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Old 03-22-2011, 08:53 AM   #16
rhadin
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I actually wonder what does happen to those licensees when patent battles go sour.
It depends on the contract. Usually there is no refund because both parties to the contract have agreed that the patent is good. What does happen is that the contract is terminated. However, nothing happens until the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken, which can be years from now.

The license is really a form of insurance. It insures that the licensee won't be subject to a lawsuit. Like most insurance policies, it gets renewed year to year, whcih is what the license fee is -- the yearly insurance premium.
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:28 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Barty View Post
The patents include stuff like

Enable display of a webpage’s content before the background image is received, allowing users to interact with the page faster;
Permit users to easily select text in a document and adjust that selection; and
Provide users the ability to annotate text without changing the underlying document.

http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/
I can do that stuff on a Kindle too, is Amazon next?
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:59 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Giggleton View Post
I can do that stuff on a Kindle too, is Amazon next?
No. But a good observation.

This is about Microsoft vs Google, of course. But Google is currently too strong to attack directly.

Note how they explicitly mention Android. They're trying to create an impression that Android is inherently risky and it's bad business to use it. If you do, Microsoft will come and twist your hand behind your back.

The patents they cite are not related to Android, they are not even related to Linux on which Android is based. But most people won't notice. Microsoft just proclaims Android violates patents, and news will report that.

They go after Barnes & Noble because it's an easy target. Normally, high tech and software companies have arsenals of patents for mutually assured destruction. B&N doesn't, it's a book retailer with tech ambitions. Suing B&N is much easier than Google, which has lots of money and lawyers.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b0rsuk View Post

They go after Barnes & Noble because it's an easy target. Normally, high tech and software companies have arsenals of patents for mutually assured destruction. B&N doesn't, it's a book retailer with tech ambitions. Suing B&N is much easier than Google, which has lots of money and lawyers.
And brings up an interesting question-does Google jump in and help B&N?
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:06 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by markbot View Post
new business strategy. install some double agent plants in the patent office. get anything u want patented and start suing everyone.
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Originally Posted by Barty View Post
The patents include stuff like

Enable display of a webpage’s content before the background image is received, allowing users to interact with the page faster;
Permit users to easily select text in a document and adjust that selection; and
Provide users the ability to annotate text without changing the underlying document.

MS also patented the status bar, apparently. Poor Tim Berners-Lee must be kicking himself for not patenting the whole freaking WWW!

http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/


I'm not sure it is double agents, but you together have hit on an issue that has been a problem for some time. That is the patent office being too willing to grant patent protection to large corporations for very broad all encompassing ideas. Apple and Microsoft seem to be leaders in this. Smaller companies seldom have the wherewithal to mount a challenge to this and so must pay up.
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:49 PM   #21
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Just goes to show that Copyright doesn't have a monopoly on IP law stupidity.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:49 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamlet53 View Post
That is the patent office being too willing to grant patent protection to large corporations for very broad all encompassing ideas. Apple and Microsoft seem to be leaders in this. Smaller companies seldom have the wherewithal to mount a challenge to this and so must pay up.
Do you honestly think granting more patents to small businesses can help ? Read below:

Quote:
There’s one other important place that software patents come from, and it’s an important one. Startup companies get advised by venture capital firms and the lawyers that profit from them to gather a few software patents, “so you some valuable assets” and “so you can protect yourself”. (...)

Since most startups exist to be acquired, and since most startups actually go bust before that happens, their software patents then get bought – at fire-sale prices – by patent trolls, perhaps assisted by the same people who recommend the patents be created.
http://webmink.com/2011/03/18/parallel-filing/

Shaggy:

Patents and copyright are the two sides of the same coin: monopoly. Patent is a monopoly to sell a mechanical invention or a piece of software. Copyright is a monopoly to sell literary works or software.

(Note how software has it funny - it's affected by both)
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Old 04-27-2011, 09:51 PM   #23
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I'm a human being, not a lawyer, so I don't pretend to really understand any of this. But it seems to me this is all business as usual in the patent wars:

1. Get a patent; make it as broad as you can get away with (the USPTO is generally very helpful with this).

2. Assert your patents often and vigorously; make BIG claims -- much broader than the actual patent justifies.

It's just the way lawyers say, "Hello".

After all the good mornings have been said, the negotiating begins, terms are struck, agreements signed. Patent SOP. These things are almost always done and dusted in back rooms without ever seeing daylight.

The only difference this time is B&N didn't roll (as has already been pointed out, not having a suitable patent arsenal to counter-assert, this was probably its only option), though I expect "equitable terms" will still be reached before the case sees a jury. Though by framing it in terms of "Microsoft vs. Android", B&N has guaranteed a level of media exposure that MS is probably not entirely comfortable with, given its own besmirched history of anti-competitive behavior.

I'm not generally one to defend Microsoft, but I suspect in this case it really is just doing what every other company with a patent arsenal has traditionally done. All we've seen so far is the lawyering-up phase. This thing won't start getting interesting until it lands in front of a judge.

There has been a seismic shift in patent issues in the US over the past few years, as the USSC has moved to reign in patent abuse, thereby potentially shredding formerly lucrative patent portfolios. (Interestingly, one of those cases involved Microsoft defending against an AT&T infringement claim.) You gotta think nobody -- even Microsoft -- really knows for sure where their patents stand.
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:03 PM   #24
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Copyright is a monopoly to sell literary works or software. (Note how software has it funny - it's affected by both)
Software is licensed, not sold -- a highly important legal distinction that nobody except lawyers cares about.

And until the late '80s, software was considered unpatentable -- which is why software producers went the copyright/licensing route to protect their products. Throughout the '90s, an expansionist Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which was specifically created to deal with patent cases, began systematically allowing, then expanding, patents on software, creating the patent mess that exists in the US today. Fortunately, it looks like CAFC is getting tired of being overturned (often unanimously) by the USSC, and has taken a more conservative turn; viz., the Bilski case. Thereby, throwing into turmoil the whole patent mess it created in the first place.
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:04 PM   #25
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copyright challenges can take forever and cost a zillion dollars even if you do have the money and access to a powerful attorney.

Last edited by basschick; 04-27-2011 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:31 AM   #26
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Software is licensed, not sold -- a highly important legal distinction that nobody except lawyers cares about.
No, wait ! I care about it too. Assume software is licensed. Where's my free replacement copy when I lose my CD or my computer explodes ?

"License" is mostly an excuse to rip you off. Publishers prefer to give as little as possible. The flaws of physical goods combined with the flaws of licensed works. But none of the benefits of either. For example they try very hard to eliminate reselling - in games it's by unlock codes etc which work only on the initial install. Or you get DMCA requests if you try to sell on eBay. If I want my money back, why do I have to return all the media, the manual etc ? By the way, why is the license inside the box ?

And if we assume software is like physical property*, I should be able to do everything I fancy with my copy.

* not that I agree with this
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