Microsoft, Apple Sued For Patented Online Updates
from the how-dare-they! dept
Last month, a company named BTG announced that they held the “worldwide licensing rights” for a patent on automatic updates over the internet — and (of course) they expected everyone to pay up, including Microsoft. Well, it appears that the Microsoft lawyers laughed them out of the room, so now BTG has been forced to sue both Microsoft and Apple for violating patent 6,557,054 on “A method and system for distributing updates by presenting directory of software available for user installation that is not already installed on user station.” And people still think our patent system works great? The patent was applied for in April of 2000. There must be a ridiculous amount of prior art of applications that updated themselves prior to that.
Comments on “Microsoft, Apple Sued For Patented Online Updates”
They’re going to have to sue Debian (specifically, Ian) for retroactive patent abuse.
Date of 'Invention'
It’s still a ridiculous patent (I believe the University of Illinois’ PLATO System was doing something similar back in the 70’s!), but the date does seem to go back a bit further:
LIST OF RELATED APPLICATIONS
This is a combined Continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 08/641,010, filed on Apr. 29, 1996, and entitled “COMPUTER-IMPLEMENTED TRANSPORT OF ELECTRONIC INFORMATION OBJECTS,” which is a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. application Ser. No. 08/251,824, filed on May 31, 1994, and entitled “SYSTEM FOR AUTOMATIC UNATTENDED ELECTRONIC INFORMATION TRANSPORT BETWEEN A SERVER AND A CLIENT BY A VENDOR PROVIDED TRANSPORT SOFTWARE WITH A MANIFEST LIST,” which as U.S. Pat. No. 5,420,820 on May 30, 1995, and U.S. application Ser. No. 08/982,157, filed on Dec. 1, 1997, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,125,388 and entitled “COMPUTER-IMPLEMENTED TRANSPORT OF ELECTRONIC INFORMATION OBJECTS,” which is a Continuation of the aforementioned Ser. No.08/251,724 filed May 31, 1994 (now U.S. Pat. No. 5,694,546). All of the above-identified applications are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
A bit skeptical about the veracity of the news bit. Because in a litigation-based economy, it would be a tactical mistake to sue the biggest players. You would go after outfits that might have to settle fast to avoid litigation costs. The strategy would be to ?fly under the radar? for some time.
The strategy would be to ?fly under the radar? for some time.
You mean like SCO did ?
Because in a litigation-based economy, it would be a tactical mistake to
sue the biggest players.
Not necessarily. Big companies have a) deep pockets and b) an obligation to maximize their profits. If the patent-owner can convice the company that it’d just be cheaper to settle, they’ll often roll over.
microsoft will have to be careful what arguments it makes in defending itself. I can see microsoft coming up with plenty of arguments why this is an invalid patent then the same arguments being used against them for the thousands of ridiculous patents that they hold or are applying for.