We've been covering the ongoing saga of an old patent we've referred to as the "JPEG Patent." This actually isn't the first patent we've called the JPEG Patent, because multiple people claimed to hold patents over the technology that goes into a JPEG image. But, this one was rather special. The patent had been used, repeatedly, by lawyer Ray Niro, against a wide range
of opponents, including a patent system critic. The end result was a drawn out review process where all of the original claims were rejected, but a single new claim was added to the patent, which Niro insisted covered JPEGs on a website.
Earlier this year, the Patent Office agreed to re-examine
that claim. On top of that, a judge overseeing one of the lawsuits involving the patent decided to put the suit on hold
pending the outcome of the re-exam. Of course, the re-exam will take some time, but the initial re-exam came out recently and it does not look good for this patent
The one remaining claim was rejected on 19 different grounds, and then the examiner went on for over 40 pages, explaining in great detail, why the claim (and, thus, the entire patent) were not valid. Kinda makes you wonder why it was approved in the first place, but that's a different discussion for a different day. This is, of course, just the initial re-exam. Niro gets to respond, but given the amount of detail that goes into rejecting a single
claim, he's got quite an uphill battle.