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Amazon Goes Web 2.0 Wild to Defend 1-Click Patent 77

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-really-it's-cool-when-we-do-it dept.
theodp writes "Six years ago, Jeff Bezos and Tim O'Reilly urged the masses to give-patent-reform-a-chance as Richard Stallman called for an Amazon boycott. On Monday, the pair will reunite to kick off O'Reilly's new Amazon-sponsored Web 2.0 Expo with A Conversation with Jeff Bezos. Be interesting if the conversation turned to Amazon's ongoing battle against an actor's effort to topple Bezos' 1-Click patent, which The Register notes included dumping 58 lbs. of paperwork on the patent examiner, including dozens of articles from the oh-so-Web-2.0 Wikipedia, which the USPTO had already deemed an un acceptable source of information ('From a legal point of view, a Wiki citation is toilet paper,' quipped patent expert Greg Aharonian)."
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Amazon Goes Web 2.0 Wild to Defend 1-Click Patent

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  • by xenocide2 (231786) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:58AM (#18750559) Homepage
    Well, I don't know about that. The default view in a wikipedia is certainly an uncertain proposition, but why should we trust wikipedia less than any other site? Yes, it's editable, but it also has revision control. As long as we generally trust website citations, wikipedia provides for demonstrating WHEN an article said something and for how long. I doubt writing about an idea counts as prior art though, so I'm not sure what the gain is.

    I'm sure lawyers can pick up on this. Whether judges can accurately measure what they're looking at is another matter and one that probably means it shouldn't be allowed any more than any other site.
  • by Hrothgar The Great (36761) on Monday April 16, 2007 @10:42AM (#18751157) Journal
    I don't think it's a good assumption that website citations are generally to be trusted for academic purposes. Wikipedia has requirements that citations from more trusted sources are included in articles - the lawyers in this case really should have known enough to go to those original sources and cite from there instead. You would think they would teach this sort of stuff in law school.

    If the articles in question DIDN'T contain citations from other sources, then how could any of the information be trusted at all, given that it was written by one or many basically anonymous users?

    Personally, I find Wikipedia to be really useful, but the problem with it from an academic standpoint is that any conclusions arrived at in its articles without citation tend to arise out of the consensus of the user community, and there is really no reason to trust information simply because the majority agrees it is the truth, especially in matters like this one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2007 @11:08AM (#18751569)
    The difference for citation for your PhD dissertation and citation for patent-busting is that for patent-busting, the only bar is that the patent was thought up by "just anyone", prior to the date of application, which Wikipedia conveniently tracks. It doesn't matter that some guy claiming to hold 8 PhDs but who turns out to be 12 years old and spends his free time trolling Talk pages about how he personally witnessed the signing of the Constitution, if some kid thought up your invention before you did, you fail it.
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday April 16, 2007 @11:09AM (#18751573) Journal
    I was just reading the book "On the Edge", which is about Commodore's rise and fall. The silly "Xor cursor" patent lawsuit may be what finished them off. Commodore survived a slump in 1986 and may have also survived its 1993 slump if not for the Xor patent suit. Although the issues were complicated, the Xor lawsuit may have been what put it over the edge. If Commodore survived a few years longer to about 1996, then the shere money wave of the web boom may have kept them alive to try again with more products and an updated Amiga that was on the drawing boards.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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