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Troll Patents Lists In Databases, Sues Everyone 305

Posted by kdawson
from the you-wish dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "A Florida patent troll called Channel Intelligence is suing everyone from Lemonade to Remember the Milk for infringing on patent 6,917,941, which covers storing a wishlist in a database. Amazon and eBay are absent from the list of targets, even though they very likely store users' wishlists in a database. With any luck, perhaps one of the defendants will get to use that precedent PJ found the other day from In re Lintner, which said, '[c]laims which are broad enough to read on obvious subject matter are unpatentable even though they also read on non-obvious subject matter.'"
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Troll Patents Lists In Databases, Sues Everyone

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  • by conner_bw (120497) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:02PM (#24294173) Homepage Journal

    Anything below this line will sued.

  • Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the4thdimension (1151939) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:03PM (#24294197) Homepage
    Wishlists are an obvious toy... used by everyone from little kids doing their Christmas list, to parents on their way to the grocery store. It only serves to follow that web based users wishing to track a list have it be stored on a database... considering there is no where else to reliably store it.
    • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

      by malefic (736824) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:06PM (#24294257)
      You'll notice they're not suing companies with lots of money who might fight back. I imagine the idea is that smaller companies will just pay up because it's cheaper than fighting it.
      • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

        by the4thdimension (1151939) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:09PM (#24294323) Homepage
        It's likely that one of them will have the money and legal prowess to fight the good fight. Not to mention, it seems like this would be a sure-fire win for anyone willing to fight it. Counter-sue for legal fees anyone?

        I almost forgot to mention. My company keeps lists of highly desired features on our future releases in a database... does that count? The vaguery of the whole thing lends itself to ridiculousness.
        • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

          by griffjon (14945) <GriffJon&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:41PM (#24294881) Homepage Journal

          I keep a list of things I want to buy from ThinkGeek in a personal wiki, which itself is stored in a database. am I infringing?

          Seriously; I see this as akin to a patent covering "The process of driving a nail into wood using a hammer"

          • by chris_mahan (256577) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:54PM (#24295097) Homepage

            No, that would be patent 5,987,808:

            "Method or process of transferring kinetic energy gained by the rotational motion of a striking apparatus composed of a handle affixed to a mass of steel in rectangular shape thought an elliptical transverse cavity, said kinetic energy being applied to an elongated metal cylinder composed of a sharp-angled edge at one end and a flattened, thicker surface at the other hand, for the purpose of causing said metal cylinder to penetrate wood or other material. That the operator of the striking apparatus should fail to strike the elongated metal cylinder does not constitute an exception to this method or process."

            Note: It would be sad if I had to explain twice.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Tuoqui (1091447)

            Besides I'm pretty sure that there is prior art of this...

            Say a paper with hand written flat file database (aka. A list) for your grocery list on it from 20+ years ago?

        • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Interesting)

          by scipiodog (1265802) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:55PM (#24295955)

          It's likely that one of them will have the money and legal prowess to fight the good fight. Not to mention, it seems like this would be a sure-fire win for anyone willing to fight it. Counter-sue for legal fees anyone?

          I happen to know the CEO and founder of one of the companies they're suing. If they're thinking he'll roll over they are in for a rude awakening. I look forward to the show!

        • Re:Obviously (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:23PM (#24296249)
          Not to mention, it seems like this would be a sure-fire win for anyone willing to fight it

          You seem to have too much trust in the judicial system.

          We've been sent a notice by a large American credit card company. The patent is for something that other credit card companies have been doing for a long time. But, they are not going after them. They are going after smaller companies like us.

          To fight this patent would cost us about a half-million dollars plus the time spent in court. We can pay them about 100,000/year and keep our business alive. Guess which option a sane businessman would choose?

          The legal system in this country is a joke.
          • by Fred_A (10934) <fred&fredshome,org> on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:58AM (#24300677) Homepage

            To fight this patent would cost us about a half-million dollars plus the time spent in court. We can pay them about 100,000/year and keep our business alive. Guess which option a sane businessman would choose?

            Hiring a hitman ?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mag7 (69118)

          It's likely that one of them will have the money and legal prowess to fight the good fight. Not to mention, it seems like this would be a sure-fire win for anyone willing to fight it. Counter-sue for legal fees anyone?

          People pull out that chestnut about counter-suing for legal fees, but you never really get the entire cost back.

          A relative had to defend against a spurious lawsuit and even after victory came out behind- financially, in lost time, stress, and lost opportunities to pursue other business because they were wasting time on this.

          Ultimately, only the very wealthy have the resources/financial stamina for a lawsuit. And ultimately the only people to really win in a lawsuit are the lawyers.

        • by Randroideka (1326691) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:33PM (#24298465)
          I wish all these companies would stop. I have a list of them in a database.
      • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Informative)

        by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:22PM (#24294533)
        Or that they can make some precedent to go after the big fish with. If I were bezos' legal counsel, I might suggest funding the defense of one of these guys.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by WK2 (1072560)

          If I were bezos' legal counsel, I might suggest funding the defense of one of these guys.

          There is plenty of room for multiple patent trolls. Bezos probably won't go after these guys do to professional courtesy. That's probably why Amazon is absent from the list too.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DeadDecoy (877617)
          Hmmm... I think I read on a previous article that a number of big companies were consolidating their patents together with the possible intent of avoiding legal battles and patent trolls. To that degree, I think it might also be in these companies' interests if they fight for the little guy on obvious patents against trolls such that it doesn't set a precedent in the court system and reach them. It might even been cheaper to fight it off at an early stage. Of course, another useful consequence of fighting t
          • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jvkjvk (102057) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:28PM (#24297981)

            I think that the strategy of large corps is to let the patent trolls sue their smaller competitors to oblivion or at least keep them at a competitive disadvantage through having to make royalty payments. Meanwhile, make it known very clearly that your company's legal team will put the troll out of business if they should try to sue.

      • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:27PM (#24294627)
        First beat up a little guy just to test your case. Costs should be low.

        If you win then you go after the big guys.

      • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TigerNut (718742) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:29PM (#24294655) Homepage Journal
        That's standard procedure straight from the Patent Troll Handbook. You build up your patent's credibility by getting a few helpless companies to roll over, and then you use that as ammunition when you go after the bigger fish.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cylcyl (144755)

          Why doesn't anyone patent the patent troll methodology. This way, anyone trying the Patent Troll Procedure can be sued for whatever they are suing other people for?

      • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

        by The Angry Mick (632931) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:29PM (#24294663) Homepage

        I imagine the idea is that smaller companies will just pay up because it's cheaper than fighting it.

        Either that, or they're shooting for a number of small victories to help buttress the arguments against a future giant with a load of small precedences.

        Unfortunately, they are apparently operating on the assumption that these smaller companies exist in a communication free environment, and that they wouldn't dare discuss the case with anyone else in the world. This shows a SCO level of ignorance that alone should be enough to get the entire board of Channel Intelligence fired.

        As the article notes, there's a ton of large companies like Amazon that use such wish lists, and it might be in their best interest to sign on to any litigation with an amicus brief in favor of stomping the shit out of Channel Intelligence on principle alone. At the very least, it would send a very strong signal to any other dumbasses contemplating similar moves.

        • Re:Obviously (Score:4, Interesting)

          by QuietObserver (1029226) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:58PM (#24295979)
          I'm posting because your argument deserves a reply. I completely agree with you. I do wonder, however, if Channel Intelligence is just a dummy corporation for one of the large corporations they aren't suing. Or worse, they, like SCO, might be a puppet organization.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I do wonder, however, if Channel Intelligence is just a dummy corporation for one of the large corporations they aren't suing.

            You know we have reached the dark days when you realize that this could very well be the case.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by darkmeridian (119044)

        That's step one on this patent troll's list to profit! The second step would be to get these small companies to settle and take out a license or lose at trial. With a track record of licensing the patent, you can take on the big guys and point to your record of licensing your patents to make a profit, or the fact that other courts have found the patents valid and enforceable (if you're lucky).

      • Re:Obviously (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Jesus_666 (702802) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:45PM (#24294961)
        I just wonder... Could the small companies pool their resources and contest the patent in one single case, putting the small cases on hold (because the patent is being challenged)?
      • Re:Obviously (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:18PM (#24295485)

        I think there is space in the legal representation market for a law firm that defends obviously baseless cases like this in exchange for the opportunity to sue for legal fees.

        The defendant would never gain, but they would never have to pay legal fees either. Lawyers like it, patent trolls hate it, and it helps out the small online businessman.

        Any thoughts?

    • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:09PM (#24294311) Journal

      Oh hell, I have to call my lawyer. I need to patent writing wish lists on paper with a pencil, another patent for a wish list with blue ink, another for black ink, and crayons... By golly when I get done with my patent trolling I'll be rich!

      Drinks for the house!

    • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BlakeReid (1033116) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:01PM (#24295223)

      IAALS (I am a law student), so my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, the summary understates the breadth of this patent. It covers not merely wishlists, but any database storing lists. The description deals with wishlists and e-commerce, but the claims cover lists in a broad fashion.

      On the upside for the infringement defendants in this case, there is a joint infringement problem with the claims in the client/server architecture. Infringing this patent would effectively require two entities to take action - one on the client, and one on the server. This "joint" requirement precludes the possibility of any actual infringement, and is indicative of a poorly drafted claim. Combined with the likelihood that the patent will be invalidated as anticipated or obvious in view of all the prior art out there, it's highly unlikely an infringement judgment will ever go through. However, the defendants are likely to settle to avoid the cost of litigation - classic patent troll strategy.

      • Re:Obviously (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Free_Meson (706323) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @11:10PM (#24298735)

        On the upside for the infringement defendants in this case, there is a joint infringement problem with the claims in the client/server architecture. Infringing this patent would effectively require two entities to take action - one on the client, and one on the server. This "joint" requirement precludes the possibility of any actual infringement, and is indicative of a poorly drafted claim. Combined with the likelihood that the patent will be invalidated as anticipated or obvious in view of all the prior art out there, it's highly unlikely an infringement judgment will ever go through. However, the defendants are likely to settle to avoid the cost of litigation - classic patent troll strategy.

        Claims 2-42 depend on claim 1 containing the phrases:

        establishing a management tool on a client computer system, remote from said server computer system, said management tool including said list identifier;

        establishing a communications link between said client computer system and said server computer system;

        Which may pose such a joint-infringement issue. I'm not sure that's necessarily the case, though at first glance there's a strong argument.

        The more troubling claims are a bit further in. Independent claim 46 (and claims 47-49 and 57 which depend on it) makes no reference to a client or to communicating over a network -- they describe only the database. Likewise independent claim 58 with its dependent claims (59 & 60) and independent claim 61 with its dependent claims (62 & 63) describe only the database. These claims without the client or communication link limitation present in claim 1 would not be vulnerable to a joint-infringement argument. They're preposterously broad at first glance. Claim 46 may read on any database ever implemented. You'd have to read through the specification to see how the inventor redefined the claim terms to know how broad some of these ridiculous-seeming claims really are.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SL Baur (19540)

      I read through the patent and do not see anything which distinguishes it from a bridal registry - wishlist of presents posted by a couple to-be-wed so they do not get duplicate wedding presents.

      Hmm. Almost 2 million hits on that term, the first page is all ads. Just how many people are these clowns suing?

  • Grr. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:05PM (#24294241) Homepage Journal
    Spanging this guy and all other patent trolls like him in the face with a coal shovel is high on my personal wishlist, and Slashdot is now storing that information in their comment database. Sorry Taco!
  • Patent Office (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clampolo (1159617) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:08PM (#24294283)

    I'm less worried about the patent troll than the fact that the Patent Office allowed this crap to get through. I think it is time for some people to get fired.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Falstius (963333)

      The patent office gets paid for granting patents. Its cheaper for them to just grant the patent and let companies fight it out in the courts. Let it come out of someone else's budget.

      • by ProfBooty (172603) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @07:14PM (#24296809)

        During prosecution, the PTO gets paid for just about anything the applicant files. That being said, after a patent is granted there are renewal fees.

        You would think that examiners would simply allow allow allow, but that hasn't been the case in a while. The patent grant rate has actually dropped in the past few years.

        http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/PatentlyO2006059.jpg [patentlyo.com]

        This is inpart due to greater focus on quality, and that allowance of an application is now reviewed multiple times even for primary examiners. In the same time period the backlog has grown as the result of a hiring freeze a couple years ago and fairly high attrition, and perhaps as part of a lower allowance rate.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nomadic (141991)
          You would think that examiners would simply allow allow allow, but that hasn't been the case in a while. The patent grant rate has actually dropped in the past few years.

          When I asked a patent lawyer friend about whether it was too easy to get a patent, she was surprised I would even suggest that. In her experience it's an extremely time-consuming process and the patent office is very skeptical of everything they get.
    • Re:Patent Office (Score:5, Interesting)

      by spud603 (832173) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:22PM (#24294521)
      from the comments of TFA:
      http://www.peertopatent.org/ [peertopatent.org]
      A joint project with the USPTO and NYU Law School that tries to public input on pending patents. Interesting and potentially very good idea.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sir_Kurt (92864)

      The fact that so many folks and companies have come up with storing a wish list in a database should be proof enough that this "invention" is obvious. In fact, this should be allowed as a defence against any submarine patent. Prior art aside.

    • by Nymz (905908) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:33PM (#24294723) Journal
      If storing data in a database is considered 'nonobvious' and patent worthy, then someone please tell me the 'obvious' method of storing data.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Sabz5150 (1230938)

        If storing data in a database is considered 'nonobvious' and patent worthy, then someone please tell me the 'obvious' method of storing data.

        Patents!

    • Re:Patent Office (Score:5, Insightful)

      by darkmeridian (119044) <william.chuang@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:36PM (#24294791) Homepage

      Haha! The average patent examiner would have voluntarily quit by the time you finished the paperwork necessary to fire him. The problem is that we underpay and overwork our examiners. Their supervisors yell at them for taking so long to grant patents. Examiners have a set number of hours to consider each patent application, and when that time is up, they get more applications dumped onto their plates regardless of how the original applications are doing. All the applicants know this, so their attorneys flood the examiner repeatedly until the examiner runs out of time. The incentive is to issue patents and get the applicant and his attorneys out of your hair.

      You get what you pay for, and we don't pay a lot to our Patent Office and their examiners. We don't treat them well, either. We ought to pay our examiners more so we get professional career patent examiners, and also hire more examiners so there isn't such a huge rush on them to finish.

      It's like my idea about paying more money to the IRS to increase enforcement of current tax laws: you get a lot of bang for the buck on investing on relatively unsexy things.

      • Granted that's not great.

        But the money gets reasonable at about 10 years experience; 100K+.

        A cynical look at the data says for the median to be so close to the no experience number (they start at 61K) they have to be reclassifying senior 'patent examiners' into some other category to hide how OVERPAID they actually are. We all know you can't get a bureaucrat off the teat once attached, especially the really incompetent ones.

        Fire all their worthless asses. Reopen the offices someplace cheap and depres

    • by Layth (1090489) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:38PM (#24294815)

      Geeze, it's just some guys at a patent office

  • Quoting PJ. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:08PM (#24294301)

    I know some of you cynics think that there is no hope and that the courts are corrupt or run by nincompoops, but you know I don't agree with you.

    The problem is that the patent troll gets to pick the court. Which means that they can slant it any way they want to. From judges that are pro-patents to judges that have no idea what the issue is and don't feel like educating themselves.

    There are good judges out there. There are bad judges out there.

    The trolls get to choose which ones they want to have their cases decided by.

    • But it should at least be easy to put into one of the many millions of motions in a case like this, such that at least the Clerk has to read it, and hopefully the Judge, too.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991)
      The problem is that the patent troll gets to pick the court.

      No they don't.
  • by jlowery (47102) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:09PM (#24294321)

    1. Wish this wishlist on Slashdot
    2. Wish this post is stored in database
    3. Wish that troll sees it
    4. Wish that troll sues Slashdot
    5. Wish that troll wins case
    6. Wish that I get credit for my efforts
    7. Wish for profit from percentage of settlement

  • I got it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nerdposeur (910128) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:10PM (#24294329) Journal

    Guys, all we have to do to stop the madness is get the proper patent. Let's see...

    "A method for securing profits by describing an idea of sufficient generality and utility that its use is inevitable, then bringing legal claims against the most successful groups to implement it."

    PWND!!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Won't work. Too much prior art!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      Yes, but I can understand that. I don't think it will be valid. It doesn't even contain the word "plurality". Nobody will take you seriously.

      Try "A method for the securement of profit and/or profits utilising a plurality of conceptualizations. The first component being said conceptualization, the second part being an idea and/or concept that may or may not be overly general. This is used in conjunction with a third part comprising of a first part of a legal claim and the second part of a plurality o
  • Loser Pays (Score:2, Funny)

    by strelitsa (724743) *
    I'll take "Something That Would Stop This Sort of Nonsense" for a thousand, Alex.
  • Santa! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:12PM (#24294367) Homepage Journal

    Poor Santa Clause is going to be sued for 1.8 billion infringements.
       

  • by loraksus (171574) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:12PM (#24294385) Homepage

    Would "assassination politics" work for patent trolls too? [outpost-of-freedom.com] /waits for black helicopters.

  • by Sneakernets (1026296) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:13PM (#24294395) Journal

    Milk
    Bread
    Shitload of stamps
    Ground Chuck
    Vitamin Water
    Carrots
    Defense Attorney

  • by snl2587 (1177409) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:14PM (#24294409)

    Ok, guys: the critical date is December 28, 2001.

    First person to post prior art gets a big pat on the back!

  • by hyperz69 (1226464) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:14PM (#24294415)
    Santa Clause is SCREWED!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:19PM (#24294475)

    posting anonymous for obvious reasons.. My Company uses Channel Intelligence to test the conversion rate on various checkout flows. We pay them $20,000 to test 6 flows on our major site, and if they increase conversion by a few percentage points on one of the flows, they get a $10,000 bonus. We have been working with them for a few months now, and I must say, I could have done this in my sleep.

    Now this company has climbed past utter ridiculousness with this patent on "lists in a database". Who are they going to sue next, the publisher of a book on basic database algorithms?

  • by speedtux (1307149) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:21PM (#24294497)

    More likely: Channel Intelligence isnâ(TM)t prepared to litigate against Amazon, who would likely lawyer CI into the ground over this âoepatent.â

    CI most likely wants to get bought by Amazon, and then Amazon can sue everybody over this patent; the patent is quite complementary to their "one click" invention.

  • What in the world are they trying to pull patenting a wish list. People store stuff in db's all the time. What right do they have to tell people how they store their own data.

    This is ridiculous...
  • What does "[c]laims which are broad enough to read on obvious subject matter are unpatentable even though they also read on nonobvious subject matter." mean? It almost makes sense, but the term "read on" appears to be legal jargon, because it breaks /brain/lib/english_parser.so for me.

    • it means, if a patent covers something non-obvious, but it's description also applies to many obvious things, then it's invalid.

      It's a sort of patent version of the betamax decision. "substantial obvious implementations" trump the few non-obvious ones.

  • by mweather (1089505) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:26PM (#24294617)
    Didn't someone patent the business model of being a patent troll?
  • Of course they store user wishlists in a db, but they're rich, there's no way anyone would go after them first...

  • Shoot them. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:48PM (#24295005) Homepage Journal

    There has evolved in our society a class of villains who would destroy the republic for love of profit. They are amoral and sociopathic, delighting in the money they steal from its citizens, allowed to thrive by our fatally broken legal system, and in the end relying on the armed strength of the government to confiscate their misgotten gains.

    I no longer see a reason why these subpeople should be allowed to walk freely among the citizens of our country. They are guilty of treason by criminal negligence, and have forfeited their right to be considered equals under the law by their utter contempt of the same.

    • Re:Shoot them. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:56AM (#24300669) Homepage
      You know, it's funny, I've been reading a lot about 1930s Germany lately, and what you said describes the German view of Jews to a T. Including the 'seperate them from us' and 'they are no longer human' part. And here it is, modded to +5 Insightful on Slashdot.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)

        You know, it's funny, I've been reading a lot about 1930s Germany lately, and what you said describes the German view of Jews to a T. Including the 'seperate them from us' and 'they are no longer human' part. And here it is, modded to +5 Insightful on Slashdot.

        Technology is America's last standing dominant industry. Patent trolls are targeting American companies solely and directly, hamstringing our citizens while allowing the rest of the world's industries to flourish unhampered, and very literally gaining personal riches by undermining our economy. I truly meant it when I described their actions as criminal and treasonous.

        Your comparison of the prosecution of criminals to the execution of innocents is factually invalid, historically inaccurate, and remarkably

  • by jeko (179919) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:48PM (#24295019)
    I read the summary and couldn't believe they could patent putting a list in a database.

    So I read the patent and that's exactly what they did. The abstract just describes a relational database in incredibly convoluted language. The mind reels.

    Well, if they can get away with that, then my new patent is going to make me richer than God. I propose storing and manipulating information by reducing it to a set of states, said states being either "something" or "nothing" I propose these states be represented by two differing digits, "1" or "0".

    Now, who's got my check?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JSBiff (87824)

      My computer doesn't store "1" or "0" - it's based on two voltages being stored in sequences of electrical components. Nope. No 1's or 0's here, no sirree.

  • Fixing the system (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pseudorand (603231) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:59PM (#24295191)
    I just thought of the perfect way to fix the patent system. If you sue over a patent and there are more than, say, 3 defendants, if the defendants can all demonstrate they came up with the technology independently of you and of each other, then your patent is invalidated. Clearly, if an idea is so simple that three different people or companies are able to implement it before you're able to file suit, it must be an obvious idea not worthy of patent protection.
  • by Cutting_Crew (708624) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:06PM (#24296073)
    I want you all to know that i am going to file a patent on thinking. if you as much as think of a wish list i will sue. if you think about a counter suit i will just sue you for thinking that. i am sure there is not a patent on thinking so i should be gold!
  • by smack.addict (116174) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:08PM (#24296093)

    I am not sure how old the patent is, but any mud from the late 80's/early 90's would have had a feature that let users indicate things they would like to see and store it in a database.

    It's called a feature request database.

    I am sure there are other examples.

  • Patently Silly (Score:4, Interesting)

    by catdevnull (531283) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:33PM (#24296355)

    Patents are supposed to protect an inventor from others stealing his invention--not his ideas. If you're non-specific about the METHOD by which your "invention" pushes a wish-list to a database (some proprietary programming or a new custom protocol), then you don't have anything to patent.

    Unfortunately, the patent office knows only how to patent physical devices and they fail to understand the difference between the broad concept and the actual methodology.

    Ignorant backwoods judges and juries don't understand either. That's why trolls love Marshall, TX. [technologyreview.com]

  • Fraud..... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IHC Navistar (967161) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @11:21PM (#24298803)

    The so-called "inventors" of this should be locked up for fraud, since they presented themselves as inventors of something that has existed for years, en masse. This is like trying to patent speadsheets 10 years after they began to be used widespread and claim, on a *legal* document, that you created them, and using you claim of having invented it years after they came into existence as a your basis for filing suit.

    This action clearly constitutes:

    1) Malicious prosecution,
    2) Reckless Litigation,
    3) Perjury,
    4) Fraud,
    and
    5) Conspiracy to commit fraud.

    The shitwit patent clerks that approved this should be fired without pay, forced to pay attorney's fees for every defendent listed, and prohibited from ever holding a government job again.

    They should at least be liable for attorney's fees, since this was an exceptionally gross, very likely deliberate, misuse of authority and judgement.

    THE IDIOTS RESPONSIBLE:

    Primary Examiner: Greta Robinson
    Secondary Examiner: Cheryl Lewis .....sigh..... women.

    I wonder how many pairs of shoes they got in return for approval.....

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