Court Invalidates Infamous E-commerce Patent

from the took-'em-long-enough dept

In January of 1999 the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on the State Street patent case, where the appeals court had said business model patents were fine (prior to that it had been commonly accepted that you couldn't patent business models). That opened the floodgates on attempts to patent business models. It took a little over a year for it to sink in why this was so troublesome, and in the summer of 2000, there were a bunch of articles about problematic business model patents. The poster child for these articles was an extremely broad patent from DE Technologies for what amounted to "international e-commerce." Why that was deserving of patent protection was not clear, but with the way the patent system works, it was approved. In 2004, the company went after Dell for daring to sell computers internationally using e-commerce (an idea they obviously never would have come up with in absence of such a patent). It appears that the District Court in Virginia has recognized the problems with this patent and has declared it invalid. It's likely that this will be appealed, but, for the moment, feel free to continue participating in international e-commerce without worrying about paying some random patent holder.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2006 @ 5:31pm

    Do you people have anything better to report than fooking patent news, and anti-trust lawsuits?

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

    • identicon
      Joe Smith, 19 May 2006 @ 5:51pm

      Re:

      Do you people have anything better to report than fooking patent news, and anti-trust lawsuits?

      It is a sign of the times that the litigation tail is wagging the innovation dog. These issues are important because of the impact they are having on technical innovation.

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

    • identicon
      parched, 20 May 2006 @ 8:57am

      Re:

      I cannot speak for anyone else, but I love Tech Dirt's relentlessness in in reportng on these issues. The greedy elements in the "intellectual propery scams" are accustomed to stealthily lobbying for laws an apathetic public rarely becomes aware of until too late,
      Precious few in the current media have called them on it.

      Tech Dirt is filling a much needed void in the reporting media. I often print out the articles and pass them around with notes that direct the reader to the Tech Dirt site for more information. I've gotten a few people interested in finding out more and some to actually write their representatives in Washington.

      I say " "Hurrah, keep it going guys, you are making steady dents in a "Goliath".

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

    • identicon
      charlie potatoes, 20 May 2006 @ 12:29pm

      something better to do?

      hey AC i notice u never miss commenting on a story...i was wondering if you didn't have anything better to do...oh..btw... that 'fookin' fake brit accent ain't foolin nobody.. so..FUCK YOU, TOWEL HEAD, get a life and stop boring us with your asinine comments.

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

      • identicon
        Cam, 20 May 2006 @ 1:16pm

        Re: something better to do?

        Ha ha ha. Man, that last post was hilarious -- Just who is this "Anonymous coward"? And how *does* he manage to post in all of these threads. Sometimes he's British, sometimes he's not. Sometimes he's articulate, sometimes he's not. He's just a hard guy to get a read on.

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

  • identicon
    ScaredOfTheMan, 19 May 2006 @ 5:48pm

    Well it is called Tech DIRT.....you want to read about Jessica Simpson's Boobs go somewhere else.

    I love that these guys keep calling out all the greed, stupidity and downright crookedness in the tech industry. Keep up the great work TECH DIRT!!

    P.S.
    I bet Anonymous Coward works for DE Technologies!! ;)

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

  • identicon
    Laughing, 19 May 2006 @ 8:24pm

    These types of patents are controversial because critics say they protect obvious processes. But Bruce Lagerman, president of DE Technologies and a former patent attorney, believes that his firm's case is "rock solid," according to the Wall Street Journal.

    This is from another article. Reading this the word 'jackass' comes to mind.

    Say, I think I need to patent stupidity, I'd be richer than the top ten combined....

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Bum, 19 May 2006 @ 8:28pm

    Patent for trolling

    I am going to patent trolling and all you peeps going to have to pay.


    btw:

    I like Mike's summaries.


    (note proper use of possesive 'S')

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

  • identicon
    jdragon, 19 May 2006 @ 8:45pm

    idiot patent trolls

    what a bunch of idiots.

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

  • identicon
    naima, 20 May 2006 @ 2:00am

    nbdfza

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

  • identicon
    Ron, 20 May 2006 @ 4:02am

    A perceptive man once said, "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke". With the decisions from the 9th Circuit and various bureaucrats the last few years, some of you better get a sense of humor, at least until they come up with medication to treat such morons.

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

  • identicon
    Grokodile, 20 May 2006 @ 10:29am

    Damned Patents

    I don't know what happened, maybe it was politically movited (as of course all bad ideas must be... j/k) or something.

    Anyway, it's about time somebody started to undo the damage done by granting everyone a patent for anything they claimed first.

    By the way, I hodl the patent on posting comments to an online medium. You all owe me money.... thx!

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

  • identicon
    bldkcstark, 20 May 2006 @ 10:53am

    Patents

    Patents and patent law has made America what it is today. Before you start ripping on the U.S. look around the world and tell me where you will be moving to. If you have a novel idea and can implement it in a semi-novel way your economic and other rights to that idea should be protected. That is the reward for forward thinking in the U.S. When you don't have a reward system, or the system is used retrospectively (business models), then things start to go wrong. I know that some people abuse the system by trolling for patent violators, and that is wrong. Very much like the company in question. There are also patent laws that state that any patent that is not enforced over a period of time may be invalidated, and a patentable item that has been in the marketplace for 18 months without application or enforcement cannot be patented. I doubt that this company will win. ROCK SOLID or not, some courts use jackhammers.

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

    • identicon
      Joe Smith, 20 May 2006 @ 11:45am

      Re: Patents

      Patents and patent law has made America what it is today

      That is doubtful. For example, patent law held the US back after inventing the airplane so that the French took intellectual leadership in aeronautics. Patent law at best and taken overall is probably only neutral in its effect and has been negative in some respects.

      Not every idea is patentable and not evey patent is enforceable. Any idea which can be copied and used directly by the consumer, however useful it may be, cannot be the subject of an effective patent. Some of the best and most important ideas have always been outside of the reach of patent law.

      More than patent law the US was helped along by the Morrill Act of 1862 which promoted the land grant colleges (the A&Ms) to promote the dissemination of agricultural and mechanical arts. It was the A&Ms together with high immigration and social mobility which laid the basis for American success.

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

  • identicon
    markb in NJ, 20 May 2006 @ 4:43pm

    Patents and Virginia and Tech Laws

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

  • identicon
    markb in NJ, 20 May 2006 @ 4:44pm

    Patents and Virginia and Tech Laws

    Ha Ha. Virginia is one of ONLY two (or 3) states that passed the LAST LAME attempt at a new uniform code of commerce that essentially banned free speech, and ALLOWed Back door access into electonic programs

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

  • identicon
    Search Engines WEB, 20 May 2006 @ 5:21pm

    Broad Intellectual Property or Specific Technology

    Here are the initial press releases about the patents...


    www.detechnologies.com/press/release-2002-10-01.htm

    www.detechnologies.com/press/ release-2005-01-19.htm


    If they are patenting a TECHNOLOGY - that is one thing, but if they are getting greedy and patenting an entire Business Process, that is where it could hurt competition and / or be too broad for "Intellectual Property" coverage.

    Perhaps, they overreached their bounds when defining what should be protected, but it IS understandable why they would want to get some ROI for a process that they alone invented and that is being used to help extremely large organizations get richer.

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

    • identicon
      DKO, 21 May 2006 @ 3:45am

      Re: Broad Intellectual Property or Specific Techno

      Read the press releases well and you will understand they didn't "invent" any PROCESS. Companies were doing that successfully for many years before they "patented" this "innovation". I personally launched international (EMEA) e-commerce operations for a small multinational, including cross-border order entry, multiple currencies and tax rates, shipping and tax compliance in the year 2000. We used an off-the-shelf software package by (guess who) Microsoft, designed for (guess whom) SME/SMBs. So the claim that they are the only ones targeting small companies is a big fat lie.
      This is using wordsmithing to bilk money out of big companies; con clueless bureaucrats into granting exclusivity on "no-duh" business processes; and waste thousands of man-hours of your American public resources and taxpayer dollars for their own benefit.
      If I were an American, I would be angry.
      These people just plain suck.

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

  • identicon
    Andrew Pollack, 20 May 2006 @ 6:08pm

    From the "inventor" perspective.

    I am in the middle of this now. Today.

    I have a business model I'm moving forward and preparing for market. It is innovative in the way a few technologies are pulled together to make an overall process.

    The process is profitable. Its innovative. Is it patentable? I wish it were not. Personally, I hate the idea of patenting processes like this. I hate it for all the reasons everyone else reading this hates it.

    Still, if I opt not to patent it -- according to some very good lawyers -- I put myself at great risk for being stopped in the future from having this business. Ugly, isn't it?

    So morally, I would prefer not to patent. Legally, it appears I almost have to.

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

    • identicon
      Jamison Steads, 20 May 2006 @ 6:26pm

      Re: From the "inventor" perspective.

      You are quite correct and I agree, a very realistic perspective. That is an unfortunate reality of today's marketplace - too many unethical & greedy people. I say go forward and patent your unique process for moral & ethical reasons based on the analysis you've gone through. But don't go suing people left and right like the DE individuals are now doing just to make monies off of something others are doing that might inadvertently mimick someone else's process.

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

    • identicon
      Danno, 20 May 2006 @ 9:45pm

      Re: From the

      I'm no expert but I am in the middle of studying for the Patent Bar (allowing me to file applications to the Patent Office). One way to prevent others from patenting your business method would be to publish it. This would make your idea "prior art" and therefore unpatentable by others. Of course by publishing you do make your method accessible to others but by publishing in a relatively obscure periodical this may reduce that risk. Since I am not an attorney (though I hope to be) you should consult with one on this.

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

  • identicon
    Jamison Steads, 20 May 2006 @ 6:20pm

    Thieves Trying To Steal Revenues From Others!

    This amounts to a gigantic ripoff of other companies' revenue streams. Their patent approved is for their "BOES" System (Borderless Order Entry System). DE is claiming they "invented the computer process to electronically manage and process the complex elements of international trade logistics and transactions". It's not "the" computer process, but rather "a" computer process. These guys are full of crock. Quick Flashback: International e-Commerce has been going on for many hundreds of years before these guys were even born. I think there's far too much idiocy nowadays: These DE idiots for wasting a lot of peoples' time, money, resources; and the USPTO idiots for giving these guys wayyyyy too broad of an approval, instead of placing strict limits on their technology process & its applicability.

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

  • identicon
    Bob Smith, 20 May 2006 @ 9:18pm

    Quick Flashback: International e-Commerce has been going on for many hundreds of years before these guys were even born.

    I find it difficult to believe that e-Commerce ("Commerce that is transacted electronically, as over the Internet." dictionary.com) has been going on for "many hundreds of years."

    Nice try though; you almost had me fooled.

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

  • identicon
    Graham, 21 May 2006 @ 1:40am

    I find it difficult to believe that e-Commerce ("Commerce that is transacted electronically, as over the Internet." dictionary.com) has been going on for "many hundreds of years."

    OK, it might not be hundreds of years, but it does date back to the nineteenth century when the original internet was better known as the telegraph.

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

  • identicon
    Paradigm Shifty, 21 May 2006 @ 4:37am

    Can any one say RIM?

    Didn't we just see RIM pay better than half a billion dollars to some crackpot company that had "patented" and obvious method of sending and receiving email wirelessly?

    Bueler? Bueler?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2006 @ 5:36am

    Where is Dorpus and his comment

    I was just wondering when Dorpus was going to chime in with his pearls of wisdom ......

    Unless of course he is at the patent office, putting in a patent for putting in patents....

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

  • identicon
    Napolean Dynomite, 21 May 2006 @ 3:12pm

    Techdirt wanna bes

    They dont like patents here, and spend a lot of time talking about them and patent attorneys... (patent envy I think)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2006 @ 4:24pm

      Re: Techdirt wanna bes

      They dont like patents here

      That is not true. There is just some real concern about frivilous patents being used to extort large sums of money and generally impeding the economy as a whole. That "buy it now" could be the subject of a valid patent boogles the mind.

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

  • identicon
    Screw the Patent system..., 21 May 2006 @ 7:39pm

    I got the 30th post on this board!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    • identicon
      justanasshole, 22 May 2006 @ 2:17am

      Re: Screw the patent System

      hell i got the 34 post whoopi, and the next patent to be enforced is the manner in which you grasp the paper when you wipe your ass.
      Kim Delaney took to boozing it up a bit too much.

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

  • identicon
    ohhh, 21 May 2006 @ 7:43pm

    Did anyone see Kim Delaneys face in 10.5 tonight?? What the hell happened to her? She used to be hot. Now I would'nt do her with a strap-on.

    Eeeewww.

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

  • identicon
    NSMike, 21 May 2006 @ 9:51pm

    Bye-Bye Amazon 1-Click Purchasing!

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

  • identicon
    Mr sensible, 22 May 2006 @ 12:48am

    Bye-Bye some bell-ends ridiculous patent. what a twat, is he going to patent a chest movement next and sue the whole planet for breathing ?

    what a prize twat.

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

  • identicon
    RenderingSanity, 22 May 2006 @ 4:46am

    So yeah...fun

    Think I could get away with patenting breathing? That's a pretty danged specific proccess right there...
    I could draw you charts and diagrams showing how I did it and I'm pretty sure I can charge everyone a nickel for every breath they take(the french would be charged a dime).

    Go me!

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

  • identicon
    Gowda, 8 Jun 2006 @ 9:38am

    A question on Patents. Legal opinion needed

    There is a patented product and say another person has invented a new product similar to the original one with a more advanced functionality. The new product cannot be built without violating the claims of the original product. So, can he atleast claim a patent for the advanced functionality(comapred with the patented product) that the new invention is exhibiting, if the change of functionality is worthy of recognition??

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

  • identicon
    Gowda, 8 Jun 2006 @ 9:38am

    A question on Patents. Legal opinion needed

    There is a patented product and say another person has invented a new product similar to the original one with a more advanced functionality. The new product cannot be built without violating the claims of the original product. So, can he atleast claim a patent for the advanced functionality(comapred with the patented product) that the new invention is exhibiting, if the change of functionality is worthy of recognition??

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

  • identicon
    Gifts for wife, 1 Dec 2010 @ 9:02am

    Patents and patent law has made America what it is today. Before you start ripping on the U.S. look around the world and tell me where you will be moving to
    So true!

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


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