Weblog Entries: Patents

Yahoo Settles Patent Dispute

Internet giant Yahoo has been the latest victim in a series of patent infringement cases filed by NCR, a United States based manufacturer of ATMs and holder of some 1500 patents. Its 15 recent claims are brought against key electronic commerce players, claiming infringement of several of their patents governing electronic transactions. Significantly, the patents involve fundamental aspects of e-commerce, and (were a verdict reached) may have spurned thousands of further claims against leading electronic stores.  Read more »

The $29.5 Million Haskell Question

Sitting in yet another laboratory class writing demeaningly simple programs, my mouse wanders off in search of news.

First up, from Slashdot, comes word of an interesting roundup of bluetooth headsets. I look forward to the day when I can buy a wireless mobile phone hands-free kit for right side of $100 dollars.  Read more »

Using Patents for Good: Open Source DNA

An Australian organisation hopes to give scientists free access to the latest methods in biotechnology via the internet. The Biological Innovation for Open Society (‘BIOS’) will soon launch an open-source platform that promises to free up rights to patented DNA sequences and the methods needed to manipulate biological material. Users must only follow BIOS’ ‘rules of engagement’, which are similar to those used by the open-source software community.  Read more »

European Parliament Scraps Software Patent Proposal

In a victory for free software advocates of the European Union, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (JURI) has decided to restart the software patent directive from scratch. Since its introduction in May 2004, the proposal has been heavily criticised as inviting abuse by patent holders and placing overly restrictive covenants upon open source software.  Read more »

Microsoft Applies for Latitude/Longitude Patent, or Some USPO Hilarity

The United States Patent Office on Friday released details of Microsoft’s latest patent application, this time for ‘[a] computer-implemented method of reducing the number of characters required to represent coordinates within a geographically-oriented string’.  Read more »

Amazon Applies for Patent over Personal Search History

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued details of a recent patent application made by Amazon.com, which describes a method for persistently storing and serving event data. Essentially, this allows their search engine, A9, to store and remember personal search histories.  Read more »

European Parliament to Reconsider Software Patents Directive

The European Parliament has unanimously backed a motion for the European Commission to review its proposal for a software patents directive, in accordance with decisions taken by the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on February 2 and the Conference of Presidents on February 17:  Read more »

Microsoft Wins Appeal in Eolas Patent Case

This just in from Ars Technica:  Read more »

Patent System Flawed, Says IBM

Jim Stallings, vice-president of International Business Machines’ intellectual property and standards group, last week attacked the patent system as rewarding ‘bad behaviour’. He said it encourages the stockpiling and oppressive use of patents by undeserving corporations:  Read more »

The Difference Between Software and Drug Patents

Brookings Institute Scholar Ben Klemens has a nice little OpEd over on BI's site about patent reform and why there is an important difference between software patents and other kinds of patents:  Read more »

Apple loses iPod patents to Microsoft

Apple has certainly been the brand associated with the near ubiquitous iPod, but Microsoft beat its rival by five months when it applied for patents on some of the key technologies inside the music player. Last month the US Patent and Trademark Office rejected Apple's application. But the case is not over just yet and, as The San Francisco Chronicle reports in Apple loses bid on patent, Apple still has some recourse and can appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.  Read more »

Microsoft's Bold Patent Move

theodp writes "On Thursday, the USPTO disclosed that Microsoft has a patent pending for displaying numbers in a box to make them stand out. " Check out the images to see the power of this breakthrough patent. That's almost impossible to do without patents.

Originally by CmdrTaco at Slashdot: Your Rights Online, 12:25 PM

Perens Dismisses Torvald's Patent Pool

'Open source activist Bruce Perens has dismissed as inadequate a new IP initiative backed by Linus Torvalds. The Open Source Development Labs' ('OSDL') patent commons project is intended to provide patent protection to open source developers. Perens, speaking at LinuxWorld, compared the patent pool to "spitting in the wind" -- because the patents it contained come from "the wrong people."'

Originally by CmdrTaco at Slashdot: Your Rights Online, 4:07 PM  Read more »

Amazon Tastes Own Medicine: Software Patents in Action

Amazon.com is coughing up $40m to settle a patent infringement case with Soverain Software covering ecommerce patents. Yesterday, Amazon announced in an SEC filing that it had reached a settlement with Soverain, which included a $40m one-time payment, the dismissal of all claims and counterclaims, mutual releases and a non-exclusive licence to Soverain's patent portfolio.  Read more »

Google Seeks Patent for RSS Advertisements

According to The Register, ‘Google has filed for a patent that covers advertisements in syndicated content’. Application No 20050165615 concerns a method for ‘Embedding advertisements in syndicated content’:

 Read more »

iPod Patent Dispute Unlikely to Affect Apple's Bottom Line

'Apple Computer lost out to Microsoft in its attempt to patent technology relating to its top-selling iPod music players, but many believe Apple's miscue will ultimately result in embarassment rather than monetary loss. Microsoft developer John Platt filed a patent application five months before Apple, according to US Patent and Trademark Office documents. Apple's application, filed by CEO Steve Jobs and other officials in October 2002, was turned down by patent officials in July.  Read more »

iPod Comes Under New Patent Challenge

'Raising another legal threat to the iPod music player, Creative Technology said it has been awarded a US patent for a song-navigation technology it claims is used on Apple Computer's market-leading devices. The Singapore-based digital audio company did not, however, say how it would try to enforce the patent. And some experts were skeptical that legal action could succeed at extracting cash from the maker of the world's most popular music players.'  Read more »

GPL 3.0 to Contain Possible Patent Retaliation Clause

‘GPL version 3, a draft of which will be released in January 2006, may contain a patent retaliation clause, Georg Greve, the president of the Free Software Foundation Europe, said Tuesday. Such a clause would mean that if a company accused a free-software product of infringing its software patents, that company would lose the right to distribute that product.  Read more »

The Law of Unintended Consequences: Patents

'Fortune has an interesting article about the relationship between patent law and innovation. It compares the biotech industry with the computer industry and discusses the effects of the Bayh-Dole amdendment, which has allowed universities to make a lot of cash. But in the process innovation and scientific collaboration seem to have been stifled.'

Originally by samzenpus at Slashdot: Your Rights Online, 12:26 PM

Patent Reform: High-Tech Firms Lose Ground to Drug Industry

'Opposition from drug and biotech companies has forced lawmakers to water down a bill cracking down on the so-called patent trolls -- people who get patents for products they never plan to make, just so they might be able to sue for infringement later -- who are bedeviling the high-tech industry. The resulting draft legislation drew criticism from a top Democrat at a hearing Thursday, and a warning from a high-tech group that said lawmakers could be risking the industry's support.'  Read more »

The Ongoing BlackBerry Patent Dispute

'Somewhere along the way, in the six years since Research in Motion Ltd introduced the BlackBerry, the e-mail message device became the company's destiny. Then a federal court injunction in a patent infringement suit threw RIM's future in disarray and threatened to knock the BlackBerry out of the US market. Worse, RIM's tormenter was not IBM Corp, Motorola Inc or some other tech behemoth, but NTP Inc, an obscure patent-holding company in northern Virginia.'

Originally by Law.com - Tech Law Practice Center, 12:27 PM  Read more »

Patent Office upholds Eolas browser patent

Scene set for re-trial

Microsoft has suffered a blow in its battle against a claim that Internet Explorer infringes a web browser patent: the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced this week that it has re-examined the patent and found it to be valid.…

Originally by The Register - Software, 9:50 PM

Microsoft FAT patent rejected - again

On a technicality

The US Patent and Trademarks Office has thrown out two Microsoft patents on its FAT file system. The case had been raised by open source defenders who feared that Microsoft was preparing a legal offensive against Linux based on enforcement of intellectual property rights. But the Patent Office rejected the patents because of an administrative technicality - not because of prior art submitted by the F/OSS team.…

Originally by The Register - Software, 9:50 PM  Read more »

One Lawyer's Amazonian Adventure

Patent attorneys are used to going up against big companies for infringement, but for Pillsbury partner James Gatto, the battle is getting personal. That's because the attorney is fighting Amazon.com for infringement on his personal patent, an almost unheard of situation in the IP legal community.  Read more »

Cross-Border Patent Infringement

Robert C. Scheinfeld, head of the intellectual property group at Baker Botts, and Parker H. Bagley, partner at Milbank Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, write that as technology companies expand their development, use and sale of complex software to all corners of the globe, it becomes extremely important to understand the boundaries of U.S. Patent Law. Three recent Federal Circuit cases address cross-border patent infringement and should be of special interest to today's innovators.  Read more »