EFF Busts Another Bogus Patent... Five Years Later

from the still-taking-quite-a-long-time dept

In writing about ridiculously bad patents, we've seen a trend of commenters insisting that if a patent is truly "bad," then there's no problem, since it will likely get rejected. However, the process of getting a bogus patent rejected is ridiculously long and cumbersome. The EFF is rightfully happy that the USPTO is going to throw out a ridiculous patent on web subdomains, presenting another victory for the EFF's Patent Busting Project. We discussed this specific case earlier this year, when the patent in question received its initial rejection.

While this is certainly a victory against a bad patent, what should be quite worrying is just how long it's taken to get this far. The EFF launched their patent busting project almost five years ago. And while it's had success in getting two patents busted, one significantly narrowed and re-exams on three more, this is an incredibly slow moving process. Yet during that time, such a bogus patent can be used to stop innovation and advancement. That should be seen as quite troubling. Now some may argue that it takes an equally long time to get a patent granted, but that doesn't hold back innovation in the same way. While the patent process is going on, innovation can continue. Yet if a bogus patent is preventing innovation for many years, the harm to society can be great.


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    DJ, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 2:59pm

    a bit of perspective

    Who invented the wheel? the inclined plane? adapted inclined plane (screw)? written language?

    I'm not saying that patents are irrelevant. I am saying, however, that innovation will happen with or without patent laws. It could even be argued that patent laws actually inhibit innovation. How? Well a potential inventor might not follow through with an idea for fear of being sued by someone who came up with that idea already.

    So, all you lawyers reading this, especially patent lawyers, think about your impact on innovation BEFORE you think about how much money you can squeeze out of that low-income person whose only REAL crime was to have a good idea!

     

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      bob, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 4:47pm

      Re: a bit of perspective

      Archimedes screw!
      Was there anything prior to cuneiform?

      Patent lawyers would not have a clue with regards to their actions on innovation.

      Not their job.

       

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    Ben, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

    Bogus/Bad patent actionable?

    If fraud is evident?
    If bad faith can be proven?
    And so on..

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 17th, 2009 @ 3:05pm

    Hmm

    This, like all of life's problems, can be solved with accurately applied explosives.

     

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    Kirk, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    "Now some may argue that it takes an equally long time to get a patent granted, but that doesn't hold back innovation in the same way. While the patent process is going on, innovation can continue."

    Actually the fact that a lot of time and money are flushed down toilet in the act of pursuing patents is in itself an inefficiency that should be examined.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 3:48pm

    These news releases by the EFF are way too premature. What I would like to see is the end result of appeals and further action terminated. If the appeal goes against the patentee(s)/asignee(s) and all claims, including amended claims, denied...then that would be a "bust".

    Until then what EFF is doing by its announcements is little more that premature hype.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 18th, 2009 @ 1:23am

      Re:

      These news releases by the EFF are way too premature. What I would like to see is the end result of appeals and further action terminated. If the appeal goes against the patentee(s)/asignee(s) and all claims, including amended claims, denied...then that would be a "bust".

      Heh. Fascinating. So the EFF shouldn't announce what is accurately happened?

      Btw, from your tone, you sure sound like MLS... but if that's the case, I thought you had just said you were going to be using your real name on this site going forward. What happened to that?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 6:39am

        Re: Re:

        I am trying to use my real name, but for some reason it does not come up automatically when I select "reply to this comment". What do I have to do to correct this?

        As for premature, I am not saying their releases are inaccurate, only that they are premature because the "fat lady has not sung." For example, a Final Action in a re-exam proceeding is not conclusive. An appeal can be taken. A reissue can be filed for if deemed appropriate. Etc. To me something is "busted" when a patent is invalidated and even a reissue will not save the day by permitting the issuance of narrower claims.

         

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    BulmaRO, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 3:57pm

    Why it does work anyway.

    i mean, how is it possible that pattents don't work around common sense, its like, the recent pattent Microsoft is chassing, they want to pattent the Hot Or Not Proccess, i mean, there are already a ton of sites that work like that, and.. they want to pattent to then sue the sites already doing it, it can't be right.. just cant.

    or like someone trying to apply for documents attached to emails, or IM software that sends files tru its protocols, there is stuff that shouldn't be apply-able for now a days.

    and i know i got out of the subject a bit but gosh at least EFF is really doing something to stop such nosenses its a shame it takes that damn long to achive such victories.

    theres my 2 cents.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 17th, 2009 @ 5:18pm

    One step forward....

    How many bogus patents have been issued in those five years?

     

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    JustMe (profile), Jun 18th, 2009 @ 8:25am

    Re: DJ

    I disagree with your premise. I presume that the inventors of those things were well known at the time.

    Also, answer "C" is probably Galileo.

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 5:57pm

    EFF and patent busting

    All legal processes are ridiculously long, and we will eventually have to fix that.

    Won't happen until we have campaign finance reform, though - too many politicians could not survive without massive infusions of cash (and wouldn't be wealthy, as well).

     

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