Microsoft Trying To Patent Ozzie's Lotus Notes Work

from the everything-old-is-new-again...-and-patentable dept

theodp writes "If Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie feels that ‘Notes was designed at its core for an earlier era‘, what does it say about his Microsoft minions if their idea of patentable innovation in 2006 is Emotiflags, a ripoff of the Lotus Notes Mood Stamps feature that Ray was fielding questions about 10+ years ago?"

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Comments on “Microsoft Trying To Patent Ozzie's Lotus Notes Work”

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Annoyed says:

Re: Re:

We know you’re first, there’s a little 1. next to your post that means it was the first post. There’s a 2. next to the second post that lets us know it was second and establishes a chronological order of how we should be reading posts.

I’m just putting it out there because I find that a lot of people don’t understand how this posting system works, the page is organized in a way that the first post is shown first and is numbered, you don’t need to enter that yourself.

Odean says:

Re: Re: Kidding right

No… We are arguing about little pictures with some people that are educated beyond their intelligence.

Get back to work!! Quit stealing from your boss, by wasting your time arguing about this crap instead of doing your job!! Stop worrying about little pictures. Regardless of the outcome of all the legal battling, clogging our courts so that states are forced to allow baby rapers back on the streets after serving a week in jail.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Kidding right by Barry R Gordon

the problem comes in trying to put together a system that gives value to intellectual property.

if we really assumed it was worth nothing, there’d be less incentive to innovate. scientists would be like those struggling artists trying to scrape a living.

we have to give it worth, but we gotta keep it reasonable.

real innovation should be given patents and not long-living ones either. you should be rewarded for figuring it out, but thats about it. the discovery should pay off a bit and then you should be forced to compete.

Daniel (profile) says:

Re: Re: Kidding right by Barry R Gordon

“if we really assumed it was worth nothing, there’d be less incentive to innovate. scientists would be like those struggling artists trying to scrape a living.”

Luckily, this is provably false. In software, the actual value comes from providing services. You make something, you distribute it, you support it, people pay you.

In contrast to this, the monopolies granted by patents actually are designed to stifle innovation. For example, if you come up with something innovative, but it builds on someone elses patented idea, you can’t produce it unless you pay the original patent holder money.

Similarly, if you have a patent on a piece of software, you have less incentive to improve it because you will want to “milk” your current product for all you can. without patents, you need to innovate to stay in business.

Andrew Pollack (profile) says:

The reasons for patents are valid. The scope and

The idea behind a patent is to make sure the investment and research that go into a new product can be covered before people enter the market place with copies that do not have to cover the cost of the original research.

Unfortunately, the duration and scope of patents as well as the definition of “Uniqueness” is too broad now.

A patent should not cover simple marketplace innovation — that is what capitalism and market economics is for.

I have no magic one sentence “fix-it” answer, but it is plain to see what is broken.

misanthropic humanist says:

Re: The reasons for patents are valid. The scope

“The idea behind a patent is to make sure the investment and research that go into a new product can be covered before people enter the market place with copies that do not have to cover the cost of the original research.”

I’m with you Andrew of course, but I put an alternative and not yet widely heard argument to you…

The above justification is out of date. In the 19th and 20th centuries patents have served innovators well. But as we head toward “convergent exponential growth” (as Kurtzweil would have it) the landscape has changed so much that I believe new challenges face patents, and old requirements are obsolete.

Silicon compilers, desktop manufacture, extreme rapid prototyping, automatic software development – these are just some of the reasons that mean product development is so different from the when the 19th century industrial scientist sat in his laboratory refining an idea over many years. You can move from concept to product in weeks now. Furthermore, the lifetime of a product is ever diminishing – how long did you keep your last cellphone? Compared to the one before that?

Patents have really become the tools of lawyers to stifle and restrict the innovation of others, and yet, practically, any company that is capable of keeping its mouth shut for six months and paying its researchers well enough to avoid wholesale industrial espionage doesn’t really need the protection of a 200 year old patent system designed to protect tangible physical principles.

anonymous coward says:

I just filed a patent application for a device used while driving a horse-drawn carriage which allows the operator of said carriage to physically motivate the horse or horses remotely from the seating area of said carriage without direct physical contact thereby accelerating the carriage with minimal physical effort on the part of the operator.

I call it a “buggy whip” and I think it will be huge.

Anonymous Coward says:

Patent Crimes

The problem is there is no prosecution for crimes when you file a patent. You sign a little box that says that you are the inventor. If someone knows they did not invent a product, yet they put in a patent, they should be fined and put in jail. Better yet the patent lawyer that puts in the patent should also be fined. I see time and time again where “inventors” fail to submitt the full prior art. They want to “hide” information the patent examiner. These people should be put in jail..

misanthropic humanist says:

just take their patents away

“These people should be put in jail..”

I think thats a bit strong. Merely the fact that they lose the patent is fine. What worries me is that because of the way the system works (yes it’s the snivelling little lawyers again) it isn’t yet easy to challenge a patent.

That is the key – make it so that the burden of defending the patent lies with the holder and at the very first whiff of prior art the patent is voided. That would force applicants to do their research properly, allow genuine high standard patents for which no prior art exists to survive, but provide a very fast track to kill bogus ones.

What would really help to correct the patent system temporarily, (until the entire system can be thoroughly reviewed to determine if it is even relevant in the 21st century), is if a massive swathe of patents were to be simply declared void. That would include all “soft” patents awarded in the last 5 or 6 years, one-click nonsense, colour schemes, business practices, “algorithms” (which you can’t fucking patent legally but were awarded anyway!). Throw the lot out and give the patent system a chance to regain some credibility. Nobody would actually lose any money other than the relatively small cost wasted obtaining them. It would disarm the entire battlefield. It would be a massive boost to the economy and to every company in the field.

angry dude says:

Re: just take their patents away

2misanthropic humanist:

My dear little retarded friend,

Let me ask you this: how many patents do you own ?

You just don’t fucking understand what “algorithms” patents are.
For morons like you I suggest looking into some modern telecom standards, e.g. ITU standards, for things like GSM, CDMA, G729 etc.
Your cell phone is little more than a collection of those standards, and each of those standards took years of research to finalize and is covered by many many patents…

Well, with commenters like you this blog should be given a new name: “techignorance”, for example.

Andrew Pollack (profile) says:

Well, as someone recently through this process....

@20 – Patent “stealing” is actually fairly rare. Although the movie of the week shows a big danger of someone stealing your idea and patenting it out from under you; the lawyers I used (who are actually very reputable ones, not patent-shack silicon valley hacks) tell me that it is very rare and fairly easily challenged. At the time I checked, there wasn’t a big legal industry around that particular problem so I tend to believe them. If it happened a lot, there would be many lawyers involved in that aspect of the practice.

Charles Robinson (user link) says:

I agree with the consensus

Patents are too broad and there is no attempt being made at discovering prior art. The patent office insists that is the role of the courts. I tend to believe Andrew, and we have seen cases where people such as Microsoft and RIM have used patented intellectual property and there is a protracted legal battle over it.

What I find more disturbing is the recent trend to patent everything. Numerous biotech firms own sections of the human genome, and that is stifling innovation in a huge way.

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