Patents Being Abused To Put Your Life In Danger

from the dangerous-consequences dept

For years we've been writing about various abuses of the patent system, and how they damage innovation. There are times when we hear about abuses of the patent system that actually put lives in danger -- often around the pharmaceutical industry. At least in that case, you can sometimes understand the basic reasoning (even if it's actually incorrect). However, we recently came across an example of the patent system being abused in such an egregious manner that it's putting many lives at stake...

Bob Austin, who for many years has worked in major metropolitan fire and EMS departments, had the idea of creating an open source medical dispatch system. Such a system would have numerous benefits. Beyond being a free system, it also would allow best practices to easily bubble up in a way that actively would help save lives. If another EMS department could improve on the system, they easily could do so and contribute it back to the community.

One of the parts of the system was a project called Cards 911, which was a useful document for use by emergency dispatchers. Basically, it gave them a simple script to follow when an emergency call came in, asking where they were, the nature of the emergency, how many people injured, etc. The answers to certain questions would lead the dispatcher to different parts of the document using hyperlinks. The entire document (and, yes, it was just a document) was created in OpenOffice Writer and was offered either as a document file or a PDF file. In other words, this was basically a script with hyperlinks in it, that helped an emergency dispatcher get the necessary information, and help the caller as quickly as possible -- and it was free and open.

Who could possibly complain about that?

Apparently the lawyers for a company called Priority Dispatch Corporation, who sent a legal nastygram listing out ten patents that the company held, which the lawyers implied the Cards 911 project violated. Remember, this is a script written as a document. The lawyers were careful never to actually say which of the ten patents the cards violated, but simply listed them all out and said "Our investigation has revealed that the... Guide Cards may infringe on one or more of Priority Dispatch's patents and/or copyrights." Not only that, but the lawyers then demanded that all physical and electronic copies of the documents be destroyed.

Given the position they were in, as open source developers doing this for the good of the public, rather than as any sort of business endeavor, the folks involved in the project complied with the demands of the lawyer. They destroyed everything, both electronic and physical and agreed not to work on any emergency dispatch systems in the future. The project is no longer available, and our emergency dispatch systems are that much worse off because of it.

Furthermore, in investigating this further, it appears that it would be impossible to craft any sort of competing product that lives up to NHTSA and ASTM official standards without violating Priority Dispatch's patents, based on the what the company seems to believe they cover. If you would like to see all ten patents for yourself, they're listed here: The whole situation is rather sickening, and I'm really hoping that folks here might be able to help see if we can get this project back on track. Priority Dispatch's decision to scare these open source developers into submission for merely offering up a free project to help save lives is really a rather disgusting use of the patent system, and obviously goes against the very purpose of that system: "to promote the progress of science and the useful arts." Instead, such things are being actively stymied in a way that puts all of us at risk.

The folks working on this project have no money (and no intention of making any money from the project), but they could use some help. In my discussions with them, they simply wanted me to know about their story, and weren't asking for help per se, but it would be great if we could, as a community, come up with ways to get this project moving again, so that we can all be safer. If anyone has thoughts or ideas on how to help Bob, please let us know in the comments, and let's see what can be done. At the very least, please help spread this story and let others know about it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Rebel Freek, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    With all of the money spent on parts for the dispatch system, it would be nice to see some open source programs being used for dispatchers. I do volunteer work in emergency services here and we routinely use programs that cost several thousand, but do not simplify anything for us out in the field.
    Best of luck to you Bob, I know I certainly would like some better stuff that wouldn't drain our departments budget and might work better then what we have now.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 9:40am

    Go Forward

    A few steps and they can just keep going.

    1) Incoroprate so that they cannot be personally liable
    2) Create a PR website detailing what they are doing so that the general public know what's going on.
    3) Get sued, inform the press, demand a jury trial
    4) Find Lawyers willing to work for free (I bet they can find some)
    5) Emotional appeal in the trial

    #1 is pretty key and that's the part I'm not completely sure about, but there has to be something they can do to remove personal liability.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 9:42am

    A copy of the Stoel Rives letter would be nice.

     

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    Chris Maresca, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    Instead of giving up...

    ... they really should have contacted the Open Source Initiative and/or the Software Freedom Law Center. Had this been known before hand, there would have been a lot of pro-bono help from a large number of organizations.

    Really, this sort of attack on open source is not that unusual and it rarely succeeds. It's a shame that these authors choose not to turn to the OSS community for help.

    Chris.

     

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    Chris Maresca, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 9:46am

    Re: Go Forward

    #1 is even simpler. Depending on the license, you can contribute it to one of the existing open source foundations, like Apache or FSF.

     

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    Duffmeister, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Senators notified

    I have to agree this is an egregious misuse of the system and sent notices to my senators to see that this gets addressed. I hope this example yet again shows people the problem inherent in the system.

     

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    Anonymous Poster, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 9:53am

    Priority Dispatch should be ashamed of themselves for this, and their lawyers (as well as the lawyers of all patent trolls) should rot in Hell.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 9:57am

     

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    icarid, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:00am

    Canada

    this interests me, as a student (16) who lives in Canada, what kind of danger would i be in if i were to supposedly violate patents like priority dispatch's? cause it would be cool to move the project to a place in which it cannot be touched, or to someone who does not have enough money or assets for the suit to even be worth the time

     

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    Enrico Suarve, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Test the product

    How about performing product testing of their product before assuming it could not also save lives and is not worthy of the patents?

    To test simply set fire to the lawyers, throw them each a phone and see how long it takes for them to go through the script.....

    Simple solutions for a greedy world ;0)

     

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    Simon Cast, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    Try UK/Europe

    Perhaps incorporate in the UK as a charity or under the auspices of a medical establishment in the UK. Have the program/document tested and used by the Ambulance service/NHS with a view to getting it adopted across the NHS.

    Once it is firmly established in the NHS it can then migrate out to other regions. The US is then left without a system with by then demonstrated benefits and good press with Priority Dispatch in the dock for being intransigent.

    Assumption is that the company doesn't have worldwide/UK patents (software still can't be patented in the UK).

    Other track would be to see if you can't get someone like Mark Cuban to tackle Priority Dispatch.

     

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    Chosen Reject, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Re: Test the product

    I agree. I say we put the whole lot of them in a situation where they need to call 911. If they survive with no problems, we'll use their system, if they survive with injuries, they can tell us which system they'd prefer, and if they die, problem solved.

     

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    Rezendes (profile), Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:23am

    Here's hoping....

    Here's hoping that someone from the Priority Dispatch legal team suffers the delay in emergency services that would have otherwise been prevented had they allowed progress to take place!

    Similar to the way I always hope the driver who DOESN'T pull over for emergency vehicles, owns the home the firetruck is going to!

     

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    angry dude, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:24am

    And here he rises again...

    Cleaning saliva and shit off his face and dress, Mikey rises again to post another bullshit article on his shitty blog

    What a guy

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:29am

    I beleive that this is standard functionality of the program being used. How can you sue someone for patent infringment on them just using the tools of the software. If that is the case anybody who creates a hyperlink in side a documnet better look out and make sure that you don't make it public.

     

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  16.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:32am

    The more I read on Techdirt, the more the patent situation disgusts me. Here is a person crafting completely natural approaches to a challenge, and doing so with the best of motives, then being told that is not okay...

    It similarly bothers me that when I am working on some of the (quite low-level) web programming that I do, I could apparently run afoul of someone's patent simply by employing my innate and learned faculties of logic and reason to solve a problem - especially when there is, arguably, a finite number of ways to solve many of those problems. To me it seems no different from patenting a mathematical formula, which as far as I know doesn't happen...

    Why does the patent office not have a branch dedicated to ensuring patents are being used in good faith and in ways that align with the original intention of the system?

     

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  17.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:35am

    Re: And here he rises again...

    What are you even talking about?

     

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  18.  
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    Vincent Clement, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:35am

    Mind Boggling

    How could the USPTO grant these patents in the first place?

    "A method and system for providing emergency medical counseling to childbirth patients remotely is described ... This invention specifically guides the dispatcher through the steps of the procedure for giving remote emergency medical counsel to childbirth patients"

    Invention? How does a script qualify as an invention?

     

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  19.  
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    Vincent Clement, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: And here he rises again...

    Do not feed the troll.

     

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  20.  
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    angry dude, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Re:

    Mudak

    the only use of that shitty paper called "US patent" is to exclude others from practicing patented invention (by suing them in federal court)
    That was the original intent of the patent

    Perhaps it's hard to believe for morons like you, but eventually this does promote the "progress of science and useful arts"

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:40am

    It's not the patent system that is broken, and just like the medical field where socialism isn't the answer, the answer is getting rid of the lawyers, digging a large hole, dropping them in it, and filling it with used baby diapers.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    Re: And the USPTO

    The patents should have been denied:
    Prior art (we did it in 1984)
    Obvious use of existing technology (well du'uh)
    Trying to patent an idea
    Overly general (imagine the harm a class patent on scripts could do)

    Or perhaps the company holding these patents should be sued by the folks holding patent #4,873,662 (hyperlink - 1980)

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    I guess I'm just a little confused as to how someone can patent something so obvious. I mean it's basically a flowchart that contains common knowledge.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 11:07am

    I definitely think they should take this to the jury.

     

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    mechwarrior, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re:

    How does this promote progress of science when the matter at stake is a script ? Scripts arent patentable, no matter how much you make it seem like a complex algorithm (in this case, it isnt an algorithm, nor complex). How exactly does this promote the progress of science and useful arts?

    If you could answer that question, in regards to this situation, then less people would declare you a trol.

     

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  26.  
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    Wow, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re: And here he rises again...

    Your an ASS!!

     

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  27.  
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    dwind, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    How about

    Patenting the process of granting a patent.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 11:18am

    28 comments and no Weird Harold or Ronald J. Riley? Could they be out of ammo?

     

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  29.  
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    Wow, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Amazing how some people can be so crass and openly arrogant as to support this kind of behavior. Angry Dude must be getting paid to come here and trash you.

     

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  30.  
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    Willton, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    Why does the patent office not have a branch dedicated to ensuring patents are being used in good faith and in ways that align with the original intention of the system?

    Because it's not in the federal budget. If you want something like that, someone has to pay for it. The PTO is not going to play big brother to patentees unless someone pays them to do so.

    Further, that sort of thing is why we have an adversarial judicial system. It allows people who are hurt by the system the possibility of fighting back, and it allows a judge and jury to sort out who is right and who is wrong. It's also why Congress legislated reexaminations at the PTO.

     

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  31.  
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    Willton, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: And here he rises again...

    Pay no attention to angry douche.

     

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  32.  
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    Dave, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Do not feed the troll

     

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  33.  
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    Michael, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    Re: And here he rises again...

    Are you Rush Limbaugh? I hope Obama fails too, man.

     

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  34.  
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    Michael, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    What I don't get is how any company can do anything when a project is both open source and entirely free. So what if they have a million patents on the system, if it's not being used to make money and the system isn't being reserved to just the people that created it, then what can a company do? I mean, if I make a carburator, give it away and also give away how I made it so someone else can improve upon it, then what can anyone else do? Seems strange to me.

     

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  35.  
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    another mike, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Senators notified

    Sanators, hell! I notified the county dispatch service and the local papers. The county uses Priority Dispatch, or at least they used to now that they know about alternatives.

    Priority Dispatch needs to be charged with reckless endangerment, or at least be subjected to a dedicated bad PR campaign. Enough negative publicity to make their clients investigate alternatives before automatically signing the renewal.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 12:39pm

    Isn't it a bit premature to get all riled up when thus far only one side of the story has been presented?

     

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  37.  
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    Just Another Moron in a Hurry, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Re: And here he rises again...

    So, Angry Dude is a troll.

    But if I may take a less biased stance, this article is ripe with FUD. Sure, its not claiming that our children are in danger, which is a step up from the standard fear mongering, but there is no proof that this program has improved response times for EMTs, or has saved any lives that otherwise would have been lost without this program.

    Sure, there is a logical sense to the idea that a better dispatch program will yield better response times. But will an average of 1/5th of a second faster really be the difference between saving anyone's life? Or does the program provide a more meaningful increase? We really don't know. And without that vital piece of information, we don't know how much of a threat to our lives this actually is.

     

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  38.  
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    Just Another Moron in a Hurry, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: And here he rises again...

    Just to make my position clear, I do support this program, and hope they will fight. But using the tactic of 'Our LIVES are in DANGER if this program gets shut down' seems overzealous. So, best of luck with the program. I hope it continues to thrive.

     

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  39.  
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    another mike, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    reckless

    How can you build to published standards and still run afoul of a patent. Shouldn't it being a "standard" mean that you don't also have to license it? Either license the patent or follow the standard; seems kinda mutually exclusive to me.

    What do you call one lawyer drowning in the ocean? A problem.
    What do you call a thousand lawyers drowning in the ocean? A problem.
    What do you call all the lawyers drowning in the ocean? Problem solved.

    Or what do you call a thousand lawyers tied to anchors on the sea floor? A good start.

     

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  40.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 9th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Instead of giving up...

    "Really, this sort of attack on open source is not that unusual and it rarely succeeds. It's a shame that these authors choose not to turn to the OSS community for help."

    It's a national shame that they would have to in the first place.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again, in America once you are forced into court, you've likely already lost. If you don't have an army of lawyers the risk is too great. Yeah, you can put everything you are ever likely to own on the line, but I wouldn't. And you probably wouldn't either.

     

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  41.  
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    angry dude, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    the funny thing

    about Mikey's blog is that you don't have to read his "articles" about patents and copyrights (and practically anything else for that matter) to put them all in the bullshit category

    Some time ago Mikey wrote a "movie review" WITHOUT even seeing the movie

    Why waste your time reading trash, folks ?

    Better download some quality porn off the internet

     

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  42.  
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    Ron (profile), Mar 9th, 2009 @ 1:14pm

    Lawyers

    F*ck the lawyers and the horses that rode in on them.

    Maybe it's time for some anarchy; as a group, ignore the sleazy lawyers and see what actually happens (yeah, I know, chaos). Maybe the group who developed the script should have placed it out in the public so there were too many copies in use and then let the sleazy lawyers try to stop a country's worth of "violators".

     

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  43.  
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    BigMac, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 1:23pm

    Lowlifes (lawyers)

     

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  44.  
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    BigMac, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 1:23pm

    Lowlifes (lawyers)

    Do you know what a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the sea is?

    A poor start...

     

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  45.  
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    Rebel Freek, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 1:26pm

    Re: the funny thing

    From what I have seen, most of his arguments make sense, unlike yours which are just name calling. I want some real proof that he is calling bs.

    On this, he is doing a god job pointing out that these lawyers are just bullying these people who were doing something for free to help dispatchers of emergency services. The patent system was never created for use like this. It was ment to stop people from profiting off the work of others, which is clearly not the case here.

     

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  46.  
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    Anshar, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: And here he rises again...

    @JAMinH

    While I agree that the language is a bit sensational here I think the underlying premise is sound in the long term.

    The idea here (I think, and I've said the same thing before) is that the patents claimed by Priority Dispatch are much too broad. They are so general that they can be interpreted to already cover any improvements one might make to them. As a result, there is less competition and therefore less incentive to improve the existing product. The fact that this was an open source effort probably only served to keep it from going to court. After all, why sue someone if they have no money?

     

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  47.  
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    Jason gf, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

    Let me get of this crazy world

    What boggles the mind is that you can even patent the idea of asking a question. All 10 of the mentioned patents simply state the same thing a call comes in you answer it and with proper training you know what questions to ask.

    What are they going to patent next, saying “Hello, please state the nature of your emergency.”, so unless you purchase their system a 911 operator has to use another way answer the phone. One that cannot even come close to such wording. How about “This is 911 we couldn’t afford a proprietary system sorry you are out of luck, good bye”.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Well, you see...

    Most of these patents are likely invalid, either under 102, 103 or Bilski. I noticed that many of the examiners are likely to have been immigrants and do not recall the television show Emergency!, which actually demonstrated many of the EXACT things claimed in the patents. I suspect that television would be the best source of prior art for many of the other claims in these patents.

    In any case, the only problem is that it does cost money to fight alleged infringement, though they could show a few episodes of Emergency! (and other relevant television shows that predate these patents) and point out the ramifications in a summary judgement suit and have a good chance of prevailing over many, possibly most, and maybe even all of the patents.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 1:44pm

    Sensational wording isn't the problem. It's just not what politicians are currently looking for.

    Simple change: Rather than "Our lives could be in danger" change this to "We need to fix this to save the children"

    Politicians fall over backwards to put their name on a bill, and presto, problem solved...

    :)

     

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  50.  
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    ajgajg1134, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 1:45pm

    Just wow...

    I think its outrageous that people can even get a patent on something as unspecific as some of those are.

    I mean, honestly, this company takes those FREE cards down because they infringe on patents, It's not like they're making any money off it.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    These games with the patent system need to stop. When someone's $1.00 royalty interferes with providing life-saving information, it's not only wrong, but cruel and unusual. Have the District Attorney write a letter indicating suspension of use of claimed IP while the claim is researched. Make it clear in the letter that Priority Dispatch Corporation opens itself up to this liability, along with future liability by claiming use of the intellectual property, and you'll freely engage them in any legal correspondence and future civil lawsuits regarding lost lives due to inability to use the said intellectual property.

    Then take it to the media.

     

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  52.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Mar 9th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Copy of the document

    I know there has to be a copy of the document out there that some Anonymous Coward would love to host. Shoot, torrent the file and we can all host a copy.

     

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  53.  
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    Willton, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Let me get of this crazy world

    What boggles the mind is that you can even patent the idea of asking a question. All 10 of the mentioned patents simply state the same thing a call comes in you answer it and with proper training you know what questions to ask.

    If that's the case, then they are probably invalid under a number of theories and should never have been issued.

     

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  54.  
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    Ben (profile), Mar 9th, 2009 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Copy of the document

    Better yet... send it to wikileaks.org, that way there'll be a high chance of it being google & yahoo indexed (forget MS Live) and then it'll be even more visible than a torrent.

     

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    anymouse, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 3:58pm

    Patent a mathematical formula... only if you call it an algorithm..

    You wouldn't think you could patent a mathematical formula, since it's just an expression of facts, however if you call it an algorithm and include it in software then apparently you can.

     

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    Shaun, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 4:19pm

    It's all about the money

    The reason I believe that Priority Dispatch has done this is not to enforce their patents. It is to remove competition. Someone has created a product that is better, easier to use, and cost much less than Priority's product. Cards 911 threatens Priority Dispatch's business model. So instead of using this as a learning experience to improve their product, they just shut down the competition. That way they can keep their clients locked into their system and keep the revenue coming in by having to pay licensing fee for every installation.

     

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  57.  
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    Eddie, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 5:18pm

    Do something about it ...

    Take it to the EFF, who runs the patent busting
    project.

    http://w2.eff.org/patent/

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Pjerky, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 5:35pm

    Patents can kill.

    Thank you Mike for telling us about this. I have already started to spread the word via Facebook and my blog, http://www.pjerky.com/patents-can-kill/. I will write to my congressmen and try to get my voice heard. This is horrible and I think they should have their licenses pulled and be investigated for anti-competitive practices.

     

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

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 6:20pm

    Angry Dude,

    I thought you were dead !

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    Arnie Shore, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Open Source CAD

    Re yr comment" ...I know I certainly would like some better stuff that wouldn't drain our departments budget and might work better then what we have now."

    Bob's Cards file was originally included in our free, Open Source CAD system, Tickets by name. See list at
    http://groups.google.com/group/open-source-cad

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 6:24pm

    Re: Patent a mathematical formula... only if you call it an algorithm..

    No - algorithms are supposed to be patentable.

     

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

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 6:30pm

    Re: Re: Patent a mathematical formula... only if you call it an algorithm..

    not

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 9:56pm

    "Apparently the lawyers for a company called Priority Dispatch Corporation, who sent a legal nastygram listing out ten patents that the company held, which the lawyers implied the Cards 911 project violated."

    This is not a sentence.

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    Dan, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 12:00am

    Hmmmm I wonder just how many patents, Priority Dispatch Corporation, has infringed. This sounds like a problem begging for a crowdsourcing solution. How about a contest for the first instance found and the most instances found.

     

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

  65.  
    identicon
    Andy Mack, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 4:09am

    Re: Copy of the document

    After WAY TOO MUCH Googling, I found a SourceForge mirror that still has the documents up:

    http://mirror.optus.net/sourceforge/c/ca/cards911/

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    Isaac Ludwig, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 5:47am

    i emailed this small blurb to thier website contact email

    I disprove of your concept that you could "patent" a means of responding to
    life-threatening situations. Bravo. I'm sure that now your "for-profit model" will
    not be compromised by any outfits who might want to utilize a free alternative
    while spending money on actual equipment or man-power or other tangible
    means of emergency response.

    Your decision undoubtedly means that while you might get more subcribers...
    that resources will be spent on your product that might NEED TO BE SPENT
    on other and vital means for the response process.

    You, sirs and madams, have earned my contempt and scorn.

     

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

  67.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 5:57am

    Re: i emailed this small blurb to thier website contact email

    I hope there was more to your email than that. Do you really think that "webmaster@..." will understand anything at all from the above?

     

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

  68.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 5:57am

    Re: Well, you see...

    > In any case, the only problem is that it does
    > cost money to fight alleged infringement,
    > though they could show a few episodes of Emergency!

    Not unless the paid their public performance royalty to the MPAA. Otherwise they might win their patent case, only to be sued for copyright infringement...

     

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

  69.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 6:01am

    Re: DA

    > Have the District Attorney write a letter
    > indicating suspension of use of claimed
    > IP while the claim is researched. Make it
    > clear in the letter that Priority Dispatch
    > Corporation opens itself up to this liability,
    > along with future liability by claiming
    > use of the intellectual property

    That's all well and good except for the fact that a District Attorney has no authority to just assign liability for things. Liabillity is assigned by statute, passed by the legislature. A DA only enforces the statutes. He/she can't make them up.

    > freely engage them in any legal correspondence
    > and future civil lawsuits

    District Attorneys only try criminal cases, not civil suits.

     

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

  70.  
    identicon
    moelarry, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 7:15am

    lies

    lies, lies, and more lies.

    please see http://truereform.piausa.org/ for a different/opposing view on patent reform

     

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

  71.  
    identicon
    Willton, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 8:18am

    Re: lies

    PIAUSA has about as much credibility regarding patent reform as the Coalition for Patent Fairness guys.

     

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

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 11:07am

    It's horrible.

    When are those patents going to expire?

     

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

  73.  
    identicon
    Walt, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 5:11pm

    @ AC in 48

    I don't know what about the patents listed prompted you to infer that many of the examiners were recent immigrants.

    One had a primary examiner with a probably Indian name; two others had a Hispanic name.

    Hate to tell you, that's no indication of anything. Oh, the the others that had one listed all had very Anglo names.

    Current governor of Louisiana? Piyush Jindal. Current US President? Barack Obama, in case you didn't notice. Indian sounding? No, but by your standard I'm sure it sounds "foreign."

    A quick Google search has a lot of hits on the Hispanic name, and I'm sure there's plenty of second or third generation Americans among the results.

    Just as likely? They're too YOUNG to remember that show. It went off the air in 1977.

     

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

  74.  
    icon
    plh (profile), Mar 11th, 2009 @ 4:26am

    Focus

    PDC have done exactly what they would be expected to do and - sadly - have every right to do. This is not abuse of the patent system, it's abuse by the patent system.

     

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

  75.  
    identicon
    TooSoonToTell, Mar 12th, 2009 @ 10:11am

    Re: It's all about the money

    You are right. Austin should not have caved in so quickly. The company's response was not, "You have violated our patent;" it was, "You may have violated one of our patents."

    Yep. I may have produced flying monkey out of my posterior, too. No proof of either. Companies like this win because people cave. Given the vague nature of the patents in question, you could make the argument that any experienced call center operator who answers a call in the same manner prescribed by the patents runs the risk of violating them.

    Total crap. A novel approach to a manufacturing problem, sure. But patent a life-health-safety issue?

    "We're sorry we can't send an ambulance. To ask your address would violate someone else's patent."

    Retarded.

     

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

  76.  
    identicon
    Marco, Mar 14th, 2009 @ 2:25am

    Re: Patents Being Abused To Put Your Life In Danger

    I have been browsing a couple of the links pointing at the "patents" that you have kindly shared in your document...

    Medical knowledge, and so are to be considered diagnostic decisional trees, are not something that you can patent... they are public knowledge to begin with! One could, at most, patent the specific instrument (or maybe in the US the idea behind the instrument, if original) but not the "intellectual flowchart"! I believe Priority Dispatch Corporation has just tried to scare those fellows (and succeeded) ...it is not rare that an enterprise "abuses" its rich purse issueing legal actions against people supposedly unable (or unwilling) to pay for the fight.

    This whole thing is a pity however ...I am looking forward to see the original lawyers' letter disclosed and to see this story spred on the web... some authorities should take action against this behaviour... why don't send Priority Dispatch Corporation a very simple count revision check commission visit? I am sure that if anyone doing something like this would receive a check of their administrative records the phenomenon would self-contain easily... =P

     

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

  77.  
    identicon
    Mark, Mar 14th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    Has been posted to Wikileaks

    http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Open_Source_emergency_dispatch_OpenISES_destroyed_by_patent_threat%2C_ 2009

    Apparently this has been posted to WikiLeaks along with the Cards documents.

     

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

  78.  
    identicon
    Kevin Wright, Mar 14th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    5857966

    At least #5857966 screams obviousness and likely prior art. These jokers are trying to claim answering the phone, having a Rolodex and a computer is unique enough to have a patent? That is absurd.

     

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

  79.  
    identicon
    Pierce Nichols, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    they tried to patent checklists?????

    Those morons patented checklists. Checklists of the type described have been standard in the aviation industry since before WWII. No way in hell those patents are valid.

     

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

  80.  
    identicon
    Sam, Apr 7th, 2009 @ 11:14pm

    Patents

    The problem is a middle ground. Most open source software are reversed engineered copies off of someone else's original ideas, expensive innovations and inventions. It is not fair for others to steal your ideas, especially when those others are always large corporations. These corporation will prevent any small inventor from capitalizing on any idea if they can just take it.

    If you invent a new software that automates medical bed/discharge management with more efficiency then McKesson and its open source, do you think you'll have a prayer against them taking it and leaving you and all your developers nothing. If you have a patent, you can prevent them from doing it. How would you solve this issue? Deny it's existence?

    We have to find a medium between not abusing patents and protecting original ideas that have profound impact on our advancements.

     

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

  81.  
    identicon
    Jim, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 5:36pm

    So get their patents invalidated here

    Swing by the website of a company called Article One Partners and get the dumb patents invalidated with the prior art you found.

     

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

  82.  
    identicon
    Alan, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 4:48pm

    Was this ever posted to chillingeffects.org?

    Chillingeffects.org maintains a database of questionable patents, along with C&D notices regarding those patents. This should get sent up there, for starters.

     

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

  83.  
    identicon
    nameless dude, Mar 26th, 2012 @ 5:28am

    The patent is flawed

    It says :"
    13. A system for integrating a computer aided dispatch system and an emergency medical dispatch protocol, as recited in claim 11, wherein said operating system is selected from the group consisting of MS-DOS, Windows, Unix, AIX, CLIX, QNX, OS/2, and Apple."

    So, if you use Linux you are off the hook !!

    Linux is not unix (although is a variation it is standalone)

     

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

  84.  
    icon
    Arnie Shore (profile), Jun 9th, 2012 @ 7:15am

    Re: Free Open Source CAD

    You may be interested in our free Open Source CAD, Tickets by name, available at noted URL, and in wide use in volunteer emergency response groups such as ARES teams.

    It's been available for several years now, and I'm gonna shoot my (NON-EXISTENT) marketing VP as soon as I finish this.

    AS

    You wrote "... With all of the money spent on parts for the dispatch system, it would be nice to see some open source programs being used for dispatchers. I do volunteer work in emergency services here and we routinely use programs that cost several thousand, but ..."

     

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

  85.  
    identicon
    medical emergency cards, Apr 20th, 2014 @ 11:04am

    Blues and Twos

    I disprove of your concept that you could "patent" a means of responding to life-threatening situations. Bravo. I'm sure that now your "for-profit model" willnot be compromised by any outfits who might want to utilize a free alternative while spending money on actual equipment or man-power or other tangible means of emergency response.

     

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


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