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Obama Administration Seeks $58M To Put (Partly) Toward Fighting Ebola

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Nice (105 comments)

Are you seriously trying to imply that the only reason to address an ebola outbreak is to score popularity points?

I personally wouldn't think so, no. But the state of play as given easily supports the notion that, despite its independent merits, it's definitely a convenient political lever as well, a.k.a. "Rahm's Rule":

TFA states somewhat in passing that this is part of a package of so-called "anomalies" to the upcoming Continuing Resolution, including, as the article coyly puts it, "additional flexibility" for border control, without providing any numbers or other details. Being the curious sort, I just spent about 10 minutes looking for the actual details on the rest of the proposal and could find only a few me-toos of TFA. One therefore might be forgiven for wondering if the administration is teeing this up as the heartstring-front-runner to put pressure on Congress to accept its entire package of spending "anomalies" that's doubtless orders of magnitude larger than $58MM.

about two weeks ago

Judge Lucy Koh Rejects Apple's Quest For Anti-Samsung Injunction

SlaveToTheGrind Re:I don't understand the injunction (30 comments)

The point of reference for "colorably different" is the patented features at issue (e.g., pinch/tap-to-zoom, snap-back scrolling), not the overall device.

Given that the patented features here are consumer-facing rather than internal functionality, design-around options would seem fairly limited short of yanking the offending feature altogether or replacing it with something fundamentally different (shake-to-zoom, anyone?). And if you skate too close to the edge of the ice on a design-around, a patentee is always free to request a contempt hearing (with a relatively low barrier to entry compared to the original litigation) to get a ruling on whether the new functionality is colorably different from that previously found to infringe.

As a practical matter, the injunction would have been a lot broader than the media account would lead you to believe.

about three weeks ago

Planes Can Be Hacked Via Inflight Wi-fi, Says Researcher

SlaveToTheGrind Re:So, which is it? (151 comments)

Did I, at any point, say I felt passengers deserved to die? No, I did not. . . . . Not every flight (for any airliner) is commercial, and not every flight carries passengers.

Nice attempt at backpedaling from your original cavalier, thoughtless, and utterly stupid comment, bucko, but you're stuck with it. The only scenario where somebody innocent doesn't die is if the only people on the plane, including the pilot, are the ones engaged in hacking into the plane's control system through the wifi to... wait for it... interfere with the flight controls and crash the plane. Hopefully even you can figure out why that scenario won't happen. Ever.

about a month and a half ago

Google Looking To Define a Healthy Human

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Reality is... (125 comments)

Agree completely that people don't comprehend the ramifications of the enormous deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums in these so-called "low cost" plans. Add to that the tendency toward ultra-narrow provider networks and the resultant increase in risk of balance billing by out-of-network providers.

It's astounding to me how far people are willing to stick their heads in the sand to pretend that the current system is, in aggregate, "better" than the one that we already had.

about 2 months ago

Appeals Court Affirms Old Polaroid Patent Invalid

SlaveToTheGrind Hardly a shocker (45 comments)

The district court held the patent invalid under the old standard that was, in practice, more generous toward software algorithm patents. Then the Supreme Court decided CLS Bank, making software algorithm patents more difficult to obtain/keep. Under those circumstances, it would have been newsworthy if the Federal Circuit hadn't affirmed in this case.

about 2 months ago

Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Why would you do that? (468 comments)

Private pilot here. I agree with everything you've said -- the entire piloting mindset revolves around the idea that redundancy (coupled, of course, with consistency, sobriety, and good judgment) keeps you alive. Now, different pilots take this principle to different levels, based in no small part on their own personal risk tolerance and how much they've seen go wrong in the past. I sat next to a 20-year commercial pilot on a flight last year, and he told me that he won't fly in anything with less than two engines anymore. That's further than I would go, but I get it.

Anyway, one of the fundamental pieces of redundancy in the entire process is the pilot. As many have observed, planes are designed so the pilot has at least a fighting chance of being able to bring it down in one piece even when many -- or all -- automated systems have failed. That's simply best practices. In my opinion (shared, I suspect, by most rational pilots in the world), giving up the ability to see out the front of the airplane if your shiny techno-gadget viewscreen fails is Just. Plain. Stupid. Imagine the feeling of utter helplessness: You have 2-3000 hours of flight time under your belt, you've flown your way out of countless near-fatal situations, and now you just have to sit there (along with your hundreds of passengers) and wait to die because you can't see out the front of the friggin' plane.

I predict this won't happen, at the very least within the term of the patent. If it does, I definitely won't be a passenger.

about 2 months ago

New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

SlaveToTheGrind Re:I see a problem here... (380 comments)

There is no money to be made by selling the world something it needs for just pennies.

Um, yeah. Just ask this guy.

about 3 months ago

Intuit Beats SSL Patent Troll That Defeated Newegg

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Which proves judges are stupid (59 comments)

Which proves you can't read and/or don't understand the subject matter. Even the summary clearly says Intuit won on non-infringement, not on invalidity.

about 3 months ago

Judge Orders DOJ To Turn Over FISA Surveillance Documents

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Better summary: (184 comments)

but the DoJ has to 1) actually comply with the order

The judge would have wide discretion in issuing sanctions for contempt of the discovery order. I personally doubt this is the sort of thing where a whole bunch of people progressively higher up the food chain would be willing to take up residence in a jail cell. We'll see.

2) The judge actually agree on merits

Agreed, though I'm encouraged that one of the reasons in the opinion for ordering the docs to be submitted to the court was the DoJ's prior shady practices in the case: "The evidence in the record shows that some documents, previously withheld in the course of this litigation and now declassified, had been withheld in their entirety when a disclosure of reasonably segregable portions of those documents would have been required. Further, the withholding followed an Order from this Court expressing concern that the agency had failed to explain sufficiently why the withheld documents “would be so replete with descriptions of intelligence activities, sources and methods that no portions thereof would contain” reasonably segregable and producible, non-exempt information." As a result, she seems appropriately skeptical going into this round.

3) The DoJ not immediately file for an appeal due to matters of national saftey

I don't believe an order to produce classified documents is immediately appealable.

4) the DoJ actually give the information to the EFF

The judge should have the same contempt levers available here as in #1.

about 3 months ago

Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Trust but verify (211 comments)

I don't know of any challenges, but the principle in question seems nearly identical to the copyleft notion underlying the GPL -- a notion that went untested in court for a very long time because, basically, every attorney that looked at it decided it wasn't worth fighting.

At least some manufacturers of electric cars presumably will have more money splashing around than open-source software developers, and thus will be more attractive targets. Beyond that, I'd be careful analogizing very much at all between copyrights and patents -- they're two entirely separate bodies of law.

I'm not aware of any purchaser of a patent who has successfully argued that they can revoke a licensing commitment to a standards body, either. It seems to me that the precedent is rather firmly established.

It all depends on what you mean by "successfully argued." The real-world question is not whether an argument will ultimately carry the day at trial, but how much money you're going to spend either (1) fighting the case to get to trial, or (2) settling the case so you don't have to spend the money fighting and have the legal uncertainty hanging over your company's head. Those amounts tend to run in the millions of dollars for all but the true bottom-feeders, who may walk away for low-mid-six figures. Though it's a bit dated, here's a fairly good overview of the last several years of significant litigation over commitments to standards bodies. There have been a number of smaller cases as well.

about 3 months ago

Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Trust but verify (211 comments)

If you know of any examples of such a pledge being tested and enforced by a court, I'd appreciate seeing them. My understanding is that while the practice is somewhat in vogue recently, it's still very much a no-man's-land in terms of future certainty. For example, does the promise only apply to the initial promisor, or is the patent itself permanently impaired and future assignees take subject to that impairment? The last few years of litigation in the somewhat parallel area of licensing commitments to standard-setting organizations suggests that a lot of time and money will be spent trying to answer such questions.

about 3 months ago

Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Trust but verify (211 comments)

True enough, but if they're going to keep the patents in force then in my opinion this amounts to little more than a publicity stunt. If and when I can get from them on demand a fully-paid-up license to their entire portfolio for $1 so I have actual, legal, freedom to operate, I'll take this more seriously.

about 3 months ago

Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Trust but verify (211 comments)

You're fully correct about the legal doctrine, but in reality there's a non-zero chance that it will cost you a very large number of dollars to defend a patent lawsuit filed by a future assignee who convinces the judge that even the "clearer statement" (1) wasn't so clear and/or (2) didn't apply to your particular use.

There's actually a simple way that Tesla could make this binding -- formally disclaim the rest of the term of the patents at the Patent Office.

37 C.F.R. 1.321 Statutory disclaimers, including terminal disclaimers.
(a) A patentee owning the whole or any sectional interest in a patent may disclaim any complete claim or claims in a patent. In like manner any patentee may disclaim or dedicate to the public the entire term, or any terminal part of the term, of the patent granted. Such disclaimer is binding upon the grantee and its successors or assigns. A notice of the disclaimer is published in the Official Gazette and attached to the printed copies of the specification.

It will be interesting to see if they actually go that far.

about 3 months ago

Why United States Patent Reform Has Stalled

SlaveToTheGrind Sensationalist article (139 comments)

While it's no doubt fun to rail against Big Pharma and Greedy Trial Attorneys, Occam's Razor still holds true.

The piece of the proposed legislation that would have made the most meaningful real-world change in the system was making it easier to collect attorney's fees from losing parties that had taken unreasonable positions in the litigation (e.g., trolls). After the Supreme Court expanded the trial courts' ability to do just that in the Octane Fitness and Highmark cases a few weeks ago, that naturally took a significant amount of wind out of the legislative sails.

The legislative appetite to Just Do Something diminishes quite a bit when the playing field has materially changed and there's not yet any data on how much of the problem was curbed by that change.

about 3 months ago

NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Fine ... (245 comments)

I think you are seriously overthinking this. Its very simple. They CAN save data. Period. How do I know? Its very simple here. Do you really believe that if they found credible data on a top Con Queso leader, that they would need to analyse it within a specific time frame before they lose it forever, or do you think they can flag it to be saved?

Perhaps a bit less simple if you consider the breadth of the judge's order and understand the ramifications of being on the wrong side of that order by later being found to have (however unintentionally) deleted any data inside its scope.

Being able to save the small discrete pieces of data in your hypothetical has nothing to do with whether they could fully comply with the court's order, which prohibited them from “destroying any potential evidence relevant to the claims at issue in this action , including but not limited to prohibiting the destruction of any telephone metadata or ‘call detail’ records , pending further order of the Court" (emphasis mine). In short: until further notice, save everything.

Without even getting into the question of whether the systems have the capability of archiving every bloody bit without some sort of manual intervention, as others have already observed, the sheer storage space required to carry everything along gets really big really fast after you exceed the age-out window you designed into your system. The discovery process in civil litigation doesn't exactly run at a breakneck pace.

And even if you were to try to save it all by making the necessary architectural changes and slapping on storage capacity, if you screw up and lose any data whatsoever in that process, that quite often will result in an instruction to the jury that they can presume the data you destroyed would have proved the other side's case. There's generally little point in following through with a trial at that point -- the outcome is nearly certain with that kind of a thumb on the scale.

I'm far from a fan of the NSA, but I get why they spoke up quickly and loudly about this. To say nothing now about the prohibitive breadth of the court's order (i.e., to signal that they intended to comply) would just make it worse for them were any data lost down the road.

about 3 months ago

Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Who hires workers they don't need? (1040 comments)

What business hires employees they don't need? If you lay people off because the minimum wage is raised, who takes over the work those people did?

For many low-skill jobs, machines and technology. Once you raise the minimum wage past the amortized cost of an automated solution (factoring in human-related issues like sick leave, unemployment benefits, lawsuits, etc.), you significantly reduce the incentive to hire the person. This is well understood and recognized outside the sphere of feel-good political promises.

about 3 months ago

Supreme Court Makes It Easier To Get Lawyers Fees In Patent Cases

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Exceptional (51 comments)

I see the answer is no -- you don't have anything useful to add to the dialogue other than picking at one word of my original post, having precisely nothing to do with its thrust. You must be a joy at parties.

To the high court, there was no need to apply such a standard. Use the common definition of the word.

Oh, so they replaced what you call a "standard" with what you call a "definition," eh? That creates a bit of a problem for you. Page 9: "Under the standard announced today . . ." (emphasis mine). Apparently you do agree, then, that "standard" and "definition" are interchangeable in this context?

As I've said over and over, and now for the last time, the Supreme Court did indeed provide a definition for what constitutes an "exceptional case." That would be the part after the words, "An 'exceptional case,' then, is . . ." They used the dictionary definition for the word "exceptional" to inform their definition of the term "exceptional case." There's no "same definition that every one [sic] uses" for "exceptional case" -- please do share one if you have it. I'll not hold my breath.

I feel quite comfortable predicting that, over the next several months if not weeks/days, there will be a large percentage of fee-shifting motions filed that contain the language (or very similar language, since my experience with you strongly suggests I need to spell that out) "the Supreme Court has held that 'an exceptional case is . . ." followed by the exact text from Octane Fitness that I've cited repeatedly, and arguing why the case at hand meets that definition, and a comparatively small percentage (maybe zero, but you can't account for knuckleheads) that ignore the Court's definition of "exceptional case" and just try to argue based on the dictionary definition of "exceptional."

And, with that, I'm done troll-feeding for today.

about 4 months ago

Supreme Court Makes It Easier To Get Lawyers Fees In Patent Cases

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Exceptional (51 comments)

First, you say you're not sure I read the ruling, and then you proudly paste in the very section that I first cited from. Did YOU read my post before your knee-jerk reaction?

Second, you're not saying anything that contradicts the substance of what I've said twice now. The Supreme Court said "exceptional" should be construed according to its ordinary meaning, and then provided that ordinary meaning in the context of an "exceptional case." You pasted the words from the opinion yourself.

It seems that you just want to split hairs about whether that should be called a "definition" or a "standard." Let's just take that off the table -- go back and plug the word "standard" into my original post. Golf frickin' clap. Now, do you have anything actually useful to add to the dialogue?

about 4 months ago

Supreme Court Makes It Easier To Get Lawyers Fees In Patent Cases

SlaveToTheGrind Re:Exceptional (51 comments)

I would disagree that SCOTUS created a new definition as it was already part of 35 U. S. C. 285.

I don't think those words mean what you think they mean. 35 U.S.C. 285 simply uses the term "exceptional case[]" in a sentence, and simply using a term in a sentence doesn't define it. On the other hand, it seems clear enough that when a sentence from the Supreme Court starts with the words "We hold, then, that an 'exceptional' case is . . ." the latter part of the sentence will (as it did) provide a definition for the term.

about 5 months ago


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