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Bezos Patents Information Exchange 173

Posted by samzenpus
from the i-can't-tell-you dept.
theodp writes "Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was handed a patent Tuesday for Information exchange between users of different web pages. Tough to tell what exactly it might cover ('various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention'), although RSS Newsreaders, TrackBacks, and Google News come to mind. Elements of Bezos' invention may evoke a sense of deja vu in those who used Third Voice or the Annotation Engine."
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Bezos Patents Information Exchange

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  • deja vu indeed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ChipMonk (711367) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:06PM (#12437030) Journal
    Is it time to re-institute the boycott?
    • Is it time to re-institute the boycott?

      Yeah, but then how can you order wine over the Net?

      Just read in Seattle PI that Amazon's doing that now.

    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @09:06PM (#12437432)
      Amazon, Microsoft, and many others stack up their patents like cold war super powers building up weapons. The idea is that so long as you don't fall too far behing in the arms race you can hold your position.

      To an extent, the people locked in the game are almost, but not quite, the victims. You can't reasonably say fsckit I'm not playing the patent game any longer - the others would be onto you like a pack of hungry street dogs attacking a weakened comrade. The USPTO loves the fact that they're processing heaps of patents and generating nice revenue. It makes them look powerful and important. Like the arms race, the only people that won out of it were the arms suppliers - not the recers themselves.

      • by symbolic (11752) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @10:59PM (#12438098)
        To an extent, the people locked in the game are almost, but not quite, the victims

        It seems more likely that the scope of victimization extends far beyond just the companies involved. A patentholder could exercise any and or all of its claims at any point, and at any terms, leaving those on the other side in a somewhat tenuous state. I see this as a way to raise the barrier of entry quite substantially. Once, all it took was a good idea and some programming skill, Now, almost certainly, one will need adequate legal counsel as well, which for many, simply isn't an option.

        The USPTO loves the fact that they're processing heaps of patents and generating nice revenue.

        That's about all it's generating. This madness certainly isn't helping is stated purpose, which is to foster innovation.

        Like the arms race, the only people that won out of it were the arms suppliers

        Don't forget the lawyers. They're masters at the art of bottom-feeding and scavenging off others' misfortune.
        • Don't forget the lawyers.

          One key to tort reform is removing those laws that lead to productivity-draining lawsuits. Far more effective than capping the awards available would be removing any special basis in law for civil action.

          Patent law is currently about enabling lawyers to enrich themselves while stifling innovation.
      • The fact that companies are forced to get patents in order to be able to negotiate doesn't mean that they have to get bad patents. There are plenty of things Amazon could get patents on that are innovative.

        Amazon's and Bezos's patents seem to represent a particular low point among software patents. And that is a reason to boycott them.
    • by ylikone (589264)
      everybody start violating them and completely ignoring them. they can't sue everybody. right?
    • Is it time to re-institute the boycott?

      Why? Was it ever ended?

  • Holy... (Score:5, Informative)

    by FireballX301 (766274) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:06PM (#12437036) Journal
    ABSTRACT OF THE PATENT:

    A method and system for allowing users of different web pages to exchange information. The information exchange system identifies groups of related web pages and maintains a database of user-supplied information for each group of related web pages. When a user accesses a web page, the information exchange often displays in a separate area the information associated with the group of related web pages. Also, the information exchange system allows the user to enter information that will be displayed to other users who access related web pages.

    Note the prevalence of 'user-supplied'. From my interpretation, it's just a system that allows users to provide information about a category of 'related' web pages, and for that to show up.

    Sounds suspiciously like Wikipedia to me.
    • Re:Holy... (Score:2, Insightful)

      Wikipedia? Yeah I guess so, but I think Bezos has patented the whole idea of the World Wide Web. A bunch of users, with a bunch of content, all linked to each other when some sort of relevant information is available.

      Can you say "Prior Art?" We knew you could.
    • Abstract indeed. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShaniaTwain (197446)
      Sounds suspiciously like Wikipedia to me.

      or like del.icio.us [del.icio.us] or any other tag based link manager.
    • Re:Holy... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Paleomacus (666999) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:14PM (#12437116)
      Also, the information exchange system allows the user to enter information that will be displayed to other users who access related web pages.

      Sounds like he patented Slashdot and any kind of forum system.
    • Re:Holy... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ravind (701403) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:22PM (#12437169)
      There's a very good article [syr.edu] here about what getting a patent actually means.

      To quote:
      "the question is not whether you will be able to obtain a patent, a patent most certaily will be able to be obtained. In fact, by some estimates well over 90% of all patent applications ripen into some form of an issued United States patent."

      And from another example [syr.edu]:
      The fact that a patent can be obtained or has been obtained does not mean that a valuable asset has been obtained, and this "invention" is a wonderfully vibrant example of that. There must always be consideration given to whether the protection that is or could be obtained is worthwhile to obtain in light of the intended use.

      So if Bezos wants to waste his money on lawyers, good for him.

      • USPTO delenda est.
      • Re:Holy... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by natrius (642724) * <niranNO@SPAMniran.org> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:44PM (#12437304) Homepage
        So if Bezos wants to waste his money on lawyers, good for him.

        Bezos has the money to spend on patents. College students in a garage developing Amazon++ don't. The threat of legal action shuts them down. That's why patents shouldn't be granted like that. A suit for anything else would get thrown out as frivolous. Once you have a patent, you have to spend money to get it invalidated. Uncool, and unconstitutional. Instead of "promot[ing] the Progress of Science and useful Arts," it hinders it.
      • So if Bezos wants to waste his money on lawyers, good for him.

        Not exactly. It's more like Bezos wants other people to waste their money on lawyers, as they are fighting his frivolous patent empire. Basically people like Bezos can patent anything, no matter whether there's prior art, or even if the claim is so vague that it can be applied to almost any current or future system. Like people say, patents will be granted without fact checking 90% of the time.

        The dangerous part is that it's believed a frivolo
    • Actually it sounds *exactly* like the Third Voice mentioned in the summary.

    • a share and recommendation system to me.

      But then, it's ambiguous (intentionally I'm sure) and could apply to just about anything, including web logs.
  • and then hire about 5000 very well paid lawyers ...

    if you want to dispute the Patent.

    Maybe we should admit that the software Patent concept is just wrong?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The problem is not with software patents. The problem is that the Patent Office is handing out all sorts of patents left right and center, without checking for prior art or non-obviousness. And there's no way to effectively dispute it without spending millions going to court.

      Just because the current system has been abused beyond all recognition does not mean that the concept of software patents is a bad thing.
      • by Drishmung (458368) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @09:51PM (#12437704)
        Just because the current system has been abused beyond all recognition does not mean that the concept of software patents is a bad thing.
        Maybe not, but it is a data point supporting that argument.

        If we want to go back to first principles, start by asking what the purpose of a 'patent' is. Then see if software patents achieve, or are ever likely to achieve that purpose.

    • by bleckywelcky (518520) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:56PM (#12437370)
      You know the patent is complete bullshit when they start adding in things like:

      various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention

      Especially when the patent itself is already vague. If you were the first to design and build a piston-driven internal combustion engine, and you want to cover different sized pistons, different numbers of pistons, and different piston formations (V, I, radial, etc) ... then fine.

      But when your patent is already vague, ie 'a different method for doing something that tons of people already do' and then you add 'various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention' you're basically asking the patent office to give you the right to rip everyone else off.

      You know what I think the patent office needs to do? Suspend granting any more software patents until they can get their ass in shape. Maybe _no_ software patents is the answer, maybe _some_ software patents is the answer, I don't know. All I know is that the current system is complete bullshit, rubbish, etc and needs to be put on hiatus until we can properly figure out what the hell is going on and what constitutes ingenuity in software.
      • " You know the patent is complete bullshit when they start adding in things like:

        various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention"

        Nope, this is standard patent language. This is to prevent someone from claiming something like "I did this on a web page with a black background which isn't specifically covered in the patent spec and therefore I'm not infringing."

        If you read the rest of the paragraph, the patent coverage is bounded by what's in the claims.

        I'm no
    • Maybe we should admit that the software Patent concept is just wrong?

      On one hand I agree.

      On the other hand I do see some jerks making money off ideas I have helped to develop (signal processing, back when I was in physics). I wish I could have patented that then, for personal gain.

      And then I cached off some patent portfolio powered aquisition.

      So my other hand (then one I use to feed myself) disagrees. :)

    • Maybe we should admit that the software Patent concept is just wrong?

      I case you missed it, the best part of all is that America tries to export this lunacy to the rest of the world as IP reform.

      How screwed up is your government? The word reform would be recoiling in horror if it even cared anymore.
    • and then hire about 5000 very well paid lawyers ... if you want to dispute the Patent.

      All it takes is one (not necessarily well-paid) lawyer with the right arguments to invalidate a patent. It's not the number of lawyers that's going to win a patent litigation case, it's the amount and quality of research (for prior art) that does...

      ... which still sucks, because it places the burden on a lot of people, while filing a bogus patent is absolutely trivial. Since USPTO examiners started awarding patents

  • by The_Rippa (181699) * on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:08PM (#12437054)
    Can you patent the concept of getting idiotic and vague patents on computer concepts?

    Oh wait, too much prior art.
  • by Joff_NZ (309034) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:08PM (#12437055) Homepage Journal
    I patent kicking Jeff Bezos in the nuts.. oh no, wait, I'd want anyone to be free to do that in an unrestricted, royalty free fashion....
    • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:13PM (#12437102) Homepage Journal
      I suggest you GPL your invention.

      That way, whenever anybody in the world kicks somebody in the nuts, they also have to kick Jeff as well.
      • I suggest you GPL your invention.

        That way, whenever anybody in the world kicks somebody in the nuts, they also have to kick Jeff as well.

        I have been using /. for years and this is the first time I've posted a "mod parent up" post. Holy crap. It almost made me force liquid through my nose.

        - Greg

      • lol. Bravo, sir. Bravo.
    • Better patenting and donate it to the open groin kicking software group then. Other wise someone will patent "Foot connecting to very small and pathtic size reproductive system" and well you're screwed,
    • .. I don't know - if you made the price reasonable you might get people lining up for their chance.

      3. PROFIT!
    • That is far too specific for a patent anyway.

      There are plenty of people who deserve a kick in the nuts. [caldera.com]

      (IMHO)
    • At first glance I read the story headline as "Bozos Patent Information Exchange" and for once, I thought the headline fit the story.

    • If you don't patent it, then someone else could do so and restrict the use of it. Instead, videotape yourself kicking Jeff Bezos in the nuts and share it on Kazaa as "BRITNEY SPEARS HAVING SEX WITH DONKEY.avi". If anyone tries to patent it, there'll be prior art all over the Internet.
    • I'd want anyone to be free to do that in an unrestricted, royalty free fashion

      As the patent holder you can certainly stipulate that, just as a copyright holder has a choice of license terms, and can even release a work under two contradictory licenses at the same time (e.g. GPL and proprietary).

      Let me suggest a reverse-license-fee scheme. Decide how much money you're willing to spend on nut-kicking, and permit first N people to use your patented nut-kicking technique only if they accept a small paymen

  • Oh my goodness (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Council (514577) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eornumr'> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:09PM (#12437069) Homepage
    Clearly, this is an attempt to patent information transfer of an absurdly ordinary kind and we should all run around in circles of indignation without reading the actual patent or having any context whatsoever for the headline, which is as usual inflammatory.

    I can't believe he's trying to patent all forms of information transfer on the internet! This is absurd and an example of why IP is wrong or its application corrupt!

    • Well, the headline is almost certainly inflamatory - this is /. after-all.

      That said, it is clearly an attempt to patent information transfer of an absurdly ordinary kind

      Parent seems to be modded troll unfairly as the second paragraph gives the lie to the first?!

      Frickin' stoopid patent though.

    • Didn't Mr. Bezos come forth after that wonderfully innovative "one-click" patent and so much as state that the patent process was in need of reform?
    • Not to put words in your mouth, but ...

      I can't believe he's trying to patent all forms of information transfer on the internet! This is absurd and an example of why IP is wrong or its application corrupt!

      Should probably read

      I can't believe he's trying to patent all forms of information transfer on the internet! This is absurd and an example of why IP is wrong AND its application corrupt!

      The private ownership of thought, be it ideas or expression, is an abomination and IMHO a crime against the human
  • by TopSpin (753) * on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:09PM (#12437070) Journal
    ...the information exchange system provides a client-side component and a server-side component. The client-side component executes on a user's computer, and the server-side component executes on an information exchange computer. The client-side component, which may be a browser plug-in, a proxy server, or other type of program, monitors a user's access to web pages. When a web page is accessed...

    Does that not make you want to retch? Legitimizing spyware with patents.

    At least one can be fairly confident it won't "plug-in" to things not Windows.
  • Great how this software does not discuss where it comes into play..

    Assumingly through a proxy, or web portal software...

    But if it integrates into IE, Opera, Firefox, or whatever... which one will be chosen... Will there be a monopoly on Inter user exchange of data? Oh my!

    • Great how this software does not discuss where it comes into play..

      Assumingly through a proxy, or web portal software...


      It does. Read it again. Claim 9 talks about receiving an indication of a web page, retrieving that page and sending it to the user with additional information attached. Clearly a proxy server. The other two claims don't specify any particular mechanism, so either client side modification or code executing during production of the 'first web page' could implement the mechanism.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Isn't amazing that he has time to run Amazon and invent RSS newsreaders, Trackbacks and Google News!
  • by markana (152984)
    At first glance, this appears to cover any sort of web-based forum, such as Slashdot. At least ones that allow users to post comments vieweable by other users.

    Then again, /. may be their primary target :-)

    I'll have to sit down and read over the 3 primary claims again (1,9,16), but I'll bet this thing's got P.A. all over it. Especially since they only cited *2* references, and thiese ideas have been out there for quite a while.
  • by monopole (44023) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:16PM (#12437132)
    Luser CEO attitude re-adjustment tool (LCART)(pat. pend.)
    and
    Luser Patent Examiner attitude re-adjustment tool (LPEART) (pat. pend.)

    Using this patent as proof that neither innovation has an example of a effectively deployed prior art. I will of course licence such devices to any indivdual as long as he demonstrates a willingness to use them in the field.
    Items used by the much deserving recipents of adjustment to shield themselves will be punished for the use of circumvention devices to the full extent of the law, followed by further adjustment.
    • Patent #625354434436563653

      Title: The Jeff Bezos Scrotum Destroying Kick

      Scope:

      This patent applies to all methods of kicking Jeff Bezos in the scrotum in an effort to progenerate irreversible damage to the reproductive system. Heretofore the scrotum may be referred to as balls, nuts, jangles, hairy walnut,twig'n'berries, groin, nads, scroties, scroticles, bushdongles, daddybag, teabag, chin wipers, swigglers, tom&jerry, or whatever other term one can conjure for that region of the body.

      This patent cov
  • Bezos is a PR Whore (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hoka (880785) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:24PM (#12437182)
    I followed Bezos freshmen year for an research writing class since I was researching Tech Patent law. I can safely say that Bezos is just a pure PR whore when it comes to patents, his current patents have various issues and are very over-generalized. I've yet to fully read through this one but it appears no different. When he originally took heat he started a group to "revolutionize" the tech patent industry, where people who find prior art to bad patents would be rewarded. Of course he put up Amazons patents up for prize money, and when people started to come in with information as prior art, he claimed that they were "too different" and shut down completely. The contact information and phone number has been obsolete/cut off for years.
    • Of course he put up Amazons patents up for prize money, and when people started to come in with information as prior art, he claimed that they were "too different" and shut down completely. The contact information and phone number has been obsolete/cut off for years.

      Telling people who are filing bad patents about prior art only makes it easier for them to amend their patents in ways that makes it harder to fight them later.

      Do not supply prior art information to people filing bad patents.
  • by gnuadam (612852) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:28PM (#12437204) Journal

    I understand the need to complain about the patents that are issued over software in the US, but let me ask a question. Has anyone thought that articles such as this might later be used as evidence that OSS programmers should have been aware of the existence of the patent, and set them up for the triple damages provision of patent law?

    Just a thought.

    • But no one reads the articles on /., we're safe as long as the judge knows it ;)
    • More so than the patent having been filed? I suppose you can argue that a slashdot reader would be more likely to have read the article (and potentially subpoena server logs,if they're kept for long enough), but without the logs it'd be hard to prove thay any given reader read it.
  • When is Amazon going to learn that aggregation of patents is not the way to win over the hearts of the masses? When will amazon officially go evil on us and start reporting on our usage information?!? waahh
    • by MushMouth (5650)
      Q) How many patent lawsuits has amazon filed?


      A) one against bn.com 5 years ago.


      Patents are defensive as well as offensive, also amazon has it's own notation prior ar

      • Patents are defensive as well as offensive, also amazon has it's own notation prior ar

        Let's see if I can summarize this entire matter in one sentence:

        "Either we patent this or Microsoft will"

        OK, that wasn't so hard. Substitute Microsoft for any organization willing to attempt unethical patent enforcement (see also FAT on flash licenses). When they do come calling you need some of your own bullshit patents to offer as a cross-licensing deal. The lawyers make out best in these situations.

        The system is
  • Invalid? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:37PM (#12437264)
    One of the things I've noticed on these software patents is that they often list the CEO of the company as one of the inventors. While that may be true some of the time, I wonder if Bezos is *really* one of the inventors of this technology under the definitons of US patent law.

    It is an important point, becuase NOT having the correct inventors is one of the ways a patent can be ruled invalid or fraudulent (which I forget) in court.

  • by riprjak (158717) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:40PM (#12437274)
    This patent covers a novel invention for ultra-high bandwidth full duplex data transfer.

    This invention comprises of the following components:
    Carrier medium; a level, rigid surface no less than 8.0 meters wide. The exemplar is black bitumen.

    Duplex Facilitation Indicator; a parallel strip of material (paint is used for the exemplar) of width 100.0 millimeters spaced 100.0 millimeters apart placed in the geometric centre of the carrier medium. Colour must be suffiently different to the carrier medium as to be easily visible to the human eye at a distance of 20.0 meters, the exemplar is yellow.

    Data Packet; 1972 Ford XC Station Wagon containing no less than 10,000 Dual Layer DVD+RW.

    The implementation of....

    well, much as the joke should be funny, the sad fact that; properly gussied up by a patent attorney or, as I like to call them, waste of perfectly good oxygen; this would probably be granted a patent leads me to the inevetable conclusion that the patent system is permanently broken, being as it was intended to FACILITATE competition and progress, not stifle same.

    That and we have continuing proof of the universe's phenomenal ability to produce bigger and better idiots.

    err!
    jak
  • Teletypes (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I mean, Bezos is a nice guy and all, but we used to do an equivalent thing with teletypes in the 1960's, for crying out loud. Geez, the USPO sucks.
  • by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@yahoo . c om> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:50PM (#12437336) Journal
    • Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has been granted a patent on the transfer of an object from one person to another (with or without a gap in time during which the object is in the possession of neither person).
    • Cyclist Lance Armstrong has been granted three (3) patents:
      1. Transportation of a human being via self-propelled vehicle with multiple circular suspension devices
      2. Winning the Tour de France
      3. Raising money by selling inexpensive but unique items of adornment
    • Mohatma Gandhi has been granted a patent for thwarting the plans of far-flung empires and changing the course of history by doing nothing
    • The editors of Slashdot have been granted a patent on the use of web site to disseminate the same information several times a week
    (Sorry about that last one).
    • Cyclist Lance Armstrong has been granted three (3) patents: ...
      Winning the Tour de France


      But I hear Eddy Mercxx is claiming prior art. Seems winning the Giro, Tour and Vuelta all in one year may give him credibility that Armstrong will never have. Heh. Bring it.
  • Actually... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gbulmash (688770) * <semi_famous@yahooBLUE.com minus berry> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:54PM (#12437355) Homepage Journal
    It sounds more like their various recommendations lists, like the "So you'd like to..." and "listmania", where users create thematic lists of products, each product being represented by a web page. Of course, because this is a patent, they want to make it as overly broad as possible so someone can't change the page background from white to light grey and say that grey pages aren't within the scope of the patent.

    More to the point, though, I seem to recall on numerous occasiona that Bezos has argued against certain types of patents and for patent reform. His justification for most of these patents is to get the patent filed before someone else does and then tries to extort Amazon. Essentially, he claims to be filing as a defensive measure, not offensive.

    I could have a very bad memory, but except for the "one-click" patent, I can't recall another patent Amazon has actively enforced.

    - Greg

  • by SquarePants (580774) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @09:01PM (#12437394)
    Reading Patents 101:

    There are 3 independent claims, 1, 9 and 16. They are reproduced below. Forget about all of the flowery language in the description. The claims are what determines what the patent holder can prevent others from doing. If Bezos & Co. decides to enforce this patent, they would have to prove that the accused infringer is practicing EVERY ELEMENT of at least one of the claims. I will leave it to others to comment on how difficult that would be.

    The claims are:

    1. A method in a computer system for exchanging information between users of web sites, the method comprising:

    providing a mapping between a first web site and a second web site;
    when a first user accesses the first web site,
    providing a web page of the first web site;
    receiving information from the first user; and
    storing the received information based on the provided mapping; and
    when a second user accesses the second web site,
    providing a web page of the second web site;
    retrieving the stored information based on the provided mapping; and
    providing a display of the retrieved information so that the first and second users can exchange information.

    9. A method in a computer system for controlling the exchange of information between users of web pages, the method comprising:

    receiving an indication of a web page from a first user computer;
    retrieving the web page from a first web server;
    sending the retrieved web page to the first user computer;
    retrieving information associated with the web page, the retrieved information having been previously received from second user computer when accessing a web page of a second web server; and
    sending the retrieved information to the first user computer.

    16. A method in a computer system for accessing information associated with a web page, the method comprising:

    sending a request for a first web page; and
    in response to sending the request,
    receiving the first web page; and
    receiving information associated with the first web page, the information being previously entered by a user when accessing a second web page, the information having been entered separately from the second web page.
    • by Baricom (763970) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @09:58PM (#12437742)
      I confess that these aren't the best examples, mainly because I had trouble with words like "mapping." However, this patent seems "obvious" to me, a person who most people consider to be "skilled in the art."

      1. A method in a computer system for exchanging information between users of web sites, the method comprising:

      providing a mapping between a first web site and a second web site;
      Slashdot includes an RSS feed that My Yahoo! knows how to read;

      when a first user accesses the first web site,
      providing a web page of the first web site;

      When I visit http://www.slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org], the Slashdot web server gives me a web page;

      receiving information from the first user; and
      I submit an article;

      storing the received information based on the provided mapping; and
      Slashdot publishes the article;

      when a second user accesses the second web site,
      providing a web page of the second web site;

      When my friend Jane Doe visits http://my.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com], the Yahoo! server gives her a web page;

      retrieving the stored information based on the provided mapping; and
      Yahoo! pulls Slashdot's RSS feed;

      providing a display of the retrieved information so that the first and second users can exchange information.
      Jane can now read my post. If Jane submits a story to Slashdot, I could similarly read her post.

      9. A method in a computer system for controlling the exchange of information between users of web pages, the method comprising:

      receiving an indication of a web page from a first user computer;
      I decide I want to visit Slashdot, but I'm behind a firewall. I tell the proxy server to retrieve http://www.slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] for me;

      retrieving the web page from a first web server;
      The proxy server retrieves Slashdot;

      sending the retrieved web page to the first user computer;
      The proxy server sends Slashdot to my computer;

      retrieving information associated with the web page,
      the retrieved information having been previously received from second user
      computer when accessing a web page of a second web server; and

      My previously-mentioned friend Jane pulls the RSS feed from Slashdot via My Yahoo!;

      sending the retrieved information to the first user computer.
      And she sends it to me via IM.

      16. A method in a computer system for accessing information associated with a web page, the method comprising:

      sending a request for a first web page; and
      I visit http://my.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com];

      in response to sending the request,
      receiving the first web page; and

      Yahoo! sends me back a web page from their server;

      receiving information associated with the first web page,
      the information being previously entered by a user when accessing a second web page,
      the information having been entered separately from the second web page.

      Yahoo! shows me my page, with the pages and modules I told them to put on my page at some earlier time via their configuration page.
    • As this perspicasious poster notes, you have to violate each provision of the claim. To give an example,claim one provides for
      " a mapping between a first web site and a second web site"

      so, if you had a mapping between a first web site and a second web site and a third web site , and users interacted with the first and third, you would not violate the patent (i think - computer patents are not an area of expertise for me)
      from this u shd learn 2 things
      patents are legal documents, and have to be read very
      • ... then the patent is worthless

        As other posters have noted no patent is worthless if a potential infringee cannot afford to take a very expensive chance in court.

        ---

        It's wrong that an intellectual property creator should not be rewarded for their work.
        It's equally wrong that an IP creator should be rewarded too many times for the one piece of work, for exactly the same reasons.
        Reform IP law and stop the M$/RIAA abuse.

    • Is it just me, but aren't two of these claims the same, only 1 describes how the server performs the work whereas 16 describes it from the user's perspective?

      And 9 just seems to be such a minor variation that it should be written as 'the method of claim 1, wherein the first web site is retrieved by the system and forwarded to the user with the information attached'.
  • I mean there are so many stupid/unfair/vague software patents out there, does anybody really need to take them seriously? Can't some ambitious lawyers come up with a way to show the absolute ridiculousness of software patents and get the courts to rule them ALL null and void?
    • At the very least, companies that make shareholder reports or seek venture capital have to report this sort of risk, or else when things go bad the executives who kept mum may get the orange jumpsuit.

      It may or may not be true that software patents are dumb but the risk of lawsuits can make a difference to investors.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...since the wording is so general (not particularly exhaustive or definitive):

    Passport.net
    Google (Ads)
    Any webring
    Certain social networks/blogs

    I think the lawyers are going to have a field day with this one.
  • ... the invalidation of the USPTO.

    Value is only given to a government body because the people have agreed upon it.

    Read the declaration if Independance.... for the first time....

    Perhaps it needs to be written again but with current examples of government abuse of the people.
  • The patent is more about system that allows meta-information for pages. Like a system to comment on /. and if we both have the application I can read your comments. *NOT* thinks like RSS.

    It is still a sorta silly patent.
  • Annotea Project (Score:3, Informative)

    by Feneric (765069) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @09:23PM (#12437552) Homepage

    With the mention of both Third Voice and the Annotation Engine, I'm surprised the somewhat more standard (or at least endorsed by the W3C) Annotea [w3.org] wasn't referenced.

    Besides having native support in Amaya [w3.org], there's a plug-in [mozdev.org] being actively developed for the Mozilla family of browsers.

  • The USPO.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by going_the_2Rpi_way (818355) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @09:31PM (#12437598) Homepage
    continues to be completely out to lunch. What a waste of everyones time. Someone really has to sort them out. The patents they issue are neither novel (the 'prior art' condition, for one is a farce) nor enforceable. And what about when a couple of companies gang up to extend a patent well beyond it's expiration date (see http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000AF01 8-31CA-1FFB-B1CA83414B7F0000 [sciam.com]) I mean either issue meaningful, enforceable patents that are less specious (and hence harder targets for legal challenges) or just call a spade a spade: the bigger guys get to keep their ideas while the new kids are S.O.L. I urge anyone who thinks I'm exagerating to take a look periodically at the "Staking Claims" columns in SciAm. Better yet, talk to someone who works at the USPO.
  • Patent Public Review (Score:4, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @09:37PM (#12437626) Homepage
    I think before patents are granted, the process needs one more step added to it. PUBLIC REVIEW. If the public can find prior art or can somehow vote that it is too obvious, cannot be created or is in some way "bullshit" then the public should be able to reject the application before it is put into place.
    • by SquarePants (580774) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @10:13PM (#12437811)
      Except for a few cases, every patent application filed is published 18 months after it is filed. During the first 30 days after publication the public can forward any prior art it wishes the USPTO to consider in examining the application. I know it is not the same as the post-issuance opposition that you are suggesting but it is available. Yet, for all the complaining, this right of the public to comment on prospective new patents is almost never exercised.

      A lot of people here often complaint about how thinghs "should be" yet they don't even bother to learn how things are.
  • ..."Bozos Patent Information Exchange"?
  • by drphil (320469) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @10:11PM (#12437806)
    Just an aside:
    I took a two hour patent tutorial today on Patent Prosecution. One thing I didn't realize is that the burden of proof is on the Examiner to prove why an application shouldn't be a patent - not on the inventor to prove why it should be a patent. The laws govening why something shouldn't be a patent are actually quite simple - however interpretation of these laws have kept patent lawyers happy for many years.
  • amazon is patenting sharing ideas and information.

    whooo, that's a blockbuster app! just imagine what the world would be like if this had ever been done before!

    totally awesome! I wonder what stock analysts would recommend I do about this, but of course they would never tell anybody. it's never been done, and now it could violate a patent.

    damn, what wonders occur these days...
  • OK but... (Score:2, Funny)

    by zxflash (773348)
    Has anybody patented posting text to the www yet?
    I have a feeling I owe somebody a nickel...
  • by null etc. (524767) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @02:41AM (#12439081)
    I would like to file a patent which describes a method by which:

    • a corporation takes money from a customer,
    • smears the money with fecal matter from various officers of the corporation,
    • rubs the money in the customer's face,
    • and then deposits money into bank account when all fecal matter has been transfered to customer's face.
    If I patented this, maybe companies would stop doing this to us. Although I guess there already is plenty of prior art.
  • invention ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PGC (880972)
    ('various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention')
    Something everybody knew, but nobody bothered to patent. Yet they call it an invetion. arrgh btw , can't Identity Federation and such be considered prior art ?
  • Since it seems most folks don't have a clue how patents work, but might want to learn, here's one place to start: http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page= 20050402193202442 [groklaw.net]
  • This is just the latest installment of the continuing /. saga, "Stupid Patent Tricks". The basic plot is some nefarious large corporation patents somehting like "breathing air". They dupe one of the people that the US Patent Office has hired for their lack of any knowledge about the world in which they live. Once granted, someone notices, posts to /., where the community of the righteous explodes in (what else) righteous indignation!

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