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Portable Stereo Creator Gets His Due 149

Posted by Zonk
from the i-thought-sony-created-the-world dept.
eadint wrote to mention an International Tribune article covering Sony's settlement with the inventor of the portable stereo. From the article: "Pavel invented the device known today as the Walkman. But it took more than 25 years of battling the Sony Corporation and others in courts and patent offices around the world before he finally won the right to say it: Andreas Pavel invented the portable personal stereo player."
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Portable Stereo Creator Gets His Due

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  • Slight correction (Score:1, Informative)

    by ReformedExCon (897248)
    Pavel invented the personal portable stereo player. Sony invented the Walkman.

    You wouldn't say Nintendo invented the Playstation, would you?
    • Re:Slight correction (Score:4, Informative)

      by creepynut (933825) <teddy(slashdot)@ t e d d y b rown.ca> on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:08AM (#14284453) Homepage
      In a way, Nintendo helped. Sony and Nintendo were working a joint effort to make a CD-based version of the Super NES. Nintendo screwed them over, and Sony went off and made the Playstation.
    • Re:Slight correction (Score:3, Informative)

      by frinsore (153020)
      Considering that the Walkman is a name brand personal stereo player and considered by the general public to be the first personal stereo player, I'd say that it is an apt summary of the situation.

      And considering that Sony was manufacturing and doing R&D for Nintendo's consoles prior to the N64 and that the play station development was initiated by Nintendo, I wouldn't say that Nintendo invented the Play Station but Nintendo definetly had a hand in it's conception.
      wiki [wikipedia.org]
    • by malkavian (9512) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:15AM (#14284478) Homepage
      What an odd thing to say. The Walkman is a personal portable stereo player. Sony invented nothing there, they merely created a personal stereo, and branded it as a "Walkman".
      The playstation wasn't invented under the same argument, as it was a subset of a 'game console'.. Not sure who came up with that idea (atari was the first I remember).
      • Walkman is to personal stereo as Hoover is to vacuum cleaner. They didn't invent it, but they popularised it to such an extent that their brand name became a generic byword for the item itself. Sellotape in the UK is another one. Usually it's the forst of a thing, or it's the market leader. How many people absently refer to certain own-brand cola drinks as coke? It all happens, but it's nice to see someone get their due from The Man.
      • Re:Slight correction (Score:3, Informative)

        by damsa (840364)
        I believe the first game console was the Magnavox Odyssey, it came out before the first pong machine.
      • What an odd thing to say. The Walkman is a personal portable stereo player. Sony invented nothing there, they merely created a personal stereo, and branded it as a "Walkman". The playstation wasn't invented under the same argument, as it was a subset of a 'game console'.. Not sure who came up with that idea (atari was the first I remember).

        Something that you can define in a single sentence (a claim) that cannot reasonably be found in the prior art (as defined primarily by 35 USC 102 paragraphs a, b, and e

    • by WEFUNK (471506)
      Regardless of what Sony may have agreed to in their latest settlement, I agree that it's highly erroneous to claim that Pavel invented the "Walkman" and that at best he might have a claim as "a" father of personal music devices, and not "the father" as is claimed in several sources. Although Sony has grown into a huge faceless multi-national (and was already big at the time), it certainly wasn't faceless at the time and any additional due given to Pavel should not be at the expense of some of the most inge
  • Sad story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c_fel (927677) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:06AM (#14284445) Homepage
    In fact it's a sad story, it shows how it could be difficult to actually earn money from our inventions. It's not really motivating for me and many of us since we all are kind of inventors... Personally I don't think I'd have threw away millions of dollars in court like he did. Kudos to him !
    • Re:Sad story (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mattygfunk1 (596840) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:12AM (#14284471)
      Imagine the number of every day products which have "true" inventors without a cent to their name.

      The warm and fuzzy feeling of having created an idea that benefited millions probably doesn't have the same effect knowing that you were robbed of personal finacial benefits.

      __
      I watch funny adult videos [laughdaily.com].
      • Re:Sad story (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rbochan (827946)
        Imagine the number of every day products which have "true" inventors without a cent to their name...

        Sorta sounds like the music [negativland.com] industry [usatoday.com]...

        Oh wait, this is SONY.

      • Imagine the number of every day products which have "true" inventors without a cent to their name.

        And without rightful recognition for that matters. Moreover, it goes beyond every day products, e.g. radio and motorized flight.
    • Re:Sad story (Score:2, Insightful)

      by earthstar (748263)

        Personally I don't think I'd have threw away millions of dollars in court like he did


      But how many have that 'millions of dollars' ?

    • Re:Sad story (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Grym (725290) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:23AM (#14284499)

      Exactly, this story completely undermines the entire argument that the patent system somehow benefits small inventors--it doesn't.

      SURE, this guy won in the end... AFTER 25 YEARS. How many countless other inventors have simply given up? Would this guy have been able to also patent new ideas or defend other contested patents during this time period?

      What's the point in intellectual property if you're realistically only allowed to keep what companies don't want?

      -Grym

      • Exactly, this story completely undermines the entire argument that the patent system somehow benefits small inventors--it doesn't.

        Also that patents are any form of protection against a large corporation taking your idea.

        SURE, this guy won in the end... AFTER 25 YEARS. How many countless other inventors have simply given up?

        Or not had the resources to carry on, dispite having a patent he lost a 7 year legal lawsuit.
      • Exactly, this story completely undermines the entire argument that the patent system somehow benefits small inventors--it doesn't.

        I call bullshit.

        Sure, the patent system does not protect every small inventor - however there are many cases of small inventors and companies benefitting from patent law against large companies. If there was no patent law how many of these stories would there be? Nada zip zero NONE.

        Thus patents DO protect small inventors albeit imperfectly.

        • Re:Sad story (Score:2, Insightful)

          by PostItNote (630567)
          Be careful here. In order to say "patents help the little guy", you have to look at how effective they've been at letting small inventors take on big corporations, as you mention, but you ALSO have to look at how effective they are at allowing big corporations to squash the little guy flat.

          I know that I wouldn't want to be a software developer in any domain MS or IBM or SCO have ever done anything...
          • but you ALSO have to look at how effective they are at allowing big corporations to squash the little guy flat.

            Not valid. Large corporations do NOT need patent laws to squash the little guy. All they have to do is copy the invention and let their market power win the day for them.

            Without patent laws the little guy would NEVER, EVER win. While it is hard for the little guy to win now, he does have a chance. Without patent laws he would have ZERO chance.

            Look at Microsoft - they have tried a number of times to

        • Thus patents DO protect small inventors albeit imperfectly.


          Imperfectly or not, after 25 years it's usually useless to have that "protection".
          In some cases it will probably cheaper not to sue since you hardly can make profit after 25 years of lawyer bills :(
           
      • Re:Sad story (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hackstraw (262471) *
        Exactly, this story completely undermines the entire argument that the patent system somehow benefits small inventors--it doesn't.

        SURE, this guy won in the end... AFTER 25 YEARS. How many countless other inventors have simply given up? Would this guy have been able to also patent new ideas or defend other contested patents during this time period?


        I'm not sure what he "won". And this just reinforces the patent theory that the person with the most money wins all patent disagreements.

        First, being that 8-track
    • Re:Sad story (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tomjen (839882)
      Well the inventer of FM radio fourth with the RCA (his employer) over his patent rights and afther they used every dirty trick in the book, they declared his patents invalied. They he fourth with them in court for six year before he was broke. They offered him a settlement that did not even pay for the court fees.
      Then absolutely defeated he jumped out of a window.

      I think this inventer was more lucky, he got the money at least.
  • Fair? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wilkshake (788751)
    So the guy gets a cash settlement in the 10s of millions. How much has Sony made from the portable music market?
  • by Kawahee (901497) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:08AM (#14284451) Homepage Journal
    I, Todd Aspeotis invented the iPod! iShall send forth my iLawyers to iSue you for my iPatent. iWish iHad some iFriends so they could see my name iN the iMedia, but iDon't.
  • Pavel declined to say how much Sony was obliged to pay....But European press accounts said that Pavel....is now also receiving royalties on some Walkman sales.

    You mean, for both of them?

  • Seriously, a patent for a "portable" stereo ?
    I sure am hell glad there was no patent on portable game consoles. Maybe there is, waiting to sue Sony and Nintendo.

    Its too bad this guy one the fight. This patent just as much shows whats wrong with the patent system as the controversies of today.
    • If it was that obvious, it should be easy for you to find an example of prior art.

      Before the Walkman, the only people that I ever saw wearing headphones in public were the sound guys on film crews with their Nagra recorders.

      • A transistor radio, which was the logical result of technology which allowed radios to get smaller. Interestingly, Sony was also at the forefront in using technology to make radios smaller. Their first profitible product was a portable tape recorder. Clearly, using technology to make media devices smaller was a common theme at Sony.

        The Walkman-type cassette player was an obvious (and therefore supposedly unpatentable) step in the evolution of tape recorders and players. Sony simply applied the same formula

      • I suggest you read Pavel's earliest patent filed in 1981 concerning his "invention".

        http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PT O2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/search-bool.html&r =29&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=ptxt&s1=pavel&s2=stereo&OS= pavel+AND+stereo&RS=pavel+AND+stereo [uspto.gov]

        The patent goes over a significant amount of prior art. Perhaps this guy truly thinks he invented something but in reality all he did was see the obvious progression of technology.
        • Perhaps this guy truly thinks he invented something but in reality all he did was see the obvious progression of technology.

          Can you give examples of inventions that were not so? Preferably in recent times where we are familiar with "the obvious progression of technology".
          • Can you give examples of inventions that were not [obvious progression of technology]? Preferably in recent times where we are familiar with "the obvious progression of technology".

            I don't believe anyone toyed with sound recordings before Edison invented the phonograph. Certainly the zipper and perhaps Bakelite count too.

          • Sorry for the late reply, hopefully you'll return to read the thread...

            I suspect that you did not take the suggestion in my post of reading the patent. Anyhow, I will indulge your request.

            Patent number 4,161,502 was filed on April 2nd 1977. It is related to forming plastic parts. Plastics are a wonderful invention which has progressed significantly over the years and has been accompanied by many patentable inventions and innovations. This appears to be one of those innovations.

            If you read this patent, and r
            • I'm not familiar with plastics technology, but "Process for forming plastic articles" seems to be what I would call a genuine discovery or invention which was not obvious or anticipated.

              I have not read Pavel's patent but from your description it seems to be of the "claim staking" variety.

              What I should have asked is, what portion of patents are genuine discoveries vs. claim staking.

              When the idea of geostationary communications satellites was first proposed it was non-obvious (if only because very few people
              • Again a late reply, but at least this will be in the record...

                I have not read Pavel's patent but from your description it seems to be of the "claim staking" variety.

                There is no such thing as a "claim staking" patent. There are two types of patents, utility and design. I'm not sure which patent Pavel's is supposed to be as it appears to be a utility patent because it suggests improvement to existing portable audio technology of the day, and yet in the end it doesn't, or perhaps it is a design patent because

  • "So, no, I'm not interested anymore in patents or legal fights or anything like that. I don't want to be reduced to the label of being the inventor of the Walkman." Sadly, most of the world will only remember him for being the inventor of the Walkman, if they even know his name. :( --Jed
  • by David Off (101038) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:26AM (#14284511) Homepage
    I'm not sure I understand the invention here (unless we are defining "invention" in the terms used by the USPO). When I was at school back in the early 1970s there were girls who would walk around with headphones and casette recorders to listen to music using the Philips Compact Audio casette system. [wikipedia.org] which was introduced in 1963. I don't know if you remember these casette players, they would work on batteries and had a strap so they could be carries over the shoulder like a handbag. The walkman just seems like the usual Japanese refinement and minituarization of the system... I don't see an inventive process here except for certain component technologies such as the compact audio cassette. There were also portable music systems based on the 45RPM record available from the early 1970s.

    Just because this was novel in Hicktown Italy in 1977 doesn't mean it was novel in some of the slightly more go ahead parts of the world. He has basically beaten Sony into submission by harrassment despite losing all of his court cases. Ok maybe we shouldn't shed a tear for Sony who would do much the same themselves.

    • When I was at school back in the early 1970s there were girls who would walk around with headphones and casette recorders to listen to music using the Philips Compact Audio casette system.

      Yup, and I bet those things looked like this [rareads.com] - IOW just like a Walkman - or a "stereobelt". Why the hell did nobody else simply remove the heavy bits not needed for mobile use with headphones like the loudspeaker and power supply if it was so fucking obvious?

      But all inventions have always been obvious - once somebody

    • by tatonca (305375)
      FTFA - "took his invention to one audio company after another - Grundig, *Phillips*, Yamaha and ITT among them..."

      You'd have to analyze the text a little more to get the timeline, but doesn't it seem odd to you, that a guy presenting a portable music player swings by the Philips office - they laugh at him and tell him it's crazy - and then said company comes out with similar in the same time frame? Ever wonder why hollywood seems to be constantly putting out similarly themed movies at the same time all the
    • IIRC, his 'invention' was making it truly portable by not bothering with the recording circuits, which were much bulkier than the playback circuits (don't ask me why).

      That was clearly technical and non-obvious (after ten years of lugging around kit the size of a small briefcase), but I'm not sure that 'miss out X' can be counted as 'inventing'.

      J.
  • by TorKlingberg (599697) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:26AM (#14284514)
    Did the Walkman actually use any of his technical solutions? Or did he just "invent" the idea of portable music? The difficult part of protable music is not to think it would be nice, but to overcome the difficulties like making it small, light and robust enough.
    • " Did the Walkman actually use any of his technical solutions"

      Nope. His patents are lacking for any technical solutions. His patents admit prior art and simply play upon the natural progression of ever improving technology rather than coming up with anything new. He did not actually solve the problem of creating a hi-fidelity portable audio player he just saw that it was going to eventually happen.

      If you filed a patent claiming that you had the idea of making a semiconductor chip that would process video gr
  • In a Nutshell: (Score:1, Redundant)

    by kellererik (307956)
    If you are not protected by MEGACORP(TM) with lots of money to burn in legal battles, forget standing up to your rights. It really does not matter if you got there (and tried to patent) first, all your ideas belong to the ones with the deepest pockets.
    Isn't this a wonderful word?

    my 2 cents (if this should be trademarked by now, consider this sentence non-existant)
    • Actually, that's the complete OPPOSITE of what the story says. Rather, it says that the inventor stood up for his rights and won, eventually, and now will receive more money than you will ever see in your lifetime despite actually producing ZERO units himself and doing a step that some might characterize as marginally novel.

      But dont worry! Keep belieiving your junior-high school grade korporation konspiracy. I'm sure there will be plenty of other stories on slashdot where you'll get modded insightful

      • Right on. This lone example that the system sometimes works (by accident) proofs that the system in itself is not totally flawed. Score!!!!!!!!!!
        Besides, coming up with an idea like this and getting a patent for it? The system must have worked. Who would come up with an idea like, say, a transistor radio, maybe portable? And since the program usually sucks, lets add some way to listen to what the owner wants, let's say cassettes? Every person carrying a portable radio since the '50s might have thought about
    • If you are not protected by MEGACORP(TM) with lots of money to burn in legal battles, forget standing up to your rights. It really does not matter if you got there (and tried to patent) first, all your ideas belong to the ones with the deepest pockets. Isn't this a wonderful word?

      Sheesh. All this guy did was patent the IDEA of making something that ALREADY EXISTED smaller.
      That's bullshit.

      Patent's are there to protect legitimate investment into ground-breaking R&D. The aren't there to serve as a
  • That's how it is.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:33AM (#14284535)
    The fate of engineers in a world where buzzwords earn the money and working people have to go to court for 25 years to get their share.
  • by msormune (808119) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:38AM (#14284549)
    So why is this not an obvious invention? Because it is a single guy against a big company, suddenly it's ok to patent something pretty obvious and try to start cashing in on it? This of course means that the manufacturers will increase the prices in order to cover the extra licensing costs. If someone working for Microsoft had patented this 25 years ago and now won the patent, most people on Slashdot would be huffing and puffing with their faces red. But when it's a single guy against the "new evil empire" Sony, let's all cheer for him. Never mind that it's the consumer that gets screwed in the end.
    • You're right about the duplicity of "typical slashdot logic" (yes, expect the usual reply about how "slashdot is not one person, but many and there are many opinions here", though we all known damn well what the underlying mentality that is "slashbot" thinks and you hit the nail on the head)

      However, you are completely off the mark about the consumer getting screwed.

      What the consumer gets is new and better inventions - walkmen in this case. Point to ANY technological field - be it automobiles, machine p

      • What the consumer gets is new and better inventions - walkmen in this case. Point to ANY technological field - be it automobiles, machine parts, washers/dryers, consumer electronics - whatever! and try telling me honestly that the consumer hasn't been the ultimate winner thanks to a patent system that has, for all its faults, encouraged innovation well. It would take an incredible amount of self-deception to convince oneself that we'd have EVEN better cars and EVEN better everything else were it not for the
        • Sigh.

          Here's a simple example: compare the number of new pharmaceuticals developed in countries with strong IP regulations compared to those that don't.

          Now, expand your 'test' into virtually any avenue of economic endeavour that you can think of: aviation, automotive, medical devices, consumer electronics, manufacturing process, chemical production, etc etc and you will see that in essentially every case, the systems with stronger IPR have historically done better in providing a better quality and quanti

          • by Jasin Natael (14968) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:56AM (#14285138)

            I will have to qualify your statement, and say that strong should refer only to the strictness of enforcement, not the lengthening of period. This is a mistake that the US legislature has made time and again.

            When a company can get licensing fees from a patent or copyright past the end of my lifetime, or when the creator's grandchildren can collect royalties throughout their lifetimes, we have done the opposite of what IP law should do. We have *exempted* the entity in question from ever needing to contribute to society again, when the point should be to *tempt* them with the benefits of further innovation after their temporary monopoly has expired.

            Jasin Natael
            • I think you are confusing different issues. Your argument does make sense if applied to copyrights rather than patents. Long terms are only in copyright and trademark. In patents the term in the US is now 20 years from the date of application, not issue, IIRC. The delay between application and issue is usually years. Most inventors never get a chance to profit from their inventions since they are locked into employment agreements. The application costs are high, and in the end a patent is just a license to
          • Here's a simple example: compare the number of new pharmaceuticals developed in countries with strong IP regulations compared to those that don't.

            Its absolutely not clear what is cause and what is effect there, just as with your other example:

            Now, expand your 'test' into virtually any avenue of economic endeavour that you can think of: aviation, automotive, medical devices, consumer electronics, manufacturing process, chemical production, etc etc and you will see that in essentially every case, the systems
            • Sigh. Highly dubious to you. Not to the rest of the world, where academically and in practice the link has shown to be about as solid as anything that can be proven in the world of economics.

              Your "tiger" tale basically tells me that you are at undergraduate level of cluelessness in this. which is fine - we were all there once - but please stop being so belligerent.

              Yes, countries go from IP rebelliousness to adopting IPR as they become prosperous. However, this is completely irrelevant to the issue a

              • Sigh. Highly dubious to you. Not to the rest of the world, where academically and in practice the link has shown to be about as solid as anything that can be proven in the world of economics.

                I see. In other posts I actually provided some proof that clearly shows how how patents HINDER, notpromote innovation, I also challanged you to provide actual proof that it can also promote inventions.

                A statement where I can provide examples of it not being true from the back of my head is indeed a statement that is hig
        • by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Sunday December 18, 2005 @09:53AM (#14284783) Homepage
          There have been *many* cases of patents retarding innovation.

          My favourite is the steam engine - development was stalled for 20 years because of an outstanding patent on high pressure steam valves.

          And that was when patents didn't have stupid lifetimes.... If it were like today I suspect we'd still be waiting for someone to invent it.
          • There is a long list of such examples, the oldest that I know about dates back to the 1600s and regards some required technology for a wind driven sawing machine (sawmill), its most likely not the oldest documented case however.

            Another example is the patent battle surrounding the invention of the traditional TV system and camera technology. While there were definitely genuine patents involved here, it goes to show that a small inventor has little power over big companies even when winning a patent dispute a
          • ...development was stalled for 20 years...

            And that was when patents didn't have stupid lifetimes...

            I'm pretty sure that patents in the United States are still only good for twenty years from the date of filing. The stupid lifetimes you're thinking of are related to copyrights, which last for the age of Mickey Mouse plus twenty years.

            The question of whether or not twenty years is a 'stupid lifetime' is of course open for discussion, as are twists like compulsory licenses.

      • by aepervius (535155) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:26AM (#14284972)
        And in general the medical world. Why the hell you think the third world is calling bloody murder on AIDS or drug patent ? Because most of those drug, *not EVEN found or developped by private laboratory* are sold at prohibitive price despite that the production of chemical itself isn't as expensive. This is why soime country (India /Brazil) many time over blatantly broke and violated patents. As for Breast cancer i can remmember sometimes ago a scientist whining because some labor patented a diagnostic process and made it too expensive or illegal to make some research on rbeast cancer (if I recall corrrectly). So granted those example are NOT consumer electronic, but they concern a far more bigger part of the world and a far more important thing : Health.

        And do not get me started on US/EU company patenting a remedy used locally (india, Africa) since a long time, and then forbid local people to continue using it because of the patent. 10 years some of those patent held on fought by the country of the originating stuff (I think that was the case of Neme...Somebody call me wrong here). I won't even start speaking of mosento patenting grain and forbidding farmer reusing seed.
    • Thankfully I have noticed a few comments other than yours pointing the logical fallacy of this patent out.

      I suppose it's the same as those companies who wants to demand royalties from Apple due to patents they claim the iPod infringes. So in that respect I suppose we should all get rooting for Microsoft [theregister.co.uk] and Creative. [bbc.co.uk]

    • So why is this not an obvious invention?

      Unfortunately it is impossible to tell what makes this a novel idea without things like patent numbers and a more detailed look that the history of the portable casstte player. Making comments like 'why isn't this obvious' without actually doing the work to see what the deficiencies of the state of the art in the late '70s were is not being fair to the inventor.

    • Slashdot is a group of many people, therefore its expression of conflicting opinions is not hypocritical.
  • Good to see him finally get the credit for his invention, it just goes to show that no matter how big a company is they can try and do devious stuff, like the current case of EMI not paying the Beatles their correct royalties. It just goes to show how the world is nowdays, where even the biggest of corporations are out to make a quick buck and screw over other people. Hopefully this win will remind them that eventually they will fail.
  • by SpotBug (228742) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @09:05AM (#14284642)
    I'll say it again: Ideas are almost entirely worthless.

    Seriously. It's the implementation that counts. This is the problem most people have with the patent system, without even realizing that that's what their problem with it is.

    Hey, here's any idea: personal transporters. You'd never have to waste time going anywhere!

    Want something more realistic? Pretend it's 1990. How about a really, really good Internet search?

    Patents should only be granted if the inventor has an implementation or, at the very least, a plan for an implementation with a time limit on when the implementation must happen.
    • I'll say it again: Ideas are almost entirely worthless.

      Seriously. It's the implementation that counts. This is the problem most people have with the patent system, without even realizing that that's what their problem with it is.


      If you would actually learn a bit about patent law you would find that Patents cover implementations, not ideas.

      • Untrue. *many* patents are on ideas only.

        It is not necessary to prove that an idea actually works before getting a patent on it.

        Software and business patents are *entirely* idea based.
        • You can't patent an idea, it's true you don't have to prove an idea works but you still need an implementation of an idea. You can't get a patent on the idea of banking software, or search. However, you can get a patent on the way you access data on said banking software.
        • It is not necessary to prove that an idea actually works before getting a patent on it.

          This is technically not true. See MPEP 2164.07 [uspto.gov] which states:

          If a claim fails to meet the utility requirement of 35 U.S.C. 101 because it is shown to be nonuseful or inoperative, then it necessarily fails to meet the how-to-use aspect of the enablement requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph.

          However, in practice, I think that some patents have been issued to clearly inoperative inventions because there is no ha

      • Yes, I know. I should have been more specific.

        When I wrote "implementation" I meant an actual, working implementation, as opposed to a piece of paper describing an implementation. Unless it's a blueprint, describing exactly how to put the invention together (with real, obtainable parts), a description of an implementation is still just a (nearly worthless) idea.
        • Patent Law is created so you have full disclosure. You are required to disclose how your invention works. If there becomes a case where things cannot be patented because the market place hasn't found a way to make widget 2 good enough work with your invention. The inventor will sit on the patent until widget 2 is invented. This would encourage inventors to sit on their inventions contrary to the purpose of patent law. With full disclosure, inventor 2, knowing that there is a market for a new improved widget
    • RTFA. He made one in the 60s for himself. Then YEARS later he patented it.

      At any rate, you need to read more about patents, I think. There is a minimum level of specificity that must be present in a patent, or the patent office will reject it, and especially with things that CAN have an implementation, they usually require one.

      The patent office has lots of things wrong with it, but I generally think that this is one of the things they do pretty well if they understand the patent enough and aren't allowin
  • by NigelJohnstone (242811) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @09:23AM (#14284684)
    http://www.grundig.com/index.php?id=250 [grundig.com]

    1965 The Cassette Recorder C 100 is the first cassette tape recorder made by Grundig. Recording takes place with the DC International System, on cassettes with the dimensions 120 x 77 x 12 mm.

    1967 The CC Compact Cassette is introduced and can be listened to with the Cassette Tape Recorder C 200.

    1974: The portable Radio Recorder C 6000 Automatic is a best-seller. Over 710,000 units are sold.

    He filed for his patent in 1977.
  • Remind me again, what are the companies that "vigorously defend" their IP rights?

    Questions about the viability of the patent aside, this guy had it issued, and Sony violated it. The same company that has no problems suing thousands of its customers has no problem doing the same to an inventor, only on a much larger scale, and for 25 years without problems. Just to be clear: I don't condone either piracy and IP theft, but of the two categories, Sony has been the bigger thief. In fact, the company can be

  • Back at the exact same era when the 'Walkman' became the accessory that no flaky, rich 'New Wave Chick' would be without (**), I was walking the streets of Minneapolis playing Punk Rawk classics like the 'Suicide Commandoes' on a cheap thrift-store Cassette Tape Player. You know the kind: cheap little speaker inline with the tape compartment, piano-style keys for stop/play/rewind/ffwd/record.

    I'm claiming prior art here and now.

    (** And History Repeats Itself with the current iPod 'fashion' (***) statement)

    (
  • Obligatory (Score:2, Informative)

    by Eli Gottlieb (917758)
    This was on Digg yesterday. And they also have a story about how some new Futurama stuff might get made.
  • The patent reform lobbying occurring in the US Congress right now is focused mainly on one major change: altering the deciding factor for the awarding of a patent. Currently it is given to the person who can reasonably be ascertained as the first to invent a particular idea.

    Business interests dearly want to change the rule from "first to invent" to "first to file." This will tilt the power of patent protection strongly away from the individual to the monied interests with their infrastructures of paten

  • even listen.

    I've written articles, specifications, strategy papers, essays and unless somebody was already making money doing it, they were'nt interested or couldn't understand the concept.

    Later, when it became obvious that I had been right all along and investing in my ideas could have saved my employers and clients some bucks, I just laughed and shook my head.

    I'm not worried about patents, copyright or IP because people just don't 'get it.'

    Everything is OBVIOUS if you really think about it. The hard part

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