patent infringment

17 replies to this topic
Posted 1+ years ago #2
xzess

this is a really annoying thing.

Thanks for Informations!

 
Posted 1+ years ago #3
xlsior

How do we find out if we are breaking patents before the big day?

Any program that has more than a paragraph of source code is bound to violate at least a dozen patents -- have a health bar? patented. Have any kind of auto-update? countless patents. Ask the user a question? patented. do any math? patented. write to disk? patented. Keep score? patented. Allow the user to set configuration options? patented. Use icons to represent actions? patented. keep score? patented. Store highscores? patented.

The real question is whether or not anyone will come after you for violating one of them... And unfortunately, no way to know until they do.

This is why many of the large companies (microsoft, ibm, google, oracle, etc.) collected the tens of thousands of patents they do: if a patent holder tries to smack microsoft for violating one of their patents, microsoft can turn right around and counter-sue for violation of a dozen of their patents in return.

It's a bit of mutually-assured-destruction -- the only way to win is to be the big dog here, a small hobby programmer is pretty much screwed if they wander into a larger companies crosshairs...

...Except the tides are slowly turning, and just being big doesn't really work anymore now there are shell companies that simply buy and own countless patents to sue others over, but that don't actually produce anything of their own that would violate patents in return.

Software patents are a VERY bad idea, and massive patent reform is badly needed.... But thanks to the countless of billions of dollars involved with these schemes its highly unlikely that anything is going to significantly change in the immediate future...

(And that is completely aside from the fact that the software lifecycles are so short that many of the patents might as well last an eternity in software years)

 
Posted 1+ years ago #4
AdamRedwoods

I hate these guys, and the ways they exploit the legal system solely as a means of profit.

A while back I did a little research:
http://groups.google.com/group/android-developers/browse_thread/thread/dd3b548a7c3835de#

Lodsys scorecard:
http://macindie.com/2011/06/the-patent-mess-a-scorecard/

Turns out they are suing everyone. Hopefully the EFF or one of the printer companies will step up and get this patent thrown out, since it is obviously too vague and Lodsys is abusing it beyond anything we've seen before... including Monster Cable's suing spree a while back.

http://www.droidgamers.com/index.php/game-news/android-game-news/1819-lodsys-at-it-again-hits-another-android-developer-with-patent-infringement-welcome-package

Lodsys LLC has been busy trying to sue a lot of people for patent infringement, some of which to date have been thrown out in some courts by the judge questioning that validity of the patents. Some previous targets this year alone have been Best Buy, Motorola, HP, Canon, Adidas, Hewlett-Pacard, Hulu, Lenovo, Lexmark, and Samsung, just to name a few. There there are all the iOS developers currently targeted by this company.

 
Posted 1+ years ago #5
AdamRedwoods

....and suing Electronic Arts....Atari.... Take-Two.... Square Enix....

 
Posted 1+ years ago #6
AdamRedwoods

My other thought is that developers could band together to create a fund to pay licensing to Lodsys as a group. If anyone needs licensing, they join and pay into the group. If Lodsys is willing, create a scale pay structure based on the number of developers in that group. All are covered by the same license.

This way, it's like a "union" or collective bargainers.

 
Posted 1+ years ago #7
xlsior

Apple claimed that their licensing of the patent should be enough to shield the other developers in the appstore. Lodsys disagreed.

The problem with 'banding together' and paying off a company like lodsys for infringement, is that there's thousands of other companies just like them will also wake up and smell the coffee, demanding payment for all of the frivolous patents that they managed the scoop up.

There would be no end in sight.

Software patents are simply a massively bad idea, that's implemented even worse. the most blindingly stupidly obvious 'ideas' are patented, simply because someone submitted the patent with "on a computer" added to the end of a well-known mechanism.

"Yes, people have been paying money for products for millenia. But we have a patent on charging people for buying a product in exchange for credits on a computer ***ka-ching!!!*** "

 
Posted 1+ years ago #8
Aman

The problem here is not just with companies like Lodsys. It is with handling and granting software patent. A patent is a way to grant companies a legal weapon to have advantage over others. Take care of them, they take care of your economy. It is not a way to protect inventions. It's a business.

Steve jobs once said, we have been shameless about stealing ideas ... I don't care about being right, I care about being successful.

This is what is going wrong. The system protect immorality as long as there is a big pile of money behind it.

In the past, anyone with ideas could invent to bring something new to the world. Now, anyone with money can buy inventors and inventions to keep something new to himself.

Too bad I was not born 3000 years earlier. I would have patented spoons, forks, knives, wheels, fire, footwear, etc.

 
Posted 1+ years ago #9
degac

Software patents based ONLY on an idea should be automatically banned.
Every morning I wake up with 'some ideas', but this doesn't mean I can realize them: it doesn't cost me 1 cent, so I cant' see any valid reason to 'protect my investment'; moreover if I have never realized a program that implement that 'idea' (because I dont know how to realize it!) I have no cost at all!
No efforts, no rights!
Quite simle.

 
Posted 1+ years ago #10
FlameDuck

Its a scary world out there, when people own patents but only enforce them when you start to make money.

Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence. They cannot sue patent infringers, that they do not know about, thus it stands to reason that only the most obvious infringers get caught.

How do we find out if we are breaking patents before the big day?[/block]Get a patent lawyer, and hope for the best.

[quote]Any program that has more than a paragraph of source code is bound to violate at least a dozen patents

This isn't technically true. There is tons of code that was written prior to Software patents existing (or becoming standard practice).

Software patents are a VERY bad idea, and massive patent reform is badly needed.

This on the other hand is absolutely true.

I hate these guys, and the ways they exploit the legal system solely as a means of profit.

Which guys? The guys over at Lodsys who own the patent and are entitled to licensing fees if they so choose, or the guys over at Apple, who knew it was necessary to get a license (hint: The reason they're not being sued, is because they already have one), but didn't tell any of their developers?

My other thought is that developers could band together to create a fund to pay licensing to Lodsys as a group.

What would be their incentive? They can get a much better deal from individual licensees (and taking infringers to court) than they could ever get from a collective bargaining deal.

Software patents based ONLY on an idea should be automatically banned.

They usually are, or at least, they rarely stand up in court. The Lodsys patent doesn't simply read "If you buy something via a bit of software, you need to pay us, LOL!". It's actually a number of very specific patents, pertaining to a very specific solution. You should also know that Lodsys LLC isn't a mega company with deep pockets, who's abusing the system, and anyone claiming so is eschewing the facts, and being deliberately misleading (or arguing from ignorance, whichever you think is worst). Lodsys LLC is simply the legal entity of inventor Dan Abelow. Lodsys is the "independent inventor" and all the big boys are screwing him over, because they have all the money in the world. So you can all drop your righteous anger at them, as this is actually one of the few cases where patent law is working as intended (that is protecting the inventor from having his invention exploited by large corporations).

Yes it's unfortunate that a few developers get caught in the crossfire, but to be honest, Roxio has made over 24 million USD on Angry Birds (the game alone, not counting the merchandise which is probably triple that), they can probably afford to pay a license to the guy who made it possible for them to become rich. If the shoe was on the other foot, and Lodsys LLC where selling knock-off Angry Birds plushies, would people still side with the party willfully breaking the law? I think not.

 
Posted 1+ years ago #11
AdamRedwoods

Did you read about the small developers he was suing?

Lodsys holds a patent on a process that many developers are coming up with independently. Hardly a novel idea anymore, so therefore the patent is being exploited as a way to bring in revenue. Legal threats as a way to make money is a poor use of the legal system.

Patents are meant to protect the researchers work but I dont see how Lodsys patent is protecting anyones work.

 
Posted 1+ years ago #12
FlameDuck

Lodsys holds a patent on a process that many developers are coming up with independently.

Independently of what?

Hardly a novel idea anymore, so therefore the patent is being exploited as a way to bring in revenue.

I'm sorry. I wasn't aware patents where only designed to protect "novel" ideas. How do you measure what ideas are novel? The patent was granted in 2007, and if your idea isn't plagiarising the Lodsys idea (that is, you came up with it entirely independently) you're in the clear. But most people don't come up with the idea independently. Most people use the API provided by Apple.

Legal threats as a way to make money is a poor use of the legal system.

I agree. A much better way to make money was to license your technology. This however is hard to do, when some people feel they're entitled to use said technology for free. In which case you really don't have many repercussions, except using the legal system.

Patents are meant to protect the researchers work but I dont see how Lodsys patent is protecting anyones work.

No, that's copyright. Patents are meant to protect inventions. And it's protecting their invention. You might not think it's a big deal, but the rest of the world disagrees with you. I mean think of all the different types of semiconductors we may not have had, if Bell Labs hadn't patented the transistor in '47.

[a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-26/google-general-counsel-says-patents-are-gumming-up-innovation.html"]Here is Kent Walkers take on it[/a] in short, if you have an independent invention, which can "be used as defence against litigation", you already have a buyer. Trust me. You make a bit of software, which performs similarly to the Lodsys patent, using a different technique, you'd be set for life. Google doesn't fuck around.

"A patent is a patent and you may not agree with it, but itís the law."

 
Posted 1+ years ago #13
GfK

Google doesn't fuck around.

Can you cut the toilet language, please?

 
Posted 1+ years ago #14
AdamRedwoods

The word "novel" may not have been the exact wording, but very similar, that is used in the US Patent office's rules and regulations. I remember it being a subjective term that is used in their review process. In other words they do not allow patents on ideas that are common enough to be in the public domain. There are already companies that have challeneged Lodsys patents for US internal review based on the 'is it novel enough' rule.

So what i'm trying to point out is that if one could prove to the USPO that the idea was already in the public domain, then the patent could be reviewed and revoked.

Another point: patents for DNA are not meant to protect the invention, since no one invented the dna in our cells, but rather the millions of dollars of research that was done to get the sequencing. So overall patents can be used for good, protecting those who actually do the work, versus patenting a work process that many people will eventually do on their own.

Lodsys is targeting anyone with a "buy from our online store" button, not specifically over a specific api. Example, Brothers printers are being sued as well.

 
Posted 1+ years ago #15
FlameDuck

So what i'm trying to point out is that if one could prove to the USPO that the idea was already in the public domain, then the patent could be reviewed and revoked.

Which is exactly why Google are paying big bucks for technology for use in "litigation defense".

Another point: patents for DNA are not meant to protect the invention,

Yes they are.

since no one invented the dna in our cells

"The DNA in our cells" is not identical. You have different DNA from me. Humans have different DNA than Maize. DNA patents are meant to protect inventions obtained either through genetic modification (for instance fungus resistant wheat) or selective breeding (ragdoll cats).

Lodsys is targeting anyone with a "buy from our online store" button, not specifically over a specific api.

That's because other companies are not necessarily obligated to provide Lodsys with details of their implementation, so they really have no other option than to cast as wide a net as possible and let the courts sort out who is using their technology without a license, and who figured out another way to do it on their own, with all the problems that brings (like whether the courts are technically inclined enough to distinguish). Do I think it's pointless and wasteful? Yes. Do I agree that software patents stifle innovation? Absolutely. Patents in general, and software patents in particular are anachronisms with no place in modern society (much like copyrights) that where not originally designed to account for corporate greed and lobbyist. But it's the law, and it's not likely to change in the near future.

 
Posted 1+ years ago #16
hardcoal

I will just use a chinies name as developer or company and let them search for me in china

 
Posted 1+ years ago #18
xlsior

One more thing to remember: ignorance is bliss. If you unknowingly violate a patent you may get a cease-and-desist, but if you KNOWINGLY did so then you could be on the line for triple damages.