Software patents: the elephant in the room?

Discussion in 'Think Tank' started by Anonymous, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. Anonymous Member

    The internets only exist because the technology was too clumsy to be worth a patent.

    Software patents are limiting the free exploitation of IT and making millions for a few companies who have too much already. Some developments are held up by as much as twenty years.

    This seems worth thinking about.
  2. Anonymous Member

    DOX or GTFO

    You need to come up with examples to justify your position, especially since most software is protected by copyright, not by patent.

    You can always find examples of controversial patents, such as Amazon's 1-click patent, or Apple's look-and-feel patent, but not all patents are unjustified. Some algorithms such as ones for encryption or encoding or compression took many years of research and the people who put in the effort deserve to be rewarded.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. WMAnon Member

    Hey OP! I think you might actually get some people interested here if you can put together a coherent argument for patent and copyright reform, especially with regards to software. Obviously, your pitch isn't there yet, but that doesn't mean it's something we don't care about. If you need help putting your argument together, we can probably help once you've done your research. Good luck!
    • Like Like x 4
  4. Anonymous Member

    It's not my personal pitch but I'll see what I can do. From what I learned it seemed a real threat. It wasn't a matter of one or two controversial patents but thousands of the damn things. However I realise YANMPA and I appreciate your interest.
  5. Anonymous Member



    If you post it, it's yours.
  6. Anonymous Member

    Do you want a government enforced monopoly? Then support patents and copyrights.
    But the government is somewhat inconsistent about enforcing them.

    Look up Major Robert Armstrong, who invented FM. He was not allowed to patent it.
    also, the early US airplane industry was pretty much destroyed by Wright as patent troll. The government finally stepped in to decide the issue.
    IOW, aircraft manufacturers shared all their patents. IIRC, this didn't end until the 1970s. The aircraft manufacturers obviously didn't suffer from sharing their patents with the very companies patents are intended to protect them against. Hmm....

    The Constitution says secured for a limited time. A copyright can last over 100 years. That isn't 'limited' in a meaningful sense.

    And last, while I used to support IP, after seeing how the RIAA and others use it, it is not being used to promote science and the arts, but to protect corporate interests.

    I say: end all copyright and patents. The world will not end.
  7. Anonymous Member

    This is absolutely correct.

    A patent is an enforced monopoly on an invention.

    The problem is not that definition per se, but that patents are being allowed on things that are not truly inventions.

    But research funding for patentable devices would.

    The point of a patent is that it lets the inventor benefit from their investment in research. This is not in itself a bad thing.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Anonymous Member

    Who decides what is patentable? People, so there will always be uncertainty in the patent process, and it will depend not on science but on someone's judgement, "Is this a patent under the terms of the law?" will always be a judgement call

    Yep, that is the justification...and I want people to benefit from their ingenuity.

    So, why did Boeing, McDonald and the rest invent the various airplanes (707, 727, 737...) without patent protection? All their patents were available to their competitors in the patent pool so by your logic they would have had no reason to innovate. Yet they did, relentlessly.

    What is missing is that even if you have the blueprint for the entire plane, that is only the start of a long process. The person who has the print first has a definite time advantage, which in business translates to more profits. It takes a lot of time, sweat and effort to build the factory that builds the planes, so the blueprint might be there but the institutional knowledge is acquired only by experience. Anyone who has your patent has to recreate the manufacturing process to get up to speed. That is a major outlay of capital, human resources and time, and cannot be bypassed. And by the time they're up to speed, they've probably come up with several innovations of their own that you now have to deal with. ;)

    There was a lively music scene in the western world before copyrights came along. And these composers regularly 'stole' other composers themes and ran with them. In fact "theme and variation" is a time honored way to honor another composer, by taking his theme and ringing the changes on it.

    There are other ways for innovators to take advantage of their creations without involving the force of the state in the equation. I thought IP was a good thing but as I said, after seeing how it is used, I feel there has to be a better way.
  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    Pick Up the Phone and Tell Congress To Fix Patents | Electronic Frontier Foundation

    By Daniel Nazer, April 8, 2014

    Since the SHIELD Act was introduced two years ago, momentum has been building for patent reform in Congress. And when the House overwhelmingly passed the Innovation Act in December, it seemed real legislation might be close at hand. Since then, the Senate has been thrashing out its version of a patent bill. We need to keep up the pressure to make sure that any final deal includes meaningful reforms that will slow the flood of patent troll litigation. With the Senate about to break for recess, the next few days could be crucial.

    Our friends at Engine have set up an excellent call tool that allows you to call your senator and demand reform. Visit and call now!

    Continued at
    • Like Like x 2
  10. kthnxbai Member

    This is good news. Good luck.
  11. lulzRus Member

    The problem is that these days patents are very rarely owned by the inventor.

    They're owned by the corporation that hired them, and will fire them first if the company tanks on the stock market.

    Patents are costly if you want to properly protect your work. And even if you take a second mortgage on your home to pay the lawfags to get a proper patent, this does not mean that you'll get one penny out of it, because now you have to market your work, which is even more costly. Stories of garage dwelling inventors who make it big after all their hard work are cute, but I'm afraid they do not represent reality.

    I do not know any engineer who retired on royalties. Some of them even had to go back to work in their old age.
    • Like Like x 3
  12. The Wrong Guy Member

    Payback time: First patent troll ordered to pay “extraordinary case” fees | Ars Technica

    When Santa Barbara startup FindTheBest (FTB) was sued by a patent troll called Lumen View last year, it vowed to fight back rather than pay up the $50,000 licensing fee Lumen was asking for. Company CEO Kevin O'Connor made it personal, pledging $1 million of his own money to fight the legal battle.

    Once FindTheBest pursued the case, the company dismantled the troll in short order. In November, the judge invalidated Lumen's patent, finding it was nothing more than a description of computer-oriented "matchmaking."

    At that point, FindTheBest had spent about $200,000 on its legal fight—not to mention the productivity lost in hundreds of work hours spent by top executives on the lawsuit, and three all-company meetings.

    Now the judge overseeing the case has ruled (PDF) that it's Lumen View, not FindTheBest, that should have to pay those expenses. In a first-of-its-kind implementation of new fee-shifting rules mandated by the Supreme Court, US District Judge Denise Cote found that the Lumen View lawsuit was a "prototypical exceptional case."

    Continued at
    • Like Like x 4
  13. DeathHamster Member

    I hate patents where some scumbag has taken a well known idea that's been around forever, scribbles in "on a computer" or "on the Internet" after it, and gets a junk patent like it was something new.

    Hussah for Kevin O'Connor and FindTheBest!

    Matchmaking on a computer!

    Hello? Ever hear of that old term "computer dating"?
    • Like Like x 1
  14. The Wrong Guy Member

    Dating Site Fights Outrageous Trademark Claim from Mormon Church | Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Church Claims It Owns the Term 'Mormon'

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged a federal judge to quickly resolve a dispute over the use of the term "Mormon" in an online dating site, arguing that extended litigation based on a frivolous claim could bury a small business in its infancy.

    Intellectual Reserve, Inc., which manages intellectual property rights for The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, has made numerous trademark claims against a website called "Mormon Match," which offers online dating services for members of the LDS church. Intellectual Reserve concedes that the term "Mormon" can be used to describe church members generally, but claims that its "family of marks" using "Mormon" (such as "Mormon Tabernacle Choir") gives it the power to silence any business that dares to use the term in commerce. In an amicus brief filed Friday, EFF argues that because "Mormon" is undisputedly a descriptive term, its use in the name of the website is fair and legal.

    "The name of this service simply describes what it's doing – matching up Mormons," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "Trademarks are supposed to be used to protect from unfair competition, not to stifle a small business or to control language."

    Often, when websites or other projects get trademark complaints, the creators decide to change their content or services in order to avoid expensive litigation – even if they know they are in the right. Merely the threat of a trademark lawsuit, and the costs associated with it, is enough to chill many entrepreneurs, artists, and activists from innovative projects.

    "This case can and should be dismissed now," said EFF Staff Attorney Vera Ranieri. "The specter of expensive litigation shouldn't be a tool used to coerce Internet entrepreneurs and other content creators into succumbing to meritless infringement claims."

    Continued at
    • Like Like x 2
  15. lulzRus Member

    Looks like someone has been taking lessons from the clams.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. The Wrong Guy Member

    FindTheBest Wins Attorney’s Fees in Patent Troll Fight | Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Last three paragraphs:

    When FindTheBest moved for fees, Judge Cote ordered the parties to brief the issue under the new Octane standard. Her ruling reveals a clear understanding of Lumen View’s abusive tactics. Even though it did not have any basis for claiming infringement, the troll threatened to make litigation as expensive as possible. And when FindTheBest criticized its tactics, Lumen View made a bizarre request for a gag order. The troll’s weak claims, in combination with its abusive methods, easily justified a fee award. As Judge Cote wrote: “The question of whether this cased is exceptional is not close, and fee shifting in this case will ‘serve as an instrument of justice.’”

    What’s most significant, is that many of patent trolls’ favorite techniques were found to be a basis for shifting fees. For example, Lumen View had refused to explain to FindTheBest how the accused website involved the kind of "bilateral decision-making" claimed by the patent. This will be familiar to many patent troll victims who reach out to their accuser for an explanation only to be quoted a settlement demand. Similarly, Lumen View’s threats to make discovery as expensive as possible is a common tactic. Judge Cote’s decision should send a chilling warning to all bottom-feeder trolls who go after small businesses and individuals.

    Judge Cote’s ruling (indeed, her handling of the entire case) shows that trial courts have tools to crack down on patent troll abuse. Unfortunately, not all judges possess the time or inclination to use these tools. A more flexible standard for fee shifting will only increase the incentive for plaintiffs to file cases in courts that are perceived to patent friendly, like the Eastern District of Texas and the District of Delaware. We still need meaningful reform from Congress and the USPTO to stem the tide of patent troll abuse.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. The Wrong Guy Member

    • Like Like x 1
  18. Interesting. Thanks!
    The comments have some interesting moments:

    On edit: Sure doesn't make me eager to experience 'facetime' now I know who built it's security protocol.
  19. Andy Downs Member

    Did you see Amazon's new patent on photography?
    • Like Like x 1
  20. I did. And the temptation to shoot a number of photos with those parameters and display in public them has become overwhelming...
    • Like Like x 1
  21. Andy Downs Member

    I think we should apply for the same patent but different color backdrops

    And then give them away to anyone but Amazon
  22. <3
  23. The Wrong Guy Member

    • Like Like x 1
  24. The Wrong Guy Member

    Why Do Patent Trolls Go to Texas? It’s Not for the BBQ | Electronic Frontier Foundation

    There is a lot in our current patent system that is in need of reform. The Patent Office is too lax in granting patents. Federal Circuit case law has consistently favored patentees. Another part of this problem is the forum shopping by patentees that leads to a disproportionate number of cases being filed in the Eastern District of Texas.

    Back in 2011, This American Life did a one-hour feature called “When Patents Attack!” The story included a tour of ghostly offices in Marshall, Texas, where shell companies have fake headquarters with no real employees. For many people, it was their first introduction to the phenomenon that is the Eastern District of Texas, a largely rural federal court district that has somehow attracted a huge volume of high-tech patent litigation.

    The Eastern District of Texas is still number one for patent cases. Last year, there were just over 6,000 patent suits filed in federal courts around the country. One in four of those cases (24.54% to be exact) were filed in the Eastern District of Texas. But why do patent plaintiffs, especially trolls, see it as such a favorable forum? Partly, the district's relatively rapid litigation timetable can put pressure on defendants to settle. But other local practices in the Eastern District also favor patentees. And, in our view, they do so in a way that is inconsistent with the governing Federal Rules, and work to mask the consistent refusal by the courts in the Eastern District to end meritless cases before trial.

    Continued at
    • Like Like x 3
  25. The Wrong Guy Member

    The TROL Act is Not Enough To Stop Patent Trolls | Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Yesterday, a new patent reform bill passed out of subcommittee in the House. The bill, called the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act, or TROL Act, deals with the problem of misleading patent demand letters. While we are pleased that Congress is still taking an interest in patent trolls, this particular bill would achieve very little and is no substitute for real reform.
    • Like Like x 1
  26. The Wrong Guy Member

    As Congress Tackles Copyright Remedies, Electronic Frontier Foundation Publishes New Whitepaper on the Broken Penalty System

    Today, the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on "remedies" in copyright law—that is, the penalties, injunctions, and other means of challenging and penalizing alleged infringement. This is hugely important: fixing copyright’s remedy provisions (like excessive, unpredictable monetary penalties and government seizures of domain names) is key to ensuring that copyright does its job—helping to encourage creativity—without unduly interfering with free speech and innovation.

    To help the Judiciary Committee, and to explain why fixing this part of copyright law is so important, EFF is releasing a white paper today. Collateral Damages explains how copyright’s system of “statutory damages” chills free speech and harms innovation. Statutory damages are automatic penalties of $750 to $150,000 per infringed work that a judge or jury can award to copyright holders without the copyright holders having to present any proof of their actual harm. This system leads to excessive penalties, like $222,000 against a home Internet user for sharing 24 copyrighted songs. It’s also wildly unpredictable, with vastly different amounts being awarded by different juries for the same conduct, making lawsuits a gamble.

    Collateral Damages lays out some of the problems this system causes. The threat of excessive and unpredictable damages is why many filmmakers struggle to obtain the liability insurance their financial backers require. It's part of why innovators with new products that necessarily use and improve on creative work can't find investors. And it's one of the main reasons why so many unscrupulous lawyers have turned to copyright trolling to turn a failing movie or pornographic video into a litigation cash cow.

    Copyright doesn't need these excessive penalties to accomplish its purpose. EFF’s whitepaper suggests some ways that Congress can fix statutory damages, including requiring evidence of harm when it’s available and eliminating statutory damages for those who rely on fair use in a reasonable way.

    Statutory damages are likely to be a major topic at today’s hearing, and also at roundtable discussions that the Department of Commerce is holding next week: in Los Angeles on July 28 and Berkeley, California on July 29.

    Six years ago, a federal judge implored Congress to reform copyright's penalties. Let's hope Congress is finally ready to listen.


    • Like Like x 1
  27. The Wrong Guy Member

    • Like Like x 1
  28. The Wrong Guy Member

  29. DeathHamster Member

    I'd be shocked if Winfax didn't have that option before 1997. Patent office are goofs.
  30. The Wrong Guy Member

    • Like Like x 1
  31. The Wrong Guy Member

    • Like Like x 1
  32. The Wrong Guy Member

    Apple faces second suit from victorious patent firm | Reuters

    Fresh off a $532.9 million jury win against Apple Inc (AAPL.O), a Texas company is again suing the tech giant, this time over the same patents' use in devices introduced after the original case was underway.

    Smartflash LLC aims to make Apple pay for using the patent licensing firm's technology without permission in devices not be included in the previous case, such as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and the iPad Air 2. The trial covered older Apple devices.

    On Tuesday, a jury in federal court in Tyler, Texas found that Apple willfully violated three Smartflash patents with devices that use its iTunes software. The patents relate to accessing and storing downloaded songs, videos and games.

    The new complaint was filed on Wednesday night in the same court in Tyler, where Smartflash is also based and which over the past decade has become a focus for patent litigation. Smartflash licenses its patents but does not make products itself.


    Apple said after Tuesday's verdict it would appeal and that the outcome was another reason reform was needed in the patent system to curb litigation by companies that make money off patent royalties instead of products.

    More here:
    • Like Like x 1
  33. The Wrong Guy Member

    East Texas judge throws out 168 patent cases in one fell swoop | Ars Technica

    The most prolific patent troll of last year, eDekka LLC, has had its patent wiped out. The ruling (PDF) will shut down 168 lawsuits that eDekka filed based on US Patent No. 6,266,674, according to Texas Lawyer, which first reported the ruling.

    The ruling comes from a surprising source: US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, the East Texas judge who has been criticized for making life extra-difficult for patent defendants. Gilstrap, who hears more patent cases than any other US judge, will eliminate about 10 percent of his entire patent docket by wiping out the eDekka cases.

    Continued here:
    • Like Like x 1
  34. I'm believe in freedom but there is a conflict with my belief in freedom and my need in the current commercial and legal systems to pay my rent, pay my staff and move the world forward.
    My company works in energy and all my staff are paid the same rates, (A living wage determined by an external organisation) - we all then benefit equally from the profits of the company.
    But this is disproportionate to me - because i risked my personal money at personal sacrifice to build the company.
    We are currently developing software that will allow people all over the world to identify and create invest-able clean energy generation projects. - If our program is not protected and paid for by someone, how do we all pay our bills? how do we eat?
    This is a problem for me.
  35. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jury: Apple must pay $626 million to patent troll VirnetX | Ars Technica


    An East Texas jury has ruled that Apple must pay patent-holding company VirnetX $625.6 million for infringing four patents. It's a massive verdict for VirnetX, a company that has no products and makes its money solely through patent litigation.

    The verdict form (PDF) shows the jury found Apple infringed on every patent claim that was at issue. The first question was how much Apple should pay for infringement related to two VirnetX patents that it had already been ruled to infringe, and the jury held Apple should pay $334.9 million. The panel also found in VirnetX's favor on other, disputed patent claims, and ordered Apple to pay another $290.7 million for infringing those. The accused products included Apple's VPN on Demand, FaceTime, and the iMessage service.

    The VirnetX v. Apple showdown may be one of the last of its kind in which a "patent troll"-style company is able to wrest a nine-figure jury verdict from a tech company. Patent trolling still abounds and is increasingly concentrated in East Texas. But the ability to get huge verdicts has been dampened by changes in case-law, particularly the Supreme Court's 2014 Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank decision that made it easier for defendants to get software patents thrown out of court.

    Continued here:

Share This Page

Customize Theme Colors


Choose a color via Color picker or click the predefined style names!

Primary Color :

Secondary Color :
Predefined Skins