Creating A List From A Database? Prepare For A Patent Infringement Suit

from the promoting-what-progress? dept

Thanks to the whole slew of folks who sent this in: TechCrunch has the details on Channel Intelligence, a company that owns a ridiculously broad and obvious patent on creating a list from a database and is now suing a whole bunch of small websites that offer things like wishlists. Read through the claims of the patent and see if you can explain how a single one is possibly new or non-obvious to those in the space. As TechCrunch notes, the lawsuits are all targeted against smaller websites, rather than the big players like eBay or Amazon. There are a variety of reasons why this might be. Channel Intelligence may have approached those companies and actually received a token payout (cheaper than a lawsuit for those companies). Or, perhaps more likely, it's using these smaller lawsuits to bring in some additional cash and to establish the myth that this patent is valid. That was common a few years back, before people started suing everyone at once for patent infringement. Patent holders would mostly target a few small companies, who wouldn't be able to launch a strong legal defense -- use those "victories" to build up a warchest while also claiming that it showed how the patents are "valid."

Filed Under: database, lists, obviousness, patents, wishlist
Companies: channel intelligence


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  1. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 18 Jul 2008 @ 6:07am

    VSAM and SQL

    Look at VSAM on the old IBM mainframes. It dates from 1974, with the OS 370/VS2 operating system. VSAM does not have all of the features of a modern database. Most notably, the fields within a record are not explicitly declared. You can set up multiple keys by declaring ranges of bytes (eg. 1st key is 6 bytes at offset 10, 2nd key is 6 bytes at offset 25, etc), and you have to create a record declaration within your PL/I or COBOL program which matches the VSAM declarations. SQL, dating from the late 1970's, and standardized in 1986, improved this by providing a mechanism to declare the fields in the database, and then declare some fields as keys.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VSAM
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQL

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