Can Any Smartphone Survive The Patent Gantlet?

from the perhaps-not... dept

With the news coming out that the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has agreed to investigate both RIM and Apple over patent claims brought by Kodak, it makes you wonder if we'll soon be able to have any smartphones at all. As you hopefully know the ITC process is a sneaky loophole used by patent holders to get two totally unrelated shots at putting the same company on trial for infringing on the same patents. There's the regular court process, and then there's the ITC, who can't fine companies, but can issue injunctions barring the import of the products. This process is regularly abused for anti-competitive purposes. Of course, there are other, similar charges that the ITC is reviewing as well, and it begins to make you wonder if any smartphone can actually "survive" this process.

Pretty much all smartphones are made outside of the US, so they can all be barred by the ITC, and with the technology in your average smartphone being covered by hundreds of patents, it's almost certain that every smartphone infringes on a slew of patents. Obviously, it's unlikely that anything will ever result in a full import ban on any particular phone -- the second that happened, the company would just give up and pay a ton of cash to make the complaining company go away -- but it does highlight what a wasteful process this is, and how it's taking good money away from actual innovation in smartphones and having it go towards stunts like this.


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  1.  
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    ant anti mike, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 10:07pm

    HA ha ha ha

    well isn't intellectual property helping innovation now

    MIND PROPERTY
    ha ha

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:53pm

    "Can Any Smartphone Survive The Patent Gauntlet?"

    I don't think the smart phones are smart enough to survive our retard patent system.

     

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  3.  
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    Gordon, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 12:04am

    Re: HA ha ha ha

    lol AAM.

    I read that and ALMOST thought TAM had come to his senses.
    Then I read the name again. Sorry for almost thinking you were him.

    Gordon

     

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  4.  
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    Anubhav Chattoraj, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 12:27am

    Re: Re: HA ha ha ha

    I bet you he's gonna say that companies should stop using patented tech and "actually innovate".

     

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  5.  
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    Andrew D. Todd, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 12:29am

    Why Not Manufacture In The United States?

    This case apparently involves one or more software patents. The BBC article refers to: "technology for previewing pictures" The Supreme Court's upcoming Bilski decision may solve the problem. Alternatively, it might be possible to import the cellphones, sans program, and load the program in this country. The United States is competitive in the most difficult parts of electronics manufacturing, notably wafer-etching. Wafers are etched in California; shipped to some place like Singapore to be cut into chips and packaged into IC's; shipped to China to be assembled into electronic devices; and shipped back to California again for distribution. Electronics manufacturing is highly amenable to extreme automation. Manufacturers have not historically felt the need to design robots which could plug in cables and that kind of thing, when they could hire someone in China to do it by hand, but that does not mean that such robots are impossible to build. Components which require a relatively high degree of hand labor can be imported separately.

    The direct human labor component of electronics final assembly is quite small, perhaps something on the order of one man-hour per thousand dollars worth of chips. It is not strictly necessary to assemble the electronics device in China.

    At a certain level of automation, the economic case for overseas manufacturing vanishes. You can build a highly robotized production line, located in the United States, which does everything, even to packing the electronics up in boxes or blister packs. we would be talking about a regime in which the electronics would literally never be touched by human hands. This would make it possible to bypass the ITC.

    If you are clever about playing on the security concerns of the United States government, you might even be able to get the United States government to subsidize the highly automated assembly line. If the electronics have never left the country, some foreigner will not have had the chance to monkey with them, and you can charge extra for that fact.

     

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  6.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 4:29am

    Theft Is Theft, Rationalizations Not Acceptable

    Mike Masnick,

    "it's almost certain that every smartphone infringes on a slew of patents"

    Do you have any proof that an "average smartphone" is covered by hundreds of patents? How about you publishing a list of those patents?

    The point is that you spew this kind of hyperbole all the time, zero facts and proof, just big business propaganda.

    Even if there are hundreds of patents the same is true for everything which is made. I design and build electrified monorail controller circuit boards. They have hundreds of components which I buy from many scores of suppliers. Why is it that I can build a product without infringing others patents and companies like RIM, Apple, HP, Dell and other members of the Coalition for Patent Piracy & Fairness cannot?

    Why can I do a patent clearance search and avoid or if necessary license patents while they are not doing so? Could it be that these companies have built their fortunes on a rotten foundation of stolen patent properties and their problems are a direct result of their conduct?

    "As you hopefully know the ITC process is a sneaky loophole used by patent holders to get two totally unrelated shots at putting the same company on trial for infringing on the same patents." If you damage someone they have several avenues available for restitution. One might be criminal prosecution and another may be civil damages. People pursue both all the time.

    For example, I have a number of businesses, one of which is a farm producing spruce trees for landscaping. A number of years ago had some inquire about buying ten 25 foot Norway spruce trees. I mentioned to him that I was going to be out of town for two weeks and that he needed to act either before I left or wait until I returned.

    I did not here from him and after returning found that ten of the trees were missing. I did not have the persons name but I did know from measuring the holes that a 60 inch tree spade was used to do the dirty deed.

    I tracked the thief ($12,500 worth of trees) down and pushed for both criminal prosecution and sued him for the value of the trees. He ended up with another mortgage on his house:) He should have gone to jail but weaseled out.

    Are you arguing that when someone's property is stolen that they should not pursue all available remedies?

    There is no question that dealing with theft and crime is a wasteful process. But allowing such to continue would be even more wasteful. Tell me, would you build your company if you thought that others could come in and take the fruit of your labor with impunity? What makes you think that inventors should give up the fruits of their creativity and the investment it takes if they think others can take it?

    Are you really blind to what is going on, or is there some incentive which makes you ignore the fact that billions of dollars worth of patent larceny is occurring ever year?

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am 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 (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 4:56am

    Re: Theft Is Theft, Rationalizations Not Acceptable

    "Why is it that I can build a product without infringing others patents and companies like RIM, Apple, HP, Dell and other members of the Coalition for Patent Piracy & Fairness cannot?"

    Do you have proof that you are not infringing?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:08am

    Re: Theft Is Theft, Rationalizations Not Acceptable

    tl:dr

     

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  9.  
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    Wolfy, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:09am

    Paid shills emerge from the woodwork! Don't even bother continuing reading once you make the determination. It'll just aid them in "repeating the big lies". Worse, you're doing it to yourself.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:09am

    Double Jeopardy ?

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:09am

    Re: Theft Is Theft, Rationalizations Not Acceptable

    "Could it be that these companies have built their fortunes on a rotten foundation of stolen patent properties and their problems are a direct result of their conduct?"

    If this is true, then you admit that the phone is probably infringing on many patents.

    Oh, and they're not stolen patents, they're UNOWED patents. Stealing is not the same as infringement, you're just being disingenuous.

    "Why can I do a patent clearance search"

    The fact that you have to do a search before innovating or building something that you thought of just shows how broken our patent system really is. The idea behind a patent is to encourage people to come up with something innovative, not to merely restrict people from doing stuff that they can do perfectly well without patents. and the fact that people must to do a patent search before building something just demonstrates that patents are not needed for that thing to be created in the first place, which simply defeats the purpose of patents and in fact demonstrates the HARM they cause to innovation (or at least the adoption of new innovation) and technological advancement.

    The fact is that there is absolutely ZERO evidence that IP is good for society, there is plenty of evidence against it, no one owes anyone IP monopolies (that's a privilege, not a right), and you're not half as innovative as these apple et al and if they had to follow your nonsense, despite the fact that you yourself probably infringe on many patents, they would likewise exhibit the lack of innovation that you yourself exhibit and the Smartphone et al would probably have never been invented (ie: less innovation) since so much money that could go into R&D would go into patent licensing for no good reason.

    One day IP (and many of the other unjust laws in place) will be viewed by the overwhelming majority of the population much like slavery and racial discrimination are viewed today, as something that just doesn't belong, and the thought of congress et al passing pro IP laws would be unheard of. Don't believe me, at one time the mainstream media tried to censor views against slavery and racial discrimination and it failed, social advancement happened anyways. We are much better off now than we were several hundred years ago and certainly better now than we were thousands of years ago (ie: when pharos had teams of slaves working to build pyramids and it lead to extremely high mortality rates. Sure, technology is partly responsible for these social advancements as well, being that technology does much of the heavy lifting now). IP is an atrocity to humanity, at least as it stands now (I do believe some IP can be a good thing), and most atrocities to humanity eventually end up excessively hated by humanity.

     

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  12.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:11am

    Anonymous, Unethical & Stupid

    RJR said: "Could it be that these companies have built their fortunes on a rotten foundation of stolen patent properties and their problems are a direct result of their conduct?"

    Anonymous Coward said: "If this is true, then you admit that the phone is probably infringing on many patents."

    What I admit is that some companies knowingly and intentionally infringe specifically with the goal of taking the value of another person's invention for their own profit.

    Anonymous Coward says: "Oh, and they're not stolen patents, they're UNOWED patents. Stealing is not the same as infringement, you're just being disingenuous."

    The patents are property and they are owned just as every piece of land is owned by someone.

    RJR says: "Why can I do a patent clearance search"

    Anonymous Coward says: "The fact that you have to do a search before innovating or building something that you thought of just shows how broken our patent system really is."

    Doing a clearance search is no different than doing a survey before you build on a piece of property. If you build on someone's property you forfeit your building and are likely subject to damages. If you are caught in the process of building and told to stop and continue to do so anyway the damages will be much higher because of intent. The same applies with a patent.

    If you do not do due diligence in virtually any aspect of business you are a fool who deserves to be hauled to court and perhaps even jail.

    Just because you do not like the law or others property rights does not give you the right to steal, and yes this is stealing.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am 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 (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:23am

    Kodak on its back

    The last sentance: "and how it's taking good money away from actual innovation in smartphones and having it go towards stunts like this."

    I think it should read "towards sluts like this." Two bites at the apple is one too many. Kodak should just commit Seppuku and be done with it.

     

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  14.  
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    Ryan, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:45am

    Re: Anonymous, Unethical & Stupid

    What I admit is that some companies knowingly and intentionally infringe specifically with the goal of taking the value of another person's invention for their own profit.

    Since large companies are repeatedly being sued and subsequently forced to choose between a costly settlement and an even costlier protracted court battle, it's obviously not profitable at all if they are doing so intentionally, yes?

    The patents are property and they are owned just as every piece of land is owned by someone.

    No they're not, at least not any more than your cloud cuckoo land is your property. Land is a tangible entity that exists in reality; patents are legal constructs created by the government, in most cases granted to protect incumbents from competition and to increase lawyer fees.

    Doing a clearance search is no different than doing a survey before you build on a piece of property. If you build on someone's property you forfeit your building and are likely subject to damages. If you are caught in the process of building and told to stop and continue to do so anyway the damages will be much higher because of intent. The same applies with a patent.

    Again, land is tangible and can be owned by a single entity(which may or may not be comprised of multiple individuals). If you build on that land, you are depriving them of the ability to do so themselves. Patents do not exist in reality, except as government-granted monopolies for the purported purpose of encouraging innovation; however, if that innovation is occurring anyway and patents are being used more to discourage progress, then they have no place in society and should be modified/abolished.

    I know you understand these things and are just pulling arguments out of your ass because the reality is not conducive to your personal interests, but that doesn't mean we should allow you to peddle your bullshit on forums unconfronted.

     

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  15.  
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    Overcast (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    You know what..

    After all the BS surrounding the iPhone, it really doesn't matter how many feature a phone has; let me make it clear here - for some of us..

    I do not have the time to play stupid games with stupid little devices like that.

    I have more to do with my time than deal with apps that uninstall themselves (iPhone) and potential loss of service over various lawsuits (blackberry).

    "Just give me a simple phone that works as it should and I'll be on my way" - is 100% my attitude on it now. At first, I was into the frills then the Blackberry fiasco came up right when it could have potentially impacted my job significantly - not that I would have personally caught hell for it, but if service was lost, it would have made my life hell at the time.

    So - along with that, I don't want to start using and depending on some app that a company could just yank off the phone - whenever. Intentionally or by Mistake.

    So whatever, keep the stuff :)

    And I'll "Keep is Simple" - and cheap , BTW.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:57am

    Re: Anonymous, Unethical & Stupid

    "What I admit is that some companies knowingly and intentionally infringe specifically with the goal of taking the value of another person's invention for their own profit. "

    Not doing a patent search is not the same as intentionally infringing. People do independently invent the same thing, and just because one person got to the patent office first should NOT give them exclusive privileges. I would rather them keep their alleged invention secret than to deprive others of independently inventing and using it, no one owes them a monopoly on anything.

    "The patents are property and they are owned just as every piece of land is owned by someone."

    This is just another disingenuous statement. The difference between IP and land is that with land, for me to take your land deprives you of it. IP is not the same. Plus, with land one must pay taxes when they buy, sell, and own it, wheras with IP they do not. If IP is like land I want it taxed like land. Just because you claim that IP is owed does not make it so.

    "Doing a clearance search is no different than doing a survey before you build on a piece of property. If you build on someone's property you forfeit your building and are likely subject to damages. If you are caught in the process of building and told to stop and continue to do so anyway the damages will be much higher because of intent. The same applies with a patent. "

    They're not the same thing, physical property is something that has dimensions and physical limitations, so they must be allocated, whereas intellectual property do not share these properties so they don't need to be allocated. All laws should be for the public good, both IP and physical property laws, but physical property must be allocated somehow being that it's finite (economics is the study of scarcity). So the argument behind giving people rights over physical property is that it is in the best interest of society to allocate it in this manner. Ideas do not have to be allocated, since they are unlimited in comparison, so creating artificial scarcities is much less necessary. IP is just a method to tell people what they can and can't do with their physical property and no one owes anyone such privileges.

    Also, one can't duplicate physical property without taking away from existing physical property and one can't independently create the same physical property as someone else, since physical property is something that already exists (we simply re - arrange it based on our ideas).

    and the fact that someone managed to run to the patent office first is no reason to give them an exclusive privilege on something, the rest of society does not owe them something just because they claimed it first. Otherwise, I can now claim that the air you breath is mine and you can't breath it without paying me royalties, or the moon and mars is now mine and you can't study them without paying me royalties. Now everyone owes me tons of money. What you propose is absolutely ridiculous.

    "If you do not do due diligence in virtually any aspect of business you are a fool who deserves to be hauled to court and perhaps even jail."

    But requiring someone to search for patents before implementing an idea should not be required and, if anything, IP maximists that hinder innovation belong in jail.

    "Just because you do not like the law or others property rights does not give you the right to steal, and yes this is stealing. "

    It's not stealing just because you insist it is, and I dislike the law because the laws are unjust and need to be done away with.

     

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  17.  
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    RD, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 8:09am

    Bzzzzt!

    "The patents are property and they are owned just as every piece of land is owned by someone."

    Patents are not property. They may be an ASSET, but to equate them with a physical piece of land is absurd. Any moron in a hurry could tell you an patented process is not property like your car. Property can be taken away, which deprives the person of it. You cant do that with a patent, you can only infringe it. The patent holder can still make his products, and still holds the patent. You cant "steal" a patent or an idea.

     

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  18.  
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    someone who actually knows what he's talking about, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 8:18am

    bullshit

    Mike: "ITC process is a sneaky loophole used by patent holders to get two totally unrelated shots at putting the same company on trial for infringing on the same patents."

    this is misleading and inaccurate bullshit. it's not sneaky (because every patent lawyer knows about it), and it's not "two totally unrelated shots". the kid who wrote that law review article (also very misleading) left out the fact that almost every judge stays court proceedings (puts them on hold) while an ITC action is ongoing, and VERY rarely do parties go back to district court litigation after the ITC has made a ruling. the only thing the ITC can do is give an import ban (no money damages, no preliminary injunction, and they can't stop you from manufacturing or selling). the patent holder must also prove that the import ban will not injure public health (yes, patent holders do lose on this).

    meanwhile, anyone (even you) can continue to file unlimited re-examination proceedings at the PTO which potentially invalidate the patent.

    the ITC is merely a different strategy. even patent defense attorneys don't look at it as a second bite at the apple.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Re: Theft Is Theft, Rationalizations Not Acceptable

    So, if you're speaking only for yourself, why do you keep including a dead guy in your paragraph-length shill signature?

     

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  20.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Anonymous, Unethical & Stupid

    Not doing a patent search is not the same as intentionally infringing. People do independently invent the same thing, and just because one person got to the patent office first should NOT give them exclusive privileges.

    Don't bother. Ronald has never admitted that there is such a thing as independent invention. To him, it doesn't exist.

     

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  21.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    Re: bullshit

    this is misleading and inaccurate bullshit.

    It is neither inaccurate, nor misleading. It is also not "bullshit."

    it's not sneaky (because every patent lawyer knows about it)

    Ah. I had no idea the definition of "sneaky" was if patent lawyers didn't know about it. Thanks for clearing that up.

    the kid who wrote that law review article

    Condescending much?

    left out the fact that almost every judge stays court proceedings (puts them on hold) while an ITC action is ongoing

    And that makes it okay to have two totally unrelated processes, that work under different rules? And, while *many* judges will stay the proceedings, certainly not all of them do.

    And if that were the case, why would people ever bother suing in the first place. They'd just go to the ITC. And yet so many do both... That's because what you say above is inaccurate and misleading (potentially bullshit as well, but I won't stoop to your level of discourse).

    and VERY rarely do parties go back to district court litigation after the ITC has made a ruling.

    Yes, because once forced into paying up to avoid having all of your product blocked at the border, what are you going to do? The ITC forces people into paying up, and then the court case no longer matters.

    the only thing the ITC can do is give an import ban (no money damages, no preliminary injunction, and they can't stop you from manufacturing or selling).

    Indeed. No one said otherwise -- though, I'd argue that an import ban is the same thing as an injunction, if all your product is made outside the US, as is commonly the case.

    meanwhile, anyone (even you) can continue to file unlimited re-examination proceedings at the PTO which potentially invalidate the patent.

    Yes, a process that takes many years -- often longer than either the court process or the ITC process -- and which many judges will not stay proceedings to wait for. Some will, but many will not.

    the ITC is merely a different strategy. even patent defense attorneys don't look at it as a second bite at the apple.

    Heh. Well, gee, some nameless defender of the patent system says so, so it must be true. Unfortunately, almost every patent attorney I know (and I know quite a few) quite gleefully admit that this is two bites at the apple, and they're thrilled about that.

    We can have a difference of opinion, but I find it amusing that when my opinion differs from yours, it's always "bullshit." Amusingly, of course, in the last few weeks the only factually incorrect statements have been coming from you -- and you've been called on it multiple times. You hide behind the fact that you're too afraid to say who you really are, because you know it would destroy all your credibility as a commentator on such subjects.

     

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  22.  
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    Colin (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Getting my head around how these patents were granted

    According to the link to ZDNet from the previous post on this issue:

    "In one suit against Apple, Kodak alleges that Apple is infringing on two patents covering image preview and the processing of images of different resolutions. The second suit is focused on technology that allows one application to ask another program for help completing a computing task. The second suit revolves around the same technology that Kodak sued Sun Microsystems over in 2004. A jury ruled for Kodak and Sun licensed the technology."

    Really looks to me that both the patent office and the jury screwed up big time on this one as these sorts of tasks seem pretty obvious.

     

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  23.  
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    someone who actually knows what he's talking about, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: bullshit

    your arguments are inconsistent. first, you're arguing that if you test drive a golf cart, when you turn around and test drive a ferrari, it's the same thing. ITC cases are much weaker than court cases.

    then you argue this: once forced into paying up to avoid having all of your product blocked at the border, what are you going to do? The ITC forces people into paying up, and then the court case no longer matters.
    that's not a second bite at the apple, now is it? the ITC serves the role of specifically looking after importation, and it does it better than any court ever could.

    besides, most companies are completely immune to ITC proceedings (because they don't import anything). all your floor 64 / insight community crap is ITC immune. on top of that, while judges are not required to apply a collateral estoppel effect to ITC rulings, they are reluctant to allow a party to argue something which contradicts what came up at the ITC... in fact, i only found a single case where the judge didn't throw the case out on a motion shortly after it came back from the ITC.

    again, your commentary is misleading and inaccurate.

     

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  24.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: bullshit

    your arguments are inconsistent. first, you're arguing that if you test drive a golf cart, when you turn around and test drive a ferrari, it's the same thing.

    Huh?!? I made no such argument, but, wow. You're really stretching now. Sad that I keep proving you wrong? Still too afraid to say who you are and admit that you've been wrong consistently? Unfortunate.

    that's not a second bite at the apple, now is it? the ITC serves the role of specifically looking after importation, and it does it better than any court ever could.

    Uh, it is a second bite at the apple. It gives a company two separate paths with which to force another company to pay up a licensing fee. This isn't complicated. I know you can count to two, right?

    besides, most companies are completely immune to ITC proceedings (because they don't import anything). all your floor 64 / insight community crap is ITC immune.

    As if we had said anything different? No, we said, quite clearly, that this only applies to companies that import products.

    Once again, you pretend we said something we didn't. Ooooh, and even better, you call our services "crap." I'll remember that next time I look at our customer list and the money they give us, and the regular praise we get from those customers. Ignorance is bliss, ain't it?

    again, your commentary is misleading and inaccurate.

    Ah, but it's not. And you hate it, but you can't admit being wrong. How terrible for you.

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Why Not Manufacture In The United States?

    This would make it possible to bypass the ITC.

    Thus solving 50% of the patent problem, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Might not be such a good plan if it's just to avoid patent hassles, since the trolls (sorry, "competitors") will still sue in US court.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:22pm

    Re: bullshit

    someone who actually knows what he's talking about

    Says you

     

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  27.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Anonymous, Unethical & Stupid

    I have had companies get information from me about an invention, say that they are not interested in the invention at that time, and turn around and use the invention. Then they claim that they independently invented. They make many other affirmative defenses such as that they are not infringing, that I committed fraud to get my patent and so on.

    So most claims of independent inventions are fraud.

    But in the end it does not matter if they did independently invent because the contract is that the person must invent and TEACH the invention with a patent. Those who teach enable others to build on their invention with something better. If they do so the may not have to pay another inventor and if they do not produce another way of doing the task then they must pay the toll.

    Software people want to claim that they invent when in fact most simply copied the invention once they saw that it could be done. They are second or third rate parasites trying to rationalize appropriating others inventions.

    The point of the patent system is to force those who invent to rush to disclose their invention with a patent. If they don't and someone else does then they must pay the toll. Forcing them to disclose serves to advance the art as fast as possible. If you allow people to claim independent invention then the incentive is for them to hide how the invention works as long as possible.

    This is what the software industry does, they treat something as a trade secret and then when they are left with nothing they want to deny those who play by the rules their due.

    As a matter of law a published patent is notice, that is why they are published. If someone is stupid enough to not avail themselves of the patent database they have no one except themselves to blame.

    Patents have value, the document is a tangible asset and that asset is worth money, in many cases a great deal of money.

    Using the asset is theft and it is actionable. Take an inventor's work today and if the value of the infringement exceeds the likely cost of litigation and the inventor will adjust your attitude. The high end of patent litigation can be in the 40-50 million dollar range so if the potential recovery tops a hundred million, a patent is sound, and the infringer is collectible then they will be sued.

    If the value of infringement is less then a hundred million then it is probable that the patent pirating company will get away with stealing. If they steal repeatedly amounts less than a hundred million and are only held accountable occasionally, then there is a handsome profit in their conduct.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am 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 (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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

  28.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Kodak on its back

    Kodak has an asset and they will defend it. It is notable that both Apple and RIM are serial infringers. If they were taking your cares and parting them out would this be OK with each of you?

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am 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 (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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

  29.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: bullshit

    Mike Masnick,

    When it comes to patents you have never proved anything and you flat out don't know that you are talking about.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am 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 (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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

  30.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Getting my head around how these patents were granted

    In other words, Sun was caught with their sticky fingers on Kodak's patents and the court slapped their paddies really good:)

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am 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 (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    someone who actually knows what he's talking about, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: bullshit

    Huh?!? I made no such argument, but, wow. You're really stretching now.
    you're really dense aren't you. you're equating two actions, one of which is ridiculously more limited than the other.

    and you're not even able to cite a single instance where this actually produced an unjust result. once again, you're acting like a marginal incident happens regularly.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Rinald J Roley, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 12:23am

    Puny Children

    It’s incredible. My massive brain can see subtle manifold ramifications here that the rest of you can only dimly grasp. Why do you even bother to try to think about these things? The efforts made by your tiny minds are laughable. Go outside and play with Einstein’s unified-field equations, or something simple like that, and leave the real thinking to the adults.

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Feb 20th, 2010 @ 6:15am

    Re: Puny Children

    Actually, human brains are basically the same size, what is different is how they are wired and how well the resulting capabilities are utilized.

    TechDIRT seems to have more than it's share of people who lack an innate grasp of ethics and that is why so many TechDIRT cultists think that they have a right to take others property or to dictate the terms under which those property holders sell their property.

    How someone chooses to market their property is their choice. The only legal and ethical choice the market has is to accept those terms or to not use the product. This is the essence of capitalism and I believe it work quite well.

    When people or companies steal the property then they have stepped over the line and they should pay the price for their conduct. All the rationalizations in the world do not change this.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am 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 (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Atarivandio, Feb 21st, 2010 @ 10:41am

    Re: Theft Is Theft, Rationalizations Not Acceptable

    Patents are much like governments in their own right. Do you know what leads to revolution and overthrow? The fact that the system is 'accumulation based.' It is inevitable that laws eventually become so detailed that the people simply can't live, thus revolt. Patents will accumulate until companies can't produce. Enjoy using a computer in your business while you can, before patents eventually null software. The same thing applies to hardware. You must understand that the arrangement of semiconductors can allow the design of chips to produce the software naturally without actual programming.

    Imagine patenting different combinations of legos then telling a child to build a lego car, but if he uses one of those forbidden combinations he will go to prison or face hefty fines til the day he dies. How will the child play then? How will business continue to produce if machines, computers, and software all null themselves.

    People like you are so tied up in the 'short-term' that you can't even see whats in front of you. If this was 1944 your type of person would have been in love with Hitler as he played with peoples general perception of 'short-term' situations. Churchill on the other hand knew better, as early as ten years, only because 'Mein Kampf' was a good indication of how it was going to turn out.

    You should read a sociology book sometime; humans just don't respond well to control. In psychology there are a series of natural characteristics that exist within all of us, the one that I will touch on is sensitivity to creativity. If people are given a constraint that they don't like, no matter if you take out the bad part or not, people will destroy it with ritualized vengeance. The most recent elections in the United States are a great example. George Bush messed up some his first term, but at the end of his second (mostly quiet) term, almost all republicans were cast out of office, bot republican presidential candidates were utterly humiliated right away, and Obama was given the presidency. Be wary of your words Mr. 'I think I come close to knowing what I'm talking about,' when really it's more like 'I might need to go back to any college and take my basic core over again.'

    Get real and quit beating off to destroying our future. Keep in mind that the worse your people do, the more vengeful the kids that put you in the 'home' will be.
    Isn't the long term great. Just try to realize that the 60s and 70s were caused by the calm 50s. If you force us to moral like the 50s, just wait for us to force you our will in our 60s and 70s period.

    The words of a pissed 16 year old. =P

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2010 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Getting my head around how these patents were granted

    >Kodak's Patents

    The rabid championing of this ruling and things like it show the horrifying and backwards way your mind works, "Mr President".

    software patents, that is, system patentsor concept patents, has had a chilling effect across the board, and its only getting colder. When companies can buy and trade broadly written patents on Ideas, they use them like clubs, no matter the independent creation.

    SUN never "stole" anything from kodak. There were no sneaky spies cracking safes and running off with documents and no daring daylight raids of factories to steal "An object based data processing system including an extensible set of object types and a corresponding set of "object managers" wherein each object manager is a program for operating with the data stored in a corresponding type of object."

    It was honest invention, real creation by skilled practitioners and software engineers. But legal department flunkies, eager to justify their next quarter budget decided that developing a system that is obvious to skilled engineers and is created entirely independent of anything is some sort of theft and piracy and Must Be Stopped!

    As Atarivandio puts it, they are patenting combinations of building blocks, trying to knit together a vast hedge of patents to let them claim ownership of any profitable idea or creation anywhere in the marketplace.

    The only real theft here is the theft of our future, and RJR, you are a cheerleader for the crooks pulling it off. bravo.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    RD, Feb 21st, 2010 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: Puny Children - try again

    "TechDIRT seems to have more than it's share of people who lack an innate grasp of ethics and that is why so many TechDIRT cultists think that they have a right to take others property or to dictate the terms under which those property holders sell their property."

    Copyrights and patents are not property. You cant permanently deprive someone by INFRINGING on these. Did someone break in and steal the ONLY copy or plan or the original? No? Then its not property.

    "How someone chooses to market their property is their choice."

    It's not property.

    "When people or companies steal the property..."

    It's not property.

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 21st, 2010 @ 9:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bullshit

    you're really dense aren't you.

    Ah, yes, you have a way with words, don't you. When proven wrong, resort to insults. You keep doing that.

    ou're equating two actions, one of which is ridiculously more limited than the other.

    I never equated the two. I said that they are two separate ways of trying to get a company to pay up for a single action. Do you deny that?

    and you're not even able to cite a single instance where this actually produced an unjust result. once again, you're acting like a marginal incident happens regularly.

    Well, I guess this depends on your definition of "unjust result." But I definitely consider forcing a company that came up with an obvious innovation to pay up to license something an unjust result. And that does seem to happen quite frequently. Hell, I would argue that having to spend the money to defend yourself both in court and in front of the FTC over the same issue is an unjust result.

    You believe otherwise, I assume?

     

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

  38.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 21st, 2010 @ 9:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bullshit

    When it comes to patents you have never proved anything and you flat out don't know that you are talking about.

    Ronald, I find this especially amusing coming from you. I have asked you -- repeatedly -- to provide a SINGLE piece of evidence that disproves the long list of evidence and studies we have presented.

    You have refused to do so, and instead resort to insults of me (and, at times, my parents).

    So, I will ask you again, since you are so positive I am wrong, why not prove it with some evidence?

     

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

  39.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 6:45am

    I only just noticed this issue with the post title and now it is driving me crazy: Patent Gantlet :D

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Allen, Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 7:33am

    Re: Theft Is Theft, Rationalizations Not Acceptable

    The big difference that you are (deliberately or unintentionally) overlooking is that you are building hardware, whereas many of the patent infringement charges regarding smartphones and other computerized products deal with the software on those products. The more specialized nature of hardware and the smaller number of people/organizations building similar products makes it much easier to do patent searches related to hardware. Given that almost every medium to large business has at least a few software developers on staff developing custom software means that there is a much larger pool of developers working in many industries that could potentially file for a software patent. Four other factors to consider are (1) many hardware patents include algorithms that can be implemented in either hardware or software and which companies have used against software developers, (2) many applicants for software patents haven't done a thorough prior art search, (3) most patent office employees apparently are not very good at recognizing what should be obvious to many experienced software developers, and (4) companies like Microsoft have been known to allege patent infringement but refuse to reveal the patents that are supposedly being infringed. The result is that there are so many software patents that if developers tried to do a search for every project they worked on, there would be no time to actually develop the needed software. Consequently, assuming we know how to accomplish the required task, it is far easier to simply proceed with developing the software and not worry about patents. Fortunately, the majority of software developers are writing custom software for in-house use that will never be seen by anyone outside their organization, so they are unlikely to have to worry about patent infringement suits, but for most commercial developers it seems to be cheaper to deal with infringement charges when they occur than to expend the necessary effort to search all potential software patents for something that they have successfully re-invented.

    So until the patent system is fixed or software patents are all thrown out (after all, most or all of them are little more than mathematical algorithms, which were not considered patentable until recently), this problem is going to continue.

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 10:18am

    Re:

    I only just noticed this issue with the post title and now it is driving me crazy: Patent Gantlet :D

    What's wrong with it? It used to be gauntlet, but then someone pointed out to me that's incorrect, and the proper word is, in fact, gantlet. Gauntlet is a medieval glove. Gantlet is a line of hostile things you must cross...

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re:

    Huh. Well, my mistake - learn something new every day.

    I had wondered if something like that was the case but I saw nothing about it in the comments, so I figured it was an error.

    Although in my Mac OED it lists both definitions for "gauntlet" and has "gantlet" only as an alternate spelling. I suppose both are correct nowadays.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Puny Children

    And there you have all the proof you need that RJR doesn’t actually read the postings he’s replying to.

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    staff, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

    exclude others

    "This process is regularly abused for anti-competitive purposes."

    Get real! The Constitution grants the inventor the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention. I'm sure that's news to the FTC and other Roseanna Danna's out there. If you don't like it, convene a constitutional convention and change it. Ughh!!

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    michael christensen, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Anonymous, Unethical & Stupid

    I cant agree with you more. The US people should stand up to this type of stealing and boycott any company whom is proved to be guilty of such. Americans and our economy pays for the unethical business practice and alck of morals by many foreign manufacturing companies whom simply clone another persons idea. Remember when you got caught copying some one elses answers on a test at school? You failed. We learned about this in US schools at a very early age. Why do we allow companies outside the US steal our work with out any consequences by the public? Does every wrong have to be corrected in a Court? It is not up to our goverments or our courts to create the moral fabric of our society. That is the responsiblity of each and every one of us collectively. Dont buy stolen merchandise or stolen intellectual property! It's that simple

     

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


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