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Toyota Settles Big Hybrid Engine Patent Lawsuit; Demonstrates The Patent Tax

from the permission-to-innovate? dept

RedGhost was the first of a few of you to pass along Jalopnik's detailed story of Toyota's long patent battle with Paice and its founder Alex Severinsky, over patents on hybrid engine technology, which was just settled. We've actually covered the story before, last year when Paice -- who had already won a court battle -- aimed to get a second crack at the apple, by taking the case to the ITC, which potentially could bar the import of Toyota vehicles into the US if it found that Toyota infringed. Toyota settled the case the day the ITC was to begin its investigation, and it did so for one reason: the potential liability from a possible injunction isn't worth the uncertainty. So you pay to make it go away.

But, of course, the reality of the situation was that everyone admits that Toyota invented its technology entirely independently. This is not a case of Toyota "stealing" or even "copying" an idea from someone else. That's not even in dispute. What people should be asking is why it's okay for a company that actually successfully built something for the market place have to pay a company that did not? Even Paice admits that "the market for hybrid cars 'did not take off' until Toyota 'revamped its vehicle program' with technology Paice patented almost a decade earlier." In other words, even Paice and Severinsky know that the success of the Prius was not because of his technology, but because of what Toyota did with it. As the blog Treehugger noted last year:
So if a company has a technology that could be a huge boon for drivers and the environment and they sit on it for a decade, does a competing company that finally does something with it and makes it a success really need to be sued repeatedly for using it? Paice seems to be somewhat at fault for not being effective enough with a smart technology.
Therein lies the rub of the patent system. It does not encourage innovation. It punishes it.

Furthermore, I have to point out some huge problems with Jalopnik's coverage of the story. Even though it notes that everyone admits that Toyota came up with these inventions independently (which, by the way, suggests that they never should have been patentable in the first place), it repeatedly makes statements that make it sound like Toyota copied the invention:
The Prius incorporated -- and continues to incorporate -- a version of Severinsky's technology. It was used without license or permission...
In what kind of world do we live in that people think it's okay to think someone needs a "license" or "permission" to use a technology that they, themselves, came up with, and which isn't even found on the market anywhere else? It's mind-boggling. Toyota didn't "incorporate" Severinsky's technology. Severinsky doesn't own the technology, and the technology in the Prius is not Severinsky's at all. Toyota incorporated its own technology, which Severinsky claimed infringed on his patents. The differences here are important, because writing it the way Jalopnik did implies that Toyota actually "took" something from Severinsky. This is why so many people are confused and think patent infringement is about copying or even "stealing."

Finally, Severinsky's quote about the settlement is equally bogus:
"Finally," he said, "people understand the merits of what I invented and give it the proper value. Toyota is the leading technology company and finally appreciates the value of the invention."
Um. No. Not at all. They invented this on their own and actually successfully made use of it -- unlike Severinsky. They didn't recognize the merits of what Severenski did. They did their own work, and made it a success in the market place.

Of course, as we've also noted in the past, the lesson that Toyota seems to have learned from all this is to get as many hybrid technology patents as possible and to work hard to hinder the innovation of everyone else's hybrid technology.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 10:05am

    They had 10 years to implement and market their invention. They didn't. Why shouldn't somebody else be able to come along and do something with it?

    This is a case in which patents hindered innovation and further development rather than stimulate it. Make me wonder what patents are good for.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 10:11am

    Re:

    If you are Paice, having a good idea and making money off of some one else's hard work.

     

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    Jay (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 10:50am

    "Make me wonder what patents are good for."

    Making money you don't rightly deserve. See also: Edison's patents forcing developers west where his patents didn't apply.

     

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  4.  
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    staff, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 11:46am

    Please write about something else

    "Toyota invented its technology entirely independently..."

    Patents are issued to the inventor, meaning the first to make a discovery. They then own the technology. Runners up, if that is true, have no claim to the invention. If they use it, they must pay like anyone else. Obviously, you know nothing about invention and patents. Please write about something else.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: Please write about something else

    Amazing that Toyota came up with its approach "independently", which to me implies that it did so without knowledge of what the patentee had done.

    Of course, the citation of the patentee's initial patent as a prior art reference in at least 11 hybrid vehicle-related patent applications filed in the US by Toyota starting in the mid-90's is clearly irrelevant and of no moment. How could Toyota reasonably be expected to understand the contents of the reference and then present arguments in support of the claims it was pressing before the USPTO?

     

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  6.  
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    Smon, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 11:59am

    Re: Please write about something else

    Errrr, that's exactly what this article is addressing? What's your point?

     

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  7.  
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    Alex Austin (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Please write about something else

    Patent fraud is certainly not a new subject. Ever heard of Elisha Gray? Inventor of the telephone?

    The purpose of a patent is to give you a monopoly over the idea while you develop it to prevent a larger, more powerful entity, from coming to market first. Paice had 10 years to develop the idea, but he didn't. By sitting idle while Toyota actually put effort into developing it, at least in my mind, he lost rights to the idea.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Please write about something else

    What would be your response if Toyota was actually aware of the patent, and yet did not contact the patentee to talk about it?

     

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  9.  
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    darryl, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    There is **NO** independent invention

    If there was there would be a legal definition of the term "independent invention" and there is not.

    By definition 'independent invention' does not exist, you either invent it, or you come up with the same idea, AFTER the time the invention is REGISTERED, by the formal body.

    So you can come up with the same idea, but only ONE party can register it as an invention, and it is the first to do that that wins the race.

    That is why the courts and the law does not recognise 'independent invention'.

    Because it does not exist by definition, you either invent it or you dont.. Its like being pregnent, you either are or you are not, you cant be 'part way' preggy or be a 'inventor after the fact'.

    And after all, the only word we have that toyota 'independly invented' it was because they said so, so why did they not lodge their invention with the patent office. (did they not have enough money to pay the PTO)?

    So again, no such thing as independent invention, and taking the word of a big company saying "we didnt steal it" does not wash.

    If toyota had of invented it, they would have lodged patents for it, like they do with everything else they develop.

    What happend to this (quite important patent from toyota) important patent, did it fall under a sheet of paper so it was not lodged, and why after all this time, they still did not lodge patents for their 'invention'.

    Or prove they had the technology BEFOE this other guy, if they can prove that, they can prove prior art.

    So far toyota, did not lodge a patent on their 'indepent invention' that indicates they were aware that this patent allready existed.

    So their knowledge of the other patent is ensured, for them to say they did not know about the other patent is a lie.

    Or they would have lodged their own, and it would have been a patent logdgement time court case, and not a pure infringement of someone elses patent.

    So when you explain how you can be partly pregnent, or 'independly invent' and not claim your invention (why).

    So as far as your concerned, toyota invented this, but did not bother to patent it, (for some reason), probably because they were aware of the existing patent.

    Or can you explain another reason why they would not lodge a patent application, or at least fight the claim with prior knowledge.

    No, instead they paid, they knew they would lose, and did not want that pain.

    Because toyota did not innovate anything, they stole someone elses idea, they did not lodge a patent application for it, because they were aware of the original patent..

    There is no way around that, they got caught, they did not innovate, they just copied someone elses work.

    that person has now been rewarded for his work, and now has money to continue his innovation..

    And I guess, toyota will be watching closely to see what other good things he comes up with..

    So they can copy / steal them...

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    WHAT???

    "Therein lies the rub of the patent system. It does not encourage innovation. It punishes it. "

    Did you really say that? Really? Paice innovated and came up with a new technology, applied and then received a patent on that work. How did it not encourage innovation? He thought of and developed something. And anybody that thinks people just sit around thinking stuff up without some monetary motivation are delusional. Paice drove for innovation with the hopes that a company with more resources could use his work and expand on it. Which, to my understanding, Toyota did. So how did the patent system discourage innovation in this instance?


    "They had 10 years to implement and market their invention. They didn't. Why shouldn't somebody else be able to come along and do something with it?"

    You know what, you haven't done anything with your savings account in the last 10 years. By your logic, you wouldn't care if I came along and took the money to buy a new car. To an inventor, thats what a patent is... a "savings" account so that he can safely design/create one project and move onto the next. Not design/create one project then spend years hoping and praying and putting all his eggs into one basket hoping it succeeds.

     

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    darryl, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    Toyota settled the case the day the ITC was to begin its investigation

    Toyota settled the case the day the ITC was to begin its investigation,

    SAYS IT ALL !!!


    And why would they do that !!!, possibly an investigation was something toyota did not want to happen ?

    And why not, after all they have nothing to hide right !!!.

    Or maybe,, just maybe, they knew exactly what they were doing, they did not lodge their own patent, because they were aware of the other one.

    But, Mike, its nice to see you as an appologist for big industry.. sticking it to the little guy..

     

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  12.  
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    McShazo (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Please write about something else

    "What would be your response if Toyota was actually aware of the patent, and yet did not contact the patentee to talk about it?"

    How's the saying go...If wishes were horses we'd all be riding? If, if, if...

     

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  13.  
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    McShazo (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Re: WHAT???

    I would like to know more about what he did to push his technology to be used. Did he actually try to sell it? Did he approach Toyota? That matters.

    A company actually stealing (and can be proven to have stolen the tech) tech that a patent holder is using or trying to license, that should be punished.

    A company happening to have its R&D dept. come up with an idea that happens to be similar to what someone else has already done, but has kept hidden and not bothered to try to implement, give it to the company making use of it. Patent trolling DOES hinder innovation.

     

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  14.  
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    echo chamber, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:39pm

    hello... hello... hello... hello...

     

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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Please write about something else

    """Patents are issued to the inventor, meaning the first to make a discovery. They then own the technology."""

    What a moronic statement.

    Also, there was no "technology". There was a "method of" or a "way to" or a "system whereby" or some other equally vague and idiotic statement. Unless Paice can show an ACTUAL WORKING prototype of their "technology" and then show that Toyota's stuff is an extremely close match, then there should be no case.

     

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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Toyota settled the case the day the ITC was to begin its investigation

    """And why would they do that !!!, possibly an investigation was something toyota did not want to happen ?"""

    Because the whole patent system is so FUBAR'd there was a chance that this company (which it would seem never PRODUCED anything) might get an injunction, which would almost certainly be more expensive than just paying this stupid company to go away. It does not in anyway imply an admission of "guilt". In fact, they have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to cut their losses, and if that means paying up to a patent troll, then they will pay up to a patent troll.

    It's (really not) nice to see you being the usual apologist for patent trolls.

     

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  17.  
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    darryl, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 2:13pm

    Why DIDN'T toyota patent it then ??? because they were are they could not ! simple

    Ask yourself this

    "why didnt toyota file for the patent?".

    Its not like they dont know how the patent system works, and if they discover something new, they quickly patent it.

    Except in this case, did they forget ?

    Ofcourse not, they did not file a patent, because they were aware of the existing patent.
    As they were aware of the existing patent, they did not want any 'investigations' into their practice.

    So they caved.

    Sure shareholders expect toyota to deal correctly, and to correctly protect any inventions they make.
    Saying it was the cheapest way out for toyota is wrong, and misleading.

    The cheapest way out of this for toyota would have been to patent their invention when they invented it. problem solved.

    They did not, they could not, and when they got caught they paid their dues.

    What excuse are you going to make for toyota, being incompetent in 'inventing' something and developing it too a commercial leval WITHOUT proper patent checks, or lodging their own patents.

    Its clear what has happend here, and try to spin it all you like, all you have to do is ask why toyota did not register their 'independent invention' with the patent office, like they do with thousands of other patents.

    The answer is easy, they were aware of the other patent, and tried to take the risk anyway..

    As you said, paying the fine might be cheaper than doing it honestly.

     

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  18.  
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    Andrew F (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    Re: There is **NO** independent invention

    One explanation is that Toyota may have been aware of the patent only after it had invented its technology independently (hence why it wasn't able to file its own patents first). After all, it's not like engineers check out new patents filed on a regular basis. Moreover, patents often don't provide enough information to actually implement the invention itself, so even if they were aware of the patent, they might have just thought it was bogus.

    At any rate, Mike's point is that the law currently does not provide an independent invention defense, and that's bad. Even if both sides admit Toyota invented the technology, that's currently no defense. Sure, we shouldn't just rely on Toyota's word that it invented the technology without ever seeing the patent. But suppose Toyota actually was able to prove it -- e.g. by having the employee responsible for the inventing to take a lie detector test or something. The law should at least give Toyota a chance to make that case. Right now, it doesn't.

     

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  19.  
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    darryl, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 2:26pm

    which would almost certainly be more expensive than just paying this stupid company to go away.

    which would almost certainly be more expensive than just paying this stupid company to go away. It does not in anyway imply an admission of "guilt". In fact, they have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to cut their losses,

    Yes, then why conduct a:

    "Toyota's long patent battle with Paice and its founder Alex Severinsky,"

    Then to pay up, on the SAME DAY as the investigation.

    So they draged it out as long as possible trying to out money Paice, then when they found they would lose they paid out.

    That is not trying to reduce costs for the company its trying to out size the smaller guy, and trying to out cost him in expenses.

    And you cant see that ?


    So no, toyota is not innocent, all goodness here, they game the system as much as anyone else, and try to drag things out in court for as long as possible to make it hard for correct legal process.

    Then they 'settle' on the SAME DAY as the investigation, what does that tell you ? anything ? I really hope so..

    You might get a glue...

     

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  20.  
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    halemano, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    I agree with Darryl. His logic is sound. Everything up to the point of investigation places Toyota in a very funky and unflattering light. This is just another perfect example of how big manufacturing firms (with no conscience) deals with small fry inventors with little to no capital. They basically send their league of legal "retainers" out to kill them in court. Not by proving an injustice (which they couldn't), but by out funding them.

    I take it that Mr. Masnick either knows how the corporate world operates and simply dismisses the truth OR is completely oblivious and myopic to this fact and is comfortable in catering to big business for one ridiculous reason or another.

    I would love to see the how his reaction would be if he came up with a brilliant and profitable invention and had experienced extreme difficulty finding venture capitalists in this economy tailspin ONLY to have a big fish come trolling through and swiped his PATENTED concept out from under him, with the assertion that they too came up with a similar "independent invention" but simply forgot to patent it. What a stinkin' pile of spin-doctored crap!

    Let's not forget the many years of lawsuits they won in court over plaintive litigants who claimed manufacturing defects that resulted in serious injury or death. How ironic that it all came to a head in the beginning of this year! Karma is a biatch!

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/22/business/la-fi-nutoyota-recall22-2010jan22

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 3:28pm

    I don't understand the patent system. It's purpose seems to be to protect the original inventor from opportunists that simply copy his invention for profit.

    But that is stupid. People don't just invent stuff for no apparent reason. They (mostly) invent them with some sort of profit in mind. This being true, the inventors should be prepared to profit from it from the start. They already have a natural advantage from being the first to develop it: they understand it and know it's applications and know how to produce it.

    The potential copiers still need to learn those things. Copying inventions is not as easy/practical as it seems sometimes. They lack the inertia the original inventors have, and if the inventors are smart, they can quickly outpace their potential copiers by putting out upgrades on the original design by the time the copiers are still setting up production of the original invention.

    I don't understand why we need to create an artificial advantage for the inventors (patents). They are already at an advantage, and the only reason they would fail to profit from their invention would be their own inability to market it.

     

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  22.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 3:35pm

    Re: WHAT???

    Did you really say that? Really?

    Yes. Yes, I did.

    Paice innovated and came up with a new technology, applied and then received a patent on that work.

    No. Paice invented the technology. Innovation would mean successfully bringing it to market.

    He thought of and developed something. And anybody that thinks people just sit around thinking stuff up without some monetary motivation are delusional.

    Never said he had no monetary incentives. Where did I suggest that? The problem is you are confusing "patents" with "monetary incentive." They are not the same thing.

    Paice drove for innovation with the hopes that a company with more resources could use his work and expand on it. Which, to my understanding, Toyota did.

    No. Toyota invented its own version. It did not use Paice's work. Stop making false statements.

    So how did the patent system discourage innovation in this instance?

    It slowed down the pace with which others could innovate in the market. It made one of the innovators in the market spend six years and countless millions of dollars in court, rather than on innovating.

    You know what, you haven't done anything with your savings account in the last 10 years. By your logic, you wouldn't care if I came along and took the money to buy a new car.

    Um. No, not at all. In that case, if you took my money, I am now without my money. If you were to find your own money and buy a car -- which is what Toyota effectively did -- I would have nothing to complain about, right? I'd still have my money, just as Paice still had its invention.

    To an inventor, thats what a patent is... a "savings" account so that he can safely design/create one project and move onto the next.

    No, that is not at all accurate. I'm sorry. You do not understand the patent system.

     

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  23.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Toyota settled the case the day the ITC was to begin its investigation

    "Toyota settled the case the day the ITC was to begin its investigation,

    SAYS IT ALL !!!


    And why would they do that !!!, possibly an investigation was something toyota did not want to happen ?"


    No, they did not want that to happen.

    "...an inquiry that could have resulted in barring Toyota from importing the Prius and other vehicles."
    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/07/alex-severinsky-toyota/

     

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  24.  
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    nonanonymous, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 4:39pm

    Re: which would almost certainly be more expensive than just paying this stupid company to go away.

    You might get a glue...

    Is that the glue from the moronic horse you fell off of and beat to death?

     

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  25.  
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    Richard, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 7:37pm

    Re: There is **NO** independent invention

    Listen, RJR

    I know you blindly defend every patent, no matter how obvious or broad. That's in part because you make a living convincing people that have ideas, that those ideas are "inventions". So let's not beat this same old drum via your copy/paste skills while hiding behind anonymity.

    You think that every idea is a valid invention and the inverter is the always the victim. You have no integrity, nor capacity for independent thought. We get it already, while we're lobbying for fair and equitable business law, you try to undermine our efforts so you can feed yourself. Guess what Ronny, We're starting to gain momentum, and were not going anywhere. So, I would start polishing my act if I were you. Those lame cookie cutter talking points are starting to drown in a see facts.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Re: WHAT???

    "No. Paice invented the technology."

    No, the patentee did not invent a technology. The patentee created an "invention" using a technolog(y/ies).

    I say this because it is clear to me that many people, including at times you, conflate technology with invention. One cannot patent the former, but under the appropriate circumstances consistent with the requirements of the Patent Act may be able to patent that which he/she actually invented.

    "It slowed down the pace with which others could innovate in the market. It made one of the innovators in the market spend six years and countless millions of dollars in court, rather than on innovating."

    There is nothing associated with this case that the patent slowed down the pace of innovation in the market by Toyota. It conceived products, placed those products into marketable form, and then presented them to the public. Nowhere did I see anything suggesting that the mere existence of the patent in any way slow down Toyota in any of its activities. I believe it fair to say that the same is also true of Ford.

    Toyota and Ford are each companies for that for many, many years have been very active is securing their respective rights under the Copyright Act. It is not at all uncommon for sophisticated users of our patent system to study newly issued patents to third parties in order to guage what their competitors and others associated with the automobile industry are pursuing. To make it seem almost as if Toyota is a "victim" simply does not square with reality.

     

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  27.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 24th, 2010 @ 3:22am

    Re: There is **NO** independent invention

    'If there was there would be a legal definition of the term "independent invention" and there is not.'

    Independent invention is a core principle of clean room design. It does not protect from patent lawsuits, but that does not mean that the concept is non-existent. The idea that you may not have invented something because some alien race whom we may never meet might have done it first is ludicrous. It's like saying that only one person can ever discover something. You appear to have invented your own definition.

    "And after all, the only word we have that toyota 'independly invented' it was because they said so, so why did they not lodge their invention with the patent office. (did they not have enough money to pay the PTO)?"

    Did you read the article? I quote: "Even though it notes that everyone admits that Toyota came up with these inventions independently". The patent from Paice came first, how would Toyota registering their own patent affect the outcome?

    Ugh, on reading the rest, you really didn't read the article, did you? Well, that was even more of a waste of time than normal.

     

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  28.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 24th, 2010 @ 3:44am

    Re: Re: Re: WHAT???

    'No, the patentee did not invent a technology. The patentee created an "invention" using a technolog(y/ies).'

    You can invent a technology.

    "I say this because it is clear to me that many people, including at times you, conflate technology with invention. One cannot patent the former, but under the appropriate circumstances consistent with the requirements of the Patent Act may be able to patent that which he/she actually invented."

    I'll say it again: you can invent a technology. The wheel is a technology. It was also an invention. If it weren't obvious, and thousands of years old, then it would probably be patentable.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 24th, 2010 @ 3:46am

    Re:

    "I agree with Darryl."

    I was in complete agreement up until this point.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 24th, 2010 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: which would almost certainly be more expensive than just paying this stupid company to go away.

    "Is that the glue from the moronic horse you fell off of and beat to death?"

    You missed out where he sniffed the glue.

     

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  31.  
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    Andrew D. Todd, Jul 24th, 2010 @ 8:41am

    A Bad Patent, But No Real Importance.

    The point of dispute was whether Toyota had to pay $98 per car, or $25 per car, or nothing at all. The terms of settlement seem to be confidential, but they will be somewhere in that range. That is for a central component of a car costing at least $20,000, and very likely twice that or more. It is not crucially important whether the patents are valid or not. Furthermore, since the patent 5,343,970 was filed in 1992, and issued in 1994, and therefore falls under the old patent law, it expires next year. Two later patents, filed in 2006, are so late as to be irrelevant. The dominant reaction of that automakers during the first patent's life has been near-total intransigence about refusing to install anything remotely resembling the technology in question.

    I have performed an analysis of the patent claims, for which, see below. Mike Masnick is correct in saying that the patent, in general, and its application to the Prius, are bogus. Succinctly stated, the inventor Severinsky envisioned a system built around a single electric motor generator, and a reverse-differential gear with various clutches and brakes to force it into various modes of action. Toyota, on the other hand, employed two motor-generators, electronically synchronized with each other, and a free-running differential gear. Furthermore, Severinsky incorporates the prior art taught by the GM EV1, far beyond the extent which is allowed under KSR. v. Teleflex. Effectively, he took the EV1 system, and used a differential gear to hook in an internal combustion engine between the electric motor and the wheels.

    Nonetheless, this is a basically different situation from software or business method patents. Even the effect of a bogus patent is less important than the sheer expense of tooling up for mass-production, dealing with entrenched labor unions, etc. That is what separates the world of software from the world of mechanical hardware.

    Patent 5,343,970

    http://green.autoblog.com/2010/07/19/toyota-and-severinsky-settle-hybrid-patent-dispute -ahead-of-itc/

    http://www.google.com/patents?id=5g0eAAAAEBAJ&dq=5343970

    ================== ==============================================
    Here is my annotated version of the patent claims:

    1. "A hybrid electric vehicle, comprising:

    two or more drive wheels receiving torque for propelling said vehicle from an output shaft, and a power unit supplying drive torque to said output shaft, said power unit comprising:
    a controllable torque transfer unit adapted to receive torque from two sources via first and second input shafts and transmit said torque to said output shaft;
    an engine adapted to consume combustible fuel and supply torque to said torque transfer unit;
    an electric motor adapted to receive electricity from a battery and supply torque to said torque transfer unit, said motor also being adapted to be operated as a generator, whereupon said motor receives torque and generates electric energy;
    a battery for supply of stored electric energy to said motor, and for receiving and storing electric energy from said motor when operated as a generator; and
    a controller for controlling the operation of said engine, said electric motor, and said torque transfer unit, such that said torque transfer unit receives torque from either or both of said internal combustion engine and said electric motor via said first and second input shafts and transmits torque therefrom to said drive wheels by way of said output shaft, and for controlling the relative contributions of the internal combustion engine and electric motor to the torque driving the wheels;
    wherein the relative ratios of the rates of rotation of said engine and said electric motor to said input shafts, and the relative ratio of the rate of rotation of an output member of said torque transfer unit to the rate of rotation of said driven wheels, are fixed."

    [ADT: the only novel element in all of this is the use of a "torque transfer unit," in other words, a differential gear, in reverse of the way in which it is traditionally used in an automobile. However, this reverse usage is itself not novel. During the Second World War, the physicist Vannevar Bush, also known as the first inventor of hypertext, built a mechanical analog computer, known as the Differential Analyzer, using that system. The Differential Analyzer was forgotten with the subsequent growth of digital electronic computers.]

    2. The vehicle of claim 1, wherein said controller means controls flow of combustible fuel to said engine and of electrical energy to said motor, whereby said vehicle may be operated in a variety of operating modes selected dependent on desired vehicle performance.

    [ADT: claim 3 and all subsequent claims are either invalid under KSR v. Teleflex, or inapplicable to the Prius system]

    3. "The vehicle of claim 2, wherein said modes include at least:

    a low speed/reversing mode, wherein all energy is supplied by said battery and all torque by said electric motor;
    a high speed/cruising mode, wherein all energy is supplied by combustible fuel and all torque by said engine; and
    an acceleration/hill climbing mode, wherein energy is supplied by both combustible fuel and said battery, and torque by both said engine and said motor."
    [ADT: operating modes long anticipated by pure-electric drive-hybrids, that is, engine-generator-battery-motor]

    4. "The vehicle of claim 1, wherein said engine is an internal combustion engine."

    5. "The vehicle of claim 4, wherein said combustible fuel is selected from the group consisting of ethanol, natural gas, propane, gasoline, and diesel fuel."
    [ADT: the working of the transmission system is independent of the type of fuel or prime-mover engine. claims 4 and 5 are immediately obvious, particularly to anyone with knowledge of the controversy surrounding the Selden patent]

    6. "The vehicle of claim 1, wherein said motor is an AC inductor motor."
    [ADT: uses a part Of the system embodied in the GM EV1 show car of 1990, and this claim is therefore independently invalid under KSR v. Teleflex]


    7. [ADT: The language of claim 1, plus:] "wherein said battery provides a maximum current of no more than about 75 amperes at a voltage selected responsive to the characteristics of said motor."
    [ADT: the Prius motor delivers 33 Kilowatts at 273 volts, or about 120 amperes]

    8. "The vehicle of claim 7, wherein said battery provides a maximum voltage in the approximate range of 500-1,500 volts."
    [ADT: 7 and 8 teach a higher voltage than is actually used in the Prius]
    [ADT: claims 7-10 collapse]

    9. "The vehicle of claim 7, wherein said electric motor" [ADT: uses the system embodied in the GM EV1 show car of 1990, and this claim is therefore independently invalid under KSR v. Teleflex]

    10. "The vehicle of claim 9, wherein said AC supplied by said switching means has a frequency of between about 120 and about 1000 Hz". [ADT: effectively teaches a 100:1 gearing ratio between the electric motor poles and the wheels]

    [ADT: 60 mph = 90 ft/sec= (assuming 30" wheel diameter) 11.5 revs/sec (Hz), or 690 rpm]

    11. [ADT: claim 1 plus matter from claim 9]

    12. "The vehicle of claim 11, wherein said solid state switching means comprises a plurality of metal oxide semiconductor controlled thyristors switched responsive to control signals provided by said controller."

    [ADT: claims 9-12 are invalid under KSR v. Teleflex]
    [ADT: claims 7-12 collapse]

    13. [ADT: claim 1 plus] "wherein said electric motor produces maximum power at a level at least equal to 100% of the maximum power of said internal combustion engine."
    [ADT: irrelevant, the electric motor output of the Prius is actually less than that of the engine]

    14. "The vehicle of claim 13, wherein said electric motor produces maximum power at a level equal to between about 130% and about 200% of the maximum power of said internal combustion engine."
    [ADT: irrelevant, ditto]

    15. [ADT: claim 1, plus] "selecting an appropriate mode of operation of said vehicle from the following possible modes of operation: low speed running; steady state running; acceleration or hill climbing; battery charging; braking; and engine starting;"
    [ADT: immediately obvious, a mere enumeration of the usual states of automobile operation, claims 16-40 collapse in consequence]

    16-20. "The method of claim 15," [ADT: with the wheels driven by the engine, or the motor, or both; or the motor driven by the engine while also driving the wheels]

    21. "The method of claim 15, wherein during said braking mode of operation, said flow paths are controlled such that torque is transferred from said wheels to said motor, and electrical energy is transferred from said motor to said battery for storage therein."

    22-23 [ADT: claim 15, plus the engine can be started either by the motor, or by the wheels]

    24. The method of claim 15, [ADT: plus the system of the EV1]

    25. "The method of claim 24, wherein said battery supplies DC of no more than about 75 amperes to said solid-state switching network, said network comprising a plurality of semiconductor switching elements, said controller controlling switching of said elements to generate AC of appropriate characteristics."

    26. "The method of claim 24 "[ADT: plus claim 10]

    27. "The method of claim 26, wherein said motor is operable in constant power and constant torque modes, and wherein the frequency of said AC is below about 150 Hz in constant torque operation and between about 150 and about 600 Hz in constant power operation."

    28-31. [ADT: claim 15, plus various clutches and locking modes in the differential (not employed in the Prius system)]

    32. [ADT: claim 1, plus claim 15, plus a means of transmitting power through the differential gear to the motor generator for dynamic braking (a method not employed in the Prius system)]

    33-37. [ADT: claim 32, plus various clutches and locking modes in the differential (not employed in the Prius system)]

    38-40. "The vehicle of claim 32," [ADT: plus the system embodied in the GM EV1 show car of 1990]

    [ADT: claims 28-40 are irrelevant]
    ==========================================================

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2010 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: WHAT???

    "You can invent a technology."

    It is beliefs such as this that contribute to basic misunderstandings about patent law.

    Technology in its purest form comprises information generally available to all and useful for crafting all manner of articles of manufacture, methods, improvements to such articles and methods, etc.

    Patents, on the other hand, are directed to specific embodiments of such articles, methods, etc.

    Thus, to say that a patent (such as the patent mentioned in this article) locks up a technology is inaccurate.

    Using your wheel as an example, the associated technology is the sum of all known means and methods by which to move an object from Point A to Point B.

     

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  33.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 24th, 2010 @ 9:30am

    Re: A Bad Patent, But No Real Importance.

    "Nonetheless, this is a basically different situation from software or business method patents. Even the effect of a bogus patent is less important than the sheer expense of tooling up for mass-production, dealing with entrenched labor unions, etc. That is what separates the world of software from the world of mechanical hardware."

    You can certainly argue that the problem doesn't scale to the likes of Toyota, but I'm not convinced that it has such an insignificant effect across the whole mechanical hardware industry. Perhaps the simplest example is that of the mousetrap, which requires barely any investment.

     

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  34.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 24th, 2010 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WHAT???

    "It is beliefs such as this that contribute to basic misunderstandings about patent law."

    Odd how "technology invented by" returns over 2 million results on google, yet I cannot find anything that supports a contrary view. Are you saying that in relation to patents, technology means something specific? That would be odd because as far as I can remember, when the fundamental patent law was written they referred to 'art' rather than 'technology'.

    "Technology in its purest form comprises information generally available to all and useful for crafting all manner of articles of manufacture, methods, improvements to such articles and methods, etc."

    Purest form? What is that supposed to mean, the Ancient Greek origins?

    "Patents, on the other hand, are directed to specific embodiments of such articles, methods, etc. "

    Each of which could be considered a technology.

    "Using your wheel as an example, the associated technology is the sum of all known means and methods by which to move an object from Point A to Point B."

    The wheel is a technology. Flight is a technology. Both may be considered part of the same technology, but each is a distinct technological concept, for which technology is a valid description.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    darryl, Jul 24th, 2010 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: There is **NO** independent invention

    'If there was there would be a legal definition of the term "independent invention" and there is not.'

    Independent invention is a core principle of clean room design. It does not protect from patent lawsuits, but that does not mean that the concept is non-existent. The idea that you may not have invented something because some alien race whom we may never meet might have done it first is ludicrous. It's like saying that only one person can ever discover something. You appear to have invented your own definition.


    Clean room design, yea right, find out what that term actually means, then cite a number of cases (or ANY cases) where 'clean room design' or 'independent invention' was used as a defense for patent breach ?

    That would be interesting to see, but clean room design is a reverse engineering principle, where you look at the function of a system, and re-produce that functionality with your independent design.

    that in **NO** way ensures that you have not breached copyright, ip or patent rights **AT ALL**

    You may discover a technology, but you patent a method, when bell labs discovered the transistor, they may have discovered solid state electronics, but they invented a "method for using solid state techonolgy to achieve amplification" or some such.

    They did not or could not patent the TECHNOLOGY of "solid state electronics", and that does not stop anyone else patenting other forms of solid state electronics, such as IC's or FETS, or diodes or so on.

    Im 100% sure if toyota was in the right and did not believe that they were about to lose big time, for forcing this investigation, after deleying for as long as possible they settled.

    Its not like toyota would not have enough money to fight it, they obviously did have enough money, and did fight it right up to the point where they reasised they were about to lose. (the investigation starting THE SAME DAY).

    So they were **NOT** interested in saving sharholders money, they were willing to fight and make it harder for the small company to fairly compete.

    But luckly the small company did not back down, and were in the right, and toyota worked out (finally) they were not going to win, so they settled.

    Not having knowledge of the state of the art in your field of technology expertise is no excuse for using someone elses IP.

    There is no such thing as a pure 'clean room' design, that would require the engineers working in that environment **NOT** being exposed to any technology that might be copyright or patented.

    That is not possible, you cannot find a programmer that does not know about programming, or one that knows how to program but does not know the current state of the art of technology.

    You simply cannot invent something that allready exists, or is allready known, if someone invents something, they lodge it with the PTO, or the authorities, its registered, and they person is credited with the invention.

    He was the first person, to
    1. come up with the idea.
    2. make the idea a possible practical reality
    3. first to lodge, and have approved by 'the world'.

    Once, he has done that, no one else can do it, its public knowledge, and anyone who is expert in the field knows or should know about the state of the art.

    So by your logic, if I know nothing about programming, and I write an algorithm that performs a 'bubble sort', because im stupid and do not know about 'bubble sort', as a standard technology, DOES NOT MAKE ME THE INDEPENDENT INVENTOR of bubble sort.

    Sure, I discovered it independently, but only through my lack of basic knowledge or the field in the first place.

    Its like breaking any law, ignorance of the law is no excuse, or more accurately no defense from the law.

    Just because you dont know the speed limit does not mean you will 'get off' for speeding if you are caught. YOU are supposed to know.

    Same with patents, patents can be searched, and big companies like toyota employ people full time for just that purpose, checking and lodging patents.

    So why did not full time, high paid laywers NOT lodge a patent for this invention.. EASY,, they knew about the existing one.

    They did not even attempt to fight the case on prior knowledge or obviousness, they just tried to tie it up in court for as long as possible hoping the other company would give up.

    Then, when they did not give up, toyota, who were well aware they would lose, if the investigation happend, called a halt and settled.

    There is no way they would have done that if they felt they were in the right, and had some proof of that.

    But they understood, as most do, that they did not have a leg to stand on, and when it got to the actual facts, beyond legal foreplay, toyota pulled the plug..

    The fact that they fought it right up until the investigation, and did not immediately settle says it all really, they wanted and tried to bully the smaller company, and it backfired. Because the smaller company being in the right had a far stronger case than toyota, and toyota knew it...

    But toyota was intend on causing as much financial pain as possible before caving in...


    The idea that you may not have invented something because some alien race whom we may never meet might have done it first is ludicrous.

    Ludicrous !!! as that statement is, were not talking about some alien race, we are talking about a coordinated INTERNATIONAL patent system, and toyota who employ many IP, patent beeks, to do searches and to keep up with the 'state of the art' of their field of interest.

    To say toyota would not be aware of these kinds of patents, is LUDICROUS, indeed.
    We are not talking about aliens and not being able to access the information.

    We are talking about earth 2010, in massive search engines, patent databases, an international patent system.

    You dont need to set up a "SETI" system to find out what patents are related to a particuar field.

    Innovation and invention:

    I think alot here are very confused between innovation and invention, they are two different things.

    INNOVATION: is using something that allready exists and using it in a way different (innovative) to achieve a new result. That innovation CAN BE an invention in itself.
    but not the original invention that the innovation was derived from

    So innovation might be placing several transistors (transistors are the invention), on a single silicon substrate, you have NOT invented the transistor, but you HAVE INVENTED the IC, or integrated circuit.

    So if your innovation is new and significantly different to or better than existing methods then it may be eligible for a patent.

    But you can also have it the other way, you can have innovation without invention, if the innovation does not meet the requirements of an invention then its will be an innovation and not an invention...

    The main difference is money, (it usually is), innovation is about making money from an idea, inventions are about the idea itself.

    In business, innovation can be easily distinguished from invention. Invention is the conversion of cash into ideas. Innovation is the conversion of ideas into cash. This is best described by comparing Thomas Edison with Nikola Tesla. Thomas Edison was as innovator because he made money from his ideas. Nikola Tesla was an inventor. Tesla spent money to create his inventions but was unable to monetize them.

    I wonder how this story would have been written if Toyota was Microsoft, and Paice was a small software development busines, or single skilled programmer.

    Imagine, (if you will) that you are a highly skilled software engineer, very talented. But you are not interested in writing applications or OS's or another version of "office", your skills in programming is in developing efficient algoriths, like more efficient encoding, searching, sorting or whatever.

    You do not work of a big company, you just like to write efficient algorithms. So that is what you do, you sit at home, and you invent new methods.

    You are not interested in being a Microsoft, and you are not interested in customer support, sales, promotion, legals and so on.

    So once you develop you new algorithm, you get it protected by a patent, then you can go to microsoft or any other company and see if they would want to use your idea, if they do, you agree on a price, and you sell the patent.

    The inventer gets some money, he does not have to worry about trying to become a Microsoft and all that entails, he can go back to writing more new algorithms and inventing more things.

    So if MS was Toyota and that single programmer was piace then im sure you would be saying how guilty MS is and how bad it is for them to use their size and power to bully and small guy.

    All toyota had to do, was approach this guy and come to an agreement, of if they could not they should develop their own UNIQUE method, and not just use what they have seen others use.

    That is why the patent, IP system works, no system is perfect, but so far this works quite well.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2010 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WHAT???

    Try thinking about it in terms of etymology.

     

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  37.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 24th, 2010 @ 5:07pm

    Re: There is **NO** independent invention

    There is **NO** independent invention

    If there was there would be a legal definition of the term "independent invention" and there is not.


    There are many things for which there is no legal definition. That does not mean these things do not exist.

    Your argument is ridiculous.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Spaceman Spiff, Jul 24th, 2010 @ 5:21pm

    Purpose of the patent system

    The article misunderstands the point of the patent system.

    The patent system creates incentives to share information about the invention, NOT to invent. And it is doing exactly what it is meant to do. In the end the humankind wins in the long run from the sharing of innovative ideas.

    The patent system Should works great for software encouraging companies to publish their new algorithms. But patents should not be given for old textbooks stuff (prior art etc.).

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2010 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Purpose of the patent system

    "The patent system Should works great for software encouraging companies to publish their new algorithms"

    It doesn't work great. Let's look at two hypothetical situations, one where we live in a world with patents, and one where we live in a world without patents:

    With patents:

    1- Developer A invents the video compression algorithm XYZ.
    2- Developer A patents XYZ.
    3- Developer B thinks that XYZ is great, but the end quality is not so good, but it could be fixed with a few minor hacks.

    This is where the problems start. Developer B has good ideas, but is kinda poor/doesn't want to pay the licensing fees. So, one of four things will happen:

    1- Dev B improves XYZ, making a new algorithm ZYX. Gets sued into oblivion. Dev A patents ZYX just to be safe.

    2- Dev B invents completely new video compression algorithm. called ZYX. Gets sued into oblivion because dev A has a patent on "Method and System for Compression of Video Data in a Computer System Environment" (or something vague like that). Dev A patents ZYX just to be safe.

    3- Dev B asks (begs?) dev A to implement minor changes to algorithm. Now one of two things may happen:
    3.1- Dev A ignores Dev B. /s Nice to see some progress happening/s.
    3.2- Dev A implements changes suggested by dev B. Patents new system. Restart.

    4- Dev B sits down and shuts up, knowing that this is a battle he cannot win. /s Again, promoting progress /s.

    Without patents:

    1- Developer A invents the video compression algorithm XYZ.
    2- Developer A hides XYZ's code.
    3- Developer B thinks that XYZ is great, but the end quality is not good.
    4- Developer B creates ZYX, a new video compression algorithm, from scratch.
    5- Developer B open his code.
    6- Developer A either catches up in terms of quality or XYZ is history. Notice that simply copying ZYX would be a terrible idea because people would notice. And people would not be amused. Dev A would be out of business rather quickly if he pulled a stunt like that.

    As you can see, with patents you have a ton of development bottlenecks. Removing patents removes those bottlenecks, but the most crucial point is that it benefits those that innovate and share technology freely. Those that hide their tech tend to slide to oblivion.

    Take a look at the browser wars for example. IE used to reign supreme and crush the competition. Now that new (open source) contenders stepped up, IE is slowly but steadily losing "market" share. Why? Because IE is closed and failed to innovate for almost a decade (how old is IE6 again?). Now it simply tries to mimic what the others are doing in a desperate attempt to recover from the blow, instead of innovating.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2010 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re: Purpose of the patent system

    Only B in your hypothetical can attempt to secure a patent for what you call ZYX. If A tried to do it he would be charged with fraud since A is not in fact the inventor.

    Nothing prevents B from improving upon what A has patented. If what B had done is actually a meaningful and beneficial improvement that would serve to enhance A's product, one of many possible outcomes is a simple cross licensing arrangement...a transaction that is quite common.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    darryl, Jul 24th, 2010 @ 11:19pm

    Toyota spent Millions and years in court in NOT inventing, or advancing technology

    There still is no such thing as "independent invention".

    Say you wanted to create a new invention, a new mouse trap.

    You decide that a 'clean room' development environment would ensure you create an 'independent invention'.

    So you search the world for a group of design engineer, SPECIAL ONES.

    Engineers who have NEVER seen the standard mouse trap, never seen a picture of it, and never been shown how it works.
    So finally after much searching, you find a group of lost tribal engineers, who have been living isoloated in a jungle for years, and have never (you hope) seen a mouse trap.

    You train them, (in engineering), making sure they never get to see the design of the standard mouse trap.

    You put them in your clean room, and you tell them you want a device with will catch mice !.

    Years and years they work, millions of dollars of developmehnt, all clean room methods used.

    So after 10 years you open the door, and ask them what they have come up with.

    THey show you, its a bit of wood board, with a spring on it, and a level and trigger. Its looks exactly like what you can buy at the supermarket for $2 !!

    But wait, you did it with clean room methods, with NO prior knowledge of the existing technology, and after millions of dollars invention you end up with something you have seen a million times before.

    So are you going to be able to go to the patent office, and claim you invented the mouse trap?

    You can say your engineers had no prior knowledge, but they invented in independently.

    The judge will laugh you out of court, he will say "one of your engineers must have seen a picture of a normal mouse trop and that is where the design came from.

    As you cannot invent something twice, you can discover something about the same time, but the first to claim the discovery is the winner.

    And if it did happen that two inventions that did the same thing, with the same method were lodged at the exact same second. then it would be up to the patent office to decide which of those patent apps was first.

    They would win, the others would lose. Because you cannot have independent invention.

    You can have independent discovery, but not inventions.

    There are no examples of 'independent invention' used as a defense, that is because it is **NOT** a defense.

    So how did the patent system discourage innovation in this instance?

    It slowed down the pace with which others could innovate in the market. It made one of the innovators in the market spend six years and countless millions of dollars in court, rather than on innovating.


    No it did not Mike, no ONE FORCED toyota to spend countless millions of dollars in court rather than on innovating.

    It was clear that Toyota was more interested in using invention from others, rather than their own innovation and invention.

    Toyota slowed down its own progress, by spending millions on courts, and not paying the rightfull owner of the invention (untill they absolutely had too).

    Why didnt toyota just say that is a great idea, and instead of spending millions in court to fight you, we will give millions of dollars to develop and refine your idea, and all we want is to be ableto legally use your invention.

    They come to some agreement for patent transfer or licensing, and everyone is happy, (except the lawyers).

    But NO Toyota chose to play hard ball, and instead of investing millions in R&D they spend it on Legals, and lawyers.

    And Mike you claim their actions did not restrict invention or innovation.

    Paice did not have to spend many hours and dollars in court fighting toyota, instead of working in the lab inventing new things ?

    After all in this case, toyota did not invent ANYTHING, they took someone elses idea, and patented inventions and exploited them.

    that does not improve the state of the art of the technology, its just a way for a big company to screw the little (smart) guy.

    In cases like this the patent system worked exactly how it should work, and it appears you Mike are claiming that it did not work.

    How if there was not a form of patent protection would a small company be able to fight and win against a big company like toyota, who think because they are big they can do what they like.

    The IP laws worked perfectly, and toyota should have pulled their stupid heads in, and stopped spending millions in the courts and more in R&D and R&D investments.

    They were hoping that Paice would fold or cave in against a big player like toyota, but in this case toyota was clearly in the wrong, and actiing illegally.

    As indicated by THE DAY the investigation was to start Toyota gave in..

    Perhaps those millions of dollars making lawyers right could have been better invested in R&D and in their OWN inventions, or in rightfully rewarding those that are capable of invention.

    And Mike when you say "EVERYBODY AGREE" they independently invented it, who is that everyone ?? I dont agree, paice dont agree, the court does not agree, the ONLY group doing that agreeing is Toyota, and after all, what else are they going to say.

    "No, we did actually steal it from this guy, and ofcourse that is why we did not lodge a patent for it, and its why we just kept quite and hoped for the best, and when that did not work, we tried to tie them up in court and red tape for many years, and when that did not work we finally decided to do the right thing and pay the guy after all"

    After all the pain they put paice through, and all the hassle, time and money that could have gone into development..

    THAT DID NOT.. so ofcourse Toyota's actions greatly reduced the R&D funding in a critical technology.


    No. Toyota invented its own version. It did not use Paice's work. Stop making false statements.

    PROVE IT, it is not possible to prove that you are making a true statement or that toyota is making a true statement, if they independently invented it they would have lab notes, test results and design records of the development, making a pool of prior knowledge, they would have been the first to produce this evidence if they HAD IT.

    It's clear by the folding, ON THE DAY of the investigation says volumes. It says that Toyota did not invent it themselves, if thay had they would have patented it.

    Its also clear Toyota was aware of Paice as well, and their patent.
    Who says Toyota independly invented it ?

    Let me guess, the nice people at Toyota ?

    What would you expect them to say ? and where is your evidence to show that it was invented at toyota.

    No patent application means no invention, no prior knowledge, lab notes, working models, test rigs or whatever was provided as evidence that they are not lying about inventing it.

    It seem NO ONE but toyota and Mike think they invented it themselves, and just forgot to patent it.

    If that was the case, im sure toyota would have been claiming Paice stole their patent. But it did not happen that way.

    DID it Mike, so before you accuse someone of 'false statements' you might want to check your 'sources' as well.

     

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

  42.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 25th, 2010 @ 3:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WHAT???

    "Try thinking about it in terms of etymology."

    Why? Patent law wasn't written in Ancient Greek.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Spaceman spiff, Jul 25th, 2010 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: Purpose of the patent system

    ...The patent system SHOULD works great for software...
    I am aware that it does not, that's why i capitalized the "SHOULD".

    The patent system is not meant for small hacks but for NON-OBVIOUS inventions.

    "Without patents:
    5- Developer B open his code."

    Why would he open his code? For pride and glory?!? There is no incentive.

    "6. ...And people would not be amused. Dev A would be out of business rather quickly if he pulled a stunt like that."

    People buy products not "politics of the products".

    There is a saying about companies that do not want to copy good ideas: they suffer from the "Not invented Here" syndrome :P. It's also called "Reinventing the wheel"...

    Copying is how humankind progress, standing on the shoulders of giants and so on...

     

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  44.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 25th, 2010 @ 3:27am

    Re: Toyota spent Millions and years in court in NOT inventing, or advancing technology

    Please use longer paragraphs. Your posts are very hard to read. As this has already been pointed out to you, I have to wonder whether you do it on purpose for some strange reason. It certainly doesn't help your argument that you appear to reject the benefits of paragraphs, but presume to tutor us on proper use of words.

    "There still is no such thing as "independent invention"."

    ...

    "So are you going to be able to go to the patent office, and claim you invented the mouse trap? "

    The concept of invention is not reliant on whether something can be patented. Independent invention exists regardless of whether both inventions are granted patents. You were the one who suggested there needed to be a 'legal definition' for the concept to exist, which is plainly false. You seem to be confusing what happens in the patent system with real world concepts that predate the patent system.

    Frankly, because your posts are so hard to read, I can't be bothered to go on until you admit you are wrong on this point.

     

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  45.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 25th, 2010 @ 3:58am

    Re: Re: Re: There is **NO** independent invention

    "Clean room design, yea right, find out what that term actually means, then cite a number of cases (or ANY cases) where 'clean room design' or 'independent invention' was used as a defense for patent breach ?"

    First, cite where I suggested that it could be used as a defense for patent breach. Scrolling up, I can see that I said the exact opposite: "Independent invention is a core principle of clean room design. It does not protect from patent lawsuits". As for finding out what the term actually means, I might suggest a Google search?

    "that in **NO** way ensures that you have not breached copyright, ip or patent rights **AT ALL**"

    Hang on, we were talking about patents. Clean room design has been successfully used as a defense in other IP cases, as proved by case law. You've shown your obvious ignorance, please apologise.

     

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  46.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 25th, 2010 @ 11:04am

    Re: Toyota spent Millions and years in court in NOT inventing, or advancing technology

    As you cannot invent something twice, you can discover something about the same time, but the first to claim the discovery is the winner.

    And if it did happen that two inventions that did the same thing, with the same method were lodged at the exact same second. then it would be up to the patent office to decide which of those patent apps was first.

    They would win, the others would lose. Because you cannot have independent invention.


    This is certainly the legal situation (although you ignore the fact that there is more than one country in the world - and thus more than one patent office - and so there is scope for a different winner in different places).

    However - as others have pointed out relying on the law as a definition of reality doesn't make any sense.

    Solzenitsyn put it rather well in his critique of the West:

    "The debasement of traditional values, Solzhenitsyn observed, resulted in Western society being organized around thousands of pages of law. In the West, conflicts are resolved based on the letter of the law, he said, rather than on what is right or wrong. If one is right from a legal point of view, nothing more is required, nobody may mention that one could still not be entirely right, he said. Thus, individuals in such a society are restrained only by the limits of the law rather than by a higher moral or spiritual standard. Solzhenitsyn said, One almost never sees voluntary self-restraint. Everybody operates at the extreme limit of the legal frames."

    See http://www.oregoncatalyst.com/index.php/archives/1623-The-Line-Between-Good-and-Evil.html

     

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  47.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 25th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    Re: Toyota spent Millions and years in court in NOT inventing, or advancing technology

    Say you wanted to create a new invention, a new mouse trap.

    You decide that a 'clean room' development environment would ensure you create an 'independent invention'.
    ....
    etc
    ....
    You can say your engineers had no prior knowledge, but they invented in independently.

    The judge will laugh you out of court, he will say "one of your engineers must have seen a picture of a normal mouse trop and that is where the design came from.


    I don't disagree with that argument - it is more or less my reason for believing that the patent system should be abolished - because nothing is ever truly original - everything that is patented is to some extent a theft from those who went before.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    darryl, Jul 25th, 2010 @ 9:18pm

    Reverse engineering is not clean room design, its the opposite.

    Hang on, we were talking about patents. Clean room design has been successfully used as a defense in other IP cases, as proved by case law. You've shown your obvious ignorance, please apologise.

    Sure, I would apologise if I were wrong, the "case" you state has nothing to do with clean room design, it is a case about copyright and REVERSE ENGINEERING, RE is the opposite to clean room development, its taking the product that taking it apart to find out exactly how it works.

    That case you state was regarding if reverse engineering a BIOS was "fair use" and clearly it is not..

    That has nothing to do with what Toyota did, by knowingly using someone elses patented development without permission.

    THEN holding the case in court for over 6 years, after losing the FIRST TIME.

    Costing Toyota and Paice millions of dollars and thousands of hours in court and not working on advancing the technology.

    I would like to know how many engineers could have been hired or trained with that 6 years and millions of dollars that went to paying lawyers to hold up the court.

    ONLY TO GIVE IN ON THE SAME DAY OF THE OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION !!..

    It was not Toyota trying to get 'out of it easy' by settling they fought it all the way, as far as they could until they knew they had lost (again).

    Again, if this was Microsoft, and Paice was a small business or a single (very good) programmer, what would give MS the right to take the invention from that programmer and make millions of dollars from it ?

    And not rewarding the original inventor of the idea in the first place.
    After all if it was so easy to come up with they WOULD have done it themselves, (and PATENTED it).

    Its not like Toyota does not know about the patent system, or know how to lodge patents, or to check if patents on existing technology allready exists.

    Ofcourse they knew about it, obviously for at least the past 6 years. In that did they try to lodge their own patent on the technology ?

    No, WHY ? because they were aware of the existing patents, and were away that their patent was SECOND, and therefore they LOST.

    They (Toyota) just thought they were big enough to bully the little guy, and fortunately the law stopped that.

    What would have happend if there was not patent or IP law, how would you be able to defend your invention from any big company that decided they wanted it more.

    Nothing gets invented after awile. the actual smart people who are creating these inventions will give up, because no matter what they do, someone else will screw them.

    The patent system has ensured the advancement of technology, the development and patent of the transistor did not stop or slow down CPU invention, or the invention of different types of transistors.

    The FACT that after a period of time, those inventions go into the public domain for everyone to use and to take advantage of, is far better than what was before patents.

    At that time, if you wanted to keep you invention, you had to keep it secret, and as long as you can keep it a secret the better.

    How is that better than telling everyone what to do, and asking them to pay for it IF THEY THINK ITS WORTH IT, and if not,, dont.

    And if they like the invention but do not want to pay for it, they only have to wait, and sooner or later it enters the public domain and is available for everyone to use.

    The systme before did not allow knowledge to enter a public domain.

    The public domain, was created as part of patent law, from the statute of Anne..

    Most will agree that the public domaim for information is a good thing for technology development, and the patent period is a reasonable time for the inventor to develop his idea, or to license or sell it if he wants.

    The patent period gives companies some security that if they buy a patent from an inventor they will have a period of time to develop that invention, after that time, that information is available for all to use FREELY..

    And before that time, its available to you if you want to make an agreement with the inventor.

    OR.

    IF you have a problem that can be solved by that invention, and you do not want to pay for that invention, then you can always invent something original of your own to do the job.

    You can also patent your original invention, and make your own money and profits from your effort.

    So patents have been the key to technological progress, in the past 100 or so years, technology is progressing faster and faster, it is not slowing down.

    Us humans have benifited a great deal from the effects of the patent system, and the benifit of the public domain, that the patent system created.

    We have progressed much faster since the implementation of IP and patent laws, and the strengening of those laws.

    No governemnt of authority will wind back IP or patent laws, in an attempt to get back to the Victorian age of information and knowledge sharing.. Which is almost non-existant.



    I don't disagree with that argument - it is more or less my reason for believing that the patent system should be abolished - because nothing is ever truly original - everything that is patented is to some extent a theft from those who went before.

    No that statement is false, with the patent system creating the public domain. And the correct acknowledage of the laws, and existing patents.

    You do not 'steal' the patent of the transistor to develop the "field effect transistor" and you do not 'steal' the patent of the transistor to invent the Integrated.

    Also you dont have to invent transistors, and integrated circuits to invent an Operational Amplifier, or a wadley loop synthisizer.

    You dont have to invent wire to make a circuit, you dont have to discover electrical conductivity, or electrical capactence.

    You dont have to invent glass to make a lens, or a telescope.

    Because all that information is in the public domain, you can take that knowledge and apply it to your own unique invention, you do not have to re-invent the wheel every time you want to build a car.

    And that is exactly why technology is progressing, we do not have to do the same things over and over and over again, (you could call that 'indepent invention', copying, lazy, or duplication waiste)..

    The public domain created by the patent system has allowed anyone to use the information contained in the public domain, or license the patent technology to advance technology, and for their own developments.

    Before patents, that information was locked up and secret, much like most military technology of today.

    Try to advance the state of the art of military technology and see how far you get !!

    That is the system we would have without the patent system, and somehow some of you think that would be better !!

     

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

  49.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 25th, 2010 @ 11:38pm

    Re: Reverse engineering is not clean room design, its the opposite.

    "Sure, I would apologise if I were wrong, the "case" you state has nothing to do with clean room design, it is a case about copyright and REVERSE ENGINEERING, RE is the opposite to clean room development, its taking the product that taking it apart to find out exactly how it works."

    No, it isn't the opposite. Clean room design is a method that can be used in reverse engineering. I quote: "To protect against charges of having simply (and illegally) copied IBM's BIOS, Phoenix reverse-engineered it using what's called a "clean room," or "Chinese wall," approach".

    I'm not reading the rest of your post until you admit that you are wrong about this.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    darryl, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 1:01am

    You would look more informed..

    No, it isn't the opposite. Clean room design is a method that can be used in reverse engineering. I quote: "To protect against charges of having simply (and illegally) copied IBM's BIOS, Phoenix reverse-engineered it using what's called a "clean room," or "Chinese wall," approach".

    Again, if you can read, that was to do with COPYRIGHT, and copying EXACTLY the functionality of something that allready exists.

    It has NOTHING TO DO WITH Design or invention or innovation, NOTHING !!..

    So read the rest, if you like, or dont,, I dont care how informed you wish to be.

    How can you Reverse Engineer something you do not know the design of in the first place, or the function of it.

    Its not possible, all you can do is come up with your own method, or use someone elses method they have worked out.

    But you cannot reverse engineer ANYTHING bios or motor car if you do not have the design and engineering to look at in the first please to reverse it.

    Does that make ANY sense to you ?

    What would the inventor of the transistor or the light globe have been able to reverse engineer to create that invention?

    You cant RE something that does not allready exist, the term 'clean room' in the context of copying someone elses work is as it is explained in your last link.

    It means studying the exact functionality of something (BIOS in this example), and then once you have the exact specifications for the function, you employ programmer who have not seen the original code to emulate the functionality.

    That does not ensure that patents or algorithms that were employed in the original design was not duplicated, and it does not ensure that if the 'clean room' engineers 'discover' an algorithm that violates a patent, that patent still has authority over the clean room design.

    There has NEVER been a case in ANY legal system where "reverse engineering" or "clean room" has been or could be used for a defense against patent violation.

    The cases you cite are copyright cases, and its very weak ground to argue 'fair use' if you are using the copying techniques to create your own competiting product.

    So no clean room or reverse engineering is not a free ticket to steal the idea's and technologies developed and patented by others.

    If you reverse engineer the algorithm for a bubble sort, and you find the method they use to achieve the fast soft, and you implement that same algorithm, and that algorithm is patent protected, you have still violated that patent, just as much as if you went to the patent office and photocopyied the patent and coded it yourself.

    The exact format and text of the computer program, like the text in a book is subject to copyright, but the idea's, techniques, subject or purpose of that text, if it is explaining a patented concept is also protected by patents.

    So if you copy the code directly, you violate copyright, and if you copy the algorithm, or technique used directly you are in breach of patach law, assuming that algorith, or technology is protected by patents and has not allready entered the public domain..

    Its very very simple, and its a simple system that works and has worked for a large number of years.

    It has seen human technology progress at a pace never seen before, and improving IP laws has led to constant improvement in technology advancements.

    I have seen little of no barriers to technology progress with the public domain and the copyright/patent system.
    Compared to areas such as military technology advancement, its far easier to work under the patent and IP system than it is to keep everything proprietary and secret forever. Or for a very very long time.

    With patents, you can get protection and share you idea's, without patents you cannot get protection and therefore will not share your ideas.

    And worse still, no one will risk high investment money if they risk having the idea stolen by the likes of toyota, who are only interested in making more money, not advancing technology...

    Ignorance of the law is no defense of the law, so claiming you did not know about a patent, when you violated it, and faught it in caught, is no defense, and that is why toyota knew it would not win (AGAIN) and folded.

    But not until over 6 years in courts tieing up the legal system, and making laywers rich..

    So vivaelamor, no apologies from me yet, and ive seen none from you..

    Maybe you need to work out what the difference between patents and copyright are, and stop trying to mix the two as the same things.

    You would appear more informed if you did that, (and less informed if you dont)..

     

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  51.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 1:44am

    Re: Reverse engineering is not clean room design, its the opposite.

    Once again we have the old chestnut that the patent system encourages publication and so allows things to enter the public domain where otherwise they would be kept secret.

    It does no such thing.

    Even with the patent system everything that CAN be kept secret IS kept secret. You try to find out how Technoweld alloy welding rods are made or how Rolls-Royce manufacture their hollow compressor blades and you will see what I mean. No one publishes anything that can be kept secret. Patents are used only for things that would have to be disclosed anyway.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 6:00am

    Re: Toyota spent Millions and years in court in NOT inventing, or advancing technology

    You are possibly the dumbest person who has ever lived.

    - Peace out, retard

     

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

  53.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 2:12pm

    Re: You would look more informed..

    "Again, if you can read, that was to do with COPYRIGHT, and copying EXACTLY the functionality of something that allready exists."

    I'm sorry, you're insulting my literacy skills? Don't overdose on irony, please. It might sharpen your own reading skills to read this quote from yourself, where you brought up copyright: "that in **NO** way ensures that you have not breached copyright, ip or patent rights **AT ALL**". You even put the whole thing in bold and gave it its own paragraph.

    "It has NOTHING TO DO WITH Design or invention or innovation, NOTHING !!.."

    Clean room design has nothing to do with design? They picked an odd name for it then.

    "Maybe you need to work out what the difference between patents and copyright are, and stop trying to mix the two as the same things."

    I'm not confused at all. You made a false statement about copyright and I pointed out the mistake.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Chris Reilly, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 11:24am

    PAICE/Severinsky

    You folks with all the negative comments need to read a little more. Over the past 15 years Dr. Alex Severinsky and the Abell Foundation of Baltimore spent Millions of dollars developing and marketing his ideas and proving the concepts. A PAICE proof of concept hybrid was producing remarkable results in test @ Rousch Engineering labs in Dearborn Michigan more than 10 years ago. At that time PAICE together with their partner Lockheed Martin Control Systems made demonstration presentations to all the big three US auto makers. But in typical fashion the arrogant auto executives dismissed these patented concepts. Their attitude is usually "not invented here" and we know how to do it better when and if we ever decide we need it. Well I wonder, had anyone of them grabbed it then and put hybrids out there in the early 2000's might they have avoided the catastrophy of 2008 and 2009.

    Alex made a few trips to toyota headquarters in Japan around this same time. He offered them very fairly priced license agreements, but they chose the bumpy road. Alex together with other PAICE team members including Ted Louckes and Doc Watson continued to work tirelessly for many years to convince auto execs and engineers in Asia, Europe and the US of the merits of PAICE technology.

    Industry should understand our Patent system like McCormick and Edison did and like Maytag and Westinghouse do. Perhaps Alex has an even greater appreciation for it coming from the Soviet Union where his brilliant ideas belonged to the state, it must have seemed like heaven to him when he first became a citizen of this great land that creates all men equal and allows them to own their own ideas and land and fruits of their labor.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Don, Nov 27th, 2011 @ 11:46pm

    Re: Re: Please write about something else

    Finally someone with a common sense. Where is his proof that his patent works? Or do you just have to have an idea to get a patent approved. So if I drafted an idea with a car with rocket jets and wings plus a generic schematic that would make it work be good enough to win against someone who actually made one? How can you own a patent to a technology when you don't have a working prototype? It's not like he's trying to be a prototype terminator or a hybrid space shuttle, it's a car.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Don, Nov 27th, 2011 @ 11:51pm

    Re: Re: Toyota settled the case the day the ITC was to begin its investigation

    A lot of people in this country sue for a living, especially if you don't have anything to lose. btw the idea of hybrid vehicles originated over 100 years ago, I believe the head honcho from Porsche was the first one.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Don, Nov 28th, 2011 @ 12:14am

    Re: Why DIDN'T toyota patent it then ??? because they were are they could not ! simple

    Toyota was already licensing a hybrid engine design based on a 1974 TRW patent for their 1st gen Prius. Toyota didn't invent the hybrid concept, they reviewed 100s of existing hybrid designs. The invention of hybrid cars were out for over 100 years. The Ford Escape that you see on the road has a lot of help from Toyota. Toyota and Ford entered into a licensing agreement in March 2004 allowing Ford to use 20 patents from Toyota related to hybrid technology, although Ford's engine was independently designed and built. Toyota is one of the biggest automotive company in the world, they have tons of lawyers, and scientists. Why wouldn't they pay for a patent to begin with before they started production when they could have bought it for cheap. Toyota and Honda made hybrid cars mainstream, not what's his face. What's his name is a dime a dozen of scientist over 100 years that have had approved patents relating to hybrid cars. What's his name isn't even suing Toyota for their 1st gen Prius, his idea is has the same concept of Synergy Drive system that is currently used by Toyota. I have worked for Toyota and worked on cars most of my life. My main point is, Toyota did all the R&D which they have the cash for. This guys only used a pencil, no R&D - doesn't even have to work.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Don, Nov 28th, 2011 @ 12:22am

    Re:

    that guy didn't invent anything, he patented an idea which Toyota was stupid enough not to catch or winged it. Haven't you heard, it's the land of opportunity. Americans even sue their parents. A lot of you guys sound like you watched too many movies. Always thinking about stories like Goliath vs David. A lot of companies just settle out of court to shut them up. A negative press costs more than to settle out of court. They are out there to make money, not patent an idea, don't build a working prototype and sit on the idea until someone actually makes one and make them pay for it.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Don, Nov 28th, 2011 @ 12:46am

    thank god someone has a good working brain

    I've worked for Toyota for few years and from what I know they looked over 100s of existing hybrid designs that were created in the past 100 years. They paid TSW to use their patent back in the early 90s and since then created over 20 patents with their first gen Prius. I was laughing my buns of when the big American car company, Ford came over to ask for help. What Toyota agreed with Ford was to let them use the first gen Prius technology for their 1st gen Ford Escape Hybrid. So, Ford paid Toyota to use their patents and got assistants to build their first hybrid suv since Toyota didn't have a suv yet. But at the same time Toyota was using their 2nd gen "synergy drive" for their Highlander which would automatically blow Ford Escape Hybrid out of the water a year later. There are tons of ideas of automotive technology that has been patented, does those patented ideas have been tested? It's a car, it doesn't function on only ideas, it has to go through R&D (research and development). The only thing that, now rich scientist did was the research part, never the testing or development of a prototype to see if his theories work. Might look good in paper, but does it actually work or is it just a doodle. What good is a patent, when the idea was not proven. It's like having a patent for a wheel, but it's oval... now I came up with a working design that is circle and it works... does it mean I stole your idea because it was circular.

     

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


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