Google Drive Barely Launched… And Google's Already Hit With Patent Infringement Lawsuit

from the but,-of-course dept

It’s almost becoming a rule in the tech industry, that actually doing something that people want to use absolutely guarantees that you’re going to get sued for patent infringement. It’s pretty clear that the current patent system is acting as a massive tax/tollbooth on innovation. The latest in a long line of examples: just as Google has been rolling out its Google Drive offering to users, it’s been hit with a patent infringement lawsuit from a company with a patent (5,918,244) that covers a “method and system for coherently caching I/O devices across a network.” As the lawsuit notes, the technology behind the patent is to enable the ability of “multiple computers [to] all communicate with each other and… all access data from the same data storage device or devices, such as hard disk.” Basically, the patent describes a system of RAM caching. Because I’m sure no one ever would have figured out how to do that without the patent system… So, rather than just allowing the technology to progress in the market as new products are developed, we’re left with legal fights and a tollbooth on innovation.

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Google Drive Barely Launched… And Google's Already Hit With Patent Infringement Lawsuit”

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47 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Why May 6, 1994? The filing says the first patent was submitted on May 31, 1996.

If this company’s patents are indeed for a method that keeps frequently used data loaded into RAM then prior art does exist:

“Research in main-memory database systems started around 1993 at Bell Labs. It was prototyped as the Dali Main-Memory Storage Manager.[3] This research lead to first commercial main-memory database, Datablitz.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-memory_database

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

This application is known as a “continuation”. When an application is initially filed it is reviewed to determine is the claims are directed to two or more separate and distinct inventions. If so, the applicant is typically required to remove on set of claims from the application and refile them as a separate application. Since these claims were included in the original application, the second application is deemed to have been filed as of the date of the original application in which they were originally contained.

This accounts for why this application was presented in 1996, but has an actual filing date for purposes of prior art corresponding with the date the original application was filed.

Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Very true, Corpus Christi would’ve been another possibility. And indeed, Houston is practically Louisiana compared to “South Texas”.

No person from South Texas would ever consider Houston a part of the region. Regarding Edinburg and McAllen, I may have been a bit biased as I’m from deep South Texas (as in the RGV). So sometimes I overlook/forget that Corpus Christi is part of South Texas (as far as most people are concerned).

Anonymous Coward says:

The Solution: First, we kill all the lawyers

Why innovate when you can litigate?

Ever wonder where we’d be if they actually did implement all these things that have been patented? Technologically a thousand years ahead, perhaps. But that takes work and risk and those cost money and spending money is antithetical to providing an immediate return on investment to the owners/shareholders.

It’s better just to grab money by the fistful and give an immediate return on investment to the owners/shareholders.

Its fairly safe to imagine that the patent system was created by greedy moneygrubbers using lawyers and not by engineers using common sense.

Anonymous Coward says:

infrngment!

by their logic then, everyone that designs something on a computer should be sued by ibm (for making the cpu a viable item). since they also probably used word for writing the patent up, ms should get their share also! (and yes I hate ms also, but using them as an example) and all they did was expand on the internet, so they should also be sued by the people that made the internet!

Anonymous Coward says:

How do these things get approved to go on to the courts, or are google and any other patent victim, expected to spend time and money on every tom dick and harry, that claims to have a patent right

Does’nt a judge or some one, make an initial decision on whether to take these to the courts before wasting time and effort on a possible weak patent? otherwise, whats to stop 100 companies filing 100 claims in one day, and no sort of filter process

Anonymous Coward says:

It is an unjustifiable “horrible” that a company currently engaged in an ongoing business has the audacity to invent something, disclose it to the world via our patent system, and then expect others to honor the rights it secures should its invention withstand the legal tests of being “new, useful, and non-obvious”.

I am, of course, ever mindful of the “Google exception” to our patent and copyright laws. Presumably, Google will raise it in its inevitable motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action owing to the exception.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You make a good point in your first paragraph (your second is just gibberish). An active company should be able to protect their patents if it’s been properly tested and found new, useful and non-obvious.

However, that does not apply to this case. The patent is neither new or non-obvious. I thought of the idea of something like DropBox or Google Drive many, many years ago. And if I thought it up, many other people did as well; I’m not that smart.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: They're toxic waste, not candy.

Except they probably didn’t actually “invent” anything.

Even if they did, there is still the question of whether or not this improves the state of the art. Patents are for encouraging people to disclose useful trade secrets. They aren’t meant as a virtual land grab.

Reading some Tannenbuam and then tying the industry in knots for the next 20 years is not what patents are for.

Ophelia Millais says:

Why should I bother to try to innovate anything in the world of computer tech? Seriously, why should I even try? Someone, somewhere (at least in the U.S.), always has a vague patent on something that is kinda, sorta, maybe just a little bit like whatever I could come up with, and they’re going to sue the f*cking f*ck out of me if I don’t hand over everything and “admit” that I “stole” their idea. There’s no point anymore. The defendants in these trolling suits are unpaid employees, people who figure out how to make something viable out of an idea that happens to be vaguely similar to the one in the plaintiffs’ half-baked patents that no one but lawyers have ever looked at… but it’s worse, these unsuspecting employees have to pay the employer! What a racket!

The only way to stop them is to stop innovating. Seriously. Stop inventing. Let them reap what they sow.

BeeAitch says:

“patent (5,918,244) that covers a “method and system for coherently caching I/O devices across a network.”

“multiple computers [to] all communicate with each other and… all access data from the same data storage device or devices, such as hard disk.”

My home network violates this patent every single day.

Come at me bro.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Annoyed with it all

If these patents are so damned valuable then why the hell don’t the “inventors” do anything with them.

Think about defensive patents. The holder in most cases isn’t actually doing anything with their “invention”, but rather using it as a deterrent to getting sued.

You simply shouldn’t be allowed to sue for patent infringement if you are not doing anything with your patent other than holding on to it and hoping someone does something amazing with it so you can sue.

Anonymous Coward says:

i personally think these various companies have no one else to blame other than themselves. if company (a) hadn’t sued company (b) at some point over something, company (b) perhaps wouldn’t have become so aggressive over it’s own stuff being used. the trend was set by the very companies that now get sued and serve them bloody well rights for being greedy!

Rapnel (profile) says:

1999?

Who issued that complete and utter failure of a patent request on something irrevocably fundamental to just about anything and well before 1999 at that? Fuck. Who is driving? I think a blindfold and a cliff is in order.. and no brakes that could affect the intended result. That GPS update you wanted – nope, missed your turn, sorry.

If you want my MAC address you’ll need to query the NIC directly or license a faster method from this guy? Web page too. You know what, fuck it, you get nothing unless you pay.

Ridiculous. And when can we start taking this stuff seriously again? I can’t believe these people get payed.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have one question.
Are the owners of a Patent required to prove that their method actually works, and how Google is implementing it?
These TechDirt articles are so limited in their explanations. They seem to go more for the large sensational headline with very little content. what happened to you guys? I can’t even read the complaint. It is blurry.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: ...yet another problem.

That’s yet another problem with patents. These things seem to effectively work out as “idea patents” as there seems to be some ambiguity as to what was actually invented and how it is that the alleged perpetrator is violating the patent.

A company can try to change how they do something and they will still get slammed for violating a patent. So the whole notion of “this only covers a precise method” is largely bogus in practice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What do beleive is lacking in explaination?

The title reads “Google Drive Barely Launched… And Google’s Already Hit With Patent Infringement Lawsuit”

The filing confirms the headline to be true. How is the headline sensational?

A cleaner copy of the document can be found here:

http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/wp-content/uploads//2012/06/Google-Drive-Patent-Filing.pdf

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