VeriSign Now Holds A Patent On SiteFinder

from the this-is-patentable? dept

Back in 2003, VeriSign kicked off quite a bit of controversy with its “SiteFinder” plans. SiteFinder would see that you were trying to go to a non-existent domain name, and rather than send you the proper error message, would send a bunch of ads instead. VeriSign, of course, claimed that this would be useful, as some of the ads might point you to where you really wanted to go. The problem, of course, was that it broke how the internet was supposed to work — and certain applications relied on the fact that the internet would work the way it was originally designed. VeriSign eventually pulled the service, though others have reimplemented it, mostly at the ISP level rather than the DNS level. However, now, as Slashdot points out, it appears that VeriSign owns a patent on the concept. The patent was granted a few months ago, and VeriSign has control over it thanks to an acquisition. The real question, though, is why is this patentable? The reason it hadn’t been done before wasn’t because it was some great invention that needed the extra incentives of a patent — it was because most people thought it was a bad idea.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: verisign

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 “VeriSign Now Holds A Patent On SiteFinder”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
9 Comments
Willton says:

Why wouldn't it be patentable?

Just because some people thought it was a bad idea doesn’t mean it wasn’t patentable. In fact, a great way to show novelty on an invention is if the invention does something that the relevant community at the time taught away from doing what the invention does. Even if this is a worthless invention, the underlying invention can still be patentable.

Willton says:

Re: Why wouldn't it be patentable?

In fact, a great way to show novelty on an invention is if the invention does something that the relevant community at the time taught away from doing what the invention does.

Wow, I just realized how poor that English is. That’s Warren G. Harding bad. Mea culpa.

Anyway, you get the point.

Willton says:

Re: Re: Why wouldn't it be patentable?

Er… the point being it wasn’t non-obvious. It was a perfectly obvious idea that no one implemented because they thought it was a bad idea.

You got some evidence to prove that point? A conclusory statement like that won’t get you very far. If you have some evidence as to how this was obvious to one skilled in the art in October 2000, I’d be interested to hear it.

David Donahue (user link) says:

It's actually kinda related to a good idea.

While it is now too late for Sitefinder. If there are other “bad” ideas that haven’t been patented yet, and by that I mean feasible, but not in everyone’s best interest to have implemented, then we could create a lockbox patent hording organization that does patent these “bad” ideas and then, by charter, never, ever implements them. They could then sue anyone who tried.

Wow, a way for software patents to NOT be evil.

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...
Loading...