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Linked List Patented in 2006 477

Posted by Hemos
from the good-thing-that's-protected-now-as-well dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Congratulations are in order to Ming-Jen Wang of LSI Logic Corporation who, in patent #10260471 managed to invent the linked list. From the abstract, "A computerized list is provided with auxiliary pointers for traversing the list in different sequences. One or more auxiliary pointers enable a fast, sequential traversal of the list with a minimum of computational time. Such lists may be used in any application where lists may be reordered for various purposes." Good-bye doubly linked list. We should also give praise to the extensive patent review performed by Cochran Freund & Young LLP."
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Linked List Patented in 2006

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  • Prior Art? (Score:5, Funny)

    by tedgyz (515156) * on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:13AM (#18400031) Homepage
    I would show the prior art, but I can't read the reel-to-reel tapes.
    • by Tsagadai (922574) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:23AM (#18400105) Journal
      Screw that I'm filing a patent on lodging patents. I'll make millions as gullible companies try to protect their "original" ideas. This guy will be required to pay me a fee for filing that patent.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lord Ender (156273)

        I'm filing a patent on lodging patents.
        That joke stopped being funny almost a decade ago.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Seumas (6865)
      Who is the bigger idiot here? The engineer that actually thought "I'm going to submit this to my company for a patent" or his company for actually going ahead and submitting the patent on his behalf? Even if the employee is an idiot, you would think someone in the company would have given him the "um... someone already invented post-it notes like decades ago" speech.
      • by lanc (762334) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:39AM (#18400205)

        We should also give praise to the extensive patent review performed by Cochran Freund & Young LLP.
        Zefram, Zefram... have you been drinking again?

      • Re:Prior Art? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fordiman (689627) <fordiman@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:57AM (#18400381) Homepage Journal
        Well, if your read the patent, it's for triply-linked lists, the purpose for which I can only fathom. Possibly, it's easier to sequence them for block encryption or somesuch. Though, I also imagine that the patent will get killed for its obviousness; adding a tertiary pointer when you need to access a list via another sequence is pretty damned obvious.
        • Re:Prior Art? (Score:4, Informative)

          by ReverendHoss (677044) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:22AM (#18400579)

          I'm not going to take the time to read the patent itself, but just an FYI on your comment, multi-list cells can be considered triply-linked lists. Useful for replacing sparsely populated two-dimensional arrays. Or skip lists, which are rather nifty, though I've never had a real-world application for them beyond job-interview brainteasers.

          Hrm, I wonder if there's anything else patentable in my old Data Structures and Algorithms class notes...

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jfengel (409917)
            We use skip lists in our software. Like b-trees, they're more useful in persistent situations where getting data in blocks is an important consideration than in memory-only applications.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Russ Nelson (33911)
            Everything is patentable because nothing is obvious.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Altus (1034)

          lets say you had a bunch of objects and you wanted to display them in variable order (lets say the contents a folder in this case, listed by name, size and modification date. the user can switch around what the view is sorted by. If you had a multiply linked list you could have the same objects linked together in 3 different ways using different pointers and you could switch between the views without sorting your list.

          OK, so that example is kind of contrived but I'm sure there are other situations in whic
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Entrope (68843)
          Skip lists have more than one forward pointer in each node, and are an extremely well-known data structure. Wikipedia says they were invented (Wikipedia's word is "discovered", which seems inaccurate to me) by William Pugh in 1990 and published then.
        • Re:Prior Art? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by kripkenstein (913150) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:45AM (#18400787) Homepage
          Well, if your read the patent, it's for triply-linked lists

          True. So it is just slightly less ridiculous than the headline makes it out to be. For crying out loud, I implemented various sorting methods on my linked lists by adding multiple pointers to them two decades ago as a teenager, and I don't believe for a second that I was doing anything remarkable at all. Once you have heard of linked lists then doubly-linked lists, triply-linked lists or whatever-linked lists are pretty much obvious.

          Anyhow, what is really missing in all of this discussion is a response from the patent submitter or the persons in charge of accepting the patent; we never get this on Slashdot nor the stories referred to. Since the patent appears to be so unbelievable, I am very curious as to what their official response would be. Perhaps some IT journalist can get one?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by whoever57 (658626)

          Well, if your read the patent, it's for triply-linked lists,

          Reading the patent, hmm.... that might be a good idea: let's look at claim 1:

          1. A computerized list that may be traversed in at least two sequences comprising:

          a plurality of items that are contained in said computerized list; and

          a primary pointer and an auxiliary pointer for each of said items of said computerized list such that each of said items has an associated primary pointer and an associated auxiliary pointer, said primary pointer funct

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by phoenixwade (997892)
        Except that I note that the patent was ISSUED in April of 2006!

        Takes idiocy to a whole new level, and thrusts it into the hands of the freeking Patent office.
  • wow. (Score:4, Funny)

    by thhamm (764787) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:14AM (#18400041)
    what a genius. he deserves millions over millions for that. and chicks for free.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:15AM (#18400059) Homepage
    People are immediatly shouting "prior art!" I don't care about prior art as much as I care about the fact that it's another software patent and unworthy of being patented.
    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:29AM (#18400133) Homepage Journal
      You're absolutely right. Patenting an algorithm like this would be like me patenting, "A method of transportation involving the repeated placement of one foot in front of the other, thereby conveying motion upon the transportee."
    • by Angostura (703910) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:31AM (#18400147)
      Ah, but you should care. This is good news since it is another excellent piece of ammunition in the battle to show that the system is broken.
      • by bokmann (323771) on Monday March 19, 2007 @11:40AM (#18401949) Homepage
        I think the poster's original point is that it is not enough that there is prior art - these things shouldn't get to the point where prior art defense is necessary. We know the system is broken because a patent like this should never have been granted, while someone who is part of the system could say, "you see? the system worked! People Identified prior art and shot down the patent".

        Prior art is a defense if they try to enforce the patent on you. They never should have been given the ability to enforce the patent in the first place.

        Just to be clear, for people who might read this and have no idea what all this linked-list business is about, this ia a data structure that is taught in every 200-level com sci "algorithms and data structures" class, and is so ubituitous that it would certainly be on any exam based on that material. Put in terms in another domain, this would be like patenting "the use of horse hair for the application of water, oil, or acrylic-based substances in an effort to produce a visually aesthetic experience" - that is, a paint brush. Linked lists are in the basic toolset that software engineers use every day. If you are reading this post electronically, then there are probably hundreds of them swirling around inside your computers memory at this very second.

    • People are immediatly shouting "prior art!" I don't care about prior art as much as I care about the fact that it's another software patent and unworthy of being patented.

      I have yet to hear a convincing argument why Babbage's engine, which uses physical mechanical gears to implement an algorithm, is inherently more patentable than the same algorithm in software. How about if I use an FPGA instead? Is it patentable then?

      I realize that software has seen more bad patents than it should, but that suggests th

      • by ThePiMan2003 (676665) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:51AM (#18400315)
        Patenting y=mx+b as a method of drawing a line is wrong. Patenting a device that uses this to draw a line, that is different. Algorithms that describe basic ways of doing things are not novel. The biggest difference though is that with a device, if someone discovers some neat effect they can patent a certain way of doing it, but others can come an innovate on that device, inventing something that has the same effect but does it differently and is therefore not covered under the original patent. In software they are patenting the effect, here we have a mutli-way linked linked list, something that CS students have to do in freshman level classes. But now, we can't use it in any way without having to worry about defending ourselves. As someone who writes software for a living I would rather give up on ever getting a patent than having to worry for the rest of my life about implementing something someone else came up with and patented.

        The there is the issue that computer science moves along at such a clip that one company having a monopoly on an idea for the standard patent term could seriously stifle innovation in the field, which is directly against what the entire point of patents are.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by curunir (98273) *
          The problem isn't with software patents per se, it's that the PTO doesn't have the expertise necessary to understand what is and isn't novel in the software field. There's no doubt in my mind that there are software patents that deserve patent protection. Off the top of my head, I'd say MP3, JPEG, MD5, DES(ede) would all be examples of things that should be patentable (though I believe only MP3 and parts of JPEG are patented). All four of those are non-obvious algorithms for accomplishing a certain task and
      • by Fordiman (689627) <fordiman@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:04AM (#18400427) Homepage Journal
        "I have yet to hear a convincing argument why Babbage's engine, which uses physical mechanical gears to implement an algorithm, is inherently more patentable than the same algorithm in software. How about if I use an FPGA instead? Is it patentable then?"

        Easy: Babbage had to design the gears, switches, etc, and the arrangement thereof to get the effect of calculation. That's patentable. The algorithm he intended to use it to accomplish is not; it's just an artifact of math, and subject to the natural laws clause.

        If you used an FPGA, you could patent the arrangement of gate-feilds, possibly, but the algorithm you're trying to achieve would (should) still not be patentable.
      • by SwiftOne (11497) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:21AM (#18400559)
        I have yet to hear a convincing argument why Babbage's engine, which uses physical mechanical gears to implement an algorithm, is inherently more patentable than the same algorithm in software.

        First, when discussing patents (or copyright), everyone must agree that this is an artificial concept developed to try and achieve a purpose. The purpose in the U.S. is (arguably) to promote innovation. There's no natural or inherent quality of such concepts beyond an inconsistent and ill-defined sense of possessiveness.

        Second, with that in mind, if we look at your question, there are a few ways to approach it. "more patentable" could mean a few different things. I'll argue the discussion about "should be more patentable" i.e. I'll be arguing achieving the purpose, not the current letter of the law legality, of which I'm not fully clear (patents aren't copyright, and that's where the bulk of my limited legal knowledge is).

        When a device is patented, there are a few areas of benefit:

        1) The industry benefits, because the patent is (theoretically) detailed and recorded, meaning that the knowledge will not be lost, and that knowledge will eventually become public domain.

        2) The inventor benefits, because his/her device is recorded, and for a time, no one can use that device or claim credit for it without getting permission.

        3) Licensees benefit, because they can develop new inventions that improve upon or use or otherwise rely upon the patented device.

        4) Competitors benefit, because there is new idea introduced, and though they can't copy that implementation, they can try their own ways of achieving that idea. (knock-offs) In some cases, these prove to have some benefit over the original (a better method, cheaper production, etc)

        I would argue that #4 is why algorithms, business processes, and the like shouldn't be patented. Patenting Babbage's engine doesn't prevent the next guy from trying his luck at building a better mousetrap, so long as he doesn't actually copy Babbage. Patenting the algorithm (effectively the concept) does. Less competition means less benefit, and if I build a better mousetrap that doesn't rely on anything from your mousetrap, I'm not violating your work.

        That's a "should" argument from my personal views. It could well be that patents expressly try to protect ideas and concepts, though I suspect otherwise.

        • by ericlondaits (32714) on Monday March 19, 2007 @10:29AM (#18401201) Homepage

          4) Competitors benefit, because there is new idea introduced, and though they can't copy that implementation, they can try their own ways of achieving that idea. (knock-offs) In some cases, these prove to have some benefit over the original (a better method, cheaper production, etc)

          I would argue that #4 is why algorithms, business processes, and the like shouldn't be patented. Patenting Babbage's engine doesn't prevent the next guy from trying his luck at building a better mousetrap, so long as he doesn't actually copy Babbage. Patenting the algorithm (effectively the concept) does. Less competition means less benefit, and if I build a better mousetrap that doesn't rely on anything from your mousetrap, I'm not violating your work.


          You have a good point. I would add a second situation that for me is the worst with algorithms:

          A patent shouldn't be granted if there's a good chance that someone will come across the same exact solution with no knowledge from the patent. By "good chance" I mean probability... in Information Theory terms this would mean that an algorithm should yield some amount of information before being patentable.

          IMHO the n-linked lists don't meet the "amount of information" quota because it's very likely someone comes across this solution on his own when faced with certain types of problems. The same way that many people with no knowledge on sorting come across their own versions of bubble sort... or the same way you can "build" (i.e. emerge) quicksort out of some sorting theory.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by malsdavis (542216)
      It's news like this which makes me glad I don't live in the USA!

  • by sco08y (615665) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:16AM (#18400061)
    I read the claims... somebody submit a patent for insertion and deletion operations.
    • Don't forget the paten for an online forum to release news and provide a method for users discussing it!

      Oh, and a way to rank the news and the comments on how "good" they are!

      I want those two!

      On a serious note: isn't the existance of the programming language LISP a good example of prior art in this case.
      • by Fordiman (689627)
        Almost the entire history of programming back to C is an example of prior art. I learned about this shit in my data structures class, first year in college.

        Seriously, fuck prior art. This has a prior gallery.
    • Who pays? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by nten (709128)
      Then LSI would sue and say they implicitly covered that and you'd counter sue for prior art, and that patent office wouldn't care either way. Now if every time someone challenged an approved patent for prior art or that it conflicts with an existing patent, the patent office had to put up the defense in court and spend the money, then things might change. They were the ones that said it was novel, let them defend their decision.
    • by LaTechTech (752269) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:53AM (#18400323) Journal
      I could make millions off of the Pr0n industry for a patent for insertion!

      1 : something that is inserted : as a : the part of a muscle that inserts b : the mode or place of attachment of an organ or part c : embroidery or needlework inserted as ornament between two pieces of fabric d : a section of genetic material that is inserted into an existing gene sequence
      2 a : the act or process of inserting b : the mutational process producing a genetic insertion
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:17AM (#18400069)
    The US patent office has proved its incompetence in this area time and time again.
    If you must have software patents, why not a specialist software patent office to deal with them?
  • by Paul Crowley (837) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:17AM (#18400071) Homepage Journal
    If you RTFP, what's actually being patented is the idea of using multiple pointers so that the same item can be in more than one linked list at a time. This idea is also a long way from being novel, but it's slightly different from patenting the linked list. Arguably a doubly-linked list is prior art...
    • The same patent was mentioned in this Slashdot article [slashdot.org]. What is new since then?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tgd (2822)

      If you RTFP, what's actually being patented is the idea of using multiple pointers so that the same item can be in more than one linked list at a time. This idea is also a long way from being novel, but it's slightly different from patenting the linked list. Arguably a doubly-linked list is prior art...

      Well, thats the key of any patent story on Slashdot -- no one responding knows how to read a patent. They don't seem to understand, no matter how often someone explains it, that the claims are read in sequence, and if your solution doesn't infringe leaf nodes in the tree of claims, it doesn't infringe.

      • by nickovs (115935) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:08AM (#18400473)
        ... if your solution doesn't infringe leaf nodes in the tree of claims, it doesn't infringe.

        That's simply not true. Patent claims are frequently built upon prior claims in the same patent; if a later claim is built on an earlier claim (e.g. in this case where claim 2 cites claim 1) then you need to infringe both parts in order to fall fowl of the later claim. That said, infringing a stand-alone claim (like claim 1 here) is sufficient in itself.

        As far as I can tell claim 1 really does hit a standard doubly-linked list; you have the plurality of data items, a primary order of traversal and an auxiliary order (e.g. reverse traversal). There is obvious prior art for this and the claim should be invalid. Claim 2 is therefor also invalid, irrespective of it's novelty, since it cites an invalid claim. Claims 3 and 4 also have obvious prior art.

        Personally I think that patents like this are great, since they add substantial support to the argument that the USPTO are, despite their avowed best efforts, incapable of assessing the novelty of software patents, and that they should stop trying.
    • by richieb (3277) <richieb@gmail . c om> on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:44AM (#18400253) Homepage Journal
      If you RTFP, what's actually being patented is the idea of using multiple pointers so that the same item can be in more than one linked list at a time. This idea is also a long way from being novel, but it's slightly different from patenting the linked list. Arguably a doubly-linked list is prior art...

      Back in lat 70s when I was a junior programmer, I did some hacking in SNOBOL to produce a list of thinkgs that had to be sorted two different ways. I had nodes that were in two separate list at the same time. Had I known I would have patented it (unfortunately I lost the card deck with the source).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kwikrick (755625)
      This is completely trivial, and any programmer could easily come up with this idea, if the application he is working on happens to needs to store objects in several sequences. I would not be surprised if thousands of computer programs use this structure but don't actually have a name for it. It's just a bunch of pointers after all.

      Luckely, the data structure descibed by the patent has very limited use. A more generic version would allow any number of pointers per item, and is typically called a graph. Still
  • by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:18AM (#18400077) Homepage Journal
    OK, so where do I go to submit prior art?

    I've got personal programming I've done that uses linked lists. I've got an instructor who's been teaching them in a 200-level C++ course for god knows how long. Hell, Herb Schildt's "C++: The Complete Reference" was published before this patent was filed in 2002.
  • by mgblst (80109) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:19AM (#18400083) Homepage
    These, were the examiners. I wonder what it takes to be an examiner, surely you must have a little knowledge in that particular area?

    Do they get a bonus at the end of the week, for the number of patents they have past.
    • You need A) some kind of college degree and B) a pulse.

      I know some people who applied to the patent office very recently. They were hired after only a phone interview, and given a very short time table to make a decision (something like a week). They also try and rope you in for three years with a signing bonus. So it looks like they're desperate for warm bodies.

      Once you start though, the first 6+ weeks are training. But given the joys of government bureaucracy, who knows how much of that is actual trai
    • by larryboymi (1026734) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:20AM (#18400543)
      I was an examiner for awhile. Got out after 9 months because I saw the path. A lot of $, but a lot of OCD people, and stress due to quotas.

      I had a B.S. in C.S. and I was simply working on GUI patent apps. They wouldn't hire someone with a degree in an outside area (like Business or something) to do C.S. work, although there were a lot of EE's doing C.S. work (although I see that in the commercial realm a lot too, not always to great success, but sometimes).

      Wouldn't recommend it for anyone other than an anti-social who wants to make bank and doesn't mind a boring, high-stress job.
      • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@@@cornell...edu> on Monday March 19, 2007 @10:25AM (#18401167) Homepage
        I had a friend who was an EE and worked for the USPTO for a while. They were very aggressive in recruiting her, but after six months she was desperate to get out.

        As a few nearby posts have said, they are apparently desperate for bodies. They seem to be in a chicken-and-egg situation - while they are understaffed, the reputation for stress and being underpaid makes it hard for them to hire/retain examiners. Inability to hire/retain examiners results in the existing examiners being overstressed.

        Sadly, for a LONG time, the USPTO was one of the government's biggest moneymakers but was also one of the most underfunded, as all of their income went to what was basically a "generic" fund allocation pool. I've heard efforts are being made to rectify this (i.e. let the USPTO use the majority of what they bring in rather than sending it elsewhere), which should help make things a bit saner.
  • by MojoRilla (591502) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:23AM (#18400113)
    What he actually invented was a linked list with two or three pointers, an therefore sort orders, in the same list. Doubly linked lists [wikipedia.org] demonstrate his concept, though are more complicated (since they allow backwards traversals of the same list) and useful.
  • by LordPhantom (763327) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:24AM (#18400119)
    What am I doing this morning? Why, furiously working on my patent on all types of sort! First year Computer Science students will BOW to my will (assuming they want to pass that radix sort assignment!)! Muwhahahaha!
  • Penalties (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tomstdenis (446163)
    See this is the sort of thing that should be penalized. How about ban LSI from filing patents for a year. See how they like them apples.

    This doesn't really surprise me. Most likely this is the work of an over zealous marketing droid looking through some slides and thought, my god, we have invented perfection!

    I'd like to think the engineers at LSI aren't going around thinking they invented computer science...

    Tom
  • Oh yeah (Score:5, Funny)

    by eeyore (78059) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:28AM (#18400131) Homepage

    I read about this technique about 23 years ago. What is going on here? This looks like material for a slashdot poll, viz:-


    Why do you think that the latest LSI is bogus?
    • (o) It isn't. Free enterprise musn't be regulated by stupid rules, such as "prior art"
    • (o) I read about this in Knuth
    • (o) I slept through a college lecture about this.
    • (o) You woke me up, you insensitive clod!
    • (o) It is an attempt to boost LSI's share price
    • (o) It is a pathetic attempt to dis' LSI!
    • (o) Cowboy Neal has prior art

    What about it, guys?

    --
    E.
    • Missing Option: You got to use linked lists? Back in my day, we had to tie the punch cards together with string, and we liked it!
    • by alexgieg (948359)

      Free enterprise mustn't be regulated by stupid rules, such as "prior art"
      Er... "free enterprise" (I think you meant "free market") is market unregulated by political entities. The patent and copyright systems are regulation by political entities. Ergo, a free market can only exist in the absence from, or in opposition to, any kind of patents-copyright system.
  • by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:29AM (#18400135) Journal
    I've got so much code modifying to do.
  • Two things... (Score:5, Informative)

    by thebdj (768618) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:39AM (#18400213) Journal
    The patent # is actually 7028023. The summary quoted number is the application number. Also, this is OLD, issued almost a full year ago. I actually think we had an argument about this long before now. I am starting to wonder if some of these anonymous submissions for these are actually coming from examiners with a clue. (Trust me there are some.) And look, I found it. [slashdot.org]
  • Prior Art (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tonywestonuk (261622) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:42AM (#18400239)
    Look here

    http://groups.google.co.uk/group/comp.sys.ibm.as40 0.misc/msg/205bb134a5ab9982 [google.co.uk]

    What I describe, doccumented on the usenet, Is a multple linked list. I dont claim that I invented this method by any means - I'm sure someone must have come up with this b4 me as it is the next logical progression from a single linked list. BUT, At least I posted the method on the internet way back then, so prior art can definatly be proven.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SethHoyt (1024709)
      I've got a better one. Check out "C++: An Introduction to Data Structures" by Larry Nyhoff, copyright 1999.

      Under section 9.5 (Other Multiply-Linked Lists), there is a description of "Multiply-Ordered Lists" which is identical to what is in the patent.

      An excerpt from the text:

      "In some applications however, it is necessary to maintain a collection ordered in two or more different ways... One way to accomplish such multiple orderings is to maintain separate ordered linked lists, one for each of the desir

  • There is no US patent #10260471. It looks like a patent application number.

    Check out the result of a search at the USPTO [uspto.gov] on that number.

    Currently we are in the low seven millions in US patent numbers.

    For all of that, this is the stupidest patent application I have ever seen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:48AM (#18400291)
    You are all suffering from hindsight bias, you all think you've used linked and double links and n-linked lists before but in reality you were using vectors and this is a genuine innovation. ;)

    Here in the EU, JURI is trying to criminalize all IP infringements again:
    http://press.ffii.org/Press_releases/Criminal_Sanc tions_Rapporteur_fails_to_protect_European_industr y [ffii.org]

    The vote is expected 20th March (tomorrow) with the aim of making minor copyright, trademark and patent infringement into a criminal offense. There is no fair use in Europe either.
    This has little to do with the real world, EU has no jurisdiction in European criminal law, but if it can make a trade issue into a criminal law issue it can expand EU control in that direction. So JURI has cooked up this trick whereby IP rights are claimed as a trade issue and pumped it up to claim infringement needs criminal prosecutions.

  • LSI Logic's patent lawyer should be barred from practice for a month, required to take a patent law refresher class on research, and do another month pro-bono (preferably for a "public domain IP" org). His law firm should pay a fine to a public domain IP org equal to triple the fees they received.

    And if either of them have done this before, they should be barred from patent practice permanently. If they practice after the bar, they should be slammed with all the "practicing law without a license" remedies,
  • by OldHawk777 (19923) * <oh21@@@comcast...net> on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:00AM (#18400395) Journal
    Another perfectly good /. 2007/04/01 post wasted.

    If Hemos had waited there would have been some real funny comments from all US and EU.
    If Ming-Jen Wang and LSI Logic Corporation had waited to file, then the date would
    have clued US and EU all in on the tasteless joke of the few, on the many of US and EU.

    DAMN, Hemos "PLEASE" next time save it for April 1,
    because IPR/PO are so dang dumb-funny, we could all
    be brought to tears and have a good cynical laugh.
  • by 22_9_3_11_25 (645799) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:03AM (#18400419)
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/iip/complaint s.htm [uspto.gov] Complaints should be mailed to the following address: Mail Stop 24 Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office P.O. Box 1450 Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
  • Dupe (Score:3, Informative)

    by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:04AM (#18400433) Homepage
    Prior art [slashdot.org] for this story.
  • Texture mapping [google.com].

    How about slocate [google.com]?

    Or rsync [google.com]?

    Oh and data muxing [google.com].

    Fantastic!
  • Conspiracy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NekoXP (67564) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:09AM (#18400475) Homepage
    I think this is a global conspiracy to undermine the patent system by submitting totally invalid patents. Once it's found they're unenforcable they'll kill off the patent system that is broken. Yay for that. Congratulations to that law firm and whatever!?

    Actually I'm curious, when was your first experience of a linked list implemented in a highly exposed manner? As far as I recall it was in AmigaOS (but then I am only just young enough to remember that as my first OS and the first OS I cared coding for). A lot of systems do use linked lists, it's a very old (1960's? :) concept. But AmigaOS gave you a linked list for nearly everything, stored all it's windows and objects and tasks in them, and expected you to traverse it with exec.library and utility.library.

    Along with tags (tagitems, taglists) and ReadArgs they're things I miss in modern operating systems which seem too 'hidden' and trying to feel too unixy. It's all pipes and sockets and syscalls, blagghhh.. I'm glad QNX puts message passing right in your face, and DragonFly is bringing it all back to me again. I can't wait until someone patents one of those again!
  • by Stooshie (993666) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:10AM (#18400477) Journal

    The site displaying the patent must use linked lists somewhere in the code. The menu at the top says "Browse by Inventor", "Browse by Date" etc...

    Presumably the patent site existed before the patent was submitted.

  • Let's keep this up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dimeglio (456244) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:20AM (#18400551)
    This is actually great and should server as a reminder to us all.

    We should continue to submit rediculous patents just to show how counter productive software patents in general actually are. Anyone still have their first year CS course notes? There should be plenty of material to patent!

    I don't mind they patent a hammer but not how it's actually used.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday March 19, 2007 @10:17AM (#18401061) Homepage Journal
    Should be forced to eat a printout of every example of prior art ever published, including the 70s era data structures book I still have on my bookshelf which details the structure in assembly language and the Java, C++ and Linux kernel code bases. Then for dessert he should be forced to eat a printout of the patent. I'd say the applicant should too but he was probably just being sarcastic.

    My regime would require this for patents that are blatantly obvious or have as much published prior art as linked lists do. You can be there'd be a lot fewer frivolous patents issued if the examiner and the applicant were forced to eat the printouts if the patent turned out to be retarded.

  • by E++99 (880734) on Monday March 19, 2007 @10:49AM (#18401419) Homepage
    I'm filing an applicaiton for "Process and method for posting an article on an a patent when it is issued, then posting the substantially same article a year later, and calling it news both times." Your ass is mine, /.
  • by blckbllr (242654) on Monday March 19, 2007 @11:50AM (#18402043)
    I'll make a couple of quick comments:

    First, claim 1 may be invalid under 35 U.S.C. 101 [uspto.gov] as claiming unpatentable subject matter. It has been my experience that a 35 U.S.C. 101 rejection will issue against a "software patent" where the claim is not directed to something that produces a "useful, tangible, and concrete" result (see, State Street Bank v. Signature [bustpatents.com]). More often, this type of rejection will issue against a claim (not an application), where the claim is directed to purely mathematical operations with no tie-in to hardware to perform that operation. In reading claim 1, there appears to be no claimed hardware that performs the algorithm recited, and hence, I would argue that the claim is invalid. For a more thorough discussion of patentable subject-matter, please see Section 2106.1 [uspto.gov] of the Manual of Patent Examination and Procedure. However, without looking at the image file wrapper [uspto.gov], I don't know what rejections were applied to this application to determine whether claim 1 was amended to overcome this specific rejection.

    Now, that being said, if you are concerned about invalidating this patent (which I'll note issued in April 2006, almost one year ago), you should first find "prior art" before the earliest filing date of the application. In this case, that date appears to be September 26, 2002. I say "appears to be" because the application does not claim priority to an earlier filed foreign application or U.S. provisional application. Next, after gathering your pre-September 26, 2002, you should follow the re-examination procedures for submission. See Section 2200 [uspto.gov] of the MPEP. Keep in mind, that when a third-party submits prior art for a re-examination proceeding, the prior art should present a new question of patentability. After submission of the "prior art," that third-party is generally not allowed to make comments during the re-examination proceeding. Hence, if the USPTO finds that the "prior art" does not present a new question of patentability, you may have inadvertently made the patent "stronger" and less likely to be invalidated during litigation. Accordingly, you should consider whether infringing this patent may be better procedure, and thus filing a motion that the patent is, in fact, invalid.

    This views represent my own and are in no way affiliated with any government organization or private entity.
    • by blckbllr (242654) on Monday March 19, 2007 @12:07PM (#18402303)
      One last follow-up that I realized I forgot to discuss:

      In submitting your pre-September 26, 2002 "prior art," you should also make sure that the "prior art" is at least "prior art" under 35 U.S.C. Section 102(b) [uspto.gov]. For the unfamiliar, this is "102(b)" prior art. "Prior art" that falls under the rubric of 35 U.S.C. Section 102(b) generally cannot be challenged by the Applicant of the application for patent. For example, with "102(a)" prior art, the Applicant for patent can "swear behind" the prior art to show that the the Applicant's "date of invention" is before the "prior art's" earliest effective date.

      As an example, I note that the filing date of application is September 26, 2002. In this example, if you were to submit "102(a)" prior art with an earliest effective date of September 27, 2001, the Applicant of the patent may be able to demonstrate that he/she was working on the invention as of September 20, 2001, hence, overcoming the application of this art (there are some legal concerns regarding what constitutes "working on," but I'll save that discussion for a later time). Now, suppose you submit "prior art" with an earliest effective date of September 25, 2001. This is "102(b) prior art" because it's earliest effective date is at least one year prior to the earliest effective filing date of the application (there are some issues when the application claims priority to an earlier filed application, but this is not the case). In this scenario, where the "prior art" applied is "102(b) prior art," the Applicant cannot swear behind the applied "prior art," even if the Applicant was working on the invention before the earliest effective date of the "102(b) prior art."

      That being said, you should also consider whether your "102(b) prior art" discloses each and every limitation of all of the claims, not simply the independent claims (in this case claims 1, 3 and 4.) (For a discussion of "what is a limitation," see the various sub-sections of Section 608.01 [uspto.gov] of the MPEP. However, I will note that you can combine references under 35 U.S.C. 103 [uspto.gov], but again, that's a discussion for another topic.

      So, to recap:

      1) Make sure that your reference is before the earliest, effective filing date of the application for patent (i.e. that it is "prior art");
      2) Make sure that your "prior art" is "102(b) prior art"; and,
      3) Make sure that each and every limitation of each and every claim is disclosed in the application.

      These views represent my own and are in no way associated with any government organization or private entity.

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