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German Police Raid 51 CeBIT Stands Over Patent Claims

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago

Patents 191

LeCaddie writes "Last week German investigators raided 51 exhibitor stands at CeBIT, the German information technology fair in Hanover, looking for goods suspected of infringing patents. Some 183 police, customs officers, and prosecutors raided the fair on Wednesday and carried off 68 boxes of electronic goods and documents including cellphones, navigation devices, digital picture frames, and flat-screen monitors. Of the 51 companies raided, 24 were Chinese. Most of the patents concerned were related to devices with MP3, MP4, and DVB standard functions for digital audio and video, blank CDs, and DVD copiers, police said." In the US there are no criminal penalties associated with patents, and such a raid could not be conducted, especially in the absence of a court ruling of infringement.

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191 comments

HA-HA (3, Insightful)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694268)

Guess that's the last time there'll be another IT fair in Germany.

Re:HA-HA (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694304)

This is an annual event. Same as CeBIT itself. It is not the fist time, it is not the last time. And frankly as far as some manufacturers are concerned infringing until you get nailed is the way to do business so I do not quite see what does this change. So I will disagree. There WILL be another IT fair in Germany and there will be another bust there.

Re:HA-HA (3, Interesting)

XenonChloride (718512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694518)

Actually, i expect another raid during the IFA (consumer electronics show) in Berlin, end of august. And again, Roberto Dini of Sisvel will deny any responsibility.

Re:HA-HA... well... This could get scary if the US (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694872)

somehow combines that activity with Patriot Act and border protection. Just a ruse is all takes to grab business intel on competition, or to deter some companies from advertising if their whole booth can be carted up and taken off. And, who'd be able to prove the "uniformed cops" were not imposters to screw over a company. Nahh, things like that just don't happen -- yet.

Re:HA-HA (3, Informative)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694308)

Guess that's the last time there'll be another IT fair in Germany.
It's been this way for years, it's kind of a ritual. Somehow I doubt it's contributed significantly to Cebit's decline.

Re:HA-HA (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694498)

Nazi pigs!

Re:HA-HA (4, Informative)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694384)

I read another report that said it was about product piracy (fake iPhones etc.). I find that version easier to believe, since AFAIK patents are a purely civil matter across Europe. And you can bet your ass that if it was piracy-related, the same could happen in the US as well. Here in Canada/Vancouver, we had similar raids last summer on some open air markets where police were cracking down on vendors selling fake Prada purses and the like.

Re:HA-HA (5, Informative)

Xelios (822510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694502)

Yeah, from what I can gather from the various online German news outlets reporting on this the target of the raid was counterfit products, not patent violations. Booths belonging to Chinese companies were selling blatant iPhone ripoffs, like Meizu Technology's "MiniOne" [vvallo.com], and the police shut them down.

MiniOne (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694594)

Hmm only $195 for a 4gb version? Where do i buy one? I could care less about any 'infringing' as i don't believe in IP rights.

Re:MiniOne (3, Informative)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694672)

'course, you can probably also forget about things like warranties or safety testing.

Re:MiniOne (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694768)

In this day and age of shoddy products from most every manufacturer/importer, tell me why i should care?

Re:MiniOne (5, Informative)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695186)

You're ignorant (no offense) if you think the quality of Chinese rip-offs comes close to the real products. I've spent the last two years in Asia, in a country where such fake products are plentiful. I bought a "Sony" discman for part of my stay there. It wasn't so bad since I could just take it to some local, hole-in-the-wall electronics shack and they could fix whatever electronic components had failed while I waited (which occurred fairly regularly), but there is no way any product like that would be put-up with by most Americans, with or without access to a cheap electronic repair outlet. I won't argue with you whether or not real, brand-name electronics have been reduced in quality over the past years (I think they have), but in no way do they approach the shoddy quality (both interior and exterior) of the fake stuff, believe me.

Re:MiniOne (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694710)

Yeah, when you leech off of someone else's R&D budget, you can sell stuff cheap. Of course, that scales really well. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:MiniOne (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694778)

As a consumer, in this poor economy we have going on here, if can get the 'same' thing for a 1/3 of the cost i don't think it matters much who's R&D budget was used.

Re:HA-HA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694646)

News flash, moron: it's not counterfeit unless you try to pass it off as the product it resembles. Ripoffs are not counterfeits.

Re:HA-HA (4, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694772)

An item is only a 'counterfeit' if it tries to pass itself off as the original. So, if the MiniOne does not have the iPhone name or logo on it, it is not counterfeit. So, I have to ask anyone who has seen this product... Does it say iPhone, or have an Apple logo on it?

Re:HA-HA (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694798)

My German news [heise.de] said it was not because of the miniOne.

"Later today, a representative of Meizu told German press agency dpa that the police had not come by because of the mobile phone, but another of the company's products, a portable MP3 player. There had been "discussions" regarding licenses, she was quoted as saying. According to dpa, Meizu staff opened the stand again and again displayed the smartphone late this afternoon, with the MP3 player missing from display."

Re:HA-HA (1)

PARENA (413947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695504)

Actually, some of those reports corrected themselves: it actually WAS about licenses that were not paid (like for technology in MP3 decoding). Like Meizu: their miniOne M8 was back on display, but their models that could actually do something (like play MP3's) were taken and not given back.

Re:HA-HA (0, Troll)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695342)

My thoughts exactly "Germany says - please don't hold CEBit here again for at least a couple decades- we do not need your money!"

Software patents? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694280)

Most of the patents concerned were related to devices with MP3, MP4, and DVB standard functions for digital audio and video, blank CDs, and DVD copiers
I thought software patents were illegal in Europe

Re:Software patents? (5, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694300)

I thought software patents were illegal in Europe
Europe isn't a country...

 

Re:Software patents? (1, Informative)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694320)

Considering the EU has a Constitution, free travel from member state to member state, free trade within I would say it could be considered a country.

Re:Software patents? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694348)

You still need a passport for traveling between (european) countries... We're not there yet...

Re:Software patents? (4, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694378)

You still need a passport for traveling between (european) countries... We're not there yet...

And here in the US we're on our way to needing passports to travel from state to state :-)

I kid, but only a little.

Re:Software patents? (4, Interesting)

GiMP (10923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694576)

The United States is a collection of independent "states" with their own independent constitutions, law making bodies, courts, etc... they are then united with other "states" under a unifying constitution which provides for its own organized law-making body, courts, etc...

Now... compare this to EU "countries" which have their own independent constitutions, law making bodies, courts etc... and then are united with other "countries" under a unifying constitution which provides for its own organized law-making body, courts, etc...

Playing my own devil's advocate... Even individuals states in the USA can have their own armies, called "State Defense Forces". Although only half (25) of the states have such an army, they do exist, and all state legislatures have authorized the creation and maintenance of such forces. A final argument might be that unlike EU countries, individual states in the USA do not partake in foreign affairs and do not have foreign delegates. This might be true to an extent, but border-states, such as California and Texas, certainly must deal with some level of foreign affairs.

Hmm... yeah, the EU and the USA are really different. If the USA is a country, than the EU is a country. If Germany is a country, than Pennsylvania is too. I think this is a matter of pride and perception than it is about terminology, or even reality. Finally, a distinction should be drawn against the EU and "Europe", such as there is a distinction between the USA and "North America". One is a country, the other is a continent.

Re:Software patents? (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694706)

Even individuals states in the USA can have their own armies, called "State Defense Forces". Although only half (25) of the states have such an army, they do exist, and all state legislatures have authorized the creation and maintenance of such forces.
No point in going that far, it's not like all the military bases are in DC. By the time people get pissed enough to split off, I doubt the people stationed in (and possibly from) $STATE will be all that thrilled, either.

Re:Software patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694712)

Now... compare this to EU "countries" which have their own independent constitutions, law making bodies, courts etc... and then are united with other "countries" under a unifying constitution which provides for its own organized law-making body, courts, etc...
In Germany, also the individual states (like Bavaria) have their own constitution, law making bodies and courts... I think they are not allowed to have their own army, though...

The EU, on the other hand, does not have a constitution. The last attempt to establish one failed. The EU "government" is still much more reliant on the support from the individual member states than a federal government usually is.

Re:Software patents? (1)

lordholm (649770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694724)

"Finally, a distinction should be drawn against the EU and "Europe", such as there is a distinction between the USA and "North America". One is a country, the other is a continent."

Indeed, but America commonly means the USA and not the two continents. I often consider that Norway is in Northern Europe, but not in Europe, and let's face it. The distinction between saying EU and Europe is really thin these days.

Re:Software patents? (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694784)

Be that as it may, individual states in the US do not have the right to break away. EU member states have that right. Therefore, the EU isn't a country (yet). Rather, it is a very close confederation of countries.

Re:Software patents? (1)

GiMP (10923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694998)

Of course individual states in the US can break away, it is called secession, and it has happened. The last time it happened, a civil war was declared, but it happened. However, secession is often followed by war, such as when Texas broke away from Mexico and became a US state, prompting Mexican invasion in 1846 and the start of the Mexican American War.

Oh.. and just so that there isn't any confusion, just last month, The State of Montana threatened to secede from the United States over gun rights.

Re:Software patents? (2, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695156)

Pointing to the Confederacy and saying that individual states are welcome to break away is like pointing to an apprehended criminal and saying that we are free to commit crime. If states in the US break away, the US government is willing to go to war to bring them back. Contrast this with the EU, where the right to secede is enshrined in the founding charter.

Re:Software patents? (5, Insightful)

mrvan (973822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694792)

The situation is complex. Traditional definitions of country include issuing money and sovereignty (ie no other states have power over what happens in your territory); many EU countries do not have their own currency (and hence monetary politics) and although sovereign countries can 'give away' part of their sovereignty in treaties while still remaining a sovereign country you can make a convincing case that current European decision making *and* judiciary is going beyond that.

On the other hand: there is no european army or police force; the Iraq war showed convincingly that there is no European foreign policy; european 'law' only becomes law by national legislatures passing national laws that implement European directives; there is *no* european constitution since some members decided not to ratify it (but there are tons of treaties that could be interpreted as forming the constitution); there is no sensible European Parliament; the european equivalent of the 'bill of rights' is the European Convention on Human Rights which is the Council of Europe rather than the EU, which includes Russia and Switserland. Very importantly, EU citizens in the great majority consider themselves national citizens first, and europeans second (or third, after region/city), and the elections that count are national elections, which are generally about national issues.

"Country" is a useful abstraction that has high explanatory power, but it is ultimately a projection of a complicated continuum on a dichotomous variable. Entities like Pennsylvania, Scotland, Liechtenstein, the EU, Kosovo, Taiwan, Hongkong, etc. show that the discussion is a lot more complicated than that.

IMHO, the really interesting question is not whether the EU is a country or not, it is whether we want to delegate more power to
'Brussels' and how we can control such power. The colonies that became the USA went through the same process more than two hundred years ago, and they had an external threat to convince people that a confederation was not enough. Also, the US shows that even a constitution framed by very intelligent people who did their utmost to limit the power of the federal government to an enumerated set can gradually become a much more centralized state without changing its constitution, so without giving the member states and direct say in the matter. This makes me (as an EU citizen) wary of the EU becoming a confederacy or even federal state, as I would be afraid that it will gradually shift to a more centralized state.

Anyway... :-)

Re:Software patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22695570)

Hmm... yeah, the EU and the USA are really different. If the USA is a country, than the EU is a country. If Germany is a country, than Pennsylvania is too. I think this is a matter of pride and perception than it is about terminology, or even reality. Finally, a distinction should be drawn against the EU and "Europe", such as there is a distinction between the USA and "North America". One is a country, the other is a continent.
I wish this one would die a painful death. Just because the Spanish speakers of the continents use "America" in that manner does not make it any less our name. In the national context it is uniquely ours. If those that speak Spanish wish to use another name fine, but they shouldn't dare to condescend us by saying that our name in English isn't legitimately abbreviated to America.

Re:Software patents? (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694846)

Capt. Vasili Borodin:And I will have a pickup truck... maybe even a "recreational vehicle." And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?
Captain Ramius: I suppose.
Capt. Vasili Borodin: No papers?
Captain Ramius: No papers, state to state.

Re:Software patents? (1)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694490)

If you travel between non-Schengen countries, then yes. Otherwise, the only indicator that you crossed a border may be a change in the language of the road signs, or at most a "welcome" sign like you see when crossing between US states or between Canadian provinces.

Re:Software patents? (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694584)

We're going to need passports to go from state to state here in the US in a few years. So, I guess we meet in the middle?

Re:Software patents? (1)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694752)

Huh? You can drive around (or hike, take the bus/train) within the Schengen region without showing ANY kindy of ID. For air travel you need either a passport or a national ID card, but that is even true for flights within one country.

Re:Software patents? (1)

lordholm (649770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694786)

No you do not. Continental Europe is virtually passport free. Some states requires that you carry a national id card though (but I have never in my life been asked for one by any government official), and there are no check on the borders. This also include the newer EU members (except Bulgaria and Romania), since January this year.

Re:Software patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694990)

Actually, you don't. Standard government issued ID is enough.

Re:Software patents? (1)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695222)

This is not true. There are no border controls at all between Schengen agreement [wikipedia.org] countries (e.g. when commuting in the Netherlands you can literally go through Germany for a shortcut, no passport required - you won't notice a border even). Not all EU countries are in the Schengen agreement (e.g. UK by choice, Ireland by dint of wanting to maintain its open border with the UK). EU citizens still need to show a passport, national ID card or (I /think/ this is acceptable) EU driving licence to travel between EU countries in Schengen and those outside.

Re:Software patents? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694374)

Europe isn't a country...

It's getting pretty close though... (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694830)

Pretty much a federal government, unified basic rights, open borders, (mostly) unified currency...

The one big thing it doesn't have yet is a military.

Re:It's getting pretty close though... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695518)

The one big thing it doesn't have yet is a military.

A possible use for NATO in the post cold-war era???

Re:Software patents? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694504)

Constitution: no, although some document that has in the past been neamed constitution may sometime in the future be ratified.

Free travel: not to all countries in the EU (UK and Ireland are excluded), citizens from some members still need working permits in others (the newer members) and some countries outside the EU are also included (Norway and Switzerland).

Free trade: many regional blocks have free trade even though being far from a country.

Re:Software patents? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695164)

free travel: not to all countries in the EU (UK and Ireland are excluded),
That's because they're islands moron you got to pay for the ferry or underground train to get to france.. ugh..

Re:Software patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694648)

Seems more like a confederation. Texas can't just up and (peacefully) split from the US like France could from the EU.

Re:Software patents? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694890)

Considering the EU has a Constitution
And so have the countries that make up it.

Different ones at that.

In short, I think you're oversimplifying things a bit. ;-)

Re:Software patents? (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694916)

each individual state in the US has a constitution

not saying that his statement wasn't lazy.. but at least don't stupid

Re:Software patents? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695528)

Hate to break it to you but...

Each state of the United States has its own constitution. Different ones at that. So what was your point?

Re:Software patents? (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694892)

The EU doesn't have a constitution. The attempt to give the EU a constitution was derailed when the people of France and the Netherlands didn't agree to the proposed constitution.
Now there is a newly formulated EU base contract all the rage, but this one is not even through the parliaments of the member states yet.

Re:Software patents? (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694406)

What does that have to do with anything? If something can be illegal, then it can be illegal in a country, in a continent, on a plane, in a box, under a table, while in a moving vehicle or while eating ham sandwiches, unless something specific about the law rules that particular situation out.

Re:Software patents? (1)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694334)

Most of the patents concerned were related to devices with MP3, MP4, and DVB standard functions for digital audio and video, blank CDs, and DVD copiers
I thought software patents were illegal in Europe
This is mainly about actual devices, not about mere software. MP3 is kind of interesting because a second essential[*] patent pool has established itself, completely separate from the Fraunhofer/Thomson pool that everybody has licensed.

[*] Essential for portable MP3 players and similar devices.

Re:Software patents? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694372)

This is mainly about actual devices, not about mere software.
Nonsense. MP3 is a data design and an algorithm.

Re:Software patents? (1)

leonmergen (807379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694438)

You mean like cd's and tv, where data arrives in a stream and needs to be decoded into actual sound/images ?

Re:Software patents? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694448)

Are you retarded? They're talking about MP3 players. You know, like actual physical devices. Not any software that they are running.

Sometimes I get the impression that everyone on slashdot thinks that just because a patent is technology related that it is automatically a software patent. Im not saying software patents aren't a horrible idea, but at least know what they are before disagreeing with them instead of just following slashdot groupthink.

Re:Software patents? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694558)

No one on Slashdot gets past the word "patent." They see that and start bitching about software patents.

Re:Software patents? (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694450)

Why use mp3 in a situation where you might be in trouble over patents? There are plenty of other codecs out there, ogg for one. Most ripper programs hat I know of can rip to ogg, and there are conversion tools. It wouldn't be hard to set up a conversion system.

How long is it until mp3 is out of patent anyway?

Re:Software patents? (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694560)

"Why use mp3 in a situation where you might be in trouble over patents? There are plenty of other codecs out there, ogg for one. Most ripper programs hat I know of can rip to ogg, and there are conversion tools. It wouldn't be hard to set up a conversion system."

Sadly, there's not much of a market for Ogg-only players. I'm perfectly aware that Slashdotters would have not the slightest issue with purchasing a FLAC-only or Ogg-only player, but we're the very tippy-top of the market. The Chinese knockoff vendors are going for the bottom 90% of the market, not the top 10%. It would be somewhat akin to releasing a music player that works only with Linux. Again, Slashdotters might have no problem with such a device, but it would not do well in the market.

Either way, my understanding is that many of the vendors that were raided were creating knockoffs with hardware designs similar to popular devices -- think iPhone clones and the like. I don't think eliminating MP3 compatibility would have saved many of them.

Re:Software patents? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694612)

Why use mp3 in a situation where you might be in trouble over patents? There are plenty of other codecs out there, ogg for one. Most ripper programs hat I know of can rip to ogg, and there are conversion tools. It wouldn't be hard to set up a conversion system.
Because regardless of its merits, Ogg's usage is extremely rare outside of geek circles. Even amongst Slashdot readers, I'd guess that although most of us are aware of it, only a small proportion actually encode their music using it.

It's the old critical mass chicken-and-egg thing, and I'm not convinced that Ogg Vorbis will ever reach that breakthrough point.

As for conversion... frankly, most people would ask *why* they should bother converting their music to another format just to listen to it on some (probably) non-notable player. They'd just buy a native MP3 player instead.

Even if the manufacturer could somehow make conversion automatic without having to pay the MP3 fees, it'd still be in the same boat as those stupid Sony non-MP3 ATRAC-based Walkmans that had to convert music files via some horrible flaky piece of software.

Re:Software patents? (1)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694664)

Portable music player chipsets already include MP3 support, partly in hardware and partly in firmware. It would now actually be more expensive to build a player without MP3 support, since you could not use off-the-shelf components to do it. Patent royalties are a very small part of the total cost of the device. Really, it is a non-issue.

Re:Software patents? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695192)

OGG is more CPU intensive compared to MP3 so it requires a faster CPU then a device that uses MP3 would need... and probably runs the battery out quicker.

Re:Software patents? (4, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694336)

I thought software patents were illegal in Europe.

It is not about software patents. It is about embedded devices (hence not "computers") with a specific functionality profile. At least German law enforcement has not yet grasped that a phone can actually have software downloaded into it and so not all functionality is "hardcoded". Also a device can be in violation of "Musterschutz" (something like the "look" part from "look and feel"), by closly following the design of an other device.

Side note: MP3 as a method or as an encoder/decoder is not protected, but the parameter set used is (as far as I understand this). As to the CDs, these were likely counterfit, i.e. claiming a different manufacturer. That is trademark infringement. DVD copier could be classified as "circumvention device" for copy protection shemes, which are illegal in Germany. (I know, I know, lawmakers with no grasp of technology...)

My guess is that this raid will actually result in no or very little prosecution. But the displays have been removed, so the patent holders are satisfied. Unfortunately it will be very difficult to get any compensation for the damage done, even if equipment was seized in error.

Re:Software patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694926)

It is not about software patents. It is about embedded devices (hence not "computers") with a specific functionality profile. At least German law enforcement has not yet grasped that a phone can actually have software downloaded into it and so not all functionality is "hardcoded". Also a device can be in violation of "Musterschutz" (something like the "look" part from "look and feel"), by closly following the design of an other device.
In this case I wonder what does software update on phone ?

Also when the user upload games or applications what happen if it don't download software on the phone ?


This stuff is just for frightened the company who doesn't want to pay to patents.

PS : and for the story, I know a company which forgot to renew its licenses and which products were removed in a previous cebit. They don't try to negotiate with them, if you forgot to pay you are a thief.

Re:Software patents? (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694496)

No, illegal would make it criminal to have one.

Software patents are not honored by the EU patent court nor honored by most member countries. (Which means anyone being challenged about a software patent can get it to European court where such a suit would fail.)

Re:Software patents? (1)

parszab (981259) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695162)

I thought software patents were illegal in Europe
Except for Amsterdam, where you can smoke them at designated places.

Patent, DMCA, like the judge knows the difference (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694302)

So you're a patent holder, and you file a claim of DMCA-related noise, or similar, and Homeland Security and/or FBI goes and burns your competitor down. Then afterwards, you claim "oops my bad" - meanwhile the damage is done.

Shh, don't give them ideas. (2, Insightful)

thisissilly (676875) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694314)

In the US there are no criminal penalties associated with patents, and such a raid could not be conducted,

I'm sure our lobbyists and politicians will get right to work on fixing that.

putting the brakes on innovation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694316)

wow, I'll bet the warm welcome in Germany will make for a huge increase in vendors next year, shesh!

just goes to show how a good thing (patents to protect inventors) can be taken and changed into something that hurts humanity as a whole.

very, very dangerous (1, Flamebait)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694328)

This is ridiculous! For Germany to go raiding an event in this manner borders on thoughtcrime enforcement a la George Orwell's 1984. Next thing you know, they'll raid peoples' homes by random in search of expired medicines, unhealthy junk food, or materials that don't support the latest president. This sort of thing is dangerous and the German people cannot permit this to continue.

Re:very, very dangerous (4, Funny)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694390)

the german govenment installed gestapo-2.0

Re:very, very dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694636)

the german govenment installed gestapo-2.0
The arrest of those blatantly breaking the law to make a buck, where the law is created by a sound democratic process and a solid court system, is somehow comparable to violently pushing down all aspects of legal public discourse in order to keep a dictator in power?

I'm no fan of abusive patents, but I'm also not a fan of a so-called "joke" that compares our modern legal systems with that of the violent and systematic destruction of millions by the power-wielders within 1930's Germany.

Somehow I get the impression they want it to die (0, Flamebait)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694332)

The CBit has been suffering from losing exhibitors for years now. MS quitted, Sun afaik too. What kept them afloat was Chinese companies that tried to get a foot into the market.

Large companies prefer to host their own shows. Smaller companies realized that it's cheaper and about as efficient to use the internet to reach out to prospecting customers and resellers.

Now, I'm fairly sure this is the last CBit.

There are German companies with IP behind this (3, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694408)

The Fraunhofer Institute, who invented the MP3 and makes similar formats, is likely a source of information about the violators of at least the codec IP infringement. MP3 and many other formats aren't in the public domain in the GPL sense. They're likely behind part of this.

Re:There are German companies with IP behind this (2, Informative)

jeti (105266) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694670)

No. Thompson manages the patents for the Fraunhofer institute.
They have nothing to do with this. Sisvel manages another stack
of patents that they claim to be relevant to the mp3 format.

Apparently, the most important of those patents is for a padding
bit. The idea is to add zeros to a VBR file so that a CBR only
decoder can handle the file.

Re:There are German companies with IP behind this (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694794)

They're likely behind part of this.

That's very speculative, any source or quote would eliminate that.

And - Nope - it's those guys:

http://www.sisvel.com/ [sisvel.com] pushing the events.

They did it last year as well.

Apparently patent trolls - from their web site..

It's only to be expected. (3, Funny)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694470)

The booths in question were from firms based in Poland, Hungary, and the former Czechoslovakia. It was just force of habit.

Look at me, I'm a big fucking crybaby! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694474)

In the US there are no criminal penalties associated with patents, and such a raid could not be conducted, especially in the absence of a court ruling of infringement.

Waa waa, Germany's laws are different from ours! Waa waa, Germany is not a US state yet! Waa waa, the Germans didn't ask us for permission!

Seriously, get a grip. And here, have some cheese - it'll go well with that w(h)ine.

Christmas shopping done early (0, Redundant)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694528)

And if you happen to have a friend in the German police force, you're going to get an awesome Christmas gift from them next year!

No criminal penalties in the US (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694580)

Today. Give the IP conglomerates a few more years of buying votes/laws and that may change. And just think, your tax dollars will be used to fund the raids on what should be a civil issue.

 

This was mostly about 'product piracy'. (3, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694736)

This was mostly about cheap-ass asian style 'product piracy'. iPhone lookalikes with clear intent to be confused with the iPhone (right down to the packaging), 100% iPod shuffle ripp-offs and implementation of commercial MP3 decoders from companies who weren't paying the licencing fees to the Frauenhofer Institut.

The chinese ripping off IP is a big issue in Germany. They order a machine, dismantle it and copy it exactly, down to the last bolt and then sell cheap low-quality knock-offs of it back to Europe.

My cousin (engineer at Airbus) tells me there even is an Airbus 320 that went to China some time ago. That was it's only flight and it never appeared again. He suspects it's lying around somewhere dismantled and analysed.

Police raids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22694756)

I wouldn't be too sure that they can't conduct a raid in the US:
http://www.twice.com/article/CA6344162.html [twice.com]
All they have to do is say that infringing on the patent makes it a counterfeit trademark (interesting bit of legal gymnastics there), and voila, they get a search warrant.

9 from German (-1, Flamebait)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694760)

"24 were from mainland China, three from Hong Kong and 12 from Taiwan. Another nine were German, with one each from Poland, the Netherlands and Korea."

I'd like to say 39 were Chinese.

Re:9 from German (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22695212)

STFU. You must have amassed quite a few user accounts to get that post modded to +4, Informative, eh.

The summary got it wrong (1, Informative)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694914)

This was about counterfeiting, not patent violation. Quite ridiculous as well if you ask me, but the Polizei does not raid yet for patent violations.

The summary got it RIGHT (5, Informative)

kju (327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695294)

No, actually you got it wrong. It was acknowledged by law enforcement officials that the raid was about patents. From http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/104657 [heise.de]:

Auslöser für die Aktion waren den Angaben der Staatsanwaltschaft zufolge Strafanzeigen der Rechteinhaber. Bei der Razzia sei es vorwiegend um Patente für Datenkompressionsverfahren, DVB-Standards und DVDs gegangen, sagte Kriminaloberrat Oliver Stock, der die Aktion koordiniert hatte und sich über einen "erfolgreichen Abschluss" freute.

Bad translation (by me):

According to the public prosecutors office complaints by holders of rights were reason for the action. Law enforcement senior councillor Oliver Stock who coordinated the action and was glad about the "successfull completion" said target of the raid where mainly patents for data compression, DVB standards and DVDs.

There were some initial (wrong) reports that reason for the raid was counterfeiting (iPhone look-a-likes) but these reports were later corrected, see for example http://www.heise.de/english/newsticker/news/104591 [heise.de] (in english).

redundancy? (0, Offtopic)

ncohafmuta (577957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694940)

Why would you need a raid 51 redundancy with exhibitor stands? Striping and mirroring is just a waste of materials in this case.

It is about software patents (2, Interesting)

zoobab (201383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695236)

The patents claimed are the ones of Sisvel, a Philips proxytroll, who is suing every MP3 manufacturer for royalties.

They have a list of 3 or 4 software patents which belongs to the MPEG1-layer3 ISO standard, be it implemented in hardware of in software:

http://www.ipeg.com/_UPLOAD%20BLOG/Sisvel%20patents%20overview.pdf [ipeg.com]

The German police is using the criminal procedure to seize counterfeited goods, despite the fact that those patents could be challenged in court for validity.

If there are some MP3 manufacturers reading slashdot and interested to kick some of those patents for subject matter exclusion, you can contact me at zoobab@gmail.com.

Also, Philips might be the only company who is lobbying the European Union (Council and Parliament) for using criminal sanctions and freeze of bank accounts in civil proceedings for patent infringements.

...yet... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22695248)

In the US there are no criminal penalties associated with patents, and such a raid could not be conducted, especially in the absence of a court ruling of infringement.
All I have to add to that is "...yet..."

Didn't something pass recently creating an "IP Police force" or something along those lines? Sounds to me like they're preparing to do exactly that.
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