EFF Gets Another Victory Over Bogus Patents

from the good-for-them dept

It’s been four years since the EFF first announced its bogus patent busting project, where it lined up 10 awful patents that needed to be revoked. While it’s taken some time, slowly but surely it’s been winning each battle. Back in January, we noted another win, and now the EFF has announced that the Patent Office has rejected all 95 claims on a patent held by NeoMedia. The patent in question covers scanning a barcode and connecting it to a website to look up info about the product. The EFF presented a bunch of prior art that (of course) the Patent Office had failed to consider. This is just the preliminary rejection, so NeoMedia can (and probably will) respond — but it’s going to have to explain why not a single claim survived.

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Comments on “EFF Gets Another Victory Over Bogus Patents”

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Mr Big Content says:


This kind of subversive activity could DESTROY THE ENTIRE PATENT SYSTEM!!! It MUST NOT BE ALLOWED!!! How many patents could survive this kind of critical examination? It could turn patents into ENDANGERED SPECIES!! And the only thing that tells us apart from those uncouth unwashed savages out there is that WE have Intellectual Property, and they DON’T. If you threaten this distinction, that makes you nothing but a TERRRIST.

MLS (profile) says:

Re: Not so fast...

Sorry, hit send by mistake.

Before jumping for joy it is always useful to actually read what the Patent Examiner had to say.

Most of the claims were rejected over the disclosure of a patent application filed one year before this particular patent was filed as an application. Thus, while this one has an uphill struggle as it wends its way through the appeals process, bear in mind that there exists another patent that the Patent Examiner decided covered basically the same invention. In other words, even if this patent is eventually invalidated, or at least amended to place its claims in condition for allowance, there is still another patent in full force and effect covering virtually the same invention.

All that has really been done thus far is to substitute one patent for another. This is not what I would by any measure claim as a victory.

It seems to me the EFF is milking this for publicity, all the while failing to note that another patent is still in force and potentially assertable against alleged infringers.

MLS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Not so fast...

I tell you what really surprised me is that virtually all of the references were very close in time to the date the application was filed. I would have thought that such references would have pre-dated the application by many years. Perhaps the subject matter of the patent was not quite as obvious as some seem prone to believe.

Willton says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Not so fast...

Not necessarily. Yes, the ‘193 patent reference has a priority date in 1994, but the OA claims to reject a majority of the claims as being anticipated under 102(b) by a 1985 patent, USPN 4,780,599. So unless there’s some cognizable differences between the ‘193 patent and the ‘599 patent, the subject matter very well may be that obvious.

Anonymous Coward says:


Maybe this is the new, cool way to spell. You know, misspell words so your “homies” don’t think you are a geek or nerd. For examples visit myspace and just pick a profile, any profile. As for the article, yay! Hooray for common sense. Perhaps we can coax it out of near extinction.

stv says:

EFF=corporate shill?

who funds the EFF?

by the way, read….


and you’ll understand (well, maybe not you) that the PTO routinely rejects all claims.

If the PTO did not earlier consider any of the art the EFF churned up, that could be because it wasnt particularly relevant. Name one case wher eteh EFF has in the end prevailed.

Stop the shilling!!

DanC says:

Re: EFF=corporate shill?

You do realize that you are, in fact, a shill yourself?

If the PTO did not earlier consider any of the art the EFF churned up, that could be because it wasnt particularly relevant.

Actually, if the patent office didn’t consider any prior art, then that is a problem. The other thing you failed to mention is that your article is actually complaining more about claim rejections before the patent is issued. But why bother with details?

Name one case wher eteh EFF has in the end prevailed.

The EFF has successfully helped defend plenty of people. Chamberlain v. Skylink, Online Policy Group v. Diebold, JibJab Media v. Ludlow Music, etc. If we’re only talking about patents, the EFF successfully had all the original claims of patent #6,614,729 rejected on re-exam.

Willton says:

Re: EFF=corporate shill?

If the PTO did not earlier consider any of the art the EFF churned up, that could be because it wasnt particularly relevant.

If that were true, then why would the PTO consider this prior art relevant now, so relevant as to raise “a substantial new question of patentability?” If this prior art wasn’t relevant then, it would have been noted then, and the PTO would not have granted the reexamination. The fact that the PTO granted the reexam based on this prior art seriously undercuts your argument.

In all likelihood, this prior art was never brought to light during prosecution.

Name one case wher eteh EFF has in the end prevailed.

It doesn’t matter what the EFF did or didn’t do in the past. It succeeded (to an extent) this time.

Stop the shilling!!

Look who’s talking.

Look, if you’re pro-patent like I am, then this is a good thing. The PTO is correcting the errors it made in the past, and it is in the interest of everyone that only good patents be issued. Bad patents deserve to be cancelled on reexamination. It strenghtens and raises the integrity of the system.

KG says:

Re: EFF=corporate shill?


who funds the EFF?

according to their (EFF’s) website, individual donors. while this could easily include large corporations wh/ the EFF could in theory shill for, a quick bit of digging shows that the EFF has, from the time of it’s founding, mostly worked in the favor of individuals and small organizations without alot of money/resources against big large organizations with lots of money/resources. Not only is this behavior opposite to what you would expect from a shill, but considering who the EFF butts heads with (case in point, the US government), if they were a shill those organizations would be making a LOT of noise about the EFF’s motives. I may be wrong, but if it looks like, walks like, and quacks like a duck, and you have no other evidence to the contrary, why assume it’s an alligator?

by the way, read….

interesting article, but you fail to consider the following:

  • it’s largely anecdotal, based on the author’s personal experience
  • it specifically applies to Chemistry: Molecular Biology and Microbiology patents. the section of the patent office wh/ deals w/ those patents may have a culture of rejection, common expierince suggests this isn’t the case for comp sci patents, wh/ is what we’re dealing w/ here

If the PTO did not earlier consider any of the art the EFF churned up, that could be because it wasnt particularly relevant. Name one case wher eteh EFF has in the end prevailed.

well, if they’re not relevant, why on earth are they reconsidering them now? As for ‘one case’, go here, wh/ is the EFF patent busting case. out of the 10 on the list, 1 has been busted, and 4 (including the 1 in the article above) are being reexamined

streetstylz (user link) says:

Were you aware that this ruling is a non-final action. Meaning that this is not a final rejection of NeoMedia’s patent.

The USPTO has set aside claims 1-95 by marking them as rejected for reasons cited in the USPTO document. This is standard procedure. NeoMedia now has 60 days to formalize their response to the USPTO and demonstrate to the USPTO why the claims in their patent are valid.

The claims of a patent undergoing reexamination are not invalidated until a reexamination certificate canceling the claims is issued.

Educate yourself on how the reexam process works:

nobody says:

I don’t understand why people are allowed to patent such a trivial concept. Is it the case then that every time some new entity appears in the world, you should rush to patent everything that could possibly be done with it?

So, once the micro computer was invented, quick, patent the concept of ‘putting your pc on your desk’ and ‘putting your pc under your desk’, or ‘a desk, intended to put a PC under’.

Quick, the cd has been invented, I should patent the idea of putting the wrong cds in the wrong cases, because the wrong case is nearest to hand and it saves time looking for the right one (anyone else out there who does this – cease and desist!).

Patenting ‘using a bar code scanner connected to the web to look up info’, I’m sorry but that’s not an ‘invention’. Its just an obvious way to use existing technologies.

If no one else patented it its not because its ‘not obvious’ but because no one else was petty-minded enough to bother, or was aware that the patents system had done such violence to the concept of ‘invention’.

And weren’t shops doing that before 1999? I vaguely remember selling cds to a second hand shop before that year, and they scanned the barcode on them and looked them up on a computer to find a suitable price. Later I remember they looked them up on Amazon, though I can’t remember if they were using the web before ’99 or just doing it locally.

Fard says:

NeoMedia’s Barcode Lookup Patent Approved

NeoMedia’s Barcode Lookup Patent Approved

Mobile Advertising Industry Looks Forward to Next Growth Phase

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NeoMedia Technologies, Inc. (OTC BB: NEOM), the global leader in camera-initiated transactions for mobile devices, announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has ruled in favor of NeoMedia in the reexamination of its U.S. Patent No. 6,199,048, System And Method For Automatic Access Of A Remote Computer Over A Network. All ninety-five claims of this Barcode Lookup Patent have been confirmed as being patentable by the PTO.

The PTO’s re-validation of this patent provides tremendous opportunities for companies in the mobile advertising space, allowing them to unify and quickly move forward to implement new applications and services.

“This is excellent news for NeoMedia as it allows us to move forward with our vision to create strong partnerships and synergies to align all companies for the next growth phase,” said Iain McCready, chief executive officer of NeoMedia Technologies, Inc. “We are committed to building a fully involved and collaborative ecosystem of agencies, mobile operators, and vendors who recognize the potential of mobile barcode advertising.”

“We are pleased that this patent has withstood the intense scrutiny of the PTO’s re-examination process, in which numerous additional prior art references were considered in detail by the PTO Examiners before confirming all ninety-five claims as being patentable”, said Tony Barkume of Barkume & Associates, P.C., patent counsel for NeoMedia. “The approval indicated by the PTO in its Notice of Intent to Issue a Re-examination Certificate has confirmed the strength and validity of the ‘048 patent in the face of such a heightened challenge.”

In keeping with its vision and commitment to developing an interoperable global ecosystem, NeoMedia is licensing its technology to foster innovation in the creation of exciting new mobile barcode applications and services for the advertising industry.

NeoMedia embraces the development of open standards for 1D and 2D barcode technologies, and provides a global infrastructure to resolve these barcodes across multiple carriers. The company’s ecosystem ensures that all parties involved in the transaction are accurately compensated by pre-defined business rules. Through NeoMedia’s complete solution, media & advertising companies, consumers, businesses, mobile operators and OEMs can harness wireless networks to perform commerce more easily and securely, and ensure monetization can occur reliably and accurately.

About NeoMedia Technologies

NeoMedia Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB: NEOM) is the global leader in mobile barcode scanning solutions. Our technology allows mobile devices with cameras to read 1D and 2D barcodes and provide “one click” access to mobile content. Combining this technology with advanced analytics and reporting capabilities revolutionizes the way advertisers market to mobile consumers. NeoMedia provides the infrastructure to make 2D camera barcode scanning and its associated commerce easy, universal, and reliable – worldwide.

The company’s mobile phone technology, NeoReader, reads and transmits data from 1D, and 2D barcodes to its intended destination. Our Code Management and Code Clearinghouse platforms create, connect, record, and transmit the transactions embedded in the 1D and 2D barcodes, like web-URLs, text messages (SMS), and telephone calls, ubiquitously and reliably. NeoMedia provides the industrial and carrier-grade infrastructure to enable reliable, scalable, and billable commerce. NeoMedia was founded in 1989, and is based in Atlanta, USA. It currently has 30 active patents spanning 13 countries, with 29 additional patents pending.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. With the exception of historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release involve risk and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement.


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