Putting Metadata In Video For Search Purposes? Patented! Microsoft Sued

from the it-never-ends dept

The last time we wrote about a small company called Gotuit Media, it was in 2003, when the company was suing TiVo for an excessively broad patent about recording TV while playing back TV concurrently. Apparently, the company is still in the business of suing other companies that are putting obvious ideas into practice. For example, it’s now suing Microsoft over its implementation of Silverlight-based videos for the Olympics on NBC’s website. Microsoft’s crime? Apparently the videos are going to include some metadata that will make them searchable, allowing users to search and find specific content. And, that, according to Gotuit, is patent infringement.

Of course, that’s ridiculous. If you were to tackle the problem of how to create a search engine for video, one of the first things just about any competent programmer would think of is adding text metadata to the video that would then be used for search. But, thanks to the patent system, apparently you can only do that if you’ve agreed to pay Gotuit a licensing fee.

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Companies: gotuit, microsoft

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Comments on “Putting Metadata In Video For Search Purposes? Patented! Microsoft Sued”

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Rick (user link) says:

How did they get this patent?

Look at this paragraph;
8. A method as set forth in claim 1 wherein said set of segment descriptors is visually organized in an ordered sequence which corresponds to the sequence in which the segments identified by said set occur within a given one of said video programs.

Isn’t that called a Table of Contents? I am sure that no one thought about or used Ordered Segment Descriptors (TOC) before 2004.

Ralph says:

Re: Re: Another pertinant patent

That is actually for swinging side-to-side, rather than front-to-back (the way most people swing). The back story is that the father (a lawyer) was trying to teach his son a lesson about patents and the USPTO. Apparently the lesson was “Look, son, this is how you can game the system.”

DittoBox says:

Re: anyway...

BS patents owned by large companies like IBM, Microsoft, Apple etc have rarely been used to screw over small companies. Apple has on occasion done this (freetype and their font hinting and rendering patents), but again this is rare.

Instead patents are increasingly used by small litigation houses to extort the larger corporations who find it cheaper to simply settle, license or pay royalties than to screw around in court for months or years on end fighting it.

DanielZ1 says:

Patents and Microsoft

Let’s not forget that Microsoft has not been totally innocent in the past. They have opening admitted to stealing technology and then challenging the company they are screwing to sue them. Also, they have been known to buy a company to obtain the technology legally if it was more expedient to do so then to defend their theft efforts.

Also, Microsoft was given a Trade Mark for Window – how stupid is that? It was already a common term in the industry and therefore should NOT have been allowed to trademark the name Windows.

Willton says:

Re: Where are the patent defenders?

Gee, where are all the patent system defenders? Or is this one so overwhelmingly wrong, so incredibly absurd, that even angry dude hasn’t shown up to argue in favor of the patent system?

If this patent is as overly broad and obvious as some here claim it is, then it’s a problem with the USPTO, not the patent system itself. Pro-patent folks, such as myself, realize that there are serious problems with the USPTO’s patent examination process that need to be rectified. An honest debate about whether the patent system is good or bad shouldn’t bring up shitty patents such as this one.

Besides, attempting to enlighten the minds of stubborn programmers is an excercise in futility.

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