example, Compute! ran listings for Canfield [atarimagazines.com] in one of its last issues that had type-it-in-yourself code (1988). Other links on the the Compute! index page [atarimagazines.com] show even earlier versions (e.g.,1986).

Re:Impossible (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922558)

Indeed; the Internet is littered with examples of prior art. So this is going to be an impossible case to win.

Re:Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922988)

Here's a guy with a copy of Solitaire (Datamost, 1983) for his Panasonic JR-200U Personal Computer (JR200, JR 200 U) (1983)
http://www.armchairarcade.com/neo/node/1598?page=1 [armchairarcade.com]

c0m (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922326)

and financi4l Subscr1bers. Please

A modest proposal to deal with this crap (2, Interesting)

fnj (64210) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922336)

The patent office pooped big time when this patent was granted. As long as there are patents, that problem will never be solved, but there are other ways it might be dealt with.

In some jurisdictions, "loser pays costs" is a way of inhibiting frivolous lawsuits. I'm not inclined to favor this, because one may too easily lose a case that has real merit, but ...

How about a provision where, if the case is duly found to be unusually frivolous, or glaringly without merit, loser pays triple the costs of the defendant and court?

Does that mean... (3, Interesting)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922686)

...this patent troll's trolling?

Seriously, I see no way that anyone would do something like this to do anything besides prove a point. It would be like someone being sued over the 'circular transportation facilitation device' patent from a few years ago.

The most challenging game ever? (0)

omghi2u (808195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922802)

My Solitaire stats in Vista:

Games played: 84
Games won: 1
Win percentage: 1%

=(

Goldberg... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922890)

Goldberg, eh? Now that's short of surprising.

Go create some capital for once, Jew.

Re:Goldberg... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21923132)

Wow, just wow. /golfclap

network gaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922972)

from what little bit i read, i guess this troll is going on to sue every MMO out there as well. i bet he'll get a lot from everquest.

Prior Art? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21923024)

According to EFF, the date to beat to show prior art is January 19, 1996. In 1994 Microgaming Software Systems released the first online casino in 1994.
http://www.gov.im/ebusiness/microgaming.xml [www.gov.im]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microgaming [wikipedia.org]

Any other cited examples of prior art? Help shut down this asshat and contribute your prior art info to: http://w2.eff.org/patent/wanted/contribute.php?p=sheldon [eff.org]

Time to sue (2, Insightful)

DuctTape (101304) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923026)

For some odd reason I think that it's a grand and glorious idea to sue people left and right on silly patents just to perhaps get it through Washington's head that the patent system is broken and needs to be fixed. I'd bet you'd be hard-pressed trying to come up with any new business process or idea that somebody else hasn't patented or at least partially done by someone else that wouldn't be an invitation by that someone else to sue you if you did a better job than they did.

Or perhaps we just need to put a bounty on lawyers.

DT

Should I be worried? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21923128)

I wrote Solitaire in Java to try out the language. http://bret.dahlgren.com/solitaire/ [dahlgren.com] Can he sue me? Oh, wait. I wrote it in 1995, a year before his first patent. Can I sue him?

Don't lambast them (2, Interesting)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923230)

Emulate them, get ridiculous patents and then sue everyone you can. Eventually you'll make patents worthless enough and be enough of a pain in the ass that there will be a change in the law.

The other thing is to file as many patents as possible with as little money as possible to gag the patent office.

Contribute to the EFF (3, Informative)

Anderlan (17286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923240)

The only way I see the BS in software patents (and unbalanced copyright) coming to light is by the people who know the system doing the hard work of moving things along and educating the judiciary and public. The EFF is doing this. We can never contribute enough to compare to what the bad guys' lawyers have, but we don't have to. Just enough to knock some sense into people.

Wasn't there an Apple // solitaire game lawsuit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21923304)

I forget which but the best Apple // solitare game was banned and settled out of court on this same patent?

People filing frivolous (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924204)

lawsuits should be forced to pay everyones else's costs and then be banned from the court. Eh Daryl?

prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21924208)

masturbation?

come back to haunt him? (1)

norbac (1113477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924264)

Could someone clarify -- when this gets thrown out (hopefully), won't the companies be entitled to get payback from the guy for all the money they spent fighting the suit? Given that these companies probably have the best lawyers in the biz, couldn't this figure be in the hundreds of thousands?

What the deuce? (4, Funny)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924360)

What the deuce?!

This is an outrage! Tell the King! Tell the Queen!

Let me get this straight... Rushing for diamonds? That's no way to win hearts and minds. That takes patience.

In fact, if they carry on like this, some hot-headed ./er is gonna club them to death with a spade.

I really hope that a court loss is on the cards for them. And if they whine, I say 'Deal with it'.

Re:What the deuce? (2, Funny)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924488)

On reflection, I suppose one has to shoot for the moon every now and then. It's still no excuse for being reckless and only doing whatever suits their interests.

Just for today... (1)

procrastitron (841667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924852)

I don't usually spend my time playing solitaire, but I today I'm gonna play a couple games. It's just my own silly little way of telling Mr. Goldberg to go to hell.
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