Patent On Selling Information Revoked In The UK

from the not-quite-patentable dept

We've written about E-Data's patent claims in the past. They're the patent hoarding company that claims to have a patent (from 1985) on "selling downloadable media" that is transferred to a "material object." That, as you might imagine, is pretty broad, and has let them go after such companies as Amazon.com, the NY Times, American Greetings and Hallmark for daring to "sell downloadable media," when you'd be hard pressed to prove that any of these companies got the idea for selling downloadable media from this particular patent. They also went on to sue Microsoft for its music download service. While Microsoft actually paid up, E-Data also went after Bill Gates' Corbis digital imaging company for violating their patents in Europe. After all of this, a UK judge has now pointed out that the patent is ridiculous, throwing out the case and the patent in Europe. The judge had a patent expert review this particular patent, and the guy noted that it's not at all clear what was being patented, since the patent: "is lengthy, repetitive and somewhat confusing" while using "invented pseudo-technical terminology." In fact, when you break down what the patent actually says: "[it] comes close to being a patent for selling information." It only took 20 years, countless lawsuits and a ton of wasted money on legal fees to figure that out.

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  • identicon
    Jean, 9 Jun 2005 @ 9:18am

    No Subject Given

    I'm not sure, but I think I have a patent for "selling things for money". I might start by suing the grocer in front of my house. Then I'll see.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    greg, 10 Jun 2005 @ 2:07pm

    No Subject Given

    "when you'd be hard pressed to prove that any of these companies got the idea for selling downloadable media from this particular patent."

    This is not meaningful. The idea of a patent is that you get a limited monopoly on that thing simply because you were -first-. If I independently conceive of a thing that is already patented, only later, then my use of that thing is subject to the patent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 10 Jun 2005 @ 4:27pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      This is not meaningful.

      It most certainly is meaningful if the purpose of a patent is to encourage innovation. That's the argument we're making. Besides if you come up with something independently, then I think the original inventor has a hard time proving that the idea was non-obvious. If multiple people are coming to the same next step, it suggests the path was obvious.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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