Dynamic Webpages? Patented!

from the ugh dept

Phil writes in with the latest examples of patent silliness. Apparently Epicrealm has a series of patents on things such as dynamic webpage generation that they’re now using to sue plenty of companies, including eHarmony. Of course, eHarmony isn’t without its own patent silliness as well, having patented the secrets to successful relationship. Isn’t the patent system great?

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Dynamic Webpages? Patented!”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
jeremiah (user link) says:

I patented lame business plans...

I patented the idea of registering a patent on an already obvious/existing system/idea and then suing the beejeezus out of anyone i pick.

My first suit will be against RAMBUS, who, as you already know, tried to sue RAM manufacturers after patenting a process that was already “open” and in discussion in standards groups.

Chip Venters (user link) says:

Too bad you didn't think it up

If all these patents are so obvious…why don’t you create a list of all the technologies and processes that are obvious to you at this point…they will all be considered “prior art” thus invalidating all the obvious patents that you so abhor.

In this way, you will personally solve the “obvious patent problem” and free yourself up to address more important issues in technology, this making techdirt the true hero of the intellectual property “problem”.

This should not be a problem for you, since all of these ideas are so obvious. I have tasked my teenagers with the same challenge.

alternatives says:

Re: Too bad you didn't think it up

they will all be considered “prior art” thus invalidating all the obvious patents that you so abhor.

You seem to be working under the mistaken assumption that prior art will be considered.

Please explain EXACTLY how this ‘prior art’ is to be delivered to the patent office so it will be considered.

Thank you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Too bad you didn't think it up

FIG. 1 illustrates a typical computer system in which the present invention operates.

FIG. 2 illustrates a typical prior art Web server environment.

FIG. 3 illustrates a typical prior art Web server environment in the form of a flow diagram.

FIG. 4 illustrates one embodiment of the presently claimed invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates the processing of a Web browser request in the form of a flow diagram, according to one embodiment of the presently claimed invention.

Chip Venters (user link) says:

Re: Re: Too bad you didn't think it up

“Prior art” is what patent examiners look for when investigating a potential patent. They search databases, the web, and other patents looking for evidence that the process or invention described in the patent application has been written about, previously invented, patented or copyrighted. If they find evidence or “prior art” they will not grant the specific claims, and in most cases will not grant the patent. So if techdirt was to allow its readers to list all of the “obvious inventions” that will logically occur in the future of technology, and describe exactly how they will work, then the patent office will not be able to grant patents to future inventors who claim to have invented something unique, because “prior art” would exist, in the form of a blog on the internet.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Too bad you didn't think it up

Heh. Notice Chip ignored the point about the difference between prior art and obviousness.

Anyway, as I said above, there is a big difference, and if the natural progression of things leads multiple people to the same conclusion then it’s hard to see it as unique enough to deserve a patent. That doesn’t mean we *ALL* need to know what those things are. In fact, in many cases (such as the ones being pointed out here) the ideas seem *SO* obvious that the very concept of patenting them is ridiculous that it makes no sense to even list them out.

Chip Venters (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Too bad you didn't think it up


The issue of “obviousness” is really subjective. If the patent office was given the right to block applications due to “obviousness”, we really would have a mess. The question would always be, “obvious to who…and why”. So unless you stop issuing patents of all kinds, “obviousness” will never be a criteria.

I do think you are correct that there seems to be a sort of collective intelligence where people in the industry conclude independently of each other that certain methods of doing things make more sense than the others. Even in software, as complex as it is, there are only so many ways to skin a cat. I guess where all the angst about the patent situation comes from is that some individuals figure out one of those cat skinning technics before the collective, and file a patent on it.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Too bad you didn't think it up

Well, the patent office’s charter answers your question: “obvious to the skilled practitioner.” So there you go on the “who” and “why” part.

So, if you agree that there’s a collective intelligence leading to the same conclusion, why is it fair that the guy who comes up with it a day before someone else (or, worse, just files it hours before someone else) should get a 20 year monopoly on the idea? What if the second guy uses that extra day to do a *better* implementation of the same idea — one that the market greatly prefers?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Too bad you didn't think it up

As I’ve pointed out numerous times, the issue isn’t prior art. Obviousness and prior art are not the same thing. A patent is only supposed to be granted to an idea that is non-obvious to skilled practitioners. As we have suggested, that’s quite easy to show. If others come up with the idea independently without knowing of the patent in question, then clearly, the idea is obvious to at least more than one skilled practitioner — and thus, should not receive a patent.

In the meantime, are you honestly suggesting that these patents are non-obvious and therefore deserving of a patent?

Anonymous Bastard says:

Re: Not exactly

Right … I only read the first half of the patent but at this point it’s certainly not obvious or even known to me, someone who has professionally worked on web servers for ten years. I can’t immediately recall anything like this published before July 2001, if even before today. The system is still broken for many reasons but as usual techdirt grossly misreports the news.
Oh, now I see the source is Slashdot. Well, there you go. It may be about time to drop techdirt from freshnews.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...