Hyperlinking From CD To The Web Patented -- Plenty Of Software Companies Sued

from the seriously? dept

Remember Acacia? It's the patent hoarder that buys up random questionable patents and then sues lots and lots of companies. Its most famous patent is for streaming media, which is number one on the EFF's list of patents that need to be busted. However, the company also has other patents. The latest is about to get a lot more attention. It's officially a patent for an information distribution system, but which Acacia claims actually covers having a hyperlink on a CD-ROM that links to a database, such as the web. Acacia has a subsidiary, called Disc Link, who is "monetizing" this patent by suing a ton of software companies, such as Oracle, SAP, Borland, Business Objects, Compuware, Corel, Eastman Kodak and Novell among others. Considering how many companies distribute CD-ROMs with links to the web, you can imagine how many companies can now be sued. How this concept could possibly be patented isn't explained -- not when there's plenty of money to be made by suing companies who are doing the most basic things that hyperlinks were designed to allow.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Avatar28, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 3:49am

    They need to band together.

    With Acacia suing this many companies over this and with all the others that they could possibly sue, I think you can bet that at least one will fight it. If they can band together to fight it, so much the better.

    Looking at the patent, it appears that it would work more like the help system in Microsoft Office. You have a database distributed on CDROM that then links to another database remotely.

    In any case, the filing date was Nov 8, 1998. I'm PRETTY sure that the technique Acacia is claiming was well established by then and the use seems rather obvious to me but, then, I don't work in the Patent Office and their standards are different than mine.

     

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      T2K, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 3:02am

      Re: They need to band together.

      > the filing date was Nov 8, 1998
      Yes, but the patent is a continuation in part of a patent filed June 8, 1994.
      Prior art should be found before this date, even preferrably 1 year before in a marketed product (that is June 7, 1993)

       

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    Angry Rivethead, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 3:55am

    Hey...

    Sounds like Acacia is a bunch of losers that couldn't think of a better way of making money than being a pain right in the balls. Kinda like the *IAA.

     

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    The infamous Joe, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 4:20am

    You've got it wrong.

    Haha, I love these guys!

    Don't you see? How better to show the flaws in the patent system than to so blatantly exploit them? Acacia is a parody of any big business that attempts to stifle innovation via the patent system.

    They bring the spotlight and point it at the flaws-- hopefully someone with the power to fix those flaws does so.

     

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      dataGuy, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 6:11am

      Re: You've got it wrong.

      I’m not very knowledgeable about how the patent office works. I know there are a lot of different proposals floating around on how to “fix” the patent system. What I’d like to know is, would it be quicker to straighten this patent mess by having a regime change in the patent office or is waiting on Congress and the Courts the only real answer?

       

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    identicon
    Shohat, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 4:38am

    I have a CD of a 1995 PC Answers CD magazine

    I have a CD of a 1995 PC Answers CD magazine that has links on it's CD pointing directly to websites and software on the Internet . This is a 12 year old CD (OMFG Time does goes by fast..), and the fact that now there is some company that sues other companies for that technology is plain retarded.

    Just because there was no major technological progress for over 50 years (!), doesn't mean we should squeeze every single drop out of the small progress that was made and abuse the patent system that was developed for times with much greater amount of innovation, when the strict patent system was still needed in order to reward inventors.

    Now that innovation is rare and 95% is just natural progress/improvement and combinations of existing technologies, there should a different kind of protection granted in place.
    Fix it !

     

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      T2K, Oct 30th, 2007 @ 3:03am

      Re: I have a CD of a 1995 PC Answers CD magazine

      > the filing date was Nov 8, 1998
      Yes, but the patent is a continuation in part of a patent filed June 8, 1994.
      Prior art should be found before this date, even preferrably 1 year before in a marketed product (that is June 7, 1993)
      The 1995 PC Answers CD is not old enough.

       

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    identicon
    Dosquatch, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 5:05am

    Mixed Media

    I have some "enhanced audio CDs" that contain hyperlinks to "bonus material on the internet" from as early as '96. The bonus material isn't there anymore, but the links are still on the CDs.

     

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      Jeff, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 7:23am

      Re: Mixed Media

      Yes, I worked on an online giveaway for BMW in 1996 that has an option to run the "experience" from CD and link to further content on the web.... Prior art...Done...

       

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    mike, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 5:16am

    who

    Who owns these guys Acacia dont tell me let me guess RIAA by any chance

     

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    Liam, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 5:18am

    this is just completely ridiculous. I really can't say anymore.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 5:26am

    Even if...

    Even if you look at this patent the way it's written and not how they're twisting it, this patent is BS anyways. It's about having a link (Not necessarily a hyperlink) that points to a database and when it is clicked then it shows the information in the database. I work on software like that all day (From a company big enough to crush these people).

    I say any patent that uses a term as loose as "bi-directional channel" should be rewritten to be more specific.

     

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    identicon
    You never know, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 5:29am

    Woooo Hooooo More parasitic bloodsuckers. Need I say more?

     

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    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 5:49am

    time for prior art..

    Seriously...we've all got prior art laying around in our junk CD drawer so it's time to hand these guys their asses.

     

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      terogers, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 5:11pm

      Re: time for prior art..

      Prior art doesn't automatically invalidate the patent; it protects those practicing that art from being hounded by the patent holder. The patent rights still extend to others unless it's challenged, which is often the case.

      If most of the companies being sued can't show prior art, I'd be surprised. This technology was around in the '80's, before CD's were capable of being used as a medium for links.

      I built distributed systems that probably qualify; we used floppies.

       

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    identicon
    Overcast, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 6:12am

    Yeah, the idiots!!

    Go check out their 'patent portfolio'

    http://www.acaciatechnologies.com/patentportfolio.htm

    This one really had me laughing.

    "COMPACT DISK
    The patent, currently being reexamined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, covers certain systems for recording and playing compact disks containing compressed audio data utilizing certain data-compression methods. The CD player technology, consisting in part of a CD drive that reads MPEG Layer-3 (MP3) compressed digital audio data recorded on a CD, and an integrated circuit chip which decompresses the data and produces a non-compressed audio output, is commonly found in DVD and CD players."

    LOL, riiiiiiight.

    If you do to their web page, and look - you'll even find they tried to patent '2D Bar Codes'. They almost act like they are begging people to invest, most likely they need the money for all the court fees. So they can patent other people's stuff and then sue for it.

    Can you say fraud?

     

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    identicon
    Andrew Cave, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 6:19am

    Better use of crazy

    As Americans, if we could only get our shooting spree crazy ass f*#kers to stop targeting students and get them into blood sucking corporations. They might be able to do some good. Either that a convention for corporate lawyers.

     

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      identicon
      Pappa Joe, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 7:29am

      Re: Better use of crazy

      I must say, that is totally inappropriate. I guarantee, no one will laugh at your rediculous comment.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Haha, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 7:47am

      Re: Better use of crazy

      Hahaha.

      Number 18. You broke your guaruntee. You will hear from my lawyers within the week.

      No, i am not Andrew Cave. Although if i were andrew cave I would still say that.... im not.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 6:51am

    Patent office?

    Sounds like the patent office needs to hire a few IT folks to make sure they don't issue anymore patents that are bogus.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    James, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 7:27am

    Hold your breathe

    I have just patented the process of breathing oxygen either alone or mixed with other gases with or without artificial assistance, by a human being.

    Everyone at Acacia (and the RIAA, MPAA and any politically-motivated religous organization... and Sony) owe me $10,000 per individual for an annually renewable license, or face direct violation of this patent. ;-)

    Those holding their breathe will not be considered in violation.

    Everyone is grand-fathered in ;-)

     

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  •  
    identicon
    James, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 7:28am

    Hold your breathe

    Alas typos.. *Everyone ELSE is grand-fathered in ;-)

     

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  •  
    identicon
    John, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 8:06am

    Amazon

    Does anyone remember when Amazon patented (or tried to) one-click purchasing?!

     

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    identicon
    Wire-Cramped, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 9:23am

    Acacia shows why..

    They show why so many other countries look at us with shame and pity. That we would be the richest country on the planet and then see millions and millions wasted on this crap while our people go hungry and cold.

    I hand my head in shame also to see such a capable country allow this company to exist and not pull its license and disband the whole farce.

    I agree there is enough prior art or for most of their patents something to prove they wont win a snowballs chance in hell at actually getting one of these through to the finish.

    I think I am going to launch a all out assualt on this company until they are skulking away from the entire nations criticism. I will get their employees to leave and any funding they seek I intend on telling those agencies/groups/companies/individuals that as a 20yr I.T. veteran this comapny is actually...

    Getting capital to pay large salaries to their corporate execs to pursue thin air and golf each day while dangling hopes of a fat pay off.

    They are commiting crime and will be exposed for whom they are. Watch for the opposition web site comming soon!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Clueby4, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 10:39am

    Vent on the USPTO

    Well it probably won't do much, but you can always vent a little on them:

    http://www.uspto.gov/main/contacts.htm

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Xenohacker@hotmail.com, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 10:48am

    Software Patents

    I do not believe in 'software' patents should be valid. Heck, I'm sure if someone looked hard enough they could find a patent for a hyperlink. I believe only trademarks and copyrights should be honored in the software world.

     

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    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 10:51am

    Didn't we go off on these people already?

    "WIRELESS DIGITAL MESSAGING
    This patented technology generally relates to transmitting digital content to wireless devices, such as cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players and laptop computers, including wireless systems that deliver digital content, such as images, graphics, photographs, image-embedded e-mail and facsimiles. Among the primary applications for this technology are mobile phone picture messaging and email/fax delivery."

    Directly from there website, they own the patent on txt messaging.

     

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    identicon
    dcstamm, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 11:04am

    Where can we submit prior art examples.

    Well, the subject says it all.

     

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    identicon
    Matt, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 12:44pm

    They've Already Obtained Settlements Over This

    "March 15, 2007 -- Acacia Research Corporation announced today that... [it] has entered into a settlement agreement with McAfee, Inc. covering patents relating to portable storage devices with links. ... The portable storage devices with links technology generally relates to products sold or distributed on CDs or DVDs that include a link to retrieve additional data via the Internet"

     

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      identicon
      Joe Smith, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 1:22pm

      Re: They've Already Obtained Settlements Over This

      Yeah but do they say what the settlement was: maybe it was just "we'll buy you a cup of coffee and we won't call the cops"

      and yes, yes before the lawyers all chime in I know that as a general rule it is inappropriate to expressly or impliedly threaten criminal proceedings for the purpose of settling a civil claim.)

       

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        identicon
        Matt, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 2:05pm

        Re: Re: They've Already Obtained Settlements Over

        I would assume the details of the settlement are confidential. Probably enough to get Acacia to go away but not enough to justify the time & cost of a legal battle.

         

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    identicon
    redkendrick, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 1:19pm

    Acacia can sue MPAA

    I have DVDs (legally purchased ones too;) that open up additional content over the web when they're played in a PC. Seems like that might be covered by this patent. Acacia can now throw themselves against the biggest corporate legal department on the planet. I think I might enjoy watching that one. Have fun guys!

     

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      identicon
      Dosquatch, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 8:26pm

      Re: Acacia can sue MPAA

      I predict that such an amount of concentrated malfeasance and stupidity is likely to open a rift in space and cause the courthouse in Marshall, TX to fold in on itself like the house in Poltergeist.

      Not that this would be a bad thing.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Charles Griswold, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 1:36pm

    Yes, That's It!

    "Yes, Pinky, that's it! We will patent hyperlinks, then use the money we make from copyright settlements to rule the world!"

    "Brain, you're a genius! Oh, wait, no, no. What about prior art?"

    "Pinky, the patent office is stupid. They will give you a patent for anything."

    "Oh, right Brain. I forgot about that."

     

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  •  
    identicon
    James, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 5:15pm

    Where does the insanity end?

    That's the problem with corporations, they will roll over like a cheap hooker. It is easier to pay these slime balls $100K to go away, then fight it. More than like McAfee settlement was one of: Here's 100K, go away and bother us no more. We admit to no wrong doing and Arcadia agrees to never bring the subject up again.

    Now, this time maybe different, if I know Uncle Larry (Larry Ellison) he will not take kindly to veiled threats from piss ant company like Arcadia. He just might spend a few hundred million to crush them, just to prove a point.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 10:36pm

    Where to send Prior Art.

    Folks, if you have any prior art which is relevent to this or any other similar patent matter, pass it along to Dan Ravicher at the Public Patent Foundation. It's his job to see that it gets where it needs to go.

    Write up as detailed a description as possible, citing names, dates, serial numbers, whatever.

    http://www.pubpat.org/

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Person who can write English, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 7:04am

    English

    Learn to spell!

    rediculous
    dont
    anymore (when you mean "any more")
    breathe (when you mean "breath")
    guaruntee
    comming

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 9:45pm

    This pretty much sums up what a joke the US is.

     

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    identicon
    RoadRunner, Apr 21st, 2007 @ 10:12pm

    Amateur radio look out

    Hello,

    I guess amateur radio is next. Amateur radio operators can transmit pictures and text messages with only a radio, computer, antenna, and electrical power. They also have been sending slow scan television images for 30 to 40 years so Acacia needs to get over itself and pull its head out of its six o'clock.(A$$)

     

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  •  
    identicon
    torqque, Apr 24th, 2007 @ 2:08pm

    Price to Pay

    Etc, etc, etc, and lawyers make a bizzillion dollars. RIAA claims the world is pirating everything and lawyers make a bizzillion dollars. It's all about lawyers making a bizzillion dollars. Oh, I'm sorry, lawyers call it job security and they guaranity it for themselves everyday. At your expense, by the way.

     

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