HideTechdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.
HideTechdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.

VeriSign Now Holds A Patent On SiteFinder

from the this-is-patentable? dept

Back in 2003, VeriSign kicked off quite a bit of controversy with its "SiteFinder" plans. SiteFinder would see that you were trying to go to a non-existent domain name, and rather than send you the proper error message, would send a bunch of ads instead. VeriSign, of course, claimed that this would be useful, as some of the ads might point you to where you really wanted to go. The problem, of course, was that it broke how the internet was supposed to work -- and certain applications relied on the fact that the internet would work the way it was originally designed. VeriSign eventually pulled the service, though others have reimplemented it, mostly at the ISP level rather than the DNS level. However, now, as Slashdot points out, it appears that VeriSign owns a patent on the concept. The patent was granted a few months ago, and VeriSign has control over it thanks to an acquisition. The real question, though, is why is this patentable? The reason it hadn't been done before wasn't because it was some great invention that needed the extra incentives of a patent -- it was because most people thought it was a bad idea.

Filed Under: patents, sitefinder
Companies: verisign


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2008 @ 6:31pm

    Well, generally we only get upset about these things when the idea is obvious and GOOD. But this idea is bad. So, let them hassle other bottom feeders who abuse the dns system.

    unless--does anyone know how this could come back to haunt us?

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

  • identicon
    Gray_hat, 6 May 2008 @ 6:33pm

    On the flipside...

    Hypothetically, if VeriSign were to sue any "infringers", would this not lead to a refuction in ISP and DNS level spam?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2008 @ 9:13pm

    Never met a patent they didn't like

    Waiting for all the patent fan boys to show up and defend this.

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

  • identicon
    Willton, 6 May 2008 @ 10:12pm

    Why wouldn't it be patentable?

    Just because some people thought it was a bad idea doesn't mean it wasn't patentable. In fact, a great way to show novelty on an invention is if the invention does something that the relevant community at the time taught away from doing what the invention does. Even if this is a worthless invention, the underlying invention can still be patentable.

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

    • identicon
      Willton, 6 May 2008 @ 10:13pm

      Re: Why wouldn't it be patentable?

      In fact, a great way to show novelty on an invention is if the invention does something that the relevant community at the time taught away from doing what the invention does.

      Wow, I just realized how poor that English is. That's Warren G. Harding bad. Mea culpa.

      Anyway, you get the point.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2008 @ 5:37am

        Re: Re: Why wouldn't it be patentable?

        Anyway, you get the point.

        I'm... not sure I do. I've read it and read it and it's still fairly incomprehensible. Care to give it another go?

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 7 May 2008 @ 1:37am

      Re: Why wouldn't it be patentable?

      Just because some people thought it was a bad idea doesn't mean it wasn't patentable.

      Er... the point being it wasn't non-obvious. It was a perfectly obvious idea that no one implemented because they thought it was a bad idea.

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

      • identicon
        Willton, 8 May 2008 @ 5:25am

        Re: Re: Why wouldn't it be patentable?

        Er... the point being it wasn't non-obvious. It was a perfectly obvious idea that no one implemented because they thought it was a bad idea.

        You got some evidence to prove that point? A conclusory statement like that won't get you very far. If you have some evidence as to how this was obvious to one skilled in the art in October 2000, I'd be interested to hear it.

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

  • identicon
    David Donahue, 9 Jun 2008 @ 11:27am

    It's actually kinda related to a good idea.

    While it is now too late for Sitefinder. If there are other "bad" ideas that haven't been patented yet, and by that I mean feasible, but not in everyone's best interest to have implemented, then we could create a lockbox patent hording organization that does patent these "bad" ideas and then, by charter, never, ever implements them. They could then sue anyone who tried.

    Wow, a way for software patents to NOT be evil.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.