Patent Lawsuit Over Shazam Highlights The Difference Between Invention And Implementation

from the what-a-waste dept

A few folks have sent in variations on the news that Apple and AT&T have been sued for patent infringement over the fact that the music recognition service Shazam can be used on the iPhone. The patent in question covers a music recognition system that certainly does sound like Shazam’s. While it’s lame that the patent holder is going after third parties like Apple and AT&T, this lawsuit really highlights how silly the patent system is. Shazam has been around for ages. I remember meeting up with some folks from Shazam many, many years ago, soon after they had started. They had a music recognition system at the time, but it didn’t work all that great, and there was no real market for it. So they spent many years continually tinkering with and improving the system, and adapting to the market as it changed — and finally had a hit when the iPhone app store came out. That is the process of innovation. The idea was a useful starting point, but it was meaningless until the idea could be implemented in a way that the market wanted. And, yet, some guy who had the same idea, but didn’t go through the trials and tribulations of actually making it work for the market, suddenly gets to demand tons of money for it? That’s an economic and societal waste.

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Companies: apple, at&t, shazam

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Comments on “Patent Lawsuit Over Shazam Highlights The Difference Between Invention And Implementation”

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70 Comments
angeldust says:

Re: Re: Re:

Ever hear of intermittent windsheild wipers? All the major American Car mfgs. had them for years, meanwhile Robert Kearns who was the holder of the patent never rec’d a penny until he sued. It took years of costly civil court action but the crooks finally had to pay & continue to do so in royalties to this day.

angry dude says:

Mikey strikes out as usual

Mikey, you have about the same level of understanding of the subject as any street punk

As far as I know the audio recognition technology behind Shazam is the brain child of Avery Wang:

http://www.auditory.org/postings/1995/92.html
http://ismir2003.ismir.net/presentations/Wang.PDF

It is this highly complicated and robust audio analysis and matching algorithm that makes Shazam possible

The patent in question looks laughable to me: it does not contain any novel and unobvious technical details, just some high-level description of a consumer service

As such it should not have been issued because it does not “promote the progress”

YOu keep bithing about the patent system but the problem is with the US patent office

Again, the “idea” behind Shazam is NOT a marketable consumer service, but an algorithm for robust audio search

Of course, everything is market to you.. everything is on sale … your shitty blog including…

angry dude says:

Re: Re: Mikey strikes out as usual

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

If folks cared more about this Constitutional Clause we would not have the problems we have today

Note, nowhere it mentions “innovation” or “market” or “economy” for that matter

Patent system should be separate from economy, it’s the idea’s space
Mikey seems not to understabnd this basic premise

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Mikey strikes out as usual


If folks cared more about this Constitutional Clause we would not have the problems we have today

Note, nowhere it mentions “innovation” or “market” or “economy” for that matter

Patent system should be separate from economy, it’s the idea’s space
Mikey seems not to understabnd this basic premise

Promoting the progress of science and the useful arts MEANS innovation and growing the economy. I’m not sure how you define it otherwise.

angry dude says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Mikey strikes out as usual

“Promoting the progress of science and the useful arts MEANS innovation and growing the economy. I’m not sure how you define it otherwise.”

On the contrary:

Promoting the progress of science and useful arts literally means advancing human knowledge
It has nothing to do with economy
What’s so difficult to understand here ?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Mikey strikes out as usual

Promoting the progress of science and useful arts literally means advancing human knowledge

Bingo! Unfortunately many people do not understand the point you are making.

BTW, I do not know if this patent covers an invention that is new, useful and non-obvious. Apparently the USPTO thought so given its two year pendency. What I do believe is important, however, is that a patent must contribute to human knowledge/understanding. Hence, I place a large amount of importance on 112 because satisfying 112 is a critical part of the quid pro quo associated with our patent laws.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Mikey strikes out as usual


Promoting the progress of science and useful arts literally means advancing human knowledge

Exactly. We agree.

So how does one advance human knowledge? By getting those ideas spread widely. How does one do that? By creating a product or service that people want.

So you agree that innovation is the key.

It’s so great to finally see eye to eye on something.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Mikey strikes out as usual

“So how does one advance human knowledge? By getting those ideas spread widely. How does one do that? By creating a product or service that people want.”

You don’t have to make a product or service to advance knowledge. Making a product or service would distribute the knowledge, but it wouldn’t magically create any new knowledge or advance human knowledge. Giving everyone a PC doesn’t suddenly make them all chip makers. Human knowledge doesn’t need everyone in the world to have the knowledge for us to advance. Otherwise we would have to spend all out time studying biopharma before we could actually take medicine for our headaches.

You are mixing two very different things together, mostly because it supports your more global view. That is fine, but humorous.

angry dude says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Mikey strikes out as usual

“So how does one advance human knowledge? By getting those ideas spread widely. How does one do that? By creating a product or service that people want.”

You don’t have to make a product or service to advance knowledge. Making a product or service would distribute the knowledge”

???????????????????????????????

Do you mean Windoze OS actually distributes knowledge about computer science concepts it uses internally ? (all of those concepts not created by MShit btw)
Why compile Mshit code then ?
Even if open sourced it would not contribuite much to the body of human knoeldge because it is extremely difficult to extract basic computer science concepts from product implementation

The reality is this: the only knowledge public gets is from open publications and patents (the good ones)

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Mikey strikes out as usual

“It’s so great to finally see eye to eye on something.”

If only you were able to do this Mike.

Filing for a patent teaches the invention. That act of teaching does advance human knowledge.

It is ONLY with that knowledge that those who commercialize may proceed. people with the ability to commercialize are fairly common, Mike being an example. Those who can inventor are much scarcer. Just as Mike advocates those with a scarce commodity, an invention make their profit on the naturally scarce item.

Ronald J. Riley,

Speaking only on my own behalf.
Affiliations:
President – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow – http://www.PatentPolicy.org
President – Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 – 9 am to 8 pm EST.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Mikey strikes out as usual

“useful” arts, Angrydude. Useful. Not aesthetic, not intellectual, not academic. Useful.

Patents are not about standalone human knowledge (which we like as well here), but are about USEFUL human knowledge, which often (although not always) means knowledge applied in a product or service. Products and services usually mean commerce, which means the economy.

If they were about “human knowledge” as you strangely claim, then there would be no money disputes in patent lawsuits, since money is part of the economy. But you (and every patent system defender) ALWAYS argue that the inventors deserve money, the “fruits” of their invention. How can you guys argue it’s about money, but not about the economy?

It’s funny. The main example I can think of where there was a system for promoting human knowledge is not the Patent sytem, but the public University system, where publically funded universities do research, and publish it without patents just to improve “human knowledge”. But this model has been in decline for the past 30 years, as universities increasingly try to get on the patent train to see if they can lock down ideas and make some money.

Angrydude, you arguments are not very good. I’ll admit you have lots of conviction, but not much logic. You should consider talk radio.

angry dude says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Mikey strikes out as usual

Consider this: each and every modern high-tech product is a combination of hundreds of patented technologies and features

YOu still want small guy to manufacture his own high-tech product ?
Sort like of reqiring intermittent windshield wiper inventor from the “flash of Genious” movie to manufacture his own cars before he can enforce his patent on a wiper

Absurd…

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Mikey strikes out as usual

Sort like of reqiring intermittent windshield wiper inventor from the “flash of Genious” movie to manufacture his own cars before he can enforce his patent on a wiper

Why do you keep referring back to this movie when it was a work of fiction? I’m surprised that someone who hates big companies so much has no problem with a fable created by Disney.

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Mikey strikes out as usual

“It’s funny. The main example I can think of where there was a system for promoting human knowledge is not the Patent system, but the public University system, where publically funded universities do research, and publish it without patents just to improve “human knowledge”. But this model has been in decline for the past 30 years, as universities increasingly try to get on the patent train to see if they can lock down ideas and make some money.”

In other words universities have come to the conclusion that the best means to teach is with a patent. The problem with not patenting is that oftentimes this dooms the invention to never being commercialized. Before Bayh-Dole about 96% of government funded inventions just sat on the shelf, orphans that no one would invest in commercializing.

Ronald J. Riley,

Speaking only on my own behalf.
Affiliations:
President – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow – http://www.PatentPolicy.org
President – Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 – 9 am to 8 pm EST.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Mikey strikes out as usual

The patent in question looks laughable to me: it does not contain any novel and unobvious technical details, just some high-level description of a consumer service

As such it should not have been issued because it does not “promote the progress”

Scary. I agree with angry dude. But I’m not sure why he’s slamming me, since we actually agree on this.

YOu keep bithing about the patent system but the problem is with the US patent office

They are one and the same. The patent system is run by the USPTO.

I’ve pointed this out before. You have tremendous anger towards the USPTO, but whenever anyone suggests fixing things, you start insulting them. It’s really hard to figure out where you stand.

Again, the “idea” behind Shazam is NOT a marketable consumer service, but an algorithm for robust audio search

And that idea was worthless until they figured out a way to get that to the market.

Of course, everything is market to you.. everything is on sale … your shitty blog including…

Uh, this is not true at all. But far be it for angry dude to avoid slanderous statements.

angry dude says:

Re: Re: Mikey strikes out as usual

“And that idea was worthless until they figured out a way to get that to the market.”

Good idea is never worthless, regardless of its market value

This particular algorithm or its variation can be used with zillions of other applications, not just music search on people cells (who needs this service anyway, other than some punks ?)

Devin Moore (profile) says:

Necessary evil

Granted, this may be a special case, but patents are meant to protect the ideas vs. implementations for a very good reason. Without such a protection, an individual’s idea could be implemented by a company with no implied license on the idea itself, meaning companies could steal ideas left and right. In the case where someone ‘just so happens’ to have patented the same idea, that’s a risk that companies should hedge against by researching patents BEFORE they go to market with an implementation. It’s easy for Apple to come back now and say this is garbage, but wouldn’t they say that even if they really had stolen this guy’s idea? That’s why patents exist, Ford had to pay an engine patent in the beginning and Apple should pay this patent if it is a legitimate claim. They will still make money and the true inventor will get reimbursed for their original innovation.

mobiGeek says:

Re: Necessary evil

But what about the case, which is the MAJORITY of cases, where the same idea is derived from multiple independent entities. One runs to the patent office to write down the idea, while others to iterate on implementations of the idea.

The ones who actually implement something that consumers *want* are forced to cough up monies to those who filed some papers?

The problem you talk about (large companies “stealing” ideas of small inventors) is rarely the case. Typically large companies are unable to see truly innovative concepts they do not derive themselves.

I notice that most pro-patent people don’t ever discuss the fact that the poor “small innovators” would actually *benefit* from the lack of patents in that they could leverage the work done on products by large corporations. Those corps often come up with a product but then fail to adapt to changing market conditions. It is the small innovators/companies that see can foresee and implement product integrations and enhancements, well before the Big Guys.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: protecting ideas

Yeah, but the idea is obvious, too.

– obvious idea
– no implementation
– sued two Parties unrelated to creating the app, but with deep pockets

= patent troll

Whomever owns the rights to the old TV Show. “Name That Tune” should sue. This is just a machine version of that game. And the descendents of Grok the caveman (me) should sue because the show was just a TV version of my family’s birthright, the game “Grok That Moork”. Pay up, suckas. I’m bored of working and want to live off the toil of others.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: protecting ideas

Patent troll isn’t always the obvious conclusion.

There are plenty of inventors that come up with new ideas and new concepts all the time. Sometimes the ideas are really new, sometimes the ideas are new to them, etc.

When this guy went with this idea to the patent office, it was accepted as new. Perhaps like many inventors, he isn’t an execution guy, just an idea man. He works out the theory and the how to, and sells those ideas on to companies who are willing to develop them and take the financial risk.

If you do that inhouse inside a company, it’s called R&D. Think of inventors as freelance R&D.

There are probably millions of patents that have never been developed into products for various reason (including thousands of different patents for mouse traps!). The lack of a viable commercial product should not be a reason to terminate or ignore the patent.

If the Shazam app guys or apple can show prior art, they can get the patent invalidated and make the whole thing go away. But in reality, it will probably be much cheaper to pay this guy $X for his patent and tell him to go away.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: protecting ideas

“and sells those ideas on to companies who are willing to develop them and take the financial risk.”

And if he did that, this would not be an issue. Why didn’t he go to Apple and pitch the idea? Why didn’t he look into others? Why didn’t he put the time and effort into actually making it (and then making it better) like Shazam did?

“There are probably millions of patents that have never been developed into products for various reason”

And that should point out a huge problem with the patent system. Why should those millions of ideas be blocked from the market just because the original “inventors” were to lazy to find investors or pitch their ideas.

“The lack of a viable commercial product should not be a reason to terminate or ignore the patent.”

No, that actually should be a reason. If you aren’t going to use the idea then step aside and let someone who is willing to do the work do it. And yes, I truly believe that. If I’m to lazy to do something with and idea I had (happens all too often since I am an idea man but not an implementation man) then I give that idea to someone else to actually use it.

angry dude says:

Re: Re: Re:2 protecting ideas

“And that should point out a huge problem with the patent system. Why should those millions of ideas be blocked from the market just because the original “inventors” were to lazy to find investors or pitch their ideas.”

Quite the opposite, punky
the really good ideas are frequently stolen and used by the entire induistry without patent holder’s permission
Business as usual in corporate jungle
Just watch the movie “Flash of genious”
it’s all in the movie

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 protecting ideas

“the really good ideas are frequently stolen and used by the entire induistry without patent holder’s permission”

And why, if these ideas are so good, didn’t the original owners of the patents actually do something with them? That’s the point I was trying to make with the section you quoted. If there are thousands of ideas that have been patented but the owners never got around to doing anything with them, why don’t they stand aside and let people who are willing to work use them?

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 protecting ideas

“And if he did that, this would not be an issue. Why didn’t he go to Apple and pitch the idea?”

Inventors pitch ideas to companies all the time. Members of the Coalition for Patent Fairness including Apple are notorious for refusing to license while using the invention. Whole industries stand united and dare the inventor to sue.

When an inventor does manage to get investors interested and sues the sleazy patent pirating companies they then abuse the process of law in an attempt to bankrupt the inventor. As if that is not bad enough those companies then spend millions smearing the inventors’ good name.

Is it a surprise that after all this all the inventor wants to do is to kick the crap our of the companies who have stole their property and persecuted them, often for decades?

Ronald J. Riley,

Speaking only on my own behalf.
Affiliations:
President – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow – http://www.PatentPolicy.org
President – Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 – 9 am to 8 pm EST.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: protecting ideas

“If the Shazam app guys or apple can show prior art, they can get the patent invalidated and make the whole thing go away. But in reality, it will probably be much cheaper to pay this guy $X for his patent and tell him to go away.”

Thus creating what is called a Patent Thicket. With the country working this way (as it does), then any person who actually brings ideas to market will have to face a variety of legal attacks, each of which will need to be defended at a high cost. Thus, as you say, it’s cheaper just to pay the guy to go away. Money for nothin, chicks for free. God bless America.

You see nothing wrong with having to pay a bunch of paper filers with patents (based on lame ideas) for the right to do business? It’s kinda like when you need to pay a toll just to pass a bridge. You know, the kind of bridge with a grumpy old troll living under it.

I didn’t throw the Troll accusation out lightly. I don’t accuse that simply because they have a patent. Having a patent, even a lame one, doesn’t make you a troll. But they used a lame patent to go after THE WRONG companies, simply because those are the companies with deep pockets.

Thanks Chrono for dismantling every other paragraph in his post. Why’d you skip the last one? You could have saved me some time!

angry dude says:

mindless punks everywhere...

Guys, you have zero understanding of the subject

Why do you keep talking nonsense ?

idea – invention – implementation – innovation – market – patent – patent troll etc etc.

Bullshit

And why do you care, patentless techdirt lemming-punks ?

It will be sorted out in court

BTW, one of Shazam’s key investors was Brent Townshend – the guy who sued the entire industry for stealing his idea of the 56k modem – a typical patent troll in your opinion

See, punks, ideas are different..
Some are worth millions, some are worth shit
It is a job of our patent office to assess ideas

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: mindless punks everywhere...

“BTW, one of Shazam’s key investors was Brent Townshend – the guy who sued the entire industry for stealing his idea of the 56k modem – a typical patent troll in your opinion”

One, I can’t find where he specifically is an investor for Shazam, but I’ll give that one to you since I do see he invested in other businesses .

Two, He was actively perusing licensing with U.S. Robotics and then 3Com Corp when the infringement happened, this is not trolling. He created something and was actively doing something with it. Weather it was obvious or not, I don’t know, I don’t understand pulse-code modulation.

Three, He was an investor not the inventor. There is a huge difference.

Four, we are not saying that Remi has no legal grounds on the lawsuit. He is well within his rights to do this. We are arguing that the law should be changed to include a claws for trolls. Why he should be able to sit on an idea (that may or may not be obvious) and take no risks or put forth any effort and be rewarded for others hard work and risk is beyond me. Now, if he was actively perusing something, say programing his own iPhone app, then that would be a different story.

angry dude says:

Re: Re: mindless punks everywhere...

“He was actively perusing licensing with U.S. Robotics and then 3Com Corp when the infringement happened, this is not trolling”

punky

have you ever tried to approach a large company with your patented invention ?

Just see the movie “Flash of Genious” for Christ sake

it’s all in the movie

Sometimes litle guy can get a lucky break as apparantly happened with 3Com, but most of the time little guys are eaten alive by large corporations

There is general rule someone formulated:
“When dealing with large companies there is no free lunch, unless you are the lunch”

angry dude says:

Re: Re: Re:2 mindless punks everywhere...

I am saying that US Patent Office has issued a bunch of patents that should not have been issued
Most of those junk patents are owned by large corps like Mshit, Intel, IBM etc.
Does that mean that the basic premise behind patent system is wrong ?
(“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

Tgeigs (profile) says:

“Perhaps like many inventors, he isn’t an execution guy, just an idea man. He works out the theory and the how to, and sells those ideas on to companies who are willing to develop them and take the financial risk”

Is that what he did here? Or did he come up w/the idea, sit on it, wait until someone implemented it independently in a way that he thought he could file a lawsuit on, and then hire a lawyer?

I’m not an idea man. I’m an eating bacon man. You see, I love bacon. It’s great, and I do a great job of eating it. I’m just not a go out and work to make money to buy the bacon man. So that bacon you have in your freezer, I’m gonna go ahead and need to eat that…because I’m an eating bacon man.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Nope, you fail to understand.

Inventors invent things. They don’t always bring them to market. He wasn’t just sitting there waiting for someone to steal his idea, I suspect he was working on other stuff while hoping someone might come along and purchase the patent from him.

That is what inventors do. The invent things. They don’t build them, they don’t take them to market, etc.

Sort of like getting mad at a butcher for not owning his own cows and running his own steakhouse.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Inventors invent things. They don’t always bring them to market. He wasn’t just sitting there waiting for someone to steal his idea, I suspect he was working on other stuff while hoping someone might come along and purchase the patent from him.

If he did nothing to help make the idea a success, why does he deserve any money?

That’s like saying I opened the first fast food restaurant, but put it in a bad location so it failed. But now McDonald’s owes me tons of money because they figured out how to make it a success.

angry dude says:

Re: Re:

“Is that what he did here? Or did he come up w/the idea, sit on it, wait until someone implemented it independently in a way that he thought he could file a lawsuit on, and then hire a lawyer?”

It does not matter, punky

If an idea is really good (new and unobvious) then it deserves a patent and a patent holder deserves compensation
it’s a good public policy which promotes the progress
If, on the other hand, the idea is not new or obvious (which seems to be the case here) then it should not be patentable. Period.

Tgeigs (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“If an idea is really good (new and unobvious) then it deserves a patent and a patent holder deserves compensation
it’s a good public policy which promotes the progress”

Ok, so what’s your definition of progress? Because supposing this idea really HAD been good, it seems like this is inhibiting the application of that idea, which to me is inhibiting progress, no? I’m not seeing in this instance an example of the company STEALING the idea, it looks like two folks came up with it simultaneously, but one patented it first. If this was a new and unobvious idea, how would this be promoting progress?

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Implemantation is just the grunt work to realize (make physical) an idea

Which is all that really matters.
Nobody gives two shits about the idea that goes nowhere.
If it is not presented in an awesome way to the public, nobody cares. Deal with it.
That is why independant invention should disqualify a patent automatically. There are plenty of things that people thought of and did nothing with. I would bet you that a good 99.99% of stuff in the patent office (if not more with as much crap as they get) somebody thought of before the patent filer, but didn’t pay to have the paperwork put through the patent office.
You are saying that just because this guy was the first one to file paperwork that the patent office allowed to go through, he was the only possible first one to think up this idea.
Please see Derek Kerton’s post above for why he wasn’t even remotely the first one with the idea.

Plenty of people can have the same idea, but only a few can present it to the public well.

Evan Yares (user link) says:

Not likely to survive

I haven’t seen the complaint (don’t want to pay to download it), but based on the Tune Hunter patent, I see two potential problems.

1. The patent makes 2 claims. The first is for the general recognition system. It requires that a segment of music be recorded, then transmitted to the recognition system.

According to the ISMIR 2003 presentation, the Shazam system does not record the music — it simply transmits it. In the case of smart phones (e.g. iPhone), I’m going to rashly assume that there is some preprocessing, and that only the fingerprints are transmitted, but, in any event, Shazam still doesn’t make a recording. So, Shazam doesn’t infringe the patent.

The second claim is for a method for purchasing a music item. Shazam doesn’t do purchasing. It only does music tagging.

Given these issues, I’d say that Tune Hunter has failed to state a claim.

2. United States patent law requires, among other things, that the patent specification “contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same.” 35 U.S.C. 112(1).

The requirement “to enable” a person of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention is colloquially referred to as the “enablement” requirement. A patent that does not meet the enablement requirement may be declared invalid by a court.

The Tune Hunter patent fails woefully on enablement. It doesn’t teach anything about how to actually do the music recognition, and the cited patents only deal with recognizing music based on reading ID information stored within.

So, if it gets that far, the defendants will probably be able to get the patent invalidated.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not likely to survive

I concur with your assessment. If Mike’s statements are accurate, then all Shazam needs to do is demonstrate that Tune Hunter’s patent did not provide a reasonable expectation of success by following the methodology of their patent, which means, as you noted accurately, that the patent fails 35 U.S.C. 112(1).

What I find annoying is that so many people are willing to indict a working system just because someone abuses the system. On that basis, we should no longer try murderers because some get away on technicalities. In fact, all laws should be abolished because all laws are eventually abused or misused in some fashion. Of course, I do not believe that, but I find it problematic when someone faults a system because it is abused or can be abused rather than taking steps to fix the system, which has proven benefits.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Not likely to survive

Your corporate masters are harming economy and destroying innovation in America, not patent trolls

I really don’t understand why you keep saying that I have corporate masters. I do not. I agree with you that big companies are abusing the patent system just as much if not more than small inventors. I’ve said it over and over again and have highlighted how many of these big companies abuse the patent system.

You just seem so angry that you never even bothered to read what I wrote. You have only one response to anyone who dislikes the patent system: they must be bought and paid for. But, of course that already harms your non-existent credibility because it doesn’t even respond to what I say.

I agree that big companies abuse the patent system all the time. That’s what I’d like to fix. I’m not sure why you’re so against me on that, when it seems you’re just as against the abuses of the patent system as I am.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Not likely to survive

Adude,

That’s such a dumb accusation that you often repeat here. Where is the big money against patents? Big companies are for it, lawyers are for it, the politicians seem to believe that IP is the answer to progress, etc. If there seems to be a side in this debate that has corporate masters, lobby groups, vested interests, policy bought, and mental momentum, it is the pro IP side. The patent reform side is mostly made up of grassroots individuals like Mike and consumer defense orgs. Google may be the only company I can think of that is rich and possibly pro-reform.

I’ve asked you this a few times before when you lob that stupid accusation:

PLEASE NAME THE ALLEGED CORPORATE MASTERS.

Seriously, I’d be interested to know which big companies you believe are pro patent reform.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Not likely to survive


Intel, Mshit, Google, HP, Cisco, Dell, etc. etc e.tc

Google “coalition for patent fairness” (aka piracy coalition)

Yes, those companies support the patent reform bill before Congress, which I think will do a lot more harm than good. So why do you keep insisting that I work for those companies? I disagree almost entirely with their position on patent reform?

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Not likely to survive

…and there’s another part of the patent system that should be changed.

The patent system was designed around “enablement”, that is the concept where patents could be used as a sort of “owner’s manual”. A person wanting to make an iPhone app to recognize tunes could go to the USPTO, find this Tune Hunter patent, use it as a design template, and then build their solution around it, paying the fair license fees to Tune Hunter.

Does anybody here think patents are used that way? Ever? Often? I’ve never heard story #1 about a product built that way, although there must be at least a few. It seems that, more often, people invent, then need to go check the USPTO to see if someone has locked down the rights to their independent invention. Or they don’t check, and get sued. Sometimes if they check and there IS a patent, they then need to re-invent their invention in a way that doesn’t infringe.

I’m not seeing how this helps progress.
Step 1: invent
Step 2: see what ‘idea monopolies’ will prevent you from going to market profitably
Step 3: work around idea monopolies or pay toll
Step 4: go to market
That’s a lot of friction between product makers and their market.

If the whole “enablement” angle of the patent system is a moot idea, does it make sense to have a system that grants it such important significance?

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

They don't issue patents for ideas.

“And, yet, some guy who had the same idea, but didn’t go through the trials and tribulations of actually making it work for the market, suddenly gets to demand tons of money for it?”

They don’t issue patents for ideas. They issue patents for demonstrating a solution.

Ronald J. Riley,

Speaking only on my own behalf.
Affiliations:
President – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow – http://www.PatentPolicy.org
President – Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 – 9 am to 8 pm EST.

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