Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
ajax, patents, web 2.0

Patent That Could Sue Web 2.0 Out Of Business Up For Auction

from the well-this-could-be-interesting dept

The Register has an article about one of the patents up for sale in the latest Ocean Tomo auction that could potentially be used to sue pretty much every web 2.0 company. The patent, for "a global sideband service distributed computing method" is described by its owner as being a core component in any kind of AJAX implementation, and lists out basically everyone as infringing. Any site that uses AJAX? Yup. Google, eBay, Yahoo? Yup. Amazon's S3 service? You bet. Whether or not this patent is valid or whether any of these companies actually infringe on it are two wide open questions, but given how much money is being bet on lawsuits of this nature, you can bet someone will take a shot at it. And how long will it be before one of the patent system defenders shows up to claim that these firms clearly "stole" the technology?

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 26 Mar 2008 @ 12:07pm

    Re: About the patent system

    I have done several patent myself and I know that getting a patent is not as simple as described here. Most time the examiner are critizing every piece of it.

    Therefore the system is perfect?

    For a period of time in the early 00's, over 70% of patents were getting approved. That number has dropped a great deal lately due to backlash, and the USPTO realizing how badly it had screwed up.

    On the other hand, after reviewing the patent I saw it claims to be "based on a paper filed on Jan 1998 which was presented on a conference." I think, if a conference can accept a paper, it is probably not that obvious.

    That's an incredibly loose definition of "obviousness."

    Think about IP industry vs music indurstry, why we think we should pay fee to a mp3 instead of software? The patent system is to protect and encourage industry instead of discourage it. Whenever the system exists, we should respect it.

    That's the most bizarre rationale I've heard in a long time. We just posted a long list of research showing that the patent system does NOT encourage industry. It actually hurts it. Shouldn't that be reason enough to make a change?

    To say that "whatever the system exists, we should respect it" is untenable. Slavery was a system that existed. Not allowing women to vote was a system that existed. We changed it because those things were wrong. Same with the patent system.

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