Supreme Court Refuses Another Microsoft Patent Appeal

from the end-of-the-line-on-this-one dept

While the Supreme Court has taken a more active interest in patents lately, it hasn’t worked out to Microsoft’s benefit lately. Just as the court is about to finally hear arguments on the patent obviousness case we’ve all been waiting for for years, the court has turned down Microsoft’s appeal of a patent infringement suit that went against them. This isn’t really all that surprising, given that there’s no major compelling issue in the case to pique the court’s interest. However, the case of Guatemalan inventor Carlos Armando Amado certainly has received plenty of attention among folks interested in patent litigation. In many ways, the case is similar to Microsoft’s losing effort to fight the Eolas patent. Both involve what’s basically an embedding feature in software, that was patented by a small group (or, in this case, an individual), on a minor feature that many people feel was obvious already. The patent holder then forced Microsoft to spend millions defending adding a basic feature (in this case, linking Access databases to Excel spreadsheets). The Supreme Court also turned down the appeal of the Eolas case, so this new decision represents nothing new, other than another person getting money for putting something quite obvious on paper. For a good explanation of why the patent should never have been granted, read Tim Lee’s review of the patent. Unfortunately, the Amado patents and case have been held up by individual patent holders as an example of what’s right about the patent system, in that it has allowed this single inventor to score millions of dollars from a big company. But, of course, all of that assumes the patents should have been granted in the first place. About the only good news was that Amado only won a small portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars he was asking for.

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Comments on “Supreme Court Refuses Another Microsoft Patent Appeal”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: maybe a subject will work

seriously, did you guys JUST change your spam filter? or has giving a quote and a name always triggered it? seriously, wtf….

Hrmm, I’m getting blocked left and right now too. Very disappointing, since I’ve never once spammed. The only thing I can think of is that “frequent” posters are now automatically regarded as spammers until they are whitelisted.

Not a change for the better.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: maybe a subject will work

The only thing I can think of is that “frequent” posters are now automatically regarded as spammers until they are whitelisted.

We use Akismet, the same spam filter that many blogging systems use. It checks a variety of things, from text to IP address in determining if something is spam. It’s got nothing to do with frequent posters or the fact that you put a quote in.

However, as you see, we do not lie when we say that any messages that are marked as spam are reviewed and will be posted if they’re not spam.

In the meantime, though, the amount of trouble Akismet has saved us is immense. We get over 5,000 comment spams a day, and it tends to only catch about 10 false positives, while letting in about 10 spams that shouldn’t be posted. It’s annoying for the 10 legits, but we check the filter quite regularly. Overall the quality is tremendous.

Cleverboy (user link) says:


I’ve always been impressed that an open comment system seemed so free of spam. I had a fitness blog up that got bludgeoned with spam… and “referral” spam too. They have no shame.

Regarding the news, I have mixed feelings. Surely our whole patent system shouldn’t be thrown out, so there’s a need to have balance. Both the namespace and the invention space are so confused with “rights”, its somewhat stifling.

I have a killer idea right now that I’m still trying to tie down the technological method for.

When its done, I’m sure it will appear “obvious”, because the idea is virtually a hidden “holy grail” of what many people want in everyday life, yet does not yet exist. If I could sell it to a company like Google, I’d be set for life, yet if Google… and their braintrust, could simply adapt and improve my idea simply by my example and pay me nothing, why should I even bother sharing it with the world?

On the flipside, recently, I noticed someone else has already released a similar device, and on the same fundamental scientific principles that are only beginning to be explored in my own work. I fear to search the patent library to see what wiggle room I have in not having a still birth commercial invention.

Being a genius, I take creative rights a bit seriously though.

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