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Comments

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Judge Grudgingly Awards $3.6 Million In DRM Circumvention Case

The Empiricist Re:Seems partly justified (227 comments)

The lesson here: If you're being sued in a US court and you're not a US company, ignore it because you won't have to pay for it. And the US company will still have to pay it's lawyers while looking idiotic.

This is bad advice. If you are being sued, you should consult with an attorney to determine what you should do. Doing nothing may very well be the best course of action, depending on the situation. But you shouldn't assume that you won't have to pay. A sufficiently motivated plaintiff can seek out foreign counsel to argue the case for enforcing the foreign judgment. The plaintiff may face an uphill battle (assuming you bother to show up when the fight has been brought to your front door), but it is possible that the foreign judgment will be enforced. Enforcement of Judgments.

about 2 years ago
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Coder Accuses IBM of Patenting His Work

The Empiricist Re:They aren't claiming your invention. (249 comments)

I can see only one thing that was not in HeapCheck, but which DID exist in Electric Fence: the ability to enable heap checks at runtime, without recompilation. Electric Fence allowed one to do that via LD_PRELOAD

But this patent requires the ability to set allocaiton mode in real-time without requiring recompiling, linking, or loading. Using LD_PRELOAD to link to the Electric Fence library would still be an instance of requiring (dynamic) linking and loading. Someone else suggested that enabling/disabling application configuration settings at runtime might be an obvious modification to HeapCheck. That may be the case, but there is a difference between something that is not new (i.e., it has already been done before) and something that is obvious (i.e., it has not been done before, but it really isn't new enough).

If someone actually gets sued or is threatened by this patent, then the courts will get a chance to consider whether the Patent Office erroneously allowed the patent. Alternatively, if you want to get together with some of your buddies, you could file a request for reexamination (the filing fee is only $2,250.00, less than $23 each for 100 angry /.ers). Perhaps the Patent Office will take another look at the claims and reject them based on some insight that you provide.

more than 3 years ago
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Coder Accuses IBM of Patenting His Work

The Empiricist Re:Answers and Suggestions and Further Questions (249 comments)

The first option is to simply contact IBM and ask them how their patent is novel or different or disjoint from your work.

A similar option is to look at the patent prosecution history in Public PAIR. Get through the CAPTCHA, click on the Image File Wrapper tab, and look at the rejections, amendments, responses, etc.

It looks like the Tsiodras reference was used by the Examiner to reject the patent application. What happened is that the applicants amended their claims so that they would not cover what was taught by HeapCheck 1.2. For example, the applicants state that in the HeapCheck 1.2 documentation "it clearly states that all source files that want to make use of the alternative heap memory allocation mode must be compiled to include specific header files and then linked to a specific library that will satisfy those requests (see, e.g., Section 4 'Usage')." After this argument was first made, it wasn't enough for the Examiner, who ended up rejecting the application two more times before satisfactory claim language was submitted.

The point is that IBM has already said why it thinks that they have something that is novel and nonobvious, so it is a good idea to look at what they've said before demanding that they say it all over again. More importantly, HeapCheck (version 1.2 at least) does not infringe on the patent claims. According to the documentation on the HeapCheck v1.2 web page, you have to compile support for it into the software you are creating. But the IBM patent requires that "setting the allocation mode for the process . . . is performed in real-time, and wherein the seting sets the allocation mode . . . without requiring recompiling, linking or loading of the applicaiton to set, in real-time, the allocation mode for the application."

Tsiodras could have trouble if future versions of HeapCheck included features that fall within the scope of the claimed invention, but even version 1.34 appears to require re-compilation to enable and disable the heap checking features.

more than 3 years ago
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Considering a Fair Penalty For Illegal File-sharing

The Empiricist Re:Ill gotten gains (728 comments)

Copyright infringement through file sharing isn't like having your car "copied." It's more like having your car keys copied.

Wrong. Because the "lawful exclusive right" you are talking about involves depriving the owner of the use of his car when the person who copied the keys uses it. . . . See, using the key you have copied would deprive the owner of his car for the time period that you have it.

Um...no. I was not talking about depriving the owner use of his or her car. Keeping an unauthorized copy of the owner's car keys does not deprive the owner of the ability to use the car or the original keys. What is lost is a bit more intangible: the owner's ability to control access to the car.

I'm not sure what legal doctrine would be most applicable if, for example, one were to make 1,000 unauthorized copies of someone's car keys, and then mailed them to that car owner's neighbors. However, I don't think such an act would be right (and I highly doubt it would be found lawful), even if those unauthorized copies were never used to deprive the owner of the car itself.

more than 3 years ago
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USPTO Decides To Lower Obviousness Standards

The Empiricist Re:wtf? (129 comments)

Ever heard of a jury? Judges don't make all the decisions on the law... for very good reason.

You are a little bit off in suggesting that jury makes some of the decisions on the law. Juries decide facts, not law. Often, the jury verdict forms will ask the jury to provide a conclusion based on applying the facts (which they jury implicitly finds) to the law (which the judge tells the jury.

The fact/law distinction is why jury instructions are often a basis for vacating a trial. If a judge gives an inaccurate description of what the obvious standard is, and the jury says that "X was obvious over the prior art," then it isn't clear that the jury made a decision that comports with the law.

Judges also perform fact finding when there are genuine disputes as to material facts. Thus, judges can decide unimportant facts without relying on the jury. Judges can also decide facts which no reasonable jury would find otherwise (although such factual questions aren't submitted to the jury to see if the jury was, in fact, reasonable).

But, juries aren't supposed to decide what the law itself is.

more than 3 years ago
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USPTO Decides To Lower Obviousness Standards

The Empiricist Re:wtf? (129 comments)

USPTO is already rubber stamping stupid patents a mile a minute, and now they're making it easier for even MORE crap to come out?

It's more likely that they are trying to improve the quality of examiner rejections. Consider a claim for a widget comprising component A and B. The Examiner finds component A in reference Andy, and component B in reference Bob. The examiner then says without providing any rationale that it would have been obvious to combine Andy and Bob to make the claimed widget. A weak rejection like that encourages the applicant to appeal instead of amending the claim. This is bad news, especially if the claimed widget is obvious over Andy and Bob, but the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences or the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, not having any rationale to review, didn't recognize that the claimed widget was obvious.

Or are they just making it *harder* for that crap to be shot down in court?

Well, if the Examiner rejections are stronger, then allowed claims would probably be stronger and thus harder to shoot down in court. But ultimately, the Patent Office has no say in how the courts determine whether a claimed invention is obvious or not. These guidelines aren't even enforceable through appeal with the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences:

This 2010 KSR Guidelines Update does not constitute substantive rule making and hence does not have the force and effect of law. It has been developed as a matter of internal Office management and is not intended to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party against the Office. Rejections will continue to be based upon the substantive law, and it is these rejections that are appealable. Consequently, any failure by Office personnel to follow this 2010 KSR Guidelines Update is neither appealable nor petitionable.

A patent practitioner could use these new guidelines to try to persuade an examiner (or that examiner's supervisor) that a rejection wasn't good. But, if the practitioner is unconvincing, then there may not be much that the practitioner can do based solely on these guidelines.

more than 3 years ago
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David/Goliath Story Brewing Between Apple and iControlPad Makers

The Empiricist Re:Short answer: (264 comments)

How on earth does a company like Apple seem to think they can steal someone's idea and get away with it?

How do you know they stole the idea? Independent invention is possible. If the iControlPad creators had filed for a U.S. patent, there is a good chance that they would be engaged in interference proceedings to determine who has the right to the patent.

In the United States, an inventor has twelve months after an invention becomes known to file for a patent. The fact that Apple filed for the patent after iControlPad became known doesn't mean anything by itself. What matters is whether Apple's employees were the first inventors (based on factors such as conception date and diligence in reducing the invention to practice).

about 4 years ago
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IBM, Intel Execs Arrested Over Insider Trading

The Empiricist Re:Well now... (198 comments)

So how about we just not allow Steve Jobs to hold any Apple stock?

Nothing I said suggests that Steve Jobs should not be allowed to hold any Apple stock. Apple shareholders should benefit if the fortunes of Steve Jobs' are tied with their own. However, as an officer and director of Apple, Steve Jobs cannot act on proprietary knowledge in his purchases/sales of Apple stock. He is also required to notify the SEC of changes in his ownership of Apple stock. Feel free to peruse his filings.

more than 4 years ago
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IBM, Intel Execs Arrested Over Insider Trading

The Empiricist Re:Well now... (198 comments)

Who else here thinks both this and non-violent drug use should be NON CRIMES because in either case there is no victim and no injury?

You think that there are no victims and no injuries caused by insider trading? How about the people at the other end of those trades? What about the former shareholder who sold stock early, not having had access to information showing that the stock was undervalued? Or how about the new shareholder who did not have the information to know that the stock was overvalued? Those who have access to proprietary information, or who are in a position to manipulate the value of an organization, have a fiduciary duty of loyalty to shareholders. Insider trading violates that duty and is a subtle, but very real, method of stealing from them. For another perspective, click here.

more than 4 years ago
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First amicus brief supporting Bilski affirmance

The Empiricist Oops...actually BSA submitted first . . . (1 comments)

For some reasons, the Business Software Alliance filed their pro-affirmance amicus brief around the same time that those filing in support of Bilski, or in support of neither party, all filed. Perhaps the BSA lawyers misinterpreted that deadline requirements. Or perhaps the BSA had previously considered supporting Bilski or supporting neither party.

The BSA brief is interesting too, with positions such as:

Although the Federal Circuit sought to provide clarity through the opinion below, the early response from the Patent Office suggests that, not only was the decision based on faulty reasoning, but confusion reigns. Accordingly, even if the Court decides to affirm the Federal Circuit's adoption of the machineor- transformation test, it is critical that the Court make clear that software-implemented inventions are protected by that framework.

Both the BSA and Hollaar/IEEE briefs were filed really early for amicus briefs supporting affirmance. It will be interesting to see what others file.

more than 4 years ago
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Facebook Ordered To Turn Over Source Code

The Empiricist Re:Patent infringement x 2! (304 comments)

It seems to me that is a different thing than the original statement, "Attorney's eyes only". . . . "Attorney's eyes only" either means what it says, or it does not.

I can't disagree with you there. What the original poster didn't mention is that "Attorneys' eyes only" means what the protective order says "Attorneys' eyes only" means. You have to look to the protective order itself to see what exceptions exist to allow outside experts to view the material.

In this case, the exception is found in paragraph 9 of the protective order (PACER access required; the cost for the document is $1.92 - goes to $0 if you don't download $10 worth of documents by the end of the year):

9. For purposes of this Protective Order, a consultant or expert shall be defined as a person who is neither an employee, agent or representative of a party, nor anticipated to become an employee, agent or representative of a party in the near future, who is not involved in the application or prosecution of patents for the party, and who is retained or employed to assist in the preparation for trial in this litigation, whether full or part time, by or at the direction of counsel for a party. The procedure for having a consultant or expert approved for access to confidential material designated as CONFIDENTIAL, HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY or HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY - SOURCE CODE under this Protective Order shalI be as follows:

a. Outside counsel for the receiving party shall (1) provide the consultant or expert with a copy of this Protective Order, (2) explain its terns, and (3) obtain the written agreement of the consultant or expert, in the form of Exhibit A hereto, to comply with and be bound by the terms of this Protective Order. Before providing information designated CONFIDENTIAL, HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY or HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY - SOURCE CODE by a producing party pursuant to this Protective Order to a consultant or expert, the party seeking to disclose the information to a consultant or cxpert shall identify the consultant or expert to the producing party in writing and provide the producing party with (a) an executed Exhibit A, and (b) a written statement setting forth the consultant's or expert's residence address, business address, employer, job title, curriculum vitae, and past or present association with any party, as well as a list of litigation matters for which the consultant or expert has provided any professional services during the preceding five years;

b. Five (5) court days following the identification specified in the preceding subparagraph, the identifying party may disclose the information designated CONFIDENTIAL, HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY or HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY - SOURCE CODE under this Protective Order to the identified consultant or expert unless the party receives a written objection to the identification, served by facsimile or electronic mail, setting forth in detail the grounds on which it is based. Failure to object within five (5) days of the identification shall be deemed a waiver of the objection. If an identifying party receives such an objection within five (5) days of the identification, the consultant or expert shall be barred from access to any information designated CONFIDENTIAL, HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY or HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY - SOURCE CODE under this Protective Order for fourteen (14) calendar days commencing with the receipt by the producing party of a copy of the executed Exhibit A and accompanying information required in subparagraph (a) above;

c. If within fourteen (14) calendar days, the parties are unable to resolve their differences and the opposing party moves for a further protective order preventing disclosure of information designated CONFIDENTIAL, HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY or HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY - SOURCE CODE under this Protective Order to the identified consultant or expert, then the confidentid material shall not be provided to said consultant or expert except by further order of the Court. Any such motion by the opposing party must describe the circumstances and reasons for objection, setting forth in detail the reasons for which the further protective order is reasonably necessary, assessing the risk of harm that the disclosure would entail, and suggest any additional means that might be used to reduce that risk. The party opposing the disclosure to said consultant or expert shall bear the burden of proving that the risk of harm that the disclosure would entail (under the safeguards proposed) outweighs the seeking party's need to disclose the confidential material to said consultant or expert.

A judge could establish a protective order which allows only the attorneys to view discovered materials, without exception. But I doubt many judges would do so (at least not intentionally). They want input from experts who can understand the technical details.

An attorney is bound by ethical standards and whatnot that a random "analyst" wouldn't be and could conceivably be disbarred (and thereby lose his livelihood) for breaching a confidentiality order. This "incentive to do the right thing" is not present with the random analyst. There may be other sanctions that would apply to both the attorney and the random analyst, but my point is that the attorney has an additional incentive to be, for lack of a better word, trustworthy.

An expert who signs off on a protective order and has access to confidential material has plenty of incentive not to violate the protective order. Being fined or imprisoned for perjury wouldn't be much fun. Plus, any use of the confidential material could lead to a lawsuit for misappropriation of trade secrets.

If the sanctions that apply to the ordinary citizen are sufficient, there would be no need for the additional obligations that attorneys are required to undertake as officers of the court.

Sorry, I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Protective orders are issues as part of the discovery process in order to establish duties that the attorneys have to the other party. Attorneys do have certain ethical duties to persons other than clients (see Rules 4.1-4.4 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct for typical examples), but protective orders generally create new duties specific to the case.

more than 4 years ago
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Facebook Ordered To Turn Over Source Code

The Empiricist Re:Patent infringement x 2! (304 comments)

If the outside experts you mention are not attorneys, what good does it to to hire them to review something that they aren't allowed to see?

They are allowed to review the source code. But they have to abide by the protective order too.

more than 4 years ago
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Facebook Ordered To Turn Over Source Code

The Empiricist Re:Patent infringement x 2! (304 comments)

And having a bunch of attorneys reading a bunch of source code is a great way to get a really definitive and correct interpretation of the ramifications and effects of that source code.

One of the nice things about the U.S. is that our law schools are graduate schools with no pre-law undergraduate requirements. That means that many U.S. lawyers have an education in math, biology, physics, medicine, computer science, electrical engineering, etc. Thus, it is possible to find a lawyer who really can read and understand source code.

But even when a firm has a lawyer with the right background and experience, it is common to hire an expert to provide support (and possibly testify on findings). Professors with relevant expertise, but without a stake in the outcome of the case, are typically brought in to fill this role.

Even better (at least from the perspective of whoever wants to understand some bit of code, especially code that says "/* you're not expected to understand this */"), the organization itself can be deposed under FRCP Rule 30(b)(6). The lawyers provide notice to the organization that it is being deposed in order to explain the workings of various pieces of source code. The organization then has to provide people who can explain the workings of the identified pieces of code.

Of course, it still helps to have a lawyer who knows enough technology to be able to ask the right questions and who can understand the answers (or know when the answers are obtuse). Otherwise, you could end up with an six hour explanation of how a linked-list works.

Just like a software developer can provide a detailed critique of the Criminal Code and the Income Tax Act...

You don't have to be a lawyer to read statutes and cases and have an opinion regarding the law. Statutes and cases have their own vocabulary and historical nuances that can lead to some opinions being misguided (e.g., tax protestors who argue that income tax is unconstitutional or illegal are severely misguided). But, a lot of policy implications can be readily understood and fairly critiqued, at a surprisingly detailed level. Legal nuances can also be learned without committing to three years of general legal study. I once had a fascinating conversation with a software developer who, in the course of expressing his views on criminal punishment, unwittingly outlined many of the principles behind the United States Federal Sentencing (advisory) Guidelines.

more than 4 years ago
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How To Survive a Patent Challenge?

The Empiricist Re:hire a lawyer IS a practicle step. (221 comments)

Actually, you should have stuck with hire a lawyer. Apparently knowing about the patents you infringe upon makes your situation worse. So apparently you are better off not looking at existing patents.

It is becoming more difficult for plaintiffs to establish willful infringement. Searching patents and reviewing their abstracts is unlikely to rise to the level of willfulness (unlike, say, ignoring a letter, sent by certified mail, that says "we think you may be infrining patent XXX for reasons A, B, and C" ). Willfulness is especially unlikey to be an issue if the patents are prioritized and one seeks legal analysis for those that seem most relevant.

Instead of looking at active patents and trying to find if a new product infringes on any of them, one could look at expired patents (along with books, articles, papers, etc.) to show that nearly everything in the new product is based on knowledge already in the public domain. Not only would this likely help in trying to invalidate claims, it would show a lack of willfulness.

Alternatively, the product developer could try to find third-party component suppliers to provide the non-core pieces. If the third-party component supplier indemnifies the product developer (which they really should), then damages can be shifted away. Even if damages aren't shifted away, the fact that someone else created the infringing pieces would make it difficult to show willfulness.

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Pushes For Single Global Patent System

The Empiricist Re:Patent Cooperation Treaty (495 comments)

As soon as you do away with translations, it is kind of hard to achieve the "public notice" function of patents in each of the applicable countries, eh?

I'm not suggesting that any country do away with a translation requirement. I'm just pointing out that it is one of those costs that adds up really quickly. It's also one of those things that would be a significant barrier to a highly harmonized international patent system.

One possible compromise would be to allow patent applicants to submit translations of only the claims. But that doesn't work out too well given that the meaning of claims often can't be determined without reading the specification (e.g., if a claim includes something like "means for X" or if the applicant especially defined a claim term in the specification).

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Pushes For Single Global Patent System

The Empiricist Re:Patent Cooperation Treaty (495 comments)

All those national phase entry fees add up. But yes, PCT is already a pretty good system. Not sure what more cooperation we could ask for or expect. Maybe the JPO can issue Office Actions in English? (j/k)

It's not just the fees either. Getting patent practitioners who are authorized, and competent, to file at all the national stages has to be a nightmare too. And don't forget translation costs! Google Translate isn't going to cut it.

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Pushes For Single Global Patent System

The Empiricist Re:Push for proper patent reform (495 comments)

- No more than 7 years on a patent. No extensions. No exceptions.

Seven years from filing or from issue? It makes a difference. Currently the terms are up to 20 years from filing, but only if the patent holder pays all of the maintenance fees (currently $980 3 years after patent grant, $2,480 7.5 years after grant, and $4,110 11.5 years after grant). The only "extensions" currently available are those that the patent holder gets under certain circumstances when the government is somehow at fault for the delay (e.g., a special extension for pharmaceuticals that can't be marketed until they get through the long FDA approval process, or extensions for when the PTO examiners reject claims, but the rejections are reversed on appeal).

- No patenting of algorithms

Abstract algorithms already aren't patentable. Get away from the abstract and into the nitty-gritty of application and patent law becomes a lot more interesting. Keep an eye on Bilski v. Doll if you want to see where the line on patentability is going to fall.

- Patents to be awarded to individuals only, not companies

Patents are not awarded to companies in the United States. They are awarded to individual inventors. The inventors can assign their patent rights to companies, which arguably gives the company owners and managers an additional incentive to hire inventors.

more than 4 years ago
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SSN Overlap With Micronesia Causes Trouble For Woman

The Empiricist Re:what i would say (494 comments)

Then you send them a cease and desist order as provided for by the FDCPA (fair debt collection practices act). If they are stupid enough to continue collection efforts after receiving it then you file suit against them in Federal court and collect $1,000 for each violation. They'll soon stop calling you when they realize that each phone call is going to cost them a thousand bucks.

That really can be effective. My household kept receiving calls from one collection agency that had our phone number (nothing to do with SSNs, identity theft, etc., but still annoying, especially since it was usually an automated call). For whatever reason, they kept calling even after we told them that the person they were looking for no longer used our number. So, I mailed off a FDCPA Sec. 805(c) demand that they cease communication with us.

The next time they called (with a real person fortunately for them), I pointed out that I had sent a written demand that they stop calling and that their call was in violation of the FDCPA. I didn't have to be mean...the calls stopped cold.

more than 4 years ago
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i4i Says OpenOffice Does Not Infringe Like MS Word

The Empiricist Re:The MS patent does not affect ODF. (146 comments)

I don't have the time to read through all those treaties, but I doubt it would apply. The EU's current stance on software patents is, that it'S against it. So I don't think US software patents are worth anything here.

The EU's stance on software patents doesn't matter. US software patents are not worth anything outside of the US, period. For that matter, patents outside of the US aren't worth anything in the US.

Patent rights aren't recognized worldwide like copyright. You have to apply for them (and have them granted) in every country in which you seek protection). Various treaties helps smooth out the process of seeking international protection, but it is costly do so, thus most patent applicants focus on obtaining protection in key target markets.

EU customers probably don't need to be too worried. It looks like this i4i patent application was only used to obtain protection in the United States and Canada.

more than 4 years ago
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i4i Says OpenOffice Does Not Infringe Like MS Word

The Empiricist Re:What about notepad? (146 comments)

Ah I see. Selective law enforcement. Pardon me, I had forgotten.

No...patent scope. Notepad, older versions of Word, etc. don't have technologies built into them that could be considered infringing. If they did, then those that pre-dated the invention could have been used as prior art to invalidate the patent (Microsoft in fact had argued unsuccessfully that a bookmarking feature in a previous version of Word anticipated the i4i patent).

You can't effectively talk about a patent's scope without looking at the patent claims. An alternative technology may be used to accomplish the same goal as a claimed invention, but not have all the limitations of the claims and therefore not infringe. In talking about notepad, hex editors, etc., as being able to create custom XML, the scope of the i4i patent is being ignored. Arguing that these editors are now infringing makes as much sense as saying that notepad is an HTML editor. Yes, you can edit HTML files in notepad, but there is a difference between a text editor that treats HTML files the same as any other text file and an HTML editor that is programmed with HTML-aware features.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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First amicus brief supporting Bilski affirmance

The Empiricist The Empiricist writes  |  more than 4 years ago

The Empiricist (854346) writes "The first amicus brief in support of affirming the Federal Circuit's decision, on modified grounds, has been filed at the Supreme Court. In this brief, Professor Lee A. Hollaar and IEEE-USA argue that the subject matter of the Bilski patent application was non-statutory, but that the Federal Circuit's "transformation or machine" test is vague. They argue that "[t]ens-of-thousands of patents that claimed software-based inventions as methods are now open to question" because of the Federal Circuit's test and that "[i]nstead, the test should be the one that has existed from the start of patent law, updated to use today's statutory terms: A process is statutory subject matter when it involves making or using a machine, manufacture, or composition of matter." More amicus briefs supporting affirmance of the In re Bilski decision are expected, but this brief is unusually early."
Link to Original Source
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Court Grants Craigslist Prankster Mild Reprieve

The Empiricist The Empiricist writes  |  more than 5 years ago

The Empiricist (854346) writes "Jason Fortuny, the Craigslist Prankster who was sued by one of his victims, failed to respond to an amended complaint that was due, by order of the court (registration and up to $0.08 required), on October 10. The court has given Jason Fortuny more time to respond. He now has until November 7 to respond. He also must appear at a hearing on November 12, even though it was originally scheduled for October 22. In its most recent order (registration and up to $0.08 required), the court noted that Jason had submitted an unsigned motion to dismiss, but that the motion was not accepted by the court because Jason did not comply with the court's rules, such as filing motions with the clerk of the court and certifying that they have been sent to the opposing party. The court also stated that it would no longer mail Jason with notices of actions taken unless he bothered to enter an appearance in the case. If Jason Fortuny or his representative does not file a proper answer or motion to dismiss, he risks losing by default."
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BSA Seeks to be Heard In High-Profile Patent Case

The Empiricist The Empiricist writes  |  more than 5 years ago

The Empiricist (854346) writes "The Business Software Alliance moved on April 22 to participate in oral arguments during the en banc re-hearing for In re Bilski, the high-profile business methods patent application case. The BSA previously filed a 30 friend-of-the-court brief, available at the Patently-O law blog, expressing the opinion that the Patent Office was correct to reject the Bilski patent, but that artificial limitations on patentable processes would hinder innovation. In a motion served on the parties and on other friends of the court, the BSA argued that it should be allowed to send a representative in front of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to explain in person the BSA's position that the Bilski approach would eliminate "important safeguards mandated by the statutory language and Supreme Court precedents" while under the Patent Office's approach, "the patent system would paradoxically disfavor new technologies and the definition of 'process' would deviate unacceptably from Congress's intent.""
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In re Bilski: Over 40 briefs filed

The Empiricist The Empiricist writes  |  about 6 years ago

The Empiricist (854346) writes "Over 40 briefs have been filed as part of In re Bilski, the appeal being heard in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on whether a method of hedging commodities risks constitutes patentable subject matter. Most of the briefs are available either at Patently-O or at The Webb Law Firm (the law firm representing the patent applicants). The opinions expressed in the briefs are as varied as the groups and individuals who submitted them. They show how controversial questions of patentable subject matter are. The big question for the Federal Circuit is how can it decide this case without being reversed by the Supreme Court?"
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Judge Blocks Patent Rules; Patent Trolls Rejoice

The Empiricist The Empiricist writes  |  more than 6 years ago

The Empiricist (854346) writes ""Judge James Cacheris of the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Virginia blocked, for now at least, the patent office from implementing" new rules that were "intended to speed patent reviews by the chronically understaffed USPTO." One blocked reform was a limitation on the number of "continuating patent applications" that could be filed. This raises the concern that a few patent owners may continue using continuation applications to obtain patent claims that specifically cover new products as they come on the market," thus contributing to "an incorrect public perception of a widespread problem and [that has] created a backlash against the [patent] system as a whole.""
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Easy Patent Pool Licensing Patent App. Filed

The Empiricist The Empiricist writes  |  more than 6 years ago

The Empiricist (854346) writes "Patent pools have existed for over 150 years, helping to keep competitors from destroying their own industries. Suggestions have been made to use patent pools cut through patent thickets in today's high-tech industries. Many have suggested using patent pools to ensure the future of open source software. Open source patent pools have started to become a reality, but skeptics question the effectiveness of such efforts because funding is short and many donated patents are already licensed to companies that might wish to attack open source projects. Perhaps what open source patent pools need are donations directly from open source developers. A March 29th patent application for a "system and method of licensing intellectual property assets" discusses an automated system for licensing patents from a patent pool and automatically allocating collective revenues to patent holders based on various criteria, such as allocations based on patent star-ratings. A system such as this could provide a means for pragmatic open source developers to cover these costs of obtaining patents for open source patent pools, giving open source patent pools a greater chance of long-term success."
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The Empiricist The Empiricist writes  |  more than 6 years ago

The Empiricist (854346) writes "The United States Department of Justice recently announced its 50th guilty plea as part of Operation Fastlink, the Department of Justice initiative that was "expected to dismantle...international warez syndicates and significantly impact the illicit operations of others."

The 50th person to plea guilty was "Christopher E. Eaves, 31, of Iowa Park, Texas, [who] pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement for his involvement in the pre-release music group, known as the Apocalypse Crew...He faces up to five years of in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release."

Assistant Director James E. Finch of the FBI's Cyber Division succinctly offered the supporting rational for the initiative by stating that "intellectual property theft strikes at the heart of America's economy.""
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The Empiricist The Empiricist writes  |  about 7 years ago

The Empiricist (854346) writes "Rambus can continue to collect royalties for patents based on U.S. Application 07/510,898 and other patents Rambus filed before June 18, 1996. In February the FTC issued an order capping the royalties Rambus could collect for various memory chips to 0.25%-1%, for up to three years. On March 16th, the FTC granted a stay allowing Rambus to continue collecting royalties exceeding these rates while Rambus appeals the February FTC ruling. Rambus must place excess royalties into an escrow account. If Rambus loses its appeal, the excess royalties must be returned to the patent licensees."
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The Empiricist The Empiricist writes  |  more than 7 years ago

The Empiricist (854346) writes "The United States Supreme Court has cleared the way for entities "to sue over the validity of a patent — even while paying user fees to the patent holder." The eight-one Medimmune v. Genetech decision, written by Justice Scalia, held that by paying royalties to a patent holder, one does not necessarily waive the right to challenge the validity of patent. Depending on the number of on-going licensing arrangements that have been made under protest, this decision could herald a wave of lawyers seeking to eliminate weak, burdensome patents."

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