More Patent Lawsuits Over Interactive Sex Toys -- The Teledildonic Patent Thicket

from the quite-a-patent-thicket dept

A few years ago, we wrote up a story about a patent fight concerning force feedback technology used in "cybersex" or "teledildonics." That case involved two patents from famed haptics company Immersion (5,889,672 and 6,275,213) which was involved in a bit of a legal fight with a company called Internet Services. The details suggested that Immersion -- who was famous for pioneering things like "force feedback" in video game controllers -- had licensed its patents to Internet Services, so that it could use them in the virtual sex space (also known as "teledildonics" -- you can figure it out). Immersion felt that it might not look good for an upstanding company such as itself to be involved in such a business, hence the licensing.

Well... now it appears that some others are claiming teledildonics patents, and they're not at all happy with Internet Services. Apparently a company called New Frontier Technologies, which licensed a patent (6,368,268 -- "method and device for interactive virtual control of sexual aids using digital computer networks," -- and you shouldn't miss the (possibly NSFW) flow charts on pages 5 and 6 of the patent) from another company, Hassex, is suing Internet Services for violating that patent with its "Real Touch" masturbation tool. Of course, it will be interesting to see if Internet Services fires back with the Immersion patents that it licensed.

In the meantime, this all brings new meaning to the concept of innovation happening when ideas have sex.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    "In the meantime, this all brings new meaning to the concept of innovation happening when ideas have sex."

    How long have you been waiting to use that line ... :)

     

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    marak (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    So does that mean now their picutres are of coding saying "if anal -> Contine, If vaginal -> Continue, If Penil -> Fail" i cant put that on a T-Shirt?

    And seriously where's the unique thought behind this?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    I wish I could make a relevant comment on this post but I'm still thinking of how to use "teledildonics" in an everyday conversation.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 1:21pm

    I thought it was about execution, not about ideas. What gives?

    If innovation is defined as ideas having sex, then if I take 2 patents and combine them together in a third patent then I have innovated.

    Since techdirt otherwise defines innovation as including success in the market place, simply combining ideas is not innovation.

    You cannot have it both ways Mike, innovation either includes market success or it does not. Which is it?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 2:35pm

      Re:

      Ideas are still a component of Innovation, the point is that Ideas alone are not Innovation.

      Ideas + Execution = Innovation.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 3:56pm

        Re: Re:

        Until Mike says this:
        "this all brings new meaning to the concept of innovation happening when ideas have sex"

        patent 1 + patent 2 = patent 3 = innovation

        I'm getting a mixed message from techdirt. Sometimes ideas have no value and other times they do. How convenient for techdirt, its how they say, when they say, always works out perfectly. Too bad that has nothing to do with the real world.

         

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 5:02pm

      Re:

      If innovation is defined as ideas having sex, then if I take 2 patents and combine them together in a third patent then I have innovated.

      1. That line was a joke. Seriously, get a sense of humor.

      2. We didn't say that just combining two ideas *was* innovation, qed, but that the process of actual innovation comes OUT OF the process of building on ideas... and the way you do that is through execution.

      Of course, when your goal is to willfully not understand stuff, I can see how you would misread that on purpose.

      You cannot have it both ways Mike, innovation either includes market success or it does not. Which is it?


      It does. And I never suggested otherwise.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 8:18pm

        Re: Re:

        "We didn't say that just combining two ideas *was* innovation"

        No, you said that combining ideas *defines* innovation.

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 11:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, you said that combining ideas *defines* innovation.


          When and where?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2010 @ 6:32am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "this all brings new meaning to the concept of innovation happening when ideas have sex"

            Right here in this post. I guess when you make it up as you go it is easy to forget what you wrote. You've also said that copying is innovation. I get the impression that you don't know what you are talking about.

             

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 7th, 2010 @ 8:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Right here in this post. I guess when you make it up as you go it is easy to forget what you wrote. You've also said that copying is innovation. I get the impression that you don't know what you are talking about.

              Well, I will assume anyone reading this, with the exception of you apparently, can tell that my original statement ("this all brings new meaning to the concept of innovation happening when ideas have sex") and your subsequent statement ("ombining ideas *defines* innovation.") are not in any way equivalent.

              I realize that you are being purposely obtuse, but just on the offchance that you really did misunderstand such a simple concept, I will explain. If you say that A happens when B happens, it does not mean that A ALWAYS happens WHENEVER B happens. It merely means that B is a prerequisite to A happening. So, the point (which is clear if you click the link) is not that "whenever 'ideas have sex' innovation happens" but that "for innovation to happens 'ideas have to have sex'" The two statements are clearly quite different.

              Also, I have never said "copying is innovation." Nice try though.

              Willfully misstating my position is a pretty silly past time. Do you honestly think people are so stupid?

               

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Dec 6th, 2010 @ 9:45pm

    DAMN YOU MIKE!!!!!

    Now I got this image of a "Dildo Thicket" stuck in my head.


    The worst part is the deafening buzzing sound.

     

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