Digg And Others Sued For Infringing Infamous Computer Solitaire Patent

from the aren't-patents-great? dept

The Patent Troll Tracker is back from holiday vacation and he's got quite a post listing out a bunch of interesting (i.e., depressing) lawsuits involving questionable patents and even more questionable patent holders. In one case, the Troll Tracker even manages to track down a bizarre set of circumstances making it look like an associate at a well known IP law firm spent millions of dollars scooping up a bunch of patents for himself.

However, perhaps the most interesting is the third case discussed by the Troll Tracker. It involves the somewhat infamous patents of Sheldon Goldberg, which got plenty of attention back in 2004 when he started claiming that computer solitaire was covered by his patents. The two key patents are for a network gaming system and a method for playing games on a network.

It appears that after years of threats about these patents, Goldberg has now actually started filing lawsuits -- and some of the targets are a bit surprising. The one that stood out was Digg, as you don't often see companies like Digg involved in patent infringement suits (and, as far as I can tell, the news that Digg was being sued for patent infringement hasn't been mentioned anywhere else). Others sued over those same patents include some of the "usual targets" such as Google, AOL and Yahoo. However, it also includes a variety of media properties both big and small -- including the NY Times, The Washington Post, CNET, Tribune Interactive and (another slightly odd one) eBaum's World. While the patents themselves seem quite questionable, it's even harder to understand how these sites could possibly be violating those patents. Either way, perhaps the fact that Digg is now on the receiving end of a silly patent infringement lawsuit, it'll get more of the Digg crowd even more interested in the massive problems with the patent system. Update: Since a few people asked, the story is on Digg itself now.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous of Course, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 12:22pm

    Maybe there will be consequences

    Geez, I hope the Diggites get fired up
    over this and the newspapers too. Cnet
    should be interesting reading.

    Maybe it will help bring an end to these
    crap patents. I was looking at some IBM
    patents last week. One of them was the
    most obvious example of prior art I'd ever
    seen patented. But they're going after Asus
    for infringing.



    For every little guy getting screwed, and
    I've been there, there are billions of dollars
    wasted in this patent wars exchange. It's a
    drain on industry and ultimately that's where
    most people get their bread. So it's bad.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:32pm

      Re: Maybe there will be consequences

      First of all, they'll need an article to digg...

      There's no sign of this lawsuit on the digg site itself.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      angry dude, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:45pm

      Re: Maybe there will be consequences

      Hey, dude

      the little guy usually gets screwed the other way:
      big corps don't sue the little guy, they just steal little guy's inventions, patented or not, they just don't fucking care
      haven't done you homework, bro,
      you are sitting at the kiddies table tonight

       

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      •  
        icon
        Mike (profile), Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:50pm

        Re: Re: Maybe there will be consequences

        the little guy usually gets screwed the other way:

        This is simply untrue, and angry dude knows it -- though refuses to admit it. Look at recent stats on patent infringement lawsuits:

        http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071221/012831.shtml

        Note the pattern? A ton of patent holding companies made up of a couple of patent attorneys suing big companies who actually innovate.

        haven't done you homework, bro,

        As per usual, angry dude's insults are more accurately describing himself, rather than his targets.

        Angry dude, we've asked you in the past to stop these types of comments. You've admitted to lying repeatedly on this site, and you come back and do so again.

        Once again, I'll ask you to refrain.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Digger, Jan 5th, 2008 @ 6:46am

      Re: Maybe there will be consequences

      Hey were are called Diggers.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Eliot, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 12:24pm

    Small grammatical fix

    Just FYI:

    ... often see company's like Digg ...

    The word "company's" should be "companies."

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Adam Singer, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:18pm

    and.....

    Dugg!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    mark, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:24pm

    You think maybe the source of all this can be traced to who stands to make the most money/billable hours off of this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    mark, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:26pm

    And I mean this in the global context, not just this instance...

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Hellsville, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:28pm

    ya...but....

    Seriously tho... WTF does digg have to do with it?

    I cant stand the site, or its netizens... but still, what does digg have to do with it?

    Mayhaps this is just a way to get massive (close to viral) publicity in an attempt to get the biggest fastest settlement to make the issue go away?

    If thats the case... then the best case scenario is that the netizens of digg completely ignore the bait... but we should all know that's not likely...

    how unsettling

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Larcyn, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:31pm

    Patent infringment lawsuits...

    if only one could patent the process of suing over patent infringement. they could make a mint.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:40pm

    ignorance is no defense

    "...even more questionable patent holders"

    Mike is playing ignorant as usual

    While there are "questionable" (correct legal term is "invalid") patents there are no "questionable
    patent holders"

    Patents, simply put, are PROPERTY, they can be bought and sold to anybody just like any other property

     

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    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:42pm

      Re: ignorance is no defense

      While there are "questionable" (correct legal term is "invalid") patents there are no "questionable
      patent holders"


      Sorry, but an associate at a top IP firm coming up with millions to buy questionable patents. That's what I consider to be a questionable patent holder.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        angry dude, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 2:11pm

        Re: Re: ignorance is no defense

        "an associate at a top IP firm coming up with millions to buy questionable patents"

        Heck, millions for "questionable patents"
        I admire your optimism
        Now try to get your very own "questionable patent" Mikey
        it's easy according to your shitty blog

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 3:44pm

      Re: ignorance is no defense

      Except patents are not analogous to real physical property.

      They're monopoly rights over a particular idea. They allow you to prevent others from bringing products to the marketplace based on your patent.

      A physical property only let you have a monopoly over that particular item/land/whatever, but not similar items owned by somebody else.

      Even free software better fit the definition of property.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Steve, Jan 6th, 2008 @ 10:20am

      Re: ignorance is no defense

      Back in the stone age (the 60s) we used to say that property is theft. I still subscribe to this philosophy, and it is nowhere more apparent than the current abomination about what intellectual property is. Monsanto patents include a (scientifically approved description of a) folk remedy used in India for centuries. I read that Monsanto has used this to stop Indians form using certain indigenous plants to heal people by virtue of this intellectual "property." Is this what we intended?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Steve, Jan 6th, 2008 @ 10:23am

      Re: ignorance is no defense

      Back in the stone age (the 60s) we used to say that property is theft. I still subscribe to this philosophy, and it is nowhere more apparent than the current abomination about what intellectual property is. Monsanto patents include a (scientifically approved description of a) folk remedy used in India for centuries. I read that Monsanto has used this to stop Indians form using certain indigenous plants to heal people by virtue of this intellectual "property." Is this what we intended?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        angry dude, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 2:42pm

        Re: Re: ignorance is no defense

        Dude,

        If somebody intrudes my (heavily fenced) real property, I first warn them that I would shoot if they don't leave immediately and then shoot the bastards
        All the courts in this country will agree that it's my constitutional right to shoot (the potentially dangerous intruders) on my very own (fenced) property

        If somebody is *willfully* infringing on my valid US patent I will first warn them to stop infringing and then sue the hell out of thiefing bastards and all the courts in this country will agree that it's my constitutional right to do so

        Just shut the fuck up
        This is none of your fucking business cause apparently you don't own any property you need to protect from thiefs
        This is America, dude
        And as far as Intellectual Property is concerned this is Wild Wild West

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:49pm

    Easy there tiger...

    I wouldn't hassle the guy about it Mike, that dude already looks pretty angry.

    You and I both know hes just some troll with a dead hamster rotting in his bowel, but no sense enraging him, I'm surprised you even bothered to reply to such a pedantic terminology complaint in the first place...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:51pm

      Re: Easy there tiger...

      I wouldn't hassle the guy about it Mike, that dude already looks pretty angry.

      True, true.

      You and I both know hes just some troll with a dead hamster rotting in his bowel, but no sense enraging him, I'm surprised you even bothered to reply to such a pedantic terminology complaint in the first place...

      Consider me the eternal optimist, that one day, maybe he'll actually take the time to understand what we're talking about. Crazy. I know.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 2:03pm

        Re: Re: Easy there tiger...

        Yeah, and while I respect your optimism and faith in humanity...

        I am more of a realist that understands that sometimes you can't convince people to take off their clown shoes.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        angry dude, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 2:05pm

        Re: Re: Easy there tiger...

        "dead hamster rotting in his bowel"

        Ha-ha-ha
        More like dusty patent in a closet (valid patent BTW)

        And Mikey, it is me not you in the trenches
        You just don't have a fucking clue about the subject
        Heck, you are not alone, most folks in US Congress have about the same depth of understanding how patents work in the real world

        If I don't know something I am not ashamed to ask
        Ask real american inventors Mikey, not the anonymous corporate stooges like Troll Tracker

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 2:08pm

          Re: Re: Re: Easy there tiger...

          You patented having a dead hamster rotting in your bowel!?!?

          That's authentic Goatse!

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          boomhauer (profile), Jan 5th, 2008 @ 1:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: Easy there tiger...

          angry, i own a collection of patents, and Mike is right. the system is f@#$'ed. if i want to defend one of my patents, which i spent many thousands to procure, the avergae litigation cost is several million. so as a small inventor, there is an icecubes chance in hell i'll ever be able to force someone from using my technology. on the other hand, ive had several companies issue C&D's to me for bullshit IP they claim to own. what choice to i have? i cant afford to defend myself, so i either pay huge licensing for BS or i quit producing this product. Meanwhile, these trolls are making the bucks by stealing from innovators. There is nothing good left in the system, and Im not even bothering getting any more patents.Ive lost years of my life to this stupid process and I hope they fix it someday, but Im not waiting for it.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            angry dude, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 2:24pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Easy there tiger...

            Hey, dude, you are absolutely right

            The system is broken

            Yet, the purpose of the current patent "reform" is not to abolish the entire fucking patent system but to make it a sport of kings so only the wealthy multinationals can play the patent game

            I say: Fuck It!!!

            Ether change the US Constitution and abolisht the entire patent system or play by the rules of the game which are the same for garage inventors and the biggest multinationals

             

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  •  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 2:15pm

    F*** you all dudes

    Time to call it a day
    Have a nice night or day
    See you in hell

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    angrydude is a crybaby, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 2:54pm

    angrydude's patent

     

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  •  
    identicon
    amused dude, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 3:08pm

    diggites

    diggles? digglets? diggers? the dugg?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    listen_to_techdirt, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 4:43pm

    Solitaire and digg???

    What's the alleged infringement??? Can someone articulate it in layman's lingo?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Patent Troll Tracker, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 11:40pm

      Re: Solitaire and digg???

      Hey everyone, I don't usually post on other websites, and I hope you aren't tracking my IP address and/or won't divulge it, but I just had to weigh in here. The problem is that even though the TITLE of the patent is related to computer gaming, and the ENTIRE specification relates to computer gaming, the patentee and his clever lawyer were able to sneak in a claim or 2 into each patent that are not facially related to gaming. So, for example, in US Patent 6,712,702, claim 53, which is longer than my forearm, is probably the only claim that Goldberg will assert in the Digg litigation. In 6,183,366, which has 132 claims, claim 116 is merely "a method of providing a presentation on a network," and claim 121 is merely "a method of providing information regarding products or services on the Internet." How much do you want to bet the Examiner never even noticed those claims had nothing to do with gaming? This is the problem with many of the patent cases out there now (but not all of them, angry dude). It was cases like this one that motivated me to start a blog.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    peter guszti, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 8:05pm

    Wow, Never though digg could get sued

    Digg and others only provide links and not the entire article or page, so i never thought it would be possible, I listed this on my blog, with extra comments, www.opentopix.com/topic/tech-news/diggcom-being-sued-in-10yrs-for-infringing-patent

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Evan, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 9:29pm

    Patents!

    I'm tired of people suing each other over patents. There's so much technology right now that all patents overlap. It's ridiculous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    boomhauer (profile), Jan 5th, 2008 @ 2:02pm

    the mcqueen

    if more proof is needed of how @#$@#$'ed up the system is, check out the McQueen Machine - this dude just got a patent issued on a perpetual motion machine (invest today!!) http://www.mcqueenmachine.com/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      no physics expert, Jan 6th, 2008 @ 9:45pm

      Re: the mcqueen

      I may not be a physics expert, but even I understand the basic laws of physics. His patent is so simplistic and doesn't even explain how this machine could possibly overcome the friction and loss of energy created by trying to drive the generators/alternators off of a pulley type of system.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Kalashnikov, Jan 6th, 2008 @ 1:12am

    Amazing

    I cannot believe it. I found it on Slashdot, and thought, this Sheldon Goldberg is such a jerk. You can't do this to Digg!

    He just want to threaten and blackmail companies to make a quick buck.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Bart, Jan 6th, 2008 @ 2:25am

    hmmm...

    Maybe I should patent patents and then sue the patent office for using them. I think that we should just do away with patents completely. Then companies would really need to be innovative to survive and not just make up a bunch of patents and sue everyone else for actually making a product.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 6th, 2008 @ 10:00am

    Prior Art

    Take a look at online games like MUDs (text-based, multiplayer online game worlds). They have been around before 1991, thus makes most of this patent null and void.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    DingDong, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 12:57am

    Right

    ok sounds good so when is the game on?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Random Poster, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 1:31pm

    Flaw with Patenting

    The main problem with patenting is they only check to ensure that the invention being patented is not making use of laws of nature of mathematics. It doesn't check to see if the idea has already been done.

    For example, let's say my friend invents something. If I later invent something that is identical and then apply to have it patented, I will be granted the patent even though I wasn't the first one to think of it.

    This is where the patenting system is failing and people are using it to make fast bucks. I've seen this recently when some guy went and patented a "rotating weight mechanism" and then took on the like of Sony and Nintendo over the rumble features in their consoles.

    Sadly, the guy has solid standing, thus Nintendo and Microsoft pay the royalties to the guy while Sony has just removed the feature altogether.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      angry dude, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 5:48pm

      Re: Flaw with Patenting

      Dude

      you are a fucking moron

      Ever heard of the legal term "prior art" ?

      Keep reading Mike's bullshit

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Random Poster, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 1:09pm

        Re: Re: Flaw with Patenting

        First of all, if you have a point make sure you have some manners with it first. We maybe online but the rules of the real world still apply.

        When it comes to Prior Art, the patent office does care. The only time the patent office cares about prior art is if there is a patent on it in the past.

        The only consolidation is patents expire and cannot be renewed. This is countered by patents still lasting 50 years which stinks anyway.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 1:52pm

    GFY

    "This is countered by patents still lasting 50 years which stinks anyway."

    Dude, for fuck's sake, get educated about the subject first
    A typical techdirt retard you are...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Random Poster, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 4:36pm

      Re: GFY

      There are better ways to say I'm off the mark. I implore you. There is no need for that kind of language. If you have a problem find another way to vent off steam rather than take it out on people who are just saying their point of view.

      And for your information I have been educated but have not had the time to check on resent changes in what I have learned from then.

      What I was taught then also applies to computer software where developers seek patents to protect trade secrets in software that copyrights cannot protect.

      Patents are sought by software developers because copyright will only protect the object/byte code. What developers want to protect is the algorithms and processing steps behind the program. As algorithms are not protected by copyright, a patent is sought instead because it protect both the code and the algorithms.

      This is what I was taught from the text books three years ago so the knowledge I know cannot be must older than five years old given the age of the book itself.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        angry dude, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 6:59pm

        Re: Re: GFY

        OK, Ok

        Relax now

        at least you know that copyright does not protect software
        so you are much ahead of those FSF software communists and their chief of staff RMS (helped by that perverted lawyer guy named Eben Moglen)

        You should know however that patents last for 17 years from the date of issue or 20 years from the date of filing

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Random Poster, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 8:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: GFY

          Thankyou. I also went and checked and yes, I was wrong about the patent life.

          It still doesn't help though. Granted that when patents expire the invention goes into the public domain, but 20 years is a long time to go about cause havoc to other hardworking people.

          This guy is getting away as algorithms and architectures count as processes. At first people though patents cannot be allowed on software due to the fact that software doesn't exist in a material form.

          What software does is changes internal switches in the CPU, etc. But as algorithms are a series of steps and actions taken to an given state, it is possible to pass it off as a process as a process is also a set of steps and reactions based on a state.

          I looked at this guy's patent. Hopefully it was the right one, it was referencing black jack, not solitaire, and it's just a series of labeled boxes and arrows. I fail to see how this patent can hold as network gaming architecture has as much diversity as humanity itself.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:09am

    Mike: Uninformed Drivel

    Mike, I see you are still spewing uninformed drivel about patent cases.

    The only way to get at the truth in these cases is via the court. None of us can know rather a patent is silly or brilliant until the fat lady sings.

    What we do know is that patent pirating transnational corporations routinely steal other's intellectual property. We also know that you virtually always characterize such lawsuits, the patents, and the inventors behind the patents as evil doers.

    Yet patent pirates are routinely being handed their heads by the courts. Which means that after all the arguments were heard that the courts are finding that the inventions are important, that they are legitimate, and that the teams you are cheering for are found to be thieves.

    How about you go back and do a review of how many cases you called right? I bet you could count them on one hand.

    The problem with you and most of your fan club is that you don’t know how to read and interpret what a patent says. You jump to ridiculous conclusions based on a profound ignorance of what the patents actually cover.

    One last point, Cisco and their Troll Tracker are going to be buying personal lube in case qualities. Boy, they have really screwed up royal! Backing patent piracy can be a rather painful process :)

    Ronald J. Riley,


    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.patentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    em, Jul 14th, 2011 @ 4:29pm

    Patent piracy. Difficult area.


    http://www.elawsuit.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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